Saturday, October 25, 2014

DIY Owl Cake and Heat Proof Buttercream Frosting...

Here's my first attempt at a fondant covered character style cake.
I didn't just make this for any old soul. It was a special labour of love for my darling little granddaughter no. 2, who has just turned one. Happy Birthday little petal :)
You might remember the giant cupcake I made for her to be photographed with for the invitations to this grand event....
I've been dabbling in cake decorating for a year or two, ever since my daughter in law asked me to make a Princess cake for granddaughter no. 1 for her first birthday.
This was my first fondant covered cake and I was pretty proud of it overall.
The owl was more challenging and do you have any idea how many variations on 'owl cake' there are out there in cyber world....I'm talking thousands. So it was hard to arrive at a decision on how the owl was to be accomplished.
In the end, it was just a round cake. Crumb coated, covered in buttercream and smoothed, chilled overnight, and draped in hand tinted supermarket fondant (big cheat!), before using coloured fondant to model the features.
I used egg cups and port glasses to cut the eye circles, a heart cookie cutter to cut the breast feathers and impress the wings, and the wings themselves were cut from the curve of a bread and butter plate. The heart cutter came in handy again to cut the sweet eyelashes (just one side of the cutter), and the beak, ears, and feet were hand modelled.
A dusting of edible pearl lustre, brings it up a treat :)
The quote my daughter in law had for a similar cake was $400. I kid you not. And, might I add, it wasn't nearly as pretty as the one I made with LOVE. And cost? $40.
Don't be frightened of decorating with fondant. It's a bit like plasticine modelling and heaps of fun.
Like a lot of things though, it  helps to have the base right, and a good smooth buttercream undercoat seems to be the key.
Here's a great buttercream recipe for use in hot weather....a must for grand babies birthdays here!
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup Copha
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons of flavoured essence (I used Rosewater)
  • 6-8 cups icing sugar
Mix the first five ingredients then slowly add the sugar till you get a consistency you're happy with. It needs to be fairly stiff, but still spreadable.
Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of this, and allow it to chill. Then coat it lavishly, smoothing and squaring it up at the edges, before allowing it to chill again. There are lots of great Youtube videos on how to do this if you're not sure.
I found this one particularly useful....
Then knead the colour into your fondant, a few drops at a time. Remember you can always add more, but it's fiddly to add extra white fondant to fade the colour if it's too dark.
Dust your bench liberally with icing sugar and roll out like pastry or dough, flip it on to the rolling pin, then drape over your buttercream'd and chilled cake. Smooth it down with your hands, and trim. Again I viewed a few Youtube tutorials to get my head around this.
Then off you go with modelling your decorations. I did mine on the day and fixed them with a little water, but apparently you're supposed to do them ahead....cest` la vie...grandbaby did not notice.
A triumph, I think. What say you?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Belly Bands....pretty gift wrap idea....

I was marbling/dip dyeing some paper the other day. No fuss for me. No turps or shaving cream.
I just tipped a glass of water into a cookie tray, blobbed some acrylic paint in, swirled it with a chopstick, and dropped a sheet of blue paper in, face down.
I then flipped the paper over, rested it on a clean teatowel, and allowed it to dry. I think it's pretty. All sort of soft and reminiscent of a Monet painting.
Once dry, I cut it in half, stuck it together with tape to form a long 'band', and wrapped it round the so called Belly of my gift.
A sliver of toning ribbon, adds a little flourish.
I love the idea of Belly Bands. They just add a little extra anticipation to the unwrapping and unveiling.
So, do you Belly Band? Or is it all too much bother?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fascinating time with Flora...

I had such a lovely time last Saturday.
I attended a Make your own Fascinator workshop with my friend Flora.
Flora is an uber clever millinery type, who fashions pretty things from wisps of fabric that the rest of us wouldn't credit with a second glance.
Here's some of her gorgeous things.
So a few of us went along to see if we could inhale some creative neurons just by being in Floras presence, but alas, we had to actually DO stuff!
Fortunately all was well, and none of us were to shabby in the creativity department.
Here's what my Fascinator looked like when I had finished it....
...that's a couple of hours worth of cutting satin and organza petals and hand stitching, thankyou. Not to be sneezed at.
And of course, the first picture above, is what my fascinator looked like after Flora had waved her magic tidying and stiffening wand over it. Ahem. Thanks Flora....mwah!
Clearly I have a few things to learn yet!
But honestly, what a gorgeous way to spend a morning. Fluffing around with pretty stuff and fashioning gorgeous girly things. It doesn't get much better.
If you'd like to learn how to make your own Flora style fascinator, then there are worse ways to go about it.
Flora might have another class sometime soon. Best you keep your eyes fixed on her blog for further news ;-)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Elegant Bloke....

I just had to share this post on a funny, sort of twee blog that has some great little nuggets of wisdom on it....
A light hearted dig at the 'gentleman', and well worth a is the rest of the blog on which it appears.
I've always been of the opinion that clothes truly do maketh the man. A well dressed man is something to sigh over. Mainly because they're a bit thin on the ground if you ask me!
My own bloke, bless him, is of the surf shirt and baggy shorts brigade, and no amount of begging and pleading on my part will change him. His idea of dressing up is wearing a shirt with a collar.
He makes up for it in other ways though, so all is not lost.
For example, he always smells lovely. Sometimes just of Johnsons Baby Powder, but most often of Eau Savage....swoon....
He always says please and thankyou for the most mundane things. We've been together nearly twenty years and he still thanks me for making him a cup of tea or passing the salt.
He works hard to give The Diva and I the life of which he believes we are worthy, and cannot resist an opportunity to spoil us.
So yes, there's more to the Elegant bloke than just his clothes.
But have a peek at that list anyway.
Happy reading!