A Clinelle Christmas

Found this photo lurking in a folder of this year's Christmas cakes. Been baking so much that I've forgotten about this cake. An ex-colleague called up a couple of days before his office function checking if I was baking for Christmas. Well, yes and despite not fitting in any more cakes for the season, I had to do this for him. He's dear to me because he pretty much was the only one who supported and appreciated the fact that I was quitting my much-loved job to stay at home. The one thing I appreciated most from him was his gift of a huge and heavy organic cookbook. Organic produce wasn't something you can find as easily now as 11 years ago. That book was most informative and it was something I held on to, something I could look forward to doing while embarking on the unknown territories of a stay-home mum. I had something to work on- learn about organic produce, cooking and baking organic food for my little family. After all these years, our home diet is nearly 70% organic (it's still hard to get genuine organic products to replace everything here!) and I only bake organic breads, cakes and pies for our personal consumption. Much thanks to you, Ben for helping me set my path to wellness so early in the days when it wasn't even popular!


2011 Christmas

What a month this has been! The year-end term holidays began almost 6 weeks ago. I said to myself that  I'll slow down, give myself a real rested holiday this time round and dedicate most of those days to entertaining the children. There were enough advance party cake orders for the month and Christmas orders were expected, so I pulled the reins on further orders. 3 weeks down and I still hadn't felt the respite! My regular Christmas clients started placing their orders and by the end of the first week of December, I decided that I can't even send out my annual Christmas orders 'spam' this year! This kind of business pattern has been going on for the past year and I'm very grateful to all Great Bakes' fans for your continuous support. I thank you for being with me this year and hope to see you again next year! January 2012 is a week to go, and I'm already receiving Chinese New Year (year of the dragon starts January 23, 2012) orders! But do let me  catch my breath and catch up with my MOTH, Young Master and Little Miss this week, then bring it on!! 

Flying Bryan Bear

Aunt Felicia said that Bryan loves aeroplanes and that's actually quite simple. I had a choice of modelling a run-by-mill aeroplane or one that's more suited for a 3-year old. I believe an A380 (my favourite aircraft so far) may be lost in a toddler, so I went for a Fokker-type plane with a brown bear in old-fashioned goggles and neck scarf piloting it. Had a message banner running across the skies, too! Such a simple and colourful cake, ya? This Devil's Food Cake (less sweet chocolate) cake was to feed 30 people and finished weighing 2kg.

Boobsy Newcastle United Fan

Following the earlier Sexy 45 cake, this one had a breast enlargement.Wifey requested for larger boobs and cake to be in Newcastle United colour themes - black and white, for her Magpie-supporter husband's birthday today. Turned the Lemon Poppyseed Loaf into a chaise lounge and Miss NUFC, well....."draped" on it? When the cake was completed (1.3kg), photo was taken, I realised that I forgot to put on the red stilettos on her! So, off came part of her toes and on went the red shoes.


Princess Ballerina

4-year old Zahira (Ashaz "Lightning"'s sister) is still in love with the colour purple but has entered the age of Princesses and Ballerinas, and all things pretty I'm sure. While last year's Double Birthday Carnival featured a Circus Tent, this year she went for a Princess Ballerina cake. Mum said that she loves buttercream and would like the cake to be covered in buttercream. For weeks I haven't had time to dwell on what I'll be doing for this theme until on Thursday, this idea came to me. Kind of a spin-off from the very popular Barbie cakes with the ball gown skirt of cake. But this version required tutu ruffles...lots of it. I've been using fondant so much of late that I was afraid I've lost most of my buttercream piping skills! I gave Zahira's mum a heads up in case I messed up the buttercream piping but she reiterated that her daughter loves the buttercream part of the cake. So, we agreed that it will be covered in buttercream nonetheless. If the ruffles weren't materialising, I'll change the cake design. That would have been a boring cake. Out came the nozzle and piping bag. I did the first row of ruffles and it was beautiful. From that row onwards, it was a breeze. I still have it!! Yay! In fact, the piping of ruffles were finished within minutes. Much, much more faster compared the fondant ruffling if I had used that method. The final part of the cake-the top, was still covered in fondant for a smoother finish. Mum was over the moon upon seeing the cake and I hope Zahira was, too! This Vanilla Strawberry Swirl Cake finished weighing 1.8kg.

Lightning McQueen

This must be, what...my 3rd or 4th Lightning? I think I'll be putting a plug on future orders for this! Can we have other characters for Cars from now on? I think the other cars are just as interesting and pretty characteristic, if you asked me. Anyway, this 1.4kg Dark Orange Chocolate Cake was for Ashaz who turns 2 this weekend (I also did his 1st birthday cake last year - Double Birthday Carnival) and will again, be celebrating it with his sister just as before.


Cinderella To The Ball


Another cake I thoroughly enjoyed working on. I was happy to hear that little Bianca loved Cinderella because I have been itching to do a carriage. When I researched on Cinderella, the colour scheme was very much of blue, silver and dark. It was after all, supposed to be magical and she was off to a ball at night. But it was a little girl's birthday and I really wanted a more colourful cake for her. Cinderella's ball gown had to be blue as "history" states, so I stuck to covering her cake skirt in baby blue. Little Miss said that Cinderella was spot on while the MOTH said that she looked a tad over-nourished, especially when she was supposed to be starved by her step-mother and step-sisters.. Well, this fairy godmother decided that she'll be better off looking "over-nourished" to be marketable to the prince!  

For the carriage, I waved my wand and had the pumpkin (cake) turn into a little pink parlour instead of a glass carriage (I wouldn't know how to do a sugarpaste-glass version). And I think it turned out quite pretty. I had meant for the scrolls as the wheels just as it was with the glass carriage but that didn't work out. So, I had them sit on pink discs for support. The pink carriage sat on green turf with a variety of blossoms on the side. I almost forgot about Gus and Peg (the mice). Thank you, Little Miss for the reminder. They're main characters in Cinderella's life! The cake finished weighing 2.4kg.

Thomas the Tank Engine

Here's another popular telly character with toddlers - Thomas the Tank Engine. I've not seen any episodes because my children were never into it when they were toddlers. In fact, they weren't into any specific programmes and were never at any stage, followers of these popular programmes. They watched them but were never hooked on any to have a favourite. I'm not complaining... Anyway, this 3-year old's mum wanted an Elmo for her boy but you know my stand on these characters. I suppose I could do a Sesame Street cake but to only focus on Elmo, all eyes on Elmo...that, I have a problem. There's the eyes that needs to speak, and a smile that needs to be cheeky. Such expressions are very hard to copy with sugar and I can't bear having a deformed Elmo and scar the poor child's vision of cheeky Elmo! 
So, mum suggested Thomas the Tank Engine. Well.....said I'll try my best. We had Chocolate Cake (finished weighing 3kg) for the base that acted as walled tunnels for the other four trains coming through the side. Thomas sat atop the cake.No problems with the tank. It was the face I was concerned about. Thomas's face was 2-D, he has those cheeks and obvious nose, plus a cheerful disposition! Sigh...you wouldn't believe how stressed I was. The final face was just ok. It was a face but it didn't quite look like Thomas. It looked more like an older Thomas...a sombre, out of steam Thomas. See? I told you!


Vroom! Vroom!

Love, love, love this cake. I was a little concerned when this toddler's aunt and uncle mentioned about having a car just like his own. I mean, he's 2. I was expecting Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars. Well, he did own a car, a miniature white BMW-like convertible. Large enough for him to sit in it and "drive" around in the house! I must say, it reminded me of the one my brother had when he was younger - a blue, metallic fibreglass Volkswagen. He had to paddle it, of course. This one on the other hand, I'm quite sure it has an accelerator! The aunt was very efficient and supplied me with pictures of the car from all angles and that was a great help. I included every detail deemed possible and I was happy with the results.

Especially happy with the model of young Hassan. His aunt had a team Ferrari shirt for him and wanted him to wear it on his birthday. So, I re-created that syndicated shirt. The Chocolate Cake car sat on top of a 10" square, chequered flag Chocolate Fudge Cake. Yum... The whole cake finished weighing 3.6kg. Hope the doting aunts and uncle got some nice pictures of the young driver with the cake for me!

Up, Up & Away!

Every young man's dream - be a pilot (and have girlfriends at every airport-of-call ;-)), gadgets, footy, a race car and maybe an alter-ego like the Sith Lord??? This set of Favourite Things Chocolate Cupcakes were aptly designed for a lad turning 21. Big step to adulthood!

It's A Boy!

Can you see what little tokens I've painstakingly (yet, lovingly) made for this box of mini cupcakes? Yes, those are tiny pacifiers, bibs, booties, teddy bear faces, onesies, stacks of nappies and safety pins, milk bottles, formula containers, packets of wet wipes and a blankie, all sitting atop "buttons". It was awfully therapeutic working on them despite the size...must be the fact that this new baby isn't mine!! Hahahaha...yes, an evil joke but honestly? Two's more than enough for me. Below's the gift-packed mini cupcakes.

The new grandmother also wanted a couple of regular-sized cupcakes to be given away. For these Neopolitan (marble cake of strawberry, chocolate and butter) and Vanilla Butter Cupcakes, I stuck with the blue and white colour theme.


After this second toadstool featuring another Smurf, I'm still not feeling the love for these guys! I know, I know, how not to love them blue gnomes right? Well.....nonetheless, the toadstool house is always fun to do.  I chose a pastel palette this time round since it was for a sweet young lady of 3. With such a pretty name, I wanted to "prettify" the cake with lots of flowers and a pink mushroom cap. The cake also features Smurfette, the only female in the whole village! I could have done more Smurfs but I felt they would take the limelight away from Smurfette. So, I chose to add Papa Smurf peeking through the one of the side window of the toadstool. Another special treat for Giselle was I baked a Lavender Fairy Cake. This 1.6kg cake was made with some French Lavender I got hold of, recently. Fairy Cake is basically a sponge cake that's really light but this one smells divine. I made myself a cup of Earl Grey later and added some Lavender-infused milk, it was the best tea I had.


Gift-Box Teddy

I'm quite sure this soon-to-be-six little lady will be delightfully surprised at what her mum had thought for her as a cake for her party this weekend. Even my Little Miss was smitten by the whole cake. It all started with mum looking into Smurfs and Pocoyo since these were popular, but I wasn't too keen to pursue it for a 6 year old girl who'll be entering Year 1 in a month's time. I personally felt that those two cakes, especially Pocoyo weren't age-appropriate to Heyley. So, I gave mum a couple of ideas and she went for a teddy bear theme. She wanted something that guests will notice when they step into the room. Well, I hope this cake did the trick.
Now, girls any age wouldn't say no to Teddy but I can't do sculpting (plus there'll be too much cake wastage), so had to think out-of-the-box (literary). Inspired by a British cake designer, I stacked the chocolate cakes and had Teddy pop out of the gift box. I made Teddy's head out of rice crispy treats (completely edible but it'll be hard on those milk teeth). I could have done the head in cake as well, but it would be too heavy to sit on the already stacked-cakes support. My first attempt at home-made rice crispy treats was hazardous. Scalded my fingers trying to sculpt it into a ball whilst hot (hardens really quickly) and I doubt I'll attempt it again anytime soon. The box cover was done two days ahead.
A lot of breath-holding with this cake but I'm pleased with the outcome. My scales went screaming when I weighed this Chocolate Cake - a whopping 4kgs excluding the boards used in the cover and as the base!.


Purple & White Hantaran

Chose to keep this purple and white-themed hantaran cake simple because it's a small cake. Can't tell right? Well, this cake was only 5.5"x 5.5" with a 2.5" height. And no, I did not cover the cake with layers after layers of fondant, mind you. I simply chose to visually add height by using vertical stripes in various shades of purple (violet) and placed emphasis on the centrepiece. I also avoided complicated swirls and imprints because it will crowd the flowers. My reliable retailer of gumpaste flowers as usual, has some of the most beautifully crafted roses in violet and white. They are not cheap but like I said before, they're worth every sen if you look at them here. Realistic and looks a million bucks! This Lime-Syrup Sponge Cake weighed only 1.3kg without the flowers (those are charged separately as they are retailed). Chose to do this cake because it's a moist cake (and was further moisten with the lime syrup) and will stay moist in the next couple of days for the wedding.


Sexy 45

My dearest cousin sister and I were pondering over what to surprise her girlfriend on turning 45 last weekend. We truly wanted to cheer her up and trust me, no matter what all the Sophia Lorens and Goldie Hawns of the world say about 40 being the new 30, 50 being the new 40 etc. (in SL's case 70 being the new 50??), the fact is we cannot defy gravity. Spiritually, yes. I whole heartedly agree that we are as young as we feel but physically, well.....I have some complains myself. And don't go all Oprah on me. No one ever complains about the pot-belly bloke but a muffin-top woman....I rest my case. Nonetheless, we both agreed that we should have a pin-up girl to represent us all - imaginatively. The girls love Great Bakes' infamous carrot cake and since cream cheese is dairy, there's no way I can work with the cake in advance so our sexy 45-er has to lie on the side, full frontal. The finished cake weighed about 1.5kg.

The Tennis Pro

This was an easy cake. The client pretty much knew what she wanted (even did a rough sketch down to detailing what her boyfriend wears for his tennis sessions!) and I just had to put in the finer work. While I was given attire details, I wanted to add a couple of accessories to complete the cake. If the birthday boy was an ardent tennis player, he'd have a favourite player. When you look at what he's wearing (and the colours), I think it's a give away  that he's a Federer fan. I was right (phieww!). So, I chose to make a miniature replica of the Wilson-Federer tennis racquet and the bag that goes with it. The Nike water tumbler was modelled after my daughter's pink version. The client also requested for the Wimbledon logo on the 1.8kg Lemon Blueberry Cake. I believe the birthday boy was so pleased with his unique present that he chose to wear the same ensemble during the party!


Pocoyo Off To The Zoo

I know Pocoyo's awfully cute and what not, but I have to say this...Not again!! Yes, another cake dedicated to Pocoyo but I do appreciate the fact that 1-year old Trisztan's mum thought out of the traditional Pocoyo box. She suggested a scene with Pocoyo visiting a zoo. Sure enough, there is a Pocoyo-Zoo scene and instead of trying to recreate, I copied the scene. I was happy with the finished cake because it was simple, to the point (as is with the series), bright and cheerful...but most importantly, it met the client's need to stick to a cake size/weight. It's a tall order when I have to work with limitations because there is a need to compromise and expectations need to be managed. So, I work honestly. If it can be done, I will do it but if it can't, I will not deliver substandard work. Cheers to yet another successful Pocoyo cake!! Psssttt.....Let's get off the Pocoyo bandwagon shall we? *wink*



Happy Halloween, folks...
- Jack Skellington
Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Angry Birds

I've tried this game several times and just don't get it. Little Miss and Young Master on the other hand are very good at it. Though I've been told, they not actually that good because they haven't even gotten past the first level!! To be fair, they hardly get to play the game much less touch my phone... Apparently, children younger than mine ace in Angry Birds. Like this child. He's turning 4 this weekend and his uncle (and aunt-to-be) wanted to meet his request for an Angry Birds cake. I spent the whole day working on the birds and pigs! Didn't help that it was pouring yesterday evening and they all started to get shiny and sticky. So, I had to turn on the bedroom air-conditioning to keep them dry...decorating during the monsoon season is getting to be really expensive!!!
The Red Bird (I think that's what it's called) on the catapult.

 The Green Pigs amongst the broken structure.

The rest of the attack birds waiting for their turn.

I understand that different levels have different structures and birds and what nots but I decided to stick to the basic idea of Angry Birds. Birds vs Pigs period. Covered this 8", 1.7kg Vanilla Butter Cake in green buttercream using the grass tip. Needless to say, I had carpal tunnel syndrome after that.

Favourite Things

Haven't done these Favourite Thing Cupcakes for some time now and it was fun personalising them. These were for the client's best friend whose favourite colour is gold. Well, it would have been much if everything was in gold (too wedding-y) but I'm glad with a few other colours to mellow it, the set of 16 Lemon Cupcakes turned out really pretty.

These 16 Lemon Cupcakes on the other hand was for her husband. All of his favourite things and I was especially pleased with these two- a watch and a Canon camera! Not bad, eh?


Toy Story

This was a last-minute cake but here's the thing, I had the honour of doing Noah's 1st birthday cake last year (Pocoyo and friends). I almost turn this down because I had lots to do this weekend and I was under the weather. But mummy was an old friend and all she wanted was a small and simple 2-D Toy Story cake. Well, yours truly can't SIMPLY do a cake even if I wanted to!! Of course, I gave it some thought. It's a small cake (1kg Devil's Food) and I wanted it to be impactful although it was 2-D. So, I decided to do colourful swatches that'll attract 2-year olds - Woody's shirt, Buzz Lightyear's uniform, the bedroom's Clouds wallpaper and the movie's logotype background in red that featured Noah's name in yellow and blue. With a couple of cast cut-outs, I thought the cake looked attractive and adhered to the theme.

Pocoyo Party

Oh I love this cake!! I really do. Little Kay-Lee had a cake of toy blocks last year for her 1st birthday and this year, she's into Pocoyo. The last few Pocoyo cakes I did were for boys and I was pleased as Punch to be doing one for a girl. Mum asked for a pastel pallette but Pocoyo and friends are mostly in strong and bold primary and secondary colours. It's the beautiful educational-part of the programme to be introducing these colours to toddlers and I also kept to using white as the base colour as is in the series. I checked online for an episode of Pocoyo with a party-theme (there's usually one episode in every toddler educational programme, trust me....I've done my time with these series with my two), and that's how this cake was designed.

I've always loved having Pocoyo help blow out the candle, so I had Pocoyo in the same pose and all his friends donning party hats. I was particularly happy with how the candy cane poles and party buntings turned out. They really gave the cake a party atmosphere. I also added 2 characters which were not in my previous cakes - the red Octopus and the small bird on the pole. Everyone's out to celebrate Kay-Lee's 2nd birthday!! This 9" Devil's Food Cake finished weighing a hefty 2.5kg!


Gosh, I was really reluctant to do Smurfs for the fear of turning them into goblins! But on hindsight, they are technically goblins aren't they? Blue goblins who happen to be irritatingly happy all the time except for a couple of them... Anyway, the client wanted a small cake for a 40-year old fan and I decided to do build a toadstool house out of Lemon Poppyseed Cake. I didn't really focus on specifics when it came to the 2 male Smurfs since they all look alike but I did do a Juliet-like scene with Smurfette on the balcony. A surprisingly simple cake weighing only 1.2kg, though I think I'd go mad if I had to make more Smurfs for a bigger cake. Something in the blue that doesn't agree with me nor do I find them cute.

Marathon Maniac

What a great testament to embracing your golden years with gusto! This "young man" is in his 60s and is a self-proclaimed Marathon Maniac. He travels the world to participate in marathons and as he celebrated his birthday the night before with a couple of thoughtful friends, he leaves the next day for Sydney to another race. He was in awe of this 1kg Lemon Poppyseed Cake depicting, in his words, a younger version of him!!

Pretty in Pink

These Lemon Poppyseed mini cupcakes were customised for the client's ob-gynae for the services rendered during the birth of her baby girl.


For the Love of Cars & Balls

To be honest, after the whole day of doing eye-straining sugar cut-outs the day before for 60 cupcakes, it was the thought of this cake that kept me going. I was looking forward to making this little cake for my ex-manicurist. Her only son turned 2 on Saturday and she's been planning for a cake from me since last year! We've been talking about her son's favourite things and that got her into the mode of observing her son more carefully. After a couple of months, she told me that her son's very fascinated with cars and balls. Now, that's a tough one. How do I get these two things together and make sense? Well, I put that thought away for some time and just last week, it hit me! Dhaarmin is 2 and when my two children were at that age, I used to let them watch The Wiggles. It's an Aussie educational programme with songs and dances, and they loved calling out "Wake up, Jeff!!!" In that programme, the four guys have a car they call... The Big Red Car. Yes, just exactly that. The whole cake theme would be an episode with The Big Red Car introducing popular sports to children! So, I bake an Orange with Chocolate Swirl Cake for the car and a couple of sports balls (1.6kg in total). I had The Big Red Car driven by not the boys but the a smiley Snooker Ball and 3 other popular sports balls - the Baseball, Basketball and Football. I also made out of sugar paste a small tennis ball and golf ball as candle holders (which I didn't photograph). Mum was ecstatic when she saw the cake and I hope young Dhaarmin recognises The Big Red Car and names all the sports!