Monday, 25 February 2013

10 Best Party Design / Party Styling Sites On The Web

So I have noticed the absolute explosion of party design/styling sites getting around.  It seems everyone is going crazy over colour coordinating and theming just about everything from birthdays to baby showers and more.....

I must admit though some people really do have a flair for it. So the bad news is that you can spend endless hours (like me) clicking through many sites to find that one piece of gold.  But don't despair for there is good news, I have done the clicking and looked at many, really many, many sites and have narrowed down my favourite 10 (actually 11).  You can easily use the ideas from these sites to get the most inspiration you will need to create something beautiful for that special occasion.  Also if you want to really be one of those people where everything matches, I have found the perfect site for you.  Head over to which can personalise lots of goodies including wrapped chocolates and birthday labels.  Also many of the sites offer free party printables so make sure you look closely on some of the blogs for these.

So in no particular order:

2 (even though this only shows one styled table, it is one of my favourites


4 - another favourite


6 - beautiful




10 - love the pink shabby party

and one more, making 11-

By the way if you think I have missed one, please leave a comment so I can consider adding to the list.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Malteser Heart Valentine's Cake

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE, I decided it was time to make another cake.  So this time I did a vanilla cake covered in buttercream.  I coloured the buttercream in two different shades of pink using pill box colouring. I reserved a third of the buttercream for the white top. 

Then I made some marshmallow fondant hearts using a cookie cutter.  The heart outline was done using maltesers and then the fondant hearts were placed inside, YUM.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Gone Fishing Birthday Cake

So, with a birthday late November, christmas, new year and then another birthday early January, our house has just been one huge sugar party for here is my latest attempt - my son turning 9 had to ask for one of the hardest cakes I have ever contemplated....him going fishing.  So, again the humidity and 35 degrees plus temperature in Brisbane, trying to bake a cake, cover it in fondant and make a figure from gum paste was ahhhhhh challenging!!!!  But somehow I managed it, although not very professional looking, after a bit of swearing, lots of cover ups of mistakes and a lot of eyeing off the bin, it is OK.

I made a chocolate mud cake again, this one was more of a mocha cake as it had a dash of expresso in it, I used the following recipe and x all ingrediants by 1.5:

I used 2 x square 22cm pans.  Again watch that the top doesn't burn, once crusted place aluminium foil loosely over the top.  I also checked about every 25 minutes.

I layered the two cakes with buttercream in the middle and covered the entire cake in buttercream.  I then rolled out blue fondant and covered the entire cake. 

I bought a packet of cream filled sponge rolls from the supermarket.  I placed two of the chocolate one's lengthways together and covered with the buttercream.  I then covered it with chocolate marshmallow fondant.  I used a knife to make lines like on a log.  I then brushed the log with cocoa melted in hot water to darken the colour a little.

Position the log where you want it on the cake.  I then made up some icing and added a little yellow food colouring.  I placed the icing around the log and around the bottom of the cake ona cake tray.  I then sprinkled yellow dyed sugar over the icing to make the sand.

I then molded the person, slowly adding food colouring for the different pieces. I joined the head to the torso using a cut wooden skewer.  I used a long pretszel and cotton for the fishing line.

I then made some fish from fondant and stuck them around the sides of the cake.  I also dyed some of the left over buttercream and made some seaweed.  I also rolled out some yellow marshmallow fondant and used a stamped rolling pin to make some coral


Monday, 14 January 2013

Pirate Treasure Chest Cake

So I managed to make a cake that kind of represented a pirate treasure chest.  I didn't take photos of each stage though as the cake was made in a mad rushing frenzy.  So basically, this is what I did:

STEP 1: the cake - I just followed this recipe and doubled all the quantities:

the cake turned our perfectly yummy, but the cooking time in my oven was less - more like 50 mins and you do have to be careful not to burn the top, as soon as there was a crust - after about 30 mins, I put aluminium foil loosley on the top.  Also because I doubled the quantities I divided it equally and poured into two 20cm square cake pans.

STEP 2: I cut approximately 1/4 of each cake off.  This gave me two rectangular cakes.  Then I took one cake and used a serated bread knife to carefully carve the lid of the chest.

STEP 3: I made a yummy buttercream and double these quantities from here:

STEP 4: I covered the bottom cake in buttercream.

STEP 5: Find a thin but sturdy piece of cardboard that can be cut to the same size as the bottom cake.  You also need 4 wooden skewers.  Work out how much of an opening you want for the lid of the chest.  Then you need to cut 2 of the skewers that will be placed at the back of the bottom cake to support the hinged end of the lid - so these should just be high enough to stick out of the bottom cake by about 1cm.  Then cut the other two skewers to support the front of the lid - I had about a 4 - 5cm opening.  The skewers can go into bottom cake now. 

STEP 6: This bit is kind of hard and sticky.  So first you need to carefully put buttercream on the cardboard then place lid on top.  Now place lid with cardboard on top of cake so it sits on top of skewers and should start to represent an opened treasure chest.  Now use remaining buttercream to cover all of chest.

STEP 7: I now made chocolate marshmallow fondant using this recipe -

STEP 8: Marshmallow fondant is pretty sticky and can be hard to work with but for this cake you can be a bit messy because we want it to look like old wood, so I actually covered it in smaller sections at a time, then went over the entire thing with a slightly wet paintbrush, then used a knife to make a distressed timber look.  Also choclate MMF can look a bit light brown so to darken it I just got some cocoa and hot water to for a fairly runny paste and then painted the enitre cake until I was happy.

STEP 9: decorations!!!!!! My favourite part!!! All I used was some gold and silver choclate coins, some snakes and some leather straps.  But oopsie - didn't have enough leather straps as you can see from the photo but still turned out OK....

So much to do....such little time

So time has passed since my last post and I have been a bit slow.  I have had christmas, new year and two birthday's at my house.  So I can now say that Jenny G is the winner of the heart fondant plungers. Jenny please contact me with your postage details and they will be on their way to your kitchen! 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Next Challenge - pirate treasure chest cake

My second son is about to turn 7 and he has asked me to make him a pirate treasure chest for his birthday.  Like all of my projects, I have no experience in this, so it just comes down to researching the easiest way to do this.  Stay tuned for result which I will post around 29th November!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

How to make a rainbow cake

To make the rainbow cake for my son's baptism, I made a white chocolate mud cake courtesy of  The cake was perfect as it turns out quite dense.  However, probably any vanilla type cake recipe would work.  It is great to cut into the hidden rainbow layers - kids get a really nice surprise and if you cover in fondant, you can make this cake in advance - I made it on a Thursday and it was cut on a Sunday.  I researched whether or not to refrigerate and after lots of conflicting advice, I popped the cake covered in fondant with cream cheese in between each layer into the fridge on the Friday.  It was quite a hot Brisbane day on the Sunday and when I took the cake out of the fridge it was fine.  There was a little sweating of the fondant but nothing noticeable, so there you go - I will not hesitate to refrigerate next time!

I increased ingredients by 50%, as follows:

450g white chocolate (Cadbury Dream white chocolate)
300g butter (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon fine table salt with the butter)
375ml milk
1 and 1/4 cup) caster sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1.5 cup plain flour

I used 2 20cm square cake pans lined with baking paper.


Stir chocolate, butter, milk and sugar in a saucepan over low heat.  Remove once chocolate and butter have melted, and stir until smooth, then allow to cool at room temperature.


Stir in vanilla and eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture.


Stir flours together in a large bowl. Gradually add flour to chocolate mixture to avoid lumps.


Use four containers the same size to equally divide cake mixture (this is to make a 4 layered cake).




Add food colouring to each container to get desired colour - I tend to go a bit brighter than what I want as I find that the colour will be less intense once baked.


Pour one layer into cake pan and bake (I did two at a time as I used 2 cake pans).  I found that for this recipe, I baked each layer at about 160 degrees (not fan forced) for about 15-20 minutes.  This will vary though depending on oven and you will have to watch them so they don't burn - look for little bubbles forming on the top as this is a good indication of when cake is baked.


Once all layers are baked, allow to cool completely. Prepare either buttercream or cream cheese icing which is what I used.  Recipe to layer the cake as well as cover outside is as follows:
60 g butter, softened
1600 g cream cheese, softened
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
Beat butter and cheese in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and airy. Gradually beat in sifted icing sugar until the icing is fluffy.

This recipe will make quite a lot of icing, I used a fair bit to get layers to sit fairly even and used left over to make swirls on some cupcakes I had made.  Keep refrigerated to make it easier to use for swirls.


Use icing to stick all layers together and cover outside of cake. I finished my cake by covering with fondant!  But you could also just use the icing like below: