The Cake Book, by Cupcake Jemma of Jamie Oliver's FoodTube

Book Review: The Cake Book by @CupcakeJemma

This next book is the smallest book on my shelf, by far, but as they say – good things come in small packages! As many of my friends can attest, I have been a fan of Jamie Oliver for a long time, decades-long.

Naturally, when he endorses other Chef’s I have paid close attention. When those endorsements involve baking, I am even more attentive. So when Cupcake Jemma appeared on his FoodTube and other programming, I instantly fell in love. She is so FUN!

Now she has her own cookbook, which I have had for the past year and baked several recipes from. It’s the next book in my review series.

The Cake Book, by Cupcake Jemma of Jamie Oliver's FoodTubeBook:  The Cake Book
Author: Cupcake Jemma, of Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube
Publication date: 2014
Baking skill level: Beginner

  

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Pinkie Pie, My Little Pony kids birthday cake theme

Fun with Kids Birthday Themed Cakes

I have had the pleasure of decorating a number of cakes for kids birthdays, and I have come to realize that they are my favourite kind of cake to decorate. I mean, I love all cakes, but kids cakes are the most fun because they are full of colour, happiness, and generally very cute themes.

Below is a photo summary of the cakes I have made. Each cake was really fun to make and each taught me something different about my style, which evolves over time. I frequently search for inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest, and from some of my favourite cookbooks. Most themes come to me by request and then I come up with a way to make it in cake form…. That is my favourite part, coming up with the ideas!

From a cat themed birthday, to Thomas the Train, My Little Pony, to a Titanic themed birthday, I have come a long way since cake week in pastry school, just take a look.

The Cat Themed Birthday:

This cake was fun, and the ears were the tricky part. I wanted the ears to be sculpted cake, so that part i worked on right away so they had time to set before fitting on top. I used a large grass tip to pipe the hair onto the cake, and I used swiss meringue buttercream too, my go-to frosting!

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My Cake Fail Stories & Life Lessons Learned

This past year, I have made countless cakes and desserts, and I while I still have much to learn, I know I become a better baker each time I bake. I have also learned a lot about life from baking. It might sound simple, but it is true, there is a lot to learn from cake and baking in general.

Recently, I realized there are a few tips for baking and life that I would like to share with you. To the budding bakers out there who aspire to be better, this is how I recommend you approach your baking efforts.

Life lessons learned from cake fails: MY 5 tips to bake better

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Wedding cupcake toppers, bride and groom.

Top 6 Tips to Know When Ordering a Wedding Cake (or any Custom Cake)

Wedding season is upon us, and many people have already planned much of their details in advance, while some maybe are still figuring out a few last-minute suppliers and vendors. In some cases, that may include hiring a baker to make your dream cake for your special day.

I have now baked cakes and cupcakes for a few weddings, made many custom cakes, and received numerous inquiries on orders as well. Planning “the perfect day” can be stressful for both the couple and the suppliers! Throughout these experiences, I have learned a number of things  to be aware of and would like to share them with you. Regardless of who you hire to create your wedding cake, or even a special custom cake, I have determined 6 things you want to be aware of and will help you hire the right baker/y.

Wedding cupcake toppers, bride and groom.

Wedding cupcake toppers, bride and groom.

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Cake, cakes, and more cake! I love cake.

Over the last month I have been doing a fair bit of baking and not sharing photos of my creations on here! I bake and post photos regularly on my Instagram account, so now I’m going to share a photo story with you of my recent creations. Let me know what cakes strike your fancy!

Before I get into the photos I would like to answer a question for you. I am frequently asked, “what is your favourite thing to bake/make?” And most of the time I say that like to bake everything, which is true, but ive come to learn I love cake the most. Because cake, above all other desserts, implies a celebration is in order! Whatever the occasion, cake will make it better. Here is one of my favourite quotes about cake:

I love decorating cakes and researching ideas of all kinds. You can often find me on Pinterest looking up the most random cake ideas and creations to inspire me. Obsessed might be a definition that comes to mind. I’m okay with that #cakeobsession.

Without further ado, let’s get to my cakes:

Jamaican Ginger Cake, with candied ginger on top and cream cheese frosting. A recipe I found from the UK.

The ginger cake came from this book, which is one of many books that I own about cake. It’s my current favourite cookbook. It happens to be nearly pocket sized too, which only adds to its adorableness.

I always wanted to make a circus cake! This puppy is pure red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting through and through. No fondant. I sculpted the top so it peaked like a circus tent. The cake was for a fun birthday party theme: a Murder Mystery at the Circus!

When I don’t have a cake to bake, I bake banana bread (sometimes), cause it’s like cake. To help it last a bit longer, I sliced it up and freeze it. So I can enjoy a fresh slice each day I want to. PS. Banana bread is amazing when toasted… It helps to caramelized the bananas. Ya, I know, what have you been missing?!

For a house warming event, I made this London Fog cake: early grey milk chocolate ganache layered between vanilla butter cake, early grey syrup, and frosted with honey buttercream!

Strawberry vanilla cake, for a little girl’s birthday. Marbled chocolate on top for garnish, vanilla cake inside and strawberry pink frosting.

Stay tuned for more cakes too… 

If you ever have any questions about recipes you’re making or other baking questions, please send me an email. My email is listed on my contact info page. Happy to help!  

And if you need cake for an upcoming special occasion, I would love to help there too. Just shoot me an email for a quote.

Happy celebrating!

My first sculpted cake: a skull!

A few weeks ago a friend from my old running group asked me to make her husband’s 60th birthday cake. She requested a skull, after explaining it might be unusual, but her husband would love it. At first I didn’t know if I could, but then I researched it a bit, and realized I could definitely do this. I had not made a sculpted cake before but learned a bunch of tricks over the past few months that I knew would help.

So I said yes, I will make your skull cake. Fortunately they only needed to serve about 10 people, so I did not have to make a lot of cake.

I will share some tips in this post from what I learned while making this sculpted cake and share some photos I took throughout the process.

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First birthday cake, barnyard theme fondant custom cake

Fun with fondant: a big barnyard birthday cake and party

A friend of mine was celebrating her daughter’s first birthday recently, and needed a barnyard themed fondant cake to join the celebration. I jumped at the chance to make the cake so I could do some more fondant work. After a bunch of nights searching online for ideas and seeing what others have done, I came up with a variety of ideas.

I need to work on my sketches a bit more, but here were the initial concepts that I ended up amalgamating for the final design. It was helpful to have a sketch to share with my friend in advance, so she could see what direction I was going with the cake. I did have a bit of creative freedom as well, as long as it suited the theme and a baby’s first birthday.

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My adventure in gifting a wedding cake and lessons learned

Well, wedding season is coming to a close. As a baker, I caught the tail end of it while baking my friend’s wedding cake and cupcakes – as my gift to the Bride & Groom.

The wedding was last weekend and it was beautiful. An outdoor ceremony with weather that cooperated at the 11th hour. Oddly the weather worked out well for me too, not too hot otherwise buttercream melts in warm weather.

It was also a reunion of friends that haven’t been together as a group in over 10 years. Basically, since most of us finished university. Love was in the air, old friendships across every table, bursting with laughter and good times.

I met with my friend earlier on in the summer to come up with a plan for the cake, and look, based on their wedding colours etc. This photo was the inspiration from the bride, a simple elegant design covered in buttercream (and no fondant).

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Be Mine Valentine cake in a jar!

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Valentine’s Day is coming! Another holiday full of love and chocolate, my favourites. So, I wanted to try something simple, sweet and fun using recipes i’m already familiar with, and that are easy.

I also wanted it to be portable, so I decided to bake the cake in mason jars. This is a great way to travel with cake, because you can ice it and seal it with a lid. Then take it where you need to go, serve it up and eat it straight out of the jar! It’s really fun to see people enjoy eating cake in a jar. Continue reading