I was recently asked to provide a cake for a photo shoot, the brief was soft pastels and ‘dreamy’. My absolute dream plant is cascading lilac wisteria, so to match it with lace and peach coloured piping was to me, perfect. The black velvet ribbon also really adds some drama to the softness of the painting behind… in my opinion anyway! I would have loved this cake at my wedding, I think it’s a very ‘Me’ cake. I hope you like x
After much deliberation over what cake Fran wanted for her parents big surprise anniversary party, we came up with something from the past. It’s based on the bouquet that the bride had 20 years ago! The wedding photograph was placed next to the cake when presented, cute. To start off I painted a yellow water-colour wash over the base and to finish, I highlighted the painting with royal icing details. The whole cake was lastly glazed with a shimmer spray, to give it a pearlescent light. And if you are wondering, it’s a Victoria Sponge…
I’m not sure why this cake reminds me of Shakespeare’s balcony scene, maybe you can shed some like on that? The lovely couple were friends of ours so it was an extra special order, which included a triple layer lemon drizzle top tier, with extra zest! I was actually in shock as all of the cake was eaten… within half an hour! I think it’s the lemon curd buttercream that gets people coming back for seconds.
So this design was inspired by Ruth’s wedding dress material – and also the fact that the venue (London’s UCL) was covered in huge bouquets of yellow tulips. I wanted a creeping rose effect but with a 3D element – not just painted, odd for me I know! In the past couple of months I have really enjoyed playing around with making sugar paste flowers and want them to feature more on my cakes in the future. Currently, I am on a bit of a giant poppy binge but for Ruth and Matt’s wedding it was all about the rose style blossoms from her dress. I use Pinterest to seek out mini tutorials and also you-tube, check it out – for the poppies I’m not even using a petal cutter, thrifty!
It was a beautiful sunny Saturday in March – full of smiles, love and lemon cake! Congratulations Matt and Ruth!
This is the final display cake for my wedding fair stand which is next week, The Floating Garden, and my rather self-explanatory title for this post you can sort of tell what my inspiration was for this wedding cake. Art Nouveau illustrations of flowers, floating lotus’ and oriental gardens. The middle tier has a sugarpaste flower floating in the centre which is an idea that I really look forward to expanding on in the future. The entire cake is hand-painted and then dusted in a pearlescent shimmer, creating the glow in the light, reflecting the inspiration of the water gardens and the constant dappling light on its surface. This is only a very short blog post but below is a collection of detailed images of the cake, I hope you like it!
So I seem to have unintentionally created a few cakes which ‘talk’ about meadows, fields and gardens. But I really can’t help it and as I have said before, my favourite time of year is spring and meadows encompass that. … Continue reading
This was a funny request for a cake, as it was going to be brought to a wedding and entered in a wedding guest ‘Bake-Off’. So slyly Tom asked me to make his entry and obviously I obliged. The competition is today, so I’m not sure how we did (if we win, I will update this later).
As usual, I asked for a few things about the couple to start off the inspiration for the design and I was told that when they got engaged it was at a little picnic – so this led me to this design, a summery field of blooms…
Now, as this was a competition, I knew they would cut into the cake to try it – so, I made the victoria sponge inside pink, green and orange for extra ‘pazazz’! The only thing is I’m not sure what that part looks like!
This obsession with surprise centers in cakes and sponges has been with me for a while so it was crazy when the first episode of GBBO was about that too, so fun! Also, I recently came across a great blog which shows you how to hide little images inside a baked cake, go look at Once Upon A Pedestal.
Hmmmm, I hope we win…
Yesterday was my first hand-painted cupcake class, held a Norden Farm Arts Centre in Maidenhead. It was such a nice class, there was 11 ladies who each brought a dozen cupcakes with them and lots of enthusiasm for cake.
(This picture above is my favourite cupcake from the class, it’s so happy! Also, you can’t see it on here, but it has a glittery sky, I squealed a little with joy when I saw it!)
The class lasted 2 hours, a good amount of time to explain the areas of possibilities with edible paint, as well as enough time for the students to try out their own ideas.
You will see from my pictures that lots of the cakes are experimental with ideas and this is exactly what I wanted. I tried to convey to the class that there really isn’t a possibility for mistakes in this – no one knows what you wanted to achieve in the design so you can change it as you go along, just relax and have fun.
We also played around with some cutters to bring another dynamic to the cupcakes – this class did not need me to hold their hand in this at all, before I could tell them to use the cutters to just make an impression in the top of a cupcake – they had already done it without me looking! I was proud!
It was really exciting to hold this class and I am definitely going to be doing this again soon, I found myself giving ideas and tips that I didn’t even realise I knew. I think it was the life long obsession of cooking and art coming out and I just wanted to share it with this lovely group – so they could go home and try these things for their friends and families.
I ended up giving out lots of my cards and asking them to keep in touch and let me know how they get on and show me cakes they do in the future, I really hope they do!
Last year I was contacted out of the blue from an old friend who had seen my cakes and wanted to know if I was interested in doing a collaborative design for his wedding cake. Obviously this made my day.
The happy couple, (Ant and Vic) are creatives and already had a strong idea of what they liked and didn’t like so it was fun to merge our ideas, which funnily enough was easy as we all wanted a fun, unusual design which was personal to them and NOT Novelty. There were lots of tangible links, the 7″ top-tier was a Victoria sponge cake (the bride) and overall look was ‘english country garden’ to match the rest of the wedding.
You might have gathered by now the Ant on top of the cake was the Groom, and the Bee was the Bride. It was also a little surprise for the Bride’s sister (the maid of honour) as their names for each other are ‘Big Bee’ and ‘Little Bee’. They knew they wanted an Ant and Bee to feature in a garden and with my history of working with Ant (we used to make models of knees for medical purposes, weird I know!) I knew he would be able to make the creatures and suggested they try out some ideas out with plasticine. They loved the idea, and I quickly got a reply that they had bought some Fimo and were starting right away! The result was a fantastically anatomically accurate ant, with movable legs and body and a bee with daintily wired wings. Beautiful. I loved that they got involved and made them themselves, also its a lovely keepsake for them now the wedding has BEEn and gone.
So after many emails with attachments of lacy cupcake wrappers and various types of cake stands we started catching up on over coffee (and cake) to bind our ideas together. Possibly the funnest way to spend a saturday morning! The overall wedding feel was very personal and every detail was thought about and had a purpose, so the cake had to reflect this also.
The cupcakes flavours:
40 Chocolate sponge cupcakes with chocolate icing & 40 Lemon sponge cupcakes with lemon curd icing
Both were Hummingbird Bakery recipes. The Chocolate where like death by chocolate and delicious, you must give the recipe a try, I will be using it again and again. Except the lemon curd Icing, for that I went a bit off-piste and used my mum’s homemade lemon curd mixed with icing powder, I wanted it very tangy to balance the lemon sponge. If your don’t make a noise after eating lemony food, then there isn’t enough lemon. The noise can be ‘ooooh!’ or ‘Mmmmmm’ or ‘Wow’ (I’m not fussy).
So the wedding day came, it was at Pembroke Lodge, a mansion in Richmond Park, Surrey. An absolutely beautiful setting, and the sun shone for them all day, which was wonderful as the colours of the park magnified the country garden theme, lots of greens highlighted with blossom tones. Jam jars sat with wild flowers as table centre pieces, homemade jam for favours, flags, bunting and ribbons everywhere.
My husband Rich was my helper for the assembling of the cake display and a nerve soother when I continually asked “do you think they will like it, I hope they like it”. From the photo below you can tell the amount of concentration needed for the perfect ‘scattered’ rose petals…
I am really excited as I have another friend of mine is getting married over Christmas at the same venue, so to do another cake for a different season will be a lovely contrast for me. It was such an honour to work with Ant and Vic and I loved the enthusiasm they had about my ideas and how they wanted to cake to represent their big day, I fully believe the cake at a wedding can be treated as an aside, or can fully embody the couple and be a centre piece and canvas to celebrate the wedding day – which then gets cut and enjoyed by all the guests. Family and food is my passion and this, I think, celebrates both.
The lovely Mr & Mrs Houghton
The lemon face
To give my blog a more rounded view of what I like and my work, I wanted to post a few images of my recent sketches and some things about town that have caught my eye. I’m sure that you will probably see these things filter into my cake designs.
I think it’s something about Spring (I have said this before) I find myself stopping to appreciate simple, well-lit views from my bedroom window, evening/early morning sun and new growth in sprouting perennial blooms.
I have also been working on a patchwork quilt, which has taken a while but finally grown to fill most of my floor. I am needed to make a call to my mum to find out about how to finish it and add the wadding, otherwise I will just keep adding to it and it will take over the flat… I will post when it is finished.
This cake was for my friends mum’s 60th birthday. I have known the family since I was a child so when Chloe asked me to make a cake for her mum I instantly erupted in “oh a cocker spaniel design!” They have always owned them, although, I realise the first photo I put on this blog wasn’t a cocker spaniel but a westie terrier, artistic licence?
The cake was a traditional Victoria sponge with jam and buttercream.
I didn’t intend to add the green to the design but I am so glad I did! This looks much more striking and the three tones gives the painting more depth, I think I will use a similar technique in future cakes.
The bottom tier is my impression of a quilted fabric. I really love the colours in this cake, the peach and green are really spring-like, something which seems to be on my mind a lot in the cold late feb/march!
I didn’t want it just to be a dog design so I brought back the park idea which I have used before, there are so many options to add in, like the flowers in the breeze and the kite. I want to build on my narratives in my illustrations as I they have always been important in my work.
Chloe took these photos for me and is just starting up a photography venture – so if you need anyone for your parties/family occasions, take a look at her blog.