The Waltons Helios Summerhouse Cake
Here at Walton’s we are huge fans of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and just cake in general really! We decided to commission a cake which represented our company; The Walton’s Helios Cake. This cake is supremely special and features a completely edible version of one of our most popular buildings ‘The Walton’s Helios Summerhouse’.
This contemporary summerhouse has an iconic look and is perfect for any garden. This cake was designed and created by Karen Amatt. Karen runs her own home bakery where she produces cakes for birthdays, weddings and celebrations. This cake not only looks fantastic but also tastes amazing too.
The Helios summerhouse on the cake is completely edible; Karen used the buildings instructions to create a true to life model. The summerhouse has a lid which lifts and is painted in the same colours as the real versions; everything on the cake is edible even the soil!
We interviewed Karen asking her about baking and this wonderful cake. She also gave us some great advice and hints for our own home baking. Thanks Karen!
Find it here: Indulge Cake by Karen
Waltons: How long did it take you to design and create ‘The Walton’s Helios Cake’?
Karen: “Hmm...it probably took me about a week to design, we knew we were planning this cake for a while so I've had lots of time to think about what I wanted to do. I’ve taken different ideas from different places, different cakes I’ve seen, stressed over it! But mostly taken my ideas from other cakes I’ve seen in magazines and on the internet.
Waltons: Is this the first garden themed cake you have created?
Karen: No, well this is the first purely garden themed cake I’ve done. I have created some other cakes with outdoor themes. This is the first summerhouse I’ve ever created.
Waltons: How did you become a baker?
Karen: I’ve always baked. Always, always, always baked cake; I took a decorating course when I was 17. Well it was a sugar flower course because I took a liking to baking. That went out the window though, I was scatty so I went off and did my own thing. When it was my daughter Erin’s 3rd birthday I baked a cake. Well, to be honest one of my daughters friends had a birthday cake, which had a very complicated design and I thought....I could do that!
Then I decided that I could make Erin’s birthday cake. And I did! Everyone said it was amazing and started asking me to make cakes. My hobby became a chore.
Waltons: What’s the most enjoyable part of baking?
Karen: The past couple of weeks I’ve had customers who have had cakes and just said ‘oh, that’s nice’. Which is gutting, you spend so much time on a cake and you expect to say “OMG is that cake?” but they don’t. So many people bake now and it’s on the telly.
All over the internet there are examples of amazing cakes so sometimes the reaction from customers is not what you expect.
I put some ideas and styles I like on Facebook but some of them are just so out there I think I can’t make that!
Getting people's reactions is good, I like seeing that. But I also like making things out of cake and seeing what I can do out of cake. I created a sewing themed cake, it got so many likes and feedback on Facebook and that makes me feel happy. Seeing the end result of what I made out of cake.
Waltons: How do you feel when people cut the cakes?
Karen: Sometimes I see people hacking into the cakes; and I’m like ‘Arrgh what you doing to my cake. I’ve just spent 12 hours making that!'
Waltons: Cake is something that can’t be around forever; do you ever think what’s the point?
Karen: I know it can’t last forever. When you go into detail like on The Helios Cake you do sometimes think, ‘What’s the point’. But I like seeing people enjoy it.
Waltons: What cake would you have if someone made one for you?
Karen: I don’t know really. A handbag I think, I like handbag cakes.
Waltons: What was the most challenging part of this cake to create?
Karen: The summerhouse!! I used the PDF format instructions which are sent to customers who buy this summerhouse. I had the instructions blown up a few times because I couldn’t find the right size, but finally I did. Then I used ‘petal paste’ to create the summerhouse because it dries rock solid. I had to purchase some new rolling gauges just to make sure I had the same thickness on all sides of the summerhouse.
Waltons: What’s your favourite part of the cake?
Karen: My topiary bush! Haha...and my vegetable patch! I was going to put a pond on the cake but it was just getting so big I thought I’d better stop!
Waltons: What’s the most important stage when designing and baking a beautiful, unique cake?
Karen: I will sit down and sketch a design and the final cake will be completely different. What you’ve got in your head rarely comes out when you’ve made the cake. You’ve got to think about techniques and changes, so a lot of my designs don’t come out how I sketch them. I tend to sketch really elaborate designs which are often too hard to make!
Waltons: What is the one tool you rely on most when baking?
Karen: My mixer is my life! When I first started I only used a hand mixer. My Mother-in-Law lent me her big mixer but when I first started using it all my cakes sank, they take some time to get used to. Now though, I couldn’t live without it, it is just so handy. I dropped it the other day and nearly cried but it’s okay! A big mixer is definitely the tool I rely on the most. I do love my machine!
Waltons: What advice would you give a novice baker?
Karen: Don’t do it! No i'm just joking. Preparation; I’m the worst for it, but it really does help. I can just throw a cake together so it’s okay. Sometimes I get dates mixed up and I have to rush! So I have to stay up all night completing a cake. But preparation; get all your decorations ready.
Waltons: Is the cake the easiest part of the whole cake?
Karen: It can be. If you have a basic mix you always use. I have one that I use all the time. My friend bakes cake and I tried her recipe and it was just too much
Waltons: What do you do when bakes go wrong?
Karen: My cakes don’t tend to go wrong anymore, although one did the other week. Sometimes I won’t mix all the sugar in properly and that can leave a cake grainy. Basically I’d just not mixed the sugar in properly. I’ve never had to scrap a cake. I always manage to get myself out of a bad situation. I can’t remember if I have dropped a cake; but I always manage to mend it. It’s always better to try and mend it rather than throw it away. Sometimes things just keep breaking. I did have a car crash once while delivering a cake. It was the first time I’d ever made a shoe; I didn’t have a mould so spent ages making it. I had to emergency stop and the cake just broke. I managed to fix the shoebox but not the shoe. The customer didn’t want it in the end so I kept it!
Waltons: What’s your favourite type of cake decoration? Icing, fondant?
Karen: I don’t know!? I love modelling...if I had to model anything on a regular basis it would be teddy bears. Originally I decided I wanted to just make cake toppers, so I really like modelling. I don’t like doing faces or anything which is too real life. I prefer cartoony models, cartoons are just my style. I like carving, although it’s risky! Sometimes I just go for it...no template. I find techniques and tutorials on the internet to try and get ideas. I pick bits and put it together until I find a technique I like.
The Helios Summerhouse Cake by Waltons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.