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Frangipani Wedding Cake

Frangipani Wedding Cake

Frangipani Wedding Cake

Ok, deep breath. Another long post on the Frangaipani Wedding Cake I made for Jo’s son and daughter-in-law. The wedding was the 21 February.

Initially I was just making a 10 and 8″ American Mud Cake, ganached and covered in fondant with Tiff (Jo’s DIL) wanting to make the flowers.

I set my timeline which started the Sunday before the wedding. I offered Kathy to make a cake for Greg’s birthday knowing that I had time to do both cakes. The wedding cake being picked up the Wednesday before.

The Wednesday before (1.5 weeks out) Jo caught up with me and asked if there was any way I could make the flowers for the cake as well. Tiff had now realised that she was spreading herself too thin and didn’t have the time she expected to be able to make the flowers herself. Our communication continued by email and phone conversations that day. I wasn’t at work, but instead at a course.

Obviously I needed to know what the flowers were. Up until this stage I was only focused on making the cake and hadn’t asked how the cake was going to be decorated. Jo let me know the main flower was Frangipani and there were other flowers that Tiff had begun to make. A few photos were sent and I got busy searching YouTube and Google for any tutorials on making Frangipani.

As Jo has suspected, a Frangipani was a more simple flower to make (compared to a rose). I took a look at a finished cake that Tiff had liked the look of, mainly it was to show how she liked the flowers to be draped down the side of the cake. I started to calculate how many flowers I might need to make.

FrangipaniJo and I had another discussion the next day and I got to see first hand the flowers Tiff had made, and in turn I showed a sample I’d made the night before. I needed to test that the gumpaste I had was still suitable to use (it had been in the fridge for some weeks) and whether I had the right type of cutter to make the petals. My flower was much too thin, I wasn’t used to making a flower with thicker petals and I hadn’t twigged I was making it too thin until I had all the petals together. Anyway we decided I was on the right track and that we’d use all flowers I made. Now it was time to get busy, very busy, because come Sunday I was all about making both cakes and would have no time to spare for flowers. Though I still would have to dust the flowers, tape them and put them into an arrangement.

FillerFlowersI started making flowers Thursday night, made more Friday, now making filler flowers as well, and still reviewing several photos of other cakes with Frangipanis so I could make a stab as to how many I would need to make. I was also timing how much time it took and pretty much figured I could make 8-10 an hour. I really wanted to make 40+ but I made 34 as well as the filler flowers and 6 Calla Lilies, another flower I’d never made before. In then end I thought I had enough, maybe even more than I needed.

SemolinaSunday morning I was spent attaching wires to the Frangipani flowers. I knew I needed some to sit out from the cake, I didn’t want them all to sit flat against the cake. I wanted to create a sense of movement and lightness. But do you think I could find anything that explained how you’d wire a Frangipani? No. So I had to come up with my own method. It worked, but I wouldn’t say it was the right way, or the tidiest way you could do it. But it did the trick and for the most part the “attachment” would be hidden amongst the other flowers.

During the afternoon on Sunday I baked both the 10 and 8″ cakes as well as got all the ingredients together for Greg’s cake. I was thankfully allowed to finish work on Monday at 3:30pm which meant I could bake Greg’s cake Monday (more of that in a separate post).

AttachingWiresSunday evening I ganached the 10″ cake. That wasn’t quite as easy as I’d hoped. One batch of ganache decided it wouldn’t soften evenly and I ended up with what looked to be a grainy lump. Thankfully I had plenty of ganache and I warmed up another batch which was perfect. In the end I heated the first batch enough that it melted completely and it was absolutely perfect for use the following day, which is when I ganached the 8″ cake. I used two 4mm cake boards instead of my usual acrylic rounds. The trouble I had trying to get a nice smooth finish is something I wont discuss, but needless to say I am not a fan of cake boards. They weren’t perfectly round, and they were just slightly different in size which also caused some grief, as well as having to do a lot more the following day to get everything smooth and even.

Tuesday I covered the 10″ cake in fondant. I was a bit worried because it was warm in the house. I had to believe the dam I had used in the layers to hold the Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream was sufficient to hold it all together and I should not have any problems with bulges. The horror of what happened with Jasmine and Sam’s cake still haunted me. The covering was mostly straight forward, though there were a significant number of air bubbles. I did have one air pocket giving me grief, then somehow I managed to get a bit of ganache on the fondant. Well that made the it pretty clear what would be the front where I could hide the little speck with a flower or two.

BumpyCakeBoardWednesday was to be a really hot day, so when I woke earlier than I would have liked on Wednesday morning I decided I would get up and cover the 8″ cake. The house was cooler and I knew it would save me some potential difficulty that evening with the house being a lot warmer, and the ganache not as firm as I’d like. While the cakes didn’t cover as well as Jasmine and Sam’s, I was still happy enough, mostly because I knew I had a bit of leeway with flowers being added which I could place in such a way as to hide any small blemish. I guess you can hope that cakes will cover flawlessly but the reality is that it’s a pretty tall order. I guess I got really lucky with J & S’s cake, and given the other grief I had with their cake, I was owed some good luck somewhere.

As the days progressed my plans about what I’d do with each of the cakes changed. Not travelling on Thursday made a big difference, and while I would have managed had I not had the Thursday evening free, it did take a bit of pressure off.

So here I was Wednesday morning and the cakes were all but done. I just had to do the cake board, which proved to be a pain in the butt. It was my fault for not rolling the fondant thin enough which made it a bit of a mission, and not as tidy as I’d have liked. Then somehow I managed to cut my finger, which I hand’t noticed until I had the ribbon around the edge of the cake board. And you guessed it, I had somehow managed to get some blood on the ribbon. So off that came, and on went a plaster before I put new ribbon around the board.

Arrangements2I’d been chipping away at dusting the flowers each evening as I had time, then steaming them. Thursday morning (I woke early again!) I began to tape each individual flower and in the evening I started to make little bunches of 3 flowers. I created 4 arrangements and was mostly happy, except the top one. Friday morning I woke early and re-wired the top. I realised when you looked straight down on the arrangement that all the flowers faced frontwards. So I suspected I’d be re-wiring again.

While each arrangement looked fine, I had to think about how they would work together. I dragged the cakes out (they’d been up in the 3rd bedroom, the coolest room in the house) and started to play with how the flowers would fit together, mindful I didn’t want to mark the cakes. It was a tricky job and in the end I was no further ahead in what I was thinking.

Friday night I started to pull together all the things I’d need to be able to set up the cake at the venue. I wasn’t looking forward to dowelling the bottom tier. It makes me nervous. The cakes always settle a bit and what starts out as a perfectly level cake tends to dip a little in the middle. So the poly dowels have to sit a bit proud so that all up the top tier will sit level.

You can’t stop the days from rolling over and Saturday arrived and I was busy dowelling the cake. I had to do it several times because one or other of the dowels wasn’t at the same height and when I lay the ruler across the cake the ruler wouldn’t come into contact with one of the dowels. Talk about tricky!

Decorations1Jo had said the venue would be available from 10am. I knew the reception was at 4pm and guessed we’d leave home at 10am. Mr Fussy gets the job of driving (extremely carefully) while I sit in the passenger seat fretting about everything that could go wrong.

We left at 11am. And just like J & S’s wedding, we almost got collected by a car. And we hadn’t even left our own cul de sac.

It turned out to be a really lovely warm day. Earlier in the week the forecast was for cloudy weather with temperatures in the low 20’s. While I noticed how lovely and warm it was outside the venue, it never registered as being warm when we were inside.

I set about putting the cake together. I dithered about with the flowers. I had thought I’d start by placing the flowers on the bottom tier and working my way up. But I just couldn’t quite figure out how to get the flowers in the cake so that they sat against the cake at the right angle/place without adding weight and risking them pulling away from the cake, or ripping through the cake.

FrangapaniWeddingCakeI really was having a hard job trying to work it all out. In the end I got the top arrangement and the spray that fell over the side of the top tier sorted. And yet I still couldn’t work out where and how I would place the bottom arrangement. In the end I fiddled with the placement/angle of the wires and went to stick the flowers the side, but there was too much weight in the flowers and they more or less plopped out onto the cake board.

Having a hole int he side of the cake and still not knowing where the arrangement was going was creating a stressful situation for me. I knew I could “plug” the hole with one of the unwired left over Frangipanis, so I wasn’t getting myself too worked up, but I was still at a loss as to how to place the bottom arrangement. In the end I just held my breath and poked the wires into the top of the bottom tier right next to the middle arrangement. Then I just fussed about moving the individual flowers so that they faced different ways and weren’t too bunched up.

Each of the extra individual Frangipanis were used. I really didn’t think I would need them, but they helped to “shape” the direction of the arrangement.

In the end I was happy with how the cake looked with the flowers. I had taken a lot longer than I expected with the setup, and I was there doing a lot of thinking and not a lot of doing, but after all the time that had been taken to make the flowers I didn’t want to muck it all up by having them falling off/away or ripping through the cake due to their weight.

When I was finally sure that all the extra flowers I had attached (with Royal Icing) were now set on the cake we packed up and left.

Last time I made something for Jo (the Pirate and Princess cookies) she let me know as soon as she got home and looked at them how pleased she was. Not hearing from Jo about the cake made me start to fret that something had gone wrong. I had all sorts of visions that the flowers had fallen off or ripped through the cake. Or maybe the warmth led the ganache to soften and the fondant had slopped down, or ganache was running out from under the fondant. I kept looking at photos I’d taken from the venue and trying to determine just how close the cake was to the window, and just where the sun would have been by 4pm. Was it possible the sun had melted the ganache? It was awful wondering. I knew that Jo would have been very busy and in all likelihood nothing was wrong, but I couldn’t help the thoughts. I guess that if you did this regularly you’d have more of an idea of what risk there was in things turning bad.

I was extremely relieved when on Monday I received a text from Jo who was thrilled with the cake.

Wedding cakes, so much time and emotion are invested. It’s such an important cake, such a significant part of a wedding. I wonder if proper cake decorators ever get comfortable with setting up the cake and walking away and not worrying about how the cake is received. I doubt I’ll ever feel that way about any cake I make for someone other than myself.

Venue setupIf someone had told me I’d have made and decorated two wedding cakes within months of each other I would have scoffed at the idea. But here we are, and they both turned out just fine. I did however find a grey hair the other day. I don’t think it’s a coincidence!

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The cake that almost didn’t make it

Hi!

I’ve been really busy, I know it’s not much of an excuse, but I’ve had two weekends back to back with learning sugar flowers with Robert Haynes and then Airbrushing and modelling chocolate (Chockit) with Kevin Martin from Chocolate Earth. As well as preparing for my nieces wedding. And it’s the wedding cake that almost didn’t make it! Yikes!!

Everything had been ticking along really nicely. The two (intense!) days of sugar flowers with Robert was a huge help with making the flower spray for the wedding cake, and the airbrush classes set me up nicely for understanding how to properly use my airbrush and therefore airbrush the bottom tier of the wedding cake.

My new beauty. Arrived on the Friday just in time to bake Jasmine and Sam's wedding cake. What a fine way to start.

My new beauty. Arrived on the Friday just in time to bake Jasmine and Sam’s wedding cake. What a fine way to start.

I cakes I’d baked, torted, filled and ganached and had in the freezer. I was set. I was feeling pretty good. Everything was under control. The flowers were all made and just had to be assembled (my biggest weakness – no wonder I leave that to the last) and I was feeling pretty confident about the airbrushing.

Sugar flowers in the making.

Dusted and with calyx. These are starting to look ready.

Dusted and with calyx. These are starting to look ready.

Top set are dusted, but they all started the same colour. Amazing the difference petal dust makes, even if I dislike this stage.

Top set are dusted, but they all started the same colour. Amazing the difference petal dust makes, even if I dislike this stage.

Well that's the freesias put together.

Well that’s the freesias put together.

Thankfully I got a chance to view the bridesmaid’s dresses because both the colour and the application I thought was needed was way off. Tuesday night I popped around to have a look, having felt uneasy about how the airbrushing would look on a wedding cake to find that the colour was quite different. Good thing I took some Dulux paint colour charts with me to get a better match for the deepest of colour. And I was relieved to see that the colours were much softer. The dresses were floaty and the ombre effect really subtle moving through the depths. Phew. But lucky I’d seen the dress or we’d have ended up with something that was more like a disco ball!

Doing it the hard way. I only needed 2 colours, light and dark. Great advice by Kevin Martin.

Doing it the hard way. I only needed 2 colours, light and dark. Great advice by Kevin Martin.

Practice post viewing bridesmaid dresses.

Practice post viewing bridesmaid dresses.

That harsh silverish practice was what I thought we were going for. I was so relieved to see those dresses.

Wednesday morning I took the cakes from the freezer. I would normally take them out the night before the evening I was covering them, but I wanted to give a few more hours for the ganache to really crust, just a bit of extra insurance. Thursday morning (24 hours later) I was surprised to see the 10″ cake still looking a bit tacky. I put it down to the cake being the biggest and therefore taking the longest to defrost and dry out. Come Thursday night it was still a little sticky. Since I needed the fondant to adhere to the ganache I wasn’t worried, I was about to make it stickier yet. What I did notice however was a really hollow sound when I tapped my finger against the side of each of the 3 cakes. I hadn’t heard that in the past and didn’t know what to make of it.

I thought we were good to go. The cakes had to sitting since Wednesday morning. It was show time.

I thought we were good to go. The cakes had to sitting since Wednesday morning. It was show time.

Mr Fussy was off getting the groceries to allow me a head start on getting the 3 cakes covered. It had been my plan to at least cover the 10″ and 8″ cakes. I had the Friday off and was going to airbrush the 10″ during the morning. I really thought I was going to end up with a good chunk of the day free leaving me time to make Christmas Mince Pies for Mr Fussy.

But then this happened within seconds of covering the 10″ cake ….

I'm in trouble! This has never happened before. I was not equipped to know what to do. Turns out there is nothing you can do. Ok then!

I’m in trouble! This has never happened before. I was not equipped to know what to do. Turns out there is nothing you can do. Ok then!

I was actually so preoccupied in getting the top edge sharpened that I’d not noticed what was happening around the sides of the cake. I knew it was warm in the house (given it had been a less than summers day) and when I couldn’t smooth this out at all I presumed it was to do with the ganache not being firm enough. I took a photo and asked a question on a cake decorators Facebook page and waited for some promising news. The news that came was not promising.

Eeek!

Eeek!

I ended up peeling the fondant off the cake. I used a razor blade to cut the fondant into wedges. With the Crisco on the ganache it was pretty easy to peel the fondant off. It was soon clear the cause of the problem was in fact the buttercream. It had bascially melted through the ganache. I managed to get the ganache of relatively easily and then I trimmed the cake some more. I was thinking the problem had been the ganache was too thinly applied in places. Now I’ve got what is almost 1cm between cake and cakeboard. That’s a lot of ganache. Thankfully I had ganache left over and was able to re-ganache the cake. The bottom left picture is of the 8″ cake. I was pretty sure the problem was only with the 10″ cake. I knew the 8″ hadn’t any potentially thinner parts ganached around the side of the cake. My plan was to have the 10″ ganached and then cover the 8″ in fondant. Then go to bed. But no sooner had I covered the 8″ cake the ripples around the sides came out. What had been a perfectly smooth ganache covered cake was now something that looked very different with the fondant having been pulled off. Boo. That meant the 6″ would be no better. Looked like I’d be going with the suggestion provided on Facebook, to deconstruct the cakes, remove the buttercream, add a dam of ganache then fill with buttercream and ganache the cake.

Having gotten to bed at 11:30pm (but not asleep, mind spinning wildly) I was up and re-baking the 10″ cake at 3:30am. Tired yes. But unhappy with where things were left on Thursday I knew I had to restart. By the time Mr Fussy got up (not that he had a restful sleep with me working in the kitchen) and I’d been for a run the supermarket was open again and I was off to get more chocolate and cream to make more batches of ganache. I was going to have to fast track getting the ganache ready i.e. put it in the fridge rather than leaving overnight to set up since I had to have the cakes ready and ganached Friday so I could cover on Saturday morning. Thank goodness the wedding was Sunday!

I had an appointment Friday morning and as soon as that was out the way I was off to Spotlight to buy more fondant, again just to be sure I had enough (I have 3 tubs left!), not wanting any unexpected trips to any store robbing me of some precious time.

New ganache made, and the new 10″ cake now ready for ganache, having first piped a dam of ganache to trap the buttercream in, this had been the recommendation from the Facebook page. While I dislike dams, I couldn’t take any chances with this and to play it safe I piped the dam.

Not taking any chances with the new cakes, this time a ganache dam to hold in that chocolate buttercream.

Not taking any chances with the new cakes, this time a ganache dam to hold in that chocolate buttercream.

I wasn’t sure I had to wait for the cake to settle, but again I was playing it safe and my plan had been to leave it for around 3 hours and by 3pm start ganaching the cake.

So while the cake was sitting and settling I began to dismantle the 8″ and 6″ cake to strip it off buttercream and pipe dams and then add the buttercream. Thankfully I had enough buttercream left over and in the freezer for this. Again I pulled the buttercream out of the freezer in the wee hours so it was at room temperature and good to go when I needed it.

Although I took the time to dismantle the cakes, dam them and apply new buttercream, the sides were ugly. They were rough, they looked hideous and even though I knew they would be hidden by ganache I was quite miserable about the state of things. After some rough calculations I knew I had time to bake new cakes, fast track the cooling, torte, fill and ganache but I had to get myself going NOW!  I even had time for an hour’s sleep.

Mr Fussy arrived home and tested the waters so to speak to see what the state of play was. He’s been such a great support, even though he wasn’t able to do much to help me bake etc, he came instantly if I called for help. There were lots of trips to and from the fridge.

I managed to get to bed before 11pm Friday and at that point all I could do was hope the ganache would set up firm overnight. I’d been testing the 10″ cake which I’d ganached around 3:30pm Friday and all things were heading in the right direction. I was hopeful that the trend continued. I’d had a conversation with Natalie before I headed to bed. I let her know that things were looking positive and that if the worse happened we’d have ganached cakes to eat, and I’d just cover dummy cakes. How desperate was that!

Many times during the early hours I would get out of bed and check the state of the ganache. At around 3am I knew things were good, so much so that I started to fill in the small holes left in the top of the cakes. I wanted to get this done now so that by the time I got up in the morning everything was prepared and I could just get on with covering the cakes without delay.

Team no sleep. Saturday morning and it's Groundhog day.

Team no sleep. Saturday morning and it’s Groundhog day.

I went back to bed knowing there was nothing more I could do and hoped that would be enough for my brain to quieten and allow me some sleep. I got 3 hours sleep, again. Two nights in a row, 3 hours sleep. Amazing what you can do when you’ve got your back against the wall.

All this time I knew this was no one’s fault. I wasn’t blaming anyone, I was disappointed, extremely disappointed, but I knew that I had a good cake, a good buttercream, a good ganache and for whatever reason this time the buttercream was my enemy. It wasn’t like I was underprepared, or ill equipped. It was just rotten luck. But fortunate I had the Friday off work or I might have ended up in the fetal position crying my eyes out. I couldn’t fathom a wedding without a wedding cake. I was very focused on what had to be doing, how it was going to work, the timing. And I pulled it off.

It was early Saturday that I started on the cakes. I had the 10″ covered by the time Mr Fussy had to pop out to pick up my sister and her family from the plane and my hope was that when he returned I’d be onto the 8″ cake. I even had time to eat breakfast.

When he returned I was just about to lay the fondant over the 6″ cake.  Thankfully the cakes were covering without any dramas and I was able to knock them out by 10:30am. At this time I headed for bed for an hour’s sleep while Mr Fussy ran off to do some errands for me, including picking up my dress from the dressmaker. Knowing there was nothing that could be done further with the cakes at that time I hoped I would be fast asleep within minutes. But it wasn’t to be.

I got up at midday and airbrushed the bottom tier.

A real live cake, airbrushed.

A real live cake, airbrushed.

I fussed about a little bit and then headed off to Jasmine’s Bridal shower. I knew that when I went home I had the cake board to cover, the flowers to reassemble and the monogram to attach to the top tier.

About that monogram. Oh boy. That monogram caused many batches of royal icing, some that just wouldn’t harden firm enough. What you might be able to make out from the photo above is the upside down cake tin. I had printed the monogram out, attached it to the underside of acetate, then put waxed paper (with a light covering of Crisco) over the acetate and then piped the monogram. It took many days of practice to figure out the right sized tip to use, and the order in which to start the piping. The “B” was done first, but even that had a start point and end based on the thickest parts to the thinnest, and always making sure the bottom curl of the b was well integrated in the royal icing of parts that joined/crossed over so that it was firmly in place. Then it was the S, I actually enjoyed piping the S, don’t ask why, but I’m glad there was one bit I enjoyed. The J came last. Then I had to carefully pick the whole thing up and wrap it around the side of the 6″ cake tin so that it would dry in a curve. As I say, it tooks days to do this. There were trial and error with colours, lustre/sparkle and finally I ended up with light grey coloured royal icing (made from egg white, not any sort of albumen or meringue powder) and then while the monogram was still in place painted with Global Sugar Art Nu Silver (edible). These pieces popped off nicely, usually they had fallen onto the bench and just shattered. No matter how much I tried to line things up so that I caught them, it seemed doomed.

Royal Icing monogram. So many times I piped, so many times I busted these fragile pieces.

Royal Icing monogram. So many times I piped, so many times I busted these fragile pieces.

I literally held my breath as I applied these pieces to the 6″ cake. I was almost terrified that they would shatter as I tried to get them to the cake, and then make sure they were lined up. Or that they wouldn’t remain stuck to the cake and fall off, shattering. I used soft brushes to hold them against the cake so that I wasn’t putting pressure on any one part. As each of the pieces were applied my confidence grew. And when I was done, and moved the cake back to the table I was very pleased with how it looked. My biggest worry was that the monogram would blend into the cake and not really be seen. Jasmine and Sam had opted for the silver when I had shared my concerns and I have to say that it looked pretty good when it was finished. I still worried about getting the cake out to the venue without the pieces dropping off, or the cake itself being knocked somehow and damaging the monogram. I still had another monogram piped so I finished colouring those so that I had a spare in case things turned out for the worst. I can tell you I could not pipe another set if I tried. I was so tired, my concentration not where I’d have liked it, and my ability to hold my hands steady had long gone.

And I can breathe. Nothing broke, and it all stayed put.

And I can breathe. Nothing broke, and it all stayed put.

Right, the bit I had been dreading (ok the 2nd bit) I’d pulled off nicely. The cake board was covered, that just left reassembling the flowers. Gah. This really is a big weakness of mine. I had already broken one petal of the largest rose as I was dusting it and here I was going to pull all the florist tape off and then start putting the flowers even closer together and then re-tape. Can’t see how anything could go wrong, right?!

Talk about fussing about. I just couldn’t get the pieces sitting nicely together to look natural and cohesive. And I broke another bit of petal. I really have to do better not overthinking the whole process. Anyway in the end I managed to get it looking much better, a lot tighter than my original assembly and I managed to use some of the filler flowers.

The arrangement before being inserted into the cake and then fussed with.

The arrangement before being inserted into the cake and then fussed with.

Feeling reasonably happy with where things were at I managed to get to bed by around 10:30pm. Mostly I slept through to the alarm which was set quite early. I wanted to be at the venue by 9am and it would take roughly an hour to get there. I wanted everything packed in the car by around 7:30am so that any last minute panic would be allowed for.

I got up and started to dowel the 10″ and 8″ layers. Got the royal icing ready, gathered together all the spatulas, ribbon, pins, stuff for fiddling with the flowers if I still needed to tweak them once in the cake, clothes, non-slip mats, boxes, containers. All manner of equipment that I wanted with me for assembling the cake at the venue.

How many is enough? I added a few more for good measure. And we're good to go.

How many is enough? I added a few more for good measure. And we’re good to go.

By the time I got the cakes into their respective containers/boxes and the car packed it was after 8am. Mr Fussy was given strict instructions to take it easy, we could go fast on the way home. We’d only had our new car less than 2 weeks and this was the most fragile of drives we’d be taking.

The most precious cargo our brand spanking new car has had the pleasure of carting around.

The most precious cargo our brand spanking new car has had the pleasure of carting around.

As we were turning into Trent’s Road the car ahead of us started to pull into the left. Mr Fussy started to pull out to pass when the car then started to turn to the right, it was doing a U turn in front of us, never having indicated once. Mr Fussy had to swerve sharply to the right to make sure we didn’t get collected before swerving back to the left onto our side of the road. Cripes, my heart was racing.

We made it to the venue which was only a few 100 metres further up the road and I popped inside to see if Amanda was in yet. She wasn’t there (we had somehow arrived just before 9am) but the guy at the bar pulled out the table (a chessboard table) and put it on the brick floor. I wasn’t thrilled to see the table with it’s Queen Anne style legs on top of a very uneven surface. I let him know that I only wanted to set up once and not move the cake so I’d wait for Amanda.

When Amanda arrived she moved the table but said she’d be moving it again to sit on top of the landing of the stairs. Only 3 legs were touching the wooden floor. I wasn’t thrilled about this but she assured me the table got used for all weddings and all the cakes were put on the landing for display. I know I was probably being over cautious, and being my first wedding cake, first three tiered cake, and having had quite the ride to get there I was looking for rock solid. When I realised this was as good as it was going to get Mr Fussy and I proceeded to collect the cakes and whatnot so that I could assemble the cakes.

When I went to get the 6″ cake I shrieked. I realised that it had slid off the non-slip mat it had been on and was resting against the side of the cake carrier. I thought it was all over for the monogram and was thankful that I had packed the spares. But I was hugely relieved when I took the cover off and realised it was all intact and not only that, there was no damage to the car from having being banged into the side of the cake carrier.

Ok, so all those dramas aside, this is the cake.

Front on view of the wedding cake.

Front on view of the wedding cake.

And we're done!

And we’re done!

Wedding cake. I was pleased how this came together, all things considered.

Wedding cake. I was pleased how this came together, all things considered.

I reckon if I’d not shared a photo of the rippled fondant, no one would have been any the wiser about the lead up to this cake.

I’m ever so grateful that Jasmine and Sam didn’t chose anything overly complicated for decorations that required last minute work on the cake, I’d have been in so much trouble. And it was extremely fortunate the wedding was on a Sunday and that I’d taken the Friday beforehand off work.

Here’s a few photos of the wedding party, Jasmine and Sam, and a photo of the sleep deprived Mr Fussy and I.

Everything turned out just fine in the end 🙂

The bridal party relaxing at the wedding reception

The bridal party relaxing at the wedding reception

The radiant newly weds.

The radiant newly weds.

Jasmine & Sam cutting the cake

Jasmine & Sam cutting the cake

First dance.

First dance.

Team No Sleep.

Team No Sleep.


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Mum’s birthday afternoon

Mum's birthday cake.

Mum’s birthday cake.

Mum’s birthday was mid-week and today we had a family get together afternoon tea.

I had made the cake a few weeks ago, having to stop in at Natalie’s to get some fresh ground coffee which I don’t have, or would need for later. I drink water and tea and coffee have no appeal. I know, weird right?

White Mocha Cake. Recipe by Cake Paper Party.

White Mocha Cake. Recipe by Cake Paper Party.

I made Summer’s White Mocha Cake. You can find the recipe here. The cake was pretty simple to make, and I used my new cake pans and was pretty happy with how the cakes baked. They were lovely and even, but they did sink during the last 3-4 minutes. But Summer said they would. My MIL saw the cakes and thought I’d goofed the recipe. Ok, so I know I’ve had my share of failures, but not this time.  The cakes rose to the top of the cake pans, settled back down and were roughly 1 1/4″ in height. I did however gouge one of the cakes as I ran the knife around the edge of the cake tin. I thought it might give me grief when it came time to trimming the cakes and layering them for ganaching, but thankfully it didn’t happen. I had visions of having to become a bit of a brick layer and use ganche as mortar and try and piece the bit that I’d gouged back onto the rest of the cake. With the cakes having been in the fridge (from the freezer) they were still firm enough and preparing the cake layers for ganaching went smoothly.

Reserructing the Coffee Caramel buttercream.

Reserructing the Coffee Caramel buttercream.

Now the coffee caramel buttercream on the other than, well that didn’t quite got so well. I had made the syrup the previous weekend (to when I made the syrup) and had it in the freezer. I split the batch because I knew I only needed to fill the layers and not cover the cake. Then last weekend I started out making the syrup. The instructions were not to let the sugar burn. It was taking an age to reach the right temperature and so I stepped away, not for long, but long enough. The house smelt terrible, the smell of burnt sugar filling the air.

Anyway, after making a second batch of syrup (it still never reached the right temperature before it started to show signs of the colour changing) I proceeded on with the buttercream. This is where I didn’t follow the recipe, having assumed the amount of coffee syrup I’d made was all required for the buttercream. Umm, no. I wondered why the buttercream didn’t have that gloriously smooth silky texture of Summer’s cake. It turns out you don’t need all of the syrup (although I don’t know the weight of the syrup). A few days later I whipped up some more butter and slowly started to add my watery buttercream into it. It all came together nicely and it now looked similar (the colour was darker) to Summer’s recipe.

The cake was ganached on Wednesday (I wanted to leave myself a day up my sleeve in case things went wrong and I had to start something over again) and for the most part it went smoothly. Although I am going to have to tweak my method of ganaching (upside down method) because the next morning when I turned the cake up the right way, the cake settled and there was a little dip in the middle. I think I’m going to have to use the two acrylic disc method, or at least I’ll give that a go next cake.

The finished cake. Compare how sharp the edge is of the bottom cake compared to the top (dummy cake without the homemade smoothers).

The finished cake. Compare how sharp the edge is of the bottom cake compared to the top (dummy cake without the homemade smoothers).

Since last Sunday I’ve also been making gumpaste roses. I wasn’t happy with any of the ones I made. Now I know just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean to say that no one will like them, but I just wasn’t that thrilled about using them on the cake.  I started looking at Stevi Auble’s Wafer Paper flowers Craftsy class. I thought I could give them a go and see if anything there came out looking better than the gumpaste roses. Last night I made two ribbon roses and a large open rose (all stylised) and I decided that I liked them better. Not that I knew how many I would use, or where I would place them.

I’d also covered a dummy cake. Partly to use as a practice for another project I’ve got coming up. I’d covered it in pearl white Sugarflair lustre last Sunday and was pretty happy with how it worked out. And I used some wafer paper that I’d cut with craft punches, an edge that I thought complimented the stencil I was using.

I was a bit up in the air about whether to use a “riser”. I was quite keen to see how it looked. I’d ordered a bunch of different sized 2″ cake dummys from DeeSee Creations in Hamilton. They arrived and looked good, I just had to figure how to cut them down since 2″ was too high, but that’s the size they come in. I had tried my craft knife but it really didn’t penetrate the stryofoam and my cake knifes weren’t “cutting it” (pun intended). It was another little detail that was playing on my mind. The design would all hinge on whether I could cut the styrofoam or not. Saturday I got a spare hacksaw blade and thankfully it worked quite nicely. I had expected that had I been able to cut them I’d end up with the discs being wonky and in need of some fine sandpaper, which I’d bought last week in anticipation of needing to sand into a smooth surface. But I was pretty good at lining everything up and they behaved nicely. I used my press ‘n seal for the first time (such a good moment, I’m such a cake geek). I laid the dummy on it and cut around the edge and it all worked perfectly, then I turned the other side and found that the press ‘n seal could be bought up the side as well and it all smoothed quite nicely. The “riser” was now fully covered with press ‘n seal. I used the new glue thingee Mum had bought me a while ago to run around the edge of the riser and then it was a simple matter of covering the sides with 25mm ribbon. Lastly a bit of painters tape held the dummy cake onto the riser. A bit of royal icing was used as the glue to hold the wafer paper edging to the dummy. Yep, I was pretty pleased at how that all turned out. The only thing is the lustre does come off so I had to be careful how to handle the “cake”.

Chopping up a chopping mat to make my own fondant smoothers.

Chopping up a chopping mat to make my own fondant smoothers.

I was in Alexandra on Friday and was debating whether to cover the cake in fondant that night, or wait until Saturday morning. The reason? Thursday night I found the ganache had softened a little to the touch and with the house being warm I figured it was just enough to soften the ganache, it had been perfect first thing in the morning. I didn’t know whether covering the cake in fondant and then rubbing the fondant to smooth it out would be more than the ganache could withstand if it were just a little soft. When I got home I checked and although the fire was going, the ganache seemed to have firmed a bit but not quite as firm as it had been on the Thursday morning. Ahh well. I decided to give it a go anyway because if I didn’t work I could somehow find time on Saturday to start all over again (although this would not have been an ideal outcome!).

During the previous weekend when I had covered the 6″ and 10″ dummy cakes I had found it really hard going and it seemed to take an age to get the fondant to spread out enough. My arms were so sore the following day. I re-read the instructions that came with “The Mat” and decided to follow those instructions 😉 Well I think I just needed a reminder about putting more pressure on the outside edge of the rolling pin and focusing on that part to help roll out the fondant. Needless to say it went a lot quicker but it was still a good workout. I was really hot after doing that, and knowing the ganache was not quite as firm as I’d have liked, I ran my hands under cold water for a while to cool them off.

Friday morning I had taken one of my thin plastic chopping boards that I use to roll out fondant for smaller things I’m working on and I placed my 8″ acrylic round on it and used my craft knife to cut a circle. Then I took my new clear acrylic scraper (for ganaching) and did the same thing. I was trying to get something that would act like acetate to use when smoothing the fondant on a cake. It is also supposed to make it easier to get sharper edges in the fondant. Can you believe I was doing this all before zipping out the door to catch a flight to Queenstown (which was 6:40am – yawn). I am anything but conventional. So feeling pretty happy that I had the right sizes and shapes for using as smoothers I was keen to see how they behaved by comparison to my Wilton fondant smoothers. This was another reason I was keen to get the cake covered Friday night.

I’d coloured the fondant the previous weekend having taken a bit of the fondant (ivory) and intensely coloured that, then added a bit of that to the rest of the ivory until I had the colour I was after. I was very happy with the colour, but I did have to test some of it with the stencil to ensure that the colour was deep enough that you could still see the stencil design.

With the fondant all rolled out I checked it for the usual dimples and imperfections that had shown up in past cakes. It looked pretty good so I was ready to hold my breath and cover the cake. I don’t know if this part ever gets any easier. I suppose it does, but the number of cakes I make that are covered in fondant are few and far between and the gaps between means I always worry that it will tear or I’ll have elephant skin or any number of other disasters will choose this time to upset the apple cart. No it wasn’t perfect. I had a small patch that had stretched a bit too much as I had covered the cake and I could see some of the ganche colour coming through. I wasn’t going to panic. I was hoping that by the time I stencilled the cake it would be hard to spot that bit. No point getting upset. I’m not a professional and I’m slowly learning to cut myself some slack. Every cake I make I learn new things so even if everything went haywire I’d still have found the experience valuable.

9 Texan sized muffins this was meant to make. 17 savoury "normal sized" muffin later, plus 12 chocolate. Who's complaining?

9 Texan sized muffins this was meant to make. 17 savoury “normal sized” muffin later, plus 12 chocolate. Who’s complaining?

I pricked a few air bubbles that refused to slip out from underneath the top of the cake so proceeded to start smoothing the sides, spreading the fondant down the sides of the cake. So far so good, even though it wasn’t perfect. Now the time to try out those homemade smoothers. First it was about getting sharper edges along the top of the cake. I have to say they worked better than I expected and I’m sure if I spent a little more time it would be even better, but it was the best I’d done to date so I wasn’t complaining. Next it was to assess the sides of the cake and focus on a bit where I’d bumped it and made a divot in the fondant. At first it wasn’t smoothing out, but then I changed to a circular movement with the rectangle smoother and that did the trick in no time at all. Although it wasn’t perfect I wasn’t beating myself up. I knew that the stencil would detract from the bits that could have done with some more time but I wasn’t sure if the fondant was already starting to dry out and I might actually gouge a bit that I couldn’t fix again because the fondant wasn’t quite as supple. Lastly I took a skewer and inserted it into the centre of the cake. It was now time to cross my fingers there wouldn’t be any ugly bulge to deal with in the morning when I got up.

So much for the delicate savoury item I was looking for to go with the rest of the afternoon tea.

So much for the delicate savoury item I was looking for to go with the rest of the afternoon tea.

As if that wasn’t enough, I spent the rest of the night covering the cookies I’d made the previous weekend (and had in the freezer) with royal icing. I was in two minds whether to then spray them with a subtle pearl gold over a stencil or not, but if I was going to then I wanted the cookies dry and ready the next day.

Then comes the next day where I get up and eye the cake to check for bulges. None! I ran my hands carefully around the cake and was really surprised how smooth it was. The homemade smoothers do a much better job than the Wilton fondant smoothers. I think it’s because there’s more contact on the cake, especially a round cake, from the homemade smoothers.  So that’s a winner. Although I’d already ordered some acetate smoothers from Etsy, I’m quite happy with the homemade ones I’ve got. The other bonus is that I didn’t have to use one bit of cornflour to stop the smoothers from getting stuck. Those thin chopping mats have just enough texture to them that they don’t grab and stick to the fondant.

Close up of the stencilling.

Close up of the stencilling.

I can tell you I was very nervous about using the stencil. I had watched some of the Craftsy class I was enrolled for on Stencilling. And I thought I had it sorted. I used the concept shown of how to wrap the stencil around the cake (that is a brand new knee high that I’m using), and I cut into my expensive stencil to make a slot for the knee high to feed into to secure the stencil around the cake. I wasn’t sure if my royal icing was quite the right consistency, if anything a bit on the soft side, so I stencilled a cookie first. It looked just fine to me. I’ve seen some stencilling where the royal icing was too stiff and it sort of looks like it’s pulled away in jagged bits around the edge of whatever the design is. I wanted my icing to be stiff enough to get the right shape left behind, but for the icing sit nicely and smooth out.

The consistency of the royal icing was just right for the cookie.

The consistency of the royal icing was just right for the cookie.

Let me say stencilling a cookie is considerably easier. Look at what happened to the bottom section of the cake. It’s all smooshed and has lost definition by comparison to the top half of the cake. Again there was no point getting upset. It wasn’t what I wanted but it was what it was. It’s not something you can just wipe away and start again. Because the bottom row of the design was thicker I had to wait longer for it to set enough before continuing on with a repeat of the pattern. It was about 2.5 times of the patter.

If I did this again (and I should really, I love the stencil design), I’d add another .5cm strip of stiff board (something that would bend) to the bottom of the stencil to lift the design up. I really should have had a full pattern at the top and not worried about where it finished at the bottom, especially since I was adding a ribbon to the bottom. Unfortunately the second section of the cake didn’t got any better than the first and the bottom was still thick. Not only that, the pattern didn’t quite line up and being the novice I am, I put royal icing over the last section of the pattern that was used to line up the stencil. I should have taped that off to avoid re-applying royal icing. As I say, I learn something (many things) each time I work on a cake. The last section I thought I was wising up and made more slots in the stencil at the bottom to try and get the stencil to sit flush against the bottom of the cake. That’s what it appeared was my problem. The stencil wasn’t flat against the cake, therefore the royal icing was being pushed through the stencil and each swipe over it to remove some of the excess was pushing more of it into the gap. This time I did line up the pattern better and I didn’t re-apply the royal icing over that section, and I had also used more painters tape to ensure I didn’t go back over the other side of the patter to re-apply where I’d actually started. I was already learning 🙂  However the icing still smooshed through at the bottom and didn’t appear to be any better for having secured the stencil toward the bottom. That leaves me to believe my royal icing needed to be a little stiffer. I’ll do better next time.

The cakeboard all dressed up. Frill press with brush embroidery.

The cakeboard all dressed up. Frill press with brush embroidery.

The dummy cake was ready, the actual cake was ready, now onto the cakeboard. And here I also learnt something. How boring would this be if I were perfect – haha!  I covered the board in fondant and used my homemade circle smoother which worked nicely to smooth out the fondant. I sort of lifted one side of it and kept it lifted while I went round in circular motions with the other bit. I held the one side up to make sure I didn’t gouge the fondant. Smoothing on a flat surface makes it a little easier to accidentally dig into the fondant. I used my new frilled edge pattern, bought specifically for this project (as was the stencil) and placed a 9″ circle onto the fondant (sadly I didn’t have the forethought to put baking paper under it to prevent it from sticking to the fondant) and then pressed the pattern into the fondant with the ends of the frill butting up to the circle. I really didn’t need to apply nearly half the pressure I was. I really only needed to get enough of an impression as I was going to use brush embroidery (something mum really likes) over the edge. Having pressed way to hard made it more tricky to then pipe over as I ended up with a bit of a trench like surface. I needed to pipe more icing so that it filled the little trench to reach the other side. I know that is difficult to understand, but hopefully you get it. I wasn’t happy with the colour of the icing so when it had dried I then brushed a pearl lustre over it.

More cookies. Using fondant roses and royal icing "flowers" to round out the design.

More cookies. Using fondant roses and royal icing “flowers” to round out the design.

Some stencilled and royal icing transfer cookies.

Some stencilled and royal icing transfer cookies.ay

After dinner I made the wafer paper flowers and finished piping and stencilling the rest of the cookies. I was pretty happy with where things were left for the day. I was tired, it was a full on day with one thing or another, but it meant Sunday I could potter and not be rushing about with last minute things. Everything was ready. Other than cleaning up the lounge. Don’t you find that job always gets done just as you’re about to have visitors. And then it looks so good you wonder why you don’t do it more often 😉

Lots of food. And there's still those chocolate brioche to come!

Lots of food. Looks like someone already pinched a savoury brioche. Recipe for Brioche by Little & Friday.

We had a really lovely time in the afternoon. I had made some savoury and sweet Brioche rolls (well I was only going for savoury but really wanted to try the chocolate as well – I can’t help myself!) and Natalie had made her dainty meringues and her Russian Fudge. Of course there was too much food, but that’s what you do, over cater. Plus we skipped lunch because we knew we were having an afternoon tea.

Mum finally got her birthday present having had to wait another 4 days for it.

Wafer paper roses with a little petal dust to bring it all together.

Wafer paper roses with a little petal dust to bring it all together.

Happy Birthday Mum, love you!


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ANZAC Day 2014

Lots of people have made the most of having Easter Monday being the same week as ANZAC Day (Friday) and have taken the 3 days off to give them a 10 day break. That’s smart thinking. We’ll just wait out the 9 weeks we’ve got left before a 6 week trip over the other side of the world. We’re ok with going back to work for 3 days.

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ANZAC Day cake

I try to do something ahead of time for an upcoming holiday or special event, so I made use of the extra time at home to make my cake for ANZAC Day. I baked the cake on Friday and froze it overnight. I wasn’t sure the cake would turn out because I botched the recipe (it was another variation of a box mix) adding a packet of instant pudding that I didn’t need, and doubling the water (the recipe was actually for 2 cake boxes and I only needed one, so I needed to halve everything but kept the water at the original volume). That cake took 65 minutes to bake and I still wasn’t sure, but I had enough of getting up and down to the sound of the oven buzzer every 5 or so minutes.

As it happens, the cake has a lovely flavour and it has the right sort of texture I would expect.

Gumpaste poppies made using Bakels Red fondant with tylose.

Gumpaste poppies made using Bakels Red fondant with tylose.

I started the poppies on Saturday late afternoon. I figured I’d make enough for 3 poppies expecting some breakages but I should still get one good one from it. After dinner on Saturday I ganached the cake. Round cakes are such a breeze to ganache by comparison to square cakes.

Closer look at the handpainting at the front of the cake.

Closer look at the handpainting at the front of the cake.

I got up early on Sunday to cover the cake and cake board. I knew I needed the fondant to dry out 24 hours before hand painting. But I got impatient and decided to airbrush the board and cake just after lunch time. I didn’t have a problem with doing either. The cake board had more airbrushing because the fondant I used was a mix of autumn gold and white which gave this really cool marbled effect. I didn’t think the colour of fondant I used would matter given I was going to airbrush it. But the yellower fondant meant that the green I thought I was going for, ended up a more avocado colour.  I never expected the colour of the cake to blend seemlessly into the cake board so I wasn’t phased. Just calked that one up to experience and know for future that while it wont matter what colour I use, I need to compensate for it when I make up the colour.

This was the first time I’d used the airbrush on fondant. Mr Fussy was assisting. He was holding up a long sheet of paper towel behind the cake to catch any overspray. I took the lightly lightly approach. It’s better to have less colour because you can continue to build, but it turned out pretty well. I also had to hold a round piece of parchment (for lining a cake tin) on the top to lessen the chance of spray ending up on the top of the cake. All in all I think we did just fine. If anything I should have had more of the side with green, I thought I had until I started to hand paint the poppies and realised how much blue I had.

This is the first poppy. I hadn't realised just how many times you'd need to wind the black thread. This was a bit sparse.

This is the first poppy. I hadn’t realised just how many times you’d need to wind the black thread. This was a bit sparse.

Sunday afternoon, after packing up all the airbrush stuff (always so much stuff!) I got around to making the poppies. I dusted them (which is something I really don’t enjoy) and then made them up. Those things are tricky to make. The thread wanted to get caught in the florist tape and I was finding it difficult to get the tape up to the very top of the wire. But it turned out fine and I didn’t have any breakages. I even went so far as to steam the flowers. I went the whole hog aka completing the job. The new steamer I bought from Nicholas Lodge is the business. It’s very fierce. Heaps of steam. Which is a lot better than waving the flower over a pathetic excuse for a steaming jug. Still, it’s probably a good endorsement for a jug, you’re unlikely to get a steam burn.

I was doing well for time and everything so far was working as I had planned. That just left the flowers to hand paint today. I spent a little bit of time looking at images for fields of poppies. That had been what I wanted to do. I didn’t really know how to start things. Do I build up the green field and then add in the flowers. When should I paint the stems? I had no idea, and I feel like the painting process was a big clumsy. I think I should have begun with building more green.

Because I’m not an artist I had a few practice runs with using a pencil and paper to get the “flow” of drawing a poppy. I had a few variations, and I knew that if mine weren’t an exact replica it wouldn’t matter. No one would know what I was basing my poppies off.

I struggled a bit with the shading, and I had to keep reminding myself that as I drew and filled in with colour not to be put off with how things were shaping up. I was far from finished and it would start to come together as I added more detail. And on the whole I was happy with how the flowers were finished. Of course there’s some I don’t think are as well drawn and others that are my favourite.

This is one of my favourite handpainted poppies.

This is one of my favourite handpainted poppies.

Lastly I had to figure out how to place the poppies. I had spent some time thinking about it. Initially I was thinking 3 in a row, same height. But then I decided that might be a bit too ridged. So I added some stronger florist wire to two of the flowers to both strengthen and give more height so that I could stagger their height. Thankfully they still fit into the little straws I had (I think they’re for making cake pops).

I always knew I would set the cake to the back of the cake board, and I had measured the space I had to place the ANZAC sign/plaque. On Thursday I’d found a font that I thought was similar to the NZ Army font and I printed that out. I then used the tissue paper transfer method to get the writing onto the “plaque” I fashioned from a rectangle and heart cutter. And again because I have no patience, I did the transfer last night immediately after having rolled the fondant. A little of it pressed the fondant but not enough to distort the shape. I also used one of my colour shapers to tidy up the ragged bits from the cutters. It worked nicely.

So there we have it. This year’s ANZAC Day cake.

For those of us not enjoying the long long weekend, there’ll be cake at work tomorrow.

And now for an overload of photos, because I wanted to capture ALL of the handpainting, including the “back” of the cake which has the field of poppies, which Mr Fussy was really keen on, but I felt like it would mess up the clean look, even if it wasn’t truly a field look.

The beginning of the field.

The beginning of the field.

The end of the field. There's a lot of work trying to blend greens and add in the out of focus poppies.

The end of the field. There’s a lot of work trying to blend greens and add in the out of focus poppies.

The full view of the back of the cake - the field

The full view of the back of the cake – the field

Handpainting 3

Handpainting 4

handpainting 5

If there was one thing I could change, it would have been a nice piece of ribbon to go around the cake board. Despite having some lovely ribbons, nothing was suitable. The shiny silver irks me a bit. I couldn’t be bothered heading to the shops and have instead enjoyed a lazy afternoon catching up on some TV programmes, you know, spending quality time with Mr Fussy 😉


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Love is in the air

Some weeks back Sam asked Jasmine to marry him. It was a question asked without doubt of the answer. It was a question lots of family knew was coming. I’ve had a few chuckles at how Natalie must be feeling. It’s a sobering thought when you realise that what she’s going through is what our own parents went through. Now if that doesn’t make you feel old I’m not sure what will.

Cake topper made from modelling chocolate and silver cachous.

Cake topper made from modelling chocolate and silver cachous.

I wasn’t sure if Jasmine and Sam would want a cake, and they certainly didn’t have to feel obliged to ask me, but if they did, I needed to know, and know quickly. Last Friday the email arrived with a picture of a cake they’d seen and liked the look of. And it was Friday I grabbed all the bits from the supermarket.

Before getting to the supermarket we had a bit of a quick discussion and we ironed out a few details and came up with some different ideas given limitations. The cake would be 2 tiers and not a double barrel meaning we didn’t have height to play with to taper in the bottom. I knew I would be practicing a few things to help Jasmine and Sam decide what they did and didn’t want. They just wanted to keep the cake fairly simple.

Friday evening I started out by colouring fondant. Jasmine and Sam had picked out from a colour chart the shade of teal they wanted. I used the ratios in the chart and ended up with something very dark, darker than jade. I spent a lot of time trying to lighten it by adding more and more white fondant. I really dislike colouring during the evening. Natural light is a must for matching colours. Jasmine didn’t want it too blue, or too green. But I had no real reference other than the little block of colour on an online colour chart.

While the colour seemed ok, in the light of day it was quite a greyish blue. I spent time using different impression mats and taking lots of photos to see if we could narrow down the pattern J & S liked.

Fondant on the right, modelling chocolate on the left.

Chocolate on the left, modelling chocolate on the right. Teal ribbon above.

After The Food Show on Saturday I nipped around with the mats and ribbon I’d bought at Spotlight to see if we could agree a few more details. I came home and re-did the fondant to make it more the colour of the ribbon and re-did the two choices Jasmine had narrowed the choices to.

I came home and baked an 8″ square Chocolate Mud Cake (The Planet Cake book) but it didn’t rise as high as the cakes rose when I used the same recipe for the 6″ circles (the recipe makes one 8″ square cake or one 9″ round cake. One 9″ round cake will make two 6″ cakes). No worries. I still had time to bake two cakes on the Sunday. I increased the recipe by a quarter and the cakes baked just as I wanted. The 10″ cake took around 2 hours to bake. I didn’t use a rose nail (to get more heat into the centre) so I was being very cautious with the slow long baking to ensure the cake was properly baked.

The Planet Cake chocolate mudcake.

The Planet Cake chocolate mudcake.

On Sunday I grabbed various green and blue shades of modelling chocolate I had in the fridge and had a crack at making teal. I was having a crack at making a brooch type thing. You see during Sunday morning I spotted my heart necklace. Going along with the theme of being slightly off centre and a little abstract, I thought my own necklace would be a good starting point. Anyway after I made the brooch, and used a fantastic silver paint to mimic the metal edges of the brooch, I decided it was a bit too old looking for such a vibrant young couple. Natalie arrived after lunch with the 10″ tin, at this point I’d moved onto getting a feel for making the hearts. I was using a lighter green colour of modelling chocolate. I wasn’t worried about the colour because I expected to have the framework completely covered in silver cachous. The first crack at the design was a bit chunky and I learnt that the cachous wouldn’t stay put. But it was all a learning experience. It’s not like I do this every other week. I’m glad I trialled everything I wasn’t familiar with. It meant that on Saturday I pretty much knew what I was doing and how I would do it.

Anyway, getting back to the fondant. Sunday morning I took the ribbon and the new Teal outside and it wasn’t a good enough match for my liking. I really wanted it to be brighter than it was. But brightness doesn’t necessarily mean lighter. I was a bit stuck and I was almost paralysed standing there trying to work out how I could brighten it. Finally I got the electric blue and electric green Americolor gels out and I began to add until I was finally happy.

The embossed teal strips and cake use a rose impression mat.

The embossed teal strips and cake use a rose impression mat.

Monday after work I dropped around again and took fondant strip samples of using the newly coloured fondant with the impression mat J & S had decided on, and I took the necklace and the first attempt modelling chocolate hearts to see if the concept was getting close to what they wanted.

Monday evening I went home and practiced covering a square cake dummy. I have to admit to feeling slightly unwell when I realised the cakes would be square. The christmas cake was the last square cake I covered in fondant but it wasn’t ganached. That would be awful on a fruit cake. The one prior to that was Cameron’s 21st cake. I wasn’t very happy with how that turned out, and the more I learn and better I become with different things the worse I feel about his cake. It was a very dense mudcake, the ganache covering was too thick and it was very difficult to ganache.

I used a razor blade to get rid of any little jagged bits of chocolate ganache from the edges.

I used a razor blade to get rid of any little jagged bits of chocolate ganache from the edges.

Talking ganache, I made the ganache on Saturday night. Jasmine has very strong feelings over her chocolate and she doesn’t like dark chocolate. I was making a milk chocolate, which means more chocolate because there’s less cocoa solids. Everything was going along swimmingly. Sunday I took it out of the fridge. It was a bit softer than I had been expecting. I smeared a bit onto baking paper, about as thick as I expected it would be on the cake to see if it would set up and dry out. After many hours it was still tacky and I knew that spell trouble and increase the chances of air bubbles after the cake was covered in fondant. A few questions online and I was back to melting some 60% chocolate and adding it to the ganache. I tried some of that and it was giving the results I needed. Phew.

I know I’m jumping about a bit, but I’m backing up to covering the dummy cake. I covered the dummy with Crisco and then I took my two 750gm packets of Bakels fondant and kneaded it like I’d read in The Planet Cake book. I think previously I was “pummeling” it, as described in the book. I was pretty much kneading it like dough, and overworking fondant can lead to the cracks and elephant skin. So I kneaded it like playdoh. Although I really can’t remember how to knead playdoh. But I wasn’t pummelling it, and that was a bit of a breakthrough for me. I also flattened it more by hand before placing it between the sheets of The Mat to finally roll it out. I was a little bit relieved when I covered the dummy well and without fuss or bother. Phew. The only thing is I was left with what I’m describing as pock marks. I didn’t have an answer for it. I’ve never had it before. I’d also bought Satin Ice fondant on the Saturday and I hoped that it would roll better.

Tuesday morning it was bucketing down so instead of going for a run I decided I’d hand pipe some hearts onto the dummy cake so that J & S could compare and decide which type of heart embellishments they wanted (which was really for my sake, in case I ended up with tears in the fondant and needed to disguise them). I also added some lustre to the cake. I was doing this all backwards. I had the cake covered, the embossed “band” attached and some cut out hearts and now I was trying to paint the base. That wasn’t going to go easily, and it didn’t. The brush strokes left too many streaks. And I was applying this at 6am with my running torch on trying to see what I was doing. In the dull light the silver was looking quite grey. So it was back to Natalie’s Tuesday after work as well. Jasmine wasn’t there so I had to wait to see what she and Sam liked. But more photos were taken and shared. We have a Dropbox album where I added photos to help them get a feel for things.

Word came back that they liked the hearts but would prefer the colour to the same as the band. I totally agreed, and it was my plan that if they liked the heart design I’d re-colour the modelling chocolate to get close to the teal colour. I couldn’t believe how much colour I had to add to the modelling chocolate. I was being as careful as I could to knead it in, but there came a point where the MC was becoming a bit too soft and I didn’t want to risk overworking it and have it crumble when it “rested” and then be completely unusable. I was very pleased the next morning to see it had hardened up perfectly overnight. I still needed to work the colour in a little more but we had a winner.

I wasn’t totally sold on the size of the hearts I’d made on Sunday, or the chunkiness so Wednesday I started over again. This time making the larger heart much larger knowing the MC covering would take up some of the distance that would be between the larger and smaller heart. I also used a heavier gauge of florist tape, and this time white. See, always learning 🙂

Using my necklace for inspiration.

Using my necklace for inspiration.

Before fluffing about with the MC I covered the cake board and used the same impression mat to emboss the fondant. I was using the left over Bakels fondant. As well as that, I was also ganaching the 10″ cake. It was going quite well. The corners weren’t perfect but I planned to work on them further once the sides had set so that I could use them to help guide the bench scrapers up the sides to achieve true corners.

Thursday morning I was up at 4:45am to head to Wellington. I touched the side of the cake and it had dried perfectly. I was thrilled. I flipped it over and pulled away the waxed paper from the top. The top was almost perfect too, but I knew I would need to do a little tidying up.

When I arrived home Thursday night I tidied up the top of the cake, made sharp corners (it was pretty simple after all) and then got stuck into preparing for the 8″ cake which Mr Fussy had collected from Natalie’s to bring home. The 10″ cake I’d pulled out of the freezer on Tuesday night and left in the fridge all day. So when I came to ganaching it, it was still quite a firm cake. I was very pleased I’d levelled the top Sunday night, but I left the top on, and it made it tricky to pull it away cleanly. The 8″ cake I’d instructed Natalie to leave out of the fridge when she got it from the freezer Thursday morning. It was room temperature when I was working with it. The only thing that was slightly nerve-wracking was lifting the whole thing and turning it upside down onto the waxed paper which had a thick coating of ganache (which is how I get the top to be smooth and level). The cake had some give it it because it wasn’t nice and firm from the fridge. But it wasn’t much of a bother. The 8″ cake covered as simply as the 10″ and I was sitting down by 8:30pm, even after covering the new hearts in silver cachous. That was a bit of a fiddly job. Those little round silver balls didn’t really want to stick to the piping gel that I’d brushed all over the hearts. Mostly because MC is waxy and trying to get anything liquid to adhere was never going to be easy. I knew there wouldn’t be a complete coverage, which is why it was important to get a pretty good match to the teal band/ribbon. At one point I even got the tweezers out to try and individually place cachous in gaps I thought were too big. Next was to wait and see if it would set up and firmly stick. I wasn’t really keen to give it a good shake to test things out.

Friday came and I knew it was D day, or F day, Fondant that is. I was fairly relaxed about it, slightly encouraged by my trial run on Monday. For all that a couple of packets of fondant made it into the shopping cart. See, I even went grocery shopping first. No rushing home in an anxious state slightly panicked by the ordeal ahead of me. I was quite proud of myself. Which is not to say that when I began rolling the first lot of fondant (I started with the 8″) I didn’t get a warm feeling from being either hot and bothered, or just hot from all that rolling.

The edge is a little thin, and you can see the pock marks in the fondant.

The edge is a little thin, and you can see the pock marks in the fondant.

The 8″ cake covered nicely, no problem getting the corners tidy, except that just one corner seemed to be a little bit thin and I could make out the ganache underneath. It was weird that it was the height of the cake. The thing with rolling fondant in The Mat is that it’s quite sticky. It doesn’t stick so much you can’t coax it off the mat, but once all is said and done and you’re ready to smooth out the top, the fondant smoothers just grab and don’t want to move freely. For that I have to end up dusting the fondant with cornflour to easy the stickiness and allow the smoothers to glide nicely. But the pock marks were there. Blah. No amount of smoothing was bringing them together to fill out. Oh well.  Onto the 10″ cake. Eeek. Well the dummy cake and the 8″ cake went without any dramas, how about 3 for 3. And yes, I got 3 for 3. Again no drams. I didn’t have quite as much overhang which I worried might pull at the corners, but we were all good. The other thing that had worried me with the 10″ cake is that I took it out of the fridge on Friday morning and left it on the bench (at 5:30am) and it had condensated, I fully expected that. But I also expected it would dry out during the day and be dry as it was overnight after first ganaching it. But it was slightly sticky. I left my fingerprint in the top as I gave it a light touch. I wasn’t concerned it was a bit sticky, I needed that for the fondant to adhere, but I hoped it didn’t increase the chance of the fondant bulging. Though that’s usually from the difference in temperature and the cake relaxing as it comes to room temperature. The really odd thing is that it was cooler than the 8″ cake. I couldn’t understand it. Why would the cake be cooler when it wasn’t a cold day, and it had been sitting out for more than 12 hours by now. Anyway, all was good. I made sure I poked a hole into the top using a skewer so that if any air needed to escape it had somewhere to go (hopefully).

All covered, and covered. Time to rest.

All covered, and covered. Time to rest.

One of the questions I had for J & S was whether they wanted the hearts if I managed to cover the cakes without any tears or any elephant skin. The answer was yes. With the cakes covered I moved onto making the cutout hearts. I wanted them dry before fixing them to the side of the cake, it just makes it easier to touch them. And I figured if I were going to cover the corners like I had on the dummy cake, well I’d just roll some fresh fondant to be able to wrap them around the corners.  In the end I had over 100 hearts in 3 sizes. I had no idea how many I had, but it filled up the turntable so it was time to call it a night.

Did someone say hearts?

Did someone say hearts?

For whatever reason, I found myself awake during the early hours of the morning. I got up and flipped each heart over to give it a chance to dry out on the bottom as well. And then back to bed.

I didn’t get out of bed until 8am, I thought I was doing well. But it was straight up and at it. I started with rolling the fondant and putting each strip through the pasta attachment to ensure I had an even thickness. The 10″ cake was bigger than the embossing sheet so I had to do a bit of careful matching up in order to make the strip as seamless as I could. I watered down the piping gel to make it smoother (piping gel, or at least mine, is a bit lumpy). I used a wide flat brush to brush it on. Rolling the strip up onto it self without it sticking meant that as I coiled it up I’d have to dust the underside a bit to ensure it unravelled freely and didn’t stick and subsequently stretch the fondant.

Even though the strips are pretty uncomplicated in design, they took a bit of time from start to finish. Then it was time to fix the silver cachous onto the seems where the fondant joined at the edges, and lastly to randomly place the hearts. I picked the spots that had the biggest pock marks. That’s how I managed random.

I had another acrylic 21cm square which I used to work out where the top layer would sit and then using the same acrylic square I traced it onto baking paper which I cut out, then went 1″ in to mark out where I’d put the supports. I placed the paper on the cake and using a pin I pierced through the paper at the points and gave the pin a bit of a wiggle to make the hole a little more obvious, then I pushed the plastic dowels in and cut them to size. Oh, what I should have mentioned earlier is that I fixed the bottom tier to the cake board using royal icing. I’ve never used it before and hoped that some 8 hours later it would have set to ensure the bottom tier wasn’t going anywhere.

All doweled up and ready to go.

All doweled up and ready to go.

One of the things I probably spent more time on than was needed on the Saturday was working out what to do with the hearts that were originally across the corner of the dummy cake. I really didn’t want to make it seem like I was masking a mishap like I had intended them to be for, and I felt the hearts didn’t quite blend as well on the corners as I would have liked. I don’t know if I’m sold on the way I used them on the cake either. It sort of reminds me of a curtain opening to reveal something else, that being the silver cachous (in my mind). Anyway it is what it is.

We took the cakes down to the hall for 4pm. I was a little nervous about the cake in the hatch and hoping that royal icing had stuck firmly and the cake itself wasn’t bouncing about in the back unseen to us. I nursed the 8″ on my lap.

I expected it would take an hour to set up, not because I’m slow, but there were decisions that still needed to be made. Did J & S want the left over cut out hearts scattered over the top of the cake. Should I add the ribbon to the cake board or not. How should I place the the heart toppers. I was keen to get the cake set up. Logan was moving around the bench where the cake was mostly on the bench, getting into the fridge. I was looking on nervously and didn’t want him to end up accidentally knocking it as he was putting drinks etc away. We had to go through the whole round or square table, black or white cloth, add the table runner or not. And then as I was getting it set up everyone was moving around the table getting photos hung. It was an interesting time. Once I decided on the height of the hearts I then had to add a little more florist tape and make sure no florist wire was exposed. Even though the topper was sitting inside of a plastic cake pop “straw” I was still being extra cautious. I think in the end the topper might have looked better sitting on the cake rather than a little above. It was a little higher before but as Natalie mentioned, it looked a bit like a lollypop.

Corner details. The draped hearts and graduated silver cachous.

Corner details. The draped hearts and graduated silver cachous.

Both Jasmine & Sam were really happy with the cake. I let them know that I was worried that the cake had turned out quite different to the cake they had originally seen but they both loved it. Jasmine let me know some of her friends had made positive comments about the cake too.

So the cake was cut, then I took it to the kitchen and cut it up some more. We had expected around 160 people, but knew they would be coming and going through the night. Initially we were going to make a 12 and 8″ cake but then I remembered how much cake we had left from Cameron’s 21st. Saturday morning I contacted Natalie and we agreed a 10″ would be more than adequate, and if we thought it wasn’t going to go the distance, we’d just cut them into 1×1″ squares rather than 1×2″ square.

Sooo much cake.

Sooo much cake.

With all the food that Natalie and Sam’s mum had prepared, there was no way there wouldn’t be enough sweet things, so I cut the majority of the slices into 1×1″ pieces. And you can see, there’s plenty left, more than 1/4 of the bottom tier. The top tier completely untouched!

Congratulations Jasmine and Sam, and thank you for the privilege of making your Engagement Cake ❤

Jasmine and Sam's Engagement Cake

Jasmine and Sam’s Engagement Cake


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Something sweet for Valentine’s Day

all the cookiesSince Mr Fussy prefers cookies I made a batch of Lilaloa’s  End-all chocolate cookie recipe.

I made a bit of a boo-boo. Imagine that. Instead of ¾ of a teaspoon of baking powder, I put in 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder. I just grabbed the wrong two spoon measures.

I was puzzled when my cookies spread since the blog post was adamant the cookies wouldn’t. Obviously I’ll have to make them again since I botched this batch. For all that, the spread wasn’t more than I’ve seen with other recipes.

tiny bitesThe cookie dough is really soft. There is a warning the dough will be soft, and you’re encouraged to refrain from adding extra flour if you’re going to chill the dough. I finally did as instructed 😉

I did my usual and rolled it out between two sheets of waxed paper and put the 6mm sheets of rolled dough into the fridge. The dough would have been in the fridge for more than 2 hours when I grabbed the first sheet to cut out. Before I had finished cutting out the last of the dough the cookies at the edge of the sheet had begun to soften making it a little tricky to pick them up and place them on the baking tray. I also popped them back into the fridge before baking them.

Cake lace decorations

Cake lace and chocolate transfer hearts

For all that they taste good. I didn’t add the shortening, I used all butter. I didn’t want the cookies to be soft. Since they usually last a whole week or more I didn’t want to get a sense that they’d softened and perhaps not as fresh as they should be. The cookies aren’t hard or crunchy by any stretch of the imagination so I’m not sure how soft the shortening would make them, if added.

As for the royal icing, I used the last of my Wilton meringue powder and was short a few grams, I made the balance up with dried egg albumen. I really didn’t think it would make a big difference, after all, I’ve made a full batch with egg albumen. That turned out fine, but it had a slightly odd taste.

wet on wetAnyway, the reason I’m making a note of all this, the royal icing didn’t set. I’ve never had that happen before. I didn’t realise until I was picking up the cookies and accidentally nudged one and then saw that the icing was more like marshmallow.

I haven’t asked Mr Fussy how he’s managing to pack a cookie up to take to work. I imagine it’s a bit messy.

The decorations are mostly based on the YouTube Amber from SweetAmbs made.

I haven’t given up on trying filigree, but it’s fair to say I still suck at it. I can’t understand why the piping settles so thick, I’m using a number 1 tip. Must practice at every opportunity.

hearts everywhere

Using the cake lace silicone mat as an impression mat with a fondant decorated heart

While we don’t really do the whole Valentine’s thing, well that’s not entirely true, we love an excuse to go out for dinner, we don’t do gifts, we do exchange cards. I’ll be in Hamilton (I know, I’ve mentioned it before) so I’m still trying to figure out how to get my card to Mr Fussy so it’s not thrown at him as I leave tomorrow morning.

Hope everyone has a nice day, whatever Valentine’s means to you. Cookies are good any day of the week!


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Waitangi Day Celebration Cake – 2014

This coming Thursday is Waitangi Day in New Zealand. I know I have visitors from near and far, so for those of you not from this side of the world, it’s the sort of like the Forth of July in America in that it’s the day we celebrate as a Nation, though the Treaty of Waitangi is a hot topic and is very controversial. It holds more meaning to some than others. I just like to think of us all as being Kiwis and being united in how awesome we are for such a small country.

Waitangi Day NZInitially I had planned to paint onto the cake. I had planned to paint Koru around the cake but the fondant hand-painting class I had enrolled for was cancelled (I’m attending the 2nd class end of February).

Time to come up with another idea. Rattling around the back of my head had been paua. I hoped all that modelling chocolate I’d made a few weeks ago would magically come together into a paua look.

I had few clues as to how I would achieve the look so began with taking bits of different blues, greens and pink/purple and twisting the colours around each other as if I were going to marble fondant. It more or less is the same sort of look but I wanted mine less mingled together than marbling is.

Once I had the look I rolled the MC out and then got my NZ themed cutters out to make the shapes. I wanted to make paua shells too but didn’t how to do it, until I realised the egg cutters would do the job, I just needed some way of forming them into a shell shape.

Paua closeupI realised the look was almost there but paua also has black through it. MC is waxy so painting was out of the question, it would just bead. While in Hamilton I got to searching and after a bit of reading worked out edible markers would be my best bet.

Friday I arrived home and got ready torting and layering the cakes. I was using four 6” cakes I’d had in the freezer, along with strawberry buttercream (made with Fresh As Strawberry freeze dried powder). I expected to use both the 6” cakes and the 4” cake I had. In my mind the size of the North and South Island would be too big for the height of the 6” cakes, but with the amount of buttercream I had I was all good. I had wanted the island to sit just above the top of the cake. And the size of the islands was smaller than I remembered.

I was holding my breath about getting the black lines on the MC. Now when I say holding my breath I’m talking figuratively. I’ve come back from my trip to Hamilton with a cold and it was ramping up. I was feeling pretty miserable, but determined to get the paua drawn.

Everything was coming together well, the cake was the perfect height, I’d gotten it all ready for ganaching on Saturday, and I had achieved the markings on the MC.

Saturday I got everything prepared to ganache the cake, and I’m happy to report that it took more time to line cake boards with waxed paper and get the other equipment out than it did to actually ganache the cake. For whatever reason it was a breeze. Although I was still a little suspicious the ganache wouldn’t set as firm as I wanted. I left the cake in the fridge a bit over 2 hours before getting it while I prepared the cake board.

Other bits and bobs

I made some Peony leaves for a fantasy flower that broke, and also some broaches from modelling chocolate, with a flourish of different lustre dusts.

I had recalled buying ribbon at the Paper Tree thinking I would use it for the Moustache Cake. It was a good match for the type of gradient colours of the paua, well I think it works. I used double sided tape to fix the ribbon to the board.

The paua was coming along nicely with the addition of lustre dust. I dry dusted the MC, and at the last minute realised that I had a pink shimmer dust that would help draw out the pink/purple tones in the paua. The shells came to life really well, but the flat decorations are hard to see the shimmer unless you move around the cake.

While I was fluffing about rolling out the fondant for the cake board I noticed the condensation on the ganache. I’ve never seen that before. I wonder whether the new fridge is set a bit cooler than the inside fridge.

By the time I had finished the cake board, kneaded and rolled the fondant for the cake, an hour had passed. I used cooled boiled water to brush the cake to allow the fondant to stick. The brush strokes were leaving marks so I knew the ganache was a bit on the soft side.

Paua Shells

Finally a cake where I achieved sharp edges

The cake was 5.5” tall on a 6” wide cake. It was so close to being a double barrel cake. A cake size I find really hard to cover without the fondant cracking on the top edge, or pulling down or the sides not having adequate coverage. I had one shot at this so I chose to clear the coffee table so I had better control over the cake allowing me to be more above it. Mr Fussy was helping to guide the fondant (I used The Mat) so that it sat just to the bottom of the cake. And away I went. Strangely everything was working out nicely. I was getting the fondant nicely smoothed on the sides and not pleats or tucks and I had adequate coverage everwhere. There were no tears along the top edge. I began to breathe again (my cold is worse so that was a difficult moment ;-))

I’m not sure why I waited to add the decorations, I guess having had mixed results with fondant covered cakes I know there’s a chance of a bulge. I waited over and hour and it all looked good. On went the decorations. I used candy melts piped to the back of the decorations to add around the cake, and fondant for the shells on top, which I brushed with the Antique Gold and Pink Shimmer lustre dusts to help it look so obviously plonked on.

After packing away some of the equipement I decided I’d make use of the natural light and begin to take photos. Mr Fussy was helping me out by holding up different items of my work clothing to add as the background. It was surprising how many of my dresses had the mottled colours of paua. After all the fluffing about we both agreed that only one dress was suitable, and it added a bit of a moody look that we both thought gave the idea of New Zealand being “the Land of the Long White Cloud”.

KiwiHaving taken photos of all 3 sides it was back to the front when I spied the beginnings of a bulge, right where the Kiwi was sitting. I was disappointed, but not beaten. I removed the Kiwi and started to prick the fondant with the sterile sugical needle, that wasn’t cutting it. I got a normal pin, that wasn’t having any effect, so I went all out and put that sucker in and moved it around to widen the hole. And I waited. And waited.

I made dinner, not that I felt like it. I was miserable. My head was hot and hurting, my nose wouldn’t ease up running, my eyes were watering, and I was in the kitchen following a new recipe for dinner. Needless to say it took a bit longer to pull dinner together than normal. Mostly because I’d be sneezing and my nose would run and I was constantly grabbing at tissues.

When I thought the bulging had stabilised I used the fondant smoothers to push the bulge out flat and stuck the Kiwi back on. Then while watching TV I kept eyeing the cake and I was sure it was beginning to bulge again.

Paua FernI was very thankful I’d taken the photos during the day and not left it until today. And because I was feeling miserable, I almost didn’t care what happened to the cake. I was too embarrased to give it to Mr Fussy for work, I didn’t want anyone to see the unsightly bulge.

I’ve had 3 hours sleep and at 3am I got up to get more Sudafed and Panadol and took the opportunity to look at the cake. It had worsened, but that didn’t stop me grabbing my acetate to try and push the air out into a new hole I’d poked into the fondant. The poor Kiwi was being pushed out and was at a really odd angle, tipping toward the cake board. At 5am when I was still awake and beside myself I got up again and had a drink. The cake hadn’t magically fixed itself and the tear in the fondant seemed to have worsened.

Still awake at 6am and no sleep in sight I got to reading some articles on Lightroom, and I learnt how to use the spot removal tool. Having given up on sleep I got up at 8:30am and set about touching up my photos to remove the little tell-tale sign at the front of the cake that might have given a clue the bulge was coming. Oh and I learnt about adding a watermark. Not that I think my photos are fabulous and sought after, but hey, I like this cake, I really liked this cake. I got a sharp edge, it covered well and the decorations came up better than I dared hope, so I don’t want anyone taking my photo and passing it off without credit where credit is due. Go me 😉

So there we have it, my Waitangi Day cake for 2014, quite a different cake to last year, and that cake has been pinned quite a few times on Pinterest. Who would have guessed.

Land of the long white cloud

Using my dress as a backdrop, getting that cloudy look.

Later in the week I’ll post the Kiwi cookies I made a few weeks back, they were fun, and cute.