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Where have I gone?

8 Apr

Hi all, to those who are worrying about why there have been on cakes on this blog for a while, it’s because I’ve moved!

Find me here: www.piecesofcakeblog.wordpress.com!

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Christmas comes but once a year…

5 Nov

What with it being close to Christmas, I thought it was reasonable to bring in the festive cakes from years gone by.

As with all good Christmas parties, food is always high up on the menu, and at my old house this couldn’t be more true. So, following an excellent dinner of Pieminister pie, mash and gravy it was time to bring out the mini cakes. But let’s go back to when I decided it would be a good idea to make ten cakes in one sitting…

First on the list were the fruit cakes (which I’d made much earlier, and obviously according to instructions from ‘Saint’ Delia) – these had to be decorated in a fairly ‘standard’ way. I went for classic icing on three, and then decided to attempt the old royal icing again.

This is number one, with normal white fondant and festive fondant decorations. Quite a standard cake, but enjoyably tasty nonetheless!

Fruit cake number two is the one you see right at the top of this post, on a rather large cake board because I’d sort of run out of the fetching holly ones you’ll see in the rest of these. For this cake I covered the cake in green, then white and then cut out the holly shapes. Then I went to town with icing cutting and sticking, as well as getting the classic silver balls to add extra Christmassy joy.

Finally, I made Ruth a present. Here it is!

Finally, on to the dreaded royal icing. My plan was to create peaks, add some snowmen and, as if by magic, there’s a snow scene! This went OK, although again my icing was a touch too runny so slightly see through and not as large and peaky as I might have hoped. Also note the fact my cake looked a little sad so I added a tree and some presents… as well as Santa’s sleigh!

And so on to the sponge cakes. These allowed me to try out some more exciting skills (I know you’re dying to know what that’s done to the Cake-O-Graph but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait). First I tried some cake carving and icing – making a snowman (with quite an oversized hat), a Christmas tree and a stocking. And here they are, in all their glory:

The snowman with large hat (still keeping the red and green theme running…)

And so to the Christmas tree (decorated  with red piping icing and lovely silver baubles!)

Finally, of the three carved cakes there’s the stocking with a white top, which was kept until set with tin foil.

To take a twist on your classic dessert, I decided to make a Christmas pudding – from sponge. I put the cake mix in a pudding bowl, cooked for much longer than usual due to the unusual depth of the cake, tipped out and iced:

Seeing the success of the pudding bowl baking, I took it one step further to make an igloo for a little penguin friend I’d made in the cake shop (no, I’m not at the whole character making stage yet). I’ll admit that my lines may have preferred a steadier hand, but all in all the idea come across, but he doesn’t look to upset at his new home!

And for my final trick… I decided to reincarnate ‘Fat Steve’ (see my previous post “In Deep Waters”), but this time as Father Christmas in a chimney. I made a square cake, iced and designed in a similarly haphazard way to the igloo and the set about getting Santa stuck in the chimney. He has got a slightly mucky face, which will teach us all to wash our hands when handling different colours of icing. A life lesson if ever I heard one.

So there they are. Ten cakes – three made over a month, all decorated over the course of a day and eaten during the following week (depending who they belonged to…!)

But what has that done to the Cake-O-Graph?! Well, it was a challenging day – sheer volume of cakes, some were simple, some were more intricate, but I’ve taken that into account to give the Christmas Combo quite a tough skill level. As some were a great success, and some were not amazing I’ve averaged them all to give an overall cake quality score. I think the graph is taking shape nicely…

Beginner Baker to Distinguished Decorator?

3 Oct

Welcome to Pieces of Cake, and my very first blog post! By way of introduction, here’s a bit about me and how I got into the business of baking.

My first experience of a homemade, home decorated cake was my christening cake – okay, I may not remember it, but it’s where this all started. That was my mum’s first ever cake, and it was the beginning of her journey into the sometimes extremely stressful, but very rewarding, world of cakes.

As I grew up she had plenty of opportunities to make cakes – not just for my birthdays, but for friends and other family members. And not just birthdays anymore – for any event that could have a cake, she could make a cake. I loved watching her make and decorate these amazing cakes – normally being ‘chief advisor’, and when I was old enough having the immense responsibility of holding the cake en route to its destination. On her first cake decorating evening class, mum took me along – I spent all night perfecting my first ever cake. Frankly, it was a mess. But it was to be the start of something beautiful…

Admittedly, it was a long time before I tried the decorating out on my own, but I had the cooking bug after I moved to university. On my housemate’s 23rd birthday I decided, this was it: I was making and decorating a cake for her.

And from there it grew – it can be stressful and frustrating but it’s also massively enjoyable and a real challenge to try and make each one better than the last (that doesn’t always happen!)

So, my blog will unfold my making and decorating cakes of all shapes, sizes and colours. There may even be some of your common-or-garden baking thrown in for good measure. Everyone loves cookies, muffins and cupcakes, after all!