Saturday, 28 June 2008

Financial year Finale.....

Well as the end of the financial year approaches- and another trip to the tax man looms- I had some great cakes to finish of the year!

This week seemed to just fly by! I have had a very busy week, with the morning tea on Monday- then allot of clients during the week to see, coupled with the cakes on order- and the fact that I leave tomorrow for Sydney to go to the Debbie Brown workshops- I feel like I haven't stopped! Seeing as though I am on a roll- I thought I would get to it and post my blog too!

Whilst this first cake design is one that I have made many many times- it always finishes so pretty. With winter set in- the choice for flowers is getting quite small. I was lucky enough to get both Mini roses and a pale dusty pink rose to decorate this three tier cake.

This Wedding is being held- tonight- at the Terraces on Wickham- in the aptly named Panorama Room, which has glass windows that rise all the way to the ceiling, allowing a full view over the city and Roma Street park lands! This has got to be one of those hidden gems- a rare find when searching for a venue. Whilst the hotel wouldn't be known to everyone as a wedding venue- it is so great! It is currently in the end stages of a major renovation and refurbishment, so behind the construction lies a polished, contemporary hotel, with amazing function facilities!

The next cake was a replica from a magazine. The Reception was held at Hillstone- in one of my all time favourite rooms- the Rosewood Room. Some very great friends of mine got married their over 5 years ago- and I still love it!

This cake has timeless written all over it! The monochromatic colour scheme is one of my favourite design aspects. With the entire cake edible, every detail is made of icing- just waiting to be devoured! Whilst this design is not suoer fine in its detail- it is far more delicate than the original, giving it a slight softer feel than the design that inspired this one.

Last but not least is a fun 60th Birthday cake. This cake was made for a WW2 plane enthusiast. When the client first contacted me to do the cake- I have to admit I wasn't 100% sure of the planes she was talking about- but with the help of Google images (I couldn't live without it) I quickly found out what she was after. I suggested a sugar plane, with a character pilot in the hot seat! I had the plane and the wings drying for the past couple of weeks- and this week the final details were put on. My mum ( also using Google images) found some markings form Australian RAAF WW2 planes and replicated them in sugar- including a tiny red Kangaroo she cut by hand for the tail design! My Mum is on School holidays- and it is nice to have her come and keep me company- and help out!
Anyway- using the cake as the "Sky" complete with clouds- The plane sat on top, with the cute little pilot flying the plane!

When the clients came to collect the cake this morning-They had driven all the way from South Australia for a family wedding- The Birthday boy himself- whilst he knew he was getting a cake- was lost for words when he saw his plane cake! I noticed that he had a mustache- so I offered to draw one onto the pilot- which looked so cute! I don't have that picture- as the cake was boxed and ready to go- so it was a last minute design addition!

A close up without the Moe- still cute though!

It is so nice when I actually get to see peoples reactions to their cakes! I hope Frank has a fabulous birthday tomorrow!

Well it is getting later and I still haven't packed for Sydney!!!
I can't wait to get back and share with you what fun I have whilst I am down there!!!

Friday, 27 June 2008

Ladies that Lunch....

My Husband Steve can be a stirrer at times. Although I know deep down that he is only giving me stick- he often taunts me saying I live a life of leisure- that I go and "Do" lunch, and shopping, hanging out with friends, and watch Oprah (mind you I haven't seen an episode of Oprah in almost 2 years). He quickly forgets that for almost 18 hours a day 7 days a week- I am either covered in Sugar- cooking with sugar- or emailing someone about a sugar base product!
I do squeeze in the occasional lunch with friends, and a shopping trip on a Sunday, but generally I am at home most of the time- working!
Like many people in the Wedding industry- I work from home- all alone! I had been thinking for a while now- how great it would be to have some fellow industry providers over for a gathering so that we could all meet and share stories.
So when I mentioned tis idea to some people at the ABIA awards night- they were super keen- so I did it! I organised to have a morning tea here at my house! Those who know me personally know that having a party at my house is a regular thing- and that there can be anywhere from an intimate gathering of 10 through to over 80 people here- all having a great time!
I thought seeing as though it was going to be the first time I had met some of these people, that a more cosey soirée would be appropriate.
I organised to have around a Dozen (all ladies in the end) over for morning tea! Over the weekend I baked a selection of goodies for us all to eat- whist we chatted weddings and life in general. I was so pleased that everyone came- and had a great time too! It is so nice to have wonderful contacts in the industry- that are just really down to earth, and love what they do- without any pretense!

Now as I chatted away- I was thinking- I should get a picture of us all together for the blog- but no- I was too busy talking- and it wasn't until My mum and I were cleaning up that I remembered! So instead of smiling faces- I have pictures if the left over cakes for you al to see! No real compensation- but at least it is something!
The mini rolls!

The pin wheel sandwiches!

The let overs on the stand- which inspired my last minute pictures!

A close up of some of the treats- Citrus curd tartlets with Camarosa strawberries! Poppy seed cake with pistachio and lime mousse- Hazelnut macaroons filled with dark chocolate ganache, Passionfruit and White chocolate tartlets... to name a few of the goodies that were on offer!

During the morning tea I got to catch up with the wonderful Julia from Lewis Media- Julia was so kind to me when I first started Cake That!- she booked me to make her husbands birthday cake- the very cool wave cake- and kindly passed on my name to clients. I also got to talk with the immensely witty and uber cool photographer Toni Snell! I got to catch up with Glorious florists Glenda Pradella and Karen From Bliss floral- both of whom I really enjoy working with- they are so passionate about their jobs I love it!
Mary Reid from Merivale cakes made the trip over from Wynnum too! Cherisse from Cherisse make up Artistry came along too! As well as the vivacious Anne Campbell!
I also got to meet the beautiful Karen Voss Willcocks- Who also makes fabulous cakes! Whilst Karen and I both goto the same wholesaler- we have never met in person! Having worked at the Stamford- I had seen many of her fabulous cakes come through- so was a fan of her work- but never got to meet her!
It was great opportunity to meet and chat to some fabulous passionate wedding providers- hopefully we can continue to have catch ups and make some wonderful friends too!

So thank you all for coming over and eating some goodies with me! It really made my day!
For those that couldn't make it this time- I am sure that there will be another soon!
SJ ;)

Running behind!!....


As it is almost the end of this week- I am so running behind with my blog entries!!
So firstly- sorry for the wait, all of my regular readers!

My time seems to be slipping away this week- as I prepare to go to Sydney ( this Sunday/Monday)- to do some Debbie Brown workshops at Planet cake, plus my weddings/cakes for this week, not to mention getting ready to leave for the UK next Sunday!!!
Anyway- turning back to last week....
Last week was my first "slow" week all year. Whilst I still had plenty to do- I only had around half the amount of work I normally have to do. In my mind I had planned to use this "downtime?" to catch up on things such as bookwork etc.. and also to have a bit of a relax, as opposed to the usuals hectic schedule that I keep.
I also managed to see over 20 clients during the week, so when that is all added up- I suppose there is 20 hours already taken up- sounds like allot now I have written it down!
Seeing as though I am going to be away for 4 weeks- I was trying to see as many clients as possible before I went- as now the next available consultations I have are not until August!

First up is a cake that I made for a previous clients boyfriends 21st! (that was a mouthful!)
I made Tempe's 18th cake last year- she had a very cool Pirate themed party- and a doubly awesome cake to match!- Now it was her boyfriends turn! Tempe had thought out the design, before even coming over, which made it very easy!
A two tier "present" style cake, in a blue white and silver theme! Left to my own devices re the final design- this is what I came up with!

I stamped silver "21" onto the top tier, to give the icing a wrapping paper effect! The cake also had a Brown teddy bear ( added after I took the picture) sitting on top of the base tier- as Jesse's nickname is Bear!

Next on my list was a Cupcake tower! This cake was all about being soft and romantic.
I used my brand new 6 tier cupcake tree to hold all of the cakes for this design. The wedding was held at the United Services club- which is a gorgeous room, the lighting- however- is not perfectly suited to my little digital camera! ( I can't wait to see the pro photos though!)
This design had a double sugared fresh rose petal on top of each cake. This type of decoration has to be done at the very last minute- so just before I leave for set up- I am coating each petal- so that they keep perfectly for the entire reception.

The cupcake tower was filled with more than 60 fresh roses. Melita from Wedding Stems did the flowers, and met me at the venue, and helped me put the stand together. I was delivering alone this week- seeing as though it was only a short delivery run- I let Steve off for the day!;)

I have had the pleasure of working with Melita's flowers many times before, but last Saturday was the very first time we had met in person. Melita is so lovely- and her flowers are always wonderful! After putting the flowers together with her onto the cake, I offered to help take all of her floristry buckets back to her van- and completely forgot to remove my own mess!!! When I got home and realised that my car had no empty cupcake boxes in there - I quickly rang the club and offered my sincere apologies for not taking out my own rubbish! Woops!

The last cake of the week is a Black and White beauty!
This three tier design had a quilted centre tier and strung diamontes around the base of each tier.
Topped off with monogram toppers- this classic design looked just beautiful.

This wedding was held at The Stamford Plaza on Sunday! So my cakes were really stretched out over the weekend for me! The monogram toppers- although the smallest size available- had to be angled on the top tier to fit in!

In the Wedding Star Magazine- The cake they use in the picture would have to be at least 9" wide to fit the three toppers side by side- it is very deceiving!

So in the end I didn't get to rest- like I had hoped- I did get some bookwork done, and got to meet with some fabulous clients! Productive for sure!
I am counting down the days until I leave for the UK.
I won't be contactable from the 4th July until the 2nd August via phone, however I will still be communicating via email!
I will- of course- be keeping a regular blog whilst I am on my trip- to keep you all up to date!
Don't forget you can comment away- at the bottom of this entry! I love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, 16 June 2008

How Time Flies.....

Kath, Tanya- and my ever reliable Mum doing the set up!

Around 10 months ago I had a brain wave ( or was it a brain freeze?)- I decided seeing as though this year was teh 15th Anniversary since I finished high school- that perhaps I could organise a reunion.
Having only left my full time job 8 months prior- to concentrate solely on Cake That!- somehow I felt compelled to add a little more to my plate and decided to look into organising the reunion. Whilst my husband thought I was mad- My best friend from School and I decided to go ahead and get the ball rolling! Once the initial word was spread- we were lucky enough to have another brave volunteer (Kath) who also helped with the organisation!

After many months of tracking down past students, and organising the event, on Saturday night it all came together!
I had had some sleepless nights- having awful dreams ( Like those terrible Wedding dreams you have just before your wedding day) thinking that people wouldn't show up- or that everyone would leave early- or that no one would enjoy themselves- all unwarranted of course!

The reunion was held at Brisbane's Mantra on Queen hotel- in the Queen Ann conferencing Rooms. This venue is fabulous! A gorgeous Marble spiral staircase leads you down to the rooms, which have a fabulous foyer, where guests can mingle.
Not only are the rooms impressive- the food is amazing! I am not just saying that because a great friend of mine is a chef there- and I know that she does an awesome job- but from the guests reactions, and numerous emails since the event- it seems everyone at the reunion were very impressed!
We decided in a cocktail event- to allow everyone to move around the room and mingle with friends that had not been seen in years!
To let you in on some of the exquisite morsels we had included, a chive pancake topped with Roasted duck and Rhubarb- Almond and Rosemary crusted Lamb Medallions, Hand Made Vegetarian Samosa's with a Tamarind Chutney, and Wild Mushroom Arancini- just to name a few!
So for those of you out there looking for a fabulous venue, which also does great food, you definitely need to Check out Queen Ann Boutique Conferencing!
I cannot thank Katrina and Natalie enough for the wonderful service, food and venue that they provided in the night!

As the Reunion came last on my list of tasks on Saturday- it was all hands on deck to get the decorations up and ready late in the afternoon.
Myself, Kath and Tanya had previously made picture boards and other paraphernalia to put around the room, but it was the blowing up of the 300 helium balloons that took the longest time!

Some of the 300 balloons!

I was so excited to be going to the reunion- as unfortunately I lost touch with allot of great people after school. I managed to track down one of my very good friends at school- Jo- who made the trip- all the way from Melbourne for the reunion! Leaving her Husband and two beautiful boys at home, Jo came along with her sister Penny- which was a double pleasure to see them both!

Left to Right- Tanya, Me, Jo and Penny!

I also had the chance to catch up with another past student- and fellow cupcaker- Sharnel!
Sharnel and I went to school together ( obviously) and it wasn't until about a week and a half ago- I found out that she too has a business making Cupcakes!
Sharnel's cupcake company has values close to my heart! All of their cakes are baked from scratch- and her work is just so pretty! Now I have a fellow passionate baker to send clients to that I am unable to help! We got the chance to chat and talk cupcakes for a bit- and I look forward to catching up again!

As the function was a cocktail style event- I thought cupcakes would be a perfect fit for those who wanted to just grab one to eat! I made a few flavours- including White raspberry, Coconut, Dark Chocolate and Frangellico, and a Jaffa. The cakes were then iced with either a teal butter cream, or soft peak royal icing- to give a bright white look.

The top tier was a mini three tier cake- inside was two tiers of Gluten and Dairy free Chocolate and Almond, and also an egg free hazelnut cake- to cater for the dietary requirements for the evening.

All in all a great night was had!
A real success! Now all we have to do is try and see each other more often!

A special Thank you goes out to my Mum- who week in week out gives up some part of her time to help me- not only did she help me deliver and set up cakes this weekend- she also came and spent 3 hours setting up the room, then zipped me into my dress, before heading home to relax with my dad!

Beautiful Brides.....

Now I know that every bride is beautiful- It is your god given right to be stunning on your wedding day- however, this is not the only beauty I am talking about.
I am talking about the kind of people that really leave a lasting impression on you- because they are so genuine, wonderful people.
Whilst I am privileged to work constantly with fabulous clients- there are a handful of couples I will never forget. Not because they wrote me glowing testimonies, or because their cake designs were show stopping, but because they had a warmth and passion about them, that in the short time that I got to meet with them, really made an impression on me.

As many of you would know- I work on my own, so I really enjoy meeting my clients face to face- Seeing their personalities really helps to create a cake that is "Them" and fits perfectly with their special day.

This week I had not one stand out Bride- but a few.
The first was a lovely girl who came to meet with me a few months back. She came with her mother ( also a fabulous person). It wasn't the fact that they appreciated the effort that goes in to my job that drew me to them, nor the fact that that they listened to my conversation with interest. It was the fact that Alicia and her mother were so humble, even though they both are such fantastic people in our community. Alicia is a Nurse, and her mother a Foster carer for Disabled children. I could really appreciate their efforts to take on such roles, as when I was growing up, my mother also cared for disabled people, and bought me up to respect , understand and be educated about individuals and their conditions.
In our consultation, we chatted for well over an hour, about society mostly, but this indeed was one of those "meetings" I will never forget.

I really hope Alicia's day was everything she dreamed and more! Alicia wanted a simple, Timeless cake- and that is what she got. All iced in Ivory, with a plain band of Chocolate ribbon around the base. The base tier had a double quilt impression on the wall of the tier, with a tiny cut flower, and piped dot detail at each cross point. The top tier had a leaf and vine detail that covered the entire tier.
Congratulations Alicia and Warren! Wishing you both all the happiness you deserve.

My next " Impression" Bride was Michelle.
This is a woman that knows what she wants and grabs it with both hands- and I am not only talking about her Groom!
Michelle had been referred to me by a Bridal Forum, and booked me solely on the kind words of past clients.
I get a bit anxious when people want to "book" you without even getting a quote- so I had Michelle and Shane come over and meet with me- which was just fabulous! Michelle reminds me a little of myself- she is a fair bit shorter than her groom, and has a wicked laugh and infectious smile. She beams excitement- which makes me super excited to be making a small part of her wedding day.

Michelle chose a three tier design with a "candy" stripe effect over the bottom 2/3 of the tiers.
This cake also had fresh oriental lilies added to the cake at the venue ( of which I don't have a picture- as My husband Kindly delivered the cake for me, whilst I ran all over the place!)
When Michelle and Shane came to drop off their toppers, She was so excited to be getting married- I hope that she really enjoyed herself on the actual day! Congratulations!

My next design was for a Wedding held out at Glengariff Estate at Dayboro.
This cake was a "version" of Ricki-Lee Coultard's wedding cake.
This three tier version was iced in white icing, with a soft peak royal icing swirled over th tiers.
Fresh blush pink roses filled the gaps, and surrounded the Bride and Groom Topper.

It was a pleasure to put this cake together for Tegan and Shaun. Tegan has a voice that is almost melodic- her calm nature and friendly no fuss attitude, made it a pleasure to create the cake of her dreams! Even the Venue coordinator mentioned how lovely she was!
Despite the cool day on Saturday- the sky was clear blue! A perfect day indeed!

I had a massive day on Saturday, not only did I have Weddings that were being held at Lunchtime ( which meant an early start to deliveries) I also had my 15 year School reunion on that night- For which I was an organiser!

So I was lucky when I had two cakes at almost the same venue!
The cake for Alicia and Warren was delivered to Il Centro, and then I had my first ever cupcake wedding cake on The Kookaburra River Queen. A version of the " Simply pink" design ( but in Blue) was put together for a couple that organised their entire cake via email!

The last time I delivered a cake to the Kookaburra river Queen, I really noticed the boat's gentle movement. This time, I REALLY noticed it- and although I am not one to get seasick, I left feeling a little queasy- probably because when I am setting up a cake- it is all about precision and focus, and the movement whilst ever so slight- really takes away your concentration on the design, and shifts it to the motion!

Last but not least was a cake that caught my eye- not for its design, but the unique roses that filled in the gaps. To describe these roses as Antique style would be right in the mark ( however I am sure that they have a correct name- but for now this is what they will be).

These roses were a dusty/Musk pink colour with a latte green tip, with a soft frill about the ends.
Dotted throughout the design, they were elegant, and romantic, fitting in wonderfully at the Long room at Customs House!

Once again, I have had a week where I have been honoured to make a selection of fabulous designs!

On a separate note- I have a surprise!!!
Shortly the Cake That! website will have an overhaul!!! It will still be jam packed with information, be easy to navigate and have loads of pictures- but it will have a fresh new layout, and a fabulous gallery to view the cakes!

I can't wait to share it with you all - and of course- get your feedback!
Keep Smiling!

Monday, 9 June 2008

The Long Weekend! Of modelling!

This weekend is the Queen's Birthday long weekend- and what a long one it has been!
I had a Wedding on Friday- Saturday- and then cakes for Sunday (Yesterday)!!
Maybe next Sunday I will rest;)
Anyway to begin the first cake of the week was a lovely pale Green and pink chocolate creation.
Matching in with the colour theme of the wedding- this cake was pretty, comical and packed full of sweet chocolate calories- all rolled into one.
The Wedding was held out at Sirromet- so the drive out and back was a welcome distraction from the weekend of cakes that lay ahead!

The pale green chocolate chards had angled tops, and the pink scrolls fill in the top tier. A cute Couple sat perched on the edge of the top tier!
( Don't you just love the balding head man- so cute!).

After the Friday wedding was delivered safe and Sound- it was onto the Saturday cake!
This design was a culmination of a couple of designs.
A Beautiful Elegant reception- with a subtle vintage feel about it- was set perfectly when I delivered the cake.

With a double barrel base, and single top tier- the base featured the couples names, and a piped "quilt" pattern ( all tiny little dots to form the cross pattern) with a cut blossom at each point.
A simple ribbon tied in a small bow around the top tier- capped off with a cartoon couple and Ivory Sugar roses.

Then came Sunday. Now even though Sunday is a day that is coming more popular with Weddings- being a long weekend makes this day that much more attractive to Brides and Grooms.

The next design was for a wonderful couple- who live local to me! Whilst it is an honour when people travel from afar to meet with you- having clients from your local area supporting you is really special!
This couple are the most beautiful people, not only aesthetically beautiful, but the genuine kind and friendly people that make your day! Not only did they have a "no fuss" approach, the Groom was also from Scotland, and listen to my rambling when I told him about my upcoming trip!
This cake features my first ever Groom in a Kilt! Now for those of you who aren't regular readers- I am headed to the UK to do some Cake decorating workshops in July- including one on Cartoon couples- and Kilts! So as I ventured into making my first ever kilt- I couldn't be happier with the result! To give myself some constructive criticism- the Groom character is a little Tubby- unlike his real life example!

This wedding was also themed with a vintage theme. Held at the Medina Executive- where the view of the City and Story Bridge is superb- this cake fitted right in. I had free range on the final make up of the design, as far as the ribbon and flower placement went. With the option to only have the mocha ribbon around the tiers, I felt the black bought in that extra bit of elegance and class. To my delight when I arrived, the Chairs all had back chair covers, so the ribbon tied in wonderfully! The Drambuie and Chocolate Cake inside was sure to be a hit!

I had Two Christening cakes this weekend. One was for a past Wedding couples first baby! Julia and Vasili now live in Melbourne, and had traveled home to have baby Katherine Christened! I was delighted to see them again, and their gorgeous little girl- who is less than a few months old!

The next christening cake was for another referral client- held at the Greek Club! This cake is just awesome! And All cake!

The base tier alone is 14" in diameter- so it also weighed a tonne. For those of you who have had the opportunity to be involved at a function at the Greek Club would know that anything there is not done by halves! This cake was for Twins- a little boy and girl- and when I saw the Noah's arc on their invitation- my design mind went into overdrive. The fact the the parents and God parents were also at the design consultation- whilst a little confusing at times- was also a great help!
We all decided on this VERY LARGE scale three tier design, complete with the sculptured Arc as the top tier!

When I got to the venue- the room was the most amazing christening I had ever seen! Each table was set with Noah's Arc decorations, Bomboniere, and a balloon bouquet, complete with a different animal for each table! It looked fantastic! Gorgeous flowers arrangements too!

The Arc part of the design was inspired from a Debbie Brown Design- from her "Easy Party Cakes Book" I don't know how she managed to cast this cake as easy- as a professional decorator- the top tier alone took me almost 5 hours to decorate! Another decorator has reminded me though that "Easy" doesn't mean Quick! I will keep that in mind for next time!

Please remember that whilst my counter shows that you are all reading the blog- I would love to hear your comments too! Let me know what you think/Like!

The week ahead is another big one too! Until next time- Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Baked From Scratch!

I am a strong believer in Baking everything from Scratch! I am often very disappointed when I try cakes that look great- only to taste them and realise that they have been made by a nasty pre mix!
Recently I had the unfortunate experience of trying a cupcake from an established Brisbane Cupcakery- only to be gutted by the fact that the cake- and Icing- were made with pre mix ingredients!
So- Whilst surfing the net- I found out that there is a fellow Australian baker- who believes in Shouting the fact that you only bake from scratch! So I emailed them, and subsequently got permission to be Branded with the Baked from Scratch Logo!

So Now my Blog and(soon to be updated) Website will carry this logo- to reiterate the fact that there is no substitute for Baking from Scratch!

So buyers beware- are the cakes you are eating Baked from Scratch?

No Camera!!!

As a general rule- I take a picture of EVERY cake I make- whether I have made the design 10 times or not.
This weekend- when I headed out to deliver cakes- I forgot my camera!!! I did have my sugar encrusted mobile- which has a camera, but fro the following pictures- you will notice the distinct sugar glaze over the lens! ;))

The first design is a three tier cake, each tier twisted, with clusters of fresh flowers over the tiers.
This cake was for a Wedding at the Stamford Plaza- for a lovely Bride who had to postpone her wedding for 12 months! So on Saturday- she finally got to be a Bride! Congratulations Jodie!

The Next cake was for a wedding held up at the Summit- Mt Cootha- a lovely set room awaited the guests. The Function Coordinator- Yalana- was holding her breath that the rain would hold off- for the ceremony that was planned outside! After a very overcast day- no rain came down- thank goodness!

On Sunday I had a Cupcake Christening cake!
With a Biscuit/Blue/White theme, these mini cupcakes looked fab!
The stripes coordinated with the invitation design.
With a choice of Vanilla white chocolate, or White Raspberry- mixed with 3 different toppings- surely you would have to try more than one??

For a few weeks now- I have had some fabulous laser cut cupcake surrounds. I ordered them in from the US- not for a client- in particular- but Just because I thought they were gorgeous- and I had to have some!
Maybe soon I will treat someone to a gorgeous tower of these cakes!
Or Someone will love them too- and order them ;)

A big week ahead- once agin!
I'll keep you posted!