Zoe’s Pillow Cake

Completed CakeI’m sorry there was no post on Thursday. The cake in the photo above is the reason for the delay. I got a last minute call requesting for a pillow cake for 42 people and pretty much spent my week either at work being a dentist and managing a practice at the peak period of school holidays and coming home to work on this cake. To say that I am exhausted is an understatement. Truth be told, I don’t even know how I managed to get both jobs done. Adrenaline, I assume.

As a result of that experience, I have decided that I will only be posting once a week on Sunday instead of twice as I was doing previously. The reason is obvious – I just don’t have enough time and as my posts and projects increase in complexity it takes more and more time to complete as well.

Anyway, on to the cake! It was not my original idea as the client had this cake in mind, so the structure and colour scheme of the cake was already prescribed. However, the finishing touches were and my favourite part of it was definitely the tiara which I designed from scratch at 1am on Thursday in bed, trying not to fall asleep.

Zoe’s Pillow Cake

Chocolate Tiara

Ingredients and Materials

40g white chocolate, melted
Disposable piping bag
Waxed paper
Tiara template (available for download here)
Edible pearls
Tweezers

Method

Watch the YouTube video below for full instructions:

Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients (for 2 tiers, one 8 inch round and one 10 inch square)

LIST A
750g dark chocolate, chopped

750ml water
840g brown sugar

LIST B
600g butter, room temperature

840g brown sugar
12 eggs
1080g self raising flour
60g cocoa powder

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced).
  2. Line all baking tins with baking paper.
  3. Combine all ingredients from List A in a microwave safe bowl and cook in 30 second intervals until ingredients are melted, stirring in between each interval. Mixture may look like it has split slightly but that is okay. Set aside.
  4. Working off the ingredients from List B, cream butter and sugar in a food processor until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating and scraping the sides of the bowl down between each addition.
  6. Pour warm mixture prepared from List A into the bowl and mix. Add self-raising flour and cocoa powder and mix until well combined. Mixture will be fairly runny.
  7. Bake in baking tins – two 8-inch rounds and two 10-inch squares. Baking time will vary – about 50-75 minutes depending on the size of the cake. Cake is done when a skewer when inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Wrap cakes immediately in cling wrap after they are removed from the baking tins and freeze.

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

500g butter, softened
500g icing sugar
125g dark chocolate, melted (my favourite method for melting chocolate outlined here)

Method

  1. Cream butter and sugar together in mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Pour melted chocolate in and mix until well incorporated.

Assembly

Progress shots

Ingredients and Materials

3.5kg fondant (I used Satin Ice)
Dowels
Decorations as desired
6 inch round cardboard base
8 inch square cardboard base
13 inch square cake board

Method

  1. Roll 1kg fondant into a 14 inch square and use that to cover the cake board. Leave to set for at least a day before placing the cake on top of it.
  2. Stack round cakes fill with buttercream. Cake should be sitting on a 6 inch round cardboard base with a punched hole at the center for dowel to go through
  3. Trim into a shape of a pillow using a serrated knife and cover with buttercream. Put into fridge to firm up. Roll 1kg of fondant into a 17 inch disc and cover the cake.
  4. Repeat with square cakes, rolling 1.4kg of fondant into a 19 inch square before covering.
  5. Place 4 dowels into the square cake to support the weight of the round cake above.
  6. Place square cake on cake board. Insert a taller dowel that spans both tiers into the cake and slide round cake down onto it to prevent movement of tiers.
  7. Decorate as desired.

And that’s it! Other decorations that I used included fondant flowers, quilting the fondant with a stitch tool and ropes for the tassels and trim of the white pillow. The pink pillow was trimmed with royal icing.

I apologize – the photography of this cake was not what it should have been. I had about 10 minutes to photograph it before delivering it thus the very substandard image!

It was quite an experience, but what is going to be an even more exciting experience is when I go to London in a couple of weeks! I will be attending a cake decorating course there so it’s going to be pretty exciting to learn more techniques and improve my skills. Can’t wait to go – I fully intend to check myself into a day spa for a couple of days to unwind. The last few months have been overwhelming.

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Lemon Tree Cupcakes

Lemon Tree Cupcakes

Having exhausted every idea associated with lemons, I asked for suggestions from my housemate. She promptly replied, “How about a lemon tree?”

Yes – how about it?

Lemon Tree Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes

(makes 9 cupcakes)

Ingredients

100g butter, room temperature
100g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
100g self raising flour

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160° Celcius (fan forced).
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light in colour and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add zest and eggs and mix until combined. Mixture may look slightly curdled but nothing to worry about.
  4. Add flour and mix until well incorporated. Pour batter into a piping bag.
  5. Pipe mixture into cupcake liners in a cupcake pan (fill 2/3rds of the way up).
  6. Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes or until cupcake springs back when pressed gently.

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

160g caster sugar
2 eggs
Juice and rind of 2 lemons
80g butter, melted

Method

  1. Whisk eggs and sugar together until smooth in a microwave safe container.
  2. Stir in lemon juice, lemon rind and butter.
  3. Pop into the microwave and cook for 60 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir thoroughly.
  4. Repeat Step 3 until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and when a line is drawn through it with your finger it stays nice and sharp.
  5. Leave to cool before use.

Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree Tutorial

Equipment and Ingredients

Milk chocolate, melted
White chocolate, melted
Green gel food colouring
Yellow gel food colouring
3 piping bags
Waxed paper
Lemon tree template (available here)

Method

  1. Place lemon tree template underneath wax paper.
  2. Pour melted milk chocolate into a piping bag and pipe the tree trunk.
  3. Leave until fully set.
  4. Mix some green gel food colouring into a portion of the melted white chocolate and place into piping bag. Pipe leaves of tree. This is done by piping a small dot and drawing the tip of the bag away, creating a tail that resembles the tips of the leaves. Leave until fully set.
  5. Mix some yellow gel food colouring into remaining melted white chocolate and place into piping bag. Pipe lemons onto tree by piping small dots.
  6. Leave to set fully.
  7. Remove from waxed paper by carefully peeling the wax paper away. I like to do it at the edge of the table.
  8. Your lemon tree is ready for use!

Assembly

  1. Cut a slot into the lemon cupcake in desired area that is slightly longer than the width of the chocolate tree trunk.
  2. Gently insert tree into slot.
  3. Pipe or spoon lemon curd onto cupcake.

Photography

Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph my set up for this project! However, it is similar to that of my Flamingo Cupcakes. The only difference was the props. In this particular photograph, the gray background is a cashmere scarf and the cupcake is sitting on a burlap bag.

And that’s all for today’s post! I have an extremely busy week ahead but I will try my best to be on time for my next post. Blogging and full time work is not easy!

How To: Make Fondant Daisy Flower

There many daisy tutorials out there but most seem to be the ones that have fairly sharp angles and imprints. I decided to make something a little less angular and if you’re interested read on to see how I made mine!

I actually used them on my Daisy Bee Cupcakes in combination with bumble bees. Please refer to the bumble bee tutorial if you are interested in learning how to make that too!
Fondant DaisySupplies needed

Daisy cutter
Fondant (coloured to the shade of your choice)
Small rolling pin for rolling the fondant
Tiny rolling pin for flattening the petals
Flower sponge
Small sable brush
Some water
Sieve or meshy object

Steps

  1. Roll the white fondant out thin – you should be able to see the colour of the surface that you’re rolling on through the fondant. The thinner you roll it the more delicate your flower is going to be.
  2. Cut two flowers shapes using the daisy cutter.
  3. Using the tiny rolling pin, roll the petals outwards, thinning them further.
  4. Move the cut out onto the flower sponge. Place the rounded tip of the tiny rolling pin on the tip of the flower petal and draw inward towards the middle of the flower – this will curl the petal. Repeat these steps with the second flower cut out.
  5. Roll a pea-sized amount of yellow fondant into a ball and flatten. Press against sieve or any other textured mesh to create a textured surface for the daisy’s heart.
  6. To assemble, brush some water in the middle of a flower cut out and pop the second flower cut out on top of it, staggering it so that the petals do not overlap. Brush more water on top of the second cut out and press the textured circle in the middle.
  7. Leave to dry for a few hours before use.