Plundering Pirates – Part 2: Gidgegannup Show

It has been a big build up to the Gidgegannup Show and it arrived a little too quickly for my liking. I didn’t anticipate how much time our guests from the U.K. would take up, especially when play dates were cancelled etc. But I loved getting to know my little niece more and really enjoyed the time I spent with her.

I was up late finishing my pirate cake and was pretty happy with how it turned out. I do think my Halloween cake was better though. I had also planned to do a ‘Article From Moulded Fondant’, but I just didn’t have the time. So I am going to use that idea for the Wanneroo show :)

It was lucky I only made one cake, because the space allocation for the decorated cakes wasn’t very big at all. Only enough space for just a regular cake! Luckily my cake was first to arrive, and I paid for two entries, so first come first served (for space)!

I wasn’t able to attend the Gidgegannup Show as we were having an Australian birthday party for my niece, but my Dad was lovely and went to the show and took pictures of the winning cakes for me.

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth

I was just hoping not to embarrass myself after seeing the amazing cakes at the Perth Royal Show. So I was very excited to get third place at the Gidgegannup Show! Especially since it was the first time I have entered something into a show (besides when I was around 11 and showed my pony at the Wanneroo Show!) and I have never had any cake decorating lessons/workshops etc!

I also dabble a bit in photography and my Dad encouraged me to enter a photo of a swan I took in Boston. So I also decided to enter a photo I took of Makita’s paws and also a photo of a beautiful sunset in Langkawi.

Here are the photos my Dad took of the winning animal photographs.

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's LabyrinthMichelle's Labyrinth

Can you believe I got a second place for the animal category?!! When I arrived to drop my photos off there weren’t many photos up, but the ones I saw were amazing, so I didn’t think I had any chance at all. But my Dad must have a good eye since he really liked my swan photo (from Swan Lake in the Boston Public Gardens).

When I dropped my photos off the ladies loved the one of Makita’s paws (below on the left hand side) – they thought it was clever and had never thought of taking a photo of paws. As Dad walked around looking at the photos he said that a few people commented on the paws photo. So I might enter that one into the Wanneroo Show too.

Michelle's Labyrinth

These are the winning seascape photos:

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth

They are beautiful photos. Great effects and such clarity (especially with the boat one!). Below is the photo I entered, as I said I just loved the colours in it and also the way the waves are captured.

Michelle's Labyrinth




Plundering Pirates – Part 1: The Making Of

I am often asked where I get my ideas for cakes from and how I make them, so I thought I would walk you through the making of my cake for the Gidgegannup show. This is also the first cake that I have had an audience and also a helper – my almost 4 year old niece!

I have acquired a number of cake decorating and cupcake books over the past few years and often rummage through them to get ideas. Or if it is for a specific person I sometimes ask for suggestions or work out what they like, then I use Google to get even more ideas!

Once I have the theme for the cake I then work out how big I want to make it and get out the best cake board so I know what I am aiming for. If it is for a big cake, or a cake with lots of sections, I sometimes draw it so I know how big to make the sections or figures. And no I do not colour the drawing in (which my niece asked me last week), but I do sometimes write notes of things to add to the cake or colours I need etc.

Michelle's Labyrinth

Most of the time I use White Wings or Green’s cake packet mixes, as I am more interested in decorating the cake, although I am a pretty good cook and can make a cake from scratch if I want to.

For the cake I made for the Gidgegannup show I made a fruit cake. I had a plan for where the cake was going to end up (who it was going to be eaten by!), so I made a fruit cake since they last. You’ll have to wait for Part 3 to see who got to enjoy my Gidgegannup show cake!

I need to get a bit better at planning my cakes. Each time I go to make a fruit cake and read the recipe, I only then remember it recommends soaking the fruit in brandy for a week!!! Sometimes I am lucky to remember the night before… sometimes I let it soak for an hour or so! (And I forgot to take a picture of the fruit! My niece helped me pour all the fruit into the bowl and then tip the brandy in. She got brandy all over her little hands – don’t tell her Mum!!).

Michelle's Labyrinth    Michelle's Labyrinth

In the past I wasn’t a big sifter, I think I got that habit from my Mum. My cooking has never really failed because I haven’t sifted the flour etc! But since I was making 3 fruit cakes I thought I better do it properly in this instance.

I love using dark brown sugar. It smells like treacle and I love the way fresh brown sugar moves with you pour it out of the packet. It seems to settle slowly in the measuring cup. Like it is gradually seeping into the corners, getting comfortable.

Michelle's Labyrinth   Michelle's Labyrinth

The Christmas in July Cake ( was the first fruit cake I have ever made (section of the cake shown above on the right). And boy it was yummy if I do say so myself. I had a Lions Fruit Cake last year, the first one in a number of years, and it just didn’t taste as good as I remembered. My Mum is going to give me her Christmas Cake recipe, which was passed down to her from her Mum, this year and I cannot wait to make it! But if you ever want to make an easy yummy fruit cake, use this recipe:

Michelle's Labyrinth

While the cakes are cooking, which is usually 40-50 minutes (or 3.5 hours for fruit cakes!) I start to colour my fondant icing. I buy my fondant (Bakels White Icing Pettinice Ready to Roll Fondant 750g) from Balcatta’s Cake Tinz and Thingz ( and over the last few years I have also gathered a nice collection of colours!

I use the fondant to cover the cake and also to make my figures. My niece kept calling it Play-Doh, and sometimes I do think that it is like I am playing with Play-Doh! This is the first cake that I have covered the cake board with fondant. I noticed on Cake Boss and the cakes at the Perth Royal Show had their boards covered. I thought I did a pretty good job, but by the time the cake got to the show and put in its place there were cracks around the edges of the board.

Michelle's LabyrinthMichelle's Labyrinth

So as you make have guessed from the title of this blog post, the theme I chose for this cake was pirates! And as you can see I made 3 fruit cakes! And the next step is to cut the cake to shape, if required.

Here is the finished product of my pirate cake!

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth    Michelle's Labyrinth

My niece knows all about pirates from Walt Disney’s Peter Pan and as she was playing with some fondant I gave her, she was chatting away and mentioned a parrot and an anchor! Brilliant ideas!

Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth

I also remembered to include a figurehead at the prow of the ship – a mermaid of course!

Michelle's Labyrinth        Michelle's Labyrinth

Johnny Depp is one of my favourite actors if you haven’t guessed that already :)  So of course the captain had to be Captain Jack Sparrow. While making this cake I watched the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films. I did have to put the second one on hold when my niece was around. Her Dad told her it was just make believe, but I thought I would pause it after a while. I had to re-do Captain Jack’s legs, as he was almost a centimeter shorter than the other pirates, and that just would not do!

Michelle's Labyrinth     Michelle's Labyrinth

You’ll have to wait until Part 3 to see why it was important I included ponies on the jetty part of my cake.

Michelle's Labyrinth

The treasure chest is on of my favourite parts of this cake. I was pretty happy how it turned out and the gold and silver paints came out quite well.

I’ll let you know in Part 2 how I went at the Gidgegannup show.




All Hallows’ Eve

I wish we observed Halloween more in Australia –  I love the spooky and also any excuse to party or get together with family and friends. And of course Australia is a major agricultural producer and exporter that contributes approximately 12% of Australia’s GDP – so shouldn’t we have a harvest festival or honour Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds (depending on how you believe Halloween originated)!

I don’t understand people who complain that Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day are over commercialised. I guess Halloween is starting to fall into that category too, because there does seem to be more products available for purchase compared to years ago. But I do not think they are over commercialised, because just understanding the concept of ‘supply and demand’ means there must be a demand for the products, otherwise it would be Michelle's Labyrinthunprofitable to supply them! Also is over commercialisation a bad thing? Doesn’t it mean there are even more beautiful Christmas decorations available to buy; cheaper Easter Eggs because of the volumes (debatable); and more specific Valentine Teddy Bears purchasable (differing from teddy lingerie – an unfortunate ex-boyfriend make the mistake of seeing a Valentine special for silk teddies, thinking it was a silk teddy bear. Caused for an embarrassing situation at the store for him!). The products available in USA for Halloween are even cooler than anything I have seen here. These are some items I purchased in Maine this year.

Michelle's LabyrinthThe first thing to pop into my head each time I think about Halloween is the Disney cartoon The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I can clearly see the headless horseman, on his rearing black steed, holding a burning jack-o-lantern next to a covered bridge. About a week ago I watched The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on YouTube and it is scary! Probably why it is etched into my brain. I barely Michelle's Labyrinthremember the first part of the movie – a lanky teacher (named Ichabod Crane) with his head always in a book competing with a bustling burly man for the local beauty. I am wondering if around Halloween each year The Wonderful World of Disney had a Halloween special and just showed the last half of the movie, starting from when he enters the woods on his old horse after a party…

Michelle's Labyrinth

If you want to watch The Legend of Sleepy Hollow here is the YouTube Link:

Source:  (make sure you watch the 4 parts uploaded by )

My brother-in-law and niece were over from the U.K. for the past two weeks. Last Saturday we hosted a party where all my hubbie’s extended family and my brother-in-law’s old friends were invited. We were expecting around 50 adults and 20 kids so I wanted to make a big cake! I struggled with what I should make and hubbie couldn’t come up with any suggestions about things my bro-in-law especially likes. So since it was close to Halloween I thought a Halloween cake would be a great idea!

While making my latest creation I had a Tim Burton session. Tim Burton is one my favourite directors/producers/writers (all round artist!). So the inspiration for my Halloween cake included (watched in this order) The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Michelle's LabyrinthEdward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, and lastly Sleepy Hollow (Johnny Depp’s version of Ichabod Crane! I love Christopher Walken as the headless horseman – his teeth and eyes are terrifying!). Oh, and to the right is a photo of a covered bridge we went through a few times in Jackson, New Hampshire during our recent travels. I straight away thought of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow when I saw it and hubbie said “What about Beetlejuice?” Clever hubbie!!!!

So with no further ado I present my Halloween cake – where little kids (or monsters if you believe in monsters like I do!) are trick-or-treating at the eerie end of town. (And sorry for my friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter who had a “sneak peek” over a week ago! The wait for this blog must have been torturous for you! :P)Michelle's Labyrinth

The left half of the cake was a chocolate cake and the right side a vanilla cake. The most right-hand little purple guy is supposed to be a wizard. I wanted to put some stars on his purple cape/hat, but ran out of time. The spiders went down well with the kids at the party. The legs disappeared during the afternoon, and then after everyone had left my niece went up to what was left of the cake, grabbed a spider and bit his head off!

Michelle's Labyrinth       Michelle's Labyrinth

My favourite trick-or-treater is the Frankenstein (without his hair hubbie said he looked like Yoda!).

Michelle's Labyrinth       Michelle's Labyrinth

I am also very happy how the ghosts turned out, and the mummy! Then of course there is the witch, werewolf and Dracula. Hubbie kept saying the werewolf, before I put the ears on, was Chewbacca.

Michelle's Labyrinth    Michelle's Labyrinth

I love the way the tree turned out – very Tim Burtonesque. I really hope I did Tim Burton justice. Can you tell I had a great time making this? It took over 3 nights to make (hence why I could watch 5 Tim Burton movies)!

Michelle's Labyrinth

I am so glad I thought of a scarecrow. Supernatural Season 1, Episode 11 titled Scarecrow is a great scray episode. It’s about the towns people of a small rural town who scarifice couples to a pagan god (who materialises through a scarecrow) to ensure they get a good harvest that year. Fitting for Halloween don’t you think?

I just had an uncanny SMS from my youngest sister. She is watching Sleepy Hollow as this blog post is written!! I think I’ll end the post here. Hope you like my latest creation. :)



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...