Category: Birthday cakes

Cake International’s ‘Cake decorating and baking show’

Cake inspiration

Tea pot and bunting cakeNow, I had no plans to write this post tonight but after my visit to Cake international’s ‘The Cake decorating and baking show’ at London’s Excel today I just had to share with you some of the inspirational cakes I saw!

head cake

I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it to the show as I have been shooting a lot this week and had family commitments all weekend, but it all worked out perfectly for me and mum to go to the exhibition and have a bit of a cake shopping spree. (Gosh I hope Mr MT doesn’t read this! If he does I didn’t spend that much…really!!  And Poopah nor did mum….Ahem)overhanging decoration cake

The exhibition has been at Birmingham’s NEC in the past and this was its first time in London and judging from the crowds (and serious elbow pushing – manners ladies please!) it was a resounding success!

Zebra cake

Mum and I were really impressed by all the great and new decorating equipment on offer (more on that in future posts – loads more actually. I can’t wait to share them with you) but it was the cakes that we were really in awe of. There were loads of categories in the competition including two tier or more cakes (with no height restrictions!) shaped cakes, shoes and handbags,  cupcakes, classic cakes and there was even an under 12’s category (one for Beau next year I think). The standard was so high and we couldn’t believe how some of the amazing cakes were only awarded silver, bronze and merit of achievement awards when they were so fantastic.

I should point out that all the cake decorations had to be completely edible. The details on some cakes were just amazing. They looked like plastic toys. The tiger below actually had tonsils!tiger and dragon cake

tiger and dragon cake

tiger and dragon cakeWe spoke to one of the judges and even saw judges talking to some of the younger entrants explaining what they look for when judging and where they could improve for next time. They even turned the cakes around to look at the back and see if any areas that would normally not be seen were neat. They were looking for originality, skill and neatness. Our hearts went out to all the entrants. They must have put in so much time and effort.

Nova's gold cake

One of the entrants was a lovely lady called Nova. She works in my local cake decorating shop in Bromley – who also had a buzzing stand at the show Cake craft world. When I popped into the shop last week Nova was telling me that she had entered the hand bag and shoe category. I was really looking forward to seeing her design and I was completely bowled over when I saw it. It was INCREDIBLE! I have never seen such life like shoes. Nova’s were so detailed with a snake skin look, detailed laces on the trainer and the cake board detailing was amazing too. The bag looked like you could just pick it up and go out for a night on the town with it. She got a very well deserved GOLD !!!!!

Nova heel cake

Nova's heelNova shoe cake

Learning new tricks

There were loads of demonstrations going on at the stands and that’s where we bought the most stuff. We bought letter cutters, imprint rolling pins, square plunger cutters, to name just a few, but it was on Karen Davis stand that we really had to hold our selves back. She has the best silicon moulds ever. She showed us how to create a head using one and how she gets the eyes to look so cute and glisteny. We loved these! The teddies were really cute too!

Karen Davis demo

Karen head demo

More great cakes we saw

I really wish that I had taken my DSLR to take proper photos rather than these snap shots taken with my phone, but then again  I also wish that I hadn’t dropped my camera and broken the lens last week!

Anyway, here are some more of the amazing cakes we loved.

handbags and shoes cakeBritish cakeMario cart cakeTinkerbell and fairies cakeElephant cake5 tier wedding cakeDog cakeIndian cakecupcakesKaren Davis teddiesJubilee cake

The highlight

As if seeing all these cakes and buying tons of new toys wasn’t exciting enough, I also got to meet Ruth Clemens from The Pink Whisk. You might recognise her from the first series of ‘The Great British Bake off’.  I’ve been following her fab blog for ages and last Thursday I tweeted that I was excited to have just received her new book to review here on  (that will be later this week) and I had to say hello and she remembered me. That made my day! She’s was so lovely and so slim and tall! How does she stay so slim whilst coming up with all those amazing recipes! I need to know her secret!

So, I hope you have enjoyed this little whirlwind tour of the show. There’s another show in Birmingham in November, but I am definitely going to be entering the competition in London next year, hopefully with Beau. Time to put my thinking cap on I think!


How to make a Rocket birthday cake light up.

Rocket birthday cake
This is a cake I made for my lovely friend Karen. Karen and I played tag maternity leave when we had our kids. As I went back to work after having Beau, she left for maternity leave to have Dylan. Then it happened a few years later with Darcey and Ewan. We hardly saw each other for three years!
Our four kids get on really well and Beau has a special soft spot for Dylan. Marriage has been discussed. They are 8!
Karen worked in the art department at Woman and Home so she’s super talented and creative. When it was Dylan’s 5th birthday she designed a rocket party invitation and asked me to make him a birthday cake to match.
Of all the cakes I’ve made this is one of my favourites. I love the simple design and bold colours. I think the wording works well (thank goodness ‘Dylan’ is a short name!) and the fire coming out at the bottom just adds to the rocket theme. I think this was the first cake I made that I actually was happy with and wouldn’t have changed a thing!

The jokes on me!

One of the guys in the Art department is Glen. Glen is an amazing photographer on the side (check out his fab website here) Karen was talking to him about the party and how I was doing a rocket cake and he suggested that the stars on the cake should light up. Never one to shy away from a challenge I set to planning and working out how to do it. Little did I know that he was actually joking! I didn’t find that out until after the party though!
Light up the rocket birthday cake

Lighting up the night stars

I decided that the easiest way to make the stars light up was to use battery operated fairy lights. I had just finished shooting the christmas interior features and it was the first time they were so readily available. I was a bit addicted to them!
 I started by  drilling large holes into the cake board which were sealed up with cellotape. Each side edge of the cake board was set up on thin strips of wood so the battery pack could be hidden underneath, whilst still  being easy to switch on. I used a ton of tape to position a fairly light into each of the holes in the board. This meant that when the lights were turned on the holes in the board lit up.
The top of the cake board was covered in blue icing sugar. Different sized star cutters were pressed into the icing on the board and the blue icing where each star was was removed. A corresponding yellow or white star was then cut out and popped into the space on the board. I then carefully smoothed the whole board so it was nice and flat. The stars with lights behind actually had thinner icing sugar than the rest so that as much light as possible could shine through. I added the moon in the same way.Then I could add the cake to the board and the wording to finish.
So all that’s left to say is thanks Glen for an original idea. Now I need to think of where else I can add lights!!!


How to make a pirate ship birthday cake

Pirate ship birthday cake

Little boys like pirate ships. Fact!

The little man in my life (aka as Asher my gorgeous four year old nephew) is seriously into them. So when I asked him what he wanted for his cake this year I had a pretty good idea of what the answer would be – as he brandished his tin foil hook!

He had been given a pirate ship model by Grandma and had glued it together and painted it and that was what he wanted for his cake. ‘His pirate ship’ So I set to work.

Asher's model pirate ship
Asher’s little model pirate ship

How to make a Pirate ship birthday cake

The cake was a Madeira, (find the recipe here) I wanted to get the whole design from two cakes so I made two square cakes that were 12″ and 10″ (which are my two largest square tins). My plan was to get the larger top half of the boat out of the big cake with the base of the cake out of the smaller one. I knew I was going to shape the cake inwards where the boat touches the sea, so it worked out perfectly. I also used the off cuts from the large cake to create the cabin on the top deck.

(Apologies for the blurry photo here!)

boat pattern- Pirate ship

This is how they looked when cut out. There was very little waste with this design (not that there is ever waste! Off cuts taste great, especially when you are decorating a cake late at night!) The cake here is upside down  to make the shaping easier.

Pirate ship cake

Each cake was filled with butter cream and raspberry jam

Pirate ship cake

I tried not to make the front of the boat have too much of an angle inwards underneath as I know that can be a nightmare to cover with icing.

Pirate ship cake

Once shaped, the whole cake is covered in a thin layer of buttercream.

Pirate ship cake

Make sure you roll out plenty of fondant icing to cover the cake and tuck it in underneath. I used a chocolate fondant which tastes even better than just plain old fondant.

Pirate ship cake

Gently lift the fondant over the cake then smooth lightly with your hands to get any air pockets out. (How much icing sugar is on my arms!?!)

Pirate ship cake

Once the whole cake has been smoothed over with your hands, use a smoothing tool to get it absolutely perfect. I always smooth the top before I move on to the edges. The last bit I smooth are the corner edges which I do with my hands.

Pirate ship cake

Once nice and smooth, remove the excess fondant with a pizza wheel. Aim to leave a 2mm lip at the bottom.

Pirate ship cake

Use a side scraper to tuck the icing into the cake.

Pirate ship cake

One pirate ship cake ready. Time for the fun part.

Pirate ship cake

The Cake board

I love to make a big a deal of the cake boards on all my cakes. There’s always room to add extra details and with a pirate ship it was a shark. I thought a crocodile was a bit too Peter Pan!

The round cake board was covered with a thick (5mm) layer of blue fondant which was rolled and covered in the usual way. I then used my fingers to create the waves, gently pushing into the icing to create a rippled effect. I made the shark out of grey icing and both the board and shark were left to dry. I did this a week before I made the cake so they would set.

Pirate ship cake

The cake was positioned and secured to the board with a little Royal Icing underneath.

Pirate ship cake

To make the deck a perfect fit I cut a slither off the ship’s paper pattern and used it as a template to cut out the yellow wooden decking.

Pirate ship cake

I positioned it on the cake by dampening the icing a little.

Pirate ship cake

The cabin was covered in the yellow fondant icing and was positioned on the middle of the ship’s deck with a little Royal Icing.  The edge of the deck is surrounded with two long pieces of chocolate fondant otherwise the pirates would have fallen overboard!Pirate ship cake

I wanted to add a plank so I left a gap at the back Pirate ship cake

To create a wooden look I used a paring knife to score lines around the ship. Pirate ship cake

Add a few vertical lines every now and then and add screw marks next to each one.Pirate ship cake

For the port holes I cut out black circles, then added red ones on top. I left these to dry overnight as I wanted them to be firm enough to handle, but soft enough to be able to stick to the side of the ship neatly.

The anchor and chain were made with a little bit of grey fondant.
Pirate ship cakeThe portholes were stuck on with royal icing. I had to hold them in place for a minute or two so that they didn’t fall off.
Pirate ship cake

The Sails

For the masts I used skewers which I painted with a brown food colouring. I then made a red flag with a Jolly Rodger on the front (from fondant) and  placed it over one of my modelling tools so when it was dry and positioned in the cake it would look like it was blowing in the wind. I left it for a few days to dry. It needs to be pretty firm as it will be handled quite a bit when the sails are made. I wrapped the red flag around the top and back of the skewer and also made sure that the top was wet so it would really stick in place.

Pirate ship cake

I cut the sails out of paper and did a drawing of the Jolly Rodger then added Ahser’s initials. You can download my template for the sails here Pirate ship Sails template I used a hot glue gun to stick the sails to the mast.

Pirate ship cake

For the smaller sails I attached small sections of the painted skewers to the backPirate ship cake

This is what they looked like when they were ready to be added to the ship. Pirate ship cake

The smaller sails need to look like they are billowing. To do this glue the top part in place first and when it is really stuck fast you can stick the second on. Then all you have to do is pop it in the centre of the cake.

Pirate ship cake

The details

I love to personalise cakes, especially when I know the birthday boy so well. Asher loves Captain Hook so I made one to stand on the cake complete with peg leg and shiny hook. But the peg leg wasn’t happy about being made to stand up so he was resting on a barrel of whisky.

I also made rope to wind around the mast. It looks like a dodgy snake in this picture but it looked good in real life. I had the first mate winding it up.

Pirate ship cake

I couldn’t resist having a pirate hanging out of one of the port holes. Pirate ship cake

Tim had to show me how to make a pirates hat as all my attempts made him look like a cowboy! Where’s Jonny Depp when you need him? Do you like his stubble? I thought it would make the grown ups laugh!Pirate ship cake

The first mate with his rope and spiky hairPirate ship cake

I made the plank by cutting a thin cake board to size then covering it with fondant and creating a wooden effect. I then forced it into the cake. The naughty pirate hanging off it was made a week before the cake was so he would be dry. I was actually planning to have him hanging off the ship but he was too long, but I think this works so much better.

The shark’s teeth were the very last thing to be created. I used a tiny cut in an icing bag of royal icing to make them look nice and sharp.Pirate ship cake

So there you have it. One mamoth long blog post! and one very happy Asher. Last year I made him a Fireman cake so I think next years will be even more diffucult! We’ll have to wait and see!


The personalised name cake

Cakes gone by…

Personalised name cake

Beau’s 7th Birthday cake

When Beau was 7 I was really busy with work and knew I wouldn’t have time to create a masterpiece for her birthday party. She was having a crafting party at home and I had a lot of ‘making stuff’ to plan -mug  painting, magnet making, jewellery creating etc. So for her cake I decided to make it a really simple, pretty personalised cake.

I made the flowers from sugar paste while the cake was in the oven and left them to harden overnight. The next day I filled the cake, which was chocolate, with chocolate buttercream and iced it in a pretty pink colour. I then used Royal icing to add each of the guests names onto the cake. When it was time to cut the cake each girl got her name. The kids loved it and it took no time at all to make. It was a really quick fix.

Obviously Beau got the biggest slice, I mean it was her birthday after all!


Power Ranger Birthday cake

Power Ranger Birthday  Cake

Power Rangers birthday Cake

I recently had a request from a reader called Laurie, asking me how I made this Power Ranger cake which she saw on my ‘More cakes’ page. This is another early cake which I can’t believe I did two years ago! It feels like yesterday. George was at nursery (and now school) with Beau and Sammie is a year older than Darcey, so they were also at nursery together too.

The boys were both really into Power Rangers at the time and I thought the easiest way to do this theme was with a head shape. I made a round Madeira cake and cut the top off so it was more helmet shaped. The whole cake was covered in a thin layer of white sugar paste icing. Then it was covered in a second layer of blue icing. I made templates from paper for the eyes, mouth and the badge detail on the top of the helmet.

The Mouth

I wanted the cake to look as 3D as possible. I positioned the mouth template over the base of the cake and cut away and removed the first layer of blue icing, leaving the white icing underneath in place. I then used white icing to create the lips, attaching them with a damp paintbrush. I painted the whole mouth and lips in edible silver paint (you can buy it on Amazon here) and let it dry. Edible metallic paints are best used with alcohol whether painting or cleaning the paint brushes. I learnt this the hard way and had to throw out a few brushes as the bristles just clump together if you use water.

The eyes

I cut out the double layer eye masks from the templates, making the black one a little smaller than the white. I then positioned them on the cake. For the helmet badge at the top I placed two rectangles on the badge shape then used a larger cutter to imprint rectangles onto it, giving it more detail. I then painted it in silver edible paint and left it to dry before I secured it to the cake with a little Royal icing. I cut the ‘V’ shape for the helmet out of black icing and secured that with royal icing too.

The cake board

I always try and make my cake boards look extra special or as detailed as possible, so for this cake I cut out the two names nice and big in a bold red colour, then I cut out different sized stars, some with an extra star cut out. I used a pale blue sugar paste icing to cover the whole board so it could create a cute backdrop.

In all I think this cake works well as it’s a simple design, the colors stand out and the board gives it that little something extra. What do you think?


Noah’s Arc Birthday cake

Cakes gone by…

Noah's arc birthday cake

I love this cake design. It was so much fun to do. My friend Simi asked me to make it for her third son Hugo’s first birthday party. I saw Hugo in the playground just this morning. He’s nearly three already and a proper cutie.

When I start a cake I always try to cover the cake board at least a week ahead of delivery. This means it has time to set hard (I am prone to leaving finger prints in them otherwise!) I covered this one in blue icing then used a darker blue food colour to paint on waves.

I also do all the modeling I can ahead of time. When you use icing to create animals and people they take at least a week to 10 days to dry hard enough to be handled or position so that they stand up on their own. It took me a long time to learn this habit. I’ve had legs fall off on delivery and all sorts of mishaps! But more about that in another post!

Noah's arc cake, elephants

I made these animals in one weekend and Beau sat with me and made the exact same animals too. It was her idea to have butterflies and parrots on the boathouse, also Hugo’s big brother Calum was in her class at school and he said that spiders would be good, so we included them too!

Both the arc and boathouse are made from chocolate cake, everything else is made from pre-coloured sugarpaste, except the ramp that the sheep are walking up. That is actually a thin cake board cut to size and covered with sugarpaste. I needed to know that there was strength there. One bump in the road and an icing ramp would have cracked before I even got off the drive!

Noah's Arc cake -lions

I shaped the arc part of the cake so that it was only slightly smaller at the bottom than it was at the top. I wasn’t experienced enough to get the icing to stick inwards without causing creases, so I made it a simple design. I used a sharp knife to score ‘plank’ lines horizontally around the ship then every now and again made a vertical line for an end of plank -with two dots for nail marks.Noah's arc cake, snakes

The house was a rectangle of cake with a pitched roof shape on top. I made one square cake large enough to cut up and do all the separate pieces in one go. The house was covered in chocolate sugarpaste and the tiles were made with an oval cutter. Each red ovals was cut in half and then placed from the bottom edge of the roof upwards and were attached with royal icing.

Noah's arc cake, Monkeys

All the Animals were positioned with royal icing except the bees which were made on food standard wire (which is available from cake decorating shops) I made them so they could be placed in the arc after the cake was delivered. they move around like they are buzzing.

When it comes to a Noah’s Arc cake you really can go on and on. Beau and I made way too many animals that just weren’t ever going to fit onto the cake, but the modeling is the fun part and you just can’t stop yourself from playing once you get your hands on the sugarpaste. Well, we had fun anyway!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
%d bloggers like this: