Sunday, 20 November 2011

Tinkerbell birthday cake

I've been making a Tinkerbell cake this week for my friend's daughter's birthday party:

I had known for about six weeks that I needed to make the cake.  I used a madeira cake that lasts a fortnight so, theoretically, I could have baked and iced the cake last weekend.  I could have spent the last month making sugarpaste decorations, they last such a long time.  So why did I start the cake at 9 o'clock on Wednesday night and then stay up until 1am on Friday morning decorating it?!  What's more, when I should have started baking the cake after work on Wednesday, I made some Cherry Menlove cheat's mince pies instead! 

I frustrate myself so much leaving everything to the last minute.  I am the same in every aspect of my life and whilst I know that I put myself under unnecessary stress, I can't seem to change it.  It comes up in every appraisal at work.  My boss, kindly, tells me that it's against my character-type to plan in advance, so I need to work really hard at it.  I agree.  The truth is that I can't get motivated to do things until the last minute and I work best under pressure.  

I am pleased with the cake even though I spent the whole of Friday exhausted and bleary-eyed.

It's a simple two-tier madeira cake with vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam filling.  I was asked to provide a three-tiered cake but decided to use a bigger board and decorate that rather than a third tier (it's an 8" cake with a 5" tier - that's a lot of cake!).
I made all of the decorations from sugarpaste or flowerpaste (the figures are plastic) and the water is blue-coloured buttercream.  There are two Tinks (?) on it - I was only going to use one (which makes sense to me) but Andrew assured me that a 6-year old little girl would rather see as many Tinks as possible than just one, however unrealistic.  

He was right - I dropped the cake off on Friday night and my friend's daughter had waited up to see the cake.  Her face when we took it out of the box was an absolute picture.  She was delighted.  It made the stress and the exhaustion worthwhile.  I crawled home, ate noodles and fell asleep in front of a DVD.  

So, Cherry Menlove.  I saw her mince pies in the Hobbycraft magazine but then discovered Cherry's blog accidentally a couple of week's ago whilst looking for blanket stitch tutorials.  Her blog is so cheesy and cheerful - I love it.  I thought I was the most shameless Pollyanna but she clearly beats me hands down.  I have a little bit of a girl crush.  

 The mince pies are made with shop-bought pastry and mincemeat.  The only thing I had to make was a little buttercream which is piped on top.  They were a bit burnt overdone but they still tasted lovely and I will definitely make them again.  They are worth making just for aesthetic purposes.

All weekend I have been sleepy and craving cosiness (how on earth I used to go out til the early hours of the morning three nights on the trot at the weekend I do not know).  My mum and sis picked me up on their way to Milton Keynes yesterday afternoon and we went to the little Christmas section that has been set up outside John Lewis.  It is lovely for children; they can see Santa and look at the cute moving Christmassy scenes.  There are loads of fairy lights and a very pretty, proper, carousel.

We took my niece on and she loved it.  We sat in a little Cinderella coach and she put her bunny, Joseph, on her knee for the ride.
We went for eggnog lattes at Starbucks (the red cups are back, hurrah!) and wandered around one or two shops.  It was crazy busy (Christmas madness) but we had nothing specific to buy.  I did pick up a few fun decorations from Paperchase and swooned over the gorgeous babushka stationery.  It's a good job I don't go to the shops very often, I could have spent a fortune!

Today we're just having a quiet day at home but popping out to the garden centre in a moment for a little mooch.  By 3pm we'll be curled up on the sofa with an old film on the box - can't wait.  Might even make myself a snowball!

Hope everyone's having a good weekend - isn't the weather Christmassy!  Cold and foggy... switch on your fairy lights and get cosy.




  1. Nicki, that cake is amazing! Well done. I bet the recipient was absolutely delighted. xx

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  2. Nicki, I love reading your posts. They are so heartwarming and full of cheer. That cake is soooooo gorgeous and certainly worth all the hard work you've put into it. Gonna settle down with my knitting and a cuppa now.
    Enjoy your day.

    Melanie x

  3. What an truly unbelievabley brillianty cake! You did top work there my love. I'm pinning it!!!!

    Now then, I feel I can say this to you as I too leave things till the last minute but recently I had an epiphany.

    I realised that I don't work best under pressure. I think I do but how would I know since I have never been organised or disciplined enough to leave myself time after completion before the deadline. It occurred to my perfectionist streak that If I did finish something off a day or two ahead of schedule (where possible) that I would then have some stress free reflection time in which to think over what I'd done and if I could improve it at all. And then I could indeed improve it. And that was my ephipahny. So now I just need to get into the habit of making timetables and STICKING to them!!!! It sounds like a heap of extra work but I'm certain I'll manage my days so much better this way and then I'll have time for more crochet. I need to oil up this ship. I need to get ship shape and Bristol fashion...since I live so close to Bristol that seems fitting.

    How envious of your day am I? Mr C is out all day, it's drizzling, the boys are scarpping, the baby is cutting another tooth. I'm not even dressed yet. Though I have just purchased a divine blue 70's knit frock from Etsy. Fingers crossed it'll fit me.

    Oh and being a Pollyanna is no bad thing. That is what makes you so delightful, that and your drama queen Victorian heroine streak ;oD


    ps. Snowball? My Christmas tipple of choice too. Reminds me of my much missed Nanny Dot.

  4. Utterly gobsmacked by your cake it's truely gorgeous, know what you mean about keeping cosy, nothing better this time of year.

  5. Your friend's daughter is so blessed by your creative efforts. I have never seen such an awesome Tinkerbell cake!

  6. Ooooooh wow!!! Your cake creation is just bloody GORGEOUS!!!!! Love love love your design!!! It really is so very beautiful. I love the way you've placed the cakes & decorations etc. Gosh what a lucky little girl!!!

    Enjoy what sounds like a blissful afternoon :) Snowballs always remind me of my Mum....she used to LOVE indulging in quite a few this time of year. I think in her honour and inspired by you I may have to poor a Bailey' the smell of a Snowball but not the taste!!

    Jo x x x

  7. I love everything about this post. The cake is unbelievable (my mother would love it, she loves Tink), the carousel is fabulous, love a carousel, the mince pies are making my mouth water, and snowballs are one of the best things about Christmas!

    Also, the decorations at Paperchase are AMAZING. I have to have the hideous kitten with the pink fluffy trim round its neck. I've been lusting after it for a month!

    It is very misty in my neck of the woods today, and it is giving me a festive feeling, so much so that I bought mince pies today and put up a snowflake garland! x

  8. What a beautiful cake .... looks too good to eat! Bet that was one very happy little girl and well worth your efforts, albeit last minute ;-)

    We went to Bicester yesterday and it was manic .... you'd never believe there was a recession x

  9. Fantastic cake.
    Not Christmassy her in the North East of Scotland. Sun shone all day. Weird.

  10. That cake was well worth the effort. It looks Awesome!!!!

  11. STUNNING cake! I bet you've made a little lady veery happy.
    I stumbled across cherry's blog a while ago via facebook and it's apple pie nice

  12. Oh I LOVE Cherry Menlove. Been an avid reader of her blog for quire some months now. Think I came across her through Sarah B.
    We had a little email exchange recently. She is lush and I find her AMAZING, she has two delightful babies (twins), a hubby who has recovered recently from leukaemia, a book out for Christmas and she cooks, bakes and makes. She is like West Sussex's answer to Nigella - and has the same stunning hair. Love Cherry! She is my girl crush too!!!!
    You have made such a lush cake - well done you. Some people just get a buzz working to deadlines and leaving things to the last min. I know I am one of them.
    x x xx

  13. You know I mean QUITE not QUIRE. Grrrrr.

  14. Oh Lord Nikki, it's lovely to read you beautiful blog, I haven't been on for such a long time and then I read this....just perfect.

    Firstly, I want to be a fairy on your AMAZING Tinkerbell cake, well done you it's truly amazing and I'm well jel as I couldn't even attempt something that special.

    My husband (Darr) peered over my should and saw the photo of your mince pies...thanks!! now I've got to attempt the same perfection!! did you pipe normal buttercream or brandy butter????

    Anyway, SNOWBALL is my family favourite, still now my mum makes them, we always have a cherry on a cocktail stick teetering on the side of the glass, lovely....

    Great post Nikki, love to you x x

  15. Hello,

    that cake is amazing!
    Sooooo lovely

    hugs Conny

  16. Nikki you have raised the cake making bar BIG time.
    I too work better under pressure. It's annoying, but if I start a job any earlier I just make plans (for how I'm going to do it at the last minute!)
    Cleggy is exactly the same.
    And we love snowballs here too...class in a glass.
    Happy days
    fee x

  17. That cake is amazingly beautiful, I am positive it will be loved to pieces- what little (or big) girl would not love to have that. That will make it a birthday to remember through the years!!
    I have always been a last minute person, but over the last few years, I have realised that I'm not anymore. All through school, uni, my first years of work and motherhood, everything was last minute. I think it's due to my job that I have had to force myself to be organised, when I am not that sort of person, that has made the changes. And its actually so much easier. It still amazes me that I have, but I've made nearly all my Christmas presents. Reminds me, I should blog about that- thanks!!
    Anyway- you are amazingly talented and all I can say about that cake is WOW!!!

  18. Wow, that cake is amazing!! You're super clever!!

    I am a last minute person - when I trained to be an antenatal teacher (it was student led) I had years to do ten essays - it wasn't until the course was going to change and we on the old syllabus had to get our stuff in that I did them - 9 essays in one week!!

    I love Cherry's blog, it was one of the first I found and you have to admire her optimism especially with the year they have had....


    S x

  19. What is a snowball???? Your cake is amazing, I don't do cakes, well I do cakes but I don't do decorating, it ends in tears and a horrid mess. I am a Pollyanna myself and at times leave things to the last min as I know I will get it done better on the hop. I prefer to be optimistic than the other, it makes life so much more joyful and you can always find the positive in any situation.....
    xx Sandi

  20. Oh my god, that cake is blooming fantastic!! I really wanted to make a girly fairy cake for my daughters 3rd birthday, but no, she wanted a dinosaur cake. It was a lilac dino, so a bit girly I suppose!! As for the MK xmassy bit, we havent been yet, hopefully we'll get there this weekend. Have no excuse really, as we live in MK! xx

  21. I am in awe! I don't have the patience to create something so would have loved a cake like that when I was a kid......actually, would love a cake like that now!

    The weekend was the best ever! I LOVE fog, so atmospheric and gorgeous. We went for misty walks in a forest and it was eery and gorgeous!

    Have a fab week!

    Vanessa xxx

  22. O wow that cake is utterly amazing the amount of detail in it has blown me away. You are very talented she will love it ;-)) dee x

  23. The cake is amazing!! too good to cut into to :)
    Bee happy x
    Have a delicious day!

  24. The cake looks beautiful and delicious. Great job!

  25. Wow,Nicki,the cake is AMAZING,well done! Love Cherry Menlove too,been following her for about a year, now,looking forward to her book coming out.Her blog used to be called Tales from pixie wood,how cute! Love your fairy lights,can I be cheeky and ask where I can buy a basket like yours to put them in? love juliexxx

  26. Your cake is amazing. Every part of it. You're very talented and it shows that you love doing things for others. A special gift. Cherry x

  27. The cake is just stunning! I wish i could make something so fabulous (so do my kid probably!). The mince pies look yummy too, think i'll try the buttercream when i get my backside in gear and make some! K xx

    ps. Your niece is adorable! :)

  28. The cake looks amazing - lucky girl to have that for a birthday cake! When you made the mince pies did you cook them with the stars on and then take them off and pipe the buttercream and pop them back on? Does that make sense?

  29. Your cake looks lovely, almost too good to eat.
    I'm having real trouble with your blog, your posts aren't coming up on my dashboard for some reason. I tried unfollowing and following again but that doesn't work either!
    Oh well, hope you're having a great week
    Kate x

  30. This cake is AMAZING!!! I wish I had your talent at cake decorating..! How long have you been decorating cakes for?! I'm just stunned at how gorgeous this cake is... if I was a little girl and someone made me a cake this lovely, I would definitely cry with happiness. The only problem now though is that she'll be expecting something of the same standards next year!

    Ashley xxxx

  31. that cake is stunning, and it's the second time today i've read about starbucks eggnog, must seek some out

  32. Nickkkkiiiiiii - that cake defies belief, you are a genius!

    I always seem to leave things to the 11th hour too, luckily your boss is kind about it to me too!!;) I need to write more lists, for sure.

    Bracelets ARE ready though, R can deliver them to you! Bxx

  33. i would love that cake myself! i love tinkerbell xx its amazing!! xx

  34. You are one seriously clever lady- that cake is genius!!
    I am in awe.
    Off to catch up with more blogs- it's such a busy time of year, isn't it??!!
    Have a good week.

  35. wow, i am not a kid, but i would have been just as excited to receive that amazing cake. like you i leave everything to the last minute. that it seems is when i get creative. if i try beforehand i feel stuck for ideas but under pressure like you i thive...yep it sucks!
    think i'll have to make those pies they look scrummy.x

  36. So adorable Tinkerbell birthday cake! All the photos are looking super amazing. At some local New York venues I am also going to celebrate my 26th birthday in March. It will be a ladies only disco themed party and I am just looking for the suggestions about the bets party planner. Could you help regarding it?