A Vintage Christening

Most of my cakes are for friends and family but when a friend volunteered my services I decided to have more confidence in my skills and say yes. I get super nervous making cakes for people outside of friends and family but I figure it's good to step outside your comfort zone every once in a while.

The request was for cupcakes to fit in with a vintage tea party theme for a little girls Christening day. The theme was right up my alley and perfect for all my stencils and lace mats... and an excuse to buy more :)

To accompany the cupcakes was an understated but beautiful cake. 

With all of the cupcakes, the cake only needed a little decoration but I still wanted it to stand out. I decided to keep it plain and add one extravagant sugar flower to the top.

As luck would have it, a tutorial to create an open peony from  'Happy Cakes by Renee' popped up on my facebook feed that week. A brilliant tutorial; I was expecting to need a few attempts at it but I was so happy with how my first one turned out, that is the one you see on the cake.

It's always tricky fitting cakes in around work but nevertheless, I really enjoyed making these and I was so glad they were pleased with them. 

Thank you Melissa for your kind words and thank you to my friends and family also. Your compliments and support encourage me to take on new baking challenges and give me that little confidence boost I need.


3D Basketball Cake

Mr Chris is very much in to NBA Basketball at the moment and requested a basketball cake for his birthday. What he actually asked for was half a basketball because in his words, "he didn't want a cake that falls apart" - he was referring to the great cake disaster of 2012.

I have to restore his faith in my cakes so I took another sneaky day off work, (you would think he'd have caught on to this by now) and with my lessons learnt tackled another ball cake.

This time I did not ignore advice from the experts and read all of the information for ball cakes on Lindy's blog.

Instead of a soft sponge cake, I baked a madeira cake following Jane's "Baking the Perfect Madeira" post, again on Lindy's blog. I also allowed plenty of time for it to cool, baking the cake the evening before and leaving it overnight. 

When the cake came out of the oven, I knew it was going to be more successful then last time.

Covering a ball cake with fondant is a little tricky. The idea is to lay the fondant over the cake and form the excess in to two or more pleats around it. The pleats are then cut away and the joins are closed and smoothed out. 

On this cake it was much harder because I'd created an impression in the fondant (using one of Chris' Lego mats :) ) and I didn't want to loose it. I worked slowly and carefully and for the most part the impression stayed, there were a few spots where it rubbed out but they were near to the bottom so not overly noticeable. 

I had hoped to add some more finishing touches but ran out of time as Mr Chris finished work a little earlier then usual.

He was suitability impressed and he approved of the filling too. I added almond extract and ground almonds to the madeira recipe and used chocolate amaretto buttercream for the filling - I think this could be my new favourite.

The lesson this time... "If at first you don't succeed, try try again".


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