About Michelle

I love books, movies, TV, cake decorating, walking, taking photos, travelling and excel (ha!).

Bubble Bath Cake

I have another cake to show you! I still have a few cakes I haven’t blogged about and there is a special reason why I picked this one to show you next – but you’ll have to wait to the end of the post to see why (unless you guess sooner)! This cake is from September 2014 and I made it during cake decorating class.

I loved the last term of cake decorating class I went to. I was very excited about the project our teacher had planned for us and I think it turned out better than I thought it would. The project was bubbles!

When we were first told that we were making the bubbles out of gelatin we all grumbled! (We are called the ‘Naughty Class’ for a reason). A few terms previous we had made gelatin flowers. Although the flowers turned out quite pretty, they were a pain to make!Michelle's Labyrinth Gelatin Lily

Michelle's Labyrinth Gelatin FlowersFor the gelatin flowers we bent florist wire into the shape of the petals and then one by one we dipped the petals into a gelatin concoction. We tried to get the gelatin to cover the petal like you would dipping a ring into bubble solution (for blowing bubbles), but the gelatin kept popping. It took us pretty much four hours to cover the petals in gelatin twice! The second layer was a lot easier because the gelatin covered Michelle's Labyrinth Gelatin Rosethe previous layer.

The next two hour class we spent taping the petals together to make the flowers. This was also a scary task, because if we were too rough with the petals, or if the gelatin wasn’t thick enough in places, then we could cause rips.

So even though the two flowers we made were quite spectacular, when our teacher mentioned gelatin we groaned! Our teacher tried to convince us that it would be easier this time and she ended up having to show us a picture of what we were going to make – that is when I got excited! We were going to put the bubbles on a spa bath!

The first couple of classes we made theMichelle's Labyrinth Gelatin Bubbles bubbles. We blew up water balloons to the size we wanted and then dipped them into different coloured gelatin solutions with luster dust in it to give the bubbles a sparkle. We covered the balloons twice with gelatin to ensure they would keep shape. The following week, after the gelatin had tried completely, we popped the balloons and removed them carefully from the gelatin bubble – sounds easier than it was! But we made bubbles!

Quite a few class members made this Michelle's Labyrinthcake out of an oval Styrofoam cake dummy, but I decided to make a fruit cake. I wasn’t sure who I would end up giving the cake too, but since I knew a fair bit of time was going into it I wanted to make it for someone.

This is what my cake looked like when I finished the term. I had missed a week due to a sore wrist so I wasn’t able to finish it. But I was still quite chuffed with it! I also wanted to show you the cake at this stage so you could see the blue piping gel. I am not sure what it tastes like, because I chickened out on tasting it, but it looks cool as water! Apparently it also makes good blood when coloured red – something I wouldn’t mind trying out one day!!

My Dad’s birthday is in August, but I didn’t get to see him because he was walking a section of the Bibbulmun Track (a long distance walk trail in Western Australia that runs from Kalamunda, east of Perth to Albany). Dad had to cut the hike a bit shorter than he hoped due to a disagreement between his new boots and his feet! But it meant that I could see him on Father’s Day. Dad’s loves fruit cake and his feet would have loved a spa bath – so I gave him my spa bath cake for Father’s Day!Michelle's Labyrinth

While finishing the spa bath I watched BBC’s Pride and Prejudice and I was able to catch a photo of Mr Darcy himself. As I have mentioned before I really enjoy painting, so I had fun adding a little bit of gold to my cake and board. I wanted it to look like a bathroom in a ritzy hotel, but I didn’t want it to look too gaudy. And do you like how I made it a clawfoot bathtub?Michelle's Labyrinth

You might have guessed, I chose this cake to blog about because it is Mother’s Day today (well in Australia and U.S.A.). I hope this puts a good omen into the universe that all Mothers have a relaxing day (and possibly have a spa bath!?) and are spoilt rotten by their children.

Michelle's LabyrinthMichelle's Labyrinth

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL MUMS!!!

Michelle's Labyrinth

 

 

 

 

Golden Anniversary

I have been sitting here for about ten minutes and do not know how to start this blog post. I have a little cold and I think it is impeding my creativity. Well as you may have guessed from the title I made a cake for a 50th Wedding Anniversary!

Late last year my hubbie’s Aunty calledMichelle's Labyrinth to ask if I would make a cake for her brother and his wife for their 50th wedding anniversary. They live in Queensland, but they were married in Perth and were coming over to celebrate their anniversary here. Aunty had the idea of me replicating the wedding cake and she would show me a photo at Christmas. I was honoured to be asked and said I would make it and would definitely “try” to replicate the wedding cake.

When I saw the wedding cake I was excited (the cake had pillars), scared (the cake had pillars) and a little thrown (the photo of the cake wasn’t very clear)! The photo of hubbie’s Uncle and Aunty is a beautiful one of them, but the cake is overexposed. I could see ribbon, flowers and pillars, so I was sure I would be able to make something that resembled their wedding cake and I had a few months to think about it.

A couple of months ago I did have a thought – what were the colour of the flowers! I assumed they were white when I first saw the photo, but of course the photo is in black and white. So they could have been pale pink or pale yellow or even something else. I Michelle's Labyrinthmessaged hubbie’s cousin (who was co-organising the party) and she came back saying that they were gardenias, which I was happy about because I have made a gardenia before.

About the same time I tried correcting the overexposure of the photo. I didn’t have too much success, but I had a better idea about how many flowers there were and that there was ribbon on each tier. I liked that the boards weren’t covered in fondant, because that gave me a great excuse not to cover my boards with fondant – a cost saving too. I also noticed these tall thin things on the corners of the bottom layer but had no idea what they were so decided to ignore them. I found out at the party that they were long candles that were used to light prayer candles at their church – I’m glad I didn’t Michelle's Labyrinth Golden Anniversary Petalsstress about finding out what they were! I also decided that I wouldn’t be able to match the ribbon exactly, so I would go down a different path and use gold ribbons – well the 50th is the golden anniversary!

Before I show you the cake I wanted you to know that it did take me a while to make even if it looks relatively simple. The cake is made up of seven cakes, so I spent a day baking. I’ve tried baking more than one cake at a time before, but I don’t have the biggest oven and when you cook more than one it takes longer than the recipe, so I end up checking Michelle's Labyrinth Golden Anniversary Cake Gardeniait ten times ensuring they don’t over cook (which makes it hard to multi-task). So now I cook one at a time. I also had a production line of buds and petals! And it was only once they were dry I realised I missed making the petals “cup” at the base! I was worried they wouldn’t fit around the bud, but thankfully I made them work – so didn’t have to spend hours making more petals! See I am always learning! And I just need to write this down so it sinks in – if making ribbon fillers again always buy more ribbon than you think. I think I had over 10 metres of the three small gold/white ribbons, but it was probably only half of what I actually needed. Michelle's Labyrinth Golden Anniversary Cake

I was definitely excited and scared about constructing this cake! One of the ladies at Cake Tinz N’ Thingz guaranteed me that pillars were really easy, and that the dowels in the pillars hold the weight of the middle and top tiers and not the actual pillar. Plus the dowels make the pillars sturdy, so no wobbling! And she was right! It was easy and the cake stood! So here is my 50th anniversary cake inspired by the wedding cake:Michelle's Labyrinth Golden Anniversary Cake  Michelle's Labyrinth Golden Anniversary Cake

The 50th wedding anniversary party was lovely and the inspirational, special couple were reunited with many old friends. The “bride” said the cake was a lovely, modern version of the original.

Michelle's Labyrinth Golden Anniversary CakeMichelle's Labyrinth Golden Anniversary Cake

And even better – the cake was eaten and enjoyed! Bottom layer was chocolate – which the kids were happy about. Middle tier was a sultana butter cake – my favourite! And the top tier was my fruit cake – which I hear is being saved for their 51st wedding anniversary!Michelle's Labyrinth Golden Anniversary Cake

You’ll never believe, but the folded card behind the top tier is the actual wedding invitation! My mother-in-law kept it all these years!

That’s right, I remember one last thing I wanted to mentioned (sorry head is still a little furry!). I also airbrushed the white cakes with Pearlescent White metallic food paint. I am not sure if you can really tell, but I thought it would give it a little extra pizzazz. I was definitely happy when the cake was set up at the venue, that is for sure. A huge relief! I hope you think I did justice to the original cake. Well until next time, be happy! :)

Michelle's Labyrinth Golden Anniversary Cake

 

 

 

Viking Ship

Early February a friend of my youngest sister asked if I would make a cake for her friend’s birthday. When she mentioned that she wanted a cake with a Viking ship on the cake I was sold! And to seal the deal the birthday girl has her own shield design that I was asked to put on the cake, possibly as a sail. I was also happy she wanted the ship to be on the cake (as opposed to being the cake), I have seen many carved cakes and I wanted to do something more delicate and without the worry of cake carving!

We decided to put the shield onMichelle's Labyrinth Viking Ship the sail and that I would make the sail out of paper (due to time and cost constraints). Because I am always in front of the computer I started playing with the shield early. I am glad I did because it didn’t print very well on my printer, so I made the black blacker and the red more red. I also didn’t want the sail to be white – I didn’t think Vikings ship’s sails stayed white for very long, if ever at all! So I made the white part of the shield transparent and then tested printing the shield on various backgrounds to hopefully get a sail-like look.

Floki-loves-his-boat-vikings-tv-seriesMy next decision was what Michelle's Labyrinth Viking Shipfigurehead should I give the ship. I automatically thought of a mermaid, but after some research found out that Viking ship figureheads were menacing in their appearance with bug-eyes and gaping jaws. The figureheads were seen as having a more protective function of warding off spirits rather than just being ornamental. So after browsing through many photos I finally found this photo of Floki from the TV Series Vikings hugging his boat, so this is where the inspiration of my dragon figurehead came from.

I had fun making the other little parts of the ship. I made the oars from skewers and the mast from a couple of dowels and I even painted them (and the string on the mast) with some food colouring to make them darker. I then painted the shields. I really wanted to have the shields on the side of the ship because they added a bit of colour. The shields would only have been tied over the oarports when the ships were in port, and not when the ships were actually sailing. The shields were essential for protection in battle and Vikings would not want to risk dropping them overboard! I told this to my sister’s friend and she said she acknowledged the shields weren’t entirely correct, but it looked cool anyway!Michelle's Labyrinth Viking Ship

Time came to make the cake and cover it in water. It was then that I realised I made the ship a little bigger than I originally thought I would, so the ship sat over the edge of the cake a bit. This made my original idea of the waves splashing up the front of the ship a bit hard, plus I still hadn’t worked out how I was going to do that and I didn’t want to hide any part of my figurehead. So I thought I would marble the blue fondant with white so it looked like the ocean, but I was wasn’t having a good day and the fondant just would not marble. So I just covered the blinking (yeah I was getting frustrated by this stage) cake with blue fondant. Then I got a tear in the fondant that I just couldn’t fix so I needed another plan!

I put the tear at the back of the cake, but it didn’t look great and I knew people would be looking all around the ship. So I had an idea of covering up the tear with the wake of the ship. I had better luck marbling smaller amounts of fondant and then I added some bubbles. I thought it looked pretty cool so I added some waves on either side of the cake to finish it off. I hope you like my waves!Michelle's Labyrinth Viking Ship

Michelle's Labyrinth Viking Ship Michelle's Labyrinth Viking Ship

I originally toyed with the idea of making a couple of Viking men for the ship, but really didn’t have the time to make them. So I played with a couple of Viking Lego men and took a few photos. I then had fun with photo editor!

Michelle's Labyrinth Viking Ship Michelle's Labyrinth Viking Ship

Last month my Dad said he didn’t know how I had the patience for cake decorating, but I find it quite calming sitting there, moulding or painting with a movie on in the background. I think it is has been quite good for me because I sometimes need to think of ways to cover up mistakes, or new ways to do things if they don’t work the first time. There are no mistakes in accounting, you just have to get it right (although that can take some time reconciling!). So it is a new type of thinking for me, which is exactly why I wanted to do something creative in my life – to help me think outside of the box!

Time for me to sail off into my dreams! Good night all :)Michelle's Labyrinth Viking Ship

 

 

 

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