The saying ‘it never rain, but it pours’ has never felt so appropriate for me as it has this last month. While I’m more often approached for quotes, it is actually quite rare that someone (outside my family, at least) commissions me to make a cake for them. But this last month has been nothing but commissions. I’ve spent all my spare time in the kitchen staring at cake and icing, crafting things of someone elses imagination. It’s most of the reason I’ve been so terrible at getting back to all your lovely comments and emails lately, something I keep promising myself every morning I will catch up on.
I’ve had to set aside my list of fan art cakes and such I have planned, but it’s been a fun change. It’s wonderful when someone entrusts you with the task of bringing to life the cake that exists in their minds eye, something that it for an important occasion, something to share with all the people they hold dear. It’s equal parts nerveracking and I never quite stop stressing until I see their overjoyed expressions, and even then I still panic. I’ve got a heap of cakes to show you guys over the coming weeks, alongside the usual recipe posts, so here’s the first one.
The family this cake is for is one I’ve made cakes for before. They were one of the first people to ever commission a cake for me. For their son’s first birthday I made them this jungle cake for their private celebration and this one for the larger birthday party. This year he was turning three and they approached me about making another cake for him. This time he was old enough that they were able to ask him what he wanted, and he answered straight away: a race car.
A little while ago, my sister approached me with an idea. She’s doing an education degree, and her and her friends had to give a series of lessons on the geological sciences to a class of primary school kids. One of their lessons involved teaching the kids about the structure of the Earth. One of her friends came up with the idea of presenting a model of the Earth made out of cake. So my sister asked me if I could make a spherical cake with all the layers of the Earth inside it.
I told her I couldn’t do it. “How do you get a sphere inside a sphere inside a sphere?” I recall saying. “Oh yeah,” she replied, realising what it would involve.
I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about it. I don’t admit defeat. Ever. But especially not with cake. Nothing is impossible is pretty much my baking motto, so to say this cake was impossible left me feeling weird. There had to be a way. A way that didn’t involve carving or crumbing the cake. I kept mulling it over until I had a breakthrough.
It finally arrived…
This was a cake I was commissioned to do for a 24th birthday. The birthday girl wanted a shark emerging from a cake – I'm in love with sharks, so I was only too pleased for the opportunity to make my first fondant shark.
This is a commission from December last year. I never had time to post it with all the Christmas madness and actually forgot all about this! I was browsing through photos from my old camera when I stumbled across it and it occurred to me that I hadn't shared it with you.
This birthday cake was for a little boy called Anush who was celebrating his very first birthday.
Elmo loves you…
I disappeared from the blog for the last week, and so apologies for the silence! Our Masters cohort had our seminars last Friday, wherein we had to deliver a presentation on our research to not only our peers, but to all the other students and academics in the department as well. Not only did we have to deal with the usual fear of public speaking, but also the knowledge that our research could be torn apart by the academics during question time. Add to this the knowledge that we would be graded on our presentation as well as our ability to handle question time and we were all wrecks! My week was spent preparing and rehearsing and trying to get all my data analysed in time. It was the most busy and stressed and pressured I, and we as a collective group, have been for our whole degree.
It was exactly the time when I should have been saying no to commissions. Especially to commissions for occasions as important as a wedding.
I'm incredibly bad at saying, "no".
It was a good practise of the time management skills I've been perfecting throughout the last 7 years of University degrees.
Roses are red…
My cousin Jessica is one of my most supportive family members when it comes to my baking adventures, as well as my most regular commissioner. A few of them have been for her son. You may remember the Baby Shower Cupcakes I made as a gift for her, or the Pirate Dreams cake for his first birthday. So when his Christening rolled around, she again asked me to make a cake for the occasion. I was more than happy to oblige.
But before we launch into the final product, there is a story of drama and tears. This cake almost didn't happen.
My tale of multiple fails of epicness…
There are some things you never get too old to enjoy. The Cookie Monster is definitely pretty high up on that list. Be it nostalgia or just a love for the kooky blue guy, everyone seems to love him.
These cupcakes were a commission from my sister for her friend's birthday. My sister had been almost begging me for months to make these for her friend, but I kept saying it would depend on my research commitments as to whether I would have time. When my trapping schedule got delayed by a week, I found the time to fill the order, much to my sister's excitement.
There are a thousand versions of this guy in cupcake form. This is mine.
C is for Cookie…