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.
A few weeks ago I was chatting to my sister about cake, as we do. We were discussing previous cake orders and I mentioned how every toddlers birthday cake I’ve been commissioned to do was for a little boy. I kinda missed pink. Pink and frills and all those other things customers will say they absolutely do not want on a cake for a boy. Not half an hour later, my cousin messaged me asking if I could make a cake that ticked all those boxes.
Her niece’s birthday was approaching and she wanted something Minnie Mouse. I was so excited! These are the kinds of cakes I can’t make for customers because of copyright law, so when someone in the family wants one we can go nuts with ideas.
It’s been quite a long time since I’ve played around with a joconde. I have a terrible habit of getting stuck on one idea: I’ll bake almost nothing but that for weeks, and then forget it ever existed for a year. So when my birthday rolled around and I had the opportunity to make whatever I wanted with no restrictions, I decided it was time to return to this awesome cakey medium.
So far I’ve mostly used decorating combs for making patterns in the joconde paste. I’ve been wanting to use the sponge as more of a canvas for unusual designs. You always see them with uniform designs on the sides, but I wanted something a bit more picturesque. I had a number of food stencils, but all were a bit bland for what I was thinking. I hit up my favourite cake decorating store and started rummaging through the stencils until I finally found something that was more ‘me’.
This last month has been pretty cake crazy, and with a number of family events around the corner it’s about to get crazier. Every time I finish a cake project, another one appears. When I finished the owl cake I was relieved to have a break from impending deadlines, but then the next Link’s Blacklist Project round opened for sign ups. Oops. Maybe one day I’ll be able to return to my own giant list of fan art projects that’s steadily growing my the moment.
Last month I got the opportunity to step away from all that and make a birthday cake for an occasion, rather than an art project. This family had been at the birthday party of another family who commissioned a cake from me. They liked what they saw enough to want me to make a cake for their son’s birthday, too. That’s always an incredibly flattering way to receive a commission, knowing the person has seen and tasted your work and wants more of it.
The idea was as simple enough: they wanted a colourful, two tiered cake adorned with all their son’s favourite toys.
Earlier this month it was my boyfriend’s 31st birthday. As the recipient of practically all the goodies I bake, it can be hard to come up with something special for his birthday dinner and dessert and/or cake. This is exacerbated by the fact that his idea of special and mine exist on opposite sides of the planet. I like busy and complex multi-layered cakes of ridiculousness with fancy decorations, he likes chessecake. I started quizzing him on things he’d like me to make for him and got nothing except requests to make cakes I’d made for previous birthdays. Unsatisfied with that answer I sent him to rummage through my recipe books for ideas.
He returned with an A4 list of cakes. He’s about as decisive as I am.
They were almost all cheesecakes and tea cakes, save for the bread and butter pudding he’d very subtly circled. I resigned to banishing any idea of spectacular gateaux from my mind and baking him a cheesecake instead (whose birthday is it anyway, right?).
I took a basic baked cheesecake recipe and decided to load it with a few of his favourite things.
This is the last cake from the month of cake madness. This is Grug cake requested for a kids birthday party.
I doubt anyone not from Australia will have any clue who Grug is, and even a lot of the Australians amongst you may not remember him. I’d, admittedly, forgotten all about him until I was asked to do the cake. Grug is a character from a series of illustrated children’s books written by Ted Prior. Though there have been no new books published since I was a little kid, you can still find them amongst the kids book section of most any book store or supermarket.