Competition time!

So, it’s been a little while since my last blog, mostly due to me being very busy and then deciding to throw entering a competition into the mix as well!

As most of you have probably seen already, I entered the Cake International competition last week.  The closing date for the competition was the 30th March and I only found this out 2 days before.

I’ve always had a love for Winnie the Pooh and as I was browsing images for inspiration for another model I was making, I came across a picture of Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore hugging. I decided then and there that that was what I was going to make out of cake. I bought myself an 18”x18” board for them to sit on and worked out the biggest size I could make them. Each character was carved from four 7” round cakes. Previously I have only carved a couple of small cakes so I was a little daunted by something so large and a little more complex, but then a competition is meant to stretch you right??

I had a lot of fun carving the two figures to the right shape and it was a little challenging icing them without the icing tearing. Something I achieved with Eeyore, but not Pooh. Poor Pooh had the doorbell rung on him 3 times whilst being iced which meant he had a few tears… Luckily these were all under his red t-shirt so his dignity remained intact!

Creating their faces and expressions was very rewarding and I was very pleased with the end result. My biggest challenge was attaching the arms for both of them as they were not wanting to stay put. One of the rules for the class I had entered was that there were no internal supports allowed and everything above the cake board had to be edible. As such, I was hoping that the arms would defy gravity and stick on with royal icing! I ended up using clingfilm to support them whilst drying.

I finally finished the cake around 9pm the day before the competition and was very pleased with my end result. Until at 10pm my husband suddenly pointed out that I’d forgotten Eeyore’s tail!! Now I know Eeyore often loses his tail, but he needs one to lose to start with!!

The journey up to Alexandra Palace was a little nerve wracking as I had no idea if the arms would hold. When I arrived, whilst the arms were still mostly attached, they were starting to pull away. Note to self – don’t try and make such a large carved cake with heavy hanging parts!! Trying to fix it would have only made it worse, so I had to leave it and hope for the best.

Over the weekend Pooh’s arm did fall off, but Eeyore’s survived, just! I still received a lot of admiring comments and I was awarded with a Merit which I’m very pleased with considering the challenges I had with the arms. I learnt a lot from the experience and the biggest thing was that most people had been working on their cakes for weeks and not days. Apparently it’s fine for the cakes to be stale as they are not being eaten! I’d not even considered a stale cake so made the whole thing in under 4 days!

Bring on the next competition – I’m ready for you now ;-).

Happy Easter

Happy Easter! I hope you’ve all had a lovely Easter weekend and that the Easter bunny was good to you ;-)

The last couple of weeks have been a little busy. I was lucky enough to win 2 tickets to the Squires Exhibition a couple of weeks ago and saw so many inspirational cakes. I’m looking forward to being able to start playing with some of the ideas I’ve seen. Next on my equipment wish list is an airbrush as I tried one of these out at the show and loved it – the effects that it can give are amazing! I really can’t wait to get one of those….!

Cake wise, I’ve been making a lot of models the last few weeks and absolutely loving it. I made a hare based on a photo and love the effect brushing coloured dusts onto a dried model gives. An “In the night garden” cake tested my mathematical skills to make the top of the carousel and I’m currently halfway through making a model of Elsa for a Frozen themed cake. It seems that models are the order of the day at the moment with many more needing to be made over the next few weeks.

The interest in my courses seems to be picking up which is great – the next one is on the 9th April and will cover how to stack a multi-tiered cake. I’m also being taken on as a sugar craft teacher for Ashdown Manna cookery school (http://www.ashdowncookeryschool.co.uk/) with the first modular course due to start in June so look out for more courses there and on my website. I’m always keen to offer a range courses to suit everyone so if there is something that you would like to learn then please let me know, the more varied and interesting the better! 

 

My first blog posting!

I have finally found (stolen) some time to sit down and start my blog – only about 6 months or so after I decided to start writing one! Now that I’ve started, my challenge will be to find time to update you all with the goings on of Clare’s Cake Boutique.

Here is a little bit of history for you. I guess you could say that Clare’s Cake Boutique was born about 7 years ago when a close friend asked me to make her wedding cake. Thankfully it was a success and I was then asked to make cakes for other friends and family and my hobby grew from there. Last April our son Elliot was born and we decided that it was finally time for my hobby to become a full time business. So 2 weeks before Elliot’s due date, I gave up working long hours in the city to start Clare’s Cake Boutique and to look after our son. I had a frustrating 4 week wait for our lil man to arrive as he decided that he was too happy where he was. This meant that when he was 8 weeks old I had my first wedding cake to deliver. Thankfully it was a fairly simple one as I ended up having a c-section and not being able to do too much for 6 weeks or so.

Now, 10 months on, I have cakes of all shapes and sizes to create each week. My little business has grown from only a couple of cakes a month to a couple and often a fair few more cakes a week now. I’m absolutely loving the variation of cakes that I have the honour to make for people. From traditional Christening and wedding cakes to fun character cakes for children. Some of my weeks have been a challenge as I’m fitting everything round looking after Elliot, keeping the house in a semblance of tidy and looking after my husband when I can! Thankfully I have an amazing mother on hand who has on many occasions come to my rescue to entertain Elliot and keep me sane!

I’m also building up my cake decorating courses and I’m thoroughly enjoying teaching all my lovely students. It’s so rewarding sending people home with something that they have created that they didn’t think they could achieve. I’ve also had the privilege of seeing what some of them have achieved since they’ve had a lesson with me and it’s great to see how their confidence has grown so that they can attempt more complex projects than before.

A couple of weeks ago I had a Peter Rabbit cake to make which was so much fun. I used one of Beatrix Potter’s drawings to create Peter Rabbit and loved how he ended up looking. Until last year I’d not made too many models and I was a little unsure every time I was asked for one. Now I can’t wait for my next challenge! I’m enjoying the modelling so much and just want to sit all day and play with sugar… Unfortunately my son does not agree with me on that one – unless he can eat it of course!

This week I’ve been making ‘Iggle Piggle’ for a little boy’s first birthday cake, a ‘Hare’ for a 70th birthday cake and I’ve also made ‘Eeyore’ which is for a future project but I’ve been itching to make him for ages so I finally sat down last night and made him. Here is a sneaky picture of him – I hope you like him too!

Ciao for now, I look forward to updating you with more cakey news soon!