Platinum Jubilee cake to celebrate her Majesty

It was great to make my platinum jubilee cake.

I was a child of the Empire, a second-generation British Nigeria. My parents were children of colonialism. I grew up listening to my late father’s love for all things British. My mom, who lives in the States, is probably glued to the TV and toasting the Queen with a glass of wine.

This influenced my decision to come back to settle in the place of my birth. I was young and starry-eyed. It had been a bittersweet experience – full of highs and lows.

I was brought up in an all-black nation with lots of its own issues. And came from a good background with a strong sense of my identity. Racism shocked and traumatised me. But where I come from, you pray, brush yourself up and wake up to another day’s challenge. I’ve always strived to be my most authentic and to develop sincere relationships as I love to interact with people.

Empire had played a role all of my life and a constant in this was Queen Elizabeth II. While chaos reigned in moments of her life, she stayed stoic and constant. She survived many scandals, divorces of her children, deaths in the family and events that have rocked the nation.

Seventy years doing a job is not a joke, and I applaud this.

Ten years ago, when she celebrated her diamond jubilee, I made these cupcakes. So, when colleagues requested that I make a platinum Jubilee cake, I decided on this one – a sponge with raspberry buttercream filling and covered in white chocolate ganache.

Stella Oni’s Diamond Jubilee Cupcakes

So, however, I feel about the impact of the Empire upon the life of my parents, my life and the life of generations to come, I say;

Here is to strength and resilience. Here is to Queen Elizabeth II!

Mad Cake World

Exhibition! Exhibition!

It was a different world once I began my cake classes and I loved it! It was a world where you talk with your hands. I was clumsy and messy at first and did not have the nimble and quick hands of my friend that introduced me to cakes. She came from an Art background and was good at drawing, painting and modelling.

My early attempts at making sugar leaves and flowers in a sugar pot!

I had to force my normally cerebral brain into making my hands do the talking and oh it was a messy business! My flowers were clumsily created and looked ugly. I would cast envious glances at my more able class mates and wonder at what I was doing at these classes.

But the stubborn person in me persevered as I tried to bend sugar to my will. But one thing I did was to try to produce my own original ideas sugar as a medium.

It was from going to college that I learnt about the cake exhibitions. My friend warned me that they were addictive and to not take a lot of money. I did not believe her till I went.

The exhibitors come from all over the world to sell the latest sugar gadgets. Cookie cutters machines, pliable sugar paste that would half your time, baking tins that would mould your figures, rolling pins that would create the most delicate of designs. I fell hook line and sinker and blew my budget! The exhibition years would start at Squires Kitchen in Farham on to Cake International, then to every other exhibition.

It was at the exhibitions that I realised that beauty could indeed be created with sugar!

I loved it all!

How my Cake journey started……

I had written the book that is now Deadly Sacrifice and was already on a dance between agents and me. I think I made only one submission to a big publisher’s slush pile and the rest were agents. I had been doing this dance for about three years and read an article in a magazine that advised writers to take on hobbies to take the edge off waiting for agents and publishers. I took it to heart and decided to explore my love of baking by learning to decorate the cakes. I went to a friend who was already into it to teach me how to cover a cake and fell in love.

My first sugar flowers on a giant 5 tier cake that I decorated

My first sugar flowers on giant 5 tier cake that I decorated
She suggested I attended cake classes, and that began my journey. Cakes tend to bring smiles to people’s faces. I think it is because it is excellent as presents and for celebrations. My friends were happy to receive my early efforts at decorating, and my children had a decorated cake each birthday. I discovered a world full of cake enthusiasts and met incredibly talented professionals along the way. Like everything that I love, I decided to take my cake decorating hobby seriously.

Most of the popular cake classes that year of 2009 were already filled up except for sugar flowers. It was hysterical! I barely knew how to cover a cake with sugar paste and yet was learning how to make flowers out of sugar. What an experience! Through that class, I got to know about flowers and realised there is hardly anything that you cannot make with sugar!

You can view some of my cake on instagram.

My Cake beginning

Everything has a beginning, and the same could be said for my cake decorating passion. I had always been fascinated with baking and cooking from a young age. And my brother can still recall the first cake I baked in Nigeria, which I coloured blue! They all ate it and had fun with it, and I was happy! I happily baked cakes and made meat pies and experimented with different forms alongside my voracious appetite for reading until I got to university and other distractions took over.

I picked up baking again about 11 years ago when I was searching for other creative outlets aside from my ‘tough’ writing life which was full of rejections! What joy! The baking was the easiest part and the cake decorating a journey that I will share with you.

An Adventurous journey…

IT, Fiction, cake decorating, blogging….there is no end to my adventure! I went through many challenges and prayed through it all. Never stop inching towards your dream. Deadly Sacrifice took me a long time!

I wanted a strong black African female police detective and was turned down by many agents and publishers like so many authors before me. Finally, Detective Constable Toks Ade of the East London Crime Unit found a home with Jacaranda Books . The crime she solves with Detective Sergeant Philip Dean is a grim one involving human trafficking. The inspiration was loosely based on a real life crime that happened in 2001. The torso of a young African boy whom the press nicknamed Adam was found in Thames. It became known as the Torso in Thames. This is the first of many series. I am currently in the process of writing the next one.