Monday, December 12, 2011

Russian and Welsh Wedding Cake

I had the honour and pleasure of making a cake for a student's friend this week.  The bride is Russian and the groom is Welsh and they wanted a Russian doll and Welsh dragon as toppers on their cake!  It was a very unusual combination but I think it came together very nicely in the end.

My friend, Jin, a very talented cake decorator, made the dragon and helped cover the cake as well.  Check out how elaborate the details are on the dragon!  Amazing work!  I hand-painted the Russian doll from a picture that they gave to me.  I was really pleased with the results.


They were very happy with the cake.  It had to travel all the way to the Bay of Islands so I hope it made it ok!  Here's to the happy couple.  May they be blessed with lots of love and good wishes on their special day! :)


Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas and Spring Themed Cupcakes

Here is a quick post on some cupcakes I have been working on with a friend for our Christmas and Spring classes.  I think they turned out rather well and was quite pleased with the results. 

Spring time cupcakes:



Christmas cupcakes:


The daisy, small blossoms, butterflies and snowflakes were done with PME cutters.  Most of the swirls were done with a 1M tip.  The rest of the figurines were shaped by hand.

If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Monica

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to make a fondant bee {Tutorial}


When I was making the farm cake for my friend's daughter, I also made some bees and ladybugs to put on cupcakes and on the main cake as well.  So I decided to multi-task and take some photos along the way on how I made my ladybugs and bees.

They are both very simple to do and here is my way of making a simple fondant bee.


1.  Roll a ball of yellow fondant into a tear drop.

2.  Cut thin strips of black fondant and lay them over the yellow.  Tuck the strips under and cut off any excess strips.

3.  Roll 2 balls of white fondant into a tear drop.  Press flat to form wings.

4.  Use two tiny pieces of black fondant for the eyes.  You can also use a toothpick and simply poke two tiny holes for the eyes.  I used a modelling tool for creating the smile but you can use a small round tip and press half the tip into the front of the face to get the curve.

5.  Leave to dry and then place on cake or cupcakes.  I used some buttercream icing to secure it to my cake.


And there you have a very simple and easy fondant bee!  I hope you have fun making them. :)


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Farm cake

 
This week, I had the pleasure of doing another cake for my friend's daughter who was turning 5.  Last year I did the Mermaid cake and cupcakes for her.  The little girl wanted a cake with farm animals on it, so after getting some inspiration from a lot of ideas on the web, I settled for something like this.  It was a lot of fun making all the fondant animals.  The cake was an eggless butter cake filled with jam and cream, 4 layers in each tier and it weighed a ton! lol  I used thick pearl tea (or bubble tea as some of you might know it) straws as dowels to support the top tier.

Here at the top of the cake is a little duck pond.



The grass, vines and leaves around the cake were piped in green buttercream icing.  Everything else was made of fondant.


The cupcakes were covered in a rose buttercream swirl and I added a fondant butterfly to each.


I did the fence and wooden sign in chocolate fondant and used an impression mat with a wood texture to give it a more realistic look.

Mum and daughter loved the cake and I was very happy with the results too.  I will have a little tutorial up soon about how to make the little ladybugs and bees.  Stay tuned!  :)

Happy Decorating!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Date, ginger and apple cake {Recipe}


Ever since moving to New Zealand, I have enjoyed the different flavours this country has had to offer.  This date and ginger cake is one such flavour.  I do not know if it is a Kiwi flavour but I do know it was the first time I tried this combination here.  Although I am not so keen on dates, this flavour combination is actually quite lovely and this is one of my favourite cakes to bake now.  The original recipe was taken from Taste.com.au and I have adjusted the measurements a little for sugar as I wanted it less sweet (the dates add sweetness to the cake).  I also added some apple for a more moist cake.  You may also add walnuts to it if you like them and chop the dates and ginger more roughly if you prefer them that way.

Here is the recipe for my date, ginger and apple cake.

125g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup (150g) pitted dates, finely chopped
3/4 cup (125g) crystallised ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 apple, peeled and chopped finely


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Grease and line a square tin (18cm).
  2. Place butter, dates, sugar, ginger, apple, water and salt in a saucepan.  Heat over medium-high heat and bring to boil.   Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add the baking soda.  Mixture will foam.  Then transfer to a bowl to cool slightly (5-10 minutes).
  4. Add egg to slightly cooled mixture and mix well.  Sift in flour and fold to combine.
  5. Spoon into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until done.  Cool in pan for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.  Serve.
[Recipe adapted from Taste.com.au]

Happy baking! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

How to make a simple fondant figure {Tutorial}

Over the last year or so, I have had the pleasure of being able to make more and more fondant figures, either for practice or for specific birthday cakes and so on.  And since another tutorial is looong overdue, I thought I would share with you a simple way of making a fondant figure.  The basic steps are the same for any figure, just let your imagination run and put in your personal details to get what you want.  :)

1.  Roll a sausage shape for the legs and bend into U-shape.

2.  Roll a cone (slightly flattened) for the body and two sausage shapes for the arms.

3.  Stick the body and arms on top of legs.  Insert a toothpick (or dry spaghetti) through body to hold head.

4.  Roll a ball for the head, poke eyes using a toothpick.  Use a round piping nozzle or tip for the smile.  Roll small balls for nose and ears.  For the hands, flatten a tear drop and cut a V-shape to separate fingers from thumb.

5.  Put it all together and add some hair.  You can make individual sausages for the hair or a round flat disc and run a knife or scissors through the disc to make it look like hair.  Add ovals for the shoes.  And voila...


Get as creative as you want and enjoy making your fondant figures.  There are also so many videos online nowadays that give you tons of ideas on how to make different characters.  See how to make a mummy-to-be on Laura's video page.  She's amazing!  (Thanks for sharing Laura!) :) 

It also helps me when I look at photos of characters I want to make to get a more accurate costume.  Like for my cricketeer...


Most importantly, have lots of fun!

Happy decorating! :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Piggy's day out!


Here is a cake requested by my friend's daughter for her tenth birthday.  Last year I did the castle cake for her with little Harry Potter and this year she wanted a piggy barn, one of Debbie Brown's designs. 


I think it came out super cute and my friend's daughter loved it!  :) 

Happy baking!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

High heels


These mini high heel shoes were made using the mini high heel JEM cutters.  I had lots of fun playing around with the designs of the shoes.  Made me feel like a shoe designer!  They were so much fun to do and would look great on cupcakes or minicakes.  If you decide to get the cutters, make sure to check they are the mini ones as JEM has larger shoe cutters too.

Happy decorating! :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

More students' cakes

Here are a few more photos from another 2 classes we just completed.  I think my students did a fantastic job!  Everyone was so creative!





I am looking forward to my next class next term already! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My students' work!


Another term is over and another group of students have graduated from my cake decorating class!  This term, I had 3 classes and this is the first class to finish.  More photos coming up of the other two classes soon.

It is amazing how everyone always comes up with unique and creative ways to decorate their cakes and this term was no exception.  They have certainly taken the level of creativity up quite a few notches this term!  Take a look at the marvellous photos of my students' work below.  I am very impressed with all their work and creativity!  Well done everyone! :)
I am so proud of all of them! :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Time for tea!

I love teapots!  I collect mini ones and so does a good friend of mine.  So when her birthday came around this year I thought I'd make her the perfect cake - a teapot!  I have been wanting to try out this design for a while now and it made good use of my Wilton ball pan.  (I used the ball pan for the Death Star cake too.)

There were so many designs running through my head but I only finally decided on this one at the last minute.  Covering a spherical cake is no easy task!  So the polka dots helped in covering the slight flaws in the fondant (shhhhh!).  I made the handle and the spout a few days in advance so they would harden and then I 'glued' them on with royal icing.  (A good tip is to support them until they are completely dry and that will hold them up fine.)

All in all, it finally came together and my friend was really pleased and surprised with it so that was good! :) 
Next time, I may match it with a teacup.  How fun would that be?!

Have you made a teapot cake before?  How would you decorate your cake?

Happy decorating!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Death Star Cake


 Well, another year has gone by, and in keeping with the Star Wars theme, this year hubby wanted a Death Star cake for his birthday. (Last year it was R2D2.) So I set off on my mission to make him his cake and this is what I came up with.  I used a spherical cake pan to bake both halves of the cake, then covered them both with fondant. The panels were also cut from fondant and I piped on the details in royal icing.

I made the TIE and X-wing fighters out of gum paste and attached them to wires. Then I inserted the wires into a flower pick that I had placed into the top of the cake. (Never attach wires directly into a cake please.)

And so the cake was done, hubby was pleased and all is well in our galaxy lol. Until next year...I wonder what the next cake will be.

Happy baking! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My students' cakes

I have just completed teaching two classes in Basic Cake Decorating and I wanted to share some of my students' cakes.  They were very pleased with the results, as was I.  We all had a lot of fun together and I hope they all carry on baking and decorating. :)


I'm so proud of all of them!  :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Make-up bag cake


This has been my project for the last week.  I have seen so many ideas on make-up bag cakes and they look so sweet I wanted to make one too.  I was also inspired by the make-up bag cake in Debbie Brown's 50 Easy Party Cakes book.

It was a lot of fun making the lipstick, nail varnish and the other make-up pieces out of fondant and very easy to do!  The bag was made with a dummy cake as I wanted to keep this project but if you made it with a real cake then just cut off about one-third of a round cake to get the same shape.

I had lots of fun making this project and I hope it inspires you to try it too.  If you have made a make-up cake, or are wanting to try it out, I would love to hear from you!

Happy decorating! :)
Monica

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mocha walnut cupcakes

I was reading through one of the cake decoration magazines and came across a recipe for a coffee cake.  Now I don't really drink coffee, I am more a tea person, however, I do love the smell of coffee in cakes so I decided to make some and try them out.  I also added some cocoa powder and walnuts to the cake to make it more to my taste and I loved how it turned out.  The coffee glaze added just the right touch to the cupcakes.  I just have to remember not eat this before bedtime, or I'll be bouncing off the walls! 

Do you like coffee cakes?  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dark Chocolate Brownie {Recipe}

If you like dark chocolate like I do, then you will really enjoy making these brownies.   They are decadent and moist and will definitely hit the spot!  They are also very quick and easy to make - another bonus!  I made them for a last minute dinner invitation and they went down a treat served warm with some cold vanilla icecream.  Yummy!

Here is the recipe for all you dark chocolate lovers:

Dark Chocolate Brownie Recipe

250g butter
150g dark chocolate (I used 72% cocoa - yes 72! but you can use whatever you prefer)
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar (packed firmly)
3/4 cup all purpose flour (sifted)
1/4 cup self raising flour (sifted)
Handful of dark chocolate chips - more dark chocolate, why not? :) (optional)
Handful of chopped, toasted walnuts (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.  Line a square pan with baking paper, slightly greased.  (I used a 20cm square pan.)
  2. Place butter and chocolate in a bowl and place over a pot of hot water.  Stir until melted.  Leave aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar til light and fluffy.  Add the chocolate mixture.  Mix to combine.
  4. Add both flours and fold into the mixture.  If using chocolate chips or walnuts, add them in as well.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm to touch.  Allow to cool completely in the pan.
  6. Cut into slices. Serve slightly warmed with cold vanilla icecream.
Enjoy! :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A bunch of roses and a teddy bear...


For Valentine's day this year, how about giving someone you love a bunch of roses and a teddy bear...on a cake!  What could be more perfect than getting the gift and eating it too! 
It's a simple and easy cake design to do as well and it was inspired by a post on CakeJournal (thank you Louise!).  I used ribbon roses to decorate the top of the cake.  You can find my tutorial here on how to make them.  I made a bow out of fondant and stuck it to the front of the cake.  I will come up with a tutorial soon on how to make that.  As for the teddy bear, you can learn how to make him here.


Or you can leave out the teddy and still have a very elegant looking cake like so:


Happy decorating! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Jelly {Recipe}

I was invited over for a friend's BBQ recently and was asked to bring the dessert.  I decided to do something I hadn't made in quite a while - cheesecake!  I had a recipe from ages ago (can't remember which magazine I cut it out from) and it was pretty good and simple to do.  Now this cheesecake recipe calls for the use of eggs, but I was asked to omit the eggs for allergy reasons, so I pretty much used the same recipe without eggs.  You can try it with or without the eggs, both ways are delicious!  I added the blueberry jelly to give it a little more flavour but you can add whatever jam or jelly flavour you like or do without it altogether.  The lemon cheesecake stands nicely on its own.

Recipe for Lemon Cheesecake with Blueberry Jelly 
For the crust:
200g biscuits, finely crushed* (I used Digestives, my fav!)
120g butter, melted

For the filling:
500g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
180g caster sugar
2 eggs, separated
120ml sour cream
40g all-purpose flour, sifted
1tsp vanilla essence
1tsp finely grated lemon peel
4tbsp lemon juice

For the topping (optional):
120ml blueberry jelly

*[You can use a food processor or a rolling pin to crush the biscuits.  If you're using the rolling pin, put the biscuits in a bag and then used the rolling pin to crush it.]
  1. Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter. 
  2. Place the mixture into a well-greased and lined springform pan (I used a 9-inch pan), pressing it down firmly and evenly to cover the base.  Refrigerate for 2 hours (or leave it in the freezer til your filling is done- works just as nicely!).
  3. Blend the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and egg yolks (if using).
  4. Add in flour, vanilla, lemon peel and juice and beat till mixture is smooth and glossy.  (Use a low speed to beat the mixture and don't overbeat it.)
  5. Whisk the egg whites (if using) separately until stiff.  Fold them carefully into the cream cheese mixture. 
  6. Spoon the filling into the chilled crust and bake for one hour at 180°C.  If you are making this without eggs, check it earlier, around 45-50 minutes.  (I use a bain-marie or water bath to bake my cheesecake in.  You can do this by placing the cheesecake pan into a larger roasting pan filled halfway with boiling water, then placing the whole thing in the oven to bake.)
  7. Once baked, leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool completely with the oven door slightly ajar.
  8. Refrigerate overnight in the pan.  
  9. If using a topping, warm the blueberry jelly slightly in a pot.  It will become more liquid which then makes it easier to spread.  Spread it over the chilled cheesecake quickly before it sets. 
  10. Chill again until ready to serve.
I have to say that everyone enjoyed this cheesecake at the BBQ and it got a thumbs up from all the kids as well!  I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Happy baking! :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pineapple tarts


When I was living in Singapore, pineapple tarts were a staple for any festive season, be it Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Diwali or even Christmas.  They are little pieces of butter pastry with a sweet and slightly tart pineapple filling and let me tell you, boy, are they addictive!  Pop one in your mouth and you can't stop!

Now that I am no longer living in Singapore, and there isn't an option of buying these from the local bakeries (I don't think they've even heard of them here hmmmm), I decided to bake some myself with the help of a friend who shared her recipe.


Now I must say they didn't turn out quite so perfect on my first attempt.  I think I may have overbaked them in all the excitement of making them, but they still hit the spot!

I will probably try to make another batch soon (the first one did not last very long around here!) and will share the recipe once I've sorted it out.  Stay tuned!  :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Choco-banana-nut cupcakes {Recipe}


Chocolate banana walnut cupcakes!  What a mouthful!  And oh so yummy too! :)
I love banana cake and bread but had never tried making either so when I had some bananas left over, I thought it was time to try something new.  I got the main recipe from epicurious but tweaked it a bit as I did not have cinnamon and reduced the sugar as I did not want it so sweet.  I also changed the quantity of nuts and chocolate, and you can add more if you want, depending on how much you like them in your cake.


Recipe for Choco-banana-nut cupcakes

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 stick (about 113g) butter, softened  (I use the salted kind but you can use unsalted butter and add ½ tsp salt)
1/2 cup sugar (more if you want it sweeter)
2 eggs
1  1/4 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup  bittersweet chocolate chips (or as much as you want. I used Ghirardelli brand, 60% cacao, you can use semi-sweet chocolate too if you like)
1/2 cup walnuts (or more if you like it more nutty), toasted, cooled and chopped coarsely

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Sift together flour, soda and salt (if using).
  3. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs until blended. 
  4. Beat in bananas, yogurt and vanilla.  (Mixture will look curdled, don’t worry!)
  5. Fold in flour, chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. Put into cupcake liners and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool a little before turning them out onto a rack to cool completely.



This recipe made 24 cupcakes as I filled the liners halfway with batter but I think, next time, I would fill them up to almost full as they did not rise much.  Let me know how it goes if you try it.

Happy baking! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Marbled cupcakes

 
I decided to do a little baking for a friend who was moving overseas.  And I thought I'd try something a little different - marbled chocolate and vanilla cupcakes.  All you need is a chocolate batter and a vanilla batter.  Then spoon equal amounts of both batters into the cupcake liners and swirl the batter with a toothpick before baking.  Or you can skip the swirl and end up with a two-toned cupcake.  Just as fun!  Add some icing on the top in a lovely swirl and you have some pretty decent and yummy looking cupcakes!  I used a Wilton 1C tip for this swirl (simply because I had just bought it and wanted to try it out) or you can use the usual Wilton 1M or even a 2D for slight variation.

I used the same tip to make a rosette as shown above.  Simply start your icing in the middle of the cupcake and then press and move outwards clockwise.  Stop icing once you've made a round.

Here's what it looks like on the inside.  In this case I didn't swirl the batter so I ended up with a two-toned cupcake.
Pretty cool eh?  And you get the best of both flavours too! Yum!

Happy baking!  :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

How to make a fondant teddy bear {Tutorial}

As promised, here is my way of making a fondant teddy bear.  Now, by all means, it may not be the 'correct way' (is there a correct way?), it's just the way I've decided to do it.  Feel free to adapt and change it as you go along so your bear has it's very own personality.  So let's get started.  Depending on how large or small you want the bear to be, adjust the amount of fondant accordingly.  Just try to make sure that the body parts are in proportion.  This is also my second attempt at making a bear so I'm still learning too.  :)

I've broken it down into 8 pictures and I'll explain along the way.

1.  Make a large tear-drop shape for the bear's body. 

2.  Make a smaller oval shape for the head.

3.  For the legs, start with a tear drop shape and then using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the bottom part of the tear-drop to shape it into a foot.  This is shown in Picture 3 (before and after).

4.  Make longer tear-drop shapes for the arms.

Now that we have the main parts done, it's time to piece teddy together.


5.   Gently stick a piece of spaghetti or a toothpick into the bear's body.  If you're using a toothpick, then please let whoever it is you're giving the bear to know about it.  Otherwise a spaghetti stick would be safer and edible.  Attach the legs with a bit of water from a brush to the bottom of the body.  Attach the arms around the top of the body with some water too.  You can arrange how you want your arms to hang.  Mine are going to hold a heart.
  
6.  For the head, flatten a small ball of fondant for the snout.  Use 2 tear-drop shapes for the ears.  Attach the ears by poking a small hole into the sides of the head and inserting the ears with a bit of water.  I usually like to flatten them out a bit more once they're attached and make them more oval.  You can also use a ball tool to imprint a small dent into each ear if you like.

7.  Run a stitching tool up the bear's front body, over the top and bottom front of the head and snout.  If you don't have a stitching tool, use a knife to gently run a line or a toothpick to poke holes along like a stitch.  Or you can leave this step out.  I used the broader end of a piping tip as a curve to indent a smile on the snout.  Now gently attach the head to the body with a bit of water, poking it into the toothpick (or spaghetti).

8.  Add final details for the eyes and nose with a bit of black or brown fondant (or even blue, your choice!).  For the nose, roll a piece of fondant in the shape of an oval (or triangle), and for the eyes, two tiny balls of black fondant.  I made the heart by rolling a tear-drop shape then denting the broader part with a toothpick.  Shape it to the way you like it.  I used a couple of heart sprinkles for the bottom of the feet.

And that's it, your bear is complete!  Add your own personality to it by changing colour or size.  Have fun and do let me know how it turns out!  :)  

If you found this tutorial useful, I would appreciate some comments on it.  Thanks!