Monday, 28 February 2011

Organised Chaos!

Mother Nature certainly knew how to unleash her fury upon Queensland this year. With Mammoth rainfall over Christmas and the early weeks of January- localised flooding was already apparent.  Emerald and Rockhampton were flooded out, and the state was banding together to help those who had lost everything rebuild.
Then on one dark Monday a freak flash flood hit much closer to home, through  Toowoomba and the Downs district- leaving a path of destruction and taking many lives.

What we saw on the news footage was like a scene from a Movie- but unfortunately it was very real.
I had a Bride who was getting Married out in Roma- and had contacted her prior to the Toowoomba floods to see if she needed to cancel or suspend her order- as many roads out her way meant that Roma itself was potentially cut off.
The bride persevered and managed to have her Dream wedding- Flying in many guests to be there on the Special day.
A three tier Chocolate creation- with whimsical purple marbling through the chocolate was sent out by air (with the town Pharmacist)- to the wedding in Roma. 
A big cake on a Dash-8 made the journey relatively unscathed.

I was delighted to be able to send the cake out amidst all the upheaval.

Back in Brisbane- we ourselves were bracing for our city to flood.
Within a day of the Darling Downs devastation- Ipswich and Brisbane were also consumed by the rising waters. It all seemed so very surreal to me. I felt very guilty that although living less than 6km CBD-  we had no visual evidence of the chaos and destruction that was happening only minutes down the road.
With people loosing their homes and everything inside of them, entire suburbs flattened by the destruction- businesses ruined and livelihoods lost- what came of this tragedy was spirituous and inspiring.

As the flooding was happening- I was madly contacting my couples for that weekend to see how they were fairing and checking to see what they needed in regards to suspending or cancelling their orders.

A few weddings were placed on hold as their venues went under water. Some were lucky enough to be able to be moved to alternate venues. Such huge feats given the circumstances.

Once such couple were meant to hold their wedding reception at the Marriott- in Brisbane. With Water Damage to the basement, and no power throughout the CBD- the couple were lucky to secure the Gold Coast Marriott withing 2 days of their Wedding.

Their Stunning 3 extended tier cake with Sugar Phalaenopsis orchids trailing over the design was completed and taken down the Coast to the new reception venue.

The base two tiers were pale pink with damask icing stencilling over the tiers.

The next cake had me worried- as many flower farms had been destroyed and interstate trucks were not able to get through- but my flower wholesaler came through with some gorgeous blooms to complete this cake.

To put a cake like this together takes around 1.5hours at the venue. I was under the pump with the Groom and his family already waiting at the venue when I arrived to set up. Having someone watch me work is a little unnerving- despite my usual extroverted personality- having someone- or allot of people- watching over your shoulder is not as easy as working in your own bubble ;-P   

The base tier was topped with a full layer of flowers in pinks and purples- the middle tier with greens and then the top with reds and deep pinks. A cute cartoon topper family- complete with the couples Shitzu dog sat on top.  I had to take the picture shooting into the light (hahah- that sentence made me sound like I had some professional Photog lingo going on) so unfortunately my little pentax couldn't quite capture the cake in its true glory.

With fabulous Anne Campbell performing the ceremony - a glorious day and a gorgeous cake- Lisa and Ben were off to a cracking start to their marriage!

It seemed that one week flowed into the next in January. Our city was amidst of a natural disaster. Many of my suppliers had been impacted- not to mention friends and colleagues effected by the waters too.

A bright light during the floods was my Husbands Birthday!
I was flat chat running around organising new suppliers and reshuffling cake deliveries for those clients of mine who had to suddenly move venues.
Making my gorgeous husbands cake was certainly not a priority at that stage. My sister Kate took on the task with both hands- and with less than 3 hours from wo to go- she had created nothing short of a masterpiece!

To Bring a little bit of background into this story- My husband has a liking for powered model "toys"- currently he is liking Helicopters. Kate's quick wit had her brain and cake designing abilities working overtime. A google image search had inspired the cake design:  

Kate could see all the components of the cake in the simplistic shapes of the stock image......
So she set off to Coles (whilst imagination and design may be her forte- baking unfortunately is not).
She loaded up her basket with all the essentials- cakes- biscuits- wafers- Betty Crocker frosting- food colouring.......and passion!

What eventuated was certainly MAGIC!
Kate's ingenuity had her cover a platter in foil- creating a lovely silver background, she even hand cut out the wafer propeller blades!

Awesome MUCH!!!!!!!!
Kate is proudly telling whoever will listen how great she is at round cakes- that she is! A magnificent job indeed- proving if you have the will and determination anyone can be fabulous at this cake decorating game!

Our four year old niece Scarlett was in awe of Kate's Talents- all she wanted was a piece of the tail with the Jaffa! I LOVE how much kids enjoy cakes- such an exciting time for them.

Kate and Scarlett pose proudly with the Helicopter Masterpiece.

It was time then for the candles to be lit and the cake to be revealed to the birthday boy!
I don't think we have seen a smile this big on his face since his 8th Birthday! Congratulations Steve!

To say he was mighty impressed is an understatement.Thanks to Kate for taking on the cake duty and exceeding everyone's expectations! You rock!

The weekend following Steve's birthday I had a very cool cake indeed!
The cake was for a couples joint birthday- an 18" replica of a shipping container- complete with  logos representing meaningful places and interests of the couple.

Cool hey! This cake was far too big for my photo tent- so no pretty picture to show sorry.

I had a lovely local Alderley couples wedding that weekend too.
Held at Brett's Wharf- which was unscathed in the flood disaster- a funky little bridal couple sat tall on top of a simple- yet fun- wedding cake.

This cake had a slight design change- due to one of my suppliers not being able to supply edible image for the cake- but in the end the cake looked cute as!

The Red and purple roses together looked fantastic! So bold and awesome up against the black and white.

The next GIANT cake was originally scheduled for The Stamford Plaza- my old work- which is STILL unfortunately out of action.

A quick move to the Hyatt Sanctuary Cove- saw this grand beauty set up in style!

Three tier double height design- this cake had a wide top tier- which added to the cakes size look in real life.

I was able to use one of my gorgeous new stencils on this cake and finish the stencelling with some piped icing pearls- so pretty!
Roses and lissianthus fulled between the tiers- bold and soft colours blended together- just gorgeous!

This cake was for such a beautiful bride- I am so glad that in the end all worked out for her. In the midst of all the flood tragedy- she was calm and confident - and knew that all that mattered was that she and her husband were to be married, and no matter how big or small the celebration- what mattered was their love. Months of planning every last detail were shadowed by honest reality of what the meaning of a wedding is all about.
So very lovely- I wish Cleonie and Bruce a magnificent life together.

The last shining star of January was a Birthday cake for  a long time family friend.
A pink themed 60th Birthday party cupcake tower.

Varied Pink icings- with a Happy birthday message discs - and a personalised topper- of course!

Happy Birthday Helen!
I hope that you had a great one.

Well that was January's wrap!
I did miss a couple of fabulous cakes- but I don't have some images. When I manage to get some I will certainly share them with you all!

I hope you had a comfy seat!
Thanks for reading

P.S.- A Very Special mention to My friends Deb and Lanson in Esk- they have been hit so many times in this recent month- and still managed to help others in need too.
My sister Kate and her friends- who also help clear homes and businesses in around their inner city homes- as well as kindly passing out cakes and biscuits as I was too shy to do so.... My sympathies to Julie Whitehead- of Julie Whitehead cakes - who had her own home devastated by the floods- but still managed to create her magnificent creations with a smile!
And to the Mud army- who dropped whatever they had going on to selflessly lend a hand to all those in need. The human spirit is amazing- it certainly makes you proud to be a Queenslander in these trying times.

To donate to the QLD Premiers Flood appeal Click Here!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Beginning 2011 with some Beauties........

After a short Xmas New Year break- I was straight back into all things cake.
Having had a wet few weeks over the holidays- it seemed that the weather was here to stay :(
The First Friday in 2011 had me delivering a cake to the GOMA
The clients had requested a soft iced cake- in keeping with the whimsical elegant theme........but- being January and a venue which is not Air conditioned- I strongly advised against choosing a Soft iced cake- I wouldn't want to have the wedding cake be a melted puddle for their guests!
After taking my advice- I created a palette finish royal iced cake- so the textured soft look- without the worry of melting :)

Each Table had a few different vases on it- with different blooms in each vase- it was just beautiful! The florist (Grandiflora) provided some absolutely stunning fresh luscious blooms for me to adorn the cake with.

Delicate Hydrangeas mixed with large Chrysanthemums and water lilies- divine!

The Saturday had me scooting all over town- trying to dodge the down pours and keep dry in between.
My first stop was Walkabout Creek- where I set up this Invitation inspired cake.
Randomly winding over the tiers- I replicated the invitation pattern in the theme colour over the cake.  

I REALLY Liked this cake. The different elements of the hand painting- the piping detail and applique detail really gave the cake an extra dimension.

The Brides Grandfather had made a stunning wooden stand as a wedding gift for the couple too- such a wonderful gift to cherish indeed.

The next cake was meant to have fresh Frangipanis on top- but with all the rotten weather- every yellow Frangipani tree around was stripped bare!
Having given the option on the Brides quote for Silk Frangipanis I opted to use these as an alternate. I was fretting- but needn't have- as I received a beautiful Thank you form the Bride the very next day :)

 We can't help mother nature... and boy doesn't Queensland know that at the moment.

The next cake is one I have done before.
Ordered totally via email- as the couple reside interstate.
I really value the trust that my clients who order over the phone or Internet give me. Relying solely on images of previous cakes and possibly recommendations from others too.

The Arum Swirl design is classically elegant.
The times I have created this cake I always really love the way it looks.

The next cake was for a special Bride indeed.
Not satisfied with being unable to eat cake because of  being a Coeliac- Jasmine contacted me to see if I could make her a classic Gluten free fruit cake- Why YES I Can!
In my opinion- Gluten free shouldn't be tasteless- nor stodgy.

All of my Gluten free recipes are made from scratch- and unless you were told otherwise- you would never guess the cake was a "dietary" cake.
When I say Dietary- I am not meaning Low calorie or Calorie free- because If I had a magical recipe that could create a divine rich cake without the fat and calories I would be a genius LOL!
This cake was A Rich Gluten free fruit cake- with dated Figs- Raisins currants- nuts and so much more. Rum Soaked and baked to a supremely moist perfection.
I must admit- every time I make this Gluten free fruit cake I have to make a little extra- I love it that much. Bad I know - and I am hoping that my nutritionist isn't reading my blog too ;-P

Back to the cakes design....... A Two tier cake- with rounded edges (and can I tell you this is extra hard when you are so use to creating sharper ones) a 30mm Kelly Green ribbon around each tier- with a Diamante brooch- gorgeous!
The cake sat on my silver cake stand in the centre of a gorgeous dessert buffet!
It rained so hard this day that localised flooding had already started- but the father of the Bride  told me that the couple managed to dodge the heavy downpours- thank goodness!

The last- but not least cake for the first weekend in January was for a very special birthday.

I was honored to be making Madeline's 40th Birthday cake as this birthday party was her first ever birthday party! How fantastic!
Her Family had decided that this year she was going to be celebrated monumentally- and together we designed a cake fit for such a wonderful occasion.

With Red Purple and Gold as the theme colours- Madeline wanted a cake that was Bright.
The fact that her guests mouths could become tainted by the rich colours was no cause for concern- in the end it was a birthday party- and parties are all about fun- right!

There were edible glitter numbers and butterflies across the cakes- shiny gold wrappers and a chocolate top tier to finish it all off!

I loved creating this cake- I hope that it made your first every birthday party that bit more special!

Well if the first weekend in January is any indication of the fantastic cakes I will get to make again this year- I believe I am off to a wonderful start!

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

2010 the year that was!

The end of the year is always special to me- not because it means I get to take a short break and spend time with Friends and Family- and not because it is My birthday and Christmas all in the same week- but because it is when I get a chance to look back and see what awesome clients I have had over the year and what truly stunning cakes they have had me make!

Whilst for many December is a month where things slowly come to a close- in my world it is all go- then stop!
Jam packing every second into every day could easily be my mantra. This was certainly the case when I received a call on Friday in December asking if I had a few minutes spare to answer some questions about Cakes and Cake decorating trends.
Without being flippant about it- I have fielded these types of calls on may occasions- and whilst I heard the words "Brisbane News" I wasn't certain if this was indeed a serious piece or whether or not the journalist was just after some "fluff" for an article she was creating.
To my delight- and subsequent surprise- this little "chat" was for real- a story about cakes- Designer Cakes- and they were asking ME! But that was no where near the best bit either.......... after confirming details with editor I was told a Photographer would contact me in regards to an image for the piece. Well someone did contact me- and not for just some picture- but to ask if I could please submit two cakes (the very next morning) to be shot as.........................

THE COVER IMAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG- were they serious??? Little SJ form Cake That! getting one of her cakes on the cover of a stylish magazine! You bet :)

So after running around like a crazed cake lady- calling my cake bestie Karen from KVW cakes to run through ideas (and calm me down) I managed to pull off Two pretty smashing cakes- If I do say so myself.
There was a brief- a cake that I thought was the way cake fashion is trending and the photographer also requested a textured cake.

Low and Behold I managed to make both- and after spending a ridiculous amount of time on my Black and White beauty... the photographer flipped out for the Textured one. Don't get me wrong- that cake was awesome too- and most probably far more appealing to most- but I Loved the Black and white one too!
My Mum came with me to the cake shoot- I honestly thought it would be a 10 minute in and out kind of session- but perfection takes time- and after the lovely Courier Mail Photographer ooohed and Aaahed over the cakes and took a bucket load of shots- I was amazed that over 1.5 hours had passed by. Cake Models can be temperamental LOL!

The turn around was super fast! About days after the shoot- there she was.......

My Cover girl!!!!!! Pretty isn't she!

Although my mug didn't make it inside-two more of my recent cakes did- which was just the cream on top!
The Mag came out a few days before my birthday which was just lovely!
This year I had the most surprising birthday ever - and not just because of the magazine- but because one of my sisters organised a surprise birthday party for me!
For my friends and family that know me well know I never miss a trick- but somehow this time was a complete success......... I was shocked to turn up at a restaurant and see 30 of my closest family and friends shouting "SURPRISE"!! I was in a dream like state- I couldn't believe it!
And of course a birthday isn't complete without a cake- My mum had created a wicked ice cream cake- with Oreos Chocolate and even peanut butter mixed in (my fave ice cream is Baskins Choc peanut butter)- DELISH!!!!!!! I feel so very humbled by my magnificent family and friends. My family especially who help me week in week out without question nor want of reward- and then I get such a fantastic surprise- You are all the best!

So with my Birthday out of the way it was time for my second annual Cake That! Xmas Cracker!! I am blessed to know and work alongside some of the best in the Brisbane Wedding industry. Without them and their support My business would not be half the success it is today.
As a small token of my thanks I invited some colleagues to come over for an evening of Fabulous food and Drinks- to unwind and reflect on the year that was.
I know I had a great time- and I hope that that my guests did too! 

With such a busy end to the year I had my great friend Natalie from Dux Gutz Catering make and theme the menu for the night... not a single crumb left.
Natalie Wowed my guests with deliciousness such as  Duck Salads- Chermoula Spiced Lamb on braised lentils- Warm roast veg tartlets...... and so so much more.

Of course there was a Christmas Cocktail menu- and if I do say so myself- the Spicy Tart rocked- a gorgeous blend of Pear Absolut  and Spiced Sugar Syrup- created a cocktail that tasted almost like a pear and apple pie mmmmmmmmm.

Being all about cake- of course there was something sweet!
I LOVE creating Lolly Buffets- since my sister Alex' 21st I have been hooked- and each one has to be different to the last.
This year my vision was for a White chocolate Rocky road Xmas tree cake center piece! After loaning a meter (plus) high Croquembouche cone from my friend Amanda from Deliberately Delicious- I set about the mammoth task! 

To create the Rocky Road "tree" took over 5kg Marshmallows- 8KG white chocolate- Coconut, Jubes and Jellies- not to mention all the fondant used to decorate this monster- it weighed a tonne!

I modelled some cute little elves over the "tree" This one in particular has a special place in my heart!

I couldn't forget to make actual "Cake" so I had made Xmas themed cupcakes too!

Thank you to everyone who came and made the night extra special!   

Nigel and Justina from NKN Photography Jennine Florabella Design  Sandee Always Fabulous Flowers   

It may have rained buckets and created a river in my backyard- but it was allot of fun.

The vivacious Anne Campbell from Anne Campbell Weddings  Lisa Clark from Lisa Clark Photography Ben Clark Ben Clark Photography and Debbie Thomas from St Photography

Thank you to everyone who came and made it a fabulous night!

Well that was 2010!
So far 2011 has bee a ripper- and I look forward to sharing this with you soon!

Thanks for reading