I started writing this post a few months back, oh my goodness, where HAS the time gone this year??! I thought it was about time I finished it off and got something off the press. So here it is … Hope you get something out of it.
I have made a few cakes over the last few months, and as always I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tried something new each time.
For the first time I made a Wedding cake, for my Sister, and I must say it was the single most stressful cake that I have made to date. Looking back I’m not too sure why I was so stressed, as it was just a cake. However in the back of my mind all I could think was, this is a wedding cake, for a hugely important day in two people’s lives, and while it might not be something that they will even think of when remembering their wedding day, I wanted it to be as perfect as I could make it. No pressure.
Did I mention that the wedding was in Australia? So, the cake was made there too. This lead to its own challenges. Not only did I need to make the fruit layer in NZ and transport it into another country, but I then had to use a different oven to what I was used to (for the remaining layers), I had to take my own tins and tools on and international trip. But to top it all off, Brisbane was having an unusually wet season which lead to huge amounts of heat and humidity: not a friend of fondant.
I did a bit of digging around and found a couple of cake decorating supply shops close by and ordered everything ready for pickup the day after I arrived in Aussie. I had no idea what I was walking into when I picked up my order.. My step Mother who came with us, said it was the most boring shop she had every been into. But me? I was like a kid in a candy shop. I had been after a few new tools that we can’t get in NZ yet, and “just by chance” *wink wink nudge nudge*, they just happened to stock them, so it would have been silly to waste an opportunity. The most favourite thing that I purchased was The Mat. And I LOVE it. It was the perfect thing to help with the challenging heat, it was a God send, and I would hate to think how hard it would have been without it.
For this cake, stencilling was my new technique. I’d never tried it before then, and it was remarkably easy and very effective, thanks to a few helpful tutorials on YouTube. Managed a few different designs, and I was really happy with the outcome.
Overall, I was reasonably happy with how the cake turned out, and I think my sister was fairly happy.
On my return home from Aussie, it was both mine and my Son Tom’s birthday, and while I didn’t make a birthday cake for myself (I made three to take to work), I did however make a cake for Tom’s party. His request this year was for a dragon cake. Given the small amount of time between getting off the plane and Tom’s party, I defaulted to the easy option of a round cake with a dragon on the top. I decided that I would make the dragon from modelling chocolate, so he could actually eat the dragon this year, in lieu of keeping bags of figures from cakes in the cupboard. I had never used modelling chocolate before, and actually I found it easier to work with than fondant for figures. It seems to be more forgiving, you don’t need to work so fast, and the surface can be smoothed out to a beautiful texture with the heat of your hands.
I have to say, the one down side of using modelling chocolate, is the cost of materials. It’s a little on the spendy side, so I may have to experiment with making some. I have found some recipes online for making your own modeling chocolate. Watch this space..
There have been a few others that I have made this year, and I have have updated my gallery page for you to have a look. Every time I try something new, and if you have the time and you don’t mind having to muck around to get it right, sometimes the results can be very rewarding.
So just a few tidbits;
- You Tube is your friend. There is a wealth of amazing tutorials and tips on there, all free and at your disposal.
- Build up a selection of different tools as time goes on. A year or so back I thought they were a waste of money, as as time has gone on, and I have built up a toolbox, I can now start to do more complex designs, or things that used to take an age, are now made easier with a few sneaky tricks/tools
- Learns something new. Don’t be afraid to keep it simple and go with just ribbons and flowers, there’s no shame in that, sometimes less is more …
So, go forth, create and experiment, you’ll be surprised at what you can come up with.
Thanks for reading!