For the love of silver…for the love of life!!

Posts tagged ‘madeira cake’

Just One Star Missing…

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!


Let Them Eat Cake!

I really feel that I have been on a cake making treadmill for the last few weeks!  I have not done a thing related to jewellery making for sooo long but when people ask me to do a cake for them – how can I say no???

My latest cake has been for the daughter of one of my oldest friends who has been my most helpful mentor and strongest critic in all things artistic for the last 15 years!!  No pressure there then!

His daughter wanted a two tier wedding cake for her big day on Saturday – the bottom tier a brandy laced rich fruit cake and the top tier a traditional madiera sponge cake with raspberry jam and buttercream.  And she wanted it decorated with red roses to complement her bouquet.

Since the sugarpaste flowers take so long to make and wire I started on them ages ago and have been slowly adding to the number until I could create 2 arrangements with a dozen roses in each along with white filler flowers, rose leaves and ivy.

As the flower arrangements were such a statement I decided to leave the rest of the cake simple and minimalist with just a sophisticated single string of edible pearls around the base of each one and the top arrangement was presented in a faux pearlised vase decorated with ivy leaves.

It was a lovely day for a wedding on Saturday but horribly hot and uncomfortable to transport a wedding cake in a roasting hot car!  – followed by the stress of trying to get it perfectly displayed at the venue so I was very happy to wave goodbye, turn my back on it … and let them eat cake!.  As I have not had any negative reports I assume all went well!

Generally my family has not had a good year…culminating with my little granddaughter having an operation in hospital this morning.  Although all went well it has still been stressful for everyone and after everything else that has gone on recently I really feel the need for a break!  Thankfully I have nothing on the immediate horizon and so hope to have a week away from home in a cottage just a stones throw from a beautiful sandy beach.  It has been 3 years since I last had a holiday so it is long overdue!  This  holiday has been a last minute booking and so I only have a few days to wait!  It is a glorious feeling!!!

Hopefully I will return refreshed and invigorated and ready to create all sorts of wonderful things!

My Party Piece!

Day 20

It has taken me a great deal longer than half an hour to finish Joshua’s Cake…and I’m sure I will still be fiddling with it right up until the time I have to deliver it…but there was no way I could fit in another creative enterprise while I had this on the go.

So here it is…designed to be free standing on the Birthday Party table but can be laid flat to cut. He looks his best when viewed at table level – which is just as well really as I am sure my harshest critics will be just about that height!! Not all the party goers will be the same age as Joshua – I am told that there will be children there right up to ten or eleven years old who I think might appreciate it a little more than Joshua will!!

I hope they enjoy it anyway!

This photo gives a rather better idea of how it looks as you can see that the bridge wall has some depth to it. The whole of this cake is edible…except for the cake board of course!! but everything else is either sponge cake or icing.

Job well done…time to put my feet up I think!!

Spots Before the Eyes

I am really sorry that I haven’t posted anything for over a week but so much has been going on here I have barely had time to draw breath.

At the beginning of the year I decided to find out a bit about becoming self employed to see whether it was something I could do with Solunar Silver Studio.  I made enquiries at the local council and discovered that they have an ‘Enterprise’ initiative going at the moment and I was assigned a ‘Business Advisor’ to have a look at what sort of business I was proposing and whether it would be a viable proposition.  He has been a great help over the past few months  – not only in helping me to develop a Business Plan and Cash Flow projections but in simply saying “I think you have the makings of a nice little business here”…WOW – was that a boost to my confidence!!

Anyway – he has helped me to submit an application for a start up grant, and although it is not for a huge amount, it would make a big difference to me.  So I am awaiting the results of that now.  Whether I get the grant or not, I plan to start Solunar Silver Studio officially on 1st June 2009.

To that end I decided to use up the stock of fine silver wire and precious metal clay that I already have in making findings that I can use in my jewellery in June – thus giving me a bit of a head start.  So I was just about to start annealing wire and winding jumprings when I get a panicked request for a birthday cake required in 10 hours!!…that is from request to delivery, and I didn’t even have the ingredients in the house!!  Now my madeira cakes take in the region of 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cook – and at least 3 – 4 hours to cool down enough to decorate.  Adding the shopping time to that left me with less than an hour to slap on some form of decoration!  Fortunately there had been no request for any specific decoration – in fact they had said just cover it with white icing and leave it at that, but my personal pride would not allow me to go quite that minimal so I quickly coloured the offcuts from the white sugarpaste icing red, yellow and blue and using a set of geometric shaped ‘canape’ cutters (dating back to the 70s!) I stamped out a hand full of shapes  for each colour and stuck them on the cake at random.  Total sugarpaste icing time 15 minutes!  And – surprisingly – it didn’t look too bad at all!!  Very bright and cheery and sort of … well … nondescript – but definitely partyish!  Anyway – it went down well, or so I am told!

So, I am back to the jumprings now.

I have also spent a bit of time over the last week making my workshop ‘Studio’ into a rather more hospitable place since I am going to be spending a large chunk of my day working out there in future.  I have added a layer of wool insulation to the interior of the walls and roof and covered that with hardboard which I have painted a bright sunshine yellow to help to brighten up the space both physically and psychologically…with the morning sun shining through the window and reflecting off the walls it really is a lovely little place to work!  It has been physically demanding though and there have been times – particularly when trying to secure sheets of hardboard above my head with no one to help me – that I have literally seen spots before my eyes!

Although I have to share my 5 foot by 7 foot Studio space with the freezer and the gardening and Do-It-Yourself equipment I have built in plenty of shelves and drawer space and I have thick carpet tiles, a chair, ‘arty’ photos that I have taken on the walls, and a radio tuned to Classic FM to help me focus – what luxury!!….Oh! … and of course, my kiln(s) and ‘hearth’ and the rest of my ‘kit’!   So I am sure I will have no problem working out there during the better weather months, but as I learned at the beginning of the year – the winter is a different matter!  It is still a L  O  N  G way off though!


I hope I haven’t lost all my visitors by not posting for so long….please come back….I promise I will post more often!!

…well – that’s another story…

All 3 of my grandchildren have their birthday between 16th March and 12th May….that makes for a tough time for me as I have always made cakes for them – and as they get older they seem to like more and more complicated things.  My youngest grandchild has a passion for Toy Story at the moment.  I did ‘toy’ :0) with the idea of making a ‘Buzz’ cake but when I actually looked at how he was put together I changed my mind!

Having made a Sleeping Beauty bed for my granddaughter at the beginning of May I decided to stick with the bed theme and do Andy’s bed and a handful of the toys for my grandson…… Simple…… Ha!

As with Sleeping Beauty – the bed making was fine.  Andy’s bed has a wooden head and foot with ‘turned’ spindles…a bit of a challenge…but I overcame this by taping bundles of cocktail sticks together and rolling sugarpaste around them for the posts and rolling sugarpaste around individual cocktail sticks for the spindles.  The large areas of the ‘woodwork’ were simply cut from thick sheets of sugarpaste.  The spindles were inserted and the posts attached then all the whole lot was left to dry and harden for 4 days.

The ‘mattress’ was made from madeira cake (with home made blackberry jam and buttercream), covered with a thin layer of sugarpaste to represent sheets and pillowcase.  The patchwork ‘quilt’ was just 1inch squares of alternate coloured sugarpaste.  So that bit was fine…

…it was the characters that I really struggled with.  Each part of each character had to be allowed to dry before I could add the next bit.  I started making Woody on Saturday morning and finally added the finishing touches to him this afternoon (Monday)!  It has probably been the longest cake making ‘marathon’ I have ever done!

As always – the faces are just a little bit ‘off’…it’s a bit like Toy Story from a parallel universe! – but as he is only 3 I don’t suppose it will spoil his day!

I will deliver the cake to his mum in the morning when he is in Nursery so it will be there for him when he gets back at lunchtime.

So you have been given a sneak preview of his special 3rd birthday cake….Shhhhhhhhhhh…don’t spoil the surprise!!

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