Biking & Canoeing

Last year in early December my friend’s 4 year old son asked me if I would make his Dad’s birthday cake (in front of about a dozen people around a table! But I thought it was really cute!). I knew his Dad was turning 40 in January and I had hoped they would ask me to make his cake.

A couple of weeks ago my friend said she had a couple of suggestions for the cake; she beat me to asking for some ideas! Her husband is into off-road bike riding and canoeing. So I thought that it would be a cool new challenge. I knew he was getting a new cycling outfit from his favourite local football team – Swan Districts. So I thought the cake was a great idea to keep in line with the cycling theme. We went out and bought a small bicycle – $3 from K-Mart! (K-Mart is really awesome with their prices at the moment!) And the rest of the cake was up to me.

Now I need to mention some adventures the bike went on. My friend’s son had a good play with it before I took it home. The seat was pulled off, the tyres were pulled off the wheels and it was navigated around. After I brought it home I was on the phone to someone and I had left the bike near the phone, so I started rolling it around. Now this $3 bike’s pedals moved when the back wheel was spun, which I thought was pretty awesome! So I kept rolling it until a pedal came off! As I was rolling it I had been unscrewing the nut! Oops! So I then had to get it back on, which was a bit of an operation. Then I was on the couch taking some measurements of the bike so I knew how big the cyclist needed to be. Absentmindedly I put my pad, pen and bike down on the couch. At some stage later I picked Hamlet (one of my new puppies) up to give him a cuddle. Next thing I know he picks the bike up and charges off with it. I jumped up and rang after him outside, my husband not knowing what had happened! I extracted the bike from Hamlet and knew that it needed a good soak in washing liquid, if it didn’t need it before, it sure did now!

I felt a bit off this week. Not sure if it was the weather, if I just needed some down time or what? So I ended up leaving my cake decorating quite late on Friday. The picture of the cake was formed in my head around Tuesday, so I knew what I needed to do. I wanted to tackle people fondant figures, bigger than I think I have done before. I have seen some awesome ones on Facebook, so I did some Googling about how to do it. The best two blogs I read are below:

http://www.eat-the-evidence.com/tutorials/fondant-figure-modelling-101/
http://bakehappy.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/fondant-figures-tutorial-little-girl.html

One bit of exciting news – just after Christmas I received in the mail a new silicone fondant mat. A friend from my old work gave me two A4 (29.7 x 21 cm or 11.7 x 8.3 inch) sized silicone mats. They are brilliant. When rolling the fondant, it just stuck to my granite bench, even with lots of icing sugar. I was using baking paper sticky taped to the bench sometimes! So when I received these mats they were a god-send. But if I wanted to cover a big cake it got a little difficult. Sometimes the two mats would separate. I had a look in lots of stores but just couldn’t find silicone mats. There were some good ones on Amazon.com, but they wouldn’t post them to Australia. I googled and could not find any on-line stores in Australia. So what next? EBay! And guess what? I got the best silicone mat! It’s 90cm by 60cm  (36 x 22 inch)! This was the first time I used it and I loved it. I still didn’t do a perfect job on the fondant covering, but I was a little rushed! (I had to do the cyclist fondant figure three times!)

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So here is the cake! Everyone seemed to like it. Michelle's Labyrinth

As I mentioned I had difficulties with the cyclist as I first wanted him riding the bike, then standing next to it, but ended up having him sitting down next to the bike. He had not fallen off, but was sitting down watching the canoeing! Also notice the cyclist is wearing black and white – Swan Districts colours! The person canoeing has a orange life jacket one :)

Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth To try and cover up some previous scratches on the cake board, I put ‘Happy Birthday Gavin’ there and covered the letters and some of the board with edible gold dust. Once the candles were blown out and the kids were investigating the cake, I told them the gold dust and letters were edible… so of course they were pulled off and eaten! (Also notice the log jump, including groves where the bicycles slice it if they hit it when going over! It was an idea from the birthday boy! :)  )Michelle's Labyrinth

Do you like my butter-cream river water? One of the kids at the party asked for a piece with the deep blue sea! So cute! Michelle's Labyrinth

And here is a picture of my two new assistant bakers! Their jobs are to behave and stay in the one spot if they are in the kitchen! Michelle's Labyrinth

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year – 2013!

2012 was an interesting year. It included some tough bits and some amazing times. I am very grateful for my chance to have some time off work and enjoy exploring my creative side. I am very thankful my family and friends are well. I miss my crazy little princess Makita, but I am completely in love with my new babies – Hamlet and Macbeth. I love my hubbie dearly and can’t believe we have been together 15 years!

I have been very busy making as many cakes as possible and haven’t blogged about them all yet! One of the first cakes I made on my sabbatical was my Dad’s 65th birthday cake. For his birthday I got Dad & Mum tickets to see the play The Mousetrap – an Agatha Christie’s murder mystery who-done-it. Before hubbie and I went to the U.K. the first time, Dad mentioned he had always wished he had seen The Mousetrap while he and Mum had lived in London. Hubbie and I were very lucky and got to see The Mousetrap in 2001. So when The Mousetrap came to Perth we took my parents to their first play! Thankfully I have a pretty bad memory and had forgotten who-done-it!

On Dad’s actual birthday Mum arranged for my two sisters and I to have lunch with her and Dad. It has been a very long time since just the 5 of us had had a meal together. So I could give Dad something on his actual birthday I made his birthday cake!

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Long story short, Dad and Mum used to own a winery. I modelled Dad’s birthday cake on one of his wine bottles. Amazingly hubbie still has a couple of Dad’s bottles of wine in his wine collection.

Michelle's Labyrinth    Michelle's Labyrinth

Dad seemed pretty chuffed with the cake and even took a picture of his on his mobile phone – that was a first for me to see! A lady also came up to us and asked where we got the cake from – ‘I made it!’ and then she said “Happy Birthday Old Man!”… Dad was not impressed but the rest of us laughed quite heartily (don’t tell him this, but he definitely does not look 65!).

My friend’s Mum who goes to craft with us had her birthday on a craft day, so I made her a cake! She cannot eat chocolate so I made a butter cake with sultanas. Besides craft she is also an avid dart player, so I made her a dart board! I had to google what they look like, to ensure I got the numbers right! She seemed to really like it and made sure she took home the 20 section!

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Another cake I made quite recently wasMichelle's Labyrinth a truck cake! My lovely friend gave me a cake book for my sabbatical present! (I love encouragement!). One of the cakes in the book had donuts for tyres, and her son asked if I would make him a truck cake for his birthday. He waited patiently for almost six months, but he got it in the end! Now he is 4 years old, he is also allowed in my car! My convertible can’t fit baby seats in it, but now he is on a booster seat! So hopefully the weather is nice this Friday coming up, so he and his sister can FINALLY go for a ride in my car with the roof down. The cake seemed to be a hit including with the male adults. They liked the tread I put on this tyres :)

Michelle's Labyrinth    Michelle's Labyrinth

I made the last cake for 2012 yesterday (it’s after midnight!). We were invited to my sister’s place for New Year’s Eve. I asked her if I could bring anything and she said no and listed what she had organised. So I asked if I could make a cake – my niece and nephew are my biggest fans! She said sure. So I whipped up a cake!

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I found out that 2013 is the year of the snake, Michelle's Labyrinthwhich I am happy with! I was born in 1977 which is a snake, so hopefully that means this year will be a great year! (I know that Chinese New Year isn’t until the 10 February 2013, but it is what I wanted to do!) I knew there were going to be four kids at the party, so I made sure that there were four small snakes! While doing my research it said that red was good luck, so I made a red cake with a little bit of fairy dust.

I really need to practice writing on cakes and I also need to remember that writing gel smudges if covered with GLAD Wrap! In 2013 I would like to dramatically improve my writing, piping and flawless fondant.

2013 is now upon us. I hope everyone has a prosperous year full of health, love, fun times, travel, exciting news and that some of your dreams come true.

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Wanneroo Show – Part 1: A Very Merry Christmas

It’s been a month since I entered some cakes and photos into the Wanneroo Show so I better update you on what I made. I’ll say right from the top that I didn’t win in any of the categories I entered and I agree with the judges on all but one photography category. I got in trouble from a friend after my Gidgegannup posts that I made you wait until the second post before telling you if I won anything, hence why I told you the result now!  LOL! 😀

This post is about the cake category – “Decorated Cake, one tier. Fruit cake only. Suitable for a Christmas Cake.” The following cake is the one that won and I totally agree it was amazing. The detail on the Santa and reindeer is terrific. I love the border and skirt of the cake.

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The following cake came second. It is a good cake but I think it is quite plain.

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The next two cakes were pretty cool and a lot more detail than what I did.

Michelle's Labyrinth  Michelle's Labyrinth

The following elf cake is amazing. I think it should have won a place. You can see how big it was compared to the beach Santa cake. I love it!

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The next cake is mine. You will probably recognise that it is very similar to the Christmas in July cake I made, but this one is all fruit cake. I also covered the board with fondant and put a ribbon around the edge of the cake board. I wanted to put a scarf around the snowman but ran out of time.

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The judges for the cake decorating categories give you comments. The comments I received for this cake were: “Thank you for entering. Cake covering needs practice. Piping around base of cake will seal it to the board and finish it off. Also it is another technique to learn. Love your penguins. See you next time.”

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I am not sure if I mentioned it before, but when I made the Craft with Friends cake, one of the ladies at craft asked if I would make their Christmas cake for the last day of the year. I said of course, I was honoured. So when I decided to make a fruit cake for the Wanneroo Show I thought I would then take the cake to craft. All the ladies seemed to really enjoy it. The cake was still very moist. All my figurines were snaffled up and many of the ladies took a piece home for their husbands. I was so glad it was all eaten and enjoyed. (I love the outline of where Santa was sitting – see below right photo!)

Michelle's Labyrinth   Michelle's Labyrinth

The other day my friend and her two kids came over to visit so I made some Christmas cupcakes! Any excuse right? I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a lovely New Year. I’ll try and keep the posts coming and hopefully more often!

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