06 December 2010

It's begininng to feel a lot like Christmas!

  Less than 1 month to go until Xmas people! I can't believe time flies so quickly when you are having fun. The orders just keep coming in and I have cakes booked in until November next year and enquiries for 2012!!!
  Before you know it, we'll be drinking and partying with the best of them.

Kids cakes have really taken off and more than ever with parents buying cakes for their kids using their favourite toys or tv shows as inspiration.
  Ben 10 for the boys and Dora the Explorer for the girls! And yet, within minutes of presenting these cakes, they are demolished beyond recognition by the birthday child and guests.
  It's why I love doing what I do. The look on the kids faces and the following phone call thanking me for a job well done by the parents makes it all worth while.

But don't get me wrong - it's not just the kids that enjoy the custom made cakes. Now they are for every age group from the littlies through to the adults.
 With the latest addition to the Harry potter movie season - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (which I went to see with my niece last week), there's been an influx of movie related cake themes.
  Many of which will be part of costume parties with guests of all ages.

"Sex in the City" was the main attraction for this cake above on the right with shoe fetishists' throughout the world rejoicing. With less intricate designs of similar themes for the cakes on the left.

  Or for the boys - UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champonships) has seen the latest boom. Bye, bye world wrestling :(
  The cake below made for 200 guests contained a UFC octagonal ring and 2 fighters (one made to look like the birthday boy) with a bikini clad girl. Seats, supporters logo's and clothing gear all represented.

And for something a little bit different - one for the escapist in all of us. A sailing boat off to see the world.

   With this next cake, there was a funny story behind the laptop cake including a work colleague who remains single searching the web for the woman of his dreams!
  Someone was trying to give the poor guy a hint!
And last of all the novelty cake for the wedding couple. A small token wedding cake made more for the groom than the bride... a true football fanatic!
  I hope she's still grinning like this after a few years!


04 December 2010

Back to School

Yes, yes, I know most of you out there are thinking...what? It's Christmas holiday time not January - back to school. Sorry to confuse but I actually meant that some of us cake decorators got together during last weekend in Toowoomba to hold a workshop class.
  Mary Reid of "Merivale Cakes & Crafts"  (http://www.merivalecakesandcrafts.com.au/) organised for us to come out to Toowoomba for a visit and we were graced by the presence of John Quai Hoi - "My Cake Delights" (http://mycakedelights.com.au) , Melbourne. It was an honour to have Mr. Quai Hoi show us how to create extra large flowers on wedding cakes for which he is known, world-wide.Preston
  It wasn't all business of course and we had an absolute ball, socialising, hanging out and talking shop.
  Within the group there were over 12 ladies within the industry both from Brisbane and Toowoomba businesses'.
  I think the class was fun and considering how much of what I have created over the years has been sel-taught through trial and error, it was great to see new methods and see the creationary process through a new perspective.
 To make it in time many of us were running around trying to make sure cake orders were finished and delivered on time.
 Clean, simple cake designs with large embellishment - flowers, diamates or ribbon are really coming into their own at the moment.  Some of the cakes even have absolutely no other colour on them except for a single flower to enliven the room.  Interesting to see after making so many with all sorts of piping and appliqued work.
The cake to the left was a strange but beautiful design picked out by a young bride from a wedding cake magazine. It was definitely different. Covered in beatiful lace and gathered around each tier with a diamante strand, ribbon and buckle. I felt like a dressmaker putting it together!
 The end result was definitely worth the time as once I place it onto the table at the venue - it looked fantastic! The mirrored table added to the effect making the cake seem extremely tall. It's good to see a venue that thinks about where the cake is going!
Between these and the novelty cake work which is always so diverse, the job is keeping me busy. I have clients who ring up asking for cakes or cake ideas they have seen on Foxtel television shows such as "Ace of Cakes" or "The Cake Boss". This following cake spurred on the idea of having a cake when you find out a family member is going to have a new baby.
  You've got to love television and technology for moments like these.
  "MasterChef" brought on a whole new load of 'requests'. Suddenly everyone wanted croquembouche (chantilly filled profiteroles coated in toffee). The trouble with that is, I live in Brisbane...not necessarily the most humid free environment around. It's supposed to be like the tropics here! And let me tell you, toffee does not react well with humidity!
  So here's my version of the same cake - coated in chocolate this time so the client can either store it in a coolroom or an air-conditioned room until time for their event! Chocolate dipped strawberries and chocolate filigree on top are always winners'.

10 November 2010

A Royal Charity Event

  My cousin invited me to a very special event back in August - it was an 'eye tea' hosted by herself and her mother-in-law to help purchase medical equipment for children who are blind or severely vision impaired. It was to say the least - 'an eye opening experience' - no pun intended.
  Although there was a small fee to help raise money and raffles, the ladies put on such an amazing aray of goodies throughout their tea areas and served us professionally.
  With savoury and sweets, I wanted to contribute a little more to the event and made a cake to be raffled off.

The above cake was all completely edible - from the cup, saucer, spoon, fork and cake slice to the teapot.
  In the end, I recieved a note from the ladies holding the event and was haapily surprised to learn we had helped to raise almost $10,000 for Blind and Vision impaired children.
  If anyone else out there would like to sponsor an 'eye tea' in Brisbane, please call: Melissa Fanshawe 0439 820 495.

Of Ghosts & ghouls - things that go bump in the night!

Halloween is not necessarily as big here as it is in the States - but the phenomenon is growing! As much as consumerism and marketing can push it, I have loved dressing up since I was little and had always loved the scarier things in life.
 I wish I had the time during the season to put on a mega party for dress-up lovers' like myself. Unfortunately with the cakes taking up the time and loving the smiles on the clients faces when they pick up their cakes - it pretty much declares the time a non-event.


   However, I love it when the kids come trick or treating and I feel like the witch in the gingerbread house handing out bags of goodies...
  Coming from a family of four girls - me being the last try for the boy! - my father and I bonded over late night movies of Frankenstein, Dracula and the Mummy. Classics which I will always watch with fondness. Anything ghoulish or macabre has intrigued me and they don't scare me at all. The thrill of making a cake for others having a "scary" night is fantastic.

03 November 2010

Cake Trends

  You know - it's different for every person. Whether you like black in comparison to white, contemporary in relation to traditional, tall to short or elaborate versus simplicity. But when you take orders for cakes on a daily basis you start to notice small comparisons.
  A couple will all call for a super hero cake or a Batman cake...  

  Cars or vehicles for the fellas? Dad, son or best mate?


   More than once on a particular weekend will you recieve an order comparitive to another either in style, colour or filling. Maybe one weekend is full of pink flower orders, on another there will be an influx of difficult cakes with lots of filigree work or simple iced cakes with iced flowers. It's like all the brides for that weekend had a secret meeting and decided to choose cakes with similar designs. Why is it so?

Then again, there are times when I recieve an order which I have never made and probably will never again - they're the one-off's...originals...the strange requests for people who like the strange, macabre and just plain crazy.

 From the Eiffel Tower, to a 'Companion Cube' for a computer geek or as per below: the weekend bird watcher!
 Like I always say - it's the creativity of this job that makes it so interesting. It's never the same - constantly changing.
  Some of them require research - I jump on the 'net and find photos of related items. For the Eiffel tower, I printed photos of the front, side and top views.
  For the 'Companion Cube', I looked into the game. I wanted to write "the cake is fake" on the board because I thought the idea of placing a placebo cake with real recipe into a game was brilliant. The client didn't think so. When my partner brought it up with her son upon pick-up, the birthday boy exclaimed that it would have been 'the ultimate!'

Sometimes a little background makes the cake far more interesting!

 A Little Difference is A Good Thing...

  It's being allowed to give the cake an extra touch that really makes my day. Not necessarily from the clients who want you to do everything for free but from the ones who are happy to pay, give you inspiration and then let you play a little.
  The couple from the cake above sent me a copy of their wedding invitation rather than just an email. It was exquisite. They had thought of the presentation of the invitation down to the beautiful beading hanging from the centre of the embossed card.
  I couldn't help myself. When they told me what they wanted with the mad hatter design and the floral filigree, they told me I could have card'blanche to do what I wanted further that this.
  It was in the following weeks, I found myself down at my bead supplier sourcing the same coloured beads and crystals from their invitation. It was like I was possessed. I sat in the evening threading the beads as per their design and attaching them to the wires exploding from their cake. I was so happy with the final result.

Promises, Promises

Well - I did promise that I would be right back to continue and here I am!

 I remember when I was little girl that my eldest sister had a favourite toy - a pinocchio doll made of wood. A lovely piece of workmanship with a rubber nose. That nose had been eaten continously and used as a teething toy for years and I think she still has it!
  When the client came to me to make pinocchio for a Christening cake I thought it an awesome idea. I had heaps of fun and each moment made me feel like I had reverted to my childhood.

 Another thing I loved to do in my spare time as a kid was to draw. I would draw pretty ladies in large ball gown dresses - obviously created from watching Disney movies on Sunday afternoons. Daddy's little girl loved to think that when I grew up I would be rushed off my feet by my knight in shining armour... it's still like that for many little girls.
  The cake on the left is testimonial for another one in many.
  For one of my regular clients - her little girl was having a Minnie party.

  She gave me strict instructions that Minnie was to be dresses in her original red dress with polka dots and yellow heels.

Apart from the main cake she was also having a family party on a following day so the above cupcakes were made to match the theme.

    There was a lady who I used to deal with at a function centre which closed down. When it came to her wedding, she contacted me knowing that I could make her an egg free cake for her wedding.
  Having always organised other people's it was lovely to liase with her on her own. She's a wonderful, vibrant person and the wedding certainly reflected the same vitality.
  Upon delivering the cake, I quickly stopped in with the florist and wished her and her partner to be all the best. It didn't surprise me that the room she was staying in was a replica of a pyramid with all the accoutrements to match.  So with a modern take on a classic design, burnt orange bridesmaid dresses and flowers...the cake was the complete opposite!

   For some couples when it comes to their wedding cake, a simple affair is often the best. The cake to the right reflects the colours and design of the wedding. A touch of black to make it contemporary but with the draping and flowers of the past.
  Upon cencelling their wedding date, a couple who had paid a large sum of their deposit requested the money be used for another occasion. Not a problem! I used the amount they had originally deposited to create this gorgeous cake to the left for a family memebers' 21st instead. It was much appreciated.

  Lord of the Rings fans will be happy to know that the Elvish writing on this cake reproduction is not as easy as it looks! My calligraphy work as a child certainly helped!

  Another wedding cake delivered to Manly in Brisbane was the photo taken to the left. A stately tall cake with topper provided by the client reproduced with a spray of iced hand-made flowers.
  It was originally meant to be wedgewood blue in colour, however the bride rang the week of the wedding to ask me to change it to chocolate brown as there had been issues with decorating the venue as originally planned.
  I think the cake still looked stunning in chocolate and more delicious as the colour blue is seen to be inedible by many people.

  From childrens' parties to adult birthdays' cakes can  be made to suit the individual.
  A child's favourite toy to the addictive cup of coffee for a cafe manager - you're only limited by your imagination!