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!
I’ve said it before, Spring is the best time of year and I feel like I’ve celebrated this with my Wisteria cake. Sugarpaste flowers are dotted around but they aren’t the star of the show, the frills battle it out with the dark cascading blooms for the top spot. I love the ‘billowy’ nature of this design – I feel like if a summer breeze was to whistle by the frills and the wisteria would sway around lazily. Or maybe I’m just a little swept up in the joy of seeing flowers popping up to say hello everywhere I look?! Anyway, here’s a few close up pictures (apologies as I kind of went picture crazy on this blog entry!)
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
A very dear friend of mine got married on 28th December last year, my gift to the happy couple was this wedding cake. Kate is a bride of impeccable taste and as an Events Organiser, she needed everything to be ‘just right’, this included the cake, so the pressure was on.
We were clear that this wasn’t to be a christmassy cake, but a magical, silvery, frosted design that would tie into her colours of ivory/red/silver and grey. I knew the red would throw me so I only added a touch at the end. The Bridesmaids were in scarlet dresses and the groomsmen were in grey suits.
The wedding was held at Pembroke Lodge, which was also where the Ant and Bee wedding was (one of my personal favourites). So a beautiful white manor house in Richmond Park was the venue, the Royal Park, if you don’t already know, is huge and the local residents are mainly Stags, Deer and herons as well as lots of other fantastic woodland animals. There is even a large population of bright green Parakeets which I was told once escaped from London Zoo… but that might not be true.
I digress. So the white lodge was decorated in blue lighting so that Kate got her frosted, Narnia atmosphere. White twigs were arching over the aisle that she walked down and a harpist played, filling the room with magic. I would have been very watery-eyed if it hadn’t been for a small child making funny noises as soon as Kate entered the room. If you need tears on demand, I’m your girl and I am happy to attend weddings to open the flood gates. I could be called Rent-O-Blub, suggestions welcome…
Back to the cake. It was a chocolate fudge, 2 tiered giant. I hand-painted various snowflake designs and as you can see adorned the cake with a branch which I made from sugarpaste. The silver-leafed rose was also made from sugarpaste. I actually really enjoyed adding the depth of the branch and pairing it with the hand-painted detail, different to what my usual ‘flat’ cakes are like. I also had a nice opportunity to use edible silver leaf. which I think looks really effective and has a certain dipped-in-molten-silver appearance. It’s quite simple to use, you just brush it on a damp surface and fiddle about a bit… give it a go! It would look awesome on some cookies.
To finish off the cake, and what I was MOST pleased with, was the trademark Lorna’s Cakery spots – but this time I piped them on using simple icing sugar and water in a piping bag. It gave the cake extra polished angles – as you might have noticed the top-tier is purposefully off-centre but I think the piping brings the whole design to a close nicely. I also enjoyed the ‘craziness’ (waves hands in the air) of running the sugarpaste and icing over the top of the ribbons and lace, it’s the simple things that I enjoy obviously! Below is the ‘cutting of the cake’, which funnily enough happened on the dance floor! Please spot Kate’s fantastic expression in picture 1, complete cake fear!
Congratulations Kate and Luke!
2012 aims: Learn new skills and enter cake competitions… TICK! This cake was for Cake International, a big cake show in Birmingham – they are famous for being rigorous judges and even disqualifying cakes for minor errors according to the rule book, so a fun/scary thing to be a part of for me! I entered the most basic of categories (there were loads of different groups to enter!)
I chose, ‘The Decorated Celebration Cake’ *all edible decorations*
There was no brief to the cake design, so I was free to go as ‘Cakery’ as I wanted. So, as Autumn was upon us I chose to illustrate a woodland scene, crisp leaves and fallen trees which create a wonderland for wildlife to appear and play in. The hare has become a sort of Lorna’s Cakery mascot and I am keen to let it pop up in designs from now on – obviously or discreetly, depending on the cake.
Texture was key in this scene – so I concentrated on layering all the way through the process – from dying and marbling the icing to washing the backdrop with subtle tones like a water-colour, then finishing with fine brush strokes.
This little squirrel danced on the top of the cake with the sugarpaste flowers I made…
I like this part of the cake as it shows the flowers being kicked up by the stupidly large footed hare, little touches like this give an energy to the design and a narrative. I always think of these hares as chasing each other into a warren that is hidden from predators by fallen branches and golden autumnal leaves. Possibly resident to a silly grumpy hedgehog…. just a thought!
Cake International had SO many awesome cakes that were entered into different categories – unfortunately I didn’t know who did what cake as they weren’t labelled but here is a little selection of some that I loved. I know that two of these are by the very talented Queen of Hearts Cakes – based in Shepherds Bush, London.
This is the table and category that my cake was up against, and the judges hard at work…
This was an order from Maggie, a previous Cakery customer (the Miro cake for her arty husband Mark)
So last week it was an order for her sister’s surprise 60th birthday, the brief: “Fiercely Scottish!”
So, to avoid Loch Ness monsters and Haggis, I chose a much more intriguing aspect, the beautiful Scottish Heather’s, very underestimated in my opinion! They bloom in the most hazardous locations, and battle ferocious weathers – yet remain solid and colourful. I am a massive flower head and have often spent friday night’s in watching gardeners world, Monty Don is a legend! Not that this should surprise you anyway as most of the stuff I write is pretty WI isn’t it?! If I had more time I would look up my local group and join, maybe one day.
The Heather’s are painted tartan, obviously. I really like the look and distortion this gives the design – not too explainatory but very Scottish none-the-less. I also decided to paint around the icing on the board too, and really think it works, gone are the days were I will leave the silver board bare!
My recent cakes have been using these two main colours – the green and plum. I am a very seasonal designer and am constantly inspired by the weather and in turn the atmosphere it creates. You wouldn’t see me painting cakes like this in Summer! Spring and summer and much more yellow.
So my first ever cake competition was last week, it was at the Cake and Bake show in Earl’s Court. It was so fun! But I did have nervous, shaky hands for about 24 hours from delivering my cake (via a bus and a tube!) to finally watching the judges walk around the entries and confirm the winner. I didn’t win but amazingly, when I went around to see if anything was by my cake, I saw this cheeky little certificate next to it!
It felt fantastic! Like I was getting peer validation that I am doing the right thing with my Cakery ‘mission’. Don’t get me wrong, I was not having doubts about Lorna’s Cakery, but to hear positive and complimentary comments from successful people in the ‘cake world’ was really encouraging.
It was my target for 2012, to learn new skills (chocolate showpiece) and to enter a competition. I actually entered two, next one is in Birmingham at the NEC for Cake International. (mega!)
So for this competition, I firstly had to apply by submitting my design idea, which had to be inspired by the brief ‘The Edible Beach’. I was so chuffed when I was emailed saying my idea had been chosen to exhibit at the show, chuffed and suddenly really nervous… This is what I sent in:
“A hand-painted cake – silhouette of an elderly couple on a park bench with their trusty dog.
It is dusk, they are looking at the bright, busy pier in the distance.
It will be nostalgic & romantic. Inspired by grandparents enjoying fish & chips by the sea.”
Rumour has it, that they had over 600 people apply with their designs and they chose about 60 to enter (I’m guessing at the 60, I didn’t count how many cakes there were, I should have though!)
Here is a very crude panel that I put together using my out of date, SLOW, Photoshop – showing you the complete design all around the cake:
The icing was marbled with a nude and light tangerine colour before I covered the cake, I then did a light wash of blue with a wide brush to give me layers to work against when deciding where to place the pier etc. I wanted to create textures and depth in the design, I am really happy with the final product. It took a long time and lots of concentration, but before I took it to the competition I knew it was a true representation of what I want to achieve with the Cakery, it was illustrational, with a slight narrative. I knew many of the other entries at the show would be a fabulous array of complex 3D and novelty cakes, all based on a different ‘Edible Beach’ and to be honest my cake stood out as different, almost modest (!) but really, I think this is what I wanted and I was proud that it sat quietly there – if people wanted to and were willing to take a closer look, they would be able to read the little story I painted on my cake.
OK, so I seem to be getting a little poetic now so I will backtrack…you might have noticed that my pictures have got my watermark on, this is all in preparation for my new website, it’s nearly ready! Curtousy of my ever-so patient friend Louise. It’s going to be awesome and act as a ‘front door’ to Lorna’s Cakery. This blog will be nestled inside and visa versa – I have found the blog so useful in my building of the Cakery, even just as a tool to work out what I personally think about what my next ‘move’ should be.
So, talking about progress and ambition, my next ventures that are highlighted in my calendar are: *Hampers (yes, I still haven’t quite figured them out for 2012! Nearly there!), *Eat Your Heart Out – a not-for-profit event run by Miss Cakehead on 26-28 Oct (She is one of the judges at the competition that I cornered and chatted to) *another cake competition in November at the mother of all shows; Cake International! I’m scared. *AND a couple of cake orders in and around all of that, who knows, maybe Lorna’s Cakery is finally taking flight? Now that would be nice wouldn’t it…
(and finally, doesn’t this bird just look ridiculous! Like its clicking its heels in a Mary Poppins salute!)
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…
I was commissioned for this cake by the Keegan’s (check out my post on Keegan cookies for a great recipe they gave me) It was for Pete’s parents, who both turned 50 this year, so it was sort-of a 100th birthday cake.
They are a family of cat lovers and they live in Wales – so daffodils (the national flower) had to be represented strongly. Kim and Pete are fellow artists and we studied at university together a few years ago, I can’t believe how much has changed since then, we are both married now and they have a wonderful little girl Pippa. I digress…
I wanted to use a few different techniques on this cake, to create a varied surface of interest and detail. I started when I covered the cake in icing, by pressing a flower cutter into the surface. This added initial, subtle textures to play against the painted design. This was great, as I later decided to add icing ‘tubes’ to create a few protruding daffodils. I was surprised at how well this worked and would like to design cupcakes completely covered in them or maybe the top-tier of a larger cake… a little rainy day project me thinks!
The cats were a difficult one to include, so I opted for less of a narrative scene and more of an abstract, ‘design-y’ approach. what do you think?
I am really happy with my new camera, it’s so pretty and I feel like I need to give it a ‘shout out’ because compared to my previous images that I took on my phone, they are so much more appealing to look at. Saying that, I apologise if from now on my posts are more photo heavy because it’s harder to choose which ones to put up!
This cake was a Victoria sponge with chocolate buttercream filling – a cake for sweet teeth, yum!
When I met the Keegan family to give them this cake, Pippa met her first horse, below are a few pictures of our afternoon in the August sunshine…
(above) The Keegan’s! (below) me and Pippa
We later retreated to The Blackwood Arms for refreshments and I would definitely recommend it there, it’s beautiful!