Sugarbird's Sweet Nothings

I am passionate about food. And cooking. And baking. And running. Come and find a new recipe, a funny story, some strong opinions and whatever else I feel like throwing in the mix today.
Published on July 29th, 2011
by Clarabella

A week of Sugar and Cake

What a week. A whole week at Slattery for a sugarcraft course, and all I can say is that it was heaven. Bliss. Wonderful. I could have just stayed there forever. Just let me make cake and sugarpaste figures all day every day and I’ll be happy forever. Pity they are so inundated with job applications they don’t want any more applications for the waiting list.

The first two days were wedding cake style work. We made a 2 tier square cake by carving up a 16″ x 14″ sheet of genoese sponge (or ‘Gen’ as they call it in the industry. Check out my specialist knowledge, haha). We used an 8″ and a 12″ cake board as templates to cut out our cake which was about an inch and half deep and then stacked up 5 layers of Gen. The advantage is using sheet cake rather than cakes baked in the required size tin is that you can carve it really neatly and scrape of the crumb without losing size. Very cool. If only my oven was big enough for 16″ x 14″ trays…

The layers were filled with alternating layers of vanilla buttecream and raspbery jam, and then crumb coated with buttercream. Then we covered them with white sugarpaste (fondant) and sat them on the board, reinforcing the lower tier with plastic dowels. The decorating was so much fun. We were shown all sorts of techniques and as we applied them to our cakes the effectiveness of even simple royal icing piping was made evident. Although a lot of techniques need practice to refine, they are not difficult. Wonderful 🙂

Day three was a sat up Minnie Mouse cake. So stunning to look at but so simple in construction when you break it down step by step. The only gripe I had was that the red sugarpaste we were using started cracking even as I was rolling it out to cover the cake and make the dress, so by the time I placed my head on my Minnie, the dress had some nasty cracks. Karen said the quality of sugarpaste can really vary and the new EU colour regulations have changed a lot of recipes. Minnie’s face is a little tricky, but now that I know the proper proportions, I think with some practice I should be able to replicate it in future. The end result is so effective and striking, it would be amazing for kids parties, and I hope I get a chance to make one some time soon. The same techniques can be used for Micky Mouse and other figures so the possibilities are endless 🙂

Day four and five were sugarpaste figures. Buzz Lightyear, Micky Mouse, a baby and a standing up woman. I loved Buzz. He is all nice block shapes and bright colours and as long as you get his pronounced chin right, he is the cartoon character in edible form. Awesome 🙂 Micky was a sugar version of the Minnie cake but smaller and cuter. The baby was so, so simple, and so gorgeous it will be perfect for baby shower or christening cakes. I just need to practice painting for those tricky eyelashes and eyebrows. The standing up lady was great fun as we got to dress and style her as we liked, and although I was missing a nice piping nozzle for her hair, and her face is a little chubby, I like her and she is a foundation for making all sorts of figures in all sorts of poses. Also, she made it home without breaking and I am very happy she is still in one piece.


All in all a wonderful week, but now back to reality. Some work to be done, and dreams of having my own shop keep my mind occupied when I am not writing adverts or web content. Never a dull moment. But the point of a challenge is that its challenging, so bring it on 🙂 And good news, I have been comissioned to do a golden wedding anniversary cake and dessert selection in August. That will be great, although I have to track down a Youtube video for making sugar sweet peas, but I have made sugar flowers this week so I know the basis, yay! 🙂 I am also doing a market stall for the first time in August, so no dull moments here. Lots of planning. Little stress, but very exciting.