Train Cake

When I was a little girl, I’d spend long afternoons flipping through my Mom’s Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book”. Not a recipe book per say, just a collection of pictures with simple instructions to achieve colorful cakes usually covered in gummy bears or M&M’s.

Children's Birthday Cake Book

Children’s Birthday Cake Book

I LOVE this book. Every year before my birthday I’d sit down and carefully select the cake I wanted, innocently asking my Mom “can you do this one?? …and this one?“. I’d always be surprised when she’d say Yes.

The most memorable cake my Mom made from this book was the “Train Cake” on the last page for my brother’s birthday.

Each car was filled with different kinds of candy, popcorn and cookies. When you’re a kid, that’s the best of the best.

So years later, the family tradition continues. My Nephews come over one day and the oldest, Ryan, picks out the tattered Birthday Cake book from the book shelf. He flips through it and when he gets to the last page his eyes go wide. Immediately he jumps up and announces that he wants the train cake for his 6th birthday. Needless to say, I was super excited.

Original train cake from the "Children's Birthday Cake Book"

Original train cake from the “Children’s Birthday Cake Book”

The original train cake (left) in the book is frosted with colored buttercream and decorated with candy. For my version, I went for the smooth look by covering the cakes in fondant. For the wheels I used chocolate cookies and filled the cars with brown peanut M&M’s to resemble coal.

I’m glad to say that my Nephew loved it and I’m even happier that our family cake book is out of retirement.

Train Cake

Train Cake

Train EngineTrain car cake

Train cakeTrain engine cake

Mini vintage rose cake: why the mini cake is the new cupcake

I love shabby chic vintage anything so naturally, it’s my favourite cake style.  DSC_0639

I made a mini 20 cm diameter cake (right) and for the design I wanted to keep it quite simple with a classic flower motif and a big rose center as an extra punch.

For the cake itself, I used Martha Stewart’s devil´s food cupcake recipe. Since I had a foot injury at the time, I was looking for an easy recipe that didn’t require a lot of fuss. I added 1 tea spoon of intant expresso powder to the wet ingredients for a deeper flavour. The cake was moist and had a deep chocolatey taste. However, it didn’t have a nice crumbly texture and was a little dense. Next time I’ll swap the all-purpose flour for cake flour to make it lighter. You can find the recipe here.

All of the cake decorations are edible. The cake was covered in white fondant and handpainted using edible lustre dust. The roses and leaves are made of gumpaste.





Details of the finished mini vintage rose cake.





Mini cake the new cupcake?

Cupcakes got their big boom a few years ago and seem unstoppable. you see them at kids parties, picnics and even making  a big splash at weddings. Everyone gets it: a tiny, beautifully decorated cupcake just screams “special occasion”. As a cake decorator and all around baking enthusiast I must confess that although gorgeous, I don’t understand the appeal of these tiny cakes in the yummy department. I’d swap a cupcake for a good ol’ fashion choccy cake any day.

Mini tiered rose cakeThis got me thinking.

More often than not, people just want a nice slice of cake. The mini cake has the cutesy aspect  but is more sophisticated and works well as the center piece at a party table. I’ve also started making mini tiered cakes (right). They’re adorable and grand, but since they’re small, you won’t be stuck with tons of leftover cake in the fridge.

Mini cakes are in high demand. Like most cake designers, I base most of the price on weight. A lot of people have been requesting these “mini cakes” to get the awe reaction but still keep the price quite reasonable.

The mini cake is on the rise. Not just a “destroy cake” for 1 year old, but for beautiful, classy and adult birthday parties.