Saturday, 20 March 2010

One Swimming Pool Party Cake Coming Up!

Before you start reading, I've labelled this a tutorial, mainly because I love reading tutorials on other people's blogs and never put any on mine! I do miss out steps, so if you need more information about anything leave me a message!

Little Man is going to be 7 soon. My baby is disappearing all the time, and I can't believe where the time has gone. I should add that the baby is being replaced by one gorgeous cheeky monkey who I am beyond proud of. I'll stop there, there's nothing worse than a gushing mother!

Anyway, Little Man decided that he wanted a pool party this year, and since it was cheaper than anything else I could come up with, who was I to argue?! The only problem was he added that he wanted a pool cake and NOT from a shop. My hopes of a quick run to the supermarket returning triumphantly with a Ben 10 cake were dashed, and I had to get my thinking cap on.

He stipulated a chocolate cake, which isn't a problem, but I was stuck with the icing. The chocolate icing recipes I've used before (trust me, I've tried a few) are all too sweet. I love this stuff, I grew up eating it in my French great grandmother's kitchen:

So I searched the Internet for Nutella icing, and I found something similar to this:

Nutella Icing
3 to 4 tablespoons of Nutella
About 150ml double cream
A few drops of vanilla extract to taste

I put the Nutella, double cream and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat the mixture with an electric beater. That's it! I may have added a bit more cream to loosen the mixture a bit though. I did think I could have added a bit of icing sugar, but I was planning to put a layer of fondant icing on top of it, so I didn't. The cake then looked like this:

Right, now came the next problem, how was I going to turn a chocolate cake into a sparkling swimming pool? I went to Flickr and looked at all the pool cakes there, truely inspiring!

I visited a cake shop and bought:
White icing
Paprika colouring
Edible Lustre in a sparkling blue
Piping gel
Coloured fondant icing
A pack of writing icing in assorted colours.

I kneaded a tiny bit of paprika colouring with a lot of white icing, and got a pinky fleshy colour. Then I got to shaping and rolling bits of icing to make little people. I used to writing icing to pipe on the hair and Little Lady's swimming costume, and I used some green fondant to make the swimming trunks that have the legs sticking out of them. I ended up with these:

Then I rolled out more white fondant icing and laid it on the cake. I got a bit excited at this point, because I broke open the edible lustre, it's amazing stuff! It's powder, you brush it on with a paint brush and it colours the icing like paint! Then my cake looked like this:

You can probably see where I got over enthusiastic with my dusting, there was a bit of a blue haze around the edges of the pool. I decided to make the edges of the pool with more icing (it disguised my mess!). I rolled it out and scored it so it looked like it was covered in tiles.
After that I put lots of piping gel on the blue lustre which turned the icing into a proper watery pool - amazing!(Thanks should go to who ever it was on Flickr who came up with this!)
Finally I played with more icing, writing icing, half a small milky bar and some Smarties, and the finished product looked like this:

I think I've done my 20 Minutes today!
PS Since posting this entry, lots of very lovely people have left very nice comments about this post. Thank you to everyone! I'm so chuffed, it's made my day! I thought I'd post a few more pictures which show the 'water' a bit better than those in the original post (they were taken by Big Man, Little Man was too high by this point!):

Stephanie Lynn very kindly invited me to join this, and I promised I'd link to it, so:

Monday, 15 March 2010

I've started, but will I finish?!

The 20 Minuters' Challenge is really good for me, but it's also starting to cause a little (but growing) problem.

I decided to use the Challenge to start and finish my granny square blanket. This started really well, but after a while my blog began to get a bit boring with reports about squares, squares and (yes, you guessed it) more squares. I felt I should introduce a bit of variety, and that's when the trouble started. I made this and this and this, I started a picture of letters for Little Miss, restarted a cross stitch (more about this another day) and I'm thinking of making a dress for Little Miss (when I'm next feeling brave!)

Have you spotted the problem yet? I'm in a frenzy of productivity, but I've stopped finishing things...I've even started to think about making a start on a homemade Christmas this year!!! Stop me now!

While I pull myself together, here's my granny square progress report:

Sorry about the lack of light in the picture, I left it too late in the day...

Hope you're having more success with the finishing thing!

Mother's Day

Little Man and Little Lady outdid themselves with flowers for Mother's Day. Well Little Lady did, I'm not sure what Little Man's pot (from Beavers) will produce.
We all went to the Indian restaurant in town for an all you can eat buffet lunch, and had a surprisingly good time.
It was the first time we had taken the Little People to an Indian restaurant. It's always nice when you go somewhere and your children are beautifully behaved, I can't say it always happens (!) but yesterday was one of those days...
The rest of the day was spent encouraging Little Man to tidy his room (with partial success!), ironing, polishing shoes ready for school, baking banana bread, washing up, oh and stealing 20 minutes to read the Sunday paper with one or two (or maybe three or four...) Liquorice Allsorts (well there have to be some perks to Mother's Day, surely!)

Monday, 8 March 2010

Me and R White's Lemonade...

When I was growing up there was an advert on TV about a secret lemonade drinker, if you're interested you can watch it here:

R White's Lemonade advert

Be warned! You really won't get the tune out of your head once you've heard it...

Anyway, I was reminded of R Whites in a meeting today. Someone wanted to know how many people Twittered, how many were on Facebook and how many had a blog. I was the only one who blogs. Everyone wanted to know the name of my blog, and that was where things got a bit complicated. You see, no one knows I blog, I am (like the secret lemonade drinker) a secret blog writer, and I like it that way! I love meeting new people and reading comments from people I've never met, it really makes my day, but I also love the anonymity of blogging. Is anyone else like me, or am I just unique (weird!)?

Monday, 1 March 2010

Froggy Fun

I've noticed that this blog has become a bit animaltastic recently, what with birds, ladybirds and now...frogs! I got a new mobile phone for Christmas. I wanted a phone, you know, one that you can make phone calls on (call me old fashioned!), but Big Man told me they don't do those anymore. My other stipulation was that it had to be pink, what can I say? It makes me happy, and it has an added advantage: Big Man and Little Man wouldn't been seen dead with it!

Anyway, I am now the proud owner of a pink Walkman, camera, torch, oh yes and phone! The problem is that I'm not very careful with it, it needed a holder before I scratched it. After about half an hour, I had killed two birds with one stone (told you I'm animaltastic at the moment!), I'd done my 20 Minuter thing and Froggy was born. I sort of made him up as I went along. I think he's cute, and he made me smile!

Can you see my little pink phone/kitchen sink poking out?

Hope he made you smile!