Sugar Spooks

Posted by on Oct 23, 2016 in blog, homepage

Sugar Spooks

My cakes are like my children.  And just like your kids – it’s hard to pick a favourite.  But I think this one might be it! I worked my little heart out on this one and had an absolute blast doing it too.  And yes I know I say that about every cake I make – but what can I say… I love my job! This is now my 3rd time with the Sugar Spooks. I look forward to it each year! The talent in this collaboration is incredible and if I’m being honest… I’m completely intimidated by it.  But that is what also pushes me to try harder!      This year I was really stuck for an idea of something to do.  So I put it to my sister, who then asked her students in Shanghai, for ideas for a creepy character for me to recreate.  After a few options one of them came up with the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth. BINGO! Loved it.  It was years since I saw the movie – so what better way to do some research than some daytime TV watching of a creepy Spanish movie. Now as much as I love freaking kids out on Halloween (yes I’m THAT house) – my own kids are fairly easily scared.  In fact, last year’s piece was completely made under a cloth so that it wouldn’t cause any nightmares for them.  This piece, I nervously didn’t cover – but the slow progression of it seemed to help them adjust. Even though they are a bit freaked out by his neck- they handled it well.  Proud mother or what!?  HA!   Getting the Pale Man’s skin tone was the tricky bit.  As always, I used Vera Miklas modelling chocolate.  I love the way her modelling chocolate makes skin look almost semi-translucent.  But because he was fairly big I didn’t want to have to colour it all. Knowing me, I’d probably not colour enough of it and would then have to try and colour match more.  So I decided to tackle that problem after.  I’ve painted on modelling chocolate before – but this time I just didn’t like that coating that it left on top. So after a lot of mucking about I finally decided to paint the flesh colour with one brush and then blot and blend it in with another.  This ended up staining the chocolate as opposed to painting over top of it.  Loved the end result. A bit of dusting and painting with vodka and some cocoa butter caked on blood.  Again it couldn’t end there.  I had to add some of the grapes that Ofelia ate off of the Pale Man’s table and a weird looking pomegranate,  some glycerine water droplets and there you have it. DONE!  Please take a moment to watch my progress video that I made of it here. I hope you enjoy it! Until next year, Sugar Spooks!...

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Spoooooky Halloween Cupcakes

Posted by on Oct 11, 2016 in blog, homepage

Spoooooky Halloween Cupcakes

A quick and spoooooky cupcake tutorial in 2 styles to get you in the mood for Halloween! All you need are a few tools, some dust and fondant and you’re on your way! It’s a nice and easy tutorial to try out with your kids over Halloween.  Enjoy! BOoooooooOOoooOoooooooOoooOoooooo! What you’ll need: Tools: Circle Cutter (around 3”) Smoother (Flexi-Smoothers are preferred) Ball Tools Dresden Tool (or similar) Medium Fluffly paintbrush Fine detailed paintbrush Materials: White Fondant Black Fondant (small amount) Black Petal Dust Edible Glue Flat ice your cupcakes Cover all of your cupcakes with circles of fondant slightly larger than the cupcake top. Mine were around 3 inches in diameter. Smooth the top and round the sides of the fondant circles. CUPCAKE STYLE 1 Using a ball tool, make areas for the eye sockets, mouth and cheek bones.  Then, with a small pointed tool, create the nostrils, being careful to not pierce through the fondant. Using black petal dust and a good dry brush, shade the insides of the eye sockets and cheeks. Remember to start with only a little dust. Sometimes less is more. Using a small amount of edible glue, attach 2 white balls of fondant to your eye sockets – making sure that the shaded area behind will still show through. Roll out 2 balls of white fondant for the eyes and 2 very small balls of black for the pupils.  Attach with a little glue and press the black circles flat. Fill in the mouth with a bit of black fondant and use the ball tool to spread it to the edges of the mouth. Using a droplet of vodka or other clear alcohol, mix in some of the black petal dust until it is a thin paint consistency.  You can then pain in the nostrils. CUPCAKE STYLE 2 Using a ball too rub in your 2 eye sockets and make 2 indents for the nostrils.  Then using your dresden/veining tool, create the basic smile. Using your dresden tool again – make the ‘stitch’ marks over the top of your mouth Shade the eye sockets again using black petal dust and a good dry brush. Attach 2 equal sized balls for the eyes securing with edible glue and add a small amount of black to each of the pupils.  Paint in your stitches and your nostrils and then your happy spooky face is ready for eating!  Have a great...

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FREE Wicked Pumpkin Cake Tutorial

Posted by on Oct 9, 2016 in blog, homepage

FREE Wicked Pumpkin Cake Tutorial

A little something to get you into the Halloween spirit!  This FREE downloadable tutorial will show you how to carve and create an evil little pumpkin to surprise your friends with.  A great introduction to carved cakes.  Have fun celebrating and be sure to send photos of your creations to me!  I love to see them. Wicked Pumpkin Cake...

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The Incredible Works of William Joyce Collaboration

Posted by on Oct 7, 2016 in blog, homepage

The Incredible Works of William Joyce Collaboration

When Heather from Cakepunk asked me to join her collaboration celebrating the incredible works of William Joyce, I said, “WHO”? With one quick Google search I knew exactly who he was – but had no idea the amount of books, stories, movies etc that I already recognised –  and never knew were his.  There were ones I knew from before like, Rise of the Guardians and Rolie Polie Olie and then some of the works that I never knew and now love, like The Mischievians (which I had to order) and Ollie’s Odyssey.  Yup, I loved them all.  I was in.  Being originally a Graphic Designer and always wanting to get stuck in to the latest project, I offered to help out where I could.  And what can I say… it’s been a brilliant ride. Cake by Isabel Tamargo from Tartes Impossible The fun began with inviting some cake friends that you know and love.  Then, crossing your fingers while you invite some of your cake idols – hoping that they’ll say yes too.  And they did!  That’s another great thing about these collaborations… building relationships with other ‘like-minded’ cakers.  But it was time for us to start the real work on this.  I now appreciate everyone who hosts a cake collaboration.  There’s so much love, attention, time and WORK that go into these things. The trick is to make it look like it was super easy in the end. Cake by Jean A Rettmer Schapowal of Cakes with Character When recreating people’s art – it’s always a good idea to get permission from the original artist.  So, Heather sent out a little letter to William Joyce’s publishing company just to let them know what we’re doing and to see if we needed permission to use his works.  From someone who has written to favourite authors before – it’s rare to get a response.  But he did!  “This sounds lovely. She has my enthusiasm and permission.  Bill”.  I think we literally jumped in the air from the comment. Cake by Corinna Maquire from Lovin’ from the oven Buzzing from that response and watching the absolutely incredible pieces come in one by one was such a rush.  The butterflies were gathering in my belly seeing it all come to life from Heather’s idea.  But the best part of it all was seeing how much each cake artist loved their own piece that they created!  And how they were waiting with bated breath to share them.  William Joyce’s characters were so fantastic, that you could see the effort each person put into recreating them as best they could. Cake by Mio Shih from Deliciously Yummy I couldn’t be more proud of a collection of works.  And although this was, and is Heather’s baby – I’m just thrilled to be a part of it all and to have watched it grow.  Please enjoy...

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The Ark’s 21st Birthday

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in blog, homepage

The Ark’s 21st Birthday

Where it all began… Two years ago I was invited into my first cake collaboration, a live one at the Ark in Temple Bar, Dublin after meeting some cake decorators at the Dublin Cake Show.  And boy has it been a wild ride since then!  Can’t believe so much has happened in just 2 years! For this year’s collaboration at the Ark, each of us chose one of their events that they had over the 21 years of their being.  I chose The Magic Bookshop: a treasure trove of wonders where second-hand books flock together and their stories leap from the pages!  And I decided to do just that.  Make a story emerge from a book.  An evil Queen stepping out of the book she came from. But to add some height to it all I decided to put her on a stack of other books labelled with the Roald Dahl book that I made for my first collaboration in the Ark – Danny the Champion of the World.  The Tailor of Gloucester – one from another recent Beatrix Potter collaboration I did.  And finally one with the Ark’s birthday image. I managed to finish it in 2 days but would have liked to have spent more time on this piece – but when have I not said that!? Click here to see the rest of the pieces in this collaboration. Here’s my original piece from Danny the Champion of the World, that I made for the Ark 2 years ago for the Cake Dahls exhibit.  This is Mrs. Clipstone who was transporting drugged pheasants underneath her baby in the cot – but they started to wake...

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The Caketastics – Recumberer Monster

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in blog, homepage

The Caketastics – Recumberer Monster

When the earth is in danger from invading aliens, you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do. This Recumberer Monster is one of the less intimidating monsters on attack in the world. They wouldn’t be the sharpest tools in the shed and they are more of an annoying psychotic scavenger than an intimidating monster.  But these pests reproduce asexually and quickly at that. If one of these monsters is found in a specific location – chances are that their population will quickly grow out-of-hand and will take over entire villages with their sheer numbers. These little creatures feed on smaller animals to feed themselves and their rapidly growing flock. On the plus side – although they may take over entire cities with their numbers, they do tend to control any mouse infestation that there may be. The Caked Crusader – Corinna Maguire from LOVIN’ FROM THE OVEN Has the ability to dissolve any sugar into fuel used to feed her sugarbots that will then do her bidding. With the aid of her sugarbots, the Caked Crusader can build and manipulate any sugar creature to fight off her enemies, bring evil to justice, clean her oven and also mop the floors for her too. Be sure to check out the rest of the full collaboration at www.facebook.com/TheCaketastics And don’t forget to see the video too!  Cause it’s awesome! __________ Behind the Scenes _________ Becoming “The Caked Crusader” was harder than it looked!  Trying to set the timer on my camera – running around and posing as a superhero with imaginary power was an absolute blast.  I was in tears with laughter trying to get the right shot.  The out-takes were too funny that I had to share them with you. This was such a fun collaboration.  From the shooting, the caking and the story telling – it was brilliant!  So a big thank you to that talented hunk Daniel for inviting me into this incredible...

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