A whisky cake for a whisky lover

I have done a few cakes shaped as bottles and to get the best effect I would always recommend printing the bottle label as it gives the cake a fantastic professional finish.  Matching the design, detail and any logo etc by hand can be very time consuming and tricky to do and unless you are a whizz with a paintbrush it probably will not turn out how you wanted it to!  For the Bells Whisky cake I ordered the label design this time on rice paper as I haven’t used rice paper much and wanted to try it on a cake to see how it worked and looked.

Rice paper is often used for cupcake toppers so I was interested to try it out on a large cake to see the effect.  It was very easy to work with and less delicate than printed icing which can tear easily.  I am not sure if the finish for a large cake it as polished when using rice paper compared to printed icing and it does taste different.  It was a good choice for this cake though as the customer had ordered two cakes and asked for them to not have ready roll icing on, just buttercream.  With a shaped cake you need to use ready roll icing to cover the cake to help keep its shape and design and if I had attempted to put the rice paper or printed icing directly onto a thick layer of buttercream it would have started to soak it up, become moist, lose shape and the colour may have even started to run.  Using rice paper for the label meant I could reduce slightly how much icing I covered the cake with.

The whisky bottle was shaped from an 8” square vanilla sponge cake with vanilla buttercream filling placed on a 12” round board.

Bells whisky cake
Bells whisky cake

A special birthday cake for a Westie dog lover

This is an 8” round vanilla sponge cake with Jam and vanilla frosting filling.  Made to order for a Westie lover’s birthday.  The simple design of paw prints was made using black icing and two different size circle cutters.  The paw prints were then placed around the cake, which had been covered in white ready roll fondant.  You can buy cutters and moulds to make paw prints but small circle cutters work really well.

The modelled Westie dog on top was made from white fondant, shaped into a dog and left to harden overnight.  To give the fur effect I used white fondant mixed with a little water to create a paste which can then be piped using a piping bag and a grass nozzle.

The cake was then finished off with a tartan ribbon and a birthday message.

Hours of Fun wishes Julia a fantastic birthday, hope you loved your Westie cake.

Westie cake
Westie cake

Lewis Hamilton Racing Car Cake

I have done a few vehicle cakes now and have previously been asked to make a cake with a formula one car modelled on top.

This time round the order was for a 3D formula 1 cake, to be specific a Lewis Hamilton car.  3d cakes are fast becoming my favourite type of cake to make.  I enjoy the planning stage, the carving stage can go either way depending on how I am feeling!  I enjoy the challenge of covering the cake in icing, then its sit down time and enjoy adding the detail.

I first had to establish what car Lewis Hamilton drives as I am not clued up on formula one racing, so once I had found it I sent a couple of pictures over to the customer so they could see them and let me know if  I had the wrong one.

The cake was made from a 10” square chocolate sponge with chocolate frosting.  I was keen to make the car using as much cake as possible.  Once I had carved its shape I had a layer of cake left over.  To ensure the customer got full value for money I cut the layer in half, spread some frosting across and placed them on top of each other and covered it in icing.  I then gave this cake to them as a little extra piece, letting them know I didn’t want to waste it.

The carved car shape was covered in frosting (crumb coated) then covered in a piece of white rolled out fondant.  I then added individual pieces of fondant to make up the formula one design and colour, using a mixture of silver edible dust mixed with rejuvenating fluid to paint it silver.  The curved top of the car (behind the seat) was made from homemade rice crispy pieces along with the tyres.

The tail of the car was made initially from  flower paste, however I was concerned about the structure of it and knew the cake wouldn’t be presented at the birthday for a couple of days after delivery, so I used some silver coloured card and created a base for the flower paste pieces to sit on.  This gave it extra strength and reassured me it would be fine if left to sit for a couple of days.

formula one cake
Formula one cake
Formula one cake


I am becoming less afraid of using non edible things on a cake when dealing with difficult structures or require additional support.   It is a lovely idea to think you can make everything edible, however flower paste or fondant mixed with tylo powder or something similar to strengthen it up isn’t that nice to eat as it sets so hard.  Sometime structure and re-assurance the cake will stay as it should has to win over whether the tiny part of the design can be eaten or not.  However you must also inform the customer or person receiving the cake of any non-edible items included in the design.



Cake fun – although not enough hours in the day!

The week before last I had two cakes to make just for fun.  One was for my fantastic brother’s 40th birthday, although I don’t think I have quite accepted that my brother is now 40!  The other cake was to celebrate the arrival of our 3rd niece Anastasia.  We now have three amazing nieces and three amazing nephews and are very lucky to be their Aunty and Uncle.  My brother and Anastasia share the same birthday which makes this day doubly special.

I had the sofa cake due this week along with some jobs to do for my craft business, some cuddling to fit in with Anastasia and towards the end of the week my throat started to feel a little raw so I was on a mission to get to bed early and not get poorly as I had Cake International on the Saturday and did not want to be unwell for that.  This meant time was limited and I ended up having to make sacrifices on the cakes I was making for fun.  This can be frustrating but I find I have to roll with it and not let it bother me and be happy with the cakes I make. I also know my friends and family love the cakes I make for them and would never know things were missing or sacrificed if it wasn’t for me telling them!!!

For my brother I wanted to do something related to outdoor sports as Matthew loves climbing, water sports and anything outdoor with a touch of extreme!  We decided on a climbing wall and sought inspiration from the internet from cakes by others.  The cake was a lot of fun to make.  I baked a vanilla 6″ square cake and a vanilla 8″ square cake, stacked them up with layers of banana buttercream and then carved the shape, making it up as I went along whilst trying to keep as much cake as possible.

My sacrifice for this cake was that I didn’t have the time to model my brother climbing up the wall which would have been the perfect finishing touch to the cake.  I was hoping I may be able to pick something up at the cake show but we didn’t see any modelled figures available to purchase.

Rocking climbing
Rock climbing

The second cake to celebrate the arrival of Anastasia had to be a teddy bear cake.  This was only my second attempt at the teddy bear cake since getting the tin as a present at Christmas from my mum and dad.  I couldn’t find any notes on what size recipe I had used last time so I guessed at an 8″ round however this was not enough and I have since written on the instructions to try an 8″ square next time.  Sadly this teddy bear ended up with only half a paw and some of its bottom missing!

On the instructions for the Wilton tin they have lots of different versions of the bear that you can make including a baby bear wearing a nappy with a rattle and it is super cute.  This was the plan however time ran out and I ended up having to stop once I had covered it in piped buttercream.  I was sad about this but there was nothing I could do about it and the bear still looked cute!  This cake was a lemon sponge with chocolate buttercream – I actually didn’t mean to do this combination I must ask them how it tasted!

I just need another excuse now to bake a bear cake 1. to get the recipe amount right, 2. to pop it in a nappy with a rattle!

Teddy Bear Cake
Teddy Bear Cake


Teddy Bear cake tin – the first birthday cake using my new tin

One of the 5 fantastic new cake tins I got for Christmas was a Wilton 3D teddy bear cake tin from my Mum and Dad.  This was the first of its kind as I have never had or tried a 3D baking tin before this.

I had my gorgeous Niece and Nephew’s birthday celebrations coming up only a couple of weekends after Christmas, perfect for testing the new cake tin out.  I wanted to pipe the cake as I am not even sure if it is possible to cover it in rolled icing, maybe I will try this at some point!  This meant I needed to further embrace the world of piping and I bought piping bags and a set of nozzles to encourage the passion.

The cake tin has to be put together using clips, turned up side down, placed on a baking tin then filled with cake mixture.  You then place the central core in the middle of the mixture and fill it with mixture and bake. So far so good!

The teddy bear cake came out of the tin with ease and looked fab, you could see all the detail.  I then pipped chocolate frosting all over the teddy bear using a large grass nozzle.

3d Teddy bear cake for edie and luke age 5 birthday

The birthday girl and boy loved the cake and it was a fun challenge working out how to cut it.

Here’s to many more Teddy Bear cakes and lots of 3D cake tins!!

My new Wilton cake tins – Butterfly and car – fun with shaped cakes

For Christmas I was super spoilt and I was given 5 new cake tins as presents.

I got a butterfly tin, a 3D car tin, a wavy effect tin, a 3D bear tin and a giant donut tin and I can’t wait to try them all out!    Luckily we have quite a few birthdays in January so this presents me with the perfect opportunity to get baking.

So far I have tried out the butterfly and car tins and they are both amazing.

For my sister in law’s birthday she was given a butterfly cake.  I wasn’t sure on colours and themes as I had only thought about using the tin and not how I would decorate it.  I therefore decided to go with a Hollywood 50’s theme as Fin had been looking at a Hollywood 50’s murder mystery evening.  This meant pale colours with symmetry which was perfect for butterfly wings.

I had been thinking I would cover the butterfly in ready to roll fondant however I decided last minute to go with piping butter cream as this seemed to be the recommended and normal way.  I was on with making my own piping bags and got colouring some butter cream.  This is not my forte – working with butter cream and I still need some practice on colouring and getting it the right shade etc.  I also had a limited supply of butter cream as I had to ensure I kept enough for the christening cake, so once the main colours were done I then had to proceed adding a new colour to what was left over which did result in a grey colour for round the bottom of the cake and board!

butterfly for fins birthday

I then tried my new car tin out for Dewey’s birthday cake.  I again went with the butter cream piping for decoration and stuck with blue as the colour for the car with Dewey being an Everton Fan.  I even decided not to give the car red brake lights as it felt wrong piping red butter cream onto a cake for Dewey!

blue car for dewey first use of tin (3)

They both need a little practice and my piping skills need to be developed but practice makes perfect and I am going to enjoy using my new tins lots.  I did get the mixture amounts the wrong way round for the tins and ended up losing the bottom part of the car and its wheels.  I use a 6 egg recipe for an 8″ round cake and I think this would be perfect for the butterfly tin, and a 7 egg recipe for the car tin which is the same as an 8″ square cake.  I will try these next time and check it works.

A cake from the 50 easy party cakes book – purple dinosaur cake yeay!

For Lorraine’s birthday the tradition continued in choosing a cake from the 50 easy party cakes book.  I had 3 cakes on all due for the same day so it had to be as straight forward as the book allows yet still fab!

There are so many amazing cakes in this book by Debbie Brown.  We have made mini monster cakes, a shopping bags cake, a ladybird, clown’s face, a bookworm cake and a flower power cake.  There are still so many to do.

The dinosaur cake in the book is blue with yellow spots, but I chose to go with purple.   When doing cakes for friends for fun you can have a look what you have already in the cupboard and incorporate it into the design, simply changing a colour or adding sparkles or silver balls.

The dinosaur cake was made by baking 1 cake in a pyrex bowl, covering it in icing.  The head, tail and legs get added afterwards, with the head being placed on a dowel for support which is then inserted into the main body of the dinosaur to make sure it stays in place.

He looked fab travelling in the box with his head poking out and when it was time to cut the cake he was placed on display in the kitchen, just a neck and head 😦 !

A “really useful engine” yet challenging and takes forever as a cake!

Sue and I were talking through ideas for her dad’s 70th cake and about him loving trains and that his name is Thomas – what else could the cake be than Thomas the tank engine!

I have been thinking quite a bit recently that I need to tackle shaped cakes as I chose against doing a Hagrid shaped cake for Kev’s birthday this year and a 3D kermit for him last year.  The main fact being I just didn’t have the time but I was also a little scared!  This meant that Thomas had to be a 3D cake and I had to embrace the challenge.  First job was to head round to my brother in laws to borrow a Thomas the tank engine toy from my nephew Oliver!

The cake did take a long time, this proved I made the right decision for Kevs cake!  I started building and carving the cake as step 1, using a diagram drawn up using the Thomas toy stating the length, width and height of each section.  I chose to add the buttercream and jam filling after I had carved it, it meant I had to take it apart but it went back together ok.  I felt it would slip about if I tried to carve it with the filling already in place and I didn’t have enough cake to layer it up as one big one and the cut it out like they do on Ace of Cakes!

The shaped cake was then covered with white icing with any additional shaping being done before it was then covered with Blue icing.  Then it was time to add the detail.

Thomas’ face – I made this using a mixture of fondant, petal paste and tylo powder to ensure it stayed strong and in place.

The coal  – I made this by covering sugar in black liquid  food colouring

The Red outline – I piped this on using a piping bag and fondant mixed with a little water

Wheels – Made from swiss roll and covered in fondant

The underneath of the train was a block of cake covered in icing with the wheels stuck to the side of the block.  I then placed a board on top of this covered in grey icing, then the main section of the train was placed on top of the board.  The board provided  support to the  main section of the train as it was rather heavy and I added some dowels to provide additional support to the whole cake.

I was really happy with the end result.  It was bigger than I had planned but stayed in one piece and I felt the Thomas face was the best I had made to date, as we had done a model of Thomas in cake class and I have made one since for my brother and my nephew.

fun with shaped cakes

Baking shaped cakes is a lot of fun, especially when using a silicone tin, you bake it, pop it out and hey presto you have a cake in the shape of a donut or star and no carving required – magic!

Lou Lou is my main influence with shaped tins as she has purchased a donut silicone tin, a giant cookie silicone tin and she is the master of giant cupcakes from a silicone giant cup cake tin.  Lou Lou was also the one to buy me my star-shaped tin which is made from aluminium and has 5 points and produces the perfect star.  Without Lou I wouldn’t be having all this fun with shaped tins and I would be spending hours carving cake away, feeling the pain at all the wasted cake!

The gallery shows lots of baking by either myself or Lou Lou, with others involved as Ben did the amazing cookie cake (it’s the best one out of the cookie cakes!), one was made at Lorraine and Jon’s house, Dewey has been involved – group cake baking yeay!!  It just adds to the fun!

I have done most of these cakes just for fun.  Some were to eat ourselves yeay, others were gifts to people to say thanks or goodbye and the donut cakes are mainly due to me acquiring a donut cake baking addiction!  I have borrowed the tin from Lou and I need to get it back to her and out the house.  I currently have one in the kitchen waiting to be decorated – this one will be coated in chocolate genache with chocolate filling.  I also really want to make one with jam in the middle and sugar-coated – the mission, if anyone is willing to accept, is to eat the whole donut cake without licking your lips!!

I have seen other shaped tins that would be fab – a butterfly, a flower, a giant rose,  a castle and a beehive to name only a few!