29 April, 2012

On The Piste

Ahh, we're back to one of the first cakes I ever made! But I said I'd discuss each cake, including the ones I really buggered up. This one, I did just that! So I've made up my own version of 'pros and cons' that I can look back on and review!

Here's what happened: One of my best friends, Hannah, was going away skiing with her boyfriend and his family and while they were out there it was her beau's 21st birthday... So she asked me to make a cake for him and yes - she took it all the way to the Alps (or wherever it was, I can't remember now!) She definitely crossed country borders, though. Cool huh? My cake went international!

Trying to remember now, I believe this was a vanilla sponge cake with jam and vanilla buttercream filling. The design was Hannah's idea, and to be honest I was pretty pleased with my first attempt at creating a sugarcraft person!

Icing on the Top:

  • The base of the cake was relatively perfect, a gorgeous icy blue colour with cut-out snowflakes and trees lining the sides.
  • It was the first go at using rolled-up balls of icing to also line the sides. This just tidied everything up a bit and also looked like snowballs!
  • The ski man was really cute and entirely edible! I created him by shaping an oblong piece of blue icing into arms and legs and a body, then adding on the head and additional pieces of clothing.
Burnt Bits:

  • I should've used royal icing for the snow splat on my little ski man. Instead, I used glace icing and it just wasn't the right consistency - it was too runny and absorbed all of the icing sugar 'snow' I sprinkled over him.
  • I really should've thought about what I wanted for the personalised message. This cake was actually presented on a silver cake board and 'Birthday' was stencilled onto the board rather than the cake as you can see I ran out of space! Looking back, I could have just stencilled out his name - 'Mark' - which would have fitted perfectly... Arrghh!
  • Unfortunately, Hannah and Mark's mum wanted to transport the cake discreetly and the big cake box it came in was just too recognisable amongst their ski gear in the boot of their car. So they removed the cake from the board (ahhhh!!) and popped it in their own tupperware box, and only managed to salvage a handful of the snowballs that were stuck to the board.
  • Finally, when using the shoddy alphabet stencils (they're called Tap-it's - don't use them!!!) I bought (I'm on my third set of them, they're not cheap either, but when you 'tap' them, not only do your letters pop out, but half of the stencil does, too. I use silicone ones now that you can tease out and they're soooo much better) they get covered a bit in icing sugar from where you've rolled them out. To get rid of the icing sugar blemishes on the letters, I used edible glue rather than a dab of water, and not only did the 'snow' sprinkles again get absorbed by the glue, but it never dried and gave a blotchy, wet look to the letters.
You can imagine by the time Mark got his cake he was probably looking at it a bit oddly. Of course, it's not Hannah's fault that she had to move the cake from it's original location but the end result was a bit naff thanks to my mistakes. Also, when I delivered the cake I realised that I hadn't remembered to put my memory card in my camera so didn't have any pictures of what it looked like as I left it. These are Hannah's pictures which she kindly sent me!

Sorry Mark, hope you had a good birthday. You were skiing afterall...!

Happy Baking x

You Live for the Fight When That's All That You've Got

Hi y'all...

I know, I know. August was the last time I posted on here. But I'm back. I've recently gone through the most devastating and painful few weeks of my life and I need somewhere to direct my (sad lack of) energy. You might remember me going on and on about the fact that I was moving out of my parents' home and into my own little flat - well, I'm back home now. So I'm sure you can make your own guesses of what's happened, but I really don't want to divulge the dirty secrets - that's what my personal diary is for. And my god, you do NOT want to read that. (It's like that bit off Bridesmaids, where Brynn reads Annie's diary... "At first I did not know that it was your diary, I thought it was a very sad handwritten book.") Haha, at least that made me laugh!

So with the title of this blog post in mind, my HUGELY supportive network of family and friends have all told me to keep busy, keep my mind off things, keep off Facebook! It causes more trouble than harm, seriously. I would know! So I've deleted my account, and I'm like "hmm... What do I do on the internet now?" Looooads of people were against me deleting my FB account, but I can turn pretty bunny-boiler stalker on there, so it's for my own good. But said people were also wondering how they could keep up with the progress of my cakes? Ah yes, my go-to hobby. Not a business anymore, a hobby.  It just got Way. Too. Much. Trying to change jobs, trying to maintain a household, trying to hold my relationship together. I can't do it all, I'm only human. The week before christmas I had SIX cakes to do. SIX!! I literally worked myself to the bone, I was tired, I hadn't read a good book in ages, and I had no social life. Things needed to change, so I collapsed the business and any legalities that went with it. Phew.
I'm fighting my damn well hardest. I really am. My parents probably don't think so, I've had about 3 nervous break downs/panic attacks in the last month alone - and I've never had one in my life! Sure, things have got low. No - they hit rock bottom. But I have a reason to get out of bed in the mornings. I have my friends, my family, my work, my hobby, my adorable cats (best bit about being home!). I sometimes feel like there isn't a point, but then I have to stop and think about alllllll the other people who have got it so much worse than I do.

With this in mind, I will take Mr Jovi's advice and fight to get my life back on track. I always liked those lyrics. I went through a phase a while back of wanting special song lyrics tattooed somewhere on my body - but I could never get the right ones. But these were always the front-runner, yet back then I feel like I had nothing to fight for? Things were going amazingly in my life, and these were quite depressing lyrics - knowing that you can't just wallow in self-pity and that life and happiness IS worth fighting for. I already had happiness. Had, being the important word there.

So I'm back to blogging! I really let myself go on the blogging front, just posting pictures of the latest cakes by the end of it. You all seemed much more interested when I showed you my progress pictures, shared recipes and cake-making secrets. I suppose I kinda stopped all that because I was worried about people stealing my ideas, but they did that anyway so nevermind! I'm going to go right back to where I left off, and share my thoughts and ideas with you all. I'm not fussed if I get more followers, or if people comment on the posts, but at the end of the day I just need something to take my mind off things and direct my thoughts somewhere other than my sad little diary :) (Or Facebook, for that matter!)

The Original Girl With a Wooden Spoon x