The one with a breakdown

28 09 2013

Hi readers,

I usually make my excuses about my lack of posting at this point and this post will not be any different I’m afraid. However this time my reasons were a little harder to endure. I’m not going to go into an insane amount of detail but basically I had pushed myself so far that I had a total breakdown at the start of June. It was like a dam had broken & there was no way to plug the leak. After quick action by my doctor, my family, wife & her family & my work I was on medication & seeing a counsellor very quickly. It took at least a month before I was even functioning on a basic level but things have improved a lot since then. It’s still an uphill struggle but I know the warning signs & that the amazing support is there for me which is a great start to the battle!

I suspected that I wouldn’t be able to make the cakes that I had booked in but I was able to push myself through it and to be honest I’ve been extremely happy with the cakes I’ve produced. Since the breakdown I haven’t taken on any new orders and I’m sticking to that because I need the time to heal mentally & physically. I have a few months coming up when I have literally no cakes and the prospect excites me more than I thought it would. I want to spend quality time with my wife, family & friends & enjoy some hobbies that don’t become as time consuming/stressful.

So it’s time to show you what you’re really here for….the cakes!

I’m starting with one of my most recent because I think it’s possibly one of the best I’ve ever made. I’m honoured to have made all of Riley’s birthday cakes so far. My friend Clare just tells me the theme/character & I make the design up. I had no idea if Woody would turn out at all but I’m so pleased with him & the clean look of the whole cake.

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Next up is my 2nd ever Barbie doll cake. A real Barbie with a chocolate cake & fondant dress. While these cakes aren’t to my taste I like the combination of various shades of pink & glitter.

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This was for my cousin’s 18th. She has been involved in drama groups since she was 3, sings, dances & plays guitar so I knew I’d have to incorporate all of those elements in one design. She is a huge fan of musical theatre so I ran with that theme then included a model of her guitar & some dancing shoes.

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And in the same week as my cousin turned 18, her sister turned 1! That was a crazy cake week. Thankfully her’s was a little easier as it was 2D. The Minnie turned out really well so it’s something I’ll definitely do again.

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My friend from Accounting College (who has just passed her full accountancy!) was getting married this summer and I made her cake. She wanted the blue to match her bridesmaids colours. I had never piped royal icing like this so it was a very steep learning curve but thankfully she loved it. And I’m pleased to say her guests adored it too & even asked for seconds once the cake had been cut. I love hearing how my cakes have been enjoyed!

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Next up is a Hello Kitty that my cousin ordered for her niece. The birthday girl asked that she have sunglasses & a pink dress with red hearts. I happily stuck to her brief and I’m pleased with how it turned out. Bizarrely I find these 2D cakes almost more difficult in certain ways than a 3D topper on a simple round or square cake.

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Next up is another wedding cake but its the most unusual one I’ve done so far. My mums friend asked if I would make her daughters cake. She wanted 70 cupcakes & a cutting cake but she was determined not to have a traditional cupcake tower. She commissioned these 2 trees with mini platforms for the cupcakes & for the cutting cake she wanted a model of the house where they were getting married on top. The topper is rice crispy treats covered in fondant and I made every leaf on the cupcakes and cake by hand using cutters & a variety of petal dusts.

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Next up is a 50th cake for a lifelong family friend. Her party was a surprise so her sister asked me to have her relaxing with chocolate & wine while her grandson & nephew played beside her. I decided to have her lounge in a hot tub to give the cake an overall theme. The children are playing in the water.

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And finally is another of my favourite ever cakes. It had to be a 3D Mickey holding a present cake. The present & Mickey’s body are all chocolate cake & his head is a polystyrene ball. All the decoration is fondant. It was very well received & I loved how it came out as I’ve never done a cake like this before!

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Thanks for sticking with me until the end of this lengthy post! I hope to be back soon to update on more cakes then I’ll be having a break for a few months to recharge!!

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Latest cake pictures

11 01 2013

Hello lovely readers. I do hope you all had a fantabulous Christmas & New Year. Onwards & upwards for cakery in 2013. Yes, I’m still working in my accounts job full time but I’m being super organised with the cakes I take on and I’ve finally learnt to say no when it’s just not feasible to find time to sleep in between work & cakes! I have a few exciting cakes in the pipeline in the coming months including a geektastic wedding cake which is both exciting & terrifying at the same time.

My lovely wife not only bought me copious amounts of baking goodies for Christmas, she also made me a new Portfolio with inserts & a hand stitched funky cover. This beauty will be my go-to place for all the info on future cakes and will also have tons of pics of all my previous cakes to show off my skills.

Now, onto to the good stuff. I’ve had a few ‘1st’ cakes in the last few months, they are amongst this lovely bunch.

My very first doll cake! I was so dubious about this one as I’d never even considered how a doll cake was constructed but I was beyond pleased with how it turned out. Yes, it’s very pink & sparkly but I think I was able to try and keep it a little more classy than tacky & still please the birthday girl. A steep learning curve but very fun to create. The doll is an actual Barbie doll, the skirt is 7 layers of chocolate cake & the base cake is vanilla & raspberry.

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Next up we have another cake for the fabulous Claire at The World Of Kitsch She wanted a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed cake with 2D design. I love the clean lines and vibrant colours of this cake. It wasn’t as unusual as her usual requests but still a fun cake anyway. I love getting orders from Claire, she is very happy to let me be creative with her ideas.

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Another birthday boy cake. This time for a friend’s nephew. A simple request for a Fireman Sam cake and I decided to try for something a little different. I’d seen some themed party ware with the flame design so I decided to go all out and base the whole scheme on the flames. I love this look. I’ve been reading up on figure making so I’m trying to apply some of my new skills to figures. I’m still learning but I’ll get there.

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A more adult orientated cake now. I made my first version of this for my brothers 30th last summer but I had some major issues with the support structure I used (basically it wasn’t strong enough!) so when my brothers friend asked for the same cake for her boyfriend I had to rethink my base. I used a much sturdier wooden dowel and extra boards on the bottom to give the cake extra support. Unlike my brothers cake this was plain chocolate. I was pleased that I was able to keep the cake staying upright, it looks so much more effective than a bottle lying down.

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Another surprise cake here, ordered by my aunt for her neighbours. They are big fans of my chocolate cake and we thought it was high time they had a whole cake to themselves. The wife came up with the clever idea to separate the one piece marked with the husbands name from the rest of the cake & after some cake crumbling occurred I had to make that piece from rice crispie treats so the joke was even funnier when we handed the cake over.

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And finally we have another new learning experience for me! My first ever modelled horse. When I was asked to make a horse themed cake I did consider making a cartoon style horse or even having it lie down on the cake but I felt I should aim for a more realistic look. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to modelling because I’m a real stickler for realism. I know that I made it extra hard on myself but I’m unbelievably pleased with how this turned out. I know from my art college days that even drawing a horse can be difficult s I had no allusions that this would be difficult. I used wire to make an armature, covered the body and neck with foil then applied white fondant in small pieces to build up the body in layers. I must admit to using some polymer clay books as reference material for getting the proportions right. Once the white model was try I smoothed the edges & hand painted it. As I wanted the horse to be the focal point I kept the rest of the cake quite simple in its style. The birthday girl (and avid horse rider) was very pleased with the result.

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I’ll catch up with you soon for more cakery. If there’s anything you’d like to see on the blog or any questions please feel free to comment or drop me an email to the address under the contact tab.