Plundering Pirates – Part 2: Gidgegannup Show

It has been a big build up to the Gidgegannup Show and it arrived a little too quickly for my liking. I didn’t anticipate how much time our guests from the U.K. would take up, especially when play dates were cancelled etc. But I loved getting to know my little niece more and really enjoyed the time I spent with her.

I was up late finishing my pirate cake and was pretty happy with how it turned out. I do think my Halloween cake was better though. I had also planned to do a ‘Article From Moulded Fondant’, but I just didn’t have the time. So I am going to use that idea for the Wanneroo show :)

It was lucky I only made one cake, because the space allocation for the decorated cakes wasn’t very big at all. Only enough space for just a regular cake! Luckily my cake was first to arrive, and I paid for two entries, so first come first served (for space)!

I wasn’t able to attend the Gidgegannup Show as we were having an Australian birthday party for my niece, but my Dad was lovely and went to the show and took pictures of the winning cakes for me.

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth

I was just hoping not to embarrass myself after seeing the amazing cakes at the Perth Royal Show. So I was very excited to get third place at the Gidgegannup Show! Especially since it was the first time I have entered something into a show (besides when I was around 11 and showed my pony at the Wanneroo Show!) and I have never had any cake decorating lessons/workshops etc!

I also dabble a bit in photography and my Dad encouraged me to enter a photo of a swan I took in Boston. So I also decided to enter a photo I took of Makita’s paws and also a photo of a beautiful sunset in Langkawi.

Here are the photos my Dad took of the winning animal photographs.

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's LabyrinthMichelle's Labyrinth

Can you believe I got a second place for the animal category?!! When I arrived to drop my photos off there weren’t many photos up, but the ones I saw were amazing, so I didn’t think I had any chance at all. But my Dad must have a good eye since he really liked my swan photo (from Swan Lake in the Boston Public Gardens).

When I dropped my photos off the ladies loved the one of Makita’s paws (below on the left hand side) – they thought it was clever and had never thought of taking a photo of paws. As Dad walked around looking at the photos he said that a few people commented on the paws photo. So I might enter that one into the Wanneroo Show too.

Michelle's Labyrinth

These are the winning seascape photos:

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth

They are beautiful photos. Great effects and such clarity (especially with the boat one!). Below is the photo I entered, as I said I just loved the colours in it and also the way the waves are captured.

Michelle's Labyrinth




Plundering Pirates – Part 1: The Making Of

I am often asked where I get my ideas for cakes from and how I make them, so I thought I would walk you through the making of my cake for the Gidgegannup show. This is also the first cake that I have had an audience and also a helper – my almost 4 year old niece!

I have acquired a number of cake decorating and cupcake books over the past few years and often rummage through them to get ideas. Or if it is for a specific person I sometimes ask for suggestions or work out what they like, then I use Google to get even more ideas!

Once I have the theme for the cake I then work out how big I want to make it and get out the best cake board so I know what I am aiming for. If it is for a big cake, or a cake with lots of sections, I sometimes draw it so I know how big to make the sections or figures. And no I do not colour the drawing in (which my niece asked me last week), but I do sometimes write notes of things to add to the cake or colours I need etc.

Michelle's Labyrinth

Most of the time I use White Wings or Green’s cake packet mixes, as I am more interested in decorating the cake, although I am a pretty good cook and can make a cake from scratch if I want to.

For the cake I made for the Gidgegannup show I made a fruit cake. I had a plan for where the cake was going to end up (who it was going to be eaten by!), so I made a fruit cake since they last. You’ll have to wait for Part 3 to see who got to enjoy my Gidgegannup show cake!

I need to get a bit better at planning my cakes. Each time I go to make a fruit cake and read the recipe, I only then remember it recommends soaking the fruit in brandy for a week!!! Sometimes I am lucky to remember the night before… sometimes I let it soak for an hour or so! (And I forgot to take a picture of the fruit! My niece helped me pour all the fruit into the bowl and then tip the brandy in. She got brandy all over her little hands – don’t tell her Mum!!).

Michelle's Labyrinth    Michelle's Labyrinth

In the past I wasn’t a big sifter, I think I got that habit from my Mum. My cooking has never really failed because I haven’t sifted the flour etc! But since I was making 3 fruit cakes I thought I better do it properly in this instance.

I love using dark brown sugar. It smells like treacle and I love the way fresh brown sugar moves with you pour it out of the packet. It seems to settle slowly in the measuring cup. Like it is gradually seeping into the corners, getting comfortable.

Michelle's Labyrinth   Michelle's Labyrinth

The Christmas in July Cake ( was the first fruit cake I have ever made (section of the cake shown above on the right). And boy it was yummy if I do say so myself. I had a Lions Fruit Cake last year, the first one in a number of years, and it just didn’t taste as good as I remembered. My Mum is going to give me her Christmas Cake recipe, which was passed down to her from her Mum, this year and I cannot wait to make it! But if you ever want to make an easy yummy fruit cake, use this recipe:

Michelle's Labyrinth

While the cakes are cooking, which is usually 40-50 minutes (or 3.5 hours for fruit cakes!) I start to colour my fondant icing. I buy my fondant (Bakels White Icing Pettinice Ready to Roll Fondant 750g) from Balcatta’s Cake Tinz and Thingz ( and over the last few years I have also gathered a nice collection of colours!

I use the fondant to cover the cake and also to make my figures. My niece kept calling it Play-Doh, and sometimes I do think that it is like I am playing with Play-Doh! This is the first cake that I have covered the cake board with fondant. I noticed on Cake Boss and the cakes at the Perth Royal Show had their boards covered. I thought I did a pretty good job, but by the time the cake got to the show and put in its place there were cracks around the edges of the board.

Michelle's LabyrinthMichelle's Labyrinth

So as you make have guessed from the title of this blog post, the theme I chose for this cake was pirates! And as you can see I made 3 fruit cakes! And the next step is to cut the cake to shape, if required.

Here is the finished product of my pirate cake!

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth    Michelle's Labyrinth

My niece knows all about pirates from Walt Disney’s Peter Pan and as she was playing with some fondant I gave her, she was chatting away and mentioned a parrot and an anchor! Brilliant ideas!

Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth

I also remembered to include a figurehead at the prow of the ship – a mermaid of course!

Michelle's Labyrinth        Michelle's Labyrinth

Johnny Depp is one of my favourite actors if you haven’t guessed that already :)  So of course the captain had to be Captain Jack Sparrow. While making this cake I watched the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films. I did have to put the second one on hold when my niece was around. Her Dad told her it was just make believe, but I thought I would pause it after a while. I had to re-do Captain Jack’s legs, as he was almost a centimeter shorter than the other pirates, and that just would not do!

Michelle's Labyrinth     Michelle's Labyrinth

You’ll have to wait until Part 3 to see why it was important I included ponies on the jetty part of my cake.

Michelle's Labyrinth

The treasure chest is on of my favourite parts of this cake. I was pretty happy how it turned out and the gold and silver paints came out quite well.

I’ll let you know in Part 2 how I went at the Gidgegannup show.




Perth Royal Show 2012

As part of my preparation for my “shows” challenges I went to the Perth Royal Show this year. I carted myself to Claremont and after about 40-50 minutes driving around I found a parking spot costing $10. After walking another 15-20 minutes to get to the show (at this stage I am sure you are asking why I didn’t catch public transport?) I finally made it in. I then had to navigate the masses to find the stand my friend was manning. Telstra then decided to fail and my SMSes didn’t send straight away! But after another 20 minutes I found her – and guess what? She was right next to the Cooking Pavilion!

I wanted to show you some of the cakes that were on display. I felt I was out of my element looking at these cakes. But they were inspirational and have also given me some ideas. I have no idea who made these cakes. The photos were also taken with my iPhone (and through glass!).

Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth

I think the second scarecrow is amazing. I am not even sure how they did the wheat, unless they used real wheat. It’s supposed to be all edible. I love the first scarecrow too… this one is a bit more in my range of skill.

Michelle's Labyrinth       Michelle's Labyrinth

I was really taken with the girl scarecrow – very Tim Burton-ish. And with the Gidge Show being held on the 27th Oct I thought Halloween themed was a cool idea.

Michelle's Labyrinth  Michelle's Labyrinth

I liked the idea of the pigs. They are agricultural shows, so maybe some farm animals or tractors would be a good theme. But I don’t know if that has all been done before.

I liked the rabbit on the hat cake too. Gothic meets Alice in Wonderland.

Michelle's Labyrinth      Michelle's Labyrinth

All I can say about the Africa cake is wow!

Michelle's Labyrinth   Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth     Michelle's Labyrinth

Well you can tell by the sashes on the above four cakes what the judges thought of them!

Michelle's Labyrinth

I love love this blue wedding cake. It is absolutely stunning. Uncomplicated, perfect colours, it’s just elegant. (And we’ll ignore the upside wedding cake on the top right – wow!).

Michelle's Labyrinth

I think this pink cake is intriguing. I love the colours, the mushrooms and the eyes. I am unsure about the girl on it. Overall, so very clever.

I feel like my visit to the Perth Royal Show was a success and my friend’s kids got to do everything they wanted to do (and I was roped into going on the 3D Ghost Train!). It didn’t take me long to get home since we left as it was just getting dark (and cold!) and the driving masses had seemed to have already left. I was glad I drove in the end.

The next decision is to work out how many cakes to make and what! Ideas and suggestions are very welcome. I love getting comments on my blog, so who is going to set my next challenge? I think I will enter a cake into each class.These are the classes the shows have:


O301 Special Occasion Cake
O302 Article From Moulded Fondant


1. Decorated Cake, two or more tiers. Suitable for wedding or special occasion.
2. Decorated Cake, one tier. Fruit cake only. Suitable for a Christmas Cake.
3. Sugar Art, anything goes.

My blogging feels even more like Julie and Julia with all the challenges I have been set (by others and myself). I watched the movie again the other day while I was making the ‘craft cake’ and it really is a lovely story. I totally agree that butter is absolutely divine; whoever thought of churning cream (and don’t forget it would have been by hand) until it turned yellow was an absolute genius.

Oh and I must tell you another story from when I made the ‘craft cake’. I was home alone with Makita and she can get rather annoying. She wants in the house. She wants out the house. Each time I let her in or out I washed my hands again, so as you can imagine this got quite tiring after a while. So while I was rolling this lime green coloured ball, to get the colour even, for the palm tree and it rolled right out of my hand and onto the ground I just left it there. I was not washing my hands again! The second movie I watched while making the ‘craft cake’ was It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie. (Just to quickly digress, Whoopi Goldberg as Daniel’s ‘Boss’ (aka God) was terrific!). So I was busy cake decorating and listening to the Muppets when I stood back said “Oh no!” and seriously, as soon as ‘no’ was out of my mouth Kermit said “Oh no!”. I looked at the TV. I looked under my thong….

Sorry Kermit’s offspring. It’s not easy being green. 😛




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