Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Adventure Time Cake

A friend of mine's son is really into Adventure Time, so she asked me to make him an Adventure Time themed cake as a surprise for his birthday.

The cake is vanilla sponge (recipe in this post) with vanilla buttercream filling, and covered in blue coloured white chocolate ganache (no fondant covering).

To decorate the cake, I started with a sketch, which I turned into a template. Feel free to use it.

I cut the template out and made sure it fit onto the top of my covered cake (I had to add a little bit to the top right of the design).

Then I cut out all the templates for the different prices of the design. The top one is for the black, the bottom ones for all the other colours.

First I cut the black piece of fondant and lay it on a piece of baking paper, ready to layer on the colours.
I started with the colour that covered the most area - yellow, laying the template over the rolled out fondant, and cut around it with an exact knife. I separated the yellow piece into 3 separate pieces at the weak points, then carefully stuck them onto the black piece with edible glue.

Next came the white - also separated into two pieces to make it easier to move into place.

Once all the colours are added, the completed image is transferred onto the cake.

I used a ribbon cutter to make a sword blade and stuck that around the side of the cake.

Then I prepared a template for the handle of the sword

and cut the letters for the name to go on the sword. I left the letters to harden a bit before I stuck them onto the cake, because both the top and bottom of the letter extend over the edge of the sword and won't be attached to anything.

Finally, I added a yellow skirt to the cake board. I do this by cutting a long ribbon wide enough to cover the board, then gently ease it around the cake, smoothing it onto the board, then cutting off the excess.

Once a red ribbon is added to the edge of the board, the cake is finished!

My friend kindly sent me a photo of the inside of the cake. I coloured the buttercream to perfectly match the colour of the ganache and made the sponge yellow - 'white' cake and buttercream just seemed too boring for an Adventure Time cake!

Happy Birthday Ollie! I hope you had a wonderful day.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Gender Reveal Party

This Moustaches and Bows gender reveal party was so much fun to plan and execute! It was a joint effort between Mamma-to-be Anna, myself and my BFF Claudette. Anna saw a photo of a cake that she really liked, and the whole theme of the party snowballed from there.

I have to be honest, this is not my favourite cake. The fondant I used to cover the cake was awful, left a pitted and elephant skin surface which I just could not remedy, so I piped all over it with royal icing (it was originally supposed to just be a decorative edge to the bracket frames). Unfortunately, my arm is just not yet up to the task and my piping looks really terrible viewed close up. I think I need a bit more practice with the chalkboard effect too. Thankfully, Anna and Paul loved it.

All the decorations, and most of the food, was hand made by the three of us. Anna spent hours folding all the concertinas to make the rosettes! Our friend Erin cut all the triangles for the bunting. All the little moustaches and bows were cut on my silhouette cameo.

The food was all themed to the old Nursery Rhyme "What are little boys made of?" Each table (blue and pink) had the following framed artwork on it. Click on the images to download the pdf for your own use.

On the blue table we had cocktail sausage snails, worm pudding, nuts, crisps and sandwiches. My daughter watched us set up the table, checking off each item against the nursery rhyme. She was happy with the snails and decided that worms were close enough to slugs, but then we put down the nuts and she exclaimed: "Nuts? But boys don't have nuts!" Needles to say, party preparations stopped for a few  minutes while we all rolled around on the floor laughing!

How cute are the snails that Claudette made?!? And they tasted great too - never thought I'd actually eat snails ;)

The girls table had gingerbread cookies, strawberries, marshmallows, chocolate dipped pretzels and caramel popcorn balls. All very sweet and very yummy!

Actually, both tables had gingerbread cookies on, but I couldn't only make bow cookies, those moustaches are too cute!

We even dressed up the drinks dispensers, and coloured the punch too.

As guests arrived they were directed to the table below. They were to vote for whether they thought Baby Robinson was going to be a girl or boy - write their name on the relevant bow/moustache, and pop it in the jar, then take a bow/moustache pin and wear it throughout the party. They could also suggest names for the baby.

Once everyone had arrived we played a couple of games. First up was a Quiz based on old wives tales. Everyone got a quiz sheet and had a few minutes to complete the quiz (some worked in groups). Once they had finished it, we went through the answers and had Anna and Paul test each of the tales. We ended up with the baby being just as likely to be a boy as a girl.

I found the Old Wives Tales Quiz at a blog called Through Clouded Glass, but adapted it to fit our party theme. Click on the image above to download the pdf.

Then we played a team game. All those who voted girl formed a seated line along one side of the room, boy along the other side. We ended up with 2 more on the boy team than the girl team, so one switched sides to make it even. The aim of the game was to pass a cup down the line, passing it from lap to lap without touching it with anything but your legs.

It was quite hilarious to watch! The team who voted for Baby Robinson to be a girl won.

With that, it was time to cut the gender-revealing cake! Drumroll please...

It's a GIRL!!!

Just look how happy they are :)

Both wearing pink bows, they were very pleased with the pink cake.

Happy Mamma!

We had also set a photo booth up for guests to entertain themselves throughout the evening. We supplied plenty of props in the way of hats and wigs as well as a good selection of cardboard cut outs on sticks - moustaches and bows of course, glasses, lips and bow ties.

It was a lot of fun!
Congratulations Paul and Anna, we can't wait to meet the little lady!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

New York, Hoboken and Carlo's Bakery!

I got a very special treat last week - I got to spend a week in New York while my hubby was there for work. It was a really wonderful week of sightseeing, eating, shopping and spending quality time with my other half.

New York is quite a remarkable place, you are never quite sure what you might see as you turn the corner.

One place I really wanted to visit while I was there was Carlo's Bakery.

The original one, in Hoboken, New Jersey.

I'd read about the queues one can face when you go there, but we seemed to have chosen a good day, it wasn't too busy. It looks a lot different now to how it looked in the TV shows.

There I am, that's me, in Carlos Bake Shop!

The cabinets were filled to the brim with delicious looking baked treats.

But there was one particular item that drew me to Carlo's, and it wasn't the celebration cakes! (This was just as well, or I would have been bitterly disappointed. The cakes they had on display were decidedly boring and ordinary.)

I was there to try Buddy's Lobster Tails.

We also threw in a couple of his famous Cannoli for good measure.

The Cannoli were nice, but as much as Buddy goes on about how smooth his cannoli cream is, we found it a bit grainy.

The Lobster Tails however, were a different story!

They were absolutely DELICIOUS! The pastry was crisp and flaky and the cream was incredibly smooth, light and flavourful, and there was a lot of it.

The Lobster Tail was a winner in my book. I am going to have to try and make them myself now, as that is definitely a pastry I want to eat again!

We wandered around Hoboken a bit, taking in the sights.

And found a marvellous view of New York across the river.