Maggie's Orchid Cake

In contrast to my conservatory, home to the pots of Orchids past, Maggie's is home to a beautiful array of blooming Orchids, so for a very special birthday we thought Maggie might enjoy an edible one :D

I think this might just top the minion as one of my most successful cakes! I didn't really have a plan so I didn't have high expectations for how it would turn out. It was actually quite relaxing to make, and I was so engrossed in it I kept forgetting to stop and get progress pictures along the way.

All of the flowers are made from sugar paste. I had no idea there are so many types of Orchid and so many cutters to choose from! After a trip to the garden centre for some research, I opted for the
Moth Orchid cutters and veiners set which also comes with a handy set of instructions.

The centre of each flower and each petal was wired individually and then left to dry. I used petal dusts to add a little touch of colour, and then taped them together with more florist tape to form one complete flower.

I had no idea how I would connect each flower to form the plant until Mr Chris' manager kindly donated a wire coat hanger to the cause. I cut the coat hanger and shaped it to form the main branch, wrapped it with florist tape, and then attached each flower and bud with more florist tape. 

I use poly dowels to support my tiered cakes, which are strong but hollow dowels, and therefore also perfect for holding an Orchid branch! Placed through the centre of the cake, my Orchid fitted snugly inside and it did a great job keeping it secure and upright. I hid the top of the dowel peaking out of the cake with fondant leaves, and the wooden dowel alongside it is purely for show to mimic a real Orchid.

The plant pot itself is three layers of chocolate cake sandwiched together with chocolate buttercream, and the soil on top is crushed Oreo cookies, a nice addition as they add a little chocolate crunch.

On this occasion I didn't decorate the cake board. Mr Chris suggested we leave it blank in an attempt to trick his Mum into thinking it was a real Orchid. Instead I added a poorly written edible gift tag.

We celebrated Maggie's birthday with a family meal out and instead of bringing the cake out at the end, we placed it in the centre of the restaurant table. At first glance everyone thought we'd brought another Orchid for Maggie's collection but as Maggie went to pick it up we had to warn her it was cake :) 

I'd say it was a success and I confess, I am a little bit in love with this cake.


A Cupcake Decorating Party & Go Jetters Cake

Our little Lissie enjoys a spot of baking, just like her Aunty Chel, and for her 3rd birthday requested a cupcake decorating party.

In all honesty I thought this would be ciaos, sprinkles everywhere, but it was quite the opposite. This little group of 3 year old girls sat down at the table and very attentively decorated their cupcakes. They certainly showed more restraint then me as they carefully placed decorations on to their cupcakes and not in their mouths, and I don't think a single sprinkle even hit the floor. It was lovely. 

Lissie invited 5 friends to her party so I baked 24 cupcakes giving them 4 to decorate each. I made a batch of icing, bought a ton of decorations and we set a workstation for each little girl.

At each workstation we placed:

•  An apron, hanging on the chair that they got to keep

•  Decorations separated in to muffin cases - to ensure they all got the same and avoid any squabbles

•  A paper bowl to catch any sprinkles that missed the cupcakes - very wise after Lissie emptied a entire pot of sprinkles on to her first cupcake :D

•  And a small piece of rolled out fondant placed in a sandwich bag to keep it from drying out - and I placed some cutters and plungers in the middle

As they're only little I iced the cupcakes for them but with older children you could let them pipe the icing and roll out the fondant themselves. I thought they might be a little young for the fondant but with a little help from the adults it was nice to see they all had a go at cutting some shapes.

When they were finished, we placed the cupcakes in to cupcake boxes so they could take their creations home, and they decorated the boxes with stickers.

For her birthday cake, Lissie requested a Go Jetters cake. This meant nothing to me but after some research and learning some funky facts this is what I came up with.

I have to admit, I got quite attached to Ubercorn, I think he's pretty cool! 

In hindsight not so cool to put his dance floor on to a black background. In fact I should have incorporated some lights to make his dance floor flash - I wish I'd thought of that sooner!

As for the Go Jetters, I knew I wouldn't have enough time to make models of them all so I 
followed a Cakey Cake tutorial to make 2D cut outs instead.

As you can see I may have mastered sharp edges but not those corners - clearly I need more practice on square cakes. Thankfully my customer was blissfully unaware :)

And inside? Well you can't go wrong with a vanilla sponge and vanilla buttercream - it's a crowd pleaser.

And those 2D cut outs turned out to be a nice keepsake after Lissie had grown pretty fond of them.


Lick a pineapple, it tastes like a pineapple!

A pineapple cake inspired by my Sister's pineapple wall. Yes, pineapple wall. She has a wall in her house covered with pineapple decals because she loves Charlie & the Chocolate factory and it reminds her of the lickable wallpaper. Her wall is not lickable though - at least not to my knowledge, I haven't tried.

Would you believe a pineapple cake tutorial already exists and a very entertaining one at that! Thank you Yolanda at How to Cake It

I largely followed the tutorial but I made my own pineapple mould using a silicone plastique putty kit. First time I've tried this stuff but I'll be making moulds of everything from now on. You get two putties in the kit, a white one and a blue one, and all you do is knead together equal parts and cover your object with it. It takes about an hour to cure and ta-da, you've got your mould :)

As per the tutorial I covered my cake in a thin layer of fondant, then used my mould to texture smaller pieces and stick them together like a jigsaw on to the cake. I should have paid more attention during this part! The real pineapple is fairly uniform in its pattern but my cake version, not so much. No time to do it again, I pressed on hoping it would look better once it had some colour. 

I used a pair of nail scissors (reserved for cakes only, never used on nails!) to bring out the spiky bit, whatever that's called. Then I used food colouring to paint my pineapple. Sadly the colour was also a rush job after I realised we were seeing my sister a day earlier then I thought, doh!  

To top things off (literally) I couldn't create the leaves in the time I had left so I cheated. I chopped the top off my real pineapple and used a wooden skewer to attach it to the cake. Is that cheating or using my initiative? ;)

I also experimented with the flavour on this cake. I soaked the sponge with a pineapple simple syrup and added pineapple juice to the buttercream. Obviously not enough as neither tasted very much of pineapple but maybe that was a good thing, I'm not sure if this little one is a fan of pineapple yet. She's definitely a fan of cake!

I placed the cake on to a plate instead of a cake board to see if I could trick my sister. I think for a brief second she wondered why I'd brought her a pineapple on a plate but a closer inspection gave it away.


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