Sunday, 11 November 2012

Moshi Monsters Cake

My good friend and work colleague, Ashley, has a lovely little daughter, Ava, who was 6 this November.  
From Ava's first birthday my gift every year has been to make the Birthday Cake.   As my cake decorating has evolved over the past 3 years, Ava's Birthday Cake has stepped up in decorative terms.
The cake has always been left to me and a surprise for the Birthday Girl.   This year I decided to attempt a Moshi Monster Cake, as I had heard that this was something Ava was into.   Not knowing anything about Moshi Monsters I had to do some research before I could begin the process.  My niece very kindly lent me some of her Moshi Monster cards to use as reference.
The final cake was one I was very pleased with and more importantly Ava was thrilled with her cake.  In particular she loved the 'blood' dripping from Zommer Monster.
Moshi Monster Cake, 9th November 2012

Moshi Monsters Cake, 9th November 2012

Halloween - Wizard's Shrinking Spell Cake

This cake is the first novelty cake I ever made, while attending cake decorating night classes in a local VEC.
It was the creation of this cake and particularly the modelling of the wizard that made me think that perhaps I might not be too bad at this decorating lark!
The cake was complete around the time of my brother's birthday so I gave this to him as a birthday cake.   Needless to say my Niece and Nephew were totally in awe of this cake and soon began to place orders for their birthdays.
My journey of cake decorating beyond this one are documented on this blog for all to share.

Halloween -Wizard's Shrinking Spell Cake, October 2010

Halloween - Witch's Brew Cake

This Halloween I thought it would be nice to make a festive cake for the nearest and dearest children in my life.   I had the same idea last year but time ran out and I didn't get to make it.   So this year, on the Bank Holiday Monday, I decided to indulge myself and spent a great day in the kitchen.
2 cakes were required -1 for my nieces & nephew (Ciara, Alan & Aoife) and 1 for my best friend's girls (Isabelle & Emily)- and I decided to make the same for both houses.
After the cakes were assembled, I then got to deliver the cakes to both families and enjoy the reaction of the kids.  Both families were thrilled with their surprise delivery and I was amazed by the various imaginative stories which they came up with for how the witch fell into her magic brew.   This really is the best part of making cakes and the reason why I put all the time and effort into my cakes.  

Halloween - Witch's Brew Cake, 31st October 2012

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Explosion Parcel Cake

This week my brother turned the ripe old age of 40 and my sister-in-law asked if I would make a cake to mark the day.
He decided he didn't want a party so it was just cake and candles with family on Wednesday evening after work.   As I'm incredibly busy at work these days, I didn't have time for elaborate decoration.  I've been looking for an opportunity to make an Explosion Parcel Cake for some time, so this was the perfect occasion.
Knowing I wasn't going to make it home in time to join the celebrations, I dropped the cake over to my sister-in-law on Tuesday night.   I was delighted to hear that it got the desired WOW reaction the next morning from my nieces and nephew and let's face it, the cake was really made with them in mind (sorry T.J.)!
My brother was delighted with the cake too, but wasn't very pleased with the 'old man' reference on the side of the board.
A great cake for a fantastic brother.   Happy Birthday T.J.
Explosion Parcel Cake, 24th October 2012
Explosion Parcel Cake, 24th October 2012

Explosion Parcel Cake, 24th October 2012

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Parcel Christening Cake

Last weekend was baby Luke's Christening.  
Inspired by my profile photo, Luke's mum Carol asked if I could make a parcel cake appropriate for a little boy's Christening.
Blue and white were the obvious colours to choose.   I'm a sucker for teddy bears when it comes to babies cakes and felt the cake wouldn't be complete without one.   The little booties finished the look.
The final cake was very cute and Carol loved it when she called to collect it.

Parcel Christening Cake, 14th October 2012
Parcel Christening Cake, 14th October 2012

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Rugby Ball Cake

When asked to make a rugby ball cake for Max, I was delighted with the opportunity to try something new. 

I initially thought about buying a special shaped cake tin, but decided that it would be better to try and carve the cake.   Shaping the ball was definitely the most difficult part of creating this cake.   My best friend called around for a chat as I was carving the cake and offered a very helpful second opinion.    
Max wanted a specific Canterbury rugby ball recreated in cake and his Mum sent me some photos to use as reference.   I was very pleased with the final cake and even more delighted by Max's reaction.
When I delivered the cake Max was thrilled with it and even said that it looked like I had taken a real ball and placed it on the board.   It's reactions like this that every baker wants when they make a cake.
The cake was a huge success with Max's friends.   I think it was a hit with the dads and uncles too!
Rugby Ball Cake, 30th September 2012

Rugby Ball Cake, 30th September 2012
Rugby Ball Cake, 30th September 2012

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Michael Collins & GAA Cake

A few weeks ago I was asked to make a 50th Birthday Cake for Martin.  This was to be a surprise from Caroline, his wife.

Martin has a big love of Irish history, with a particular interest in all things Michael Collins. After discussing the various design possibilities with Caroline, I decided to take on the challenge of recreating, in sugarpaste, the armoured car synonymous with Michael Collins (Sliabh na mBan).  I suggested adding his army cap too.

The party was on the eve of the All Ireland football final, so Caroline asked if I could also incorporate this into the cake. Martin is from Cork and loves both football and hurling, so I decided the cake should reference the Cork jersey. The addition of a football, sliotar, and the flags of the finalists draped on the cake (Mayo & Donegal in the football, Galway & Kilkenny in the hurling) enhanced the GAA theme.

In order to help with the Sliabh na mBan car, I worked from a book of Martin's, which Caroline kindly dropped around, and a brass replica which my great friend Margaret (of the Dinnerladies) borrowed, on my behalf, from her work colleague. Both of these were very helpful.

This cake was most definitely a challenge but I really enjoyed working on it and loved how it turned out.

Caroline was delighted too when she saw it.  A few days after the party I got a lovely message from her thanking me for the cake, which she kindly said was delicious. Martin was thrilled with it and apparently the car has pride of place and will not be eaten.

Michael Collins & GAA Cake, 22nd September 2012

Michael Collins & GAA Cake, 22nd September 2012

Michael Collins & GAA Cake, 22nd September 2012

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Spiderman Cake

The 30th August 2012 marked a significant day for my adorable nephew, Alan.   Not only was it his 5th Birthday but it was also his first day at school.  

For the past year there has been only one superhero which Alan has wanted to adorn his cake - Spiderman.   
When thinking about this cake and how it would look, the main thing I wanted to achieve was for it to shout Spiderman from a distance.   A spider’s web on the cake board and the use of vibrant colours helped achieve this.

I really loved how this cake turned out and think it was very fitting for Alan's big day.   He was thrilled with his cake. 

Spiderman Cake, 30th August 2012
Spiderman Cake, 30th August 2012

Obstacle Course Cake

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of making a cake for Robyn, a lovely girl who was due to celebrate her 10th Birthday.
Robyn is very sporty and her party included having an Obstacle Course in their back garden.   So with this in mind the design direction was clear.

With the Olympics still very much at the front of everyone’s mind I wanted to include a running track and use a gold medal in the design.   A few tyres to jump through, a net to crawl under and a wall to scale and the obstacles were in place.  

Robyn lives in a small townland called Turnings so signage depicting the ‘Turnings Games’ was also added.

On the evening of the party I received a lovely message from Robyn’s mum thanking me for the cake which was a huge success at the party and most importantly Robyn loved it.
Obstacle Course Cake, 27th August 2012
Obstacle Course Cake, 27th August 2012

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Ben 10 Birthday Cake

This week last year my Nephew, Alan, turned 4.   I had been dabbling in cake decoration for about 9 months by then, so this was my first opportunity to make a cake for him.   Since December 2010 Alan had firmly decided that he wanted a Buzz Cake for his birthday.  Over the months that followed I was gently reminded on a regular basis that ‘you’re making a Buzz Cake for me’.  
So with all this advance notice and the eagerness of an aunt not wanting to disappoint a very excited little boy, I did my Toy Story research and spent many a quite time day dreaming about potential design options.   This involved trying to balance the desire for the maximum WOW factor with the reality of my then skill levels.
2 weeks before the big birthday I dropped by to get final confirmation on the cake theme.   To my surprise I learned that Buzz had been relegated and Ben 10 was now the hero of the day!   Not knowing a thing about Ben 10, I rushed home, grabed the remote control to Sky + a few episodes and settle in for a crash course in all things Ben.
With my new found knowledge of the world of Ben 10, I decided the Ben character and his watch would be the main focus of the design, with other elements added to bring it all together.   This was a most enjoyable cake to work on and it also allowed me the opportunity to experiment a little.   It was my first attempt at adding sugarpaste on wire to a cake design.   I was very pleased with the extra dimension these added to the design.  
The finished product was a huge success and Alan was thrilled with his cake.   All things considered I don’t think any of my Buzz ideas could have had as good a reaction as this one did.
I’m currently in the middle of this year’s 5th Birthday Cake so drop back over the coming days to see how it turns out. 

Ben 10 Birthday Cake, 30th August 2011

Ben 10 Birthday Cake, 30th August 2011


Saturday, 18 August 2012

Happy 70th Birthday Dad

Last Saturday my Dad turned 70.   Saying it out loud makes it seem like a rather large number, but look and talk to my Dad and you will realise that it is just that, only a number.   So let's just say turning 70 is more a statement of experience and achievement than a declaration of age.  
We decided that it would be nice to mark the day with a small family gathering at my parents’ house.   True to Irish tradition, our initial plan of a small gathering evolved over time, so much so that we were completely dependent on having a fine day to accommodate guests.   Thankfully we were in luck and were blessed with a beautiful day.   Garden furniture sets were rounded up and together with the delivery of a large bouncy castle everyone was comfortably entertained outside.  A total of 83 family members (including aunts, uncles, cousins and their children) who have been lucky to share all or part of the past 70 years with my Dad joined the celebrations.

Having no sisters, I’ve basked in the role of only daughter over the years and performed my duties of such by allowing my Dad to be wrapped around my little finger. However, despite my eldest niece being 7, it was only last weekend when making this cake and thinking of the wonderful things my Dad has done for me throughout my life that it dawned on me that no longer was my Dad solely wrapped around my little finger but now he has two other little girls with equally effective little fingers. I couldn’t wish anything better for my nieces who are so lucky to have such a fantastic Grandad.

When it came to the cake I decided to keep it simple, knowing that I would need to help with other party preparations, so wouldn’t have too much time for detailed decorating.   The theme pretty much picked itself as my Dad has kept and trained greyhounds for longer than I can remember.   My initial design was for dogs racing around a simple cake.   However, as the day got closer, this idea seemed incomplete.   The more I thought of it the more I felt that the cake should also represent my Dad’s strong sense of family and so decided his 3 adorable grandchildren needed to be included on the cake.

The party was a great success, the cake was admired by all and the children were delighted to eat the various models.   More importantly my Dad had a wonderful day and was thrilled with so many family members taking time out to join in the day.

Happy 70th Birthday Dad.


Happy 70th Birthday Dad, 11th August 2012


Happy 70th Birthday Dad, 11th August 2012




Monday, 23 July 2012

Robot Cake

In June of last year I was faced with the challenge of having to make a boy’s cake for the first time.   It was an 8th Birthday Cake for, Alan, a lovely boy who liked the birthday cakes I’d previously made for his two younger sisters.

Alan requested a robot theme for his cake.   With this brief in hand, I put together a Robot Cake with a retro feel.   Reflecting Alan’s love of Lego, I also added a Lego man with some work tools and modelled some little robots (one matching the party invitations).

I was delighted with the final cake and, more importantly, Alan and his friends were very impressed with his Robot Cake.   

Robot Cake, 6th June 2011

Robot Cake, 6th June 2011

Monday, 2 July 2012

Little Einsteins Red Rocket Cake

On Saturday my good friend’s eldest son, Fionn, was 3.   At this great age, Fionn is now fully aware of the fun and enjoyment that comes with celebrating your birthday.   He has been talking about and looking forward to this day with great excitement.  
With this in mind his parents wanted to make his party extra special.   I was very pleased to be asked to make the cake.   Fionn is a big fan of Disney’s Little Einsteins cartoon and the Red Rocket was suggested as the cake theme.  

I wasn’t familiar with Little Einsteins so needed to do some Disney Channel research.     Given the shape of the Red Rocket, I decided to attempt to make the cake as the rocket.   Cake carving is not something I've done much of and so I was a little unsure of how this might turn out.   The carving went very much as I had hoped and I was delighted with the shape I managed to achieve.

I wasn't able to attend the party to see Fionn's reaction to his Red Rocket Cake, but his mum sent me a lovely message saying that it was a huge hit and he insisted on having some for his breakfast the following morning.  

Little Einsteins Red Rocket Cake, 30th June 2012

Little Einsteins Red Rocket Cake, 30th June 2012

Actual Little Einsteins Red Rocket

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Show Jumping Cake

This week my eldest niece, Ciara, celebrated her 7th birthday.   She had decided last February what theme she would like for her cake and this had remained a solid request throughout the months that followed.   However, 2 weeks ago my mother phoned to let me know that there may be a change.   The previous day Ciara had asked her Granny if I had started her cake, because she now wanted a horse cake.

After asking some further questions I learned that a show jumping theme was what Ciara now wanted.   Perhaps it could have Ciara on a pony jumping?   I must admit that I panicked somewhat when I heard this, as there is a reason why most horse themed cakes have the horse lying down!  

Keen not to disappoint I put my thinking cap on.   After a lot of thinking and a couple of attempts, I found a way to make it work.   I was delighted with the final cake and even more thrilled with how much Ciara loved it.   My little nephew, Alan, was also excited to see himself and little Aoife featuring on the cake too.

Show Jumping Cake, 23rd June 2012


Show Jumping Cake, 23rd June 2012

Saturday, 16 June 2012

101 Dalmatians meet Bambi Cake

Confused?   Well, let me explain.  

In June last year my eldest niece, Ciara, turned 6.   This was the first birthday cake that I was to make for her and as a doting aunt I was eager to please.  
A few weeks before her birthday I asked Ciara what she would like for her cake.   Having considered her entire Disney book collection she had whittled the choice down to two, 101 Dalmatians and Bambi.

Completely torn between the two she asked everyone (Mammy, Daddy, her brother Alan, Granny and me) ‘what do you think?’   Trying to help, I pointed out that the Dalmatians would be a black and white cake, while a Bambi theme could have trees, flowers, butterflies and all the colour of a forest scene.   Still unable to choose, the eager to please aunt in me took over and I suggested a Bambi theme with a small Dalmatian puppy hiding in the bushes.   Rookie mistake!!   Her little face lit up, and then she said ‘yes, we can have Bambi, Thumper, Pongo, Perdita, Lucky…..’  The list continued as I grew paler. 

Suddenly I had walked myself into something I wasn't sure I could pull off.   I have to admit at one point I thought that Bambi would be my downfall (when he was looking more like a mouse than a deer).   It really can be difficult when trying to model a very distinctive character.   Thankfully it all came together and I was thrilled with my little Bambi.  
Ciara and all her party guests loved the cake and I was a very pleased Aunt.

Lesson learned, only one theme for next week’s 7th Birthday cake.

101 Dalmations meet Bambi Cake, 20th June 2011

101 Dalmatains meet Bambi Cake, 20th June 2011

Friday, 15 June 2012

Bingo Birthday Cake

A few months ago a friend of a friend asked if I would make a cake for his mum, Madge, whose birthday was last week.   

Madge’s only 3 grandchildren would be visiting from England so a novelty cake was the look that was requested.   I reckoned that this cake was to be designed to evoke ‘thoughtful son’ and ‘cool uncle’ comments, in equal measure.

Madge is a keen Bingo player, so this was the requested cake theme.   As the grandchildren range in age from 7 to 2, I decided 'more was more' when it came to the cake design. 

The evening of the Birthday I got a lovely message to say that the cake went down a treat.

Bingo Birthday Cake, 5th June 2012
Bingo Birthday Cake, 5th June 2012

Bingo Birthday Cake, 5th June 2012

Monday, 11 June 2012

Chocolate Smartie Cake

Yesterday a good friend and work colleague celebrated her birthday.   As is tradition in our office, today’s morning tea break required cake to mark the occasion.
I decided to make a chocolate sponge sandwiched with chocolate butter cream and covered in rich chocolate ganache.   Smarties were added to give it a lovely pretty look.
Despite its richness and the many Mondy morning eat well intentions amongst my colleagues the cake was  completely demolished.   The reaction every baker wants.
Chocolate Smartie Cake, 11th June 2012

Saturday, 9 June 2012

A Day at the Races Cake

Angela, a lovely lady for whom I had previously made her daughters’ birthday cakes, recently contacted me regarding her husband Ray’s impending 50th Birthday.   They were having a party and wanted a novelty cake for the celebrations.
The brief consisted of a cake which reflects some, or all, of Ray’s passions and one large enough to accommodate the 80 guests.   Angela told me of Ray’s love of horse racing, a red Kawasaki motorbike and, obviously, his two beautiful girls.
Having thought about the brief for a few days I contacted Angela and suggested that we go with a ‘Day at the Races’ theme, which would also incorporate the girls.   She was happy for me to take the design whatever way I felt would work best.
I asked some knowledgeable friends and family to give me some racing paraphernalia from which I might get ideas.  This was most helpful and gave me the final idea to finish the cake design.   
Having completed the cake I was very happy with how it turned out and was very confident that it hit the mark for the occasion.   I must admit, however, that a little doubt did set in for a fleeting moment the night before delivery.   When talking to Angela she mentioned that the girls were very excited and had been asking about the cake but she couldn’t tell them anything about it as she had no idea of how it would look either.   She said that she was equally as excited and couldn’t wait to see it, but knew that I wouldn’t disappoint.   There’s nothing like the pressure of expectation!!  
Well there was no need for doubt - Angela and family loved the cake.   What more can I ask for, an exciting cake project, a dream client to work for and, most importantly, a client delighted with the cake.

A Day at the Races Cake, 2nd June 2012

A Day at the Races Cake, 2nd June 2012

A Day at the Races Cake, 2nd June 2012

Monday, 4 June 2012

Basketball Cake II

Having seen the Basketball Cake made earlier this year, a friend of a friend asked if I could make a similar cake for her husband’s 40th Birthday.  

In addition to basketball, Edric is an active member of the local scouts.  So to reflect this I modelled the scout neckerchief and draped it on the board.   To personalise the cake further, I attempted to recreate the Birthday Boy’s own company logo in sugarpaste and placed it around the edges of the court as advertising hoarding. 

The cake was a big success so I was very happy.

Basketball Cake II, 26th May 2012

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Baker in the Kitchen Cake

Last week Ciara, a very sporty girl with a keen interest in baking and cake decorating, made her Confirmation.   Her parents wanted to get her a special cake to mark this significant day and I was delighted when her mum asked me to make the cake.

The request was for a novelty cake, as opposed to a traditional Confirmation themed cake.  Having discussed Ciara’s various interests we agreed on creating a cake based around a Baking theme.
From the outset I had a very clear idea of how the cake would look and wanted to reflect Ciara baking in the kitchen.    I felt the cake would look best if the colour scheme was keep to limited but strong colours. 
Ciara and her mum collected the cake the evening before her Confirmation and were delighted with it.
Baker in the Kitchen Cake, 24th May 2012

Baker in the Kitchen Cake, 24th May 2012

Baker in the Kitchen Cake, 24th May 2012

Baker in the Kitchen Cake, 24th May 2012

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Cowboys and Indians Cake

Last Sunday my nephew’s best friend celebrated his 5th Birthday.   His mum asked if I would make the cake and suggested a Cowboys and Indians theme.

This was an exciting brief and I immediately thought of adding cow hide pattern somewhere in the design.   As the idea came together, I decided that the cow hide should be on the cake board.   From there I went about adding a cowboy and incorporating a wigwam, with a cheeky little boy peeking out.    The cactus and the Wanted sign added the finishing touches.

The Birthday Boy’s mum loved the Cowboys and Indians Cake when she called to collect it.  

Cowboys and Inidans Cake, 20th May 2012

Cowboys and Indians Cake, 20th May 2012

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Babies in the Bath Cake

Last weekend a great friend’s youngest girl celebrated her 3rd birthday.   My birthday present was again the cake.  
This year the Birthday Girl, who loves all things baby, decided that she wanted babies on her cake.   “One will be laughing, one will be crying, one will be angry…..”   Unusual brief!   

The Birthday Girl knew what she wanted (a baby cake has been on her wish list for the past 6 months), so it was my task to try and deliver.   I must admit that I struggled for some time figuring out how to get the right visual impact, without the cake looking too much like a baby shower or christening cake.   3 days before the party I settled on the idea of babies in a bath and from there the cake design evolved.

I drew baby face discs, showing various emotions, and added them to the outside of the cake so that “one will be laughing, one will be crying, one will be angry…..”

All in all, I was happy with the final outcome.   I wonder what next year's cake will be!
Babies in the Bath Cake, 12th May 2012
Babies in the Bath Cake, 12th May 2012
Babies in the Bath Cake, 12th May 2012

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Dennis the Dog Cake

A colleague in work recently announced that she plans on moving back to her home city of Cork at the end of the month.   As her son was celebrating his 2nd birthday this weekend I offered to make the birthday cake, as my leaving present.

I asked if he had any specific interests which I could use as a theme for the cake.   One of the things she mentioned was that he has a ‘Dennis’ which he absolutely loves.   I initially thought she was referring to Dennis the Menace but discovered that ‘Dennis’ is in fact a child’s blankie or comforter.   The idea of draping a blankie on a cake was immediately appealing.

I asked for photos of ‘Dennis’ (see below) and set about recreating his image in sugarpaste.   I must admit getting the stripes right was fairly time consuming but the end result was fantastic and worth the effort.  

I delivered the cake on Friday in work, much to the delight of my colleague.   The rest of the guys in work also fell in love with the cuteness of Dennis.

Dennis the Dog Cake, 11th May 2012

Dennis (cake) & Dennis (blankie), 11th May 2012

Dennis the Dog Cake, 11th May 2012

Dennis the Dog Cake, 11th May 2012
Dennis the Dog Cake, 11th April 2012

Actual Dennis photo from Mum
Actual Dennis photo from Mum