Hey hey, cake chums! Welcome to another issue of Something Sweet, your weekly slice of all the latest news from the world of cake!
I have been running myself ragged yet again this week, finishing up a couple of projects that I will be able to share with you soon, but unlike in previous weeks, I actually managed to squeeze in a couple of blog posts too.
So, without much further ado, let’s get to it!
What’s new on the blog this week?
One of the more unexpected side effects of becoming a cake blogger is that you occasionally find yourself in the position of being a bit of a spokesperson for the industry. I have had a whole host of PR reps, journalists and other such entities reaching out to me for my input on an incredible variety of projects in recent months – don’t worry though, I am usually able to point them in the direction of somebody infinitely more qualified than me to help.
One of these recent occasions, went on to inspire one of this week’s posts regarding the fact that after the incredible success of their advert back in 2007, the team at ŠKODA UK had once again been bitten by the baking bug and would be teaming up with the winner of The Great British Bake Off 2016, Candice Brown to launch a miniature version of their iconic Fabia Cake.
They were after me to provide a bit of technical assistance to Candice during the project shoot, but unfortunately it wouldn’t have worked alongside my teaching schedule. I was happy to point them in the direction of a few other suitable alternatives though.
However, the team were great at keeping in touch, inviting me along to the press launch (which I also couldn’t make it along to – darn full-time job!) and getting in touch to tell me all about it once the project was done – which you can read about here.
They are now on the lookout for other bakers to have a go at their Fabia Cake Challenge, with a fabulous prize up for grabs. If you fancy giving it a whirl (although I have yet to meet any caker who is a fan of the dreaded car cake), you can find the full details within the original post. Check it out here.
This week also saw me publish a post all about my day at the Thame Food Festival.
Having seen a lot of my online buddies sing its praises over the years, I decided that 2018 would be the year for me to head on over and check it out for myself and see if it really was as good as it looked.
I had an absolutely brilliant time getting to know the whole host of celebrity bakers, checking out their hilarious demonstrations and exploring the rest of the festival and I would heartily recommend it as a fun day out for anyone with a love of cooking, baking, eating or even just drinking. To read more about my day and see what I got up to, head to my full post right here.
In fact, I had such a great time, that now begins a whole year of hounding show director, Lotte Duncan to convince her to let me come back next year and perhaps even do a wee demo myself!?
Have you heard…?
This week brought us another royal wedding and, of course, that meant another royal wedding cake.
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding cake designer, Sophie Cabot of Sophie Cabot Cake Designer‘s creation was unveiled on Friday and its blend of traditional elements with a contemporary autumnal twist has proven very popular online.
Consisting of three tiers of red velvet and two of chocolate sponge cake, the tiers were then covered with buttercream and white sugarpaste, before being decorated with intricate sugar work with an autumnal theme and the couple’s initials E and J in golden monograms.
Of her first meeting with the princess and her now husband, Sophie explained that “The couple were very relaxed, very comfortable. I got the feeling the cake was something they were very excited about.”
It has been reported that the five-tier cake required up to 400 eggs, at least 53 packs of unsalted butter, 15 kilograms of organic self-raising flour, and 20 kilos of sugar and, although Sophie began baking the five-tiers of red velvet and chocolate cake in the Buckingham Palace kitchens on Wednesday, she has revealed that she started creating the sugar ivy, acorns, white flowers and maple leaves back in July.
What did you think of the cake this time around? Are you a fan of its far more traditional, yet contemporary design?
Last chance to win!
I know I have been harping on about this for a while now, but this week marks your last chance to enter Renshaw’s Battle of the Bakes competition as I will be choosing my one winner and two runners-up this coming Friday!
To enter, you just need to upload an image of your favourite bake and include some simple instructions to explain how to make all or part of your design – we’re looking for steps on how to decorate at least one element of your cake, cupcakes, biscuits, etc.
My one lucky winner and 2 runners-up will take home some wonderful prizes, including:
The winner’s prize – Two tickets to Cake International (on the day of your choice) between 2-4 November, a night’s stay for two in Birmingham during Cake International, two tickets to Cadbury World in Birmingham, and a Renshaw Baking hamper.
The runner-up prizes – two runners-up will each receive a Renshaw Baking product hamper plus a £50 Hobbycraft voucher.
And in an extra chance to win some goodies, any additional people that submit a recipe or cake decorating tutorial that gets published on the Renshaw website will also receive a Renshaw Baking hamper.
You can upload your recipe or tutorial here.
Good luck to all who enter – there have already been some incredible entries submitted and I can’t wait to check out the rest of them!
This week I am mostly loving…
First of all, it drew my attention to the fact that as part of their pledge to take their environmental responsibilities seriously, they recycle packaging whenever it is safe and hygienic to do so, but also that they use biodegradable packing chips, which can be composted. I had no idea that these were compostable, although fortunately I have always donated mine to my school’s early year’s provision for arts and crafts activities, but I wonder how many people have been unknowingly throwing them in the bin.
Fortunately, Rhianydd is on hand with an amazing suggestion for how we can put them to good use and actually save some money in the process: using them to make cones for your roses!
Head to Rhi’s Facebook page to see the method in more detail and give me a shout if you give them a try. I’d love to see if it is as easy as Rhianydd makes it look.
Cake Show Showcase:
I imagine that many of us are knee-deep in Cake International prep right now, with competition entries, exhibit pieces and collaboration contributions taking up every available surface in our homes right now, so I thought I would collect some top advice from some of our favourite cakers and artists to help us get through the last couple of weeks as we count down to the show.
Kay Gajra of Kaykes: Try to stay near the venue if you can and have a box with you of all the stuff you would need if any issues were to arise, such as some royal icing and the colours you have used, so that if your piece develops any cracks on the way, you can patch them.
Kelly McWilliam of Kelly McWilliam – Cake Artist: Always take the time to seek out the judges’ feedback and take their comments about your piece on board. This can be hard to hear sometimes, particularly if it’s not the feedback you were hoping for, but every judge who has given me feedback has always been spot on. You can then use their advice next time to try and improve on your previous entry! After all, we’re all always learning. Most importantly though, relax and enjoy it!!
Avalon Yarnes of Avalon Cakes: If you haven’t already, start now! For real, just do it. ‘Pro-cake-stinating’ – finding any reason to put off getting started – is always my biggest downfall.
Rob Baker-Gall of Mr Baker’s Cakes (that’s me!): Read the schedule and then read it again. And again. The rules for each category regularly change, so you don’t want to be caught out by a silly mistake and be deemed not to schedule, just because you were allowed to do it during a previous year.
Emma Stewart of Truly Scrumptious Cakes by Design: Try to remember that you are only in competition with yourself, so treat it as a personal challenge. It is meant to be enjoyable too, so have fun with your piece and know that everyone is just as nervous as you are – don’t let those feelings overcome you.
Etty van Urk of Cake Dutchess: Don’t feel that you have to go large to do well. There is no shame in going for something smaller in size than you originally visualized, if you execute each detail perfectly.
Benny Rivera of City Cakes: When travelling with your competition pieces, make sure that you use a cake board – ideally wooden – that will touch all sides of the box that you are using to transport the piece. That way the piece won’t be able to move around inside the box. I also try to ensure that the board is secured to the bottom of the box to ensure that the piece won’t move, even if the box is tilted.
Zoe Hopkinson of Zoe’s Fancy Cakes: Don’t start the week of the competition or, as I have been known to, the day before! Manage your time and give yourself plenty of time to get everything done – including allowing time for any potential disasters – otherwise you may end up cutting corners, making mistakes and not getting the level of finish or detail you would want.
Isabel Tamargo of Tartas Imposibles: Whatever you do, do it for yourself. Don’t think about the other pieces next to yours – they are judging you, not comparing you with others. However, that being said, don’t start at the last moment, because it won’t end up as you imagined and you won’t be able to achieve a clean finish.
Vicky Teather of Yellow Bee Cake Co.: Whatever happens this time, take your result and your feedback from the judges and use them as a benchmark to improve your sugar skills. I learnt a lot from my first competition that really helped me to grow as an artist and improved my results in future competitions. The judges are friendly and want to help you, so soak up as much advice as you can.
Milka von Essen-Vilovski of Cake Pirate: Believe in yourself and be brave. Push your boundaries and let creativity lead the way – and, especially at Cake International – work cleanly.
Karen Keaney of Roses and Bows Cakery (and Cake International Head Judge): Read the rules and guidelines, especially when you’re halfway through making your piece – take time to stop and double check everything. Do this again before you pack your piece. Remember, you can only do your best, so relax and try to enjoy it – sometimes we forget to have fun with it, especially when we get stressed out with a looming deadline and the nervous energy that comes with competing (can you tell I still miss it?) Bring a repair kit in case of any mishaps during delivery and remember that it takes a great deal of courage to enter a competition in the first place, so be proud of that. I can’t wait to see all the entries this year. It’s going to be an amazing show, celebrating its 25th anniversary with a record number of entries.
Ben Cullen of The BakeKing: Give yourself plenty of time to get to the NEC. Don’t rush on the way and arrive with time to spare. Stay calm during set up and, once your piece is finished and in position, don’t spend time picking faults and worrying – just enjoy the rewards of your hard work. Whatever happens in the competition, if you know that you have done the best that you can do or have overcome a personal challenge, then you are already a winner. Remember, you are only in competition with yourself – not against other people.
Corinna Maguire of Lovin’ from the Oven: Package your entry well for transportation, particularly if your piece is awkward or top-heavy (like mine usually are). Over the years, I have developed my own failsafe way to ensure that my cakes survive long journeys and I am delighted to share it with you here:
Corinna’s Cake Seatbelt Instructions
- Cut 2 small holes on each side of your sturdy box. Where you place the holes will depend completely on where your cake needs the most support. Remember not to place them near anything too delicate.
2. Place some non-slip matting on the base of your box.
3. Insert your cake making sure that there’s a good space between the cake and the sides of the box.
4. Insert your clingfilm (saran wrap) into one of the holes
5. Wrap it around the opposite side of your cake and through the corresponding hole on the other side of the box.
6. Weave the cling film around to the other hole on the same side and back around the opposite side of the cake. Push the strip of cling film out the opposite hole of the box and tie it off.
7. Repeat this step with the other 2 sides of the box. The clingfilm should be tense enough to support the cake but not too tight that it marks it.
8. Once both sections of clingfilm are tied off your cake should be completely secure. I can even tilt it sideways and it’s fully supported.
I hope my ‘Cake Seatbelt’ comes in handy for you and good luck at Cake International!
The hottest ticket in town!
Cake Decoration and Sugarcraft Magazine would like to invite us all to join them for their first ever CAKE Live Demonstration Day – a full day of sugarcraft demonstrations – on Saturday 17th November 2018 at the stunning Chateau Impney Hotel & Exhibition Centre, near Droitwich Spa.
The magazine has joined forces with their friends over at FMM Sugarcraft to bring us a must-have masterclass in cake decorating! Not only will we learn some invaluable skills to take home, but we’ll also get first-hand access to the tricks of the trade from Cassie Brown and Carol Haycox, who will both be using some of the must-have products from the extensive FMM Sugarcraft range, as well as Cake Decoration and Sugarcraft Magazine editor, Leeanne Cooper.
For the bargain price of only £75.00 per person, your ticket will include:
- Four up-close and personal demonstrations with two great cake decorating specialists, during which we will be able to ask all those burning cakey questions
- A must-have exclusive goody bag full of handy products – including three you can choose ourselves
- 10 golden tickets for the chance to win Cassie Brown’s fabulous new book The Kew Book of Sugar Flowers, in association with the prestigious Kew Gardens (I have this and it is STUNNING)
- Be the first to know about FMM Sugarcraft’s BRAND NEW product, launching on the day
- Money off Cassie’s new book for those who weren’t lucky enough to find a golden ticket
- 50% off all FMM Sugarcraft products at the event
- See how to make the most of our FMM Sugarcraft products first-hand
- A FREE copy of the latest issue of Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft magazine
- A tasty hot or cold buffet lunch as well as hot drinks and snacks throughout the day
- Enjoy stunning grounds and a relaxed atmosphere at Chateau Impney in Droitwich Spa
On top of this, we will also learn all sorts of desirable techniques from Carol and Cassie, such as:
- Preparing the sponge correctly to get great results with buttercream
- Making wired and non-wired flowers
- Creating floral arrangements and tropical leaves
- Using support dowels to stack multi-tiered cakes securely on a cake board
- Adding colour and texture correctly for a modern look
- Achieving a smooth and professional cake finish
If this sounds like your sort of day out, then you need to head over to the Cake Decoration & Sugarcraft Magazine website where you can find more information and book your tickets. Who knows, I might even see you there…
I wanna make that – the Halloween Special!
I absolutely love any holiday that gives me an opportunity to create a new and exciting cake for my family and friends, and this is particularly true of Halloween. I think it is because Halloween is the one holiday where there really are no rules or traditions to abide by and that means true freedom when planning a special bake.
However, because of the limitless freedom that Halloween offers, it can also be a little tricky to narrow down all of your big ideas and settle on that one special bake that you will create for your family celebration.
For that reason, I have been scouring the web, looking for the very best tutorials to enable to you to create a whole host of creepy cakes and spooky bakes this Halloween, regardless of your experience level or ability. Enjoy…
Marc Suarez – Le Doux Collage: Halloween Zombie Cake – (available in both Spanish and English)
Vicky Teather – Yellow Bee Cake Co: Halloween Kitty Cake Topper
Jean Schapowel – Cakes with Character: Kawaii Skull Cake
Tracey Rothwell – Little Cherry Cake Company: Gothic Skull Drip Cake
Agnes Jagiello – Crumb Avenue: Zombie Cake Topper
Corinna Maguire – Lovin’ from the Oven: Spooky Halloween Buns
Britt Box – She Who Bakes: Cauldron Cupcakes
Cake of the Week!
When Lisa Ogden of OGGY’S CAKES was asked to design a poppy-themed cake, she originally conceived a variety of traditional cakes with realistic poppies cascading down the sides.
It wasn’t until her client clarified that she was actually after a cake for her mother’s 90th birthday that was inspired by her mother’s long history of selling poppies for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal that Lisa developed this fabulous design.
She has managed to get all of the incredible details of her collection tin and the cardboard box, complete with a whole host of poppies, so incredibly spot on and I just know that the client will have been blown away.
Congratulations on a fabulous creation and a wonderful Cake of the Week, Lisa!
To see more of Lisa’s fabulous work, be sure to head over to her Facebook page, OGGY’S CAKES and send her some love!
One creation that stopped me in my tracks this week wasn’t actually a cake per se – perhaps I should have renamed this feature WOW BAKES this week – although, you could actually have been forgiven for not realising it was edible at all.
However, not only is this incredible Tiffany-style table lamp fully edible, it was also fully functional too!
Created by Sonja Galmad of Sonja Galmad’s Süsse Dekorationen for the for the Cookie Connection Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #30, the intricately decorated lamp features a stand and internal supports crafted from gingerbread decorated with royal icing, and an incredibly detailed shade assembled from 64 individual panels piped from royal icing and filled with isomalt.
I’m sure you’ll agree, Sonja absolutely nailed it – it looks so real!
To find out more about how Sonja brought her Tiffany-style table lamp to life and to see some more progress photographs, head to her Facebook page, Sonja Galmad’s Süsse Dekorationen.
I am always on the look out for your contributions for Something Sweet, but you may not realise that I also welcome guest posts on the blog too, with previous examples including Helen Wilkinson’s guest blog from the International Cake Show Australia, Cupcake Artist of the year finalist Sarah Bray’s adorable Summer Picnic Cupcake Tutorial and Vicki du Plessis’ coverage of The Brain Tumour Charity’s first ever Big Bandana Bake. If you would like me to publish a tutorial, recipe or a guest blog about an event, experience or even just a topic you are passionate about, make sure you get in touch…
I’d also like to hear 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 even 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!