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My Cake Decorating Adventure – 4

Ok, this is actually lesson 5 but lesson 4’s result landed on it’s head as I loaded it in the car and therefore…no photo of the lovely pink and white cake, white sugar paste lovingly covered the madeira cake and a gorgeous pink bow made from sugar paste draped over it…until it landed on the floor, head first. The cake bit was fine but the decorating but..well… what decorating bit :D.

So this is now Lesson 3 and the last one of the Beginners Course 1. We had to bake a cake, cover it in sugar paste and decorate in whatever way we wanted. Now being overly excited about this I decided to make a two tiered “elegant” cake. The piping of the flowers kind of worked well although they were all different sizes and shapes. But overall not to bad seeing that I have piped that with Allegra hanging of my leg, smiling and then crying, showing of all four little white teeth in her mouth. Now that was piped from Royal Icing and left to dry. Can I add,  luckily it did come of the grease proof paper :D.

I baked my two cakes, obviously different sizes and with that it was time to start decorating. The covering in sugar paste went well and although here and there were a little bump and a little bit of unevenness going on, I was very happy with the result. I stood back and looked at the smaller cake that had to go on the bigger one and had this vision that the little one will end up “inside” the bigger one…but joy of joy it did not happen like that and the two sat very happy together on the turn table. Oh, I used drinking straws to secure the smaller one on top of the big one.

Then I randomly started gluing the flowers to the cake and connected them with piped swirls. I had so much fun I nearly did everything at home..but I did leave the shell border to be done in class.

The final touches were added and my masterpiece was done, ready to be sliced into pieces and destroyed in 5 minutes. It was soooooo worth it and I am planning my next one as we speak. So all that is left to say is: “Thank you Need-A-Cake and Kim, our tutor, it was so much fun and I can’t wait for the next course to start”.

My Cake Decorating Adventure – 3

With this session we had to decorate an entire cake using some, or all if you were over enthusiastic, of the techniques we have learned.  We could make the flowers we wanted to use at home with Royal Icing so that it can set hard…but oh dear, I think the kitchen was too hot or something strange was in the air for mine turned out to be a complete disaster. So I had to ice and decorate my cake in just 1 1/2 hours and the pressure was on :).

My Mom loved daisies and the cake was decorated in her honour and I really hope that I did a respectable job. The roses were something we have just learned and I used that for the centre of the cake to give some hight. The cake was a lemon drizzle and the icing was normal vanilla buttercream. Oh and then do not forget the ever important Fairy Dust that I have sprinkled over…now that makes the difference 😀

Tonight is the next lesson and for the next 4 lessons we will be concentrating on Sugarpaste….oh dear…this might get interesting. Luckily we are only decorating cupcakes tonight and not something like a four tier wedding cake :D.

My Cake Decorating Adventure – 2

So for lesson number two we had to bake a plain Madeira Cake, make two batches of different consistency icing, take the colours we wanted to use and a drawing/picture of the image we wanted on the cake. We only had two hours to decorate the cake and must say it was rather daunting for someone who has only done this when baking and decorating cakes for her kiddies :).

First of you need to level the cake on the top and then cut it in two, horizontally. Add your filling ( I used strawberry jam)BUT first pipe some icing around the edge of the bottom layer, so that when you fill your cake, the filling won’t bleed into your icing/frosting. Put the top layer on and start icing the cake. Make sure there is enough icing between your spatula and the cake so as not to tear the cake. Make your icing as presentable as possible and let stand for about half an hour to harden slightly. Now take your spatula, dip it in warm water, make sure that the spatula is as dry as possible and now go over the icing again and voila!!! Beautiful and most of the imperfections are rectified.

Now add your design and to do that you use piping jelly. Draw your picture on a piece of paper, using the piping jelly trace the lines of your image, then “stencil” the design on the cake. Remove the paper carefully and your masterpiece is on the cake, ready to be piped. Use the techniques that you know and start decorating.

We have only covered two in class so far and the shell was not one of them but I really wanted to see if I could do it…and not to bad if I can say so myself. My teacher said my work is very neat and with a little practise I can be very good. Why thank you Kim ;).

But then class or no class it was worth it….got home and Nicholas looked at it, turned to me and said: ” Mommy, just look at this gorgeous cake you made, can we have some now”. Yes my Love, because now I know my cake was perfect 😀

My Cake Decorating Adventure – 1

Last night was my first lesson in Cake Decorating 101. As Kim, our teacher, said: ” I am sorry, but tonight is going to be a little boring for all of you. Not much happening in the decorating side, but you will have to listen carefully and take everything in”.

So that is what we did, or tried to do. We are 12 ladies taking this course and I am very happy that the other 3 ladies on my table are really funny and so sweet and a little Mad Hatter style just like me. We are definitely the Noisy table and had lots of fun. And what’s nice is that we are already helping and giving advice to one another…as though we have been doing this for years :). And it was really funny to see that even at this age we are still biting on our tongues while concentrating. I did well in the piping test, seeing that I have never piped flowers…but was a little to strong for the piping bag and it exploded in my hand……icing was good though and I cleaned (licked) the mess up rather quickly.

The only Piping and decorating we did was to practise the Flower Tip piping on some Rich Tea Biscuits. We did however receive a lesson in the art of cake baking and then Kim showed us how to ice a cake properly. Gave us a few tips of the trade on how to hide the mistakes and to make sure the cake looks and tastes good.

On Sunday we will be baking and decorating a complete cake and that will be our first test. With that I will give you a little lesson and show  you how I baked, iced and decorated the first cake of the course. And if I can remember everything…a step-by-step how to do it at home guide 😀

My Cake Decorating Adventure

Tomorrow is the start of a new adventure and one of my long term/short term goals I have made.

I will attend a few Cake Baking and Decorating Courses at a local Cake Shop. Why? Well, although I love cooking, baking is definitely my favourite thing to do in the kitchen and I would love to have my own little Tea Garden one day. I have always wanted to learn the ins and outs of baking and decorating and no better time than the present to start with this.

I am turning 36 this year and although Allegra is still not even a year old…I need to do something for me and not just be a Mommy. With this, I hope, that I can also earn a steady income some day and maybe leave this little dream, make it a reality and pass it on to the kids when Chris and I are grey and not that active anymore.

Further, and this will be the longer term goal if this adventure, I would like to open up my doors once or twice a week to give classes to the less fortunate and also to physically and mentally disabled people of all ages. I am extremely privileged….I have two gorgeous, healthy children…I have an awesome husband…and although I have been living with Multiple Sclerosis now for 12 years … I am healthy and happy and loved and this will be my way of giving something special to someone out there who might never have the opportunity. Food makes me happy….beautiful bakes makes me even more happy and what better way to make someone else less fortunate happy, by giving them a chance to make something not just gorgeous to eat, but gorgeous to look at and they might be able to use the skills they have learned, to better their own lives. So yes, this is the start of something small and something big. This is the start of making a dream happen and making dreams come true….This is something so small in the big world and something so big in my small world!

The PaperCup Kitchen was started in May 2011 with this in mind……and now my real journey starts and I hope you join me for the exciting ride. Hold on….it will definitely start off a little bumpy…poor teachers…BUT I can guarantee laughs and giggles and good recipes and a tear now and then for good measure 😀

Watch this space….the first feedback and photos will be posted on Wednesday and all that is left for me to say is..Yipeeeeeeee whooooo hoooooo!!!!!

(Note: The PaperCup Kitchen will not change that much. My daily posts stay the same now just with a little added sugar and spice and baking nice. My profile will change in the near future, I will not buy the image for my little business adventure, but the Lady on the new profile will look very similar to the one you see now….hehehehe, get what I am saying?)

It was the Night before Christmas – Clement Clark Moore

(a St. Nicholas for our Nicholas)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,

(Big blue bauble for Nicky)

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

(A big pink bauble for Allegra)

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

(Our St. Nicholas waiting for Santa)

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

Merry Christmas my Dear Friends…Love, Peace and Joy to you all.

New Beginnings

(Me and Nicholas…second week in Moscow)

Here we stand again, ready to say goodbye to an old journey and getting ourselves ready for the next one. I can not believe how quick two years have gone by and that we have been calling Moscow, Russia, home for these two years.

I really am looking forward to the new adventure that is England, but like with Russia, I am also wondering if this is the right thing to do. Are we ready for what life will throw at us once over there? Will Chris be happy in his new position? Will the kiddies fit in easily? Will I be able to make it “home”? Is the business plans and goals that I have set myself realistic and will it take off? Is this the best for us or will it just be easier to return home to South Africa? All these questions, no doubt, will be answered very soon and I know that I do not need to worry about a thing….I have two gorgeous kids and I am married to Prince Charming and no matter what happens…WE will be fine.


(St. Christopher in front of St. Basil Cathedral, Red Square)

So I guess that all I want to say is that this will be my last posting from Moscow and the next one will be from my new table in a new country with new stars in my eyes and new hopes and dreams.

(Allegra..our little Russian Doll)

Unfortunately at the moment, one pot cooking and NO baking is all I can offer and this last few days here will be Two Minute Noodles, Pizza and a take-away here and there. I am so ready to start cooking and baking and as soon as we have settled in our new surrounding, the kitchen will again be filled with mostly wonderful  aromas ;)….and my favourite time of the year is just around the corner…Christmas…and it will be a merry one.  ♥ ♥ ♥


(Sunset threw our kitchen window)