Monday, 9 November 2015

If anyone knows my work they will know I love styling each of my wedding cakes. Sometimes it is not all that easy when it comes to venues and cake, so when I am designing cakes for the wedding fairs I attend or photoshoots, I always consider how it will be displayed, hence the speed at which I have filled my little cake studio in a few years!

Accordingly, my latest acquisition is a cake tree, and here she is,

To show just how versatile she is, I have already styled her 3 times. She has also been booked several times for 2016 and I cannot wait to speak with my couples and find out their themes and ideas so I can get to work on styling and accessorizing each one.

Her first outing was at the Quirky Weddings Alternative Wedding Fair in September 2015. I always like to follow a theme and for Quirky this time round I chose the theme Legendary Loves. Believe me, it was incredibly difficult to narrow down the couples I would design my cakes around but with my cake tree as the basis for one, Cathy & Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte was like the perfect choice. I wanted each cake to be rustic and simple, hence a simple ganached choc fudge cake dressed with Sweet William, a vanilla buttercreamed semi-naked cake with a beautiful wooden "forever & ever" cake topper, and finally a chocolate ganache bundt cake dressed with pomegranates, physalis and figs. To echo the moors location of the novel, ferns and heather from the Candytuft garden were used to dress the tree.

 The top tier of the tree was dressed with a framed quote from Wuthering Heights and some beautiful roses. 

 The ganached chocolate cake dressed with Sweet William in the most gorgeous jewel colours.

The chocolate ganache bundt cake dressed with fresh pomegranate, physalis and figs.

The bottom tier was styled with a little engraved, mirrored, silver tray, a vintage copy of Wuthering Heights and a vintage style pocket watch.

The semi-naked chocolate fudge cake finished with a gorgeous 'forever & ever' wooden cake topper.

The next theme for the cake tree was unmistakably autumn-inspired, my favourite season. I adore the dry, bright, but increasingly chilly days and the amazing autumn colours. The cake tree lends itself to rustic styled cakes so semi-naked cakes were fitting and a little single tier, tree bark effect, cake dressed with the cutest mini pumpkins completed the cake along with his 'n' hers toffee apples, candles, pine cones, apples, gourds, physalis, figs and autumn leaves.

Finally, my love of all things Narnian took over for the third theme. A winter wonderland inspired offering with the prettiest of snow covered decor and a special homage to Aslan on the iced cake. It can be tricky to organise photoshoots with 3 little ones to consider but we have a beautiful little space in our very own garden with an antique fire place and paving so I got to work. Meanwhile, my ever willing husband, Mr Candytuft, aka Shoot for the Moon, prepared to do his thing too, as he does for all my cakes. An antique silver tea set, Christmas stockings, candles, decorative trees, a cute little, frosty, wooden sleigh, along with the cakes and, of course, some turkish delight made the theme come alive.

I really hope you have enjoyed looking at each one.

Kathryn xxx

(no one was harmed during the making of these cakes, although it could quite easily have been the case as Mr Candytuft managed to break both a decorative gold mirror tray and a mercury glass candlestick: it's as well he takes a good photo!!!)

Friday, 22 May 2015

Last week saw my first outing at the Frock Around the Clock Vintage and Handmade Wedding Fair at Malone House. Over all the wedding fairs I have done this was the first one that I manned myself, although Mr Candytuft was just beside me under his own name, with his photography business, Shoot for the Moon. It was a lovely day, with lots of happy couples stopping by for a chat and some cake and a wee sneaky homemade marshmallow too.

I have always struggled on deciding which display cakes to take to wedding fairs and inevitably end up taking lots. If you have ever been to a fair where I have been exhibiting or seen photos you will know that I don't just take cakes, there are the cake stands and little ornamental details, not to mention the furniture to display it all on. That's where our VW Touran comes in handy and of course the man to load it all up, Mr Candytuft!

Did you know that all my furniture, and cake stands, and ornamental details are all available for you to hire too? If you ever see anything in any of my photos or at shows and think you would like to hire some items please just ask. I do hope to, one day, have a space where all the items available for hire can be displayed properly for you to see, but we will have to wait on those plans, patiently!

So here is a little photograph of my stand from Sunday's fair, courtesy of Shoot for the Moon.

Gold was kind of a running theme, with the Merchant Great Room inspired cake, Empire Music Hall cake, pink carousel cake, Steampunk cake, Alice in Wonderland trio, Cinderella's slipper and pillow and Sleeping Beauty gold bird all featuring rich gold accents, then with the chalkboard/tree trunk and elegant red roses cake thrown in too. Looking back, choosing which ones to bring along was not difficult, choosing which ones to leave behind however, was!

I hope, if you visited the fair, you had a fab time, I know I certainly did, here are some of the other fab exhibitors you may have seen too!

Shoot for the Moon
Lulu and Belle Vintage and Antique Jewellery
Eden Stationery
Tippy Longorio MUA
Archive 12
Innocent Chaos
Back Alley Beats
Balloon Candy
Amilo Weddings and Events

and of course Frock Around the Clock to keep up to date with wedding inspiration!

Kathryn xxx

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

When I started this blog I had no idea what I was doing, hey, I still don't, but I am going to try to make a bigger effort with it and try to post more frequently. Cake is part and parcel of life at home and as you can imagine it is difficult to separate them so it's safe to say you can expect a little bit of everything.

Over Christmas I got the chance to take a break from cakes a little, that is, if you don't count baking for my oldest daughter who's birthday is on the 27th December! During that time I was on the lookout for a simple dessert idea and what I discovered I will share with you now as it was easy and more importantly yummy!

I found it whilst scouring Pinterest and it's appeal lay in the fact that I love salted caramel... and dark chocolate... and oreos, and with only 5 ingredients, it had to be a winner! It had been so long since I have used any equipment other than what I use for cakes I had no idea where I had stored my fluted, loose bottomed tin but I had rembered seeing one in Home Bargains for around £2 so off I went on the afternoon of Christmas Eve to buy one.

Click here to find the recipe; Dark chocolate salted caramel oreo pie

When it comes to things like desserts which don't require any baking I tend to throw caution to the wind. I don't actually remember what size the tin was but I do know I didn't quite use 36 oreos. I did however use a conversion chart for the other ingredients despite having a set of cups, I used this one; Cups to grams converter . The recipe doesn't mention adding salt to the caramel but I did, although just a little towards the end of cooking the caramel, as I didn't want to ruin it, in the end you couldn't taste the salt in the caramel very much at all (the 2nd time I made it I was a little more liberal with the salt but not for the better, so be warned!). For the ganache I actually used a half and half mixture of Callebut dark chocolate and milk chocolate callets, ok a little extravagant and not necessary, but it was Christmas. I would definitely recommend half dark if not all dark, depending on how you like it, I think using only milk chocolate would be too sweet with the caramel. As long as you chop your chocolate into smallish pieces before adding the heated cream and then let it sit for around 5mins it will come together beautifully, just don't mix it too frantically. A little sprinkle of salt once the ganache had set and a dusting of icing sugar, and then for the difficult bit, getting it out of the tin... I had used cake release on the tin before pressing the oreos in, whether this helped it come our or not I don't know. One minute I thought it was stuck firm in the tin and the next it popped out. I did this by setting the tin on top of a small upturned bowl and pushing down on the fluted sides, don't even try to take it off the bottom of the tin though, just use it to serve by setting it on a pretty plate/serving dish.

I hope you do try it out, just writing this blog has made me want to make it again, the 5 ingredients are always in our house, and it is pretty quick to put together, dessert tonight perhaps...

Kathryn xxx

Monday, 26 January 2015

Mid January can only mean one thing for me, Quirky Wedding prep! Yes, I know it isn't until Sunday 1st March 2015, from 12-5pm, at the Belfast Waterfront Hall, but if you know me at all, you will know that I have been deliberating over my new designs, well, since before the last fair in September was even over! I have said it before but Quirky really does give me the opportunity to do something different and I relish the challenge of going beyond what I have done previously. Without giving too much away, my new showpieces are designed around 5 amazing and very different wedding venues in Northern Ireland and will hopefully offer lots of ideas to lots of different people.

At the last Quirky Weddings Alternative Wedding Fair, back in September, I choose "Fairytales" as my theme and even up until the night before I was tweaking, it's probably my worst trait, it is so difficult to just stand back and say it is finished. These five designs all have their own very important journey to make before the even make it to Quirky, so time is of the essence.

I always think cake designing, for me, is a bit of a miracle! My head buzzes with ideas every day, I very rarely write them down, mainly because there's quite often something else that takes precedence, usually a little voice calling me from around knee height, and then when I come to actually getting something down on paper, my head is so awash with ideas, that it takes me an age to sift through them. Over the following days and weeks the ideas become designs, then the designs become refined. Once the display cakes begin to take shape the design may well change to accomodate some other idea that has surfaced from deep in my little cakey library, aka my brain, and eventually they are completed. I quite often think about looking at my very first sketch of an "idea" and comparing it to the final product, but there is a very high chance that it will not resemble it in the slightest, apart from perhaps the number of tiers, shape and size, and I might scare myself into playing it safe but they wouldn't be true Candytuft Cakes then, would they?

Here are some of my "Fairytale" wedding cakes;

My Frozen cake design incorporated a moulded snowflake globe keepsake, individually hand rolled icing icicles, handmade faux cake stand and a handcut design based on the embroidery on the sister's Arendelle dresses.

This sweet little two tier was a little homage to my favourite fairytale growing up, Sleeping Beauty, the Disney version of course. I would dance around the house singing "Once upon a dream" and watch it, repeatedly! I loved the tweets from the sweetly singing birds so here is one immortalised in gold.

Next up, Snow White, she began life with a true woodland theme, tree trunk base tier, snow white ruffles and flowers with little tiny bees, dragonflies and butterflies.

Maleficent was a no brainer, based on the modern day take on the Sleeping Beauty tale, told from the antagonist's perspective, I loved it as much as I love the original Sleeping Beauty even though the story was changed.

Rapunzel came next, with beautiful sugar roses and brambles in gorgeous pinks and purples, with antiqued applique lace and pearls.

I also made a small Cinderella themed cake with pale blue square tiers and black velvet ribbon with white florals and crystals and  pillow shaped cake with handmade sugar shoe.

If you are thinking of visiting the Quirky Weddings Alternative Wedding Fair then stop thinking and just make plans to go. It is relaxed and fun and seriously full of amazing exhibitors and I am delighted to be amongst them!

Kathryn xxx