Monday, 6 May 2013

Alice in Wonderland Birthday Cake

It's been a while since I posted, far too long, but unfortunately the end of my time in school has taken up a massive chunk of my time recently and despite being far more preferable than A2 coursework and exam mocks, blogging had to take the backseat! But I have one of my favourite cakes to show you all, so I do hope I'll be forgiven! 

I have never read Alice in Wonderland, but thanks to the miraculous magic of Disney animation I know it pretty well :-)  I adore Alice cakes because they always seem to have such a fun and creative decor and I had been waiting to make one for ages when I was asked to by the lovely Lucy for her 16th birthday, and here's the result: 
I made all the decorations from sugarpaste in the week running up to Lucy's fancy dress house party, the cake featured the White Rabbit, his Pocketwatch, the (disappearing) Cheshire Cat, the door to Wonderland, and the Mad Hatter's tea party: 

I was really happy with the result of the fondant tablecloth, it was such an easy technique and I think it really made the top tier flow into the bottom one. 
The White Rabbit was my favourite figure to model- he got quite a good reception too! I think he looked suitably panicked :-) 

I hope to blog a little more often, and I should have a couple of interesting cakes coming up in the next couple of weeks!

Hayley x 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

A Three-Cake Catch Up!

It's been a little while since I posted, terrible I know, but it does mean that I have a bounty of birthday cake goodness to share with you! So here we go:

First up- What's better than a friend's birthday party? Yep, when two of your friends join forces to create one amazing party- which obviously requires the presence of a big sparkly birthday cake! Harry and Kate (Yep- same Kate whose first 18th cake featured in my previous post!) had all pink and blue decorations for their joint birthday bash, so the cake colouring was fairly obvious! both tiers were chocolate orange sponge and buttercream- a new favourite among my lot! (I went for stripes to break up the colours as we all thought that straight pink and blue might look a little "Fisher-Price") plus a massive sparkly 18 on top to pick up all the glinty party lights.

It sat, in a fairly ornamental fashion, for the evening before being divvied up and demolished by the birthday boy and girl.

Secondly, a commission from one teacher for another- and an incredibly fun one too! Like -I can only imagine- most people, I have fond memories of the Mr Kipling French Fancy, and I spent many a teatime at my Nan's house plucking the super sweet icing bobble from them- and it had to be the pink one. It would appear that my colour preference is something I share with the teacher who was the lucky recipient of this giant version a couple of weeks ago. Inside was all vanilla fluffyness to replicate the light cake and icing of the  Kipling original- and before you ask, for structural reasons (not to mention protection from sicklyness) the lump was cake rather than icing!

And finally, this cake is only from last weekend, and was for one of the most special birthdays to occur in our family for quite some time, my Nanny turned 90!! Needless to say we celebrated in on a massive scale- roast beef and all the trimmings for 21 people is no mean feat- a massive well done goes to my Mum for feeding everyone with our far less than normally functional oven! The occasion obviously called for a cake, and I jumped at the opportunity to craft it, Nan has an amazing collection of traditional teddies, so the theme made itself evident; and for as long as I can remember (and much longer before) she has had her cup of tea every afternoon, to the extent that we don't even ask if she'd like one anymore, we just diligently deliver a cup; so the Teddy clearly had to be teacup-in-hand. I went for ivory fondant, pale pink flowers and pale blue ribbon to create a pretty springtime pedestal for the teddy bear figurine I had sculpted in advance, I also added a '90' in sugar pearls on the top tier as a nod to the occasion! I was pretty happy with the finished result, and it would seem that so were the 21 of my family who were gathered to celebrate with us- it was such a lovely day!

The interior was all orange flavoured, and went down really well, I've never seen one of my cakes disappear so quickly!

I hope you enjoyed these three, I should have another couple of birthday cake creations coming up, the year everyone turns 18 is a busy one!

Hayley x

Sunday, 20 January 2013

18th Birthday Sparkles

It's another super late post! This cake dates back to New Years Eve, which is an important day for all of us; but it was even more special for my lovely friend Kate who was not only celebrating the beginning of 2013, but also her 18th birthday!

We had many discussions about the design and flavours for Kate's cake; in the end we took inspiration from some cupcakes I had made for my English class.
The cupcake toppers that inspired that cake

We are studying The Great Gatsby at the moment, and loving it! the cupcakes were made to be all 1920's-ish to fit in the the setting of the novel and Kate really liked the little art deco fan decorations, so I upped the scale a bit and made them in various sparkly blue hues: 
The finished product

The bottom tier was really fun to make, as it gave me the chance to try out my new airbrush! it allowed me to get a really lovely bright blue colour rather than the pastel style of pale blue that i'd have got from colouring the fondant, and I didn't have to alter the texture of the fondant to achieve the colour. As well as the main fan decoration on the front there were 4 smaller ones that you can just about see on the sides of the top tier; some swirly silver piping on the bottom tier, and just to up the glam there were a few jelly diamonds here and  there! 
Diamonds and small fans are more visible here

The bottom tier of the cake was chocolate orange cake and chocolate orange buttercream, and the top one was hazelnut cake with salted caramel buttercream- and I've been told that Kate's family were trying to think of an event for which they could order another chocolate orange cake! 
So, a belated re-happy 18th to Kate; and I hope you're all keeping nice and warm in this snowy weather! 

Hayley x

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Superb Sugarpaste

I posted yesterday about my first wedding cake, and I just wanted to recommend the sugarpaste I used to any of you who have a similar project in the pipelines.
The sugarpaste is called sweet silk, from a lovely company in Nottingham called Sweet Success. I picked up 5kg at the Cake International show at the excel centre in London, but you can also mail order their products here:
I haven't been asked or paid to do this recommendation, but I was really impressed with how easy it was to work with, and the smooth finish it was so easy to achieve. Also, the fondant stored excellently and the texture did not alter in the weeks between buying and using the fondant. I would recommend this sugarpaste to anyone with a big project soon, it was so easy to work with! Once again, here's the finished result, just cause I wouldn't want to subject anyone to a word only blog post!
Hayley x

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Purple Prettiness Wedding Cake

I cannot believe it’s taken me so long to blog this cake, time has certainly flown recently! Either way, many months ago, my sister Katie put my name forward to a colleague of hers who was looking for a wedding cake baker; I had a tasting and designing meeting with the lovely Vickie and Paul, and in November their special day arrived! This was the first wedding cake I have made, and the process was somewhat nerve wracking (I really didn’t want Vickie to have a mess of a cake after trusting me!) but I quickly got into the flow of baking and decorating.  
                                          Here are all the tiers when they were plain pure white
I made a very nervy trip to Bristol with four decorated tiers boxed up and surrounded by duvets, pillows, towels and all other available soft and protective materials in the boot of my Mum’s car, with both of us cursing at every bump and sharp turn we came across. Though it was rainy and nasty we made it to Katie’s flat in good time, the assembly station for the cake, and got all of the tiers safely up the many stairs to the thankfully spacious breakfast bar where they would be staying for the night. The cake’s only disaster happened at this point, the fondant mystically gained a worrying stickiness- I panicked completely but luckily, with the aid of a wondrous dehumidifier, the cakes were returned to their original dry loveliness.
                                                     being carefully stacked and secured

I stacked the cakes in two pairs, ready for transport, and we headed off to the venue, with Katie and I grasping weighty boxes as we headed off precariously through the Mendips- a nervy drive but one that went well in the end. Here’s the finished cake, and I’ll give you a rundown of the cake and decor
                                          All finished and under a very helpfully placed spotlight!
The bottom tier was 12 inches, chocolate with chocolate buttercream; the second was 10 inches, light fruit cake with cinnamon buttercream; third was an 8 inch coffee cake with coffee buttercream; and the top tier was a 6 inch lemon sponge with lemon buttercream. They were all covered with white fondant, had a lace trim, a central border of (for want of a better word) squiggly piping; and an upper border of large lilac and small purple buttons moulded in white chocolate. The cakes were dusted with pearl lustre, the third tier adorned with a wide purple ribbon and brooch. The final touches were three white and lilac fondant roses on top and white diamante beading around the bottom tier.

This cake definitely had the groom’s touch, at Paul’s request I hid ‘Spurs’ in the piping on the third tier!

I was extremely grateful to this lovely couple for trusting me with such an important cake, and happily I was assured that they and their guests enjoyed the final product!

Hayley x 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I'm Back!

I'm sorry that I've been so much of an absentee blogger recently, it's been a fairly busy time! I've just decided to blog a birthday cake I made a couple of weeks ago. It was actually ordered by one of my teachers for another of my teachers, lemon sponge with lemon buttercream and a gold/ivory colour scheme.
I have a few other posts to write soon. Including a very exciting project from last month!
Hayley x

Monday, 22 October 2012

Celebrating in style- Afternoon Tea at Pearl

So I guess most people head straight for a club to celebrate their 18th birthdays- not me! I’m far too much of a foodie to miss an opportunity for edible celebrations, and I was excited about going for a lovely dinner with my parents on my 18th birthday (which was Sunday the 14th). However, The foodieness of my birthday weekend was completely ramped up when I got an amazing surprise on Friday night; my sister Katie and her boyfriend Chris (who live in far away Bristol) came back to surprise me- they had previously said that they couldn’t make it back! So they arrived late on Friday night and told me they were taking me to afternoon tea the next day!!! Not just any tea- the Chocolate afternoon tea at restaurant Pearl in Holborn; this isn’t just a beautiful restaurant in an exceptionally gorgeous hotel building

 ...but it is also where I did my work experience under Jun Tanaka 2 years ago, it is an excellent restaurant and it holds a very special place in my heart. Though Jun has now left the restaurant for a very well deserved break, it is still brilliant and home to so many lovely pearl chandeliers- and chocolaty treats!!
We were presented with this fancy box of Twinings teas to choose from, we shared a pot each of Earl Grey, Russian Caravan and the fascinatingly delicate Silver Tip. 
The first “course” was a very filling selection of finger sandwiches, miniature smoked salmon and egg mayonnaise rolls and fluffy scones- we definitely thought that skipping breakfast had been the right decision at this point! Call me clichéd but I absolutely love cucumber sandwiches at tea- they make me feel all Victorian! But my favourite of this selection was the rare roast beef and very subtle horseradish- yum!
(apologies for the blurry photo!)
We were set loose on the chocolate buffet after our sandwiches, yep- a chocolate buffet, it was absolute bliss. 

There were two (white and dark ) chocolate fountains with lovely ripe strawberries and pineapple, but the highlight was the beautiful selection of patisserie that was available, between the three of us we managed to try one of each!
Here’s plate of pastry goodness, a white chocolate and pistachio torte, raspberry and dark chocolate tartlet and a milk chocolate earl grey mousse, all of them were extremely yummy, the glaçage on the pistachio torte was sheer and shiny, with a cute little macaron on top, but my favourite was the earl grey mousse, the delicate perfume and airy mousse was the perfect break from the super sweet and super rich of the other pastries on my plate!
This is Katie’s first selection, layered strawberry shot and mango, lime and white chocolate mousse; both had the perfect balance of creamy chocolate with the fresh fruity flavours, and the accent of the lime was brilliant, all the fragrance with no harsh sourness or bitterness- mmm!

And finally Chris’ very chocolaty choices, a rich brownie with whole hazelnuts and a gorgeous icing sugar pattern; a layered chocolate pave and a hazelnut gateau l’opera, with perfectly even and amazingly thin layers. All of them were so rich and indulgent, with so many textures of mousses, biscuits, sponges and crisp tempered shards. The best was the opera, classic coffee and chocolate flavours.
It was a wonderful afternoon, we actually ended up spending 3 whole hours lounging and grazing and supping, it was a wonderful celebration and I would recommend the chocolate tea to anyone, the staff are lovely and wonderfully attentive, and you couldn't wish for a better setting.

Hayley x