Knitters paradise cake – aka a ball of wool birthday cake

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When I decided to make this birthday ball of wool cake, I thought to myself “this won’t take long, just a few sausages of fondant” – I was yet to learn that there were plenty of sausages of fondant to make!

I baked two strawberry sponges using pyrex bowls and sandwiched these together with fresh strawberry buttercream. I then covered the cake with a layer of fondant in the same colour as the ‘wool’ and started making the sausages to lay vertically and horizontally, filling in the edges afterwards. Some five hours (or so) later the ball was covered.

The needles were made by covering two drinks straws in grey fondant and shaping the ends and stamped the size number into the top to resemble actual knitting needles. One dry I sprayed a little PME glaze spray over to give them a shine.

I made one last extra-long sausage of fondant to lay around the back and over the top of the cake, draping the end slightly over the message, and among the buttons to bring all of the elements together. For the buttons I used a silicon mould, greased with Trex, inserted the fondant and popped in the freezer for 20 minutes!

Birthday girl Louise was one surprised knitter! 🙂

Hitting the books birthday cake

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A friend of mine has just finished a bunch of exams for her psychology degree, it was a relief when her birthday came around and she could finally relax and celebrate – so I thought not that she’s done with the books, she can eat them instead – the book cake idea was born!

Using a 30cm square tin I baked a vanilla sponge and sectioned it up to give me a two layer large oblong, and a smaller two layer oblong. I covered these in vanilla butter cream and fondant, then made impressions using the back of a knife for the pages. The larger book, I washed the pages with a little colouring to make it appear ‘old’.

For the covers, I cut pieces of fondant to fit the top and side (spine), but slightly overhang all the way round (like a real book cover does). I used a textured rolling pin for the bottom book and applied artwork of the book ‘After Freud Left’ on the top book (using a stamp set and carefully painting in the lettering).

The larger book cake has a black fondant seam and a few gold edible pearls for effect. My final task was the bookmark – I left this to dry while draped over an egg box to give it a curl, then inserted it into the cake at the last minute.

Valentines love bird cupcakes

Valentines cupcake love birds Valentines cupcake love note Valentines cupcake love heart be mine Valentines cupcake love bird bowValentines cupcake love bird bowValentines cupcake love heart Valentines cupcake love birdValentines cupcake love bird be mineValentines cupcake love birdsValentines cupcake love bird love you heartValentines cupcake love bird cageValentines cupcake love noteValentines cupcake love bird birdhouse

I’ve treated myself to some new cutters and couldn’t resist trying them out today by creating some Valentines cupcakes! Using Cakes by Bien’s bird, birdhouse and stripe cutters I created a series of love bird cupcake decorations. I have also used some stamps to make the little message banners – simple but effective!

Have you got your Valentines presents sorted yet?

Lots of love in 2013,

Cakedin x

Retro computer birthday cake

Retro computer cake Retro computer cake with keyboard and post-it notes Retro birthday computer cake keyboardLooking at a computer everyday isn’t half as exciting as making a cake resembling one!

This retro computer and keyboard cake was a commissioned surprise 30th birthday cake for a friend at work. It’s made up of 3 x 30cm sheets of malted/Malteaser sponge, sandwiched together with malt and vanilla buttercream.

Once cut to shape I covered the screen, keyboard and mouse with Regalice Ivory fondant. I pre-made the keys (copying from a real-life PC keyboard) a couple of days before to allow them to firm up – this makes the fondant easier to write on with edible pen.

The edible start-up computer screen was printed by a local company called Redbrick Printing Solutions onto icing which was then (extremely) delicately transferred to the cake screen.

I then attached the keys to the keyboard (securing with a little blob of buttercream) and asked my caking assistant to write the birthday message and draw the keyboard icons while I made the black fondant USB cable connecting keyboard to computer screen.

You can’t have a computer desk without post-it notes! Perfect for an extra birthday message 🙂 cut out, curled around baking paper and left overnight to firm up.

The perfect birthday cake for techies and computer whizz kids!

Movember cupcakes charity auction – bidding extended!

It’s 1st December – the month of Christmas, and I’m feeling extra generous resulting in the bidding period for the Movember cupcake charity auction being extended until 6pm (UK time) today.

Please pop in your bid on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/getcakedin all proceeds are going to Prostate Cancer UK!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Rose water meringues

A special treat for work colleagues last Monday, I tried my hand at piped meringues sandwiched with buttercream.

This recipe came from a book called Commonsense Baking.

For a batch of 20 meringue sandwiches:

4 medium free range eggs (slightly older eggs are best for meringue)
230g caster sugar
1tsp Rose water
A tiny bit of red food colouring (I used Sugarflair Christmas Red)

You’ll need:
Large bowl
Electric whisk
Piping bag
Plain, round nozzle
Baking paper
A few flat baking trays/sheets

Pre-heat your oven to 120 degrees and cut your baking paper to fit your baking trays.

Whisk your eggs in a large bowl with a hand-held electric whisk until it starts to hold shape. Sprinkle in the caster sugar (a little at a time, whisking between additions).

Add the rose water and food colouring – the colour almost disappears once baked so it depends how subtle you want the colour to be.

Using a knife, pop 4 small blobs of meringue mixture onto each baking tray and put the baking paper on top (to stick to the blobs of meringue), this stops the paper moving around the tray. Fill your piping bag (with nozzle attached) and pipe approx. 40 3cm rounds onto your baking paper, making each one approx 2cm high. Quickly release the nozzle as you pull away to get a pretty peak at the top.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour. After the hour is up, turn off the oven and leave the door ajar to cool the meringues. Meanwhile whip up the buttercream:

75g butter
150g icing sugar
1tbsp milk

Beat for around 5 minutes until it become a pale shade, and resembles whipped cream.

Again, prepare a piping bag with your chosen nozzle (I used the Wilton 1M, but any star nozzle will do). Pipe your buttercream from outside to inside of your meringue (do one at a time) sandwiching another meringue to to the other end.

Sprinkle with edible glitter for a bit of sparkle!

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Sally & Adam’s Wedding cakes (including a Groom’s cake)

What a complete honour to be asked to make my friends Sally & Adam’s wedding cakes! Not only that, but I was a guest at the big day too – and what a wonderful day it was 🙂

Their wedding cake was 3 tiers of belgian chocolate Sachertorte cake, covered in vanilla butter cream roses. With the wedding theme being ‘secret garden’ I also added belgian chocolate ivy leaves around the bottom. There are many Sachertorte recipes out there, but I used the Mary Berry recipe (from the Great British Bake Off) which was practised a few times before the real thing!

After a bit of deliberation, we decided on 3 flavours of cupcake; vanilla, strawberry and Malteaser. For the strawberry cupcakes I popped a spoonful of strawberry jam (from France) into the centre of each baked cake and piped strawberry butter cream over the top.

The Groom (Adam) has been working hard restoring a beautiful early 70’s bay VW Campervan which was the couple’s wedding car, it is stunning! So what better groom’s cake than a celebration of this gorgeous camper. The cake was a light fruit cake, covered in Anton Berg marzipan (which is super difficult to roll out by the way!). I did my best to model their cute little pooch ‘Lily’ to sit beside the van.

Sweet summer strawberry cupcakes

Despite a bit of a turn in the British weather recently, I was determined to banish the rainy blues and bake summery strawberry cupcakes! This is also my first go at doing domed cupcakes (fondant topped cupcakes with buttercream underneath).

I whizzed a punnet of short-dated strawberries and pushed the liquid through a sieve to remove the pips. I made up my usual cupcake batter and added approximately 1tbsp of strawberry ‘juice’. Shared between 12 silver foil PME cases, and into the over for about 20 mins.

I made up my buttercream, again, adding enough strawberry ‘juice’ to achieve a super-strawberry flavour (it naturally adds a subtle pink to the buttercream too). I cut 6 rounds of white fondant and used a stencil lightly rolled over to create an embossed effect.

Once the cakes were completely cool, I piped 6 with buttercream swirls as normal and decorated with sprinkles. I then piped 6 with just a small amount of butter cream in the centre, laying a fondant disc over the top and patting the sides down until sealed. While the cakes were cooking I also handmade a few fondant strawberries which I placed on top of the cakes – cute and ideal for any party come rain or shine.

To intensify the strawberry flavour in the sponge, you could add a strawberry jam centre 😉