It was Halloween this week. All it translates into for me is making some halloween themed cupcakes and cakes, and feeding mounds of candy to the neighbourhood children. I find the trick-or-treating thing interesting. I never did it as a child growing up in South Africa, as children walking about the streets of Johannesburg is not really recommended. And braving 6 foot high walls, fierce guard dogs, electric fencing and personal security is not something many adults will volunteer for, let alone with their little ones in tow. So I have never trick-or-treated. I find it amusing to see the varying degrees of effort that goes into the costumes, and the varying degrees of manners that the children have. Some politely taking one little sweet, before you offer them another. Some grabbing a fistful and running off without even a ‘thanks’.
And you’re not seeing double. It is another Jagermeister cake. This time i managed to get the neck of the bottle up off the board and suspended beautifully. Thank you nice, firm madeira cake. Excellent for carving, and when made with real butter, super tasty! 🙂
So many people have asked me the question. So what was your cake like?? I guess it is a pertinent one as I am a baker and cake creator, so what would a cake me like that is made for me by someone else. Someone I have never met or briefed in any way. The cake was not that important to me really. I wanted a cake, yes. I wanted a nice tasting cake, certainly. But as for sugarpaste, decorations, and pearl spray… not really. Leave the sugar paste, give me something Italian, something traditional. Something I will never have seen or tasted before. And boy did they deliver. Out of a list of cake options (most of which I had never heard of before) we chose Mimosa Cake. A good choice methinks, and everyone ate the cake (after they had been begging for a break from the feasting) and everybody said how amazing it was. And it was amazing. Light as air. Like eating a sweet, fragrant cloud. heaven. I have to try to make one. Watch this space.
I had the pleasure this week of making a halloween pumpkin birthday cake. It was a carved cake which is such fun to do. I made a double-height 8″ round madeira cake to start with. Madeira is really tasty, as its made with real (merveilleux françaises) butter and loads of real vanilla extract. A match made in heaven to my mind. Madeira is also nice and firm (without being dry) so it holds up to carving really well and does not sink under the weight of sugarpaste, which is important when doing taller cakes. Regular sponge, when stacked up tall and covered with sugarpaste, will compress over a time, leaving ripples in your initially perfect sugarpaste finish. So go for madeira. Its yummy.
I also made a wedding cake this week. Unfortunately I do not have a pic of the fully assembled cake yet, but here is a photoshopped version to give you the basic idea. It was a cake that was a bit of a race against the clock, which is how it sometimes is when making lots of handmade flowers. They are very, very time-consuming but worth it once finished I think. One of the decorators on the Food Network’s Planet Cake which was on this morning said that making a cake can be like childbirth. Hurts like hell at the time but as soon as you have the result in front of you (cake/baby) you forget the pain and smile at the sight of your creation. I like it. Its right.
The finish to my working week, at the close of this Saturday, was the run. Up at The Edge. In the sunshine. With Toby the dog. Up the long, steep hill, in one go. A big triumph for me, but sadly nobody there to grin at or giggle with. Just a quiet, breathless trot up to the final lookout point. Elation inside, sweaty panting outside, but nobody knows. It was gorgeous today. Sunshine but cold.
So this week I had to make a birthday cake for a lady’s 50th birthday. Her partner ordered it as a surprise for her party which was to be held up in Scotland which is where she’s from. The brief from the gentleman was that the cake was to be ‘All things Scottish’, as the birthday girl is apparently ‘very Scottish’. I did not know there were different levels of Scottishness, but thats fine with me.
Its hard to sum up a person, and all that they are Nationality-wise, in a cake. I did not want to be too stereotypical but I also wanted to stick to the brief which was for a humorous Scottish theme. OK, I can do that. I ran it past my dear friend and neighbour who is Scottish herself, and she mostly agreed with what I’d been thinking, which was the Saltire (Scottish flag), thistles, highland cows, nessie, bagpipes, men in kilts and tartan. Now its not generally a good idea to put EVERYTHING on a cake. It can look cluttered and messy which is not the look I am going for. So I chose a couple of those elements, which I was able to do in the tight time frame provided. And I have to say I was pleased with the result. I love the highland cow. The extruder is great for long hair like that and gives a finish that is much finer and neater than piping with royal icing could be.
I do hope that the customer and the birthday-lady liked it. I certainly liked making it 🙂
I think that I do work well under pressure. So as long as my plate is not already full to the brim, I don’t mind the occasional last minute order. Especially when its a cool cake for a cool friend. So this led to me doing a Jagermeister bottle cake this week. I do confess that I think I may have been able to do a better job if I’d had more time, but I like how it turned out. I think its pretty cool.
I also worked on harry Potter Cake this week, which although it looks a little empty without the message, and the photo quality is iPhone 3 poor quality, you get the general idea. I was worried about Harry not looking like Harry, as people and especially faces of specific characters are rather hard to do unless you are a bona-fide artist, but I think all things considered, you can kind of see its meant to be Harry Potter, and I LOVE the scarf. its my favourite bit i think 🙂
And last but not least, the anniversary cupcakes. Young love, especially only 6 month old young love is just so cute, if not a little gooey. But hey, if you love someone enough to put a condom on a cupcake, thats got to be true love right? I am sure that the couple involved know the story behind the representative image for each month, and as I don;t they are a little lost on me, but I can certainly appreciate the thought behind them, and go “Aaahhh sweet”. Even at a banana condom 😉