Monday, November 29, 2010

Cupcakes and Christmas cakes galore!

Sunday evening and I am one pooped out cake baker!  Four nights of selling my cupcakes and Christmas cake for TLS have kept me very busy indeed.  As mentioned in my last post I have several orders for Christmas cakes and the opening night for TLS's "Dickens by Candlelight" was on Friday.  Last Wednesday  was "sneak preview" night at the theatre and naturally I brought my cupcakes along.  Not many people were there, but all who were, bought my cakes. :D  I brought along my Death by Chocolate, Bourbon Vanilla and a new flavour, Mincemeat and Brandy.  Those who are into raisins really liked the latter.  This was the first time I had gone public with my cupcakes, and it was a relief to see how well they were received.   And well received they continued to be, although being completely new to the game I wildly overestimated how many cupcakes would be needed.  Strangely the mincemeat and brandy cupcakes only sold well on the preview night.  Tonight I didn't sell any at all, which made me a little sad.  Perhaps I will withdraw that flavour and try lemon instead.  Death by Chocolate is definitely the most popular flavour, so I will definitely be making proportionally more of those in the future. My christmas cake was also very popular, especially with the English crowd that came.

Also, the director of the play and founder of TLS was delighted with the toppers I had made, which was good because I was a little nervous that they were too blah.  But they incorporated the group's colours, neon pink, yellow and green and thanks to an old-fashioned potato stamp, each colourful disc had the company logo on it.

So to date all my christmas cakes are all baked; nine round ones and three large sheetcake versions to be sold in slices at the theatre performances.  You should see my decorating "studio" a.k.a the basement; cakes, toppers, fondant on every available tabletop, counter and shelf.  Even the ironing board is doing double duty as a place to put the toppers until they have dried!  Right now I am a little concerned that my mail order for about 20 bags of marshmallows has not arrived and I am fast running out of fondant!!!!!

I also decorated this christmas cake for display purposes at the theatre in my colour; turquoise.  I'm otherwise very pleased with it except that it screams "Douglas GmbH" all over.  For all you non-German residents, Douglas is a chain-store specializing in cosmetics, perfumes and bath products.  Their signature colour is also turquoise.  Surprisingly, no-one at the theatre made the connection........

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Father's Day Cake

Strange as it may sound,  in some parts of the world it is Father's Day today.  So to celebrate I made a cake for my husband.  Yes, my daughter should have been the one to do this, but she was swamped with homework and tests to study for.....and I wanted an excuse to bake!  Since hubby detests fondant and buttercream, I  went for something completely different.   This is a vanilla sponge cake filled and covered with fresh raspberries,  blueberries and unsweetened whipped cream.  Then I covered the sides with chocolate cigarillos and the most non-girly ribbon I could find.  the result was very pleasing and my husband loved it!

In the meantime it has been a busy time in the kitchen for me.  I have been fortunate enough to get several christmas cake orders;  you know, those yummy, rich English fruit cakes covered in marzipan guessed it, fondant!  They need about a month or more to properly mature, so my cellar is getting crowded with all the cakes that are stored there.  Also,  I have been given a great opportunity to promote my cakes and cupcakes with TLS, a brand new theatre group.  Check out their website for more information at  They are putting on their first play, "Dickens by Candlelight", a modern interpretation of "A Christmas Carol" in Sindlingen.  Performances run for a month and I get to sell my cakes at the intervals!  Great opportunity, but lots and lots of hard work!  On top of all that I have been asked to make their cast party cake for the middle of December.

With all these orders my family is in serious danger of being neglected this Christmas.......but nevertheless I am very excited and full of all kinds of creative ideas at the moment.   I am also itching to practice making carnations and gerbera daisies; flowers that to date I have very little experience with, but would love to be able to make properly.  All in good time, all in good time!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Witch's Hat cake

Tonight I am a very happy blogger.  Since my last post I found a better tutorial on making marshmallow fondant; one that made extensive use of a KitchenAid mixer, and this time I hit the jackpot!  My fondant had the perfect consistency and with the addition of bourbon vanilla tasted devine.

About the same time I received an order for a Halloween-themed birthday cake, so naturally I was  keen to try out my new fondant.  The birthday girl had requested a Witch's hat, but could not decide on flavour or colour.  After a moment's thought and a twinkle in my eye I jokingly suggested a rainbow-coloured vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream filling covered with purple and orange fondant.  I figured this would cover all the bases, but she loved the idea!  And truth be told I loved every aspect of making this cake.
It was fun dividing up the batter and colouring each batch a different colour.  It's a pity I can't show you what a slice would look like......Anyway, since I didn't have the appropriate shaped cake pans to make this cake, I improvised with three different ceramic bowls, the smallest of which was a cereal bowl!  Once baked, cooled, torted, filled and stacked I had to trim the cake into shape.  To say I "sculpted" the cake would be a serious exaggeration.

Once the hat was covered in buttercream it was time for the best part, namely rolling out the fondant.  It was smooth, it was pliant.  There was not a crack or a crease to be seen.  This was bliss!  I felt like a professional!  It was also time to try my new imprinting mat, which worked a charm!  Positioning the fondant on the cake was somewhat tricky, as I really could have used an extra pair of hands to hold the fondant aloft while I shaped the very top of the hat.  However, both my kitchen elves are in England right now, and hubby was working late.  Nevertheless, I got the job done and all that remained were the hat band, star and moon decorations and the birthday message.  The letters and shapes I had made ahead of time, so that took no time at all.  On an impulse I decided to add pearl lustre to the whole thing.  Together with the patterned "fabric" of the hat, the lustre just made the whole thing better.

Tomorrow the Hat goes to it's new home and I hope it is well received.  Yet even without compliments this cake was truly a feelgood experience.  I get such a rush when things finally fall into place and work the way they're supposed to.  I've been doing cakes for friends and family for as long as I can remember, but working with fondant is a whole new area for me.  Every cake I make is a learning experience.  These days every free moment I have I am working on new techniques, or practicing the skills I already have.  I get an almost child-like sense of happiness when I'm up to my elbows in icing sugar creating flowers and figures out of fondant and icing.