Thursday 5 September 2013

Let them eat cake!

Sushi cake
A fully-loaded sushi table cake
I've spent most of today baking and decorating a tenth birthday cake for our niece, Maria.  Cake decorating is my idea of a really, really good time.  It's only surpassed by eating a cake that someone else has made for me.  I've been decorating cakes as a hobby for about seven years now, and while I might tear my hair out occasionally when things go wrong, it's immensely satisfying when it all comes together.

One of the nice things about cake decorating is that it allows me to take the beautiful designs that I dream up in my head and am utterly incapable of putting on paper--I am rubbish at drawing--and turn them into almost-perfect fondant works.

I thought I'd take you with me on a trip down my (cake-tastic) memory lane.  So, without further ado, here are some of my favourite cakes!

A close-up on the little sushi cakelets
A close-up on the sushi. I hand-rolled a lot of rice
I made this Sushi Cake for Dave's birthday a few years ago after he got hooked on sushi.  It was a lot of fun to make, despite being pretty complex.  The design comes from Elisa Strauss's Confetti Cakes book and has really great instructions.  I learned a lot from making this one!

Thor's hammer, in cake form.
Lucas attempts to wield Mjolnir
In case you're having trouble reading the inscription, I'll save you cricking your neck: "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor."

This is another cake that I made for Dave, before the Thor movie came out.  It's Mjolnir, Thor's hammer, fallen from Asgard to the desert.  I couldn't quite pull off the crater effect that I wanted, but there are some fun little cacti and bits of rubble dotted about.  (Lucas was super-sad that he was unable to wield the hammer and become Thor.)

A Bertie the Bus cake
Bertie the Bus cake with his plastic inspiration
I made this Bertie the Bus cake (from Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends) for Lucas's second birthday when he was utterly obsessed with watching Thomas and got super-excited when the episode had Bertie in it.  He used to toddle around clutching his little toy Bertie in his chubby hand.  It was adorable.  Every cake is a learning experience and with this cake I learned that making your own red fondant is a nightmare.  Even with Extra Red gel colouring you'll never get it the right sort of red.  Just shell out and buy ready-made.

Triceratops cake, made for a dino-mad three-year-old
Triceratops cake--so much fun to make!
A year later and Lucas was now obsessed with dinosaurs.  He had a rhyming book of dinosaur poetry that we had to read to him every night.  The triceratops was his favourite, so I spent ages carving it out of a couple of loaf cakes.  It's amazing how inventive you get when you have kids!  Right at the back is a baby T-Rex, just hatched from the eggs the nest.

Christmas pudding cake with a festive handcrafted mouse in front
Christmas pudding cake
This is probably my favourite cake ever.  I made it for a Guess The Weight of the Cake competition at a friend's school.  I still love the little mouse; painting him totally brought him to life!

Lastly, I was honoured to be asked by my little brother to make a traditional Bajan (Barbados) Rum Cake for his wedding last year.  I had a hell of a time making royal blue gerberas--amazing how much gel you need to get the colour right!--but it all came good in the end and the cake survived an 8-hour drive.  I was so proud to see it on a silver cake stand beside the official wedding cake.  It's their first anniversary on Sunday--Happy Anniversary Alan and Gemma!

Traditional Bajan rum cake for my brother's wedding
A dressed-up Bajan rum cake for my brother's wedding
I hope you've enjoyed my little trip down memory lane.  I've got Lucas's seventh (!!) birthday coming up, so I need to get my thinking-cap on for that...

PS. I'm thrilled to have been nominated for a Liebster award by Annatha from Prattle and Froth!  Thanks so much, Annatha, I'll answer your questions at the weekend!


  1. Wow!! Those cakes are brilliant, Angela! I like decorating cakes too ... my speciality is penguins made from modelling icing ... but my cakes don't look half as good as yours! x

    1. Thanks, MissMelvis! I am a total sucker for penguins--how can anyone not love them--so I'm sure I'd love one of your cakes! xx

  2. That sushi cake is INCREDIBLE!
    Wish I was a better baker
    M x

    1. Thanks, Michelle! There were a few step-by-step pictures on the web when I made it, and the instructions in the book were v.detailed, so I couldn't go far wrong!

      Baking is, as they say on Masterchef, all about precision. Measure your ingredients, get your oven to the right temperature, use the right tin, and away you go! And if it all goes wrong, make a trifle with the results and pretend that was your intention all along! xx

  3. They look amazing, you're a very talented baker! I love the dinosaur xx

    1. Awww, thanks Annatha! I only get to decorate cakes two or three times a year these days, so I tend to go a little overboard! Triceratops was a fun cake to make!

  4. Such amazing cakes! The dino one is amazing, and I love the detailing on the little mouse - so cute!
    It's Dylan's 2nd birthday on Tuesday and I've set myself a bit of a challenge with his cake this year! I might post it on the blog if it goes well haha :) xx

    1. Thanks, Chelsea! I thought you did really well with Dylan's cake! Hope he enjoyed his party xx

  5. Beautiful cakes,Angela! My favorite has got to be the sushi cake. Amazing!

    1. Thanks, Ritchil! It was a really fun cake to make, and tasted great, too!


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