Sunday, 19 November 2017

Paw Patrol "Master Class"

I don't always make cakes, sometimes I help others make cakes for themselves.  This blog entry is one of those and was not made by me, but I want to showcase it anyway.

A good friend of mine needed help to create this wonderful Paw Patrol creation. I had previously made a number of cakes for her, check them out here:

But this time, she wanted to go it alone.  She's a pretty good cook anyway, so the chocolate sponge and accompanying chocolate buttercream was certainly not the issue here.  Her issue here was with the crumb coating and the ultimate fondant cover and decorations.

By the time I had got there, the sponges has already been baked.  I showed her how to top them off so they were level, simple syruped them, then she removed the middle of two of the three sponges, filled them with chocolate buttons whilst stacking.

The crumb coating session went without a hitch.  Of course, as you'd expect, speed was slow but everyone has to try something for the first time and, as yet, I've never found a speedy learner.

We chilled the sponges then covered them in the chocolate buttercream and chilled again.

As with most people I have encountered that are looking for a frst time fondant project, they purchase a low cost brand - I've even done this myself - check out what happened here, it's an awesome read!

As expected, the budget brand fondant was not the greatest of help. It cracked, broke and fell off the cake! However, this was the only major, physical intervention I had. Obviously my friend was upset when this happened, after all, this cake was for her grandson, so she had put a lot of pressure on herself.. However, I managed to claw back and rescue the fondant cover.  This was all from my own experience with the budget brands.

The end product showed a scar where the fondant had cracked. However, she had purchased printed icing sheet decorations, so she used some to cover the scar and, as you can see, the final result shows nothing of its battle :)

With next to no intervention, only 'show and tell' tuition and supervision, everything was completed and not by me. I'd go as far as to say that this was a successful 'master class' with a brilliant 'student' 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Fondant Grinch

I wanted to showcase this handsome fellow to show that, using a previous step-by-step process post on my blog, that it can be method can be used for other characters too. 

Click here for the method on how to DIY 2D Fondant Character Faces

This one is not my best work however, I didn't use modelling paste, jut plain fondant, and that was a big mistake. I should have listened to instructions :-)

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Slow No

I'm going to call this month "Slow No" because it's a slow November! I only have two projects this month.

My first project was my cat's 13th birthday cake and another project at the end of the month. I had better not give the game away just in case the recipient somehow reads this before hand. The resources are being collected for that rather special cake.

In about the middle of the month, my friend has asked me to shadow her and offer assistance, if needed, for her own cakey bakey experience. She's already a pretty cool caker, but she wants to try fondant and decorate it herself.

If she allows me, I'll showcase her finished piece here for your viewing pleasure.

Now, next month, that's manic! I have nine projects!!!!!

There's five rich fruit celebration cakes for festive decoration. Check out last year's:
There's one sponge cake, check out last year's:
And then there are the festive cupcakes, about three dozen. Here's last years:
Then I'm back to the preparations for the wedding cake I have in May. Yes, I know it's early, but with five tiers, this is my biggest challenge to date.

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with my work in progress.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

'Cake' for my cat's birthday

Yep, you read that quite correctly. I have never before, and probably will never again, make a cat food birthday cake lol.

This is intended to be a fun entry!

I make lots of cakes for people but, the one special guy in my life is my cat, and he is celebrating his 13th human birthday (I'm not sure how old that is in cat years).  So I'm making a birthday cake for him. Unfortunately he can only share it with companion here and us humans will just be having coffee and cookies - no cake thank you.

Cats should not really eat people cake and most definitely should not eat sweet stuffs like fondants, I'm not sure if they like that anyway, they'll get tooth decay. Anyway ...

I purchased five 85g tins of gourmet wet cat food and pates.  Three of the tins were salmon flakes, one tin was turkey pate and the last was a salmon pate. Absolutely no baking went on here!

Now, I had to look through my equipment to find if I had anything I could use that I would no longer need for food use.  I managed to find a large misshapen cookie cutter (that I hadn't used in such a long time) and a cake card that I would not be able to use for anyone's cake anyway.
  • I mixed together the three tins of salmon flakes and divided it into two.  
  • Half was placed onto the cake card in the cookie cutter, flattened and smoothed out.
  • On top of that, I added one of the pates that I had mixed up a little.
  • Then added the remaining salmon flakes onto the top of that.
  • Last, but not least, I mixed up the other tin of pate and placed it onto the top in misshapen balls of sorts
  • All that was left was the candle.  I never buy candles so had to make an effort to go get some for this cake.
  • I chilled the 'cake' a little before I put the candle in it. These flakes were not the best option for a cat's cake I don't think 
  • Once I blew out the candle, and to prevent the devastation that I imagined would be left on my floor if I left it on the cake card, I spooned it into his new cat bowl - which he had for his birthday too
This, I can assure you, is not the kind of content that will make it regularly into my caking blog, but I just wanted to share the experience with you all.
This is definitely the last cat food cake this Grandma will be making lol
It might not even make it to my growing portfolio 

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Delicious and simple pumpkin spice cookies, great for baking with the kids.  You can leave them plain or decorate with some writing icing and / or decorations.

You will need:
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 3tsp pimplin spice*
  • 125g butter or margerine
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4tbsp golden syrup
* If you don't have any pumpkin spice, why not make your own - see here

How to:
  1. Sift and mix together all the dry ingredients.
  2. Rub in the butter to this mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  3. Gently beat the egg with the syrup.
  4. Add this to your breadcrumb mix and stir in until such a time that you can et your hands in there - the mix should clean the bowl of all lose ingredients
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 180*C / 350*F / Gas #4
  6. Leave the mix to rest in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes
  7. Line your baking tray(s) with grease proof / parchment paper
  8. Roll the dough to about 5mm or 1/4 inch thick
  9. Using your cutters, cut out your shapes and place them on the trays, leaving a gap in between
  10. Bake for 12*15mins or unil light and golden.
  11. When cooked, leave on the tray for about 10mins then move them onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  12. Decorate as you wish

Saturday, 21 October 2017

PJ Masks Birthday Cake

I researched as many PJ Masks cakes before I made this one for my Great Nephew. There was an obvious theme with the ones I found: All the cakes were a shade of blue, they all had a skyline with a moon and each of the three PJ Mask characters featured on the sides. So, It was my turn!

All the black, window-lit skylines I saw on other cakes were straight.  I decided to do mine round. Which was not without its own issues. I used about 500g of black modelling paste, rolled it out to about 8mm thick, cut of the skyline and wrapped it around a six inch baking tin, covered in parchment paper.  I used the six inch tin because my cake was a 10" one.

The moon was cut using a standard cookie cutter with the fondant covered in clingfilm first, this will give a nice edge as it will be on show. I keep promising myself that I will, one day, add to my varied collection of cutters with some basic shapes like squares. But, alas, not yet, so I cut the windows out individually. When will I learn?

I you're interested it a details step-by-step process of how I made the city-scape and the moon, please check out my Instructables post here

Base colour fondant: Renshaws Turquoise dry brushed with navy gel food colour

I made each of the character's faces myself, I have another blog entry to show how I did that here.  The process was simple but fiddly and I think it could cross over to other characters too.

I made some stars from modelling fondant, allowed them to dry a little bit before I inserted wire into them so I could make the star burst above the skyline.

My daughter twisted them together for me so I could place it into the centre of the cake when I'm done decorating - They'll be the last to go in.

Before I added the character faces  and stars, I dry brushed the cake with navy blue food colour gel to get a better finish rather than the flat colour of the fondant.

Now, the backside of the cake is not pretty, but then, I've never seen a pretty backside on anything much, but I did add a little wording to distract from the cavernous hole left by the circle skyline piece.  I'm not sure what I can do with this, maybe fill it with candy, I'm not sure.

Now, back to the cake ... a 10" cake of three layers. each layer used 1.5 of my basic batter mix, which can be found in my online recipe book here.  I'm pretty sure I used three times my buttercream mix to crumbcoat and ice before the fondant went on

Sugarflair paste colours: Christmas Red, Holly Green and Navy Blue.

Each layer a different colour. The image above shows each layer after being topped off, prior to its simply syrup and decaramelising process to take the sides off, the bottom is fine and will be used as the tops.

The matching cupcakes can be found in another blog entry.

Now all that's left for me to do is, get it to the venue in one piece because it's too tall for its box, even with lid risers!

PJ Masks Cupcakes

I'm having a total PJ Masks week this week. With one dozen PJ Masks cupcakes and a PJ Masks birthday cake!    

As this October was a welcome slow one for me, the chance of two projects for the same recipient was a welcome one.

Having secured some 3D printed cutters for the PJ Masks logo, I cut them out in the corresponding colours:
  • Owlette - Red
  • Cat Boy - Blue
  • Gekko - Green
I have but one question though ... I am the only caker that gets stuck putting the last cupcake in the box? I always seem to get stuck!

Check out the birthday cake that went with these and the how to on the character faces on the cake

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