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.

best shark

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.

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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!

 

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 using  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!

Smartie filling

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.

Transfer sheet

Hey presto, lovely grown up pinata cookies.

Pinata cookies

Which you can even stick a candle in too!

Pinata cookies

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:

Headless couple

Followed by a much better looking completed couple:

Finished couple

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.

 

A Pig Birthday Cake

I have awanted to make a pig cake for years now, mainly as they are just so cute, but also pretty simple to make. I used a bowl to bake a chocolate chip sponge, before covering it with vanilla buttercream.

Naked bowl cake

I covered it with the pink sugarpaste, and the board with chocolate glace icing as the mud.

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The trotters and snout were just shaped balls of sugarpaste, with a little sausage rolled up for the tail.

Pig cake

At this point I was confused as to why it did not look cute, or particuarly pig like, before remembering that aside from needing eyes, it also needed ears!

Pig cake

The pig needed to be a bit muddy as well, so had some blobs of glace icing added to his trotters and arround his sides. And hey presto, he was cute!

Cute pig cake

A Yorkshire Wedding Cake

This weekend saw the completion of my third wedding cake. It had an excellent and unique theme – Yorkshire. The couple came to me with their ideas, and after a few sketches we confirmed which design to go with, along with the sizes and flavours wanted. In case anyone ever needs to know, rhubarb and vanilla jam can only be found in Waitrose, unlike rhubarb and ginger jam which can be found in every shop in Edinburgh (and an assortment of places off the A9 too).

The base tier (vanilla) was to be the Yorkshire country side, complete with rough fell sheep. The middle tier (chocolate) was to have a representation of the Yorkshire flag. The top tier was a Yorkshire pudding, complete with bride and groom figure.

I like a blog post with photos to show the making of pictures, but time tends to get away from me and having to wash my hands before I cover the camera in cake/ icing is a fiddle. So at Lewis’ suggestion, we set up the Gopro, which can be used to make time lapse videos. It worked really well – apart from the battery recharging while I actually covered the cakes. You can see the bottom and middle tiers being iced, then the decorations being applied.

The Yorkshire pudding doesn’t really feature in the video, but that was air bushed yellow, then with a mix of yellow and brown, a bit more brown on top. I then filled it with ‘gravy’ aka piping gel, which was surprisingly easy to make!

Here is a shot of the finished cake once it is all in place at their venue, Surgeons Hall in Edinburgh.

Yorkshire wedding cake

The groom did not quite make it to the very end of the night – I guess he could not resist a swim in the gravy! (it was taken on my phone)

Gravy groom

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

When I felt the need to bake something, I thought the fact that it is National Cupcake Week should be my inspiration. So a flick through my recipe books, and I decided that chocolate fudge cupcakes sounded good, especially as they use brown sugar.

The cake its self is a chocolate Victoria sponge – 4oz butter, caster sugar, 2 eggs, 4oz self raising flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa (I took out a bit of flour to make up for the cocoa, otherwise it would be a bit dry). You can mix it all in one, or cream the butter and sugar, then slowly add the eggs, then the flour and cocoa. Then bake at gas 4 for about 20 minutes. Really, these are more large fairy cake sized than full on cupcakes.

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Then comes the icing – melt together 2oz butter, 5oz soft brown sugar, 3oz plain chocolate and 2 table spoons of milk. Heat it until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually mix in 8oz icing sugar. Put it straight onto the cupcakes (it sets up fairly quickly), and you may find that wetting the knife helps to spread it. It turns into a deliciously fudgey mixture.

I had some chocolate stars left so used them for decoration, and hey presto, the tastiest cupcakes I have had in a long time!

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