Monday, October 25, 2010

The Giant Cupcake

I am so knackered today and I spent 3.5 hours in class decorating a small 3-tiered fondant covered cake. Need sleep... But probably won't sleep till at least midnight. Stubborn, stubborn brain.

After my witching hour rant yesterday, I am pleased to show you the pics I took of the contest cake, or should I say GIANT CUPCAKE! Mwua ha ha ha!!!

Oh dear... see what lack of sleep does to me?

Anyway, I am quite pleased with the result. The flowers ain't perfect but I love, love, love the colours! They are sort of autumn colours but somehow reminiscent of Spring. I got a lot of inspiration from a huge Tulip Show I went to with my sister last year in Melbourne. I was looking through photos there and picked the sort of colours I like best. It reminded me of the beautiful weather, warm yet not the sort of heat that makes you icky and sweaty, a lovely fragrance in the air and being with family. I tried to incorporate that into my cake.

Although I didn't know how to make tulips I used the colours on different flowers like the Apple Blossom, Rose, Wild Rose and Violet. I was happy with the results but cautiously so. It is a competition after all and my humble entry will likely be drowning amongst all the wonderful stuff the other entries have created out of buttercream. My teacher said it was "Nice" ie. it's passable but not the best I have seen. Whatever it is, I'll take it!

I thought I'd do a collage of the photos and not make you scroll down and down... I wanted to upload the cake in so many different angles. Hee hee.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cake Decorating Contest? Who am I kidding?

It's 2.24am and I am knackered.  I have just finished decorating a cake for the Wilton Korea cake decorating contest which I have been sort of strong armed into entering. My teacher 'encouraged' me to enter the contest a month or so ago and I told her on Friday last week that I won't be entering.  Friday was the deadline.  She was surprised and asked me why. So I told her:

"Shi gan obsoyo.  Chegum nomu papawoyoh" which means 'I don't have time and I'm really busy at the moment'.

She wasn't taking No for an answer which is pretty amazing if you think about it.  Her English isn't strong but she persisted in the questions and suggestions eg. you can make a small cake, decorate it anyhow and just enter were the sort of things she was telling me throughout the class.

So... at this point I was thinking to myself, "Why does she want me to enter the contest so badly?!  The entry form wasn't even in English".  

And then all was revealed when she said,"You will be the only foreigner in the contest!"

A big "AHHHHHHH" went off in my head.  I was the novelty.  I was probably the only foreigner taking the Wilton Method course in Seoul.  I was unique so I needed to get my day in the sun.

So... she either wanted me to show how well I am doing after only being halfway through the course (ie. she being a good teacher too) or if I was jaded and cynical, I'd think it was an opportunity to show why 'weiguk saram' should not be decorating cakes.  
Either way, I finished the cake tonight and will be taking the pictures to send in with the entry form tomorrow.  Teacher managed to hold off the deadline for me till tomorrow.  It better still be ok for me to enter tomorrow otherwise someone will be some serious pain!

Pics of the cake will come later.  I need to sleep now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baby Joy with Mini Cupcakes

Last week I got funky with scissors, glue and toothpicks to design a customised cake board to display 36 mini cupcakes ordered by K to celebrate the arrival of her daughter Baby Baek with her colleagues.

I got this order while I was on holiday and you can sure I was thinking of all the things I could do with buttercream to create a theme for a little girl. Colours are important too of course and I didn't want it all pink. I thought of a few ideas including safety pins, flowers, alphabet cubes but decided on a ballerina/tutu, booties and a ribbon.

The Little Pink Tutu

The booties were inspired by the Wilton Baby Booties which had a few steps to complete. They are relatively easy to do but requires quite a steady hand for the tiny ribbons and ruffles. It was really nice seeing them come together. Piping the tutu was a technique I learned in one of my cake decorating lessons where I piped ballerina bears. So that was certainly useful here and did I mention I love making ruffles with leaf tip #67?!

The Baby Booties with a pink ruffle and ribbon

The cake board was an idea I got from having seen some simple but colourful storyboards/themes from Marth Stewart's Cupcake book as well as the Australian Women's Weekly Cupcake book. These are two books I highly recommend for both recipes as well as ideas on decorating not just with icing but with sweets/candy, non-pareils, cachous, sprinkles etc...

Simple and beautiful.

**Customised cake boards are at an additional charge, based on size and quantity of order. Pplease enquire by email at**

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let's Decorate: Cupcake Decorating Basics Class for SIWA

As you know, I was at the SIWA Coffee Morning last month offering some cupcakes and promoting my Cupcake Decorating Basics Class.  A friend of mine had suggested I try to pass on what I know about cake decorating for a fun morning or afternoon with a decorating class.  I'm still learning myself but there are some basic techniques that are so versatile in decorating so I thought I'd try it out.  I'm excited but nervous at the same time as it will be the first time I am hosting a class of any sort.  I hope I am a decent teacher. : )

Here are some more details:

Learn cupcake decorating techniques to create cute or classy cupcakes. The day will start with an introduction to decorating basics and then you will have a hands-on experience working with buttercream to top, swirl and pipe perfect swirls.  Finally you get to take home with you 6 of your personally decorated cupcakes.  The class will be held in a relaxed home environment as we enjoy a fun afternoon of creating beautiful cupcakes.

Date: 4th November 2010
Duration: 3.5 hours
Time: 1pm - 4.30pm
Location: Itaewon
Fee: KRW50,000 per person
Max: 5 pax
* No experience necessary*

Further information will be given to the participants after sign-up with what to bring and options to purchase tools we will be using during the session.

This class is only for SIWA members, so if you are a SIWA member and would like to attend, do sign up at the link above.  If this class goes well, I will see about doing one for that's open to all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Surprise Birthday Cakes

Just before I left on holiday I got a request for 2 cakes from V who had arrived in Seoul just 2 weeks before.  It was her husbands birthday and she wasn't sure what the office culture here was like and whether there was going to be cake... well she was going to make sure there was going to be cake! : )  

I know what it is like to be arrive in a new office so I thought it was a wonderful way to surprise him to celebrate his birthday.  She also wanted another one for a smaller celebration at home the following day which was his actual birthday which fell on a Saturday. 

I've always loved the way the Hummingbird Bakery in London decorated their cakes so I attempted theirs simple swipes here to give the buttercream texture.  I think next time I won't be so gentle, and use a heavier hand to get deeper grooves and some nice light and shadow going.  It will make for better pictures too.
See what I mean about the pictures not turning out so well?  My camera had problems adjusting to the whiteness of the cake so the shadows weren't captured very well.  I am sure there are ways to get around it but I'm not sure how to adjust the settings on my camera. Seems like photography lessons are on the books for next year.
 When it came to the cake, she had a clear idea of what she wanted.  They both liked cakes that weren't too sweet and they enjoyed fruit toppings on cakes.  V's husband also liked apples and I incorporated that into the cake which was the one for celebrating at home and it was a Chocolate Chiffon cake (Cake No. 2) layered with apple and Italian Meringue Buttercream.

Chocolate & Apple Cake with Italian Meringue Buttercream, topped with seasonal Korean grapes and chocolate curls.

The first cake which was for the office was an Orange Chiffon cake layered with peaches and cream. I chose a selection of seasonal fruits to top the cakes.  I had some problems with the chocolate curls as the chocolate bar was either too warm or too hard.  In the end after a messy start and with some help from my Mom (hee hee) I got some nice curls going and that went on top of cake number 2.

Orange Chiffon cake layered with peaches and cream, topped with Mandarins and a selection of seasonal Korean grapes.
Ok, I admit I was a little excited about delivering the cake to the office.  It was a bit like receiving flowers when you're at the office (hasn't happened in a looooong time, Maddog if you are reading that's a hint!) except this time I am not the receiver but the delivery girl.  Weird huh?  It was a surprise afterall and it went without a hitch.

The cakes were eaten and people were happy.  My work there was done.