Monday, 1 August 2011

Prince William and Kate Middleton - The Royal Wedding Cake Epiphany

 I know this gist is as stale as a Karl Lagerfield's Chanel purse from last season but just yesterday I came across a picture of the royal wedding cake. I had seen it before, I was sure I had seen it many times. Who can forget the endless news pouring in on April 29th giving us detail to detail information about the wedding from the bride's dress to the guest list and then the dress code and even Victoria Beckham's funny hat and cute baby bump.And as usual the cake along with everything else had been hyped. I had taken a glance at the cake then but took no note of it cos I thought as with eveything that concerns the royal family it was overly hyped.
The Royal Wedding Cake in all its glory
  But yesterday it struck me in a totally different way. My friend flipped open her lappy and right on the screen was a magnificient cake.I didnt even remember it from the wedding. It was so beautiful- an amazing masterpiece. 'Where is this cake from? I asked.  She squealed 'Ha! see this raz girl o! A whole CEO of Cakes by MizVuitton!'  I prodded her a little and she said it was cake from the royal wedding.  I stood aghast and drew closer to the PC to take an even closer look.

It was beautiful indeed, an infinite masterpiece. In all its glory. it stood beautiful. A beautiful part of history, it was. I looked at the detail on the cake, intricate piping was used to make a three dimensional scroll work, leaves, flowers and other adornments. This technique is known in cake parlance as the Joseph Lambert technique. I immediately doffed my hat for whomever made the cake. I took the laptop and googled the cake maker. It was the famous Fiona Cairns, I wasnt surprised. It had taken her 5 weeks to make and decorate the cake. According to her " I could not believe I finished it in time but we were all really pleased with it,” She says. “I worked at the palace for two days before the wedding setting it up with my team. The hardest part was transporting the cake from Leicestershire to the palace.
Fiona Cairns and her team assembling the Royal Wedding Cake

  Well done Fiona Cairns. It may interest you to know that Fiona Cairns started baking on her kitchen table and now employs over 50 people, that's me in a matter of seconds, gorrit?

The cake is an eight tiered cake decorated in cream and white icing and about 900 delicate sugar paste flowers which symbolizes different things. the cake itself is a rich fruit cake though Ms. Cairns refused to reveal all her ingredients (I was looking to steal some ideas *wink*) It contained a range of produce from dried fruits such as raisins and sultanas to walnuts, cherries, grated oranges and lemon, French brandy and free-range eggs and flour.

From what I was able to gather, The wedding  cake was made up of 17 individual cakes, with 12 forming the base..

  It may also interest you to know that each flower on the cake represents something Rose(white) represents England's national symbol, Daffodil represents the national symbol of Wales, Shamrock represents the national symbol of Ireland while Thistle represents Scotland. These 4 states form what is known as the United Kingdom. The other flowers represent different things ranging from love to marriage, happiness, humility etc.
Garland on the cake matched the architectural garland in the room, the wedding cake was indeed a stunning centrepiece at the Buckingham palace-650 guest reception

You just gotta love the English people especially the royal family.... too much effizy!!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Miss Bossy Pants contd....

...this post continues from the last blogpost that was posted on the 5th of June 2011

  After the War of the worlds/Miss Bossy Pants episode I had decided I wasn't going to go back for my training. It just wasn't worth it. I thought about the cash I had burned, It could have bought me a pair of Christian Loubotin shoes with extra change.. but that didn't shake my resolve one bit. I wasn't ready to be beaten black and blue on top cake matter. Call me a coward and you won't be so far from the truth (though I hate to admit that fact)

   I went about my normal business but there remained this emptiness inside like I had left a major thing undone. I tried to get my mind off it but it kept coming back, again and again and again. I was even losing sleep over it.

   My cake tutor had called several times to ask what was wrong. Everytime she called, I gave her the 'I've been so busy Ma, don't worry i'll resume soon' reply. At a point I even stopped picking her calls. Then one day I gathered myself and placed a call to the cake school.

  Pretending to make enquiries, I ask the receptionist a couple of questions, then suddenly she drops a piece of important information... she mentions something about a set that graduated from the school last week and a new set resuming next week. That was the very info I had wished to hear. Miss Bossy Pants was finally out of the way.

  Next week came, and I got my things ready to head to the cake school.  I felt so light and excited (making cakes have that effect on me actually). As I got to the entrance...Voila! It was Miss Bossy Pants at the entrance wearing her funny hat and an apron that looked like the type that was worn during Kunta Kinte's era. She was holding a bowl, I almost fainted.

  Amazingly, she just went about her business like I didnt exist. I was to learn later that a project had been given to all the students to make and decorate a three-tier wedding cake and her cake had won the competition. She was rewarded with extra classes in sugarcraft and modelling for 2 weeks. What? Two whole weeks? I had to struggle to remain smiling after hearing that piece of information.What in God's name.....?  I had high hopes of continuing my cake making program without any hitches, I so wasn't ready to have anyone breathe down my neck, neither was I ready for any argument or exchange of words. I prayed that she too was going to be reasonable and even if she couldn't be friendly, that she'd just avoid me like a plague.

   And that's what she did. I was so surprised, I wanted to say hello but I feared that I may stir the hornet's nest or rouse a peacefully sleeping dog from its sleep. I just went about my business that day and we managed to avoid each other that day and in subsequent days to come. What exactly had I been running from?

  Just then I realised that the things we call mountains are really just mole-hills and all we need to do is walk over them... and that's the truth right there y'all.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

War of the Worlds - MizVuitton v. Miss Bossy Pants!

Great things are done when men and mountains meet - William Blake

 Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain. - Unknown

"Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors. - African Proverb

   I've learned in my 'cake' walk that there must be obstacles on the way to fulfill ones calling. I experience mine everyday. The first challenge after discovering Cakes by MizVuitton was getting a place to further harness my raw passion. I was so 'gingered' and bursting with life and energy. I began to search for a place to train but couldn't find an ideal place. Most of the places I found neither had the pedigree nor equipments to adequately train. I searched high and low, everywhere. It seemed so difficult, sometimes, impossible but I kept pressing until I ran into a most wonderful woman who shared my passion and was living my dream with a story similar to mine. Well that's story for another day!

Happy belated birthday Darlene Ugoji from Cakes by MizVuitton
   I started perfecting my baking skills at this really cool place in Ikeja. The first time I walked into the school I was greeted with a sea of people undergoing cake training. My cake teacher introduced me to each  of them one by one and then I got to this lady that seemed really angry,  She wore this scowl on her face and a funny cap that she doubled as a baker's hat. I tried to say hello but she looked away. Right then I made a mental note of her.

  As I made my way to a seat, she barks 'No! No! No! you cannot sit there, someone is already there'.
'Ok" I replied and moved over to the next seat. She barks again,"that seat is also taken'  'Ok" I said again quietly then left the place altogether.

 While the class was going on, my teacher mentioned something about a Convection Oven. Interested, I shot my hand up to ask my teacher a question....

Miss Bossy Pants yells again, 'I don't know how you would cope o! better wait for the next set, we've gone far please don't be dragging us back'. She let out a long hiss. Damn! did she sound like the serpent that beguiled Eve in the Garden.

My teacher gave me this comforting look that said, 'be calm girl'.

 After classes I was trying to clean up the mess I had made on my work table while creaming my butter and sugar for the madeira cake I  was baking. The next thing I hear from Miss Bossy pants is-

Darlene holding up a MizVuitton birthday cake. Love ya to bits hon!

'Why don't you wait till we all finish before you start cleaning up ehn!? At that point I was up to my knees in angry grime.

I looked at her and asked 'WHAT?' to make sure I had heard right. She says again 'This doesn't make sense you should wait till we are done so you can clean up all the mess'.That did it.

 I shot her the MizVuitton (lol) icy cold stare and say 'Please can you just leave me alone'. 

'You don't have any respect, how dare you talk to me like that', the next thing I knew she was charging towards me. I couldn't believe my eyes. This wasn't happening. 

She continued,  I am going to teach you a lesson that will last a lifetime. At that point I was shocked. Where is this coming from? Where was she going with all this?

Tired of ignoring her (so i won't look like a weakling) I yelled back 'You can't do more than a dead rat'
At that point I had to remind myself that I was worlds better than what was happening. I shut my mouth that instant.

She continued shouting,  people were holding her back. I was wondering what she wanted to do. She kept saying she was going to beat the hell outta me.

I felt so terrible.A million horrible thoughts began to cross my mind..... Would this be happening if I was sitting in my cozy office, or if I was in a meeting with some clients at Four Points by Sheraton or even in a drab court room listening to a judge drone endlessly. My spirit broke and I started sobbing endlessly.

 I didn't know where the tears came from but it just  kept flowing like a spring.

  I wished that very moment that my passion was something else, something much more prestigous than Cakes, just cakes, plain ol' cakes. I wished right then that I hadn't taken the time to train for cakes, I wished right then that I was in someplace else, I wished right then.... I just couldnt stop wishing.

As the tears flowed freely I gathered my things and quickly packed up everything I could and left the place. I even left the cake I was baking in the school oven. At  that moment I swore I wasn't goin to ever come there again. It probably was a sign that I should quit and concentrate on  the finer things of life.

Maybe this wasn't for me after all.
                                                                                                    to be continued.....

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Discovering my calling

Discovering the calling
The more intensely we feel about an idea or goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment - Earl Nightingale (US motivational writer and author 1921- 1989)

The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning – Mitch Albom

  ‘What is your passion?’ I heard the question again. It was louder and clearer this time. I had heard such questions before and I had always thought, well all those people that go on and on about their passions just kinda had it easy and I just waved it off as being unnecessarily overrated.  I belonged to the school of thought that believed you have to work at some Bank or Oil company and slave for even longer hours to earn the big bucks. At least that’s the reason one had to go through school right? But the question seemed to follow me everywhere.

  I stuttered for a few minutes and mentioned ‘Law’. My heart seemed to be screaming in my ears that I was telling a terrible lie. As much as I liked being a lawyer and had sacrificed the better part of my life to being one, I derived neither joy nor satisfaction from those long hours in a boring courtroom sweating under my wig and gown or spending long hours poring over pages and pages of law reports. I actually found law boring.

So what exactly was my passion?

  This thought didn’t leave my mind. It even bothered me. I couldn’t imagine living a boring and unfulfilled life. I had heard stories about people that discovered their passions at a later age. I had even heard of stories of regrets where an older person wished he could turn back the hands of time and explore his passion. Imagine a man at 70 discovering a thing for rock and roll, obscene indeed! Or how my aunt suddenly discovered that she was a born fashion designer at the age of 58. She had spent the better part of her life being a Computer Engineer and was unfulfilled, frustrated even
  Then I thought to myself… I don’t want to end up like that. The wealthiest and most fulfilled people on earth are those making money from what they love to do- Movie stars, athletes, musicians, just name it and its not work to them like we all love to call it but a way of life. What they eat, breath and dream.  I needed to discover my passion.

Then it happened one beautiful day!

discovering my calling

  I have this amazing man in my life (batting my eyelashes) and on this day we were talking and he mentioned something about cakes. See I love to give my friends a treat and I see the way their eyes light up when I bring a cake maybe on birthdays, engagements, weddings, christening whatever, I have discovered that cakes are the perfect gift. That glint in their eyes has always been a source of inspiration to me and has always brought joy to my soul. This has always moved me to get even more cakes. No one ever says no to cakes. You can’t have a party without cakes. My heart leaped for joy. That was it!

 I couldn’t believe it had been there all along and I hadn’t just realised it, I under rated it even, thinking a person’s passion had to be something really grand like bungee jumping or skiing. The fact that I was good with creating my own special MizVuitton recipes and the best place in my house was my kitchen didn’t occur to me. I still had a hard time discovering what my passion was

  I walked away feeling elated but I still needed a confirmation. I got on my knees and asked for a sign. The very next Sunday I walked into church and the pastor said something, ‘What is that thing that you have in your house? There is something God has blessed you with uniquely that is your instrument for a miraculous life, activate it today’.  My heart screamed CAKES BY MIZVUITTON. I had never felt surer about anything else in my entire adult life.