A very special cake for the Bee Lady’s 95th Birthday!

 

Welcome to a little ‘behind the scenes’ insight into my cake donation for Jean (The Bee Lady) Bishop’s 95th Birthday Party…….

So, back in March this year, whilst I was away at Cake International in Birmingham, my brother heard an appeal on a local radio station. BBC Radio Humberside were throwing a party for local fundraiser Jean Bishop aka The Bee Lady, who was celebrating her 95th birthday in May and they were looking for local people/businesses to donate their services for this good cause.

For those of you who don’t know her, Jean is a local fundraiser for Age Concern. She is a truly inspirational character and local celebrity/hero!! For more information, please visit the Age UK page, link below:

  Jean Bishop – The Bee Lady

Of course, as soon as my brother told me, I jumped at the chance to be involved in celebrating this major local event. It is great to have the opportunity to give something back to those who truly deserve it, so I contacted the presenters Carl and Lizzie straight away, to offer my services.

The week before the event, local television station, BBC Look North, asked if they could film me making a start on the cake. Aargh!! I don’t even like having my photograph taken, never mind being filmed!! I foolishly agreed and they came to shoot a quick video of me making flowers etc. They even filmed my sketched plans for the cake. Now, anyone who knows me, knows full well that I am totally unskilled in drawing. A 5 year old could draw better than me (and they regularly do at my day job as a nursery nurse in a local primary school).

Anyway, filming over, I continued with my preparations….flowers, bees and more bees….. I came up with the bright idea of making 95 bees (1 for each year of Jean’s life), luckily my daughter Rachel stepped in to help by hand painting all of the black stripes (I knew her GCSE Art would come in handy one day!!)……

     

Next, I baked (& baked) lots of cakes, to make up the 3 tiers of sponge (2 tiers of vanilla and 1 tier of lemon).

Filling, layering and covering the 3 tiers was a massive job, particularly as the bottom tier was a deep 3 layered cake! The top tier was carved to look like a beehive, whilst the middle tier needed to be airbrushed with ‘bee stripes’.

But, at last, it was time to start carefully staking the cake!

Finishing touches were made (attaching the edible prints to the bottom tier, depicting moments in Jean’s life like her ‘community chest card’ in the Hull edition of Monopoly, the local telephone box painted with yellow and black stripes in her honour and more besides…and finding places for all of the 95 handmade bees! I never want to see another bee again, well at least not for a while).

 

Once the cake was complete, there was just the little matter of an edible, replica bee lady to make for the top! I hand modelled the topper with modelling paste, dressed in her iconic bee outfit, complete with bee hat, antennae and collecting tin.

It was a very nervous drive to The Guildhall in Hull the night before the party to deliver the cake. Luckily it arrived in one piece…well almost….one of the bees tried to escape but was quickly put back in place!!

 

I was honoured to have been invited to attend Jean’s party, so with new dresses and shoes for the occasion, Rachel and I had a great time. It was such a privilege to be there, amongst Jean’s friends, family and supporters. Lots of other local companies and individuals had donated too, from buffet food and balloons to bunting and choirs, pianists etc… not to mention the hundreds of cards sent to wish Jean a very happy birthday!

       

I hope Jean liked the cake, she definitely seemed very happy when she was cutting it!

 

It was a truly memorable day for a truly memorable lady!

Happy 95th Birthday Jean Bishop, Hull’s very own Bee Lady xxx

 

 

 

My path to Gold at Cake International March 2017

My Gold award winning entry at Cake International, Spring 2017

      

This is the journey that took me to my first Gold Award at Cake International!

So, it all began with a visit to a local plumbers merchant and DIY store for pipes, fittings and MDF to make the internal structure and base. I really don’t know what the man at the plumbers merchants thought when I explained what I needed everything for!

Everything securely fixed into place!

With the internal support structure in place, it was time to get cracking, making lots and lots and lots of Rice Krispie Treats (RKT). I chose this medium, rather than cake, so that I could work on the piece over a number of weeks, and RKT are not as heavy as cake, so would be easier to transport to the competition.

    

With the RKT in place on the structure, I used life size photos of the ‘White Walker King’ to mould and carve the RKT to the correct shape and size proportions, then covered with yummy chocolate ganache!! (Remembering to make holes for the eyes too).

Once the foundations were in place, it was time to start creating the features……

 

The facial features were modelled using modelling chocolate, each join and seam was carefully blended together. This process took 2-3 days to complete!

  

I took a lot of time creating the eyes as these are so important to bringing out that menacing look! They were hand painted and finished with several coats of edible glaze to give a good shine.

The white modelling chocolate was hand dusted with edible dusts in varying shades of black, grey, silver and blue.

Once the head was complete, it was time to start on the body armour! This was certainly time consuming, not to mention a little tedious at times…..

Each small, thin strip of modelling chocolate was hand cut to the same size and attached by hand, one at a time, to the model, taking care to ensure they were aligned correctly with each other! It sent my eyes a little boggled at times!!

   

With the hundreds and hundreds of blocks finally in position, covering the front and back of the armour, it was time to start on the shoulder plates.

These were cut to size from modelling chocolate, supported in place with kitchen paper until dry. Then, more little blocks to cut by hand and attached to the shoulder plates…….

Once all of the blocks were in place (phew!!), it was time to hand dust each block, as well as in-between each block, to create depth and shadows, with a mixture of dark grey and black edible dusts.

I also created a ‘badge’ for the front of the armour (hand cut and dusted again in same shades), which I attached in position.

The dagger was made with modelling paste, painted with edible glaze for shine and then strips of sugar paste were twisted to look like rope for the handle.

I wrote the inscription on wafer paper with edible ink, airbrushed with blue iridescent colour.

The board was covered with dried flakes of sugar paste, mixed with edible glitter and lustre dusts to look like ice.

I finished off by using pearl and iridescent airbrush colours to highlight and give a sheen to the head and ice.

After 6 weeks of hard work, my piece was finally finished, ready to pack up and transport very carefully to Birmingham.

   

 

On the morning of the show, I loaded the car (including a fixing tool kit…just in case!) and set off around 4am for the 2-1/2 hour drive to the NEC in Birmingham.

Once there, my White Walker King was placed on the competition tables (luckily he had survived the journey without any damage) to await the judging.

I was lucky enough to see my piece being judged….the judges are very, very thorough. He was inspected from every angle and they did get very up close and personal with him, it was scary to watch!

Being Judged!

After a sleepless Friday night, it was time to get the results at the show on Saturday.  I approached the table very nervously, what if they didn’t like him, what if he had been declared ‘not to schedule’ (if any of the rules had not been followed properly)….I felt sick, I didn’t dare to look…. But what was that, a card next to him….I had been awarded something at least!

I could not believe my eyes when I saw the ‘Gold Award’ card…..I cried (happy tears!) and quickly telephone/text/messaged everyone with the good news.

 

It was an amazing weekend, which has opened up new opportunities for me, like writing tutorials and articles for Cake International Magazine.

Never did I think in my wildest dreams that I would be an award winning cake artist, not to mention published in one of my favourite cake magazines!

Life is an amazing journey, and I am enjoying every minute of my ‘Cake Adventure’.

Thanks for reading

Julie

xxx

2016 – looking back at an amazing year for Julie’s Cake in a Box!!

 

As the year draws to a close, I thought I would look back at some of the fun challenges and my favourite cakes throughout 2016.

So, this time last year saw me attempt my first modelled figure with an internal armature structure.  Following Rhu Strand’s tutorial on Paul Bradford’s Sugarcraft school, I was guided through the process of turning this:

into this:

I then went on to experiment with my own designs, creating ‘Dobby’ and the bride from ‘Kill Bill’.

   

These figures gave me the confidence to compete at Cake International later in the year, which turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences!  Getting a Silver Award for my first ever entry at Cake International, Birmingham in November surpassed all my wildest dreams! My BFG currently takes pride of place in my local library in Beverley, East Yorkshire.

   

     

I was also lucky enough to be chosen to participate in the Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School Xmas Display Table at Cake International. The brief was to create your own version of a Paul Bradford Christmas tutorial cake, so I made a ‘pimped up’ Santa Face!

A reoccurring theme of the year, with regards to customer cakes, was definitely messy and girly! Lots of messy bedrooms (both girls and boys) and lots of make up themed cakes! I have to say, these are amongst my favourite requests, as I love making all the fiddly bits and bobs…..obviously having 3 teenage children for inspiration (one of which is a girl) does have its advantages x

      

   

Sports themed cakes also played a big part in 2016’s cake orders:

     

Another new challenge for me over the summer of 2016, was becoming a new member of the Katy Sue Design Team. An absolutely honour to be chosen and lots of new challenges and opportunities, which will be continuing into 2017! Some of my favourite designs so far:

   

   

It was fantastic to see my ‘Alice In Wonderland’ cake featured in the new Cake International Magazine!

  

Another favourite moment, was creating this beautiful 5 tier wedding cake with handmade cascading sugar roses. One of my larger cakes of the year!

My last challenge of the year was being involved in the CPC Collaborations 15th Anniversary of Shrek celebration. Unfortunately, a few artists had to drop out, but the 6 of us who remained, revealed the results on 30th December. This was totally out of my comfort zone, never having attempted a bust cake before, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am looking forward to more collaborations next year!

    

Wow! Looking back, it has been an amazing year. I have learnt so much and made so many fantastic friends along the way.

Here’s to another year of fun, friendship and opportunities to share!

Thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout my adventure so far.

Julie xx                      

Viennese Whirls – Inspired by The Great British Bake Off

I know I am a little late in writing this, but think back to week 2 of The Great British Bake Off.  I have never make Viennese Whirls before, so figured I would give them a whirl (sorry for the pun)!

So, I dug out my Mary Berry recipe book, found a recipe for Viennese fingers, close enough I thought, and here’s what happened…..

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First I whisked together the butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy…

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Then sieved in the flour & baking powder, before mixing again….

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Mixture was put into a piping bag and piped onto greaseproof paper (with circles drawn on – I used a round cutter as a template)….

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Now, at this point I should really have chilled them in the fridge for a while, so they hold their shape when cooked, but time was ticking and the kids were impatient…… so, I baked them straight away instead!!

Cooling on a baking tray, a little flatter than I would have liked (see above – should have chilled them first!!!)

When cool, spread with jam, pipe on buttercream and sandwich together.

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Then, enjoy with a cup of tea (or coffee)……yummy!!!

The kid’s verdict – “nice, but a bit crumbly”… I’ll take that as a compliment!

So, hope this has inspired you to have a go?

Thanks for reading,

Julie

xx

Katy Sue Design Team Member

design-team-cake-logo

As you may have seen from my Facebook posts, I have recently been chosen as a new member of the Katy Sue Design Team. I am delighted and honoured to be chosen for such an amazing and exciting opportunity!

For those who don’t know, Katy Sue Designs are a UK based company, who design and manufacture food safe moulds for cake decorating (amongst other things). To visit their website, click here.

As a Katy Sue Design Team Member, I receive new moulds (before they are released for sale). I then design and produce cakes, cupcakes, biscuits etc, using these new (and existing) moulds, sending in photos of my creations to be used to promote the new products.

So, my first batch of moulds that I received, were the ‘Creative Cake System’ moulds, a range of moulds designed to produce the look of intricate royal icing piped work, without the need for piping!! A dream for those of us who are not confident with our piping skills….

creative-cake-system-moulds

_mg_9425       Ta Dah!! Here is my first cake!

Some close up shots…..     _mg_9277 _mg_9275It was so easy with the new moulds

Here is a completely different cake, produced with the same set of moulds…

_mg_9320-edit  So versatile and easy to use!

There is also a mini & micro version of these moulds, which I used to produce a mini-me version of the 3 tier cake for this ‘Teddy Bears Wedding’ cake…

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Even the teddy bride’s earrings were made with the micro mould…

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A close up of the miniature 3 tier cake, plus, to get a real sense of the size & scale, a photo taken next to the full size cake!!

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I also made some biscuits with the mini/micro set….

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Close up shots… _mg_9336   _mg_9349

So, as you can see, I have had a very busy, fun time with the new Katy Sue Moulds!!

I have already started working on my designs for the next launch of a new set of moulds, all will be revealed in a few weeks, so watch this space…….

Thanks for reading,

Julie

Blog – Welcome to the Julie’s Cake in a Box new blog!

Hello, and welcome to my blog!

First let me introduce myself.

Blog photo

My name is Julie Rogerson and I live in Beverley, East Yorkshire, UK  

I share my home with my partner Mark, my 3 teenage children (Andrew 18, Rachel 16 and Jack 14) and my springer spaniel Sandy.

I have always loved to bake!  I started out as a child, helping my mum in the kitchen, going on to share my interest with my own children. Although to be fair I think they were more interested in licking out the bowl!!         lick the bowlI discovered my passion for cake decorating around 4 years ago, took a 5 week evening course, watched a lot of online tutorials, had a play with some sugar paste and the rest is history (as they say!).

I now run my business, Julie’s Cake in a Box, currently fitting it around my day job as a Nursery Nurse at a local primary school, although I would love to do this as a full time job!

The purpose for my blog is to share my cake decorating information, news, tips etc with you all. I hope to be able to share lots of experiences along the way. Hold on tight, it could be fun ride!      roller-coaster

Please take a look at my website, checking back to see my newer cakes, as I will update my galleries on a regular basis.

You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter (links are on the home page of my website).

As well as my new website and blog, I have lots more exciting opportunities on the horizon! I can’t wait to share them all with you, but unfortunately my lips are sealed at the moment.    sealedlips

One thing I can tell you about is that I am entering a competition piece into the Cake International exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham.     2013-CAKE-International-A4-Logo_NEW+strap_MR

For those who haven’t heard of, or been to Cake International, it is a huge event in the Cake Decorator’s calendar. Although I have attended the event for the past two years, this will be the first time I have been brave enough (or stupid enough) to enter! Yikes!! Feeling a little nervous but excited too. I have spent the summer holidays creating my entry, but cannot share any photographs until the exhibition opens in November.   no-cameras-allowed-signSorry, has to stay under wraps for now.

Well, that’s all for now, stay tuned for more blog posts and happy baking.

Julie    xx        0U5A7377

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