Chocolate, chocolate everywhere

It started with a kiss

It started with a kiss – 4 tiers of 100% pure white chocolate decorated cake.

I’ve decided that as much as I like working with fondant is that I much prefer working with chocolate.

My decision is based after making the above cake. This is 4 tiers tall, and everything you can see on the cake is chocolate and more importantly edible.

Cocooned in chocolate

Cocooned in chocolate

The whole cake is encased in pure white chocolate, which acts as seal to keep the cake moist underneath.

Once I had covered the cake I then went on to make the flowers. I chose roses and chunky looking cherry blossoms. I did make up a batch of pink chocolate to make flowers out of, however once I started to put the flowers on the cake, it just didn’t look right.

After making the flowers I made numerous chocolate fans to encircle the cake on each tier, that I would eventually place the flowers, cherries, leaves and banners on.

Some people paint the lettering on while the banner is on the cake, maybe one day I’ll do that. However at this stage I prefer doing the lettering while the chocolate is flat on some greaseproof paper. To do the lettering I used a candy colouring gel which is oil based, as the normal colouring pastes are water based and don’t work on chocolate as well.

Once all the elements were prepared, I then started to play. First went on the fans, then the banners. Followed by the flowers. Occasionally I would step back for the table and check the cake out from a different perspective, so that I could see what I needed to do next and where to put things.

What I love about using chocolate though is just how quick it is to assemble, once all the elements were prepared the cake only took a couple of hours to complete.

And Mr Hollipops says there is less washing up when I use chocolate than when I use fondant.

My favourite part of the this has to be the cherries. Fun to make, fun to look at and fun to eat. In saying that I don’t (apart from chocolate) have a particular sweet tooth and rarely eat my own cakes.

This cake has had the most positive attention from all the cakes I’ve done, it has done very well on Facebook. I even had a comment from Dan Lepard who is an award-winning baker, host of The Great Australian Bake Off who has said my little cake is beautiful.

For those who know me, I don’t usually handle compliments well, and usually brush them off with some sarcastic comment, or joke. In this instance I was genuinely shocked. I didn’t expect it to receive any comments, let alone from a professional baker, so it has made my day.

The Cherry cake is displayed at Sandra V’s in Tecoma. Sandra has a 1950’s vintage store, it has so many cool things in there, from shoes, dresses, poodle skirts and much, much more. She recently made me a 50’s type apron (image below), which you can have custom made to your needs. She can also make dresses & skirts. Sandra is a very talented lady when it comes to a needle and thread. The window display is all for our up and coming Mothers Day on the 12th May. So pop along and see if you can grab your Mum something beautiful from Sandra V.

Sandra V handmade apron. Loving the Heart :)

Sandra V handmade apron. Loving the Heart 🙂

It’s fairly quiet on the cake front for the next few weeks, which is a blessing as I am in training for a 50 kilometre walk – called Go The Extra Mile, which raises awareness for Teen Suicide.

Last Sunday myself and my friend walked 42.3K (Marathon distance) our last big walk for our training. We now get to taper down the distances, so this week we’ll walk 25k. Which will give my toes a much-needed break from blisters!

In the meantime, I have yet to test drive the BOSCO mixer, so I had better find a really cool recipe and give it a whirl. Looking forward to putting up my review for all to see. I like the fact that BOSCO is Australian owned.

My next blog will have the muesli recipe, as I couldn’t find the notepad that I had written the recipe for this blog.

Until next time, happy baking 🙂

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Giant Cupcake of Roses, 65th Birthday, DJ English Breakfast and many cupcakes

Giant Cupcake of Roses

Giant Cupcake of Roses

First of all I …. WOW! I’ve just noticed that I have had over 10,000 hits. I would like to say thank you to all who’ve had a look or sent lovely comments over the past 12 months. I never in my wildest dreams imagine that I would reach that many people from my little blog. So thank you xxxx

Right to the cakes.

The cake above is the giant cupcake of roses. This cake was made for eldest daughter’s birthday a few days ago.

It is chocolate cake (of course). Admittedly she did want a henna inspired cake. However due to an record breaking heat wave we’re experiencing in Melbourne presently it is hard enough to try and crumb coat without everything melting, let alone doing piping work. So decided to get the fondant out.

I started just playing around with roses, and ended up with 50 of them, I then placed them randomly on top of the cake.

My daughter’s friend who came to the house for a birthday sleepover had the very important job of making the leaves to finish the cake off. The last touch was a little lustre spray.

Back of giant cupcake of roses

Back of giant cupcake of roses

Next cake ….

65th Birthday cake/Retirement

65th Birthday cake/Retirement

This 65th Birthday/retirement cake was for our neighbour. His wife wanted to surprise him with a proper cake, and not one from a shop.

It was chocolate orange, as this was his favourite flavour, other than that I had free reign, but decided to keep it simple and classic using black and white.

Along the outside of the cake is a border of white fondant flowers with little silver balls.

Not only did I get to make the cake, but I also got invited to the party, where my girls spent the rest of the day playing and having fun making new friends. I had 2 very tired bunnies by the end of the day.

DJ English Breakfast Turntable Cake

DJ English Breakfast Turntable Cake

The next cake, is for DJ English Breakfast, he was turning 21. His Mum decided to commission a turntable cake.

Once I realised what his DJ name was, I had no option but to make bacon and eggs.

This is probably the most detailed cake I’ve done in fondant so far.

I hear on the grapevine that the cake went down very well, and his friends all took photos as they hadn’t seen a cake quite like it before. Not only that, but DJ English Breakfast’s younger brother now wants a turntable cake for his birthday in August.

It was a lot of fun to make.

Lace cupcakes

Lace cupcakes

Last but certainly not least, I decided to make some cupcakes for us to have at home. As it’s been a while since I made any cupcakes.

I wanted to practice my lace techniques, before incorporating the technique in the wedding cake for our renewal of vows in April.

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

More cupcakes

More cupcakes

Leaf cupcakes

Leaf cupcakes

Looking back, I’ve just realised how busy I have been over the past few weeks.

The last job I have to do is prepare some glittery flowers for class cupcakes that I have to deliver this week. My girls will no doubt be covered in glitter by the end of the day. In fact I imagine that I will find glitter everywhere over the next few days. You’d be amazed just how far it spreads!

One other task is to make an Easter style cake. I have an idea, it’s just whether I can pull it off. I suppose I’ll just to have use my usual technique which is to ‘wing it!’

Until next time, happy baking 🙂

A Direction, A Hope, A Purpose, A Resolution, A Will

This is me

This is me

For the past year most of you would have only seen a photo of the back of my head. So I decided that with the new year, I would show you me in all my gory detail. Love instagram for having the ability to hide those imperfections.

I was born in 1977, raised in the UK. March 2003 I had my first daughter, and April that year I got married. In 2006 we decided to move to Australia. July 2008 I gave birth (after having 3 miscarriages in-between) to my 2nd daughter – and our first generation Aussie.

For most the new year brings about resolutions most of which will be broken by the end of January. I have made no resolutions, but have decided on some changes that need to be made, not just for the new year, but for life.

With some technical issues with my health last year, I have to continue my path to a better body. Mentally, physically, and spiritually. With exercise, healthy-ish eating (I can’t give up chocolate), and some time for me.

In the last few months I have been tinkering with homemade cleaning products, as I would like to cut down on the amount of chemicals. I’ve also managed to make a dog shampoo (ironic that I don’t own a dog). This shampoo has had great results, and so looking at other things I can do – detangler for you long hair dogs, and the baking continues with dog treats for bad breath.

Sample bottles - Dog Shampoo and Flea deterrent for pet beds

Sample bottles – Dog Shampoo and Flea deterrent for pet beds

The dog products require little physical effort, unlike the cakes. For me to go in this direction, there’ll be lots more planning, study and work. I don’t want to screw this up by not doing the appropriate research first.

I considered stopping the cakes. I’ve no formal training, I spend most of my time winging it, and there is the obligatory amount of self-doubt. They can take up lots of time, and you just know as soon as it comes to decorating my 2 daughters always kick off!

I have had to cut back, but have decided not to stop the cakes.

The thing is I love to make things, whether it’s cakes, general cooking, knitting (image below), cross stitch, crochet, other crafts, making the cleaning and pet products. I even have a recipe for anti wrinkle cream – yet to test. I just need to find a way to merge these all together. I need a business plan, I need a name, worked for Martha Stewart, why not me?

Work in progress - entrelac knitted cot blanket

Work in progress – entrelac knitted cot blanket. 3.75mm needles. 4ply 100% merino wool.

I have a book of my recipes for cleaning and other tips & tricks, which my eldest daughters jokingly calls my witches brews.

I come from a crafty family, my Grandad was an artist, my Dad is an artist, my brother’s art work can be seen in Sydney – his next show is in February. My Mum still does arts and crafts after running a playschool in the UK with her Granddaughters.

I have a purpose, a hope, a direction, a resolution, and a will to make this work, I just need that one sign or signal into how to make it all work together.

So there will be changes abound, which I for one am looking forward to. I am not going to sit on my arse and waiting for those changes, I will be making it happen.

Phoenix henna tattoo on my hand.

Phoenix henna tattoo on my hand.

Like the Phoenix henna tattoo I had done recently. From the death of old the phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes. And that’s exactly what I plan to do from the ashes of 2012.