Tunis Cake

A few weeks ago I was asked to make a Tunis Cake, which apparently was an alternative to Xmas cake in the 1950s through to the early 70s. I had never heard of it, but it was really special to this couple, so after some research I came up with this recipe –

Ingredients:
325g self-raising flour (sifted)
250g softened butter
250g castor sugar
175g ground almonds
1 lemon juice, and rind
4 eggs

Chocolate topping:

150g dark chocolate; 40g butter; 1.5 tbsp water

Method
– Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until pale

– Add the eggs, flour, lemon juice, lemon rind and ground almonds, mixing thoroughly.
– Place the mixture into a 8in greased and floured cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 150oC/300oF/gas mark 2 for one hour or until springy in the middle when pressed.

Ensure the cake is totally cold before decorating.

The key to a Tunis Cake is the deep layer of dark chocolate – the recipe only uses 150g, but I doubled it, and the result was so much better. So the chocolate only coats the top, and does not go down the sides, tightly wrap some greaseproof paper around the sides of the cake, standing proud about 3cm of the top, securing with a piece of string.

1-Wrapped Madeira2-Glazed Top

Melt the chocolate & butter, stirring to ensure it is totally smooth, then leave to cool.
I then glazed the top with warmed apricot jam to stop any crumbs getting into the topping. I also glazed the sides as the customer would not be eating the cake until Xmas Day so I wanted it to stay as moist as possible.

I then very carefully poured the melted chocolate onto the cake top and smoothed it with a small palette knife. I then left it overnight to fully set.

It appears that the original Tunis Cake had three marzipan fruits, so I made an orange, which I textured using a nutmeg grater, a green apple, and a banana. To get the correct skin effect I used small pieces of pale brown marzipan, rolled into the yellow so it was still visible as brown & yellow. I left the cake overnight, then positioned the fruits in the centre the next day.

3-Marzipan Orange4-Blending Colours6-Marzipan Fruits

I was really pleased with the finished cake, and thankfully so was the customer!

7-Cake Top8-Tunis Cake

Posted in Baking, Cheshire, Chocolate, Concept Cakes, Decorated Cakes, Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Journey to Chocolate

Book Launch & Networking

I recently joined a networking group for business women – I’m not normally a networking-type, but when you are trying to promote your business I suppose you really have to try everything.

So far  I have attended a few events which have been very pleasant, but haven’t really led to a great deal of business, but it is early days…

However I was asked to make a cake for the 2nd “birthday” of the region I am in, and had the idea of using the business cards I have accumulated since joining.

I have a printer which creates edible images so I scanned the cards in then carefully cut them out and used them as decoration on the cake, which I had iced in the colours of the group, then made a stars & feathers “topper”, with a sparkly “TWO”. I think it is quite effective.

1 - Forward Ladies Business Card Cake

One of our members has managed to get her book stocked by Waterstones, and it was launched in the Knutsford branch. Her book is “Journey to Chocolate”, so naturally required chocolate cupcakes! Her colour scheme is purple with purple-pink fantasy flowers.

I topped the cupcakes with chocolate ganache before icing them with purple sugarpaste, before adding the flowers.

2 - Chocolate Cupcakes   3 - Levelled Tops

4 - Chocolate Ganache   5 - Iced Cupcakes

I actually used a large calyx cutter to cut the flowers, and shaped them in egg boxes to give the curve.

      6 - Calyx Shapes 7 - Egg Box

I used two layers of petals, which I then added more colour with metallic paint, before adding yellow centres, textured by a toothpick!!

8 - Two Layers 9 - Painted Shapes 10 - Adding Centres 11 - Journey to Chocolate Cupcakes

As you can see by the picture with the flyer, the result was quite a good match.

12 - With Flyer

You can see all of my cakes on my website at www.cakesindividuallyiced.co.uk or on my FB page – http://www.facebook.com/cakesindividuallyiced

 

 

Posted in Baking, Books, Cheshire, Chocolate, Concept Cakes, Cupcakes, Decorated Cakes, Food, Sandbach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mrs Potts Teapot Cake

Mrs Potts Teapot Cake

A customer’s daughter is Mrs Potts the Teapot in her schools production of Beauty & The Beast, so this was the perfect choice for her daughters’ 18th birthday cake.

I made the handle first as it was quite thick so would take a while to dry & harden. The white “sticks” at each end are the “edible dowels” I use – ie candy sticks!!

I then made a one-off stand for it, because the cake would be quite heavy – too heavy to make the stand just out of cake or icing, so I adapted a cake card, bending the sides down & securing them with double-sided tape, before recovering the card with cake-board foil.

     

I then attached the smaller cake card to a larger board & let it set before icing them, ready to make the multi-coloured stand for the teapot. While it was drying I coloured some sugarpaste in the colours of the stand, cling filming them to keep the fresh until needed.

     

I used a ball cake tin, and a 6” tin, as I needed the outer part of the cake to be rounded mike a teapot. I had to jam/buttercream this cake from top to bottom instead of the usual way, to stick the three pieces together!! I used buttercream as the marzipan base this time, and cut a flat base ready to stand the cake in the right position.

  

Then I shaped the face, using marzipan to make the cheeks & spout, and hollowing where the eyes would go.

I have to admit at this stage I did think it looked more like turnip-head than a cute teapot…….

Icing it was a challenge, as the spout kept tearing the icing – no matter how thick it was. In the end I iced the face separately, and carefully blended it to the rest of the icing.

Eventually it was iced & ready for colouring, then all of a sudden it took shape!

I’m really pleased with it now that it is done – challenges and all!! It’s being collected tomorrow so as usual I’ll worry until then…..

My totally edible 3-D decorated cakes are suitable for every occasion – have a look at my website, www.cakesindividuallyiced.co.uk or my FB page – www.Facebook.com/cakesindividuallyiced – and you will see what I mean when I say all my cakes are “individually iced”

Posted in Baking, Cheshire, Concept Cakes, Cute, Decorated Cakes, Disney, People, Sandbach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Bit of a Catch-Up…

Wow – what a busy few weeks!! Despite my best intentions, I haven’t had two minutes to myself since my last blog – which has been great, but really, really tiring.

Since the Charity Fayre, things really have been non-stop – in fact my husband has labelled himself a cake-widower (although he has enjoyed all the golf he has been encouraged to play to keep him out of the prep-room!!)

I haven’t even had time to take my “preparation  pictures” which I normally do, but thought you might like to see what I’ve been up to anyway.

After the Fayre I had a 3D airplane to do for a Thomson pilot – it also happened to be that really hot spell, so getting the modelling paste to harden for the wings & tail fin was a nightmare!!! However the perseverance was worth it when the customer called to collect it, thankfully.

Then I got a request for a Manchester City football shirt for a 16th – had to keep this away from my husband who is a Newcastle fan!!

A couple of days later I made this lovely cake for an 18th, with a picture of the birthday girl on her beloved horse – I think these edible photos are a really lovely way to truly personalise a cake.

Then I had a Ruby Wedding Anniversary cake to do – I really love the elegance that Garrett frills give a cake, and combined with the beautiful ruby roses, that was a lovely, classic cake.

Then it was back to my novelty themes – this time for a Podiatrist – a foot!!! To do this I cling-wrapped my husband’s foot, the made a mould out of aluminium foil! Luckily it worked really well, and she loved the cake.

After that it was Tinkerbelle, but with the added twist of a baby Peter Pan!! The birthday girl had just had a baby, so the customer wanted to include him on the cake….as with most of my cakes, both Tinkerbelle and Peter Pan were totally edible, although I’m pretty sure they have been kept as keepsakes.

Finally for now is Rafiki – I have to admit this model was a real challenge – because of the weight of the body, the model just didn’t want to stand up – especially on those very oddly shaped legs!! But thankfully I eventually managed, although this model is not edible- but the customer was quite happy with that – she just wanted this cake as it was perfect for her boyfriend.

Phew…..all this in about 4 weeks – then my husband & I disappeared off to Bruges for a long weekend to celebrate our own wedding anniversary, which was lovely, and totally cake-free!

But rest over…. I’m now starting the Teapot out of Beauty & The Beast – 3D and fully edible of course!! Back to reality…..

I also go part-time at the end of this month to devote more time to my cakes – yippee!!!

See my other 3D cakes & cake sculptures at www.cakesindividuallyiced.co.uk or visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cakesindividuallyiced

Posted in Baking, Cheshire, Concept Cakes, Decorated Cakes, Disney, Sandbach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Charity Fayre

Charity Fayre

I was asked recently to do some cupcake decorating demos at a local charity fayre, so I decided to make a few to donate & sell in between demos…..so 100 cupcakes later, off I went.

I also thought it would be nice to donate a cake to raffle too, so made a lovely jam & buttercream filled vanilla sponge, which I decorated with a couple of wired peach iced roses & calla lilly floral sprays. The lady who won it was delighted – a good purchase for a £1 ticket!!

As quick as I am there was no way I could decorate 100 cupcakes in 3 hours (!!) so I prepared the ones for sale in advance, and sorted out what I’d do for the demo.

To make the display look attractive & interesting I made a variety of flavours – lemon, raspberry, chocolate, vanilla and different decorations  roses, doves, butterflies, hearts, stars, and for the young-at-heart, sprinkles, cows & chickens!!!

 

 

 

They all went down very well – literally – many of the other stall-holders bought them to eat while there & then, which was nice to see. I received some lovely compliments, and it was really nice actually being there when people were enjoying my cakes – normally the last I see of them is as a customer takes them home.

 

I really enjoyed my day, and it was nice to think that my cakes have contributed to helping a local charity too.

My totally edible 3-D decorated cakes are suitable for every occasion – have a look at my website, www.cakesindividuallyiced.co.uk or my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cakesindividuallyiced and you will see what I mean when I say all my cakes are “individually iced”

Posted in Baking, charity, Cheshire, Concept Cakes, Cupcakes, Decorated Cakes, Food, People, Sandbach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daddy’s Motorbike

Daddy’s Motorbike

My latest cake is a replica of his daddy’s motorbike for a little boy’s 5th birthday.

I tried using the clear plastic moulds, but to be honest the result was pretty bleak – not much detail and it certainly wouldn’t have given the “wow” factor the client was looking for.

 

So…I decided to make one from scratch!!

As it was for a kiddie, I have no doubt that he won’t be able to resist eating it, so I made the “insides” from a blend of modelling paste & marzipan.

then clad the bike in sugarpaste coloured to match the bike in question. (Modelling paste eventually firms up but does not go as hard as flower paste so it’s great for this type of thing).

I started by making the inner body, bearing in mind this eventually had to free-stand, but being 3D would be seen from all sides. Then I made the wheels and started to keep my fingers crossed that it would not fall over!!

 

I then added the other parts of the marzipan frame – the seat, the exhaust, the windscreen etc.

I left this to dry and harden up for a day or so, then started to add the outer coating, mainly in lime-green sugarpaste!

I made all the relevant sections by first making a template, then making the parts from sugarpaste.

 

Once these were attached I painted the chrome parts with edible silver paint, then added the handle bars, wing mirrors etc, and left it to dry.

I made a plaque for it so that the bike could be removed from the cake and kept if required, and before it was hard I put a couple of dowel holes in it, where the wheels would be – I had also made corresponding holes in the wheels. Being a child’s cake I try to have nothing inedible in it, so scoured the shops for “edible dowels”, which I found in the shape of “candy sticks” – those of you who are old enough will know them as “candy cigarettes” – but without the red tops!!! These worked really well and just gave me the added comfort that the bike would not topple when the cake was moved.

I positioned the bike on the plaque, adding some grass just to hide any joins, added the birthday message and delivered the cake!!

   

The cake was demolished very quickly, but the bike has pride of place in the little boy’s bedroom – mind you I’m not sure how long he’ll be able to resist the lure of the marzipan!!!

I’m now working on a 3D plane cake, which is just taking off…..watch out for an update at the weekend!!

See my other 3D cakes & cake sculptures at www.cakesindividuallyiced.co.uk or visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cakesindividuallyiced

 

Posted in Baking, Cheshire, Concept Cakes, Decorated Cakes, Food, Motorbike, Sandbach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Poorly Fiat…..

The Poorly Fiat

Probably my most challenging cake sculpture to date – a customer wanted Tow Mater (from Disney Cars) actually towing her daughters Fiat 500, for her 21st birthday, all made from chocolate cake.

Of course I wanted the cakes to be fully 3D – so you could see underneath them – many cakes have an illusion of being 3D by having a black border around them but I don’t like this, so I used a cake board cut to the shape & size I need, and fully covered in foil to ensure all cut edges are covered.

I then cut square dowelling to the required height, and cut out a wedge from the actual cake drum. The dowelling is then glued in place, but everything is then covered in icing so nothing non-edible touches the cake. The shaped cake boards are then attached to the top of the dowels ready for the cakes.

  

One thing I have learned when making sponge cakes is to really whisk the egg whites, as this makes the finished cake so light.

I made both cakes, which really bore no resemblance to what the customer wanted….then set about sculpting…..

You can’t really get 3D cake tins for most of the cakes I create so I have to find ways around this – for these cakes I printed some images then scaled them to the size I wanted so I could use these drawings as templates.

    

Once I had the basic shapes I marzipanned them and left them to dry while I made the “attachments” – mainly Mater’s towing system.

  

I have to admit I really had to think long & hard about this – as you know my cakes have to be totally edible, so I couldn’t use wire at all to give the system any support. However, I have found this fabulous product called Tylo Powder CMC. It is fully edible, and the powder can be added to sugarpaste to firm it up for modelling etc, but it also makes the most fantastic edible glue, which is really strong.

I made all the relevant “parts” & left them to dry before assembling them – with support until the glue hardened – and eventually the pulley system began to develop.

 

When the cakes were ready to ice I coloured sugarpaste to give me the bright yellow for the Fiat, and Mater’s rusty-brown body – apparently Mater was once Baby Blue, so there are flashes of blue still showing through the rust, which I applied with edible dusting powder!

I then made the “faces”, including Mater’s very toothy grin, and a very exasperated Fiat!!

 

Next came the challenge of the tow rope….my first idea was to use liquorice, but it was too thick & too strong, so I tried a jelly worm – same problem….icing just would not firm up enough to just be supported at the ends…so back to the liquorice! I carefully cut the liquorice in half, and managed to use this as the cable, attaching it by using my favourite Tylo glue and sugarpaste, and supporting it until it dried.

Eventually it worked and Mater towed the Fiat!!!

An additional request was to personalise the cake with the inclusion of three soft toys in the Fiat but it was impossible to put them in the cake windows, so I made three little copies and put them on the cake board – I think they look quite cute!!

 

 

I’m really pleased with the results – it took a lot of hard work, but the customer was totally delighted, which is all I ask for.

You can see more of my 3D cakes, plus my celebration and wedding cakes at www.cakesindividuallyiced.co.uk or in my Facebook page albums at – www.facebook.com/cakesindividuallyiced

Posted in Baking, Car, Cheshire, Concept Cakes, Cute, Decorated Cakes, Disney, Fiat, Food, People, Sandbach, Tow Mater, Tow Truck | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

People-Pops Power!

People-Pops Power!

As I said in my last post, it was my nephews 16th birthday this week, and his mum had asked for Cookie Monster cupcakes for his birthday cake, so I decided to do my own take on the latest cake craze, cake pops, with “People Pops”!!

I have never tried making these before, so it was quite a learning curve for me.

I crumbled some cakes into very fine crumb, then made some frosting to mix with the crumbs. The frosting is a mix of buttercream & cream cheese, mixed until it is pale & fluffy.

 

Personally I found it a little sweet, so next time I may add more cream cheese and less buttercream.

I then rolled the mixture into small balls, but because I wanted to make them look like heads, I flattened them slightly. Then I dipped the sticks into the melted candy-melt, and inserted them part-way into the cake balls.

Another tip – at this point cover the pops with clingfilm & leave them in the fridge for as long as you can – overnight is good – this allows the melt to set on the sticks, and stops the pops coming off when you dip them.

When you melt the candy-melts, you need to add enough vegetable oil to make it quite runny, or it is too thick to quickly dip the pops into.

Once the pops were dipped I left them in a cool place to set while I prepared the “faces”.

I printed 6 edible pictures and carefully cut out the individual faces one at a time, keeping the others cool. I then attached the face to the pop, making my People Pop.

 

I put each one into a presentation bag, ready for the main event.

 

As you can see, he was quite taken with his extremely individual birthday cake!!

 

My totally edible 3-D decorated cakes are suitable for every occasion – have a look at my website, www.cakesindividuallyiced.co.uk and you will see what I mean when I say all my cakes are “individually iced”

Posted in Baking, Cake Pops, Cheshire, Concept Cakes, Cookie Monster, Cookies, Cupcakes, Cute, Decorated Cakes, Food, People, Pops, Sandbach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cupcakes – Cute & Crazy

Cupcakes – Cute & Crazy….

I have been asked to do a cupcake-decorating demonstration at a local fayre in July, and as I tend to veer more towards larger novelty cakes & Wedding cakes, I thought I’d better get a bit of practice in!!

It is also my nephew’s 16th birthday this week, and he had seen some Cookie Monster cupcakes, which according to his mum, he “fell in love with”, so I decided to do some “cute & crazy” cupcakes.

Through trial & error I have learnt a few “must dos” when making cupcakes –

  •  Mix the butter & sugar until it is really pale
  • Separate the eggs & really whisk the egg whites before adding to the butter & sugar – this helps make the cupcakes light & fluffy
  • Fold half in the flour, then add the milk, then fold in the rest of the flour – fold it in gently so you don’t knock out the air from the egg whites.

I filled the cupcake cases ½ – ¾ full, then I cook at 170C as we have a fan oven, ensuring I do not open the oven door for the first 15 minutes to allow the cupcakes to set, then I test them – they just need to be lightly golden, not dark, & the skewer should come out clean.

As you can see, this all goes to produce beautiful fluffy cupcakes.

Next comes the fun part!!

When I do the demo I want to try to use items most budding decorators will have in their kit, so they can see you don’t always need fancy equipment to get good results. For the “cute cupcakes” I mainly used round, heart & star cutters – the hearts I cut in half to make ears & the chicken’s comb, the star shapes I adapted to make the chicken feet.

          

To get the black & white fondant for the cow I simply put pieces of black sugarpaste on top of white, & rolled over it, blending the two.

 

And here we have – cute cupcakes!!!!

         

Hopefully this might even encourage some people to give cake decorating a try!!

For the Cookie Monsters I did need one specific type of nozzle – for piping hair!! I couldn’t imagine having to pipe all that hair strand by strand…..

I cut a piece into the top of the cupcake & filled it with buttercream to hold the cookie tongue in place, putting the cut-out on top to add height. I then covered it all with buttercream and blue sugarpaste to make it easier to pipe onto.

 

The eyes were modelling paste so they would firm up quickly, with small black discs attached.

  

Then I piped all that blue hair, and added the eyes – hopefully my nephew will love these too!!!!

I’ve got three other cakes on the go at the moment – “Daddy’s Motorbike” a hand-sculpted copy of a motorbike for a 5th birthday – “The Poorly Fiat”, a tow truck pulling

Yellow Fiat 500 and Tinkerbelle – a 3D Tinkerbelle sat in a large open flower….I’ll post an update soon so you can see how I get on.

 

My totally edible 3-D decorated cakes are suitable for every occasion – have a look at my website, www.cakesindividuallyiced.co.uk and you will see what I mean when I say all my cakes are “individually iced”

Posted in Baking, Cheshire, Concept Cakes, Cookie Monster, Cookies, Cupcakes, Cute, Decorated Cakes, Food, Sandbach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Fine Vintage…..The Finale

A Fine Vintage…..

I was asked to make a vintage bottle of wine in a wine casket for a 70th birthday – as with most of my cake sculptures, it needed to be 3D, totally edible and as realistic as possible. My earlier post documents how I made the bottle mould myself after an unsuccessful search, and shows the baked bottle cake.

Now I’ll take you through it’s progression to a vintage wine bottle in a wooden casket…

To make the wooden casket I used an adjustable cake tin, which I find invaluable because of the great variety of cakes you can make with just the one tin. Again I used Madeira cake because of its great properties for sculpting with.

       

I positioned the bottle in the top of the cake casket when it was cool, angling it slightly. I then marzipanned the bottle separately from the casket so it retained its definition. Then I marzipanned the casket & set to one side to firm up while I made the packing….

   

I rolled out natural marzipan as thinly as possible – natural marzipan is already straw-coloured so I didn’t need to colour it. I then cut it into ribbons and draped it over some brush handles to curl it like straw, before moving onto the casket sides.

      

I mixed fondant & flowerpaste to give the paste the firmness it needed to stand up, and cut out rectangles. When they were dry I painted them a light brown, then later went over in dark brown to add the woodgrain, complete with knots!!

I used coloured fondant to cover the bottle, which I then darkened using a burgundy/wine/claret colour I mixed myself to resemble a deep red wine. I then glazed it for the sheen of the glass bottle.

Then it was time to encase the casket, put in the packing and add the name & year to the sides.

Hope you like the end result – bottoms up!!

      

My totally edible 3-D decorated cakes are suitable for every occasion – have a look at my website, www.cakesindividuallyiced.co.uk and you will see what I mean when I say all my cakes are “individually iced”

Posted in Baking, Cheshire, Concept Cakes, Decorated Cakes, Food, Sandbach, Vintage, Wine, wine bottle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments