Christmas Cake Decorating Class 2013

I think I mentioned I didn’t doMichelle's Labyrinth Christmas the last term of cake decorating class this year, which I was very disappointed about because I enjoyed last year’s Christmas term so much. And here is why!

For the first two weeks we made lots of and lots of decorations for a Christmas Tree and a couple of other Christmas cakes. The third week we made a couple of reindeer that I totally adore and I hope to make a couple more this year. On the fourth week we made these two cupcake stacks. There is a piece of dowel attached to the cake board that the cupcakes are stacked on.

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas

I really liked the cupcake stacks! And as you can see I even did a bit of piping. I took the stacks to ‘Craft with Friends’ at the church and all the ladies liked them. I made a point of saying I was going to keep the reindeer, but little did I know that was short-lived. After craft I left the reindeer and the cupcake boards on our kitchen table for a few days. On the Saturday night we went out for a few hours and unfortunately my puppies have a taste for fondant and a taste for wood! They had eaten my reindeer and the dowel on the cake boards! I was pretty upset, but that wasn’t where it ended, I had left an unopened 24 pack of toilet rolls on the shelf and toilet paper was strewn all over the living area! The house was complete havoc!! But thankfully a reindeer each was enough and I found the small Christmas tree from the blue cupcake stack outside, so at least they didn’t eat too much to make themselves ill. The puppies were a bit down the next day and I am not sure if that was because I was grumpy, or if they were coming down from a sugar high!

In class we then got to make our Christmas Trees! Most of the class made a tree trunk for the tree to sit on, but I had offered to make the Christmas cake that year for ‘Craft with Friends’ final day so I needed a bigger cake. After making the blue cupcakes above I had a picture in my head of how I wanted the base cake to look like – like a snowy hill! Here’s a couple of photos from class last year. As you can see all of our trees are a little different and I love that. We each have our own flair!

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas

I know you have seen this tree before, but I hadn’t really written about it. The actual tree is decorated on Styrofoam (there was no way I was going to bake an actual tree cake and I am not sure if my oven is even tall enough). So I got to use the tree again for Boxing Day and this time I made a tree trunk for it! I still have the tree so I might pull it out again.

I also wanted to show you a close up of the small reindeer head on the Christmas tree. I thought it was ingenious – the parts have been stuck to an upside gingerbread man!

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas

We also made the Christmas cake push pops and a Christmas bauble cake (see links if you missed them). I have no idea how we fit so much into one term!

I plan to make 5 more Christmas cakes in the next week! So watch out for a few more Christmas posts! And I am really really looking forward to cake decorating class next year!

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas

 

 

 

Christmas 2014: Part 1

Christmas to me is all aboutMichelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 1 family and friends and spending time together. I love the happy excited kids looking forward to the arrival of Santa Claus. I love the music, food, decorations and general merriment around this time of year. I know there is also a bit of stress this time of year as we’re all busy wrapping up (not just presents) things at work before the public holidays and maybe even some Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 2extra time off! The shops are busy (crazy!), but there is always this great vibe! Some magic in the air!

This year to get me into the spirit sooner I decided to post a photo on Facebook about what Christmas means to me from the 1st December until the 25th. Most of the photos so far have been about something Christmasy that happened thatMichelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 3 day, or something I saw (or a cake I’ve made!). To describe the photos I started making my descriptions sound like the Christmas carol The Twelve Days of Christmas – one of my favourite childhood Christmas carols. (Whenever I think of “Five Golden Rings” I hear Goofy’s voice from our A Disney Christmas LP! And then I have a giggle when I recall Donald Duck stealing Goofy’s line later in the song. I do have a feeling my Dad started to groan a little bit when we wanted that LP played… again! Thankfully I now have it on CD and can listen to it as much as my heart desires!!)

When I was younger I did question if the Twelve Days of Christmas started onMichelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 4 Christmas Day or ended on Christmas Day. I think I hoped they ended on Christmas Day, because that meant your true love gave you presents earlier! The other day I learnt that the Twelve Days of Christmas actually starts on Christmas Day and ends on a Christian feast day called Epiphany (January 6th) or Twelfth Night (which is not just a Shakespearean play!) on the evening of January the 5th marking the coming of the Epiphany and concluding the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 5Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 6

I also learnt what ‘Advent’ means – have you ever wondered what Advent Calendar means? I have never thought to query that word, when I was younger it was more about the pictures and the chocolates! So I looked it up and advent means “a coming into place, view, or being; arrival” and Advent (with a Capital A) means “the coming of Christ into the world.” Apparently I am incorrect to say my Christmas photos are the 1 to 25 days of Christmas, they are the 1 to 25 days of Advent.

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 7Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 8

I have mentioned before I am not a religious person and I respect people who are. I also respect that Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, however people have been celebrating Christmas in various ways since the Middle Ages. I read on Wikipedia that in 1843 when “Charles Dickens wrote the novel A Christmas Carol it helped revive the “spirit” of Christmas and seasonal merriment. It played a major role in portraying Christmas as a holiday emphasizing family, goodwill, and compassion… Dickens sought to construct Christmas as a family-centered festival of generosity, in contrast to the community-based and church-centered observations.” And this is what Christmas means to me!

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 9

So my 25 days of Christmas (not Advent because I am not waiting for anything to arrive because I am celebrating Christmas now) is about what Christmas means to me, to revive my Christmas spirit and to hopefully increase the excitement and merriment to those around me! I am enjoying the Christmas season so far and have caught up with some old friends already, been to a couple of Christmas parties, given some Christmas presents, and sung (poorly) some Christmas carols! So I hope I do not offend anyone but here are the first 12 days of my 25 day Christmas this year.

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 10Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 11

On the First day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me a Couple of Penguins Sledding. [2012 Christmas Cake]

On the Second day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me a Gingerbread Man. [2013 Christmas Cake]

On the Third day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me Cake Push Pops. [Made in 2013 in cake decorating class.]

On the Fourth day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me a Santa Penguin. [Hamlet’s favourite Christmas toy!]

On the Fifth day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me Two Rudolph Reindeer. [That were eaten by Hamlet and Macbeth last year – without permission!]

On the Sixth day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me Lovely Catch-ups with Friends. [Picture shows place mat at Miss Mauds.]

On the Seventh day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me a Handmade Christmas Card.

On the Eighth day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me Mixed Fruit in Brandy. [Watch this space to see what I make this year!]

On the Ninth day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me Santa Bandanas! [Pups’ bandanas were made by DeeziBeez]

On the Tenth day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me a Burswood Christmas Tree! [Hubbie and I celebrated our 17th anniversary on the 10th December!]

On the Eleventh day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me a Fondant Christmas Tree! [2013 Christmas Cake]

On the Twelfth day of Christmas Michelle’s Labyrinth sent to me a Rudolph Christmas Cake! [A cake I made for a friend for his Christmas pressie].

Michelle's Labyrinth Christmas Day 12

I hope you are enjoying your Christmas / Advent / December so far! And remember… You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town! 

 

 

 

 

Love Is Our Resistance

My latest cake wasn’t a huge technical challenge, but it was time consuming! I wanted to make a cake for my middle sister as a surprise, so I asked my youngest sister for some ideas. Our middle sister loves the band Muse and has been to a few of their concerts, including being in the front row of one! So I thought it was a great idea – but how do you make a cake of a rock band?

My youngest sister then sent me a photo of The Resistance album cover and it is extremely cool! I loved all the colours, the Earth in the middle and the human on an illuminated pathway. So I said Yay! I then listened to my favourite Muse song – Supremacy for some inspiration on how I could make this cake. I then thought that I could print a copy of the album cover to size (8 inch round like a can tin) and then would be able to cut the pieces to shape. I then didn’t think about the cake again until Friday and that was when I realised I had accepted a challenge bigger than I had originally thought!

I made the chocolate mud cake and then I got all my coloured bits of fondant out that I have saved and sat at the kitchen table to create the album cover. I picked a spot and started making some shapes, but I realised that the shapes were drying (and I have learnt this lesson before but forgot!!). I really needed to be able to fit (squish) them to each other and there was no way I was going to be able to do that and then put then on the cake. So I covered the cake and bit the bullet by putting the pathway on the cake and then the shapes around it. There was no going back now!

It was quite slow going. I did start it quite late at night so I was probably a bit slow to start with, but the pieces were quite small and I find small details quite hard to work with. I think it got to about the 6th hour of decorating this cake (I was doing other small tasks around the house to tick things off my list, but I was mainly making the cake) when I decided I was going to torment my youngest sister by sending her hourly updates on the cake! So here were my updates! Michelle's Labyrinth Muse I definitely got faster as I progressed. Even though I was trying to cut the shapes exactly like the print-out, they were not exactly right and I wasn’t able to do every shape that is on the album. It didn’t take me too long to work out that I could put the print-out under some baking paper and trace the shapes as I cut them out. I also tried to keep the colours as close as possible to the album and I was so lucky I had all sorts of coloured scraps from previous cakes!!

Michelle's Labyrinth Muse

Next I drew the human being and hisMichelle's Labyrinth Muse shadow. I haven’t had much luck with drawing on cakes before, but I was quite happy with this result.

The last tricky part was Earth! Thankfully it was a Satellite version of Earth so the placement of countries etc wasn’t important. I rolled a ball of white, blue and green fondant together into a tube and then sliced an Earth. I was also quite happy with how it turned out too, considering it was smaller than a 5 cent piece!

Michelle's Labyrinth MuseI sent a picture of the finished cake to my youngest sister and she said it was amazing! I wasn’t convinced and asked if I need to put any words on it so our middle sister knows its Muse and she said no, that she would “know it for sure”.

When my middle sister arrived the cake was just sitting on the bench. As I mentioned she didn’t know I was making her a cake because her birthday is in 9 days time. She hadn’t been in the house long when she came up to me and said “What is that!” I said “Your birthday cake!”, she went up to it and pretty much had her mouth open [in shock / surprise!]. I said “So you do know what it is?” and she said of course and that she had a t-shirt, a beach towel and something else with that album cover on! I was like YAY!

Not long after that I was chatting to my brother-in-law and half way through the conversation he said “That’s a Muse cake!”, I think he had been looking at it without realising what he was looking at. I was like Double Yay! I was worried they wouldn’t know it was the album cover – because really, how many people still buy DVDs? The last ones I bought have all been on iTunes.Michelle's Labyrinth Muse

However we did come up to a conundrum! This is probably the second cake I have been sad to think about cutting. I usually really don’t mind, because I do make the cakes for eating! But I think I had spent 12 hours, including baking time, making this cake (as I said I was pottering around the house ensuring it was ready for guests, but I would have been working on the cake 70-80% of the time!). So while my sister was working out if we should cut it, because she also wanted to keep the top, we put the candles in the side! Looked pretty cool too!

Michelle's Labyrinth MuseMichelle's Labyrinth Muse

Much to my niece’s disgust we didn’t cut the top. My niece loves to eat fondant as I have said before and that was the only reason she wanted us to cut it! I am so glad we didn’t cut it. I think this is one of my favourite cakes. I love the colours. the design is quite simple, but effective. It wasn’t a hard cake to make, just time consuming. And I really just love the design of the album!

Michelle's Labyrinth Muse

So Happy Birthday to my middle sister! Thank You to my youngest sister (even though she dobbed on me and told my Mum I had been up all night cake decorating!!)!

Here is the album cover just in case you have no idea what I have been going on about! (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Resistance_(album) )

Michelle's Labyrinth Muse

And these are the words to my favourite song Supremacy (I especially love the second line! You know I live in fantasy world!). Well I better get to bed before my sister tells Mummy I have been up all night again! hehe I hope you liked my Muse cake!

Wake to see
Your true emancipation is a fantasy
Policies
Have risen up and overcome the brave

Greatness dies
Unsung and lost, invisible to history
Embedded spies
Brainwashing our children to be mean

You don’t have long
I am on to you
The time, it has come to destroy

Your supremacy
Supremacy

You don’t have long
I am on to you
The time, it has come to destroy

Your supremacy
Supremacy

 

 

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