Monday, 29 August 2011

To boldly go where no one has gone before....

My partner's name is Szymon. Susie's little boy, Will, had trouble saying Szymon and called him "Mushroom" for a time. The name stuck, and now we all call him Mushroom.

When I first started seeing Mushroom I was under the delusion that he was "cool". Then one day, while perusing through his book shelf, I saw his Star Trek Encyclopedia. The jig was up.

It was Mushroom's birthday the other day and we celebrated with some friends. What a great opportunity to bake a cake! A Star Trek cake! He requested a U.S.S. Enterprise cake. I googled this and there were many cakes shaped like the Enterprise, but they didn't look very good to me (apart from one particular cake which looked like it had been made by a team of professionals, and was big enough to feed the people at a Star Trek convention). So I thought it would be better to make a round cake and make a sugar figurine for the top. This is more up my alley anyway, I just love playing with play dough! (or in this case sugarpaste). In fact, being able to combine baking and play dough is a dream come true for me.

The U.S.S. Enterprise's parts.
I made all the lines on the spaceship with a toothpick, such a professional tool. It didn't take as long as you'd think! Next I had to paint details. I needed gold paint, a red texter and blue food dye, all edible of course. Then I had to wait patiently for the cake to be ready before I could assemble the figurine.
Yadda yadda yadda, white chocolate mud, 2 tiers, long story short...

The assembled figurine atop the space cake. The ball which looks like a mandarin is the planet Vulcan! There was much debate as to whether we should keep the planet or not. We eventually removed it.

The completed cake.
Mushroom, who is an aircraft engineer, informed me of structural errors in the spaceship and why it would be disfunctional. You know, because I was planning on sending it into space!

And without the planet. I can't decide which was best!

So, that's the Star Trek cake!


Sunday, 21 August 2011

I Heart Martha

When I was younger all I knew about Martha Stewart was that she could make a dining table out of two doilies and a roll of aluminium (or should I say aluminum?) foil and that she went to jail for insider trading. Boy was I missing out! Martha Stewart steers an empire that creates many amazing things, baked goods being high on the agenda. Check out her site here.  I hope you like it as much as I do.  

One of the creations that the Martha empire is responsible for is the much admired, much blogged about, much Pinterested (great invented word!), much copied Ruffle Tower Cake. 

Photo from

Have you ever seen a prettier cake in your life?  I have made a ruffle cake before with red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting but it just didn't have the same effect as this beautiful cake. Off white frosting just didn't cut it.  I had to make this cake in pink. It had been on my list of things to do for a while now.  I just needed an excuse!  I found two.  

Excuse number one involved the sugar flower I made earlier in the week.  

This flower needed a home.  I couldn't think of a better place for such a delicate, feminine creation than a Martha Stewart Ruffle Tower Cake! 

Excuse number two involved my beautiful husband's cousins who were coming to Melbourne from New Zealand.  They needed cake.  Everyone needs cake.  They needed a Martha Stewart Ruffle Tower Cake!  

The next thing that needed to be decided was what type of cake would go inside the pink ruffly goodness.  I think when the frosting is as dramatic and show-stopping as these ruffles are, a plain cake is what is in order.  I love plain cake.  The Martha recipe suggests a Tender Lemon Cake which sounds lovely but the recipe was enough to make three six inch cakes.  I needed a bigger cake than that.  Sure, I could have adjusted the recipe to compensate but I couldn't be bothered!  A wonderful blogger who often makes many-layered cakes came to my rescue.  Sweetapolita had a Classic Vanilla Butter Cake ready to be made with three eight inch layers.  Sold!  If you are interested in making this cake you can get the recipe here.  It was divine as all of her cakes are.  

So we had the flower.  We had the cake.  We needed the frosting.  We needed Swiss meringue buttercream.  

Please don't be scared.  It really isn't that hard.  I think it deserves another blog post in the future so I won't describe how it is made here.  Suffice is to say that Swiss meringue buttercream is amazing.  It is a subtly-sweet, velvety, silky, glossy buttercream that is an absolute dream to pipe.  The part I love the most about it is that it must be kept at room temperature so there is no need to worry about it spoiling.  It is my new favourite frosting.

So we have the cake, the flower and the frosting.  Put them all together...

...and you have...

I hope you love it as much as I do.  :-)

Susie.  xx


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

My humble return to baking. Part 3.

The final stage of this cake was not without hiccups. I'm so glad I did this project to relearn how to ice a cake properly! And the good people at the Specsavers head office will be my guinea pigs. So here it is:

It certainly isn't good enough to sell, but I now know what I need to buy and do to help improve my skills for the next fondant cake! So watch this space for great improvements!!!

Katy xx

P.S. Our Facebook page has many more cakes to look at!!/pages/Sweetie-Darling/150349245047190

Monday, 15 August 2011

My mediocre return! Part 2.

Well, I may have been slightly ambitious when I refered to myself cooking a cake as "triumphant".

Day two of the cake preperation.... genache!

I knew when I embarked on this project I would be reminded of skills that time long forgot. That's why I started with this cake. It's not for a special occasion and no one is paying me for it, so I can make as many mistakes as I like. I was very liberal with the mistakes today...

This is wrong wrong wrong.

And that's only the half of it. My bottom tier is a mass of broken cake which I have glued together with lots and lots of genache. I didn't take a photo because I was too busy sticking it all together. But it's ok, I will invest in the appropriate tools to do a better job next time. We learn and grow, learn and grow!

Anyway, after much cutting and pasting I have 2 tiers which vaguely resemble actual cakes, and I'm enjoying my next job:

Tomorrow we'll see if it all comes together...


Sunday, 14 August 2011

My triumphant return! Part 1.

Allow myself to introduce myself. My name is Katy and I have been baking for as long as I can remember. When I "grew up" I did a cheffing apprenticeship, thinking that I'd get to develop my love of baking, but I found that commercial cookery feels more like a hectic production line than a chance to nourish ones cullinary creativity, so now I'm a nurse/mum. Unfortunately I have had a 2 year hiatus from baking while my nursing career overtook much of my time.

Well, that's enough of that business. Here I am with a fabulous friend, who loves baking as much as I do, starting a new project which is my return to baking! I have never read a blog, let alone written in one, but Susie set this blog up and I simply can't pass up such a socially acceptable form of self indulgence.

Unfortunately, this is what arrived in my mail on Friday:

Appologies for the sideways image. I'm new to this.

I ordered this book a month ago and while it took it's sweet time arriving at Tullamarine (pronounced Tooli-mar-rinay, for those of you that aren't from Melbourne) I completely lost interest in losing baby weight and regained my love of cooking. Oh well, we'll pop that on the bookshelf for another day, ey?

So, what better cake to start with than my all time favourate cake: the Crabapple cook book's white chocolate mud cake! Seriously! It's so yummy it should be illegal!

Making this cake will be a 3 day exercise.

Day one... Baking the cake.

I have inlisted the help of my partner's son, Lochie aged 6, for this project. He is a very enthusiastic helper, although his artistic vision differs slightly from mine, as you will see later.

We made a 2 tiered cake, one dark chocolate and one white chocolate, being careful not to waste all the mixture on the actual cake so that we had enough for some decent cupcakes in the mean time.

Here's a product that I love:

Not that I'm here to advertise, but I just don't like Vanilla extract and I used to spend painstaking minutes scraping out vanilla beans and here's a product that's as good as the real thing and they have taken all the hard work out of it for me!!

Oh, and here's a tip:

Do not put paper cups into a hot tray or they will bend. Who knew? Oh well, every day's a school day!

So... the 2 tiered cake will not be ready for a couple of days, but here are some fabulous cupcakes young Lochie made:

He told me that one of them is fire, one is a sword, one is a pair of eyes and one is a mess! There was also a gun, but he was already eating that when I got the camera out. I don't know if I should be concerned about all of these edible weapons! He's a lovely boy, I swear!

Here are my efforts:

Stay tuned for the 2 tiered cake.............

Saturday, 13 August 2011

I simply must bake.

I am dieting.  And Katy and I are starting a baking blog.  These two things do not seem to marry.  Oh dear.  Help me!  What am I doing? You see the thing is, diet or not, I simply. must. bake.  It makes my heart sing!  I am trying not to bake for no reason (double negative, I know).  I don't want to see a blog post at seven am and be whipping up a cake at 715.  I need excuses. Any excuse will do!  I wonder if I am going to be making 'Congratulations! You ate your lunch!' cakes...

This week there was no better excuse than the third birthday of a lovely friend of ours.  He loves to eat cake, I love to eat bake cake.  Perfect.

I spend a lot of time reading baking blogs and one blog I particularly love is  She posts the most beautiful baked goods and her photography is spectacular.  I had been on a quest to find a great vanilla cake, or as the Americans call it, a white cake.  Sometimes your frosting is going to be so out of this world that you just want a plain but great tasting cake to compliment it, right? Well I thought I would try her vanilla cake out.

Here is the recipe for anyone who would also like to try it.

It looks so lovely, but this was for a three year old.  It needed to be a bit more obvious.  Enter a three-year-old helper,

some Wilton paste colours and some silver cachous...

and voila, a wonderful cake for a lovely little boy who loves cake.  I originally planned to colour the frosting a vibrant blue but once whipped it was so white and fluffy.  How could I ruin such whiteness and fluffiness? So white and fluffy it stayed.  Incidentally, Sweetapolita credited our very own Donna Hay for the frosting recipe.


Unfortunately I don't have great photos of the inside of our creation but you get the idea.

As you can see the birthday boy was quite excited to taste his cake.  With his fingers!

My little man and I had a great time making this cake. I'm looking forward to the next excuse.  :-)

Susie xx

And so it begins...

Welcome to our blog!  Katy and I are both budding cake decorators and we have decided to explore the possibility of making a bit of money out of something we are both passionate about.  We are just testing the water at this stage and we are both really excited about what is to come. This blog will tell the story of our venture - it's successes, failures and our plans for the future.  Watch this space!

Susie & Katy xx