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.

Archive for the ‘Big Celebration Cakes’ Category

November 4th, 2011 by Clarabella

A Big Responsibility, and a Castle Cake

This week, I have a dog. We have got a dog. Haven’t bought a dog, as he was ‘free to a good home’, but he has been brought home, and now is a member of the household. A permanent fixture. A responsibility. It feels weird. I haven’t been responsible for another living thing, well, ever. And here he is. Living, breathing, eating, farting, doing all the things that a dog does, and at this very moment, I am responsible for him. Just me. Weird. I guess this is a very watered down version of what having a baby feels like.

Its funny. You look at people picking up dog poop, and you think, yuck. Gross. How can they do that. Then you have your own dog, and its just part of the package. YOu just take it in your stride. And how he was when I came home from work today, he was overjoyed to see me. He jumped up and down and looked so excited he could barley contain himself. He then lavishes love on me in every way a dog knows how. That. That unconditional, uncontrolled love, when he’s only known me 7 days, that is why I love dogs. And this one, Toby, in particular.

So, I haven’t baked anything, at home at least, this week. But I have done lots of baking at the bakery, and lots of decorating too. Today – it was the castle cake. Never having made a castle out of cake before, I was not completely sure where to start. So I started at the beginning. Grey. and the rest just flowed really. I was in the ‘zone’. Cake decorators will know what I mean. That place you go, that switch that flicks in your brain when you start decorating. You are focused, and everything around you goes out of focus. All you can see is the cake, and you just start. And you only stop when you are happy that you are done. That the cake is complete. Then you step back, smile, and the rest of the world comes back into focus and you move on to the next one.

I do plan to make something blog-worthy this weekend. At the moment I am torn between Salted Butter Caramels and White Chocolate and Ginger Ice Cream. What should I make??

 

September 28th, 2011 by Clarabella

A good excuse..? You tell me

Ok, so I’ve been away for a while. Not away away. I’ve been here. Home. But I have neglected my poor blog horribly. This has sat on my conscience as though I were neglecting a child. A good child who was sitting patiently and quietly waiting for me to remember he/she is there. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.

It may be a small consolation, but I have been busy, and not idle. I have done many many bakery hours. Iced countless cupcakes, and done my first ever wedding cake. Wedding cake, now that was an experience. I had been worried about this cake since I first got the order like 2 months ago. Thats a lot of worrying. So when the big day finally came and all the tiers sat all shiny and pearly, waiting to be assembled, I started having cold sweats. It did not help that when I had visited my local cake decorating shop that morning, the sales lady had regaled me with horror stories about pillared cakes and told me how now, even though she has like 0 years cake decorating experience, she WILL NOT make pillared cakes. Period. No negotiations will be entered into. Eiiiiiishhhh. But with the engineering/construction help from my dear other half, the cake was successfully stacked, and as nobody called me to tell me that it had fallen over, I assume that it stood proudly, all day and all night. So here’s a picture. Note: I did not invent the design, it was requested ok.

What else have I been doing? Oh yes, I made 200 cupcakes on Sunday. A lovely order for Virgin Mobile, with mini mobile phones and Virgin Media logos on the cupcakes. Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Read the rest of this entry »

August 15th, 2011 by Clarabella

Big and Bright Rainbow Cake

Wow, I can;t believe I have neglected my blog for so long. I don’t know where the time has gone in the last week. Well, I do know actually. Its gone on starting my new part time job – baking and cake decorating at The Cake Gallery in Bowden. What a gorgeous place and the people there are just lovely. Can’t wait to get more stuck in this week 🙂 Time has also been spent on my first wedding cake order, hurrah! I am SO excited to have the opportunity to make a wedding cake for a lovely couple who are getting married in 6 weeks. It will be a square, 3-tier cake. Separated by pillars so its super tall, and decorated with garret frills and yellow roses. I can’t wait to get going on that one. I have also been planning the design for the golden wedding anniversary cake which I am doing in 2 weeks time. I think I have settled on the design now, so just need to go and get a baking tin and I will begin next week.

So things are going well. The only slightly sore point is that I haven’t received any orders from my website yet. I have done a lot more content writing this past weekend to make Google like it more, and I guess that takes time before it shows, but I am wondering if people just don’t find it, or if there is something about the site that puts them off. If you are reading this and are at all curious, take a mosey on to my site and let me know what you think. Any feedback will be welcome! Thank you. Read the rest of this entry »

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.

June 5th, 2011 by Clarabella

Lemon and Blueberry Birthday Cake

I am always on the look out for an excuse to make a big bad behemouth of a cake. Sky High by name and by nature is how I like my cake. Don’t get me wrong, I know that size isn’t everything, but nothing quite compares to the splendour of a 3-tier monster. So whenI heard it was our graphic designer’s birthday this week, and his girlfriend’s birthday as well, I jumped at the chance to make him a cake. And not just any cake, a big, beautiful one. I do love causing a ooohs and aaahs and smiles. And I got some this time 🙂

I was trying to think of what kind of cake to make and what he would like. I looked at a vanilla latte cake (he likes coffee), tiramisu cake (who doesn’t like tiramisu?), big chocolate fudge cake (cant go wrong with chocolate), but when I found the triple lemon blueberry layer cake, I was sold. I know he likes a lemon cake, and this one is packed with beautiful big blueberries, layered with terrifically tangy lemon curd and smothered with sultry smooth lemon buttercream. Yum with a capital Y! Read the rest of this entry »