Monday, 21 September 2015

Eaten Alive!

Now for my cake I have been wanting to do this for about a year so a lot of planning has gone into this. I had first seen it in a book and of course it is also all of Pinerest. I have been thinking about how exactly I would get the right shape, at first I thought I would use my favourite "Easy layers" pan set and sculpt the entire shape, but then it came to me very suddenly that I could achieve the most of the shape I needed if I used a Dolly Varden tin and sculpt up. This was very successful! I used the cake that I cut out for his wee mouth to sculpt up the nose.

After crumb coating I used the same trick that I did for Sian and Lisa's cakes to smooth out the frosting. 
You might be wondering why I did pink frosting for the crumb coat especially because the majority of the fondant is grey, Well I specifically made a strawberry cake which was also pink so that when you cut into the cake you would see pink, this way it would be like really cutting into a shark and seeing their flesh. 

While this was setting I used a small round cookie cutter to cut out rolled fondant for his eyes.Using white and black.

Then I covered him in fondant, I used white fondant  which I added in some pre coloured black  to get a nice grey shade. I didn't cover the whole head because for his mouth and underside I would be using different colours and I didn't want the fondant doubled in thickness.

For his nostrils I used a ball tool to indent small circles.

I rolled out some pre coloured red fondant for his mouth and used a ruler to cut a straight edge for the base, smoothed it into his mouth and then using a very sharp scalpel to cut around. I wanted to do the red first as I didn't the red marking the white fondant.

For the white of his belly I sketched out the rough shape on a piece of paper and checked it against my wee boy and then used it as a pattern to cut out the white fondant. I used a small amount of edible glue to ensure that it sealed and stuck to him, I made the white fondant slightly larger than the space required so I knew there would be no crumb coating showing I didn't mind having a small overlap as I figured that would be better than exposed crumb coat. Sadly because it a flimsy shape when I picked up the white fondant it did rip almost at the centre, I tried to smooth it out but it as it didn't quite go away I decided that it would be a "Battle Scar" and gave him more character.
 Using the edible glue I attached his wee eyes, after I had I realised that I had probably positioned them too high.

To make the teeth I used white fondant which I first rolled into balls and then into flat tear drops. I made them all slightly different in shape and in size. I let them dry and harden for a few hours before I used them. Again using my edible glue I attached them onto the jaw line.

After I had made the teeth I used some Ivory fondant to make a couple of legs and an arm which I also left to dry/harden before I used them.

To create the Ocean I made up 1 batch of Blue buttercream frosting. I spread this along the cake board and up to the shark I tried to create "peaks" to make waves. Then I placed the body parts into his mouth. 

And there you have it, Eaten alive!

This has now taken pride of place in my heart as my favourite cake.

Pride and Prejudice

Lisa's birthday cake had to be a book, She is one of the biggest readers I know. And the movie "Pride and Prejudice" with the real Mr Darcy aka Colin Firth is very close to our heart so this had to be the book.

I wanted to get an edible image for the cover as I knew this would have the best effect, but I didn't want the classic novel cover as I had planned on making the book landscape as opposed to portrait I did have an idea of playing with the silhouettes of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy and searched on Pinterest and on google and although there were some great ideas this was my favourite.

I sent it off to my favourite ladies at The Cake Shop to get them to print one out for me and send it down. It was so well packaged no harm came to it during its tour down the country. This edible image was different to the last one I had used for my Port bottle, as this one needed to go in the freezer before transferring to the fondant. 

But I am getting ahead of myself, I have to make the cake first. Lisa has a very bad Gluten intolerance so I had to be very careful whilst both baking and decorating, I thoroughly washed everything and cleaned down all surfaces before I even started on her cake, and where possible I used different tools and surfaces.

I made chocolate cake for her as well as I know that tends to be what most people like and I had found a great cake mix that was gluten free. I was able to use the same rectangle cake pan that I did for Sian's cake. This has turned out to be one of the best cake pans I have bought as I have used it for many cakes.

I used the same trick also to smooth out the buttercream frosting, I still can't believe just how easy it is to do and just how effective it is. It has me wondering what did I used to do before this?

I had quite a few tutorials "Pinned" for books and I have to say I expected that this cake would be the easiest to make and look the best but truly it turned out to be the hardest and in my mind this was an epic fail! You can find the tutorial I used most here, the basic idea was to cover 3 of the sides in fondant to create the pages, then using one piece of fondant to create the binding and book cover and finally use thin strips along the 3 paged sides to create the illusion of the back cover.

Because I was making an older book I didn't want to have white pages I wanted them to look aged,  normally to age something I would use tea bags but I wasn't quite sure how this would go down but as I couldn't think of any other way to age the pages I decided to give it a try.

I used my Wilton Ribbon Cutter to cut an 1" band which I had hoped would go right around the 3 sides so I didn't have any seams, sadly this wasn't the case I couldn't get it long enough, more on that later. 
I boiled the kettle and filled a mug then I just dipped the tea bag in and quickly pulled it out again, using a paper towel I squeezed the excess water out because I knew it would make the fondant very sticky if it got too wet, then I just wiped the bag over the strip I had cut. Using a blade fondant tool I scratched horizontally along the strip to create pages.
 Using a small amount of edible glue I attached the strip to one of the long sides of the book. This was a complete disaster the fondant was of course sticky and didn't want to attach to the cake and by the time I got to the 3rd side of the cake everything was sticky and  stretched and to be honest it looked terrible. 
If I were to attempt this again and would try harder to achieve one long length of strip so there are definitely no seams and I would scratch the pages onto strip first, then attach to the cake and lastly use the tea. Although very disappointed I am glad I have come up with a solution for next time.

For the binding and cover I wanted to use an ivory colour so it was different to the pages but also had an aged look. I measured the size I wanted and rolled out my fondant keeping it a little thicker than normal, now I should have put some Tylose Powder into the fondant before I rolled it but I had a absent moment and forgot. Using my Wilton fondant mat as a guide a ruler and a very sharp scalpel to get straight lines. I set up some cooking books with some baking paper on top to rest the fondant on to set and harden slightly and keep it's shape.

While the fondant was drying I placed my edible image into the freezer, I hadn't given it much thought until it was too late but I had guessed that I would need to "glue" the image onto the fondant and because I knew the image was smaller than the space on the cover I wanted to put the glue onto the image instead of the cover and risk using too much glue, but as I said before this edible image was different to the one I had used previously and almost as soon as I had pulled it out of the freezer it had, shall we say defrosted, I'm not sure it was ever frozen as it was a very very thin but needless to say that by the time I had peeled it off and glued it it was disintegrating in my fingers so I had to work very quickly to place onto the cover. 
My fault of course because I shouldn't have used the glue. Silly girl!

I placed the cover onto the cake and smoothed it on.
 I printed off some more font off the computer to write/pipe the title onto the binding, here's where I came into some more trouble it was very difficult to write/pipe onto the side as opposed to writing/piping on a flat surface however for next time I'm not really sure how I could remedy this situation as once it has the writing on it it can't be smoothed onto the cake without smudging the piping, so it looks as though this will be something I will continue to think about until I can come up with a solution.

So lastly we come to the back cover, I had especially bought a new tool/cutter for this step and again obviously my brain must have been absent because it hadn't even occurred to me to think about the over hang from the cover and to match this to the back cover. So on I went confident I was doing it correct. measured out my strips and cut them.

Then I went to place them onto the cake as I had seen on the tutorial and then it clicked, the strips I had cut were about 1/4" or about 6mm and the over hang on my front cover was about 15mm top and bottom and more like 1" 25mm on the side so clearly my covers did not match, Argh! At this stage it was very late into the night, it seemed like every stage of this cake I had problems and I just couldn't bare the thought of re-doing it so I trimmed the font cover down as much as I could keeping in mind that I needed a border around the printed image. End result was a close as I could get it to match but there was clearly a difference between the front and back cover. 
I blame the publisher!

So not quite as easy as I had imagined, and sadly not quite as authentic as I had expected. Of course being the great friend she is Lisa loved the cake.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Pink Ladies

My two very best friends flew from Auckland and from Australia to be with me on my birthday it had been a long time since we had been all together, it's pretty hard going from seeing each other all the time and always sharing our birthdays together, to living so far away. To celebrate and to thank my dear friends for flying to see me I decided to make the 3 of us each a special cake so we could celebrate our birthdays together although it was rather late for Lisa and rather early for Sian.

The idea for sians cake I have had for a while now and I have always wanted to make it for her birthday as she loves Grease. But I never had the chance to make it for her.

I tried to do research but I couldn't find any Pink Ladies Jacket cakes so instead I had to search jackets and just go from there. All the jackets I could find were of the front so I had to improvise, if I were to make it again I would find a way to add sleeves so there is no doubt it's a jacket.

After crumb coating I used a new trick I had seen on Pinterest using a fondant smoother and a baking paper to smooth the buttercream crumb coating.

You place the baking paper and rub with the smoother and it gets it nice and smooth so there are no marks after you lay down the fondant.

Next step was to lay the fondant down, this time around because I wanted a really rich pink I bought pre-coloured fondant.

I used my Wilton Ribbon Cutter to cut a band for the collar of the jacket and the waistband.
I used a Shell fondant tool to create lines for texture.

I glued the waistband on flat, but for the collar I used one of my son old bottle lids to give it some shape and a 3D effect.I left it there until the fondant had dried.

Lastly I used Wilton Black icing with a small piping tip to do the writing. I googled Pink Ladies font printed it out and then traced  onto the fondant and then I went over it with the black icing.

Pretty happy with the end result. But I still think that next time it will need sleeves.