Tuesday, December 20, 2011

60th Birthday

A friend of mine wanted a cake and cupcakes for her dad's 60th birthday. She wanted a simple cake and cupcakes decorated with all his favourite things.

The cake is a coffee cake which I first covered with a dark chocolate ganache. Then I covered it in white fondant and added some gold ribbon round the bottom of the cake. The number 60 was made a week earlier from gumpaste. I was worried that gumpaste alone would not be strong enough to withstand the transportation process, so I used wire as well. I made gumpaste ropes and pushed wire into them. Then I bent the wired gumpaste ropes into the figures 6 and 0. I let them harden for a while, then dry dusted them with gold luster powder. It was quite messy, and I ended up with gold fingers!! :)

The cupcakes were Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese frosting recipe which I use has a high water content, (because I use cream) so the fondant decorations which I placed on top of the cream cheese frosting swirls started to melt!! 

I was horrified when my fondant discs started to melt and droop over the cupcakes!! But luckily they did not disintegrate totally and were still kind of acceptable, as long as I switched off my OCD mode!! lol!

Note to self: fondant on cream cheese frosting is a no no!

So my friend gave me a whole list of stuff  (fondant decor) I could put on the cupcakes. These included his children and grandchildren, and other things like cars and pets. I loaned her my cupcake stand, so the cake went on top and the cupcakes at the bottom. I do not have a photo of the final assembled display, but here are the pics I did take;

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Precious moments

Google Precious Moments and you will find these pretty, innocent, sweet characters.

A friend of mine loves Precious Moments characters, so she ordered a Precious Moments cake from me for her own birthday! :)

I started early on the little girl figurine, just in case there were any disasters, I would have time to redo!

My class with Lorraine McKay helped a lot when it came time to do the figurine. It was very time consuming, but the results were good. Since the little girl was so cute, I didn't want to make the cake too 'busy' with too many decorations. The focus would be on the figurine.

Simple cakes with few adornments are harder to make, because that means you must cover your cake flawlessly, as you cannot hide blemishes with decorations. So, I made sure I ganached the cake well, as that is the basis of all neat, flawless, fondant-covered cakes.

My cake turned out quite well, and although it was one of my best coverings, it was still far from perfect! :) I need plenty of ganaching practice if I ever hope to achieve that elusive, perfect, smooth finish!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cupcakes galore

Here are some cupcakes I made for various potlucks! These are simple, fondant-free cupcakes!

These are mini chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting topped with coloured confetti. This is tthe first time I used the large circle tip, so the frosting doesn't look too great! In fact, they look like mounds of chocolate poop!! Hahahaha...

But they do taste delicious, trust me...  ;)

They were for Annie's first Holy Communion potluck.

These are Red Velvet cupcakes frosted with large 1M swirls of cream cheese frosting and topped with single jumbo heart sprinkles. They were made for the kids' year-end school parties.

I am in love with Red Velvet cupcakes at the moment, have I mentioned that?? :)

Though I find that some batches are nicer than others, and I think it's because of the baking time. Over-baking really makes the cakes drier and tougher, so I have to remember to watch out for that! I still need practice to get consistent results.

Simply gorgeous!

Thomas the Tank Engine

Next up was the Thomas train birthday cake I made for little Tyler who was turning 2. His mummy wanted a two tier cake with Thomas on top.

So the cakes were made of chocolate cake and frosted with chocolate ganache. The bottom tier was made from two 8" square cakes and the top from two 6" round cakes. It was a lot of cake and the whole creation turned out surprisingly heavy!

For the bottom tier, I made a gift box with ribbon design. For the top tier, I created a drippy icing effect round the top of the cake.

Thomas took the most time to complete. He was made from gumpaste and I started work on him a few days ahead of the birthday party. It was quite detailed and I'm happy with the result. It is fully gumpaste and totally edible.

Next time, I might consider using styrofoam as a frame on the inside of Thomas. That would give a better shape and stronger and sharper edges. Though the novelty of it being edible would be gone.... Hmmm... should I?

 Anyway, I don't do many boys' cakes, as most of my kids and sisters' kids are girls!! So it was nice to work with bold colours like dark blue and red for a change instead of the usual pinks and purples! :)

November is missing!

Oh gosh! I let the whole month of November go by without  a single post! I'm so sorry, but life has been a non-stop whirlwind of action for me! (Which is just the way I like it!)

So what have I been up to? Well here are some of the projects I completed:

Here's an army of Buttercups!! :) They're chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting and decorated with fondant.

Only when I looked back at the photos, did I realise that I forgot the little white dots for the reflection in the eyes. It may only be a miniscule dot, but it makes a huge difference. It brings the eyes to life.

My friend also wanted another batch of simple cupcakes and an Angry Bird cake to go with the Power Puff Girl cupcakes. These were chocolate cupcakes with a light cream cheese frosting.

Well, for the Angry Bird cake, I kinda cheated!! :)

Look closely, and you'll see that the figurines are plastic, store-bought ones!! Heh... I didn't have enough time to complete such a large order, so my friend agreed that plastic was fine! Thank goodness!

Anyway, the cake was a yummy red velvet cake and the frosting is the same light cream cheese frosting I used for the chocolate cupcakes. I must say, using plastic figurines saved me an immense amount of time!! I'll be keeping my eyes out for nice plastic figurines to keep at hand in case of last minute emergencies!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

ICCA Annual Wedding Cake Competition 2011

So SIL and I went to KL for a week for our first ever formal cake decorating workshop at ICCA (International Centre of Cake Artistry). We have both  never been to any cake decorating or baking workshop before and it was an amazing experience indeed! I will detail that in the next post.

Anyway, we took a flight to KL on Sunday, the day before the course was to start. We were initially supposed to arrive in the evening, but decided to change our flight to an earlier one in order to catch the last day of the Annual Wedding Cake Competition organized by ICCA.

We do not regret paying the extra money to change the flights, because the cakes at the show were just simply magnificent! SIL and I were snapping away with our cameras! We even had to trudge around with all our luggage, as it was still too early to check into our hotel! :)

Well, here are some of  the amazing entries:

Here are some of my favourites which did not win any prizes:

I think this was the one unbelievably created by a 13-year old!

This Beauty & The Beast cake was gorgeous! Look at her dress and their faces!

This was adorable, not to mention intricate and amazingly detailed!

Here are the winners:

3rd place: The colourful flowers are just gorgeous! She obviously likes Ron Ben Israel's style.

Second place goes to this magnificent creation. I love his painting and intricate royal icing string work! Apparently his girlfriend is the 3rd place winner and both of them are veterans in the cake decorating world. Check out his blog Vinism Sugar Art to see his other masterpieces!

And the first place goes to.... *drumroll*... Kris, my friend from Thailand! I'm so happy for him, he only started dabbling in fondant 9 months ago and look at his mind-blowing cake! Besides being so intricate, the design is totally original and unique! He wins an 8-day trip to Squires Kitchen, UK! I'm so jealous!! Hahahaha...

I met Kris when we were both digging through the same cake decorating books in the Kinokuniya bookstore in Bangkok, and we ended up exchanging blog addresses. Go check out his blog, Bake in Paris.

Congratulations again Kris! Hope you'll join the UK one as well!! That would be so exciting!!
So that was the cake competition... I'll tell you about the workshops we attended next!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Alexis & Lana's wedding

Hubby's close friend Alexis, who is also my childhood friend (neighbour) got married last month and I had the honour of making their wedding cake! Since the wedding was out of town and we had to fly in, I suggested that they have a cupcake tower instead of the traditional tiered wedding cake which would be near impossible to transport!!

So I ended up making a 6" cutting cake to go on top of the cupcake tower and 27 large cupcakes (the exact number that I could squeeze into a 12" square box!) as well as 80 mini cupcakes.

The cake was a chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache and decorated in fondant. The penguin toppers were made from gumpaste and credit for the design goes to Esther (also known as Fliepsiebiep in Flickr). Visit her Flickr page and see her amazingly adorable creations!

The cupcakes were also chocolate cake frosted with a mound of chocolate ganache each! Then I covered them in white textured fondant (I used my floral texture mat) and topped them off with red ribbon roses and black leaves. I also hot glued black ribbon and tiny black bows onto the cupcakes cases. That was too much work for such little effect that next time I think I'll be skipping that part! :)

As for the mini cupcakes, those were red velvet cake with a swirl of cream cheese frosting. This is the first time I have made and eaten red velvet cakes and they blew my mind!! They're my favouritest cake right now!

So from making, to transporting, to assembling this cupcake tower, there was a lot of work involved. But it was all worth it when the bride and groom showed their pleasure at the end product!

Weddings are kinda scary, but now that I am more experienced, I have more courage to take on extra challenges! In December, another one of our friends are getting married and I have agreed to do a wedding cake and a dessert table!! I've been ogling at dessert tables ala Amy Atlas or My Sweet and Saucy, for ages and now I really want to try one myself!! This is gonna be interesting....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Kitty Cookies

Once in a while I get tempted to make cookies. What's not to like about fancy, decorated cookies? They're so pretty and delicious to boot! I think Bridget of Bake at 350 is mostly to blame!! Pop over to her blog and you'll see what I mean!! Her cookies are all sooooo extremely gorgeous!!

 Anyway, every time, without fail, after I slave over my cookies, I promise myself never to make cookies ever again!! It's just that cookies are so much work! I have a teensy weensy oven, so I have to bake in many small batches. Making cookies mean an assembly line of rolling, cutting, refrigerating, baking and repeating over and over and  over again...

These Kitty cookies were no exception. I had to make 30 pieces of iced cookies and another 30 un-iced. I don't think I'll be taking orders for cookies again anytime soon! But I don't think this will be the last time I make cookies either! (I'll succumb to the temptation again, just you wait and see!!)

So anyway, Hello Kitty is fortunately quite a simple design. The cookies were baked then cooled, and decorated with fondant. I used red food color mixed with lemon extract to paint the ribbon. Next time I will make sure to use alcohol, as the color took a long time to dry. I was worried that the cookies were going soft  since I left them out to dry for so long. Yet I could  not pack them or put them in an air tight container until the red was dry!

In the end I packed them while they were still a little bit wet and there was some smudging. I had no choice, as that was better than soft, mushy cookies!!

So I packed them into individual bags, sealed them and hot glued ribbons onto the bags. They turned out pretty nice I must say...

Pooh and Piglet

Here are some 2D cupcakes of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. I got an order for Pooh cupcakes and was very happy to finally be able to use my Pooh cutters.

The cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting. They're all topped with fondant.

They were quite simple and straight forward to make so there's not much I have to say about them! :)

Oh yes, in case you were wondering, one of the cupcakes was purposely left blank for a candle, as per customer's request.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Barney and Friends

Sorry for the headache-inducing, neon colours... I got carried away with Picasa!! :)

I've taken ages to get around to blogging about my cakes that I've pretty much forgotten who I made these for! :)

The big boss

Anyway, they're chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting and the Barney and friends figures are all made from gumpaste. I used some Barney pictures which I Googled as a reference when creating the figures. That's all I can remember and I'm too lazy to refer to my notebook! heh...

So I'll leave you with the pictures! ;)

What's up doc??

So my little boy Solomon celebrated his birthday at home with the Bert and Ernie cake. Now he needed another one to bring to school. I let him choose what he wanted from my Debbie Brown 'Cartoon Characters' book. He was switching between Barney, Thomas the Tank engine and Bugs Bunny. Nearing his birthday, he finally settled on Bugs Bunny. (Mummy might have influenced him a bit, as it's much simpler to make!! hehehe)

The cake is quite easy to make as it's basically just a mound (no corners or edges!) covered in small rolls of orange fondant with a small Bugs on top. I don't even have to cover the cake with a fondant sheet!

I made a madeira cake, which is firm and thus the best for cakes that have to be carved. Bugs was not too hard to create and the carrots were a piece of cake (pun intended), though still a bit of work because of the sheer number of them!

As usual, I'm very happy with the designs from my Debbie Brown book. I'm always waiting for an opportunity to try out another one of her creations!

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