On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place


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Movember 2014

Movember CakesA few weeks back I made a couple of cakes for Mr Fussy to take to work, and to trade a slice for a donation to his Movember page.

The cakes were the Sour Cream Vanilla Bean cake I’ve made several times now, it’s one of Summer Stone’s recipes over on Cake Paper Party.

My template. Notice I didn't roll the fondant big enough. Tut tut

My template. Notice I didn’t roll the fondant big enough. Tut tut


I decided to make the most of the opportunity to make cakes to complete two cake designs I’ve had my eye on for a while. The Startburst cake I first spotted when Natalie and I were looking at cake designs for Cameron’s cake. I took note of the link and then promptly ordered the cutters so I could make the cake. And it’s taken me over a year to finally get around to it.

The other cake was based off a Craftsy class by Allison Kelleher of AK Cake Design. This is based on the Colour Block Cake. In hindsight I wished I’d looked on Design Seeds to get a better grouping of complimentary colours. But it is what it is and while the colour combinations aren’t as pleasing to me as I wanted, there’s really nothing wrong with the cake.

Both designs too much longer than I had expected. I almost sliced my finger with the star burst cake. That cutter is quite narrow and every single piece would stick to the cutter and need to be eased out. And it was that motion that kept tearing at little snags in my skin.

It was also really difficult to get the timing right from having rolled the fondant through the pasta roller (uniform thickness is paramount here) and letting it dry out a little so that was easier to cut and release without the shape becoming misshapen. But then I still needed it to be flexible enough to lay against a round cake.

Happy enough with how this came out in the end. My finger has almost recovered - 2 weeks later.

Happy enough with how this came out in the end. My finger has almost recovered – 2 weeks later.


Before I began I had cut out the pieces and made the design I wanted to use. And thank goodness for having a template to refer to because there was more than one occasion that I felt I lost my way and couldn’t look at the cake and see where I was.

Not thrilled about how this was ending.

Not thrilled about how this was ending. And look at that awful elephant skin at the top. Just as well the cake was being completely covered.

As I suspected, as I moved around the cake, and I sort of started at the front and would do a pattern to the left of centre, then the right of centre, and then kept this going from left to right until I reached the back. The pattern wasn’t going to end as a complete pattern. I wasn’t really surprised but it was still disappointing. I looked and looked and tried to figure out the best way to make it seem less obvious. And I think I did ok, or at least made the most of it.

Lots and lots of triangles. I was losing heart.

Lots and lots of triangles. I was losing heart.

Sunday was spent colouring fondant to get a base colour and then rolling it out, cutting it, which took ages and then painting over the triangles. Of course I found it difficult to figure out which colours I wanted to put next to the other, and I wanted to mix things up a bit, so occasionally I’d change the direction the triangles were placed. The triangles dried out a lot quicker than I expected. A few of them cracked as I placed them. And there were quite a few I had to cut (with a razor) to trim them back to the right size. Unlike Allison, I brushed a strip of the fondant covered cake and then began to place the triangles. Allison showed brushing each triangle around the perimeter of the piece and then attach it to the cake. I think that’s so that you can ease them into place, or remove them if you decide you don’t like the placement of colour. I did pull a few pieces off and swap them out, but for the most part I just went with what I had.

The "side" I prefer best.

The “side” I prefer best.

As well as the cakes I also had some cookies as well. I wanted to try my hand at hand painting (again) some flourishes. I had previously printed out some designs, as well as the wording I wanted to use, then I used the KopyKake to help me with the writing, but I just went for it with the flourishes. As per usual I didn’t really have a well thought out plan and I wanted to keep practicing so I might have added a few too many on the cookies.

Anyway most of the cake and cookies were exchanged for donations and Mr Fussy has a little more cash for the Movember cause. Job done!

Oops, I can’t find the photos of the cookies. You’ll just have to settle for these ones that I took as I was making them.

 

The obvious cookies for Movember.

The obvious cookies for Movember.

 


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Princesses and Pirate Cookies

Pirate themed cookies

Pirate themed cookies

I know. I’ve been bad at keeping up with a regular post. I’ve also been extremely busy these past few weekends. So much so going back to work on Monday seems like a break.

Enough of the complaining. This post is about a set of cookies I made for Jo from work, you might remember Jo from this post. She’s awesome.

I made the cookies twice. The first time was a few weeks before I needed them, but I made them Friday night and didn’t put them in the freezer until Sunday. I’d managed to flood many of them Sunday night but the icing hadn’t quite set properly (even with being in the dehydrator) and the ziploc bag stuck to the surface. So between worrying about the mottled surface and the freshness, I tossed the lot.

Onto a new batch. I still made them ahead of time, earlier in the week I needed them for but put them straight into the freezer. I still had the icing from the first batch so at least I didn’t have to remake that.

All the princess themed cookies

All the princess themed cookies

Thursday night I started with backgrounds, like the insets of some of the dresses, and piping some of the ships and the flesh part of the pirate faces. I also snipped up some cake lace I had to see if it might be able to be used in the dresses. I was off to a good start.

Friday night Mr Fussy went ahead and did all the shopping on his own (bless him, he’s such a good man) so I could go home straight away and get on with the cookies. We were leaving very early to get a flight the next morning to Queenstown where we were staying for Labour Weekend.

I was pretty happy with how the ships were coming along, and the pirates were fun to make. I really enjoyed the more “boy” themed cookies. I found the dresses more challenging. I wanted them to be pretty with lots of dimension and delicate lace bits. They look fine, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them, they’re just not quite as I’d hoped. I think part of the problem was that I hadn’t quite thought them through properly. I should have had more of a plan. These aren’t the sort of cookies you can wing. Or at least I can’t.

Close up of the dresses

Close up of the dresses

All in all I was happy with the cookies but boy was I tired. So tired that I really didn’t want to take the time to photograph the cookies. The pictures were taken in haste. I knew I’d be really disappointed if I hadn’t taken any photos.

Saturday morning I rushed to pack a bag and get 4 or was it 5 Tupperware containers into the car to head out to the airport.  Jo met us at the airport and was so excited to get home and have a look at the cookies.

I had made more than we had spoken of. I always make more than I think I need. You never know if there’ll be an accident or I botch something up, or like this past weekend, drop a cookie I was happy with. So I always make some more. Plus I wanted to make a cake cookie, and I did.

It’s not like I need to make cookies for young children so when the opportunity presents itself I sort of cram a few extra things in that have piqued my interest over time.

Jo text me to say how much she loved the cookies. It’s really interesting what different people see as their favourite. I have come to realise that just because something is my least favourite doesn’t mean it’s a bad cookie. I pretty much get now that someone will look at it and think it’s the bee’s knees.

I wish I had a photo of Jo dressed up as Cinderella. The cookies were for her granddaughter Bailee, for her 5th birthday.