First Communion: FC Porto

This is the second First Communion cake I made, coincidentally for the same weekend as the football pitch. The request here, was to create a cake using the FC Porto logo as inspiration, as that is the boy’s favourite football team. Of course, the logo had to be rather complex:

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Since the cake was for around 20 people, I decided to use the round blue part as the main cake base, and supplement it with a half football in order for there to be enough cake for everyone. For the crest, I ordered some wafer card and used edible ink markers to draw it.

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The cake itself was vanilla, with vanilla icing. I used blue icing between the layers to keep in with the FC Porto theme.

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Then, I baked a half sphere cake in my handy Wilton’s Sports Ball pan (such a lifesaver for these things!) and fixed it towards the back of the cake with some icing. I also cut it in half to add some icing in it – makes it look prettier, and I feel that the icing helps break up the cake texture a bit.

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The next morning, I got to tessellate again, which I was very excited about. This time, I actually ordered a cookie cutter set specifically made to cut fondant to cover a football cake. They worked a treat!

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The crowning piece was affixing the wafer card to the front of the football. I used some extra icing to attach it at the back, as I was worried that using edible glue would affect the wafer and the ink.

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Ta-da!

Congratulations Patrick!

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First Communion: Soccer Pitch

Today, I’ve decided I’m going to catch up on the last three major cakes I’ve done: two First Communion cakes and an 18th Birthday cake.

This communion cake was for my colleague’s son, who loves (as many 8 year olds do) football. He initially told his mother he wanted a Cristiano Ronaldo cake, and although I’m a fairly good cake baker/decorator, I don’t think I’m quite at that level yet! So, we settled for a football pitch, to which she would add a couple of football figurines.

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So, I baked a Devil’s Food chocolate cake (the irony of the name and the occasion it was for did not escape me), and used grass green vanilla buttercream between the layers. I then covered the whole thing in a flat layer of buttercream before using my grass tip to pipe grass onto the field. I added the white field markings, and finished with a congratulatory message – in Spanish, no less!

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This was a fairly simple cake to make, overall, although it was time consuming to pipe all the grass. It also helped that I had previously made a similar cake back in the fall (Soccer cake for 20), so I knew exactly what I needed to make this one.

Congratulations Sean!

Birthday Boardgame Bonanza

Hello everyone!

Apologies for my absence. Things got very very busy and it was hard to find time to sit down and write a proper post. Of course, that means there is a lot to catch up on! So without further ado…

I made three cakes for Zak’s Boardgames Birthday Bonanza. The lesson I learned? How to appropriately size cakes for a given number of people. There was WAY TOO MUCH cake (wait, is that even possible?).

Given his recent foray into Minecraft, the first cake I decided to make him was a cake that looks the way cake does in Minecraft.

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This was a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing. I genuinely looked up a picture of a Minecraft cake in Google so I could place the red sprinkles accurately. This was a relatively simple cake, although cutting and placing the white fondant was tricky. It was fun, although some people at the party were confused about it.

I also made Minecraft cake pops: chocolate of course, and made to look like blocks of dirt or with mine-able materials.

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The second cake I made, was of Zak’s favorite boardgame of all time: Pictionary.

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This one was purely vanilla: cake and buttercream icing. Again, a simple design, covered in fondant. I got to use my brand-new writing tips to pipe the white outlines and words. While you can’t tell in this picture, my writing is still a bit wobbly. To help make the lines straight, I used a piping lace decorating tip from SweetSugarBelle “Piping Lace on Cookies” (A side note: I’m really excited to try piping lace too!).

Also, the reason the colors are a bit off on the board, it’s because it’s hard to cut a rectangular board into five equal areas, and I had very little orange/purple-blue fondant to work with. Covering the cake boards was a rather last-minute idea.

The final cake I made, was based on the Settlers of Catan. I ordered a hexagon-shaped cake pan and had to make four times my regular vanilla cake recipe. I put chocolate buttercream between the layers. I covered the whole thing in fondant, hexagons the exact size of the game pieces. I made my own Robber. I even made dice! I’m pretty darned proud of this cake.

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To help with the placing of the resources, I generated a game on my iPad version, for complete authenticity. Although the cake isn’t big enough to show the full game, the resources are placed randomly, as are the numbers.

So, three cakes, when really, the Catan cake would have fed us all.

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So the birthday boy was very happy, and I was pleased to pull this off, even if I do need to seriously reconsider cake quantities etc.

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Thanks for reading!

Jo

PS. I know this post isn’t as detailed as to the making-of for each cake, but I thought it would simply be too long, and I didn’t like the idea of splitting it into three posts. Suffice to say there was a lot of work involved but I’m pleased with how they all turned out ^_^

 

Summer & Winter Sports

Hello everyone!

This cake was a very very fun challenge! Months ago, I agreed to bake a cake for a colleague’s 50th birthday. It finally rolled around, and I coordinated with his wife as to flavour and decoration. Chocolate was the obvious choice, and two of his passions are cycling and skiing, so we came up with the idea of a mountain or hill cake, split on one side with a snowscape and a summer scene on the other.

I actually really planned out this cake:

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The chocolate cake I used was a chocolate mudcake recipe from a new book I got, Planet Cakes. I’ve heard of mudcakes being used before as good carving cakes, and since I’ve had so much trouble with my Devil’s food cake, I thought I’d try this one out. It was fairly easy to make. I made a double batch, and baked it in three different tins: one wide and shallow (about 10″ I think), two in my regular 8″ tins, and one in half of my Sports Ball cake pan (for the top of the mountain).

My tree idea completely failed and I had to replace them with others (more on that later).

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I also made a dark chocolate ganache to help keep the whole cake together. Chopping it was a challenge; luckily, Cooking Hints from Chris helped me out!

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The first time I made ganache in the summer, it didn’t set properly. This one did so I was super excited!

Then I started putting the cake together. Mudcake is DEFINITELY easier to carve and stick together using ganache. Ganache solidifies quickly as well, which was great.

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I made a winding path going around the hill. Then came the fun part: Making lots of vanilla buttercream icing and tinting it different colours for the real decorating to begin! I started with the summer side of the hill, and put in the dirt path. Piping the grass was strangely relaxing.

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View of the cake half-way covered:

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Then I made a second batch of vanilla buttercream but made it with 4/5ths vegetable shortening and 1/5th butter. This is because I wanted the snow side to be really white, and not have the yellow tinge that traditional buttercream tends to have.

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I crumb-coated the entire snow side first, and added extra white on the path. I wasn’t sure what I would use to make the snow texture different from the path, and thought about using sugar, white sugar sprinkles, and (what would have been ideal) desiccated coconut. But I didn’t have the last one, so I googled some images, and decided that a small star opening on my piping bag would do just fine.

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Piping those stars drove me crazy and my hand started hurting. But the effect was looking really cool, so I persevered 🙂

And quite suddenly, I was finished! The pine trees are made of fondant in a soft cone shape, and covered with dark green icing piped with my grass tip. This website helped give me a clue on how to do that.

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The next day, when I brought the cake in, my colleague finalized the figurines, which were of a skiier and cyclist, with her husband’s face superimposed.

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Overall, I am extremely pleased with how this cake turned out. It was really tough to plan and put together, and my respect for professional cake makes has increased a bit more. I spent six hours putting together this cake, but it was worth every moment.

Until the next time… -Jo

A Final Taste of Summer

Greetings all!

We had a double birthday celebration this week, which was also the final week of school before the holiday. Since we are all responsible adults and we don’t eat TOO much cake 😉 I made a single tier mango cake. If you recall, I had made a mango cake a couple months ago, when I made the Yellow Car Cake, and it was very successful, so I thought I would make it again (and actually get to eat some this time!)

I have also been dying to use my Calla lily former set, that I bought months and months ago, so I though they would make the perfect toppers for this cake. So three days before the cake was due for, I sat and made several Calla lilies.

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They were quite tricky actually, because the fondant liked to tear, instead of sitting and sticking to itself nicely. I ended up having to make double the number of lilies after 2/3 of the ones in my first batch ended up cracked when I took them off the formers.

I tinged the vanilla cream cheese/buttercream icing yellow, for the colors to match better. Plus, we were all a bit feeling tired from the long two months of school, autumnal weather that was starting up (read: rain and chilly temperatures), so a bright cake was just the thing to cheer us up.

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I had some leftover green icing from the soccer cake, so I used that for the edging along the bottom. My ‘swirls’ are getting better, but I do still need some practice!

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I colored some more fondant green, and made several leaves, to back the lilies. I thought that white flowers on yellow cake might be too pale, and the green was such a complimentary color, that it would look good. I placed the leaves in the center of the cake, in a star shape.

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Then, I proceeded to place the lilies between the spaces of the leaves, in order to get a multi-point star shape. One thing I do need to work on is placing my center piece in the actual center of the cake. I’m close on this one but slightly off to the left.

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Close-up of the lilies:

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And ta-da! A finished mango cake with Calla lilies for decoration.

One thing I have learned from this though, is that fondant and regular icing don’t mix very well. While everything looks great in the above photos, the moisture from the icing leeched into the fondant (slightly) which caused the lilies to collapse a little by the time the cake was brought out to eat. It still looked (and was!) yummy, but the flowers weren’t as perky.

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Thanks for reading 🙂

Happy Friday Rainbows!

Hi everyone!

At the school I work at, we like to celebrate birthdays. So much that we have a volunteer teacher in charge of organizing something called Birthday Break once a month, to celebrate that months’ staff birthdays. It takes place during the morning break time, and about seven to ten staff members are asked to bring in a savoury or sweet treat to share (obviously, these are not the same staff members whose birthdays we are celebrating – that would just be mean).

A few weeks back, I came across a photo of a great rainbow cake, and I’ve been dying to try it out. I opted to not put the candy filling in, because it would have been too messy to cut otherwise. So when I saw I was on September’s list of preparers for Birthday Break, I decided that the cheeriest cake to make would be this one.

I started by making a batch of my favourite vanilla cake (The Hurry Up Cake) and a half-batch of classic vanilla buttercream frosting.

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I then cut each one in half, and stacked them. When I tried to stand them on the flat end of the semi-circle, I ran into a problem – the two outer layers were falling off! The icing was too soft to keep them together, so I stuck the whole cake in the freezer for about five minutes, to solidify the icing.

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I was then able to set it on it’s side and cover it in the remaining icing. Satisfied with the crumb-coat and shape, I decided I had time for one attempt at making my own marshmallow fondant again. I had found a different recipe online that seemed promising and not too complicated. My dad was bringing me store-bought fondant the next day anyway, just in case this ended up not working.

So I made the fondant, and coloured it pale blue for the sky:

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This fondant was really easy to work with, elastic but didn’t tear, and comfortable. I think I will be using this recipe in the future (I just need to get lots of mini-marshmallows!) I prefer marshmallow fondant to store-bought mostly for the taste. Store-bought has a kind of “fake” sugary taste, whereas marshmallow fondant has more flavour.

After covering the cake, I sat and made six smaller balls of coloured fondant: pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. The pink was meant to be red, but after adding alarming levels of red gel colouring and the fondant only getting a brighter pink, I decided to leave it at that. Besides, real rainbows in the sky don’t have a vibrant red, they’re more pinkish.

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I rolled the fondant into long snakes, and applied them using my recently-bought edible glue. It works really well, much better than water would. After getting all parts of the rainbow on, I made some clouds out of white fondant both to hide the messy edges of the cake and the rainbow, as well as to tie it all together.

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Then my wildly overactive mind suggested I make rainbow cupcakes as well, because there are a lot of people on the staff, and maybe the cake won’t be enough for everyone. I used the same recipe for the cupcakes, but my original idea has been to use that ‘rainbow’ stripy candy instead of making the rainbow out of fondant. This would have been great had I actually been able to find that candy. So the cupcakes ended up being miniature versions of the cake.

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It was a lot of fun making these, and I was really pleased with how the cake and the cupcakes turned out.

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The only slight problem with the cake was that it was dryer and more crumbly than usual. I think this was because of it’s five minute stint in the freezer, so I will need to look into preserving moistness if I know a cake will need to be flash-frozen to solidify the icing. Other than that, it was very good, and there was no cake left at the end of the Birthday Break. I had also decided to keep the cupcakes in reserve for anyone who didn’t get a slice of the cake. When I brought the cake into the staff room, there was just no room for both, and it would have looked like I’d tried too hard. But hey, more cupcakes for us!

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Thank you for reading 🙂

 

Pre-Wedding Cupcakes

Hello again,

About a year ago, my boyfriend and I got an invitation to a colleague and friend’s pre-wedding garden party. She was getting married this summer, but wanted a big get-together with all the people that wouldn’t attend the formal wedding. A few weeks ago, I was chatting to one of her friends who was on the committee to help provide the food and drinks. That’s when I found out that this committee were all contributing to part of the culinary aspect of the garden party, and they wanted my advice on where to get cupcake decorations, tips for icing, and recipes. So I gave them my go-to basic vanilla cupcake recipe (you can’t go wrong with it!) and offered to make some fondant roses as decorations. I wanted the practice, and I thought this would be a nice way to help out.

Somehow, miscommunications ensued and I got put on the list to bake and decorate 20 cupcakes. My colleague said she was awful at decorating, so she suggested we team up – she would bake 40 cupcakes, and I would decorate them. Since I had just ordered a 1M piping tip from Wilton, and I was making the roses anyway, I agreed.

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So this entry is more about my epic decorating job than actual baking. It took me 3 days to make the fondant roses (I made my way through 4 Disney movies – Cinderella, Princess & the Frog, Wall-E and Tangled) and about 3 hours of piping and decorating. But I was very pleased with the results.

I made chocolate and vanilla buttercream, and iced half the cupcakes in each, so people could have some choice. The theme colours of the garden party were purple and yellow. I took a short-cut with the fondant and used store-bought yellow and pastel yellow. The pink was left-over from the pink champagne cake. Since I find purple a difficult color to blend into fondant (and preserve the color richness) I decided pink would do just fine.

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The garden party was lots of fun, and Michaelynn loved her eclectic mix of cupcakes in lieu of a pre-wedding cake!

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Can you spot my cupcakes? 😉