As a child, a favourite pastime was to flick through my mother’s (Mutti’s) collection of Australian Woman’s Weekly and other 1980s cake books. I especially liked looking at how each book would tackle a theme, and deciding which approach I liked better.
Using ideas from these books, Mutti always made my brother and I elaborate cakes for our birthdays – “You had a duck for your first birthday, and the beak was made of two crisps!” – My mum is a stickler for pertinence; my first word was ‘duck’.
My cake passion started when I was about ten. I distinctly remember watching Mutti trying to make a train cake from a copy of Australian W W. It wasn’t going very well so this bossy ten year old insisted on taking over the decorating to do it better. My long suffering Mutti let me and ever since that moment I’ve been striving for decoration perfection and I think my mum was just pleased to have a quiet life.
From then on I was hooked and would use any excuse to don an apron, roll up my sleeves and get the rolling pin out. Family members, friends, neighbours, teachers et al would receive cakes for all sorts of occasions. Sometimes I made cupcakes and sometimes large cakes – my only aim was (and still is) to make the cake relevant to the recipient.
I’ve never trained in cake decorating, I learn through trial and error. I think fondant icing is similar to play dough and blu-tack, so I like to imagine that I was dong something useful at school when I was busy making blu-tack roses rather than listening to my history teacher… I am also constantly on the look out for things that I can incorporate into cakes and searching for inspiration.
Why the Blog?
I’ve kept an online album of cakes for a while and have been thinking about writing a blog but have always been certain that it shouldn’t be a how-to blog, nor a recipe blog as I don’t try enough different recipes for that to be remotely interesting. I have a few people to acknowledge and thank for this blog coming to fruition; firstly the ever inspiring, Cucina Ceri, a lady who proves that you can balance a full time job and an active blogging life in the food world. Secondly there is the beautiful Malú, a friend who gave me the idea for this blog. Malú encouraged me to write about the stories behind the cakes, why I make them, not how I make them. This concept seems so wonderfully simple but until her suggestion I was floundering for a concept as I was convinced the world didn’t need a how-to guide from me. Thirdly, I need to thank Mutti, without her and her patience I would never had started decorating cakes in the first place.