Thursday 28 September 2017

World's Biggest Coffee Morning Cupcakes - Macmillan Cancer Support

I am a keen supporter of a number of charities, with Macmillan Cancer Support being one of them.  

I was unable to host my own Macmillan Coffee Morning, but gladly agreed to help another host with hers - for free!

I was asked to make 60 cupcakes! And, whilst my basic sponge and buttercream recipes does not change, I wanted to showcase the five boxes I made, including a box of gluten free. With the exception of the chocolate cupcakes and their buttercream, these cupcakes are vanilla.

Gluten free with small silver balls (above)

Triple pink roses with pink sugar sprinkles (above)

100s and 1000s surrounded roses (above)

Chocolate and vanilla frosting with a Malteser topper (above)

Chocolate through and through with curled chocolate sprinkles (above)

As with most of my baking exploits, I'm never without a drama somewhere. Two boxes of cupcakes were made using more expensive cases (the pink and yellow càses), but they have proved to be of no use. I have never suffered with the cases coming away from the cupcake before, unless I've used these cases. Safe to say, I won't be using then again!

I hope the fundraiser was a success for the host!

Sunday 17 September 2017

Spongebob and Fireman Sam Joint Cake

Oh my gosh, I'm so proud of this one! I made the Spongebob and Patrick myself too!  Once again, I found myself being asked to make a cake for a young man aged four and a young lady, aged five.  

Not your regular request for a young lady in my experience, but she wanted Spongebob! The young chappy wanted Fireman Sam, but I was so time-poor, I had to commissioned one from a cake shop / supplier. It arrived in good time too, thankfully.

As with all my previous joint cakes, see my first one here, it all starts with ensuring the cake is measured correctly, marked out and covered to the half-way line is the required fondant colour.

It also means, like before, I get to take more images, usually ...

However, not exactly in this case. The Fireman Sam has a 'design' flaw! I's way too head-heavy! If you take a look at the second image just above (the one with Fireman Sam half on the left), you will note how far he is starting to lean to the back, or toward Spongebob. 

I was unable to take an additional 'above' image for the Fireman Sam half as the topper was leaning so far back that it began ripping the fondant off of the cake! I had to take his head off to make him stand upright.  

An additional piece has since been added in an effort to ensure he does not fall over. I made a tree stump and secured it with two cake-pop sticks as well as about five cocktail sticks.

After fixing it to the cake and allowing the edible glue to harden, I secured Fireman Sam's bottom half to the stump.  I made the stump out of a thick shape of paste and covered it in a thin layer or chocolate flavoured fondant, added a little branch, highlighted the wood grain with gold edible paint and simply hoped for the best!

This cake was transported with Fireman Sam headless and have it fixed back on when I got to the venue. Unfortunately, a leaf broke during transit, but I took some edible glue and fixed it back on when I got there. No one knew, until the little one picked it off lol.

For the additional decoration, I handmade each shell, from multi-coloured standard fondant myself to add where the cake meets the board and where once side meets the other. For the Fireman Sam side, I used an extruder to make a red 'fire hose' to line where this portion of the cake met the board and where it joined to the other half.

This 10" vanilla sponge cake required:
  • Four times the mix of my sponge recipe, two for each layer
  • Three basic buttercream mixes
  • Two kilograms of Renshaw fondant, one in yellow and one in green.
  • Miscellaneous fondants for the shells and additional decorations.
  • Red and white Renshaw modelling paste for the numbers and names.
  • Plus a little dash of magic, which goes by the name of lustre dust
The little one, which Spongebob was her half this year, had a very different cake from me about two years ago.

Saturday 16 September 2017

Lightening McQueen and Princess Joint Cake

Joint cakes are never a problem for me, as you can see from a previous one I made.  The 'difficulty' comes when there are two, very distinct personalities and two polar opposite cakes that need making and then I have to try and get them on one image for my blog - yes, that is the hardest part. 

Oh! And I also got the chance to use my new letter cutters, which aren't even listed in my Alphabet and Numbers Showcase page yet.

I was asked for a cake for a young man, who will be aged five and a young lady aged four. The five-year-old was to have Lightning McQueen and the young lady was to have a princess. And I think I've done ok here.

The simple, yet delicious, vanilla sponge was measured and divided into two halves and then two colour fondants were added. Whilst making a cake this way may only end up with one cake to bake, but the decorating side remains as two cakes.

The Lightening McQueen half had a stack of tyres at the back holding up a chequed flag hand painted number five, so the back of this had to be hidden as it would spoil the Princess half with all the black. So the Princess half had a green tree / bush covered in pink flowers with butterflies to hide this.

Whilst everything, regarding decorating, is double the work, double the thinking process, double the time, the final piece is as double as effective leading to double the reward. 

It also means, double the photographs for your viewing pleasure :)

But I'm sure  you'll agree, they're all quite worth it.

The Lightening McQueen and Mater figures are official Cars the Movie merchandise whilst the Princess cake topper is an official Barbie, almost edible, purchase. I say 'almost edible' because the supplier advised that it is not be eaten as it would 'break your teeth'.

This 10" vanilla sponge cake required:
  • Four times the mix of my sponge recipe, two for each layer
  • Three basic buttercream mixes
  • Two kilograms of Renshaw fondant, one in baby pink and one in green.
  • Miscellaneous fondants for the additional decorations I made.
  • Red and white Renshaw modelling paste for the numbers and names.
  • And, of course, a little dash of magic, which goes by the name of lustre dust

I'm currently working on another joint cake due for this weekend too, so watch out for that one.

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Dairy Free Chocolate Cupcakes

I was asked to make two batches of six vegan friendly / dairy free chocolate cupcakes.  Six to have cupcake frosting and a further six were to be iced like, what we call at home, 'fairy cakes'.  

These are suitable for vegans and, even though they are chocolate flavoured, totally dairy free!

I used my basic batter mix but exchanged dairy produce for an vegan egg alternative and sunflower margarine. 

These vegan cupcakes differed to my first ever batch, these ones are my second ever attempt, I managed to make these rise far better than the last batch, as per feedback from the previous taste test  and the cooked product was far more lighter. I'm still working on the volume of the eggs, I still didn't manage to add sufficient liquid to replace what would have been the volume of a dairy egg.

I think I'm on the way to cracking the egg thing though!

The Patriotic Pirate Cupcakes

If ever there was a true red, white and blue patriotic pirate, then these cupcakes are for him, or her.

I coloured a double batch of basic buttercream with red and blue, whilst leaving the last third plain, for the white. 

My faithful sponge mix was used to make these vanilla cupcakes.

Each part of the scull and crossbones we made separately and fixed onto a black disk using edible glue, then placed on top. 

Perfect and simple, yet rather cute.

Saturday 2 September 2017

Handbag & Shoes

It's been decades since I put my hand to work on a 3D cake. This handbag cake with chocolate shoes was, and will probably be for a while, my best achievement for some time.  

Sure, there may be a few, all-be-it minor, errors, but it was done instructionless! I knew what I wanted and the plan was all in my head.

Inside, the sponge, yes my classic recipe, was coloured purple and flavoured with vanilla. It was de-caramelised and the two layers were cut into four pieces. 

One sponge was cut in half and the other sponge was cut into two pieces with one bigger than the other.  The largest piece for the bottom, two same size pieces for layers two and three and the smallest layer for the top.

These were then sandwiched together with basic vanilla buttercream and then the whole cake was trimmed so the side profile resembled the side profile of a handbag.  

Due to it's unstable nature, two supporting dowels were inserted. These are left in. There is also a supporting piece of florist wire in the handle in order to maintain the handle shape.

A few little extras were added:

The edging was made from a darker purple fondant put through an extruder and highlighted with gold edible paint.

A fake zipper is 'suggested' on the top with tabs either side. Some ivory piping on the bag flap (I'm not actually sure that that's called) all edge with 'stitching' using a quilting tool.

The whole bag, before the piping was applied, had a quilting pattern over all the sides using a ruler and the quilting tool.

All that's left for me to say is --- Happy 40th Birthday Christine! You're one lucky lady! Commissioned by Sean and executed to the best of my ability xxx

Image reproduced with permission from photographer
Christine L.
Please do not copy or download this image
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