A friend of mine saw my Angelina Ballerina cake, from my previous post, and asked me to make one for her daughter's upcoming birthday. It was such short notice that I initially declined, but after some negotiating, I agreed on making simpler Angelina cupcakes for her instead.
At first, she said that just Angelina's head and some ballet shoes would do, since the cupcakes were small'ish'. But in the end I managed to make a small whole Angelina and it fit nicely on one of the cupcakes. I was thinking that a whole Angelina would make the little birthday girl much, much happier! :)
I recently got four of Debbie Brown's books from Singapore. This one is my favourite! It has all the cute children's characters in them.
I couldn't wait to try out one of her designs and the opportunity came when my niece Alaena celebrated her 6th birthday. She had just started ballet lessons the week before, so I thought an Angelina Ballerina cake would be perfect for her!
This is an orange cake with chocolate ganache filling. The cuppies are orange chocolate chip cake with chocolate ganache topping. All the decorations are fondant except for the cloud on top and Angelina. Those are made from gumpaste.
The cuppies were of course easier to make than the main cake. In her book, Debbie Brown gives ideas for a main cake and also mini cakes. I modified her mini cake designs for the cuppies.
The only thing that went wrong while making this cake, was that I stuck on the clouds too high on the sides of the cake. They were too heavy and dragged the fondant down on the sides. Notice the wrinkles at the bottom of the cake. I should have rolled the clouds thinner so they would not be too heavy, and also stuck them all the way at the bottom so some of their weight could rest on the cake board.
I really love this design. I think every little girl would be happy to have this for her birthday!
Oh yes! I also got to use my new non-toxic sparkle dust! What joy! :) I got a small little jar for RM29.90 from Cake Connection.
The first cake for the year 2011 was a birthday cake for my nephew Marc. He turned 7 and I asked him what he wanted for his birthday cake. He requested for cheesecake with a Pikachu design.
Since cheesecakes are too soft to handle the weight of fondant, I had to either make it a 2D design, or just make a small 3D Pikachu.
I went with a simple 2D design, as I figured it would cover more area and also would take less time! I didn't have much time to decorate the cake, because I took up too much time making the cake!
The cake was a triple layer cheesecake. It had a coffee infused Digestive crust, followed by a chocolate cheese layer, then a white chocolate cheese layer and lastly a coffee cheese layer to top it off. The coffee layer called for Kahlua, but I didn't have any, so I used rum. The coffee flavour is quite strong, so the cake was a hit with the adults, but not so much with the kids!
I am not a coffee drinker, so I thought the cake was just okay and would prefer a fully chocolate one!! :) If you love coffee however, I think you would love this cake.
Here's the recipe below. There's a bit more work than usual, because of the layers, but the results are worth it.
Triple Layer Cheesecake
Ingredients for base:
200g Digestive biscuit crumbs
50g finely crushed cornflakes
30g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 1/2 tbsp hot water
100g melted cooking chocolate Filling:
750g cream cheese (at room temperature)
120g caster sugar
30 g sifted corn flour
300ml whipping cream
4 large eggs A: 100g melted cooking chocolate
2 tbsp sifted cocoa powder B: 100g melted white cooking chocolate
1tsp vanilla essence C: 1 1/2 tbsp coffee powder dissolved in 1/2tbsp hot water
1tbsp Kahlua (optional)
Melt butter in pan over low heat. Add in other ingredients for base and mix well.
Press mixture evenly into a 9" loose-base tin.
Brush melted chocolate onto base and chill till set.
Wrap bottom and side of tin in a layer of aluminium foil so that water from water bath will not seep in.
Preheat oven at 140*C.
Beat cheese, sugar and cornflour until smooth.
Add in cream and mix.
Lastly add in eggs and mix well.
Divide mixture into 3 portions.
Stir ingredients A into one portion and pour onto base.
Place tin in a larger tray filled with water one inch deep.
Bake for 30 mins.
Stir ingredients B into another portion.
Pour onto baked chocolate layer and bake 30 mins.
Stir ingredients C into last portion.
Pour onto baked white chocolate layer and bake 30 mins.
Turn off oven and leave cake inside with door closed to cool completely.
Cover cake and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours.
I had a last order for the year; Thomas the Tank Engine cupcakes.
A friend wanted these for a nephew who was crazy about Thomas and his friends. Having 3 daughters and only one son, I am more familiar with Disney princesses and Barbie and Strawberry Shortcake, so I had to do some research on the net.
I found out that, of course, Thomas the blue engine was the favourite, and the green engine, Percy as well as the red one were quite popular too.
So, I made these three trains and also the fat controller whom I found to be so adorable.
I was told the birthday boy was very happy with the cupcakes and that's what makes me the happiest! :)
For our 10th anniversary, two days after Christmas, I made a banana rum cheesecake. The recipe is courtesy of my friend Ophelia. You can find it on her blog, where she so graciously shares so many of her wonderful recipes.
The cheesecake was scrumptiously rich, with delightful chunks of bananas and laced with rum. I love anything banana; banana cake, banana muffins, banana chips, banana cereal... you get the drift. Not only was it loaded with banana, but it was topped with a chocolate ganache as well! My kind of heaven... *sigh*
You can find her recipe here, on her blog, where she provides in-depth instruction which is very helpful. The only changes I made was to soak the raisins in the rum first and I left the prepared crust in the freezer for about 15 minutes before topping with the cheese mixture (I didn't have enough time to leave it overnight). I also used walnuts instead of pecans, because they're so hard to find here.
A banana rum cheesecake will no doubt be more exotic and less popular than the usual safe choices like New York cheesecake, or chocolate cheesecake. But for those who like it, they will really love it! I had a guest who was so amazed by it that she asked me if she could order one!
So what are you waiting for? Get the recipe and have a go at it!
Another order I had the weekend before Christmas was a birthday cake for a Daddy and his two kids. Since their birthdays were near Christmas, Mummy wanted the cake to be both a birthday and a Christmas cake.
I did two tiers of chocolate cake and covered them in light blue fondant. Then I stuck on some white snowflakes.
Making the cake toppers was the fun part. I made three penguins, a daddy one, a girl one and a boy one. The little girl had a pink bow, an orange scarf, and a birthday cake...
Brother had a striped woolly cap and was busy with some snowballs...
while daddy in his blue ear muffs, was in charge of the Christmas tree lights...
So this is the third piece which my friend ordered, together with the high heel cake and the Sesame Street cuppies. It's a princess tiara, similar to one I made almost a year ago.
It's a chocolate cake with fondant covering and a gumpaste tiara. I made the gumpaste tiara weeks ahead, for fear that I would not have enough time to complete all my orders! I had 5 orders that crazy weekend, before Christmas...
I think I've had enough of commercial baking for the meantime... :)
I love Sesame Street. I grew up watching Big Bird and Mr Snuffleupucus (I have no idea how to spell that!)! So when my friend wanted cupcakes for her 2 year-old, I suggested Sesame Street ones and was so happy when she agreed!
It would have been much, much easier to make them out of buttercream. All you had to do was pipe the fur on with a grass tip. But, I decided to use gumpaste to make hard discs for their faces instead. It would definitely be more time consuming and also more difficult, but I thought they would look sooo much nicer. I love clean, simple and neat designs.
So, first off I made the round'ish' gumpaste discs for the faces a couple of weeks ahead. The discs had to have time to harden so they could sit nicely on top of buttercream swirls without bending.
Then I added the fondant features to the faces. This was the most time consuming (but fun) part.
So, I baked a dozen chocolate cupcakes and topped them with large swirls of silky, vanilla flavoured Swiss meringue buttercream.
A friend of mine wanted a birthday cake for her sister-in-law who was turning 22. She told me that the birthday girl loved shopping and shoes. So I decided to make a high heel cake for her.
I did some research on the net and found a very useful video on YouTube, by The Pink Cakebox, a bakery that does amazing cakes in the US. It comes in three parts, here's the link to the first part, and you will find the links to part 2 and 3 there as well.
So I did as instructed; bought a brand new (cheap of course) pair of heels and stripped the tops off. Then I used gumpaste to form the gumpaste heel and left it on the real shoe to dry.
I think I rolled the gumpaste out too thin, so when I removed the gumpaste heel from the real shoe weeks later, it broke into two! :(
But no matter, I just glued the two pieces back and used some fondant rolls at the bottom of the heel to support and keep the two pieces together.
The shoebox is made from a coffee flavoured madeira cake and covered with black and white fondant. I used pink fondant for the writing, but it was too light and did not stand out on a white background. Next time I must remember to use darker colours for writing.
This cake was only one of three which my friend ordered on the same day. They liked this one the best. I liked the Sesame street cupcakes the most. I'll put those in my next post.
I absolutely love food and I adore all things beautiful! So what else could possibly surpass gorgeously decorated cakes, cookies, pastries and such? They're beautiful, and even better, they're edible! Therefore, I have decided to teach myself baking and cake decorating and I shall document my attempts on this, my humble blog. Wish me luck!