I am a cake obsessive, based in West Sussex, UK.

I started off making cakes for family and friends before giving up a proper career in favour of playing with sugar full time. Having worked for two bakeries making their wedding and celebration cakes, I am now looking toward world domination with breaks for coffee and chat.

If you are interested in seeing future projects, enter your email address in the box on the right for updates.

To see my website go to: www.kasserina.com. You can email me on info@kasserina.com.

I also sell some sugarcraft items on Etsy. Please go to https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KasserinaHome?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Brighton Helter Skelter wedding cake March 2014

At long last the law has changed so same sex couples can marry in the UK, and Angel Food's contribution to the celebration is to make the wedding cake and cupcakes for one of the first happy couples, Andrew and Neil.  

The brief was Brighton Beach, to feed 70-90, and to include the family dog, Oscar.  

First I made a quick research trip to the pier to see the original.

Now, obviously, there are some structural implications to this, so I brain-stormed the possibilities and made a foam-core tower to help me visualise the dimensions.

The cake needed to be divided into 4 tiers, the bottom ones carved to look like one continuous cake.  This is to give it enough stability, as it is a tall structure.... made of cake... which needs to be transported.  I needed to dowel the tiers as per a traditional wedding cake, but I also put a narrow dowel through the whole structure to help during transport.

The slide of course was a different matter entirely!

I used foam core cake boards which allow me to cut then to the right size and easily cut a hole in the centre for the middle dowel.

The cake itself was alternate layers of vanilla and red velvet with white chocolate frosting.

I put the fondant on in stages.  Bottom skirt first, then a band around the tier with the vertical sides, then I iced the top dome seperately allowing me to stick it on the top later and hide the dowel.

I put a quilted effect on the skirt which replicates the iron panels and riveting on the real helter skelter, and allowed me to disguise the seam at the back.

The slide was a nightmare.  My original plan was to make it out of thin modelling chocolate and add it last minute but on delivery day I developed a heavy head cold so I opted to make a cardboard slide... Sorry to the purists out there.

It took ages to make the perfect helix, and it fitted beautifully, then I took it off to tweak something and when I put it back on I couldn't get it to line up again, so the platform by the top door is further to the left than planned but nevermind.

I had intended to make the staircase out of cake too, but as I was feeling unwell I made it out of foam core and lolly sticks instead.  

The mexican paste plaque was an reference to the signs on the pier but with Andrew, Neil and little Oscar as the heros

The original:

My version:

At the venue, the cake was joined by 24 Angel Food Bakery cupcakes, cooked in flat-bottomed ice cream cones and frosted to look like Mr Whippy style treats.

I do hope that the Grooms had a great time, and congratulations to all the happy couples around the country.

This cake was by Angel Food Bakery in Brighton's iconic South Lanes.  http://angelfoodbakery.co.uk

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Monster wedding cake March 2014

My friend Clare needed a wedding cake to feed upwards of 170 people as a desert at her sister's wedding on Saturday.  Clare's very talented daughter is to decorate the cake with hand made red sugar roses and a London bus, so they just needed the cake.  

We settled on tiers sized 12", 10" and 8" in citrus rainbow cake with orange and elderflower frosting, chocolate fudge with dark chocolate frosting and vanilla rainbow with white chocolate frosting.

It's always hard to photograph scale. 

Big cake out of the oven:

Trim to size:

Crumb coat:

Iced and doweled:

Stacked top two tiers and prepared for transport:

I left the top two tiers seperate to the bottom one as they have to travel and because they are so heavy that it will be very difficult to lift the while cake at once.

When I delivered the cake in fact, Clare and her family were somewhat taken aback by the size of the cake... I must remember to make sure that people understand how big a wedding cake to feed 170+ in desert portions is!!!

Don't think I'll do any more rainbow cakes though.  They are just so time consuming and you have to be so careful as the colours can effect the taste and texture.

Here's a photo of some of Cerys' decoration of the cake, waiting in the box to be taken to the venue.  She really is very good!!

Finished cake... Cerys has done such an amazing job decorating this cake!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

First attempt at upside down crumb coating - March 2014

Today I have been researching the upside down frosting method.  

These are some old layers of sponge that I had frozen for just such a purpose.  They will not be eaten so please excuse the slightly odd colour combo.

I put a layer of buttercream onto waxed paper, refrigerated it slightly, then stacked layers on top.

I put a light crumb coating on.

Then a second coat.

Then a foamcore board on the top (soon to be the bottom) of the cake.  

Using this board (which is a couple of millimetres bigger than the trimmed cake layers) as a guide, I applied the top coat and made the sides perfectly 90∘ to the top.

I put the cake in the fridge for a while to set, then turned it over to reveal... oh!  Horrible!  Air holes and wrinkles completely marring the top.

Time to start again.

Take 2 
This time I made my buttercream much softer and smoothed it on in layers so avoided the air bubbles.  Much better, but the waxed paper still absorbed moisture and wrinkled leaving the buttercream with some stripes and looking rather pitted...

Take 3
This time I completely ignored the advice I'd found on line and used an acetate sheet with trex on it to make it non-stick.  A much better result.  There were a couple of air pockets still, but the overall finish was much better and I was able to fill in the air pockets very easily.  Also, it was easier to use my cake scraper as it wasn't catching the edges like it had done with the waxed paper.

Unfortunately, with all this messing around I had rather mussed up the initial finish of the sides as I had "dragged" the buttercream... well, it's only a tester so I'm not going to mess around fixing that. Even so, you can see the sharp corner the method achieved and using the board on top ensures a perfectly round cake (despite the iphone photo making it look oval).

All in all I can see the value of this method and will use it again.  I might even demo it in my classes.

Post script... 

Been practicing this now and it really is pretty good.  There are a few things to remember though.  

It's important to have your top frosting really soft, almost liquid, and put on a thin layer first so you can make sure there are no air bubbles (particularly if you're not planning to cover the buttercream in fondant).  You can then add more frosting in top.  It takes quite a while for the top frosting to set hard in the centre (depending on what it's insulated by) so I make sure that the top frosting is completely hard before putting the cake on, with a little soft frosting as glue.

I'm now putting the frosting straight onto clear florist's film (food safe obviously), preferably seletaped onto a clear acetate or glass board so you can see through to spot any bubbles, but seletaped onto a cake card will work too.  Be sure to tape it on the underside so there's nothing to get in the way of your side smoothing later on.  

My other big tip is to do the sides in three coats if you're not fondanting.  You want a nice smooth surface as your final finish.  

First coat, thin crumb coat.  Second coat, thicker frosting to build up the sides. Third coat a very soft, almost liquid top coat that will coat very smoothly without dragging or air bubbles.  

Don't forget to chill it between each application.

When you peal off the florists film from the top it will have a slightly dull, slightly potted look so you can run a warmed scraper or palet knife over it to bring back the shine if necessary.

I'm sure that there are people out there who will be mystified by me doing all this, or even dismissive, but I'm looking for a really good level of finish.  If I'm going to experiment then I want it to look perfect at the end and worth the effort.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Vagina cake (sorry!), subtitled "what the customer asked for" - March2014

There really is no accounting for taste!

Based on the amazing Debbie Brown's crying babies.

24 cupcakes to go with the giant cupcake.  
These ones feature emerging babies and monsters.  
As I said, what the customer wants...