Rugby Union 70th Cake

Last year a friend asked me to make her Dad’s 70th birthday cake in February. Can you believe that there are only 3 days left in February? I definitely can’t. But it means I have made my second cake in 2015! And this cake came with its challenges!

I love how with each cake I seem to learn something new, or need to research a new technique or a solution to an issue. I always ask my family or friend what they would like the cake to look like and this time my friend came back with quite a specific cake – a blue 7 and a yellow rugby ball as a zero so it looked like a 70. The blue and yellow were to be the colours of Nedlands Rugby Union Football Club. That didn’t sound too bad until she mentioned that it was for approximately 60 people! Michelle's Labyrinth Rugby Cake

My biggest dilemma was how to make a 7 and a rugby ball feed 60 people. I went into Cake Tinz and Things and they had cake tins for a 7 and an American rugby ball, but looking at the tins they looked like two normal sized cakes, in other words would feed about 15-20 people. So I asked the lady what I should do to turn the cake into one that fed 60 people – would I need to put the 7 and rugby ball on a slab of cake? She said 7 and ball would feed 30 (coffee* serve) and that I would just need to make a 7 inch square cake for the additional 40 servings – I have learnt this spare cake is called a ‘kitchen cake’. A kitchen cake is an undecorated cake that looks exactly like your cake when cut and is cheaper than a decorated cake. By also making a kitchen cake, it would save me from the hassle of using cake supports in a stacked cake. But what would my friend think? And would she be happy with coffee serves?

I gave my friend 3 options and sheMichelle's Labyrinth Rugby Cake decided on dessert* serves and she was happy to have a square kitchen cake too and asked for a birthday message on it as well. With the 7 cake I also decided to carve it from a large square tin, because I didn’t think the 7 tin looked very wide and I also wanted to ensure the height of the 7 matched the length of the rugby ball. I would like to thank Tanya from Coxie’s Cakes for suggesting that! So my next challenge was baking, carving and covering!

*Coffee Size: 1 inch x 1 inch x 4 inches (2.5cm x 2.5cm x 10cm)
*Dessert Size: 1 inch x 2 inches x 4 inches (2.5cm x 5cm x 10cm)

I was very happy with the baking and carving. I was surprised I carved the 7 so straight! And I also carved a layer under the rugby ball tin cake and shaped it like an actual ball. The covering of the rugby ball was also a success and I was happy with how smooth it was – until 30 minutes later when a bubble appeared in the fondant with a diameter of approx. 7 cm! I couldn’t believe it. So I pricked it and tried to squish the air out and it didn’t look too bad. But then a little while later another bubble appeared! This time when I pricked it the air wouldn’t come out so I tried to smooth the air out of the bottom of the fondant, but it caused creases in the fondant. A frown appeared on my face! As this was happening I was also trying to cover the 7, which of course had issues itself – it was hard to get a smooth fondant covering on the inside of the 7 without splitting the fondant. I was so close, but no cigar. I got a tear in the fondant. I think at this stage I decided to put my feet up because they were killing me. When I got back up there was another bubble in my rugby ball! It was well past bedtime and I couldn’t stay up all night popping air bubbles, and I couldn’t leave the bubble overnight because the fondant would harden and wouldn’t be pliable – so I cut a slit into the bubble. I got all the air out, but it didn’t look pretty at all. I left it to morning to sort out.

Michelle's Labyrinth Rugby CakeMichelle's Labyrinth Rugby Cake

When I was first imagining these cakes I was unsure how to ensure the yellow rugby ball would be identified as a rugby union ball. So I Googled – my saviour. What did we do before Google? And decided I would make it a Gilbert brand, which is the brand used by Nedlands Rugby Union FC. To keep it to theme I put blue strips on the ball – the strips are wider than the actual balls, but it sure hid the bubble flaws well! I thought the ball turned out quite well. Phew!

The 7 was a bit of a dilemma. I was unsure whether I should leave flaws on the 7, or try to cover it with a square on fondant – which would identify I didn’t do the best fondant covering. I finally opted for the square covering and depending on the angle you look at the cake, it wasn’t terrible. I can say it was a huge relief when the cakes were picked up! I also got a lovely message from my friend when she saw it – I was so relieved! But yesterday I saw a photo of the cake and the fondant looked a little worse for wear on the outside of the 7! Ahhh!! My friend and her hubbie still seemed so happy, and her hubbie even said the cake was “created by the ever so excellent cake creating master sculptor funky icing artisan Michelle”… how nice is that!? :)Michelle's Labyrinth Rugby Cake

So I learned some new termsMichelle's Labyrinth Viking Cake about cakes, I had some happy friends but I also had left-over cake! I was having lunch with an old friend on Monday so I decided to make a simple cake and I put some Viking Helmets on it – for two reasons, the first being my friend’s sons (‘B’ and ‘C’) love Horrible Histories so I thought Vikings would go down well, and the second reason being that one of my sister’s friends has asked me to make a Viking cake in March. I am so excited! I love Vikings, so I had Vikings on the mind and thought a couple of helmets would be cute. My friend’s boys loved the cake and the helmets and they even put the little helmet on their heads! Seeing kids loving my cakes and hearing my friends really appreciating my efforts makes the long nights, stresses and sore feet worth it! So here is to some exciting cakes in my the near future! I also hope you have some things to look forward to in your lives, it is so important to have something to look forward to – it is a key to happiness! That and cake is also a key to happiness! :)Michelle's Labyrinth Viking Cake





Rolling Stones Cake

The first cake I made in 2015 was for my Mum! I am pretty sure it is the first cake I have made for her – although I have made her cupcakes before. I had two different ideas for this cake and a third option was doing a cake with both things on it, but it ended up coming down to how much time and energy I had to make the cake that decided what it would be – a Rolling Stones cake! (I am keeping the other option a secret – possibly for Mother’s Day :) )Michelle's Labyrinth Rolling Stones

I have probably mentioned before that Mum is a huge Rolling Stones fan. My sisters and I had to put up with listening to the Rolling Stones afternoon after afternoon! We groaned, we whined, we shut the door and put the TV on or we ran outside and played! Anything but listen to the “prancing peacock” once again. Dad, being a fan of The Beatles, agreed with my sisters and I to a certain extent and used to call Mick Jagger the prancing peacock, and up until 5 minutes ago I thought my Dad thought that name up himself, but according to Google I can no longer believe that.Michelle's Labyrinth Rolling Stones

I am not exactly sure how my Mum and her friend Lynne convinced me, but I think it was in 1995 for the Voodoo Lounge Tour that they dragged me to Perth Airport for when the Rolling Stones were to arrive so we could either get some photos of them or autographs. We found a few dozen other crazy fans along the wire fence on the north side of the airport and we indeed saw the Rolling Stones‘ aeroplane taxi up to about 200 metres away. We saw the band disembark and even a couple of them waved to us crazy fans before they got into their vehicles. We were a little disappointed they didn’t come any closer, but then some of the other people said they were going to a particular hotel and we should head there too.

At this point in time I cannot remember what the plan was. It was fairly late at night and we lived an hour out of the city, so I don’t know if Mum had decided whether we would go to the hotel or not. So we headed to our car, paid for parking, drove out of the airport parking and I don’t remember being in any particular rush. As we got to one of the roundabouts just outside of the airport parking we were stopped by security. We were first or second in line at the blocked roundabout and we were wondering what was happening, then right before us passed a black limousine and three or four silver Toyota Taragos – it was the Rolling Stones!!

You can probably imagine the excitement that happened then – a 19-year-old and 2 crazy 40+ year olds realising we were going to be able to follow the Rolling Stones‘ convoy! What happened over the next 10 or so minutes happened so quickly, but it is etched into my memory quite clearly (well as clearly as a 20-year-old memory and from my point of view!). Mum was driving, and I am pretty sure I was in the front with Lynne in the back behind me. As soon as securityMichelle's Labyrinth Rolling Stones let us pass we were off! Most of the drive down Brearley Avenue was us trying to catch up with the convoy – it wasn’t hard to see  a few Taragos in a row. By the time we got onto Great Eastern Highway we were able to catch up with them! Oh my!

Thankfully Great Eastern Highway is a dual carriageway and a slow highway between Perth Airport and the actual city of Perth. And also thankfully the convoy had safe drivers who kept to the speed limit and kept left. This all enabled us to drive along side each of the Taragos! First off was a Tarago for Charlie Watts and his family. Charlie was sitting up very straight on the back seat with his wife – all very composed – which was quite the opposite to Lynne and I madly waving to them out of our windows and Mum driving at pace with them! Charlie ended up turning to us, smiling and giving a Queen-like wave!! Yay! Next Tarago!

The next Tarago was Keith Richards and oh my isn’t Keith just the epitome of cool! Keith was leaning out of his car window on his elbow smoking! He had on one of his headbands, he had his skull ring on his finger! And he said hello to us, waved and laughed! Now I am imaging a can of alcohol in his left hand… this is my memory right! I reckon Mum would have loved to stay there forever, but we had two more vehicles to catch and were running out of road. Next was Ronnie Wood. He was pretty low-key, but he definitely acknowledged this crazy car of fans driving along side him and gave us a wave. Quick Mum – to the limo!

So we’re alongside the limo that encapsulated Mum’s all time hero – Mick Jagger! The windows were up and heavily tinted and all we could really make out was the silhouette of Mick staring straight ahead and he refused to acknowledge us. We were able to drive along side him for half a kilometre or so and Lynne and I really tried to get him to look our way, but he just wouldn’t. Then we had a dilemma, we were running out of Great Eastern Highway and we didn’t know which hotel they were staying at and how they would get there.

At this point in time Great Easter Highway is 3 lanes and it comes up to a fork where the right 2 lanes go straight and the left lane peels off and heading directly to the city. For about 25 metres the left (forked) lane becomes 2 lanes so the vehicle can keep left, or stay in the right lane. The left lane ends can end up turning left, but both lanes can turn right towards the city. So we’re in the middle lane, Mick is in the left lane and we need to be in the left lane to keep following him – but we are right along side him!! There is a lot of yelling at this stage – what to do! And for those 25 metres we’re praying that the limo driver will keep left so we can get into the second left lane (yeah its confusing – sorry!). And my Mum is driving her car so close to the limo trying to hint to move over – so close to the limo that Mick Jagger finally looks at us! YIPPEE!! Mike Jagger acknowledged us! We were happy. That is what we came for – our own special moment with the Rolling Stones, even if the moment was coerced by the possibility of a car accident! So Mum moved the car a safe distance away and as we continued on the middle lane, that becomes Canning Highway, we looked longingly at the black limo as it disappeared. But what a high! What a story! And special moments with each of the band members!

So over the years I have come to appreciateMichelle's Labyrinth Rolling Stones the Rolling Stones music and can be found singing along. Twenty-odd years ago I would never have imagined that I would actually attend a Rolling Stones concert – but that is what I did last November! Mum and her friend Lynne (who I must tell you – Mum and Lynne met in the tickets line for a Rolling Stones concert a century ago!) were so excited leading up to the concert (especially after it had been postponed in March 2014). So I sent Mum some teasing messages including the “No More Sleeps” picture!Concert

While at the concert I had a giggleMichelle's Labyrinth to myself, I hadn’t thought about the “prancing peacock” for years, until I actually saw Mick be one on stage and he actually strutted like a peacock! It was a brilliant concert and I cannot believe they are 70+ years old! I hope I have that much energy and vitality when I am that age!

And speaking of age, the reason why I made sure I made my Mum a cake this year is because she hit a milestone – 60! Sorry Mum! But I hope you liked your cake and also liked reminiscing about our Rolling Stones airport adventure :)

PS I think my Mum is extremely cute in this photo. This photo of her reminds me of Lucy Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Hope you had a lovely birthday Mum!!! And you definitely do not look 60!! xxx

Michelle's Labyrinth Rolling Stones











Christmas 2014: Part 3

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful festive season however you celebrated it. I cannot believe another year has gone by and it is now the year 2015! The year we all thought about in 1989 when Back to the Future II came out. I did a silly thing just then and worked out that was 26 years ago! Sorry, but I had to point that out.

I believe I am up to the 23 Day of my long Christmas! My niece and nephew came over for the day and we made a Gingerbread House and I let them loose with my fondant collection! The snow-covered sides on the bottom were decorated by my niece and she also made a wicked Olaf! On the sides decorated by my nephew you can actually see some of the gingerbread house! I love how different their styles are and how they kept their sides true to themselves!Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas 2014 Day 23Then it was Christmas Eve! And was I ready for Christmas? Not really. I had all these huge hopes of being more organised than previous years, but unfortunately a lot of Christmas cards weren’t sent out – again. But I did get to catch up one last time with my friend and her daughter, do some shopping, finish wrapping some pressies and finish two more cakes! Since the cakes were finished quite late, I shared two Elves made by the beautiful Conny Deylen. I guess I was wishing I had a couple of elves helping me instead of Santa on Christmas Eve.

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas 2014 Day 24

Christmas Day had arrived and I was covered in red glitter! But I do love the effect the red glitter gave to the Christmas Minion I made for my nephew (he loves fruit cake and I think that is wonderful!)! The other Christmas Minion was for our extended family dinner Christmas night and I was lucky to get to take some home and I still have some left!

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas 2014 Day 25

Now I was a bit sneaky and posted a Day 26 on Facebook – well our Christmas hadn’t finished yet! We had Christmas dinner with hubbie’s parents and an aunty on Boxing Day. Do you know what Boxing Day is? Do you get the day as a Public Holiday where you are? In Australia we get the day off, so it makes Christmas extra special. I was asked last year by a friend from the US what Boxing Day was, and it was brought up again this year by another friend. Wikipedia says Boxing Day is traditionally when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”. But I wonder if Boxing Day also had something to do with clearing away all the boxes and wrapping paper from presents you received! What I do know is a lot of Australian males love Boxing Day because it means the first day of the Boxing Day Test (of cricket)! Early on this Boxing Day (my last day of my long Christmas!) I finished two more cakes! I made my mother-in-law the penguin cake and hubbie’s Aunty the snowmen cake.Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas 2014 Day 26

On the Twenty-third day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me a decorated Gingerbread House.

On the Twenty-fourth day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me a two helpful Christmas elves. [Elves made by Conny Deylen]

On the Twenty-fifth day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me two Christmas Minion cakes.

On the Twenty-sixth day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me two decorated Christmas Cakes for presents.

Christmas almost seems like a distant memory. We are now in the New Year and Monday is when most people will be heading back to work. I have been thinking about what I would like to accomplish this year and have been trying to clear up a lot to ensure that I am not behind compared to before Christmas! I have also been thinking about the year just gone and what I accomplished and what I didn’t get finished. 2014 seemed to be a bad year for a lot of people: whether it was illnesses, money problems or just an accumulation of a lot of things! I also thought of all the wonderful famous people we lost this year – Rik Mayall, Robin Williams, Mickey Rooney, Joe Cocker, Phillip Seymour Hoffman (too many to list really). Then I thought about how we lost 3 aeroplanes and then the Lindt café siege in Sydney. I was beginning to think about I wasn’t going to be able to think of any wonderful things that happened in 2014 – and we really need to concentrate on the good times!

But I did remember some good of 2014 – we started the year in Jersey with family. Then saw hubbie’s brother’s family in England. We travelled around beautiful green Wales! I was able to catch up with one of my oldest friend’s in London and see her 3 week old (and I just got to see her again in Perth for Christmas!). We reached some goals with our businesses and even were nominated as Champion Business of the Year! I got to make quite a few cakes and was challenged a lot and learnt a lot. I finished my Diploma in Finance and Mortgage Broking. We got to see The Doug Anthony Allstars on stage again! I didn’t think we would see Paul McDermott, Tim Ferguson and Flacco (Paul Livingstone) again and they were hilarious and naughty as always. We got to go to Barcelona and to drive around South of France! I was also very lucky and was able to acquire another Wendy Froud original sculpture and a Brian Froud original watercolour! We also got to see the Rolling Stones – which was a bit touch and go after the cancellation in March. I also became the proud owner of Sam and Dean puppets! So really, that sounds like an amazing year! And I guess I need to thank our credit card companies, our employees (referral partners and clients) and my wonderful husband to making it all possible!

So I hope you have had time to reflect on all the good things that happened in 2014 and I really wish you all an even more magical 2015 full of everything you desire! Just think of 2015 as an open book and you have 360+ days to fill it – so write a magnificent one!

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas 2014




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