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I Chose the Pug Life…

Hey hey hey, cake chums!

Did you manage to check out the latest issue of Something Sweet yet? Don’t panic if not – you can catch up right here. However, if you did, you may well have caught the mention of a little project that one of my cake chums cooked up for my birthday last week.

Well, I say little… a more accurate description would be teeny tiny.

Yes, Sarah Bray of Daisy Cakes has been beavering away once more to recreate some more fabulous cakes in miniature – and this time they were all mine.

Sarah and I were originally chatting last year about whether she was going to do a sequel to her fabulous To Have and To Hold project. During that conversation, I rather cheekily challenged her to recreate my entire Grumpy Pug Collection as miniature cupcake toppers. I never for a moment thought she would agree, much less whip up the entire set (including the most recent edition) just in time for my birthday last week!

Each one sits on a 58mm cupcake topper, customised to look like the original cakes’ boards, and the tallest topper stands at just 75mm in height.

I was incredibly honoured that Sarah would consider my work worthy of paying homage to, and I was totally blown away by the sheer amount of detail that she was able to cram into such a small amount of space.

I thought it was only right that I gave you all the chance to appreciate them all in a bit more detail and I must say an extra thank you to Sarah for the pictures.

First up, we have the original Grumpy Pug and the one that kicked off the whole collection. Summer was originally created back in 2016 for the Sweet Summer Collaboration, headed up by Isabel Tamargo of Tartas Imposibles. This little chap just popped into my head one afternoon and making him was one of those rare occasions where everything just went right. He proved very popular online and in print media and I think he definitely marked a turning point in my caking career.

Sarah’s miniature depiction of Summer manages to capture all of the super fine details and she certainly did him proud.

Next in the series came Autumn, who I entered at Cake International Birmingham in November of 2016. If I’m honest, I wasn’t overly thrilled with this piece at the show as the colours clashed horribly with the eponymous pink carpets, but I had a lot of fun crafting all of the autumnal elements and the pumpkin innards came out brilliantly! He also scooped me a silver award, which is never anything to sniff at.

I didn’t envy Sarah the challenge of trying to recreate all of those additional embellishments, but she somehow managed it. I think all of the details really came together to create a wonderful piece and I might even go so far to say that Autumn is my favourite of Sarah’s miniature collection.

Spring was another competition entry – this time for Cake International London in 2017 and I was struck down with a terrible dose of the flu just as I got started on him. Luckily, the week leading up to the show was a half term holiday from school and so I was able to get up and work on him for an hour-or-so at a time, before collapsing back into bed. I was really thrilled that I was able to overcome the dreaded lurgy and get Spring onto the competition table – although you’ll notice that I didn’t manage to get any shots of him at home. Luckily the super talented Robby Dee Photography was on hand to capture a whole host of wonderful snaps – check out more of his Cake International shots from all the shows at his website here.

I knew Sarah would ace this one as I saw how good she was will tiny florals when she recreated my wedding cake as part of the To Have and To Hold project last year. I love how many of the tiny details she was again able to squeeze in and I think Spring makes an adorable cupcake topper.

The last in the original Grumpy Pug line up was Winter and he was created as part of a cake tutorial for Cake Masters Magazine. You may also have seen him make a recent reappearance in the Cake Masters Magazine Colouring Book 2019, which I wrote a about a few weeks ago. If I’m honest, Winter was my least favourite of the collection, purely because I was against the clock to try and get him done in time for my magazine deadline. This unfortunately meant that I was left with a couple of issues that I simply didn’t have time to redo (mainly, it’s that the eyes were too close together and it bugs me whenever I look at him!). A few people got in touch after he was published to say that they had been inspired to create their own versions of him though, so I guess it is mainly just me that has a problem with him… 😉

Winter was the biggest Grumpy Pug cake and he is also the biggest Grumpy Pug cupcake, standing at just 75mm tall. I think the bit that most amazed me about Sarah’s version here were the miniscule streamers. How does one even roll modelling paste that thin?! I swear witchcraft must be involved somehow! See if you can spot the new Bling Bling edible glitter from Magic Colours hidden amongst the baubles too.

The most recent addition to the collection was created for a demonstration at Cake International 2018 and he was recently demonstrated over at Shawna McGreevy’s Cakeheads too.

I’m thrilled that he made the cut and arrived in time to make it into Sarah’s collection and I can’t wait to see the two of them next to each other in real life (yep, I still have the original of this one).

I do hope you have enjoyed taking a closer look at Sarah’s wonderful project and I know that I have really enjoyed travelling back through my Grumpy Pug journey.

I once made the mistake of saying no more pugs a while ago, but it seems that many of you aren’t ready to see the back of them just yet. Who knows… he might just pop up again somewhere soon. I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see.

I must say a huge thank you once again to Sarah Bray of Daisy Cakes for paying me the huge compliment of recreating some of my most recognisable cakes in delightful miniature and for giving me one of the best birthday presents ever! Do swing by Sarah’s page to check out more of her gorgeous work and don’t forget to click ‘like’ while you are there!

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What a week!

Hi cake chums,

Sorry it has been a quiet one on the blog this week again – it has been another crazy and fairly emotional week at Mr Baker’s Cakes HQ (‘But when isn’t it?’ I hear you cry!).

The emotional part came with a visit to the local tip at the start of the week to have a bit of a clear out of some of my competition and display pieces. I hate letting go of some of the cakes that I have put a lot of love, sweat, tears and, sometimes, even blood into (I’m looking at you there, Paddington – but that’s another story), but, as you have probably come to realise, a lot of my more elaborate pieces are also rather large – which means they take up a considerable amount of space. Add into that, I work exclusively in real cake, which unfortunately does not last forever. I’d been putting off my clear out for a good long while now, but after Paddington started to leak (grim, I know), I knew the time had come.

I planned to get rid of only the most ‘tired’ looking cakes and on the day, it was Spring the Grumpy Pug, Paddington, my Hairspray diorama from last years CakeFlix Collaboration and my Aslan cake that has well and truly been in the way for over two years now. It was a somewhat maudlin experience carrying them out to the car for one last journey and I don’t think I’ll ever get used to saying goodbye to some of my favourite creations, but in a surprising turn of events, these guys did at least get one final hurrah.

When we got to the tip, the guys manning the general waste bins were so excited by their new arrivals that they decided it wouldn’t be right to just chuck them, instead setting up a special table so they could be displayed to their users for the rest of the day. It was definitely much easier leaving them on display one last time than it would have been to throw them into the skip myself and I’m rather touched by the response they were given. And who knows, maybe it will make my next clear out all the more easier.

The rest of the week has been all about wedding cakes – well, one wedding cake in particular – as tomorrow sees my brother Martin and his lovely fiancée Sarah tie the knot. As I have said before, I love being able to contribute to a little bit of the magic of my family and closest friend’s special celebrations, so naturally, when Sarah asked if I would be able to make their cake, I jumped at the chance.

She really liked the ‘nearly naked’ cake that I did for my friends, Demi and John last year and requested something similar, but without the fruit and with far more flowers.

As is always the case during term time, a big old cake project means that my evenings have been entirely consumed with the creation of their special four-tier confection and everything else has had to slip by the wayside.

However, I am very pleased to say that for the first time ever, I managed to plan my time perfectly, meaning that everything is done and ready for tomorrow and it isn’t even eight o’clock yet! Impressive, huh? This is probably the first time EVER that I haven’t been down to the rail with a wedding cake!

I’m also looking forward to taking my swanky new Cerart tool trolley on its first excursion, but more about that later.

I suppose I ought to get on with the real reason I came and sat down anyway – this week’s issue of Something Sweet isn’t going to write itself after all! Be sure to keep an eye on my Facebook Page over the weekend to see the wedding cake in all its glory and I’ll see you all on Sunday for this week’s issue…

Happy Friday!