As this was a paid class, I can’t divulge the individual processes that went into the making of the cake. What I can tell you is that I did it over 3 days (more if you count the baking which I did the week before and froze!) I followed along for a while on the day, then just watched, finishing off at my own pace over the next two days 😀
I’m really pleased with the result. Gerry is a fabulous tutor, and as always whenever we’re ‘in’ the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen, we have so much fun!
Hi, when my friend asked me to make this cake for her Mum’s 80th birthday, I got very excited!
Believe it or not I’ve never made a ‘Chocolate Overload’ cake before, so this was a first for me, but great fun!
I started out with 4 x8” round layers of my Chocolate cake recipe, and filled and crumb coated it with chocolate buttercream. As it was another hot spell, I made ganache for the final coat as it sets firmer, and despite being made from chocolate and cream, it is actually more heat stable than buttercream! I applied the filling and coatings with my trusty palette knife, and smoothed the final coat with my metal bench scraper. *Tip: Dip metal knives and scrapers in hot water before smoothing for a great finish!
After that, it was really just play time! My friend had said her Mum was a serious chocoholic (a woman after my own heart ❤️) so I’d bought a variety of different chocolates and just went to town!
I used a mix of chopped chocolate bars, biscuit bars, truffles, buttons, etc and added them around and on top of the cake somewhat ‘artistically’ 😂 I made the chocolate shards myself to give the cake a bit of extra height and interest. How many different chocolate goodies can you identify?
And then of course, I couldn’t resist adding a bit of bling by dry dusting with Faye Cahill edible gold lustre 🤩
I was really pleased with how it turned out, and, more importantly my friend’s Mum was too!
When my old school friend asked me to make a golden wedding anniversary cake for her neighbours, I was very honoured to be entrusted with the task. Especially as all she knew about my cake making skills was the cake I made for our school reunion event in February!
But any opportunity I get for playing with sugar flowers and liberal use of bling is good with me!
So, I sent her a picture of a golden wedding cake I made for another friend, and she sent me an image, and between us we came up with a design 😀
Little did I know that the timing of this cake was going to coincide with one of the hottest days of the year! 🥵
I started by baking the vanilla sponges, two 8” rounds to be layered into 4. Disaster number one – they sank! I don’t know if it was the heat, the fact that I was using a different baking spread, or I just opened the oven door too soon, but there was no saving them, or so I thought, so in the bin they went 😔
They looked something like this:
If I’d seen this article, I might have been able to make use of some of the cake for cake pops or just with custard as a dessert! If you want to know the various causes of a sunken cake, and some ‘fixes’ I recommend having a read.
The next day I tried again, used my usual baking spread and resisted the urge to peek in the oven too soon and voila! Two perfect sponges! Phew 😅
So, a day later than scheduled, I divided the cakes into 4 layers and decided to use white chocolate ganache to fill and coat the cake as it sets firmer than buttercream – or at least it usually does! It was so hot, I had to leave it overnight, losing another half day! This is why I need a dedicated cake fridge!
Thinking I was going to have a (literal) meltdown, I contacted my friend only to be extremely relieved to find that although we’d arranged collection on a Friday, the cake wasn’t actually needed until Saturday evening – another phew 😅
Luckily I had pre-made all the flowers using Renshaw flower and modelling paste, and covered the board already, so early Saturday morning I started covering the cake with sugarpaste and adding the quilted effect. I used Select Ireland platinum sugarpaste which is great quality and behaves very well in hot and humid conditions. Renshaw Extra is also good in similar conditions 😀
I have learned most of the techniques needed to put a cake together using ganache from good old YouTube! Here are a couple that I found very helpful 😀
For the recipes I used for the cake and ganache click here
I used two PME 3” deep 8” round cake tins and doubled the recipe. I greased and floured the tins and put a parchment paper circle in the bottom. I also used my PME baking belts (see My favourite products at the end of the post)
For the ganache I used 900g white chocolate to 300ml double (heavy) cream
And finally! I applied the decorations and lettering, then got busy with my Faye Cahill gold lustre dust! This can be dry brushed on to your embellishments or mixed with food grade alcohol to make a paint. There are lots of lustre dust brands out there, and they’re all good, but I must admit, I really like Faye’s range.
I used Sugarflair rejuvenator spirit to mix my paint. I’ve used vodka in the past, but find this works much better. Don’t worry, all the alcohol evaporates as the ‘paint’ dries!
Right at the end I liberally ‘twinkled’ the cake with Sugarflair finishing sparkle in gold. I love this stuff as a finishing touch ❤️ It comes in silver, gold and rose gold in a pump spray, but there are lots of other sparkly colours available in pots too 🌈
Finished and happy, I messaged my friend with a couple of photos, boxed it up and it was collected – socially distanced of course – in plenty of time for the party 🥳 (or whatever passes for a party at the moment!)
I received some wonderful feedback from my friend Joanne, and her neighbours loved the cake, so all’s well that ends well 😀
The moral of the story? Although I already have to give myself plenty of time to tackle a cake project, you can never account for the weather chucking a spanner in the works!
If that happens, take a breath, walk away for a while and think about what ‘fixes’ you can utilise. Most of all, remember why you do it. For me, it’s therapy, so getting stressed kind of defeats the object! When I contacted my friend to say I was behind schedule, she reminded me of that! Thank you Joanne 🥰
That’s all from me for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, and that the ‘how to’ links are helpful.
I made this cake a few weeks ago for a friend of my son. It’s the first time I’ve made any kind of footwear out of cake!
I was very apprehensive about this, but I was given a photo and managed to find the brand online and download a template which was very helpful!
I had to use a bit of artistic license as the original was quite a flat running shoe rather than a trainer, and there simply wouldn’t have been enough cake!
As per the request, this was a chocolate cake, and for stability I used a yummy chocolate ganache for the filling and coating. You can find the recipes for both here.
I used the same cake for the box, and googled the ‘tick’ for images to use as a stencil. Before covering the box, I inserted five bubble tea/milkshake straws. This adds stability and makes sure it can hold the weight of the shoe cake. The shoe cake is also on its own cake card which I custom cut from a large square 12” card. It’s always handy to have one of these for odd shaped cakes!
The shoe is covered in my favourite sugarpaste Select Ireland platinum, which has amazing stretch and is really easy to work with when you need a smooth finish.
For novelty cakes that need texture like this one for example
For the the box I used Renshaw Poppy red and Renshaw Jet black. I find for deep colours it’s always better to use a precoloured paste as you would have to use a shed load of colouring to get the right shade! There would also be a heck of a lot of kneading involved, which my poor hands wouldn’t be able to cope with! For small quantities of pastel colours, I mix myself with my preferred brand of gels from Coloursplash. For the writing I used a black Fractal Calligra brush pen. This is by far the easiest edible pen to use in my opinion!
All in all, this cake took me three days to make, but I was really pleased with the result for a first attempt 😀
I hope I’ve inspired you to ‘have a go’ at something that is outside your comfort zone? In these strange times, I’m finding my baking even more therapeutic than usual I must admit. It gives me a reason to get off my backside when it would be so easy to wallow! And if you’re going to try new things, whether it’s being creative with cake or something entirely different, then now is your perfect opportunity! 😀
Whatever you choose to do, I’d be delighted to hear about it, so feel free to drop a message in the comments box 📦
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.