Saturday, 29 June 2013

Giant Chocolate and Caramel Cupcake

I was telling you about the cakes I was making to be raffled for charity, this is The Giant Cupcake. It is a chocolate sponge topped with caramel frosting and then decorated with sugar flowers. You can find out more about the sugar flowers here

This giant cupcake was in response to popular demand, as a lot of my friends and colleagues had asked for a giant cupcake. I wanted to make a beehive cake. In the end I made both, more about the beehive cake next time.

I have made a couple of vanilla Giant Cupcakes before including this Alice in Wonderland themed one, so I decided to go for chocolate instead. I added caramel flavouring to the buttercream by stirring in some, well, almost a whole jar, of Dulde de Leche.

The wrapper part of the giant cupcake is covered in chocolate sugar paste.

My hubby said that he thought that this was the nicest cake I have ever made :o). 

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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Blossomology Part two - with a little help from our talented friends

A month or so ago, I was asked to make a cake to be raffled at my workplace for charity. I felt so honoured to be asked, but, also a little unworthy, after all, its just me, so I really wanted to pull out all the stops and make a cake that I could feel really proud of and tempt all my lovely friends and colleagues into spending lots of money on raffle tickets.

I had two cakes in mind that I wanted to make. Many of my friends and colleagues were asking for a giant cupcake, as I had recently made one, for a colleague, as a parting gift. The cake that I wanted to make was a beehive cake.

In the end, I decided to make both. This was also an opportunity for me to practise some more sugar flowers and these are the sugar blossoms that I made to decorate the Giant Cupcake. More about that Giant Cupcake in the next post.

In blossomology I wanted to try and make lots of different blossoms from the same cutter, to practise some different skills. We are very lucky in the cake decorating world that there are so many great companies and talented crafters out there making kits and tools, that, even those, like me, with little artistic talent, can make sugar flowers. One of my favourite companies is Sunflower Sugarart they have UK and USA websites. I have used their blossom mould and cutter set to make these sugar blossoms.

To make these blossoms I used:

The blossom set from Sunflower Sugarart
A small rolling pin
A cutting board or mat
Petal / Gum Paste coloured with Sugarflair's Ivory / Caramel
A small about of vegetable fat (Trex / Crisco)
A small amount of cornflour / cornstarch
A foam sugarcraft pad
Lustre dust, I used Edible Arts Pearlised Toffee

This is how:

1. Rub a little of the vegetable fat onto your cutting board. This helps the petal paste stick whilst you are rolling and cutting and helps it not stick at the same time.

2. Roll out petal paste, really thin. Officially, it is supposed to be so thin, you can seen through it, but I usually go a little thicker

3. Use the cutter to cut out a blossom and give the cutter a little wiggle to neaten the edges.

4. Sprinkle a little cornflour on your foam pad, then place the cut blossom on top. Use a ball tool around the edges (half on / half off) to thin and frill them a little. This helps make the blossoms look more natural and realistic, you can omit this stage for a more stylised blossom.

5. Lift the blossom and place it on the bottom half of the mould. Use the ball tool to help settle it in position

6. Press the two halves of the mould together to impress the veining onto the blossom

7. Gently lift the moulded blossom out

8. Brush with a little petal or lustre dust to add a little magic

9. Settle the veined blossoms into the wells of a paint palette to dry out and harden out.

I wanted to make some smaller flowers too, so I used one of my Orchard Products cutters with the sunflower Sugarart veiner to make some smaller ones.

Sweet little things aren't they?

Check back soon to see these on the Giant Cupcake

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Friday, 21 June 2013

Alice in Wonderland Giant Cupcake - Lila's cake

In the midst of wedding cake madness earlier this year, Lila's Mum phoned me and asked if I could make a cake for Lila's Mad Hatter's Birthday Tea Party. I couldn't think what to make for a while, then as I was reading (an abridged version of the story for tots) to my son, before bedtime one night, an idea started to form in my head, as I remembered the giant cupcake pan I had bought from one of those homewares clearance shops a little while ago, but, not had an excuse to use yet.

Lila's Mum liked the idea and asked me to also include red and white roses in the decoration, like painting the roses red in the story. She also asked for  an Alice figure on top of the cake.


This is only the second person I have modelled out of Sugar. I think she came out OK and like most things, each time I make one, I learn a little more and they get a little better.

Underneath, this giant cupcake is a vanilla sponge with raspberry jam and buttercream. The top swirly part of the cake is on a thin board to make serving the cake easier. The cake looks quite different without Alice on the top

Here she is on the finished cake

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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Berry Birthday Bundt Cake

A lot of people who enjoy my cakes, think that my husband must be very lucky to be married to me and have so many lovely cakes to eat. But, do you know what? He doesn't really like cake that much. With his Birthday approaching, I faced a little dilemma.

What sort of Birthday Cake do you make for the husband

that doesn't really like cake that much?

After much thought and mind changing I eventually decided on this berry bunt cake. I wanted to make a cake that looked so unctuously appetising that even a normally non-cake eater wouldn't be able to resist a piece.

This is the first can that I have ever baked in a bundt tin, I am so so pleased with the way it turned out. I used the Heritage bundt tin from Nordic Ware. Such a beautiful tin. When I started researching how to make one, I thought there were going to require a complex recipe with whisked egg whites or such like. To my great delight, it turns out they just require an ordinary pound cake, or equal measures type recipe. 

I added a few summer berries to my plain cake mix raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, baked it in my tin and look what popped out. I stood back in disbelief for a while, then called in my four year old son. I asked him whether he thought Daddy would like it?

"Daddy will like it so much he's gonna fall over"

For a Birthday Cake, I thought that I needed to spruce this up a little bit, so I started with a gentle dusting of icing sugar

Pretty, but not quite what I wanted, I made a little glace icing by mixing together some icing / confectioners sugar with a little hot water and then drizzled this over the cake, where it trickled in lovely rivulets between the swirls.

Hubby's Birthday tea is tonight, so we'll find out soon, whether he is tempted by the Berry bunt cake or not.


As mentioned above I discovered in my research that you use an "equal measures" mix for a bunt cake. It seems that four eggs is about right for a 10" pan like this one and five eggs for a 12" pan.

Start by pre-heating your oven to 170C / 330F

Prepare your tin by coating with melted butter and the swishing round a little flour or use a non stick spray.

Our local eggs are very large. I weighed four in their shells and they weighed 263 grams. I used the same amount of

  • baking margarine 
  • caster / superfine sugar and
  • self raising flour

I made my cake by creaming together the margarine and the sugar for about five minutes, then slowly beat in the eggs and gently folded in the flour untill just incorporated. Next I took

150g raspberries
150g blackberries
100g blueberries

and stirred them into the cake mix.

Pour the cake mix into the tin and give it a couple of good taps on the work surface to remove any bubbles and make sure the mixture travels all the way into the pointy swirls.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. When cooked, the cake will spring back lightly when pressed on top. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for a while then flip over and tip out

For my first time making a cake in a bunt tin, I am so pleased at how this turned out and can't wait to make another one!

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Sunday, 2 June 2013


One of my aims for this year is to learn more about the art of sugar flowers. I have had some goes before, some successful and some less so. I sometimes think that my nemesis, will be the sugar rose, as one can't really be a proper cake decorator until the art of the sugar rose is mastered and so far, I haven't made a sugar rose that I am happy with.

Ringing in my ears are the words of Ann Pickard when I went on her animal modelling course, I remember her saying that you can't make a pig if you haven't made a duck and I am hoping that the same theory applies to sugar flowers.

With this in mind, I have started with the most simple form of sugar flower, the blossom and have set myself a mini challenge of seeing how many different types of blossom I can make with one blossom cutter and a ball tool. Actually, I have used a set of three cutters, but, only one at a time and another tool or two may have snuck in when inspiration struck.

This blossom (5 petal) cutter is one of a set of four from Orchard Products. All the blossoms below are made from white sugar floristry paste.


Plain Blossoms

The largest size of blossom just cut and left to dry in a paint palette to give it some shape. Probably the first sugar flower that any of us ever made.


The Ball Tooled Edge Blossom

Just about every sugar flower you ever make starts with ball tooling the edge and so this is how I am going to start too. This technique took me a while to grasp, I read about it and watched Youtube videos about it until one day, the phrase I heard, that made the penny drop, was quite simply half-on / half-off. Meaning that your ball tool must be half-on / half-off your petal edge for the thinning to work. The other absolutely key thing is you must have cornflower / corn starch underneath.

I roll my petal paste quite thickly, as this is supposed to be easier for beginners. It is amazing how much the flower grows from its cut size.

The centres are piped with a little pipping gel mixed with superwhite, as I couldn't be bothered to make a whole batch of royal icing.


The Cupped Petal Blossom

The petals are cupped by using a ball tool, in a circular motion in the centre of the petal. This technique is  a little trickier than it looks. It needs a larger ball tool that you would imagine and a serious amount of cornflour / corn starch underneath. If the flower is moving around your ball tool in a circular motion, then you are probably doing this right.


The Triple Blossom

Three of the smallest sized blossoms, ball tooled lightly and arranged on top of each other and then the petals carefully raised around the tiny end of the ball tool to form the flower


The Delicately Veined Blossom

This is the smallest size of blossom again, lightly ball tooled around the edge and lightly veined with a frilling stick.


The Whirygig Blossom

This whirligig blossom was really fiddly to make and I am not sure I like it, though I thought Iwould show you anyway. It is made by cupping the petals, then cutting off the individual petals, pinching them to shape and them joining them back together again.


The Japanese Cherry Blossom

My favourite. This uses the largest size of cutter and the veining is created with a First Impressions Floramat veiner, you can get a similar result by pressing a shell tool on the petal. A little piping gel is used to pipe the centre and then tiny artificial stamens are added. I bought the stamens at my local sugar craft store. They are not edible, but they look sweet.


The Lace Blossom

The largest size of blossom, ball tooled and embossed with a lace mat. The lace mat had a bit of a blossom pattern to these are quite lovely just as they are, I added some gold pears thought for a bit of a vintage look

For the sake of clarity, the tools I have referred to are below, from top to bottom are shell tool, ball tool, frilling tool

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