Last summer we were invited to our brother in-law John’s 50th birthday party. John and Jane live in Cambridge so we don’t get to see them as often as we would like to, so it was great to be able to be part of the celebrations
I offered to make John’s birthday cake as our gift to him and asked Jane what I should create. John is a tennis coach and is mad on the game, so to make a tennis racket was a no brainer! Jane sent me a shot of his raquet and then the fun began.
The cake had to be a little bit thicker than a regular racket (obviously) so there would be enough cake in the design to eat. I started by making a paper template of the racket so I could see how I could make the whole design from one rectangular cake. I cut the basic shape and then removed the parts that dipped in like where the strings are and at the top of the handle then I added all the layers of sugar paste. Icing the strings at the end was the scary part as if I slipped up it would affect all the straight lines I had already done. I just had to go for it.
The ball is also made of more cake but layered up. I literally had to cover the ball shape with sugar paste and then roll it in my hand to make it as smooth and round as possible. I then added the lines on the ball.
John was overwhelmed by the cake which made it a brilliant present to give and a fab surprise!
Stacey Solomon is one of my many cousins – that is her dad and my mum are first cousins. When she came home from winning ‘I’m a celebrity, Get me out of here’ her sister Jemma organised a surprise welcome home party for her for just her family and closest friends (all 200 of them!)
I offered to make a cake for the occasion and Jemma jumped at the chance after seeing my cakes on flickr. We decided that the cake should be a model of Stacey in the jungle sitting on a log with a table covered in snakes and bugs. That was the plan anyway.
In the past my models have always been a bit more flat chested than I intended, but with Stacey I needed to make sure that was not the case (without going too far the other way! I mean I didn’t want to offend her) I also needed to make the hair really long and flowing so I needed to make her well in advance of the cake -so she could dry. I concentrated on the snakes, hat, food dome, fire and model a week before delivery. Two days later it started to snow!
The cake was a madeira with a raspberry jam and butter-cream filling. The table was a mini cake on top. I had the cake practically finished but I was now worried about delivering the cake. The snow from the few weeks earlier had practically brought the country to a standstill! How on earth was I going to get the cake to the party which was being held in a marquee at a golf club in Dagenham when I lived in Bromley in Kent!
The plan was to drive to the party with my sister Shelley. We were leaving our kids with our husbands and meeting our brother Robert there. As it was a surprise we didn’t have to be there till 9pm. Great to have more time, but it meant that more snow could settle. Luckily it didn’t and once I had picked Shell up the roads were clear of both snow and other drivers. But it was the kind of evening that if you didn’t have to go out you wouldn’t.
The big surprise
Once in the marquee we were frozen. I mean really frozen. It must have been -3 outside and being inside a tent didn’t make much of a difference!
Jemma’s plan was perfect. She invited everyone via private message on facebook so Stacey wouldn’t have a clue what was going on. Then at about 9pm she phoned her asking if she could come and pick Jemma up from work at the golf club as she had missed her ride! Stacey who had just done a personal appearance and was with her manager was not impressed! Apparently there was a lot of swearing and Jemma had to persuade Stacey she really was stuck! It worked and at around 11am Stacey was directed to the marquee and walked straight in to see some of her closest friends waiting for her, all cheering and clapping.
The cake was set up on its own table next to the chocolate fountain (that we couldn’t leave alone) but as Stacey was so swamped by everyone I didn’t get a chance to show it to her. Everyone was trying to get her attention and she couldn’t move.
Jemma had set up a real bush tucker trial. Six people had to sit at a table and eat some pretty disgusting stuff – to which Stacey was very encouraging – I mean she would be really wouldn’t she? She’s been there done that – and got the crown to prove it!
By now it had gone 12.30pm and we really had to get going before the roads got too icy and our feet got frost bite! It was a brilliant surprise party though. We don’t get to see my mum’s side of the family as much as we would like to so it was great to catch up with everyone.
Stacey’s Story so far and the final big surprise
A few weeks ago Stacey released her first book. The whole family is so proud of her and her achievements. When I picked up the book in Waterstones for the first time I was amazed to see I’m in one of the photos, along with Tim my husband and all of my family. It’s the picture from her Dad’s wedding to Karen. That was a surprise but not as big a surprise as when I saw the picture of my cake for her surprise party in he book too! What a hoot! I was totally made up. I wasn’t even sure she got to see the cake at the party.
Needless to say I am so excited to be included in her book. All that’s left to say is thanks Stace!