A quick little post this week to show you guys a cake I made for a 5th birthday. The brief was for a TMNT cake with just the little heads poking through the manhole. The other request was to not make the cake too sweet. I was honestly more nervous about this part than anything. You can’t simply cut out the sugar without changing the texture of the cake, and then there’s all that icing!
I decided to drop the sugar amount by about 15% and substituted half the caster sugar with raw sugar. They wanted a red velvet cake so I used an oil-based blended recipe like this one to give me more flexibility with the sugar amount.
The owners of my rental decided it was time to renovate. After a few decades of wear and tear by its various inhabitants, they probably figured it what cheaper than maintaining it when things break down. While it’s exciting, it also means I have to move out without actually moving out. First on this hit list was the kitchen, so everything went into boxes. Food. Utensils. Pots. Pans. Platters. Cups. The lot of it had to be gone. We were assured it would take a week, so we didn’t think it would be too bad. A few months later they called us to say they’d start work. Sigh.
You guys might know from all the stuff you’ve seen me cook that I have a ridiculous amount of things in my kitchen. And you ain’t seen the half of it. Being without them all, and at times a kitchen has been a nightmare. But it’ll definitely be worth it in the end (and I can say bye to the gross yellow bench-tops that have appeared in all my blog photos since the beginning — ew!). But there’s definitely been little to no cooking during the process.
So in the interim I’ll show you this little cake I made for Cameron’s birthday.
Cam’s a big Lakers fan. I kinda am too, mostly because when I was a kid I decided I loved purple and gold together so they were the team for me. I’ve always been much more of an AFL fan than an NBA fan, mostly cause following a sport conducted on the other side of the planet is too much effort for me. Not so for Cameron, who [I leaned quickly after we met] passionately follows the sport at least as much as, if not more than, AFL. Through him I came to love the Lakers more. Now we play the NBA 2k Sports games on the Wii/PS4 and spend even more time with the Lakers. At least I do. Cam likes choosing a different team every time, whereas I always choose the ’91 Lakers. Magic Johnson is absolutely my favourite player of all time, and going by the posters all over Cam’s bedroom he’s definitely his favourite as well. So when it was time for Cam to celebrate his 32nd birthday, we both thought it would definitely be fitting if the Mr. 32 himself graced the cake.
Here’s a quick little cake I did for a customer who was organising a pirate party for her son’s birthday. She got her son to choose the theme, and he responded with a ‘pirate and green’ theme. While she got to crafting all the decorations for the occasion, I set about making the cake to match.
A few weeks ago my dad turned 60. Many would view this as an excuse to party and celebrate, but my dad loathes being the centre of attention. Knowing he would hate a surprise party, we decided to opt for a simpler affair and took him out to lunch instead. Behind his thinly veiled protests that he didn’t want to do anything lay an actual excitement at getting to spend time out with his immediate family. If there was any doubt as to his desire to mark the occasion, his incessant talking since about how much he enjoyed it enough to put that to rest.
Amidst all his protestations, I did manage to get him to decide on a cake. In fact, the cake was the one thing he agreed to with no hesitation. His cake choices are usually fairly predictable: either sponge or mudcake, but mostly mudcake. I couldn’t even feign surprise then when he asked for a mudcake.
The recipe I used is one I reserve for special occasions as it’s a comparatively expensive cake to make. I made it for an order once: the 35cm version has a whopping 2 and a half kilos of chocolate in it. So when I say this cake is chocolate heavy, I really mean it. But the result is completely worth it.
Baked cheesecakes are one of Cam’s favourite things in the world, but something I bake incredibly infrequently. I’d never had cheesecake at all before I met him, and certainly not baked cheesecake. For some reason I always assumed I’d hate it, but the more I have it the more I fall in love with them. It really is the best of the cheesecake world: there’s that gorgeous flavour, but the baking of it brings a lightness to the texture that makes it far too easy to eat a giant slice of it.
The only hard part is choosing a flavour! I was baking this for his dad’s birthday so I asked cam to choose one. He narrowed it down to about 5, so I then turned to his mum for back up. Eventually we settled on apricot cheesecake.
As a lot of you already know, 2 and a half years ago I joined deviantART. For anyone who hasn’t heard of it before, dA is an artist community where users can showcase their art of any kind of medium. I’d been a distant admirer of many artists there for a long time, but it was only recently I finally joined. I only really joined so I could actively follow those artists, throwing a few photos of my cakes and crafts in my own gallery just so it wouldn’t be empty. It’s no exaggeration to say it became a life changing experience. For some reason I can’t explain, people gravitated towards my food stuff and I started getting a lot of attention uncharacteristically quickly. The community changed the way I thought about cake decorating and made me challenge myself to start creating outside of the box. I started to see food as an artistic medium and used it to create fan art or participate in art collabs. The community also inspired me to start learning about still life photography in the hope of elevating my photos of food stuff beyond quick snap shots. A number of individuals in that community promoted my work and brought it to the attention of a larger audience, something that was the catalyst for my stuff getting plastered all over prominent websites and even in newspaper articles! It’s been an absolutely crazy, wild ride.
I owe a lot to the community there. These days I’m a Community Volunteer for the Artisan Crafts galleries. A big part of my job is bringing attention to lesser know artists and showing off their work to the masses. I’ve been doing it for over a year now and I love being able to do for other artists what others did for me.
Today is the websites 14th birthday. There’s loads of celebratory events and contests going on. This years virtual party has an Alice in Wonderland theme, so I just had to make some cupcakes to celebrate the occasion.
If you’ve been following my blog for any significant length of time, you will probably know all about my furbaby Tobias. He’s my [not so] little fuzzy Siberian husky puppy. I call him a puppy, but he’s very much an adult now because last Sunday he turned 4 years old. I always bake birthday treats for my loved ones, and Tobias’ birthday is no exception.
It was for his first birthday I first entered the world of home made pet treats, and every year I continue on the tradition. This year I wanted to incorporate some meaty goodness into them.