Saturday, 22 December 2007

DVD Offer

We use LoveFilm, and have a 3 months free trial offer for anyone to take up in the UK.

go to:

Put in gift code: XMLF711


Merry Xmas, see you in the New Year

Friday, 21 December 2007

Fairy Toadstool Cake, Not So Easy

In my wisdom I decided to make from Debbie Brown's 50 EASY Party Cakes, the Fairy Toadstool for my 2 nieces for Xmas. With my classes I felt a bit more confident with my newly learnt skills! I should have realised that EASY is just a word to make you buy the book!!! Afterall, it was my husband who rescued the dinosaur cake, from the same book a few years ago.

Anyway, the cake board went v well. This I was pleased with.

Then I coloured my sugarpaste/ rolled fondant. This too went well. The blue is extra large, as I over coloured my small ball, and had to add more white to tone it down.

Next I made the fairy bodies, still going well

Then I rolled out all the other pieces, still ok.

Buttercreamed the cake. OKish

Covered base in white regalice, okish. Underneath cake, not smooth enough purhaps?

Did top, but Debbie says to hollow out the top, but does not show a photo, so I wasn't sure how much. I think I should have cut more out, to get the top to fit more snugly on, and therefore look better.

All the fairies stuck on, plus 100 &1000s.
I'm definely not as pleased as I had hoped. I should have made the fairies LAST, as they started to break when I moved them, as they were dried out. Better to move them when still sticky. Still more lessons learnt.
It's my son's birthday in 2 months, and I wanted to get some practice in before then.
More lessons needed!!!!
I hate to have to admit this, but, the following morning, when I looked at the cake, the roof had caved in!!! Clearly I had NOT hollowed the thing out anywhere near enough. Lesson learnt. However, why can't books give more step by step photos, or tips so you avoid the mistakes that I made? One other way round would be to put dowels in the bottom cake, put the roof on a cake board, the same size as it, so it can be properly supported.
Cake making is expensive, and it's not on that the books are not properly tested by non professional individuals.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Sugarcraft or Cake Decorating Dictionary

Is it Sugarcraft or Cake Decorating? That is just the start of the problem!!!

I've noticed that there seems to be many names for the same product, which makes things quite confusing for a beginner like me. So I'm going to attempt in this post (and will update as I learn more) to clarify things. If you know of a product to add to this list, please post a comment or if I've made a mistake, which wouldn't be surprising, then let me know. Thanks.

The one thing I would say, is that some products contain gelatin (so if you are veggie watch out and try different makes)

Clearly, as so many of the pastes do simlar jobs, it's going to be down to a matter of personal taste which ones to use. In my class we use Regallice to cover cakes, flower paste for the sugarcraft flowers and mexican paste, when we need something to be stronger and dry rock solid.

1. Rolled Fondant/ Sugar Paste/ Regallice - all the same product. You can make your own or buy ready made - widely available in Supermarkets

2. Flower Paste/ Petal Paste/ Gum Paste - from specialist cake decorator shops

  • This rolls out very thinly to help create very realistic flowers, dries hard. Can keep for a very long time.
3. Mexican Paste - from cake decorating shops

  • Dries rock solid, used for the snowflakes I made, also plaques etc. Quite rufty-tufty! (Doesn't break too easily)
4. Modelling Paste - from cake decorating shops

  • Dries hard (can be used instead of Mexican Paste)
5. Pastillage - from cake decorating shops - I've never used it but I've read that:

  • Dries extremely hard, not affected my heat and moisture the way other pastes are.

There are recipes for all of the above pastes in various books and on the net. Some may be easier to recreate than others.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Glutney and Pirates

Yesterday I finally picked the rest of our tomatoes (still green) yes it is about 2.5 months late, but the plants were alive and well on our microclimate balcony! But with no sun, there wouldn't be any more progession for the tomatoes. So today I made green tomatoe chutney (1/2 from my M-I-L's recipe and 1/2 from Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's River Cottage Year. They filled 2 largish jars, and in 2 months we can start using them. Very pleased with my belated Autumn harvest!

Quick knitting update, I've not done quite as much as I would have liked, but I do a few rows every day. This is the back of the jumper btw. Luckily I have 2 years to complete this in.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Christmas Cake

This is the cake I made at my cake decoarting class. My teacher's design, but I'm pleased with the overall effect. I chose the snowflakes on the side. The board needs a ribbon and then it is done.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Snowflake Sugarcraft Tutorial

Sugarcraft Snowflakes

Materials/ Equipment Needed:

1: Smooth rolling board
2. Smooth rolling pin
3. Vegetable oil
4. Mexican Paste
5. Snowflake Cutters (by patchwork cutters)
6. Edible glue (from Sugarcraft shops)
7. Edible Glitter (from Sugarcraft shops - I used Disco WhiteHologram made by Edable Art)
8. Cocktail stick

Step 1
Oil board with vegetable oil.
Roll out a small ball of mexican paste thinly.

Step 2

Choose a cutter and grease it with vegetable oil.
The set of cutters I bought came with 3 different sized snowflake cutters.

Step 3
Cut out snowflake. Press down very firmly and I gently jig it about.

Step 4
Remove cutter. You may need the cocktail stick to remove any extra bits that didn't peel away from the middle of the design. I just spear them, and they come away on the stick.

Step 5
Using the cocktail stick, gently remove the snowflake from the cutter. I do this one "leg" at a time.

Step 6
Place flatly on another board/ tray to dry. If your snowflake has curved, you can always push it down gently with our finger.
Step 7
Brush your edible glue onto all your snowflakes.
Put a small amount of the glitter onto a teaspoon, and gently spinkle over the tops of the snowflakes. Let dry overnight.

In this picture, I have also made a tree, that wil be decorated at my evening class tonight. I'll post photos of the finished product.

If I have missed anything out or you found this helpful, please post a comment. Thank you.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

winter felt garland

My son and I made this winter garland the other day. He chose the things to hang on it, I drew them, he cut them out, I recut them out (unfortunately the boy's foot was severely cut and beyond repair) and then thread them onto ribbon and hung up. (We also added fabric glitter to the snowflakes - the shops were out of the glittered felt in white).

I like this idea, simple yet v pleasing. It hangs next to the Autumn garland we made.