Good news and bad news, and a big Happy Birthday!

Well the bad news is that I have a problem with my camera. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It’s a bit of a disaster, to be honest, and I can’t afford to get it looked at for the time being, so it’s curtailed my photography and blogging activities somewhat. There’s a dark mark appearing in the upper centre of all the pictures I take. It isn’t on the lens, so I’m assuming it must be on the internal sensor. So… fewer blog posts for the time being, but here’s one to be going on with for my irregular series on food and baking.

On a more positive note, it was my daughter’s 10th birthday recently. Ten years! A whole decade on this wonderful, beautiful planet!

I wanted to do her a bit of a special cake to mark such a momentous birthday, and since her obsession at the moment is the computer game Minecraft, I decided to make her a Minecraft cake. This green beastie is a Creeper; a zombie character that comes and interferes with game play and blows itself up at inopportune moments.

First I made a large madeira cake in a 10 inch square tin (trimming off the top and sides) and filled it with my daughter’s favourite butterscotch filling, made with homemade caramel and cream cheese. Caramel is a bit tricky; I panicked when the first batch didn’t caramelise fast enough and made a second batch as well. Luckily they both turned out well, so Iย poured one into a baking tray and it went all glassy and brittle and delicious, and whisked cream into the other batch to make the sauce to blend with the cream cheese. Once I’d filled the cake, I then covered the outside with buttercream frosting as a base for the fondant icing.

covered in buttercream, ready for the fondant

covered in buttercream, ready for the fondant

I squished and squashed the fondant until it was nicely pliable, then rolled it out thinly before very carefully covering the cake with the fondant and smoothing it down.

fondant draped over, ready for smoothing down

fondant draped over, ready for smoothing down

This is where things got a bit more complicated. I’d bought two green food colouring pastes, and worked a tiny bit at a time into hunks of fondant icing to get varying shades of green. I made a 3cm square stencil of taped cardboard to cut around, and cut out over 64 squares (with a lot of spares) of colours, plus another 20 from some black (and black blended with green and white) fondant to make the Creeper features. The squares stuck down beautifully with just the lighted brush of water on the backs.

finished Creeper cake - he doesn't have candle hair in the actual game...

finished Creeper cake – he doesn’t have candle hair in the actual game…

It was worth all the effort to see my daughter’s face when the waitress brought the cake out at the end of our meal (at a very wonderful local Italian restuarant, by the way, Piazza Firenze, with excellent food and the loveliest waitress you could want to meet!). Happy Birthday Kid! ๐Ÿ™‚

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19 thoughts on “Good news and bad news, and a big Happy Birthday!

  1. Cool cake!
    If your camera is a dslr, you should be able to get a kit to clean it – I have to clean mine every so often – it comes with changing the lens so often. You may find using a wide aperture will reduce the distinctiveness of dust on the sensor.

    • Thanks so much Stephen, unfortunately it’s not a DSLR but a compact digital – a panasonic lumix TZ20. I can’t see any way of getting inside it, so I think I’ll need to have it looked at by someone who knows what they’re doing ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I’ll try using the widest aperture setting in the meantime and photoshopping out the splodge where possible. I do like my macro shots though, on which I think it will be very noticeable ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      • I have a TZ20! – it’s currently being used by my daughter for her graphics degree. I agree, there’s no way into the camera. Can’t say I’ve had any problems with dirt on its sensor. It’s a really capable camera and particularly useful for macros (and telephoto work, and landscapes, and, and)
        Maybe some moisture has got inside – trouble with cold/warm transitions.

  2. We can vouch for the cake – it was absolutely delicious! We brought some home with us and already someone is asking for the recipe! All your hours of work paid off!

  3. That’s a great cake! Your daughter is lucky to have such a talented cook!
    I hope someone can remove the dark spot for you. It’s probably dust on the sensor.

  4. More bad news! They have pruned the trees behind my house. I wonder if the green growth completely closed this summer. I can hardly wait!

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