Sunday, 30 December 2012

Muddy rose garden cakes

It won't stop raining, the sky is dark 99% of the time, and everywhere I look the ground is turning into a quagmire. I hate this time of year when the sky is clear and it's frosty. Well, I hate this more. It's miserable, and I'm pretty miserable too.

In between the wallowing and the wailing and the procrastinating (my dissertation is due on the 8th of Jan) I turned on the TV to catch one of those cake shop programs, you know, the ones that have got really popular recently. This one was about a shop in Brighton where they make amazing cakes out of chocolate, and this episode showed an apprentice making roses out of white chocolate. They were pretty amazing, and a very simple technique, so I made some of my own out of fondant.

The technique is thus:
-roll a small piece of fondant/gum-paste/modelling chocolate/porcelain into a ball
-flatten it out into a circle
-roll that circle up to create the centre of the rose
-make more petals the same way and squish them onto the edge of the centre

The bottom of the rose will have a little peak on it, you can cut this off with a sharp knife before you put it on a cake. I made some leaves too.

The icing here is a buttercream made with about a 60:40 ratio of icing sugar to cocoa powder, and they're just boring vanilla cupcakes underneath. Pretty though! I'm going to try this technique in clay when I get back in the studio, definitely.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Chalkboard Christmas Tree

Because I live in a small flat, am broke, and will be at some point returning back to my parents' house for Christmas, I didn't really see the point in getting a Christmas tree. A live one would be neglected and a fake one would just be another thing to pack up when I move out of here. But without decorations my poor little flat was not getting in the seasonal spirit at all, so I came up with this hack.

All you need is a chalkboard, some chalk, led lights, and some tape. There's a chalkboard painted on the wall in my kitchen, and I already had some led lights that I'd stuck up round my bathroom mirror, so I just peeled them off.

Now you just draw the outline of your tree in chalk, and stick up the lights with liberal amounts of sticky tape.

Sorry for the blur, my camera was struggling to overcome the crap lighting in my flat. 

Then you just put in your batteries or plug in your lights, and voilĂ ! One lit Christmas tree.

Here's another angle showing the amount of tape I used:

And that's it. Very quick, super easy, good option for anyone who has no space, time, or money to be messing around with a big tree. There's nowhere to really put presents, but that's okay because I'm not going to be here on Christmas day.

You could probably also do this on a pin board marking out the tree with ribbon or coloured tape. Be careful not to pin through the wires though!