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I thought I was done with cake decorating for a while but I had lots of fondant left over from the wedding cupcakes and I needed to make something for the Calf Club day cake stall so . . .

A selection of cupcakes

A selection of cupcakes

There were 24 originally but the dog stole one. Before it was decorated luckily.

They were priced at $1.50 each and didn’t last long. One woman bought 12 of them.


Just before I leave this topic for a while (I don’t think any of my other sons will be getting married soon) I thought I would post a couple more photos.


These are photos of the cupcakes I made for the flowergirls (packed for the journey). I used the Chelsea Eggless Chocolate Cake recipe. The icing is bought fondant icing which I rolled out and cut using a fluted cutter. The rosebuds and leaves are smaller versions of the ones I made for the main cake and the butterflies were also made from the white chocolate plastic. I rolled it out and cut with little butterfly cutters. I put the cut-out butterflies into a V-shaped length of cardboard to set.

And these are buttonholes I made for my sons. I got some spray roses from the supermarket and raided my rosemary bush for the foliage. Because the rosemary was new growth it was fairly soft and wilted pretty quickly but they lasted through the ceremony.

After all the preparations, the time finally came to make the final version of the cake. I picked up the tins on Thursday – a 6″ and a 10″. I made 1 batch of the recipe and divided it between the 2 tins and when those were baked I made a second batch so I ended up with two 10″ cakes and two 6″ cakes. On Friday I levelled the cakes then split each of the cakes in half. I stacked all 4 layers of each sized tier with boysenberry filling in-between.

                                 Berry Filling

   1  1/2  kg               boysenberries
   2  1/4  cup           water
   1  1/2  cup           sugar
   9      Tbs                cornflour

1. Add the berries and  water to a pot. Cook for 5 minutes
over medium-high heat.
2. Sift together the sugar and cornstarch and then stir into the berry
mixture. Cook until the mixture is thick and the berries have broken
down, about 15 minutes.
3. Let cool before using

This recipe made enough for all the layers with quite a bit left over.

Before putting the filling on I piped white chocolate ganache around the edge to stop the berry filling bleeding into the covering ganache.

Once I had both tiers individually stacked I put the first coating of ganache on.

                        White Chocolate Ganache

1.2      kg             white chocolate
 400   ml            cream

1. Melt together using a bain marie or the microwave. Let cool before using.

I warmed the ganache till it was quite runny and poured it over. This worked reasonably well but I needed to add extra on the sides. Once they were done they were put in the fridge till Saturday.

On Saturday I put a second coat of ganache on and got it as smooth as I could. Putting the cakes on a Lazy Susan made this step much easier. After a further spell in the fridge I used the 6″ tin to mark the top of the 10″ cake so I knew where to put the smaller tier. I sunk 4 sharpened dowels into the cake just inside the mark I had made – these were to support the 2nd tier. I had already inserted a longer dowel through the top tier and the foil-covered cardboard base it was sitting on. Once I had positioned the top tier correctly I pushed this dowel through the bottom cake to hold them securely together. I piped some ganache around the join and to fill the hole in the top, then it was back into the fridge till Sunday – the wedding day.

On Sunday I put the cake onto the presentation base using a liberal application of buttercream icing as glue. I then put the cake into a large box with a thin piece of foam in the bottom. The box was then put on another piece of foam in the car and I proceeded to drive very carefully the 20km to the church. I had put a sign in the rear windscreen – “Caution: Wedding cake on board!”. Once at the church the cake was put on the table and I added the flowers, leaves and tendrils. Voila!



When I got to work yesterday I discovered several large piles of new books on the counter for me to use to top up the new book display. One was Divine Cupcakes by Tamara Jane. On the front was a picture of a beautiful cupcake with a rose on top. Given my current obsession with cake and roses, I had to have a look. The book starts with the cupcake recipes (all yummy-sounding and beautifully illustrated), then moves onto toppings and frostings (a great selection) and finally decorations (easy and beautiful). It was while I was reading the ‘toppings’ section that I had a eureka moment (or should that be ‘an eureka’?). The recipe for ganache had 2 variations – one for dark chocolate ganache and one for white chocolate ganache. And, surprise, surprise – the white chocolate ganache had a much higher ratio of  chocolate to cream. No wonder I always have trouble with my white chocolate ganache being too runny. I have been using the wrong recipe!

Armed with this new information I set to work to make another trial wedding cake tier. Following the recipe in the book resulted in a ganache of just the right texture and I was very pleased with the final result.

On Saturday it will be the real thing and I am feeling much more confident now. Watch this space!

Chocolate plastic roses

Chocolate plastic roses

Having trialed the top tier of my son’s wedding cake I thought it was time to start making the roses that will decorate it. I found a site that made it sound very easy [] and with my recent experience making rose buds from fondant, I thought I was set – I even have the proper cutters.

I made my chocolate plastic and put it in the fridge as specified. After 3 hours I took it out and let it sit on the bench for an hour before trying to knead it. It was quite hard and when I tried to knead it, it just crumbled. The only departure from the recipe was the addition of some powdered colouring as the bride wanted red roses. I wondered if that had mucked things up. Or perhaps my ingredients weren’t quite right. I used corn syrup but wasn’t sure whether it was ‘light” or not.  I did a bit of googling and found a site that recommended zapping the chocolate plastic in the microwave for 10 seconds to warm it up. I did that a couple of times and was then able to knead it.

Chocolate plastic roses

Chocolate plastic roses

As I suspected the finished product was pink rather than red but the bride and groom are quite happy to have a mix of pink and white roses.  I made 5 roses before heading to bed and will make the rest tonight and tomorrow. I was quite happy with how they turned out but I think they look more like camellias than roses. The book recommends having a total of 20 roses in various sizes – I think I will make slightly more white than pink roses and will make more than 20 so I can use some on a second practice cake.


On Wednesday, I celebrated  finishing my first assignment for the semester by going to a cupcake decorating class at the Culinary Council. In the 2 hrs we were supposed to make 3 different cupcakes but we ran out of time for the last one so ended up making a variation of the 2nd one. It was lots of fun and my family were very impressed with the results but I think they looked better than they tasted – too much icing for my taste.

butterfly cupcake

green cupcake







rose cupcake

I was showing a patron where to find the books on birthday cakes when I spotted an useful looking title – Wedding Cakes You Can Make by Dede Wilson.

076455719x_01__sx140_sclzzzzzzz_I took it home and read it that evening. The first half of the book, entitled Everything You Need to Know about Making a Wedding Cake, contains all sorts of useful information – equipment needed, how many people a particular sized cake serves, how much batter is needed to fill each size pan, ingredient tips, cooking tips, how to assemble your cake, how to support tiers of cake, how much filling and icing you need, how to ice the cake, how to transport it and how to cut it. This section really lived to its title with very clear, comprehensive instructions and handy charts and easy-to-refer-to coloured blocks of text.

The second half of the book contains the recipes. Whilst traditionally New Zealand wedding cakes have been similar to Christmas cakes i.e. fruit cakes with royal icing, American wedding cakes are obvious;y very different. There is not a single fruit cake recipes and most of the cakes are iced with buttercream. Instead these wedding cakes are made up of several tiers of cake with each tier consisting of 4 cake halves layered with a filling of some sort. They sound delicious – Lemon Blackberry cake, Marzipan and Orange Essensia cake, Hazelnut Praline and Apricot cake, Brown Sugar, Pecan and Peaches cake . . .  Unfortunately none of the recipes were egg-free and even the buttercream contained some egg white.

I gave the book to the happy couple to look at for some design ideas and, of course, they liked the most difficult cake in the book that has white chocolate plastic roses on it.

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cake from Wedding Cakes You can Make

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cake from Wedding Cakes You can Make

I won’t use Dede’s cake or icing recipes since they contain egg, instead I will use an eggless chocolate recipe  and use white chocolate ganache for the filling and the icing. The good thing about the chocolate roses is that they can be made in advance so I will have plenty of time to practise making them. Today I ordered some of the essential equipment – 2 icing spatulas, a rose petal/leaf cutter and a leaf veiner. I am also watching an auction for a Lazy Susan which will hopefully work out cheaper than the cake decorating turntables that are available.
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