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My love for baking is really surprising to me because I have never considered myself to have a natural talent for baking. I still scream, running in the opposite direction when I encounter a recipe that uses yeast. Yeast makes me panic; I can’t explain it.
However, which each passing day, I seem to dream more and more in cake. I think in cake, I want to make cakes. I want the cakes to be stunning, unique and delicious. Come to think of it, it is beyond cakes, I want to make the best entremets. I want my desserts to be amazing……as I said, it’s weird.
Weird as it is, I have taken, little wobbly steps towards achieving my goals. Last year, I would only cover my cakes in whipped cream or nothing at all. Once or twice, I tried a few butter cream cakes…….I wasn’t crazy about the results. They were fine; at least the cakes disappeared into approving bellies without a trace, but for me it could be better.
Then in November, my friend, Darbuni, asked me to make her husband’s birthday cake. The request left me in cold sweat. Now I was having nightmares in cake and butter cream land!
I started by sketching a cake for her which she loved. Phew, that hurdle was easy. Next I had to figure out how to make a two tiered cake that would look elegant and not topple over on its way to her house……more cold sweat.
In the end, it turned out well. She loved it and her husband avowed that it was the best cake he had ever eaten. I was teary eyed and VERY relieved.
It translated well from the sketch wouldn’t you say?
This cake is my “Adam” if you will because it inspired subsequent cakes with a constant evolution in the design and finish for each.
By the time my first son’s birthday came round in January, I had started experimenting with mousseline butter cream which I loved. The texture was perfect and it wasn’t sickenly sweet.
He got two cakes; since his birthday fell on a Saturday, he got a cake to share with the family at home and a big four layered one to take to school the following Monday to share with his friends and teachers.
His cakes were huge hits, the playful application of butter cream made it age appropriate and beautiful. With my new love for all things moussey, I made some meringues and it was a superb addition to the cake pops and lollipops adorning the cake.
These cakes went on to beget a birthday cake in February that I made for a good friend and ardent client. I had made her birthday cake last year; it was a Tuxedo cake covered in whipped cream and topped with fresh strawberries.
This year’s cake was a little more complex with macaron and meringue toppings for extra sophistication. It was also my first attempt at a water-colour effect butter cream application.
These water-colour cakes begot birthday cake that coincided with the Valentine’s Day weekend. A client called and said he wanted a death-by-chocolate-cake for his wife.
For this creation, I made layers of decadent chocolate cake filled with lemon curd (to cut the chocolateyness of it all) and the it was all covered in chocolate italian meringue butter cream (imbc); again this was a first for me and I loved the way the chocolate gave the butter cream more depth of flavour. I decided on red chocolate drip effect to add a wow factor and for contrast against the dark butter cream.
Now, the month of March was filled with much festivities and celebrations. For a fiftieth birthday cake (it was a last-minute emergency cake) I opted for a simple but effective finish. The cake was studded with 50 Ferrero Rocher chocolates; the effect was quite lovely too.
The crimson beauty from February, begot another striking green number a few weeks after; yes FFF cakes are pretty prolific.
I received a request to make a birthday cake for a young-at-heart forty-year old lady. The fun factor had to come out and I went for fresh roses and fruits with a bright green chocolate ganache finish.
By putting a youthful twist on our bright drip cakes, I made a girlie version for a young girl finishing it off with fress strawberries, Ferrero Rocher and Raefellos.
My second son was born in March and I wanted his cake to be special but on the eve of his birthday, I also had a client’s cake due the following day. So there I was till about 2 am doing my best to finish both cakes.
Eventually, I pared down the plans I had for his cake and kep the designs for the cakes simple; the fatigue was REAL!
For my son’s cake, I drew inspiration from the two tiered cake I had made last November but his was bigger….I almost regretted this decision because hoisting and stacking the cakes unassisted was not exactly the highlight of my night. But it all came together in the end. Both cakes were well received and duly inhaled 🙂
The white chocolate drip cake above begot the cakes below. Although none of the cakes appear the same on he outside they are exactly the same on the inside; 3 layers of luscious lemon blueberry cake filled with lemon curd, topped with a variety of fresh fruits. These cakes also come from the lineage of the pink water-colour cake from February.
Ombre butter cream also featured strongly thid month, thus, the green ombre cake from January begot designs for the following cakes. And the chocolate imb red drip cake as well as the 50 Ferrero Rocher cake begot a grand chocolate cake that I delivered to a special lady on her birthday at the end of March.
The pink ombre, raspberry and strawberry cake (picturedin the middle above) was ordered again by the same client within a week of the first one. And this time, I decided to keep the flavours the same inside but changed up the outside and attempted the upside down drip technique for the first time.
I had seen the technique on @cakesbycliff’s Instagram’s page. I nearly had a coronary but it turned out ok. I also applied the same technique to my mum’s birthday cake in early April.
The 50 Ferrero Rocher birthday cake begot another cake for a very elegant lady who turned 50 but did not look a day over 30!
In the spirit of creativity I made a “stripe” cake which turned out well considering that my medium is butter cream.
The stripe cake begot another stripey descendant which had more colour and embellishments. The clients were head over heels for this creation.
Making children’s cakes can be complicated especially when the child knows what he or she wants. I prefer cakes that have compleely edible elements on them, so when I was charged with making a birthday cake for a 7 year old who’s mum wanted lots of fruits on it, I needed to dig deep.
Drawing from my 2nd son’s birthday cake and the chocolate imbc chocolate drip cake, I came up with these two fun cakes creating hedgehog cake toppers from fresh fruits.
The 7 year old wasn’t sure about having hedgehogs on his cake but his parents and everyone else were thrilled with it. 🙂
In the spirit of keeping things interesting, I flipped the script on our cake making ways in May and made a series of upside down drip cakes in quick succession whuch made them easier to flip.
The yellow sunshiney one was a wedding anniversary cake, the red was a birthday and the biggest cake I have ever dared to flip was Femi’s cake. His birthday was yesterday. I wanted something that stood out. It stood out and stood tall. 🙂
Here ends the FFF cake geneology for now. Although there will be a post dedicated to cheese cakes which I can’t wait to share.
I leave you with aeriel views of our creations.
I have always dreamt of visiting Paris but never have. Not for want of trying though; while I studied in the UK I did get a French visa and had a great weekend planned with my friends but course work and deadlines squashed that idea. Then there was that time, many years ago, that my family planned a vacation to Disney, Paris until my dad’s work schedule got in the way. Yet again, a few weeks ago hubby, the boys and I planned yet another trip to this “elusive” city but the French consulate felt differently about our intended visit….ah well….. C’est la vie, non?
So today, I will travel to Paris via the web! Yep! No course work, or hectic schedule to interrupt and no visa required!
The lure of the city for me is about it’s history and it’s food. Just the prospect of wandering around the streets and markets and eating proper patisseries leaves me in a happy day dream.
So here’s what a perfect day in Paris with hubby would be like…..
After a hearty breakfast filled with delicious freshly baked yummies from the infamous bakery, Du pains et des ideés, we would set out for the Palais de Tokyo to soak up some culture and contemporary art.
Filled with contemporary artistic expression and armed with newly acquired cultural knowledge, we will progress to a bistro for a light lunch of sandwiches and other nibbles before heading for le marché d’enfants rouges: a tented haven of culture and food.
We will sample the different offerings hence the light lunch, wandering around without a care in world taking pictures and finally speaking French IN Paris!
As avid foodies, our dinner destination has to be magnefique and memorable, so Femi scours the various options. From Les gourmets des ternes to Possilipo he’s stumped, not because he doesn’t know which to choose but simply because their websites are in immaculately written French. I am waiting to be thrilled and refuse to get involved……errrrr not to mention that I am not confident I can plough through that much French and come up with any tangible knowledge of what I may have read (or pretended to read 🙂 )
Femi is the family geek; he can find solutions even where none exist so it came as NO surprise when he simple found a great translation software that sorted out his dilemma. He was even so bold as to tell the Maître D’hôtel to consider having their restaurant Chain’s website translated by Smartling.
I was aghast! I tried to hide but alas…….I mean isn’t that a major faux pas from a cultural perspective? Anyway, since this is a dream of my ideal day in Paris, I guess it’s ok; especially since it make sense for prospective clients from around the world to be able to understand what they read on a website. 🙂
Back to my day dream…..so we wined and dined and had a fabulous evening.
And as we headed back to our hotel, all I could think to myself was, tomorrow we must have crepes for breakfast….you all know I loooooovvveee my crepes 🙂 ………Oh! Yes! And we must have chocolate too!
What was your dream vacation like? Please share, especially if you had to use sign language and a dictionary to communicate! 🙂
Photo credits: all pictures used in this post were courtesy of buzzfeed.com – www.buzzfeed.com/marietelling/the-ultimate-parisian-guide-to-paris