Tag Archives: Birthday

Cake for a chocolate lover!

Cakes ready for delivery

I have been really busy trying to eat healthy and get fitter so baking has been put on the back burner for a little a while. So I was over the moon when I was asked to make a birthday cake and some cupcakes. Not only did this give me an opportunity to get back into the kitchen, but I got to try some new things with my piping nozzles and the whole task went really well.

 I was able to plan both the main cake and cupcakes and the only thing I was told was that the birthday girl was a complete chocoholic! So straight away my head was filling up with every possible and sweet and how I could make it look nice. I went for the look of  a chocolate shop and this is a really common design at the minute so I could get loads of inspirations. The cake itself was to feed around 30-40 people so I made 2 large rectangle chocolate cakes, which was then sandwiched together with chocolate ganache and then is that wasn’t enough I then smothered the cake with the remaining ganache. That was the easy bit really, I then had to work out how to make it look good. I stated by using biscuits to split up the top of the cake into sections, then started to fill the sections with a selection of Smarties, Malteasers, M and Ms and White and Milk Chocolate buttons. I should also say that this was made on a very hot night and chocolate and heat does not mix!! But the end product was a success!

My go at a little are with some smarites     I have never seen so many sweets on a cake.     20140517_082719

I have never seen so many sweets on a cake.

To go along with this cake I also offered to make some cupcakes just incase the cake wasn’t enough, or if someone didn’t like chocolate cake (which would never happen). I went for vanilla cupcakes with some buttercream piped on the top, I got to play with some of my new piping nozzles so this was my first real attempt at flowers. I coloured the buttercream with some pastel colours and I think they turned out ok. I didn’t go for any specific flowers as this was just a test run but I will definitely be trying these again and maybe the flowers will be recognisable!

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50th Birthday Cake

As my laptop is behaving a bit better I am able to finally update my blog with the baking I have done. I have been making a few things but not as much as I would like. But hopefully that will change soon and I can start trying new things.

The second birthday cake that I challenged myself to make was a 5oth cake for James’s Step-mum. I was lucky that all that was asked for was a cake that would serve at least 17 so when it came to decoration I had to decide how to decorate the cake. for the sponge I decided to make it look a little different inside so I coloured half of the batter with some Hot pink gel and marbled the cake. The sponge itself did bake ok but if I did this again I would make sure I didn’t over- marble the mixture as much, as I think that the effect could have been better.

When deciding on the decoration I thought I would keep it quite classic, just covered in white fondant and then Happy 50th Birthday piped on the top of the cake in pink to match the colour inside. Thinking about it I thought that this would be a little too plain so decided to have a go a making some roses out of sugarpaste. How hard could it be!!!

I was armed with the instructions from Juliet Sear’s Cake decorating bible and each time I read them, the process seemed quite simple so I went for it. I began to colour some sugarpaste in pink, green and lilac so along with the white I already had I was ready to go for it.

The pink rose was first, so roll out the sugarpaste into a sausage, cut into 7 pieces and shape into petal shapes using the heel of your hand – simple! Obviously this was not simple as I am in no way a professional cake decorator but I persevered and after a few attempts, it did slightly resemble a rose.

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I pressed out a green leaf and left the rose to dry, I must be honest and admit this one flower did take a long time to do, I am really talking hours so the prospect of doing this another twice did not fill me with confidence. But I went for it, next was the lilac rose and I followed the exact same steps  as the pink one, but no matter how I attached the petals, it just didn’t look the same, I did feel that it was very much beginners luck with the pink rose, but eventually I completed the lilac one and threw the white rose together. I was slightly disappointed when all 3 roses were sitting together are the pink one looked much better that the other 2, but I really had no more energy to make anymore. I made the roses a little shimmery with some pink lustre and this make them look slightly better.

Once I covered the cake with the fondant I made the pink icing up to pipe onto the cake. I was already to pipe the message on the cake, even asked James and Grace to leave the house, which they did, so I could concentrate on making no mistakes. I was concentrating on the writing, making sure it was neat and clear, that I misspelled birthday, so the cake read ‘Happy 50th Birhday’. Anyone that has put pink icing onto white will know how difficult it is to scrap the icing off without leaving mark, but thankfully it did come off and I was able to rectify the spelling and position the roses on the cake. I decided to pipe some little pearls around the sides of the cake just to add a little more detail. 

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The cake was enjoyed by everyone and the birthday girl loved it which is always the main thing for me. I always worry that my cake wont live up to expectations so I am always happy when the cake is all gone!!!

 

Duo birthday cake challenge

For my next little challenge I offered to make 2 birthday cakes and after a little trip to the library I decided to test myself a little and try some new decorating techniques.  From the library I got a cake decorating book by Juliet Sear and I would recommend this for anyone who wants to try to decorate cakes and needs step by step instructions like me!

The first of these cakes was for a lovely lady I work with and I as it was only going to be a 7 inch cake I thought I would do the lace piping technique on this one. In theory this doesn’t look tricky to do, but if like me you struggle to draw a flower let alone pipe one then it is indeed difficult. Firstly I made a vanilla cake, a recipe from the same book and I was very happy with the texture and shape of the cake, although the cooking time took slightly longer. I do think this is down to my oven and not the cooking instructions. I had an idea in my head that the cake would be covered in pink fondant icing and then I would pipe the white pattern all over the cake. The first hurdle I had to overcome was that all I had was white fondant icing and some pink food colouring. At this point I should also advise that I had never attempted to colour fondant icing of any size let alone a piece that needs to cover a cake. So I had 2 immediate thoughts, how am I going to get the colour even and how much of a mess is this going to create. Thankfully it was much easier than I thought. I made sure the icing was pliable and I began to add dots of the pink food colouring to the lump. There was some bleeding of the dye onto the surface but I found that the more you blended it in the less mess there was. After a good 10 minutes the icing was finally looking like the right shade of pink and I was impressed with how even the colouring was.  Once I filled the cake with some yummy raspberry jam and covered it in a thin layer of buttercream I rolled out the icing to the right size and covered the cake. I can honestly say that was the easy part of this cake done.

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Whilst the royal icing was mixing I decided to have a coffee and read the instructions for piping again. I got my piping bag ready with the number 2 nozzle and filled it with the icing, paintbrushes were all ready to go and then after a little break I went for it. Right in the centre of the cake I was to pipe my first flower. Although it didn’t look perfect I was lucky that the next stage was to the feather the icing slightly with the paintbrush to give the lace effect so the shape wasn’t worth worrying about. The only tip I could give when doing this piping would be to work quickly as you don’t want the royal icing to set before you feather it with the brush. As more of the pattern was piped on it did start to look better and. Once I had done the top and sides I took a step back and I was amazed with what I had achieved.20140219_194902

Although it wasn’t perfect I could see that I had got the effect I had gone for and I knew what to do next time to make it better. After all practice makes perfect! When the cake was delivered the birthday girl was happy with it and it did taste pretty good. In fact one of my colleague’s sons gave it 9 out of 10. Now that is a result!!

 

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