Cascading Floral Beauty

You may remember a couple of weeks ago I put up a post titled ‘Turtle Power’ showcasing a two cute little fondant turtles I had made in anticipation of a 12th birthday cake I had been asked to make for twins Billie & Frankie.

The cake was inspired by a hint of vintage (of course!) combined with the girls love of pink and flowers so I decided to theme the cake as though the turtles had been caught in a gust of wind that had blown beautiful flowers cascading down all around them.  This is to date my favourite cake to have made and I really hope that when the two girls in question see it for the first time they are as happy with it on their Birthday as I was to make it for them.

Claire x

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how did Justin Bieber end up atop my Christmas Cake?

Before we start strange blog topic I know.

It is now January 4th and hopefully everyone is well rested, stuffed to the brim with sweet goodies and ready to kick their New Year’s Resolutions into 2012 with a bang! A couple of weeks ago I posted a sneak peak of the choir boys that would sit atop my Christmas cake this year and without knowing it (and completly oblivious to it until my 15yr old sister pointed it out!) I had created the pint sized pop star Justin Bieber out of sugar….not sure realistically how I feel about this but I still think they are all super cute!

So below are the final pictures of my Christmas Cake for 2011 I hope you enjoy and it gives you something to think about when you attempt a Christmas Cake in 2012!

 

Happy New Year to all the readers of this blog – I hope 2012 brings much love, happiness and cakey goodness into your lives!

Claire x

More Wedding Bells…

I seem to be asked more often than not to create wedding cupcake towers over traditional wedding cakes lately…not that I am complaining!  As this time the bride was family, and so obviously the bride’s family were my family without trying to sound too much like the mafia – this time it was personal!

Kelly wanted cupcakes that would match the burgundy and cream theme of the wedding with a little golden sparkle to finish.  We decided upon two different flavours – Caramel Crunch and a simple but delicious Vanilla sponge.  Each individual cupcake was tied in a burgundy ribbon and finished with tiny little gold stars as well as a hand-made sugar roses. Kelly wanted a traditional cake on the top tier so that she could still have that moment as the bride to cut the cake with her new husband.  This was made to resemble the smaller cupcakes finished with a large burgundy rose with stars shooting out of the top.

When I agreed to make this cake (or these cakes being that there were over 100 of them!) I didn’t exactly consider the logistics of transporting from Cornwall 300 miles into the Midlands. With a little bit of careful packing and some very careful driving they all arrived safely – phew!

I couldn’t finish this post without mentioning the incredible dance moves that took place later on at the evening reception and decided to include a few anonymous pic’s – you know who you are!

Going to the Zoo, Zoo Zoo, You can come to…

I was lucky enough this summer to have my sister Beth from ‘Up Country’ come to stay and this mean’t without a doubt baking something weird and wonderful was on the cards. Beth may only be 15 but has the sugarcraft skills of a pro and I have no doubt that whatever she chooses in life she will make the most of it!  We decided to create some multi-coloured cupcakes that would be topped with a green grass buttercream and zoo animals – we had visited Paradise Animal Park earlier in the week and this was enough inspiration for us…

P.S. You can click on the picture below to see it in full screen glory! Claire

A Tribute to Chocolate…

As it is Chocolate Week (10th-16th October) it seemed only right that I dedicate a little space to such a well loved versatile ingredient, one that is often used in my baking and soon demolished by all! So with this in mind I am sharing one of my favourite recipes – The Double Chocolate Triple Layer Cake finished with handmade chocolates and dark chocolate shavings.  This cake is for the serious chocoholic, the one that is either chocolate crazy or in the need for a serious chocolate hit due to factors beyond every day control (it’s ok you can admit that these situations are usually men-related).

Double gold award winning truffles. A dark chocoate shell with a smooth hand-made caramel centre with fresh Cornish cream and a hint of Cornish Seasalt. Dusted with cocoa powder. TM Nicky Grant 2010

The chocolates can be made well in advance of the cake or you can take the opportunity to visit one of the beautiful local chocolatiers you probably have right on your doorstep. Living in Cornwall I can whole heartedly recommend many but you haven’t lived until you have tried a Nicky Grant Award Winning Cornish Sea Salt Caramel. (if you are not lucky enough to live in Cornwall you can order these online here)

Anyway on to the cake recipe I promised…

For the Cake – 100g butter (if you wanted to be a little more saintly you could use stork!), 265g Caster Sugar (golden if possible), 2 Medium eggs, 50g Cocoa Powder, 1/4 tsp Baking Powder, 1/4 tsp Bicarb of Soda, 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract, 175g Plain Flour, 165ml Milk

For the Chocolate Custard/Ganache – 500g Caster Sugar (golden if possible), 1 tbsp Golden Syrup, 125g Cocoa Powder, 175g Cornflour, 85g butter (again stork could be used here..decide on your halo and whether you want it to slip or not!), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

You will need 3 8″ (20cm) cake tins greased and lined, and you will need to preheat your oven to 170C (325F)

You will start out by making the Chocolate Custard/Ganache as this will need around 2-3 hours to cool down before you can spread it lavishly over your baked cakes.  In a large saucepan mix together the sugar, golden syrup, cocoa powder and 600ml of cold water and bring this to the boil over a medium heat.  You can whisk this occasionally but its not essential.  The Cornflour needs mixing in a separate bowl with around 150ml of cold water, you may find this seems like you are making cement but it will with a little bit of elbow grease end up as the consistency of thick glue (think the pre-school variety and your there!) Add this gradually to the saucepan with the other ingredients and whisk it constantly over the heat until it goes lovely and gooey and thick.  Then add the butter and vanilla extract, pour into a bowl and leave to cool.

The cake is simple enough, cream your butter & sugar, then add the eggs one at a time until well mixed.  Add the vanilla extract, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb of soda and continue mixing. Add half the flour, then all of the milk and then the rest of the flour and give it one last mix until all is combined. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Then the fun begins, layer your cakes and lather them in the thick chocolate custard/ganache until the whole cake is covered and then shave some dark chocolate for the top – you can do this by pulling a knife blade along the smooth side of the dark chocolate or by using a peeler to create little curls! Then add your chocolates around the top and voila….a chocoholics dream.

If you want to find out more about what is happening during Chocolate Week 2011 click here to visit the official website!

Claire x

Twit Twoo…

So I start this blog post with how do you go about making a birthday cake for someone who is an incredibly talented crafter, crazy about owls and one of your best friends? Answers on a postcard please, but first here was my solution, Hope you enjoy…

It was obvious immediately that the theme of the cake had to include owls…I started to look at making sugar owls and started out with these little guy’s…

Grumpy Owls

Now yes they look like owls, but can you hand on heart say they look like owls who wan’t to ‘hoot’ you a Happy Birthday whilst sitting proudly atop a cake? quite simply it was a no. The owls had to be much, much cuter.

The cake was a simple Victoria Sponge jazzed up with a little gel food colouring and layered into 8″ cake tins to create a rainbow effect when sliced into.  I used pink, purple and green to match the theme of the overall finished cake.

Twit Twoo - finished and ready!

A Wilton number 233 was used to create the grass effect surrounding the owls

When using your Wilton nozzle number 233 to create grass I offer the following tips (whether you use them is entirely up to you!)

1. When colouring your icing I choose a gel based colour (there are several different brands but the choice is yours!) These colours are very concentrated so you only need a tiny amount – start with the tip of a cocktail stick and then if you think you need it add more.  It is much easier to add depth of colour than to take it away!

2. Only half fill your piping bag so that you have better control and grip

3. Pipe the grass using a ‘lift and pull’ technique – do not squeeze too much buttercream or push down on the cake as this will not give you the desired affect and will instead result in ‘blobs’ of icing instead of grass.

And finally the rainbow effect I just know you all want to see…

Rainbow cake is revealed

yum...

And the most important thing in all of this? did the birthday girl love it? sure did – Yippee! If you would like to check out my aformentioned incredibly talented friend Victoria Thyer you can do so at www.fab-brick.co.uk