Sunday, 23 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

Chocolate and Hazelnut Balls

First and foremost- I am utterly gob smacked at the response I have had since starting this blog!
I started writing this so I could share my weekly work with everyone, rather than only getting to rant to my family!
I have had an overwhelming response from people from all over the world! Every week I will get emails from people congratulating me , and thanking me for sharing my thoughts, and cakes! I really appreciate all of your feedback- and welcome more!
A Special thank you goes out to all the fellow Decorators, from all over the world, who send words of encouragement and appreciation.
This blog wouldn't be possible without my clients, and their wonderful cakes! Thank you to all my past present and future clients!

Pistachio and Cranberry Ginger bread trees

As Christmas is only two short sleeps away- I am wanting to wish all my readers a Very Merry Christmas, and a Safe, Healthy and Prosperous New Year Ahead.

I have had the opportunity to share some fantastic designs over the past 8 months with you all- and I look forward to sharing many more.

The Contents of the Christmas bag, laid out.

Each year I create a special Christmas goodies bag, for all my Family and Friends. This year I thought that I was going to have to break tradition, due to a lack of time, but after a very long day- and night last night- I managed to get it all done!
I will leave you with some images of what I have done for them this year! If only I had the time to make them for sale too!

Mixed Berry and Cointreau Jelly

Enjoy the days ahead, and break the diet! You deserve it!

The nights before Xmas....

I was under the assumption that December was a particularly quiet period for Weddings- but I couldn't have been more wrong!
This month has been just as busy- as the "traditional" wedding season months! This week was no different, with a Wedding on Friday, Saturday, today- Sunday, and One cake to be collected Tomorrow! Not to mention a 30th Birthday cake yesterday- for good measure!

It all started early on Friday morning- when I headed over to Wellington point to a (beautiful) private home. This home was set out like the finest reception you have ever seen. With the reception held on a fully decked out verandah, the Ceremony was set in a rotunda, overlooking the bay, complete with red carpet, and white wedding chairs. I met the groom for the first time when I delivered the cake- He was so friendly he even offered my mum and I a glass of champagne- unfortunately I had a busy day ahead- and had to decline, but the thought was wonderful!

Yesterday's wedding had me headed up to Clear Mountain hotel- about 45 minutes out of the CBD, but a little longer, when you are driving the very winding road- with a cake on board! I was lucky enough to have the road to myself- not holding up any other drivers.
The cake for Clear Mountain was for a couple, the Bride- is a chef- so the pressure was really on. They had a cake, which had a printed inlaid panel, overlaid printed hearts on the base, and a cartoon couple to finish things off.

Todays cake was a true classic! Three tiers, all in Ivory, with each tier sightly offset from the base. A striped overlay on the base, filigree hearts for the middle tier, and a Quilted pattern for the top. Sugar roses and leaves where placed in clusters over the cake. I had prepared myself for todays delivery to be difficult-the reception was at Tattersall's club, and it is two days out from Christmas! But luck was certainly on my side- as as I drove down Edward St- a car pulled out , and I parked right in!

Last but not least is the Gorgeous 30th Birthday butter cream design! Being a December baby, I can understand the importance of making sure that your birthday celebration doesn't get weighed down by Christmas! This cake had a butter cream icing, that ranged from a fuchsia pink through to a baby pink colour! Topped off with a mini me cartoon topper, a chocolate 30 and wired silver stars for effect!
With Christmas around the corner, and one cake to go before then! I had better get back into it!!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Birthday Surprise!

On Monday it was MY birthday!!!
I had some great celebrations (across two days!)- including a bit of putt putt golf- and BBQ with friends. On Monday I went to lunch, with my mum and cousin- then that night I headed to dinner with my husband!
Being the resident cake maker- my requests for a cake to be made/bought for me seemed to fall on deaf ears! So failing that I put together a simple cupcake stand for myself. It was my sister's boyfriend birthday the day after mine- and whilst she managed to help decorate some cupcakes for him- still I was left to my own devices!
Having been a chef for 15 years- I have heard all the "excuses" as to how hard it is to cook for someone who does it as their profession- but my family/friends having known me for years- should know that I love anything! All was not lost though! My sister- who lives in Edinburgh- sent me Edible blooms! for those of you who are yet to discover this fantastic idea- you must definitely check it out! Bunches/Bouquets of fruit- and chocolates, presented beautifully!
I first met the creators of edible blooms more than 2 years ago at a wedding expo I attended- the idea was fabulous! My sister ( who sent them to me) on the day of the expo- swapped my cupcakes, for their beautifully cut fruit at the end of the day!Chocolate dipped strawberries, and Baci chocolates MMMM!

So on Monday afternoon- when I got home from Lunch- there on my Verandah- was a wonderful Strawberry Bloom- ready to be devoured! Despite all the other glorious gifts I had received- this one definitely excited me!
So Now it is back to work- a busy week before Xmas- then a busy New Year ahead!

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Double up!!

I believe being flexible to my clients needs- is a key quality- that keeps my business growing. Making late changes and addition to your order- isn't always because of a simple change of mind- it is sometime very necessary.This past week- I had not one but two clients literally double their cake orders! The first client added a two tier cake- to an order for a cupcake tree ( one was for the Church- and the other was for the reception) and the other added 100 cupcakes to an order for a three tier cake!
Having two extra cake orders to finish- certainly kept me on my toes.

Fresh Anthurium's amongst Orange and Almond Cupcakes!

Not only was I making more cakes than originally planned- I also had a lot of traveling to deliver the cakes. On Saturday Morning I headed to Toowoomba, to deliver one of the "double" orders. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the gorgeous two tier cake- that was for the church- it had some red and "rust" coloured fresh roses to decorate- which were absolutely stunning! The Reception cake, however, was decorated with fresh Anthurium's- in a bright red! I love these flowers- they are so glossy- that they almost don't look real!
After a long day of traveling- Sunday's trips were looking just as exhausting!
On Sunday- My mum came to accompany me to deliver and set up a cake down the coast at Ephraim Island. This island is a five star paradise, just past Hope Island on the Gold Coast. Driving over the bridge to the island delivers you to a pristine environment. The restaurant where the wedding was to be held was getting set for the reception when we arrived.
I set the pretty design, and headed back for Brisbane- for my next lot of deliveries!

Fresh spray roses and white Singapore orchids decorate this cupcake tower.

For the Second week in a row- I had the pleasure of working with Florist, Glenda Pradella, to create a beautiful cake design!
This cake was for a definite chocolate lover! Rich chocolate Mud, covered in Chocolate ganache, and decorated with chocolate scrolls- need I say more! With a tropical theme, the fresh lilies and frangipani's that decorated looked great! When I arrived to set the cake- the photographers were eagerly awaiting my delivery- to get some shots before heading to the ceremony- as they watched on (probably giggling) as I took some shots with my phone camera- as my husband had "borrowed" my digital camera for the day! All in all I don't think my picture turned out too bad!

All Chocolate- this cake smelt twice as good as it looked!

My last but not least delivery for the weekend, was the closest to home! After a full circle South East Queensland delivery run- I headed for Victoria Park Golf Complex- to the beautiful Marquee- to deliver the second of my "double" orders for the week.
This three tier cake is covered in a white chocolate ganache, and decorated with a variety of blooms- to match the brides bouquet.

Fresh Stephanotis- roses, and baby's breath finish this romantic design.

Not long until Xmas- and New Years!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

For Better or For Worse...

Owning your own business is a fantastic thing- and something that I will never regret doing- but this week, my conduct as a business owner was put to the test. For Better and for Worse!

To start things on a somber note- This week has certainly been a very hectic one at that.
Not only Did I have my share of Wedding and Special event cakes- but also one of my Grandmothers passed away. It certainly gave me a new appreciation for the willingness and flexibility of my clients- when need be. Thank you to all of those who kindly shuffled their appointments and waited patiently for their email and phone replies. Of which I am still catching up on ;)

Not all was sad - I was also contacted by the winner of the Beyond the Bride $400 Cake That! voucher competition! A lovely Girl called Rebbecca- who is due to be Married in July. I get to meet with her- to help her design the Wedding cake of her dreams next week!

I rely on a particular company for my "plastic" icing (rolled fondant)- and this week when I rang to place my usual order- and was informed that the icing was out of production for another 2-3 weeks- due to machinery failure- I almost cried! Thoughts of having to use an inferior brand bought back terrible memories, of struggling with a poor quality product and the sheer frustration caused by it! I did what any desperate soul would do- I rang every know distributor of the product in South East Queensland- Buying up whatever they had on hand- however this wasn't enough! How was I going to get through until January on Rations- without resorting to the another brand???? Knowing that everyone was in the same predicament- I hastily bought some boxes of the inferior icing in preparation, but to my delight, and without warning- my usual brand icing was delivered on Friday morning!! :)) Although I had put myself through panic and anxiety all week- I need not have worried. Now what to do with the other icing???

So after my crazy week- I still managed to create some fantastic designs for my clients!
This week I have had not one, but two stand out cakes.
It is hard for me to pick which one I love more!

Although both completely different- the first is a semi- replica of a magazine design- tailored to the clients theme. This hand painted ( with edible lustre) antique gold cake, with chocolate piped filigree detail, and Antique gold roses- is sure to turn heads. The room it is in is mostly white, with touches of Chocolate and Antique Gold Organza. Towering four tiers in height- this couple took full advantage of all four cakes, by choosing a different flavour for each tier.

The next is a truly fresh looking design- coupled with a beautiful selection of fresh flowers (supplied by Glenda Pradella)- this cake is the epitome of soft romance.
Also four tiers in height, with a butter cream finish, the couples green theme really enhanced this design. Fresh White Peonies, Green Roses, Green and White Singapore Orchids, and Freesia's, along with some silver foliage (please excuse my floral ignorance for not knowing its common name) clustered across the tiers, looked spectacular.

My husband- and loyal delivery companion- was duly impressed by the flowers, and the detail put into individually wiring and taping each bloom. Having the flowers professionally prepared this way, not only makes arranging the design a breeze, but also prevents any flower sap from contaminating the cake. It also allows flexibility to create as you go- ending up with a wonderful finished product. I love to give credit where credit is due, and for every time I have had the privilege of creating a cake with Glenda- the flowers have always been fabulous!

With just over a week until my Birthday, and many cakes between now and then- I look forward to someone else creating a spectacular cake for me ( hint hint!!) ;)

Sunday, 2 December 2007

359 days later......

Well almost one year to the day that I created the tallest cake I have ever made- I was once again creating it for another wonderful client!

This cake is a definite show stopper! Five tiers of cake- with each tier separated by pillars- then filled with fresh roses! Stunning. The swagging detail and pretty flower and piping detail on each tier truly makes this cake look and feel every bit "Wedding".

Other than the hours that it takes to bake ice and decorate the cakes, putting it together is certainly no five minute Job. With my exceptionally tall husband on hand- to help with the stacking and alignment- We set off to Palazzo Versace - to put together this fantastic cake.

Placing the flowers between the layers

I had allowed myself an hour to put the cake together- and after running into a past co worker- there wasn't many minutes spared once the cake was together.
With Steven helping me by cutting all the beautiful roses- whilst I carefully placed them within the design- it all came together beautifully.

Steve Lending a hand with the flowers

This cake had an amazing 150+ fresh roses between the layers and the top tier.
Having never met the Bride- and only bumping into the groom as we arrived to set up
I was surprised to find out that this was for a cocktail style function-A cake this size would be expected for dessert portions for 200+ guests- so indeed there would be more than enough cake!

Hopefully they enjoyed their wedding- as much as I do making this cake!

Adding the final blooms

All 197cm of Steve Beside the cake.