Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Kiki Cake

This is a little blog on the 'Kiki Cake'. Every year I make a cake for the same lovely family and their Daughters. Last year it was Abney and Teal, this year 'Kikis Delivery Service'. This is a real learning curve for me in children's programmes and this one I had never heard of!

It is a Japanese animation produced, directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki. It tells the story of a young witch named Kiki who flies around on her broom with her little cat. As well as being a lovely visual animation,  the movie touches on the gulf that exists between independence and reliance in Japanese teenage girls.

Despite all that, little Zadie who was about to turn three loves it, and so it was the choice theme for her birthday cake. The choice of flavour was also chocolate. Yum.
Having no knowledge of this film I had to watch it for a bit of research and loved the idea of having Kiki flying above the city, much like she does in the film.

So with a vague plan in mind I started by making her sat over a piece of dowel which was to become the broom. I thought this way I could stick the end of the dowel into the cake for support and she would look like she was flying. (well, that was the plan :)

I wanted to slowly add her hair in little pieces so I could make it look like it had a bit of movement, so I rolled little sausages out of floral paste.

Then of course she needed that big red bow for her hair which was easy to do as I had a nice silicone mould to do the job perfectly.

And not forgetting the little cat. As he is only a cartoon, he only needed to be a simple shape. A couple of legs and some big round eyes seemed to do the trick. Loving my fairy scissors.

I wanted him to be really shiny too, with a bit of sparkle, so before he went on the cake he got a good dose of glaze spray and a sprinkle of glitter. It gave him the perfect witches twinkle.

And now to the rest of the cake......well, in the film Kiki flys around a city, visual inspiration that originally came from a town in Sweden. The buildings really lend themselves to more of a European City much like Munic or Stockholm. There is also an important clock tower that features, so I went about creating a border for the cake made out of buildings. The lumps of colour are the pastel shades I chose to model my buildings from.

After rolling out and modelling some simple architectural shapes, I laid them over some old dummies to dry for an hour or two.

The main bulk of the cake I iced in blue. I wanted it to look like Kiki was in the sky flying over the city on her broomstick, with the cat! I made a slightly cobbled border on the cake board and then stuck all of the houses, and the clock tower around the outside. I even made a couple of clouds to sit in the sky.

Here is Kiki with her little satchel and cat on a broomstick. Mum requested that Zadie's name be on the cake too. Then everything got a good spray of super sparkle to give it a lovely lustre. There was also a sprinkling of glitter too (witches special magic dust) but it never really shows up in photos.

And here is the finished cake. It's lovely to have a little challenge. Especially with a theme you know nothing about. I hope you like it! :)
Now I wonder what next years theme will be.....

Monday, 6 May 2013

From Beaky to Bear!

I've just spent the most wonderful weekend with my family, friends and the people I love dearly. My Nephew Dexter turned 1 year old today (6th of May 2013). We have all just celebrated not only his Birthday but his Christening too! I was honoured to be asked to be his Godmother and as part of that package he gets the cake :)

After sketching out a few ideas, his mum Sarah had the last say and this was the final draft. Before Dexter was born we all knew him as 'Beaky', now he is 'The Bear' and so I had the idea of incorporating a little beaky bird and a little brown bear. Blue is of course the choice colour for boys, but I mixed it with chocolate brown and white for a cute twist.

I always hand make all of my own cake bunting and cupcake pics so I chose some sweet blue flowery paper to complement the blue on the cake. And then tied little brown bows to the base of the flags.

Then I made all the little bits to make the bear. Have to say I'm not a big fan of making characters, but for my Nephew, I will make anything :) I used Sugarflair Dark Brown to do this one.

And then the little 'Beaky' bird. I didn't want him to be legless, so they came along later by way of a couple of cocktail sticks.

As there were little white daisy flowers on the bunting, I thought I would make a few little cutout daisies to pop around the cake. I used a simple plunger cutter and wasn't bothered about them looking too thin and real as this cake was more novelty than floral. The bird kept a beaky eye on the proceedings.

I cut simple little circles out of white fondant to decorate the top tier, and stripes to decorate the bottom. The whole cake was vanilla and raspberry jam with a vanilla butter cream.

I wanted to do some cupcakes for the children so I found some cute blue cupcake wrappers and made some raspberry and vanilla cakes to match. These ones have been brushed with a delicious raspberry syrup before being piped with a swiss meringue buttercream. Yum.

Here is the little bear. Think the cocktail stick slipped a bit over his left eye!

And the little bird :)

This is the lovely Louis, my cousins little boy. He couldn't get enough of my cupcakes. Him and his brother Finn think I am the second best cake maker in the whole world! I like to let them continue to think that :) They are my best supporters. 

Here is my Godson with his cake. I couldn't get him to look at the camera but never mind. He is looking super smart in his special outfit and enjoying every minute of all the attention.

My lovely Brother and Dexter's Daddy Andy did the 
cake cutting and speech.

And this is my Sister in Law Sarah with the little man. 
We all had such a fantastic day and it's so nice to eat one of my own cakes for once.

Happy Birthday and Happy Christening Dexter John David Hill. Love Auntie Rachie Godmamma xxxxx

Sunday, 7 April 2013


This cake was a real adventure into the world of gold. Shabnam and Tauseef wanted something really impressive for their wedding day so after a good bit of discussion at their consultation I came up with their perfect design.

Shabnam had provided me with a folder of pictures illustrating all of her favourite cake elements from various cakes she had found on the internet. I then combined all the best bits into a cake she loved. We also decided that I would display the cake on a base of fresh cream roses to give it extra height and display matching cupcakes around the base.
I was really excited about making this cake, not only because it was going to involve using real edible gold leaf, but also because I got to go the flower market and visit my favourite flower boys!

The roses I chose were Avalanche. They have a lovely big head to them and after a couple of days in the warm they open up beautifully.

I started off by applying the gold leaf to the sides of the base tier. Now this is one job you do not want to get wrong. Obviously being gold it is not cheap, so you have to hold your breath when working with it. I find the transfer gold the best, loose leaf will just blow away at the slightest breath!

Being an Indian Wedding I wanted the cake to have a slight Indian twist so I took some design ideas from a fabric border and created a scalloped edge, then I added a cutout that looked like something you would find on a temple. With a bit of extra piping work the border really started to come alive.

I then started working on some of the floral embellishments for the cake and cupcakes. I also made an extra large wired flower for the side of the second tier. Lustre dusts and lots of sparkle helped to add an overall bling factor and gold richness.

I was really pleased with this random fantasy flower once finished.....I think I will be making it again for another cake soon....maybe in a different colour.

Here you can see a bit more of the detail I added to the bottom tier and some of the floral ruffle flowers I added to the sides. I used the same centres to these ruffles as I did on the large fantasy flower, just to make sure everything tied in nicely. I then got to work on drawing out the curves for the beaded work using a good old bit of grease proof paper!

And here are those lovely beaded scallops. This cake was going to be super heavy so I decided to take it in two parts and finish off the remainder of the work at the venue. This way it is much less stressful to drive across London and I can also just about manage to carry it. So I left the top 8" tier already dowelled and supported ready to take the last two on arrival. For those of you that don't know, dowels are the special rods we push into the cakes to stop them all crushing one another :)

Oh and I must not forget all the little cupcakes that were designed to match. These were baked and decorated within only a few hours of the Wedding to keep them super fresh. The sugar flowers I had prepared in advance and the final detail was added the morning of the Wedding. I chose gold cases to keep it simple and tie in with the theme, which was GOLD if you hadn't guessed already.

I like to take a few pictures in the studio before I deliver a cake. You never know what the lighting or backdrop is going to be like so if you have time (in between last minute cupcake icing)'s always worth grabbing a quick shot.

Here are all the lovely gold embellished cupcakes which were to be displayed around the base of the cake. I have to admit I've never been a fan of gold cupcake cases but they suited this cake to perfection. It's a little hard to see by the photo but half of the cakes had a slightly beige coloured top and the others were cream. This helped guests to distinguish which ones were lemon and which ones were vanilla.

And finally to the finished cake, pre-delivery shot! The flower that was to go on the cake couldn't be added until I had assembled the cake properly at the venue, so I popped it to one side as a bit of photographic styling. The whole cake then got carefully boxed and driven off to Leyton Football ground 'Starlight' marquee. There are not many venues around that cater for 500, but this purpose build marquee certainly did the job.  I arrived to many people beavering around building the Indian Bridal Mughal, the perfect backdrop for the cake.

And here is the finished result. Displayed against some lovely wooden fretwork which set it off perfectly. You can just about see the double layer of Avalanche roses to the base and all of the little gold cupcakes adding to the display. It was a Gold Whopper. I hope you like it and enjoyed the story of it's creation.
Congratulations Shabnam and Tauseef. April 6th 2013.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Dorich House Wedding Fair

There are some really lovely venues out there and some real hidden jems. Today I attended a lovely Wedding event hosted by Dorich House.....a hidden jem.
Perfect for a more intimate wedding this stylish 1930's House is full of striking design elements and curious sculptures by Dora Gordine.

In 1938 Dora was hailed as one of the finest women sculptors in the world, much of her work being carried out at the house with many of her sculptures still decorating the rooms.

This house is now a shrine to her creations.

As a Wedding venue it provides some beautiful entertaining spaces. An amazing roof terrace with open views across Richmond Park, numerous dining areas and a manicured garden and orchard.

This room and these doors are my absolute favourites! I would totally love these Chinese sliding doors in my house, I would have endless dinner parties just so I could keep sliding them back and forth. :)

And what a beautiful dining space for an intimate dinner party.

Dorich House has a list of recommended suppliers of which Rachelle's is one.
And today I had the pleasure of meeting lots of them in this lovely space.

Pretty pink floral displays decorated the reception room, created by The House Floral Design.

My popular little blue cake sat perfectly against the bright pinks in the room.
With all the lovely stationary decorating the tables by Print Inc.

And Dora's sculptures and artworks look stylish yet quirky, scattered throughout.
Sketches and illustrations also adorn the walls, this house is an artists paradise, I can understand how inspired she was whilst looking at the breathtaking views from the windows.

My neighbour for the day was the lovely Tiffany Cartwright doing bridal hair and makeup.

And upstairs there were gorgeous bridal gowns and accessories by Daisy Day,

and delicious canapes by Elior and Truffles Catering YUMMY! I was well fed and watered throughout the day as I mingled and chatted with Brides to be.

This is Justin from Catered by Justin , they do the most fabulous Hog Roasts with speciality breads, fresh locally sourced salads and delicious desserts. I got a bowl of sauteed new potatoes with bacon. Amazing, bit of a shame it was a slightly rainy day, but it didn't stop us all smiling.

I rather liked the pools of molten rain that gathered on the roof terrace window lights!

So thanks to everyone for making such a delightful day, including the strange moustache man who was staring at my cakes all day! And if you want to see some more amazing pictures of the house, and the work of a great photographer, check out the work of Mel Wilde. She recently did a lovely shoot of the whole house in the style of your Wedding day, take a look here Mels Blog

Thanks for reading!