Something Sweet – Issue 21

So, it’s still hot then. Yay.

I’m sat here, with a massive fan pointing directly at my face and guess what? Still hot.

I don’t WANT to be that guy, but I get hot in winter, so this is pretty unbearable. I might just write this whole whole issue about how hot I am right now.

And while I know I have many readers who live in far hotter places than here, I’m still going to be petulant and moan about the heat for at least a little while longer. Just because I can…

 

What’s new on the blog this week?

Have I mentioned that it’s hot? Just kidding! But in all seriousness, this week I was working on my first cake since this heatwave began. I had been planning to also shoot my next tutorial and work on some reviews that I have lined up but seeing as how I usually have the luxury of being able to choose when I cake, I thought I’d give it a miss during this hot spell.

However, as we rolled into the second week, I realised that it wasn’t going to break any time soon, and I was just going to have to grin and bear it – I couldn’t not mark my lovely friend Sharon’s birthday without a special cake.

I had planned something pretty elaborate, but chickened out at the idea of trying to craft my original idea, with the mercury topping 30°C. Instead, I decided to keep it simple with a design inspired by her rather unusual love of seafood sticks. Yes, you read that correctly… seafood sticks!

Unfortunately, even that simple design didn’t quite play ball and I had my fair share of heat-related mishaps, but Sharon loved her cake (when she eventually figured out what it was supposed to be – rude) and it tasted as stunning as ever, so all was well that ended well.

I really liked the board though!

And two days after I presented her with it, I managed to grab a slice for myself. You’ll never believe it, but the sugarpaste was STILL soft! So yeah… too hot.

 

This week, I also teased a rather exciting project that I have launched, under a strict veil of secrecy! It’s all very cloak and dagger…

I will be revealing a little bit more next week over at my other blogging home, Fabricake Sugarcraft Ltd, but in the meantime, I shall let slip a couple of clues just for you:

  • It’s inspired by a very special boy, whom regular readers will have seen before.
  • It will feature work by a whole load of your favourite UK cake artists.
  • Let’s just say… “I’m putting together a show.”

 

Have you heard…?

One of my favourite parts of Cake International 2017 was the Cake Off and so I was thrilled to see that it would be returning for this year’s November show.

This week saw the teams coming ‘face to face’ for the first time on a thread posted by the show’s head honcho Melanie and the smack talk was out in force. Let’s just say that their gif game is seriously strong…

But once I had put the popcorn down, I thought it was high time that we all met the teams…

The first heat, which will take place on Friday 2nd November at 1pm, pits The Three Sugartiers, with Julie Rogerson, Geraldine Lindsay and Maria Ditch against The Ice Girls, with Sharon Perrins, Angela Morris and Becky Jenkins. They will have only 45 minutes to create a two-tier cake based on the theme ‘Favourite Country’ and I believe The Three Sugartiers have chosen Italy as their inspiration, while The Ice Girls have opted for Mexico.

The following day, heat 2 will see The Pasta Models, with Isabel Tamargo, Charlotte Crews and Vicky Teather, face The Whisk Takers, with Jen Lofthouse, Gavin Puttick and Corinna Maguire. These powerhouses of the cake world will also have just 45 minutes to craft a two-tier creation based on Hawaii and Ireland respectively.

On Sunday, the winners of each heat will face off in the grand final at 11am! Let’s hope that they take it easy at Saturday Night’s Cake Masters Magazine Awards!

 

This week I am mostly loving…

This week I have mostly been loving my shiny new fridge freezer. After TWO YEARS of coping with a tiny under-the-counter number, I finally caved and bought one of those ridiculously huge American-style ones and oh-my-goodness, it is the greatest! We have iced water on tap and ice cubes!

And even more importantly this week, there is even room for cake! And ganache! And all manner of other cake related things!

It would have been absolutely impossible to create this week’s cake without being able to refrigerate it regularly and I am so pleased that I finally indulged.

Everybody needs one!

But remember, if you refrigerate a cake, it will attract condensation when you remove it, so it is best to allow it to rest for a while (20-30 minutes) before trying to cover it in sugarpaste. And if you need to refrigerate a cake that has already been covered in sugarpaste, never place it directly in the fridge – condensation is not sugarpaste’s friend.

Your best bet is to place it in a sealed cardboard box, so that when you remove it, the condensation will form on the box rather than the cake.

Who’d have thought that we’d be discussing the best way to refrigerate cakes in the UK…?

Crazy…

 

The hottest ticket in town!

This week, both the Welsh National Cake Show and the Northern Irish Sugar Expo released their competition schedules and I was eager to see what they had in store for us all.

Between the two, there is something for everyone.

The Welsh competition classes have a very traditional feel to them – very reminiscent of BSG competitions, which will appeal to the traditionalists. I was also interested to see how they have split the classes allowing artists to compete against those of similar skills and experience. I was a little disappointed however to see no category that immediately jumped out as a home for me and my fellow cake-sculpting buddies.

On the other hand, the Northern Ireland Sugar Expo or NISE seem to have found a perfect blend of the traditional with the modern and seems to be the place to go if you are really looking to push the boundaries of cake somewhat.

You can find the competition schedule for the Welsh National Cake Show right here.

The schedule for NISE can be found at their new website and I am told there will be a lot more to come on the site next month.

 

I wanna make that!

If you haven’t discovered Amanda Rettke’s Facebook page, I Am Baker yet, then I must ask, where have you been?

Since its launch back in 2009, Amanda has shared an insane number of fabulous recipes from all over the internet and her easy-to-follow video tutorials ensure that anyone can create fabulous bakes with ease.

One that caught my eye this week was a recipe for Lemon Brownies. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love brownies? But they can be pretty stodgy and heavy for the hot summer weather months and I think you just can’t beat a fresh zingy citrus flavour when it’s warm.

So, naturally I was thrilled when I saw Amanda share these tasty looking Lemon ‘Brownies’ from ‘I heart naptime’, with one of her super easy video tutorials and I can’t wait to have a go at them. If you beat me to it, you’ll have to let me know how they are.

Oh, and if you’re not already following Amanda, I’d get on that. Check out her Facebook page here and you can find her fabulous blog here.

 

The Collaboration Station

After last week’s fabulous collections, it seems it has been a little quiet on the collaboration front this week.

Of course, if I missed your collaboration, my apologies – I am but one man after all.

Please let me know so I can edit it in!

 

Spotlight on the boys…

As you know, I do try not to repeat myself here, but then it isn’t often that our fabulous baking boys do things that literally make me squee.

Little Joe is a massive fan of Extreme Cake Makers and his favourite cake from the show was the Angry Dwarf that Ben Cullen, AKA the The BakeKing created for last year’s Cake International feature, Snow White – The Grimm Obsession.

Rather adorably, Joe’s parents arranged for Ben to recreate a replica of his fabulous piece for Joe’s birthday and brought him along to meet Ben and collect his special cake in person.

I bet Joe had a fantastic birthday and I know that Ben will have got a real buzz from bringing some joy to a little boy’s special day.

Excellent work, Ben!

Awwwwwww….

 

Cake of the Week!

There could only be one contender for this week’s Cake of the Week.

Would you believe that Tanya Ross of Novel-T Cakes transported this rather amazing cake on a 90-minute journey, in 28°C heat, in a car with NO air conditioning.

When I saw her post that on the morning ahead of her delivery, it brought me out in a cold sweat – and I didn’t even have to deliver it. Thankfully her beautiful edible tribute made it to the party in one piece and I’m sure she was very well received.

I think Tanya deserves this week’s Cake of the Week for sheer bravery if nothing else.

But if that wasn’t enough, Tanya also created another masterpiece for Bakers and Cakers: The Confectionery Directory. I loved her Helping Hands cake just as much as her fabulous bust and so have decided to make them joint Cakes of the Week!

Congratulations, Tanya!

 

Honourable mention…

This week, Rhianydd Webb celebrated the 19th birthday of the wonderful Dragons & Daffodils Cakes by Rhianydd Webb.

With a post saying a huge thankyou to everyone who has supported her business by buying cakes, ordering products or taking classes or demonstrations over the years, Rhianydd took us all on a delightful little walk down memory lane and I loved it.

It was amazing to see the amazing journey that Rhianydd has been on over the last 19 years and crazy to see how cakes have changed during that period.

Thank YOU Rhianydd for sharing your wonderful talents with us for so long and I’m sure everyone would like to join me in wishing a very happy 19th birthday to Dragons & Daffodils Cakes by Rhianydd Webb!

 

A call to arms…

They say that everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about and that is certainly true in our little community right now. Many of you know the lovely Helen Wilkinson of Who did the cake? and even if you don’t, you will definitely have seen her beautiful creations. She was also kind enough to share her experience of the International Cake Show Australia with us all earlier this year.

Now, I haven’t asked permission to share this with you, mainly because I didn’t want to give Helen the chance to say no, but this year she has been fighting battles on multiple fronts and she now needs our help.

After facing her own health issues last year, Helen had the devastating news that her 24-year-old son Pete had been diagnosed with aggressive Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia. As you can imagine, the family are supporting Pete as much as possible, but the coffers were already low after Helen’s own illness earlier in the year and their situation is becoming more and more difficult.

If you are in a position to help, please head to Helen’s gofundme page so you can read a bit more for yourself and find out how you can support Helen’s son’s battle.

Thank you.

 

And finally…

Don’t forget to get in touch this week to tell me all about what your corner of the cake world is talking about; to share which tools or products you are loving this week; to tell me about any exciting events or classes you have coming up; to share any recipes or tutorials you have discovered this week and are dying to try; and about anything else that has grabbed your attention on Planet Cake.

And of course, don’t forget to nominate your suggestions for the Cake of the Week. Maybe it’s one you have seen or perhaps it’s one of your own!

You can submit your contributions by messaging my Facebook page, by posting in the dedicated Mr Baker’s Blog from Mr Baker’s Cakes Facebook group or by emailing me directly.

I look forward to hearing from you!