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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