Posts Tagged ‘cake design’

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!

Finally Made My Own Wedding Cake!

Sunday, May 9th, 2010
3 tier lily wedding cake

3 tier lily wedding cake made to celebrate my marriage

Those of you who have read this blog before probably already know that I didn’t make the cake for my own wedding overseas a couple of months ago. I made the sugar flowers and leaves used to decorate the cake (see my blog post Sugar Flowers for My Own Wedding Cake), but the actual cake itself I left to a local baker we hired in Hawaii. I don’t regret that decision at all, I was so busy in the week before the wedding that I’d hate to think how I would have coped trying to make a wedding cake on top of everything else I had to do!

But as a professional cake maker, you do feel a bit ashamed if you don’t make your own wedding cake. I wanted to remedy that. We knew we were going to have a small celebration on our return to London for people who couldn’t make it to Hawaii for our wedding. So my plan was to make a proper 3 tier wedding cake complete with hand crafted sugar flowers for that celebration (even though there were only about 40 people going!). I made a 6 inch fruitcake tier (for my husband who loves fruitcake, I loathe it), 9 inch chocolate cake tier, and 12 inch sponge cake tier.

Crumb coating the 12 inch sponge cake layer with buttercream

Crumb coating the 12 inch sponge cake tier with buttercream

Design wise, I wanted to do something different from the cake at our wedding. A style I have always loved is a cascading floral arrangement going from the top of the cake in a diagonal line right down to the bottom, so I decided to do that. I also wanted to steer away from roses – I love roses and think they are perfect for weddings, but we had roses on our wedding cake in Hawaii and roses are the most popular flower I make for Delicious Cake Design. This was an opportunity to make some different kinds of flowers. I chose lilies – beautiful yellow throated white oriental lilies and elegant calla lilies.

Some of my hand crafted oriental and calla lilies

Some of my hand crafted oriental and calla sugar lilies

As I make a lot of cakes, I have developed some tried and true recipes and methods that always work. But I am addicted to cake making so do a lot of reading and research on various other techniques. I decided this would be a good opportunity to try some new methods and play around with some of my rolled fondant recipes, as the cake wasn’t for a paying client so the only person I would be disappointing if things went wrong was myself. So I experimented, and let’s just say that now I know now not to experiment again!

Just kidding. Some of the new techniques worked quite well, others were flat out disasters. The rolled fondant recipe tweaks were filed under the “must-never-do-again” category. But it’s good to try these things out! One great new technique I will definitely use again was covering the wires on the flowers with lots of florist tape to make sure the wires didn’t come into contact with the cake itself then inserting them into the cake without flower picks. Much more secure and flexible!

Placing the sugar lilies on the cake

Working out placement of the sugar lilies on the cake

I was really pleased with how the cake turned out. Perhaps the biggest compliment I got was that the guests all thought the flowers were real! They were amazed when they found out they were actually sugar and I got asked a lot of questions about how they were made. And then of course they were clamouring for the chance to eat one!

And despite having such a huge amount of cake for such a small number of people, there weren’t actually that many leftovers!

Sugar Flowers for My Own Wedding Cake

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Handcrafted Sugar Flowers of Cream Coloured Roses and Frangipanis

Handcrafted Sugar Flowers for my wedding - Cream Coloured Roses and Frangipanis (on a dummy cake)

Hi folks, sorry it’s been such a long time since the last blog post, I’ve been really busy preparing for my upcoming wedding which is now just a week away! It’s been very stressful, particularly in the last 2 weeks, but now most of the work is done and all that’s left is the excitement and anticipation of the big day!

So I am getting married in Hawaii, which is pretty far away from London! Everyone asks me if I am making my own cake. Well, I’m not. There are several very good reasons: I have no access to a kitchen there, nor will I be able to bring over all my cake making equipment, plus I really don’t want the added stress of finishing up a 3 tier cake the morning of my own wedding (see my blog post on Tips on making your own wedding cake). So I have hired another professional cake maker in Hawaii to make and ice my wedding cake. I opted for a rolled buttercream cake, as the only fondant / sugarpaste I like the taste of is the one I make myself. However, I really wanted to make my own sugar flowers to decorate the cake with, as this is something that can be done months in advance. So we hired someone who makes nice cakes but doesn’t do a lot of sugarcraft and usually uses fresh flowers, and I said I would provide sugar flowers.

In some ways, I regret that decision! Being so busy with work and the wedding planning, I didn’t have as much time for my own wedding sugar flowers as I would have liked, and it’s really added to my stress levels in the past 2 weeks! I decided on classic ivory coloured roses for the cake, plus frangipanis as our wedding theme is frangipanis. Frangipanis are very easy to do, however roses are very time consuming (if you want to do them petal by petal, which is how I do them). We were flying out to our wedding destination a week before the wedding, so I was desperately trying to finish all 20 flowers and accompanying leaves right up till the night before we left! I then arranged them on a polystyrene fake dummy cake and photographed them to show my cake maker in Hawaii exactly how I wanted them arranged.

Then came the headache of how to transport them to Hawaii on the plane. To make my flowers look as realistic as possible, I roll the flower paste very thinly. They look great, but it does mean they are incredibly fragile. Sometimes it seems like I just look at them hard enough and they break! So my fiance and I ended up wrapping each individual flower in layers of paper towel and putting them into 2 large tupperware containers filled with cotton wool and carrying them on the plane as hand luggage (along with my wedding dress, my fiance’s suit, the best man’s suit, the cake toppers hand made for us by a friend, and our 2 large backpacks with our laptops and camera equipment!).

The flowers did turn out great, and I’m really happy with them, so in the end I am glad that I at least contributed the hardest and most important part of my own wedding cake!

Close up of hand made sugar cream coloured roses and frangipanis

Close up of hand made sugar cream coloured roses, leaves and frangipanis

Hand crafted cream coloured sugar rose

Hand crafted cream coloured sugar rose

Close up of hand made sugar cream coloured roses and frangipanis

Close up of hand made sugar floral spray of cream coloured roses, leaves and frangipanis

Merry Christmas from Delicious Cake Design!

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

I’ve been neglecting the Delicious Cake Design blog, very naughty of me! But hopefully Santa will forgive me as I have been extremely busy making cakes to celebrate Christmas like the one below.

Christmas cake with trees, snowflakes and snowman

Christmas cake with trees, snowflakes and snowman

I am turning my hand to making Christmas cakes that are NOT fruit cakes. The cake pictured above is actually a butter cake (my most popular cake). Butter cake is fantastic as it is delicious and keeps for a reasonable amount of time (about 3 – 5 days if stored in an air tight container, whereas sponge cake must be eaten on the day). I had a lot of fun making this cake, I am a huge fan of Christmas so decorating this cake whilst listening to Michael Buble crooning Christmas carols was such a joy. The only thing missing was the log fire!

I also got to use my Snowflake edible lustre powder, which is an edible glittery powder in a lovely silver-blue. As the name suggests, it’s perfect for dusting on snowflakes to give them a wonderful glitter and shine. I also used a snow drift tool to make marks in the icing for snow drifts, and I handpainted the snowman in the forefront. Rolled fondant was shaped on the cake board to look like snow piled on the board.

Traditionally fruit cake is used to make Christmas Cakes, but here at Delicious Cake Design, we are not big fans of fruit cake! In fact, I have only ever had one request for a fruit cake this year. Interestingly enough, the majority of people I’ve encountered don’t like fruit cake and will only opt for it out of a sense of tradition rather than because they like it – they think they “have to” as it’s traditional. When I tell wedding clients that these days it’s more than acceptable to serve sponge or chocolate cakes instead of fruit cake, they are ecstatic!

I also made some ultra yummy cupcakes for Christmas. These were for my Facebook Fan competition winners.

Christmas cupcakes

Christmas cupcakes

As I am so full of the Christmas spirit, I ran a competition for all the fans of Delicious Cake Design on Facebook. Two names were drawn at random out of a hat and these lucky winners each received half a dozen Christmas themed Strawberry & Cream Cheese cupcakes with Cheesecake Cream Frosting. These are my favourite cupcakes, so I made a few extra for us to have at home, which my other half Nick was extremely pleased about.

The response to these cupcakes was overwhelmingly positive, with the winners commenting “Beautiful cupcakes!” and “these are the best cupcakes we’ve ever had!”

If you would like to be in with a chance of winning free cupcakes, cakes or cookies, why not become a fan of Delicious Cake Design on Facebook!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

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!

Tips on making your own wedding cake

Monday, October 26th, 2009

One of the hardest things about planning a wedding is trying to achieve the wedding of your dreams on a budget. At Delicious Cake Design, we are very mindful of this and aim to provide couples with a wedding cake that meets their budget as well as their design requirements. There are several things we can do to help this process, such as opting for flowers that are simpler to make, providing extra undecorated cutting cakes, or simplifying designs so they are still stunning but less time consuming to create.

Making your own wedding cake requires attention to detail and a steady hand

Making your own wedding cake requires attention to detail and a steady hand

But what if you have a budget that won’t buy even a basic wedding cake from a professional cake maker? Some brides (and grooms!) in this situation make their own wedding cake to save money. This can be a good idea, but there are many things to take into consideration before coming to a decision.

Firstly, do you have the time? Bear in mind that you will most likely still be putting finishing touches on the cake during the week leading up to the big day, and if you are not making a fruit cake and are opting instead for sponge or chocolate, the cake (or cakes) will all have to be baked no earlier than 3 days before the wedding. This gives you only 2 days to decorate the cake. With all the other things you will have to do that close to the wedding, will you have time to spend a whole day baking cakes, and up to a whole day (or more!) decorating? Not forgetting as well you will have to put time aside to go and buy all the ingredients and source all the decorative elements, which is not an easy task.

And more importantly, do you want to put up with the stress of making and decorating a cake when you’re trying to fit in dress rehearsals, manicures, last minute dress alterations, guests arriving from afar, and all the other bits and pieces that tend to pile up in the week before a wedding?

Do you have the necessary skills to make a wedding cake? At the very least you should have some competency in baking. An eye for detail and design plus a steady hand would be advantageous as well. If you are the kind of person that considers cooking to be making toast, which you somehow always seems to burn, perhaps it is not a good idea to take the risk!

If you do decide to take the plunge and make your own wedding cake, preparation is the key. I would recommend doing some research as far in advance as you can. There are many good books out there that give clear, step by step instructions on covering and decorating cakes. If possible, make at least one practice cake that you have baked yourself and covered and decorated. The last thing you want is to try it for the first time the day before your wedding and find yourself with a lopsided cake that has pleats and folds in the icing when it’s too late to do anything about it!

Although mass produced rolled fondant (also known as sugarpaste or regal ice) doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as the homemade kind, rolled fondant can be very tricky to make especially for first timers. It might be best to stick to the store bought variety in this instance.  Avoid the kind you get in supermarkets if possible as they are very difficult to work with and taste awful. Specialty cake decorating shops sell much better brands which taste better and are less finicky to use.

Covering a cake with rolled fondant can be very difficult for beginners, especially achieving a smooth, perfect finish. One of the most common questions I get asked is “How do I get the pleats/folds out of the icing when I cover the cake?”. This takes quite a lot of practice! So in the months leading up to the wedding, practice covering the back of cake tins until you get it right, then try it out on a real cake. Covering a real cake is a very different experience to covering a tin as you will have crumbs and imperfect surfaces to deal with.

Be mindful of food safety and hygiene in the kitchen. You don’t want to end up giving your guests food poisoning, or end up with grains of last night’s supper in the cake.

If you know someone who would be willing to take on the task of making your wedding cake (mothers are often a good source for this!), and who you trust to produce a result that you will be happy with, then an alternative is to ask this person to make the cake. You can even suggest they make the cake as a wedding gift.  Be understanding if they say no, as making a wedding cake is a huge responsibility which they may be reluctant to take on.

And of course, don’t be afraid to get a quote from a professional source, such as Delicious Cake Design. I aim to be as accommodating as possible in trying to fit your budget and you may be surprised at what you can get for your money!

Good luck, and happy baking!

The Super Busy Wedding Cake Weekend

Monday, October 5th, 2009

What a hectic couple of weeks it’s been! I had to make two 3-tier wedding cakes for delivery on the weekend, which kept me super busy and super stressed! Having never had to deliver 2 wedding cakes in one weekend before, it was quite an experience. Sleeping and eating became a thing of the past. I’ve never been so exhausted and my feet, back and legs were very very sore from being on my feet so much. Thankfully the two weddings were not on the same day, one was on Saturday and the other on Sunday. I definitely would not accept two orders for wedding cakes that were to be delivered on the same day. Celebration cakes, maybe, but not 3-tier wedding cakes!

CAKE 1: Light ivory 3-tier wedding cake with floral spray of red tinged roses, sugar leaves and bear grass

CAKE 1: Light ivory 3-tier wedding cake with floral spray of red tinged roses, sugar leaves and bear grass

The first wedding cake was quite large with 8inch, 10inch and 12inch sized tiers, plus an extra cutting cake. The cakes had burgundy ribbon at the bases. The top tier had a floral spray consisting of 3 large light ivory roses, sugar leaf branches, and bear grass accents.

It was a Chinese wedding, so the bride and groom did not want white flowers as white flowers are traditionally used for Chinese funerals. The colour red is considered lucky in Chinese tradition, so they wanted some tinges of red on the roses. I originally tried lightly dusting the centre of the roses, but the intensity of the colour was lacking and looked more orange than red. Adding more petal dust ended up making them look too red rather than red tinged (it reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, painting the roses red!). So I re-made the roses and as I made each centre petal, I hand painted the edges of it with red petal dust using a very fine paint brush dipped in water to make the colour more intense . This worked out much better, but was very time consuming.

For the leaves I used some purple coloured petal dust to give the edges some darkness and definition, then over dusted with green petal dust.

CAKE 2: White wedding cake with pearl beads at bases and round posy of white roses

CAKE 2: White 3-tier wedding cake with pearl beads at bases and round posy of white roses

The second cake was smaller with 6inch, 8inch and 10inch cakes with pearl beads of different sizes on wires at the bases. It was quite a challenge finding those beads! But I managed to find them at a wholesale wedding warehouse outside of London.

This cake had a round posy of medium sized white roses for the top tier with no leaves or bear grass accents. This was more straight forward than the other floral spray, but also time consuming as it required a lot more roses! I spent several nights sitting at my work bench making rose after rose after rose. I then dusted the centre of each rose with a little yellow petal dust to give each flower some warmth and depth. It was very nerve wracking arranging the posy as I roll the flower paste quite thinly, so the roses are very delicate and fragile and break very easily.

All the cakes were made of my specialty butter cake. Many people request sponge cakes, but I get them to try my buttercake and they usually end up choosing it which is good as it is a much stronger cake to work with. Baking so many cakes was quite a challenge! It made me very grateful for my wonderful new KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer.

Delivery of the first cake was not fun. A friend kindly agreed to drive me to both venues as my other half was away for the weekend, but her car was very small. We used blankets and cushions to surround some of the cake boxes and minimise movement in the car boot. Driving was slow and excruciating with one cake tier balanced on my lap while I held the top tier in my hands and held my breath at every turn and pothole. The venue didn’t have parking or a driveway, so we had to park on a street nearby and walk each tier over. FYI, 10 and 12 inch cakes are HEAVY!!! I assembled the cake and floral spray at the venue, with my emergency repair kit and spare sugar roses and leaves on hand in case of disaster. Amazingly, these things were not needed.

Delivery of the second cake was surprisingly easy, because the cakes were smaller and there were only 3 instead of 4 cakes to transport. The venue also had parking right out the front – yay! I again assembled the floral spray at the venue, which was very nerve wracking given the fragility of the flowers, and again didn’t need to use my emergency repair kit. A miracle! Though I nearly had a small heart attack when the event staff then decided to pick up and move the entire cake display table to the centre of the room. Thankfully the flowers made it intact.

So delivering two 3-tier wedding cakes in one weekend was a very rewarding and challenging experience. But would I want to do it EVERY weekend? No, I like being able to sleep and eat!

Overseas Shipping and Rude Cakes

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

I know it’s not Sunday today, but I thought I’d post to the Delicious Cake Design blog anyway as I have been a bit slack and haven’t written a post in ages. I’ve been very busy the last few weeks, and not just with cakes. It seems that lately everyone I know has been having a birthday, baby, farewell or engagement so it’s been a whirlwind of attending celebrations! In the next few months there will be a couple of weddings too, a few of which I will be making the cakes for, and a few I won’t as they are overseas. However I will be attending these weddings abroad purely as a guest, which will make a nice change. One of my cousins tells me that my next step in building a cake empire is to start shipping overseas, we’ll see!

The new website design has had a great reception. Thank you to everyone for the nice comments about the new design. People seem to like it and are impressed by the lightboxes on the cake gallery pages, so I’m happy. It’s great to know that all the hours of work I put into it are being appreciated :). I’ve even had quite a few more Delicious Cake Design Facebook fans since it went live.

Thank you also to a couple of clients who really challenged me recently by asking me to make an “adult” cake. Not the kind that is laced with gallons of alcohol, but the kind that requires modelling parts of the male anatomy out of sugar – quite a challenge let me tell you! Apparently this sort of thing is quite popular for hens parties, but it’s not something I’d ever done before. I’d had a few requests from friends to make an anatomically correct cake, but only as a joke. This one was for real – they wanted a part of the male anatomy on top of a normal round cake.

When it came to actually making the body part from flesh coloured sugar modelling paste, I realised I didn’t know as much about the male anatomy as I’d thought. I struggled for a bit trying to make something that looked correct but just couldn’t get it right. Using Google images to see what the part should really look like turned out to be a horrendously bad idea, and I couldn’t close the browser quick enough. In the end, I had to ask my other half to draw a realistic sketch – I assume he is more familiar with that body part than I am! I used the drawing to make the model and it worked out much better.

The cake was a great success at the party! However I don’t think I’ll be adding it to the Delicious Cake Design website anytime soon. The clients who ordered the cake did tell me that my next step in building a cake empire is to start an adult section. Again I say, we’ll see!

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 Panda on a World Globe Cake

Sunday, July 19th, 2009
Panda with suitcases on a world globe cake

Panda with suitcases on a world globe cake

So here is the panda cake I said I would be making in my last blog – it was thankfully a success! Despite the fact I said I was intending to do a “normal” cake with modelled sugar pandas on top, as you can see the shape of the cake is not really typical!

This is because in discussions with the clients about design ideas for a panda cake, I mentioned an idea I’d had to do a cake shaped like half a world globe with a panda holding some suitcases sitting on top. I’d thought of this as the cake was being made as a surprise for their colleague who was leaving on an overseas adventure and a year teaching in Japan. I was just throwing around some ideas and didn’t really think they’d take to that one, but boy was I wrong! They loved the idea and were astounded that such a feat was possible. Mind you, I’d never tried to make a half sphere shaped cake before, but I’m always eager to try new things when it comes to cake making, so I agreed to do the design.

But then of course I had to figure out exactly how to accomplish this! A half sphere cake is no easy thing to make, finding the right shaped cake tin proved to be a challenge. Looking around the internet, the closest thing I could find were the Wilton ball shape pans, but they were way too small at only a 6 inch diameter. The cake had to feed around 30 people so that wasn’t going to cut it. I considered baking a normal round 10 inch cake then carving bits of it from the side to achieve a dome type shape. I wasn’t too confident that I would achieve a nice even and symmetrical shape that way, so decided against it. In the end I decided to try baking the cake in an oven proof pyrex mixing bowl, and that worked a treat!

I used a 3L bowl that I greased and floured, and the same quantity of cake batter as for a 10 inch round cake. This proved to be the perfect amount and the cake rose nicely to almost the top of the bowl. I cooked the cake at about 120 degrees celsius, much lower than usual, and for just over 2 hours, much longer than usual. This is because the middle of the cake was much deeper than the sides, so the sides cooked much faster than the middle. I wanted to avoid having burnt sides and a mushy middle. So cooking at a lower temperature for longer was the solution. Turning the cake out of the bowl was very easy, it slid right out thanks to the greasing and flouring beforehand.

I used my handmade rolled fondant (sugarpaste) to cover the cake and to create the countries on the globe. Geography is not my strong point, but thanks to my wonderful other half, the countries were all placed in roughly the correct places! He also came up with the fantastic idea to put the ‘Good luck Meg’ lettering on the globe. I had originally intended to put it on the cake board which was covered with white rolled fondant, but it looked so much better on the cake itself.

I used modelling fondant to create the panda. Thanks to my practice the previous weekend, I knew pretty much what to do to achieve a nice panda! This time the eyes worked out really well and the modelling fondant created a nice smooth finish. I also created the little suitcases with brown modelling fondant. The handles were pretty tricky, but I got there in the end. I ran a skewer through the centre of the cake then speared poor panda through it to secure him to the cake. A little bit of edible glue ensured he and the suitcases weren’t going to move around.

And voila, a panda with suitcases on a  world globe!

And thankfully, as soon as the cake was presented at the going away party to the lady being farewelled, she exclaimed, “That is the cutest cake ever ! I love pandas!”. So people didn’t make the mistake of thinking I was too stupid to know pandas are native to China and not Japan!