I’d like to begin this post by saying a big thank you to Viki Shaw and her partner for allowing me to share their story today.
I met Viki as she was part of my children’s group of friends, we are a generation apart, but hers is a story that sadly resonates with parents of any age.
I will let Viki tell you in her own words of the journey to becoming Mummy to her two beautiful girls. It’s a narrative of great loss and grief, but also immense joy and happiness, and is testament to the resilience and strength of the human psyche.
I made the rainbow by adding Rainbow dust tylo powder to the sugarpaste and used Coloursplash in purple, pink, blue, pistachio and sunflower yellow to make some pretty pastels. These were rolled into long sausages and attached with PME piping gel to a cake board cut to size.
How are you all coping with the restrictions currently placed on our lives?
Here in the uk, we are into our 4th week of the special measures put into place to try and halt this terrible virus. Covid-19 has turned the world into a very strange place hasn’t it?
Because some of my medication lowers my immune system, I am in social isolation. My husband who has asthma also falls into this category. He is also my carer, so we are being very careful.
Food is being delivered to us, either by the supermarket (when we can get a delivery slot!) or by our son and daughter in law. Modern technology has been a boon for keeping in touch with family and friends, especially our daughter and her fiancé who live and work in Romania. They are currently teaching virtual classes to their pupils from their home!
What are you doing to fill your time? Are you working from home? Or are you part of the army of people on the frontline working to keep us all safe?
If you are, then I applaud you. You are all heroes in my eyes. I really hope that when this is all over, the world has a new found and lasting respect for all that you do. And that the community spirit that has arisen stays within us all.
Checking in on our neighbours should be something that we all do, virus or not, and speaking to the older generation, it’s how it used to be. When did we stop? When did most of us become so self absorbed that we forgot the simple actions that make us a community?
If anything positive has come out of this crazy situation, it is that while we have had to become more distant from each other physically, we’ve become much closer emotionally.
At this time of year, I would normally be baking up a storm, as our family has lots of celebrations between March and May. Starting with my daughter in law Abi’s birthday at the beginning of March, there’s also my brother in law, myself, mother in law, husband (60th!) and son. In amongst that there has been Mother’s Day, a 65th wedding anniversary and Easter, all times when we would have been together as a family. A young couple I was making a wedding cake for have had to cancel their plans, as have my brother and his partner.
But these are small sacrifices in order to stay as safe as possible.
My birthday wasn’t a complete wash out though 😃
Back in February, my lovely hubby bought both Abi and I a cake decorating experience at the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen with the wonderful Molly Robbins. It took place on Sunday 15th March, and I did wonder whether to go I must admit. At the time, the government were advising us not to go anywhere there was likely to be a lot of people in close proximity to each other. I had already backed out of attending the Awards Evening for the Pantomime Society after taking advice from my GP, but the cake class was small, and I was reassured by the precautionary measures that were being taken, so off we went.
I’m so glad we did! It turned out to be the last time I went anywhere other than the doctors!
Abi and I had a brilliant day decorating 3D cake doggies under the expert guidance of Molly. It was our first time in the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen, and a fantastic experience. Carol McFarland and her husband John made everyone feel very welcome in what is essentially their home, and the other ladies in the class were all really friendly. It’s definitely an experience I would like to repeat once things get back to ‘normal’
We decorated cakes baked in Molly’s amazing Creature Creator mould, with the addition of her new product, the ‘standing legs’
I have previously used the mould to make a laying down Unicorn cake (see below) so was already a fan, and was very excited to try something new.
What we all achieved on the day is testament to Molly’s expert tuition! The innovative design of her Creature Creator moulds and now the Creature Feet, are truly a game changer for making 3D cakes. Look what I made! Isn’t he adorable?
Here’s Molly to explain what we got up to!
Molly’s moulds come either as ‘laying down’ style, which you can then add the four leg Creature Feet to, or the ‘standing’ style with two legs!
However, mine and Abi’s cakey creations pale into insignificance compared to what my eldest niece produced just before that on March 8th! My first great nephew 🥰
Unfortunately, because of the lockdown, I haven’t been able to go for a cuddle yet, but Amy is sending daily photos to our family chat group, so I’m building up quite an album! And as a bonus, I can tease my brother Mark about being a Grandad!
On my actual birthday, I was going to bake myself a cake, but was persuaded not to by my hubby. He had a good reason though, as that evening my son and daughter in law arrived and sang happy birthday to me from the end of our drive, complete with a gorgeous cake baked by Abi 💕
I also set up a fundraiser on Facebook for my birthday, and thanks to my generous friends and family, raised £150 for the NHS in my area 😀
Well, I think that’s all for now
I know I always say it, but more than ever, please stay safe and healthy!
I can’t tell you how delighted I was to be making this cake! It was for my niece, Amy and her partner Robb (who was in on the surprise) and it wasn’t a cake I expected to be making as Amy wasn’t supposed to be able to conceive! Needless to say she was absolutely gobsmacked at first, but fully embraced this miraculous chance to become a Mummy 👶
We knew the baby was a boy, and even his name, which gave me a head start on design. Then all the disposable tableware arrived and was elephant themed! So I decided to make a fault line cake with elephants, textured buttercream, and a large initial ‘Z’ for Zachary 😀
I’m delighted to say that baby Zachary James Ray arrived safe and sound on Sunday 8th March 2020 😍
Here he is with his beautiful Mummy 💕
And you know what that means? I’m a Great-Aunty! Correction, I’m going to be an Awesome Great-Aunty! 😆 Can’t wait for cuddles 😘
A year ago, I was honoured to make a welcome cake for baby Ralph who surprised his parents by arriving early! (See below)
So I was delighted to be asked to make his first birthday cake too. It was a large 12” round sponge cake, (see Vanilla Cake recipe) but the fun part was the jungle theme, which meant I could play with sugar figures!
Unfortunately, all the natural light had gone by the time I got round to taking photos, so apologies for the poor quality. Anyway the idea was to have the animals having a picnic party. Ralph’s mum Amy had requested a monkey holding a banana, and I added the elephant and the giraffe. They are sitting on a blue blanket with a cake, in the shade of a palm tree. I added some colourful bunting round the sides to add to the party vibe, and a polka dot ribbon finished it off.
Here’s the feedback I received from Amy:
Hi Debbie, I’ve just sat down, what a day. Absolutely brilliant cake so many people have loved it there’s hardly any left!!! Thank you so much xx
You may remember that back when I made the ‘Zelda Cake’, I promised to document it photographically and produce a pictorial. Here’s a reminder of the finished cake……
And I shall now attempt to get all the pictures in the right order! Here goes…
I made 2 cakes separately as I only have one 9″ Cake pan! So you’ll need to double the ingredients if you want a taller cake 🍰
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 3-5 minutes until smooth and pale in colour. Add the sifted icing sugar in 3 or 4 additions, scraping the bowl down frequently. Add the vanilla and beat for a further 5 minutes on low to medium setting.I found a template for the emblem on google images and used it to cut it out of yellow fondant, rolled to about 3mm. I also found pictures of various items associated with Zelda, and just copied them the best that I could. I made the sword, stone, chest and winged ball thingy (it has a name but I’ve forgotten it 🙁) by adding some tylose powder to coloured fondant. This makes it dry harder and quicker. I added guide holes with cocktail sticks where needed while it was still soft. Once the main pieces of the sword and chest were dry, I added the extra decorations to them with normal fondant. I rolled out green fondant to cover the 12″ drum, and top of the cake, and used a marbled grey round the sides. I rolled this a bit thicker, about 5mm, so that I could use a PME cobblestone impression mat to create the ‘wall’ effect. I used Renshaw’s premium Coverpaste coloured with Wilton gel colours throughout.
A large ‘Z’ on the front, and a few more additions, and the requested ‘Dungeon Master’ reference, and the cake was finished!
I also made a little video. Now go easy on me, I’m not the most technology minded person in the world!
I hope you liked this tutorial, if you did, let me know and I’ll do some more😀 I mean, I can only get better at it, right?
Until next time
Stay safe and healthy
See below for more in-depth tips on preparing and covering a cake 😀