A Dinky… what???

Last Christmas I was the lucky recipient of a Dinky Doodle* Airbrush.  Thanks Santa (Mum!)  I had admired airbrushed cakes & was keen to get into it and have a play….  so why did it take me 3 months to get it out of its’ box?

I admit, I was worried that this little machine may get the better of me and turn out to be a waste of Mum’s money.  As much as I wanted to use it I pushed it to the back of my mind (and the cupboard) and to anyone who asked I was “too busy” to use it.  That was until I went to the Cake, Bake & Sweet Show in Sydney.  I watched Dawn Butler, the name behind the Dinky Doodle Airbrush, demonstrate the machine.  In that 30 min demonstration Dawn answered all of my questions while showing some easy ways to use the machine.  From then on I was hooked and vowed that when I got home I would crack it out of the box and give it a try.

I decided to try out all the colours that I received with the airbrush (clever Santa included a box set of colours with my pressie) & just play, no matter the result (no pressure!).  So I pulled out an old display cake that had seen better days thanks to Brisbane’s hot humid rainy weather & my airbrush adventure began.  I just went for it – the brighter the better.  I played with stencils, stripes and free-hand designs.  This is the crazy result:

 

My first ever crack at airbrushing.

My first ever crack at airbrushing.

I tried stripes on the above crazy colourful explosion & I loved them.  So many possibilities were running through my head. Red & white stripes for a circus theme, horizontal stripes in navy blue with hot pink & red flowers & gold stripes…..  I had gold airbrush paint & needed to make a wedding cake display cake for an upcomming QCDA (Qld Cake Decorator’s Association) display so an idea was born…

This is how I did it.

1. Set up the airbrush

It takes all of 30 seconds to plug it in, attach the spray gun & pop some colour in.  The machine also comes with a DVD to explain the set up.

Dinky Doodle Airbrush

Airbrush set up and ready to go

2. Prepare where you are going to spray

I spay under my oven extractor fan & use large sheets of styrofoam to protect the surrounding area. You could also use a large box.  I also cover the turntable & cake stand with  cling wrap to protect it from colour.  Be prepared to get the colour everywhere including up your nose.  I strongly recommend removing anything you don’t want to be coloured – especially cakes that you want to keep white!! (voice of experience talking)

Words of advice: cover ALL surfaces!

Words of advice: cover ALL surfaces!

For this cake I want stripes so I use low-tac painters tape to make the stripes.  Make sure it’s attached well to prevent any paint sneaking under it.  I also covered the top of the cake with a round piece of fondant to keep it free from colour.

Fondant on the top & taped stripes

Fondant on the top & taped stripes

3.  Deep breath & start spraying

When I saw Dawn demonstrate the machine she encouraged us to keep the brush moving.  You basically start spraying off the cake and then gently move your air gun back and forth and up and down while turning the turn-table to ensure an even finish.

...and start spraying

…and start spraying

4. Tah-dah

Once you have an even coat my biggest piece of advice is “STEP AWAY!” Don’t touch, just step away & leave it alone!  I usually start cleaning my air-gun and try to keep busy to prevent me from touching the cake.  Once it’s dry gently remove the fondant from the top and carefully peel back the tape.

Gently peel back the tape to reveal perfect stripes

Gently peel back the tape to reveal perfect stripes

5. Finished product

I’m using this cake for a display as I mentioned before so I can’t show you the finished product yet but here’s a sneak peek.  I added another tier with simple pipped royal icing dots.  I’ll also be adding some ribbon and a big bold bloom…  I’ll post a finished pic soon.

Piped royal icing dots added to the top tier contrasts the stripes

Piped royal icing dots added to the top tier contrasts the stripes

I’ve also used the airbrush to colour wood grain.  I used an impression matt to make the wood look & then sprayed with a mix of brown & yellow to get the finish I was after.

Fondant embossed with a wood grain affect & sprayed

Fondant embossed with a wood grain affect & sprayed

I do love this effect on the side of the wooden shed.

I do love this effect on the side of the wooden shed.

My parting advice is be brave & have fun!  Feel free to send me pics of what you’ve done with your airbrush.

*Dinky Doodle is one of many airbrushes on the market that are great for cake decorating.  The Dinky Doodle website has links to tutorials & YouTube videos.  http://www.dinkydoodle.co.uk/tutorials-and-Articles.html

 

It’s been a while…..

I’m embarrassed to see that it’s been almost 2 years since I’ve posted anything to this blog! 

Life has quite simply gotten away from me & that’s the only excuse that I have!  So, time to fix that!  I’m back with so much to share: what I’ve done; what I’ve been doing & what’s in the works at Miss Jane’s Cakes…..

Stay tuned cake lovers!

Image

Happy Birthday to……. me!

I LOVE birthdays!!!  Maybe that’s one reason why I LOVE making cakes?

This week was my birthday & I decided to make myself a cake to celebrate.  What kind of cake does a cake decorator make for herself?  Good question!!  It’s pretty overwhelming, there are so many choices, so many techniques & recipes you want to try & it can all be just a bit confusing!!  Plus there is a little bit of pressure there… you really can’t crack out a packet mix and throw it on a plate!

I finally decided on a chocolate mud cake.  From as young as I can remember I have always LOVED chocolate cake.   In fact, whenever I made a wish when I was little I always wished for a chocolate cake…  Not any chocolate cake but a particular chocolate cake from the cover of a Betty Crocker Kids cookbook that we had when I was little.

So the next question was how to decorate it??  Well since I was reminiscing I thought back to what I loved when I was little.  I LOVED “row rows”.  Wondering what “row rows” are?  No ideas why, but my sister and I called Hundreds and Thousands (Sprinkles if you are in the US) row rows.

So a “row row” cake it was to be!  There have been lots of these all over the net recently and I could think of nothing better to give one a try!  Getting the row rows on the cake was the biggest challenge but once I sorted that out it was easy peasy!  Except for the mess – these little suckers go everywhere!!!

 
Here’s the finished product:

I added a pretty pink bow and ta-dah…. a pretty, fun birthday cake!

 Then I saw this cool candelabra online & just had to have it:

And one last pic of my cake in action:

Dressing up a cake…

Remember the 3 nude lovelies from last week?  If not let me remind you:

 

Well they needed to be dressed up.  How did I do it?  A fondant finish, piping and a lovely navy textured ribbon supplied by the bride to tie in her colour scheme.  I really love the finish of this piping.   I’m all for simple lines and a clean, modern cakes and I am certainly proud of this one.

I must say that I’m a novice at piping and over the last few months have had some special lessons with a fabulously experienced decorator to learn some technique.  Lots more practice to come to master this beautiful art form.

 

Here are some shots of the finished cake at the venue, the Pavillion in Brisbane.

Getting back to the blog…

I had great hopes when I started this blog.  “A blog a week” I promised myself…. Hmmmm it’s been 2 months… … so, what happened??  Real life seemed to jump up and hit me in the head and the blog suffered – well it was more ignored than made to suffer!

So I’m back promising myself that I WILL attempt a blog every week… well maybe not every week – I’ll aim for fortnightly.  So, please feel free to throw requests out there of things you may want to know or see…..

OK a little about me:  For those of you who don’t know me I’m a FT manager in International Education and a PT cake decorator.  I dream of the day that I can follow my cake passion FT and not have to juggle the demands of a corporate position.  I would certainly rather start the day in the beautiful Brisbane sunshine with a walk before heading to the kitchen rather than waking at 5am to get my cakes ganached before I tear out the door for work.   It does help that I’m a self-confessed super organised control freak Virgo who can’t live without a list (or 6) to get me through my week and not forget a vital step in the cake creation process.

Speaking of 5am wake-up calls…. This is what my early morning handiwork created today.

3 nude lovelies ready to be dressed up and delivered to a party.  (stay tuned to see the finished product)  There’s something about a nude ganached cake that I love – it’s such an art to get smooth lines and I dream of the day that I can walk away from a ganached cake knowing that it’s flawless…. I’m certainly not quite there!

Also – here’s a little something that was in the local Brisbane News a little while ago about myself and some other Brisbane gals who are following their passion and building their online business while juggling a FT career.  Hats off to you ladies!  Click on the photo to see the full story.

Aunty Jane’s Cakes

Hanging out with my favourite nephew.

I love making children’s cakes and one birthday cake that I plan for each year is for my nephew, Eddie.  Because Ed lives in the Blue Mts in NSW and I’m in Brisbane, planning his cake is quite a logistical exercise.  It has to travel with me by car, plane & train and arrive at the party in one piece….in the middle of summer…. easier said than done!  But it must be said that travelling with a cake can get you great airline service & it certainly gets you a lot of attention at the scanner at the airport.  One tip for the uninitiated is to make sure your cake box fits through the X-Ray scanner.  I’ve heard horror stories from others that weren’t so lucky.

Mum, my sister & I pooled talent and came up with this number 1 creation for Ed’s 1st birthday cake.  This birthday was in January 2010 one month before I went on my first cake decorating course.  Let’s just say that expectations rose for birthday number 2!

1st birthday cake

1st taste of birthday cake – YUM!

Ed was (and still is) obsessed with trains so no prizes for guessing what it was to be for his 2nd birthday cake.  I made all the decorations and covered the cakes prior to leaving Brisbane & assembled it the night before the party.  The look on the birthday boy’s face made the trip juggling cake boxes on public transport worthwhile.

Birthday no 3 was January this year and like most 3 year old boys Ed is now car crazy!  He can usually be found with a matchbox car in his hand no matter what he’s doing.  I was expecting him to ask for a Lightning McQueen cake but he requested Roary.  So Roary it would be!  Travelling with this cake got me lots of attention.  Another tip for cake travellers is to have a see-through top on the box.  Flight attendants ooh-ing and ahh-ing got me an upgrade on this flight!

Birthday boy waiting for his cake.

Car cake for a boy who LOVES cars!

3 candles this year!

We welcomed Eddie’s little sister Eliza into the world in December 2011.  I must say that I can’t wait to get started on a girly cake of “sugar and spice and all things nice” for our little princess.

Eddie and his little sister Eliza.

High Class Hamptons

For ages now I’ve been wanting to do a group of cakes within the one theme.  Sounds simple right?  Deciding on a theme…. not so simple!!

It was while out shopping one cold wet Sunday that I came across some beautiful navy velvet ribbon.  I couldn’t put it down and immediately started thinking about how I could use it on a cake.  It’s funny how one small thing can set your creative juices flowing!  So, I decided to go with a silver & white theme.  I am a huge fan of Faye Cahill‘s cakes and LOVE her luster finishes so I decided to give it a try.  I wanted a high-class look incorporating silver leaf, classic crisp white, the navy velvet ribbon and a luster finish on a variety of cake sizes.

This is what I came up with. I love this cake so much.  I think it’s simple but elegant.  The navy and white reminds me of Hampton’s inspired interior design so “High Class Hampton’s” it is!

After finishing the mammoth 4 tier I wanted to play around with some love hearts.  I’m not sure about you, but I LOVE love hearts!  I think they bring whimsy and fun to a cake.  I decided to try the silver leaf on the hearts – I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

I really wanted to photograph these cakes outside with my hedge as a backdrop – but the weather had other ideas and we only managed a couple of shots before it bucketed down!  When I say “we” I must thank my fab friend Sarah from Sarah Whyte Photography who took these great shots.  I think they are beautiful but I may well be biased!!

Welcome!!

Hello and welcome!

I’m Jane and I love cake!  More specifically baking, creating and decorating and most importantly sharing beautiful cakes.

I’m looking forward to taking you on my cake journey with me, and sharing any tips and tricks I pick up along the way.

J xx

I made this cake for my good friend Yoshi’s wedding. It was my first wedding cake and I was so nervous I took a day off work to get it done!