I have had an absolutely fantastic year and the highlight has to be starting up Strawberry Lane Cake Company. It was almost exactly a year ago that I made and decorated my own very first Christmas cake for my Mum and Dad and from then on I was hooked on cake baking and decorating. I would like to share my cake decorating year in pictures with you all.
My first Christmas cake 2010.
The year before I made this cake I spent a few days of Christmas as my friend Helen's parents house. Helen's Mum made us all a christmas cake to decorate and it was at this point I realised how much I enjoyed cake decorating. I ended up decorating not only my cake but Helen's, her brother Dave's and her Mums. To be honest it also got me out of doing any of the chores my friends had been tasked to help Helen's Mum and Dad get ready for Christmas. I recall the boys were sent to break up ice on the drive way so staying in and decorating cake was definitely my preferred option. Little did I know cake decorating would end up becomming a passion for me and being something I spend most of my free time doing.
During the first few months (January to July 2011) of my cake decorating obsession I enjoyed making layer cakes and cupcakes and using buttercream as the covering. This was the first medium I got use to working with and the main reason was my love of the Primrose Bakery and how delicious they made everything look using buttercream and a few simple decorations. The Primrose Bakery book Cupcakes has to be my favourite recipe book and it is now covered in cake mix and still takes pride of place on the book stand on my kitchen work top. In my opinion the recipes never fail to please the taste buds!
After a couple of months I decided to get a bit more adventurous and tried a few different techniques. I have to say my favourite technique has to be the buttercream ruffles and roses. This cake was made for my Mum and Dad for their anniversary and Fathers day. I did carrot cake for my dad as it is his favorite and then made it look pretty for my Mum..
I also enjoyed making dessert cakes. One of my favourites was my chocolate proiteroles cake which I made for pudding at a dinner party with my friends. It was delicious :o) no buttercream just lots and lots of cream and ganache..
July arrived and with it came my friend Dave's birthday. I was now officially the designated birthday cake maker for my friends. This time I wanted to try out covering a sponge cake with sugarpaste as I had only ever covered a fruit cake which is a much more stable base especially when it is covered in marzipan. I read quite a few different tutorials and was pretty pleased with my final result although there were lots of air bubbles and the cake got a bit warm so a few wrinkles..
After creating this cake I realised how much fun working with sugarpaste can be. In August I was faced with my biggest challenge yet a wedding cake for my friend Monica. I was terrified of making such a large cake especially seeing as it was for someone's very special day but I was confident I could pull it off. In order to practice stacking tiers I designed a 2 tiered cake for my friends Steve's Great British Birthday BBQ. I was very proud of this cake and also really enjoyed hand painting the Union Jacks and gold detail.
As well as the Wedding cake I also booked myself on a 6 day intensive cake decorating course at Squires Kitchen. The Wedding was on the Friday and the course run from the Monday to the Saturday. Thankfully Monica wanted a traditional fruit cake so I had already made the fruit cakes well in advance so I could feed them with lots and lots of Brandy. This was a very busy yet fun week, although I didn't get very much sleep..
For my first wedding cake I was very pleased and after a bit more experience I would love to specialise in Wedding cakes in the future.
The Squires Kitchen course was fantastic and I highly recommend it to all beginners in the cake decorating world. If you read my blog post it will explain all the things we learnt. I also got the opportunity to write an article for their magazine explaining what I had got up to on the course, my first bit of press coverage :o) Here is a picture of my class mates and Paddi Clarke our tutor.
In September I made lots of cupcakes and layer cakes but the one cake that stood out for me has to be a cake I made in loving memory of my friend Danielle's sister Portia who sadly died of Cystic Fibrosis. Danielle asked me to make some cupcakes with pink roses as that is what Portia had at her wedding.
October brought Halloween, a great time for cake decorators and gave me the chance to make some Halloween themed treats. The cake was made for my friend Jen's birthday and the cookies for my nieces and nephews.
As well as Halloween it was my boyfriend's sister Kate's baby shower and I made a Zoe Clark inspired baby shower cake and decorated cookies. This was quite a challenging design for me as it involved adding panels of sugarpaste to make it look like a patchwork quilt.
November was probably one of my most fun cake decorating months. I had now built up more confidence in my cake decorating skills and November brought lots of opportunities for me to try them out. The first cake was a joint 1st birthday cake for 6 babies. The cake was for boys and girls so I wanted to use a mixture of colours and fun animals. I also needed to get all 6 baby names on to the cake and decided that each of the animals should hold one of the names. One of my favourite cakes so far.
Next was Minnie Mouse. The little girl Ruby found a picture of the cake and cupcakes she wanted and gave it to me to use as a guide. The cake was pretty similar to the picture I was given but with the addition of some personal touches.
My third cake was Iggle Piggle. This was my first attempt at cake carving :o)
That leads me on to the final and most definitely my favourite month of the year December! The first event in December is my boyfriends birthday and I went with a golf themed cake.
The first Christmas cake was a snowman cake for my friend Dave's Party and his brief was BIG so I went with 4 tiers. This cake also won a Christmas Cake competition on the Sew White website. My first competition win :o)
Next were my Christmas cupcakes for work.
Then my work secret santa present.
And finally my Mum's, Aunty's and new nephew Baby Lenny's Christmas cakes.
Another highlight of 2011 was my two very good friends Steve and Jen getting engaged just before Christmas. I had the pleasure in making Marry Me Cookies for my friend Steve to present to Jen over a candle lit dinner. She said yes :o)
So that brings my cake year to a close. It has been lots of fun and I can't wait to see what 2012 brings :o)
Happy New Year to you all and a BIG thank you to everyone who has supported Strawberry Lane Cake Company in 2011.