Every cake I make challenges me in a new way. I sometimes needs to remind myself that I'm pretty new to celebration cakes (and making them for other people) and could maybe be a bit easier on myself. But the internet now is rich with amazing cakes and creations which inspire me, but make me want to create something equally magnificent.
This week I had the opportunity of making a Rugby World Cup Cake for a 7 year old where the brief included a replica rugby ball and having the logos of all the teams from the World Cup 2015 featured in the design. I found Cake Toppers who specialise in making edible cake toppers from your supplied images which worked very well for the logos. I produced an A3 sheet of logos and then cut down the images by hand to feature them on the cake and board. The rugby ball was made from rice crispy treats (rice crispies, butter and marshmallows mixed together and moulded into shape), then covered in fondant and decorated by hand with a mixture of cut-out letters, edible pens and coloured fondant. I was really happy with the result. The base board was the largest one that I could find which was 20 inches so it was a big board and a big cake!
The other cake I made was a Survival themed cake for a shared party of three boys. They wanted a tiered cake with a model tank on top and their names on dog tags. I'll come on to talk about the challenges with making camouflage fondant (!) but this had a hand-painted bottom tier and an airbrushed top tier - and I'm still completely in love with my Dinky Doodle airbrush and the finish that airbrushing gives a cake. The tank was made from rice crispy treats covered with fondant and then airbrushed. I found some cute letter stamps in Hobbycraft and I thought the font would work really well for this so it's always worth checking out other departments as you can find lots of little treasures, often with a lower price tag than anything connected with baking fetches these days.
So as well as every cake challenging me, it's always a first time for something. This week was first time I've made two celebration cakes in one week.
So what's it taught me?
Well, for one thing planning is key. The more you can get done earlier on in the week, the better for when you come to make the cake. I was extremely thankful that I made the rice crispy models (rugby ball and tank) ahead of time and finished the rugby ball before even starting on making the cakes themselves.
If you try something and it doesn't work, keep persevering until you get it right. Camouflage fondant seemed so straightforward in principle (and I even found a great pin on Pinterest for how to make it) but it didn't work (twice) and when I sat looking at the bottom tier at 10pm the night before pick-up, it was clear that it spectacularly DIDN'T work. Time to rip off the fondant, re-frost the cake, set it, re-cover it and then paint the camouflage design by hand. I was so happy that I made the call! The image below shows the first way I tried to make this (pre-rolling) and the second one was my hand-painted finish.
And finally, I see cake makers often working through the night and think to myself that I couldn't do that - I love my sleep too much. But the truth is that if you're going to take on multiple cakes that need delivering on the same day, sometimes you're going to have to work through the night to get them done. I actually found my groove dancing around the kitchen at 1am, 2am, 3am finishing details (although late night decorating is clearly not good when your manage to airbrush your kitchen green as well as your cakes and stain your children's feet green the next morning when they come down to breakfast!)
I have a few weeks coming up where I need to produce two cakes so this has been a great induction into the process. It's taught me how much can be achieved and a little more about the process that goes into making multiple cakes. I know some cake artists can produce four or five cakes a week - you amaze me, people!
Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend - whether enjoying your own birthday parties or just the sunshine :)