Sugarcraft chat

(633 Posts)
wem Tue 24-Apr-12 19:34:19

I started a thread for cake people a while back but it got a bit lost in Chat so thought I'd try to tempt people into our lovely new baking topic.

Hopefully I'll see some of the posters from the chat thread, but for any new people popping in, introductions: I'm wem, I'm a recent cake obsessive and have been bothering mumsnetters about it a fair bit as I'm starting up cake decorating business. I don't have anywhere near the experience or knowledge of some of the posters in here, but I do have an excessive willingness to chat about cake smile

Let's try this again, eh?

Fillybuster Tue 24-Apr-12 19:36:44

<marks place>

I'm not very good at quiches...but always happy to lurk on a cake thread.

wem Tue 24-Apr-12 19:41:47

Hello fillybuster, I'm not very good at quiches either, unless I start them, in which case I talk incessantly at people until they decide to leave me in my corner muttering about cake grin

oh i thought this was about how to make a sugarcraft quiche blush

wem Tue 24-Apr-12 19:51:21

I'm beginning to regret using the word quiche...

Wem - Helloooooo.

I am working on a Jubilee cake - 2 tiers bottom tier I am going to do white with shadow cutouts of marching guardsmen and/or corgis. Top layer is going to be bunting. Am going to attempt a pasitillage crown for the top. BUT before that I have a 2 tier wedding cake to make with rose spray on the top!

debka Tue 24-Apr-12 20:36:00

Can I join?

I make cakes for friends and family, not all the time but a few times a month.

Next few projects are a yellow/white baby shower coffee cake, a 40th birthday cake and a carrot cake, which I'm struggling to decide how to decorate. Any suggestions very welcome!

blueberry Jubilee cake sounds amazing smile

wem those cakes on your profile are gorgeous, how did you do those daffodils shock

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 07:55:00

Hi blueberry, will you use fresh roses or sugar ones? I want to try a big flouncy wedding cake with loads of cascading sugar roses, but that's a lot of work just for fun. Good practice though.

debka, I'll have a think about the carrot cake, not getting beyond mini carrots and rabbits at the moment! Is it for a particular occasion? I've got an 80th birthday and a 40th birthday coming up. The 80th will be fairly simple, but the 40th should be fun, I keep having to rein in my ideas because they usually involve buying one more essential tool grin

For the daffodils I followed this tutorial, and put coloured pastillage through a sugar gun for the stems, then attached with more flower paste, though I think I'll try with pastillage next time I do them as after a while the heads started dropping off sad

VikingVagine Wed 25-Apr-12 08:28:40

<waves at wem >

Loving the new cakes, is the vase of daffodils a cake too???

MumbleMumm Wed 25-Apr-12 08:32:49

I'm confused by 'quiche'? I'm also marking my place as I want to get into cakes/sugarcraft and am reading as much as I can....

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 08:36:49

Hello Viking, yes, the bottom two thirds of the vase is cake, with a pastillage section on top. It was a trial run for a wedding cake where the vase will sit on a couple of square tiers.

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 08:40:14

Oh god, perhaps I should ask MNHQ to change to title! 'Quiche' is a MN thing, it sort of means clique, but to me seems much friendlier than that smile

VikingVagine Wed 25-Apr-12 08:46:52

I am in awe! I bought the book you used for the stencilled cake but it is far too complicated for me! Maybe I'll have time to have a go during the summer holidays! Bupcakes wants to make her DC a cake for Sunday, maybe she could benefit from your experience? There's a thread about it.

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 08:54:29

I saw Bupcakes' thread, but it looked like she was in good hands. And I'm really such a novice, I'm finding stuff out as I go along, I don't have the knowledge base there to actually give advice and stuff!

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 08:56:56

I've now seen your post on her thread and am very blush blush and can't possibly post now! Ack!

VikingVagine Wed 25-Apr-12 10:02:26

Yes yes, of course you can!! Because you're a novice you can help her even more IMO! didn't mean to embarrass you, sorry grin !


Wem, I did a cascading sugar rose cake recently for a wedding it was LOTS of work but was fun. The bride wanted it very simple and wouldn't let me trace her lace design onto the middle tier of the cake. hee is a pic what you can't see are the 3 enormous full roses on the top which were amazing! The next wedding cake is sugar flowers, again simple but I need the spray making practice!

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 10:19:36

Aaaah, blueberry, did you start on the last thread with a different name? I recognise some of the beautiful cakes on your facebook page. Those blue roses are exactly what I want to do. How do you attach them?

Wem , I think I did. I made the made them all on wired cellbuds, it made them easier to store standing up, then cut the wires off and attached them with royal icing. The top 3 roses I florist taped and put in a flower pick. I guess you could keep the wires and use tiny flower picks to hold the wires in place.

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 13:33:47

Ooh, MNHQ have changed the title, thank you! thanks Hopefully there'll be a little less confusion around smile

Thanks blueberry, I wondered if they'd be too heavy to attach with royal icing and whether you'd need something like flower picks.

Tabbykat Wed 25-Apr-12 13:49:49

Can I join? Have just started up my own cake baking business - busy getting website and FB page all ready.

Could do with a few tips as well - am doing a birthday cake for Sunday for a friend's mum - design was all sorted, very springy, lemon cake with lots of flowers, butterflies etc. She now wants it to be for her brother as well so has asked for it to be a bit more masculine confused Any ideas? About the best I can come up with so far is to add a few toadstools, ladybirds and bees maybe, but it still won't be very butch....

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 13:57:21

Hello Tabbykat, and welcome smile You sound like you're at the same stage as me with business etc. My friend is doing a website for me and I keep wanting to chase him up, but it's a favour so I don't feel I can...

For the cake, maybe you need some slugs and snails (and puppy dog tails?!) in amongst the flowers smile. How about a gnome or something?

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 14:01:30

Or, a shed grin does he have any hobbies that could be incorporated?

Tabbykat Wed 25-Apr-12 14:09:43

Hi Wem, hmm - he's 33 so no hobbies that sit well with a cake for a 65 year old lady's birthday!

The snail is a great idea - thought I would fondant the board green to look like grass and then add insects on there, so the top of the cake will still be mostly flowers & butterflies and still look pretty, if you see what I mean. Will all be a bit last minute as they want a buttercream finish rather than fondant so can't decorate too early or it'll on the edge, here!

Wem - I used polystyrene celbuds which are much lighter than the traditional gumpaste centre so the royal icing held them on quite well.

Tabby - Could you do it a bit more forest floor ish, with logs, leaves and little primroses, toadstools, sprigs of grass etc. poking out the earth top?

SheepsEyes Wed 25-Apr-12 17:57:01

Oooh. I do a bit of baking- but its (up to now) been just 'cake' with/without icing.

Am interested in getting into decorating next.

My DS is 5 in a couple of weeks and I want to make 2 cakes- I'm trying to work out how to make a monster themed cake (not buttercream- got to be divvied up and wrapped for party bags)- going to try and going to copy this for my sealife cake.

Monster ideas anyone?

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 18:48:42

SheepsEyes I love this one. No idea how she's done all that hair but it might be mentioned in the comments.

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 18:54:27

Oh I've just looked and it's buttercream. There are loads more if you google monster cake though smile

SheepsEyes Wed 25-Apr-12 20:08:02

Yes, I found that one too wem! Have been googling like mad but nothing that makes me want to make it yet!

Love the cake pop eyes but I think you need a special baking thing for them, and I must not spend money!

Sheeps - eyes can be made like that with orange, white and black fondant icing. this is one of my favourite monser cakes!

SheepsEyes Wed 25-Apr-12 20:42:01

blueberry- that is PERFECT. THANK YOU!

Am going to attempt it next week, and will post pics! Thanks again!

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 20:51:35

I almost linked to that one before I found the orange furry one smile

SheepsEyes Wed 25-Apr-12 20:56:37

I love the orange furry one too- but imagine the sticky mess when they shove it into napkins...eww...

I have never done this before- how do I make a semi-sphere/half-globe (unsure of correct cake terminology> shape?

Sheep - you can make it in a pudding bowl or a stainless steel mixing bowl like this, which is what I do (I got mine from the local pound shop). It makes a rounder cake then you can shape to top round with buttercream (which you need to stick the fondant on with)

SheepsEyes Wed 25-Apr-12 21:04:13

Ha! Pound shop tomorrow then. Great. Did you slice and fill it with jam or just leave it plain? And will Vict sponge be ok, or do I need to consider Madeira? (never made that yet).

Sheepseyes I can't do links on my phone but I have done a monster cake - will post link later.

I would make a victoria sponge and add 2 extra oz of plain flour, bake it on a low temp (150 deg) for a longer time which will give a flatter top so you don't waste too much trimming it flat to lie on your board. Kids normally only eat the icing so I would leave it whole, if you ant to make it a bit more moist then you can brush the whole cake with a sugar syrup (100ml water to 100g caster sugar, boil for 5 mins then let cool) a couple of times before you buttercream and fondant it. Once you have the butter cream on if you freeze the cake for an hour then fondant ice it you won't lose the shape by squishing it when rubbing the fondant on.

SheepsEyes Wed 25-Apr-12 21:15:51

You star, blueberry. Right. Going to make trial cake like that at weekend and see how it goes.

Also I need to get ready rolled green stuff. Already have green edible glitter so my monster can be sparkly!

Lucdkily we have a great sugarcraft shop at our local high street. stealth- that would be great- thank you! Am really looking forward to making the cakes...

ettiketti Wed 25-Apr-12 21:18:43

Can I timidly join please? I've been asked to make a close relatives chocolate wedding cake. I've a few ideas, she has given me free rein other than it has to be chocolate. I'll need LOTS of help and its not even til October so feel free to tell me to butt out grin

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 21:25:36

Hi ettiketti, I've been wittering on about a wedding cake I'm doing in August since about February smile

What sort of thing were you thinking? I've done one chocolate wedding-y cake, on my profile. It's from a book I love, but it's fairly understated, so it depends on what you think your relative will like?

Welcome Etti smile I hope you find a whole heap of knowledge here.

SheepsEyes Wed 25-Apr-12 21:27:19

Hello Etti- are you doing Mary Berrys one? shock I would quite frankly be terrified of making a wedding cake- the pressure! I hope you think of a plan!

ettiketti Wed 25-Apr-12 21:34:07

Thanks for lovely welcome! I deliberated over whether or not to do it for weeks as ive just started a new full time job but.....

I'm contemplating Mary Berry's but I think I'm going to do a few testers, no shortage of willing tasters!!

I'm hoping to steer away from brown and cover in a vintagey pale green? Guessing a crumb coat then second coat of buttercream will enable me to do that....going for a vintage theme, have ordered a cheap pearl cutter from eBay to play with, but really want some brooches too as she's having some in her bouquet and table decorations..I'd love a teacup on top, as these are part of the table theme too but that may be beyond me..... any form of bride and groom are banned, much to my DSs disappointment!

Off to check out your profile now wem smile

ettiketti Wed 25-Apr-12 21:36:11

grin wem!!!! I'm gobsmacked, you are so talented!! I'm going to hide in a hole and pretend you never saw me grin

wem Wed 25-Apr-12 21:44:25

Ha! grin that's the last thing I want! But thank you for the sentiment, I think? smile

The green sounds lovely, and the brooches and pearls. Very classy. smile

Etti - I love the sounds of the colour scheme you are going for. I always do 2 layers of fondant on my wedding cakes if the bride doesn't want marzipan ( yes I even offer marzipan on sponge cakes). I makes a huge difference to the finish and if you use vanilla buttercream it will should cover any chocolateyness showing through. If you are going for brooches look in haberdashery shops cake shops seem to add a huge mark up on them. As for the cup and saucer I will up load a pic of one I made for cake (totally on the spur of the moment having never done it before)- using gumpaste and a dariole mould to make the cup shape and one of DD's plastic tea set plates to for the saucer! My attempts have improved hugely since then so you can make a few and see how you feel.

monster cake, and mini monsters

Wem (and others) - I wanted to show you this one as well - thanks for the input grin

SheepsEyes Wed 25-Apr-12 22:12:02

Woo- stealth- I'm gobsmacked. Thats fab. I'm amazed how many talented people there are on here!

How did you make the antennae (sp)?

SheepsEyes Wed 25-Apr-12 22:13:14

Oh wow, I love the sewing basket too! I want that! I can just imagine the catastrophe if DP tried to make it...grin

Stealth - I just peeked through your piccies and you have pictures of the cheetahs just down the road from where I am from - made me all sad and homesick!

Wow that looks amazing Stealth - I remember the planning for that (under another name at the time smile )

anttenae (sp?) are made from gumpaste (just needs a few days to dry hard). The monster was straight out of a book - I just can't remember which one hmm. I will try and look in the morning - too tired to think/move right now after 4:30am start.

ettiketti Thu 26-Apr-12 07:02:14

Ooh blueberry your cakes a fabulous, the cup is brilliant!! I have no idea what gum paste is .... lots to learn here!!

stealth your cakes are so good, the sewing basket is amazing!!

Fillybuster Thu 26-Apr-12 11:55:03

<out of depth on this quiche but loving being impressed by everyone's skills>

Quick hijack (sorry!) - Stealth : I finally got pics of the Fairy Princess cake up on my profile. thanks again for all your help - I think I luff you smile

<smooches Stealth>

wem Thu 26-Apr-12 12:13:15

stealth, the sewing basket is great! slightly disappointed not to see a patchwork toilet though grin

wem Thu 26-Apr-12 12:16:04

Filly - no such thing as a hijack on a chat thread smile. The fairy princess is beautiful. I love the picture at the party, it looks like she doesn't want to cut it!

Fillybuster Thu 26-Apr-12 12:34:44

Thanks Wem smile Stealth was my guru and my rock through that cake (wasn't helped by selling our house 2 weeks before and being camped out at my dps during its construction!)

sweetkitty Thu 26-Apr-12 12:51:39

Hi can I join, I'm just starting out as well. I've been doing cupcakes for a while and did some for our toddlers group recently, from that 3 people have asked me to make them some.

I'm also starting to do more sugarcraft, just starting flowers if I ever get time.

Lisatheonewhoeatsdrytoast Thu 26-Apr-12 13:01:09

can i join in too??

I have recently started baking alot, i find it de-stresses me, and helps me manage some disabling conditions, therefore makes me happy grin

I have made some beauties, including owls, wedding cakes and normal birthday cakes and boobs [hmmm]

I bake every week, at least once and for birthdays/occasions etc!

I have been on a couple of professional corses, including a Paul Bradford one smile

At the moment i'm working on a two tier 80th cake for my grandmother, with ribbons and a sparkly brooch on it smile

Hi Lisa smile I have recently done 3 dozen boob cupcakes for a breast cancer survivor to take in to the hospital at her final appointment. They went down a storm!

Fairy princess cake looks lovely, filly - and DD looks so impressed (as she should be, that Mummy still managed to produce fab cake in the middle of a house move - we moved on my 6th birthday and I didn't get a cake at all, let alone a princess one [sulk]). I should probably warn sheepseyes that DS howled at the thought of anyone attacking his monster with a knife, come to think of it (and was pretty protective of last year's baby dragon too) hmm

If the thread had been around when I was actually doing that basket, I would have been on here howling as to why none of you told me quite what a complete bastard challenge belgian chocolate sugarpaste was to work with. The basketwork ended up crap not very good and the covering far too thick because I couldn't keep the sodding stuff within the 2 degree temperature range in which is it neither rock solid nor liquid. Any tips much appreciated because I have lots left...

wem - I ended up ditching the DIY tools because of issues of both time and scale (on Thursday night when event was on Saturday I only had empty cotton reels and some needles!), and once I had done the quilted board I realised that I was never going to be happy with a 'draped' quilt, so the basket got filled with bits of fabric instead.

DH did almost get throttled for scrumpling up and binning the pins when they were drying on a sheet of baking parchment grin

sweetkitty Thu 26-Apr-12 15:49:26

I would love to do a course but they are all too far away and I have 4DCs under 8 and no childcare (apart from DP who works long hours) so getting time to bake is hard.

I do an evening course at a local college which is run termly and you can progress up the levels of you want. I have recently found a local sugarcraft shop that does courses on Saturdays and they are not too expensive, so I might sign up for a few specific courses.

envy at courses.

I have the same issue as sweetkitty - or a variation of it. Working full time and unpredictably, and so is DH, so I can't sign up for anything which assumes I will be able to go (which means I am not working, and neither is DH (so he can look after DC)) on the same evening each week. I would make 2 lessons a term sad

sweetkitty Thu 26-Apr-12 19:27:04

Or local college used to do courses but stopped them due to the cutbacks. I've bought that Cake Decorating Series you know the fortnightly magazines, maybe I've day I'll get the chance to do something out of them.

I have considered online courses - has anyone ever tried one (I mean paid ones with virtual classrooms etc)

Mamma40 Sat 28-Apr-12 07:55:57

Hi can I join you all please, I'm hoping to make my ds2s christening cake and then my mums 50th birthday cake.
Is it best to use a denser cake for icing and decorating?

Stealth - I never knew online courses existed, how do they get past the 'can you just look at this and squidge it so it looks like your demo one?' part of the lesson? (or is it only me who needs that part? grin )

Welcome Mamma - Madeira cake is often best for icing and decorating.

I don't know - I was looking at these ones but have not been brave enough to try one yet..

wem Sat 28-Apr-12 19:14:54

Stealth - do you get the cake central newsletter? I've just had an email with a 50% off offer on that course. They look incredible don't they?

Wem - yes, that, combined with talk of courses, was what reminded me. With
50% off they are not expensive, but I am struggling to see how I would find time to do it properly.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Sun 29-Apr-12 22:25:42

grin recognise one of your cakes blueberry!

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Sun 29-Apr-12 22:27:10
Fillybuster Mon 30-Apr-12 10:58:11

Wow! <swoons>

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 30-Apr-12 13:40:11

thank God you posted Filly! I thought I had killed the thread.. I always love seeing other peoples cakes.

I am loving your Pirate ship (well all of them really) bet that was a total hit smile

Never - I made that from a picture given to me by a client. Is it one of yours? blush

I have spent my morning making great big tea roses and jasmine flowers for a bouquet display.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 30-Apr-12 16:24:09

no need to be blush I am delighted grin

wem Tue 01-May-12 17:17:45

How brilliant, to see your design recreated smile

I am in need, sugarcrafters - I'd like to use this design on a cake. Any ideas how to do it? I'd love to invest in a stencil tool and make a stencil of it, but that's not very realistic on my budget.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Tue 01-May-12 17:51:19

I would print it out in the size that I want and then prick it onto a cake and royal icing pipe it.

I thik it is a lovely design smile

I was told recently by Eddie Spence (an amazing royal icing man) that a little pencil never killed anyone. I would trace it onto the cake very gently, it will give you much clearer lines to follow.

VikingVagine Tue 01-May-12 20:01:21

a little pencil never killed anyone

Well, not since they replaced the lead with graphite anyway! grin

Hi all, is there room for another one? I've only made a few cakes so far but really loving it. Sadly my modelling skills are zero which is a bit limiting, but I can cut out and stick on grin

This weekend I'll be icing my first two tier cake for my friend's 40th. I'll be trying to copy this star cake. My last one was also an attempt at that but made a few errors and wasn't that happy with it. Recipient was overjoyed anyway smile This time I know where I went wrong so I'm hoping for a much better result.

wem Thu 03-May-12 16:11:10

Thanks for the ideas on the design, in my fickle way I've thought of something else I'd like to do instead on a cycling theme. I'll probably bother you about that when I get stuck on it too.

Welcome AngelDelight, good luck for the weekend, hope it goes well!

wem Thu 03-May-12 16:59:57

oh, another question, not about bikes - anyone ever used cocoa butter to paint onto cakes? Mich Turner uses it in one of her books, it looks like it might hold colour better than using spirits. I'm not sure where to buy it from. I've asked in a cake shop and a health food store but neither have it. I've googled but the ones I've found it's not clear that it's ok to use in food, it looks more cosmetic/beauty. If it's pure cocoa butter it should be edible right?

I am here to quietly rant! I made an octonauts cake for a little boy in March and have found his mum has entered it into an Octonauts cake comp somewhere online as her own, she has claimed it all her own work, she has also since de-friended me on FB (our kids went to school together before we moved DD to a local school) So I can't see her bragging about the cake she made!

Wem - never used cocoa butter or seen it used on cakes.

wem Thu 03-May-12 20:38:15

blueberry that's awful! I can't believe someone would do that! shock

midori1999 Fri 04-May-12 01:36:00

I've been lurking since I found this thread, but haven't posted until now.

Wem, Squires Kitchen/Shop sell cocoa butter.

wem Fri 04-May-12 07:11:43

Thanks midori, that's great smile Now if I can just remember which project I wanted it for...

Cake monster made! Picture on profile- thats my first go at sugarcraft!

Thanks whoever said stick decorations on with vodka, brilliant idea!

wem Fri 04-May-12 13:49:19

Hey, that's brilliant! It's worked really well smile When's the party?

Tommorow! How do I keep it fresh till then- tin foil loosely over it?

wem Fri 04-May-12 13:57:46

Tinfoil would be fine. You don't want anything airtight as it makes the sugarpaste too soft. I'd say it was fine as is, but it depends whether it needs protecting from other kitchen usages, or prying eyes!

mistlethrush Fri 04-May-12 14:10:33

Wem, I think I promised to tell you what the book was I've been using for ds's birthday cakes. Its by Debbie Brown: "50 easy party cakes"

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Fri 04-May-12 14:22:55

ooh I love octonauts cakes fancy sharing the picture of your award winning cake... aside from her claimin it is hers Well done you must be a great cake to win an award!!

blueberry that's awful sad Do you know who's running the competition? Could you contact them and notify them that it's not this woman's work?

Lord Cake monster is brilliant!

I've been using edible glue, which works really well.

One problem I have which is stopping my cakes from looking more professional is that I find it really hard to get the fondant to look smooth. I'm ok with the layer over the cake itself as I have a smoother tool thingy (can you tell I'm a novice yet wink) It's the fondant I'm using for e.g. cutting out letters/stars etc. that I'm finding hard. Any tips? Maybe I'm not massaging it enough before I roll it out? In case it's relevant, I cheat and buy ready made fondant off the 'web.

Have added some pics to my profile now. The problem I'm referring to is most obvious in the star cake. The letters of the name appear a bit... cracked... I guess that's a good description. I've bought a non stick board in case it's rolling out with icing sugar that's causing the problem.

Angel - it will be the icing sugar causing the problem, use a little trex on the surface you want to roll out onto and it will stop the fondant sticking. You only need a very thin layer.

Con't find the comp online apparently it was a village one. I can't be bothered to complain but have tagged my company name in her pics of the cake on the Octonauts FB page. Never I think it is on my profile.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Fri 04-May-12 18:22:46

grin so it is! well done you..
Angel I find that mexican modelling or flowerpaste work best for cutting out as you can get it really thin and smooth without it cracking.
And I echo what BlueBerry has said trex is the cakedecoraters friend!!

Thanks for the recommendations. Will get googling and stock up!

wem Sun 06-May-12 12:36:47

Thanks mistlethrush, I've seen other Debbie Brown books and they were good, so I'll have a look out for that one smile

mistlethrush Sun 06-May-12 19:00:52

If you want to have a look at it, let me know.

<<tap, tap, tap>> anyone there?

I have been making tiger lilies for a cake this week and now have to make 15 burgundy roses for a cake next week. I am going to have a play with some cake dummies and decorate them for website piccies. I rather fancy attempting something similar to this Peggy Porshen cake

wem Tue 15-May-12 18:06:32

Hello blueberry, that Peggy Porschen cake is lovely. I'm in the calm before the storm. I've had nothing to do for ages then suddenly I have five cakes within three weeks coming up. I've started on some flowers and a ribbon for a couple of them and I might start on some pastillage panels for another soon. I keep trying to plan out the timings sensibly and not start on the most exciting ones first.

midori1999 Wed 16-May-12 12:41:25

That cake is lovely blueberry! I do like PP cakes, have you seen her 'Floral Avalanche'? (guessing you probably have) it's beautiful, but all those flowers! shock

Wem, how's the cake business going? Did they ever come and inspect your kitchen? Our EH told me it might take a while after registering to actually get inspected. I am considering getting registered, but it seems such a huge step, I'm not sure why. I am making quite a few cakes though (between 6 and 15 a month) just by word of mouth and although I know numbers will go down when I charge 'properly' (I just ask for a contribution towards ingredients etc now) I feel in a way that I might as well make it a business.

I did a Twighlight cake for someone yesterday, loved making it! (there are a few others if you scrool right, if you can even do that?!)

wem Wed 16-May-12 13:09:56

Hi midori, the business hasn't really got off the ground yet, mainly because the 'friend' who is supposed to be doing my website keeps messing me around. Of the five cakes I've got soon, three are gifts. Two are properly commissioned though, so I'm excited about that. I found it hard to work out what to charge, but all the advice I've seen says not to undercut yourself just because you're starting out, as it's hard to then put them up to a reasonable amount as people have formed ideas about how much you're worth almost. So, I'm striking out and trying to be confident in my product grin and an [eek]

I registered back in January. They haven't come to inspect me yet, they said they don't within the first six months, so I guess it could be coming up soon. I've got the Starting a Cake Decorating Business from Home book, but so far I've been a bit scared by the business speak. Got to get down to it and do some proper homework soon though.

The twilight cake is great, very atmospheric, if that's the right word for a cake! It wouldn't let me see any others though.

I can't wait to get these cakes done to have more pictures to show everyone. I have a feeling everyone in RL is getting slightly bored of relentless cake talk.

OhdearNigelosaurus Wed 23-May-12 20:35:50

Marking place on thread and a link to flikr

A bit about me - qualified with advanced City and Guilds in sugarcraft 18 years ago and worked as a pastry chef for 4 years which I left to go into management. I run my cake business Sweet Love Cakes from home and am getting busier and busier

nannycook Tue 29-May-12 21:39:23

Thanks midori 1999, took me a while to find my way around, but i'm getting there. after reading everyones comments i decided to put my cake on here for all to see, be honest ( but not too honest ) and tell me what you think.

Below is the link to the cake on my Daughter's Facebook page -!/photo.php?fbid=10150969686035979&set=a.10150832400130979.464141.503240978&type=1&theater

If it doesn't work, i'll try and paste it on the Mumsnet Facebook page now!

midori1999 Tue 29-May-12 22:08:13

Wem I get what you mean about everyone getting bored of cake talk! grin Good luck getting your business up and going. I keep thinking I should, but I'm too nervous. blush

ohdearnigel, I saw your photos on another thread i think, about the afternoon tea for a wedding? Lovely cakes!

nannycook, the link works, but I think the photo must be set to private.

wem Wed 30-May-12 11:54:01

Finally got my website up here I am. I'm really pleased with it and I really enjoy the process once someone shows an interest, but I'm so rubbish at putting myself forward. I thought I'd dip my toe in by giving a card to a mum at dd1's preschool and fluffed it completely! Got to get my patter down grin and make sure I've got answers for all possible questions.

nannycook Wed 30-May-12 22:12:12

midori 1999, thanks for reply, have now posted pic to mumsnet on facebook, if your not on facebook could you tell me to upload photo to this website. am such a novice, ha ha.

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Fri 01-Jun-12 20:56:56

Nice daffs, wem.

If you've got business cards you might think about approaching some hotels to put them in their wedding packs - this is always a good source of business

wem Sat 02-Jun-12 12:59:52

Thanks Nigel. I've got some cards but haven't started distributing them properly yet though. What kind of hotels would you target and how many cards would you give?

VikingVagine Sat 02-Jun-12 14:30:11

The website looks great wem (you have outed yourself though, shock !!). I actually wouldn't mind losing the T&L competition to you because I think you deserve it!

wem Sat 02-Jun-12 16:49:18

That's very lovely of you Viking smile. Now if you could just put that in writing to Tate & Lyle so they're fully informed of your position on the matter...

wem Sat 02-Jun-12 17:07:28

Oh, and everyone I know has been forcefed my cakes literally via facebook etc and they're all on my profile so anyone on here will have recognised me yonks ago. <waves>

I don't think I've put anything incriminating on here...

midori1999 Sun 03-Jun-12 11:17:56

Nannycook, I'm so sorry, but still can't see it and couldn't on the Mumsnet FB page either? You can put a picture on photobucket and then link to it on here, or you can put a photo on your profile and make it public so people can see it?

Wem, lovely website. Good luck with everything. Have you made your commisioned cakes yet? How did they go if so?

wem Sun 03-Jun-12 14:56:26

Not yet midori, next week, but first I've got my sister's 40th to do this week so all headspace has been on that - an art deco/bicycle theme smile

nannycook Sun 03-Jun-12 21:46:03

Midori, I'm on Facebook as Barbara Herbert, theres only one cake there so you cant miss it, hope this works

midori1999 Sun 03-Jun-12 21:58:58

Ha! Finally found it nannycook! It's fabulous, great modelling, I especially love the panda!

nannycook Sun 03-Jun-12 22:23:57

Aw thank you so much, means alot to me. just alittle bit about myself so you know who you replying to, i'm a qualified chef with city and guilds 706 1/2, i used to cook for weddings etc, then took a liking to cake decorating, attended a few sugarcraft classes about 20 yrs ago, just made family and friends cakes and one 2 tier wedding cake as a hobby really, then started full time work at an opticians where i still work, but it was my grandsons 3rd birthday last week and my daugther-in-law asked me if i wanted to make his cake, so i thought, yes i can do this, you dont forget do you? the tools i've bought in the last week phew! lots of money, i made a cake for a colleague just days ago and i'm making a cake for my daughters 30th on tues, i really fancy making the star cake featured above, something alittle younger and not too fussy, what do you think? am i up to it? . what i really want is my own website or i'd settle for a regular flow of cakes so i could go partime in work and do somethong that i actually enjoy for a change. nice to talk to you.

nannycook Mon 04-Jun-12 18:55:08

Hi to everyone on this thread, i guess i shouldav asked to join in, so sorry, had alot on my plate lately. I'm so impressed by everyone on here, theres so many talented people on here, am in awe of clever people.

wem Mon 04-Jun-12 21:03:06

Hi nannycook, don't worry, the more the merrier! I've just found your cake too, it's fab smile Great that you're getting back into it after that break, it's clearly all still there! I'm just starting out, it's incredible the amount of money you can spend on all the kit at first...

nannycook Mon 04-Jun-12 21:47:20

Hi Wem, so glad you like my cake, so did my grandson. i made that star cake today, the one featured above, hope no one minded, its in the garage at the mo away from prying eyes, my daughters 30 tomorrow but still behaves like a 3yr old. Abit of advice i could do with as far as writing on a cake, just think it lets me down, is there anything i should be doing to prepare for it? or whats the easiest way to do it? Would love some feedback on that if poss.

nannycook Wed 06-Jun-12 18:54:42

hi, can anyone give me some help? does the royal icing for brush embroidery need to be alot thinner than you would for writing on a cake? I had some left over from my daughters cake i made yesterday and i thought i'd have alittle play, i've got the right brushes as i bought a pack of Wilton brushes last week with a square tipped brush included, so what am i doing wrong?

wem Wed 06-Jun-12 19:28:29

I've used just normal royal icing for brush embroidery. What's happening when you try to do it?

nannycook Wed 06-Jun-12 19:46:16

Hello Wem, well i piped a few lines just to practise, then brushed the icing down, it barely smudged it which made me wonder if the icing was to stiff, i've only seen a video of if not actually been shown how to do it. So i'm not doing anything wrong then? maybe need abit more practise.

wem Wed 06-Jun-12 19:53:03

Was your brush wet? I found I had to keep wetting my brush quite a lot to keep the icing moving.

wem Wed 06-Jun-12 19:53:43

Also, pipe each section and brush it immediately, don't let it dry out.

nannycook Wed 06-Jun-12 20:18:24

Wem, your a star, didnt even know i had to wet the brush! duh, what am i like? thats fab advice, gonna have a go right this minute.

nannycook Wed 06-Jun-12 20:21:39

Also, i put my daughters cake on my profile, or its on, its ok i guess, apart from the writing.

nannycook Wed 06-Jun-12 21:53:41

Hi Wem or midori, well just had a go at brush embriodery, got a feeling i may have the wrong size nozzle, i watched a tutorial and she had a much bigger nozzle than i have, ( size 3 i think ) so i guess thats the next thing to buy!

Hi All, been busy up to my eyes in cake! I have a bit of a break now for 10 days or so.

Nannycook - I use a size 1.5/2 for brush embroidery, if you pipe it out slowly you can get a slightly thicker line. If you divide your image into segments then do them in an anti clockwise direction. The wetter your brush the further it will spread.

wem Thu 07-Jun-12 20:12:23

Hi blueberry, what's been keeping you busy? I've just finished my sister's 40th, I set myself up for sooo much work, but I'm happy with it. Got a busy week next week too, but at least I'm getting paid for those smile

Hi Wem, it was a wedding cake the I took as my very first booking last September, then a few Jubilee cakes and my DD2's birthday cake.

How did the 40th cake go, any pictures?

nannycook Thu 07-Jun-12 21:38:15

thank you blueberry, i'll give that a try soon, is it best to keep the lines straight, or wavy or doesn't it matter?

nannycook Thu 07-Jun-12 22:22:56

blueberry, i cannot believe the person showed your cake as her own, what a cheek, you must have been so upset about that?

wem Fri 08-Jun-12 17:03:07

Blueberry, how lovely to do your first booking. I guess you can look back and see how far you've come since you took it smile. Any pics? I've just put my sister's up on my profile.

I'll put mine up a bit later. I put a little ad in the local 'Market Place' magazine, delivered to all houses in our town and the neighbouring one on Wednesday and I have 2 enquiries today shock

Nanny - I was furious but have calmed down now - luckily for her as I bumped into her in town today!

nannycook Fri 08-Jun-12 19:02:20

blueberry, well she's got off lightly thats all i can say, i think i would have decked her. So blueberry, have you had cards printed promoting your cakes? then delivered them to local people etc etc?

Nanny, I started out making cakes for my DD's birthdays, christenings etc, then got asked to make a couple for family and friends. A friend them commissioned a wedding cake and a local charity a Mad Hatter's cake (on my profile), as more and more people ask DH persuaded me to give it a go as a business. I built a website, designed a couple of cards and finally a friend helped put a magazine ad together. It has taken since last August when the website went live to get to the point where I am getting reasonably regular orders.

Pics of new cakes on my profile too smile

nannycook Fri 08-Jun-12 22:32:31

blueberry, thats amazing, you must be very proud of yourself? obviously you've put alot of effort into this so you deserve the rewards! where do i find your profile? i,m very new to this and havn't got a clue where to look.

If you click on my name there will be a bit on the page saying blueberryboybait's photos. Click on that and you will see my pictures.

nannycook Fri 08-Jun-12 22:40:44

blueberry, they are just amazing, am so jealous! with abit of practise i may just get to the same standard,ha ha, not! so tell me, how do you get to show your photos? is it easy to do?

At the top of the page on the blue toolbar is a bit that says Mymumsnet, click on it and you will get a bit that say my photos, click and it will take you to a login page and to a bit where you can upload your photos. Very simple.

midori1999 Fri 08-Jun-12 22:53:57

Lovely cake Wem. I bet she was pleased!

I have just popped in really. I've got four cakes this weekend, plus 40 cupcakes and I wish I hadn't agreed to so many as I am going to actually be dead by Sunday.... grin

I stupidly also agreed to go out with a friend tomorrow night, so I will be baking cupcakes hungover Sunday morning.... blush

nannycook Sat 09-Jun-12 19:35:39

blueberry, sounds easy enough, shall give that a go soon.

wem Sat 09-Jun-12 19:45:30

Thanks midori, it went down pretty well smile Four cakes and forty cupcakes in one weekend?! Madness!

Wem - have just peeked at your pics - the cake is amazing!

Midori - That is alot of cake! I an just wondering if I should take on 2 wedding cakes for one weekend next year?

nannycook Sat 09-Jun-12 22:16:18

wem, i absolutely love your cake with the brush embriodery, so elegant, i really need to know how to do this so it looks like yours!

wem Sun 10-Jun-12 09:42:47

well, I can recommend doing that cake as practice - I wasn't too hot when I started but there was so much of it I was practically an expert by the time I'd finished! I'd really love to try the technique again, but haven't found the right cake for it yet.

How are you this morning midori? Baking through the hangover?

wem Sun 10-Jun-12 09:45:53

And thanks Blueberry, just had a look at your new ones, that heart wedding cake is gorgeous - are those sugar roses on top or wired ones? Either way, just beautiful smile

Wem, they are sugar roses and ruscus leaves.

midori1999 Sun 10-Jun-12 18:54:18

Well, I've managed to just about escape death... grin never again...

Wem, glad she liked it! I've seen a few art deco style cake's recently and I really like them.

Blueberry, I think it would depend on the design and what type of cakes they wanted. Do you make cakes as your job?

I'll get some pics of mine up in a bit.

Midori - It is more the can I be arsed than can I actually do it! They want a simple design which will take 20mins to set up and flowers etc can be made in advance. The one I have booked in already is more complicated but most parts can be made in advance and assembled on the day - it also involves 40 cupcakes for favours. I am a SAHM mum right now and help out at DH's office but cakes will take priority over that.

nannycook Sun 10-Jun-12 19:33:04

blueberry, wish i was SAHM mum, cooking cakes is such a joy compared to choosing peoples specs for them!!! Oh sorry forgot to mention i work at specsavers opticians for my sins, would much rather cook cakes all day though!

midori1999 Sun 10-Jun-12 22:20:33

I too am a SAHM. I would like to makes cakes as a business one day, but I need to practice much more first.

I've stuck this weekend's photos and a few more recent ones on my profile. This weekend's are the rainbow cake, Cinderella, communion cake/cupcake tower and Spiderman. I have to say, I'm not completely happy with any of them, I never am, but annoyingly, when I got the the venue there was a big air bubble on the top of the communion cake that wasn't there when I left home! i am not sure if they noticed, but they text me to say how thrilled they were. phew!

I just looked at Peggy Porschen's website - does anyone know what she charges? Only DS brought home something that a classmate had delivered to him - in a Peggy Porschen bag. If parents round here are shopping there, I may have to revisit my assumption that I couldn't charge enough for cakes to make it worth it grin

(I am dreaming, BTW - no way I could justify giving up full time job to make cakes - but I have had fun in the last few weeks with chocolate roses (easy, considering I had never done them before, but time consuming), first ever attempt at cakepops (with cakepop maker) and jubilee cupcakes - photos at the end of the set)

midori - I can't see your profile - that sounds like a hell of a weekend, though!

midori1999 Mon 11-Jun-12 11:52:21

i think I've made it public now?! blush

Lovely cakes Stealth, I love the baby dragon one!

I am not sure of PP cakes, but they certainly aren't cheap...

Stealth - PP cakes start at £500 for a standard design or £1000 for a bespoke design. Mini cakes are £15 each with a 30 minimum order shock I definitely don't charge enough!!

Midori - your cakes are FAB! when the child in question said last year "I really want minisquiggle's Mummy to make me a cake" I clearly should have listened and offered to undercut PP by 30% grin

(I might have done, had she actually invited minisquiggle to her party instead of it being a "girls only" affair)

Stealth - DH offered to pay for me to go one one of her courses UNTIL we discovered it cost just shy of £1000 for ONE day excluding lunch.

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Mon 11-Jun-12 19:39:21

I did a copy of a PP design a few years ago. I felt bad charging £350 for it - the original was nearly £1000. I have a serious problem with undercharging, DH always complains that I massively undercharge for my cakes

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Mon 11-Jun-12 19:40:25

Blueberry - nice, clean, sharp finish on your profile cakes. Very nice smile

nannycook Mon 11-Jun-12 21:26:38

midori, nice cakes! and all with a hangover, very impressive. i made a 6inch spongecake last weekend, for a friend in work, i wasnt sure how much to charge as it was my Ist cake in a long time, so in the end i just said to give me £7.00 to cover my ingredients, what would you have charged? or anyone else for that matter.

midori1999 Mon 11-Jun-12 22:03:31

Thanks. blush

I never really charge enough tbh. I usually charge £10 for an 8" decorated sponge, regardless of how I decorate it, although I'm not really covering my costs, so an going to put it up a bit. I'd probably charge the same for a 6" cake tbh, not much difference in costs. I only charged £40 for the communion cake and cupcakes, which I realise in insane, but it was for my husband's tight mate and I really wanted to make it.

I'm thinking I might make it a business and charge properly, but I think I need more practice first and it's a lot of hassle/nerve wracking.

I charge £12 for a 6" round and depending on the finish £15-20 for an 8" round Simple fondant plus small sugar animal/flower are cheaper than buttercream rose covered ones as I use proper butter in my buttercream and it cost a bloody fortune these days!

nannycook Mon 11-Jun-12 22:40:24

yep i guess unless you have a proper business i find people expect you to do them for peanuts, the woman i made the 6inch cake for plonked the £7.00 in my hand without a thank you or anything, and she was a colleague of mine, she's off my xmas card list from now i can tell you!!!. funny thing though she textd me to say how lovely it was and how moist the cake was, never mind. I think you should have charged £40 just for the 40 cupcakes, they're at least £1 in Greggs alone.

wem Tue 12-Jun-12 09:02:39

That doesn't seem like much blueberry, you can't be making much for your time above ingredients costs.

I'd like to go on a course at some point. There's so much out there though, everything from sugar flowers at the local cake craft shop to Peggy Porschen's diploma for £6400! I don't know where to aim for to get the most out of it. Any recommendations?

midori1999 Tue 12-Jun-12 09:30:49

Well if you want sugar flowers, Alan Dunn has got to be your man. However, as with anything it depends on what you want to do and whose style you like.

wem I guess you need to decide what it is you want to learn - techniques, particular cakes, or the business side?

Have you considered some online courses for specific techniques? I keep looking at the craftsy ones but have yet to sign up (I put one on my birthday wish list thinking that someone might take the decision out of my hands, but they didn't!)

wem Tue 12-Jun-12 09:42:30

Hmmm, I think techniques. I've had a few books out of the library and they always show you specific cakes, which has been great, but I'd like to do more my own designs now, and I don't know if I'm making my life more difficult by not knowing the best way to do things.

I've seen a couple of those craftsy courses in emails, I'll have a more thorough look and see what's there, thanks.

I have just been given Eddie Spence Royal Icing book - Royal icing is something I would love to be fantastic at. I have been playing a little this morning as my littlest DD has had her first morning at nursery. A localish shop does an Eddie Spence course which I am going to ask for for my birthday.

I have another Wedding show in September and want to do a couple of slightly more modern/exotic cakes along with the traditional and chocolate cakes.

wem Tue 12-Jun-12 13:48:22

Royal icing scares me, but I'd love to be able to use it, the effect is so much sharper and cleaner than fondant. Is the book good?

nannycook Tue 12-Jun-12 19:58:04

Yes Midori, i agree, i saw a few Alan Dunn books on Amazon, he's amazing! especially with exotic flowers. i fancy having a go at making chocolate roses, how easy are they?

I found chocolate roses surprisingly easy, albeit very time consuming. I made mine from this stuff and only used a circle cutter and a ball tool.

Now - a challenge for you all. I just bought a mini skull and crossbones mould, and thought I would make pirate cake pops for the village fete. However, that would need black candy melts, and it would seem that UK suppliers only stock those for halloween - can anyone find somewhere that has them in stock??

Amazon has them

Thanks, blueberry - it's the £5+ delivery that I didn't like much, but it looks like there isn't much choice - everyone else who lists them seems to be out of stock sad

nannycook Tue 12-Jun-12 21:19:51

thanks Stealthsquiggle, very expensive though? but you probaly dont use alot do you? could you get away with the chocolate sugarpaste in regal ice? or better to use flower paste and colour it brown? any tips?

You can get smaller packs of that stuff! I only used it because I bought a big pack for a special cake I did earlier in the year and have loads left (in fact, chocolate sugarpaste has been a common theme in the last few cakes, for that very reason). It tastes better than the ordinary stuff, but you could absolutely use this stuff or, even better (but expensive again), this

Nanny - Our Sainsburys stock packs of chocolate fondant for about £1.50

Stealth - I hadn't looked at postage sorry.

blueberryboy - it's still actually the best deal - the only alternative I found was a Dutch seller, whose price was good, but shipping was even more shock

I have given myself a good slap - dark chocolate will do fine for village fete pirate cake pops, FGS - I may will stock up on black candy melts when they come back into stock for halloween.

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Wed 13-Jun-12 01:02:19

wem, it's pointless learning how to do royal icing nowadays. Nobody asks for it; I can do it to a pretty high standard but have never done any royal iced work apart from my own wedding cake and some exam/competition pieces.

Learn it for your own enjoyment but don't expect to get any return for your investment. In the 18 years I've been doing cake decorating I've never been asked for it once

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Wed 13-Jun-12 01:03:48

Stealth - you could try colouring up white chocolate with either black sugarflair or petal dust. Might work ?

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Wed 13-Jun-12 01:07:03

Just wanted to share an excellent little thing that happened to me tonight. I've got a wedding fayre in August and I really wanted some wedding cake boxes to give samples away in but the nice ones are too expensive so I shelved the idea.

went into work today and the wedding from Saturday had chucked away 100 of these type boxes - already folded up !! Very happy smile

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Wed 13-Jun-12 01:12:10

I would like to make a paintbrush recommendation to everyone that does painting or brush embroidery - a Warhammer dry brush grin. I've stopped doing WH now and grabbed a couple of my brushes the other day for a cake (waste not want not) and was very pleased with the performance of the dry brush. It's short and stumpy and a pleasure to use

wem Wed 13-Jun-12 07:47:05

Ooh, that's interesting Nigel, I've been wondering about buying some new brushes as I want to try painting. Although I had to google as I wasn't sure if dry brush was a technical description or just a brush that was dry smile What size would you say?

What a stroke of luck with those cupcake boxes, very pleasing when things like that happen. And thanks for the tip on the royal icing - I won't bother just yet then with so much else to learn!

Midori - sorry, missed your comment back down thread, I've seen Alan Dunn's books, they look great but unfortunately none in the library - on to the list it goes! smile

midori1999 Wed 13-Jun-12 15:49:11

You can also have private tuition with Alan Dunn.

I have to say, i agree with Nigel about royal icing. it is something I would love to do well, but it is down my list of priorities for that reason. I think as fruit cakes become are less popular as wedding/celebration cakes now, it was inevitable that RI would go down in popularity. I do know some people who RI sponge cakes, but I know purists balk at the idea. Pity, royal icing tastes so much better than fondant.

nanny, I have used home made modelling chocolate to make chocolate roses. It's quite easy and you can probably find an online tutorial for it. You don't need a cutter.

wem Wed 13-Jun-12 16:28:06

I bet that's cheap midori!

I have another question I'm afraid - I've been asked to do a cake with just buttercream, no fondant. Would you still display on a fondant covered board?

Nigel - do you reckong colouring white chocolate would work? I am always wary of adding anything, even paste, to chocolate in case it siezes. Petaldust possibly - but I don't have any and I am trying determined not to spend any more money on stuff that I won't get paid for, so cheapest possible dark chocolate will have to do.

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Wed 13-Jun-12 21:53:58

Got two orders today - a birthday cake and a wedding cake on the back of the wedding fayre I did in January. Well chuffed and to celebrate I have bought myself a Mr Site takeaway website and a Mr Dominos takeaway pizza grin

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Wed 13-Jun-12 21:55:11

I'm not sure whether it would work - all I can say is that I coloured some white chocolate with red sugarflair last weekend and it was OK. I would probably have added a tiny bit of cocoa butter for more fluidity if I'd thought about it but I didn't at the time (which is sad as I have about 1.5kg of the stuff)

nannycook Wed 13-Jun-12 22:14:20

thanks midori. Wow i find myself with 5 cakes to make in the next few weeks, everyone i've given glasses out to i've told i'm into making cakes, am well chuffed if not alittle nervous, how much would you charge for a 9inch round plain cake? i really need to work this out, i've just made a 6inch for a girl in work and i'm charging her £10. about right do you think?

wem Thu 14-Jun-12 14:49:41

Ok, I have DH's provisional agreement to a kitchenaid purchase grin, but I have to be sure they're worth the money. Are they practically better at cakes than a Kenwood, or does everyone just love the look of them? I'd post a new thread asking the question, but there have been a million threads about KA vs Kenwood, and they all end up with people saying how pretty their machines are - so I thought I'd ask you serious cake bods smile

Not many people have both to do the direct comparison, I don't think, wem.

I have the low-end commercial KA - this one - so not just a pretty face, and I think the build quality is way better than the pretty ones (judging from poking those in shops lots). It feels like it is designed to live in a commercial kitchen - it's tough and easy to clean and I love it lots. My only Kenwood experience is a very long time ago, at which time they were functional but ugly.

VikingVagine Thu 14-Jun-12 15:16:00

I have the very cheap kenwood Prospero, it's great, really, but not very tough, I don't know how long it will last (but I'm pretty gentle with it). I think I'd rather get a decent kenwood for the same price as the kitchenaids, granted they're not as pretty, but have far more power and are pretty indestructible from what I've heard. Then again I can't help but drool of the pictures of the kitchenaids...

one of the things I like that mine has which the pretty KAs don't is an overload switch so I know I can't kill it even by getting it to knead colour into several kgs of sugarpaste because my hands are aching too much - if I am hurting it then it will reset.

wem Thu 14-Jun-12 15:46:46

Great, now I want the commercial one instead wink

It's hard without the direct comparison, and everyone who has either of them seems to love them, but there have been a couple of posters who have stated the KA is better for baking whereas the Kenwood is more of a multitasker. I wish I could remember who said it/where it was said, as I didn't ask why at the time.

wem Thu 14-Jun-12 15:50:13

The power thing seems to be a bit of a red herring Viking, as the KA's have a direct drive wotsit which mean you get the same power out of different wattages, or something.

The KAs do sound sturdier, some criticisms about the Kenwoods are about being plastic-y and flimsy feeling.

wem Thu 14-Jun-12 15:52:25

What do you suppose is the difference between the artisans and this?

wem Thu 14-Jun-12 15:53:27

oh, it says slightly smaller bowl and less powerful motor...

wem I wanted a pretty one, TBH, but DH vetoed it on grounds of build quality, and I have to admit but never to him that he was right.

K45/Classic is, as I understood it, an Artisan minus the paint job.

wem Thu 14-Jun-12 16:26:34

I guess harder to get attachments for though, just had a quick look for a flex beater and it's more expensive than for the artisan. Are there any non-standard attachments that you rate?

You do have to double-check attachments. Anything which attaches to the direct drive (so the pasta roller, mincer, etc) should work fine on any of them - it's just beaters which depend on the bowl size. I ended up getting a non-KA branded flex beater for mine, which is great (and lots better than the standard K beater which started to chip - apparently my fault for not adjusting height properly on machine, but a PITA anyway)

wem Thu 14-Jun-12 20:21:42

I phoned the shop and they said the flex beater can be used in the classic as well, so I've ordered one! Eek! It's going to be a good few cakes in before I start making money on this business...

I need it though. I've done a couple of big cakes today for the weekend and I felt like my arm was about to drop off.

midori1999 Thu 14-Jun-12 21:48:44

Once you have the KA Wem, you'll wonder how you ever managed without it!

I do think they are a bit 'emporers new clothes' in that a lot of the attraction is with how they look, but they are fab, it makes cakes so easy. I do worry I will kill mine though. If I did I would actually die I think...

Having a good stand mixer makes the world of difference in terms of time and effort. Hummingbird vanilla frosting, for example, which everyone raves about whenever I use it, absolutely needs 5 mins beating on high speed - there is no way I would do that with a hand held mixer.

VikingVagine Fri 15-Jun-12 06:28:12

You deffinately won't regret it, I'm only going to repeat what has just been said, you will wonder how you managed without once you've used it a few times!

wem Fri 15-Jun-12 08:51:46

I'm very excited grin. I've been reading the sweetapolita blog someone linked to on another thread and now I want to make all the cakes in the world smile

aaaaaargh - wem - what have you done to me - I now have to make this for my father's birthday.

wem Fri 15-Jun-12 11:08:06

Heh, sorry stealth grin Fantastic cake, does your dad have a particular interest in asparagus? smile

Not as such, but we (and they) are surrounded by asparagus farms, so it's pretty much a stable foodstuff at this time of year - his birthday is generally the last weekend of the season, so asparagus features on birthday menus. It's just too fantastic a cake not to do.

I had better get started this evening on making some sealife for the next cake after that so that I can focus on asparagus once the gooseberry green colour paste and the petals dusts arrive.

wem Fri 15-Jun-12 11:42:02

Ah, perfect for him then smile It certainly looks like fun to make.

I've been asked to make a butterfly cake but with buttercream rather than fondant. I'm trying to figure out how best to apply it so that I can get a pattern on the wings.

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Fri 15-Jun-12 14:23:07

I have recently acquired a Kenwood commercial and I have used commercial Kitchenaids when I worked as a pastry chef. I have an Artisan at home so I feel qualified to compare the three :D

Having always been a KA aficianado I have to say that I am really enjoying using the Kenwood blush

wem Fri 15-Jun-12 14:46:14

Well, when I have my little cake shop on the high street I'll have a bank of different mixers and I'll do a definitive test. <dreams on...>

As long as you don't tell DH that a cheaper mixer would have been fine I think my KA classic and I will be very happy together smile

but you can point out to DH that you took the sensible route with a plain, rugged classic instead of a fancypants coloured one wink.

Nigel - have you ever played with one of those kenwoods with a heated bowl? They intrigue me.

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Fri 15-Jun-12 16:13:15

Didn't even know they did one... tell me more

here, Nigel.

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Fri 15-Jun-12 17:14:07


as I said, intruiging. DH's reaction was more "WTF?"

It would have to be for commercial use, you would think. I could see - choux pastry, hollandaise, possibly some other sauces - and cooked meringue icing.

wem Sun 17-Jun-12 21:01:32

While I wait for my kitchenaid to be delivered - <ignores small children to sit in hall and stare at the front door> - thought I'd share what I've been up to this week. I've been having fun with modelling, particularly a toy sheep for a christening cake, it's a copy of the christenee's favourite toy, and is the from the same range as DD1's favourite soft toy monkey smile. It got a bit stressy when my first attempt fell apart but I think I nailed it second time round grin. Pic on my profile and here's the picture I was working from

VikingVagine Sun 17-Jun-12 21:03:43

That is brilliant wem !

wem Sun 17-Jun-12 21:12:14

Cheers Viking, it was my first proper paid-for cake, so I was really pleased to be able to do something personal for her.

wem Mon 18-Jun-12 20:49:40

Woohoo! I've got my kitchenaid and used it already and it's brilliant grin

And and and - I got my first order from a complete stranger! I actually have no idea how she found me. I'll have to ask when I deliver it.

Sorry, exciting day has led to consecutive posts grin

oooh - what a good day, wem. Are your DC and DH jealous of all the attention the KA is getting yet?

My colouring and petal dusts for asparagus haven't arrived yet angry - although it would have been academic given that I haven't finished work yet and need to leave by 6am tomorrow sad

nannycook Mon 18-Jun-12 21:32:14

Oh wem, your sheep and teddy cake is really lovely, clever you, oh and well done on someone finding you to make a cake for them, similar happened to me the other day in work, i randomly told a customer i like to bake cakes, next day she came back in and asked me to make her one for her son, shocked to say the least, no idea what design though, male, 43, any ideas???

VikingVagine Tue 19-Jun-12 06:38:09

You do realise you need to put a photo of your Kitchenaid on your profile don't you wem !

VikingVagine Tue 19-Jun-12 06:38:37

? not !

wem Tue 19-Jun-12 07:47:20

It looks rather a lot like all the other pictures you'll have seen of the white classic Kitchenaid Viking - have a picture of my children in the Kitchenaid box instead grin

VikingVagine Tue 19-Jun-12 08:00:02

grin grin grin

Morning all

I am having a small freak - I have a last wedding minute cake booking to do for another MN-er, she had a thread up about it, I mentioned I made cakes and she asked me to do hers shock I m really excited too.

Wem - Yaya for kitchenaid, I love mine. I have 2 bowls, 2 paddles and a whisk. I use the whisk for icing and if you beat it for a while it makes the softest fluffiest buttercream icing

wem they are gorgeous! Are they happy with their new box toy?

wem Tue 19-Jun-12 09:11:37

They love it stealth. The KA box came in a Harts of Stur box and had a million small polystyrene type wotsit shapes wedged down the sides. Luckily they seem to enjoy putting them all back in the box almost as much as they enjoy spreading them round the front room. DH refered to himself as a cake widow[er] when the KA arrived yesterday. I told him at least there's plenty of football to keep him occupied smile

wow blueberry, that's exciting. Don't freak - you'll do a great job smile Are you stepping in to save a cake emergency?

Wem - yes I am! Your littlies are adorable!!

So you're entertained (by KA), DC are entertained (by boxes) and DH is entertained (by football). Sounds like a win all round until the football is over and DH notices that you love your KA more than him grin

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Tue 19-Jun-12 19:47:23

wem, do you have a lightbox set up ? My cakes are always photographed on a background of kitchen clutter and as I've bought a website I'd like to make the cakes look more professional in the pictures

wem Tue 19-Jun-12 20:18:39

A harmonious household indeed stealth smile

Nigel - I don't have a lightbox, just a particularly sunny corner of the kitchen. The clutter is hidden by the kitchen blind which I detach and drape over my clothes horse, then the backgrounds are fabrics from ikea draped over that. All very professional grin

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Tue 19-Jun-12 20:31:17

could you take a photo of your highly sophisticated apparatus for me as a guide ? It sounds like the sort of thing I could cobble together make

wem Tue 19-Jun-12 20:48:09

Sure. Clothes horse is being used for its primary function at the moment, but should have a chance to set it up tomorrow afternoon.

Crap. Just set the fire alarm off by putting some bread in the toaster, pottering about, peeking in the oven at current project, then forgetting about it to the extent that when the alarm went off I was half way up the stairs wondering what the hell was going on before I smelt burnt toast. Sheesh. I think I need to get some sleep.

Nigel - my less sophisticated apparatus consists of a large piece of black fabric which gets thrown over the top of the mess artfully draped over the table. Wem's is better though.

How about something like this (can be found a lot cheaper on eBay)?

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Tue 19-Jun-12 23:15:58

yes, i've toyed with those stealth. Never quite bring myself to buy one. Somewhere I have instructions for a build your own lightbox but as DH still hasn't finished the painting he started in April 2011 it's unlikely he'll built it for me sad

I don't think I could bring myself to buy one at that price either, Nigel, but there are some on ebay for ~£10, which brings it down into "I couldn't build one for that much" territory..

midori1999 Wed 20-Jun-12 11:44:14

Congratulations on the arrival of your Kitchenaid Wem! grin your little girl's are gorgeous!!!

Re: the light box/light tent. I have made them to photograph my snakes before. It worked well. I just used a large polybox (the sort tropical fish get delivered in, pet shops will give you them for free, I suppose if it's for food use you could give a good scrub out with antibacterial cleaner?) Line it if you want. Cut a hole in the top and rest any old desk lamp on the top with the light shining down into the box. Voila!!! It sounds rubbish, but it works quite well.

It's my baby girl's first birthday today. I've done her cake and used some left over wrapping paper blue tacked to the tiles in the kitchen as a background for photos... grin

Colour and petal dusts have arrived. Tonight I shall be making asparagus grin - I had better go and buy some to copy, hadn't I?

wem Wed 20-Jun-12 13:52:04

Have fun stealth! Don't get them mixed up when you've finished and dunk the sugarpaste ones in a soft boiled egg smile

I need help again. I've been asked to do a cake like this. How do you think they've got the brown colour? She doesn't want chocolate so I've been looking at non-chocolate flavoured brown sugarpaste but one site says it's not recommended for covering a whole cake because the colour is so dark the flavour isn't great. Is it maybe painted on? How much gel colour would you have to use to paint a whole cake? (It isn't going to be that big, maybe 9-10 inches long)

To get a mottled brown colour like the photo, I think a pale brown (beige) and then painting it would work fine - I would just sponge on colour paste mixed with vodka, I think.

wem Wed 20-Jun-12 14:09:20

Thanks, silly question, but what kind of sponge would you use? Do you think I could use any kind as long as it's new and hasn't been used for anything else?

I would - but then I rarely do things "properly" - try asking Nigel!

wem Wed 20-Jun-12 14:15:26

smile I've consulted my lindy smithbook and she mentions natural sponge for texture but also synthetic ones, so anything goes I suppose

Wem - I use the baby sponges, I have a couple of natural sponges and a couple of smooth sponges. I guess any will do as long as it is clean. You can buy special ones here but it looks exactly like my baby sponge! here!

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Wed 20-Jun-12 22:20:10

why do I do it to myself ???? Had a wedding meeting tonight and have agreed to make a bride wearing this dress in fimo. Plus icing love heart sweets with raised lettering. In 11 weeks time....

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Wed 20-Jun-12 22:23:38

Wem - I would either mottle using a sponge (any old crappy sponge will do) or possibly do a base colour and then use paintmate to mottle it up. It looks like it's had a base colour which has then been "stripped" if you see what i mean

dress looks interesting to model in fimo, Nigel grin

Are all the lovehearts the same? If so, I would be tempted to make a mould (maybe even a set of moulds from a packet of real love hearts)?

this stuff + packet of love hearts = job done grin

..or am I just delerious from asparagus making (I have made enough to prove that it works, but I am long way off being done)?

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Wed 20-Jun-12 22:55:45

they're having the bridal couple's names on. they have to be about 2.5" in diameter. I thought I could easily make a mould but further thought is that getting the raised letters wont' be that easy.

I will probably just pipe it on in royal icing with a 0 nozzle and go over it a couple of times and wet brush the edges smooth

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Wed 20-Jun-12 22:56:40

and have found a good looking modelling clay on lindy's cakes - it will be the first time i've done modelling not in sugar

You could make one, in fimo, and then use that to make a mould to make lots, maybe?

CrownPrincessOhDearNigel Wed 20-Jun-12 23:04:28

that's what i was planning - i'm just not sure how i'm going to make the indentations in the modelling material neatly and large enough for the sugarpaste to come out how I want. I've got some food grade modelling paste at my mum's so will give it a try over the weekend and share

wem Thu 21-Jun-12 07:48:45

Nigel - are they huge individual letters on each loveheart or tiny letters with the full name on each loveheart?

If it's individual letters, you could do as I did for the cubes on the christening cake - printed the large letters onto card then cut out with a craft knife to make templates to cut the letters out of modelling paste. Of course, I only had to do five - it depends how long their names are!

OhDearNigel Thu 21-Jun-12 09:26:53

the lovehearts are only going to be about 2.5 inches in diameter so too small to cut out letters. I think piping is going to be the way to go - the simplest solution is usually the best

wem Thu 21-Jun-12 10:27:46

smile maybe huge wasn't the right word. The cubes for the christening cake were only 1.5 inches tall, but I'm not too hot on piping just yet, more comfortable with a craft knife!

OhDearNigel Thu 21-Jun-12 11:06:51

Fair enough - piping is my comfort zone !

wem Thu 21-Jun-12 11:32:10

That dress looks amazing, so detailed! How big will your model be? I've been asked to make a bride and groom for a non-wedding and yet wedding-themed cake. A bit strange, but good to be practising that kind of thing before doing it for high pressure wedding cake smile I've got a general description of the bride and groom, hair colour, height etc. I don't know whether to ask for a photo of the couple - I don't want to give the impression that the models will actually look like them...

OhDearNigel Thu 21-Jun-12 11:43:57

I think the models will be about 6 inches.tall. They're going to be cutesy "soft" models rather than proper ones with a mould. Will probably order the modelling clay today and start making them next week

OhDearNigel Thu 21-Jun-12 11:51:02

Any pictures of the asparagus yet stealth ?

wem Thu 21-Jun-12 12:10:26

Nigel - just remembered I said I'd take that picture of my set up yesterday, sorry, it was a hectic day in the end. I'm definitely taking some pictures of cakes this weekend so will take one then.

OhDearNigel Thu 21-Jun-12 12:30:08

I will try my tablecloth and clothes horse out as well - I've got a CD shaped birthday cake with models of 2 little girls on order for Saturday

No photos yet - will take some when I get home tomorrow as it is at an interesting stage - some painted and some not and bloody hundreds of spears still to do the painted ones are very effective though.

FourThousandHoles Thu 21-Jun-12 13:05:17

Hello cakecrafters, I wonder if I could ask you a question... up until now I've been using ready to roll icing from the supermarket for cake decorating, is fondant/sugarpaste the same stuff? What's the best/easiest thing to use? Thanks smile

Hi Fourthousand, yes it is the same stuff. Everyone has their own preferences but I use both Tesco and Sainsburys brand stuff and it is fine.

FourThousandHoles Thu 21-Jun-12 16:57:43

Fab thanks blueberry! If it turns out well I may be back with a pic smile

nannycook Thu 21-Jun-12 20:31:19

A simple question for anyone really, brush embriodery, is there a set pattern to follow? or can you just pipe random things, ( flowers mainly i mean ) i love the pink cake in the Lindy Smith book, i'm getting better, does the icing need to be soft peak or smooth as suggested in her book?

OhDearNigel Fri 22-Jun-12 10:25:53

brush embroidery can be done on any outlined image. You pipe a fairly sturdy outline with royal icing, I would use a number 2 nozzle to ensure there is plenty of icing to use.
I would make the icing slightly softer than I would use to do a snail trail but still firm enough to hold its shape. I don't know what she means by "smooth" but if you translate it to be filling-a-run-out consistency it will be too liquid. Make sure your brush is damp and you have some kitchen roll or a damp cloth to hand to keep wiping it clean. There are more advanced techniques you can use but I would just stick to the basics until you get more proficient.
If anyone is interested one of my Nick Lodge books has a section on brush embroidery techniques for the intermediate level cake decorator

nannycook Fri 22-Jun-12 13:29:10

thanks Nigel, had a good go last night and quite pleased with my results, did think it was abit odd using the term " smooth" just used to soft peak and stiff. I've got a cake to make for a colleague and thats what i'm tempted to do as its so pretty and i also thinks it looks so much better with a darker coloured fondant. Also how would you go about making a fondant gift box again for a colleague?would it be better made with flower paste so its dries harder, or would normal sugerpaste be ok? She's bought a pair of earrings for her mun and i thought it would be nice to put them in a fondant box on top of the cake, i did a small one ages ago for my niece and hid her engagement ring in it, that was about 20 yrs ago tho and things change, just wondered what you thought?

Nanny, I would use pastillage for a box, much less fragile. it is basically royal icing with added gum tragacanth. it dries very hard and very quickly but once you have the shape and it is dry you can sand any rough edges and then decorate.

nannycook Fri 22-Jun-12 13:51:38

Hi blueberry, can i use the Squires flower paste? or wouldnt that be suitable?

You can it will need quite a bit of drying time if you are making it thick enough not to be fragile. Flower paste is by nature quite fragile once dry.

nannycook Fri 22-Jun-12 14:07:14

is two weeks today long enough?

Yup should be fine. What are you sticking the box sides together with?

nannycook Fri 22-Jun-12 14:16:13

Would edible glue do it? or thin scraping of royal icing? what would you use?

OhDearNigel Fri 22-Jun-12 14:21:29

Nanny - you need pastillage to make your box. It sets rockhard - a word of warning, because of the high ratio of gum tragacanth it is quite dry so you have to work quickly, it's not as forgiving as normal sugarpaste. I buy the powdered version and make it up in small quantities.

You can either "stick" it together with royal icing or (what I prefer) by dipping the dried ends in sugar syrup taken to hard crack stage - once this has set it is rock solid and your box won't run the risk of coming apart.

OhDearNigel Fri 22-Jun-12 14:26:24

Flowerpaste won't work - it's too delicate. And pastillage is cheaper.

nannycook Fri 22-Jun-12 14:31:07

Pastillage definitely seems to be everyones choice so i'll give that a go, however i,ve never used it before, so you add water to it and knead it like you would normal sugarpaste? sorry abit of a novice with this, i obviously need everyones help dont i? ha ha.

OhDearNigel Fri 22-Jun-12 15:21:27

don't overknead it - just enough to make it come together. You could also add some trex for elasticity

nannycook Fri 22-Jun-12 21:14:48

Ok i.'ll go after work tomorrow, where i live theres a fab cake decorating shop with an oldish guy in there who knows everything, abit like Ronnie Baker from "Open all Hours" and he has a till to match!!

midori1999 Sat 23-Jun-12 09:24:24

stealth, I am eagerly awaiting pictures of the Asparagus cake!

I have put some more cake photos on my profile, including DD's Noahs Ark birthday cake (which is cheating really as it's based on a Debbie Brown design... )

wem Sat 23-Jun-12 11:30:50

Great cakes midori smile As promised, I've put up a picture of my photography studio smile, and also the picture I was taking.

The drum came out really well, wem and I love the whisky one, midori.

Have come to a bit of a complete halt on asparagus - will restart later as it is for Tuesday, so I need all the asparagus done before tomorrow night in order to assemble cake on Monday night.

VikingVagine Sat 23-Jun-12 13:59:24

Midori, your cakes are beautiful, I especially like the zebra pattern one and the teddy bear. How did you get the fluff effect on the bear?

OhDearNigel Sat 23-Jun-12 14:02:14

Buttercream piped with a star nozzle by the looks of it

VikingVagine Sat 23-Jun-12 14:08:41

Ok thanks. I have a packet of ready made icing and have no idea what to do with it. There are three upcoming birthdays, one of which is DS's tenth, so am thinking I'll make something special for him. I've never tried making a properly decorated cake before (some malteasers plonked on buttercream is about as creative as I've got). I have no idea where to start!

OhDearNigel Sat 23-Jun-12 17:55:52

Just finished the second of two cake orders today and am really looking forward to a cuppa and a sit down because I have had to cake while having DD which is always fucking awful a challenge. Pics on profile page - the cake for twins having a party and the thames cable car. It's a friend of ours, he is basically the man in charge of it (compliance officer) and it's his birthday tomorrow. To give you an idea of whether I've done a good job recreating it, here is an article with the real thing in. Ran out of inclination time to draw the ladies on the pod...

wem Sat 23-Jun-12 20:43:33

That's brilliant Nigel, I love the cable come out of the top! I don't know how you managed to do anything with your dd around - your profile says she's 2, my dd1 is 3 and I freeze the moment she comes anywhere near me when I'm doing cake stuff and shout to DH to come get her! She's very interested in all my cake goings on though. She designed her 4th birthday cake today, pink and yellow stripes on top, blue spots on the bottom and green on the sides grin. She drew me a picture gringrin

Viking, would your DS have any ideas for his cake? Or might they be a little too, um, imaginative? wink

VikingVagine Sat 23-Jun-12 20:54:05

He'll say something like beyblades, so no! He likes cats, minerals and insects, especially scorpions.

wem Sat 23-Jun-12 21:00:26

I have no idea what beyblades are, but google images tell me they are fairly circular - could be pretty cake compatible?

Minerals? Like quartz and stuff? Hmmm...

Scorpions - ace, I'd love to make a sugar scorpion! There are a lot of cat cakes out there, I like this one. The model could be simplified quite a bit.

VikingVagine Sat 23-Jun-12 21:01:34

Ok, so I have a few ideas now having googled "scorpion cake". I'm thinking a plain white icing with a black scorpion in sugarpaste. Oh and I'll make the sponge a rainbow cake!

wem Sat 23-Jun-12 21:09:37

I love it - sharp black and white, then huge rainbow colours inside smile

VikingVagine Sat 23-Jun-12 21:14:06

Ok, so I'm going to have to order some colour gels, I've already got the icing, what else will I need? Is a smoother a good idea or will me hands do?

wem Sat 23-Jun-12 21:15:51

I find a smoother does make a difference, but you can get a reasonable finish with your hands.

nannycook Sat 23-Jun-12 21:44:56

Viking Vagine, i agree with Wem, you do get a much nicer finish with a smoother. Also dont know what everyone else thinks, but i find the paste colours better than the gels, which i found out when i did to toned buttercream, one colour was gel, one was paste, the paste was so much e asier to spread in the icing bag, but either are fine to work with. I bought something called dipping solution today to dilute gels/paste to paint with instead of using vodka, ( i'd be so tempted to drink it i'd have none left) not sur if anyones used it before.

VikingVagine Sat 23-Jun-12 22:11:09

I haven't come across any pastes, only wilton gel, but it's not payday for another week, so I have time to look! Which brand is the paste you use?

nannycook Sat 23-Jun-12 22:20:19

Squires pastes. yep i know what you mean, i spent £16 in a cake shop after work and i dont get paid till next week either!!

I have a special bottle of vodka for cake painting, but the best thing I have used was overproof rum brought back from Jamaica - entirely undrinkable, but perfect for the job. One bottle lasted 10 years (until I dropped it)

OhDearNigel Sun 24-Jun-12 06:06:01

I use the sugarflair colours and also use a lot of regalice precoloured icing as our local icing shop sells the entire range and I get trade discount. I use the rejuvenator spirit to paint with as well, it gives a Much better finish than vodka as it is very high in alcohol and therefore evaporates very quickly. It's great for painting with metallic petal dusts. I go through loads of it, shame it's so expensive !

VikingVagine Sun 24-Jun-12 16:06:55

Right, I'm about to order a ridiculous amount some stuff from the Lindy's cakes website. Sod payday, I'm using my own savings, otherwise DH might quite rightly kill/divorce* me be unhappy.

*delete as appropriate

nannycook Sun 24-Jun-12 19:27:53

Yes Nigel that sounds the same as what i bought yesterday, they told me to keep the lid on as it evaporates very quickly, i used it today, i made my gift box of some new stuff the shop sold me abit like Squires flower paste but cheaper, worked really well and dried in an instant i then mixed that solution with some edible glitter and painted the box, quite happy with it. Amazon is pretty good for the coloured regalice though, and lots of other things as long as you make sure theres no delivery charge.

nannycook Sun 24-Jun-12 19:31:38

VikingVagine, i have found her website alittle bit expensive as theres a delivery charge, check out Amazon first, i bought her book the other day, £13 so not cheap but very very good, my next cake to attempt is the one with the brush embriodery, absolutely love that cake!

Viking - I would shop around a bit IIWY. I find Lindy's website expensive for most things

VikingVagine Sun 24-Jun-12 20:06:13

The problem is the shipping costs to France, I already have one of her books (which is how I ended up on her website) and made myself a list of vital <cough> things I needed, then did a few price comparisons with the companies who offered international shipping and her site was the cheapest but still bloody expensive .

nannycook Sun 24-Jun-12 20:13:36

Ah Viking your in France, yes i can see how shipping costs would work out to expensive for you. dont you have a nice little cake decorating shop anywhere near you?

VikingVagine Sun 24-Jun-12 20:20:22

Nope, it's not caught on here yet, give it another 6 months and I'll be able to get everything in my local craft shop for 6 times the price !

nannycook Sun 24-Jun-12 20:39:38

Well Viking i could do with a holiday, i could always bring whatever you wanted out to you, ooo the thought of it.

VikingVagine Sun 24-Jun-12 20:45:53


Marne Sun 24-Jun-12 20:49:36

Hi, can i join in please? smile

I am newish to cake decorating, i am in the process of starting my own buisness from home, i do simple cakes and cup cakes but today my MIL has given me her case of sugar craft bits (mainly for making flowers), i have never done flowers (appart from the odd rose), any tips on where to start would be great? I havn't looked through the case yet (its still in my car) but it has a few cutters, crimpers, flower paste, wires and lots of powder colours in there (plus a few other bits).

VikingVagine Sun 24-Jun-12 21:02:44

Sorry, I can't give you any advice, haven't tried making anything yet!

What does everyone think for the rainbow cake, baring in mind I want to cover it and decorate it, should I make it in layers with buttercream, or all in one with a tie dye effect?

nannycook Sun 24-Jun-12 21:03:20

Hi Marne, i've only recently joined and have to honest there are so many talented people on here, your very lucky to be given all that stuff as starting out is expensive as i've found out myself but once you have it it starts paying for it. I find carnations, daisy, primroses easy to do, but you need a set of the tools, that include, a ball tool, veiner etc, i've bought loads of cutters, po wders, paste, just have a play really you'll be amazed what you can do. P.S how do you put the smileys on? i cant figure it out?duh!

Viking - I made a tie dye one for DD2's birthday - she loved it. A proper rainbow would have been great but she really wouldn't have cared less. I will save my rainbow cake days for an adult/teen who will appreciate the effort!

Hi Marne - have a look at your local college for courses if you want to get into sugarcrafting. Our local college does termly course teaching the basics.

nannycook Sun 24-Jun-12 21:12:28

Blueberry, would you give me the recipe for your tie dye cake please? i tried a rainbow cake once however it looked lovely but was as flat a pancake, i can only assume adding all the colours knocked the air out of it, possible do you think?

Marne Sun 24-Jun-12 21:44:48

Thank you, i think i have tools (will have a look tomorrow), i have done a small amount of sugar craft (just not flowers).

I made my first rainbow cake a few weeks ago and it turned out really good, i also make rainbow cup cakes, i cant find a natuaral colouring that works well though, my dd reacts to the colouring (as we found out after giving her rainbow cake).

I have to make a 85th birthday cake in a few weeks and was hoping to try out some flowers, i am also helping dsd (well i know it will be me making it) to make a 80's cake (possably rubix cube) next month.

I have made a few cakes for friends and family but am now being asked by other people (who have seen my cakes) if i can make cakes for them, i'm more of a cupcake person really but am getting better at bigger cakes (maybe one day io will do a wedding cake).

Peppapigsarse Sun 24-Jun-12 22:06:01

Marks place, I make cakes for family for fun, nothing like the ones you ladies have done! Not sure how to post pics will try to upload some to my profile!

I don't think I have enough asparagus but I have used up all the icing I had coloured and have had enough. Assembly tomorrow, and then on to the next cake.

wem Mon 25-Jun-12 10:02:15

Did you dream about asparagus last night stealth? They look brilliant, can't wait to see the assembled cake. What's the next cake? I've just finished my buttercream butterfly cake, and just counted up - I've done 7 cakes since 23rd May, it's been a busy month! I've got a break now, til middle of July then the wedding at the end of the month, eek.

Hello Marne and PeppaPigsArse, looking forward to seeing your pictures smile

No asparagus-related dreams, thank goodness - I just came down and looked at it all this morning and I know there won't be enough tips. Sigh. Oh well, work to get done - I will just have to make some more tonight if I need them.

Next up is DH's birthday - scuba-diving themed cake, which I theoretically have evenings this week to do as he is away (if I ignore the fact that I have to do asparagus cake tonight and am then out for the next 2 evenings hmm) - then village fete on 14/7, then nothing that I am aware of until DC and Godchildren birthday season starts in October (6 DC for whom I generally make cakes in the space of 6 weeks). I am very impressed with the rate at which your business is picking up, wem, but not surprised given how good your cakes are.

wem Mon 25-Jun-12 12:07:20

Ah well, 3 of them were gifts, so not quite a true picture of business exactly smile It's quite strange not knowing whether I'll be getting any other orders. I've exhausted DH's colleagues' cake requirements I think, and no friends kids' birthdays coming up. It could all fall flat on its arse quite suddenly!

OhDearNigel Mon 25-Jun-12 13:10:55

wem, can you link up to your website please x

wem Mon 25-Jun-12 15:33:25

here I am. Have you had a look at my set up picture? I'll take it down once you've seen it, takes away some of the mystique! wink

OhDearNigel Mon 25-Jun-12 16:55:12

that is fantastic !

wem Mon 25-Jun-12 21:28:03

How's your website going? Have you bought one 'off the peg'? Mr Site looks good.

nannycook Mon 25-Jun-12 21:37:32

Wem, your website looks very nice, how did you do it?

just for you lot all done but scarily fragile (and just between ourselves until tomorrow wink)

VikingVagine Tue 26-Jun-12 09:56:52

Wow Stealth, that looks great! <impressed>

wem Tue 26-Jun-12 10:19:12

Fantastic! Did you have plenty in the end?

I ended up colouring some more icing and making extra - mainly because of the casualty rate - the tops of the whole spears are ridiculously fragile - which then presented other challenges since the newly made spears were all floppy - but I do have a small pile of tips left over. I am not looking forward to transporting it this afternoon, though - I think I am going to have to make it a collar.

VikingVagine Tue 26-Jun-12 11:43:33

Just showed it to DH who said "wtf, why would anyone put asparagus on a cake?"!


I have an interesting dilemma now - do I attempt to add a candle, and if so, how?

VikingVagine Tue 26-Jun-12 12:36:44

Maybe one tall thin green candle in the middle? Otherwise I'd have said no candles.

wem Tue 26-Jun-12 15:43:46

Hope you've been able to transport the cake ok. I bet your dad loves it.

I dropped off some leaflets at a softplay centre today and they said they're looking for someone to supply cakes for their cafe, just carrot cakes etc for them to sell by the slice. Anyone ever done that? I've no idea what kind of margin they'd be looking to make on the cakes and therefore what kind of price I could charge. Also, and I should probably have done this already, but if I start supplying to a business I guess I'll need to sort out public liability insurance. Any recommendations on who to go with for that?

Sounds like an excellent excuse for lots of cake eating research to me, wem. I think they generally reckon on 100% markup, so whatever the going price is per slice, you need to be selling it to them at roughly half of that.

Cake made it in one piece - I will post photos of it cut later.

wem Wed 27-Jun-12 09:17:52

I've been doing a few sums, but I definitely think I'll have to do some cake eating field research too smile

nannycook I realised I didn't answer your question up/down thread - my friend's dp made my website for me. I'm really pleased with it, but if I was doing it again I'd probably go for an off-the-peg one as it took ages getting it finished.

Anyone seen/done any good fairy cakes? As in cakes with fairies on top rather than little buns.

Didn't you do a beautiful flower fairy, wem confused? I like this one

Asparagus cake once cut

wem Wed 27-Jun-12 09:41:24

Ah, my flower fairy cake is possibly my favouritest of the cakes I've done smile But I've had an enquiry where all she has said is "some kind of fairy cake" so I've mentioned my flower fairy but said I'll come back with more ideas in case she wants something different.

I like that cake - notable for its lack of pink! I like this one too, quite fancy trying to paint the flowers on the side.

Those asparagus spears are truly amazing, and cake looks delicious too, yum smile

Oh yes, that's lovely, wem. What would the white flowers be, do you think - royal icing?

Asparagus cake was G&B "inmate's cake" - so many thanks to whoever it was that pointed me at it - the DC say it is officially the best chocolate cake ever and has to be used for all cakes for ever more grin even though it did freak me out by taking far longer to cook than the recipe said.

wem Wed 27-Jun-12 09:58:34

Hmmmmm... <digs out G&B book> grin

One of Mich Turner's book uses melted cocoa butter to paint on cakes, so I'd have a go with that, coloured with superwhite, I think. From her pictures it seems to give a nice opaque look, better than diluted gel pastes.

VikingVagine Wed 27-Jun-12 12:36:19

Your asparagus cake really is brilliant stealth, is the recipe available online? I gave it a quick google but didn't find anything.

recipe for the cake itself came from this book (as recommended to me by a MNer) - and is online here

Tutorial for the cake, should you be mad enough, is here

VikingVagine Wed 27-Jun-12 13:37:57

No no, I have no intention of trying to make the asparagus! Just want to try the cake itself. I think your cake looks better than the tutorial, far more realistic,

Wem - there is always the standard Fairies on toadstool house cake (Debbie Brown I think) or DD has asked for a tree stump fairy house with toadstools, ivy, ladybirds and fairies.

OhDearNigel Wed 27-Jun-12 13:46:50

Wem, website is going nowhere at the moment; it's the end of the Rotary year so I'm snowed under. Hopefully next week will be a bit quieter !

wem Wed 27-Jun-12 16:42:25

Bum, fairy woman has pulled out. Exciting to have had the enquiry though.

OhDearNigel Wed 27-Jun-12 22:51:49

new booking for this weekend - ordination cake for vicar smile Cake in oven as we speak type

OhDearNigel Wed 27-Jun-12 22:53:05

wem, looks to me as if those flowers are painted with petal dust+paintmate. It's the only thing that would account for the texture of hte white

OhDearNigel Wed 27-Jun-12 22:55:54

wem, are you interested in cocoa painting ? I can scan and email you some stuff if you like i remember

wem Thu 28-Jun-12 07:33:47

That would be great Nigel, if you could. I got excited by the idea and went and bought some cocoa butter but haven't had a chance to use it yet. What's paintmate? I googled it when you mentioned it before but only found a Black and Decker thingy for painting rooms, and I doubt that's what you're talking about...

An ordination cake eh? And a cake in the oven at 11pm? You clearly have a very different bedtime to me grin

VikingVagine Thu 28-Jun-12 18:01:01

Ooooooooooooooohhhhh my order arrived today, I can't wait to try out some modeling, but after a very long day at work I'm too knackered to do anything tonight.

You and me both, Viking (knackered - no parcels here). I really should be making seafood life for DH's diving cake. Maybe after the DC are in bed.

OK, experts - what is the best way to do sand, do you think? Also all inspirational pictures of scuba-diving cakes welcome at this point as I am running out of time, energy and imagination.

wem Thu 28-Jun-12 19:42:19

Cakewrecks did a sundays sweets on a beach theme here. It mentions using something called Nilla wafers for sand, which I guess are american but you could see if there's an equivalent. Otherwise crushed digestives or golden caster sugar?

wem Thu 28-Jun-12 20:14:41

Cute scuba cakes here and here and an absolutely incredible one here.

nannycook Thu 28-Jun-12 20:22:18

Vikingvagine, bet your excited to start, oh go on gave a go at something, i got in after working till 7.0clock and i made a batch of cupcakes as i promised them some in work tomorrow, daren't go in otherwise, i've made some pink hearts, blossoms, tinys flowers etc etc, i do hate it though when it practically goes down in one mouthful, all that work for a sceond in the mouth!! at least it shows they like them though!

nannycook Thu 28-Jun-12 20:25:48

Hi Wem, those cakes are so good arent they? Have you ever looked at Cake Fantasy, some good ones on there to!

Stealth - I used crushed digestives for sand on my Octonauts cake, it looked amazingly real.

Viking - I am supposed to making Angelina Ballerina but an too knackered to even get my kit out the car!

Thanks, blueberry. Have added digestives (or maybe rich teas for tropical sand?) to the shopping list.

Thanks for the research, Wem - that Australian cake is genius. I wish I had the time and skill to attempt it. I think I am going for something more like the circling sharks - how do you think you support the sharks so that they don't fall off? I might have a go at a shark tonight, to give it a chance to dry, and a few more fish/shells from the moulds I have. I should really paint the fish that I already have, but I think I am too tired for that (another 5 hours in the car tomorrow [yawn]).

Stealth your can do the sharks on florist wires or tooth picks and poke them in at the last minute.

That's what I was thinking - bit worried they won't dry enough to support their own weight though (I had better stop faffing and go and make one, or I'll never know!)

OhDearNigel Thu 28-Jun-12 21:42:15

* You clearly have a very different bedtime to me *

3am is late here.....

if you add cmc to the sugarpaste they should dry quite hard and quicker too. if you use a thicker florist wire 18 or 20 they should be strong enough to hold the weight. Another tip is to heat the wire in a candle until red hot before poking into the shark and it will melt the sugar and bond it to the wire so you don't end up with the shark slipping off.

Sharks duly made and drying draped over baking tins to give them (hopefully) the right curvature. I seem to have run out of yellow colouring paste which is a right royal PITA as I wanted to paint some of my fish yellow. I think I have enough pre-coloured yellow for flippers etc - I hope so, because I can't see anyway I will have time to get to a shop to get some (nearest one ~13 miles and not on the way anywhere sad). Likewise heavy gauge wires - all the ones I have were bought for flowers - so I think it will be toothpicks, plenty of sugar glue, and hoping for the best.

LOL at 3am, Nigel. Someone once asked DS if he helped me with cakes - he said "No, because Mummy only makes cakes in the middle of the night when we are asleep". All-nighters are not unknown.

Anyway, work tomorrow, so sleep now...

Stealth - if it is gel colour Morrisons have started selling them, the are quite good too!

I need to make 4 cake tiers which are identically pink - now I can't make enough mix all at once (they are 12, 10,8 and 6 inches) so how do I get them all as close to the same pink as possible?

Thanks, blueberry - the nearest Morrisons is actually even further [live in the middle of nowhere]. Fortunately, I remembered that there is a hobbycraft only a couple of minutes detour on the 100mile journey to where I am working today. So I have yellow colour. What I don't have is a 6" cake board because hobbycraft only stock 8" and up angry. Not sure what I am going to do about that - layers were supposed to be 8" and 6" and my poor sharks are drying to that size now sad.

wem Fri 29-Jun-12 12:12:52

Could you cut an 8inch board down to fit the 6 inch cake? Depends if you've got a thin board or a drum.

I've got a complex solution for you blueberry, it depends how exact you want it to be! You could take a quarter (or some other fraction) of each batch of cake mix by weight, make a note of the weights, and then combine them all in one bowl and mix to a darker pink than you want. Then weigh each portion out to add back to the original batches.

So, for example, say the 12 inch cake mix weighs 1kg, take out 250g of that, and the 6 inch weighs 200g (not very realistic figures!) take 50g out of that, so you have a quarter of each of the batches. Add them together, make them dark pink, then weigh out 250g to add back to the 12 inch batch, and should have 50g left to put back in to the 6 inch batch. Theoretically should have the same proportion of pink colour in each!