Friday 23 August 2013

Wedding Cakes

Next week is my brothers wedding anniversary, so I thought I would do a post on wedding cakes, featuring, of course, his cake. I absolutely love making wedding cakes, and hope to make many more of them. Here are some of my favourites:

First up is my brother's cake. I didn't know, when I went out to South Africa for his wedding that he and his gorgeous bride would ask me to do their cake along with the mother-of-the-bride. I was thrilled, of course! They wanted an all chocolate cake. Ideally, they wanted a crisp white chocolate collar around the cake with the top filled in with chocolate truffles (the cake itself was a rich "Bar One" chocolate cake). Since we didn't have the equipment required to make the collar, we settled for white chocolate panels, overlapping each other around each tier. The top was then filled with hand rolled truffles in 3 flavours: white chocolate rolled in coconut, milk chocolate also rolled in coconut, and dark chocolate rolled in cocoa.

Happy Anniversary Mike and DD!!!

The next cake I made for a good friend, and (ex) neighbour, of mine. The cake is adorned with a swarm of golden butterflies and covered in an intricate scroll pattern. All three tiers of the cake are dark chocolate sponge in 6 layers with vanilla buttercream icing. The cake is covered in ivory fondant with the piping done in ivory royal icing. The butterflies are made from fondant and coloured in three different shades of gold. It was delivered all the way up in Morecambe, and the whole thing was assembled at the venue (the butterflies were to fragile to survive the journey attached to the cake).

Next up is a cake that was designed to compliment an ivory and orange colour scheme. The bride wanted a modern wedding cake, but also wanted something quite simple and understated.

The cake is two tiers of moist carrot (and pineapple) cake with cream cheese icing covered ivory fondant ruffles. The top tier 'floats' above the 12" bottom tier. The Gerberas are fondant in three different shades of orange, with golden centres.

And finally I'd like to share a Groom's cake topper that I made for a Cowboy themed party.

Friday 16 August 2013

Plaid cross quilt {tutorial}

This is the quilt I recently made for my son. It was really simple to make, and quick to assemble too.

The finished quilt measures 84" x 84"

For the crosses:
20 different fat quarters (mix of lights, mediums and darks)
For the borders:
1/2 yard dark fabric 2" border (cut 8 strips 2 1/2" wide)
1 yard medium or light fabric for 4" border (cut 8 strips 4 1/2" wide)
Dark fabric for binding (or 2 contrasting fabrics for machine stitched binding)
Batting and backing fabric

Start by cutting one of the fat quarters into 3 1/2" strips, so that you end up with five 22" x 3 1/2" strips.

Cut 4 of those strips into:
  • one 9 1/2" piece
  • three 3 1/2" pieces

Cut the last strip into:
  • two 9 1/2" pieces

From 1 fat quarter, you should end up with six 9 1/2" x 3 1/2" pieces and twelve 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" pieces, enough to make up 6 crosses.

Now do the same for all the rest of the fat quarters.

Once that is done it is time to lay the quilt out. I like to lay mine out on a blanket, the same size as, or bigger, than the quilt I am making, this way the pieces stay where you put them. Start laying crosses down as pictured below:
All the 9 1/2" long strips should lay in the same direction. Use "partial crosses" to fill in the gaps around the sides. You will also need to cut down the 9 1/2" pieces to 6 1/2" along the very top and bottom edges of the quilt.

Once the whole top is layed out and you are happy with the balance of colours, it is time to pick it all up again! Start by labelling each column, using a post-it-note or piece of tape, on the first block. (There should be 24 columns if you have made it the same size as mine.)

Pick up the labelled first piece of column 1 and place it on top of the second piece below it (in the same column), then pick those two pieces up and place them on the third piece, and so on, until you have a neat pile of pieces, labelled with their column number on the top. Clip them together, and do the same with column number 2, and continue until you have 24 piles.

Now sew each of those piles into a long strip with a 1/4' seam, being very careful to keep them in the correct order. When done you should have 24 long strips, each with the numbered label at the top end. Iron each seam flat. Seams align better if, for all the odd numbered columns you iron the seams one way, and all the even numbered columns have their seems ironed in the opposite direction.

Sew all those columns together with a 1/4" seam, again, being careful to orient them correctly and in the right order. I don't pin before I sew, but rather make sure each cross seam is aligned correctly (where they match up), by stretching the fabric slightly and letting them 'click' into place (because the seams are ironed in opposite directions, they fit into each other very neatly).

Iron the whole thing so that all the seams are flat.

Finally add the borders, sandwich, quilt and bind (if you need further instructions for the borders or binding, please leave a message and I will add it on). For this particular quilt I sent it off to be quilted on one of those big machines. For the binding I used an AMAZING machine stitched binding technique, which can be found at 52 Quilts. It is a very quick way of professionally finishing off your quilt, and best of all doesn't require any hand sewing!

If you would like instructions for regular, hand stitched binding, adding the borders or sandwiching, please leave a message and I will add it on.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Peppa Pig Cake

This is a cake I made a few years ago, but it is still one of my favourites, so I thought I would share it. I really enjoyed making all the tiny little details on this cake!

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Chocolate Pie {Recipe}

We have been having a great summer holiday, the weather this year is fabulous and we have done our best to take advantage of the copious amounts of sunshine, with trips to the beach, ice creams in the park, walks in the forest, BBQs and lots of bike rides.

With all the fun and the heat, I haven't wanted to spend hours and hours in a hot kitchen, but still wanted to provide goodies for my family, so I have been trying out some quick and easy recipes. I have had a few failures, some being unworthy of photographing and sharing but still tasty, while others were less so. My greatest success however has been a chocolate pie. It was pretty good first time, and didn't take too many iterations to get it just the way I like it.

The filling for this pie is velvety smooth and wonderfully chocolatey, completely indulgent.  If you are a chocoholic, like me, then this is the pie for you. I am not a big fan of dark chocolate in large quantities, but find that milk chocolate does't tend to have quite enough depth of flavour in this type of dessert, so I compromised with a mix of milk and plain chocolate (at least 50% cocoa solids). I also opted to use ready-rolled sweet short crust pastry in favour of making my own, in keeping with the "quick and easy" theme.

Chocolate Pie Recipe

1 package ready rolled sweet shortcrust pastry

285ml double cream
215ml milk
(double cream + milk should make up 500ml in total)
300g milk chocolate
200g plain chocolate (at least 50% cocoa solids)
3 large eggs


Preheat oven to 160°C 
Line a 26cm deep pie dish with ready-rolled sweet short crust pastry.  Blind bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is just turning golden around the edges. Either weigh the crust down with greaseproof paper and baking beans, or make sure that your pastry is well chilled and jab the bottom thoroughly with a fork before baking (the base tends to balloon a bit with this method, but it drops back down once removed from the oven.


Reduce oven temperature to 140°C
Combine double cream and milk and heat until scalding (just before boiling). Meanwhile chop chocolate up into a bowl. Once scalded, pour cream mixture over chocolate and stir until all the chocolate has melted and combined (at first it looks as though the chocolate has seized or split, but just keep stirring and it will all come together). Leave to cool for a few minutes so that it doesn't cook the eggs when they are added.
Thoroughly beat the eggs then add to the chocolate mixture while stirring. Combine well.
Pour into the crust and put into the oven. The filling is very runny and it can be quite hard to get the pie dish in the oven without spilling. Placing the dish on a baking tray before pouring the filling in can make this easier.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the filling has set but still wobbles.

Allow to cool before serving. Serve as it is, or top with chocolate curls or a dusting of cocoa.

 Enjoy :)