Part of a series of articles about our Members, helping you to know more about the things that we do when we're not doing Rotary activities! Here, a Member talks about her hobby of cake decorating.
Who remembers when we called cupcakes 'buns'? (Perhaps the terms mean different things?) Anyway, I do, and that's how I started my cake decorating hobby.
When I was younger, I'd delight my nephews with butterfly buns (remember those - cut a hole in a bun, slice the piece you take out into two, fill the hole with buttercream and pop the slices back in to look like 'butterfly wings'!) Now, so many years later, I delight their children with decorated buns/cupcakes and cakes whenever I get the time.
The whole cake decorating thing kicked off for me again when I was gifted a one-day course to make cupcakes decorated with flowers - 'twas still pre-'Bake-off' days. Until then, aside from the aforementioned buns, and cakes shakily-slathered in colourful buttercream, I hadn't really done much decorating. But the course opened me to the world of sugar paste and fondant (both of which you can usually buy online, ready-made), and I was gripped.
A friend of mine heard of my hobby and persuaded me to enter an online baking contest at her university (which was working on a Google-funded project) - they were hoping people would come up with Google-themed decorated cakes. Of course, I had to have a go - and funnily enough, I was the winner!
I'd been bitten by the bug - the only problem is (1) I don't like cake (2) I don't have time to bake. But the second problem is easy enough to solve with ready-made cakes if you can get them. So, onward I go. So far I've made cupcakes for family and friends decorated with butterflies, cherry blossom, dinosaurs, Minions, roses, the London Marathon, bookworms, Nemo, poppies, cars, dahlias, snowmen, balloons, igloos, pandas, babies in blankets and graduation hats, as well as larger jungle-themed or "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary"-themed cupcake-cake combinations! A while back when we had our Open Farm Day I decorated cakes (kindly made by another Member) with a bunch of farm animals - very popular with kiddies and of course the funds raised went to a good cause.
Cake decorating really need not be hard to start - as I said, all a beginner really needs is fondant, which usually can be bought readymade online (or you can make it following recipes on the internet), and a clean area to do your "modelling" using everyday kitchen equipment. As you get better, you can buy shaped cutters, other equipment and a variety of food colouring. There are lots of videos and information and tips on the usual sites - Youtube, Pinterest and others. Make sure you follow proper hygiene guidance and get the whole family to join in - with the making and the eating!
Picture: The "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" cake that was used to raise funds as part of Macmillan's "coffee mornings". Picture credit: Rotary Club of Canterbury.