Monday, December 30, 2013

My Top Ten Cakes of 2013!

It's the end of 2013 and I've had an absolutely fantabulous year!! I can't believe how fast time has flown and the amazing opportunities I've experienced this year.
 
So to finish off the year, I thought, I'd put together my Top Ten Cakes for 2013. Or shall I do a Top Twenty? 

Damn. 

It'll be so hard to choose.

The cakes will be selected on a number of key factors. 

First up, design and execution. Loads of times, I have sketched up cakes that look great on paper, but once they translate into cake, it may or may not work. Did it answer the client's brief? And how well did I execute this idea into cake. This will be my first criteria.

Secondly, creativity. Of course the most important part of my job is designing a cake. I get loads of enquiries from clients who have no clue what they want. It is then my job to help them break it down into important factors that they must have on the cake. A lot of my clients leave the design completely up to me, and I love that. I get to go nuts. 

And finally, I will give the general public a vote in this too - via my Facebook page updates and Instagram updates. The most "liked" photos will have a fair go, in my Top 10 list.

So without further a due...
 

Entering at Number 10.... *drum roll please*

10. The Gentlemen's Cake

This cake was designed by Mint Events for a little boy turning one. I love the sophisticated colour palette of powder blue, taupe, grey and brown. A great example of a sketch that translated beautifully into a cake. It was the first cake I produced for a Mint Event party, and a beginning to many more great cakes.




9. The Black Widow

The black lace work was inspired by sugar artist Kelvin Chua and I extended his design into a 3 tiered cake, accented with large, deep red sugar roses. One of my most popular posts on Instagram and FB.



 

8. Turkish Nights

The birthday girl had an amazing trip to Turkey a few months before her birthday. Therefore, her birthday party had to have a Turkish theme, of course! I came up with a bright and bold cake, based on Turkish textiles and ceramic ware, and the Hand of Fatima.

7. The Singer Patchwork Cake

The patchwork panels were all hand-cut and stitched with a stitching wheel. Then the "fabric" artwork was hand-painted with food colouring. It took approximately 5 hours. Not recommended for the faint hearted :) This cake drew the most attention on Instagram and FB! 


6. The Lion King Cake

Based on a 2 tiered cake, by Peggy Does Cake
My version features a different African Sunset tier, with silhouettes of the Lion King characters. I also add an extra tier with black and white zebra stripes. I loved how this cake came together in the end, and the colours on the African Sunset were absolutely spot on. 

 


5Slumber Party

A fun and girly cake to make for a special girl, celebrating her birthday with a Slumber Party theme. The pink and white theme really suited the design and all the little details made it SUPER cute! Loads of Instagram love for this cake, too!


 

 4. Monsters Inc. "Mike"

This year had a few cakes with BIG toppers. This Mike Wazowski was just one of them. His expression on his face was priceless. With sis arms and hands up in the air, it just accentuated the "scare" factor, and I loved how it brought the entire cake to life! Super fun to make!




3. The Royal Byzantine

Holding a very special place in my heart, is the 6 tier, Royal Byzantine Cake, at number 3. It has deep blue icing, accented with antique gold scrolls, gold pearls, white quilting and dozens and dozens of sugar roses. I spent a good 3 weeks, making the roses and another 3 days, completing the entire cake by myself. It was then transported to Kuantan, which is about 3 hours away by car, from my home studio.

 

2. Two Peas In A Pod

I've faced many challenges in my career as a cake decorator, but not ONCE have I wanted to throw in the towel, and accept defeat. When I was asked to come up with a cake for this party, the client left it all up to me. I selected this theme. I came up with the design. I decided on the size of the cake. It was all MY IDEA. 

Two days before the event, this cake was about to be thrown into the bin. I almost scrapped the 3D idea, and was about to bake more cakes to produce a 2 tier cake.I was extremely frustrated with the sculpting and structure.

So what did I do? I put it away in the fridge. Cleaned up. Left the kitchen. Went to get a beer with my friends. Best decision ever.

The next morning, I faced the cake again, and fixed it. In the end, I loved how cute the cake turned out, and I loved everything about it. Yes, it caused me MANY sleepless nights, and yes, I got it to the venue, in tact.

 


And the Number 1 cake for 2013 is the Mad Scientist Cake!

I don't think this cake needs any explaination as to why it's number one! It's one craa-a-a-a-a-az-y cake!!  I had so much fun making it, and hearing how many people got grossed out at the brains, made it even more worthwhile! 


I've spent 2 days writing this post because it was too difficult choosing only 10 cakes from my archives. I'm going to do a sneaky one and slot in one more photo. 


Just one more. Let's call it the Wild Card.

Gold Gift Box Tower



Apologies for the bad photo, but this was the best photo I took on the day. I absolutely adore this cake for it's elegance and quirkiness, if I may. Every box featured a different texture and technique and I played with different shades of gold. It took almost an entire month of planning, alongside a similar wedding cake, but in squares instead. I still get people talking about this wedding cake, almost 11 months after I had made it! 

If I could do this cake all over again....I definitely would! LOVE.

And there you have it. My top 10 cakes for 2013. I hope to create more interesting and fantastic cakes in 2014 and on a much larger scale too!

Here's to more cakey adventures and for a bigger and brighter future! Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading! xx



Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Heck of a Month!

September 2013. The busiest month for me in KL, so far! The cakes have just been flying out of my little home studio and I haven't had a single day off in over 2 months! 

Lots of exciting things have been happening as well this month with a photoshoot for a lifestyle magazine, plus a video which I'm very excited about :)

I thought I'd put together a collage of all the crazy and beautiful cakes, I've made last month. Hope you like them!

I had quite a few 3D cakes, all different from each other. There was a Minion for a one year old, a stuffed dinosaur who had lots of clothes, an Iron man head, and a stage cake for a little girl who loved Selena Gomez. 

The ever popular Candy Crush game was also a fun cake! It took me 3 hours to make all those little candy! And to top it off, when I was done, a turntable from the shelf above my workstation, suddenly falls over, and crushes my tray of candy! Hahaha! True story!



I also had lots of cakes with beautiful sugar flowers and various motifs from lace and lattice to floral and chevron. I love making sugar flowers and wedding cakes, and last month, I made quite a few lovely ones :)



One of the more exciting cakes I made, was with a Camo stroller, gold studs and black patent. It was for KL's shoe and clutch specialist, Ung Yiu Lin. Her hubby surprised her with this cake and he wanted it to be personalised with all the things she loves- a baby on the way, shoes, gold studs, camoflauge, and clutches. And by all means, was there to be NO PINK!

Another fun project I had was with Mint Events again, and this time it was for a Slumber party-themed, birthday party. It had to be pink, a bed filled with little girls, plus all the bedroom accessories. So I created a white wood-grained bed, covered with a pink polka dotted blanket, with 7 little girls having a sleep over. There was cake, macarons, and a plate of chocolate biscuits too. Very cute!! 

So there you have it, after working away non-stop during the Royal Wedding Cake month of August, it was even crazier in September! 

And last but not least, here's the magazine clipping from my Halloween feature in the Expatriate Lifestyle magazine October 2013 edition. 

Let's see what October has in store for me ;) 









Thanks for reading!

For all my latest posts or to see more pics of my cake creations, log onto
Miss Shortcakes on FB.

xx Jessica


Friday, September 13, 2013

A Lion King Party

This is a long overdue post from early August! So sorry everyone, but I've been experiencing a huge overflow with cake orders and commitments over the last couple of months. It's been seriously overwhelming and I'm struggling to keep up with all the orders, emails, instragramming, FB'ing, photos, and so forth. I'll soon need an assistant! Anyone interested?

Anyway, getting back to the post -  a Lion King party for a boy named, Oliver, who was turning one. What an incredible party this little boy had! The parents really went out of their way for their precious one. I teamed up with the uber talented team from Mint Events once again. The girls, Adeline and Nicole never fail to impress me with their attention to detail and crazy ideas!! I love their work! Here are the photos from the event, supplied by the girls. Thanks Adeline! x
Walkway to the party venue
Who on earth thinks of putting footprints in the lift?!
Fun sunnies to add colour to the guests :)

Photo booth

Animal "ears". So cute.

Love the tablescapes

Party favours. Look at those tags!!

Contents of the party favours

I love those gold pins

Gorgeous tablescapes
 
Dessert bar



When it came to the cake, the client already had an idea of what she wanted. She provided me with the photo of an existing cake, but I could add my own personal touches to it. The original design came from Peggy Does Cake, and it was a 2 tiered cake. I was to make a 3 tiered cake, and to keep within the theme of the jungle safari/Lion King theme.

So here's my cake :

I hand painted the zebra stripes on the bottom, as well as the silhouette of the animals from one of the scenes from the movie. The sunset is also hand painted.




The cake table, all dressed up


Can't wait to work with them again on the next event :)
Stay tuned. But for latest updates on my upcoming cake projects, you can follow me on Facebook page Miss Shortcakes

Thanks for stopping by!

xx Miss Shortcakes  


Monday, September 9, 2013

Royal Wedding Cakes

This year, I have been blessed with 4 Royal Wedding Cakes for the same family. The State of Pahang is massive, and with that, so is their extended family! I grew up with several princes and princesses from various states, in my primary and secondary school days. It's such a small world!

As many of you already know, the first 2 Royal wedding cakes I did, were in January this year. 2 couples were getting married on the same day, and I had the daunting task of creating 2 huge wedding cakes for at the same time, plus 30 mini wedding cakes for the VIP table as well.

You can check out my blog post on that wedding here January 2013 Royal Wedding Cakes

It's the month of August 2013 now, and one of my best friends, A, who is related to the Pahang Royal Family got married as well. It was an intimate wedding held over a course of 3 separate celebrations. For 2 of the occasions, there had to be cake. Of course, the cakes came from myself, and these are what I came up with.






I was given free reign of the designs (Yay!), BUT, under no circumstances were there to be any white flowers or black. Damn! I was SO close to putting a little touch of black on the wedding cake. Oh well, it still turned out beautiful though, and had a soft, vintage feel to them. I was very pleased with the cakes!!

And with A's wedding out of the way, that was the last day I would have a night off for a long, long time. The moment her wedding was over, it was crunch time. I had a huge 6 tier, the following weekend in Kuantan.

I spent the entire week prepping for the trip and to make sure all elements of the cake were flawless. All the tiers were boxed and my Dad did a stellar job, custom making my boxes to the precise heights and widths that I needed. The hardest part of the job, in my opinion, is the delivery. Everything may look great when it's done, but when you need to drive a fragile item in varied traffic and weather conditions, through a hurdle of obstacles, wrong turns and bends....the cake can get damaged.

So, the day finally came to transport all my cakes, equipment, luggage, and myself to Kuantan. The driver was prompt and ready for the daunting task of driving us to Kuantan, without any damage. He was pretty good, taking it easy and of course, he was very familiar with the route. So every bump and uneven surface along the way, he could anticipate. I was very impressed.

Meanwhile, a few drivers from his clan were racing up the highway, enroute to the Royal Wedding. It was quite funny as he was really embarrassed to be driving that slow!

We arrived 3 hours later, which wasn't bad at all. The staff at the Zenith Hotel welcomed me back, and it was great to see all the familiar faces once again.
My work space was ready in one of the conference rooms, upon request. And then it was time to unload!

This was where I was most anxious. I prayed that there would be no severe damage. But I was quite confident that I packed the cakes up well, and they weren't moving in the boxes at all! 

All the effort paid off, and there was not a single petal broken from my sugar roses, nor any major damage to the cakes. The two largest tiers had a little icing droop down the bottom, but nothing I couldn't fix. I was very, very relieved.

Meanwhile, travelling behind us were 10 other fondant cakes, from a different supplier. These cakes ended up in my conference room as well, and the driver had kindly asked me to have a look at them. When I settled in and had a moment, I opened the boxes up one by one. Out of the 10 cakes, 4 were damaged. Roses were falling off, a few butterflies had broken, petals had broken, mini blossoms were loose....it wasn't a pretty sight.

So. What do I do? I fix them. These cakes were gifts to the various Sultans from each state. I had to do something. I picked up my piping bag and filled it up with royal icing, and get to work. These cakes were poorly put together and even when I picked up the decorations, they weren't even stuck on the cake properly! No wonder during the delivery, the decorations fell off. The delivery is the most important part of the cake, I think. You can make a hell of a cake spend days on it, but once you put it in a moving vehicle for 40 minutes or 2 hours, and it starts to fall apart....all that work means nothing anymore.

So to all the cake decorators out there, do take note. Make sure all your bits and bobs are firmly attached to the cake, and nothing is moving. Stacked cakes shouldn't have any movement on them, whatsoever.

Once those were done, it was almost 5pm. Time to unwind and relax before the big day. Where's the vino? :)

I was up quite late the following day, and began my day at 11 a.m. I was raring to go! I also decided to document the assembly of the cake, just for the heck of it. And will upload that at the end of this post.

Meanwhile, here are a few pics of the ballroom. What a gorgeous gold setting and ambience the boys at Kamasutra Events created! Some of the finishing touches were not ready yet, so do keep that in mind :)
 
The pelamin (stage)

Stage

The red carpet for the bride and groom to enter onto the stage

Ballroom
VIP table

VIP table

The cake stage, right in the middle of the ballroom


The cake was well on its way by 2pm and I was very happy with the results. It turned out so beautiful, and forgive me for sounding corny, but it really was fit for a princess! :)

I really hope I get to do more cakes like this in the future. It's such a beautiful sight when it's all put together and complete. And the sense of achievement I get, is exhilarating!




And here's the AMATEUR video of the making of the Royal Byzantine wedding cake video. It's a 3 part series, but for this blog post, I will upload the final part. The first 2 videos can be found on my Facebook page Miss Shortcakes .
Thanks for stopping by!



video 








Friday, August 2, 2013

A Mad Scientist Birthday Party

It's not everyday that one comes across a Mad Scientist birthday party, yet alone one, for a 7 year old girl! So when I got a call from the Event Stylist, I was super excited! They are the talented bunch from Mint Events and Soirees who create fantastic tablescapes and styling for any event. Do check out their work and be prepared to be in awe of the great detail, these girls are capable of.

The brief was something crazy with brains, test tubes, and mad experiments. I had the creative freedom to create a wild cake with a good-sized budget. And boy, was I up for the challenge! 

As per usual, I trawled the internet for ideas and Googled "Mad Scientist cake, Mad Scientist Party, Brains cake", to name a few. Most of the cakes were of beakers and test tubes and nerdy glasses. Nothing caught my eye. 

So I had to come up with something totally original. I wanted the kids to scream with delight when they saw the cake! 

The feature of the cake would be the brains. And not just any brains. This would be the brains that the Mad Scientist was working on. And something completely twisted happened in his laboratory, and the brains sprouted one oozing, bleeding eye. The brains would then be connected to a "Brain 'o' meter, which was a black box, complete with dials and meter reading, and connecting wires. Behind this experiment, was a bubbling beaker, filled with green liquid and bubbles, and the liquid was pouring out from a suspended test tube.

It was a great plan, genius, I might add :) I was so excited about this project. Work began immediately after I got client approval, and I began making the test tube and bubbling beaker. This would be the only part of the cake which was non-edible. It was so much fun! By the end of the day, it was complete. It looked really good for my first attempt! Because of its size, if it were to be edible, the beaker could be cake, but the test tube must be styrofoam. It'll be too narrow to make it out of cake.




The carving of the brains itself took a little longer than expected. But once that was done, it was just a matter of covering a thin layer of light coral icing over it, then making all the squiggly bits (I don't know what the medical term for this is :)). Thin, long sausages were rolled and then positioned in coils all over. It was quite therapeutic. Bit by bit, the brains got covered and soon, it started to look quite gory. 

I added splotches of red here and there to make it look like it had been cut out fresh, from a human skull moment ago. Then it was glistened with cold mirror gel to make it look even more realistic.


Left side all done

I freaked myself out!
The Brain 'o' meter was created by compiling a few different photos of "scientific meters", that I found on the internet. I decided to make it slightly tilted, instead of flat. This would make it look more realistic. The dials and knobs were all made from gumpaste and then painted with silver lustre dust.



Finally, the last stage was putting it all together. This was the easy part, since all the components were ready. I mounted the beaker on a black platform, to give it extra height. Then connected the brains to the Brain 'o' meter with 28 gauge wire and suction caps. The last touch was to make the brain look bloody. So I coloured piping gel with red food dye, and squirted it around the brains.



I was told after that the kids were squealing when they saw the cake! It did the job, alright!

You can check out the pics from this Mad Scientist party by Mint Events here

Alternatively, you can view more pics on my Facebook page Miss Shortcakes 

Thanks for reading! 
xx 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cakes for Hantaran or Malay Wedding Gifts

I was living and working in Sydney for 12 years, and having moved back to Kuala Lumpur, there have been a lot of cultural factors that I have to adjust to, even through my cakes.

Here in Malaysia, there are 3 main cultures - the Malays, Chinese, and Indian. The majority of Muslims are from the Malay background and when they get married, it is held over a course of a few days, with different ceremonies. Part of their wedding tradition is to give out wedding gifts, or otherwise known as "Hantaran", during the solemnization.

Both the bride and the groom have to present their future in-laws with trays adorned with gifts. And there are specific items to go on each tray, and also a specific number of trays from the bride and from the groom. Where I fit into this, is in the "Sweets" category. There must be one tray filled with sweets, and this can be in a form of a cake, cookies, chocolates or traditional sweets.

I get a lot of requests for Hantaran cakes, and I thought I'd put together a post, just on these cakes alone. The Hantaran cakes must have these criteria:

1. Petite (usually sized according to the tray that is being used)
2. Lightweight (the tray bearer must be able to carry it without difficulty for a short period of time)
3. Long lasting
4. Sugar flowers (this is quite a popular request)


Here are a few of my cakes, perfect as a Hantaran.


An example of one of my cakes, on a tray, ready to be presented.
This was a 5" styrofoam top tier, and 7" double tiers, in real cake. The styrofoam tier was to make the cake taller, but with less weight.

This was originally for a birthday, but I think without the inscription on the top, it would make a lovely Hantaran cake.
A small tier looks great on a tray, but I always recommend that one of the tiers is a styrofoam tier.
A stylish tailored striped cake with a pretty lace stencil on the bottom.



This can be done shorter for better stability, but still I would have a styrofoam top tier.
Something very contemporary, instead of the usual suspects of white and pink. This was silver shimmered icing with burgundy Magnolias.

Do have a look on my Facebook page Miss Shortcakes in the Wedding Album for more inspiration for your Hantaran cake.

Thanks for stopping by!