It is no secret that the last few months have not been easy to live through for my family – or that it is very hard to get the creative spirit flowing again. But other people still have celebrations to enjoy and they still want cakes to grace their table so I must try to oblige.
Normally, at this time of year, my grandson would have been enjoying his birthday cake - created to match his desire as far as theme goes…but since his tragic and untimely death last year I will never again have the pleasure of seeing his face beam at my confectionary creation for him. His 10th birthday this year was celebrated in a rather different way – which I will write about next week.
So, the cake I have made this month is for Lisa, who is 21! I have never met her but was asked by her aunt if I could make a cake with a theme suitable for a Hair and Beauty Student.
I had just 14 days notice so had to come up with a design and work out the logistics for making it fairly swiftly…which I have to say was quite a challenge under the circumstances. However, I am pleased with the way it has turned out.
The whole of this decoration is edible – with the exception of the stick part of the mascara wand and the stick part of the nail varnish brush which are sugarpaste wrapped around a cocktail stick. I was going to use more items of make up but it just looked far too fussy so I have stuck with a select few! I am particularly pleased with the mascara wand and was sorely tempted to try to shove it into the tube to see if it really worked!! I also like my hairgrip (kirby grip) decorations which are royal icing piped to form the ‘grip’ bit with a sugarpaste flower and a sugarpaste pearl for decoration
So, all that remains now is to deliver it and hope that today goes well for Lisa!
Well, here he is..Mr Tumble sitting on his cake.
I know…I know…he doesn’t actually look like Mr Tumble but I don’t think 2 year old Joshua will be too put out about it – and I am just grateful that he no longer looks horrific enough to terrify small children!
Today I have iced and decorated the cake that Mr Tumble will be sitting on. It is a madeira sponge cake with raspberry jam and buttercream filling. I have made the decoration quite simple scattering brightly coloured stars over the plain white sugarpaste icing.
The three columns are also made of madeira cake, raspberry jam and buttercream with a sugarpaste coating and, in effect, they are individual servings of cake….for someone with a hearty appetite and a sweet tooth! They represent the columns that Mr Tumble interacts with on his television show.
Tomorrow I will finish off the star of the show himself…Mr Tumble! …and he will be seated in the centre of the cake.
Check back tomorrow if you want to see the finished cake!
I visited Mr Tumble again today…and I hope you’ll agree he is looking a lot better than he did a few days ago!! OK, so he’s missing a few body parts and his clothing but at least he doesn’t have a face that will scare the pants off you…and he is sporting some rather snazzy rainbow socks!!
He does look a bit sweaty too – but that will calm down a bit as he dries off.
I have tried a new technique for making his body as he is rather large – 15cm (6 inches) from base to hair – and would weigh quite a bit if made solely from sugarpaste. So I have tried filling him out with a much lighter-weight, but still edible, material…marshmallows!
These can be cut to shape so that they nestle closely together and then can be bound into position by strips of rolled out sugarpaste. When this all firms up it provides quite a good foundation for ‘dressing’ in appropriate clothing.
That could possibly be tomorrow’s ‘thing’ if nothing else presents itself before then!
The cake is due for delivery on Sunday so I still have plenty of time and I promise you will get to see it all when it is finished!
I have had enormous fun today…making chocolates using my new toy (see the photograph below). It is a really neat little kit containing a little thermostatically controlled heating unit with its own little saucepan, forks and spatulas for dipping the chocolates, a wire rack to allow the excess chocolate to drip off and a number of moulds.
For these chocolates I have used the ‘cake balls’ I mentioned in yesterday’s post but I have hidden in the centre of each one a lovely rich gooey blob of dark chocolate ganache to make them super chocolatey and moist. I then pushed them into some oval and some heart shaped silicone chocolate moulds to get a neat shape, then used my new toy to melt and temper some milk chocolate to coat them. After they had set I started to decorate them…again using my new toy to melt the white chocolate as shown below….
…and some tiny sugarpaste flowers to coordinate with the floral decoration of the cake ‘box’.
I have never done anything in the chocolate/candy making line before and I am really rather pleased with the result…although they are a little ‘rustic’ in places so my technique definitely needs refining a bit!! But I think this little Valentine gift will hit the spot and gain my son a few ‘Brownie points’!!
And it has really made me smile making it
…(plus, I have eaten all the rejects!!!…..I won’t tell anybody if you don’t!!)
Today I have made a start on a Valentine cake for my son and his girlfriend. She has a bit of a ‘thing’ for butter icing so I think she is going to love this ‘Box of Chocs’ cake. The box itself is all cake. It is based on a heart shaped madeira sponge cake with raspberry jam and butter cream filling covered with red sugarpaste/fondant icing and decorated with a string of tiny white sugarpaste blossom flowers and a white sugarpaste lace insert. There is room ‘inside’ the ‘box’ for 8 chocolate sweets…
…The secret is that the chocolates – which I will make tomorrow – are not your standard, everyday chocolates but are chocolate covered ‘cake balls’….chocolate sponge cake crumbs bound together with buttercream icing and enrobed with milk chocolate.
The inspiration for this cake has come from Bakerella who has a wonderfully inspirational website/blog and has a tutorial for this cake on her site. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, grab yourself a cup of coffee and have a visual feast there that will make you drool!!
As a first attempt I am fairly happy with this but I have a few things I would alter if I did another one. And tomorrow will be another ‘first’ as I attempt to make my chocolate covered cake balls to go into the sweetie cups.
And, hopefully, a tasty photo to head tomorrow’s Thing-a-Day post from me!
I have been asked to make a 2nd birthday cake for later on this month, featuring Mr Tumble from the children’s programmes on the BBC.
The trouble with Mr Tumble is that he always has a huge toothy grin, which as anyone who has ever tried to paint or sculpt a face with a toothy grin knows is not a task to be taken lightly!!!! So I thought I had better start early and have a go at creating the head of the model of Mr Tumble, who will grace the top of my cake.
Oh! Horror!!! Doesn’t this look more like The Joker than Mr Tumble??!!!
Hopefully, by the time I have added hair and eyes and a little red nose, dressed him and sat him on a cake covered with stars and bright circles he will not actually cause the poor little kiddies at the birthday party to run screaming from the room!!!
That’s the trouble with art – or so I have found – no matter what medium and discipline – there is always a point at which you feel like screaming and hurtling the ‘artwork’ out of the nearest window, but with a little persistence, more often than not, the whole thing comes together to make a half decent piece of work.
Let’s hope that is the case this time!
Well, I need to leave this to dry and harden a little for a couple of days and then I will try to create miracles!!!
MWAH HAHA HAHA!!!!
For more on hideously funny clowns at birthday parties please watch this link!!!