Friday, 31 August 2012

I Caked It Myself: Jo's Magnificent Portfolio

Gah, Friday at last, dear readers!  It was so cold and wet this morning that the last thing I wanted to do was get up out of bed. I was warm, I was snuggly, I had two gigantic cats pinning me down - but I did it.

I Got Up.

I sacrificed my happiness for you, dear readers. Because today's I Caked It Myself series is a very special offering.

Reader Jo has sent in a portfolio of her cake-baking efforts over the years.  It is magnificent. I am in awe of her prowess. I am humbled by her commitment. I am a featherweight in comparison. She has done the train! And I want that shark for my next party!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jo The Magnificent. Jo writes.....

Hoping these provide you with some amusement! It is a bizarre experience presenting them as a portfolio. There are probably some deep psychological insights to be had. Eeew. I’m not very good at following instructions, so tend to take a few liberties; ranging from just changing the underlying cake recipe (my favourite base is  ‘wacky cake’ aka the 6-minute chocolate cake; as it is foolproof, edible, chocolate and easy to carve – especially after freezing); to modifying the decorations to taste; or merely using pictures as inspiration for wild inventions of my own. The results range from roaring successes to dodgy looking numbers requiring a bit of imagination to interpret – and everything in between....

So here goes!  Undertaking No. 1.  The mermaid cake for Clare’s 5th birthday.

Based on an internet search, with complicated cutting pattern. Round cake head, a rectangular cake and 12 mini-muffins. Turned out bigger than Ben Hur, and we ended up having to use a very heavy piece of laminex (the cut-out from the sink ~900mm long) covered in foil. Decorated with cachous and mini florals, placed precisely, lovingly and carefully colour coordinated-ly until well after midnight (oh, and I was 3 months pregnant at the time!).

 No. 2. The Witch, Clare’s 7th birthday. Note the dodgy nose! And black icing is really scary. Green is bad, but black? Who eats black icing? [editor's note: I would, Jo, I would.]

And, for the record, there was some pretty sensational party food to go with the cake - bats wings, eyeballs, lizard eyes, giants thumbs, dried toads guts..) [This sounds awesome. I would have loved a party like this when I was little.]

 Natty’s 2nd birthday cake. The train cake, but modified to avoid that evil blue icing of the Thomas version. My rule of birthday cakes is that it does have to be edible! Personally, I’m most proud of the popcorn steam coming from the funnel....

 Natty’s 3rd... a sailing boat. Uninspired and done under a false sense of pressure. Peppermint leaf sea with penguins swimming in it.  Probably a low point!

 Clare’s 9th birthday and better rendition of the sailing theme, if a bit boring....Is that chocolate again? Ummm, ....that would be yes.

Followed up by the greatest folly. Natty’s 4th birthday when he was obsessed by (can you figure it out?)... sharks! Getting cocky now, but the shark cake was scary on too many levels.... oh dear. [I love this one Jo! I love the convoluted concept of a person eating a cake of a person-eating shark! I want this one for my next party please.]

 So, back to the tried and true. The treasure chest for Natty’s 5th. Gold coins, necklaces, sand (nice touch, food-processed arrowroot bikkies!) with seahorses and other sea critters... Had the kids with the oooh aaah factor, that year! Easy, but effective. Wisdom gained.....

 .... is, oh, so easily lost. What happened? Did I forget the lessons of the 4th birthday? Yep. This is my self-directed attempt at Star Wars, with the R2D2 and C3PO crashing on Tatooine (the desert planet) scene. Yes – it is a sand dune, crashed escape pod and arguing droids. Deluded, I know. [Let us just admire your idea and your attempt. Execution is not everything. If nothing else, my crazy cake project has taught me that.]

Only as I compile this do I see that Natty has scored on every birthday since 2, but Clare’s only had the odd numbers since she was 5. Sometime I guess the birthday cake god/dess will strike me down.  By Clare’s 11th birthday she was happy to have a higher quality chocolate cake and be done with the themes. 

Love your concept of doing all the Women’s Weekly cook book cakes. My husband Tim tried to tell me that mine show more creativity, but I am not convinced. [You should believe him! It is true!] My skill doesn’t match my vision, and clearly I don’t learn. But what I love about it is that the kids are not critical! 

I sometimes even sew costumes for them too.... (love the mane on this!). Clare was obsessed by zebras for a very long time, and this lasted from when she was about 6 till an occasional outing still... 

Jo, I think I am most impressed by this costume, out of everything! It is stunning! She actually looks like a zebra! I think you are awesome, and I've got a bit of a girl crush on you......

1 comment:

  1. Found your blog this afternoon, and have read the whole thing. I'm waiting for your next cake!


Say something sweet! Or, you know, not.