Saturday, December 31, 2011

Book Review - Party Cakes (Part Two)

Title:       Party Cakes
Subtitle:    Delightful Little Treats for Special Occasions
Author(s):   Mich Turner
Publisher:   Universe Publishing
Published:   November 2007
Format:      Hardcover, 160 pages

Cake projects are only half of this book. If you are able to tear yourself away from these projects, you will find yourself lost once more in the recipe sections. We begin our review at the aptly named ‘delicious treats’ section.

In a similar fashion to the decorated cakes, each recipe is introduced with a full page, full colour photograph of the finished product. Before we get to the recipe, we see a small blurb from the author. Generally, this is a short description and/or comments on the recipe’s suitability for use in decorated cakes.

The author has included a nice range of recipes. There are tropical/summertime recipes such as ‘Lime and Coconut’ and ‘Vanilla with Fresh Raspberries’ and chocolate recipes such as ‘Chocolate and Almond’ and ‘Chocca Mocca Pecan.’ There are also recipes for cheesecakes and cookies. The cookie recipes include brown sugar cookies, Lebkuchen and a gingerbread house.

You will also find a few recipes for edible gifts such as truffles (white chocolate and pineapple, and, rum and raisin), rocky road, shortbread, and some Christmas desert accompaniments such as hard sauce (a form of brandy cream) and liqueur custard. These look delicious. I will definitely be making the hard sauce this year!

Assuming you have not read it already, the final section I will be reviewing is the techniques section. This section contains the instructions for the techniques that are common to the projects located in the first part of this book. These include:
  • cutting small cakes from larger cakes;
  • making piping bags;
  • using the flooding technique to make butterflies for the ‘Sugar Candy’ cake;
  • covering cakes with chocolate plastique, sugar paste, fondant and marzipan;
  • the method for and yield from cutting small cakes from larger ones;
  • two tier cake stacking; and,
  • methods for tempering chocolate to create chocolate scrolls, fans and curls.

In this section, you will find recipes for buttercream, chocolate plastique, petal paste and modelling paste, and royal icing (piping and flooding). It is worth mentioning that the buttercream recipes listed in this book are not decorator’s buttercream recipes (i.e. for figure/flower piping etc). They are recipes for eating and therefore include flavours such as lemon curd, espresso, and, chocolate ganache.

One thing you quickly notice about this book is that the author puts taste first. There are numerous comments on flavour where the author remarks on which flavours and fillings works well together as well as provides appropriate warnings on what to avoid.

Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time for each project because they look deceptively easy. Whilst they employ simple techniques, they can be quite fiddly, especially when piping rows of pearls, as they have to be spaced evenly and of a uniform size (dependant on the design). In my mind, the hardest techniques in this book are those required to create the gorgeous sugar paste polar bears, rabbits, elephants, teddy bears and farmyard animal heads (duck, sheep and pig). As long as you have plenty of patience, a beginner/intermediate decorator should have no problems creating each of these projects.

Over all this is a lovely book, for both beginners and seasoned decorators alike. These simple, yet elegant cakes are inspirational. It is good to find a book dedicated to small single serve cakes. Whilst I love cupcakes, I must admit I am starting to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of cupcake decorating books that have flooded the market in recent times. There is only one true cupcake project in this book!

If you are a lover of cupcakes, you could easily modify the majority of the projects to suit cupcakes, for example, a Japanese themed cupcake spread would look gorgeous with sprawling cherry blossoms piped across the tops of adjoining cupcakes. The ‘Bollywood’ design would look absolutely amazing on cupcakes, especially if you were to use gold cupcake wrappers.

If you love Mitch Turner’s style look at the little Venice cake company website - You will notice a number of cakes from this book in the gallery as well as other inspirational designs.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Review - Party Cakes (Part One)

Title:       Party Cakes
Subtitle:    Delightful Little Treats for Special Occasions
Author(s):   Mich Turner
Publisher:   Universe Publishing
Published:   November 2007
Format:      Hardcover, 160 pages

Party Cakes is an interesting book, both in terms of content and layout. It strikes me as half cake decorating project book and half recipe book. There are distinct boundaries between the decorated cakes (projects), recipes for cakes and slices, and the decorating techniques sections. I find this organisation refreshing, because the reader is not ‘bored’ with techniques and recipes before being inspired by fantastic party cake projects.

Even though this is not a particularly large book, I will be dividing this review into two parts. Part one will cover the first part of the book i.e. the beautiful cake designs, whilst part two will cover the recipes and decorating techniques.

This review begins with the aptly named ‘Decorated Delights’ section of this book. This section contains the instructions for creating each of the miniature cakes featured in this book. Each cake is introduced with a full page, full colour photograph of the finished product. These photographs are gorgeous, even my eyeballs were drooling. They are bright, cheerful and beautifully composed.

If you manage to get past the introductory page for a given project, you will find a couple of lines outlining the project. In this outline, the author may make suggestions for how to present the project, the occasions for which it is suited as well as recommendations for cake and frosting flavours.

For each project, the author provides a full list of the materials required. For the most part the materials are not hard to source, or overly expensive. You will need to go to a cake-decorating store to purchase such items as colour dusts, fondant, sugar paste, modelling tools and cutters. Where required, the author provides templates for each project. These are located in the final section of the book.

The instructions provided for each project are informative and where extra information is required, reference general techniques covered in the latter part of this book, for example how to cover a cake in marzipan. Colour photographs supply further information for techniques that are unique to a given project and require further explanation.

From a technique point of view, the author incorporates a variety of simple decorating techniques to create stunning results. You will not find any fancy piping skills in this book, only simple dots and lines piped using a number 1.5 or larger round nozzle. In addition to these simple piping skills, the author does make use of flooding to create butterfly wings for one of the projects (gum paste or fondant could easily be used as an alternative).

A number of the projects included in this book, require the reader to create decorations using modelling pastes. For the most part, these projects require the reader to use cutters to create primroses, hearts, miniature apple blossoms, roses, lilies, leaves and holly. Where animals are required, the user has to create them by hand. These are polar bears, rabbits, elephants, teddy bears and farmyard animal heads (duck, sheep and pig). Whilst the author provides instructions for each of these figures, it would have been nice if further elaboration was provided, especially regarding the relative sizes for each piece. Thankfully, the photographs are of sufficient quality to show the each of the different pieces used and how they fit together to create each figure.

In addition to modelling and piping techniques already discussed, the author also introduces the reader to the following:
  • simple painting using lustre dust suspended in dipping alcohol;
  • colour dusts mixed with cocoa butter;
  • tempering chocolate and the creation of chocolate scrolls, fans and curls;
  • covering cakes with chocolate plastique, sugar paste, fondant and marzipan;
  • the method for and yield from cutting small cakes from larger ones; and,
  • two tier cake stacking.

Aside from the use of ribbons to enhance the look of the finished projects and the dowles used to hold the tiered cakes together, all of the decorations are completely edible. I am a big fan of this, especially when you are catering for a party with children or intoxicated adults.

When I think of the projects in the first part of this book, the first thing that springs into my mind is how simple, yet elegant the designs are. Whether intentional or not, the projects contained in this book are excellent examples of the old saying "less is more." Good examples of this are the ‘Monochrome Lace’, ‘Cherry Blossom’ and ‘Apple Blossom Bear’ projects.

The ‘Monochrome Lace’ cake, featured on the front of this book, is a 5cm round cake that is covered in marzipan and white sugar paste. A small black ribbon circles the base of the cake, and a simple black lace pattern decorates the top and sides of the cake. The lace pattern is piped using black royal icing. Whilst this is technically an easy piece, it is quite fiddly. In order for this cake to look its best, the decorator needs to ensure that the pearls are even and spaced correctly.

The ‘Cherry Blossom’ cake is my favourite cakes in the book. It is slightly larger than most because it has two tiers (5cm and 7.5cm). This is a great example of how one simple design, carried across multiple tiers can produce a stunning and elegant design. I am a big fan of this. It simplifies planning/design because you do not have to design multiple tiers and the make sure that they tie together and complement each other. Whilst it requires a significant amount of piping, I would say that this is a much easier project than the ‘Monochrome Lace’, because it is a natural pattern as opposed to geometric. With a natural pattern, if something is bigger or smaller than it should be, or if it is a bit wonky, that is fine. Nature is not perfect, unlike geometry.

The ‘Apple Blossom Bear’ cakes are too cute. They would steal the show at any baby shower, christening or first birthday. The key to this design is its simplicity. Each cake is made from a 5cm square cake that is covered in white sugar paste and adorned with small white sugar paste flowers that are made using 3cm and 5cm flower plunger-cutters. Small apple green leaves are hand piped to embellish the flowers. A matching green ribbon wraps the bottom of each cake to act as a boarder. The full-page glossy photo for this project shows seven individual cakes, three of which have teddy bear topper on top whilst the remaining four have additional flowers. This looks lovely. By having these two separate designs, you are able to highlight both the cuteness of the teddy bears and the delicateness of the flowers. If you were to have a teddy bear on top of each cake, I fear that people would fail to notice just how gorgeous these little white flowers are.

I could go on for ages discussing the projects in this book. The ‘Bollywood’ cakes are so vibrant and cheerful as are the ‘Coconut butterflies’. The ‘Christmas CanapĂ© Collection’, ‘Little Venice Lace’ and the ‘Tricolour Chocolate Rose’ cakes look ever so chic/exclusive. The ‘Sleeping Polar Bear’, ‘Bunny Building Block’ and ‘Elephant Polka Dot’ are too cute to eat. These are just some of the projects that you will find in this book, there just as many still to explore that are just as elegant and/or vibrant.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My 30th Birthday/New Year Cake – Part One

No matter how many times you tell yourself that turning 30 is the same as turning 29, it is not. Perhaps it is everyone else’s expectations that make it different. We live in a small apartment, so having a party is not really an option, especially on New Year’s Eve. We normally attend a New Year’s Eve party thrown by our friends. I am very lucky they normally put some candles on a cake and wish me a happy birthday.

This year I have decided to make my own birthday/New Year cake to take to the party. I was in two minds whether to make a chocolate mud cake, or go with something lighter. New Years Eve in Australia is normally a sweaty affair. Temperatures are normally in the high thirty degrees. For this reason, I have decided against a heavy mud cake and chosen a more summery cake. The recipe for the cake was adapted from the ‘lime and coconut’ cake recipe from Mich Turner’s book Fantastic Party Cakes.

Due to ingredient availability, I had to make a few substitutions. Instead of using a block of creamed coconut as per the original recipe, I opted for tinned coconut cream. To be honest, I have never seen a block of creamed coconut. As a work around, I skimmed the congealed coconut cream from an unshaken tin, and substituted it gram for gram for the original ingredient. I also omitted the 2 tablespoons of milk included in the original recipe assuming that the coconut cream would have added enough liquid to the batter.

Another substitution that I needed to make due to ingredient availability was to use white caster sugar instead of golden caster sugar. I see golden caster sugar used in many recipes, however for some reason none of the supermarkets in my area stock it. Is there a great difference between the two?

The final change to the cake recipe was baking the cake in a small round cake tin as opposed to two sandwich tins, which appeared to double the cooking time. My adapted recipe is as follows:

Coconut Cake

200g unsalted butter, softened
200g white caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
100g coconut cream, skimmed from the to of an unshaken tin

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (fan forced).
2. Measure the cake ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until you have a smooth batter (I used my food processor).
3. Pour the batter into a small lined cake tin (7"/18cm) and cover with a piece of baking paper to stop the top of the cake from browning too quickly.
4. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until risen, light golden and the cake springs back when pressed.

The resulting cake is quite dense, however it is moist and has a very light flavour. To be honest, the flavour is so light, that it is hard to tell what it is. I am not sure how much of the coconut taste I have lost by substituting coconut cream for creamed coconut. Should I have added some coconut essence, or desiccated/shredded coconut?

I am glad I decided to make a test cake, before making my actual birthday cake. Overall, I am quite happy with how the cake turned out. I covered the test cake in a plain buttercream icing. I am planning to use a combination of lemon and lime buttercream on the final cake.

I took the time to practise my decorating skills. I am quite rusty. Covering a cake in buttercream is not as easy as it seems. My edges were far from crisp and the sides far from smooth. I also attempted to pipe some buttercream roses. These were a disaster. Perhaps it was the heat (36 degrees Celsius), or the buttercream itself - I had used a frosting buttercream recipe (100%), rather than a decorator’s buttercream. Either way, I will make the buttercream roses for the cake ahead of schedule. I am sure the resident nom-monster will have no problems eating those that are not of a sufficient standard to make it onto the final cake.

Here are a couple of photos:

Smoothing buttercream is not as easy as it looks!

The petal edges are a bit jagged :(

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blogs of Note - Baking Obsession

Today, I would like to share a spectacular blog with you called Baking Obsession. I stumbled across Baking Obsession whilst I was searching Google for images of sugar roses. One of the search results was an amazing white chocolate plastique rose. The detail on the petals was amazing. I had to click through to the website from which it came.

I know what you are thinking, this is a buttercream and royal icing blog, what in the world is she doing posting about modelling? I could not help but share. The page I clicked through to was one of the best tutorials for creating modelled roses that I have seen for a long time. It is well written and photographed beautifully. There are plenty of interesting tips in the comments section. If you have the time,
check it out.

There is much more to this blog than cake decorating. To be honest, cake decorating forms a very small percentage of the posts. One may easily loose an hour or so browsing posts from this website. The photography is stunning. It is equally as good as or better than many of the photographs in professional cookbooks. All I will say is that I hope she publishes a cookbook.

If you are a fan of cakes covered in fondant and sugar paste, make sure you browse the all of the posts labelled ‘cake decorating’. There are some absolute stunners, including Thomas the Tank Engine and Pokemon.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Technique - Orchid

I absolutely adore icing flowers. I think they are a wonderful way to dress up a cake. From a decorating enjoyment perspective, I cannot go past royal icing flowers, especially when I can make them in advance. However, from an eat-ability perspective buttercream icing is king.

Today, I have two videos to share. Both of these videos are tutorials on how to create a buttercream orchid using the technique outlined by Roland Winbeckler in his book Buttercream Flowers and Arrangements..

The first video is by the expert decorator Roland Winbeckler himself showing step-by-step how to create a beautiful looking orchid. From this video, you can tell that he is a master decorator. I could not imagine piping an orchid that looks so good, so quickly.

The second video is by a lovely decorator who goes by the name of SeriousCakes. I think she does a lovely job of showing how to incorporate Winbeckler orchids with other flowers to create a gorgeous cake. One thing I really love about her is her willingness to share. Unlike some videos, she has added plenty of captions and gives you all the important information, such as the tips used.

If you have time stop past her website and take a look at her other videos.

Notes from the videos:
  • Use tip # 104 for the flower and #352 for the leaves/stems.
  • The petals sit upon a 'puff' or base, to raise the petals from the base of the cake. 
  • The three bottom petals are pointed at both ends.
  • The three top petals are rounded, with irregular ruffles 
  • The throat, the third of the top petals, should be a bit deeper/bigger. 
  • Indent the throat using a skewer.
  •  Plan your cake first, taking into account the size and placement of your flowers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

10 Tips For Making Gingerbread Houses

I am by no means a master of gingerbread house construction, but I thought I would still share a few of the tips and tricks I have learned along the way.

Gingerbread houses are rare in Australia. In the last couple of years, they have started to gain momentum through the sale of pre-made kits through local supermarket chains. Most people I speak to think that they are a ridiculous amount of work and very hard to make. They can be hard work, but it is completely up to you how hard you make it.

So far, I have made two gingerbread houses and one gingerbread sleigh using cutter sets that I purchased from my local department store. You can find gingerbread house cutters in a number of cake decorating and kitchen stores. To be perfectly honest, there is nothing wrong with creating your own templates out of cardboard and cutting the pieces by hand.

I have compiled a list of tips for those who are considering building their own gingerbread house. I hope that they may alleviate the number tears and screams coming from the kitchen. If you have some tips and tricks of your own to share, please leave a comment.

Darkbyte's Tips For Making Gingerbread Houses

1. Start small. I remember browsing the Internet seeing amazing houses built by gingerbread veterans. I am thankful that I decided to keep things simple. Whilst they are easy to build the second time around, the first time can be hair rising and many a scream for help may be heard coming from the kitchen.

2. Make sure help is at hand. The first time I built a gingerbread house, the sides split and the roof started to slide off. A second pair of hands is always well worth having.

3. Pick your day and plan ahead. Make sure it is not too hot, that the icing melts/takes forever to dry. Gingerbread house building takes a long time. I like to cook my pieces the two days before Christmas, and decorate the house on Christmas Eve. Remember, this is a fun exercise, so make sure you give yourself enough time to enjoy what you are doing.

4. Make sure you give your creation plenty of time to dry. If you have misjudged the time needed to finish your gingerbread house, you may find yourself sitting in the car with the air-conditioning set to arctic and holding your creation together whilst dreading the thought of speed bumps and potholes. This is why I make a point to have it completed the night before, you only want to do one such car ride in your lifetime.

5. Invest in some stainless steel poultry lacers. I prefer using these to regular skewers because they are shorter and smaller in diameter. This means that there are less chances of cracking your gingerbread and they are less likely to get in your way. These are necessary, especially if you do not have a second pair of hands to help you. Any holes created by the lacers can be covered with icing sugar or candy.

6. Make sure you have a good base on which to sit your gingerbread. I have a melamine platter that I use solely for gingerbread construction. Choose your base wisely, make sure that there is enough room for additional decorations around the house e.g. trees and footpaths. I strongly recommend ‘cementing’ your gingerbread house to the board during construction so changing your mind about your base is not an option.

7. Where possible pre-decorate your roof and walls. This is especially good if you plan to make intricate candy or icing designs. The first time I made a house, I put it together undecorated and tried to stick chocolate buttons to the roof. It was a stupidly hot day (38+ degrees C) and they kept sliding off!

8. Purchase some square candies. Liquorish All-Sorts, Jersey Caramels and other square confectioneries are a great internal reinforcement for internal walls together. They also help to keep your corners square. If you pipe bows on top of the remaining square candies, they make great ‘presents’ to put in piles around the house.

9. Do not put too much candy on your roof! A heavy roof can lead to walls bursting at the seams! I must admit, I roll my roof pieces a fraction thinner than my walls to reduce the weight. Remember to take the roof pieces out of the oven earlier than your walls so that they do not overcook.

10. Remember to take photos of your gingerbread creation. With the crazy rush that is Christmas day, I often forget to take proper photos of my finished creations. It is worth paying attention to what is in the background of your photo as it can be a bit embarrassing when you are showing them to people.

Where possible pre-decorate
as many parts as possible.
Poultry lacers are great for
holding the various pieces
together as they dry.
Square candies are a great
tool for ensuring 90 degree
These candies also make
good 'gifts' when decorated
with royal icing ribbons
and bows
When taking photos pay
attention to what can be
seen in the background.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Book Review - Wilton Method Of Cake Decorating: Course I

Title:       Wilton Method of Cake Decorating
Subtitle:    Course I (Cake Decorating)
Author(s):   Wilton Industries
Publisher:   Wilton Industries, Inc
Published:   1997

Format:      Paperback, 42 pages

NOTE: The book reviewed herein is now out of print and is only available for purchase via the second hand book market. Please note that The Wilton Method of Cake Decorating Courses has been revamped since this book was printed. For details on the differences between the old course books and the new course books, please visit Wilton's F.A.Q

It does not take long before beginners stumble across Wilton Industries with their numerous courses, products and books. To be honest I do like Wilton products. I use their decorating tips, own a couple of their books and have spent more than a little bit of time browsing their website.

I must admit, I have an addiction to books. It is hard not to buy every decorating book I see, especially if they were published in the 1970s. I have been stalking the three volumes of "The Wilton Way of Cake Decorating" for ages, but I have not been able to justify the hundred or so dollars it would cost to have one of these books arrive on my doorstep.

As a small substitute, and as a cheaper alternative to attending a "Wilton Method" cake decorating course, I purchased three Wilton course books: Course 1: Cake Decorating; Course 2: Flowers and More; and Course 3: Fondant and Tiered Cakes.

Today I will be reviewing "The Wilton Method of Cake Decorating Course 1: Cake Decorating."

Wilton Method of Cake Decorating: Course I

The 'Wilton Method of Cake Decorating Course 1: Cake Decorating' contains four lessons entitled: the fundamentals; starting to decorate; special touches; and, decorating with flowers. Before we dive head first into the lessons there are a couple of pages discussing the decorating equipment required for the lessons contained in this volume. As you would expect, this section contains a long list of Wilton products in addition to some basic tools found in your kitchen.

The first lesson begins with a glossary of decorating terms and recipes for stiff, medium and thin consistency buttercream icing. This is followed by how to use a piping bag and create parchment bags. The next step is preparing the cake i.e. levelling, torting, filling and frosting the cake. After a short discussion on: icing consistency and correct bag position and pressure; icing tip styles and uses (star, drop flower, round, leaf, rose and basket; and, colouring icing we are ready for the fun to start.

Lesson two introduces us to cake decorating using the star tip. The reader is taught to pipe a single star, which may be combined into star borders, star fill-ins, and borders using a tight zigzag pattern. Once we have finished using the start tip, the reader is introduced to writing and printing using the round decorating tip. The round decorating tip is also used to create outlines/pipe-ins, and dots. Writing and printing is then revisited using piping gel. Piping gel is also used for basic pattern transfer. Lesson two finishes with an introduction to flower nails and the creation of bases for roses that will be visited briefly in lesson three and used in lesson four.

Lesson three is where the fun really begins. ‘Special touches’ is a great name for the lesson because this is where the reader is introduced to wow factors such as drop/star/swirl flowers and shells for border use. Briefly, the reader revisits their rose bases to add two centre petals. Once this is complete, the reader moves into the addictive world of figure piping.

Once the reader has mastered pressure piping in the form of creating a string of pearls, the first figure created is a teddy bear face, after which the user moves onto the ever-popular clown. The lesson concludes on a romantic note with the creation of love hearts.

Lesson four is the lesson in which I was most interested - decorating with flowers. In this lesson, the reader finally finishes their roses. I must admit the descriptions given for the creation of roses is one of the most in depth descriptions that I have ever read and takes two pages to explain!

Once the reader has created their roses, the lesson progresses through the creation of stems and bows with the aim being to have created a floral arrangement by the end of this lesson. A floral arrangement is not complete without a few additional types of flowers and leaves. The reader is introduced to the sweet pea and three leaf variations i.e. basic, ruffle, and stand up. The lesson concludes by revisiting drop flowers and shell boarders.

At the end of the book, there are a few pages on how to bake a great cake, which contains both tips and a small trouble-shooting guide. There is also a glossary of terms as well as patterns for the each of the techniques /projects covered in this course.

All in all, the 'Wilton Method of Cake Decorating: Course I' is a good little book. Personally, I find it a little commercial, though I completely understand it. There are plenty of interesting hints and tips. The flower piping instructions in the book are clearer than the free instructions provided on the website. The main difference is that the book includes black and white illustrations in addition to photographs (the website only has photographs). To be honest I would not say that one would be at a significant disadvantage if they did not have this book and used the free content from the Wilton website.

If you already have a beginner’s cake-decorating book such as Toba Garrett’s 'Professional Cake Decorating', or are planning to buy something similar, I would give this book a miss and use the free flower tutorials from the Wilton website.

If you are interested in learning the Wilton method of decorating, but are unable to attend one of the courses then this book is perfect, after all the only thing missing is the instructor.

I hope this review was helpful.

Darkbyte xx

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Inspiration - Absolutely Amazing Dragon

Today has been a lovely lazy day. We had a big BBQ lunch and now I am lazing on the couch browsing YouTube for buttercream cake decorating tutorials. I came across this video and just had to share:

This person is absolutely amazing. I love the intricate details, such as the white claws, nose and whiskers. I could not begin to fathom where to start on a project like this. I would hate to think what I would end up with if I were to attempt this.

Hope you all have had a good weekend!

Darkbyte xxx

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Gingerbread house!

Daisies.... Arrrggghh!

Random flowers and a
couple of roses
Welcome to my cake decorating blog!

Cake decorating is an amazing art form. The sheer variety of skills required to create a masterpiece from such fragile components is absolutely amazing. I am fascinated by the skill involved to create flowers and figures using royal icing and buttercream.

My entry into the world of cake decorating came about through the creation of gingerbread houses for my boyfriend’s family Christmas get together. At the time I was not much of a cook and felt hesitant to bring a dish to that would sit next to an Italian mamma’s tried and true recipe. I was shopping with my mum one day and saw a gingerbread house cutter kit for sale at our local department store. We were curious. The kit cost all of $10, so we though “why not, it could be fun.” It was fun, and the house was a hit.

I spent the next couple of Christmases creating more and more elaborately decorated houses. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I should be doing more with royal icing that using it as gingerbread glue. This is when I started to look at cake decorating.

I remember spending a weekend trying to pipe daises - they drove me up the wall. They seem so incredibly simple, yet to actually sit there and pipe one takes an amazing amount of coordination and patience. Roses are not as easy as they seem either!

The aim of this blog is to share my journey into the cake decorating world. Despite my frustrations with daisies, I am committed to (or should be committed) mastering this art form. I will be sharing links to a number of tutorials and videos that I have found, along with reviewing some of the books that I have received as gifts. Eventually, I would like to create and share my own tutorials.

I am hoping that others will benefit from my ambition, whether it is from time saved looking for tutorials, or having a giggle at my disasters.

Please feel free to leave comments. I love to hear what other people are doing and always welcome feedback.

Thankyou for stopping by.

Darkbyte xx
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