Sunday, 11 January 2015

My relationship with Novelty cakes




Being frank, If you asked me if I loved Novelty cakes, you'd likely get a definite "No!"  
Novelty cakes and I have a funny relationship. I love to hate them. 
You see, I get such satisfaction from making a jaw dropping Wedding Cake, the thought of a brightly coloured Novekty cake really doesn't excite me. Or so I thought. 

My lack of enthusiasm for Novelty grew as I began to realise that most consumers put less value on this style of cake. It's just a Cake right?? It's GOT to be simpler than a traditional wedding cake doesn't it??
Well, no. 
It's true, a wedding cake is complex. It requires skill and finesse to finish it to a level worthy of its positioned glory. 
A Wedding Cake is the central focal point of the reception. It's the ceremonious symbol guests rush to ogle over when they enter the reception. The Wedding cake is the surprise factor. Will it be a big opulent structure coved with hand crafted sugar flowers, or will the guests be delighted by the surprise of a unique cake that represents the quirkiness of the couple. Or maybe something In-between . Whatever the design a Wedding cake is held in high regard. 

Novelty cakes, sadly, don't have that same rap. They're fun. Sometimes they're cute. They're not as hard to make- are they????
I use to fear the very thought of mixing up 19 different colours to create a novelty. I don't like waste, and when mixing up this many colours there's always some waste. Even with years of experience colour matching and blending, knowing how much you'll need to cover a tier, still means that there's leftover.  While some colours can be saved for later, most are fiddly little bits that are not worth keeping, yet if you put all of the "bits" together in a ball, you'd have something between and orange and a grapefruit size piece left over. Pffft! That's a couple hundred grams of icing. Yes , but if you're making a few each week it adds up. 
There isn't that kind of waste with white or ivory cakes. 
Clients who couldn't see the time, effort and value in a Novelty are another reason I began to loathe this style. 
I was so disheartened by this that I dreaded anyone who inquired about a novelty cake with me. I'd send a quote, or offer one over the phone- to be met with akward silence. Or cries of "WHAT?!?!?" "IT'S JUST A CAKE!"  
But soon enough clients started to see the "Cool" in Novelty, they began to see that a 3D cake that was a replica of an object would not only serve as a delicious dessert at their gathering- it too would provide entertainment! It could Wow the guests as well as satisfying their sweet tooth!
I loved hearing how my clients guests reacted. "They couldn't believe it was a cake!!" "I didn't want to cut it", were common feedback I received. 
With all this joy and excitement I started to like Novelty cakes (insert very surprised face). And while the majority of inquiries were still alarmed at what a novelty cake costs- there were clients who appreciated their worth and ordered some truly awesome cakes. 
My appreciation of Novelty cakes was probably summed up with this cake I did in 2012

I thought it was way cool! It's head even turned!! 
It was more than just a cake. It was a feature decoration at a party. "That's a cake?!?!" "Wow!"   My job was complete. 

In 2014 I did some pretty fun cakes. I didn't realise how many until I spent time (hours) looking back through last years pictures. 
I also realised that maybe I liked Novelty design. Maybe it was pretty cool?  Perhaps I did get job satisfaction from making them :)

So I thought I'd share my favourites from last year.

This push car cake was a 1/2 scale model. 


Then there was Lola Pickles. 
Ordered as a surprise for the birthday girl- this 3D novelty cake was a cartoon replica of the family cat. 


The one that possibly impressed grown men the most was the Lego Man Transformer cake. 

 He was so big that I couldn't photograph him easily in my tent. 

He was entirely cake- with the exception of the wheels- which were Rice Krispie Treat. 
He was allot of fun. 


Then there was a replica of a young gentlemans Longboard. Complete with a mini Mr on the edge. 

Then there was the Pinball machine cake. 
This was actually for my dad. 
He turned 60 last September. I actually waned to buy him a real pinball machine, but that wasn't possible, so I gave him the next best thing- an edible one :)


My dad had a 60's themed 60th. I wanted to make a personalised cake, rather than just replicating an actual machine. 
He gets called "Magoo" by some friends due to his glasses. 
So "Disco Magoo" was the Pinball theme. 
Psychedelic swirled icing, and "scores" reflecting significant years and dates. 

It was another giant cake. Thanks to my husband Steve for drilling and screwing the supports in place. 

There were many more in 2014, but I will leave them for another day. 
Just a small collection of some satisfying novelties I did last year. 

I now get excited by the prospect of creating a fabulous 3D novelty. I love the challenge of getting the structure right, and making it entirely from cake! 
So if you've got something you'd like made out of cake - give me a shout!

Thanks for reading
SJ 

Monday, 5 January 2015

What's a Wedding Cake Worth??

A new year brings so many things. New opportunities, adventures and new learning experiences. 
Many of you may have recently become engaged (Congratulations!!) - such an exciting time for both you and your fiancé, and for your family too.
Weddings are filled with joy and love and new beginnings- just like the New Year. 
I really enjoy meeting my clients, learning about them and their style. Hearing proposal stories, and of course how they met. 
Whilst this may seem like friendly chatter (or an over excited vendor who relishes speaking with other adults lol), to me it's very important to know my clients before designing a cake for them. 
The cake not only has to fit the feel of the reception, it needs to reflect the couple themselves. 
My job isn't all about creating stunning five tier white cakes (although I do have a rather large soft spot for thee) it's about creating a fit. 
A design fit, a flavour fit (Yes most important) , and a budget fit. 
Many clients are shy to reveal their cake budget. They shouldn't be. 
I'm sure many won't say for fear of either being overcharged or offending me if what they've accounted for is far less than a cakes worth. Neither of which could be further from reality. 
I get that this is (for most) the first time they've ordered a custom cake. I'm hear to show you why a great cake costs, and show you value for money. 
I understand that there's much misinformation about, poor articles informing couples that if you mention the word "wedding" the price will double. This is not true. Each cake is priced upon its size and detail. To be honest, the function you're using the cake for is purely to help with the design. It doesn't impact the price. You'll receive the same exceptionally finished custom made professional cake from me whether you're using it in an opulent reception, or for a backyard bbq. 
There's also the common belief that if you have "fake" tiers your cake will be loads cheaper. This is also a fallacy. The cost of custom cut foam (incl delivery) is similar to most regular style cakes. Icing foam is harder, (due to its lightweight) than a stable cake, and the external decorations take the same amount of time, effort and skill as a cake you can cut and enjoy. 
Sure if you're wanting a 20 inch cake base - this will be more economical that having actual cake, but most Bride and grooms to be are requesting 10" or smaller cakes to be replaced with foam.  You may save $5-$40 on your cake but you won't save $100's. 



It's my aim to work with my clients to give them the best value for money. 
I offer a one on one service. This means you deal with myself from design to delivery. 
I bake, ice, decorate and deliver All my cakes. 
I source all the ingredients, and use local free range eggs and seasonal fruits where possible. 
I pride myself on making cakes that taste better than they look, and whilst I can make you a "Chocolate Mud" or a "Red Velvet" cake, I'd much rather bake you a custom flavour that will stick in your guests minds long after they've eaten their slice. 
If you crave Salted Caramel, I can fill your tiers with Salted Caramel fudge cake with layers of dark chocolate ganache and Peanut butter buttercream.Or a Rosewater sand cake with pistachio and Byron Bay Honey cream??  After all- if you're serving the cake as a dessert it may as well be dessert worthy. 


Let's not forget how you're going to present the cake that you'll stand in front of your guests and ceremoniously cut. I offer a range of cake stands for hire. From hand crafted pedestal stands, to timber slices and gorgeous silver ornate stands and plateaus. If my selection doesn't include quite what you're looking for, custom made stands may be available. 

Sooooooo what will your cake cost?? It's not really a simple answer. 
Your ideal cake could be a textured butter iced cake that will be adorned with flowers from your florist, or it could be a meter high hand painted, Pearl finished cake with piping and stencil detail, with sugar blooms cascading down one side. 


There's so much variations it's impossible to give a single price. 
If you're looking to set a realistic budget then take this into consideration:
At a chain bakery where you're served a piece of commercially baked pre mix cake for between $6-$8 per slice. 
If you were to dine at a restaurant where the pastry chef had created a piece of art on a plate would see you paying $20-$28. 

I am a chef by trade. 
Your cake will be baked from scratch using quality ingredients. 
If the thought of paying $6-$20 per dessert portion is too much then maybe I'm not the decorator for you. 

This is my livelihood. 
I'm a fully registered and licensed Cake Decorator. 
Please don't assume I'll be content  working for less than a checkout operator to create your custom cake. 

I have the experience, knowledge, skills and passion to create something wonderful for you. 

I'm here to work with you to put together a design that symbolizes your Union. 
I'm here to create Your Dream Cake. 

So - What is a Wedding Cake Worth?

It's worthy of the job of a professional whose skills, expertise and network of colleagues means you'll have your expectations exceeded by the quality and service provided. 

So if you're after a spectacular cake for 2015 contact me to arrange a consultation. 
Happy 2015
SJ xx

Don't forget to like me on Facebook
www.facebook.com/cakethat 


Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Luckiest Cowboy

I'm more than aware how lucky I am. How truly blessed my family is, and how fortunate we are. 
I have been priveledged to be apart of a family who encouraged and celebrated my successes, and who are always there to support me. 
Although my clients often ask me about my family, and it's not often I publicly share. 
I have written and deleted this blog many times. I've felt a bit conflicted about sharing. I've feared how it may be read, so I'm trying my best in this two dimensional platform to write it as best I can. 
For as long as I can remember I've been aware of good fortune. Whilst growing up in a working class family, my parents always gave and shared without question. This upbringing has made me conscious of giving back and helping whenever I can. 


This December  my Big boy turned 3!
I am trying to instill the same caring values in him as was taught to me. It was like a lightbulb was switched on in his mind a few months ago- where he realised people recieved "things" for their birthdays. 
So came forth the requests of anything he saw "maybe I can get this for my birthday???" became the phrase  of the moment. The highlight of this time for me was when we were driving to Kindy and he saw a plumbers truck loaded with pipes. "Look at that big truck mummy!! Maybe I can get some pipes for my birthday???" Short of bursting out laughing, this melted my heart, because it kind of said to me that maybe he would appreciate the smaller things. 
As he grasped what parties were about now- this year I wanted a simpler style party for him (yes I can hear the chorus of hysterical laughter from those who know me personally). I'm not one for commercial themed parties. I wanted something that engaged their imaginations. 
A Western Party it was to be. I had it in my mind I wanted to create a fun party without expense. We had a bbq, icecreams, a stable with watermelon, carrots and apples, and grass dip (aka Spinach hommus and Guacamole)


I made bags of "Chaff" from oven baking shredded tortillas, to create healthy crisps for the kids. 


Trail mix with popcorn added through, and I found giant marshmallows at Costco and made "campfire pops" by dipping them in chocolate- then assorted toppings. 


I love a bargain, so I  bought a number balloon off eBay for $1.90 then had it filled for $5. I reused bunting I'd made years ago (much to my husbands delight and surprise).
I upcycled old pallets to create wooden crates, and bought some hay that we later used as garden mulch for decorations. 

Yes the fiddly bits took allot of time, but what cost me in my time looked effective and kept costs down. 
I had made a hobby horse for each family to take home instead of a lolly bag. I'll be honest- I worked on these for months in whatever moment of spare time I had. I used leftover fabric pieces, stuffings of (washed) old pillows, plus old bits of braid and buttons from my grandmothers collection. The biggest expense of these was the $3 stick. 


I had in my mind that I was going to make a hobby horse cake, but about a week out from his birthday, Finley asked "can you make a little me on a cake?"  
From there my creative brain went a little overboard. Of course I could make a figurine - but how about a 3D cartoon Cowboy Kid instead?? I didn't tell Mr almost Three my plan. I wanted it to be a surprise. I wanted to see if I could impress the only person that mattered on his special day. 
So I had a go. Yes I have years of cake making and designing experience behind me, but I still lack confidence in many elembets, and I've still allot to learn. 

At one point I called my mum into my cake room to give me a bit of help, as I was doing the eyes, and scarily the cake looked like "Child of Chucky" lol. 
I channeled the artistic talents of my fellow cake peeps, and I think in the end he turned out awesome!  
I managed to keep him out of sight until the party day, then once all set up I bought the birthday boy down and showed him. 
GOBSMACKED!! He was so chuffed he kept looking at the cake- then smiling to himself. Mission accomplished ��
This was the only opinion that mattered. 
Would he have been just as delighted with a round sponge from woollies with a number 3 candle on it- Absolutely..... But given I have this talent, I'd  treasure using it to create family happiness than simply use it for paying clients alone. 


So here he is Cowboy Finley!



And with the happy recipient. 


The party goers couldn't get enough of him either. 


And finally one of us all together. 



So there's a little insight to me and my family and a stack of great memories we've just made. 

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below. 
SJ x


Thursday, 11 December 2014

#makesomeonehappy

I'm a big believer in giving back. I'm extremely blessed and I don't take that for granted. 
When I saw the Channel 9 Today Show's #makesomeonehappy campaign - I instantly knew I wanted to be apart of it. 
The core of the initiative isn't about flaunting privilege, it's about genuinely doing something thoughtful (no matter how simplistic) to make someone else's day. I was excited to be able to share a little bit of my talent to make someone happy ��

So as we approach Christmas I am very wary of the fact that so many people and families find this time of year difficult. 
No matter your situation the very thought of Christmas, to many, isn't all Tinsel and Jingle Bells. 
My aim with this project is to make someone happy. 
To surprise them with a little something unexpected. 
To lift their spirit and share a little sugary love. 
Whilst you may have seen the Xmas tree cake I donated to a local Kindy - which made about 100 little people very happy- this time I am giving away a Pudding "lolly cake" Cake!


Very similar to Rocky road- but without the nuts. This can be kept and used on Christmas Day, or shared with friends, family or colleagues beforehand. 

There are only 2 conditions of winning this:
1- You must be able to collect this from my Alderley Home Studio on Saturday 13th December 2014 before 10am. 

2- I'd love it if the winner could pay the happiness forward- with a little #makesomeonehappy love of their own. 

That's it. 
To enter all you need to do is comment on this blog link on the Cake That! Facebook page. 
A winner will be drawn by Random.Org at 6pm on Friday 12/12/14. 

This competition is not sponsored or endorsed by facebook. 
This is a giveaway purely in the spirit of Christmas and holds no retail value. 
Should the prize winner not claim their prize- it will be donated to a local charity on their behalf. 

Thanks for reading and don't forget to take a little moment and #makesomeonehappy
Cheers
SJ 



Thursday, 30 October 2014

Cake Pride!



You know- I would never think of myself as an intimidating kind of person, so it always surprises me when I meet other people (as well as extended family and friends) who feel like they have to apologise or compare their cake triumphs to mine. 
Yes triumphs not tragedies. 
I love cake decorating, and I've been blessed to be able to do what I love every day. So when I hear "not like your cakes" or "I made a terrible cake" I feel sad. I truly love seeing other peoples creations. 
It can be such a sense of achievement after allot of hard work to complete a cake. 
I meet mums who dismiss their efforts as unworthy- when the truth be told these cakes they've made are the most special of any. 
I'm a huge advocate for parents making their own kids cakes. It really is a right of passage. 
My family will attest to some "challenging" cakes made for me as a kid. Not a single one looking like it stepped out of a magazine- but each and every one absolutely loved and cherished by me (and my friends). 
Goodness knows as a teenager I made many of my baby sisters cakes- we both beamed with excitement at the epic brilliant sugary creation before us! I tried many a design out on her (thanks for being my guinea pig Al)





Parents put so much pressure on themselves to create these magnificent cakes - when in reality kids love it (the cake) no matter how unlike the original idea the end result may be. 
No one has ever gone to a kids party and said "geez look at that poor excuse for a cake" - instead we all really cheer that parent/loved one on for how terrific the cake is- and it's backed up by the excited and proud grin of the birthday recipient. 
 So if you're a friend of mine, or if you meet me- please NEVER apologise for the awesome, filled with love, painstakingly put together cake you've created- stand up and be proud, as I'll be there cheering you on!

I have been honored to guide many friends to make their own cakes, and seeing how chuffed they are with their finished product makes me feel wonderful too!
I welcome you to share your proudest cake achievements in the comment section :)

Next year is the 10th Anniversay of Cake That!. I have some exciting things in store for 2015- so keep up to date by following me on Facebook!

Thanks for reading- and Happy Baking
SJ

Sunday, 9 March 2014

I'll bake the cake!

Ok- so pretty much I voluntarily put my hand up for what some could describe as the most difficult kind of cake you could ever attempt. 
It wasn't a super tall- nor an artistically sculptured masterpiece. It wasn't even something I'd never attempted before. 
So what was this cake you ask??
It was a lovingly made- frantically put together (read a houseful of builders and a short bursts of opportunity to put it together) and finished with a few "love bumps" that I'd be sweating bullets over on a regular order. But it was done. It turned out pretty funky (if I do say so myself) and it was delivered all in one piece. 
But why the stress you ask???
It was a surprise for a friend :)
"So?!?!!" I hear you say. 
But this isn't any ordinary run of the mill friend. This cake was for one of my fabulous "cake" ladies. One of the most gorgeous people you could meet. Talented beyond belief- and I was in charge of making her cake ��

Given I had full artistic license on this little gem- I colluded with my fellow cake bevy, got the thumbs up for my design concept (although they vetoed my idea of putting 40 candles around the base pfft! I mean everyone loves illumination don't they lol) 

Subconsciously I knew I had no reason to stress. I know had the shoe been on the other foot I would be ecstatic with anyone making a cake for me- but truth be told I'm a worry wart when it comes to these situations. 
What if she doesn't like it?
What if she had a grand idea of her own and I was treading on her toes?
What if....... She's allergic to coconut?!?!?

So maybe I'm a bit extreme when it comes to unnecessarily worrying ��

Anyway- I'm sure you've already guessed- but she did love the cake! (Phew) 

So after I made it to the venue- and handed over the cake in question- it was party time!!!
My fellow cake ladies are not my competition- they're my allies, my psychologists throughout my crazy weeks, they're my friends. I'm so very lucky to have met so many wonderful fellow cake enthusiasts that share not only a common love of cake- but have terrific senses of humour and genuinely are there to support you anytime. 


So this is my attempt at a cool "Rockabily" style cake. Cute and fun, zest lime and coconut inside (with white chocolate coconut ganache too!)

I truly hope that the divine Ms Amanda had a spectacular birthday!
Cheers for a fantastic year ahead xx

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

What's new in 2014

Hello!
Well it's already the third week in February- this year is flying by!
There's lots of exciting things planned for Cake That! this year. 
An exciting new venture- a new list of gourmet flavours- and perhaps the most exciting- a Brand new Workroom for me!! 

I've worked from home for almost 10yrs now- and with the need of a bit more space- I've taken a plunge and engaged builders and as I type they're building a new extension specifically for cake!!
Every home needs a cake room- it's sure to be the Media room of the naughties lol. 
My old workroom has been transformed back into the bedroom it once was- and whilst I'm on leave - the builders are creating me a new space just for my cake!
Work in progress- it's speeding along!
Choosing a functional design- finding a draftsman and builder- then the nitty gritty bits like floor coverings and handwashing sinks- it's been a job in itself! Worth it all none the less :)
It's not far from completion- I'm so looking forward to setting out all my racking and equipment- and having the space ready to start making new display cakes!

I've got so many ideas in my mind- here's hoping they come together and create big beautiful cakes :)

This weekend I'm keeping in touch and having a day of consults and cake tasting! I can't wait to test out some of the new flavour range on prospective clients!! 

I can't wait to have the new room finished and start on my new display cakes! 
Thanks for reading
SJ xx

Saturday, 15 February 2014

In the swing!

As some of you may know- I'm currently off on leave. I won't be back to caking until April 2014- time is flying- but that doesn't stop me itching to make cakes though :)
One of my friends is having a baby soon- this is her second baby- and it's due to be a little girl- so I was itching to make her a cute cake :)

After I got the all clear to make it my mind went into creative overdrive. 
I wanted to make something that wasn't too over the top- and also incorporate the mum-to-be's request for a soft iced cake and Red Velvet. 
While the cake itself wasn't exactly Red Velvet- it was an ombré pink Velvet cake:D
I kept true to the request and iced the cake in a soft icing. 
Using the petal method I piped the base tier in a pink ombré- then finished the top tier with a little bunting on the wall and a sweet sugar baby carriage on top!

This cake definitely satisfied my need to "make a cake" fix!

Thanks for reading
SJ xx




Cake That! Superfood Slice

Cake That!  Superfood Bar!

This delicious slice/bar is Gluten,Dairy,Nut and Sugar Free!

It's also vegan and requires minimal effort to make. I'm sure it'd last a long while in a container too- but it never lasts long enough here to test that theory lol


So here it is


Preheat your oven to 165degC


In a mixing bowl place

2 1/2 cups oats (if needed use GF oats)

2tbsp Chia seeds

3tbs Sunflower seeds

2tsp powdered ginger

2tsp cinnamon

200g sultanas

2tbs honey

2tbs flaxseed meal


In a blender- blend

2x over ripe bananas (med size)

200g pitted prunes

200g softened pitted dates (I put them into a bowl with a splash of water and microwave for 60secs)


Add blended mix to oat mix. 

Press into a lined slice tray and bake for 30-40 mins


The longer you bake the firmer the slice- I like it a bit chewy :)


Slice when warm- then devour once cold xx


I add other things to this slice and omit others depending on what I have on hand and what I feel like. 

As a base I use the oats and the blend mix- from there you can add coconut- nuts- dried fruit- different spices - whatever your heart desires!


You can even swap out prunes for more softened dates if you want. 

 I normally cut 18 pieces from a tray. They're a great little snack. 


Happy baking xx


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Emma Chisit?!?

I often get emails asking "how much is a cake?"
Or "how much for this cake?" 
The answer isn't as simple as saying $$
Each and every cake I make is crafted especially for the occasion it is being used for. 
Yes you may see and fall in love with a stunning cake- but it may be unsuitable for your needs. 
It could be miles too big!(and while we all love left over cake) choosing a scaled down variation may still show off its beauty without being ostentatious at your event. 
At the other end of the spectrum, I'd be disappointed to quote a price for a cake that's too small for the occasion, only to then have to add in additional kitchen cakes (and expense) to cover the numbers. 
There's no secret underlying reasons as to why I ask the following in order to supply pricing- I truly need to know. 

The Date- I need to know when your event will be held, so that I can provide my availability to you. If I'm unavailable for your date then sadly I cannot help with a cake. (I'm always happy to refer you to someone who might be able to help instead too) 
It's not my business practice to supply quotes where I'm unable to accommodate the request. 

Your Venue- I ask this to know how suitable your design will be there. Whether or not your venue has air conditioning, whether it is an outdoor venue, and of course it's location for delivery can all possibly impact on the design. 
For instance- if you're having an outdoor marquee wedding in January a soft iced cake is definitely off the cards. And dependent upon the availability of aircon to store a fondant iced cake until just prior to the reception will also determine what's suitable. 
The last thing I would want would be for your cake to turn into a melted puddle on the floor. 

How your cake is being served. 
Whether it's dessert or token pieces will effect how much cake you need. 
Also if traditionally you wish to retain your top tier will also mean that you may need more cake to cater for your amount of guests. 

While I often hear "no one eats cake" I'd beg to differ. I have countless thank yous and feedback from past clients telling me how they didn't get a single piece of cake as their guests ate it all on the night. 
People will eat great cake :D
While only you will know your guests well enough to judge their appetite, It's also etiquette to provide a portion for each and every attendee. 
Thinking that "none of the guys will want dessert" and wanting to order a cake 30 portions short isn't a cordial approach. 
Your venue will want to cut enough portions to provide each guest with that course. Culling dessert for those you think may not want it is like only serving some guests an entree- because they would normally only eat a main meal. 

So when looking for a quote on the perfect cake you've found- remember to supply the information above for a speedy reply. 

Take it easy
SJ xx