My first book cake!

Monday, 5 July 2010

This is how most of my cakes start off as, a very very incredibly rough sketch! These sketches not only allow me to visualise my cakes but also help work out the order in which things need to be done.
so there it is the finished article! I found this book cake a bit of an challenge, but a great experience of what not to do next time. I also learned that fondant and humidity do not get along at all!!

The vase is also a cake, a sponge cake to be precise and was quite hard to sculpt into a vase. I enjoyed making these flowers, I am getting a lot more confident with it.

I made a rosary bead to go with the Islamic theme....i really enjoyed making this, a lot of people didn't realise that it was made out of icing.

A Long Journey

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Finally the weekend is over. Though it has been very interesting and full - I'm glad it's done.

On Saturday I was at the Mulberry School Community Day and had the chance to showcase some of my work to a lot of curious people. I have to say that the pet hate of what I do is that people touch my work. Sorry not touch - poke it! Hello!! It's fruit! It's also as delicate as it looks! No matter how much you tell some people they just don't listen. Very frustrating.

Anyway. Firstly I thought I'd post an image of one of the ispirations for my work. It's a jewellery box of a peacock on a red platform, but I can't remember which site I got it from. So if anyone knows please tell me - I don't want to be stepping on any toes.

I was quite pleased with the outcome of what I did.

These next images are of how I started and finished a cantaloupe melon. The process shots are not great though.

These are of one of the watermelons I did. I recycled this one - I'll tell you in my next blog how.

For this I traced around a heart I cut out - I'm no good at drawing hearts - they become lop-sided, removed the skin from the inside then started a flower.

I then outlined the rose bases around the heart, removed the skin and carved the roses. I was very pleased with my end result!

I added some split pineapple leaves to give it height and character.

I next worked on my inspiration piece. I started with the leaves, then removed the skin of the melon so that I could start a tipped petal flower. I later added a bird made of courgette, beetroot and turnip.

I'm still not sure how they manage to get a melon to sit on top of three or four pineapples - though I have a slight idea. I tried it but it kept toppling over - so I settled for the next best thing - by now it was about 3am - I put beetroot roses and peaches all over the top pineapple.

This is my courgette bird - I can't really call it a peacock because the head and wings are all off. Later on the birds head started to wilt, which made it a bit pathetic.

These were all my completed pieces in old fruit boxes ready for transport the folloing morning.

My niece took some really nice pictures of all the pieces on the day. I decided to add the flowers to add to the tropical feel.

This is me providing a demonstration to the public on a small cantaloupe. I have with me two of my ex students who were also participating in this demo. These were two of my more experienced students - a mother and a daughter.

My "15 Lines of Fame"!

Monday, 14 June 2010

East End Life is a local newspaper published by the Tower Hamlets Borough Council of London. During the last week of April they arrived at one of the places of my work and by some strange luck interviewed me!

On the 17th May (just the other day I know!) the article was published. I made front page! So as you can all imagine I was pretty impressed with myself. Now I'm a local celebrity and my anonymity has all but disappeared - I'm not sure how much of a benefit that is though... But newspapers and reporters, being what they are, misprinted my name!! Oh well at least the article was interesting - thanks East End Life!

Fruitalicious shares healthy eating tips
- by Cecilia Clarke.

"Student Sabiha Khanam from Bow has shown that learning can be fun - no matter what your age.

Earlier in the year, while on a placement from university at John Scurr Community Centre in Limehouse, she successfully applied for a Healthy Borough Can Do Grant.

Sabiha then set up the Fruitalicious Project, with the help of a professional fruitcarver Shamsun Uddin, and a nutritionist, to work with Bangladeshi and Somali women to encourage them to eat more healthy.

Sabiha explained: "By getting the women to work with fruit in a different way, we've got them learning about vitamins and minerals and how, as part of a healthy diet, fresh fruit and vegetables can help prevent illnesses.

The popularity of the six-week project meant that people had to be turned away - 40 or so women wanted to join, but we only had space for 15.

At the start of the class, the women worked with small fruit such as apples, cutting flower designs into them before progressing on to larger fruit, such as melons.

The women also learnt about fruit they would not normally eat, such as dragon fruit."

Three tiered cake

Sunday, 6 June 2010

This was my first attempt at a 3 tiered cake. This was a 7, 9 and 11 inch cake. I was asked to create a blank canvas which they would decorate themselves, but i couldn't help putting some decoration on it it for a quick picture. I loosely wrapped some ribbon and put a few flowers on top, which i took off when it was time for delivery. This cake weighed a ton!!

Here is one of the tiers crumb coated with buttercream. I think it was two chocolate tiers and one sponge with jam and buttercream.

A Different Sort Of Homework

Monday, 31 May 2010

As I teach Fruit & Vegetable Carving - to the unsuspecting public - I thought I would share some of their work with you. Most of these ladies have never done this sort of stuff before in their lives but they have come up with some imaginative pieces here.

My classes run for about 7 - 8 weeks & most of the images are from the last few classes of the course.

Cantaloupe Melon

Butternut Squash

Carrots & Beetroots



Piel de Sapo Melon

A Completed Fruit Display

Watermelon Basket with Radish & Carrot Flowers

Watermelon Basket with Radish & Carrot Flowers

Piel de Sapo Melon, Apple & Red Globe Radishes

Galia Melon with Various Garnishing

Watermelon with Radish & Carrot Flowers

Galia Melon with Radish & Carrot Flowers

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

You may have noticed a slight change to the blog (!). This may happen quite often, you see we like to experiment.

Less Sugar, More Fruit & Veg!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Firstly I'd like to apologise for my lack of entries. Sorry Najma & viewers.

I recently lost my work folder which was more annoying than anything else & it life me a bit down-hearted. But thankfully I found it again - a week later - in exactly the same classroom I'd left it in! I hadn't realised how much I was relying on paper though..

Ok, to the article. Last year I was involved in a Community Day project for a local school I work for, Mulberry Schoool for Girls, in the Tower Hamlets area of East London. The following images are from that day.

I was given ample space to freely display & advertise my work, on behalf of the school, & engage the local community into pursuing free activities. Here is some of the work I did. But I'd like to dedicate this article to the singularly most helpful, selfless & thoughtful person I have met since I have moved to the big city - Sabina Khan, my employer.

I have found it quite hard here & though people are generally 'nice' it all comes across too shallow & superficial. It's like everyone is afraid of something. Maybe outsiders like me?! But Sabina has been exceptional & it has been so easy to work with her. Thank you Sabina.

A Bouquet. This vase of flowers was made up of various fruits & vegetable. We have butternut flowers, with globe radishes, the vase if from Ikea(!) & is filled with alternating discs of oranges & limes. Another online inspiration.

Triple Marvel. This next image has a papaya in the foreground, which got badly bruised in transition, a honeydew in the centre & a watermelon in the background. The honeydew was my favourite in this because I carved a flower on the other side, hollowed out the middle & filled it with fresh flowers.

Cantaloupe Rose. For this I thought simple was best. The cantaloupe is my most favourite type of melon - for eating as well as carving. I love the smell & colour!!

Frankenstein's Bird. This was sort of a last minute addition to my table, to sort of fill up the space. I wasn't too impressed myself, you'll notice that it is made up of different (leftover) bits! But people liked it & I got a lot of sign-ups & interest for my class.

I will be involved in the next Community Day for Mulberry school in July - so hopefully I can surpass myself. I'll let you know.

Giftbox and vase cake.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Though this cake turned out okay, I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed as I was not able to give it the time I wanted( I had just but a day to decorate). This was not enough time to redo things i wasn't entirely happy with or let things dry properly.

The flower vase is a started off as a layered square block of cake, which i sculpted into the shape of a vase. The flowers are made of sugar paste, as is the ribbon the main cake.

The small jewellery box below is also made out of cake, this was a last minute addition and pretty much rushed. The beads and tissue paper are made out of sugar paste. The customer however, was really happy with it, and i guess that's the main thing.

Hen night cake

Thursday, 20 May 2010

This cake was requested for a hen night party. The customer gave me complete freedom to do whatever I wanted only mentioning that she would like something pretty/funky. I decided to make a round cake with a handbag and a shoe topper, this would be my 'pretty' element met. The hand bag is actual cake and the shoe was made out of gumpaste. I decided to decorate the sides with stripes of various widths and colours and added some lips and party streamers for the 'funky' part.

I decided to continue using the stitching effect from the shoe and handbag on the stripes, and though it cant be seen, on the lettering too.

I used a new chocolate recipe for this cake, which was quite difficult to work with, but was a hit with everyone!

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