Archive for the ‘Delicious Cake Design’ Category

Hello 2016!

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2016!

What an amazing year 2015 was for Delicious Cake Design. Once again I can say it was our best year ever! Over 100 cake and cupcake orders went out the door, the most I’ve ever made in one year. I am a one woman show with a child to look after who is not yet at school, so it can often be a challenge to make so many cakes by myself, so I’m proud of what I achieved. Here is a collage of some of the cakes I made (unfortunately not all of them, there were a few I didn’t get pictures of unfortunately):

Cakes made by Delicious Cake Design in 2015

Some of the cakes made by Delicious Cake Design in 2015

Here are some close up photos of some of my favourite cakes from 2015 (it was so hard to choose!):

Alice in Wonderland cake

Alice in Wonderland cake. Based on the style of the party invitations. With hand crafted sugar roses, white rabbit and pocket watch. The roses on the teapot were hand painted.

Very Hungry Caterpillar cake

Very Hungry Caterpillar cake

Ballerina Music Box cake

Ballerina Music Box cake. The music box was modelled on the birthday girl’s own music box.

Tayo the Little Bus 3D carved cake

Tayo the Little Bus 3D carved cake

Hot air balloon cake

Hot air balloon cake. The hand crafted sugar was made to resemble the birthday boy and his favourite teddy.

Teddy Bear Picnic Cake

Teddy Bear’s Picnic cake. The little picnic food (wraps, sausage rolls, baguettes, mini pies and fruit) is what was served at the birthday party.

The Delicious Cake Design Cozy Coupe Make Over

Thursday, 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

UPDATE
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.

May 2011 – What a Great Month!

Wednesday, 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:
http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2011/05/sunday-sweets-jim-henson-tribute.html

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!

Wednesday, 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!

Making a BIG MOVE to Australia!

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

So people who follow me on Twitter, or are fans of (or ‘Like’) my Facebook page, or read the News section of the Delicious Cake Design website, are now aware of the fact that me, my husband, and Delicious Cake Design are all moving to Sydney Australia in late July.

It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for the past 3 years, as I was born there and most of my family still lives in Sydney. Plus I was raised in a hot climate, where if the temperature fell to 16 degrees celsius we declared it a freezing cold day and whipped out our winter coats and scarves, and marvelled at how our breath would frost ever so briefly in the air in the early mornings. Here in London, if it hits 16 degrees, everyone starts wearing shorts and t-shirts and commenting on how warm it’s getting! I’ve struggled mightily with the rainy, cold “summers”, and even more so with the long, freezing winters where it’s dark by 4pm, sleet is a common occurrence, and you can see your breath practically crystalize in the air in front of you at any time of day.

Don’t get me wrong, London is a wonderful city and I have enjoyed living here for the past 6 years. I was completely enchanted for my first couple of years of residency. But in my heart, I have always known that Sydney is my home, and as more time passed and the novelty of living in a different city wore off, the more I yearned to be there. It became almost a physical ache, my desire to return to Australia was so overwhelming.

I would have left London a couple of years ago if it hadn’t been for my husband (then boyfriend). He’d only been in London a year at that stage and understandably wasn’t ready to leave yet. I agreed to stay, some what reluctantly, and put up with another few years of homesickness and  desperate yearning to be in the country of my birth.

In hindsight, it was fortuitous, as I turned my frustrations towards finding something for myself that would make being unable to return home more bearable. Which is how late one night when I couldn’t sleep, I decided to start my own cake business. And it worked. Doing something I love and am so passionate about made all the difference!

I am terrifically excited to be going home to my friends and family in Sydney (and the good weather!). I am also incredibly sad to be leaving all my wonderful friends here in London. I am also extremely nervous about starting Delicious Cake Design up again in Australia. There are a lot more rules and regulations surrounding small businesses in Australia and it is much harder to start one up there than here in the UK. Lots of legalities, licences, permits, registration, paperwork, inspections, the list goes on and on. I’ll have to hire a solicitor and an accountant for the first time as well. There’s also the task of finding suppliers for all my ingredients and equipment, and I’m worried about how easy it will be to get access to the wide variety of cake decorating equipment I can so easily find here in London. And how will my cakes behave in the Australian heat??? It’s never gotten hot enough here in London for me to find out! It’s all quite daunting. But ultimately, I know it will be worth it to be back in my beloved Sydney again!

I will continue to make cakes here in London until I leave (I have a wedding cake to deliver 2 days before we fly out!). So feel free to get your orders in for what’s left of June and July. I already have 5 cake orders (including a wedding cake) booked for August in Sydney. It’s all so very exciting. Fingers crossed that everything goes well!

My Favourite Cakes in May 2010

Monday, May 31st, 2010

My favourite cakes I made in May 2010

Today is the last day of May, and it was a really great month for Delicious Cake Design, one of the best months so far. I’ve made some really interesting and varied cakes, and in this blog post I’d like to share some of my favourites with you. I’ll list them in chronological order here.

First up was the wedding cake I made for myself and my husband. I’ve already blogged about this cake in the post Finally Made My Own Wedding Cake! so I won’t go into too much detail here. Making the huge sugar lilies and smaller calla lilies was so much fun and I loved the end result.

3 tier lily wedding cake

3 tier lily wedding cake



Next up is a cake I made for a keen runner. The design brief was basically, make a sponge cake for a girl who likes to run marathons. So I decided to do this cute little design of a road leading up to a finishing line, with a sugar modelled cartoony version of the marathon running girl sitting on the edge of the cake after crossing the line. The best part of this cake for me was creating the sugar modelled marathon girl as I don’t get to make sugar humans very often! Making the little shorts was a hoot! The client absolutely loved it too, her reaction really made my day.

Little Miss Runner cake



My next favourite cake for May. The design brief was an 8 inch round chocolate birthday cake for a an adult male. That’s it. I have to admit, I don’t get asked for birthday cakes for adult males very often, especially with such a loose design brief (no interests, hobbies or anything!). But I was really pleased with the end result, as was the birthday boy:

Blue and brown circle cake



Next, I was asked to make a cake with black sugar roses as the birthday girl loves black roses. My fingers were stained with black colouring paste for days, but it was worth it to see the look of absolute delight on the birthday girl’s face when she saw the cake. I added some thin, criss crossing black ribbons which were a great effect:

Black Roses cake with criss crossing black ribbons



My last favourite cake in May. This was one I made for a very good friend of mine, so there was no design brief, she said to do whatever I wanted as long as it was a chocolate cake with lots of chocolate buttercream. After making the black and white cake above, I wanted to do something with bright colours and something that really represented her as a person. The design I created was an 8 inch round chocolate cake with quilting pattern on the side (purely so I could try out my new quilting wheel tool), and at the points where the dotted lines crossed I attached a small silver edible ball. On the top of the cake I wrote the birthday girl’s name in funky lettering and painted the letters a sparkly silver. Then I made some simple posies dusted in bright shades of yellow, pink, purple and green, and added more silver edible balls in the flower centres to tie the side design to the flowers. I attached these flowers on the top and sides of the cake. I felt it really conveyed her bright, cheerful yet stylish personality to a T, and she LOVED it!

Quilted cake with colourful flowers



So those are my personal favourites of the cakes I made in May 2010. Hopefully the month of June will be as varied and productive as the month of May!

Computer Generated Cake Mock Ups

Sunday, November 1st, 2009
Blue Butterfly real cake and mock up

Blue Butterfly mock up and real cake

Having worked in the I.T. industry for many years, I’m always interested in how technology can help improve the business of cake making. With that in mind, a service I offer my clients is the option to have a computer generated mock up of their cake design. This is something I’ve found most clients love, especially wedding cake clients. This gives them the ability to actually see what the cake will look like and to make changes and see what effect these have. I still use the good old colouring pencil and paper method as well, in fact that is what I usually use first before turning to the computer. But the cake mock ups give a much more realistic picture than my sketches, and also have more correct proportions and give a much better sense of scale and balance, so are more suitable for clients to look at than my scribbles on paper.

The finished cake is never 100% exactly like the computer generated mock up, nor is it meant to be. The mock ups serve purely as a design tool, to help ensure the client gets a beautiful cake that they are happy with. But the mock ups are pretty close to the real thing! You can see this in some of the example pictures I’ve included in this blog post.

Red Tinged Roses real cake and mock up

Red Tinged Roses mock up and real cake

Some clients come to me knowing exactly what they want their cake to look like. Often they have a picture from a magazine or they would like one of the cakes from my website www.deliciouscakedesign.com. In these cases, there is no need for a cake mock up.

Other clients aren’t really sure what they want. This is where the cake mock ups have proved to be an invaluable tool. These clients often have vague ideas or like bits and pieces from different cakes. It is hard for them to picture how all these bits can come together in one coherent cake design. It is up to me to make all the different pieces “fit”. The computer generated mock ups have been really useful in this regard as it allows me to to show the client the exact design I have in mind and where all the different elements they desired have been placed.

Finalising the cake design  can be an iterative process. After showing the client the first draft of the cake mock up, I will let them come back to me as many times as necessary to update the mock up and really nail down the design to something they are happy with.It is a very effective way for them to see what their changes look like and whether or not they work. In most cases, there are only ever one or two changes to be made to the mock up before the client is happy.

Admittedly, this technology isn’t for everyone, and the cake maker requires at least some degree of computer literacy. But for me and a lot of my clients, the computer generated cake mock ups have been extremely useful!

New Delicious website design!

Sunday, August 9th, 2009
Delicious Cake Design website - one of the new cake gallery pages

Delicious Cake Design website - one of the new cake gallery pages

It is has been a very busy couple of weeks, which is why I wasn’t able to post to this blog last week. I’ve been spending every free minute on my new website design, which went live yesterday, and I’m very excited about it!

The Delicious Cake Design website hasn’t been in existence all that long, just for a few months, so some might say it’s a bit soon to be doing a re-design. Especially since I spent so many weeks getting it “just right” in the first place. But I’ve been doing a lot of research into website usability and I realised there was definitely room for improvement. It’s all very well to create something that looks nice, but what good is it if it doesn’t help the user find what they want easily, or encourage them to continue their journey?

With that in mind, I made some changes, particularly to the photo galleries for the cakes. I decided to try and fit more of the cakes “above the fold” of the gallery pages, i.e. put more of the content near the top so the user doesn’t have to scroll down to see the majority of the pictures. The old design had only 2 images above the fold, so if the user didn’t like either of those 2 images they were unlikely to scroll down further to see more of the cakes. As I do such a wide range of cakes, it is entirely possible that there is a cake on the page that they would’ve liked. But they wouldn’t find this out if they didn’t scroll down. So I started by making the pages wider, but still a fixed width suitable for 1024×768 screen resolution. I decreased the height of the logo at the top of the page, then changed the galleries to have 2 rows of 5 thumbnails (small images of the cakes) above the fold. Clicking a thumbnail opens a lightbox showing a larger image of the cake as well as more information about the cake and it’s price. By putting the cake information in a lightbox, I was able to use more of the space above the fold to fit in more cake pictures. Sounds easy, but it took weeks!

I haven’t included individual cake prices up till now, but I felt it was important to put them in. Cake prices vary so much as they are dependent on the different design elements for each cake. It’s hard to even put an “average” price on my cakes, as there is no such thing as an “average” cake, all of my cakes are so different. So by putting the individual cake prices on the site, it will give visitors a really good idea of how much they could realistically expect to pay depending on the extravagance of the design.

Looking at my website statistics, there are very few people who visit with javascript turned off in their web browsers. But because there are a handful of them, I have left the old design for the cake galleries as it does not require javascript. If a user visits with javascript turned off, they will see the old cake gallery pages.

I’m considering allowing users to click some sort of next and previous links to navigate to the next and previous cakes while in the lightbox so they don’t have to keep re-opening and closing lightboxes if they want to see all of the cakes. What do you think?

Why not take a look at the new, improved design, I’m keen to hear your feedback! http://www.deliciouscakedesign.com

My First Blog Post

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Hi there!

Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. I’ll be updating this blog with posts about the cakes I make – photos, how I designed them, how I made them, lessons I learned, things that went well, things that did not go so well, etc.

The first cake post should be up soon!

Thanks again.