Cake Decorating Class

My legs are aching for bed but I really want to write a post. I just cannot seem to find time to write at the moment and I have so much I would love to write about and I just love writing. So after a semi busy morning finishing some things off for work, a couple of meetings at work, my integrity being questioned (probably a defensive move since I questioned someone else’s integrity) and a lovely Valentine’s Day dinner with my hubbie and my lovely friend and her hubbie, I decided that I must write a post!

I decided to write about Cake Decorating Class tonight for a few reasons. The main reason being is that it is my cake decorating teacher’s 40th birthday this week and we are celebrating her birthday tomorrow night. The other reasons being are that the cakes I have made in class are the most appropriate for Valentine’s Day – because they have flowers!! And by also writing about this topic I could include a snippet about my puppies – since they gave me the best Valentine’s cuddles and kisses today! I love my puppies and Valentine’s Day doesn’t just have to be about romantic love, it should celebrate all love!

I have attended 3 terms of cake decorating class so far and the first thing we learned was how to make roses. So if you missed out on roses on Valentine’s Day – here are some roses from me to you :) Michelle's Labyrinth I’m not sure what I can say about roses except for they take over a week or so to make, because you need to make them in 3 stages. The bulb, then add the next set of petals, and then the final layer of petals. If you add all the petals at once they can sag and not hold their shape. I am not a flower person, but I quite liked my first attempt at roses :)

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During another term we madeMichelle's Labyrinth sugar veil lace. The outcome of the sugar veil is beautiful, but getting there is a chore! The packet says it should take approximately 30 minutes for the sugar veil to set, however it took hours and I ended up taking the moulds home and sitting them under our range hood’s down lights to speed the process up!

I was a good girl and managed to have a lot of sugar veil designs to cover my cake ready by next class. I did have a bit of a production line going and every few hours tested the sugar veil to see if it was ready and then put in another lot in the moulds. Not everyone had as much patience as me. I guess I am lucky that working from home gave me the opportunity to multi-task! Michelle's Labyrinth   Michelle's Labyrinth    Michelle's Labyrinth

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We were also asked to create some long pieces (borders) of lace to make a bow. I admit I had some help from the teacher making the bow as it is really finicky! My bow is also covered in pearl dust which I think gives it a nice effect.Michelle's Labyrinth The third term of cake decorating class was all about Christmas! I was going to put all the Christmas cakes into one post, but I had too many photos to share with you. So I thought I would show you the Christmas Bauble cake we made. Baubles are round you say – they sure are! I had to make a round cake!Michelle's Labyrinth

I baked my 2 ball halves in dome tins. The dome tins were placed into a bigger cake tin and then kept upright with rice! I love finding out all these tricky techniques. I have a feeling I will use this one again!Michelle's Labyrinth

I was very happy with the way my Christmas Bauble turned out. I used a bronze shimmer dust on mine and it looked so shiny! The photo I took when it was in my car shows this shininess the best. (I always take a photo of my cakes in the car – in case they don’t make it home! hehe)Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth    Michelle's Labyrinth

Now it is time to bring my puppies into the story. My mischievous puppies… I decided to keep the Christmas Bauble cake for a special friend. My friend moved back to Sydney from the UK the middle of last year and I hadn’t seen her since Christmas 2011. She was coming home to Perth with 2 of her sisters to see her parents and brother, and she and her sisters were coming over for morning tea on the 23rd December. Now I had the cake a good foot from the edge of my kitchen table for a couple of days while it dried. The second morning I am doing something in the kitchen and I glance at the cake and there is a light patch on it. I swear I was tilting my head looking at the cake and looking at the window and wondered if the shimmer dust had faded. I am then trying to work out how I am going to find time, right before Christmas, to buy some new shimmer dust to cover it up. I am pondering this when I realise the bow is undone… and not only was there a light patch, but a couple of royal icing dots were missing… I worked out that someone by the name of Hamlet and put his paws on the table, somehow reached the bow and pulled the cake towards him and licked as far as his tongue would go!!!!Michelle's Labyrinth

I was faced with a conundrum. Do I serve the cake to my friends? Do I tell my friends what happened? Would my integrity be questioned?! (Sorry that was a dig at today!). Lets just say I told my friends not to eat the icing and I served them from the “good” side of the cake. I think they found humour in Mr Hamlet’s adventure afterwards. And I must admit, the cake was good enough for seconds!Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth

I had a friend once ask me what I would learn in cake decorating training, well I hope those three cakes answer the question! There is so much to learn! And I love my cake decorating class – it is my escape for the week. And it forces me to do some cake stuff! So thank you to my teacher and Happy “Life Begins at 40″ Birthday!

My legs and I are off to bed now. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Hamlet, Macbeth and I are sending some love your way too <3 <3 <3




Christmas 2013 – Part 1

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and festive season. I can’t believe that its been exactly a month since Christmas; its been just over 2 months since I wrote a blog post; and its now 11 months until next Christmas! Hubbie thought I might get some adverse reactions about mentioning next Christmas, but I love Christmas, so its only 11 months away and counting!

I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, for those that don’t you are under no obligation to read this post and I’ll be back onto other types of cakes soon! For those that do celebrate Christmas – what does it mean to you? For me it means a lot of things – which is probably why I love it so much. It means a great excuse to catch up with friends; it means spending time with family; it means eating lots of yummy food; it means listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies; it means Christmas cards, Christmas lights and decorations, Santa and even pressies! For my hubbie Christmas means being wined and dined and lots of social events. In 2012 I didn’t attend one Christmas party because I wasn’t working, this year I attended too many (especially with every else that I had planned for December) and even ended up giving one a miss – and I only attended about half as many as hubbie did!

I realise Christmas originated to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by Christians and some people dislike what it has become (e.g. Santa Claus and presents) and blame commercialisation. Christmas, like most things, is what you make of it. The pastor at the church where we make cards said that family, friends, food, presents are all nice things at Christmas, but the most important thing about Christmas is that it celebrates Jesus Christ and all he did for us. However for all that are non-Christians, I believe Christmas signifying family, friends, goodwill and compassion are wonderful. In our busy lives we make the extra effort to take this one day off a year and spend it with loved ones. If that is what Christmas means, how could it be bad?

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Leading up to Christmas I try to catch up with friends and this year I was lucky to be visited by one of my older friends from university and two of her sisters (she was living in London and I hadn’t seen her for 2 years; she is now living back in Sydney). I am usually pretty organised with presents, however I am shocking at giving out Christmas cards! I think about it in October and then again in November, then next thing you know it is Christmas Eve so I am scrambling to wrap pressies and write cards for anyone I am seeing Christmas Day! Then Christmas Day is entirely left for catching up with family and eating scrumptious foods!

My Christmas Day is made up of having brunch at my parents house. Mum cooks up a full English breakfast – eggs, fried bread, bacon, black pudding, sausages, mushrooms, fried tomatoes and baked beans! Oh, champagne and orange juice too! Unless we are travelling, it is the only time of year we have all of this – the only time of year we have black pudding! I have only missed one Christmas breakfast ever and that was in 2011, and that was a sad Christmas Day for me. It just wasn’t Christmas without Mum’s breakfast and seeing Mum and Dad.

Then on Christmas evenings we alternate between going to hubbie’s parents or going to my extended family gathering and seeing all of my Aunts and Uncles. If we are spending the evening with my family, then ham, turkey/chicken & cranberry sauce, pork and apple sauce, coleslaw, Christmas pudding and Pavlova are on the menu. All those delicious foods mean Christmas to me. I know they mean something to my cousins as well and I have heard a bit of whinging if the pork crackling doesn’t crackle!

When we were growing up Mum used to cook a full Christmas dinner on Boxing Day. Now cooking a turkey and all the trimmings is a big ask on Boxing Day in Australia, because the temperatures are usually soaring. I know a lot of Australians have adopted seafood as their Christmas dinner, but both my parents are from the U.K. so I guess the more traditional Christmas dinner stuck. With my sisters and I moving out and starting our own families, it got harder and harder for all of us to be able to make our family Christmas dinner and it has dwindled away. But I remember clearly all the trimmings  that accompanied our turkey – cranberry sauce of course, bacon was draped over the turkey and the turkey was stuffed, gravy, chipolatas, pork and apple sauce (for bigger turnouts), roast potatoes, pumpkin (sweet potato in later years), broad beans (yuck), beer soaked brussel sprouts (maybe 2 made my plate in sufferance!) and Yorkshire puddings! Dessert was brandy soaked Christmas pudding and we were always excited to see the blue flame as Mum brought the pudding in. And to accompany the pudding was brandy sauce, custard and in later years brandy cream! Mmmmm…. Christmas :)Michelle's Labyrinth

Christmas this year was having breakfast at Mum and Dad’s and it was the first year in a few years that both my sisters and I were there. That evening hubbie’s parents came over for dinner – we usually visit them, but because we were flying out to the U.K. the day after Boxing Day, they offered to come up. I made a Margaret Fulton Christmas dinner – turkey breast with a raspberry sauce, honeyed carrots, green beans with almonds, chipolatas and caramelised potatoes. Then for dessert I turned to Nigella Lawson’s Italian Christmas Pudding Cake – which was mouth-watering if I am allowed to say that!

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Every year my Mum makes a ChristmasMichelle's Labyrinth Christmas Cake cake and she still makes it now and Dad is usually eating it with lunch until Easter! In 2012 I made my first Christmas cake, but didn’t end up eating it until my birthday! Mum’s Christmas cake is a rich fruit cake covered in marzipan and royal icing and I love it!

This year I made a few cakes relating toMichelle's Labyrinth Christmas in cake decorating class, which is what Part 2 of this post will be about. But I have 4 cakes to show you now. The first three I made together and they were all gifts! One was a thank you to our cleaner, another was for a friend’s Mum and the third was for my youngest sister who loves my fruit cake. I am a bit upset I forgot to get an individual photo of my sister’s cake because it was the unique one with red and green glitter – there was a shortage of silver glitter because of Christmas!

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When I was making these cakes I had the ribbon and glitter and knew I wanted to make some royal icing and have it falling like snow/icicles. But other than that I had no idea what I was going to decorate them with. In cake decorating class we had made lots of fondant ornaments and I had some left. There was no way for me to attach the decorations to the side of the cakes with the icicles and I tested positioning them standing on top (with some fondant behind them keeping them up) and I thought they looked pretty good. I hope you agree :)

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On Boxing Day we had my family, hubbie’sMichelle's Labyrinth parents and one of his aunties over for lunch. Because we were going away we were going to miss school holidays and not get to see everyone for a while, so we thought why not have them over for lunch since they were all in Perth. So I made a small Christmas cake for Boxing Day. It was one of the first cakes I made myself that needed dowels in it – so the bottom layer wouldn’t sag under the weight of the second layer. However I didn’t do a very good job because it was the leaning tower of Christmas Tree by the time it reached the table.Michelle's Labyrinth

I’ll write more about the Christmas Tree in Part 2 of the blog because I made it in cake decorating class. But because we were going away and because our puppies are still naughty and chew things, we didn’t put up a Christmas Tree this year – so this was my Christmas Tree, which is being ogled by my beautiful niece and nephew and being guarded by A Christmas Carol peg dolls made by Natasha Morgan!

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I do hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and please let me know what Christmas means to you!



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.

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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!)

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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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