Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Winter Gardening

During summer I posted about my snap dragons and how proud I was of them. Well since then they have died, and it has gotten very cold here in Canberra! But never fear, I have been speaking to some of the green-thumbs at my work and have been told that bulbs can be planted. So I purchased a range of bulbs from some kind of fundraising program and I have been meaning to plant them for about a month now!

I have purchased some bulb potting mix - because I had two pots to put bulbs in - and some 'blood and bone' which is apparently put on top of the bulbs.

This is how my garden has been looking:

Pretty dismal. But since the sun was out this Sunday, and I'm finally recovered from the chest infection which has been preventing my bulb planting, I went wild!

Ok, so my idea of wild is probably not as wild as what other people may do, but it's wild for me. I got a little confused with how I had to plant the bulbs, so I'm a bit worried that I have planted some bulbs upside down!

I also filled up the two pots, and I have spread the 'blood and bone' on top. Now I'm a bit unsure of how often I'm meant to water them, and when I should expect to see any action. I think I'll probably aim for watering on the weekend at the very least and maybe once more during the week if I remember and it isn't too cold.

Stay tuned for some growth photos!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Making an 18th Birthday Cake

Recently I volunteered myself to make a cake for a boys 18th birthday. It was a bit of a struggle to think of what to make since I don't really know a lot of 18 year old boys and I didn't really have a lot to go on. I could have made a football team cake, but he isn't a football fan. So I decided to settle for something kind of basic, but fun. Then I bought the "Planet Cake" book and found my inspiration.

So here is my step by step for making a cake.

First I prepared some of the decorations - blue and green stars.

Then I covered the board in the blue fondant.

For the cakes I made two chocolate mud cakes and then stacked them together. I was watchin some clips of 'Cake Boss" and it looks as though each of their tiers is actually three cakes stacked...it's the only way to get the heght, and so next time I'm going to try doing three cakes.

Once the cake was stacked and covered with chocolate icing (to try and even out some of the bumps) I cut out two circles of blue fondant and put them in the middle of the cake - this is to make the explosion type thing in the middle.

In between the last photo and the next photo I got a little bit "in the zone" and forgot to take photos of each step!
So what I did inbetween the photos was:

  1. Cover the cake with White Chocolate fondant icing (which was actually a little difficult to work with, it wasn't as pliable as the other fondant I've used before)

  2. Trim the excess fondant and smooth out the icing

  3. Cut some slits on the top of the cake and peel back for the 'explosion'. This was definitely easier said than done. It didn't work as it was supposed to, but I fixed it by cutting out some blue triangles so that it looked ok

  4. Put the fondant ribbon on the cake

  5. Put the star decorations on the cake

And viola!

Next I had to insert the "18" candles in the middle and fill it in so that it looked better. I added a couple of those edible metallic beads and some luster dust to make it look a little bit more celebratory. This is the finished product: what do you think?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A couple of cakes

Sincce completeing my Cake Decorating course a couple of months ago (has it really been that long!), I've been trying out some new techniques and practiceing some techniques I learnt in my class.

One technique I didn't get to try out in my class was using moulds. There were moulds available and a couple of students used them (monopolised them!), so I heard about how to use them. But I also watched a few tutorials on You Tube, which has to be the ameture cake decorators best friend!!

Here I was practicing making buttons using a mould. I wasn't sure what I was going to use the buttons for, but you can keep them for ages so I figured I'd use them eventually. This is a Wilton mould - I bought a couple of them from Style Emporium in Gold Creek. I probably could have gotten them cheaper online, but I'm an impulse purchaser sometimes!

This is a six inch cake that was decorated with another Wilton mould set. When working with the moulds I find I have to do a lot of trial and error, but I usually get there eventuall. I took this cake with me to one of my sewing days, it was much appreciated!

Yet another Wilton mould set. I promised a cake for a morning tea at work one week, and so I decided to do something a little bit random. But I think the lime with fuschia works really well.

One of the first techniques that I learnt in my cake decorating class was to use flood icing to fill in letters. So when the opportunity arose to make a cake for my friends baby shower, I had a look at the Wilton cake designs and found this design that was sewing inspired as well. The main part of the cake were the letters on top, created with flood icing. I then brushed them with some new shimmer dust I had purchased (so much fun). Once combined with the buttons I had made previously the cake ended up looking like this:

And to keep the fuschia and teal theme going:

This was a definite success. One of the best cakes I've made. I used a better version of Ready to Roll fondant icing than the one I've been buying from Woolworths and it is so much nicer to work with.

I continued on with the flood icing to create a Betty Boop cake for a girl at work - she ordered it for her friend's 30th and actually paid me for it!

The cake was a hit at the party and I'm really glad I did it. I'm making another birthday cake this week and will post some photos of that process.

I buy most of my cake decorating supplies and tools from Baking Pleasures which has a great range and has really quick delivery. A cake decorating store opened up in Canberra but when I went in to have a look I found that a lot of the products are twice the price of Baking Pleasures. So even when you factor in postage costs, it's still cheaper to shop online. I'll use the Canberra store for some things, like the cake boards, or if I'm desperate, but I won't be shopping there regularly.

Stay tuned for more cake decorating fun, or follow me on Instagram - egeoghegan - where I regularly post cake decorating photos.