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Book review: “Happy Cake Days” from Wendy Schlagwein

April 18, 2013

Cake International & Wendy template

On Friday 12th April I travelled to London to visit “Cake International” at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in Docklands.  I was particularly excited to visit the show as I had treated myself, for the first time ever, to a “VIP” ticket – affording me entry to the VIP Lounge amongst other things which was (in my opinion) worth every extra penny! More on that another time maybe…

There was so much to see that day and I spent 6 happy hours wandering around… taking in all the competition cakes, the exhibitors stands and attending a very interesting talk from David Brice of Paul Bradford Sugarcraft.  This will feature in a later post.

Wendy Schlagwein

I took many pictures, and will share these over coming posts/days, but for today I would like to showcase the work of a lovely lady, sugar artist called Wendy Schlagwein (seen above), whom I met at the show.  Wendy hails from The Netherlands, and runs a successful cake decorating school called “4 The Love of Cake”  in Hazerswoude.

Wendy has also authored 3 books and the first has been translated from her native Dutch to English.  The book is called “Happy Cake Days” and I purchased my copy from Wendy on the day and was delighted that she was kind enough to sign it for me…

This book is GORGEOUS.  In every way!   Not only are the projects that Wendy has included shown in step-by-step detail, the book design is fabulous, the explanations are super clear and the introductions that Wendy has written for each cake are just, well…, heartwarming!   Further, you can tell she writes from the heart!

Golden Wedding

Projects include cakes for newborns, 1st year birthdays, first day at school, first swim without armbands, sweet sixteen birthday, graduation, celebrating the purchase of your first home, your wedding, babies, golden wedding and even… gasp!…Divorce!

Wendy can be followed on Facebook and Twitter and she has a website that, if you’re an English speaker only, handily translates from her native Dutch to English.

New Home

Wendy is a talented sugar modeller, and runs workshops where you can learn to make these beautiful figures.  Take a look at this beautiful wedding couple for instance… amazing!

Wendys 4 the love of cake

Happily, Wendy has agreed to an “Interview with” The Cake Diva and I look forward to finding out more about this very talented lady and her beautiful work.

As I left her stand Wendy asked me that, if I made any of the cakes from the book, I would post pictures to her Facebook page as she just loves to see the results… Wendy I absolutely will!

Denise x

A “Cake Diva” Cake! A taste of summer for Diane on her 50th birthday…

April 10, 2013

For the first time in a while I thought I’d share a cake I have made!   When I was making cakes “semi-professionally” I made the wedding cakes for a lovely couple, Simon and Diane.  Imagine how chuffed I was when Simon called in to the house a few weekends back, and asked  if I might bake Diane a cake for her 50th birthday!  Of course, I said “yes”!

White Chocolate & Raspberries

And here it is… a real taste of summer.  A two tier, 4 cake, Victoria Sponge with buttercream and jam layers and a white chocolate ganache and raspberries to top!!

Fortunately there was a little left over and so I made a trifle for the family from the “scraps” – it was y-u-m-m-y!  Even if I say so myself 😉

Denise x

Wedding Cakes of the Week: April 9th – with a Tim Burton theme!

April 9, 2013

Tim Burton template

This week something “completely different”, or is it?  After all, these days, when it come’s your wedding “anything goes”!

Like most things in life, in recent years weddings have moved on from the very traditional affair of “yesteryear” and nowadays all (or most) of the elements of the day are tailored to reflect the personalities and interests of the happy couple.  So “goodbye” to the traditional white royal iced fruit cake and “hello” to whatever your little hearts desire (including the traditional white royal iced fruit cake if that is what floats your boat!).

So, this week we have not 1, but 2 Wedding Cakes of the Week – both themed around Tim Burton films.

First up… “The Corpse Wedding Cake” by Verusca Walker.

Corpse Wedding Cake

This cake is based on the 2005 Tim Burton film “The Corpse Bride” and I think you’ll agree it is a stunning piece of work.  The talented sugar artist behind this design is Verusca Walker – a Brazilian currently living in Australia.  Learn more about Verusca and see more of her outstanding work at her website here.

Next we have “The Nightmare Before Christmas” Wedding Cake from Little Cherry Cake Company.

Night Before Christmas Wedding CakeThis time the film is the 1993 Tim Burton film “Nightmare Before Christmas”.  I particularly love how this cake is styled with a matching black cake stand – which is such an important detail that gives the cake an even more professional look.   The Little Cherry Cake Company is run by Tracey Rothwell in Manchester.   Tracey has a beautiful website… why not take a look and prepare to be amazed!  This wedding cake can be seen with its proud bride on Tracey’s sister website Black Cherry in the “Awesome Dudes” gallery.

What do you think of these designs…? Have you been to a wedding where there has been a cake in this style – and what would Granny say??

Denise x

The strange connection between Delia Smith, The Rolling Stones…and cake!

April 5, 2013

Rolling Stones template

I’m not sure why, but I’ve suddenly developed a liking for The Rolling Stones.  I can be half-listening to the radio and I’ll find myself singing or humming along, and to my surprise realise its a Stones track!   I’ve always thought of them as a band from the previous generation, and indeed they are, so maybe I’m just getting to an age or time of life that I can appreciate (or relate to) them now!!

Rolling Stones Union Jack Cake

You’ve got to admire the longevity of Mick and the boys, 50+ years in the business and they’ve probably seen it all and DONE it all.  My  favourite track is “Gimme Shelter” (although I feel it ought to be “Brown Sugar”, get it??) – an iconic song, from their 1969 album “Let it Bleed” – and one that you’ll often hear in the background to a Top Gear feature, or Scorcese movie.  Ironically, it also featured in the 2004 Daniel Craig film “Layer Cake”…

And here lies the strange link between the Stones and Delia Smith.  In ’69, Delia was a little known cook (not until the 70s did she hit the big time), but was asked by a friend to make a cake for a photoshoot and to “make it gaudy”.  That cake ended up on the album cover for “Let it Bleed”and here it is…

Rolling Stones Let it Bleed cake

Apparently Jagger had a copy of the album framed and presented it to Delia; read more about that on the Delia Online website and also an interesting Guardian feature here.

Amazing to think that 43 years after “Let it Bleed” in 2012 The Stones celebrated their 50th anniversary; in 2013 they are headlining at Glastonbury and playing a sell out concert in Hyde Park in July as part of their “50 and Counting” Tour  – they’re well and truly back in the spotlight – pretty amazing for guys in their late 60’s and who have, I’m sure they’d be first to admit, lived life hard and fast!

Let it Bleed Cake

Featured in this post are a couple of Rolling Stones themed cakes I’ve seen online and really admire.  I wonder if the boys will or have celebrated with a cake at all?  Maybe that just wouldn’t be “rock and roll”… not unless Delia made it of course!

Denise x

Cakey credits:

Rolling Stones Tongue /Union Jack Cake – Celebration Cakes of Tamworth

Let It Bleed Cake – Cherry Bee Cakes

BBC invite entries to “Junior Bake-Off” and USA Bake-Off contestants announced

April 3, 2013

Bake Off template

Calling all Junior Bake-meisters!

The BBC and Love Productions have today invited applications from the UK’s junior bakers for the next series of “Junior Bake-Off”!

Junior_Bake_Off

Any keen bakers aged between 9 and 12 years old may enter the competition (with necessary parental/guardian permission of course), which will be filmed during August 2013.   As with the “Great British Bake Off” all contestants must be extremely enthusiastic and confident with their baking, and able to take “constructive feedback”…!   Also, Mums/Dads/Guardians must be free to accompany their child during auditions and filming.

So, if your son or daughter is keen, and you can fit this in to your busy schedules, why not download the online application form here on the BBC website, and see how things develop!   If you do apply, why not let us know how you get on and recount your experiences during the audition process here at “Kitchen Fever with The Cake Diva” – we’d love to know how you’re all getting on.

Bake-Off goes Stateside!

American Bake Off Contestants

Meanwhile, Bake-Off fever has spread across “the Pond” and filming has begun in the States.  Our very own Paul Hollywood is one of the 3 judges in “The American Baking Competition” (what a boring name – sorry, but it is!) and the series premieres on CBS on May 29th.  The format is going to be more-or-less the same as The Great British Bake Off – with a signature bake, technical challenge and “showstopper” bake in each episode.  If you’d like to find out more click here; you will be able to read all about the contestants and the other two judges, comedian Jeff Foxworthy and chef Marcela Valladolid.

American Bake off in action

Well done to Love Productions and the British team of Sue, Mel, Paul and Mary (and all the unseen TV crew)… the format is clearly so popular that the rest of the world is catching on!  But, of course I would say this, British is best 😉

If you cannot view CBS, then keep up to date via the Facebook page.

Denise x