Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The case of the wonky peacock

The brief was she loves the colours of the peacock.
Well that's something to start with ( I usually get a cake and pretty or something different but I'm not sure what) so this is a refreshing change.
I started by making the cake an 8" round sponge and then I made the body for the peacock a sort if oval shape with navy blue modelling paste with an emu shaped neck which I had to support with spaghetti as it was so fine and delicate. I left that to set while I iced the sponge with white icing and covered the cake drum with teal and turquoise marbled sugar paste.
The next job was to start adding the peacock feathers to the body and add the eyes to the feathers, I used a lot of artistic license here to achieve the look I wanted then added the birds crest. The whole bird was lightly dusted with jade green edible lustre and a touch of aubergine dust to achieve the correct colour, then added black to the neck and face adding white highlights around his eyes. I was really pleased with the overall colouring .
I added the age to the cake on peacock eyes and used the marbled sugar paste to add a ribbon effect around the base of the cake.

Sugar Bees Essex and the headache!

Have you ever stopped to think why are you doing something? Why make your life so much more complicated when things are just starting to settle down and go right!
Well I've been having the thought recently, my cake decorating business has been pootling along nicely everything no complaints there the usual. Mix of straight forward and novelty cakes but nothing that got me really excited and tested my metal on a daily basis.
TEACH! ME? Never, but then I thought why not I've been in the bakery business for over 20 years now. With my own business for 8 years , I've created hundreds of cakes for paying customers, so why shouldn't I try to show people the basics of the business?
And that's how it began, the headache!!!!
People not turning up for classes, so much time on FB organising classes, practicing, weighing out, measuring, timing classes , figuring out by trial and error what will work, am I asking too much of everyone?
The results have been mainly excellent, people can actually recreate the decorations that I'm teaching them, and everyone seems happy with the results, and me well I'm still busing with the results !!!! Thank you

Monday, 4 March 2013

New venture

Another phase of 'Sugar Bees' evolution has begun, with a venture into Cupcake decorating classes and 'little old me' becoming a teacher!
How did that happen ? And how fast did that happen?
It's all been a bit of a blur I must confess, but a lovely blur, with a trial run at home with 7 ladies squished into my dining room to see if I would be any good as a teacher, and Wow they were all really impressed with the results and wanted to know when the next class was.
So class 2 & 3 was thought up with valentines in mind.
A Basic valentines class and a vintage valentines class were introduced and I started to look for a venue, the village hall was booked and classes were full, lots of happy people who didn't mind coming out early on a Sunday and me being exhausted from teaching up elated from the 'buzz' of being able to show people something exciting and teach them something they didn't know before they walked through the door.
But the village hall wouldn't do, so 'the Hive' was found on a trial run, and I love it. It still looks like an office but its mainly my space and I have filled it with lots of things, but more need to be found until I'm happy with it.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

When the Sugar Bees Essex world went crazy.

Who would have thought that a relatively normal week in the kitchen could develop into something totally surreal?
After the wedding fair last weekend I decided to post a picture of my Joules inspired wedding cake onto the Joules FaceBook page, I didn't tag the picture with Sugar Bees Essex, I just posted the picture to see what they thought of it. The photo got over 100 likes and some really lovely comments. I was really chuffed. The next day I had an appointment at the hospital so was unable to log into FaceBook, when I returned my best friend messages me to say have you seen the
Joules page? To my amazement they had reported my picture along that a
Joules Fan had sent in the picture and that it could be a contender for the Great British Bake Off which was Airing on TV. It had 800likes and counting, with 40 comments ( all good ones).
Every time I returned to the page it had gone up by 100, totally amazing!
I went to bed with the picture up to 1100+ likes, how awesome is that?
When I got up I had 12 new likers on my FB page and over 1200 likes on the Joules page. All for one little cake that dared to be different.
Who says that FB is rubbish when it clearly is a great platform to promote yourself. Thank you FaceBook xxx

Monday, 21 January 2013

Snowy day at Layer Marney Tower

You never know what it's going to be like when you head off to set up your stand at a wedding fair, but I knew that it was going to be cold, very cold. It had been snowing all night and the car was covered with a thick layer of crispy snow, but I had to clear it all off my little car so that I could pack it with goodies for the lovely Brides that I was hoping to meet at the venue.
I loaded the car up with the boxes of display cakes and all the general bits I need for the stand like postcards, diary, business cards, table cloths , pins , signage and portfolio then I headed off to the garage for some petrol ( they always know when I'm heading off to either display or set-up a cake, I must look different, like a frightened rabbit perhaps,!, as I'm rather shy), when I told them where I was going they looked at each other and said you know it's going to snow a lot later on, I just replied that if I get snowed in there it would be an adventure, they both laughed and off I went with my supplies of a Mexican cheese roll, water and mints.
The roads were ok from Sugar Bees as they had been gritted, but as soon as I turned off to Layer Marney I thought what am I doing here, no grit, just ice. And lots of snow, but my little car and I chugged on and made it up the very impressive and long driveway to the tower. I wish I had taken my camera but I figured that it would just be too cold to stand around taking pictures. http://www.layermarneytower.co.uk
It took 4 trips up and down the stairs to get all of my goodies to Tukes Chamber where I would be exhibiting, but I was glad that I was here as I could sit right on top of an old cast iron radiator which happened to be on full blast. Then started to set up the stand keeping one eye on the what was happening with the weather outside. I took my time just I case we had to make a dash for the cars as the snow came down a little heavier. Other stall holders started to arrive and the panic set in that we might get snowed in or no Brides would show up ( perish the thought!).
So, the stand was all setup and I got myself a cuppa coffee to keep myself warm and waited and waited ( well I did arrive rather early), then just before 11am 2 cars came down the snow covered driveway very tentatively and then they got out of the car, the cheer in the room was more like a sigh of relief in a way, that the Die hard Bride will brave any extreme weather condition to get her Free bottle of Bucks Fizz and Goodie bag of wedding magazines.
Another 10minutes later and a couple more cars braved the snow and ice to travel to Layer Marney tower, but we had to wait 20minutes for the brides to work their way around the venue and come and visit the exhibitors in Tukes Chamber. They didn't really seem that interested in anything we had to offer and so they left pretty quickly, but who could blame them it was cold and snowy and they could have been doing something else instead.
Anyway sometime passed before the interested Brides came my way ( I hate forcing conversation, but the offer of Caramel cake was too much temptation and they seemed to be drawn to my stand) I am not too sure what they thought of my new collection which I have named ' Dare to be different!' As its a massive break from my comfort zone but I was really pleased with the results.
A beautiful bright sunshine yellow and dusky pink hand painted rose cake, an homage to Joules patterns that everyone seems to love now.
A buttercream ruffle cake in shades of dusky pink with a massive handmade sugar open Peony.
And the last one , black piped swirls with handmade sugar anemones in black, dark blue and poppy red with gilded vintage sugar buttons.
No one can say I'm run of the mill, and I certainly havn't copied everyone doing the old favourite of large Sugar roses in every shade of pink imaginable.
If I'm honest I think I only really chatted to about 10 couples but they seemed to like what I had to offer, so only time will tell. Anyway we packed up early , and yes I made it home unscathed but I desperate need of a cuppa x