Cakes, Bakes, and Me

Valentine’s Day Washout!

Hi everyone,

Unfortunately for me, I recently spent four days as a ‘guest’ of Blackburn Royal hospital. It transpires that the nasty cough I had was actually an infection. This caused a drop in my blood pressure which resulted in me passing out on the kitchen floor. I came round with a very sore left side including my head and neck. Given that I already have a spinal injury, I was taken to A&E for assessment.

Thankfully, a CT scan didn’t show any further damage, but my blood pressure refused to play ball, and a blood test showed that my red cell blood count was also low giving rise to some concern about internal bleeding. That proved not to be the case, and was also due to the infection. So I spent 3 days on intravenous fluids with my BP fluctuating between 72 systolic and 99, at which point they let me come home with strict instructions to rest.

Valentine’s Day was four days later and as I was feeling much better I did manage to hurriedly throw a cake together for my other half. It wasn’t the cake I’d planned to make, but it didn’t turn out too badly.

The rest of last week was spent resting as advised as I was determined not to miss my niece’s 30th birthday celebrations, which had been planned for months.

But more about that next time 😊

I would like to thank the overworked and underpaid nursing staff who looked after me. They did a great job considering there were only 4 of them on a ward of 24 patients!

As always

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

Cinderella got her man…and cake!

The show is over for another year 😔 but what a show it was! Sell out audiences and amazing feedback from all…. including the local press.

As usual, after the final night we had a little party for the kids, with the Director acting as DJ and playing songs from past and present shows, finishing up with this year’s opening number ‘Mr Blue Sky’.

Every year I think it can’t get any better, but every year it does! The set this time round deserves a mention all of its own. Either side of the stage extension were two revolving turrets, and we also had a rotating stage set! An amazing design by Edward Munday, our Director (and one of our ugly sisters!) and built by Edward, Bevan, Danny, Dan and Darren, with help from Bev and Rebecca. I don’t know how they managed in the time we had, but they did, and it certainly paid off 😊

Here are a few photos from our last night, plus one of the cake I made. I’m a bit disappointed I haven’t got any of the ugly sisters as they were a sight to behold! (I’m the Queen by the way, Prince is my real life son James, and Cinderella my daughter in law!)

The cake was a vanilla sponge with white chocolate buttercream, covered in a marbled effect fondant using Renshaws decor ice in white, and Wilton’s black gel food colour. I added a little CMC to the top of the turrets.

James and Abi as the Prince and Cinderella
Me and Darren Brierley as Queen Penny and King Tenpence

James Seymour as Buttons, with Abi
Elaine Morris as Cook, with the King
Brenda Murray as Housekeeper/Fairy Godmother with King
Maids Dandi (Becca), Rose (Helen), Daisy (Kirsty) and Lilly (Emily)

Now what am I going to do with myself? Make more cake obviously 😁😍😘

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

Drum Roll Please!

Yes, I’ve finally got round to making my first cake out of my ‘How to Cake it’ recipe book by Yolanda Gampp!

It’s been a weird few weeks since Christmas, illness, panto rehearsals, lots of things happening, but….here it is at last 😊

It’s an apple! Well, not really, it’s vanilla cake, Italian meringue buttercream, and fondant.

I had some serious problems with this seemingly innocuous cake. First, the shape….. I didn’t have a ball pan, so my first attempt was not good. Having ordered and received one, a few days ago I tried again…..better!

Next…… Italian meringue buttercream. I’ve never made it before, and I’d read that it could be a bit tricky. Well mine turned into a buttery soupy mess! I know what I did wrong (didn’t let the meringue cool enough before adding the butter) and luckily, after panic searching the net for tips, I managed to save it, but patience on my part would definitely have helped!

See how to make Italian meringue buttercream here:

Lastly, the fondant. I used Renshaws, (coloured with Wilton’s green gel colour) and when I roll it properly, it’s a great product, but why, why, why don’t I ever learn? Mum’s teapot cake, father in law’s bowling ball cake, both times the fondant tore near the bottom as I was smoothing it! Again, it’s probably because I’m naturally frugal, (did someone say stingy? Moi?) but it needed to be thicker. I managed to patch it up using the gunge method, but….lesson learned for next time 😔

Learn more about ‘gunge’ here:

So, several lessons learned here, patience, knowing when thinner fondant just won’t do the job (save that for sugar flowers!) and having the right tools!

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

🎶 Rudolph the red nosed reindeer 🎶

Slightly later than planned, but here is Rudolph as promised. Christmas Eve and Christmas day were so busy that I didn’t have time to post before now 😊

Rudolph was made from two 3″ deep 6″ round Chocolate Madeira cakes, split into 4 layers in total, and filled with chocolate buttercream.

I used a mix of milk and dark chocolate ganache to crumb coat and final coat the cake, in a 2:1 cream/chocolate ratio, and gave it a combed effect finish.

How to make ganache

His eyes, ears and mouth/snout? are made from Renshaws fondant. His big red nose is a fondant covered styrofoam craft ball, and his antlers are solid chocolate 🍫 (I used a template which was free on Wilton to get the shape)

His ‘hair’ is a whipped ganache, piped on using a Wilton 2D tip. Sprinkles and Cake Decor gold lustre (I got mine at Tesco) add the the finishing touches 😍 I love him! And I love the pump spray lustre. I have it in silver too 😋

We had a lovely Christmas day at my son and daughter in law’s. They really did us proud. I helped a little by taking dessert, as did Abi’s mum, and I iced Abi’s yummy Christmas Cake to give them time to prepare everything else.

We had a lovely traditional Christmas meal, and played games afterwards, one of which my son James had devised himself! (And which will be ‘stolen’ for future get togethers!)

I even got to see my daughter Katie who is in Switzerland with her partner Josh’s family, thanks to the magic of ‘facetime’ on my new iPhone (Christmas present from my hubby Glen)

Soooo much yummy food, lebkuchen, mince pies, strawberry trifle, millionaire’s shortbread dessert, cheeseboard, chocolates…….. and we never even got round to the Yule log and stollen!

I got home at 11pm, tired but happy. Watched the Dr Who Christmas Special, then slept like a log until 10am!

Having a quiet Boxing Day with my hubby to replenish my ‘spoons‘. Will probably watch some films and generally chill out ❤

I sincerely hope that you had a wonderful Christmas day with your family and/or friends, and wish you all a safe and healthy 2018

Debbie ❤

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

It’s nearly Christmas!

Just thought I’d post a couple of pics of two very simple, but very effective Christmas cake designs.

Both were inspired by Pinterest, one of my favourite places to browse for ideas…. YouTube being the other 😊

The app that I use to add my watermark has some new Christmas themed frames that I couldn’t resist! They have frames and effects covering all the seasons and celebrations….and it’s free! You can find it here: Fotor

I haven’t forgotten the Rudolph cake. That will be coming up soon!

Until then

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤