Some of you may have noticed i chickened out of decorating the Vintage cupcakes with royal icing. This is not 100% accurate as i did mix up the royal icing but it was so sloppy i had no chance of getting lovely straight lines and accurate dots.
I have decided i need to go on a specialist course to get some dedicated tuition in this artform but i am struggling to make sure i find a course which will teach me what i want to learn. For example i do not want to learn how to do this:
I know some people love this heavy piping work but it just isn't me. I want to learn how to pipe stripes, dots and designs. A bit like these:
And i want to learn flooding techniques which allow you to make 3D objects such as butterflies like these:
And brush embroidery to get delicate flower motifs such as these:
Now to find the right class!
Cake Wrecks blog
I have just discovered the www.cakewrecks.com blog. Absolutely hilarious! Whilst some cakes are complete disasters (spelling mistakes etc), some are down right disturbing and some are amazing cakes but so incredibly OTT that they look horrid!
All the cakes pics are submitted so it is harmless fun. An example here - a customer brings a picture of her boss playing golf on for his birthday cake. The picture is stored on a USB drive which she leaves with the bakery. This is what they were delivered:
Now i have just about recovered from the cake baking marathon of the past few weeks i thought i would de-brief you a little on how the final stages of baking went.
Firstly the dreaded white cupcake cases. Now i thought i had found the perfect white cakes in the Culpitt ones but when it came to the lighter, sponge mix the cases collapsed in on themselved giving me very ugly edges - this would not do for the delicate vintage cupcakes. I tried recasing them but i couldn't get the cases to take the shape of the cake so it looked very baggy and i couldn't get an airtight seal with the icing - so the cake would have gone stale.
I then tried Waitrose cases (which you would think should be the best!) but alas a very similar situation to the Culpitt catastrophe.
So i came full circle back to Dr Oaker which you may recall were the perfect size for my tins and therefore gave me a lovely frilled edge but went very brown during baking. I did a little research online and a suggestion was to bake in 2 cases then remove the outside case. I tried this and the inside case was definietly a lot less darker. To further improve this i added a third case during the bake which vastly improved the colour. It did not stay completely white but it gave me a nice, clean pale colour which did not look discoloured. I was happy!
Next the Victoria sponge stack. Leanne changed her mind on the fruit at the last minute which i think was very wise. It did not change the baking but it gave a strong colour to contrast against the sponge and filling.
Despite doweling each cake on an individual board i was very nervous about the stability of the cake. The sponges had to be extremely fresh which meant they were not dense. Also i needed a decent amount of buttercream between each layer to achieve the right look. This combination of airy, light cake and lashings of buttercream and jam does not bode well for tiered structures where the bottom is under some pressure. It did seem to lean a little (i don't think the slightly sloping barn floor helped!) but some quick readjustment meant it stayed upright until it was cut at 11.30pm!
The fruit was a nightmare. Everytime i put a piece on another one rolled off. In hindsight i should have taken some buttercream along to the venue to use as glue around each tier (although how i would have stopped this from spoiling the look of the cake i don't know. We live and learn!!!
Holographic glitter mixed into the icing sugar made the cake sparkle and shine. (I was sparkling and shining too as i was covered in glitter during the wedding!) Overall a sucess but a little stressfull having to bake so close to the wire and assemble on site.
Dan & Leanne's big day
Yesterday was the big day - Dan and Leanne became Mr and Mrs Moynihan! It was also the culmination of a month of sugarcraft and baking.
The day went off so well despite the weather and the happy couple looked amazing. The cupcakes and Victoria sponge stack were a hit and there was not a trace of cake left at the end of the night. I even witnessed a scissor, paper, stones fight over the last cupcake...
Big thanks to Leanne and Dan for my lovely gift. I hope you have a lifetime of happiness together.
I will blog more this week about some of the challenges and tricks which came up in the last stages of the wedding but for now i am completely caked out so here's some pictures...
PS. hello to Jon who i discovered is secretly my biggest blog fan!
I have discovered a new product which has made my life a little easier. My husband Chris HATES it when i sprinkle icing sugar as he finds a fine film of icing sugar covering everything in the kitchen.
To complete the look of the vintage Victoria sponge stack wedding cake i need to dust the top with lots of icing sugar. As this will be done on the day after i have stacked the cake in situ i had visions of covering the whole recpetion in icing sugar!
Then to my amazement i discovered this little gadget in Tesco. Whitworths have revamped their icing sugar shaker into a twistable version which works really well.
You take the lid off then turn upside down and twist the unit like a salt/pepper grinder It is very easy to control so you can slowly build up your decoration and you won't end up with half a cup of icing sugar on your cake by accident!
At £2.25 for 250g it is quite expensive and from what i can see it is not refillable but it is very handy for portable dusting situations and to avoid angry husbands!
I had a practise run at the top 2 tiers of the Victoria sponge stack last night.
I went for Mary Berry's classic Victoria sponge mix:
225g caster sugar
225g self Rasising Flour
225g cooking margerine
4 eggs ( beaten)
2tsp baking powder
Splash of vanilla (my addition to the recipe)
You basically throw it all in a bowl and whisk until just combined. Bake at 180C for 20-25 mins.
Initally i cooked the cakes full height and then split it into 3 sections to fill but i found the outside edge edge was far to dark so i had another go and baked each layer individually. I then levelled and stacked each layer with vanilla buttercream and raspberry jam.
I found a new little icing sugar dispenser gadget to easily dust your cakes etc with icing (see tomorrow's blog post for more details!) I am pleased with the result and when i add a third tier and stack it on the glass cake stand i think it will look great at the wedding!
Victoria sponge stack
This time next week i will be busy baking a multitude of Victoria sponge cakes for the stacked vintage wedding cake i will be assembling the next day.
The cake will be 3 tiered but i am conducting a 2 tier trial run on Sunday to see what the best method for baking will be.
I have been researching online and whilst this cake will be decorated simply with icing sugar, i will be channelling the essence of these beautiful vintage cakes
Lots of bows are needed for the upcoming wedding cupcakes. I have been working on them in the past few days and am really pleased with the results.
The larger bows will have tails added whilst the little ones will sit on a embossed topper. The foil is providing support as they dry to keep the 3D shape.
My favourite ones are the candy stripe bows which involve rolling stripes of pink into the white sugarpaste before consutructing the bow. They take longer to make but they have great impact.
Next i will be moving onto he leaves for he rose and cluster cupcakes.
I had to share these beautiful owl sugarcraft figures! Completely stunning by Sugar High in Virginia
Jen & Kelvin's wedding
It was my good friend Jen's wedding yesterday. It was a lovely day and they both looked so happy.
The wedding cake was very symbolic of their lives together. The bottom tier was the Cornwall beach where Kelvin grew up. The middle tier featured the rolling Buckinghamshire hills of Jen's childhood and the top tier was London themed symbolising their lives together now living in London.
The topper on the cake was the two of them driving off from the church just as they had sone a few hours earlier.
Jen's friend Sarah made the cake and i had a slice of the lemon tier and it tasted delicious.
Congratulations Jen & Kelvin!
Mum. Wife. Artist. Baker.