Tuesday, 29 July 2014

And I said "What about cake at Tiffany's?"

The first time a box with the words Tiffany & Co. came into contact with my hands was when I was given a silver bangle from my father in law for one of my birthdays (I think it was a birthday, but it could have been Christmas) in the early years of marriage... Before he realised that I was crazy.

At that stage, Tiffany & Co. boxes weren't edible.

Over the weekend, I got to make my very first edible Tiffany & Co box! Having some practice a couple of weeks ago for my friend's 40th, I had made a 'stack' of 'presents' <cough-cakes-cough> to make sure this box could look its best.

A while ago, while not even shopping for this cake yet, I came across food colourings in Spotlight, a Purple, which I needed for the 'stack' I just mentioned, and one 'Teal', which I knew I needed for this Tiffany & Co. box! As I was blending it into the fondant, I did use a touch of Emerald Green colour as well, but I was so happy with the colour it turned out to be :)

The technique I found the easiest for this style of cake, was to cover the sides first, either individually or having the fondant pieces 'meet' underneath where a 'ribbon' would later sit. In the making of it, though, I had totally forgotten that there was going to be this ribbon (I had thought only about the bow to sit on top), so I'd joined the pieces at the edge corners, and later face-palmed myself for not remembering.

The top (or... 'lid' as it may also be knows as) was fairly simple to do - once the fondant is rolled and placed on the cake, the overhanging sides are trimmed down, squared off, pinched together at the corners, and then glued into place with sugar glue :)

The bow I had made in advance, and wrapped around two glad wrap rolls overnight to set. Sadly, a bit of the fondant had stuck to the roll - so what was originally going to be the front of the bow, was adjusted to become the back. I added the ribbon around the cake,  ribbon 'hanging' from the bow, and glued the bow neatly into place.

 A bit of a tidy up later, and the cake looks like this:

It was now time for the finer details - the writing. Because otherwise it just looks like a normal box, and not a crazily expensive box!

As requested, the final touch was having matching hearts and stars sticking out of the bow, some of which had 'curly' wires. I really liked this addition to the cake!

And then it was finished! A Tiffany & Co. edible jewellery present box cake thing, that didn't cost nearly as much as a bangle a sixteenth of it's size!

Happy birthday Amelia!! :)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

School supplies!

The start of a new school year is often filled with excitement, nervousness, and change. There's "Back to School" sales, purchases of new shoes, textbooks, uniform, socks, hair clips, and excessive amounts of stationary...

The very first day usually involves a well presented uniform, neat and tidy hair styles, and white as white socks. Perhaps there's loving notes in lunchboxes, carefully arranged food and snacking items, and a new drink bottle with a freshly written name label.

Probably not by the first day of Term 3. For me, there's still excitement, but it's not regarding a new stage of life, or about kids growing up and being just that extra little bit proud of them... It's about the prospect of me gaining control over a routine again!

Saying that, this morning was not an organised occasion. Though everyone was awake with plenty of time to get ready, we still managed to leave the house just in time to get to school by the bell. See, I was too busy decorating biscuits to make (or supervise the making of) lunches, so I don't even know what Ben and Tamara had to eat today - hopefully they didn't just pack chips.

Because last night, I thought that it would be a nice idea to bring some biscuits in to school, for the kids to share with their classmates. But since I wasn't organised enough, and thought of it too late - the kids were on their own in the 'getting ready for school again' caper, while I focussed on my task... Not that they were ready in time, either.

But it was worth it, because most people that I know like stationary. So, inspired by constantly-needing-to-be-sharpened lead pencils, I made pencil biscuits!

And, with the happiness that comes with two less children for the day, I wanted to feel a bit fancy! So I added a ribbon (and rubber bands to keep the glad wrap down, 'cos that's how I roll).

I call them "school supplies"... Essential school supplies :)

Happy first day back at school!!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Ombre, ombre, ombre!

Ombre, n.
A fast moving card game popular in Europe in the 17th & 18th centuries, played by three people, with 40 cards.

Ombré, adj.
Having tones of colour that shade into each other, graduating from light to dark.

And who says that accents don't change anything!? ;)

If you remember a little while ago (well, okay, June last year), I was given 'creative freedom' to make a cake whichever way I pleased, with the only requirement that it needed to be purple. To see/read about it, click here.

Jessica, who I'd made said purple cake for, has just had another birthday this year! And, I was asked if I could do the same thing for her cake: So long as there was purple in it, I was given creative freedom to make whatever style cake I wanted, perhaps even use one of the designs I'd been storing in mind for an opportunity like this.

Sometimes, this makes it harder, because there's seriously so many designs I want to try, and so many new ideas that I suddenly think of as soon as I start planning! Even as I was decorating the cake, my overall design for it kept changing! But that's the fun of making and creating... Except when you change your mind at 11pm, of course.

Realising that I didn't really get a good chance to make a proper ombré style icing for the farewell cake last week, I had at least decided that I would like to practice ombré stuff. Proper ombré. And, of course, purple ombré.

I will admit that it was certainly a great opportunity to learn new skills and work on different techniques. I'd recently watched a tutorial (randomly) on fondant ruffles. Last time I had wanted to try ruffles on a cake, I opted for the buttercream version instead - because it looked easier. But what better time than now to practice!

Without wanting to buy new tools, I was so pleased when I stifled through my baking cupboard and supplies, and found a ruffle making tool!

I rolled out strips of fondant, using the darkest purple first, and began 'ruffling'. One by one, I glued them onto the cake. Ruffle after ruffle, shade after shade, the ruffles began to look, well, ruffly!

The top ruffle was interesting to make. I'd cut out a circle that was about an inch bigger than the size of the cake, and ruffled the edges before it went onto the cake. It was a tad tricky making sure it was in the middle of the cake, and I think next time I will line it up on the cake first, and then lift up the edges to put some sugar glue underneath to hold it in place.

Because this cake was bigger than last year's purple cake, I was placing a second tier on top. To make sure that the whole thing didn't collapse on itself, or sink into the middle, I made two separate cakes, and the top tier was placed onto cake pop sticks, like this:

For the top tier, using the same shades of purple I did for the ruffles, I cut out a few different sizes of butterflies (the final idea that I thought of at 11pm when I was about to go to bed)! I'd draped them over the edges of a tissue box to set with their wings 'up'.

The next morning, one butterfly and shade at a time, I glued the butterflies onto the cake, so they would curl around and up the cake:

I used less butterflies than I thought I would, so decided to make an identical flutter of butterflies on the opposite side of the cake. Why not, right?

With various bottles of food colouring and gel holding the butterflies in place while the glue dried, I was so glad when it was finally ready to place onto the ruffled bottom tier!

Here's what it looked like from each side:

And, why not a view from the top, too!

One of my favourite things about making this cake, was seeing the amazed and delighted expression on the birthday girl's mum when she came to pick it up. It's certainly quite different to last year's purple cake, and she guaranteed that the birthday girl would absolutely love it.

And lastly, here's a little something that may not
have been obvious about this cake:

It was ombré on the inside, too!

Happy birthday Jessica!! :)

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A history of violence...

Today, as I sit alone at home trying my best to find anything to do except housework, I stumbled across the enrolment form for my youngest to start school next year.

I decided that now would be a great time to fill that out - while it's quiet, and I can neatly fit my tiny letters into the little boxes because no-one is about to pounce on me, poke me, or demand I make them food.

It was all going fine until I came to this question:

"Does your child have a history of violent behaviour?"

I paused, not knowing exactly how honest I should be.

Do I tell them that he has been known to practice his ninja skills by sneaking up on his brother and sister, and punching them when they're not looking?

Do I tell them that he imitates Hulk, including body stance and grunting, and then slams his whole body onto his bed and bashes his Hulk-like fists against the pillow, when he's told it's time to turn off the Xbox?

Do I tell them that he used to leave tiny bite marks embedded into the arms, legs, backs, and shoulders of his older siblings when they were in the middle of playing with LEGO?

Do I tell them that he launches himself off furniture with reckless abandon and without care who/what's in his way, often leading to blood splatter all over the floor and walls?

Do I tell them that he sometimes uses people as trampolines?

Part of me wonders if this counts as 'a history of violence' or, if it simply a young boy still working out life, social etiquette, and the rules for communication. He is only 4, after all.

After some hesitation, I somehow ended up ticking the "No" box... Because, seriously, who wants to explain why his current favourite 'hero' is actually the super-aggressive bad guy? And in reality, I need them to be willing to accept him into school next year, or I will go mental.

In the meantime, perhaps we can limit the amount of violent cartoons and movies he watches...

Which appears to be everything!