Sugar roses

I wanted to show you what we've been up to in the Maisie Fantaisie cake kitchen this week. One of our wedding cakes is to be decorated with an abundance of these beautiful sugar roses. They're just so pretty I wanted to share them with you! The inner layers of petals are made with individual petals and the 2 outer layers are made with a 5 petal cutter. We've left the roses to dry overnight after adding each layer, this makes them a lot easier to work with and a lot less fragile. When the cake is finished, I'll post a picture!

pink-sugar-roses

Update: And here is the finished cake!

pink-sugar-roses

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The devil is in the detail

'We all know the devil is in the detail. Excellence is in the accumulation of seemingly inconsequential, minor and weightless details. Yet, if you gather them together lovingly and patiently, along with your team's intelligence – it is possible to create weight and density……..for a fleeting second, one may feel that one has touched excellence' – Raymond Blanc

I found this quote on the Le Manoir website last week and being a passionate perfectionist myself it resonated perfectly with my own personal aesthetic values. An article I read once called me the 'goddess of small things, driven by an unwavering commitment to excellence she creates precise, flawless and beautiful wedding cakes' which I thought rather flowery!

But of course it's true. Pay attention to the inconsequential details and beauty will appear and let herself be seen. Whether your designs are simple or complex they will only work if you consider every aspect of their creation. Their geometric form, their weight and balance, the colour and spacing of decoration and accessories all combine and amount to give them weight and density and hopefully excellence.

It is an elusive quality that has to be nurtured and encouraged. It is also very important to leave space for accidents to happen, as these may elevate your initial idea beyond your initial expectations.

Though, you can't win them all, sometimes you reach but miss, and these creations fall by the cakeside, in my case eaten by the happy and excited children that gather around my door on baking days!

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet on my blog for the past few weeks. That's because I've been busy designing my new website of which I'm very excited about!….please take a look here Wedding Cakes by Maisie Fantaisie xx

antoinette-wedding-cake

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Starting a wedding cake company

Recently my husband told me that the radio took 38 years to reach 50 million users, television took 13 years, the internet 4 years and facebook 2 years. Spreading the word about your business or music or blogging about your life and interests is easier than it ever was and sometimes It feels like there aren't enough hours in the day and that life is rushing away from us faster than we can keep up.

So where does the time go?

When it comes to blogging, I'm a newbie. I've been reading some past posts from my blog and I've been thinking how lovely my life sounds. I always seem to be either popping around a friends house for tea and cake, or buying some special ingredient for a new recipe or deciding which dress to wear to tonight's party.

I've noticed that I don't seem to have the time to mention how busy i am.  Why?

I often work more than 10 hours a day including weekends and there is a stream of constant duties to perform including administration, staff management, ordering supplies, sketching designs, meetings and consultations, or arranging deliveries and collections. While at the same time I am writing a book and marketing and promoting my company. I am running a thriving business and the cost is my time but I've noticed that I don't blog the stress.

The other night we were invited by friends to share a bottle of wine and to watch our favourite TV series 'Lost' at their house. When we arrived my husband found a book in their kitchen called 'The dummies guide to cognitive behavioral therapy'… according to this book 'You are what you think'. This is so true.

Focusing on all the positive aspects in my life and work has been really beneficial to me and everyone around me. Yes, i have lots of duties to perform and things to do that I'd rather not – but I also have so many things that I cherish and enjoy.

This is what my blog is about. It is about freedom.

Starting my own wedding cake company was the second best thing i ever did (the first was marrying my wonderful husband!). I now own my time. There is no one here to tell me when I can eat lunch or who decides what I wear or who I can talk to. I have real job security too. If my company goes under it's my fault not some anonymous board of directors. So, if you are a hobbyist or an amateur sugar-crafter then my advice to you is to start your own business. In the current climate it's a perfect solution to redundancies and job losses and though it's very demanding, it's also so much fun. So if time is rushing by and you're stuck in a job that you don't like then defrost your passion and pop a cake in the oven.

In the meantime I'm going to waffle on about all the wonderful things that I love in my life..incidentally one of them being waffles with maple syrup!

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Velvet dreams…

We have very light curtains in our bedroom because we like to keep the room nice and bright and airy. This is a problem because with any light in the room I'm a terrible sleeper! The room has to be dark otherwise I wake up and, not one for lying in bed and dreaming of wedding cakes, I get up……and with these lovely light Summer mornings we're having now, it means there are no sleep-ins for me. This was until I bought this fabulous eye mask. It's comfortable in velvet and satin and filled with lavender. It makes the room so dark that I think it's the middle of the night in the morning. And girls if you're feeling playful, it doubles as a blindfold! Perfect x

silk_eye_mask_purple_lrg

You can get one here – www.aromahome.com

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Grace Kelly's wedding dress

I recently designed a Grace Kelly inspired wedding cake and whilst browsing the internet I came across an article about MGM's designer costume designer Helen Rose. I read that Helen had been Grace Kelly's wedding dress designer. Helen Rose was hired by Twentieth century fox in 1942 to work on their musicals. By 1956 she had designed the clothes for the stars of more than ninety films. Of these films four were for Grace Kelly, including one of my all time favourite musicals 'High Society'. While working on the film Helen received the assignment to design Grace's wedding dress for her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco and their starting point was one of the ball gowns worn in the movie. MGM studios made every resource available to Helen and the gown took six weeks to prepare and involved 35 MGM craftspeople who all worked to make the dress to be a masterpiece.

prince-rainier-and-grace-kelly

Grace's wedding gown was the most expensive design that Helen Rose had ever made. It used twenty-five yards of silk taffeta and one hundred yards of silk net. Its 125-year-old rose point lace was purchased from a museum and thousants of tiny pearls were sewn on the veil. Grace was 26 years old.

The 600 wedding guests included Hollywood stars David Niven and his wife, Gloria Swanson, Ava Gardner, the Aga Khan, and Conrad Hilton. Queen Elizabeth flatly refused to attend on the grounds of there being “too many movie stars.” The ceremony was watched on television by an estimated 30 million people!

helen-rose

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Zesty lemon and rose cupcakes

I was strolling around Brixton market on Saturday and a bottle of rose water in the window of the Indian supermarket caught my eye. It was a lovely sunny day and I had been invited round to a neighbours for a cup of tea that afternoon. Always one to try out a new recipe on a friend I decided to buy a bottle of the rose water and pop some cupcakes in the oven. On the way home I passed a stall selling the most sunshine yellow lemons I have seen in ages, so I decided the recipe would be lemon and rose. Earlier I had bought some crystallized rose petals from 'Rococo Chocolates' on the kings road and so I popped them on top as little decorations.

Slightly ordinary to the eye these little cakes hide a flavour sensation. My neighbour remarked 'It's like biting into a piece of Summer'. Perfect little sophisticated tea time treats.

'ZESTY LEMON AND ROSE-WATER CUPCAKES'
(zesty lemon cupcakes, lemon syrup drizzle, rose-water glace icing, crystalized rose petals)

lemon_rose_cupcakes_opener

makes 12

Zesty lemon cupcakes recipe
50g plain flour
175g self raising flour
175g golden caster sugar
175g butter, softened
4 eggs
90ml water
Zest of 1 lemon
Half teaspoon of vanilla extract

Lemon syrup
Juice of 1 lemon
5 teaspoons of caster sugar

Rose-water glace icing
150g icing sugar
Rose-water

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (160 for a fan oven)
2. Line a 12 tin muffin tin with 12 muffin cases
3. Sift the flours into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and butter
4. break the eggs into another bowl, add the water and vanilla extract. Beat mixture together
5. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mix, add the lemon zest and beat on a fast speed.
6. Divide the mixture between the 12 tins and bake in the oven for approx 30 mins or until golden brown and bouncy to the touch.
7. Whilst the cakes are baking make the lemon syrup. Juice the lemon into a small pan and add the sugar. Turn onto a low heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved.

lemon_rose_cupcakes_pic1

8. When the cakes are baked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.
9. When the cakes are still warm, pour a teaspoon of the lemon syrup over each cake. Allow to cool

lemon_rose_cupcakes_pic2

10. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add drops of the rose-water gradually until the icing becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. You don't want it too runny, so if it's looking like you've added a little too much rose-water, add a little more sifted icing sugar to thicken.
11. When the cakes are cool, spoon a teaspoonful of the glace icing on the top of the cupcake and smooth over.

lemon_rose_cupcakes_pic3

12. I chose a few little crystallized rose petals as my decoration, bought from 'Rococo Chocolates' on the Kings Road .

'ZESTY LEMON AND ROSE-WATER CUPCAKES'

lemon_rose_cupcakes_final

Happy Baking X

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A time gone by…..

I just love the glamour of iconic weddings. Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, Elvis and Priscilla and here, Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart.

bacall_and_bogart

Married On May 21, 1945, their wedding and honeymoon took place at Malabar Farm in Lucas, Ohio.

malabar_farm

It was the country home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, a close friend of Bogart. The wedding was held in the Big House. Bacall was 20 and Bogart was 45…lucky fella!

I'm not too sure about the wedding cake though? What do you think?

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Tea and cakes at 'Ladurée'

My sister and my little niece came to visit today and she got very excited when I suggested that we all go for tea at 'Ladurée'. Ladurée is a luxury tea salon originally based in Paris. They have outlets in Monaco, Switzerland, Tokyo and a London boutique at 'Harrods' in Knightsbridge. In the late 1800's tearooms were a big success with ladies of the Parisian high society, who enjoyed the freedom of meeting and socialising at the tearooms rather than in their homes. Ladurée's rise to fame came in 1930 when they had the original idea of the double-decker, sticking two macaroon shells together with a creamy ganache as filling, fifteen thousand of which are sold every day! I love this place so much. It's like stepping into a fairy tale and a real treat to the taste buds. I had rose petal ice cream with lychees and Chantilly cream served in a silver bowl and a chocolate eclair! As I spooned some chocolate sauce from my niece's dessert on to my ice cream dream the flavours inspired me to make a chocolate and rose petal cake. Recipe coming soon.

my neice at Laduree

Oh the dilemma! My niece at Ladurée

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Dom Perignon Vintage 1996

I'm not a champagne connoisseur, but I do like the odd drop of bubbly. Last night as a treat to celebrate my birthday, my friends opened up a bottle of 'Dom Perignon Vintage 1996 Champagne'. They are connoisseurs and they keep their collection at exactly the right temperature in a special fridge. We had been drinking some lovely chilled Rosé in the garden and when the Dom Perignon bottle was produced I have to admit that I was a little intimidated. I was quietly worried that I wouldn't get the subtle flavours and that the bottle would be wasted on me. How wrong could I be? I have to say it was the most delicious glass of champagne I have ever tasted. I truly savoured each mouthful and loved trying to pick out the subtle notes and tones of flavour. We all agreed that this vintage was like a warm honey buttered crumpet. I read this morning that 'Dom Perignon Vintage 1996' is one of the best of recent times. It is the 'Creme de la Creme' from Moet & Chandon, and is named after the Father of Champagnes. I was also chuffed to read that the flavours picked out by Champagne lovers across the globe include honeysuckle, lemon oil, bread dough and hints of brioche. Our taste buds were working well and now that I have tasted this nectar I have been well and truly spoiled. It has opened up a flavour sensation and I'm wondering how I could ever settle for anything else! I'm already looking forward to the next bottle. Perfect with one of my wedding cakes. Oh dear….off to raid the piggy bank!  Thank you O & R xx

dom-perignon

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Eco-friendly bags!

Fold-up bags aren't a new invention, but this range of stylish reusable shopping bags will come in really handy when you want to hit the shops! I was gifted one of these bags by my Auntie Ginny a couple of months ago and I never leave the house without it. Perfect for either picking up wedding cake supplies at my local market or shopping for shoes in town. The bag compacts to about 4 x 1.5 inches but when unfolded it's a great size and very comfortable on the shoulder! No more old Sainsbury's carrier bags for me! Here is the design that I have….

eco-friendly-bag
Visit there website here – http://www.envirosax.com/

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