Archive for June, 2010

Royal Icing Course at Squires Kitchen

Monday, June 28th, 2010
Royal iced cake

The cake I made on my royal icing course

A few weekends ago I went on a 2 day Royal Icing course at Squires Kitchen in Surrey. I had never royal iced a cake before, but my main reason for going was to learn some piping techniques in royal icing from Ceri Griffiths, who is such a marvellous cake decorator and an expert in royal icing. He is a fantastic teacher too, and a very talented singer!

Over the 2 days of the course we royal iced a 6 inch fruit cake, piped blossoms, created a run out, did cornelli scratch work on the sides of the cake, learned to pipe shells, ropes and barrels, then decorated the cake with these new techniques. Piping shells was fine, I’ve done that before, but the ropes and ‘S’ and ‘C’ barrels were pretty tricky. You can see in the picture above how wonky my efforts were!

Quite frankly I don’t see myself using that particular technique a lot. My clientele usually prefers more modern designs, the shells and barrels looked quite old fashioned. As one of the other women on the course remarked, the cakes we created looked like “cakes my gran would like”.

Having said that though, the course was excellent and well worth going on. But I have to say, one thing I did take away from it is that I am never going to coat a cake in royal icing again! It is a very hard medium to work with, and it was a lot harder to get a nice smooth finish compared to fondant. Ceri did point out that it was my first time and it is a skill that requires a lot of practice to get right, which is true. But it is such a time consuming process. For a wedding cake, 3 coats are required with an overnight drying period in between each coat! Plus it dries so damn hard! My husband nearly broke a kitchen knife trying to cut through the royal iced cake I brought home from the course.

To date, I have not had a request for a royal iced cake, hopefully I never will (lol). Fondant is much easier to work with (and to eat!). However if a client wants some nice piped flowers, shells, or cornelli scratch work, I’m happy to oblige!

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 ┬ádesperate 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!