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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Jubilant Jubilee Party

I wanted to share some of our photo's with you from our Diamond Jubilee party here in Germany.  I believe I have become more patriotic since living away from the Motherland, but watching the coverage of the Diamond Jubilee events in the UK on the TV - I think most people have become more patriotic; even if they are still living in their home country.  It was really fantastic watching Britain and the commonwealth countries unite in celebration.

The whole idea of having a party started off as a joke with me saying I didn't think we would be seeing many street parties around locally.  It was here the idea was born - We can do our own!! A few of us got our heads together and came forward with ideas for the party.  It's great when you work with others and end up with a great plan!!

Here's how it went ...

The Decorations ...

Welcome everyone!!

Those of us that were travelling home to the UK were able to purchase Diamond Jubilee bunting. 

We posted several pictures of the Queen throughout her life.

More bunting ... and the Union Jack

These were sent over from England ... whispers of a Jubilee Party!! =)

Starting to take shape!! 

The Food .... decoration in itself! Everyone who attended was asked to bring food for the buffet ...

This cake turned out far better than I had expected, you can read about the joys of making this here

People really made an effort ... isn't this cool!!

Another work of 'food art'!

Here's our 'big' 5 year old checking out what was on the menu!! 
Food glorious food .... even cucumber sandwiches!! =)

The Fun ...

Face painting ...

Crown decorating ... this little girl was definitely 'Kid of the Party'

Badminton ...

Having a Splash ...

Story telling ...

Trampolining ...

Bouncy Castle ...

We had planned a lot of things we didn't get around to doing, like 3 legged races etc All is not lost as we will use those ideas at our Olympics 2012 party!! =)

Our friends were so great sharing their garden and all of their outdoor goodies with us all!! The venue really made it a fun party.  However it was just lovely to get together and enjoy our Britishness and celebrate our beautiful and hard working Queen Elizabeth II!! God Save the Queen!!

Did you plan or attend any Diamond Jubilee celebrations?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How to make marshmallow fondant.

The first time I tried this was last year.  My husband trained to be a chef before returning to University and setting out on a new career, so basically I don't usually even try to create anything in the kitchen.  Anything like birthday cakes and special occasions are left to him.

Alas my husband was away for a 3 month period on business when our soon to be five year old was inviting every man and his dog (and I include women in that) to his birthday party.  He went on and on for a birthday party for forever ... ugh kids ... food .... cake and no husband!! HELP!! I tried to put him off the idea, but our five year old wasn't budging and not any old cake ... a Toy Story cake! ... shreeek!!!

I couldn't find any ready to roll icing here in Germany so I search on google for how to make it from scratch.  Please note this was merely research and was expecting to come to the conclusion of 'that's not easy enough for me .... forget it!!!'  Where's Costco when you need it most?!!!

Well I came across some Youtube clips on how to make the stuff from marshmallows.  What???

Here's the clip I used.

Marshmallow fondant

It works great!!  Please take notice of when she says grease your hands and anything else!!  Remove any jewellery in advance too.

It works really well and I have so far covered two cakes using this fondant.  Here's how the first one turned out.

The toys are actual toys!! =)

This is my second cake I decorated using this method.  You can read about it here.

Maybe I'll even try another .... haha

Diamond Jubilee cake ... fit for a queen!!

How are the Diamond Jubilee celebrations going?  I'd love to hear how you've marked the day wherever you may be living.

Here in Germany, as a joke, I remarked how there wouldn't be any street parties. It was here that the idea was born to hold our own garden party with the local Brits!   Excitement is an understatement! I'll be blogging about that in the next couple of days!

I set up a facebook event page to invite people and get the information out there.  One daily posting on there was of this picture of a crown cake that the royal cake maker made.

Royal Cake Maker crown cake - Daily Mail
My question was ... who can make this for our centrepiece?? No one came forward!! So I just went on with other postings getting everyone warmed up for the day.  My initial suggestion of who could make this cake was thrown back at me ..."Michelle - have a go!!"  I don't really enjoy being in kitchen. EEk!! I always used to joke I would have to marry a chef ... and guess what?  Yup! I did!! Anyway I got all brave and decided to attempt it.  If all else failed we would have a lot of victoria sponge that could end up in trifle!! haha.

I got to work and made 4 individual victoria sponges to layer up and filled the layers with butter cream and jam filling.

Look how messy it looks!! I told you ... baking, cooking ... the process is no joy for me!! =) I was so embarressed at how messy it looked that I wanted to get it iced as quickly as I could so my hubby wouldn't see the imperfections MESS!  In all of my rushing (which I think is my main problem!) it turned out an even bigger mess.  Please note I have only iced one other cake in my entire life before so I am new to all of this.  Are you hearing my excuses? I had used ready icing (the roll out stuff) and it was too dry, broke up and cracked ... yuck!! 

Then to cover up the disaster of that, I decided if I stuck on mini marshmallows on top of the fondant - it could look better .... mistake number 5,000.

Look ....

I took this pic on my iPad so it isn't such good quality.  Please don't laugh ... too much! Oh never mind ... just laugh!! I can now!! What's the first thing that pops into your head?? Diamonds maybe?  No I didn't think so - independently hubby & I both thought it looked like a tea pot and hubby even thought the marshmallows added the effect of a tea cosy! How creative of me!! 

At this point I wanted him to say it's GREAT .. it'll go down a treat. He didn't!! The silence and deep thought was telling me realistically this cake couldn't go to our jubilee party dressed like this!! 

The next morning I called a British friend who is a cake maker and we went into crisis talks.  I knew I could do it better if I could just get hold of purple food colouring paste.  I wonder if you can find this stuff over here?  Anyhow we met at her son's school, me on bike with wet hair ... desperate!! She has a treasure trove of food colouring pastes and goodies!! I dashed home, stripped the cake back to the sponge and re-buttercreamed it.

I smoothed it all off and placed it in the fridge for a while.

I then got to start on my marshmallow fondant.  I followed a youtube video that I found last year.  Here it is and it makes the most wonderful stuff to cover a cake with.

Here is the link to the video on how to make it!

After following these instructions and adding the purple paste ... I arrived at this stage ...

Great eh?  Except i didn't want an octopus! =)  I was starting to feel a lot more confident at this point.  And so continued to trim and smooth the fondant and then made the gold stuff the same way; and decorated some more.

We are starting to take shape!! Now I am feeling extremely happy!!

Then I could add the fun bits ...

This is the finished result ......

What do you think?

You know what I learned all through this?  Is not to give up, not to settle for just OK and mostly as I was reflecting on my first attempt and my disappointment, was how blessed I am to have my hubby and how grateful I am that he doesn't just say things like 'Oh it's fine!!' so that he doesn't hurt my feelings.  Rather that he is on my side - always to make me realise I am better than I think I am and help me achieve more than I think is possible.  He could have jumped in at anytime and made something much better I am sure.  But he didn't, he helped me to grow and achieve something. It's not perfect but you know it doesn't matter.  Everyone loved it and it was worth all of the effort!!

And ... it even tasted good! That's a bonus right?? 

Have you had any failures and successes with baking? Please share! =)