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.

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 Minion Birthday Cake

I had seen a lot of cool minion cakes (the character from Despicable me, and Despicable Me 2). Making something that needs to be recognisable, rather than something just from my imagination always adds an extra layer of pressure – there are plenty of not quit right minions on the internet as well.

I started off with a 6 inch sponge. And then decided that more baking did not appeal to me (and the birthday girl does not actually like cake, just icing), and made three layers of chocolate crispie, one of which was done in a bowl for the top of its head.

After covering in butter cream and sugarpaste (not an easy job for such an awkward and large shape), I airbrushed on the yellow colour, and managed to get a nice even coating.

Yellow minion

Next up was dressing the minion in the trademark dungarees. I used a ribbon cutter to keep the straps an even size, and then a different attachment to make the stitching marks.

Minion dungarees

After adding the pocket, came the eye. Considering a minion does not have many facial features, the eye is even more crucial. I started off with a layer of white sugarpaste, followed by brown, black and a small dot of white. I rolled a thick strip of grey sugarpaste to make the frame to the glasses.

One eyed minion

Adding the mouth and tongue made it look a lot more like a normal little minion, and the strap to the glasses.

Minion

For the hair I had rolled small cones of black sugarpaste, which I stuck on with royal icing. For the legs, I used chunky sausages of the blue paste. The arms were a bit of a challenge – I should have had them pre-made and airbrushed so they were stronger and easier to handle, but I had not – so some supportive drying material was brought in to support them in place.

Armed minion

I used black sugarpaste for the shoes and gloves – they only have three fingers so to make the gloves, once I had the basic shape, I just had to make two indentations to make the fingers.

Minion

The minion was finished so all that was needed was the cupcake in front of him. This was going to be made of pure sugarpaste, especially for the birthday girl, who as I mentioned, does not like cake. I made the base, and sprayed it with an edible gold spray. I also hollowed out a spoonful of icing to fill with buttercream. Then that was covered with a spiral of pink sugarpaste, and a few sugarpaste sprinkles added.

Minion cupcake

With a bit of orange ribbon, the minion cake was complete.

Minion cake

All that was left was to destroy it! But the inside looked as good as the outside!

Inside minion cake

That is the first cake of the summer rush down. The next one will require a bit more structural work, but will be featuring a different kid friendly character….

 

Playable Sudoku Cake

This cake was a mix of easy (covering) and nightmare (simply, time). It began with a good idea – that the recipient loves Sudoku. So a quick search of Sudoku cakes reveals a world of Sudoku cakes. But there are only so many ways you can do a cake of a grid! I thought using cookies as numbers would spice things up a bit.

The cookie cutters I have are a pretty standard size, for small numbers – but being nine of them, the cake was going to have to be about 14 inches square, which is pretty big. So that was the challenge I was anticipating.

The next challenge was time – it was pretty short anyway. And then we spent the night I had planned to bake and make icing out and about. Ooops. So my time scale was massively compressed – which meant the inside of the cake changed a little. I only have one 7 inch cake tin, and had wanted to make most of the finished cake out of cake – which would have meant a lot of time spent baking. Less time meant less cake – so the very trusty chocolate crispie stepped up. This wasn’t a bad thing, as a 14 inch square is a LOT of cake, crispie is a bit lighter to carry and easier to eat.

So finally, the naked cake was all assembled, on the morning of the birthday dinner. When I had a full days work to do. That realisation is not a good one to experience.

So after work was a mad dash. I had made the chocolate ganache in the morning, and Lewis got on with icing the cake in it. I cracked on with putting icing on over 81 tiny little cookies. Those little guys were fiddly!

I could see it all coming together… I could also see time slipping away. And miraculously, the sugarpaste went onto the cake without a single problem. This is pretty unheard of – squares and big cakes are a challenge. But with that done, we had to head to the dinner – with plans to decorate quickly afterwards.

‘Quickly’ didn’t really happen, getting straight lines piped on takes a bit of measuring and figuring out. Once I started to pipe, Lewis and his sister made 100s of balls to go round the base of the cake.

The fun bit was finding a puzzle to go on top – the idea was that the puzzle had to be completed before it could be eaten! So cookies stuck on, the birthday boy got his cake.

It took a while to actually finish the puzzle, so next time, I will set it at easy rather than medium!

The other thing I would do next time is leave more actual time! Although it is not the first time I have said that. One of these days it will be true! I leave you with an arty shot of the cookies – they were also just as delicious as the cake!

Accountancy Calculator!

If April had a trend, it was making cakes when I had no time! It is always worth it though, especially when it is such a personalised cake. The request this time was for an old accountancy calculator. For a friend’s birthday, another friend had suggested this as she had talked about it before – it was also to celebrate her finally finishing all her accountancy exams.

So it was a lot of night time activity, getting up early, a day at work, then more time afterwards! I was working from a photo taken at the Science Museum in London, and hit the internet to see if I could find different views of it. The answer was no, which at least then gives you some artistic licence, as every calculator seems to be different from the next.

I baked the cake (chocolate – yum) and used chocolate crispies to shape the top half of the machine as well. I got to use chocolate ganache, made with Galaxy chocolate this time – yummy. And for a bit of a change, I made chocolate ganache buttercream to fill the cake.

The tricky thing about sugarpaste is that when you use colourings, it can become a lot softer. So this little cake became more of a challenge to cover that the 14 inch square I had done the week previously. Admittedly it looks more like a car at this point, but job done, it was down to the details.

Yet again, Lewis had some valuble input for the construction of some bits of the cake, inluding this handle.

I think the finishing touch was the print out! Note the birthday girls name as well.

So here is the finished article:

I did get the teensiest bit stressed trying to finish this one on time. And I might be using the phrase ‘on time’ quite loosely. But the birthday girl loved it which is the main thing. And apparently it was pretty popular in her office as well, so who knows, when the business officially launches, I might have the market for accountancy calculators cornered!

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