Snail Rider

Posted by on Jun 15, 2017 in blog, homepage

Snail Rider

A Steampunk Screaming Snail Rider!  Sure why not…? This is my first attempt at a Steampunk styled piece and I had so much fun with it. It was also, for me, a bit of fear therapy too. I have a bit of a fear of snails – so the research and pictures of it almost broke me! I call this piece – “Rush hour traffic” as this is what it feels like sometimes. Please go and see all of the other pieces in the Steam Cakes Collaboration...

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Hulk Smash!

Posted by on Jun 10, 2017 in blog, homepage

Hulk Smash!

Well it’s that time of year again… my son Cormac’s birthday.  Cakes are expected and time always seems to be short.  I always end up rushing his cakes for some reason.  So this time, I decided to try and come up with a design that would be easy to put together last minute and this one worked! I’m normally a one cake a week, kinda gal.  But this week I had 4 cakes to do!!  That may not sound like much to some of you. I’m always amazed at people who can whip out 15 immaculate cakes in a week.  But that’s just not me.  So I had to make as much as possible in advance.  Five days before the big day, I was able to model Hulk’s face and hands, using Vera Miklas modelling chocolate, some Cerart and some Sugar Shaper modelling tools.  I also did a little dusting and painting on him to add some depth. This way, when I made the cake itself I could just ‘insert’ them in. There was going to be a bunch of 5 year old boys with grabby hands there.  So I didn’t want to use any toothpicks or anything that they could choke on (or use as a weapon).  Safer all around to keep it as a ‘flat cake’!!   I’m all about hidden candy in the cakes for my kids.  And this one was no exception.  Under the Hulk’s face I used a thin cake card to make a tube to hold up his head securely and also to keep the candy inside nice and dry.  I cut out a circle of cake from the base layer and popped in my secret candy compartment. I carved out a rough and jagged ‘crevice’ from the top layer of the cake to go on either side of his head to build that wall.  After icing and covering it with white fondant, I placed in the head and started making the indentations of the bricks using a sugar shaper.  I was tempted to use my brick impression mat, but the bricks on mine were too small!  After marking the bricks out, I pressed crinkled tin foil on them to give them a rough texture.  With a soft (clean and new) sponge I dabbed each brick with a mix of terracotta petal dust and some vodka… after all, this is a party  😉 . Once it had dried a bit I placed in his fingers at an angle to look like he was pulling the wall/cake apart. But the wall needed some more ‘exploding’ bricks too.  I could have used marshmallows for them but I wanted to make sure that the colours would be the same so I kept with the fondant and just cut out ‘bricks’ and used the same method to texture and dust them.  They were still wet enough to stick to the cake...

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Crowfoot

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 in blog, homepage

Crowfoot

My Crowfoot lifesize bust from the Cork Cake Competition.  He won a Gold! While spending Christmas in Canada in the FREEZING cold, we had to entertain the kids somehow without turning them into icicles.  So we spent some time in a good few museums.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of the Native American clothes, headdresses and history in these places and the need to ‘cake it’ began.  So with a month to go before the Cork competition I decided to start my Crowfoot piece.  VERY unlike me.  I’m usually a last minute-mad-panic-like-crazy-trying-to-finish kinda girl. I knew I wanted to do a Native American bust and after some research I finally decided on recreating Chief Crowfoot, who was an amazing guy from the 1850s.  He brought peace between the First Nations and the government and was also known for fighting alcoholism among the Blackfoot people. After a chat with a friend in Canada I knew how I wanted to create the beaded panels with sprinkles (dragees/nonpareils) secured into modelling chocolate.  But I had no idea how long this would take.  I started with one of the side circle pieces on the headdress.  Yup…. 3 hours later I finally finished.  I would have quit that idea but it turned out perfect and I had to trudge on.  My eyes were going wonky by the time I was done. Just when I thought I was done, I ended up having to redo the first one, as it was OBVIOUSLY my first one. Sigh… Crowfoot himself was made from chocolate biscuit cake in his torso and rice krispies in his head.  He was then covered in Vera Miklas Milk modelling chocolate and textured using silicone tools from Cerart.  I (as usual) ended up putting too much detail in.  He has 2 fully formed ears that you can’t even see under his hair and there’s even a tied strap on the back of his shirt that you, again, can’t see.  I knew it at the time – but couldn’t help myself. The feathers were then made with wafer paper and a stem of spaghetti wrapped in wafer paper that was sprayed with Fabriliquid.  I found it stuck to the wafer paper a bit better this way.  I then painted a mix of black dust and vegetable oil to make the black ends to them. They were then secured into place in the red modelling chocolate tubes and that was another bit done!  The Hudson Bay blanket that he’s wrapped in, is made from rolled out modelling chocolate and textured using a new dish scrubber.   After I had the piece almost completely finished my hubby came in and said he loved it except for the eyes.  I spent ages looking at it and couldn’t see what was the problem.  That’s when it was time to get a little help from some friends. With one look they knew that the eyes were flat.  There was...

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Lil’ Lovebugs

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in blog, homepage

Lil’ Lovebugs

I made some bugs and they’re kinda cute not to mention that they’re in luuuuv. This is a quick and easy little modelling tutorial for all the little love bugs out there for this upcoming Valentine’s day. I’ve never really been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Partially for the fact that my husband always needs to remind me that it’s just a “Hallmark holiday”.  He still always gives in and brings me flowers though.  Plus it’s also a really good excuse to eat lots of chocolate too!!  Not that I need an excuse – but it’s handy to have one ready when you need it. For this one I’ve used both Vera Miklas White and Dark modelling chocolate.  The dark because it’s easier to colour to black without having to add too much gel colour and plus it holds its shape better for things like the little arms (yup – no supports in those puppies) and the eyelashes.  Everything either red or white were both made with the white modelling chocolate and I just coloured them with Extra red gel colour and Superwhite gel colour. I wanted to have some lovestruck eyes, but didn’t have a small heart cutter.  So I used a little flower cutter instead and cut out 2 of the petals in to a point.  And Ta-daaa!! Perfect shaped hearts.  Love those moments.   I had finished making the video and taking the photos only to realise that I hadn’t any antennae (Google helped me spell that by the way) on the little bugs.  So a quick fix with some sugarflower stamens and I think they worked well! Can you make these with sugarpaste?  Of course!  But they’re just not going to be as tasty or as easy to make.  AND if you use gloves when you work with it you get a nice shiny finish too.  Just like a real bugs belly.  Trust me, I’ve done my research.  (not really) So I hope you have fun with this tutorial and have a LOVE-ly Valentine’s Day. <3 P.S.  You can get the modelling chocolate that I use at these links.. Ireland: www.veramiklas.com The rest of the world: www.thecakedecoratingcompany.co.uk Love...

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Cake Resolutions of 2017

Posted by on Jan 5, 2017 in blog, homepage

Cake Resolutions of 2017

Happy New Year to all of my cake-y friends!!  To celebrate, I’ve put together a little compilation video of some of my favourite cakes that I’ve made throughout 2016.  It’s great to see them altogether.  But I have to tell you, that while I was looking through them, I found myself criticising each one with what I could have done better or changes I would have made.  “I didn’t have enough time, “Halloween got in the way” or “It’s Tuesday”!   🙂    So… this year I’m going to make some changes. Things can get over-thought and over-worked sometimes…  Like, do you ever find yourself making sure there’s enough time after making a cake, to clean the entire kitchen to a sparkling shine, before an order was being collected.  Because God forbid that they would realise that it ACTUALLY takes the entire contents of every cabinet and every tool that you own, to be on the counter in order to complete a cake order.  No wonder people often undervalue the time it takes to make one of these creations.  We’re making it look too easy!  HA!    With 2 small kids and another self-employed job, I’ve already had to make some changes and reduce the number of cakes that I do to make this cake world work for me.  Now, I have the time to create them to a standard that I’m reasonably happy with and not rush them.  It works for me most of the time.  Luckily, I am in a position to be able to do this.  I know that many people don’t have the second income option and I completely admire them for fitting in so many cakes in a week to the amazing standards that they do.  But I find that I often lose track of time and get sucked into a cake.  (Not so great for charging for my time!!)  But those are the bits that I love to do and I wouldn’t have it any other way.               Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m having a blast here and things are going great. But I figure, there’s no harm in having goals and making improvements.  Even making an attempt to make changes is something to be proud of – right?!  There’s always room for improvement!  Now, I wouldn’t normally be one for making resolutions other than the usual ones that get me up and exercising for the month of January alone.       So… for my new year’s CAKE resolutions I’m going to: a) be more organised (Yeah right… I always say this) b) keep pushing my limits and get out of my cake comfort zones c) don’t compare myself to other cakers and just concentrate on my own work d) keep a better schedule and stop procrasti-caking, a.k.a. leaving cakes to the last minute (again… I always say this) So  Happy New Year everyone!!  Here’s to another...

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Cake International Gold!

Posted by on Nov 10, 2016 in blog, homepage

Cake International Gold!

Procrasti-caking (prəˈkræs.tɪ.keɪk.kɪŋ) Definition: To keep delaying a cake that must be done soon, often because it is daunting or you still have just a few more hours until it actually needs to be finished. What a weekend at Cake International!!  I didn’t think that the buzz from last year could have been outdone – but I think it actually might have gotten better.  I’m a little stunned after it all to be honest!        I entered into 2 cake competition categories but ended up only finishing one (in the hotel the night before).  Yes, I could have finished them earlier. And yes, I have excuses galore as to why I couldn’t get it done in time.  (Halloween etc)  But at that point if I had entered my second piece I wouldn’t have been happy once I placed it down on the table.  The standard at the show this year was incredible!!  People had obviously been working on their pieces for months before.         So, this was the first time I competed there and I won a Gold!  I was thrilled.  Not only that but I was reunited with my cake friends from all over Ireland, who I don’t get to see very often since I live on the West coast.  I met up with loads of cake friends from all over the world and I actually got to properly spend time with most of them all too! And finally, I got to meet loads of cake friends that I’ve only ever chatted to online before. It’s so nice to finally put a face (and a body) to their profile pictures. It wasn’t all fun and games though.  This year I also had fun working a bit at the show.  I was asked to do a demonstration for the lovely Avalon Yarnes while she streamed it live on Facebook (no pressure – right!?). The doofus dial was turned up full blast with my nerves while I made a little modelling chocolate moose for her. I figured she missed her pet moose from her home.  I also did a demonstration with Jeanette MacPherson at the Cake International Magazine stand too!  Seriously fun and incredibly talented lady!!     The heavy hitters were all around and I managed to meet a lot of them.  I met Mike McCarey, hung out with Isabel and all of those incredibly talented and gorgeous Spanish lovelies, hugged Benny Rivera (that was on the bucket list), ate with Rosie Dummer and a pile of incredible cakers, had pints with Liz Marek and Cynthia Kia White, mauled Avalon Yarnes and more – but it’s sounding like I’m just name dropping now.  It was brilliant getting to know everyone though.  One of my favourite moments of the weekend was witnessing first hand Ruth Rickey winning her surprise award for Best Support at the Cake Masters Awards.  TEARS were shed...

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