Sunday, 19 July 2015

Giant Cupcake M1

 I was so excited to make this cake, I have had the tin for probably about a year but have never been able to use it, so when the chance arose I jumped at it.

Our Uncle is not doing so well and we had family from all around come to Christchurch to visit him for a very special "High Tea". We used this High Tea to also celebrate both his Sister's and Mother's birthdays which are later on in this month, and this is where I come in. Cake Time!

I did some research on Pinterest and picked a few designs that I liked and of course threw most of them out the window, I decided to make Aunty Lyn a giant cup cake and Nana a Lace and Roses cake.

I had "pinned" a tutorial for a giant cupcake earlier using candy melts as the patty case, so onto The Cake Shop to get some candy melts and a few other bits and pieces. I had decided on Blue "patty case" and yellow buttercream for the icing.

Being ever prepared I decided to make the butterflies and flowers the day before I needed assemble the cake. I coloured a small amount of fondant to match the blue candy melts, using my Wilton roller with the Pink rings I rolled it out and cut the butterflies, tip for any of you who can't work the plunger cutters first you need to cut, don't try to cut and press the plunger once you have cut the shape then press down the plunger to emboss the shape. Then bend them down the middle of the butterfly and leave over an edge, I used my Little Venice Company Flower Pad, and they will dry and set like this to give a 3D effect.

I also decided to make up some wee flowers, I coloured some fondant pink and cut out some flowers in one size and then using the left over blue fondant I used a smaller flower plunger so I now have 2 different sizes. Using a small ball tool and a flower sponge press lightly in the middle of the flowers so the petals roll up. Then I "glued" the smaller flower to the larger flower using a teeny, tiny amount of water and pressing down lightly again with the ball tool to secure. Then again I use a very small amount of water in the middle of the flower and placed a sugar pearl. I let them dry on the flower board as well. 

 How exciting this was going to be the first time using my new electric fondue set to melt the chocolate, much easier and quicker than on the stove top and no chance of burning like in the microwave, a crafty idea given to me by Morgan from The Cake Shop and it was great as it kept the chocolate melted while I took my time coating the pan. Not to mention so easy.

So as with the tutorial I pinned on Pinterest I used a silicone pastry brush to coat the pan the first coat which wasn't pretty but the main goal is to get it into all the wee crevices and something you must remember is to use a paper towel and wipe the top edge clean.

Instructions on the pin said to put into "Icebox" for at least 30 mins, um Hello, What is a Icebox? a fridge a freezer? I don't know I googled but it came up some answers said fridge and some said freezer, for my trial I went with the freezer, I took it out for the second coat I used a spatula to make a thicker coat, then placed it in the freezer again for an hour. When I took it out of the mold I noticed the first coat had cracked, at first I assumed that it was because I hadn't let the first coat come up to room temperature after removing it from the freezer and before adding the second coat, so when I did the next one for the cake I had decided to let it come up to temp before adding the second coat, but when I took it out of the freezer I already noticed cracks so what I did was to chip it off, re melt it and this time I put it in the fridge and also let it come up to room temperature before adding the second coat and for me this was the successful run.

While it was setting in the fridge I made my cakes, I am pretty sure my tin is much smaller than other tins as I needed less than one lot of cake batter for each half.  I used my Wilton Cake Release and had no problems getting the cake out. I actually did one half at a time because I could tell the top half would take less time to cook, 
While the cakes were cooling I made up a double lot of buttercream icing and coloured it yellow, I knew I wouldn't need that much but I didn't want to risk having to try and and match the colours if I needed more than one lot.

Once I was ready to go with assembling the cake, I pulled the Chocolate "patty case" out of the fridge, but until then you need to keep it nice and cool in the fridge, I needed to slightly trim down your bottom half of the cake,  I just sliced around basically just cutting off the patty case, leaving the cake smooth. Then I slotted it into the patty case. My cake was just shy of the top of the case which is what you want it means you can add a layer of buttercream which will "glue" the top half of the cake, just as you would if layering a standard cake.

Then after carefully placing the top half on, checking it was centered I did a very light crumb coating just on the top. Now it was ready for the buttercream roses, I had tried a couple of times to get the "rose" effect on cupcake before, I was told the best tip to use was the Wilton 1M so I had one of these on hand, but while researching for this cake I found lots of tutorials using the 2D tip, so I went out and got one of these and this was the tip I ended up using. I can't say I have completely mastered this technique but I will do some practice cupcakes which hubby can take to work. Once I find out what tip I prefer Ill let you know, it seems to be down to preference.  I spaced out the roses and for any wee bits that are empty you just pipe a small amount of frosting. 

Then I just randomly added the butterflies and flowers that I had made the day before. Constantly keeping in mind to edit and not "over" design something I learnt from my days fashion. I didn't end up using all the decorations I had made.

And here she is...

Sunday, 5 July 2015

All Buttoned Up

I have been thinking about this cake for months and months possibly even over a year, I even bought some cake dummies to practise on, but the more I thought about it the more I thought that I should probably learn to stack cakes first before I start different ideas on dummies.

A few weeks back I was telling my husband that I wished Make Company (Where I have taken a couple of classes) did a class on stacking cakes I know the basic idea behind staking cakes having doweling supports and such but to be honest I was a little scared to try. Of course my husbands reply was it will be easy I'll help you. I took him up on the offer and had his help and my 2 YO sons as well, I ended up on the outskirts while the boys took over, I got really down as I wasn't happy with the outcome and decided perhaps I wasn't cut out for the whole cake decorating, feeling sorry for myself and blah blah blah. Took me a couple of weeks, but I got over it and decided this time I would just tackle it myself and take my time. I am happy to say I feel like it was a success and I am very happy with the outcome.

Those of you that know me know I am obsessed with buttons and have been a collector for a long time, my kitchen has several jars filled to the brim with buttons, assorted sizes and colours. Again I think its my love for bright colours and patterns that make me obsessed with buttons. This is why I named my blog Button Up Cakes and this is the cake behind the name that I had always wanted to make.

Out came my Wilton Easy Layers pans and also my Wilton Checkerboard pans, although I didn't want to make it checkered I knew the pans would be the easiest option so I didn't have to slice up a cake to make layers. I decided to make a butter cake for the bottom tier and chocolate for the top, I don't make many chocolate cakes, not sure why it's generally just for my husbands birthday and I make devils food for him. This was also a good time to try out chocolate buttercream frosting I had never made this before and didn't have a recipe for it but I used the chocolate icing sugar from the supermarket.

I had just recently had another order from the fabulous The Cake Shop which a couple new toys Wiltons Cake Release which I talked about in my last post and a Little Venice scraper for my crumb coating, I was sure that I had actually bought one before a year or so ago but  can't for the life of me remember where it is, and now that I have used it, Wow! I wont use anything ever again it is fantastic for getting sharp edges.

I tried the Wilton 789 Tip for the crumb coating and I feel it was pretty successful. And just look at my sharp edges from my Little Venice scraper.

I put that in the fridge and went to work with my chocolate layers. I used what we call in my house the "Buddy effect" Buddy from The Cake Boss, when he frosts the layers he uses so much icing, icing almost the same thickness as the cake layer, but I wanted to make sure the cake was even and level for to fondant. I really wanted this cake to be level for the stacking.

I rolled out my fondant for the bottom tier and got it on with not too much trouble and I added in my dowels, again I'm not completely confident with stacking cakes and I didn't know exactly how many dowels I would need so I went with the more is better option.

I did this cake over the course of 2 nights and a morning so while my chocolate tiers crumb coating was setting in the fridge I made up my button decorations. I mixed up fondant in my 3 favourite colours (Toned down of course) Pink, Orange and Green and using a silicone mould made with different sized buttons. and put them in the freezer to set, most moulds I think you don't need to do this, but it's a trick I learnt from Martha and it just helps the fondant keep shape while you take it out of the mould.

Don't you just love buttons? I do!

So onto the top tier, I had trouble with this I rolled out some fondant no troubles but when I was smoothing it on the cake it split everywhere at the top and slid down the cake. That was a flop so I walked away and had a break and came back rolled out some fresh fondant, I couldn't get my brain to work trying to figure out should I do, roll it thicker roll it thinner. Argh I decided to roll it a little thicker, I really should have rolled it thinner but my brain went with the thought process that thicker would be stronger, but of course thicker also meant heavier so it did crack in a couple of places, but I was able to work quickly and fix them so it wasn't a total loss.

Using my Wilton cake tape measure and made a couple of small marks just in the where the top tier was going to sit and gently placed it on top. Success.

To tidy up the edges the plan was to place the buttons in a pattern. I am all about symmetry I tend to be a bit OCD about patterns, things matching and in order. So this part was fun for me I measure the cake a trialed the placement first so I knew how many buttons I needed, which in practice didn't actually work out that well so I had to make spaces a little bit larger on the top tier. Then I had a few buttons left which I was going to place on the top, you'll be surprised that the buttons on top are not in an order or symmetrical, but my husband said make them random, and I said like this? Placing them in a straight line totally symmetrical? No throw them in the air he said make them random. I am so glad I listened cause I think it looks great.

Here is the finished product.

My sister who in Pinterest mad and keeps asking me to take photos that are "More Pinnable"  and gave me the instructions for making a light box, I haven't gotten around to making this yet, so my daughters white bassinette sheet will have to do.

Here you go Sarah :)

P.S sorry it's not ironed.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Babushka Dolls

I was in a cake baking mood and I was making some cakes for another project "All Buttoned Up" so while the oven was on I decided to try out my Babushka cake pan that I have had for a very long time but never used. I love all things Babushka, I guess it's all the bright colours and patterns.
So armed with my new favourite Wilton product "Cake Release" I greased up my cake pan and filled it with some cake batter. I wasn't sure how much it would rise so I filled them 3/4 full which gave me 5 Babushka's to work with.

So impressed with the "Cake Release" not a crumb left in the pan, up until now I had just been using my Rice bran oil spray, but while shopping online at the The Cake Shop I found the "Cake Release" and decided to give it ago and now I wont use anything else.

They over flowed a little so I more than probably could have done all six, a lesson learnt for next time.

I hadn't thought about it too much I just assumed I would use buttercream and using a very small piping tip. Buttercream was probably not the best move and when I have mastered the art of flooding with royal icing I will try again. Using the royal icing means I can do more complex patterns. The buttercream was very thick and made the dolls look a bit frightening, it also seem the "First Pancake" rule also applies to Babushka cakes. I threw the first one out I tell you, you will thank me for not taking a picture as she currently haunts my dreams at night.I don't want anyone else to suffer the same fate.

So lesson from my "First Pancake" I didn't fill the faces of the other four. I drew the outlines with the buttercream, filled it in and then used my small spatula to smooth it out, was pretty tough cause even though it is small it was really to big. I also found that the buttercream couldn't be played with too much or it would pull off the cake. So not an overall success but lots of lessons learnt for the next time.

And here they are.