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! 😛

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

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! 🙂

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My first ever cake course at TAFE (The rambling begining)

Prequel to my first cake course.

Cake decorating has always been one of my hobbies. In my early 20’s I thought, why not get serious, pursue some real training, get qualified and look into doing this as my grownup job? The issue… I live in a big industrial city. This means, if you are interested in mining, smelting aluminium, working for a gas pipeline, engineering or something similar then you can get training up the wazoo. If you are looking to gain your qualifications in something more creative like cake decorating… good luck. 😦  I was left with 2 options. Move or find a way to bring the training to me. Now, here is where I admit… I am not good with change (something that I am trying to improve). But in saying that, the idea of moving was a big deal. I still live in the city I was born. My family are here. My friends are here. And I just didn’t know if the risk would really lead to my future happiness (I’m not a big gambler either 🙂 ).

So I stayed, and I searched.  I called the local TAFE and at that point there was nothing. I looked through the phone books. I trawled the internet for accredited distance education courses. I even contacted the cake firm I most admired in Sydney and asked what steps & courses I should take to become a cake decorator. Their only answer was fly to Sydney and do there courses. Which is all good and well, but I just didn’t have the disposable thousands of dollars to do it. Thankfully the internet is a wonderful, wonderful source of information & inspiration! As well as the local library, and just plain experimentation. I didn’t give up, I just got over the idea of doing any form of course.

Well this brings me to now. Towards the end of last year I was looking for a horticulture course for my partner, and wouldn’t you know it… I stumbled upon a cake course. It was a short course, being held at TAFE in the next town over, every Friday night for 6 weeks. I was so excited I think I may have blanked out for a second. 🙂 With all the popularity of shows like Master Chef, there had been enough interest generated for the hospitality faculty to run a series of special interest short courses! In a heartbeat I had all of the course registration sorted out. And as a birthday present to me, as well as to help boost my confidence, my partner enrolled with me. (I am truly blessed to have the most wonderful man in my life).

So over a few rambling posts (which I will space out so they aren’t too tedious), I will cover the experience I had attending “Cakes in Bloom”. What I expected, what the reality was. What was engaging, and what was not. What I learnt from the class, and what I learnt about myself. 🙂 The first post will be up soon.

Thanks for stopping by! … aww, I’m at the end of this post and I haven’t added any pictures! I love pictures… Quick… 😀

Quick Pic! Cupcake design ideas 😀

A special birthday cake for my dad!

Howdy! Its been a busy week, but I really wanted to find a moment to share this cake.  A little bit ago it was my dads birthday. Now, usually in our family we just do a very basic cake, nothing fancy. Seems we save the big decorations for other people. But since this year I’m trying to learn more, I took the opportunity to try and make something a bit special.

A special birthday cake for my Papa. 🙂

The greatest things in life that my dad loves are his garden, going fishing & his family. I can’t remember a time when he didn’t have fresh vegetables growing in the modest size backyard of my family home.  It is filled with fruit trees, herbs & vegetable patches, making every inch of dirt productive. When he isn’t tinkering in the garden, he loves to go fishing.  He was born in a little fishing village in Sicily, so it will always be a part of his blood. As a child, I remember my brother and I racing to the kitchen to crowd him when he would get home from a day out, to see what he had caught for dinner! If you can’t tell, my dad is very special to me! 😉

So to decorate this cake I wanted to try and make a few of the things that he loves.  It was a toss up… a garden cake, or a fishing cake?

My kind of garden!

Well I just couldn’t decide, so I went with a little bit of both!

Cute little vege patch ~ complete with pumpkins, lettuce, beans & beetroots.

So this is my little garden.  Choc crumble soil, and gum paste vegetables. I generally love things in miniature anyway, so making tiny little lettuces & pumpkins was a hoot! Each little piece made me giggle and smile.  If I had a little more time, I would have done a few things differently, made tomatoes instead of beans… dusted the lettuce with purple around the edges. But over all I was really happy with the way it came out. My absolute favorite part of the garden was the little wooden plank edge. I just rolled out some light brown sugar paste, cut out my planks, then textured them up with a coconut print. After they had dried, I painted over the texture with dark brown coloring to give a stained wood finish. Funny how you can be completely rapt and happy with such a small detail.

Sugar paste model kinda like my dad.. with a little fishy!

Unfortunately I didn’t get a good pic of the fishing rod & the little fish that I made.  Behind the figurine is a gum paste fishing rod.. a simple stick with a round reel, which I added detail to with a black decorating pen.  And I made a stack of little multi-coloured fish, which were super simple, and brushed with silver to finish them off.

To frame the back of the cake, I used simple green chocolate mud cakepops for trees… and the blue curly things… well, that’s ment to say “Papa”. Bit of a fail there. I guess this is what happens when I don’t get a precise look of the font down on paper first. Instead I just thought I would work it out as I went along. Not the greatest idea because as I was struggling to make something that looked like a P… the paste was drying… giving me a cracked finish. To try to fix my messy lettering I glazed them and sprinkled green and blue glitter over them. It created a cool looking background. But most of the family thought it was ment to be snails?? Then an “Ohhh, I see it now!” moment 😛 Well, combined with the trees and the rest of the decs, I still liked them!

And lastly I made a little sugar model of my dad… kind of. This is the 3rd figurine I have attempted. Lots of room for improvement here. But each time I try, it does get a bit easier and less daunting.

The big things I’m disappointed with on this cake are the fondant cover and the writing.  I tried to create a marbled effect with the fondant, using green and blue. What I wanted to achieve was a really distinctive swirly pattern over the whole cake as a base, bringing together the garden/fishing concept. But I over worked the colours and ended up blending it to an aqua colour. The swirls were still there, but very subtle.  And the writing… well I just ran out of time, and piped it on as quickly as possible. I wish I had just taken a moment to stop, take a breath & concentrate. But this cake was finished a minute before we walked out the door, so I smashed on the writing and off we went to lunch.

Overall, I’m so happy with the way this cake turned out. And most importantly, my dad was absolutely wrapped when he saw it. He could not believe it, and the look on his face was worth more to me than the price of any elaborate special occasion cake. His only criticism  was that I should have made the figurine look younger 😛

Well, that’s enough of my babble for now. Hope your all having a lovely weekend! Thanks for stopping by 😀