Friday, 22 April 2016

Nothing beats (recycled) cake!

As a complete term of endearment I refer to one of my sisters as an absolute nutter. 
Last June I created a two tier cake for my nieces naming day.
Exhibit A. Original cake June 2015

 With an entire tier untouched (blame me for the enormous cake), instead of cutting it up and sharing it out to all and sundry- she froze the tier and has kept it- waiting for another special  occasion to utilise it. 
Just to picture this "left over" tier size- it was 10" round and approx 9" high. AKA- bloody huge!

It was my mums birthday this week. When discussing what the plans to celebrate were- nutter sister pipes up and says that she's going to prepare the birthday cake utilising the frozen tier she'd been saving. 
Honestly- you'd think she'd have a connection to hook her up with a fresh cake. 
There was no arguing the use of the second hand cake. She reminded me on number of occasions that my own clients successfully froze their top tiers, and enjoyed them as an anniversary/celebration cake within 12 months of their weddings, what's good for the goose is good for the gander right?
So that was that. The tier was to be reinvigorated as the birthday cake for the family birthday dinner. 

It was my mums actual birthday yesterday. I surprised her at work with a (freshly made) Drip cake.

Chocolate peanut butter caramel to be exact. 
Layers of rich chocolate with peanut butter ganache, all drizzled with rich velvety caramel. With the added bonus of dark chocolate mousse quenelles (and a giant one on top). 
Suffice to say both mum and her colleagues enjoyed the birthday day cake!

But tonight's family festivities had us celebrating with the recycled cake. I'm pretty much eating my hat right about now because to my astonishment- the cake was actually perfect. Just like the day it was made. 
Keeping a giant cake is not like freezing a top tier. There was no size Tupperware container available to encase the cake. It had been thoroughly glad wrapped for the last 10 months- sat in a deep freezer- and defrosted yesterday. Amazing. 
I honestly expected it to have been tainted by other freezer items given it wasn't encased in an airtight container. But indeed it was fab. 

I'd forgotten what flavour it was. Passionfruit lime, with lime buttercream. Moist delicious, and not an ounce of drying out!
I'm delighted to report that this time is the last time this tier (in any form) will be making an appearance- I've sectioned it and sent it off with 11 different people. It's being eaten this weekend. 
My husband in his humor suggested my sister could keep wedges and re-ice them as skateboard ramps for an 8th birthday. Thanks Steve, like she needs encouragement or ideas lol. 

So there it was. A cake, used (successfully) twice for vastly different occasions, and enjoyed. The moral of this story is, know that a thrifty sister won't let great cake go to waste- even when she has unlimited supply of it at her disposal. 

What began as a tiny Facebook status update - has turned into me sharing one of the idiosyncrasies that make my sister (and my family) the awesome people they are. 

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Wedding of the Year

Ok. Call me biased. But if you were in my shoes you'd surely be thinking the same way.
My baby sister got married last week. The last one in my family to "tie the knot"! 
Surprisingly we all married in birthed chronological order- and we all celebrated in our own style. 
For years Alex has told me "when I get married I'm going to have......." Followed by lengthy discussions and brainstorming of stunning wedding trends and jaw dropping, crowd captivating things of wedded beauty. 
I said in my speech "if Alex had Pinterest, she'd have broken the Internet!"  
Call it easy to please, or easily excitable, Al LOVED pretty much every beautiful wedding idea there was on offer. Style wise, Elegant Vintage, is what you could coin the look they were working towards..........oh but wait- look at this pretty thing over here!!!!!!! lol. 
You get the drift. 

After many many discussions over time about "when" her wedding came around- it was kind of surreal that these last few months of planning weren't just day dreaming chats- these were real time reality. Stuff was going to happen. 
It was kind of a whirlwind of planning. 
I returned from holidays at the end of January, the date was set in motion- let's plan this April wedding. 
APRIL WEDDING!!!! Whoa. I've just spent 6 weeks eating and drinking my way through the festive season- slothing  about and relaxing "summer holiday" style- now I had to rein in my health regime- I was going to be a BRIDESMAID. IN 10 weeks!!  
I could do it. Who needs sugar anyway šŸ˜
In amongst the freaking out, there was a true sense of excitement as it was now my pleasure to help Ali and Dunc create beautiful sweet treats for their special day. 
A&D has engaged some wonderful suppliers. Together we were a formidable wedding force. 
Karen from Bliss Floral perfectly captured Alex's floral ideas. When the bouquets arrived at my parents home- her squeals of delight and teary reaction to them simply said it all. I knew they'd be magnificent- but if we're measuring emotional responses, they topped my efforts no end. 
It was a real family effort setting the venue. Both families worked hard to turn the blank canvas into a warm romantic room, fit for the fabulous reception that awaited. 
The ceremony itself was performed by the remarkable Anne Campbell. 
We have been blessed to have known (and loved) Anne for many years now. Meeting through the wedding industry, and becoming friends because of her pure awesomeness. It was so wonderful to witness someone so close to our family formally marry Ali and Duncan. I say witness, but honestly, it was such a touching, amazing, warm, genuine ceremony, that emotionally I am still coming down from it (4 days later). I'm looking forward, in time, to reliving it through the professional images. As I stood in line beside my sister and watched the love both she and her new husband not only have for each other, but for their families and friends too, I couldn't help but be overcome with emotion and forgo my previously perfect made up face, replacing it with glazed eyes and blotchiness, engulfed by their heartfelt honesty and openness during such a tremendous ceremony.   It wasn't all tears though. There were laughs and a hell of allot of pride, and abundance of LOVE! Huge congrats all round xoxoxo

It's funny how once a ceremony is over- any nerves are now quashed, and there's just a nice warm glow that fills your insides. 

Anyway- you're probably wondering "what about the cake?!?" 
Yes the cake. 
Let me tell you, shed loads of ideas were bandied about before the final design was decided a mere 7 days prior. Yes you read correctly. 7 days. I believe my sister thinks I am super woman. That I can pull amazing creations from virtual thin air- without even blinking- right? 
Lucky for her we are related. What wouldn't slide with an ordinary client, means "rule" bending for blood relatives. 
So after a desperate "you need to come over tonight and DECIDE" style call - another brainstorming session was in effect, and the Dream Wedding cake design was being processed. Duncan had full faith in my skill set (or at least that's what I'm telling myself) as he pretty much gave up the reigns to Al and let us run wild with the cake!
Trying to come up with a point of difference that hasn't been "done" before is virtually impossible. Everything has been done at one point or another- it's just tweaking it, or reinventing it to make it your own. 
"We" (read I REALLY wanted to try his look) decided to put the cake in a frame. The room was completely blank and at our styling disposal. 
A block frame would highlight the cake and make it sit as the centrepiece of the sweets table. 
Of course if you're having a frame you need a custom pedestal stand too (Thanks Husband Steve- you've got no plans this weekend before the wedding do you?) 
Both the stand and the frame were painted in the Bridesmaids blue. A cross between a Royal and a Navy. Elegant, classy and timeless. 
Alex wanted to incorporate shaped tiers. We played around with tins until we came up with a combo that fit. 
I needed some foam as this size cake was far too large for the intended guest numbers- and of course there was no reason to downsize a design for the sake of practicality- so I called upon my supplier who custom cut the foam within hours and had me on track to conquer this epic masterpiece, all the while not upsetting my "real" cake schedule (my paying clients who decided on their designs long before miss last minute ;p ). 
I am honestly blessed to have such fab suppliers. 
Anyway- I immediately set myself to task to complete the abundance of sugar and paper flowers required to finish this design. 
I baked, and fast tracked, a whiskey, pistachio and craisin rich fruit cake, to send home with guests. I started on the list of sweet treats for the dessert and sweets stations (yes that's plural) and roped in our other sister to help me with all the finishing touches, sign & label making, ribbon tying, packaging and menu balancing (she's much better at culling than I). 

Luckily I like a party, and whilst my dear husband often curses my selection of table decor and styling items- they do often come in handy. Those crates he wants to throw out every other weekend, all my glassware, countless linens and frames were all used to create a stunning reception for the newlyweds. 
Alongside the cake sat a white themed sweet station. A mixture of homemade treats such as Meringues, cookies and Rocky Road, and white lollies.  

With the groom being a chef, and both our families enjoying great food- the reception was a roving gastronomic event. Guests were welcomed with an Antipasto and Charcuterie station that satisfied so deeply, that if you didn't eat again that night- you'd have gone to bed happy. But of course that was only the beginning. 
Dux Gutz Catering shined with moorish canapĆ©s (including a divine Asian duck salad) and a wandering buffet and noodle box station for mains. 
Then the antipasto was turned into a delectable Dessert station, with Belgian chocolate Mousse cones, Chocolate Cherry wedding cake (with brandied cherries and vanilla bean filling) and a selection of mini cupcakes, rounded off with"boozy" fruitcake. 
Personally I didn't make it past the canapĆ©s. I had eaten my weight in cheese and had ruined myself for anything more lol. 
From guest feedback I know others who have a much more reserved appetite and greater self control than I, enjoyed all that was on offer. I must practice greater restraint in the future. 
I really loved the cake design Alex and I came up with. So much so I'm immortalising it. If you're coming to meet with me you'll see a version of it standing proudly in my studio. 

It's one of those designs where I stand back and surprise myself that I made it. I made something that elegant, and pretty- and best of all it was for my sister!! 

I'm so proud to be able to share my talents with my family, and in some tiny way show them the thanks and appreciation for their ongoing support to me and my little business. 
So here it is. My gift to my sister and new BIL. A tower of love and well wishes, encapsulated in the form of a great big wedding cake. 
I was invited to say a speech at the wedding. It was a tough gig.  When you're filled with so much love, joy and pride for the couple, it's so hard, when you're an emotional being like me, to speak words that truly convey what these two souls mean to you. So for the most part my speech was in the form of what I baked. I spoke few words (and didn't blubber - go me!!) and ended simply with this little ditty I found online:

A wedding is a party
With, of course, a wedding cake
But sometimes by the time it comes
It's hard to stay awake
And so we have to get dressed up,
And eat allot, and wait,
For hours 'till they finally serve
The great big wedding cake! 
(author unknown) 

So huge congrats to my baby sister and her beau Dunc. 
May the euphoria of wedded bliss last for eternity, and may you both enjoy true love and happiness always xoxoxo

It's cool to be able to spoil your loved ones. It's equally as cool to make enormous cakes!! 

To everyone getting married in 2016 and beyond, may you too enjoy the love and warmth of your families on your special day xoxoxo

Thanks for reading

Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 fancies

I can't believe how quickly another year has passed by. 
This year has been Jam packed for me. Between business and family I've barely had time to catch my breath. Owning your own business is rewarding and uber satisfying when you can look back on what you've achieved. 
I'm currently treating myself to a little down time, recharging my batteries for an epic 2016 ahead. 

As I look back on the year, I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude for all that I have. For my magnificent clients who put their faith in me to create beautiful centrepieces for their special occasions. For my ever loving and supportive family and friends who enable me to be the best I can be. I'm most grateful to have had the opportunity to once again spend the year following my passion and dreams, so I thank everyone, from the bottom of my heart, who has made this possible. 
I surprise myself at this time of year, when I look back over the cakes I have made. Remembering the clients, how lovely they were, and how unique their cake design was to them. 
The stresses of long weeks, late nights and limited sleep seem to be a distant memory, and it's the beautiful end products that resonate in my mind. 
I've (once again) had some really awesome couples to work for. I've seen some shed tears of joy over the tiny part I've played in their day. I've received beautiful words of thanks, and been blessed with many warm hugs. I've beamed with pride when I've challenged myself and exceeded my own expectations. 
I've not taken this talent for granted, and have shared my skills and given wholeheartedly. 
I've picked a small selection of 2015 wedding cakes to look back on. 

This cake is forever in my memories, not only for its stunning metallic, whimsical beauty, nor the magnificent Cloudland Cellar that it was set in, but mainly for the wonderful clients who commissioned me to create it. 
I knew they were special when they drove from the Sunshine Coast during a storm to meet me at (another) venue showcase. The put complete faith in my abilities to create a design within their brief. They touched my heart with their genuine gratitude, all the while I was equally thankful for the opportunity to work with them. 
This next design I adore because of its bold elegance. 
Once again, superb clients to work for, trusting me to create something beautiful for their day. 
Set in the romantic Alabaster Room at Victoria Park, the striped table runners, and vases of seasonal white blooms we're effortlessly elegant, all the while tying in beautifully was the cake design they'd chosen. 

The next big beauty was one of the first cakes of 2015 for me. 
It stood tall in QUT's Room 360, amongst stunning floral installations by Geraldine from Bouquet Boutique. 

This wonderful couple chose a mixture of styles that created a singular fairytale cake. The large fantasy rose bloom was the key feature to this gorgeous design. 

Having the courage to execute a bold theme is the key to creating a wedding your guests will remember. 
This next cake and room set up at Eves on the River achieved just that. 

Black damask stencilling on tall tiers, layered with deep red fresh roses (just before Valentine's Day too!) 
This cake was warm and bold- I loved it so much!

The next cake (finally) landed at The New Incholm Boutique Hotel. 
Another remarkable couple to have worked with. They took their pre wedding venue hiccups in their stride and ended up in a room that suited their polished Art Deco theme to a T! 

Their cake was constructed around their invitations. Pearl finish with hand cut decorations to tie all their elements together. Arguably one of the most pristine  event set ups I'd witnessed this year. 

I could write a little ditty about each and every cake I've ever made. Each one has its own story. Each one touches my heart. 
But I'll leave this post with the last of my 2015 cake picks. 

I may have created this design many many times, but each time it is destined for another magic couple. 
I loved working with these guys. So pleasant, so warm, and overall delightful. 

On the day of their wedding I was excited to put this cake together- but the universe had other ideas. 
I ran behind my schedule all day. I spent hours in traffic and negotiating detours prior to (finally) arriving at Customs House to put together this Cinderella Beauty. 
The venue was a buzz when I arrived. The event decorators had completely transformed the Long Room, enrobing  it from floor to ceiling in golden velvet drapes. Gorgeous lighting, breathtaking tables- it was true Luxe elegance all the way. 
Such relaxed, down-to-earth clients, who knew what they wanted and achieved it greatly. 
Such a privilege to be apart of each and every client special occasion this year. 
I look forward to creating new Cake Memories in 2016!
Thank you to all my clients. I hope you enjoyed your cake as much as I did creating it!
Best wishes for a wonderful and prosperous 2016

Thanks for reading

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Crazy is as Crazy does!

So a few years back you may all remember the epic Laughing Clown cake I made for a little girls 6th Birthday Carnival Party- anyway- fast forward 3 years and one of my own children is having a carnival party of his own.
The theme for this years birthday came about at the after Christmas sales- where I managed a bargain Jumping Castle for less than a 1/4 of the original price (Love a bargain!). Since then it has sat hidden in its box until the other day- when we broke it out as the birthday pressie :)
 I had this Carnival Themed birthday to prepare- but what cake would I do?? Like any parent I relish the challenge of my kids birthday cakes, I am blessed that this is my talent to bestow upon them, and am rewarded greatly by the amazement I can provide them with my skills- but this doesn't mean making a cake is generally any easier for me. (I can totally see eyes rolling through the screen.... but wait)
Since I had my boys I have always wanted them to enjoy the simple things. On their actual birthdays we celebrate as a family with a butter iced cake- when they have a party my gift to them is whatever magnificent creation I can come up with to blow their tiny minds.
This year the butter iced family cake had me realising the pain that many parents endure when trying to create something that looks, well, Easy?!?!?!?

But before I put you through that little bit of imagery that you won't be able to un-see- My sister started the actual Birthday with a cake for the birthday boy- Enter Woolworths Fresh cream Sponge- finished with a pretty rainbow ombre on top too.
My sister is wonderfully no frills- there wasn't even cause to remove it from the plastic base onto a crockery plate ;P
Suffice to say the Birthday boy Loved every second of his first Birthday cake of the day.

So then came the evening- a quiet night at home to sing Happy Birthday as a family and eat a bit of cake. In my whirlwind of party planning- baking a cake for this family dinner became less of a priority- so I took practical parenthood by the hand and did what 1000's of parents before me have done- I bought a sponge!!!!
(Ok so you bought a cake- I am sure you whipped it into an unrecognisable work of art?)

Well no. This is where I came undone. With my other sister there to guide me out of the cutting errors I had made when attempting this on my own- I melted some ganache and tried to piece it together...........................

When I showed this pic to a long time and dear friend he suggested Mr Hanky- Just needed the Xmas hat! 
My thoughts exactly.
My number 2 looked like a number 2.
There wasn't time to start again so I had to go with what I had. The kids could smell the sugar and they didn't care how malformed this "piece De resistance" was currently looking.
No amount of 100's and 1000's was going to cover up this atrocity! So I delved into the fridge and went straight into a recovery plan.
Whipped cream and fruit!

Kind of a 2- could be a Questions Mark- either way- he can't recognise numbers yet so I am safe.
All the while sitting finished in my cake room was the Party cake.
Once I decided on what I was making for the celebration, I held my breath and went with it.
I messaged my cake peeps with little updates of the progress, and finished what I had planned with minimal hurdles.
As always, I had my husband drilling and cutting timber at all hours to make this happen in between my regular orders.

From Ganache- to Fondant covered- to Airbrushed

I had a load of fun putting him together! I loved making the horse with a bit of cheek in him- personality rather than just any old pretty Carousel Horse.

It was a hot humid day here yesterday for the party- so I kept him cool right up until cutting time.
Then I bought him down and things got a little crazy. Expectations were high. Many had predicted a Circus tent, or a Ferris wheel- but I chose a Carousel Horse because that is what my Louis Loves whenever we have the opportunity to have a go one one.

I 100% forgot to photograph the cake in my photo tent- but never mind.

A cake of this size and weight really should have been broken down graciously- but we were all having too much fun.
Poor horses behind got eaten and the weight of the front end had him flip off the board face first- still relatively in tact.

So sitting at the end of what has been a huge weekend I can look back now and be glad (and proud) that I have managed to create another wonderful birthday memory for my kids, using the talent that I have.
Sadly though- Louis was most disappointed that this morning we didn't wake up and do it all over again. Ahhhhhhh well- that's life :)

So you've now learnt that my cake making skills are far from perfect- but given the opportunity I can make make a pretty wicked cake!
Thanks for Reading!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Facebook Christmas cake giveaway

This year I'm offering special cakes and cupcakes  for the party season. 
Over the next two weeks I will put together an album of designs that will be available for pre order. 
Please email me for a list of available Xmas treats and collection/delivery dates. 

Today's photo shoot  Wicked Christmas Cake is up for grabs. 
Being the holiday season, and knowing that for so many this time of year isn't as joyful as what it is for others, I'd love to gift this cake to someone who truly deserves it. 
To win this cake I as that you comment on the Facebook post, tagging a deserving winner, and leaving a message to tell them why they're so wonderful. 
I also ask that you (publicly) share the Facebook post as well. 
The winner (or person nominating them) will need to collect the cake from my Alderley studio before 10am on Saturday morning. If the winner is located within 5km of the CBD I'm happy to deliver it to them free of charge on Saturday during my delivery run.
The winner will be drawn at 6pm (local time) on Friday 23/10/15 
We often don't tell those who are so selfless how amazing they are. So get to sharing stories about someone fabulous and deserving that you know! 

Good Luck
SJ x 

Ps Cake That! is not liable for all the added calorie consumption lol
This cake contains Nuts, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs and alcohol. 
Happy posting xx

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Smash it!

I get asked allot about cake smash cakes. I mean who doesn't love destroying cake with no regard for etiquette or decorum?  They're a load of fun for participants and viewers. 

My own personal encounters with cake smashes bring back such wonderful memories. Seeing the babes eyes light up at the texture, then there's widen as they taste that sweetness for the first time.


The enormous smiles with muddled curiosity- such an adventure, its joy is contagious. 
I recently shared a video clip on my Facebook page where a little girl enjoyed an entire chocolate cake. Delighting the onlookers by picking up the entire cake and rubbing her cute face in it. I think secretly perhaps many of us wish it was socially appropriate to consume foods we loved like this. In all honesty, after 49 days sugar free I could absolutely smash a cake like that, if I wasn't scared of my dietician hehehehehe
After seeing how many people enjoyed the video, it made me reminisce the cake smashes I'd been personally involved with. 

Although I make cakes, and have a cake room (s) in my home, my own babies aren't privy to an endless supply of the sweet deliciousness that is cake. It's not cruel parenting, more so my fear that they'll forgo the good food choices they already make in lieu of the chocolate chocolatey goodness that is my own biggest weakness. My eldest has only recently become aware of cake, yet his younger brother is all over that like ants at a picnic. That kid can sniff out cake at 100 paces. Any leftovers that may sit in a tin on our kitchen bench for my husbands lunch/visitors- is spotted with eagle eyes, and I'm left with the sounds of a toddler screeching "caaaaake!!" At me through the safety gates! Yes I was delusional to think that my own children wouldn't get "cake" until they went to school. Who was I kidding?!?!? Unfortunately #2 knows the difference between the scrumptious sugar free treats I make, and sample cake. He's been known to tell me "No!" and wave his arms madly in the direction of the previously mentioned snack cake. 
Suffice to say he still eats the goodness I have offered him, in hope of greater reward lol
There is a point to this little ditty. I'd thought I'd share some of my "mum" cake efforts. If you're wanting to let your baby experience the magic of a smash cake have a go! I surprised myself and used packet mix (the first time since I was a child), and just had fun with a bit of colour and a shed load of buttercream. 

When my first baby did his cake smash, he did it with a team of babies. It was  a fab chaotic mix of squeezable babies coated in sticky sweet icing!


Like a natural (cake is in his genes) he took to the shenanigans like a duck to water. 

Looking back I forgot how deliciously roly- poly he was x

My second babies turn was a more ordered affair. Just himself alone with a cake, and some balloons (I'd planned more, however a whole bag of helium balloons escaped my house and floated away carelessly across the suburb- natures way of telling me I'd gone too far!)

So get in there! Live vicariously through your babies! Whether you're taking pics, or engaging a pro to do it for you, remember to have fun- loads of it! 

Tips for making a cool smash cake:

1. You can never have too much (soft) icing!
Mmmmm buttercream x

2.  Don't use fondant. 
Yes it can make for pretty outside- but it's allot harder for babies to break through. 

3. Keep it simple. 
A single shape or colour can look really effective. After all in a few minutes it's going to be mush, so intricate details aren't necessary. 

4. Be prepared for the clean up :)
Wipes, warm washers, towels, fire hoses.......... You never know how sticky it's going to get ;P

My two get such a kick out of seeing themselves as babies doing this- I'm really glad we followed trend with this and did it :)

Happy smashing x
Thanks for reading

Monday, 10 August 2015

Decade done!

This year marks 10years since I progressed from being "that girl (Sarah-Jane) who makes cakes" to an honest and legitimate  business "Cake That!".

I remember vividly the moment my business name came about. 
My husband and I were on holidays in Palm Cove. I has tossed around names like "Couture Cakes" and "Boutique bakes" none of which really suited me and my personality - yet portrayed the image of the business and the standard delivered. 
Out of nowhere my husband suggested "Cake That!" It just clicked. To me it seemed fun, it was a name that would (hopefully) stick in clients minds, and all up it was straight to the point. It wasn't pretentious- nor too quirky that it left you wondering "what the?" Lol. 
And so began the journey of the business of Cake That!
It's been a terrific ride. It's taken me on a journey of a lifetime, enabled me to work with some truly memorable clients, to challenge me and grow my skill level immensely, it's  even enabled me to travel afar. 
Over the years I've learned so much, and I'm still learning everyday. I've become a  better cake artist, yet I keep images of my early work in clear sight to remind me of how far I've come, and what support and determination can amount to.

one of the many memory collections around my cake room

Not only has the business allowed me to be commissioned by some terrific clients, it's also enabled me to give back to the community through charity cupcake days and donating cakes and services to those otherwise less fortunate. I believe everyone has the right to enjoy cake, and if my little bit of talent can be used for greater good, then my job is done. 

Starlight Foundation Cupcake day 2007

I've met some amazing fellow cake peeps, who'll forever be more than colleagues, but honest to goodness friends. Cake That! has given me the opportunity to network alongside and make friendships with some of the best wedding vendors around. I mean, who doesn't love great cake- with a side of awesome decorator too hehehehe

My first ever client commissioned "Chocolate Mountain Cake"

Making great industry friends has really kept me accountable. Knowing that as well as my own intense critique, I had a network of people right behind me to keep me on my toes. 
I've always aimed to supply a product which is wonderful value for money. 
High quality at a very reasonable price. I'm conscious of the expense of a cake and strive to provide a product that exceeds my clients (and their guests) expectations. 

My Sister in Law's wedding cake! 5 years ago this August!

Styles and fashions have changed so much since "Cake That!" was born. 10 years ago the average tier height was 8.5cm. These days my cakes average (min) 12cm per regular height tier, with most designs  and clients opting for even taller 15-20cm high tiers. 
I can't believe that time has flown by so swiftly. It feels like only yesterday that I walked into SmartLicense and lodged my name application, then headed to BCC at Chermside to lock in all the food licensing. 
I remember how nervous I was meeting my very first client with whom I had no connection with. She was so lovely and booked me on the spot! 
Meeting with clients is still such a magnificent perk of my job! Those who've met me will know that I love a chat, and often get well of the "cake" track during consultations. Although our meetings may be brief in the scheme of things, I like to be connected to those that I'm making such a symbolic cake for.

Seriously fun and wonderful clients whom I will never forget!

My family have been the soul behind my success. They've always believed in me, supported and encouraged me, even though looking back now I'm unsure how they spotted my potential in the beginning. I often wonder if I've fluked this success. (almost everyday I feel like the girl whose family have said what a spectacular singer she is- yet in reality she's just ok with fleeting moments of wonderful) 

The High Tea Party in 2010

No doubt if you've ever been to an expo/showcase you've probably met one or two of my family. Without hesitation they're always there to help me out, and are a tremendous asset to my sales. My husband is the muscle behind most of my deliveries. Even more so in recent years where he developed a penchant for "staff lunch". Finding some of South East Queensland's best lunching spots nearby venues is a skill set he's mastered. 

Such an honor to make a 100th Birthday cake

My skills have been gained through allot of practice and hard work. Trial and error have been my best friend and worst enemy rolled into one. The majority of my skill set is self taught. I've learned a few tips and tricks from others, and passed on many myself. I've never asked another decorator about how to price a cake, how anyone else can quote on being you is just silly. 
My life has twisted and turned in many directions over this past decade. I can't imagine it any other way. I feel so blessed to wake up everyday and work within a business that makes others happy. 
Inaugural "Cake That!" Xmas Party

To all my clients who've engaged my services and enjoyed cake over the years- Thank you. 
To all my industry colleagues who've recommended and supported me over this time Thank you!

Words cannot express the gratitude I have towards my Friends and Family for being my greatest supporters, for holding my hand when I needed it, and for keeping me down to earth when things got bigger than Ben Hur. Thank you just doesn't seem enough. 

So as I move forward with Cake That! here's hoping the next 10 years are as fun as the last. Celebrations for this milestone are still undecided. Do I host a "Sarah-Jane" style shindig, or should I spoil myself with a token instead?? (If my husband doesn't read this maybe both??) 

It seems ironic that just as I'm finishing this blog my oven timer is sounding lol

So thanks for reading today, but most of all thanks you for helping Cake That! become what it is today!

Much love and appreciation 

SJ xoxoxo 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A family of Guinea Pigs

It is no secret that my family do allot for me. They are always there to help out with my business- you may have met one or two of them at an open day even. They are much better spruikers than I will ever be :)

So when the occasion calls for it (when doesn't an occasion need cake??) I am on hand to supply bucket loads of sugary goodness for the festivities!

This past weekend my baby sister celebrated her recent engagement. The party was a whirlwind event- organised in under 2 weeks. My soon to be BIL is the Head Chef at Archive, so organising a time when they were both off was proving a difficult task- but when discussing birthday celebrations (My baby sister had her birthday over the weekend) we thought that maybe a combined event could work- well, we made it work :) )

So we launched into planning mode. I already knew what cake I wanted to make for Alex and Duncan, as I was (surprisingly) inspired by a pair of tattoos that they had. I make no bones of the fact that I am not a tattoo person- but this pair was clever- and cute- and so would make a great cake.
Original Tattoo Artwork by Peacock's Palace Tattoo
After getting approval from the happy couple (AKA telling them this is my planned design) I set about organising all the bits and pieces to bring this baby together!
After a ratty scratch paper drawing and some templates- I sent my dear husband off to Bunnings to grab all the bits to engineer this piece. Then I got him to use his tools to cut it all to spec so that I could put it all together.
I had allot on last week with my "Real" cakes- so I needed to make this one out of ingredients that could handle me fiddling about across the week. Given we all see cake way too much- 3 out of the 4 "cakes" were non cake. Rocky road and Chewy Rice Krispie treat were used - and lovingly devoured by the guests too! The remaining tier was layers of extra cake mix from my "real" cake orders- which included rich chocolate and Caramel mudcake.

Time was not a commodity that I had plenty of- so I put this cake together allot different to how I would normally. I ganached and iced the tiers insitu- which was awkward- yet worked fine in the end.
It is hard to explain the scale of these cakes. They were quite large in height (and I can hear my DH saying to me- "you should have taken a picture of it with a coke can beside them for scale"- yes dear- I should have) - they we reasonable heavy- yet were a dream to transport.

I'm too crazy to let this be it for "cake" - so I did what I have had as a little project in my head for a few years now and set them up a DIY cupcake bar! 

This was a HUGE  hit with the guests.

I supplied 3 flavours of cupcakes- along with Icing ready to be piped, 2 drizzle/inject-able sauces (Salted Caramel and Rich chocolate), plus a load f toppings. Everything form colour themed lollies- through to peanut praline and silver cachous- I even ad a Black cherry compote in there to appease the Groom-to-Be's love of all things Black Forest!
Adults and kids alike went wild for this! They grabbed their little bowl cups and piled their cakes high with sugar love! Indulgent and SO much fun!
My Sister kindly posed with her creation

Did I mention I am on a No sugar diet??- yep believe that! I have to live vicariously through those I can supply the goodness to!

So although my family let me have a bit of free reign at times- they get a pretty good wicket indeed!

Ali & I are already trying to think of what next for the wedding itself! I am so excited to be able to help A & D out- Here's to fabulous mind blowing ideas and gorgeousness in wedding cake design ahead!

Don't worry I am not starving whilst on no sugar/yeast etc...... Luckily for me I can whip up a pretty mean dietary cake that can stifle cravings. 
Yesterday- after discovering I had 3Kg plus of fresh pears at home (do we need more pears?- Ok lets get more pears lol)
I made a Pear Crumble Tart with spiced date and banana pastry. Entirely cane sugar free. No added fake sugar nor Stevia- low fat and super delicious.

Served with a spoonful of Vanilla Jalna and some sliced fresh banana- this felt indulgent, wintery and was so delicious. It is (in small pieces) also approved by Peggy (super nutritionist)!

So although I could totally smash a tub of Gaytime Icecream with a Warm chocolate Fondant and rich ganache- I am satisfied with my dietary culinary efforts whilst living the sugar free dream.

Thanks so much for reading!
Keep your eyes out for "Cake That! I Made". Coming Soon xx

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Take it Easy

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