For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, you'll know by now that I split my time between baking and trying out new recipes, and teaching myself cake decorating techniques. I'm fortunate enough to have some wonderfully supportive and trusting friends, who keep testing me with new designs and requests for their loved ones birthdays and special events. I'm truly grateful to you all, as Gary and I would never be able to eat enough cake to try out all of these ideas (although we do give it a bloomin' good try!)
So, these are the latest few projects I have been working on over the last few weeks...
|'Cute as a Button' Cake|
First up was a gift for a friend who has just had baby number two. The girl's and I descended last Friday night for coffee, cuddles and cake, and I made this adaptation of a basic sponge cake, using raspberry jam, and replacing the traditional buttercream with a white chocolate ganache. I use a button mould from Baked by Me and white chocolate coloured lilac and pink to make a cute button decoration for the sides. The white chocolate and raspberry combination was very tasty, and a great alternative to the traditional Victoria sponge.
|Dark Mocha Xbox Controller Cake|
The next cake I had to make was for Gary's birthday, my toughest critic, so no pressure! I spent ages trying to decide on a design and a flavour to make this one extra special, and eventually settled on a dark chocolate mocha cake, by adapting my favourite chocolate cake recipe (recipe here). I doubled up the quantities listed on my post, and add two tablespoons of instant coffee to the hot water mixture. I filled the cake with a dark chocolate ganache made with two teaspoons of Tia Maria. The addition of coffee to this cake enhances the dark chocolate flavour and creates extra depth more than making a strong coffee taste. I spent hours on this cake, making the buttons, and using a toothpick to draw out the details (they aren't really clear from this picture). It took Gary four days before he would cut a slice from this cake, as he didn't want to cut into it, which I think means that I did a good job! The chocolate cake kept well, and the flavours had time to mature, and when we did cut in it was moist, rich and chocolate-y, exactly what I had hoped for!
The next cake I made for my friend's nephew, who was turning nine. She texted me and asked if I would be able to make a boxing ring cake - it is worth noting that I do not have that little part of a brain that allows you to say 'No' - 'of course I can' I texted back... then I panicked. I turned to trusty Google, and started looking at pictures of boxing rings, and boxing ring cakes. The ring itself was pretty straight-forward, it just needed to be square and blue. That's where it got tricky. Nowhere could I see a solution for making the posts edible,and all the forums I looked at came up blank. In the end, I had a flash of inspiration - this is how I made the posts - incredibly delicate and fiddly but it worked a treat. I took four Italian breadsticks, and rolled out some fondant in red, white and blue. I used edible glue to stick the breadsticks to the fondant, and rolled them to cover the sticks completely. I left these to dry and harden overnight.
|Boxing Ring Cake|
The following day I took a long skewer, and used it to carefully make three holes through each of the sticks. The brittle breadsticks and hardened fondant were very fragile (I did make a back up set and used them all as I had a few breakages) but in the end I was able to fix the posts to the cake, two white and then a red and a blue corner, and thread strawberry laces through the holes to form the ropes.
The boxers are made from fondant, and I figured out how to make them after adapting skills from a tutorial on Bake Happy on how to make fondant people. All in all I was really pleased with the outcome of this cake, although I did have to use some white icing as glue which looked a little rough around the edges of some of the posts.
The final cake to share tonight is one I made for one of my dearest friends to take to her Mum as an early Mother's day gift. This is a simple Victoria sponge, with raspberry jam and buttercream, and originally was going to have sprinkles on top, however a last minute phone-call led to a decision on the doggy toppers. This family love their dogs a great deal, and I really wanted to do justice to the three personalities of the pooches. I asked my friend to send me pictures of the dogs, and got to work with the fondant... these are the finished dogs and their real life pictures, I hope I did them justice!
|'Playful Pooches' Cake|