Plants Vs Zombies

This was the first cake I made for someone else and im very thankful to the close friend that had the confidence in me and asked me to make it for her.

I loved making this cake. It was a lot of fun. To be completely honest, id never heard of Plants Vs Zombies so I had a lot of research to do so I knew what I was doing. Considering that I had 7 days notice to make this cake, I was soooo happy how it turned out and it gave me the confidence that I was lacking in myself to think, you know what I can do this! So thank you my dear friend, you know who you are 🙂

Monsters vs Aliens

Wriggler Was Born

I can honestly say I was terrified now. This wasnt part of the plan, I’d had a ‘textbook’ pregnancy, it was all supposed to go smoothly and now I faced the prospect that something bad could happen if I didn’t get my baby out NOW and I just didn’t have the strength to do it anymore.

While they prepped me and themselves more contractions came and the doctor was telling me, actually she was shouting at me to ‘push push push push push, you aren’t pushing hard enough, keep going keep going keep going’. I almost got him there every time but then he just kept going back. It was like something was holding him back.

‘Allegedly’ they gave me a local anesthetic before making an incision. But, there was no chance to scream or even cry, a contraction came again and I was made to push with everything I had and more, while they attached the ventouse cap.

I remember the doctor looking at me after she’d attached the cap and told me he had a lovely head of dark hair! That was the determination that I needed right there, I wanted to see my baby!! The last contraction I would ever feel came without warning and as I pushed, she pulled. There his little head was out. I could just make out his little head before I was ordered to push again.

At 12.40 am after 42 very long hours of labour, Wriggler was born.

Wriggler was born

He was delivered straight onto my chest. He was perfect. So perfect. I can remember stroking his little head while Hubby cut the cord. He nearly slipped off me at one point though but my Mum was there and managed to stop him. There was no big screaming cry from Wriggler though, just little gruntling sobbing sounds (they said it was because he had a little fluid on his lungs).

He was then taken to be wiped clean and swaddled up before being given back to us for some precious cuddles.

Our 1st Family photo at bearly 5 minutes old!

Our 1st Family photo at barely 5 minutes old!

He couldn't take his eyes of Daddy

He couldn’t take his eyes of his Daddy

Wriggler tipped the scales at a very healthy 6lb 14oz and this was when his ‘not so little’ lungs showed us their real potential.

wriggler was born

I can honestly say I don’t remember much else the midwives did, apart from stitch me up. That bit I DO remember, in quite graphic detail too. You see I had a student midwife and whilst she was great during the labour and delivery, she’d never stitched anyone up before. Sooooo, they got a surgeon from theatre to come and show her. Whilst puffing away on the gas and air continuously, the tens machine going, gripping Hubbys hand, (again they ‘allegedly’ gave me another local anesthetic) I felt every tug nip and stitch, while getting a stitch by stitch account of what to sew where!

While all that was happening, Wriggler had precious cuddles with his adoring doting Nannan.

wriggler was born

We spent the remaining few hours we had together on our own bonding with our little man. Wriggler got hungry and had his first feed from me. Which felt just as amazing as pushing him into the world. Before we knew it though, Hubby and my Mum were asked to leave so I could get some rest. Not that I needed it because by this point (4am) I was buzzing.

On my own all I could do was cuddle and look at my little Wriggler. I fed him again and then got showered. While I was in the shower he cried and cried and cried. Then all of a sudden he stopped. Heart pounding away thinking someone had come in and taken him, I came out of the shower room to see him awake in his cot and content. On the radio was ‘his song’, 50 Cent, P.I.M.P.  (‘His’ song came about when in the car one day, music turned up, that song came on and he wriggled about non stop till it finished. Then everytime we played it, he did the same thing, before long I played to him all the time and he seemed to really like it). He must have recognised the song when it came on the radio and calmed him with it being a familiar noise because when it finished, the crying came back instantly!!

As he got older, he used to dance (bounce up and down on the spot) to ‘his song’ when ever we put it on.

wriggler was born

Now at eight years old when we play it, he stops whatever he is doing, turns and smiles instantly. He has no idea why but me and Hubby know and it always makes us smile too 🙂

~

Octonauts Birthday Cake

Of all the cakes I’ve made over the last few years, this one was by far THE most adventurous.

When Bruiser set his heart on an Octonauts cake for his birthday I envisaged a Captain Barnacles or Kwazii face, something simple. Wriggler had other ideas. He sat on the laptop with Bruiser and googled Octonauts cake images. Bruiser picked his cake, he wanted a Gup-A cake. For those of you not familiar with the Gup-A, it is loosely based on the Anglerfish and looks like this…

…As you can see, I had my work cut out!!

After I’d spent about two weeks panicking that I would never pull it off, I began drawing some plans together, I decided how much cake I would need, what it was going to look like etc and so then began the search for the perfect colour icing!

BINGO!!

BINGO!!

In all, to ice this cake I used:
750g ready to roll Icing in Jade
250g ready to roll icing in Blue
A multi pack of coloured Icing in red, black, green and yellow.
A tub of turquoise Dragees (the small little blueish balls)

(Ordinarily I would use Lakeland for ingredients but this time I found everything I needed at Tesco Party.)

I used my recipe for The Perfect Sponge Cake and used a plain sponge on this occasion. To make sure I had more than enough cake I made eight 7inch layers!

I started by making paper templates. When Bruiser wasnt walking around the room going wacker-wacker-wacker with them (for those not familiar with wacker-wacker-wacker, that’s the sound the Gup-A makes) 😉 I placed them onto the cakes to cut around with a bread knife.  

Once the main shape was established I then started making the curved sloping shape down the sides from the top. This was a lot more difficult than I anticipated because, the sponge kept moving. I also made a cut through 2 layers at the front and removed the section of cake to make the cockpit of the Gup.

Once the shaping was complete. I used jam and butter cream in between every layer to stick them together and butter cream to stick the different parts together (see pictures). I then completely covered the cake in the remaining butter cream to form a nice smooth surface to rest the icing on. This also helps fill any gaps.

octonauts birthday cake

Now it was time for the icing. As much as I love working with icing, it still scares me. If I get it wrong, the cake is ruined. No pressure hey?!

Because I knew that there was a lot of shaping needed with the icing I used more of it and I rolled it out quite thick. Once it was the size I needed (after roughly measuring around the cake surface), I picked it up on the rolling-pin and placed it onto the cake. Using my hands I shaped it to the cake and trimmed off the bits not required. I then used my icing smoother and my hands to finish it off.

Hard part over right? Ha, no!!

I now had to make the features of the Gup to stick on the cake. I actually really enjoyed this bit.

My tools of the trade did not include any fancy icing tools (which I really should invest in) they were random objects found in most kitchen cupboards. A water bottle opening to make the windows, a fruit shoot plastic lid to make smaller holes in the windows and the eyes. A small 2.5ml medicine syringe for precisely applying the icing glue. Cocktail sticks to help make the fins and propeller stick into the cake enough. Tupperware tubs to hold bits in place while the ‘glue’ dried. I pressed the propeller of the (real) Gup-A into the yellow icing slightly to leave an imprint and then cut around it.

After a break for some tea when Hubby came home and time with the kids before putting them in bed, me and now the Hubby then cracked on. We had to complete it that night, preferably before the Birthday Fairies visited.

Hubby did the characters while I finished the cake! He used the actual toy characters as models to copy!

Can you guess what it is yet??

Can you guess what it is yet??

The attention to detail was paramount! Bruiser notices these things!

… and then there was three!… 

CAPTAIN BARNACLES

CAPTAIN BARNACLES

KWAZI

KWAZII

PESO

PESO

While Hubby did the characters, I made the finishing touches to the cake. Adding the side fins, tail fin, the windows, propeller etc. I used a mix of some of the jade icing with water as a glue to set the features onto the cake. I also used this as a glaze all over the icing. This hid away any dry cracked areas and other indiscretions and gave it a nice finished look when it had dried. I used this glue to set the dragees around the cake too while also pushing them into the icing slightly. These little bits really finished off the cake.

octonauts birthday cake octonauts birthday cake octonauts birthday cake

Once all the characters were finished and placed on the cake, Hubby made a control panel with all the buttons and levers, not forgetting the all important Octo-alert!

octonauts birthday cake

The final piece to place was the Esca on top and it was complete!

~Ta-da!~

octonauts birthday cake

octonauts birthday cake

No themed birthday is ever complete with out buns too so I made some Octonauts buns for his classmates at school. 

octonauts buns

~

Bruiser LOVED his cake and he had a very Octo-Special birthday!

(the cake was octo-licious too)

~

octonauts birthday cake

Makaton Monday ~ Four

Happy 4th Birthday to my little Bruiser.

Just when we had Bruiser understanding that he was three and could sign and say it, he has another birthday.

Like Christmas, this was the first birthday where he was really aware of what was happening. He knew that he was changing age, we prepared him well in advance with signs and visual aids and I think the novelty of it made this okay for him to start with. He also knew that the birthday fairies would come and leave him some presents and balloons. Wriggler told him all about this part. Wriggler also helped him choose a cake design that he wanted. This was obvious to anyone that knew him though that it would be Octonauts themed given his obsession with the cartoon. He knew that he was going to have a party with his school friends too. All the preparation was well planned and although he struggled to deal with the excitement and the build up, we had a lot of fair few meltdowns along the way, it all went quite smoothly. (even the cake that I made him!)

He had a blast on the day and spent it playing with his new toys… Octonauts and Cars, while dressed as Captain Barnacles!!

As for his party, we deliberated for a while about whether to have a party for him. He hates social occasions and hates being the focus of attention. But, he loved the play area we booked (which was with exclusive use for just us). He was happy as his friends arrived and happy for them to join in but he kept himself to himself and played on his own, right down to party tea time where he sat on his own away from the table of 15 friends. Even cake time was spent hiding in his Daddys arms as everyone sang to him. He didn’t like the attention and wanted to hide away from it all. However, he knew the party was for him, he was aware that his friends were there for him and everyone had a great time so as far as we were concerned it was a result. He did ‘mingle’ slightly towards the end when the children played dead fishes and to include Bruiser, the hosts got him involved by handing out sweets to the children one by one as they moved.

The novelty has well and truly gone though now. He doesn’t seem to like the change from 3 to 4 and wants to be 3 again. We keep talking about how great it is to be 4 though and each day he comes home from nursery and sees his cards and banners that still deck the house, he keeps saying ‘me still bour!’ Im sure he will get there and accept the change soon.

~

‘Four’ is a really easy to sign to learn. We have taught Bruiser to sign Birthday but bless him, his hands are all over. He can sign ‘day’ really well but when in corporated with ‘birth’  he gets all confused about where his hands need to be.

~

FOUR

FOUR

~

~

Sign/Symbol used with the kind permission of the © The Makaton Charity 2012

For any help or advice in respect of Makaton, please contact the Makaton Charity directly.

~

MAKATON MONDAY

Thundercats Birthday Cake

What do you think of when you reminisce back to childhood birthdays?…  For Me and my brothers, birthday memories all included an amazing birthday cake that had been made my Mum. They ranged from animal merry-go-rounds, hansel and gretal cottages to butterflies, castles, cars and trains for my brothers. Half of the excitement of our birthdays would be about what cake we would get.

I always knew that one day I would make cakes just the same for my children. But I also knew that I had big boots to fill!

Despite my best intentions in between juggling my children, work and family home life, I never found the time before Wrigglers 6th to actually make one.  My Mum did step in for Wrigglers 2nd Birthday and made him a Roary the Racing Car cake which was just superb.

Roary the Racing Car

However becoming a stay at home Mummy after having Bruiser gave me more time and I decided that it was about time I should make a go of it.

~

Wrigglers 6th Birthday

Birthday cakes for both boys have always centered around their latest fad, be it Roary the Racing Car, Toy Story, Ben 10, SpiderMan to name a few for Wriggler. This year (2012) was no exception, he was mad on Thundercats!!

Thundercats cake

… This is how I did it:

~

What I used:
2x 250g of Red Royal Icing
1x 250g of Black Royal Icing
Icing Smoother
Black Food Colouring
1 Medium Egg
Butter
Icing Syringe
Icing Sugar
Tape Measure
( I use the wonderful Lakeland for all my cake decoration needs. Its one of my favorite shops!)

I made a simple two layer sandwich sponge cake using this recipe the day before.

Firstly, I started off by trimming the sponge layers, levelling them off and removing any bumps and lumps. I then trimmed the circumference of the cake to give a flat surface for the icing.

Next I prepared the butter cream for the middle of the cake; I used, 6oz of icing sugar mixed with 3oz of butter. I gradually creamed them together until the mixture was light and fluffy.

I spread some jam on one of the cake layers and some of the butter cream on the other, then placed the 2nd half on top.

Using some of the remaining butter cream. I spread this all over the cake in a thin even layer. This acts as a great base for the icing and gives the icing a bit of maneuverability when placed on the cake in case it doesn’t quite sit right . It also helps keep the cake moist.

Next I was ready to Ice the cake. I started by rolling and moulding the red blocks of icing together in my hands, warming up the icing makes it more pliable. I lightly dusted the work surface with icing sugar to stop it sticking to the surface. I rolled out the icing into a circle big enough to cover the cake top sides and onto the cake board. (use a tape measure to measure the size you need)

When I was ready, taking lots of care, I used the rolling-pin to lift the icing and roll it onto the cake.

I made sure the icing was pretty much central, then using the my fingers and the palm of my hand I smoothed down the icing on the top. For the sides of the cake, I lifted away the icing with my right hand while using my left hand to smooth the icing to the sides of the cake. This bit can be quite tricky, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. I trimmed off the remaining icing that wasnt required. Then using a cake smoother, I smoothed the icing in circular motions on top and around the sides. This gives it a smoother more professional finish  than using fingers alone.

That was the easy part over! I next set about making the Thundercats Logo for the top of the cake! As I discovered, more planning was needed where this was concerned but I did learn from my rookie mistakes so, this is what I now recommend I do in future!

I found a logo image on the internet and printed it. I then cut it out and used it as a stencil. I rolled and played with the black icing in my hands to warm it up and make it pliable as before with the red. I rolled it out over a dusting of icing sugar on a piece of grease-proof paper.

I placed the paper cat face logo over the top of the icing and rolled over it with the rolling-pin. This left an imprint in the icing of the logo. I cut out the logo from the icing using a very sharp knife, taking care to remove the left over icing bit by bit.

When the logo was cut out, I trimmed the grease-proof paper down so I could hold it in my hand. Slowly I slid the icing logo off the paper onto the cake taking care to place it exactly where I wanted it as there isn’t room for much movement once it was on the cake. I used the paper stencil again, I placed it over the icing logo to help me reshape it and reposition any bits that needed it. I used my fingers to smooth it off generally and neaten up any rough edges to give it rounded looked as opposed to ‘just cut out of icing look’.

Once the logo was on the cake, the last bit left to do was make the icing to pipe the edging. This was a first for me! I remember playing with my Mums piping set when I was younger but, never on a cake. I recommend practicing lots on a flat surface. I tried all the different tips to see what I liked and figure out how best to pipe each one. I went with the shell tip in the end and I held the syringe at a 45-degree angle to get the best effect around the cake.

To make the icing to pipe, I used; 375g icing sugar, 2 tea spoons of black food colouring and the egg white of one medium-sized egg. I mixed them together well using a spatula to get a light pliable consistency. If it needs thickening up, add more icing sugar until its right. I didn’t quite get the right consistency for this cake however and after piping the shells they fell a little. I’ve since learnt that when you can make spikes in the icing in the bowl and they hold their shape then its right.

~

Ta-Da!!

Thundercats cake

~

No Thundercats Birthday could ever be complete without Eye of Thundera buns! 🙂

thundercats cake

Wriggler had a Thunderific Birthday and he loved his cake and buns 🙂

thundercats cake