Sunday, December 19, 2010
I have been fairly slack this christmas with my baking and christmas preparation in general. Just so much going on - renovations for my cake room, end of year school functions, parties, life. All the stuff that other people have too but it has caught up with me this year. Just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. It is so bad, that for the first time EVER, I have not written a single christmas card. So, if you are expecting one from me, "Merry Christmas, hope it's a good one and can I please have this year off? I promise I will be good next year!" Thanks!
I did spend a late night during the week making a present for Oscar's teacher. You know I could never buy something, I have to bake it, create it or something silly like that.
So these are the results. Tada! I may have said this before, but I will say it again. Designed, individual face cupcakes like these take an incredible long time to do. They are so fiddly, time just rushes by. I know some fellow cake people charge $20 each for these. I used to think that was OTT, now I think they are being generous. I may just act like a supermodel in regards to these individual babies and say I wont get out of bed to make them for anything less than $X. Ah, funny.
Anyway, these are so cute, I would do them again in a heartbeat. They seem to take on their own personality.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
An old work friend, Liz, contacted me when I was still in Alice Springs, lamenting that I wouldn't be around in Melbourne to make her partner's 50th cake. Well, as circumstances have it, I was, and I am glad I was, it was a beauty to work on.
When talking to me about designs for the cake, they were just wanting a small shoe phone on top of a cake in a very minimal way with some writing on it. I said "how about the shoe is the cake" and off we went. And so did lots of big ideas!
At first, I thought I had bit off more than I could chew (nooooo, you? I hear you say!). But I got right into the research of the old episodes, the Workaholic's brain (which is full of old TV, he watched ALOT when he was young, misspent youth and all that), and various fan websites.
The more I researched, the more the cake grew. Really, I could have gone silly on this but I had quoted the cake based on the original design and as much as Liz and Trev are a gorgeous couple and I enjoyed making this one and taking a hit on the costings, there was a limit.
The Workaholic, now he is not so much of a Workaholic, keeps sticking his nose into my cake designs and he actually finessed this design for me on the run. Turning into quite the apprentice he is.
So, to refresh your memory on Get Smart, what you see on the cake is:
- the red line leading Max into the building at the opening of the show
- the first of a series of doors, this one is meant to look like lift doors, but actually open up into a stair case
- brick walls signifying the hallway and walls around the doors
- one of the secret agents in a letterbox. It could have been a phone box, locker, cupboard, washing machine, ship fog horn etc. Options were endless. They were always in the most bizarre spots.
- the cone of silence. According to much of the footage I watched, this changed a number of times, sometimes the Chief and Max sat together under the plastic and other times they had their own domes.
- the shoe phone. This was the hardest to find pictures on for reference. I have no idea why. There are also a number of versions of this phone but I decided to go with the earliest version.
- a classic line from the show
I adored making this cake. It was quite big in the end. The bottom cake was a 10inch square turned into a 15 inch by 10 inch rectangle. The shoe phone was a 8 inch square but I finished up probably only using half of it.
Somewhere along the line, although I started of doing classic formal cakes, I have morphed into quite a bit of novelty. Not sure which I like the best yet. Just have to keep experimenting!
Thursday, December 9, 2010
It was ordered by a work collegue from my previous life in Marketing, many years ago.
Her best friend, who is turning 30, has a thirst for beer. Unfortunately, she is pregnant at the moment and can not enjoy her beverage of choice on her 30th.
This was the next best thing.
The cake itself was a white chocolate mud. The beer bottle is modelled from fondant and is edible. The colours covering the cake tie into the colours on the beer label. The beer label was a bit of a cheat job, but effective- it is soaked off a real beer bottle and stuck on the bottle. One day I will get around to trying a icing print sheet!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
One of the advantages of me back in Mornington, for my friends here anyway, is my ability to make birthday cakes. One of my best friends pounced on me the moment I was back with a "I'm so glad your here, you can make Jake's cake!"
Jake's dad is a big time fisherman and diver, loves all things sea, hence his little boy is following in his foot steps. He had already requested a fishing boat or a shark for a cake. He knows everything about the sea and its creatures. For him, sharks are not sharks, they are gummy sharks, hammerhead sharks etc. He has that much detail at 4. No pressure though!
To put the next bit into context, we did move house this week and the Workaholic started a new job so it was full on. Cake decorating in the middle of boxes. My how I stressed over the detail in this cake. So much so, that the night before when the Workaholic was strolling by the kitchen and he said, "more like a whale, than a shark" and then wandered back in later, closer to midnight, when I had thought I had resolved the issue, and he said "more like a dolphin, than a shark", I spat at him "YOU DO IT!" To which I gave him a crash course in fondant and modelling and off he went.
So this cake is a joint effort! Well the shark is anyway, he moulded the body and I did all the rest. He is turning into quite the handy apprentice. He has had "do a pottery course" on his list of hobbies to do for so long, maybe this can be his substitute.
I was happy with the cake, I really like doing cakes with a bit of a scene. I loved the sand and the pier. Could have gone nuts on this cake if I had some more time that week.
The workaholics meddling brings me to another subject. How critical my family have become of my cakes. No longer is it "wow, that is fantastic", I get a bit of "oh, there's a crack there" or "you should have done a stingray". Spoilt, all three of them. They spend all there time dreaming up bigger and better cakes for me to do.
Anyway, back to the main story, the shark cake. It went down a dream, was showcased at the party and my name was exchanged with the guests, while I was left cutting up the cake. Is there anyone out there who makes cakes that doesn't have to then cut up the cake if they are at the function too? If there is, I would like to meet them. LOL!
Happy 5th birthday Jake!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
This cake is huge! Three cakes for the base, followed by one and a half cakes for the top. VERRRYYY TALLL! Major learnings in stacking and ganaching the cake, not to mention the covering of such a tall cake.
Seems to me, many people treat Spring time 106, like a competion and go all out with fancy designs, as the design is entirely up to you.
I decided, given this was moving week in the Wotherspoon household, and I also wanted to get as much out of this as I could, that I would keep it simple and work on my flower making (oh, the dreaded flower making). I also worked with "Bling" for the first time. Love it!
The roses are what they call "quick roses" but given the humidity that week, they could have been called troublesome roses!
Anyway, I had a ball, loved every minute of the week and made some great new friends. Thank you to Jessica, Effie and Katrina (the cleaning fairy). Jessica and Effie, your capacity to share your knowledge is appreciated.
You may have noticed my love for black and white. It is actually quite hard to pull off. For starters, black is very sticky on account of all the colour required. Secondly, one touch of the black on the white and you have a unsightly mess. Also, thr cornflour needed to roll out your icing, looks terrible if a speck of it gets on the black. All things you need to be mindful off.
The further you go in Planet Cake training the more freedom you get. This cake had to be a two tiered large cube and square cake but the colours and design where up to us.
It was the first time this course had used stencils. Prior to this one it was piping, which I was keen on practicing but am so glad we got to stencil.
I have a bit of a thing for black and white, so I went with that.
We were fortunate to have a generous class mate who had lots of good stencils, along with those provided by Planet Cake, so I borrowed the chandelier design from my class mate, Voula. I also have a thing for chandeliers at the moment too.
The bottom cake is actually two 8 inch mud cakes. I used a large stencil on front and back and a smaller stencil on the sides so there was some difference.
The flower is a peony rose with some leaves and red berries. Rose colour, berry colour etc was ours too.
I loved this course. All of us started with the same base cake and they all ended up so different. Even the three black and white cakes ended up very different from each other. See pics below.
Planet Cake - 106 - Springtime is supposed to be the first time you get to totally create your own cake, but I think this may become the new Springtime, or a mini one anyway!
Love, love, love everything about this cake.
I can not say enough about how great these classes are, particularily as you go up the skill levels. In the really early classes I found most of us are so busy just trying to learn all there is to know that you don't really chat, whereas now that I am in the more advanced classes we get on with it AND chat about all things cake. It is both energising and relaxing.
This weeks training gave me more experience in the "basic foundation" series, or wedding cakes. I have, just through customer requests, mainly worked in novelty cakes and I wanted a bit more exposure to wedding cakes and flower work.
This three teir cake introduces the cake decorator to the "tools". You need an electric drill, saw and glue gun to put the boards and dowl supports in to this cake to support it. Fun, fun, fun.
It also teaches a new flower. I have avoided flower work, it is a bit of a weakness, only because I haven't practiced. So I came away from this week with a goal to practice more which probably won't happen now until after Christmas as my days are filling up fast.
I am also writing this out of order (oh no, you gasp!). I have skipped an entry on the Workaholic's farewell party because the images are locked away on another computer in a box somewhere. This is really messing with my OCD as I like to do the entries in event order. Never mind, the therapy is going well!
Now that I have that out of my system, lets move on.
Alice, my baby girl, turned four about 10 days after we left the Alice. We were living in my parents house and she does not have a friendship group here (obviously, she only arrived 10 days ago!) so combined with Oscar starting a new school that week and hubby looking for a job, I was a bit stressed about giving her the usual Wotherspoon celebration.
Not that we go overboard, but we do have a cake of choice, decorated room and small party with friends. Alice really wanted a Dora themed cake, but with everything going on I had to go with butterflies, flowers and other sweet things and hope she forgave me!
It turned out to be a really great day, with a birthday spread over two houses, my parents and the Workaholic's parents. Both decorated their houses, and some good friends came over for some party food and some quickly pulled together party games.
I discovered the joy of living in the big smoke and having a Spotlight nearby. Without too much trouble, I could wander in and load up my trolley with a complete girls party theme that made the party look great. (boy, wish I could have done the same for my dessert table for the Workaholic - more on that later!).
Anyway, Alice had a great time and I repeated the cake for her with some left over bits and pieces a few days later with her cousins, so she got two for the price of one!
Happy birthday my gorgeous girl!