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 ‘Cakes’ Category

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 22nd, 2011 by Clarabella

Wilmslow Market – Cake Pops Debut

Saturday was Sugarbird Cupcakes’ debut appearance at Wilmslow Artisan Food Market, offering our lovely cake pops to the people of Wilmslow. My very first market stall experience was a fantastic one. We arrived bright and early at 8am ready for set up, and after a little confusion managed to find out stall and start making it pretty. The table was dressed with first a white tablecloth and then a pink and white polka dotted wipe-clean tablecloth. The stand for the cake pops matched the tablecloth well, being polka dotted and checked, and all the little pops looked adorable in their stands. Somehow I managed not to forget anything, thanks to the checklist I’d made and the day ran smoothly.

I did receive wonderful feedback on the cake pops as people nibbled on the tasters, and although I think that many people still do not know what cake pops actually are, I think I have won over a few hearts and tastebuds to the world of the cake pop.

The flavours I took along were strawberry cheesecake filled, caramel apple, cappuccino and lemon and the strawberry turned out to be a firm favourite, selling out long before the other flavours. Mental note: make more strawberry next time!

 

One thing I loved about doing the market stall was seeing people’s reactions to cake pops. They are not nearly as well known here in the UK as they are in the States, but people were very open to trying them once they realized that they were not in fact lollipops! I especially loved seeing how the children respond to tasting new things. A few little boys and their mums/dads would end up in front of the sample plate on my stall, and although I could see that they wanted to taste, they were often overcome at the last minute by bouts of extreme shyness that left them hiding behind their mum’s skirts or their dad’s jeans, with just one big, nervous eye peeking out, looking nervously between me and the cake. Sometimes the desire for sugar would overcome and they would reach a tentative little hand out and quickly snatch a (always the largest) piece before retreating back to the safety of their parents shadow to devour the treasured morsel.

 

It was a lovely day and I met many lovely people and hopefully scored one point for the cake pop on UK soil. I look forward to the next market which I have been told I am allowed to bring cupcakes to as well as the regular cupcake vendor sold out this time, so there seems to be a large market for the cupcake. Excellent! Hope to see you there.

X Claire

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 »

August 2nd, 2011 by Clarabella

Strawberries and Cream Cake Balls

I am doing a market stall next month, for the very first time. I am a little nervous. And I am work hard to decide what I am going sell, so that I can plan for what I need. I initially went for a stall with a view to doing cupcakes, but the market already had a cupcake supplier so they were not interested in another one, but asked if I can do anything else. Can I do anything else? I certainly hope that I can. So now the task of deciding what I will do, and getting all the supplies I need in order to execute that plan. Nervous? Oh yes.

 

My initial thought was brownies. Inspired by my Fat Witch Bakery book of Brownies, Blondies and Bars. Its gorgeous and the brownies are fantastic. And who doesn’t like a chocolate brownie? So I have picked a couple of types of brownie, they will be good for chopping up into little tasters to lure passers by towards my stall. Then i need something else, something different. Having been to this market a few weeks ago, to scope out the competition, I know what will be on offer, and more importantly, what won’t be. So the second pretty and delicious offering is the cake ball. These little gems are terribly in fashion at the moment, and I think that they (in their cake pop on-a-stick version) will be perfect for the market. They appeal to kids as they are like lollipops, they appeal to adults as they are good looking and easy to eat as one walks around a market. They are in fashion so appeal to those ‘in the know’ and they are delicious, so will hopefully generate return business.  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.