Cakes, Bakes, and Me

Getting ahead of myself!

Hi!

In less than two weeks, my baby girl turns 29 years old! I feel so ancient! ย ๐Ÿ˜ž Luckily, both my ‘kids’ keep me young in their choice of birthday cake (remember the white mouse in May?) I must confess, I have chosen Katie’s cake myself this year. As soon as I saw Zoe’s Fancy Cakes tutorial, it was a done deal! I’ve started early and baked, filled, carved and crumb coated, and it’s now sitting in my freezer chilling out. Can you guess what it is?

No? Think Guardians of the Galaxy…..ok you can have another picture..

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Isn’t he cute? It is, of course, none other than Baby Groot himself ๐Ÿ˜ I really hope I can do him justice. I’ve already forgotten to cut out his eyes before I crumb coated (that sentence sounds so wrong), but I shall be following the tutorial to the letter from here on! If you would like to check out Zoe’s tutorial here’s the linky thing. She has loads of other great tutorials too ๐Ÿ˜Š

Just look at those eyes, absolutely adorable ๐Ÿ˜˜

I’ll keep you updated on my progress, and any other creations I attempt along the way….. I’ve got my eyes peeled for tractor cakes too!

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie โค

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

Welcome to my (almost finished) new kitchen

Hello ๐Ÿ˜Š

As promised, here are some pictures of my new kitchen. I’m no photographer, and they’ve only been taken on my phone, but I love love love it!

This is what I call the ‘kitchen’ end of the room. As you can see, the upstands and splashback still need adding (note makeshift cardboard ‘splashback’)

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And this is my ‘office’, where all the cake preparation and decorating will be going on! The worktop in front of the window has deliberately been put in as a separate piece, so that it can be retrofitted as a ‘rise and fall’ area in the future if needs be. At the moment, the stool I got from OH is height adjustable, which is fine for now ๐Ÿ˜Š

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And now (drum roll please) My first cake from the new kitchen. I’ve incorporated a few techniques (watched far too much YouTube tutorials in the past month!) so I did watercolour buttercream effect, then tried a Russian piping tips, which I was reasonably pleased with for a first try. The last ones are a bit flat, as it was hot yesterday and the buttercream went a bit ‘floppy’ towards the end. Then I tried the ‘brushstroke’ technique….hmmm, did I mention it was hot yesterday? I literally had to take one out of the fridge, apply it, then grab another! More practice needed obviously, but here it is. It’s a lemon sponge with raspberry buttercream ๐Ÿ˜œโค๐Ÿฐ

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For this I kept things simple and went for a basic Victoria sponge which I flavoured with a naturally concentrated lemon paste. The ratio for the buttercream was 225g butter and 500g icing sugar, with 2 tablespoons of double cream and a tsp of meringue powder for stability. I always use Lakeland brand natural raspberry flavouring. I haven’t found anything that tastes remotely as nice! The chocolate shards I made by melting white chocolate, colouring some of it pink (Wilton gel colour) then spreading it with my spatula on to baking paper, but like I said, more practice needed!

That’s all for now

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie โค

 

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

Almost there!

Hi! My new kitchen is almost finished! All it needs now is some upstands (not ordered originally as I wasn’t sure about them) a splash back and a lick of paint! I’m also looking for new blinds and have bought some fabric to make a cafรฉ rail ๐Ÿ˜Š

Here’s some pics taken at various stages. I will take some as it is now later too.

I christened it on Saturday by making some scones and a cake. The scones are gone, but I’ll be decorating the cake today. I’ve watched a LOT of YouTube tutorials while I’ve been in cake ‘desert’ so not sure what theme yet lol ๐Ÿ˜Š Watch this space! I’m back!

Until later

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie โค

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

A very special cake

Hi again, as you know, I currently have no oven (well technically I have one, it’s just not connected!) In my freezer were 3 cakes destined to become my nephew’s 21st birthday cake. I haven’t mentioned this before as my lovely niece, Georgia Goldsack, had organised a surprise party for her big brother, so I had to keep schtum ๐Ÿ˜ถ

Anyway….the party’s over now, everything went off without a hitch, Daniel Goldsack was suitably surprised and we all had a great time ๐Ÿ’ƒ

Georgia had given me a few ideas, Game of Thrones (Stark) music, guitars and Guinness to name a few! I filled and covered all three cakes, made the decorations and packed them as carefully as I could for the 5 hour journey from Burnley to Lavenham in Suffolk. No-one was more surprised than me that they all got there in one piece!

As usual, I forgot to take a ‘posed’ photo, but here are some that wereย taken ๐Ÿ“ท

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The bottom tier was vanilla with raspberry jam and white chocolate ganache filling and crumb coat, and the two top ones were chocolate with chocolate ganache filling and crumb coat. Decorations included cake lace music stave (using DIY cake lace from a previous post)

Guitars, Guinness, ‘Stark’ wolf sigil from GOT, and Iron Throne also from GOT ๐Ÿ˜‹

I have to say I was rather pleased with how it turned out, and it tasted delicious. Dan loved it, and that’s the most important thing.

To say I was shattered when we got back is an understatement! It’s now 5 days later, and I’m just about back to what passes as normal for me ๐Ÿ˜ but it was worth it to spend quality time with family, and to be there to celebrate Dan’s special birthday.

Well, that’s all for now, but I will be posting a kitchen update later!

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie โค

 

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

Plastered!

Exciting times, I now have newly plastered kitchen walls! The plasterer came last Wednesday, and had the lot finished by 6pm. That gave it a good 5 days to dry out ready for yesterday when the kitchen fitter started ๐Ÿ˜Š

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And this is what it looked like by the end of yesterday…

And so it begins, I can’t wait for it all to be finished, then I can bake again ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŽ‚๐Ÿฅ

Meanwhile I’m making do with decorating some cakes I froze before I lost the use of my oven. Pics of those later ๐Ÿ˜Š

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie โค

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

Farrrrther’s day!

Greetings me hearties!

Father’s Day had a piratical theme for us at the weekend. Not for any particular reason….well perhaps because I bought a pirate ship mould in the Lakeland sale and just wanted to try it out ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Anyhoo, I made the cakes and froze them before the kitchen was stripped out, and decorated it last Friday as we had our father’s day celebration a day early so that my daughter and her fella could be there.

Our son and daughter in law kindly hosted (no kitchen remember?) and as Saturday’s forecast was good, we had a lovely afternoon in the garden, and a BBQ. In hindsight chocolate frosting wasn’t such a good idea! Phew it was scorchio ๐ŸŒžโ˜€ Luckily, Abigail had made a refreshing lemon meringue pie, and we had strawberries, raspberries and profiteroles too! Spoilt for choice ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ ย It was the first time Abi had made lemon meringue, and it was delicious! (Good old Mary Berry recipe) So good in fact that I bestowed the ‘Hollywood Handshake’๐Ÿ‘Œ

Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of the pie, but I did get some of the ‘Galleon’. In my rush leaving the house, I forgot my Lego pirate figures to decorate it with though, so we raided Abi’s ‘stash’ and made do with Disney heroes instead!

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In other news, I now have a plastered kitchen and we’re all set for fitting to start on Monday ๐Ÿ˜Š

Before that though, there’s the small matter of a concert on Friday! It’s not too late to get tickets. Just follow the link below for information ๐Ÿ˜‹

https://www.facebook.com/events/1817728958537782/?ti=as

Have a lovely day

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie โค

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

When is a kitchen not a kitchen?

Answer: when it’s in the conservatory!

Hello again,

Well it’s started! The chaos of having a new kitchen ๐Ÿ˜‹ I now have four walls and a fridge in my ‘kitchen’, and the rest is temporarily in the conservatory. I have a microwave, toaster, slow cooker and a borrowed 2 ring electric hob! The worst part is that I can’t bake, I’m sure I’ve got withdrawal symptoms! I can still decorate, and I have cake and cake pops in the freezer for working on next week. I’ve also been keeping busy making fondant toppers.

It helps that I also have rehearsals for an upcoming concert twice a week to keep me occupied too ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽต

Below are pictures of both ‘kitchens’, I’ll be posting more as the transformation progresses. It’s very exciting to think I’ll soon have a space that works for me. No more inaccessible cupboards, a bespoke work area for my cake decorating that will ‘rise and fall’ if I need it to, I can’t wait! It’s great to know that if I do end up needing this โ™ฟ indoors, the new kitchen will accommodate it ๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜Š

Keep smiling ๐Ÿ˜€

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie โค

Cake decorating, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Theatre

A very unique wedding cake ๐Ÿ˜

Hi from a very rainy Lancashire England!

A few weeks ago, my niece recommended me to a friend who needed a small wedding cake. I subsequently met with the lovely Carole, after sending her a mountain of Pinterest images of single tier cakes! Carole is a very bubbly character, and soon picked out a heart shaped cake…..in purple! Now, although I confess that purple is my favourite colour, I hadn’t ever visualised it on a wedding cake, unless it was a steam punk or goth type affair. Carole definitely didn’t fit in either of those categories ๐Ÿ˜ but her theme was purple, also her favourite colour, and gold. So why not? In my opinion, you should choose whatever you want on your wedding day ๐Ÿ’œ After chatting, she also asked for some pink peonies with gold edged petals, chocolate cake, which was her groom to be’s favourite, and left the rest to me! Yikes! I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Carole. She’s the sort of person you like instantly. Bright, bubbly, like a ray of sunshine on a gloomy day. Well she brightened mine anyway ๐Ÿ˜Š I sent her off with a sample for the groom to try, and once that got the thumbs up, I started thinking about creating a unique cake for this unique lady and her chocolate cake loving man! ๐Ÿ’‘ This is the recipe I used. It’s lovely and moist without being too dense. How to Cake it is one of my favourite YouTube channels ๐Ÿ˜Š

I wanted to do something special, while sticking to the remit. Ages ago, I’d bought a silicone lace mat, which had never been used. It features hearts so it was perfect. I found a YouTube tutorial on how to make the ‘lace’ coloured it purple, and set to. It was actually very easy, I had all the ingredients already, and I was really pleased with the finished product. This is how I made it ๐Ÿ˜Š

I used this 2 ingredient chocolate frosting to fill the cake after creating three layers. It is soooo good. I had to stop myself from eating it out of the bowl. And no icing sugar! My Cupcake Addiction is another favourite ๐Ÿ˜Š

After carving the cake into it’s heart shape, I then ganached the whole thing, and popped it into the fridge. All good so far ๐Ÿ˜Š

The following day, (Thursday) it was time for covering the cake with that lovely purple fondant. That’s when the problems started ๐Ÿ˜– Stupid fondant behaving badly again! Has anyone else noticed that the darker colours are always softer? Black, red and purple specifically? Of course it was a scorcher of a day too, which didn’t help. No matter how thick or thin I rolled it, as soon as I tried to get it on the cake, it ripped…..well fell apart would be more accurate. After a minor panic, I decided to add just a little Tylose to firm it up, rolled a long strip to go round the edges, and a heart shape for the top, and panelled it instead of trying to get it all on in one go! Heat and humidity are pure evil when working with fondant! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ After that I applied the lace hearts, dusting them randomly with gold and hologram white lustres, added a purple ribbon round the top edge with diamante pins sterilised with vodka, then the gold ‘bling’ sequinned ribbon round the bottom edge. Another hairy moment transferring it to the board (there’s always that moment when you just have to let go!) And then I placed the peonies and the lettering.

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‘Roy’ having only 3 letters, one side looked a bit bare, so I placed a small wired peony on that side. The butterfly was a last minute touch just because it was pretty โค Carole had supplied her own topper which was you to me bride and groom bears. I gave the groom a purple cravat and waistcoat button, and the bride a gold ‘dress’ and small fondant posy. I left a fondant shelf edged with gold on the back of the cake for them to sit on ๐Ÿ’‘

I have to say that I’m so grateful to Carole and Roy for trusting me to make this cake for their special day. I got the chance to put into practice the techniques I’d ‘learned’ on YouTube. Making a quilted board, peonies, cake lace etc, and if it hadn’t have been such a hot day on Thursday, it would have been a 100% pleasure. Still, it’s not the first time it’s happened and I’m sure it won’t be the last! Darn unpredictable weather! If there are any ‘cakers’ out there reading this, what do you do? Are there any brands which are better when working in heat or humidity? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Anyway, many congratulations to Carole and Roy. I hope you had an amazing day, and a very happy future together.

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie โค

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

Fondant, gum paste or flower paste?

Hello!

It’s been a week since I posted ‘fondant behaving badly’, and I’ve since been experimenting. I tried adding Tylose, and it was better, but I still wasn’t happy ๐Ÿ˜– so I bought some flower paste. By the way, can anyone tell me what is the difference between gum paste and flower paste? I understood that by adding Tylose to fondant I was creating gum paste, but the result wasn’t great. Could it be the quality of the fondant? I just use store brand, which I don’t have a problem with for covering a cake, but I know there are lots of different brands out there? Is there really so much difference? Let me know if you’ve tried a few and found one that’s better than the rest ๐Ÿ˜

Anyway, back to flower paste! I coloured it pink and made a ‘test’ peony. It was so much easier! It didn’t crack or tear when I was thinning the edges, and kept it’s shape beautifully. Looking at my pics, I think I can be a bit braver with the thinning, some of the petals look a bit ‘chunky’ lol ๐Ÿ˜‹ and I overdid the glue in the centre. The full flower has a styrofoam centre. I’ve made a centre out of the paste to see which I like best, and will post again when I’ve attached the (thinner!) petals!

In other news, I found this really useful infopic on Pinterest. It shows piping tips and what shapes you can achieve with them. In recipes, it often says use Wilton tip, then the numbers/letters. Which isn’t much use if your tips are a different brand! This will come in very handy for me. Feel free to use it yourself ๐Ÿ˜Š

 

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Lastly, today’s the last chance to access the Craftsy sale of decorating accessories, you have till midnight, so head on over and take a peek, you never know, there may be something for you ๐Ÿ˜Š

https://www.craftsy.com/a/shop/all-clearance?

Disclaimer: I’m not sponsored by Craftsy!

That’s it for now, stay safe and healthy

Debbie โค

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

Fondant behaving badly!

Hello again, much excitement this week ๐Ÿ™Œ as I’ve been asked to make a wedding cake ๐Ÿ˜ Granted it’s not a multi tiered extravaganza, but it’s still exciting to me!

The lady in question is a friend of my niece Amy (she was the recipient of my first ever unicorn cake on her birthday in February) and she recommended me. I shan’t go into detail, but as soon as it’s been collected, and with the lady’s permission, I’ll post a picture ๐Ÿ˜Š

The title of this post refers to my attempts at fondant flowers this week. Now I’m very grateful for the warm sunny weather we’ve been enjoying recently, but it’s playing havoc with my fondant which keeps cracking as it dries out too quickly! I’ve tried rehydrating, smoothing it with Trex, kneading it to death, microwaving for a few seconds. Everything I can think of. In the end I’d subjected it to so many ‘treatments’ I had to throw it away. I’ll start afresh today and add some Tylose. Fingers crossed, that will work. If it does, I’ll post pics later ๐Ÿ˜‹

In other news, I’m proud to say I’ve successfully taken a Food Safety level 2 (catering) course. Technically, I’m not a ‘business’ as I only bake as a hobby and occasionally for friends, family and foafs, and only cover my costs, but I feel better for having done it. I learned quite a lot actually. A lot of it was common sense, but there were some practices I wasn’t aware of, and shall now be implementing. The course was online and consisted of 7 modules. There was a quiz at the end of each module, which you had to pass before continuing, then a final exam at the end. There are several different ones on line. I plumped for Food Safety UK’s version as it is CPD accredited, and EHO recognised if I should need it in the future. Well you never know! I thought it would stand me in good stead when I bake for charity events too. Follow the link below for more info if you’re interested ๐Ÿ˜Š

https://food-safety.org.uk/

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie โค