Showing posts with label birthday cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label birthday cake. Show all posts

Monday, 1 April 2013

Collingwood Football Club Cake Number Two!

Birthdays come but once a year, but even that is way too often for me, given that my boss is a mad Collingwood fan.

Last year I made him a cake with the Collingwood logo, which you can see here. This year, even though I hate Collingwood with a passion, as most sensible Australians do, I decided to revisit the theme in a slightly different way.

 I did a Collingwood guernsey together with an Aussie Rules football lying next to it.

 This is how the guernsey started out. I had made a rectangular chocolate mud cake, to my favorite ultra-rich recipe, and had ganached the surface to make it smooth.

I then looked up the interwebs for a picture of a Collingwood guernsey lying flat, to get the basic shape. As you can see in this pic, I needed only to cut three slightly curved portions from the cake for the neckline and the arm holes, and then I had to cut the tops of the shoulder-pieces at a slight angle.

After I had got the shape right, I ganached the edges I had cut to get a smooth surface and rolled out black fondant to cover the whole shape.

I haven't covered many 'shaped' cakes before, and I'm very pleased to report that the fondant - handled very carefully - stretched over the edges beautifully.

After I had covered the entire top and edges in black fondant, I cut some 1cm wide white rolled fondant stripes, being careful to try to copy the pattern carefully (i.e., the number of stripes and the relative distance of each to the other).

There is a bit of balancing between trying to follow a design exactly, and being able to simplify it so it's clear and crisp. You don't want to get bogged down in difficult detail that you won't be able to do very well, so it's best to leave out really tricky things.

In this case there were some logos on the front of the guernsey that you can see in the pic above, that I decided not to go with. Too fiddly. I did, however, cut into my black fondant for the neckpiece and placed a white half-moon piece in there for better detail.

The trusty ol' Sherrin footy was made entirely of fondant icing. I rolled it in a fabulous substance called tylose powder, which basically hardens up the fondant as you work it so that large shapes can set harder and not lose their shape.

Confession: despite watching my fair share of footy, I was about to make the ball in a brown colour, and checked at the last minute to find that Aussie Rules footballs are bright red, and have been for about 50 years. Observation fail!!

I did the 'stitching' marks in four lines with the end of a pin.

The final cake with football had the footy with its famous maker's name, 'Sherrin' printed as neatly as possible on the side.
It brought a smile to the boss's face and horror to all other opposing team supporters... Happy Birthday to Collingwood's No. 1 fan!

Monday, 22 October 2012

A Collingwood FC cake for a football-mad boss

No one who knows my boss (or for that matter, any of his relatives) could doubt that he is football-mad. Not only was he rather a good player in the State league, he has a lifelong, mad allegiance to the Collingwood Football Club. Unfortunately, Collingwood (despite its passionate fan base) is the most unpopular club in the history of Australian competition, so when it came to the boss's birthday, I had an extremely difficult decision to make...

...Could I quell my own distaste for his hideous team....

... In order to make him happy with a Collingwood-themed birthday cake??

Well, clearly, it turns out that I could, and did. Many doubted my sanity, but I pushed onward, and tried not to think of all the Collingwood supporters leering at my cake with their gappy-toothed smiles and their jailhouse tattoos.

First I needed a model for the dreaded Collingwood logo, so I turned to the interwebs for that. I tried to find the clearest graphic that I could:

Then I needed to start with the basics - this is a chocolate mud cake coated with chocolate ganache and hot-knifed to be absolutely smooth.

For detailed instructions on that process, click here. (The link relates to ganaching cupcakes, but the process is the same for larger cakes.)

I then rolled a large sheet of white fondant icing and covered the cake's top and sides entirely with it, trimming the base carefully.

Now it was time to get to work on the detail. I cut two wavy triangles for the two flags at the base of the logo. The black-and-white Collingwood flag was fairly easy, but this one - the Australian flag - was fiddly.

I started with the Union Jack in the corner and then drew the outlines of the stars. Then I coloured in the rest in blue. I used food grade (non toxic) textas - the cheapest and easiest way to get these is to go to a good toyshop and ask for non toxic, washable children's markers. Crayola is fine for food colouring and works well.

I cut a tiny shield from rolled white fondant and printed the requisite foundation date of the Club (as neatly as I could - it's not easy to print neat letters with a soft nibbed texta onto soft-surfaced findant).

This picture shows several of the elements of the logo together: you can see the flag shapes partially cropped from the picture at the bottom, still unpainted, the shield shape, not yet printed, the wheat sheaves to go on the sides and the main oval plaque. I cut out all of the shapes first and put them together loosely so I could work out whether the basic proportions were right.

White-on-black lettering is harder than black-on-white, because you must first draw hollow letter shapes, then colour carefully around them. You can see this process underway in this picture.

The magpie in the centre was a hand drawn equivalent of the one on the logo - it could have been better but it was ok for this purpose. I copied it as closely as I could from the picture because the trick with this kind of cake is to be as accurate as you can.

The finished logo was assembled from each individual piece after each had been coloured/lettered. I used a very small amount of water to stick the pieces together - you need to be really careful when using water near colourings, as the cake's surface was pure white, and there is always a danger that the colours may run - you have been warned.

Presentation of the cake was somewhat delayed, as the boss was out of the office on the actual day, with a shocking feverish cold. We got it couriered to his house where it managed to put a smile on his face - and even better, he brought the remains of it back to work the next day, so we all got a chance to COMPLETELY DESTROY the Collingwood logo in a ceremonial, knife-wielding way!

Happy footballing from Dr Cupcake!

Monday, 7 March 2011

A penguin birthday cake for Mr Cupcake

As Mr Cupcake's birthday approached I asked him, predictably, what he would like in the way of a cake.
Not being as obsessed as I am with cakes, Mr Cupcake did not know what he wanted.

"Anything," he said. He then specified that he would like a Sacher torte as the kind of actual cakey substance but that he wouldn't mind if I paired that with a fondant icing rather than the normal glossy chocolate icing of true Sacher tortes.
The weather in Tasmania has turned very cold so suddenly that a icy penguin tableau seemed quite apt for a March birthday. I decided to try something I had seen in Planet Cake Cupcakes.

This was only the second time that I have decorated a full size cake with fondant icing. Planet Cake definitely wouldn't give me a job based on the end result, but as a beginner I was reasonably happy with it.

After I had baked the Sacher torte, I split it horizontally and filled the centre with blackcurrant jam. Then it was time to ganache and hot knife for a smooth finish.

It took an awful lot of ganache to cover all the top and sides, because it needs to sit in every little uneven crevice and be built out to an even edge. This is the ganache finish.

 For some reason Mr Plums was fascinated with the whole decorative process and every time I got up from my chair he took a front seat to watch the proceedings.

I measured the cake (top and sides) so that I would know how large a piece of rolled fondant I would need to cover it. Then I rolled the fondant to about half a centimetre thickness and draped it evenly over the cake. I smoothed it by hand from the middle to the top edges and then down the sides, and trimmed around the base. 

The penguin took a while. I modelled him from a single large ball of fondant, but had to lie him down to dry out because his head kept drooping forward. He looked crushed and sad. However, he hardened up nicely while lying down with his little head supported by a foam pillow to keep his back hunched.

His flippers were rolled and hand cut, then left to dry completely before moving them. I cut deep slots in penguin's sides to stick the flippers in.

Penguin had to be painted. I used a black gel food colour and a fine brush to do his head, back and one side of his flippers, leaving his tummy white.

The white side of one flipper got a bit of black on it - I thought this was terminal but managed to remove the stain by wiping with a damp cloth - good to know for future reference.

When penguin was dry, I stuck tiny white fondant balls on for eyes and dotted a black pupil in each with a paint brush. I stuck his flippers into their slots and put him on the cake, then placed his feet in front of him.

It was time to cut a hole in the 'ice'-ing to go fishing! I made the hole with a small circle cutter, going right down to the ganache layer.

Then I peeled the fondant away, but replaced it with a very very thin layer of white fondant, just so that the blue gel would really shine.

I squirted a thin layer of blue gel into the hole using Wilton's cake decorating gel - it comes in a range of colours, very useful for water effects.

Then I modelled a fishy from white fondant (actually, I only needed half a fishy), and painted him using 'ivory' gel colour (it looks light brown when concentrated), decorating him with green dots and black ridge along his fins. I stuck white balls of fondant on for his eyes and dotted black paint for the pupils, as with penguin. Then I placed fishy in his icy pond and piped another layer of blue gel around him.

In photographing the cake I thought this pic which was taken in direct sunlight seemed to make the 'icy' setting more realistic. The sun gleams off the water beautifully!
I finished up with Happy Birthday candles in green and orange to go with the fishy and a matching green ribbon at the base of the cake, which apart from providing a bit of colour to what was a very pale cake, also served to hide some little imperfections at the base.
Mr Cupcake was somewhat bemused by the choice of decoration. This is his bemused look.
Happy birthday Mr Cupcake... just like the penguin's successful fishing expedition,  may this year present you with many delicious surprises!