Category: modelling

Amelia’s Brightly coloured birthday cake

bright birthday cake

This is a cake I made for Amelia who is in Darcey’s class. It was for her sleepover party and we (the mum’s of the party goers) were all informed that Amelia wanted everyone to wear bright colours, so it stands to reason that the cake was going to be nice and bright as well.

Amelia is a proper cutie. I actually thought she was going to be 6 as she is so weeny next to Darcey. Good job I checked! She has this super cute voice and wears her hair in bunches all the time and that’s where the idea for the little Amelia model came from. It was also the picture on her birthday invite which made things a little easier for me!

girls bright birthday cake

I wanted to keep things pretty simple for this cake and let the bold colours stand out, so, I made up loads of little square presents in sugarpaste then added ribbons in a contrasting colour. The bows on top were made using a silicoln mould. You can get them on Amazon. I just did a search for my one which is a Karen Davies Ballerina Ballet Mould and found a load of others that would be perfect. I really like the   Three piece JEM Bows Cutter Set . I think that would come in very handy!

named cake

To finish off the bottom I wrote Amelia’s name in thick sugarpaste and left it to dry for about 30 minutes. I like letters to still be quite malleable when I attach them to the cake so that they can bend with any curves. But they need to be firm enough to stand up. I use a little royal icing to hold them onto the cake.

edging a birthday cake

Rather than using ribbon along the base of the cake I made little balls of coloured sugarpaste.

To make sure each ball was the same size I rolled out the sugarpaste – using spacer bars, then used a circle cutter to cut out however many balls I needed in each colour. Because it’s a measured roll out I know that each ball uses the same amount of sugarpaste and therefore once rolled in my hands they’ll all be the same size. All that’s left is to attach each one to the cake board with a little royal icing.

EmmaMT

P.S. Sorry all you love birds. This is a Valentine free zone! But I still love you all. x

Cake Pops – Christmas. Book review

 

 

Hands up who wants to make festive cake pops this Christmas?  Once you take a look at the cute designs in this book you’re certainly going to want to.

Bakerella is an American blogger (aka the lovely Angie Dudley). She’s the original cake pop developer.  She’s written books including Cake Pops and Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for Irresistible Mini Treats
….but her latest one Cake Pops: Christmas (Bakerella), Chronicle books, couldn’t have been better timed.


So what’s in the book?

Getting started with cake pops

If you’ve never made cake pops before then this is the chapter for you. It shows you step by steps on how to go about it. There’s a handy trouble shooting section (which I really need)

The recipes in this chapter are exactly what you want to get started including yellow cake, chocolate cake and red velvet cake. The frosting flavour recipes are Buttercream and cream cheese frosting (my fave)

The ‘Tools and techniques’ section is full of tips on how to create the shapes you need for each project in the book. There’s also a large section on working with Candy Melts. The first time I used candy melts I was surprised by how thick they were. I thought they would be just be like melted chocolate or floppy buttercream. In fact they are somewhere in between. That’s why the low down on how to use them is really handy.  I didn’t know where to start when it came to colouring them or thinning them out. I just did it by trial and error.

Cake Pops Bakerella
Easy to follow steps

There are all sorts of extras you can use to decorate your cake pops. You probably have lots already in your baking cupboard. Sprinkles, pearls, cookie cutters etc but Angie shows two pages of cute edibles you can use like Polos, mini cookies, pretzel sticks, small sweets like TicTacs or M&M’s. The list is as endless as your imagination..

Displaying and gifting

Knowing how to display your masterpieces is a bit of a mare when you first start out. They are top-heavy and wet when you make them so keeping them from not getting damaged at the initial stages is the most important bit for me, but making them look fantastic to give as a gift is the next step. As Angie says “Plan ahead” if you need to travel with your cake pops I would suggest using a polystyrene block but if they are staying home then there are all sorts of other ideas she has from glassware to wood displays. There are other really cute gifting ideas here too, but I’m not going to give the game away!

Christmas cake pop projects

There are so many cute and very, clever ideas in this book that I can’t mention them all. I’ll just share a few of my faves with you. There’s a ….

    • The wreath
    • Stuffed stockings
    • Jingle bells

      Cake pops - Christmas
      These look so real that they don’t look edible, but they are!
    • Pretty presents
    • Red nosed reindeer

      Cake pops, by Bakerella, Christmas
      Such cute and clever reindeer pops
  • Ornaments

    Christmas cake pops
    Simplicity is the key here.
  • Gingerbread houses
  • Snow globes
  • And just for good measure and because it’s Chanukah – Driedles (how cool are these?)

    Channuka cake pops
    I have to make these!

……..and that’s just a few! In total there are 22  winters themed pops.

Resources

This section is mainly recommending places in the US where you can buy the equipment for making cake pops, but alternatives are available here  in the UK. My local cake shop stocks most of these things. You can check out their website at www.cakecraftshop.co.uk

Cake pop image index

I think this is a really great idea. Have mini pics of all the recipes/ shapes/ designs on one page with their page number on it so you can instantly see where you need to be. Genius!

 

I love books like this. There are endless inspiring designs and hints and tips throughout, my favorite of which are…..

“Don’t push the lollipop sticks in more than half way into the cake pops” – Been there. Done that. They just go all the way through and make a big mess.

“Don’t dip frozen cake pops”. Yuck

So what Cake pops are you making this year? Do any of these designs grab your fancy?  I’d love to know.

How to make a Lego Birthday cake

Beau is really into Lego. I mean REALLY into it. It’s all she want’s to do first thing in the morning. We bought her Olivia’s House for her birthday a couple of weeks ago and she has been dressed and ready for school by 7am every morning so she can play with it until it’s time to leave.

She’s always liked the regular ‘old school’ stuff that Tim used to play with when he was kid, but since the prettyLEGO Friends  girly Lego came out she has a new-found love. What was a collection of red, white, brown and black bricks has now been added to with pinks, lilacs, purples and oranges. So much more femme.  She creates houses, hotels, beds, kitchens. You name it for a house and she has probably fashioned it out of Lego. So for her 9th birthday it was no brainer what she wanted her cake to be.

The Lego cake

I decided that as there weren’t too many friends coming along to her cinema trip birthday celebration I would do what I did with her cake last year and make individual cakes for all the guests. One large purple Lego brick was for Beau and each friend had their own smaller (but still decent size) mini cake to take home.

How to make a Lego cake

The Cake Board

For this cake I decided the best way to set it out was to have one large rectangular drum board (16″x 14 “) for all the small thin boards (4″x4″) to sit on. I only iced the top half of the board so that the smaller ones would sit perfectly alongside each other without moving around too much.

To get the Lego look on the cake boards I tried out a few techniques but the one I had the most success with was using the top of a Lego base board to imprint divits into the sugarpaste. Ideally I would have liked to have had those little Lego dots sticking out on the top but the sugarpaste just wouldn’t come out of the board evenly and it just looked messy. So I used the reverse look. No-one seemed to mind- not even Beau.

Once the icing was rolled out and adhered to the board with a damp sponge I placed the largest Lego base board I could get my hands on and pressed it into the sugarpaste. (I should mention here that I did give it a really good clean first. You know how mucky kids can be!) I measured 8” from the non-sugarpasted side and cut a straight line across, removing any excess before leaving it to dry out.

For the smaller boards I used the same method only I placed the cake board under the sugarpaste and smoothed it with my hands. The excess was only removed after the Lego imprints were made as the sugarpaste tends to squidge out at the sides as you press or roller the divits in. 

To shape a Lego cake

I started off with two square cakes, which were leveled and sliced into even rectangles. 

When shaping chocolate cake it can be a bit of a nightmare. My recipe is so fresh that it just crumbles as you touch it. I often try to leave a chocolate cake over night before I shape it or add buttercream to avoid the crumb nightmare that usually ensues!

But I made this cake in the morning and had to decorate it in the evening. To combat the crumbling effect I placed the shaped cakes in the fridge for around 15-20 minutes to let them firm up a little.

I made sure that the chocolate buttercream was softer than usual by adding a little extra milk. This makes it easier to apply to the cakes with a pallette knife. I didn’t worry too much about making it neat. I just covered each cake and popped it in the fridge to firm up.

In hindsight I wish I had placed a layer of buttercream in a middle layer but I have a sneaking suspicion that the cakes really would have ended up as mush! 

Once they have been chilled cover each cake with sugarpaste. Smooth each side and make each corner as square as possible. Remove the excess and set to one side. 

To make the tops of the bricks I used my circle plungers and ‘stuck’ each one down with a touch of Royal icing.

Each Brick was positioned onto it’s baseboard with some Royal icing. Some facing front, some to one side to add a little interest. 

Names were added to each cake.

I then positioned the mini boards onto the large one, again using royal icing to hold them in place.

At the very last minute I decided that the cake needed something else so I made a Lego Beau. She loved it and she is sitting on our kitchen window sill right now.

After we sang happy birthday each cake was individually wrapped up and given with the goodie bags.

I like doing these individual cakes for birthday parties. It feels extra special for everyone to have their very own cake. Don’t you think?

EmmaMT

Squires Kitchen ‘BAKE School’ magazine review

Have you seen this magazine on the shelves yet? I got my hands on the second issue this week and it’s really, really good. I don’t buy many baking magazines – if I started I don’t think I’d stop and what with all the interiors titles I buy for work I’d be drowning in piles and piles of paper!

Squires kitchen, for those of you who don’t know, is a baking shop/school/ haven. It’s based in Farnham in Surrey and has people coming from all over the world to learn how to master the art of decorating cakes and cookies, modelling, sugarcrafting and much, much more. Their baking ingredients and equipment are so readily available the chances are you already have a ton of it in your baking cupboard without even realising it. They have had a fantastic  Wedding magazine for a while but this new ‘Bake school’ is right up my street and so probably yours too.

So what’s in it?

Recipes to start with, and lots and lots of them. Most are by the Squires tutors but there’s also a few experts thrown in for good measure, Mary Berry, Edd Kimber and Carlos Lischetti to name but a few. There are also tons and tons of tips. Really simple things that make a difference to being a successful baker. How to line a cake tin, how to colour icing, how to pipe a cupcake, which nozzle give which effect etc

The features in this issue

Biscuits

There are loads of recipes as well as beautiful decorating ideas from stencilling and embossing to flooding and stained glass effects

Cupcakes

Recipes including very vanilla, triple chocolate and some basic how to’s on piping buttercream to more complex designs. I love the butterfly cupcakes with the iced cookies in them and the cupcakes that really look like roses. They’re incredible.

Cakes

Raspberry Victoria Sponge anyone? Or a pretty layered cake, like the one on the cover? Yes, please!  There are also some dairy free, wheat and gluten cakes as well.

Chocolate

Well what can I say. You will want to make all of these recipes from Mud cake to chocolate chilli cupcakes, Chocolate fondant puddings to chocolate and walnut brownies to name but a few.

Dessert

I love desserts. In fact I nearly love them more than cakes – but don’t tell anyone! This is one chapter that I have folded down the page corners on every page! Swiss Meringues that are so pretty, Eaton Mess Meringue cakes, Mango tart, yum, yum, yum!

Bread

I’ve only recently discovered the fun of baking bread. I have loved making pizza bases this week. They are so much better than shop bought ones. George Thomopoulos, Squires expert bread baker, shares his tried and tested recipes for brown malted loaf, bloomer and rolls and Focaccia – this is what I’m making next.

Also worth checking out ….

  • Susanna Righetto’s sugarcraft flowers. You could sell them in a florists shop they look so real.
  • The interview with Edd Kimber, winner of the first series of The Great British Bake off.
  • Plum chutney and a jam recipe to accompany other recipes.
  • In the kitchen with Carlos Lischetti – this man makes models from modelling clay that are incredible. They are so beautiful you could put them on a shelf as an ornament. They are the epitome of perfect.

Bake school is available from WHSMith, Sainsbury’s and selected newsagents for £5.99 or you can buy it directly from the Squires on line shop, but beware, you’ll come away with a lot more than you bargained for if you let yourself loose in the shop. It’s a treasure trove of baking goodies!

Do you buy baking magazines? Which ones are your favorites and why? I’d love to know what to look out for.

enjoy!

Mr Men Birthday cake

When Beau was 6 she was really into Mr Men and Little Misses books. She couldn’t decide which character to have for her cake so we decided that we would have a Mr Men and Little Misses picnic cake. Mr Strong and Mr Bump were made of cake and the smaller ones, Mr Small, Little Miss Tiny and Little Miss Twins were solid sugarpaste.

All the characters were sitting on a picnic blanket, which was on grass. Of course any cake board that has grass has to have flowers, so I filled the green space with loads of pretty blossom flowers in different colours.
Mr Men picnic cake - Mr Bump birthday cake
Mr Bump was really good fun to do. I had a job sticking the arms on. In the end I used cocktail sticks and edible glue. His arm fell off just as the party guests were arriving. I quickly applied a bit of royal icing and that did the trick!

Mr Men picnic cake

Mr Strong was the first tall squarish cake I ever made. It was a job to get the sides even and flat before the sugarpaste was applied. I’m not very good at seeing when things aren’t straight or even. You should see the shelves I’ve put up in the house in the past! If I had a £1 for every cake Tim looked at and said “It’s not straight!” I’d be a rich girl right now!

Mr Men picnic cake

I must have been in a reall hurry (or just plain inexperienced) when I made Mr Small. Look at all those lines! He’d never look like that if I made him now! I’ve learnt that you need to work the sugarpaste to get it to roll nice and smooth. Then leave it alone!!!

Mr Men picnic cake

I had loads of fun making the plates and sandwiches. I think the Little Miss Twins are eating a tomato and cucumber sandwich. What do you think?

Mr Men picnic cake

How cute is Little Miss Tiny? I love adding loads of extra details to a cake or cake board. I could have gone on for ever with this design. It was so much fun to do.

enjoy! 

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 CakesBakesAndCookies.com.  (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!

EmmaMT

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