Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The baker vs the decorator Part 1

I've been baking since I was fourteen. I can't remember what was the first cake I baked but I used my mum's really old english cookbooks. The ones with thick bindings and dusty looking pictures full of spread on the table. Even the tablecloths were english...of course.

But those were my humble beginings. Didn't know how it all started or what got me to open the book and bake but I did. One cake lead to another.

I remembered I bakes a CAKE a DAY! Made one for tea everyday. Since dad comes home in the evenings and early dinners were unheard of, tea past 5.30pm was not just served in a cup. I remembered my dad ate the ginger cake I baked earlier that day and he said it was good. Well, dad being a dad. Of course to his daughter he said it was good. But ginger cake then sounded exotic and I did thought it was pretty ok. Too bad there weren't digital cameras and internet and blogspot or facebook and so on back then. Would have been great to have all those pictures ok cakes I did when I was a teenager.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My blue eyed friend

It's amazing what a phone call can lead to. I made a call to my blue eyed friend whom I haven't heard from in quite awhile. Soon into the conversation, I found myself an order. Cuppies for engagement. Theme here was apple green. While sitting with a pencil sketching for ideas to come up with a design with initials on hearts, tried them out but didn't work out. The "prototype" didn't come out as good as I originally thought. So I came up with another way of using initials on the cuppies but then there would be two designs in one order.

Called up my friend and explained my concept and she agreed. But still I did not quite know how  the second design would turn out. 

That explains the "out-of-tone" apple green I came up with. Made a small batch which got used up by making the hearts, left me so little. But I mistakenly use a different tone of green and it came out more "teal" than apple green. But I proceeded, didn't have much time anyway at this point. When all was assembled, the hearts looked pretty boring. Then I decided to add the dots just like the "cuppies with initials" and it turned out pretty cool. At least to me.
Sent an MMS to my blue eyed friend and she LOVE it! Phew...always nervous about my client's perception of my work , since they would let me come up with the design. All that was provided was color and initials. Even the bride-to-be love it. So I rest easy that nite, laying down with a back ache just doing the dots and leg cramps sitting down about an hour doing it!

The end product! Ta...daa...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The trip back from cuppies school

Ok...now armed with a teeny weeny knowledge of how to decorate a cupcake, i made this.

and these....

Cuppies Crazee

Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes. It only dawned on me this craze after about a year in existence. Hey, I thought, what a great idea. Just take an old product, give it a twist and a rebrand of small cakes in a cup. Fantastic but Duh! Why didn't I catch on to this craze earlier. Always, always late and not up-to-date. Sigh. And like the envious green baby hulk in me I had to make some of my own. Thought it was simple and this was what happened.

Pretty obvious I needed to learn more. So off I went, with my tools, books and of course, the internet, my journey to be a better decorator to taking off again....destination -> cupcakes!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Orders were pouring in

Soon after my first basic course, with so few products I've made, I quickly made my website. Orders were pouring in to a point I was kept busy for a few weeks. Then what I wanted for so long, I was overwhelmed. Whoa...I needed a break already.

Made this as a gift for an old "brother" whom we reunited prior to his daughter's wedding. At this point I haven't learn much about fondant.

A neighbour took a chance on me and I hope I didn't disappoint. But THIS version of my train cake was better than the first! At least some progress.

Another cake for kindy celebration. It helps to inform friends of what you've been up to these days.

My very first order for a wedding cake! Yes...it's only one tier but for a wedding???? That's what my friend could afford and it WAS a big deal for me. Unusual color theme I thought for weddings but since I was pretty new, the trend was going towards strong colors now. Unlike ages before this, I keep seeing pastel colors. But the 'ooooo's and 'wahhh's I received was a definite booster to my ego.

Got excited and took the next level

Since I've got a taste of the basic, found myself, naturally, wanting more. Further reducing my life savings total amount, off I went to learn more techniques and this was my graduation cake.

Finally found a place that teaches cake decoration

After plenty of browsing and searching, finally found a place that teaches cake decoration. Duh! Why did I not do it any earlier is beyond me. So I jumped on the bandwagon, took out my life savings and after a matter of weeks, my works have been slightly upgraded.

Didn't have much time to think this one through but manage to come up with this one. Oh well, kids love colors, they don't really care much for patterns , so long as it colorful.

Wanted to do some jawi inscriptions on this cake but couldn't find one that I could copy on a cake. So I just downloaded a raya greeting card and copied it on the cake. Wallah! some calligraphy.

The "graduation cake" or grand finale cake, as they call it . The roses was a must-have item on the cake.

The rainbow cake learnt in basic decor class. I need not inform where because this has a signature of it's own. Anyone who have taken this course would know immediately.

For my niece's 3rd birthday. But it got gobbled up by her elder sister.

Father's Day

I don't really celebrate Father's Day or Mother's Day either but just needed an opportunity to make a cake and decorate it best I can. Made this for my dearest hubby. Looked to flat and unconvincing but it didn't matter to him. He was surprised. "I thought you were making an order for someone else", he said. But the bigger surprise was I thought he knew I made this for him since I decorated it right in front of him! Hahahaha....but the smiles and appreciation was beyond satisfaction.

My own birthday cake

I've made many cakes up to this time but mostly continental cakes but hardly much on cake decoration. So I wanted to make a "good" one for myself but looking at it now....I should have gone to class a long long time ago. Nevertheless, I was proud of it. Sent this picture to my sis and she was supportive. Of course she was, she didn't know better either.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The early amateurs work

To cut long story short of my journey from a baker to a decorator, these are some of my earlier works.

This was the cake I made for....any guesses? Teacher's Day cake for my son's teacher on Teacher's Day. She didn't even say thank you.

I wanted to make the cake look like the number 6 as in six years old without having to buy the cake tin number 6. This however looked more like the Petronas logo.

My 1st engagement cake

This was the very first cake I made for my niece's engagement. She had an apple green theme. A few months prior to this, I found a lady who teaches baking from home and just a stone's throw from where I used to lived. So I jumped at the chance. My very first class on baking and learning butter icing.

This butter icing recipe is one used eons ago and according to my 1st teacher, it's hardly found in any bakeries these days. It's required some arm muscle just to mix it by HAND but it tasted pretty good and this was the same design she showed us on a heart shaped cake.

So when my niece told me she was getting engaged (again, eons ago) , I took opportunity and offered to make her engagement cake as a means to advertise myself. And this was what I came up with, with so very little knowledge and experience in cake decor. But I thought not bad for a newbie.

The first attempt at cake decorating

I've been baking since I was 14 but only some odd ten years ago did I had my first attempt of learning how to decorate a cake. The obvious next step post baking. So without any knowledge and without youtube for reference (well, there was no youtube back then), did this.

This had bittersweet memories, making this cake. Soon after I have finished making the batter, my  toddler son toppled the mixing bowl and HALF of the batter spilled onto the floor. 

I screamed and ran into my room and found myself crying. Like a little girl. I had spent months to garner the courage within me to come up with this, months of preparation for such an amateur's work. Thinking how best to design my very first "train cake" for my son. All that work and enthusiasm was up in smoke with just the help of dainty hands whom I couldn't scold for he knew nothing. 

But the next day after the cake had cooled down and the tears had dried, with renewed faith and determination to make this cake happened, this was my ensemble.