Inspirational Australian Cake Artists

3D Novelty Cake Artists

There are so many very talented cakes makers out there in the world, and I thought I might write a blog post sharing some of the amazing local Australian cake artists that inspire me. I then realised there’s possibly too many of them to fit onto the one blog post, so I will instead start a series of inspirational cake artists based on themes. In this post, I will share five of my favourite 3D Novelty Cake Artists (in no particular order, and definitely does not contain all of the amazing 3D novelty cake artists that inspire me, I just know that I have to draw the line somewhere 🙂 ).

1. Verusca Walker

I had seen her name come up in Facebook groups but admit I did not really start following her work until I saw her present a demo at a Cake Open Day in Canberra. During the demo she showed us how to create a cake that looked like a hat on a hat stand. You know when someone is a skilled SME (Subject Matter Expert) when they can present something so effortlessly like it’s just a walk in the park (but I know in my heart that I would be in struggle-town if I attempted something quite that complicated lol).

Source: https://veruscawalker.com/pages/about

If you were looking to have a go at recreating some of her elaborate cake creations, Verusca has written the book Structured Cakes that explains the ins and outs of creating structures in order to create some of these wonderful cake creations. You can buy an E-Book version (AU$49.50) or printed version (AU$60 + P&H). She also shares some FREE tutorials via her YouTube channel.

2. ButterSweet Lane Cakes

Margarita popped onto the scene in late 2017 and her 3D novelty cake creations are absolutely amazing! I am always blown away whenever I see one of her creations come up on my Facebook feed as they are always so fun and well executed.

As you can see above from her 2019 Top 9 on Insta, she creates a variety of sweet treats, from cupcakes, through to buttercream cakes and onto 3D novelty cakes – she really is a Jack of All Trades and a true master of them all! If you were looking to order a cake from her, she operates in the Kellyville Ridge area in Sydney. She also occasionally runs cake classes as well, so stay tuned to her website if you were wanting to learn from her.

3. Cherry On Top Cakes

I remember my first interactions with Ashini through a Facebook cake group, simply put, she is just such a lovely person 🙂 I’ve also been following her caking journey, and have witnessed her creations come in leaps and bounds in such a short timeframe – it has been a joy and inspiration to watch. I think she really hit the spotlight when she created the firefighter cake (below) – a monumental cake capturing the essence of the devastating bushfires that hit Australia during the 2019 summer.

If you were in the Wodonga area in Victoria and want to get a one-of-a-kind cake masterpiece, look no further than Ashini @ Cherry On Top Cakes. You won’t be disappointed!

4. Inspired Cakes – by Amy

Amy shot onto the caking scene less than a handful of years ago and took the Australian caking world by storm – and it’s not hard to see why! Her handcrafted 3D cakes are simply works of art that are flawlessly executed. I think it takes a lot talent to be able to pull off even simple anti-gravity cakes, but she takes it to a whole new level by sculpting even complex shapes to perfection.

She’s taken home a multitude of awards in the cake industry and continues to inspire swathes of people. You’ll see her partaking in all kinds of cake shows around Australia, and continues to take custom cake orders, so if you’re in the Bowral, NSW area and looking for a mind-blowing cake, then Amy is your gal!

For those cake makers feeling inspired to learn from her, you can find online tutorials on her website starting from AU$29.95. She also offers workshops for those in the area that wants a more in-person lesson.

5. A Little Nonsense Cakes

I first saw Dale’s creations from within a Facebook cake group I’m in, and wowee her stuff blows me away! Every one of her cake creations are simply immaculate – perfectly sharp edges, airbrushed shading on point, and I simply love how she incorporates lights in her cakes for the added extra WOW factor! Seriously, you wouldn’t even know some of her creations were cakes!

Source: http://www.alittlenonsense.com.au/gallery.html

If you head to her website’s gallery of celebration cakes, you’ll see for yourself why I am raving about her work and it will prove to you just how crazy-talented this lady is! If you live in the Kelmscott area in WA, and were looking for a cake with massive WOW factor, don’t look past Dale @ A Little Nonsense Cakes.

BONUS: Elegant Slice

OK so I thought I had better include at least one option for a 3D Novelty Cake Artist from the Canberra region in this post – so BONUS ROUND! There are a number of super talented cake makers in the area, but of the ones that I follow, Elegant Slice takes my vote as most inspirational for me – possibly because he nails square cakes to perfection. It’s seriously cake p0rn…

Source: https://www.elegantslice.com.au/copy-of-wedding-cakes-1

He has also done a number of car cakes that are just stunning (something I have not been brave enough to try as yet – I admit, it feels daunting to me!)

Source: https://www.elegantslice.com.au/copy-of-other-cakes

He is a qualified pastry chef of 30 years and has worked in a number of establishments in Europe as well as Australia. If you are local to Canberra, you’ll find Elegant Slice based in the suburb of McKellar (although he also does offer delivery – just sayin’ 😉 ).

Buying a cake on a (shoestring) budget

So you have a special occasion coming up and want to get a special cake for it (nothing says “celebration” like a cake, amiright?!). You search through Instagram and Pinterest, have collected a bunch of inspo-pics, and start doing the rounds, spamming a bunch of cake-makers for quotes for a custom cake, wanting to find the best price (because naturally, we all want the cheapest and ‘best price’). If you’re new to this scene, you’re probably going to need to sit down as you start sifting through the quotes you’ve received – you may even be thinking, “I’m not paying that much just for a cake!” But at the core of it – you’re not. You are paying for not only a cook to bake you a cake in whatever flavour/dietary requirements you want, but also an artist that will bring the cake to life and decorate it to your specification. If you wanted “just a cake”, you could go down to your local supermarket for that. You are looking for something special. Well, hopefully this post** will help you attain a special cake you’re looking for, in a budget that you can afford 🙂

Before you begin finding a cake maker, Set Your Budget…

As with any purchase, it’s important think about what your budget is before you begin getting your heart set on something completely out of reach. A good starting point might be to check out a bricks-and-mortar bakery and see what they have on offer in their standard catalogue. One example might be the Cheesecake Shop. You’ll find their party cakes range from $49.95-$69.95 (12-24 serves). Bear in mind that these designs are not custom, and they are made in a mass-produced environment, so expect the pricing to be higher of a bespoke cake-maker and set your budget accordingly. An analogy to this would be ready-made suits from a department store being cheaper than a tailor-made suit. Even if all the ingredients & supplies were the same, they would not cost the same.

Choosing the cake maker…

You head to Google; you head to Facebook.. it’s overwhelming how many cake makers there are, isn’t it? Where to start … I often see posts on Facebook community groups asking for recommendations because there’s so many to choose from! Well here’s a couple filters for you in the hopes of narrowing your search to finding the cheaper option.

Bricks & Mortar Bakery vs Home-based Cake-maker

I think some fall in the trap of expecting a home-based cake-maker to be the cheaper option of the two, but oftentimes I don’t think that’s the case. Remember, even though the bricks & mortar bakery may have higher overheads (rent, paying staff, etc), they produce en masse and they buy in bulk. Typically, they would be baking from professional-grade cake mixes and using ready-made fillings etc.

One exception to this expectation that a bricks & mortar bakery is more likely cheaper, is the “backyard” or “hobby” baker. This is someone that is not officially registered with their council to produce & sell food to the public, and also wouldn’t be insured – so therefore do not have those overheads to consider, and also likely not paying taxes on the cake sales either (ie black market). While a backyard baker would be cheaper, my recommendation is to still find a registered & insured food business.

Full-time vs Part-time/Casual baker

If you have decided you’d like to support a small home-based cake maker, then the next way to likely save, is to choose one that makes cakes full-time as opposed to part-time. Full-time cake-makers are more likely to buy their ingredients & supplies in bulk, as well as produce in bulk, so would be more likely to pass on some savings than cake-makers who do smaller amount of orders.

The noob baker vs the experienced baker

While I’m sure you’ll be wanting the best of the best for your cake, finding someone with less-experience/newer business could also be a way to find some savings as well. I think this is especially true if you have a design that they are personally interested in but have not done it before. What tends to happen (from my own experience as a cake-maker), is:

  1. I don’t really know how long it’s going to take, so I underestimate labour
  2. I don’t feel confident in how the end product is going to be, so tend to quote on the lower side
  3. If it’s a cake design/technique I’m personally interested in but haven’t done it before, I’ll subconsciously offer it cheaper just so I can get the gig – that way I can then add the pics to my portfolio (rather than me doing a mock cake from my own pocket just for the pics)

The Cake…

So now we’ve narrowed down the shortlist of cake-makers to request quotes from, let’s talk about your cake and the ways in which you can save money on the cake itself, no matter which cake maker you go with.

  • Buttercake/sponge cake vs mudcake – buttercake/sponge cake tends to be the cheaper option.
  • Buttercream vs fondant coverage – buttercream is the cheaper option. Of course, there are going to be some cakes that fondant is the only way forward, but if there’s any way you can opt-out of fondant coverage, take it to save some $$$ (added bonus, most people tend to find buttercream tastes nicer anyway). If you find a cake-maker experienced enough with buttercream, they should be able to do a good enough job that you wouldn’t even know if it was buttercream or fondant.
    Dinosaurs in the Garden cake

    Buttercream or fondant?

  • Buttercream vs fondant decorations – as above, typically, buttercream is going to be the cheaper option as it is quicker, and therefore less labour. If you can find a buttercream-skilled cake-maker, you’ll could find yourself saving some $$$.
  • Fondant vs plastic figurines – if you’re looking for a novelty cake, using plastic figurines instead of fondant is another quick way to lower the price and can look just as effective. Added bonus – the figurines can be kept once the celebration is all over.
  • Edible images vs hand-painting/additional fondant work – edible images in and of themselves are not cheap, but compared with the time (labour) involved with hand-painting, it would be the cheaper option. Again, when used correctly, these can look very effective.
  • Fresh vs sugar flowers – if you’re looking for a lot of flowers/foliage on your cake, then I would say go with fresh florals to save money. However, if you were looking for only a smaller amount, or particular rarer or non-food-safe flowers, you may find sugar flowers are the better (or only) option. Sugar flowers do take a bit of time to make so don’t expect them to come cheaply, but some costs can be saved if the cake-maker can source some suitable, ready-made ones from a cake decorating supplies shop.
  • Naked vs decorated cake-board – If your cake inspo picture has a fondant-covered and fully decorated cake-board, you may want to ask the cake-maker if you could change it to have just plain white/black board instead, or if they could use a designer cake-board. This also could help in reducing costs and you can find some really good designs these days for cake-boards.
  • Gold leaf vs metallic gold paint – while any custom cake is really a luxury item, sometimes you want it feeling really deluxe. Queue the gold! I’ve seen cakes covered completely in gold leaf, and while they look luxury, they certainly would cost luxury too! Another way to keep the luxury feel but on a fraction of the cost is to apply only a scattering of gold leaf instead of complete coverage. If you reallllly want the whole tier gold, though, you could request it just be painted in gold instead.
  • Cake vs cupcakes – a tad controversial as it means giving up the idea of having a cake per se, but I’ll include it anyway. Even though cake makers tend to have a minimum purchase amount of 12 or 24 cupcakes, you might find it cheaper to get themed cupcakes instead of one cake. Added bonus, there should be no cake-age if at a venue, and you don’t need to stress about cake-cutting/serving.

The bottom line…

At the end of the day, the purchasing of a custom cake is always going to be a luxury item. Unfortunately we all find ourselves, at some point or another, unable to afford the things we so wish we could. If you were looking to have a go at making the cake yourself, you can find some recipes on my website but there are heaps of good ones available for free online. Don’t fancy yourself a baker? No worries, you can buy naked cakes ready to decorate from cake supply shops (even online to be delivered directly to you!), and you can even get ready-made frosting and other decorations from cake supply shops and supermarkets. You could even buy an all-in-one DIY cake kit online to save some time! As another alternative, you could try your hand at doing the famous Woolies/Coles mudcake hack – there’s even a Facebook group dedicated to it if you need some additional support.

Remember, that even if it doesn’t turn out to be your dream cake, that you at least got to unleash your inner cake artist and was brave enough to have a go. Sometimes we find ourselves so full of self-doubt, and fear the thought of failure so much, that we don’t even try. And honestly, I think sometimes that can be the biggest cost.

 

** Disclaimer: The information posted on this page is intended as a general guide only, and is based on my own experience as a home-based, part-time registered & insured cake-maker. There are always going to be exceptions (eg specials/sales, customer loyalty discount offerings, free/cheaper delivery option, etc), so be sure to do your own research on the businesses in your area.

Mixed Berry & Ricotta Cake

I originally stumbled across this recipe while searching for something to make with some leftover ricotta cheese I had after making a lasagne. This is an absolutely amazing cake – moist, light, and the pops of berry in it is just heaven. A light dusting of icing sugar is all it needs for a gorgeous addition for a spring Sunday afternoon tea, but pairing this with a vanilla bean buttercream is also delightful.

Mixed Berry & Ricotta Cake

I’ve converted the recipe into grams, and have made a couple adjustments, honouring it as a standalone cake that carries its own sweetness. If you were intending to pair this with an American buttercream, I would be inclined to reduce the sugar in the cake recipe by 10-20%.

Mixed Berry & Ricotta Cake

Mixed Berry & Ricotta Cake

A light, moist cake perfect for a spring Sunday afternoon tea.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 12

Equipment

  • Whisk
  • Spatula
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • 7" cake tin

Ingredients
  

  • 150 g plain flour
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 1.33 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 260 g ricotta cheese smooth
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs large
  • 75 g salted butter melted
  • 85 g blueberries & raspberries frozen
  • 0.5 tbsp lemon zest optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 150 degrees fan-forced. If using a cake wrap, begin to soak it. Grease and line the cake tin.
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients - flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Give it a whisk to combine.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, eggs, vanilla extract and lemon zest, until smooth.
  • Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, until just combined.
  • Add the melted butter, and again fold in until just combined.
  • Finally, fold in the frozen berries. Try be as gentle as possible as to not damage the fruits.
  • Pour into the lined cake tin, and bang/drop the tin onto the bench a few times to remove any air bubbles (this should also help flatten out the top). If using a cake wrap, apply around the cake tin.
  • For this recipe, a Cecil & Co cake tin was used with a cake wrap applied, in an electric fan-forced (rear element) oven. It took a total of 1 hour 20 minutes. If using a darker-coloured cake tin and no cake wrap, begin to check the cake at the 50-60 minute mark. Check the cake is cooked by inserting a wooden skewer in. If it comes out clean, it is cooked.
  • Remove cake from oven, take off the cake wrap (if using), and allow the cake to rest in the tin. After 15 minutes, turn the cake onto a cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely.

Notes

  • This cake bakes to approx 4-4.25cm high in the 7" tin.
Keyword Cake, Mixed berry, Ricotta, Tea cake

Carrot & Walnut Cake with Orange & Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

Is there anything more comforting than spiced carrot & walnut cake with cream cheese frosting? It’s been a cake that I’ve been baking for many years, with a recipe I found along the way and shoved into my personal recipe collection. Where it hails from exactly, I’m not entirely sure anymore sorry, but I thought I would share it with you to enjoy for yourself 🙂

Note that I have split the recipe into separate ones, in case you’re short on time and wanted to get the ready-made cream cheese icing from the supermarket instead of making it for yourself.

Carrot & Walnut Cake

Carrot & Walnut Cake

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 6

Equipment

  • Electric scales
  • Mixing bowl
  • Sieve
  • Electric mixer
  • Offset spatula
  • 6" cake tin
  • Cake wrap (if using)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 medium carrots finely grated
  • 65 g walnuts crumbled (optional). Extra for decoration.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 120 ml vegetable oil
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking/bi-carb soda
  • 0.5 tsp mixed spice

Instructions
 

  • Before you begin, make sure your eggs are at room temperature. When ready, pre-heat your oven to 150 degrees fan-forced. Soak cake wrap (if using). Grease and line the 6" round cake tin.
  • Set aside the carrots and walnuts. Sieve the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl, and place the remaining ingredients in as well. Beat on low speed until smooth (do not overmix).
  • Using the spatula, mix in the carrot and walnuts. Pour the batter into your cake tin, and bang the tin on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Place on soaked cake wrap if using.
  • Bake the cake for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. If using a darker coloured tin and no cake wrap, expect the cooking time to be less and perhaps start checking closer to the 1-1:15 mark. To test for doneness, insert a wooden skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is cooked.
  • Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to rest in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. The cake bakes to 5cm (2") high.

Notes

  • Baking time varies depending on tin, oven and if cake wrap was used. Here I have used a Mondo cake tin with soaked cake wrap in an electric fan-forced oven.
Keyword Cake, Carrot, Walnut

Orange & Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time 30 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dessert

Equipment

  • Electric scales
  • Sieve
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Electric mixer

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g cream cheese softened
  • 125 g butter softened
  • 375 g pure icing sugar sieved
  • 2 tsp orange rind zested
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

Instructions
 

  • Soften the cream cheese 1 hour out of the fridge before commencing, and soften the butter also.
  • Beat the butter on medium speed for 3 minutes until creamy. Add in the softened cream cheese and sieved icing sugar, and beat on low-medium speed for a further 1-2 minutes until it has come together. Be careful not to overbeat or the frosting will become too soft.
  • Stir in the grated orange zest and ground ginger.

Notes

  • this recipe is enough to fill and cover a 6" cake
  • you can make classic lemon cream cheese frosting by substituting the orange zest with lemon zest, and omitting the ground ginger
Keyword Cream Cheese, Frosting

For those wondering about the assembly aspect, I torte my 5cm (2″) cakes in half using a cake leveler (pictured below), and remove any ‘dome’ off the cake. That way, I get 2x 2.5cm (1″) layers per baked cake. This recipe is for one baked cake, therefore only 2 layers. However, for customer orders, I would double it and bake 2 cakes, so they can be torted to 4 layers and result in standard tier height. The above frosting recipe would be enough to fill and cover a standard 6″ tier with 4 layers.

A week in this caker’s shoes

I have a hard limit of one cake order a week – sometimes I’ll let a second sneak in if I find both are smaller cakes. Some of you out there may be wondering, why only one? And there is only one way to truly explain this – and that is a weekly diary of all that I do. This is an overview of a week in my shoes (which includes 2 cake orders and a side order for unicorn decorations).

Monday

Morning: 7am wake up, get son ready and off to school. I go to work for the day.
Lunchtime: Go to shops to get some groceries – some are perishable items needed for this week’s cake orders (thankfully there’s enough room in the work fridges to store 2 bags worth).
Afternoon: Pick up son from school, spend time with him before I cook dinner then clean up. Empty the rubbish bins (it’s bin night).
Evening: Bake 8″ hemisphere cake and 8″ round cake. Both fail miserably and are tossed. I’m tired and frustrated, so go to bed “early” (9pm).

Tuesday

Morning: 7am wake up, get son ready and off to school. I go to work for the day.
Lunchtime: Figure out my recipes so I can try again tonight.
Afternoon: Pick up son from school, spend time with him before I pull in wheely bins, cook dinner then clean up.
Evening: Re-bake 8″ hemisphere cake and 8″ round cake – both work this time (woohoo!) While they are baking, I clean up the kitchen, and then make a fondant unicorn horn, eyes and ears (for a side customer order), and I blow up water balloons. While the cakes cool, I make 20 gelatin bubbles in 2 different colours. By the time I have those completed and kitchen cleaned up, cakes wrapped and fridged, and get the dishwasher doing its thing, it is 2am. Time for bed.

Wednesday

Morning: 7am wake up, get son ready and off to school while I go to work. Today is a coffee day.
Lunchtime: Contact customers to confirm pickup times to organise my schedule for the weekend.
Afternoon: Pick up son from school, get the gelatin bubbles trimmed and boxed, ready for use. Get son ready and take him to swimming class. I’m already feeling tired and know I still need to cook more cakes tonight – so opt to get takeaway for dinner tonight. Bonus: no cleanup. But I do need to empty the dishwasher…
Evening: Bake 2x 7″ round cakes. While cooking, cleanup the kitchen and get all boxes, dowels and boards ready for this weekend’s orders. Allow cakes to cool before wrapping and fridging. “Early” bedtime, 9pm

Thursday

Morning: 7am wake up, realise I should have made my ganache last night so quickly make a pot of ganache while getting son ready and off to school before I go to work.
Lunchtime: Organise a custom topper order for one of next week’s cake orders.
Afternoon: Pick up son from school, spend time with him before warming up leftovers for dinner. Cleanup.
Evening: Make a big batch of buttercream for this weekend’s orders. cleanup the kitchen and paint the unicorn decorations gold. Level and torte the cakes, before filling and assembling them. One of them takes a bit longer than usual as it is a carved cake. Once all is done, clean the kitchen and off to bed. It’s 1am.

Friday

Morning: 7am wake up, get son ready and off to school while I go to work for the day.
Afternoon: Stay back at work later today to make up for losses of flex during the week.
Evening: Box up the unicorn decorations. Commence covering the Cauldron cake with fondant and decorate. It’s 9pm and I think up a way to improve the design a bit by adding isomalt flames and fairy lights so it looks like the fire is real. It is midnight when the cake is completed. I box it up ready for pickup the next day and clean up the kitchen. Dishwasher is full and set to run – I go to bed.

Saturday

Morning: 7am wake up early. Put on Rage while I have breaky. Get to work fondanting my second cake order. Prepare all the stuff needed for airbrushing. I airbrush the cake, and get fondant panels ready to make the buildings.
Afternoon: Cake is airbrushed and buildings are stuck on. I clean up the kitchen and workspace area – only thing left to do is handpainting and a few fondant details. I take my son to his school’s fete – even with bad weather, we stick it out and enjoy it for the full 4 hours. Bonus is we have dinner there – no cooking and cleanup at home required, w00t!
Evening: Come home, I spend more time with him as I get 2 loads of laundry done, reading through his newly acquired books and stick on his fairy tattoo (he’s so excited lol). I take him to bed and end up falling asleep too – oops. I wake up at 4am and complete the cake and have it boxed, ready for pickup at 10am.

Sunday

Morning: 9am wake up, take pictures of the cake before commencing our household tradition of cooked Sunday breaky, pancakes. 10am the cake is collected, and I make a start on picture editing while getting the third load of laundry going.
Afternoon: I fix lunch, and cleanup the kitchen. Time to start baking this weekend’s cakes – 4x 7″ marble mudcakes. I can only prep and cook 2 at a time. So I do the first lot, and while they’re baking, spend time with my son and also ring home to have a quick chat with the folks (I try to fit this in weekly). The cakes are done after 2 hours of baking. I proceed to prep the second lot while suffering through a massive headache. While they’re cooking, I pop a couple Panadol and take a nap on the couch. I’ve set the oven alarm and my phone alarm, but ask my son to wake me up if I don’t hear any of it. What a trooper, he’s content with playing with his Lego while I nap.
Evening: The second batch of cakes are done and pulled out at 6pm. I’m still not feeling well.. so we go and get takeout for dinner tonight as I didn’t feel up to more cooking/cleaning. 9pm early bedtime tonight – I’m knackered.

Monday

Morning: 7am wake up, get son ready and off to school. I go to work for the day and quickly organise a click n collect grocery shop on my mobile while I have a cuppa.
Lunchtime: Start mapping out what needs doing for my orders this week (yeah, I have 2 again this week – glutton for punishment).
Afternoon: Pick up son from school, empty the rubbish bins (bin night), go to pick up the grocery order, put away groceries and vacuum the house while dinner is cooking.
Evening: Clean up after dinner – start the dishwasher and mop the kitchen. Another small load of washing for the mop attachment. Do some math work with my son before it’s bed time for the both of us. I decide I will cook the second order’s cakes and make the fondant elephant topper tomorrow… I’m tired.

Summary

As you can see.. it’s a lot of work. I’m basically constantly on the go, between my day job, being a mum and running my cake biz (I didn’t even include spending time answering enquiries, doing up invoices and organising my social media posts). I will have some down time now and then to put my feet up, 10min here, 20min there. I typically use this time to stream a cake show, or jump on Facebook and help others with cake questions (or seek help myself with my own cake questions lol). I have no doubt there are other cake/cookie artists out there with similar looking weeks, and to you guys I say – keep up the awesome work! ^_^ <3

The Millennium Falcon Cake

OK, so let’s start with – if you haven’t seen Star Wars, then you may not truly understand this cake. If you’re a fan of Star Wars (like me) – then I know you’ll appreciate the details that have gone into the overall design and construction of this one. It is the Millennium Falcon flying over Tatooine – the desert planet where the Star Wars movies first began. I felt like this cake deserved a post of its own – so you can see the amount of work and effort that went into it. A cake sometimes goes beyond just a cake. This is one such creation.

Anti-gravity Millennium Falcon Cake

This isn’t a step-by-step tutorial on how to make one of these.  It is just an overview of some of the tools/hardware that went into it. I had to put on my tradie hat for this one and design the structure myself. I started by first getting the blueprints for the MF. This helped me figure out the size of the cakeboard that I would need and I went from there in tracing the shape and cutting out the cakeboard. In my case, the cake was a 10″ round for the main part of the body. Other components were built up using Rice Krispie Treats and cake offcuts mixed with buttercream.

Millennium Falcon Cake - top view

The tools I used to complete the project:

  • Jigsaw – with blades suitable for wood and metal
  • Electric drill – with drill bits suitable for wood and metal (2mm & 8mm bit sizes)
  • Spanner set
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hacksaw – with blade suitable for metal
  • Airbrush
  • General cake modeling tools

Anti-gravity Millennium Falcon Cake structure

The hardware/packaging that went into it:

  • 16″ x 12″ masonite cake board
  • 20″ x 16″ masonite cake board
  • 2x 10″ cake cardboard rounds
  • 20″ x 16″ cake box
  • 3x 6″ x 6″ squares of 1.55mm galvanised steel sheet
  • 8mm stainless steel threaded rod (length is determined by how high you want the MF to fly off the ground – I went with about 40cm)
  • 4x 8mm stainless steel lock nuts
  • 1x 8mm stainless steel flat washer
  • 12x 25mm round self-adhesive felt floor pads – stacked in 3s and hot glued to the underside of the cakeboard to raise it high enough so the threaded rod doesn’t touch the table.
  • String of Blue LED fairy lights, button battery powered (I went with 40 lights/4m) – I adhered them onto a cut strip of cakebox cardboard using sticky tape.

Anti-gravity Millennium Falcon Cake with lights

The cake itself was a 10″ round red velvet, filled with vanilla bean cheesecake flavoured buttercream. Covered with white chocolate ganache and fondant.  I used a mix of crushed Scotch Finger and Gingernut biscuits to create the dessert sand (that wasn’t a typo, I mean to type dessert 😉 ).

Can you go to the shops for me please?

So a very good friend of mine has asked me to create her birthday cake for this weekend, and she has kindly offered to help me pay for ingredients/supplies. Without giving away the design, the cake will be a white chocolate mudcake, filled with coconut flavoured buttercream and homemade pineapple curd. Covered with white chocolate ganache and fondant. The cake will feed approx 38.

I thought this might be a fun challenge for you to participate from home (if there’s anyone out there reading this blog lol). Can you (hypothetically) do the shopping for me please? I have broken the lists down into 2 for you – one list is for stuff you’d find at the local supermarket.  The other list is for the stuff you’d find at a cake specialty store. Can you work out how much everything is going to cost? You might like to undertake this exercise if you’re intending to make a cake from scratch yourself and thinking how much it’d cost just for ingredients/supplies.

Stop 1 – The supermarket

  • 2428g white chocolate
  • 1209g butter
  • 898ml milk
  • 693g caster sugar
  • 35ml vanilla extract
  • 11 large eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 359g self-raising flour
  • 539g plain flour
  • 449g icing sugar
  • 20ml coconut extract
  • 120ml canned pineapple juice
  • 2 tbspn cornstarch
  • Baking paper

Now I bet you’re wondering: surely you get these supplies from your wholesaler? Well – no, I don’t. Because while I do have an ABN and do have a wholesale account, I find that because I work my day job everyday, I am not at home and so unable to receive deliveries from my wholesaler. Bummer yeah? Mind you, I do buy in bulk when things are on sale (where possible) and I know where these ingredients are the cheapest so buy things when I just happen to be at a particular store.

Why don’t you open up a new tab and figure out the cost for me for those ingredients – at your supermarket/s of choice. If you find some things cheaper at one over the other – you could take the extra time/fuel to travel between those two or three and get the cheapest options available. But please don’t charge me for that – surely I shouldn’t have to pay you for time/fuel as I am not passing those kinds of costs onto my customers. After all, I’m sure you’re already going to the shops anyway, this is just a few extra things 😉

Stop 2 – The Specialty Cake Shop

  • 1500g fondant
  • 250g gumpaste
  • 20 floral wires
  • Safety Seal (let’s say 50c for this one as I don’t need to use much)
  • 8 bubble tea straws
  • 1 centre dowel
  • 20g gold lustre dust
  • Rose spirite (alcohol)
  • 9″ cardboard round
  • 12″ marble masonite cakeboard
  • 12x12x12 cake box

I’m located in Canberra – so your major options are going to be either Cake Decorating Solutions (Fyshwick), La Torta (Majura Park) and/or Across The Board Cake Decorating Supplies (Greenway). You’re welcome to buy things online – but bear in mind, this stuff would need to be ordered at least a week or two in advance to allow enough time for delivery. Also, postage and handling fees.. surely they can deliver for free so I don’t have to pay for that, right? 😉 haha Oh and again – for the local options, if you could not charge me for the time/fuel for that, that would be grrrreeeeaaat (if you haven’t seen Office Space, I highly recommend you do lol). Again – these are the kinds of costs I don’t pass onto my customers, so I cannot afford to pay you for that.

So – have you got your price?

I came to $92.47. How does yours compare?

Achieving Rose Gold

So I have had a few tries at achieving Rose Gold painting onto fondant – and could never quite achieve the finish I was going for. It was actually driving me crazy. Until over the weekend I managed to achieve this:

To me, this resonated the closest to Rose Gold that I have been trying to achieve all this time. The metallic sheen typical of a Rose Gold, and the pink tone.

Prior to this attempt, I had tried the Rolkem Special Rose Gold luster dust mixed with alcohol to form a paint. While I loved the metallic sheen, I found the resulting colour was more bronze than I was expecting. It’s definitely still a form of Rose Gold, but it wasn’t what the Rose Gold I was looking for.

After reading another cakemaker’s suggestion to try the Rolkem Super Champagne luster dust, I did so. While I loved the colour with the pink undertone – I felt it missed the metallic sheen you would expect to find with a gold.

On this attempt, I did a 50/50 mix of the two different Rolkem dusts, and mixed with alcohol to form a paint, and Bam!, I feel like I’ve finally struck gold. *Ahem* I mean, rose gold 😉

Classes with Anita

Exciting news happens so often and I usually forget to blog about it (not intentional – just time-poor 🙁 ). But I must write about this one – I will be teaching classes at the new and upcoming cake decorating supply shop in Tuggeranong – Across The Board Cake Decorating Supplies!

The current line-up includes the following courses:

  • 30 June 2018 @ 10am – Unicorn cake
  • 8 September @ 10am – Mermaid drip cake
  • 29 September @ 10am – Semi-naked cake with gumpaste succulents

If you’re interested in enrolling into one of the classes and learning some of the techniques I use in creating cakes, you can book via the Classes page on the website.

Custom coloured cachous (sugar pearls)

Ever had a cake that you wanted a very specific colour for cachous/sugar pearls and couldn’t find it? I’ve just landed in that very situation (and I really wouldn’t have thought purple was a tricky one to get, but there you go).

So in that situation – what do you do? I looked online for some ideas.. airbrush them, shake them in luster dust, paint them.. so many options really. But being short on time (as most people are these days) I wanted something quick n easy.

I got a small container, dumped in regular white cachous, put in a quarter teaspoon or so of purple luster dust and gave it a shake. Opened the lid and was disappointed at what I was looking at.. very dull purple. I was hoping for something a tad more vibrant.

And that’s when it hit me, just like with gold, you add alcohol/spirit to make it a paint and suddenly it coats whatever you’re painting really well. So in that spirit, I added a teeny amount of alcohol and gave it another shake. Voila! The colour became vibrant and there was no doubt that the sugar pearls were now purple in colour ^_^

I spread them out onto some baking paper and allowed to dry. Very happy with the results and look forward to using them for this weekend’s cake 🙂

Purple coloured cachous

Purple coloured cachous