Hello and welcome to my ramblings…

Hi. Check out the recipes page for a quick link to detailed recipes or sift through the Cakes and baking category for cake decorating inspiration and some tips and tricks. I love photography, so there are lots of random photos of where I live and places I’ve visited.

The “frowning” referred to in the name of the site references my love of intricate things like origami, designing cakes, painting, reading, puzzles and photography. As a result I can often be found focusing on a project or book so intently my eyebrows nearly meet in the middle…

*** Update*** This site is moving to: robertscakesandcooking.com
Check out the new site  robertscakesandcooking.com

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This site has moved – New website

New website minion cakeNew Website, I am in the process of moving everything from this site over to robertscakesandcooking.com
The new site will have a clearer purpose and is put together a bit better.

So wander over and check out robertscakesandcooking.com any feedback is welcome.
Thanks for visiting this site, I hope you Like the new one. 🙂

 

Cheers, Robert Harwood

 

 

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Tiffany cupcakes

Tiffany cupcakes

A client wanted Tiffany themed cupcakes that had a bit of “bling”.

I achieved the look by covering chocolate cupcakes with ganache and fondant then adding fondant bows. The bracelets, chains, hearts and keys were piped in grey royal icing then painted with an edible metallic silver food paint. To make the chains really sparkle I then painted them with edible silver glitter. I apply the glitter by mixing it with a small amount of vodka to make a thin paste to paint with. I was really happy with the end result and added a few variations with brush embroidery style royal icing decoration.

The cupcakes looked amazing on the night and the glitter caught the light well making the chains look like real sparkly silver jewelry.

   IMG_4244Tiffany cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kare Udon Recipe

Kare udon Curry (Kare) Udon Recipe

Delicious udon noodles in an amazing Japanese golden curry soup.

We discovered the awesomeness of Kare udon on holiday in Japan. A friend recommended we try kare udon while we were in Kyoto, but it wasn’t until we got to Harajuku we were finally had a chance. It was served in very large bowls and we were offered paper bibs, which in hindsight are a great idea regardless of how competent with chopsticks and a spoon you are…

Kare udon is so amazingly delicious I very quickly researched and worked out how to make a great version at home. The best part is that it is super quick and super easy to make.

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Cookie Monster cupcakes

These were an experiment making cookie monster cupcakes. I used Koolmints for the eyes with a dab of black gel food colouring for pupils. The biscuits are shop bought mini choc chip cookies. The “fur” is piped in buttercream using a grass/fur piping tip. It was difficult getting the right colour as the icing darkened up quickly in the heat as the butter began to melt, (buttercream on a 40 degree Celsius day in Western Australia is always going to have issues),  I added more sugar and the mix lightened up too quickly as more air was incorporated. If it’s a hot day I would recommend using royal icing instead of buttercream and ensuring that the cupcake mixture and the fillings are not too sweet. Koolmints work really well for the eyes but do have a very strong flavour so remember to ensure the cake and filling will work with a mint flavour. Overall these were very fast to decorate and very easy. I recommend getting a grass/fur piping tip, they have a lot of uses and make decorating a textured finish really quick. If you make these with Koolmints keep in mind that they will not be suitable for small children as the mints could be a choking hazard.
cookie monster cupcakes

cookie monster cupcakes

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Coca-Cola inspired cupcakes

A co-worker has a love of Coca-cola, and salted caramel macarons. For her Birthday this year I made her Coca-cola inspired cupcakes and a huge box of salted caramel macarons. The coke can cake toppers are made of fondant painted with edible silver food paint. Make a coke can mould by rolling out a thick disc of left over fondant and pressing the can into the fondant then letting the fondant dry over night. The next day the dry fondant mould can be lightly dusted with cornflour or painted with a very thin layer of oil and used several times to make lots of coke can toppers. Make a few moulds if you need a large quantity of toppers as the fondant moulds do wear out fairly quickly. Old or left over fondant can be used to make moulds of a large variety of simple shapes and objects.

fondant coca cola cupcakes

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Rhino wedding cake

Africa themed Wedding cake I made for my brother and sister in law. They have been studying and planning for the last few years to move to Africa and help save endangered rhinos and working on wildlife conservation projects. This is a layered ganache and chocolate cake, covered in ganache and then fondant.

rhinoceros wedding cake

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Modelling paste giraffe

_DSC4138A friend set me an interesting challenge. She wanted a giraffe themed cake for her niece’s 7th birthday party.

I suggested a 3D giraffe made from modelling paste, and asked her to check with her niece if she wanted a more realistic or a cartoon style giraffe. Her niece is obsessed with giraffes because she was born on the same day as one of the giraffes at Perth Zoo. I set to work studying pictures of giraffes for the next week and after looking at how other people tackled the task. I decided to do it differently from what I saw online and do a free standing giraffe with four separate legs.  I sculpted the giraffe in modelling paste, supporting the neck and the legs with wooden bamboo skewers. I allowed the model to dry overnight, then coated it with a thin coat of pale yellow royal icing to get a smooth porcelain like finish. I then painted on the detail with food dye mixed with water and a very small amount of left over royal icing. The flowers are some of the left over modelling paste.

I was incredibly happy with the final result. The giraffe is made using my home made modelling paste recipe and the fondant is my home made fondant recipe. Making your own fondant and modelling paste, saves an absolute fortune and is easier than most people would expect. My Modelling paste recipe can be found by clicking here. My fondant recipe is here.

Modelling paste giraffe

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Modelling paste recipe used for my wedding cake flowers

The modelling paste recipe included after the photos is extremely simple and cheap to make. It is also easier and more reliable than a lot of shop bought modelling paste and is really quite forgiving. I have been using this recipe for years to create everything from sugar paste flowers to detailed figurines. Best of all it is gluten free and has just three ingredients and water, all of which you can get at nearly any supermarket.

This is our wedding cake. After quite a bit of searching my wife found a picture of a cake she liked online. We updated and recreated the design on a slightly larger scale than the original and in colours to match our theme.

The cake was layered chocolate with dark chocolate ganache, covered in ganache and then fondant.

I was very happy with the final result, and more importantly so was my wife.

The cake just after I delivered it to the venue the morning of the wedding.

Home made modelling paste flowersSugarpaste flowers recipe

 

 

 

Modelling paste flowers recipe

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Housewarming cake with royal icing key cake topper.

A close family friend asked if we would make a cake for their house warming. I wanted to reference their home’s colour theme: it is decorated in white, Tiffany blue and shades of aqua. The biggest problem was identifying what motifs work for a housewarming. I eventually found a neat house shaped cookie cutter to make fondant silhouettes around the cake, but I was having difficulty deciding on a cake topper.

After much deliberation I settled on the idea of a key for the topper. I looked at a number of shops for a nice key ornament I could use, but couldn’t find one. In a moment of inspiration I decided to make my own, piping one with royal icing onto a wooden skewer. I Googled “Ornate keys”, printed a picture of a key I liked the shaped of, placed it under grease proof paper and copied the shaped in icing; leaving each layer a couple of hours to dry.
I was very happy with the result of this experiment. It was the first time I have tried to create a “3D” model out of piped royal icing.

 

IMG_3023

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Our Wedding Dance

We started going to beginner ballroom lessons at Gilkisons in Perth when we were still just friends. So when we got engaged we decided to have a few private lessons with a teacher who could choregraph a special dance for our wedding.

We wanted to do something more traditional and entertaining to watch, like a Modern Waltz. We looked at a heap of wedding dances on Youtube and realised  that almost no one does an actual Waltz for their first dance, most couples do the Slow Rhythm. Our “traditional” Waltz was apparently not that traditional after all… We practiced the waltz for a few months with out teacher Nancy and on a whim decided to add a Tango for something completely unexpected to entertain our guests and challenge ourselves.

This was our first dance as husband and wife. The music was much louder than we expected. This is also the first time we’ve ever danced with an audience. It was a huge hit on the night – especially the ending.

We had to work hard together to learn the dance and we learned early on that clear communication is the only way to ensure we got through the routines. Especially on the night to overcome the nerves, crowd and unexpectedly super loud music.

 

Image courtesy of Objektiv Photography http://www.objektiv.com.au

Natasha changed to her dancing Shoes and black Stockings, and pinned her dress up on the sides for the dance (and for safety sake).

The waltz song was an instrumental version of “Fascination” and the Tango was an instrumental version of “El Tango De Roxanne”.

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