Happy Birthday, QEII!

I wanna brag a little. Ok, may be a little more than just a little.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II turned the big 9-0 this year, so a big “Happy Belated Birthday” to her because her real birthday was in April. It will be a public holiday here in Australia for the Queen’s birthday on Monday, so I thought this post is rather timely. When Nadiya Hussain, the winner from the Great British Bake Off made her a cake for Her Majesty to cut, my heart only wished if I, little ol’ me, would ever have the same privilege  to make one too.

Then Cake Masters Magazine, in the UK had a call out for submissions on cake designs to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, and I jumped on the occasion. I may never make her a real cake since she’s kilometers away, but hey, I can make one as though I was asked to, right? And as though she’s made another official trip Down Under. This is probably one of the very few opportunities that I can do so, and off to the drawing board I go!

I thank my friends and family (yes my parents had some input) on the design that I decided on, and ta-daa!!!!

DSC_0428

Happy birthday, Your Majesty!

Yes, it’s very clean and simple. I was gonna go for the Queen’s favourite flowers, but Uncle Google didn’t seem to have an answer for that (or there are what people believe that she likes). The one thing I knew before getting on the Internet was she loves her corgis. Like, they’re fluffy. And ridiculously cute with their little bums. So I knew I wanted a feature on the cake with a corgi, so I thought why not have a corgi wear St Edward’s Crown?

DSC_0432

Happy birthday, Your Majesty!

The next design element (thank you Robyn!) was the overall tiers. I picked the Queen’s gowns and dresses. The top tier was what the Queen wears to formal white-tie functions, simple, a lace dress that seem to catch the light a little, with the navy blue sash. I fashioned it as though it was an embossed design for the top tier, and I used an impression for it and added a pearl luster so it catches the light. I added the Queen’s royal cypher painted gold (which stands for Elizabeth II Regina) against a purple plaque which happens to be one of the colours on the jockeys who ride Her Majesty’s horses.

DSC_0429

Happy birthday, Your Majesty!

The bottom tier was designed based on Her Majesty’s coronation robes. This was a fantastic challenge on picking what elements of the robes to use. I later on decided to paint on the Tudor rose, the maple leaf, the fern, the wattle, and the four leaf clover. The dress itself was so ornate with gold and silver threads, with pearls and crystals arranged in a lattice design. I decided on a simpler approach and to have them piped instead.

embroidery

DSC_0433

Happy birthday, Your Majesty!

I think this cake screams “Her Majesty!” quite fittingly, and I secretly hope deep inside, she will like it! Thank you once again to Cake Masters for allowing readers to make such a momentous celebration sweeter! It’s available in their June edition, together with some amazing tutorials. I may be biased, but I think it’s one of my favourite editions to date 🙂

 

Vincent x

Bello!

Any guesses what does the title mean? That’s “hello” in Minion talk! And I had myself (trying to) imitate a minion to get into the mood of my cake project after my big show in Sydney. You know, the craze fad that everyone was going through with the minions from Despicable Me – bananas, the colour yellow, but most of all the amazing 3D minion cakes every other cake decorator was popping out of their… homes/bakeries. And I knew that I was dying to get my hands into making one too, but I was patiently waiting for the right cake project to come along!

When I was gonna start on my project, I made extensive reading and research into making this cake – and I knew a couple of things were essential:

  • The cake had to follow strict dimensions of how a minion should be – I mean, if you did a blow up an enlarged version of the minion Dave on the Internet, you’d follow the proportions closely, e.g. the width of the minion, in proportion to the height. I picked a 6″ diameter (the real measurement is 5 inches, but hey, more cake!). The height was going to be a challenge, as I know it would be an eight inch cake or so in height. So a double barrel cake (will talk more about this). Run away now?
  • All the other parts in making the minion had to be exact as well – we need to ensure the size of the eyes/goggles are not too big or not too small, Dave’s limbs are not too long that they become crazy and weird.
  • The colour of Dave had to be right, and looking back at the cake, the yellow tone and the colour of the jeans could be better.

A double barrell cake (which means having two 4-inch tiers of cake stacked on top of each other) may be a daunting process – during the process, there is a risk of tearing the fondant as you lay it on the ganached cake as the weight of the fondant may tear it, and you may end up with a minion that looks battered all over and had a lumpy appearance to it. I never made a double barrell (I admit) and so I had to plan carefully and take deep breaths as I was working on it. Support is very important for a tall cake as you do not want it to topple over or sink or basically having a huge accident with it, and in this case I will recommend having a central dowel (plastic or wooden is fine, I used a plastic dowel in this case which measured about 7 inches long). The dowel is secured onto the cake board with a hot glue gun, before you assemble the cake. Once that’s set up, you can stack the next tier of cake on top. I forgot to add that you’ll need to have smaller support dowels around the central dowel when setting up the bottom tier of the cake – this prevents the cake from collapsing and sinking. I put four dowels cut to height and stuck it in the cake.

Once that was done, I can safely put the top tier on, and starting carving away to create Dave’s head. A lot of people would usually bake their cake in a bowl or a football cake tin to save time carving, I didn’t, so I had to carve it 😦

After a floor full of cake crumbs, ganache all over, and I’m happy with the shape of my “Dave”, I then start to put ganache all over the cake with my offset spatula, then using my amazing scrapers from The Cupcake Lady (if you haven’t purchased a set, I would suggest using this) and a little purchase from the Japanese store, Daiso. Such an amazing investment especially when I want to make curved edges on the cake, this does it for me without getting my hands dirty trying to rub my hands on the ganache (I promise my hands are definitely washed three times before I do this!!) to achieve the same effect. Easy!

Cake all ganached! Does it look like the print copy of “Dave”?

Thanks to these scrapers, my life was so much easier!

Thanks to these scrapers, my life was so much easier!

My smooth little minion! Count my lucky stars!

My smooth little minion! Count my lucky stars!

Next was to put the fondant on, which was a hurdle for me – I was surprised I didn’t curse that much as I thought I would have, glad it didn’t take many attempts to cover it and have a nice, smooth finish! Once that’s done, all there needs to be done was to create “Dave”‘s accessories – googles, eyes including the irises, his smile + tongue, hair (painful to do!), his outfit, logo, and the list goes on, to create my perfect minion! Ta-daa!!

 

 

 

 

image

Tried this with the sun behind me as my backdrop, how does it look?

image

Baby got back!

image

“Dave” loving his mini birthday cake!

I didn’t take many pictures for this project, but hopefully you get the idea. I just love him, and hopefully the customer loved it as much as I do (as far as I know, I’m sure I stole a few crumbs here and there and the cake tasted yum as always 😉 )
My photography skills will need a lot of brushing up, if anyone has any tips on improving my photos do pop a message and I’m happy to take in anything constructive!

Poopaye (which means “goodbye” in Minion language)! Tulaliloo ti amo (which means “we love you” LOL)!