Ruffles, Baby Elephant, and Thomas!

June 10th, 2015

Don’t worry, all the things in the title were not all on the same cake :).

Last week was literally my busiest week of cake making to date. I had five orders that had to go out the door and most of them were anything but simple! It was a gruelling week, every night I’d crawl into bed around 1:30am exhausted and aching, then I’d be back at it again early the next morning. Two orders were picked up on Friday, one was delivered on Saturday, and the remaining two went out on Sunday. On Sunday night I collapsed in bed at 8pm and slept for 13 hours!

But as tiring and hard as the week was, it was also very satisfying. I never thought I’d ever be this busy! And I was very happy with all the end products. Two of the orders were picked up before they could be photographed (a 3D car and a grey ombre cake with fondant bow tie on top) but here are the other three cakes I made this past week.

First up is a pink ombre ruffle cake. I’m getting a lot of enquiries for ombre cakes this year. This particular cake ended up taking a lot more time than I had anticipated. This was a double barrel cake so was 6 inches tall rather than the usual 4, therefore the ruffles took ages. It took around 4 hours to make the ruffles and apply them to the cake. The bunting I made from cardboard, paper straws and baby pink ribbons. Pretty and pink!

Pink ombre ruffle cake

Pink ombre ruffle cake

The cake itself was a sponge cake that consisted of 4 different coloured layers to mimic the ombre effect of the ruffles on the exterior of the cake. It’s always time consuming having to mix up several different colours of batter, especially when you only have 2 cake tins of the correct size so you can only make up 2 layers at a time. And sponge cake is tricky as you can easily overmix when adding in food colouring.

The inside of the cake was coloured to match the outside.

The inside of the cake was coloured to match the outside. Photo supplied by client.

Next is this cute baby shower cake, which I was very fond of as I designed it myself. I love the colour combination of chocolate brown with blue and I think it is a beautiful choice for a boy baby shower cake. I was given free reign on the design of this one which I love being able to do! I opted for chocolate brown and pale blue fondant buttons, fondant ribbon and bow, bunting made from butcher’s twine with fondant flags on wooden skewers, and a super cute hand crafted gumpaste baby elephant with pale blue accents.

Button and elephant pale blue and chocolate brown baby shower cake

Button and elephant pale blue and chocolate brown baby shower cake


The elephant was based on a tutorial I saw on – it’s not in English but the pictures are easy to follow.

The gumpaste elephant I made for the baby shower cake

The sweet gumpaste elephant I made for the baby shower cake

The last cake I want to share with you is one I’ve been wanting to make for the past 3 years – a 3D Thomas the Tank Engine cake! I was so pleased to finally get my chance. I tried using a book by Debbie Brown to make this one but I had trouble understanding her instructions so I ended up just doing my own thing. Carving it was surprisingly easy and ganaching it was surprisingly hard!

3D Thomas the Tank Engine carved out of cake ready for ganaching.

3D Thomas the Tank Engine being carved out of cake

There were a lot of details which were time consuming, but overall it’s easier than you might think (although maybe I just think that now that I’ve gotten a few carved vehicle cakes under my belt) and it was quite enjoyable to do. It was the last cake I finished of the five I had to make so I was pretty happy with how it turned out, especially considering how exhausted I was by then.

3D Thomas the Tank Engine cake

3D Thomas the Tank Engine cake

And in case you were wondering what the 3D Thomas the Tank Engine cake looks like when it’s cut up, here you go!

3D Thomas the Tank Engine cake cut up

3D Thomas the Tank Engine cake cut up

My Little Pony Rainbow Layer Cake

April 24th, 2015
The Delicious Cake Design My Little Pony cake

The Delicious Cake Design My Little Pony cake!

I know, I know, I’ve been really slack. It’s been almost a year, A YEAR, since I wrote a blog post. Many many things have happened during this time, some good, some bad, which prevented me from writing posts. I won’t go into it here as this blog is about all things cake, not all things me :). So, onto the cake!

A slice of the rainbow cake from my My Little Pony cake

A slice of the rainbow cake from my My Little Pony cake

I’ve made a lot of cakes over the past year which hopefully I will be able to blog about in due course. But my first post in 2015 will be about my most recent cake as it’s theme is from one of my favourite TV shows, My Little Pony! My Little Pony has changed a lot since I was a kid, the Cartoon Network TV show is AWESOME and it’s one I actually like watching with my 3 year old daughter. So when I was asked to make a My Little Pony cake for a 4th birthday I was delighted. pinkie_pie_and_rainbow_dash__gameloft_game_app__by_pinkamenaspy-d6264j1

The birthday girl’s favourite ponies are Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash so she wanted sugar figures of them. The only other request was for a 10″ rainbow layer cake. The rest of the cake I was free to design myself (love being given creative freedom!).

I decided on a design then started to work on making the ponies from gumpaste. I learned that using dry spaghetti as support was not an option as their heads are quite heavy and unlike a human don’t sit centrally in the middle of the figure, they stick out away from the body on one side. I ended up having one pony’s head fall off and rip the body on it’s way down when the spaghetti inserted in the neck and through the head broke. And this was after 2 days of drying! So I switched to toothpicks for support. I also had to anchor the ponies to a foam block with toothpicks through the leg that went into the block as the heads were so top heavy the ponies kept falling forward.

I was pretty happy with my finished ponies, though in hindsight I think I would have liked to do Pinkie’s hair slightly differently.

Hand crafted gumpaste Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash

Hand crafted gumpaste Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash

Hand crafted gumpaste Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie from the other side

Hand crafted gumpaste Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie from the other side

I then went on to make a rainbow from rolled strips of fondant in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. I left that to dry overnight then created clouds with white gumpaste and anchored the rainbow ends into the clouds using royal icing so the rainbow was standing up.

Fondant rainbow and gumpaste clouds

Fondant rainbow and gumpaste clouds

Next up was the actual baking. I hadn’t actually made a rainbow layer cake before, to be honest it was a bit of a pain. I only have three 10″ round tins so I decided to only do 6 layers of colour rather than 7 (for as we all know rainbows have 7 colours). I made up half a batch of 10″ sponge cake batter then divided it into 3 bowls, weighing each bowl to make sure the batter was distributed evenly. I then coloured the batter in each bowl with a different coloured gel paste (I’ve found these work much better than liquid food colouring in cakes).

Some of the AmeriColor gel pastes I used to make the rainbow cake

Some of the AmeriColor gel pastes I used to make the rainbow cake

I started off with Sugaflair Red Extra, AmeriColor Lemon Yellow, and Wilton Orange. I made the colours very intense as I wanted a bright and colourful cake. I found the colour of the batter was true to the colour of the baked cake. I baked these in the oven, it didn’t take long as each tin had such a small amount of batter (about 20mins at 160 deg celsius). When they were done I washed the tins, re-lined them, and made another half batch of 10″ sponge. Again I weighed them out evenly into 3 bowls then coloured with AmeriColor Leaf Green, AmeriColor Sky Blue and AmeriColor Electric Purple then baked.

The cakes were all about the same height due to weighing the batter to make sure each tin had the same amount, with flat tops so I didn’t need to level them with my trusty Agbay. I stacked the cake layers with vanilla buttercream between each layer and the cake turned out to be quite a monster! About 6 inches tall so by accident I’d created a double barrel cake lol. Next time I’d use maybe 3/4 the amount of batter to get a 4 inch tall cake.

Rainbow layer cake stacked and ready for ganache

Rainbow layer cake stacked and ready for ganache

I then set about ganaching the cake, I decided to use white chocolate ganache as kids tend to like it better. The sponge was quite crumbly so I did a rough crumb coat then refrigerated it for 20 minutes, then did the “proper” ganache coat.

Double barrel 10" rainbow layer cake ganached with white chocolate ganache.

Double barrel 10″ rainbow layer cake ganached with white chocolate ganache.

After the ganache set overnight I covered the cake with white fondant. I also covered the cake board with purple fondant, cut out hearts from the fondant on the board, then dropped in hearts made from leftover strips of fondant from making the rainbow. I like to let the fondant on the cake and board dry overnight before transferring the cake to the cake board, securing it with royal icing.

I printed out an edible image of the little girl’s name in the My Little Pony logo (I had made the logo design earlier on my computer), stuck it on some purple fondant, cut it out with my Exacto knife and stuck it to the front of the cake. I cut out some purple fondant hearts and stuck them on opposite corners of the logo. Then I secured the rainbow and clouds onto the cake with royal icing and placed the ponies in front of the rainbow. I didn’t use royal icing for them as the toothpicks coming out of their hooves did a good job of securing them. A bit of ribbon trim, and done! I know I’ve made it sound very straight forward but it actually took roughly 12 hours all up!

My Little Pony cake with hand crafted gumpaste ponies, rainbow and clouds.

My Little Pony cake with hand crafted gumpaste ponies, rainbow and clouds.

The cake was a huge hit at the party, the oohs and aahs when the kids first saw the cake and the excited exclamations when they saw the rainbow cake inside were magical :).

The Delicious Cake Design Cozy Coupe Make Over

May 15th, 2014
Before and after of my cozy coupe make over

Before and after of my cozy coupe make over

I posted a photo of a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe I made over into a Delicious Cake Design “company car” on the Delicious Cake Design Facebook page recently. It proved to be a hit and a few people asked how I did it, so here is a blog post about it!

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe makeovers have become quite popular in recent months, so I thought I’d give it a go as a little side project. My 2 year old daughter adores these toy cars and I knew she would love it. At first I thought I would do a Minnie Mouse coupe makeover as my little girl is crazy about Minnie. But then I found out Little Tikes is now manufacturing Minnie Mouse Cozy Coupes and that put me off. I wanted to do something you wouldn’t be able to easily buy, something a bit more unique. So I decided to make my little girl her very own Delicious Cake Design car.

My logo and website are  brown with pale pink and aqua dots, so I decided to do that design on the car. I also wanted to add fake whipped cream with a cherry on top, which I’d seen on another cozy coupe make over – it was adorable and seemed perfectly appropriate for a cake car :).

Having never used canned spray paint before I decided to get a cheap second hand car just in case I made a mess of it lol. A brand new cozy coupe retails for $130 at this point in time (all prices in Australian dollars, which at the moment is a little less than the US dollar). I hopped on the Gumtree and managed to find a second hand coupe in excellent condition for only $25. Here is the car in it’s original state.

The second hand cozy coupe before it's make over

The second hand cozy coupe before it’s make over

First step was to take the car apart and scrub it clean. It was pretty dirty! It’s very easy to remove the roof, it’s only secured by 2 screws. Once you’ve detached the roof, the support struts pop right out from the roof top. Here is the car disassembled and cleaned.

The car taken apart and cleaned, ready for painting

The car taken apart and cleaned, ready for painting

Once the car was clean and dry, I took it to the garage to spray paint the individual pieces. I covered the wheels and steering wheel with plastic bags so they wouldn’t get paint on them. I used Rustoleum 2X Ultra Cover spray paint (about $10 a can) from Bunnings hardware which bonds to plastic (though it does say specifically on the can that it does not bond well with Little Tikes toys, a lot of people must be making over these cars lol). This spray paint has primer built in so I didn’t bother with a separate primer. The base of the car was painted with Espresso and the roof with Candy Pink.

My advice for using spray paint is to do light, even strokes and don’t hover over one area too long, keep the can moving slowly. Similar to using an airbrush to paint cakes! In hindsight, I wish I had re-attached the struts to the roof and sprayed them in one piece. I also wish I had used a dropcloth or something to cover the floor instead of newspaper, I had a couple of issues with the paper sticking to wet paint!

The roof top and struts painted Candy Pink

The roof top and struts painted Candy Pink

The car base and door painted Espresso

The car base and door painted Espresso

I gave each piece 2 coats then a coat of clear paint to act as a sealant (letting each coat dry in between applications). I let them dry for a couple of days then re-assembled the car. Now for the decorating!

The cozy coupe painted and assembled ready for decorating

The cozy coupe painted and assembled ready for decorating

For the Delicious Cake Design logo, I ordered company logo bumper stickers for $4 each online and stuck them to the sides and front of the car. For the coloured circles, I bought 2 sheets of adhesive sign writer’s outdoor vinyl in pale pink and aqua from a craft shop for $5. I cut out circles in various sizes using a Fiskars Circle Cutter. I put a stack of old catalogues underneath the vinyl when I cut the circles to make sure I didn’t scratch up my table. Then I just peeled the circles off the backing paper and stuck them on the base of the car like stickers.

For the whipped cream, I used Selley’s Space Invader expanding foam filler, also from Bunnings. I like this brand as it’s non-toxic and doesn’t expand heaps after being sprayed out of the can. Immediately after spraying the foam on the roof of the car I placed a red ball right in the middle of it for the cherry. It takes about 24 hours for the foam to cure, and once cured the ball is stuck in there pretty good. This particular brand of expanding foam is actually kind of spongy, it hardens further over time but never sets rock hard.

The finished product!

The finished product!

And that’s pretty much it! I am very happy with the end result. My only gripe is that I wanted to paint the steering wheel aqua but it has a lot of buttons that make electronic noises when pressed and I couldn’t be bothered trying to cover them all up to paint the rest of the steering wheel. My daughter loves her “cake car” as she calls it and drives it “to work” every day (apparently her place of work is the kitchen, same as Mummy lol).

Our new delivery girl in our company car lol

Our new delivery girl in our company car lol

I completed the car about a month ago now, it lives inside our house as I don’t think the paint job would survive being outdoors in the sun and rain everyday. The paint has held up pretty well so far, the only place where it’s come off very obviously is where the door makes contact with the base, all that opening and closing made the paint come off pretty fast. You can only see it when the door is open. Otherwise there are only a few small scratches where the paint has come off. These were mostly caused by my 2 year old nephew crashing the car into things (he’s very rough!). He also pulled off a big chunk of the foam from the whipped cream, so I had to repair it with some more Space Invader. That is the downside of having the spongy expanding foam instead of the kind that sets rock hard! The vinyl stickers have done a great job so far and show no signs of peeling off.

Review: THE MAT by Sweet Wise

April 9th, 2013

When I was on maternity leave and not making cakes, I thought I’d write a series of blog posts about some of the equipment and gadgets I can’t live without and write some reviews on new items I’ve tried recently. First review I decided to write was on The Mat which I bought just before I went on maternity leave. Here is my first impressions review which I wrote after the first time I used it, and then a more current update after several months of use.

The Mat is made by a cake decorating company called Sweet Wise in Nashville. They market it as “The Ultimate Fondant Application System”. The Mat consists of two 30″ x 30″ sheets of food safe vinyl made in the US. Basically the way it works is you roll out the fondant in between these two vinyl mats then peel off the top layer and flip the bottom layer with the fondant stuck to it onto your cake to cover it.

I bought The Mat because I was having trouble rolling out fondant for my larger cakes. My rolling out board just wasn’t big enough now that I had made the adjustment to 4″ high cakes instead of 3″ high cakes (see blog post Sydney Style vs London Style of Cake Decorating). I couldn’t find a board any bigger than the one I have, but after some Googling I came across forum mentions of The Mat.

What intrigued me about The Mat is that it works in a similar way to a silicone pastry mat, but has an additional top layer. This prevents dust and little fibres from getting into your fondant and also stops it from drying out. When rolling out a big piece of fondant I often have trouble with it drying out as it takes so long to roll it. Plus, with a baby pending, it’s nice to know you can stop in the middle of rolling out, walk away to attend to your child, then come back without having to worry about your fondant drying out. Sweet Wise also claimed that keeping the fondant fresh and moist would help stop tearing and ripping, which is another problem I’ve been having recently along the top edge of my fondant. After watching the tutorial video online, I decided to buy The Mat and give it a go.

Straight out of the tube, The Mat must be seasoned with Crisco or similar. That was done easily enough by wiping down the insides of the vinyl sheets with a small amount of Crisco and a paper towel. I did that and was ready to cover a cake.

I kneaded some fondant till it was nice and soft then flattened it slightly and put it in between the 2 vinyl mats. Sweet Wise recommend using a rotating rolling pin so I used that and tried their “starburst” pattern of rolling. This is where you just use the last quarter of the pin to roll outwards from the centre in a starburst shape rather than up and down. It did work reasonably well, but I felt it was a lot harder to get an even thickness this way. So I switched it out for my 20″ non-stick acrylic rolling pin using the up-and-down rolling method, which is how I usually roll out fondant. But it felt a lot harder than usual to roll out this way using The Mat. Then I discovered I could hold the pin still and just push it up and down rather than roll it, and this seemed to work a lot better for me. Though I got a lot of static shocks from the vinyl which was annoying. I didn’t take any photos during my first use of The Mat, so I have added some photos of a recent small cake I covered.

Fondant rolled out between the two sheets of The Mat

Fondant rolled out between the two sheets of The Mat

After rolling out the fondant I peeled the top vinyl mat off and flipped the fondant onto the cake using the bottom mat.

Top layer peeled off, ready to stick to the cake. The fondant is stuck nice and securely to the bottom sheet.

Top layer peeled off, ready to stick to the cake. The fondant is stuck nice and securely to the bottom sheet.


Lining up the bottom edge with the side of the cake to place the fondant on the cake

Lining up the bottom edge with the side of the cake to place the fondant on the cake


Laying the fondant on the cake

Laying the fondant on the cake

Peeling the mat off the fondant was surprisingly straight forward and it came off very easily.

Peeling The Mat off the fondant

Peeling The Mat off the fondant

I then secured the top by rubbing it with my hand, then started to rub the edges down starting from the top as per the tutorial video.

Smoothing the fondant down over the cake

Smoothing the fondant down over the cake


All done! Cake is covered with fondant using The Mat.

All done! Cake covered with fondant using The Mat.


However, I found that I still had problems with tearing on the top edge of my fondant. I also noticed that there were a lot of little holes (pock marks) and creases in the fondant. I hadn’t seen this as the side that goes face up on the cake is the bottom of what you were rolling out and I hadn’t checked it. I was very disappointed but decided to persevere and try again for the next cake.

I found this time I didn’t have quite enough fondant, but adding extra was so easy because of the moist freshness of the fondant in between the vinyl sheets. The extra lump of fondant I added to the middle blended in without any lines or creases. I also flipped the mat over this time after rolling out to the required size and gave it a bit of a going over, then peeled this side off so the side I had spent most of my time smoothing was now going to be face up on the cake. This worked a lot better, and it was a near perfect finish! I also rolled it out slightly thicker and this time there was no tearing.

Sweet Wise promises that The Mat gets better once it’s broken in after a fair amount of use. I have now been using it for a few months. At times I felt like giving up on it because I kept getting pock marks and creases, but I persevered. I’m glad I did! I got better at using The Mat each time, and it definitely makes a difference after many uses. It starts to become softer and more broken in so it’s easier to roll up to store in the tube without getting any creases in it. I now use it for covering all my cakes. It’s been great since having the baby to be able to leave it in the middle of rolling out when I need to see to my child.

There are still occasional pock marks, I have to be very careful of this and sometimes peel the top mat off and roll straight on the fondant with the rolling pin to get the creases and holes out. And there is still some tearing of the top edge of the fondant which is very disappointing as I like to roll my fondant out nice and thin. I can only avoid this by rolling a bit thicker than I like to. The static shocks however did go away after about 10 uses. I do find it easier to use a rotating rolling pin with The Mat so for smaller cakes I use that instead of my acrylic pin.

If you are interested in The Mat, you can check out the excellent tutorial video and purchase it from the Sweet Wise website here:


Oh No, It’s the Pinky Ponk Cake!

September 19th, 2012
3D Pinky Ponk cake

My 3D Pinky Ponk cake. The balloon and basket are made from cake, all the details apart from the foam balls are hand crafted from sugar

Now that I am a mum, I’ve suddenly found that I am making a lot more children’s cakes than I used to. This is partly because a lot of my friends have also just had children, and mostly because I’ve met so many other mothers recently through mother’s groups, playgroups, swimming classes, etc. And at each party where I’ve made the child’s birthday cake, there is almost always another mother there who likes the cake and wants one for their child’s next birthday party.

But there is nothing quite like making that first birthday cake for your own child. My little girl recently had her very first birthday party and of course I made the cake. I have to confess that part of me thought, oh man, do I have to, I’m so busy and so tired already and it’s not like she’s going to know or even care about the cake at this age! But sooooo many people have said to me that my daughter will have the best birthday cakes with me being her mum that I felt I HAD to do it. And once I got started I ended up loving it and am so glad I made the effort.

I decided to do a cake based on my daughter’s favourite TV show, In the Night Garden. I’d seen loads of cakes with Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka. I’ve even made a first birthday cake before with a hand crafted sugar Makka Pakka on it. But I wanted to do something different and a little bit more challenging for my little girl. And as with most of my great ideas, I hit on the idea for this cake while mulling it over in the shower!

I decided to do a 3D Pinky Ponk cake. I had a long think about how to actually do it, and once I thought of a way to construct the cake, I was raring to go and very excited. I studied pictures and watched videos of the Pinky Ponk to get all the details right – I never thought I’d know the Pinky Ponk so intimately! Turns out it’s quite a detailed blimp. Rivets down the ends, little purple propellers scattered around the sides, rows of orange wings, round balls with lights round the middle, pink balls of different sizes on both ends of the balloon, a big pink propeller at the back – it was a lot to do!

The little propellers and orange wings were made from fondant mixed with tylose powder (in other words, gumpaste) so they would set nice and hard and be strong. I also made the large pink propeller from this homemade gumpaste. I decided to use foam balls covered in fondant for the round balls on the top and for the nose as I was concerned about the weight if they were made entirely of fondant.

Gumpaste wings drying

Gumpaste wings drying. I added the line detailing while they were still wet.


Gumpaste propellers drying

Gumpaste propellers drying


Large gumpaste propeller

Large gumpaste propeller. The hole the dry spaghetti went through to secure it to the cake was made with a skewer while still wet.

I attached the wings using royal icing. All other details were attached using dry spaghetti. The rivets were just small circles of fondant stuck to the balloon with water. The cake board was covered with fondant to look like a blue sky with white clouds (it is a flying machine after all). I cut out a door and window from fondant and stuck them onto the basket also with water. The final touch was to create a banner out of fondant and cut out some lettering for it from gumpaste. This was then attached to the basket with water.

And voila, a 3D Pinky Ponk cake is born!

Back view of my 3D Pinky Ponk cake

Back view of my 3D Pinky Ponk cake

This was definitely a challenging cake to make, but I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of time spent working out how to do certain parts of it, and sometimes the method I came up with didn’t work out and I had to think of another way to do it then start that bit over again. But now that I know what works and exactly how to make this cake I should be able to shave some time off. But it will still be a lot of work!

And I have to admit that my daughter didn’t seem to really notice or care what the cake looked like lol. However some of the slightly older children who were 2 years plus knew exactly what it was and there were many cries of, “Mum, I want a Pinky Ponk cake for MY birthday!” :).

Sydney Style vs London Style of Cake Decorating

April 4th, 2012

As some of you know, I started my cake decorating career while I was living in England. By the time I moved back to Australia, I was well practiced in the basics of covering a cake with my home made fondant and I could do it reasonably quickly. When we came back to Sydney, I had to start the cake business up again pretty much from scratch and build up a new client base. But that wasn’t the only thing that had to be started again. I practically had to re-learn everything I knew about covering a cake!

What I hadn’t realised is that there is a definite difference in the style of cakes in Australia vs the UK. And the methods to achieve that Australian look are very different to what I was used to. There are some cake decorators here in Oz that do use the British style, but the more high profile ones such as Planet Cake or Sweet Art make their cakes in what I think of as the Australian style. And to be quite frank, I love the Australian style of cake decorating and I much prefer it to the British way. So I was determined to learn this new art.

So what are the differences between Australian and British cakes? One of the most noticeable differences is that the cakes in Australia are taller. In England, a standard cake is 3 inches high. In Australia, the industry standard is 4 inches! This made quite a difference to my recipes and costs, as I had to increase the amount of cake batter I was using per cake to achieve that extra inch. This changed cooking time as well. There was quite a bit of experimenting to find the right ratios for ingredients to get to 4 inches and the correct cooking time and temperature to cook the cake all the way through without over baking or creating a thick crust.

Another big style difference (and this for me was the biggie) is that the cakes in Australia tend to have a sharp edge. Cakes in the UK have rounded edges. What do I mean by this? Take a look at the image below.

Sharp edge vs rounded edge on cakes

The cake on the left has a sharp edge (Australian style), the cake on the right has a rounded edge (British style)

See what I mean? To achieve this sharp edge, there are several things that are done. Firstly, instead of a buttercream crumb coat underneath the fondant, a generous coating of chocolate ganache is used as it is much firmer and stronger than buttercream. Secondly, a much thinner layer of fondant is used to cover the cake. Thirdly, after covering the cake, two fondant smoothers are used to push the top edges of the fondant on the cake out to make a nice sharp edge.

So I had to learn how to ganache a cake. Ganache is great instead of butercream under fondant as it gives a beautifully smooth finish without the lumps and bumps. However, it is quite tricky to use! You are supposed to create a very sharp edge with the ganache coating as a base for your fondant’s sharp edge, not an easy process. It was a pretty steep learning curve for me, especially since I was so used to buttercreaming cakes. It takes me a lot longer to ganache a cake than it ever did to do a buttercream crumb coat. And chocolate ganache is a lot more expensive to make than buttercream! To get a good consistency you really need to use couverture chocolate with 50-60% cocoa solids, which is quite pricey compared to compound or cooking chocolate, and lots of pure cream.

Ganched cake with sharp edge

One of my ganached cakes. Perfectly ganached cakes are essential to achieving a sharp edge with fondant.

The thin layer of fondant wasn’t such a big deal to me. In the UK a pretty thick layer of fondant is used to cover cakes to help hide the lumps and bumps as it is much harder to achieve a smooth surface on a cake with buttercream. But I have always rolled my fondant much thinner than the industry standard in the UK as I got reasonably good at achieving a fairly smooth buttercream crumb coat. A lot of cake decorators who use buttercream don’t spend as much time trying to get a smooth finish and compensate with a really thick layer of fondant. I find cakes taste much better when less fondant is used, so I worked at my buttercream crumb coating so I could use a lot less fondant. Despite already having a pretty thin layer of fondant on my cakes already, to achieve the sharp edge I did have to go a bit thinner.

I did end up having to switch to a ready made commercial fondant. The icing sugar available here in Australia is made from cane sugar. The icing sugar readily available in England is made from beets. They have quite different textures and consistencies. My tried and true fondant recipe just would not work with cane sugar. The humidity and heat in Australia didn’t help matters. I finally had to concede defeat after several months of experimenting with my fondant recipe. It was taking up way too much of my time and was fast becoming commercially unviable. After trying out several different brands of ready made fondant, I chose the one that tasted the best and was reasonable to work with. I was actually quite surprised this fondant tasted as good as my home made one!

Another thing I found was that I had to use a lot more fondant to cover my cakes, as now they were an inch taller. So for some of my larger cakes of 10″ or more, I found my non stick rolling out board wasn’t big enough anymore. I ended up investing in The Mat by Sweet Wise (more on that in another post very soon).

It takes a lot more time to cover a cake when using ganache instead of buttercream as a lot of setting time is needed, up to 3 days. Ideally you make the ganache on day 1 and leave it overnight to set. Day 2 you do your ganache coating on the cake then leave it overnight to set again. Then on day 3 you hot knife the surface and the edges for a perfect finish, then leave it to set for yet another night. With buttercream, it was pretty much a case of making the buttercream then slapping on your crumb coat straight away then covering the cake with fondant all on the one day. I do cheat a little and cut the ganaching process down a day by putting the ganached cake in the freezer for 10 minutes then doing the hot knifing.

It took me aaaaages to learn how to create the sharp edge once the fondant was on the ganached cake. I eventually worked out that you have to kind of pinch the the edge of the fondant with one smoother on the top and one on the side.

So now it takes me longer and costs me more to cover a cake. But I do feel the look of my cakes is more stylish and sophisticated since adopting this style. I love the results, like this cake below!

Anemone wedding cake in the Sydney style

One of my Sydney style cakes with 4 inch high tiers and sharp edges


I’m Back Baby – With a Baby!

February 13th, 2012

Okay so I admit, I have been extremely extremely slack in updating my blog since what, May 2011? And now it’s February 2012, oops. But when I tell you why, I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me :). Firstly, and this is the usual excuse folks, I have been extraordinarily busy! I have been making cakes, trying to learn the “Aussie” style of cake decorating, and being a bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding and helping her plan the wedding. But perhaps the most important reason I have been neglectful of my blog is that I was pregnant and had my first child! My beautiful baby girl was born in August last year and she really is the light of my life (a very time consuming light might I add).

Let me tell you, and I’m sure many women who have been pregnant will back me up here, working while pregnant is very very hard! First trimester, you are just so drained (I call it extreme fatigue) and I had constant nausea. Cake making is a very physical job, you are on your feet an awful lot, it was horrible. Second trimester was somewhat better, you start to look pregnant instead of fat, the nausea goes away and you feel more energetic. However I had a lot of problems with my back from standing in the kitchen all day and bending over my work table to create delicate and intricate sugar flowers and the like. Third trimester the tiredness returned, heart burn and back ache made it impossible to sleep, and my legs, ankles and feet hurt like crazy and they retained lots of water (especially from standing in the kitchen and baking all day). And being the size of a whale didn’t help matters. I was definitely one of those “get this baby out of me!” pregnant ladies by the late stages of the third trimester.

When I was about 8 months pregnant I was not only a bridesmaid for my sisters wedding and helping with the planning, but I also offered to make the wedding cake. She chose a 3 tier wedding cake with 13 hand crafted sugar roses and pearl beads on wires at the bases. The worst part for me was that I couldn’t find the right style of pearl beads on wires anywhere in Australia and my source in the UK wouldn’t answer any of my emails about shipping them to Oz. So I had to string the beads on the wires (at exact intervals apart) by hand. Fun.

But the work didn’t end there. I also decided secretly to make a keepsake sugar bride and groom with their exact wedding clothes as my sister had really wanted a cake topper but it didn’t go with the design of her cake. And then my sister asked for a dozen cupcakes for the kids at the wedding decorated with The Simpsons. And also an extra 8 inch square cake decorated with sugar frangipanis for the groom’s mother’s 70th birthday as a surprise at the wedding. All of this had to be done in one week. A lot of work, but I wanted my sister’s big day to be everything she wanted it to be. It was worth it to see how happy she was with everything I made. I was pleased with how they all turned out, especially given that I was in the bridal party AND 8 months pregnant. Here are all the cakes and sugar craft items I made for my sister’s wedding:

The wedding cake, sugar roses, sugar bride and groom, 70th birthday cake with sugar franigpanis, and SImpsons cupcakes I made for my sister's wedding while 8 months pregnant!


I was pretty exhausted after that but had another 3 weeks of work before I went on maternity leave. And then the baby was born and I started the hardest job I’ve ever had – looking after a new baby! I was on maternity leave and not making cakes for the rest of 2011. I had decided while pregnant to start making cakes again in January 2012 when my baby would be about 4 months old. It is now mid February 2012 and I have decided to go back on maternity leave lol. Making cakes at home with a young baby JUST DOES NOT WORK!!! At least not for me and this particular baby who demands so much of my attention, doesn’t like to nap during the day, and screams the house down if I am not right next to her so she can touch me.

So many aspects of cake making and sugar crafting just can’t be stopped when you are in the middle of it – fondant dries out, cakes burn, buttercream crusts, and a lot of the time you have to start all over again. So it’s hard to drop everything to attend to a screaming baby. Babysitters are an option some of the time but not always and I’m not so keen on daycare while she is this young. A lot of the time I end up working at night after she’s gone to bed until late, so the next day I am so exhausted which makes it hard to look after an extremely active baby. It all became so stressful that I was not enjoying working or looking after my little one. And right now my priority is to spend time with my little baby. So back on maternity leave I go! I’ll try going back to work (again) in a couple of months. Maybe by then she will be better at playing independently and maybe even having at least one decent nap during the day!

Any at home cake makers with young babies in the house, how are you coping and do you have any tips for me?

May 2011 – What a Great Month!

June 8th, 2011

For some reason May usually seems to be a really good month for Delicious Cake Design. May 2011 was no exception – I was absolutely thrilled and honoured for my Muppets Toy Box cake to be included in the Cake Wrecks Sunday Sweets Jim Henson Tribute. Cake Wrecks is a very famous American blog which normally posts pictures of hilariously awful cakes, but on Sundays they turn “sweet” and post pictures of amazing cakes. And my cake was one of them! Check it out here, it’s the Muppets in a toy chest cake which is about the 6th picture down the page:

Apart from that great honour, in May I had a lot of fun making some interesting cakes and here are my favourites.

Garfield birthday cake

Garfield birthday cake

I’m a Garfield fan from way back and have been dying for an excuse to make a Garfield cake for ages. I was so pleased to finally get the opportunity! The head and body are made of cake. The paws, tail, ears, blanket, and facial features are all hand modelled from fondant. The black stripes on his head, in his ears, and on his tail were hand painted. I’ve been doodling pictures of Garfield since I was about 10 years old, so I knew exactly how I wanted to paint on the stripes. The box is also made of fondant and hand painted for a streaky, wood grain effect.


Manolo Blahnik shoebox and high heel cake

Manolo Blahnik shoebox and high heel cake

The shoebox cake with fondant/gumpaste high heel shoe is a very popular design, but this is the first time I’ve actually made it! The shoebox is made of cake and the high heel shoe is made from modelling fondant/gumpaste. Once again the edible printer proved itself useful to make the Manolo Blahnik labels. Here is a close up of the shoe:

Fondant gumpaste Manolo Blahnik high heel shoe

Fondant gumpaste Manolo Blahnik high heel shoe

I modelled the shoe on a real Manolo design and it is entirely edible apart from the diamante brooch. It was my first time to make a shoe and I was really pleased with how it turned out.


White peony and white lace Mother's Day cake

White peony and white lace Mother's Day cake

I made this one for my mother for Mother’s Day. I wanted to try lace stencilling with royal icing, it’s actually pretty hard to do on a round cake! In hindsight, I wish I’d attempted it on a square cake first. I was still pleased with how it turned out though. Mum loves peonies so I hand crafted a white peony from fondant/gumpaste. She saved it and keeps it in a vase in her living room. I was so pleased with how much she loved the cake!

Hand crafted white peony made from fondant gumpaste

Hand crafted white peony made from fondant gumpaste

Someone Tried to Cake Scam Me!

March 2nd, 2011

Last week, Delicious Cake Design received an email from a William Robinson claiming to be a hearing impaired person who could only communicate via email, not by phone, who required a cake for a date in a couple weeks time in March. I wrote back saying sorry but I have no availability in March. “William” replied saying he was getting married in April, so would I be able to make a cake then.

At this point I was already a little bit suspicious as I have never been contacted by the groom for a wedding before, it’s usually the bride or bride’s mother. But I thought okay, people often ask for a smaller cake as an “audition” cake before booking a wedding to see if they like my cakes and service. So maybe the cake he’d wanted in March was supposed to be the audition cake, but as I was unable to do the cake in March he was thinking about going ahead with the wedding cake anyway. Fine. I emailed back asking what date in April to see if I was available.

He wrote back the following:
Thanks for the reply..I will like you to bake me chocolate and Vanilla cake of 5 tier separate cakes, that can serve approximately 280 to 300 guest, and I want the cakes to be decorated with pink roses ( icing flower or artificial), and the cake should be covered in fondant or in butter cream, there should be an inscription writing on the side of one of the tier as “HAPPY MARRIED LIFE” and you will be packing each tier in different boxes to be ready for pick up at the said time and date.. 9Th of March 2011, 3 O’clock PM.
Reply me back to know how much cost am looking at….??? then i can forward all the details to conclude the order and the picture sample to give you an idea of what i will like you to bake for me.
Thanks and God bless.
William Robinson.

First of all, he’d said his wedding was in April and suddenly he wants this massive wedding cake ready to be picked up in 7 days time at the beginning of March??? No way a chocolate or vanilla cake would keep till April! Secondly, no one has ever asked for a wedding cake to be boxed for delivery, especially a 5 tier one, something that big they almost always want it delivered and set up by me. Thirdly, the way he spoke about vanilla cake and buttercream covering sounded very foreign (possibly American) – no Australians have ever asked me for such things. Fourthly, this rang a bell as I remembered reading about a similar order on another cake maker’s blog in America which turned out to be a scam! So I googled it and sure enough, it was word for word an email scam based in Nigeria. Hence the need to stress he couldn’t talk on the phone as his English wasn’t very good and was heavily accented and might cause suspicion.

If I was the idiot he had taken me for, what would have happened next is that he will say he needs the cake to be picked up by a shipping agent to be sent overseas, which costs $980 USD. He will tell me he will pay the money for the shipping to me along with the cost of the cake and ask me to wire the fee for the shipping to the shipping agent on his behalf. He will then give me a stolen credit card number to charge this amount to, plus he’ll very generously throw in an extra $100 for my trouble. I am supposed to then wire the money to this fictional shipping agent, the stolen credit card charge is later reversed, leaving me out of pocket $1,080 USD + whatever I charged for the cake! Oh, and no one shows up to pick up the cake either.

Luckily I am not an idiot and did not fall for this old cake scam. Unfortunately, others have. So watch out for those scammers everyone!

Sugar Figure Tutorial Video

January 17th, 2011

Welcome to 2011!!! The last few months have been very busy for me, I do apologise for not writing more blog posts recently.

I’ve had many requests for more tutorials on this blog, in particular for sugar modelling and sugar flowers. I’ve also been asked if I teach classes. Unfortunately I don’t have the capacity to hold classes at this stage, but it is something I hope to do in the near future. I do find it much easier to explain how to do certain things by showing how it’s done instead of trying to describe it in words as I do on this blog. To that end, I have created a Delicious Cake Design channel on YouTube with videos of my creations and tutorials.

The Delicious Cake Design YouTube channel can be found at this URL:

I do find making the videos is very time consuming, I do all the shooting of the videos and editing of the videos myself. With my busy schedule, I’ve only managed 2 videos showing a couple of my creations and 1 tutorial video on how to make a simple sugar person. The sugar figure tutorial has proven to be very popular! Hopefully I will get some more time soon to make some more tutorial videos, I have quite a back log of tutorial requests!

Meanwhile, here is the sugar figure tutorial video for you. Hope you like it!