I haven’t really shared websites with you guys before but after being introduced to this one by a photographer on a recent shoot (thanks Si) I just had to. It amazes me what people have the patience to make and to the most intricate detail. Pimp my snack is basically your old school favorite snacks gone big. I mean really big!
But it’s the attention to detail and the moulds the people have made (as shown on each post) that is just fantastic. Each post has step shots so you can see exactly what has gone into the production from the measuring and shaping to the detail of the wording. Like on this Custard or should I say ‘bastard’ cream!
Just look at the wrapping on this Trio! Amazing.
And the chick on the side of this giant Cream Egg. It really looks like the real thing.
Big KitKat and even bigger KitKat!
Those chocolate dipped stick thingies. Check out how they dipped them. So funny!
And the one I want to eat the most! A giant Quality Street triangle made with Nutella! Nom, Nom, nommmm.
I hope these make you laugh as much as they did us. But be warned. Once you start looking you get sucked in. It’s a bit like Pinterest. You just can’t get enough of it!
This is my friend Emma. Have I mentioned that in my adult life I am surrounded by Emmas? This Emma is a mum from Beau’s year but in Darcey there are three of us Emma Mums. When I used to work at Woman and Home magazine there were 6 working in the office at one time – with freelancers! That’s where the EmmaMT comes from. How else do you distinguish between us all!
Anyway back to the cake! This is probably one of the biggest cakes I’ve made. I mean, I’ve stacked cakes before but for one cake this is the biggest. I learnt quite a few lessons making it too, so I thought I would share my top tips with you.
1. Bake one cake at a time
Making up one 8″ Madeira cake mix for a 10″ tin will give a really great depth to each layer. I also discovered that if I bake each cake with a sheet of silicon paper loosely placed over the top of the tin the cake comes out completely flat. And I mean completely! No raised, cracked, doming and no excess to cut off.
I’ve since covered all my Madeira cakes with silicon paper whilst baking and they have all come out nice and flat. This makes me very happy!
2. Use a cake ruler to get the sides straight
Remember the side scraper I talked about last year? Well, that has become one of my most valuable tools. When it came to covering this cake in buttercream I did it in two stages so that I was sure it was straight. I used the side scraper on each 3/4 layers when I did the crumb coating but when it came to stacking all the cakes together the scraper wasn’t tall enough so, I used a pink cake ruler.
The cake ruler has one straight side and one serated (I must use that serated side for something one day!) It’s pretty sturdy for a piece of plastic and did a great job of making sure the whole cake was smooth and the sides were at a 90º angle. I simply added a thin layer of buttercream to the crumb coating then stood the ruler along the side of the cake and carefully scraped around the side and voila! One tall covered cake!
n.b. I had to remove a shelf in my fridge to get the cake in to chill the buttercream!
3. You can have any colour cake
I played around with getting the icing for this cake the right colour. Emma showed me her colour scheme and I had a drop of her nail varnish for the big night to match it to. That was a first! Teal is a pretty difficult color to match and I had nightmares that when I delivered the cake I was going to find that it was too dark/ too green/ or just plain wrong – but in the end it was perfect! I mixed food colours in turquoise and mint green to get the end result.
When mixing up a strong shade like this it’s a good idea to colour your sugarpaste ahead. Not only will you know you’re happy with the colour, but if you colour the sugarpaste the day before you cover your cake it will be less sticky and more steadfast- or in other words your hands won’t go teal!
Another top tip is to make sure your sugarpaste is pretty thick when you roll it out so when you lift it over the cake any stretching will be hidden and won’t result in a tear. It also means that you’ll be able to smooth it really easily.
4. You can make really gold flowers
These were the first gold flowers I had ever made and I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get such a shiny, lustre result. The way I did it was by colouring my white modeling paste in Autumn leaf food colouring paste. I then made the flowers and used a gold lustre powder mixed with a little rejeunvanator liquid and painted them all over. I also painted my fingers and most of my kitchen table! Once dry the roses were just as I wanted them. When wet they were a sticky mess that makes everything go gold! So you have been warned. Put the flowers somewhere where you can paint them and move them without actually having to touch them.
I left them to dry overnight.
5. Don’t overstack the cakes!
I made these layers individually, colouring the cake mix before it went into the oven. Then I made sure that each layer was the same depth. The trouble is that cakes are quite heavy and sugarpaste is REALLY heavy so the cakes on the bottom levels became a little compacted. It didn’t effect the taste – just the look.
Next time I will add a thin board inbetween the middle layers with dowels to hold the weight of the top layers. That way they won’t get squished!
So that’s my top tips with this tall rainbow cake. If you have any tips then please leave me a comment below and let me know how you decorate cake. Every little tip makes the decorating so much more fun. and it’s great to share the knowledge, don’t you think?
How to you approach an exhibition where you are bombarded with new ideas and great looking products that you just have to have all around you?
I tend to have an allocated budget (that quite often goes out of the window when I see that last great thing!) For Cake International I tried to stick to around £50. I tend to find that if I spend more than that the chances of actually using my new tool goes out the window. It also means that I have to really want it to part with my cash.
So what did I splash my cash on? I’ll show you….
The Silicon Mat
This mat although made from Silicon actually feels more like rubber. It’s got a bit more give in it and is super slippy when it comes to rolling out pastry. I can’t wait to give it a go on sugarpaste.
It’s easy to wash (and dry as it’s a bit smaller than my Ikea one) and it also seems to stick to the work surface a lot better. I am going to make a big effort not to cut out any sugarpaste decorations on this one as that’s the number one way I cut holes my mats!
The Polka Dotter
These are a really new tool (or at least I haven’t seen them before) that you use to mark out dots in sugarpaste evenly around the edge of a cake. The top one marks out the spacing so you can have a thin or thick ribbon underneath your dots- depending on which way up you use it. The bottom one allows you to have loads of dots. All you have to do is add a pearl of piped royal icing to each indent or a flower- anything! I can’t wait to have a play with these.
The acrylic rolling pin
I love my white silicon rolling pin but when I saw these acrylic ones I was intrigued. The man on the stand was telling us that the demonstrators had seen them when he was setting up, bought them and they were everywhere at the show due to their non stick abilities and the fact that they just look so good! And he was right. Everyone demonstrating did seem to have one! What a sales pitch! I resisted buying the 20″ one and went for the 13″ instead. It’s excellent and really doesn’t stick as much as my other pins. I may be going back for the larger size!
One of the demonstrators used a palette knife to scrape along the back of a patchwork cutter and the modelling paste just seemed to pop out. I have never seen that done before.
I already have a few palette knives but I am of the opinion that you can never have too many so here’s my latest. If you haven’t got one I would highly recommend them. They’re really useful for picking up thin and fragile pieces of sugarpaste- even when they’re stuck to the surface. They’re super thin and bendy at the tip which makes them so versatile. The stand at the show where I bought this one doesn’t sell on line but you can get similar from Amazon.
I love ribbons. I have a ton so this was a real indulgence for me but I couldn’t walk past this ribbon stand without buying the rulers ribbons at least. I collect wooden rulers – especially folding ones so I was drawn to these designs. I don’t know where I am going to use them. It won’t be on a cake as that is just too much of a waste. Beau has already told me that the pink one would look good on her Monster High doll! Cute aren’t they?
The biggest benefit of buying at a show is that most of the stands are selling at lower prices than they do on their websites so it balances out the cost of your entry ticket. My only regret is not going back for the litre bottle of Madagascar vanilla extract which was just £20. It’s around £5 for a tiny bottle in the supermarkets but I didn’t want to lug it around the whole show and then I forgot! Also Mum went back to buy a silicon piping bag which I thought was fab. Oh well, there’s always next year!
Yesterday I went to the second ever Cake International show at Excel in London. I have it on good authority that the show has had a 70% increase on last years attendance proving that the baking bug is still alive and strong. And as you walk around the show you can see why.
Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood opened the show and when my mum and I arrived they were busy doing demonstrations and a Q and A session in the Bakery theatre. Mary looked her lovely self and Paul had a constant cheeky grin on his face. He does make me laugh.
The show has over 80 exhibitors offering all the latest in sugarcraft, cake decorating and baking supplies, but it’s the very talented cake decorators on these stalls showing how to get different techniques that makes this such a valuable show to attend. I loved how this decorator showed us ruffles. She also had some cakes entered into the competitions. She’s one talented lady!
The first area we headed for were the competition cakes. The judges were all in action- as it was the first day and the tables were sectioned off which meant we couldn’t get too close to all the cakes. There are loads of categories and the criteria is very seriously looked at. If you do one thing incorrectly you can get disqualified. Some must be made of all edible ingredients – no supports or ‘props’, some are allowed to be fake cakes as the judging is on the sugarcrafting talent. The bakers dozen cupcakes are cut open and tasted and judged on that as well as how they look. One judge told us that the children’s cakes are looked at with a sympathetic eye. If a cake made by someone under 12 has a little crack in the sugarpaste “we might turn a blind eye”. To be honest these kids cakes were amazing! I mean they are under 12!!
While we were looking at some of the novelty cakes a full size head from a Terminator cake came toppling off it’s shoulders. Someone must have knocked the table it was on to get a closer look. Mum and I have never been so pleased to have been so far away that we knew it wasn’t us who wobbled that table! A judge had to come over and pick the head up off the floor. Poor Arnie’s sugarpaste nose was all squashed in and dented. We felt so bad for the cake decorator. It must have been devastating to see that your cake had been damaged before it had even been judged.
The cupcakes in the competition were beautiful and displayed in the most amazing ways.
This is the cupcake entry by the ruffle cake decorator lady (I wish I got her name!) She incorporated her cupcakes into this face design which she told us only took 6 hours to do the day before!
Mmmmm maggots in your cupcake!
The display for this Magic Roundabout cupcake entry was brilliant, but why did the judges have to cut poor Dougal in half to taste test… especially with that jam filling in the centre!
These tiny models on these cupcakes were amazingly intricate
We loved the birds and flowers on these cupcakes
The novelty cakes were just amazing. The details that people can achieve is just awe inspiring.
I would love to be able to do airbrushing like this!
I love the simplicity on the side of this cake.
Beau asked if this Rocking horse cake actually rocked. It looked so real I almost think it could!
That apple is sugarpaste! Amazing!
The detail in this house was outstanding. Just look at the bottles in the room below. Not only is this an amazing thing to make, but the fact that it could be transported without getting broken – like so many others is a feat in itself!
The tiered cakes were really beautiful. Some had such simple designs that were so effective, some had really garish colour combinations but in all they were fantastic.
So, in all it is a pretty great show with tons of interactive workshops, demonstration theatres and lots to buy! The show is on till Sunday 14th April. Visit www.cakeinternational.co.ukfor more information.
Cake International – The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show
12-14 April 2013
Children free if accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket, otherwise £5.00
I’ve been making these simple flowers for my cakes for years. In fact I am pretty sure these were the very first plunger cutters I ever bought. That was back at the start. Now I have tons of different shapes and styles of cutters and all because they are really easy to use and create the best effects. All you need is a little imagination and you can do all sorts of things with them.
These flowers are a doddle to make as I will show you below. I tend to make a ton in one go as they are quite brittle and I’m very good at breaking them, but also because they keep for ages in an air tight container (indefinitely really if you keep them dry) and they are great to have to hand when you make a cake in a hurry.
How to make sugarpaste flowers
These blossom cutters are the most commonly available. They come in a set of 4 and are available from Amazon (see them on this link Flower Blossom Cutter Plunger). I use this shape on it’s own and layer them up using really thin fondant. The tiny one makes very cute flowers that are really easy to break but look so cute on a cake. They are also perfect centres for other flower shapes.
The daisy cutters are really good for lots of different looks. If you layer the same size flower up so the petals overlap eachother they look really pretty but you can also layer up different sizes, add a small blossom flower in the centre or as I have done above, add small yellow circles (also done with a plunger cutter) to make them look like a traditional daisy. (See these cutters on Amazon on this link Daisy Cutter Plunger)
The first step is to roll out your sugarpaste on a hard surface. The reason for this is that once you have cut out the flower it will stick to the plunger. Before you lift the plunger up away from the surface, move it from side to side a little. This removes any burrs of sugarpaste that remain. Alternatively, you can gently wipe your finger across the bottom of the plunger to get the same result. The idea is to have nice sharp edges with no fuzzy bits.
Press the plunger to release the flower. If it sticks give it a shake and next time very lightly dust the flower part of the cutter with icing sugar.
It’s a really good idea to get your hands on an artists palette. I’ve had loads of these over the years and my favorites are always the ones with deep recesses. This little 6 hole one is my latest addition. Just 79p from Hobbycraft. By placing the flower inside the recess of the palette you give the petals shape. You don’t have to shape the flowers though. They still look good when they are flat.
To layer up the flowers add a tiny amount of water to the centre of each flower. Sugarpaste is very sticky when wet so you really don’t need much.
When adding the next flower position the plunger directly over the centre of the base flower and push gently into it to create a firm connection between the two layers. You can stop there or keep on going- adding more flowers. Remember that the thinner the sugarpaste the better the flower will look.
The flowers now need to be left overnight to harden up enough to handle. They will be fragile so use a dry paintbrush to dislodge one side of the flower when you are ready to remove them and they should just slide out of the palette easily.
The end result…. but we’re not finished!
Once hardened the flower can be attached to cakes. You can add them as they are onto cupcakes but when I add them onto celebration cakes I add a small finishing touch. Add a small dab of royal icing onto the back of the flower. If you add too much it will squidge out and show from the front and it will also mean the flower is likely to slip slide down the cake. Add just a tiny dot the size of the base of the back of the flower. Position the flower on the cake and hold it in place with your finger for around 30 seconds. That’s all it takes for it to stick.
The finishing touch is a tiny dab of royal icing in the centre of the flower. This can be any colour and it really finishes off the flowers.
And there you have it. Simple yet effective sugarpaste flowers.
p.s. I have used sugarpaste but you can also use modelling paste or flower paste in exactly the same way. The flowers will harden much quicker.
Have you heard of Minecraft? I hadn’t until recently. It’s a computer game that the boys in Beau’s class are really into. I went from being completely clueless to having two Minecraft cakes to make in as many weeks! I really didn’t know where to start with this cake. It needed to have loads of slices. When I make cakes for friends (especially Beau’s little friends) I like to create enough cake for the party guests AND for the family to have some at home. Tim had the great idea of creating layers after I showed him screen grabs of what the game looked like. Genius I thought.
How to make a Minecraft Birthday cake
I started off by baking two Chocolate Madeira cakes (the large one was an 8″ and the small one was a 6″- I made double the recipe here and split it between the two tins)
The smaller cake was cut up so that I had two ‘L’ shaped cakes to create the steps. I think it’s probably a bit obvious where the two left over cake pieces went – yep straight onto my hips!
Check that the cakes sit nicely on top of each other. Too small and it will be hard to cover them, too big and the cake won’t be stepped enough.
Hopefully you will have covered your cake board with sugarpaste a week (or at least a few days) in advance.
Slice the large cake in two and fill with chocolate buttercream (the recipe for which is on this post). Cover the whole cake with a thin layer of buttercream then position the green rolled out sugarpaste over the cake. Smooth until as flat as is possible. Remove the excess sugarpaste and secure the cake on the cake board with a little royal icing.
Cover both the ‘L’ shaped pieces of cake by coating first in buttercream then sugarpaste. Don’t try and slice it in half to put buttercream in the centre. It’s very fiddly and messy and doesn’t work on such a small piece. The buttercream used to coat the cake and make the sugarpaste stick will moisten the cake enough.
Smooth the sugarpaste with a cake smoother and use a spoon to get into those awkward internal corners.
Position the larger of the ‘L’s onto the cake with Royal icing. Then repeat with the second ‘L’ shape.
To make the individual pixels squares – roll out the three shades of sugarpaste. If you do all three at the same time they will be relatively the same thickness.
Use a square cutter to press out lots and lots of squares all the same size. These are going to be the floor.
Secure each square pixel to the floor by dampening it with a paintbrush. Don’t use too much water as it will stain the cake. Dry off the excess water from the brush on the side of the pot first.
Add pixels on each level where there is a floor till you have done all three.
I tried to make the model of Mini Josh for the cake look like him and also look pixelated at the same time. I cut out cubes and rectangles in sugarpaste with the relevant cutters and used tooth picks in his legs and into his body to hold him secure. This also meant that once he had been made I could stand him up and push the tooth picks into a polystyrene fake cake and left him there leaning against box to dry for a while. (A couple of days- it’s a good idea to make the model when you cover the cake board)
Use a little royal icing to secure the model to the cake. The toothpicks can only do so much.