Friday, 30 November 2018

My first wedding cake

So this is me in August 1995 sporting a very dodgy hair do and looking like I could loose a few pounds, however this is a special picture because it's me with my very first wedding cake. I am looking pleased with myself as it's such a big accomplishment, my mum was with me and so proud too.

By this point in time I had been making cakes as a hobby for about 2 years, I was under taking my City in Guilds in Sugarcraft and Design but I had never thought myself capable of making a wedding cake. Wedding Cakes after all are so important and can absolutely ruin someone's big day, however a friend of my mums nephew was getting married and had been let down by a cake maker and my mum volunteered me!!!!

The couple wanted a royal iced fruit cake in 3 hearts with pink drop loops and floral sprays. I can't remember much about the making of the cake or even how much I charged but I do remember putting it in my car and driving it to Dartford from my home in Aylesford to J&E Halls sports club in Dartford and wondering if my royal icing drop loops would still be there when I got there. I also remember it being a really hot August day!

Anyway, I got the cake there in its entirety and set it up with the sugar flowers, and felt really pleased with myself. Like cake decorating itself, it was the start of something new and something big that I never expected that went on to take over my life! Funny how things happen!!!

The bride and groom were pleased with the cake too!
I wanted to write about the mega road trip I took a couple of weekends ago to deliver two very beautiful cakes. It's complicated and there are so many factors involved that I have put it off as I am not sure how to explain it clearly, but I'll give it ago!
Firstly the issues involved:-
1) Wedding cake booked at Salomons Estate, Tunbridge Wells approx 16 miles west of here and on a good run takes 36 minutes.
2) Gorgeous Blackhorse Inn book a wedding open day there 11-3 on the same day. I've been a recommended supplier there for a number of years so keen to take part. I can deliver the cake and get to the Blackhorse around 11.00 no problem.
3) One of my March 2019 brides has to reschedule her wedding and also does this for the same day. This wedding is at East Quay Whitstable, 31 miles east of me and on a good run takes 43 minutes.
4) Both weddings are at 1.30pm
5) Highways England decide to shut the M20 motorway between junctions 4-6 for the whole weekend to replace a bridge. I live mid way between the two junctions, and my road leads on to the A20. This makes it difficult for me to get a round locally due to the long ques of traffic using the A20 plus all routes to Whitstable, and from Tunbridge Wells to Whitstable send you on the M20 through these junctions!
So it all started to go a bit mad, I didn't want to let down the bride who had rearranged her wedding, in my t&c it does say that delivery may be an issue for rearranged weddings. Sadly I couldn't deliver this cake the day before for many reasons so it was all down to me to get both cakes to their venues on Saturday morning in time for the weddings.
Having spoken to both venues I decided to deliver the original booked cake first to Tunbridge wells as they could be ready for me at 8.30am!!!
I started the day at 6.30am so I could have a relaxing cuppa in bed before the day really began. I loaded up my car with several boxes filling the boot with the seats down, and using the footwells. Luckily I had set up at the Blackhorse wedding open day the day before and had arranged for my daughter to come home from uni for the weekend. Isabella was going to cover the Blackhorse till I got there so that was one thing less for me to be concerned about.
I finally left home at 8.00am a little after I wanted too, a bit too long drinking that cuppa, and drove the 16 miles to Salmomans arriving at 8.45am.
The room was set up but the cake stand wasn't there so I unloaded the car and waited. Once it arrived I set about setting up the cake which took an hour. Finally leaving Salomans at 10.00am.
Now the fun begins! So as to avoid the M20 and the congestion locally to me I decide to avoid the A20/M20 altogether which meant I had to travel up A21, along M25 and down A2 to Whitstable. The traffic wasn't great and I finally arrived at East Quay at 11.45am.
Luckily East Quay were already for me and I unloaded the cake and set it up fairly easily, leaving there at 12.30! I then headed to the Blackhorse arriving there at 1.20 needing another cuppa and food! I stayed there until the end of the open day arriving home at 4.00pm actually having driven full circle. I bought my daughter lunch as a thank you and paid her too (I'm a good mum 🤩🤩🤩🤩)
I don't like to let my clients down in anyway shape or form so it was important to me for these two cakes to be delivered for these two lovely couples despite the obstacles that had been put in my way. It's all part of the service even if it did mean getting up at 6,30am and driving 120 miles, the couples were very happy with their cakes and that makes me happy too!



I keep thinking I should add some info about what goes on behind the scenes, especially when things dont go to plan and things that I have learnt during the making of a cake.
Today I have had such a horrendous day delivering two beautiful cakes to two local venues I feel I should share my pain with you. In hindsight relaying this to my partner and family it seems less of an ordeal but at the time when you are against the clock and have the responsibility of peoples big days on your shoulders it really was very stressful! You may or may not agree!
Cake 1
9.15 am Car loaded with 6 boxes for the first cake delivery of the day, approx 8 miles away.
Set off all fine, then suddenly the two routes to the venue are shut. There is a 20 minute detour along country lanes, single track roads, hump back bridges, all the things you dont need. And the odd horse and level crossing thrown in the mix.
I get to the venue, all fine, unload, wait for the venue to find the table cloths and set the cake table up and realise in my stress of delivering the most intricate cake ever I have left my bag of tricks including ribbon etc at home. Eventhough I checked my room twice.
So trip home trying to avoid the detour, just a few lanes, level crossing and horses.
Load the second cake up, grab my bag of tricks and head back to the original venue. Not straight forward as try to go without going on the detour so spend 7 minutes sitting at a manual level crossing, waiting for the signal man to saunter down the steps and open the 4 individual gates. On the upside as time is ticking away Iook at the signal box and realise I know it intricately as I made it on a cake last year.
I head back to the original venue, finish the cake, few minor issues but all resolved. Go out to my car to deliver cake no2 to find I am blocked in.....................
Cake 2
so I eventually leave the venue and try to work out which way to go. My Satnav was refusing to do anything so I took a guess and after 15 mins I realise I am going further and further in the wrong direction. Eventually when I realise my satnav isnt going to pick up a suitable road, I turn round and go all the way back, passing the original venue. I then hit the detour, single track roads, horses and hump back bridges etc. Eventually I hit a main road, I stop to ensure the cakes are ok in the boot before I head to the venue. I get back in the car, get stuck behind a lorry and some combine harvester thing, the 2nd venue phone to see where I am., Thankfully I have hands free in the car I’m driving. I eventually turn up at the 2nd venue at 1.20, luckily the cake is easy to set up and I am back in the car driving home. Quick trip to Morrison's to buy some cat food and I get in at 2.00pm almost 5 hours later! I dump my stuff in my cake room and have a cuppa!
I need to clean up tomorrow to start again on Sunday.......
I feel better for sharing this, but not sure anyone will take the time to read it! Oh well! 🙁




Saturday, 28 June 2014

Katie and Matts Wedding

Katie and Matts Wedding Cake

I was first introduced to Katie through Kent Wedding Swap Shop. They were getting married in 5 weeks but the person who was originally going to make their cake couldn't deliver it to the venue on the day.

The brief was 3 tiers, dark purple ribbon (def not Cadbury purple.) and a character cake topper for the top tier.

The cake was 3 tiers of different flavour sponges, covered in butter icing and double iced in ivory icing. Nice and simple, but nice and simple isn't always easy! Nice and simple means the cake  often doesn't have much decoration of which means there is no room for error. The sides and top have to be perfect as there is nothing you can use to hide any flaws in the icing.

The cake and cake board were edged in a deep purple ribbon with a ribbon bow and large diamate broach on the top tier. The broach was attached to the cake with a large dollop of royal icing and allowed to dry before transporting.

As I was going alone to the venue. I took the cake as 3 separate tiers along with my repair bag and cake topper.

My emergency repair bag usually consists of a small brush for dusting off the cake, royal icing, scissors, ribbon, spare dowels and cutters, double sided tape for reattaching ribbon, camera and my iPad!!!

I had called the venue the day before to check the time that I could deliver the cake, and was told any time after 11.00 and that the bride and groom would be arriving about 1.30. I rolled up there at 12.10 so should be fine. No!!!

After finding reception and waiting for a receptionist, a very nice porter goes off to find out what is happening and which room the wedding is in for me to set the cake up. He comes back to tell me that not only is the room not ready, but there is a conference going on in there and that I have to set the cake up in the kitchen and leave if there. The staff will move the cake to the room once it is set up.

Now this does not make me a happy cake decorator! I had called the venue to confirm times, and my agreement with my bride and groom was to set the cake up in its final place . Much discussion went on between myself and the staff to no avail. The cake had to be set up in the kitchen, and so it was. I was not very happy about it and not something I I had ever had to do before.

The room I set the cake up in was full of artificial light so the room was badly lit which meant that the cake pictures were very green looking. I have had confirmation from the bride and groom that the cake made it safely in to the room and that they loved it which was a relief, but it just goes to show however much planning you me quite know what you are going to find until you get there!!





Monday, 26 May 2014

Is it really that long ago I made that cake


Is it really that long ago I made that cake?

I recently made a Bob the Builder cake for a little boy, Tommy, who was 2 years old. I hadn't realised that Bob was still popular. 

There was much discussion regarding the style of the cake, but eventually the client found a Bob the Builder Cake on my website that was just what she was looking for.

The cake itself was no problem, easily done , but it got me thinking! The cake on the website was for "Harry" age 1. Well, Harry is now 14 so it's 13 years ago that I made that cake. Looking through my pictures there were a number of cakes that I have made where the child is now an adult or about to get married themselves. It made me feel very old but also very proud that the families involved still want me to make their cakes for them many years on, and soon Harry will be 18!

Is it really that long since I made that cake?

Is it really that long ago I made that cake?

I recently made a Bob the Builder cake for a little boy who was 2 years old. I hadn't realised that Bob was still popular.

There was much discussion regarding the style of the cake, but eventually the client found a Bob the Builder Cake on my website that was just what she was looking for.

The cake itself was no problem, easily done , but it got me thinking! The cake on the website was for "Harry" age 1. Well, Harry is now 14 so it's 13 years ago that I made that cake. Looking through my pictures there were a number of cakes that I have made where the child is now an adult or about to get married themselves. It made me feel very old but also very proud that the families involved still want me to make their cakes for them many years on, and soon Harry will be 18!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Computer Game Cakes


Really I have no interest in any computer games, not even Candy Crush which many people I know are addicted to. So when people ask me to make cakes relating to computer games, I always find it tricky to ensure I achieve exactly what the child or person loves about the game, and often have to rely on the expertise of my 11 & 5 year old sons!!!

Minecraft cakes have been really popular recently. I have made 3 in about  6 weeks, with their characters, and the cake covered in hundreds of black, brown, and green squares. As I have said before having the Internet with such a good supply of pictures is is really useful. However it still takes time to cut out the 400 or so squares and stick them on the cake in straight lines to get the overall effect!!! Then there is the standing figures which obviously also have to be standing when they reach their final destination. Figures can be tricky and making them strong enough often involves inserting dowels, cocktail sticks or cake pop sticks through them and then inserting them into the cake along with edible glue and royal icing!

When I was taught to make model years ago, I was told to put spaghetti into models to keep them together as it's edible, but have been told since this is no good as the spaghetti goes soft and the models may fall apart! It's always important to ensure that the customer is aware of the use of sticks or non edible parts of any sort where models are concerned to avoid any potential choking hazard.

Angry Birds have also been popular with an Angry Birds birthday cake and cupcakes made last week. This I believe is something to do with birds trying to knock pigs out of the air? Not really sure! 

This week I have also made a Moshi Monster Cake, with an orange tiger/cat called Katsuma, it is the second Moshi my monster cake I have made for the same customer, the last one was Oddie, who to me looked a bit like an iced doughnut, but what do I know? Again advice is taken from my children and google to help get the essence of the game involved in the cake. I think I did ok, the customer was very happy when she collected it and that apart form being paid is all that matters!!!!!