Radio Silence!

Hello! Hello! Hello! :D

Due to unforseen circumstances, I was suddenly without a computer for a couple of weeks, and so I disappeared! :(

And I have to say, it was absolutely dreadful! I missed my favorite blogs, and it was awful to have the posts I had planned come to a stall! I also missed Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest & internet shopping…. yes, yes…. I am hopelessly addicted to the internet I think! Good thing I had Instagram on my phone to take the edge off! ;)

The good news is, I have had this new beautiful laptop for all of 4 hours, and I am back! Yep, the first thing I wanted to do was post a quick hello!

Nothing says hello like fresh baked marble cake! :D

So much has happened while I have been offline. I will have to take a moment to recoup and work out how & where to start writing again.

So for now, I will share some very basic pictures of a bright and cheerful marble cake. I made it with a simple buttercake recipe, which I split up and coloured nice & brightly with some vibrant food colours.  I love bright colours so much, and it really makes me smile to swirl bright blue & red & green together!  Please excuse the poor phone pictures… I was thankful that my lovely man remembered to take pictures while I was happily twirling around the kitchen! ;)

Red, Blue, Green & White! Twirled and Swirled!

So I will leave it there for tonight, and spend the rest of the evening happily reading the user guide to my new laptop.

The finished cake? Why a rainbow of course! ;)

Until next time, thanks for dropping by!

:D Miss Cat

Being part of something special.

I just love weekends away! The weekend just been was a long one in some parts of Oz, so we got the opportunity to take a cold drive south to catch up with family & friends. One visit I was particularly excited about was with a pair of our closest friends who have just had a wonderful addition to their family, a beautiful baby boy! Seeing them and meeting bub for the first time had me thinking about the special place friends have in our hearts, and the wonderful histories we create with them. (ohhh wow… can you tell I’m a big softy? Sorry if I’m being overly sentimental ;))

Just over 2 years ago, we were gathered together to celebrate at their wedding. It was a truly beautiful event and I was excited, proud, & more than a little scared to be part of the team that created the wedding cake.  I hope you will indulge me while I take this opportunity to share some photos & reminisce about the best cake experience I have been privileged to be a part of.

~The wedding cake~

Designed by the bride, the wedding cake was created with the theme colours of the wedding, a deep ruby red & satin white. The cupcakes were made in chocolate & red velvet, and were baked a generous muffin size to be used as the dessert at the reception.

Now to break down the collaboration which brought this all together. The cake team was made up of the bride (a chef) and her mother, who got together and baked the most delicious cupcakes, which I can’t quite remember how many there ended up being. I want to say 150… if it wasn’t that it was close. The decorating team was made up of the groom (a chef), my partner (also a chef) and myself (food enthusiast?). Oh yea… it was 2 chefs getting married. Hence my heightened nervousness with getting the cake right. :P

Together, all the components of the cake decorating took well over 2 days (plus a good couple of nights of bow making) to get to the finished product. And it was so worth it. I can’t tell you how wrapped I was when we finally put it together. And how awesome it was to work with the guys. In the past the two had worked together in a few different kitchens, so not only were they a skilled, quick & formidable team, but they worked with an ease & a sense of humor that added to an unforgettable experience for me. (I felt like I was working with the cool kids ;) )

The boys putting the big bow together for the top cake. :D And the trays of red & white finished cupcakes.

Just going through the photos has put the biggest smile on my face, and inspired me to revisit this design. Bows are such a lovely and elegant decoration. I’m happy to say, I think I have just found my first tutorial topic. Coming soon ;)

So I hope you have enjoyed this little step back in time for me.  I will post again shortly with something a little more recent, promise! :P

Hope your having a fantastic week. Thanks for dropping by!

Miss Cat

~The happy couple~

Cupcakes for Breakfast!

Simple chocolate fudge mini cupcakes! Ok, maybe not for breakfast, but I did whip these up when I woke up today, as a nice little gift for a morning tea.  And yes… I did have at least a spoonful of fudge with with my coffee. So technically it counts as breaky. ;)

The thing I love about mini cupcakes is that you can make a heck of a lot of them, in a pretty short amount of time. Which is a good thing in my household, because when my back is turned they tend to disappear. In fact on one occasion, after a busy night of baking, my sad and sorry partner complained to me that he was suffering from a  tummy ache. After doing a quick count of what was left.. we worked out he had managed to eat 50 of them (and dip them in batter) over the course of the night. *sigh* Something about good help – hard to find? :P

But I digress…. I just wanted to quickly post about how much I love the simplicity of a big star nozzle.  Quick fat swirls, a sprinkle of  pretty cachous and you have a lovely little gift.  Yea… If I can do a batch at breakfast, I’m a happy camper. Simple, understated & super fast. Big smiles from me!

And with these few pics, I will call it a night! Thanks for dropping by & have a great rest of your week!

Miss Cat :)

Chocolate Fudge Mini Cup Cakes with Mixed Silver Cachous.

Chocolate Fudge Mini Cup Cakes with Mixed Silver Cachous.

Mini Cupcakes for Captain Awesome!

Mini cupcakes for a special morning tea at work :)

I spend my days working with a strange assortment of people. (Although I readily admit that I am the strangest of them all ;) ). The office  is quite a diverse little place, made up of a people whom are of differing cultures, ages and attitudes.  The majority get along really well, we all afford each other a great deal of respect and endeavor to keep a productive but easy going atmosphere. And lucky for me  there are a few special people who I can have fun with. It makes my days so much nicer knowing that someone is there that I can joke around with, let off steam with, & who on odd occasions tell me to stop looking so menacing and put the stapler down. Staplers should not imply “danger” :P

Well today marked the last day for one of the fun people, who is moving on to greener pastures.  As sad as it is to see him go, its fantastic that he is movin on up!  So, it was only fitting to throw a celebratory morning tea complete with gifts & cupcakes!  Gez I’m rambling – I’ll to cut to the chase! Our team mate dubbed himself “Captain Awesome” quite a while ago, so today we made it official with an engraved medal to wear all day!  With the medal in mind, I worked on creating mini medal cupcakes this week.  A platter of mini cupcakes = big smiles from me!  I do love minis!

To make the medals, I used the base of a piping nozzle to cut nice small round discs. I then pressed the end of a coupling into the disc to give a small printed border. At first my idea was to write on them all with a food marker, but when I tried that, they looked quite plain and rough.  So I used a great little set of star cutters to give them more character.  I cut the stars out and stuck them on with sugar glue, then once dried I painted them all up with silver metallics & blue highlights.

I was really happy with the way they turned out. The final product was a bit of a let down though. I put them together this morning at 6 (which is harsh as I am not a morning person…) and I piped out chocolate fudge frosting as my base with blue piped “ribbons” to place the medals on. If I do them again, I will definitely cut the ribbons out of fondant to get a better finish.

Choc fudge mini medals for everyone!

So… hope this gave you a smile. If I could share them out, I would give one to you all.. :D Because everyone is special enough to deserve a medal!

I think the early morning is scrambling my brain. Time to put my feet up and switch off for the night.

Thanks for dropping by!

Miss Cat

I lost my kitchen mojo :(

… but its ok, I think I have found it now.

Been readin, relaxing & drinkin tea with Mica lately… :)

Apart from the Mothers Day cake, it had been a long time between posts. There have been a heck of a lot of things going on, and in the mix, I got a bit knocked about. So to be 100% honest, I have been staying out of the kitchen.

This post  is a bit about me, less about cake. So please feel free to skip the read, it’s not really going to go anywhere. Some bloggers I follow use their blogs as a form of therapy. I write this blog to share the cakey love, but mostly to encourage myself to practice, learn and improve.  Just this once though, I will try therapy.

I am a simple girl. I live in a smaller city in Australia which makes its money from industry rather than tourism. This means the surrounding landscape is peppered with smokestacks, silos and imposing structures covered in red, black and grey. Its the grey, the smoke, the gloom… that can permiate everything in your life if you let it. I work full time,  paid for 38 but actually working 40+ hrs a week as a receptionist/office admin/very bottom of the ladder/fixer of everything/go to girl. Its a good honest job. I drifted into it with no experience, and I struggle every day to keep up with a hefty work load, but it has taught me a lot. Its not my passion. I don’t need it to be. Its what keeps my rent & bills paid, and helps me to feel secure in the fact that I can look after myself.

So here is the thing… I work hard. It takes up a huge number of hours in my week. But I work to enjoy the rest of my life. I am fiercely protective of my home time. I try to fill it with the people & things that I love.  Things that make me happy. Bright beautiful things. Things the opposite of grey gloom.

Cakes are part of that. Some times a big part. Sometimes not so much.  For those who I share it with, I do it from the heart.  Its the only way I know. I’m not here to make money from cakes. I’m here to share happiness. At this point of my life, that’s my truth. And it’s this, that causes a big issue for me. You see, there are people in my life that use me for free cakes.  That I only hear from when they want a freebie.  Hours and hours spent on specialty cakes, as favors.  Now I’ve explained how precious my down time is to me? Well it breaks me a little bit, when I let this happen.  When I put time, feeling & effort into something for someone who really just doesn’t want to pay a professional. And I put that on me, because I hate to think people are really like that. So I devalue my time and self. And I break a little. And I don’t cake.

I was asked to do a wedding cake for a friend in March. Not someone close to me. Free in lieu of gift. It started off easy. 30 cupcake tower. Basic butter cream frosting.  Delivered an hour away (brought to the wedding with me as I was a guest). Over the course of time it turned into a 2 tiered top cake, on a tower of 40 cupcakes. Each decorated differently, fondant with handmade roses. To be delivered 12 hours away.  I will admit, every time the design changed I got upset. I let myself get used. It was my fault. But I was doing it as a gesture of friendship, and to share in their celebration of love, so I let it be ok.  As the wedding date got closer, mother nature conspired against our plans.  Severe heavy rain pummeled the North Queensland coast.  2 cyclones threatened the area, and dumped an unseasonable amount of rain. Rivers rose, bridges flooded, long stretches of highway were damaged and closed.  The road became impassible. My travel plans were blocked by 11 emergency road closures. The bride understood that there was nothing I could do. And was absolutely fine. Luckily her father in law to be is a Chef, so he was more than happy to take over the duty and organise a gorgeous cake for the day. No fuss. No crisis really. Nobody left in the lurch.  It all worked out. I was left feeling a bit devistated for missing out on the wedding and seeing our friends into a new chapter of their life. But there was nothing more I could do.I felt bad for the situation, but eventually made peace with it.

Until I was happily looking through their online wedding pics, only to find the cake pictures, with the caption “the cake people canceled the day before” written under them. Not “we missed our friends and wished they could share our day”.  I was upset. Gutted actually. Tired.  And feeling used. And I stopped caking. If my heart is not there, I cant do it. For the last little bit I have been feeling very “I can’t”.

And what I need to learn from this…. is that I value my time. I value myself.

I will choose more wisely how I give my time. And I will learn how to say no.

Anyone who hand makes something puts their time, their skill and a little bit of themselves into it.  That is worth something. Its time away from the people they love. Time that could be spent making memories. Time is all that we have.      I personally love handmade.  I love the specialness of it. Handmade makes my life more colourful and happy.

So… that has been my little emotional detour. A rambling little story… as I tend to ramble. You know… I actually do feel better for writing it all down. I guess I can see how this does work as therapy.

If you took the time to read this. Thanks friend. :)

Flower bouquet cake for Mothers Day!

“Sweet” flowers for Mothers Day!

Hi- ya! Its been very quite here on the blog… but I really wanted to quickly post a pic of the cake I made for my mum for mothers day.

This gorgeous little cake is a cake of the month design from Cake Decorating Central. I spent all day putting it together, having a ball with the fondant stems and flowers. In saying that… it has been a big day and I’m plum tuckered out. So I will keep it short and sweet.

Wishing all the mummies out there a very wonderful day!! xxx

Thanks for dropping by!

Miss Cat

My mum & I :D She was delighted with the cake, and I am thankful for the life cake decorating lessons she has given me. ;)

Lush Chocolate Mud Cake

People don’t want chocolate cake any more…. they want MUD.

Batter so dark it doesn't reflect light. :P

Rich, moist, heavy, coma inducing chocolate mudcake. The goal is a cake that is so dense, and so chocolatey that after 3 or 4 bites, you can’t imagine eating anything chocolate again for at least a week.

To be honest, I love my chocolate cake light, soft & full of flavour. A beautiful chocolate sponge makes me happy.  So happy that after a piece I want to dance around, and still can because it doesn’t take away my ability to move.

The darkness of the mudcake against vanilla bean butter cream :)

 

Anywho, I’m not the norm. I learn’t how to make mud, because that’s what people want.  And I won’t deny, a good mudcake is a very special thing, but personally its a touch too adult for my liking. :)

OK, enough of my feelings about mudcake… I want to share with you the cracker recipe that I use when I need to present decadence.

This cake has a fine crumbly crust, with a moist center. It has evolved from a mish-mash of a few recipes, to something that works for me every time, and fills the brief of being rich, moist & almost too much.

Lush Chocolate Mud Cake

Ingredients

  • 220 g unsalted butter
  • 220 g chopped dark chocolate
  • 15 g instant coffee
  • 160 ml water
  • 125 g self-raising flour
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 50 g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 480 g castor sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 table spoons vegetable oil
  • 100 ml buttermilk

Grease & line 22cm  round cake tin. Cake will rise , so make sure the collar is at least 2 cm higher than the tin.

Preheat oven to 160°C.

In a saucepan over a low heat, melt butter, chocolate, coffee & water. Once smooth & combined, allow to cool.

In a bowl add eggs, oil & buttermilk. Lightly beat until combined.

In a separate large bowl, sift both flours, cocoa & bicarb. Mix in sugar, and make a well in the center.

Pour egg & chocolate mix into the well. Mix gently until combined, don’t work batter too much – if over mixed cake will not rise fully.

Pour batter into tin & bake for 1 hour 45 minutes. Poke a skewer into the center of cake, if it comes out clean its done, if its not bake for a further 10 minutes and check again.

Leave cake in tin until completely cool.

Wrapped up and kept in an air tight container this cake can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge, and it can also be frozen up to a month in advance.

Hope that you enjoy this, my very first posted recipe!

Have a great weekend!

Miss Cat :D

A very cakey road trip – Surprise Halo 30th Birthday Cake!

Howdy!

So a few weeks ago, I went on a little holiday to help celebrate a good friends surprise 30th. The birthday boy is my partner’s best friend and co-conspirator in mischief. He is the head chef of a gorgeous little boutique place on the Sunshine Coast, and I was very privileged to work with him a few years ago, along with my partner to create his wedding cake (by far the best cake project I have ever been a part of – and in fact the pic on my blog heading). It was so exciting to be part of a surprise birthday celebration, and of course, I really wanted to make a special cake for him as well! There was just one particular challenge with this cake that I have not had to tackle before.  This cake had to travel.  We live 450 kms away! So how the heck was I going to show up with a cake? Excuse the dodgy pic - Road trip map!Fortunately for me (or unfortunately… it remains to be seen) I will be doing a wedding cake in a few weeks, which has to travel a further distance. So I took this as the perfect opportunity to trial run cake transporting, and get my head around the logistics involved.

This is how I planned the cake:

  • 2 weeks before – make up the modeling paste decorations.
  • 2 days before – bake chocolate mud cake, wrap & refrigerate to set for journey.
  • 1 day before – whip up batch of vanilla bean buttercream & refrigerate for the journey.
  • Night before – pack up colours, tips, piping bag & couplings, edible glitter, pallet knife & other essential decorating paraphernalia.
  • Day of travel – Prep esky with ice, seal off & stack cake & frosting in to keep cool during trip.
  • The trip – super fun drive down the coast listening to great music & stopping at cool places. (If you can’t tell, I love road trips ;) )
  • Arrival at destination – Quick cake assemble!

The finished product! Not too bad for a travelling cake! ;)

And that’s pretty much how it all panned out. :D Of course I picked a pretty simple design, in order to keep the stress levels down. Just a quick plain cover of the cake in frosting, with a shell border.  I made up the 30 in white modeling paste and once dried, painted it with a nice thick paintbrush. I kept the paint job on it rough & alternated colours of dark green, purple, brown & silver for a sort of camo feel.

Painted Modeling Paste 30

The other decorations for the cake were a pile of grenades & a Halo helmet , which I also made out of white modeling paste & painted.  I had a few goes at the helmet, which ended up being harder to make than I thought.  I just couldn’t get the shape right.  In the end, I took all  of my trial pieces with me, so that I could make a decision on what looked good on the day.

The helmets… see how I couldn’t get them right? >_<

My assortment of grenades… don’t look too closely… they are all different! :(

Overall, I was happy with the cake… but only just. Its just that the decorations weren’t as good as I wanted them to be.  I felt like I was a little out of my depth with the helmet and grenades. I have only watched the boys play Halo in passing, so I had to get my shapes and ideas off the game, it’s manual & some figurines that we had.  Maybe I would have done a better job of it if I had done the hard yards and invested a few hours in game play? ;)

 Ummm…. Some how I don’t think I will be playing games in future to improve my caking skills, no matter which way I try and justify it.  But this was a great experience in something out of the ordinary for me. Practice, practice, practice! :D (Its becoming my mantra this year).

Oh, and one last thing before I go… This cake was the lush chocolate mudcake that I have been making a lot of this year. It is super rich, very adult and… I will be sharing the recipe just as soon as I get a few moments to type it up.  Will post it very soon! :)

Until next time, thanks for dropping by!

 Tic, Tic, Tic…. Boom! – That’s the noise you hear when your playing against the birthday boy… when a grenade drops out of nowhere & gets you! :P

Craft Swap – With a cupcakey twist!

Hiya! This is a “kinda” cake related post – part cake, part craft. :D

I am a member of the “Sew Good –  Group for lovers of sewing and all things crafty” on facebook, which has just run its very first members craft swap. I have never participated in anything like this before, and I have never physically met any of the other members. They are such a lovely & knowledgeable bunch of ladies, and the idea of making something crafty for a stranger sounded like so much fun, so I decided to sign up for it! The time frame was a month – which seemed like ages, but wouldn’t you know it, the time flew… and what I thought would be easy, I actually found really hard – trying to make something for someone I didn’t know! I really wanted to make something that my swap partner would like, but I have spent the last few weeks completely stumped! Even with a short email of personal likes – which I found that my partner loved roses, rockabilly & pin-up – I was still drawing a blank. With a week to go, panic started setting in…. So I did some major brainstorming, and surprise surprise – I had a cakey flash of inspiration. :P

The Kitch’n Vixen Cupcake Kit! – By Miss Cat

The Kitch'n Vixen Cupcake Kit! - My last minute craft brainstorm :D

The Kitch'n Vixen Cupcake Kit! - My last minute craft brainstorm :D

So this is what I came up with – a cute rockabilly themed cupcake kit! I designed this gift box to have a little something to “decorate” the hostess – a yellow gingham apron with appliqué roses, a button necklace, simple bag & some hairclips (which fitted with the crafting brief), AND packed up a handmade retro record platter, and all the fixins for some simple rock n roll cupcakes. I made up some chunky black music notes with modelling paste & painted them with a little silver to give them a little more detail & shimmer. I also packed up a disposable piping bag, cupcake wrappers & some edible glitter so all that needs to be added is a Betty Crocker cupcake kit. Put together these cupcakes look absolutely adorable! I have made them before for our local rock & roll dances, and the simple little music note cupcakes displayed on the vinyl records are just too sweet!

Chunky Music Notes ~ Putting together the DIY cupcake kit to send.

Chunky Music Notes ~ Putting together the DIY cupcake kit to send.

I hope I didn’t go too off base with my idea, and I really hope that my partner is surprised and happy with her swap. It’s the thought that counts after all! Today was the finish date, so I have sent this little box of fun off in the mail. I really hope she likes it! Once all the swaps are received, we are to take a pic & post it for the group to see. I can’t wait to see what else everyone made!

Rockin Serving Platter - perfect for cupcakes & a pretty apron for beautiful baking!

It’s been so much fun getting involved in this group! Has anyone else participated in a craft swap or something like this? If you did, what did you do, & how did you find the experience? It makes me wonder if there is a cake or sweets group on facebook that I could join. Hmmm… something to ponder.

Anyway, now that I have finished off this little project I think I will take the night off and celebrate… glass of wine anyone? ;) Have a nice night!

Until next time…. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Packed up and posted! :D

Holidays & Cakey Travel!

Howdy!!

Well I have been pretty quiet on the blog front, feels like I have been away for ages! But I have been literally here, there & everywhere lately. I’ve been completely unable to sit at my laptop for more that a second! So much has been going on, and all my well meant plans to put up a few posts have gone right out the window. :(

So for a quick catch up of the last few weeks…. Firstly, I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines day! I love the special little celebration days through the year, and try to celebrate all of them. I guess I treat them as some of the extra spice in life! ;)  Usually I enjoy using Valentines day as an excuse to plan something special for my beau, but this year it took a back seat to an out-of-town trip that was a gift to us both.

Some trip pics!

Over the last week I have been on the most fun holiday! A very special friend of ours turned 30 and his gorgeous wife decided to surprise him by organising a group trip to Dreamworld on the Gold Coast!  It was such a wonderful trip, getting to see some of the people we love, and wish we lived closer too. And of course being a birthday, I really wanted to make a cake as well! Which posed the challenge, how to make a cake that travels! – This will get its own post!

Also while away, I found the cutest little chocolates! Do you find that when you are out and about doing things not even remotely related to cakes, you find thing that inspire new cake ideas? I know I do! Cake on my mind… all the time! :P

Delightful Freckleberry Chocolate numbers! Wouldn't these be a super cute cake topper? They certainly made me smile! :D

Can’t you just see these on a cake? A gorgeous chocolate cake with choc frosting and freckles all over the trims?  Ohh… or a lush red velvet cake with choc marbled ganache!  I checked out the fab Freckleberry website and they also do letters!  I will definitely be daydreaming about a cute creation just for the excuse to use these.

Also squished into the craziness of holidays was a fluffy happy cake that I made with my mum.

Mums Chiffon Cake & Soft Meringue Frosting

The photos don’t show up the lovely sky blue base colour. This cake was also for a surprise party. Must have been a good week for surprises!  I helped out with some modeling paste numbers and cute little silver stars on wire, and we finished the cake with some cheerful balloons which matched the decorations for the party.  Apparently the birthday boy was thrilled with his party, and wrapped with the cake! – As were all the guest!

A cheerful surprise for Rodney's 60th!

Anyways now I’m back – it’s a harsh reality getting back to work, and frantically catching up on the teetering piles of jobs that have amassed in my absence. I’m rambling a bit now and its dinner time, so I will call it a night. The nice thing is once I’m back to being on top of things, I will post far more regularly.

Hope your having a lovely night and thanks for dropping by! :)