Ordering a Custom Cake?


My inbox is regularly flooded with a heap of questions from clients who are inquiring about cakes and bakes.

Questions are a good thing – it puts the supplier and the client on the same page.  Through questions  and answers a clear understanding is reached of what the client is looking for and what the supplier is able to offer.

I have shared a few of the most common questions I get, along with some advice to make the process of inquiring and ordering a custom cake from your cake decorator hassle free.

Before you send your first email, know the basics. You don’t have to have every detail ironed out and set in stone, but a guideline is always a good starting point.

  • Have an idea of how many people the cake needs to feed. This is one of the most important factors that will affect your quote. Sometimes you have other plans for dessert, so the cake is just for the “cutting photograph” and close family. Perhaps the cake is the main dessert, so everyone then needs a suitable slice. I always attach a portion guide to my first email so my client can visualize their cake and how many people it can feed.

Cake portions

  • If you have a flavour in mind suggest this to your cake maker from the get go. This is the next biggest factor that will affect your quote substantially. If you are at a complete loss, ask your cake maker to recommend their most popular flavours. Another options is to read a few reviews of your chosen baker to see what their clientele  are raving about and progress from there.
  • Know the date and venue for the party or special occasion. Many cake decorators like to deliver and set up their cake (especially tiered cakes) ensuring that you get the cake in its best form. This will also impact your quote if your venue is far out.

Now onto the questions:

Why are custom cakes so expensive?

My clients are expecting 100% quality from the inside of the cake, to the icing, decorations and packaging. No skimping is allowed! Every design and detail is a unique creation and is made to suit your colour scheme and theme. Names and ages can be added to the cake or cake board giving your cake that personal touch. All my ingredients are full fat so the end product is dense and decadent. Add to that the skill and time that goes into creating a celebration cake as well as the cost of my tools and equipment that I have had to acquire along the way.


Do you offer tastings?

Yes, tasting appointments are for those that would like to sample the quality of my cakes as well as for those that are undecided by the flavour and filling choices. These appointments are to be made and paid for in advance and are charged per person. All my cakes are baked to order, even the tastings.

Can you make an exact replica?

No, any cake or cupcakes that has been ordered from a photograph that has been produced by another cake maker, will be reproduced as a Lexi’s Crumbs interpretation. The cake/cupcakes will therefore not be an exact replica of the photograph. However extra care will always be taken to match requested colours and design.


How does payment work?

To secure your order a 50% deposit is needed. This way you are financially involved and won’t pull out at the last minute and I have your money meaning I need to produce the goods. It’s a mutual understanding that always works.

The balance is then settled on the day in cash, before the cake leaves my possession. Wedding cakes are slightly different as the cake is paid for in full a week before your big day.

It is always best to inquire and block dates with your cake decorator if you have a specific date in mind. Back this up with a deposit and you won’t be disappointed. Plenty of good decorators are booked 8-10 months in advance, especially for weddings and milestone celebrations.

Janine cake1

How should  I transport and store my cake?

Once I have handed the cake over to you, it is now your responsibility. Do not let it slide around in the car, (this is where most damage occurs) it should be put on the flattest surface possible. The cake should not be left in a hot car for any length of time as the chocolate ganache/buttercream underneath the fondant can begin to melt and then all things go south from there… It is always best to keep the cake in the box it was supplied in during transport.

Once at home do not refrigerate your cake unless informed to do so. Many of the components/edible images do not survive if moistened by refrigerator air. The cake runs the risk of sweating and the colours fading.

If a cake is to be placed in the refrigerator namely cream and cheese cakes, for best results allow the cake to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before you cut and serve it.

I trust that these guidelines make your cake experience an easy and pleasant one.

Take care


Foodie Styling


This post is slightly off the cake decorating vein that I usually blog about, but it’s what I have been pleasantly side-tracked with of late.

At the beginning of the year I was scouted out via my Twitter page and invited to join Zomato as a foodie. How ridiculously trendy does that sound? For those of you that don’t know, Zomato is the next app to take the world by storm, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.


In my opinion it’s the best online restaurant database that I have come across. It is mobile and PC friendly and it lists almost every single restaurant in Cape Town along with a photograph of the establishment, their entire menu and prices. How nifty is that?

It’s a free platform for all users and restaurants do not pay to be reviewed. Once a restaurant is listed by Zomato they are then open to be reviewed by anyone. You can join Zomato and start reviewing restaurants on your own right now. Just another excuse to eat out more often then you already do.

To cut a long story short, if you are ever on the hunt for a good place to eat out, log into Zomato, pick your preferred area and type it into the search bar. Voila there will be an abundance of restaurants to choose from.

L'Apero_Alexis_Biccard_Photography4.jpgL’Apero’s tomato oxtail

As a Zomato foodie we are invited monthly to wine and dine at some of the top restaurants in Cape Town as well as attend new menu launches. At these events the food and wine is laid on and I am always keen to see and taste the dessert as I have an enormous sweet tooth.

I must just add that I had the best chocolate fondant the other night at a little gem called L’Apero in Long street. Super chocolaty and perfectly cooked, which is a rare find.

Chocolate_FondantL’Apero’s chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream

Coming from hotel kitchens where I cheffed for ten years, I was always the one preparing the food items for serving. I know all about the long hours and shifts that go into preparing that plate of food so I am thrilled to be on the other end of the plate. I am thoroughly enjoying this new angle to my profession.

L'Apero_Alexis_Biccard_Photography3.jpgL’Apero’s seafood bouillabaisse

The thought I have always had is reassured – Cape Town really does have a multitude of fantastic, top class restaurants. We are not only spoiled for quantity but with variety as well.

Whist I am busy being a foodie I have fallen deeper in love with food styling and photography. My new birthday gift (my Nikon DSLR) makes it so exciting to take pictures of food, cakes and bakes. Great food shots should make you want to jump into your screen and start munching. That’s what it’s all about right?

You can view my Zomato profile here to see the restaurants I have reviewed so far.

Happy eating out

Lexi’s Top 5 Cake Books


Nowadays when you visit a good book store there are a multitude of cook books and baking bibles staring back at you. It can be an overwhelming minefield. To help you, I have selected my five favourites that stand in the front row of my kitchen book shelf.

Planet Cake (A beginners guide to decorating incredible cakes) by Paris Cutler
This was my very first comprehensive cake decorating book. It was and still is most inspiring. It has visual guides of all the tools, materials and equipment that you will need when you begin your journey of decorating. It has a glossary for all those confusing terms and jargon, followed by fantastic recipes, many of which I still use today. The illustrations are wonderful and all the instructions are accompanied by pictures. I am very visual so I love this aspect. Whether you would like to begin icing specialty cupcakes, 2D cakes or 3D sculpted cakes this book makes it all seem possible, and it is. For all cake decorators starting out, this book is a must.


Planet Cake -Paris Cutler

Baking by Martha Day
Jam packed with more than 400 recipes there is not a baked good that comes to mind, that you will not find in this treasure cove. There is a great introduction explaining how to blind bake, line tins and apply lattice work. You will find a wide variety of biscuits & bars, cakes & gateaux’s, tarts & pies both sweet and savoury. A perfect asset for novice and advanced bakers alike.


Baking – Martha Day

Celebration Cakes (Decorating step by step with fondant) by Grace Stevens
A real gem, especially if you are interested in icing children’s novelty cakes and how to make edible animals and figurines. Each and every step is pointed out with clear, concise and gorgeous illustrations. The back of the book has all the necessary templates, conversion charts and a very handy suppliers guide.


Celebration Cakes – Grace Stevens

Chocolat by Eric Lanlard
Starts with the history of chocolate along with the important do’s and don’ts of melting and tempering this medium. There is a mass of rich and decadent recipes using both milk and dark chocolate with stunning images. All chocoholics should acquire this hardcover sooner rather then later. If there is one book that I could jump inside it would be this one, page 108 to be exact – Eric’s Chocolate Cassis Royale, sublime…


Chocolat – Eric Lanlard

The Cake Decorators Bible by Angela Nilsen & Sarah Maxwell
A complete guide of cake decorating techniques from sugar frosting fruit & flowers to making and colouring your own marzipan and sugar paste. I am especially fond of the section on royal icing. A guide for piping shapes, flowers and run outs and which nozzles to use for each technique. There are plenty of clever ideas for kiddies cakes, making use of sweets and candies in fun and innovative ways. A real bonus are the conversion charts with built in recipes that you can scale up or down depending on your cake tin size – very nifty indeed.


The Cake Decorators Bible – Angela Nilsen & Sarah Maxwell

I hope you will find this list useful when next shopping for baking books. Let me know what your top baking books are and if you have any of the ones above.

Happy reading

Lexi’s Top 10 Baking Tools


As we start a brand new year, I have decided to share my Top 10 Cake Decorating must-haves for 2015. If you are looking to equip your baking area or would like to take up cake decorating as a new hobby, these are the baking tools for you.

I have tried and tested all of the items below and use them regularly in my very own baking studio.

Heavy duty KitchenAid
My most prized piece of equipment is my heavy duty KitchenAid. My mom gave it to me as a birthday present last year. It has a deep 4.8 litre bowl for mixing large batches of icings and batters as well as ten different speeds. Reliable, efficient and remarkably easy to clean, it is truly a worthwhile investment.


Oven thermometer
You will always know the exact temperature of your oven and will never have burnt or under-baked cakes and cupcakes again. I can’t bake without mine.

Oven_ThermometerOven thermometer

Fondant smoother
This is a must-have for every cake decorator. It helps to have two, one for each hand to ensure those super straight sides and edges to your cakes.

Fondant_smootherFondant smoother

Ribbon cutter/embosser
Tired of struggling to cut straight patterns and stripes for your cakes, then this is the answer. With multiple styles and edges to choose from, you will never have skew lines again. Mine has paid for itself over and over again.

Ribbon_CutterFondant ribbon cutter/embosser

Pizza cutter
Ensures that close and clean cut when you are trimming the sugar paste away from your cake. A kitchen knife does not do the same job.

Pizza_WheelPizza cutter

Digital scale
An accurate digital scale is imperative for all bakers. I prefer digital as it has the useful tare method. Just make sure that you have spare batteries in the cupboard. Scales always seem to die after dark in the middle of a huge bake.

Digital_Kitchen_ScaleDigital scale

FMM tappits
If you are looking for perfect fonts to add to your creations, the FMM tappits are great. Be sure to dust them in cornflour and use strengthened paste (gum paste). It takes a bit of trial and error, but you will master these in no time.

Rock_Star_Lexis_CrumbsFMM alphabet tappits

Offset spatula
This simple gadget is great for icing those curves and corners. If you ice 3D cakes and cupcakes, then this is the tool for you. Also very handy as a little lifter.

Off_Set_SpatulaOffset spatula

Gel colours
I much prefer Americolor gel over all the others. This brand comes in a wide array of colours and a little goes a long way. It is always best to colour your sugar paste the day before to allow the colour to fully develop.

Americolour-gelsGel food colours

Letterpress stamps
These are great for adding that personal touch and quirkiness to your baked goodies and sugar paste. Easy to use and the mesh bag it comes with is extremely handy for cleaning purposes.

BIscuit_StampsLetterpress stamps

I trust that these tools will inspire you to start baking, try out that recipe or take that leap and ice a cake in fondant. I can’t wait to see the cakes and bakes that 2015 will bring.

Happy baking

Icings Explained


I belong to many cake forums and cakey Facebook groups and the most commonly asked question is the one about icing. What is the best icing for this cake? Will this icing work on this biscuit? How does this icing taste?… I can understand that the icing world is a minefield so hopefully I can smooth out some of the most commonly used definitions for you.

Each icing below has or one or two specific uses. That doesn’t mean to say that you can’t experiment and play around with different techniques and applications. Hey, I think that is how most things are discovered, through trial, error and experimentation.

This is probably the most common and versatile of icings used by newbie’s, experts and even our dear grandparents. Buttercream can be used as a filling and frosting for both cake and cupcakes. It is a mixture of butter, (I have used both salted and unsalted and to me there isn’t a huge taste difference as the icing sugar kinda cancels it out) and icing/confectioners sugar.

Cream your butter well, as this gives your buttercream a wonderful soft and light texture. Be sure to sift your icing sugar so that it is fine and lump free. Once all mixed you can at this stage add your flavours, colours and essences – pretty much anything goes.


Chocolate clay/paste
Made from melted chocolate and corn syrup this paste has the same uses as sugar paste although it has a few risk factors. Over handling will make the oils separate causing the clay to become crumbly and extreme heat can cause melting. It’s shining star quality is that it tastes great.

Chocolate glaze
A combination of melted white or dark chocolate and butter. Together they from a shiny glaze that can be poured over pastries and doughnuts. Yum!

Cream cheese frosting
Very similar to buttercream with the addition of smooth creamed cheese in place of some of the butter. This is an ideal filling and frosting for red velvet and carrot cakes and can be piped onto cupcakes as you would buttercream. The key to making this delicious icing is to use full fat creamed cheese and to not over beat it, as this is one of the reasons it can become runny.

A mixture of full fat fresh cream and chocolate melted together and cooled. You can use either dark or white chocolate but the ratio’s of chocolate to cream do change depending. Ganache can be used to fill and frost cakes and once cooled it can be whisked and then piped. Use the best quality chocolate you can afford and the end result is a truly decadent icing.


Glace icing
Also known as drizzle frosting, this is the easiest icing to whip together. You can change the consistency and colour with the addition of food colouring and water. This can be poured over a bundt cake, cupcakes or doughnuts.


Gum paste
Also known as floral/petal paste. Gum paste is made from egg whites, icing sugar, shortening and a gum agent like tylose powder, CMC or gum tragacanth. It results in a very elastic and pliable paste that is easy to work with. It can be coloured in the same way as your sugar paste.

Gum paste is mostly used for flowers or decorations that you would like to harden once dry. It is always advisable to make these items days in advance, so that you are adding completely dry components to your cake.

Marshmallow fondant
Has the same use as sugar paste but is made up largely of marshmallows, icing sugar and water. I think it tastes better then regular sugar paste albeit sweeter.

Made from icing sugar, honey and ground almond paste, marzipan is traditionally used to cover fruit cakes. It is off white in colour and slightly grainy in texture. You apply it to the cake the same way you would sugar paste, using boiled apricot jam as the adhesive. Oddly enough I have had requests for this on my chocolate mud cakes  – suppose you either love it or hate it.

Meringue icing
There is no meringue in this icing, nor is it baked for hours. It is made by adding a simple sugar syrup to frothy egg whites and whisking until it is light, white and fluffy. It has a stunning shinny finish and is snow white. Unlike royal icing it does not dry hard so it is great for covering cakes or piping onto cupcakes. This is usually used on rainbow cakes, as the outside is crisp white and inside you have a festival of colours.

Mexican paste
A stiffer version of gum paste that is particularly used for drapes, cutting out fonts and patchwork cutters.

Modelling paste
A strengthened sugar paste with the addition of cmc/tylose and shortening. This is suitable when would like your decorations that you are adding to your cake to hold their shape and harden slightly. Mostly used for toppers and figurines.


Sugar paste that consists of royal icing, gum tragacanth and icing sugar. It’s a strong and durable paste that sets extremely hard. It is used mostly for show work, solid structures, sculptures and 3D shapes. It is not very flexible or stretchy as it does not consist of any softening agents, therefore it is not suitable for flower making.

Pouring fondant
Made from icing sugar, water and corn syrup. As the name applies it is runny enough to be poured over petit fours or cupcakes.

Royal icing
This is my favourite icing and is probably the hardest to master it’s application. I am still in awe of the greats that pull of extension/string work.

Royal icing is also known as tube work, as you pipe it out of a nozzle or a tube. It is a mixture of egg white and sifted icing sugar that is blended until a smooth and shiny icing is achieved. You then pipe your decorations on your object and leave it to dry. It dries rock hard and with a matte finish. Royal icing can be coloured as you like, preferably with gel colours as powders have a risk of being grainy.


Royal icing is used to decorate cakes, flood biscuits, pipe flowers, boarders and lettering. It can also be used as a glue as it sets hard. My gingerbread house was glued and decorated solely with royal icing. Such fun!

Pink_Gingerbread house_Lexis_Crumbs

Sugar paste/Fondant
There are so many nick names for sugar paste, that it took me a while to get my head around it all when I first started decorating. Many of us call it by the brand name e.g. Pettinice, Ready to Roll, Regal-Ice, Renshaw etc. In my home town of South Africa it is commonly known as plastic icing – how inedible does that sound?

Sugar paste is made from icing sugar, gelatine, corn syrup and glycerine that together forms a soft dough similar to play dough. It is used to cover cakes and cake boards as well as biscuits, cupcakes and mini cakes.

Sugar paste can be coloured easily using gel or powered colours, or you can purchase already coloured sugar paste at most stores. Always colour your sugar paste (especially your bright colours) preferably a day in advance as the colour develops well over time.

Although you can make your own paste from scratch, I would advise purchasing from your local baking supply store. All the cake decorators I have spoken to have only ever made their own sugar paste once. I like to think that as a cake decorator you have much more important things to do then make your own sugar paste, as there is a fair amount of energy involved.


I hope things are a lot clearer for you now and if you have any questions please feel free to comment below.

Happy icing

Nestle Photo Shoot


I was recently asked to bake a deletable sweet treat for the Nestle photo shoot that was published in the August edition of the Good Housekeeping Magazine. I decided to take my traditional South African milk tart recipe and turn it on its head and this is what unfolded.


The shoot started bright and early, as there were lots of behind the scene process’s that needed to take place, before shooting began. The venue was the lovely Miele Kitchen in Bellville, kitted out with the finest in shiny kitchenware and gadgets, a chefs dream.


On arrival I was immediately treated to tea and biscuits, whilst the others arrived and set up their equipment.


Next on the menu was hair and makeup. Bianca from Bianca Comer Make Up Artistry made each of us up beautifully and stayed onsite to touch up our makeup as shooting was underway.


I now felt like a million bucks and it was time for the lights, camera, action!

The talented Neville from Neville Lockhart Photography was the man behind the camera assisted by Cindy from Good Housekeeping. Together they knew exactly what look they wanted and what was needed of us. It was first the group shot of all three foodies. This was by far the hardest challenge, to get the three of us to have a relaxed yet “working in the kitchen pose” at the same time.

10Emma from EAT. with Emma Cafe & Kitchen on the left, Tami from Rumtumtiggs in the middle and myself on the right.

It was then onto the individual portrait photographs, which were somewhat easier. Last but not least were the food shots, that were styled by Emma. My chocolate tart was carefully sliced, dusted in cocoa powder and topped with fresh strawberries.

Here is a sneak peak from Neville’s laptop.


It was a fun day of networking and learning the ins and outs of a magazine publication. There is a huge amount of work that goes into a magazine article, that I now have a new understanding of.

Here is the final product that was published in the Good Housekeeping magazine.

9Seeing as the text is so tiny, below is the recipe for my ultra smooth tea time treat.


Tart Crust
170g cake flour
115g butter
60g icing sugar
1 egg
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Tart Filling
350ml Nestle Low fat evaporated milk (1 tin)
200ml cream
50g butter
100g white sugar
250g Nestle dark chocolate
1 Tablespoon ground coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 eggs
2 heaped Tablespoons Nestle Cocoa powder
3 teaspoons cornflour


Tart Crust
Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon, and icing sugar together in a bowl.
Add the softened butter and rub in with your finger tips.
Once all combined add the vanilla essence and the egg.
Knead together into a soft dough.
Wrap with cling wrap and place in the fridge to rest for an hour.
Grease a 26cm tart/pie dish.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and line the tart dish.
Prick the base with a fork.
Line the top of the pastry with a piece of baking paper and empty either raw beans or raw rice on top as a weight. (Also known as blind baking)
Bake in the oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.

Tart Filling
Place the ideal milk, cream, butter, sugar, coffee and vanilla into a pot.
Place on the stove top and bring to a simmer, do NOT boil.
Mix the cocoa powder and cornflour into a thin paste, and add to the warm milk mixture whilst whisking.
Remove from the heat.
Place chocolate into a deep bowl and pour milk mixture on top.
Whisk until all melted and combined.
Lastly whisk in the 3 eggs.
Pour this mixture into your pre-cooked tart case and bake at 130degrees Celsius for 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Allow to set in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Best served with fresh strawberries, and whipped cream.

Enjoy it

My Early Days


We all have to start somewhere and for most of us the beginning point is when we bake for our nearest and dearest. I believe that there is nothing better than a family member bringing a home baked cake to a celebration.

Recently whilst wading through my archives of photographs I stumbled across some oldies. Firstly I had a good laugh and then thought, wow did I actually make that? All the errors just jumped out at me and I immediately knew that if I was to remake that cake today I know exactly what I would change. I guess they dont call it trial and error for nothing. I am going to share some of my early days booboos, so that next time you are icing your masterpiece these mistakes won’t be yours.

Black forest2Most of us have made a few of these before, the good ol’ sheet cake. This was a black forest cake, filled with cream and cherries and then iced in fresh Chantilly cream. I should’ve piped a cream border around the perimeter of the cake and then sprinkled the chocolate shavings and vermicelli onto the boarder. My biggest mistake was that I used royal icing for the text, hence the letters started to seep into the cream. I should have used chocolate instead as it would have set faster and looked neater overall.

Cake1Another sheet cake, this was a red velvet sponge with a cream cheese icing as the filling and topping. The icing was not sifted and mixed thoroughly as the texture is not smooth and even. Far too many lump and bumps!

Crutch2This crutch cake was made for a friend who had a hip replacement back in 2011. If you need to join two cake boards together, then it is best to cover them in fondant, as the join is an instant eyesore. Secondly my buttercream covering was not thick enough. There are patches where the icing is very thin and gaps where the icing did not even touch. Ensure you cover your cakes evenly and completely.

Lilac10I made this lilac and vanilla creation for my grannies 83rd birthday. Although she loved it to bits, there is just so much wrong with this cake. I did not trim the crusts from the top, bottom and sides, in fact I dont think I trimmed this cake at all! The sponges are not equal in height and neither is my filling between the layers. There are crumb specks in my icing, meaning that I did not crumb coat/dirty ice my cake first. (See my post: Cake Jargon De-mystified) These are simple yet integral stages in preparing your cake before you cover it in icing. All these steps would have improved my cake’s look drastically.

Rain4This was my first ever rainbow cake covered in vanilla icing. The text should have been piped in either chocolate or royal icing at the correct consistency – my royal icing was far too thin. The uncovered cake board doesn’t do this cake any justice and I should have made the effort to take a decent photograph of this cake out of it’s box.

GreenWhen piping buttercream onto your cupcakes ensure that it is the correct consistency and that is has not just come straight out of the refrigerator. You want the icing to look soft and luscious with no breaking points. Decide on where you will begin and end your piping and in what direction you are going to ensure that your cupcakes all look uniform and neat.

They say that we are our own worst critics, and that we tend to be too hard on ourselves. I believe that there is always room for improvement and that is how we learn and grow. If you can point out your own mistakes and have a solution on how you would fix or redo it, then you are already on your way to improvement.

Remember that practice makes perfect. Use your friends and relatives birthdays as your practice cakes opportunities. You can try out new ideas or techniques and even if it does not turn out as you expected, not to worry as I have found that your family and friends are your least critical clients.

In conclusion my best advice would be to plan and prepare as much as you can ahead of time, to ensure that you have all your bases covered. This includes making your flowers and toppers well in advance. Make sure that you have enough of everything as there is nothing worse than running out of things whilst your hands are full of icing!

Once your cake is iced make the effort to photograph your cake in a space clear from the kitchen sink and other utensils. Take your photographs during the day in the most natural light as possible. The flash should only be used in absolute dire straits, as it seems to suck all the warmth and life out of your beautiful creations. Secondly watermark all your photographs, not only does it add to the professional look of your cake but it prevents your creation from being stolen or altered.

Please feel free to share your learning curves and nightmare experiences with me below

Skaapie Cupcake Tutorial

Cupcakes4Every time I post a photograph of my sheep cupcakes, the response is just amazing. I always have such a blast making these guys, and each little sheep seems to develop a personality whilst they are created. I have decided to share how to make these sheep, also known as “skaapies” in my hometown South Africa.

What you will need to make 12 skaapies:
12 of your favourite cupcakes baked and cooled (I used red velvet for this tutorial)
100g vanilla buttercream icing (The whiter the better)
100g chocolate brown sugar paste
20g white sugar paste
24 black dragees or a black edible food pen
150g mini white marshmallows

DSC06346Begin with your baked cupcakes and smear the tops of each with your buttercream. It is best if your buttercream is at room temperature as it spreads easier. It does not have to be super neat, as it is going to get completely covered. Just make sure that you fill in all the cracks and gaps in your cupcake. Keep the dome as it adds to the sheep’s body shape.

DSC06349Next make your sheep heads.
These can be made well in advance and left to dry, but it is not necessary.
Roll a walnut sized ball of brown fondant in your hands and shape into an oblong head.
Make two holes with a toothpick in the front for the nostrils.
Next shape 2 tiny ears. I roll a small piece of fondant between my fingers for this.
Roll two tiny dots of white sugar paste and press a black dragee into each dot. Alternatively you can draw the eyes on with your edible pen.

DSC06353Stick each component onto the head with a touch of edible/tylose glue or sugar water.

DSC06358Place each completed head onto the buttercream iced cupcakes.

DSC06360Now start placing the marshmallows onto each sheep to be. Start at the head and pack them as tightly as possible.

DSC06362Once you have completely covered each cupcake, your flock is dressed and ready for your celebration.


Happy cupcake making

My Cakey Club


A while ago I was searching for a group of like minded people to discuss and share cake decorating ideas with and perhaps learn a few new techniques from, when a close friend suggested I join the South African Cake Decorators Guild.

Being an eager beaver, I googled them and joined the very next month. I have now been with the Cape Town branch for just over a year, and much to my surprise I have already found myself on the committee. I must confess that I am the second youngest person in our group, age is but a number so they say. Either way there is a great amount to learn from the masters.

We meet once a month for two hours and in that time we get treated to tea, cake and a demonstration from a professional in the field. Be it royal icing, chocolate work or the making of fondant flowers, I have already seen a few of our greats in action. Just to name a few, Susan Verway, Katrien Van Zyl, Sanli Albertze, Rinda Strauss & Cynthia Fletcher. It is wonderful that the guild is a place where artists alike are willing to share and teach.

As a guild member we have the opportunity to visit other branches and attend their monthly meetings and demonstrations. Earlier this year my branch held its annual fundraising event, our Day of Demonstrations.


It was a huge event for us as we had close to 200 people attend. The day was filled with a variety of demonstrations, lucky draws, shops and raffles, all of which was organized by our very own members. A huge amount of work went into the day and it was a great success.

We also host a variety of hands-on workshops during the year. I find this is a great way to learn alongside and interact with other budding decorators. Another perk is that members get an exclusive subscription to the Sugar Craft Magazine (not available on shelves) that we receive three times a year. This mag is filled with pictures of recent show cakes, news from the different branches all around the country, as well as supplier specials and lessons offered.

Talking about shows, I am entering my very first show cake in a month’s time. The nerves are already starting! I will most certainly take pictures and post them after the judging has taken place. I will have you know that there is this little green booklet of guidelines that need to be adhered to. This is a huge learning curve and a complete first for me. The fact that my show piece is going to be scrutinized by icing professionals is nerve wrecking. However I am looking forward to the judge’s critique as one can only improve from constructive criticism as we do not always get that from our beloved friends and family.

To the drawing board I go…

If you would like any more information on the guild, please comment below

Cake Jargon De-mystified


As cake decorators we’ve all come across a term or phrase that completely throws us out. Or perhaps a name of something that sounds nothing like it really is. All hobbies, jobs and societies have their own jargon that develops over time and cakeland is no exception. I am going to clarify the decorating terms that are most used and then you too can talk the cakey lingo with confidence.

Airbrushing: Operating a paint gun that uses an air pump/compressor to spray a fine mist of food colouring very finely and evenly onto iced cakes, cupcakes or biscuits.


Crumb coat/Dirty ice: Applying a thin layer/base coat of icing all over your filled cake to keep the crumbs sealed in. This also helps your cake not to dry out if you are unable to frost it immediately.


Dam: The piped border of icing around the edge of your cake, ensures that your filling does not leak out.


Dowels: Wooden rods or plastic tubes that are strategically placed inside a filled and frosted cake to support it from collapsing into the cake beneath it.

stacking 5http://www.thatreallyfrostsme.com/2010/05/stacking-tiered-cake.html

Dragees: Hard, round, edible sugar balls coated in assorted colours and used for decorative purposes.


Dummy: A round or square shape made from polystyrene that can be iced and decorated as a real cake to resemble fake tiers.


Fill: To spread icing, ganache, jam or mousse inside your dam, between your cake layers to glue them together.


Fondant: A sweet, elasticy icing made of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatine. This is then rolled out with a rolling pin and draped over a cake.


Frost: To cover your dirty iced cake in buttercream icing or chocolate ganache.


Gum paste: Fondant with a gum stiffening agent. This mixture is used for handmade flowers and other three-dimensional decorations.


Leveling: Trimming the top or dome of your cake straight before you tort and fill.


Plunger cutters/Ejectors: A plastic cutter, that can be pressed into rolled out fondant and a specific shape is then pushed out.


Stack: Individual cakes that are doweled are placed directly on top of one another.


Tappits: A selection of letters or numbers on a flexible piece of plastic. Gum paste is used with tappits.


Torting: Splitting a single cake layer in half horizontally to form two layers, ready to now be filled.


Tubes/Tips/Nozzles: A variety of shaped, open-end tips used to form icing decorations. These range in numbers from the smallest used for royal icing to the bigger used for buttercream icing and fillings.


Turntable: A round, rotating surface that you place your cakes onto. This assists with making decorating even and steady.

Ocean Waves Ombre Cake How To8http://thegirlinspired.com/2012/07/ocean-waves-ombre-cake-tutorial/

This is only the top of the proverbial cake jargon iceberg. New terms and techniques are constantly being created. If you get to know these basics you are well on your way to happy cake decorating.

Please let me know if have any questions