November 13, 2012
I tried to avoid making my own birthday cake, but spent so much time looking around at patisseries and websites, I decided I might save more time by making my own! In the end, I thought, if I’ve got to make one, then it’s going to be different to what I usually make. Unfortunately if I show the photos, there is no hiding the fact I have a milestone birthday this year…
It was a triple layer, dark chocolate truffle cake, sandwiched with orange curd and dark chocolate ganache, then covered with a chocolate orange glacage. This is a ganache with liquid glucose, which stays shiny. It was the first time I had made it, but it seemed to work well. I made lots of marbled maple leaves in oranges, pinks and golds to decorate the sides. The lovely turned wooden cake stand was made for my birthday by Jane Moller – I’ve already forgotten which wood it was, olive ash for the top I think!
I quite like these pretty diamante decorations, even if I don’t like being that number!
We don’t seem to have taken many photos, but here are my flower decorations. Three pumpkins scooped out and used as containers. They were filled with an array of orange, pink and lime green flowers with red ilex berries, blue eryngium and an array of greenery and the last flowers of the year from my garden. My Mum did all the arrangements, as she is much more talented than me at flower-arranging!
I have just about cleared all the debris from my party and now it’s back down to earth. Although I am making an order for an event at Rigby and Peller in Cambridge tomorrow, which is rather nice. I will endeavour to post photos asap. It is my eternal wish to have more time to post more photos!
March 20, 2012
Here is a rather yummy-looking coffee and walnut cake I made for a friend’s 40th birthday last week. Her husband did not think she would want to be reminded of her 40th by having the number 40 plastered all over, so I decided to have a play around and make something different for a change!
These large daisies were cut out using a plunger cutter, then curled with a tool and set in a cup to dry. The centres are large balls of yellow icing dusted with ‘flower pollen’.
For a first attempt, I don’t think they are too bad!
I think I remember her saying she doesn’t like too much frosting, so I opted for an espresso-flavoured fondant icing on the top. Looks nice – I just hope it tasted nice too! I really fancied a slice of it myself, so I got my youngest son and husband to make me a coffee and walnut cake for Mother’s Day. Husband overdid the espresso in the icing though – it was enough to give you the jitters!
February 26, 2012
I know these aren’t new to the market as such, but I have never made them before. I was never sure that it was worth investing in the tin, but seeing as I have taken a few recent orders for them, I decided I may as well buy the tin!
So this was my first giant cupcake, made for a 21st birthday this weekend.
The sponge was a chocolate chip cake – I used an American recipe, which was possibly a bit sweeter than standard English recipes, but hopefully yummy nonetheless.
They requested pink roses, so here they are with tiny blossoms dotted amongst them on palest pink vanilla frosting.
And below are the cupcakes made to go with it. Brown cases to look like the base of the cake, pale pink vanilla frosting and more roses.
And finally a look at my new gift packaging for cupcakes with a cellophane window on top so you can easily see the contents.
February 25, 2012
Our little friend was 8 this year and requested a coconut layer cake with decorations to surprise her. The whole family is mad on coconut cake, so it could be nothing else but that!
I decided to keep it pretty, girly and fresh-looking, so a pink dotty ribbon was the starting point, along with her name and age in pink. Lots of different coloured pastel blossoms and mini blossoms were dotted over the top and sides and it was all finished with a sprinkle of pale pink glitter.
She was by all accounts delighted with it and it was devoured in record time!
This kind of simple decoration would also look really nice at a casual christening, a baby shower or a baby’s birthday.
February 22, 2012
I have spent a hectic weekend working on an engagement party, this wedding and a christening. For some reason this was a very popular weekend! The wedding party was held at The White Hart in Godmanchester and was themed around chocolate-brown and ivory.
The cupcakes were all chocolate and vanilla in plain brown and brown and white dotty cases. Some of the brown cases were inserted into Ivory Lace cupcake wrappers (from Squires). These are quite expensive, but really nice quality. You don’t need to use them on all the cupcakes, but really add another dimension to the stand.
The top cake was a chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache. It was edged with milk chocolate cigarillos and filled with white chocolate roses (both from Squires). Again, these are pretty expensive to buy in, but are worth it for a special occasion. After much deliberation and many purchases of ribbon, I finally decided that the brown and cream dotted ribbon would look best, picking up the dotty cases. Many of the ivory ribbons available are more mushroom in colour and just didn’t look good with the cream rose and frosting. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it was to find a proper cream ribbon! I think the dotted ribbon worked very well in the end, tying the whole look together.
November 7, 2011
This is going to be one of my special offerings for Christmas 2011 - a Cranberry and Orange Holiday Fir Tree Bundt cake.
The china in the background was my grandmother’s – a coffee set in Crown Devon ‘Stockholm’. I keep trying to buy more on ebay, but everybody has the same idea!
Anyway, back to the cake. I love these shaped tins from Nordic Ware, although they are quite pricy to buy. I toyed between this one and a gingerbread cottage, but decided on this in the end, as I thought it would be a crowd pleaser.
The cake above was my first attempt at using the tin, so I was delighted when it just dropped out of the tin, without a single crumb clinging to the sides. A sign of a good tin, I think.
I decided on Orange and Cranberry as it is a classic Christmas combination, fresh and fruity, not heavy like a traditional Christmas cake.
I love these simple, snowy trees. What could more Christmassy? If you decide to order one, you could always add a little holly or a robin or two to decorate it, if you wish, but I quite like it plain and simple.
The cake can also be made in any of my other standard flavours you would like, such as vanilla, lemon or chocolate or perhaps something a bit different such as Chocolate Peppermint or Raspberry and Pistachio.
Look out for some more posts coming soon on my Christmas specials!
November 1, 2011
Well, only a day late publishing this one!
The client said ” The Halloween cake you made for us went down a storm at the party! Chris and I just managed to get a small slice each before it all went. Everyone loved the decoration and the glitter looked great by candle light. Claire is looking forward to another delicious cake for her 18th next year! Thank you so much”.
September 29, 2011
I usually run a mile when someone asks for a novelty cake, as it is not my forte, but once a year I give in to try to conjure up something to suit the theme of my youngest son’s birthday party.
This year was a movie themed party, so I got it into my head it would be easy to make a red and white striped rectangular bag of popcorn. It wasn’t. Easy, that is.
As you can see, the icing sagged a little. I made a sponge recipe which is very nice to eat, but a bit lightweight to hold up all that icing and frosting! So it ended up looking a little less than rectangular… And it was hot and humid, which made the icing a devil to work with.
Still, the birthday boy was chuffed with it. Only on reflection did I realise the popcorn was probably a major fire hazard and that we would all get showered in flying popcorn when the candles were blown out!
I have never forgotten what my cookery teacher wrote on my report when I was 12 – ‘Don’t worry, Helen, all cooks have disasters.’ At least the annual ordeal is over and hopefully no more disasters this year!
July 25, 2011
I don’t normally make tiered cakes – I usually confine myself to a top cake for a cupcake tower. However, seeing as it was for someone I know, whose daughter’s reception was at Childerley Hall…
Now, I don’t normally go in for complicated flower making – I don’t have the expertise in that area. However I felt a wedding cake deserved something different to my usual flowers, so I had a go at making these.
The instructions I followed were for single roses, but I seem to have invented my own flower here, a bit tulip-like and bit rose-like with a hint of hellebore, I think! Still, I quite liked them and I did have a fallback of standard cream roses, but I decided to go with these. The edges were brushed with aubergine lustre.
The bridemaids dresses were in the deep aubergine colour and the flowers were all cream and aubergine, so I hope it toned in well. I used a satin ribbon over an organza ribbon on each cake.
July 19, 2011
This cake was made for a little girl called Mia, who particularly likes fairies.
These rather cute little china fairies are just the ticket, I think!
The cake was a vanilla later cake with raspberry preserves and pink vanilla frosting in the middle and on top.
By all accounts, it went down very well.
I’m hopefully going to see ‘Bridesmaids’ tonight, if I can keep my eyes propped open that long! I have been preparing wedding cakes today, covering them with marzipan, trying out some new flowers, been to the cake decorating shop – can’t wait til Friday when we break up and things won’t seem so hectic. Well, hopefully…. although we do have Hilton Feast Week on next week, which usually means lots of things to keep us busy. At least there won’t be any more 7am alarm calls, which may seem late for a lot of you, I know, but it’s far too early for me at the end of term!
You could hardly have picked worse weather to go and deliver cakes – the rain was torrential yesterday for what seemed like hours on end. Luckily the porters let me in through the back gates and I was able to get pretty close to the doors!
This cupcake stand was for a wedding reception in the Saltmarsh Rooms. They chose Maple and Pecan Cupcakes with maple frosting (the top cake was the same flavour) and Mocha Cupcakes with mocha frosting (strong espresso and chocolate).
The couple chose a very cute Lego cake topper, which I believe a friend of theirs made. It was certainly different and I can imagine a lot of Lego fanatics out there would love to know how to build one!
In order to complement the simplicity of the Lego, we kept the decorations to simple hearts in red and cream with red and white cases.
Even though my husband and son accompanied me on this trip and I was relieved of camera duties, it was still not easy to get good photos, because it was so dark outside. Even with the fancy new flashgun he’s splashed out on….
Here’s the topper from the other angle….
This morning I had to battle with lemming-like tourists and go in through the front entrance of Kings to fetch the stand, which meant parking in the loading bay and hoping I could dash there and back before getting a ticket (even though I was loading, my car doesn’t look like an obvious delivery van!)
From there it was a quick dash to Little Abington to fetch my son from a weekend Cubs camp. When I say every last thing was wet, I mean it, even the Harry Potter book he was reading! Just when I thought I could put my feet up…..
May 31, 2011
This is the most recent wedding cupcake tower I have made, just a couple of days ago. The reception was held at Needhan’s Restaurant in Witchford, near Ely.
It was a confection of pink and white – all vanilla cupcakes in the regular and mini size.
There were mid pink daisies on the pale pink frosting and bright pink daisies on the natural frosting, some highlighted with a pale pink glitter.
There was also a 6″ vanilla layer cake on top, frosted all over and simply decorated with a few daisies and blossoms.
I’m hoping for a quieter week, seeing as it’s half term and I should try to do a few things with my sons. We went to Cambridge yesterday for lunch at Sticky Beaks - a very nice new cafe with healthy and homemade food, lovely bread etc. I have a list of jobs as long as my arm to try to tackle this week. Number one on the list is to make a Roman blind – we’ll see if it actually gets done…!
April 2, 2011
A slice of this would REALLY hit the mark at the moment – unfortunately I must resist. Not only because it’s in the fridge waiting to be collected, but I’m really trying to be good…
Very difficult for me to resist the sweet stuff.
This is a 10″ dark chocolate sponge made a bit deeper than usual with an unsweetened dark chocolate ganache for a sophisticated young lady’s 18th birthday.
I have to admit to having made a little extra ganache, which I have made into 6 chocolate truffles rolled in Green and Black’s Organic Cocoa. No sugar, but a very good chocolate hit. And it is Mother’s Day tomorrow, after all!
Apparently, I am being taken for afternoon tea at The George at Buckden tomorrow, where I intend to indulge to the full!
March 28, 2011
The library at Hinchingbrooke House looked absolutely fabulous when I walked in to set up my cakes:
Everything in white and gold, including my cupcakes:
These were all mini vanilla cupcakes with natural vanilla frosting, decorated with a small white daisy or edible gold star sprinkles:
The couple provided their own stand and cake topper which I attached when I set up the cupcake tower – I think it’s a rather cute topper:
The top cake was a vanilla sponge with jam and frosting in the centre and swirled vanilla frosting all over. It was decorated with medium and large dasies and sat on a simple gold cake drum, which had a gold satin ribbon around the edge.
I have to say the library would make a great setting for any celebration. I’d like to think of an excuse for hiring it myself!
March 10, 2011
When I was asked to make a cake for a Knit Lit friend’s 60th birthday, I took it as an opportnity to try out a new sponge recipe – something different to usual. After much debate and indecision, I decided to make a layer cake version of the Madagascan Vanilla cupcake (this month’s special).
In the middle it had a layer of seedless raspberry jam, fresh raspberries and raspberry frosting. The whole thing was covered in raspberry frosting too.
Although my photos don’t really do it justice, everyone pronounced it delicious!
February 18, 2011
I have been wanting to have a go at one of these cakes for ages, but with two boys the chance never arose. So when a friend asked me for a one for her daughter, I jumped at the chance. Now I am not one for making novelty cakes as a matter of course, but I thought I would like to offer these on my website.
This one has a three layer dark chocolate cake under the skirt, sandwiched with chocolate frosting, but it could be any flavour. My standard colours will be pink, as shown above, but again the dress, flowers and ribbons could be in any colour.
They would be suitable for little girls birthdays, bridesmaids or even proms. The dolls come with blond or brown hair or there is an ‘Ethnic’ doll with darker skin and black hair. Sorry, there isn’t a doll for every hair colour.
I have to say that making the bodice of the dress was quite fiddly and my 9 year old son and I had a lot of laughs over my first attempts to make the sugar paste stick to her ‘form’, shall we say… Anyway, I think I’ve got it cracked now! The doll cakes will be loaded on to the website shortly and can be ordered from now onwards.
February 14, 2011
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Here are some of the different styles of Valentine’s Day cupcakes which have gone out today and over the weekend:
I have to say I particularly like the look of the shiny chocolate fudge frosting…
And finally a Devil’s Food cake sandwiched with chocolate fudge frosting and covered with sugar paste made for the hungry mob in my house who complain they NEVER get cake to eat!
February 9, 2011
I had a few off-cuts of pastry left over from the lemon meringue pie I made, so used it up making these jammy tarts. Just a scant teaspoon of strawberry jam in a mini cupcake tray lined with circles of pastry. Ideal for young children to make and anyone wanting to hark back to childhood. Needless to say there weren’t many left by the time the kids got home…
It doesn’t matter what they look like – they taste lovely!