A Birthday Cake

Here is a behind the scenes of a birthday cake I made recently, including my most favourite salted caramel icing. The request was for something chocolatey, and I do enjoy trying a bit of chocolate work when I can.

The salted caramel icing is a bit on the soft side, so to use it as a filling, I built up a bit of a dam around the outside of the cake using the chocolate buttercream that was going on the outside of the cake.

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Then it was a case of putting the top cake on, and icing that as well.

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I had decided on an ivory colour, and covered the cake on top of a bigger board. This helps to support any excess sugarpaste, and stops the weight from pulling on it.

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I had already made my chocolate loops for a bow, including enough to make a spare just in case! It is always wise to have spares when doing fragile work, but then there is the question of what to do with the spares afterwards. at least in this case I can just slowly eat my way through them.

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Then it was a case of putting the chocolate ribbons on the cake – at which point I regretted using ivory – and fixing the tag and bow in place. Thankfully I avoided any messy disasters, and it all came together to make something which I think was a little bit different.

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Shark Attack Cake

I made this shark head cake a few weeks ago, working with my favourite of all things, ganache, and chocolate crispie! I started out with two eight inch cakes, a seven inch cake, and a 6 inch rice crispie round.

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when it comes to carving cakes, just be confident. It is always better to cut off less than too much, but making the first cuts, you just need to go for it, and keep in mind that some of the cake can be stuck back on if it does go wrong!

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Next up was covering in ganache. it gives such a nice solid finish, although in this case buttercream would work just as well.

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For icing it, I did the grey first, then the white, then the red. It is not a bad shape to cover in sugarpaste, although patience for sorting out the red bit in particular was required.

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I made a lot of teeth to fill the mouth, just using white sugarpaste. For the eyes, a few pairs were made to see which looked best – too much black did not look right, which is why this set was just perfect.

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I wanted the board to look like there was a bit of life in it, not just a flat sheet of blue. I put some bumps of sugarpaste on the board before covering it to make it look a bit wavy, and made some blue waves to stick around the shark too.

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With a happy birthday message, the cake was finished. It was served as a pudding following a delicious meal at Lanna Thai, proving you simply can not go wrong with a victoria sponge.

Chocolate Eggs and Dinosaurs

At this point, if you are on social media, you will have seen Marks and Spencer’s chocolate dinosaur in their easter egg range. It is that wonderful time of year when there are beautiful eggs everywhere, and some really creative chocolate work. I decided to join in and do some of my own – the end results are pretty good, and very tasty!

Apparently you can’t buy a chocolate dinosaur mould bigger than a bite sized version, so I was having thoughts about trying to make my own before I found this one in Lakeland. it is actually for making cake, but I figured it was worth trying for chocolate too. So mould ready, and a big bowl of chocolate, and some baking paper to try to save on the clean up (and it worked!).

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I tempered the chocolate, coated the moulds, and left upside down to harden.

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Now you can see the value of covering the work surface! Unfortunately, the turning out didn’t work so well…

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I think some bits were just too thin, some too detailed, and maybe the temper was not quite right. So, on to the next plan – making solid chocolate dinosaurs! With them setting I made some marshmallow krispie, and left that to set in easter egg moulds.

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I then filled the egg moulds with chocolate, and put the rice krispies in while they set up. Everything popped out nicely, and chocolate and krispie makes a good combination.

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I will need to make some more chocolate dinosaurs, as lessons have been learnt on making them a bit more hollow – but I will give the cake version a try too. In the mean time, there is a lot of chocolate to be eaten!

 

A Cake with Ruffles

I had been wanting to make a ruffle cake for a while, and then the February demonstration at the sugracraft guild was ruffles. there is no time like the present to do something after a demonstration, before all the information floats out your head.

I started with a 6 inch chocolate cake, with salted caramel icing, sugarpasted in pink. For the cake getting its ruffles, I used an 8 inch dummy cake.

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The ruffles are a 50/50 mix of sugarpaste and flowerpaste. You should try to do it in one piece round the cake – I managed the 8 inch ok, any bigger might be terrifying, a two person job! I had 4 shades of pink, 3 rows of each, and used about 200g of paste total, with some left over. Roll out a long thin strip of icing, and then ruffle it with, in my case, the end of a paint brush (there are proper tools available too). I used water to stick mine on.

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I did three layers of each colour.

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It took a few hours, but I can see it becoming quicker with practice! i topped it off witht he 6 inch cake, and a ribbon and bow made of icing.

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The finishing touch for this one was a little birdie!

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Christmas Pudding Cookies

Although the holidays are passing quickly, there is still plenty of time to make a batch of christmas pudding cookies. I saw this idea on Pintrest and had to have a go as well. Simply start off by making a batch of your favourite chocolate chip cookies. I think a sugar cookie style recipe might work a bit better as they will stay thicker during baking, but you cant really go wrong. Dark chocolate chips will look more like the raisins, and usign a chocolate cookie makes it look more puddingy as well.

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The roundest ones did make the prettiest puddings, but the odd shapes end up with more chocolate, which isnt bad either. Melt your white chocolate – 100g will do about 20 cookies. put the white chocolate almost half way down, with a wavy line – so it looks like icing running down the pudding.

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You will want some small holly cutters for the next bit (now found in many sales!) or else a lot of patience to cut out holly leaves your self. I used green sugarpaste to make the leaves, and some glace icing to stick them on, but you could just use some left over chocolate.

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Red sugarpaste was rolled in to tiny balls to make a berry for each cookie. You could use a dot of red glace icing or writing icing if you have it though.

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And hey presto, christmas pudding cookies perfect to enjoy at home or as a gift if you still have visits to make over new years.

 

Pinata Pookies

Pinata cookies have been on my radar for a while, popping up on many lists of cookies you need to make, or the best party food. So when a family birthday presented its self to me, with out the time to make a cake, cookies were the answer. They keep longer that a regular cake will, and stay just as tasty when travelling.

I used my usual recipe from The Biscuiteers, and usingĀ  a set of star cutters, made the biscuits – remembering to cut out the middle of a third of the batch.

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I stuck the middle one on to the base with some chocolate round the edge.

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Then I filled in the middle with lots of mini smarties!

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Then used a bit more chocolate to stick on the top cookie.

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I wanted to make them look very pretty, since I had avoided the usual brightly coloured dough. I coated the base in some chocolate, and let it set up on a chocolate transfer sheet.

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Hey presto, lovely grown up pinata cookies.

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Which you can even stick a candle in too!

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A Mario and Zelda Themed Wedding Cake

There is no denying that this was a very exciting cake to be asked to do – a wedding cake themed around Mario and Zelda. And all in chocolate, with ganache, the best icing to work with. And for an extra step, a separate gluten free cake, to be as much a part of the wedding as the main cake. It is safe to say this took a lot of time, consisting of the research before hand (including playing the Wii U a lot), the time spent making the topper and decorations, as well as the time them spent making the actual cake – but the reactions made it completely worthwhile, as ever!

The topper was different to the usual bride and groom, in that they were in karts from Mario Kart. This also meant working on a smaller scale too. I have a work tray for doing modelling work, so set that up with the tools and pastes needed, and then got busy.

Here is a slightly disturbing shot of a headless bride and groom:

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Followed by a much better looking completed couple:

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And a ‘Just Married’ sign to go over them:

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It was a pretty wonderful day when it was finished, and looked as I had imagined!

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Here are some of the limited pictures of the making of the other bits that went on to the cake – apologies that some of them are from screen shots of Snapchats.

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There were a few other pre made bits, which missed having their pictures taken, sunch as the Rainbow Road fences, and Moo Moo Meadows grass. Having them made in advance meant that putting it all together did not take too long.

That cake its self was all chocolate sponge,the different tiers filled with coffee, caramel and chocolate buttercream. In a trial run, i used a jar of caramel sauce (Tescos Finest) added to my usual buttercream, which was very tasty. However, then I could not find a new jar when I needed it, so used this recipe instead from John Whaite. This is up there as a contender for the tastiest thing I have ever made, so I suggest everyone goes forth and tries it too – especially if you missed out at the wedding.

Figuring out the road running up the side of the cake took some time, and then once it came time to make the cake, I did it completely differently too. Each cake had a rice crispy add-on to the side to make the road up to the next tier. All the cakes were covered in ganache, then sugarpasted. The bottom tier was also air brushed, where as the top two were covered with green sugarpaste.

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Here it is in location, at The Golden Lion hotel in Stirling.

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A gluten free wedding cake was also part of the order, to be shaped as a Tetris brick. Again, this was covered in ganache (having been filled half with chocolate buttercream, and half with white chocolate buttercream) then sugarpaste.

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It was airbrushed red, and the board covered with more sugarpaste Tetris bricks.

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Now I will bombard you with some more photos, in part because some of the details are easy to miss, especially the Zelda ones. I have no idea what an Ocarina is, but apparently it was important in the games (it’s the blue thing!).

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It was great to make a cake that reflected the couples interests so well, and having completed the massive tidy up of the kitchen (the downside of working with chocolate), I find my self in a bit of a post wedding cake slump. However, this will be lifted very soon by the making of a birthday cake, of which I will hopefully remember to take more making of pictures.

 

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