Female birthday

Shoebox cake

70th birthday cake for Carole – lovely lady who looked 55 at the most! Cake is orange-almond gluten free. All items are edible except the “bling” – the “70″ and the sparkles over the strap. There is also a wooden skewer in the heel of the shoe supporting it and holding it onto the cake. The shoe took approximately 1 week to dry. It is based on my own massive size-12 shoes, so is quite large, the cake measured 20cmx30cmx10cm (roughly A4 size). I carved a mold to dry the shoe over from styrofoam to give the nice curve in the sole – as I’ve seen a lot of these shoes that have quite sharp angles from the things they are laid over that you wouldn’t see in a real shoe. The other option suggested by many websites is that you use a real shoe – something cheap that you can rip apart – but I didn’t really want to be drying something people would eat over a real shoe (even if it was brand new and never worn :-) ).

The shoe is made out of fondant stengthened with tylose, and painted with Crystalline. My first time using Crystalline, it has a similar consistency to piping gel but is slightly thinner and paints on better (doesn’t leave such defined “brush” marks as piping gel does). For overall flawless gloss effect I still prefer Canola oil but this is a temporary effect that needs to be re-painted just prior to serving so not practical unless the decorator is going to be attending the event or delivering very shortly before cutting.

The C “Label” on the shoe was meant to represent “brand Carole” and was a last minute addition after the shoe snapped in the middle. This label covered up the break nicely and held the shoe together. I learned a couple of lessons with this one: make the sole thicker so it is stronger, and also make a spare shoe. I think it never hurts to have a spare one on hand for those last minute orders we all get but often can’t take because there is not enough prep time or you are busy with other orders – if you have a spare on hand it takes a large amount of the work out.

The board is covered in white vinyl and there is a black ribbon around the edge.

Orange, ivory, and gold

Two tier cake for Veronika’s 40th. Design started with a request for orange coloured icing, on either a dark chocolate mud cake or and orange almond cake, so I did both. Bottom tier was dark chocolate mud and top tier was orange-almond gluten free. Top tier is patterned with a swirl fondant mat I was given recently (thanks Cel!) and was keen to try out.  It was also airbrushed with pearl sheen for a bit of a “lift”. ”V”s around bottom tier with a combination of continuing the swirly pattern from the top tier and a play on “V”. These are piped and hand painted with gold lustre dust and rose alcohol. Board is deliberately left uncovered because I liked the gold colour with the rest of the cake. Top tier has diamante “bling” around the bottom just because. Birthday message was piped and handpainted with pearl sheen to match the top tier.

Twilight book

Twilight book cake. Cake is white chocolate mud. Image was printed out on A3 sheet so as to get a full A4 sized image, as edible image printing leaves a fair amount of white space around the largest size image it can print, and the edible sheet does not reach the edges of the backing sheet either. Happy birthday message is piped, font is same font used on Twilight book and I used the following site to help me write it: http://www.dafont.com/twilight-new-moon.font

I had a lot of trouble with the image on this one. I found it very difficult to find a place that did A3 printing that I was happy with. The one I used that I was happy with was: www.edibleimage.com.au

The humidity was a major problem on this cake, and the image “melted” a bit and then stuck to the lid (which I discovered the morning of delivery – eeek! lots of running around to get a replacement!). I learned a couple of things here: don’t put an image onto black fondant, the colour will seep through into the image and darken it; don’t underestimate the damage humidity can do; don’t put a lid on a cake box unless you are sure it doesn’t touch the cake; and if you are ordering an A3 image and can’t get hold of a replacement easily, order 2 images so you have a backup and build this into the price of the cake.

Pink Flower

Pink flower for Maude’s 5th birthday. Cake is orange-almond gluten free, filled with white chocolate ganache – very popular flavour at the moment! Centre of cake is white pearl cachous held in place with royal icing. Board is covered in black vinyl – still working on this technique of board covering.

Hawaiian Island cake

Island cake for an Hawaiian themed birthday party. Cake is coconut flavoured with dark chocolate ganache. Palm tree is made by individually wiring each palm leaf and each coconut and then grouping together with florist’s tape. Wire gauge used is 20″, but this was a bit too stiff, I think next time I would go for 22″. Surfboard is made from SI gumpaste and took 3 days to dry. It is stuck into cake using toothpicks. Board is covered in blue fondant and then painted over with blue piping gel, I wasn’t completely happy with it – I think next time I need to use more piping gel.

Monkey business


Monkey cake for Chloe’s 7th birthday. Cake is white chocolate mud filled with white chocolate ganache. Only new thing for me on this cake was that I used “solite” (a fat substitute like Crisco or softened copha) in the black fondant to help soften it for making the fur, worked beautifully.  The other big discovery on this cake was the effect of humidity, even when only 20 degrees in the house – the fondant became quite sticky and shiny. Thankfully putting the AC on quite cold (18 degrees) – fixed this issue almost instantly. Within 5 minutes the shininess was gone and within 20 minutes the fondant had “set” again. Phew!




Handbag cake

40th birthday cake. Dark chocolate mud. Board covered in black vanilla satin ice. Monograms done using trace letters, indent into fondant, then cut out and paint by hand technique. Strap is only inedible item on the cake, 2 strands of double diamantes. Quilting done manually using rolling quilting tool, may try using a quilting mat next time for more even quilting, however I am told this presents other issues on handbag cakes: namely the difficulty of matching up at the edges (which you can do rather nicely with the rolling tool). Sweet little cake which was much simpler than some of the challenges I have worked on lately.

Tall Vines


18th birthday cake. Choc mud cake. This one is actually a 10-inch, two-tier cake, with a separate cake board and support dowels between the two tiers, decorated as one large cake – only one layer of fondant over the whole thing. Covering such a large cake was very challenging, and I am now on the lookout for a much larger fondant mat than the one I currently have because it wasn’t large enough!! If any of my readers have tips on larger mats available, or other alternatives, please let me know. The vine/flower/leaf pattern was a very forgiving one for a difficult fondant challenge because it supplied me with a very easy way to hide any flaws in the fondant, in a random and organic way which worked with the theme.

I also experimented with fancier script for the writing on this one, my regular handwriting just didn’t feel right as a match for the style of the cake. I did freestyle script on paper before hand, then  traced over the letters to create an imprint on the fondant on the board, which left me with simple lines to follow with my piping. I was quite happy with the results, and will definitely use this technique again.

Topsy Turvy 40

Carolyn’s 40th birthday cake – a grown-up version of the Topsy Turvy cake. More adult colours and themes than the last one. Bottom and top tiers are white chocolate mud and middle tier is dark chocolate mud. I used the centre dowel on this cake and it was much easier to work with (than not using it) and held the cake together really well, felt much more stable (thanks to my darling husband Will for the board construction!). We also put wooden “feet” on the board which I think will be worth doing for all heavy cakes in future, it made it much easier to move around. I experimented with mixtures of lustre dusts and sparkle dusts on this one. The silver stripes are painted with silver lustre dust, and the silver balls and “40″ are painted with a mixture of lustre dust and sparkle dust. I found the sparkle dust on its own a bit difficult to paint with, but very nice effect when mixed. The purple clutch bag is made with fondant, pattern is imprinted using the quilting tool, and it is painted with a mixture of lustre dust and sparkle dust. The shoe was made with fondant mixed with tylose powder to harden it up and make it easier to model.


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