Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Red Velvet!

 These Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting look and taste amazing, perfect for a special treat!

Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe

250g plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g soft unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
1 tablespoon red food colour paste
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
175ml buttermilk
1 teaspoon cider or white wine vinegar


500g icing sugar
125g cream cheese
125g soft unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cider or white wine vinegar


Pre heat oven 170 C/gas mark 3 and line 2 muffin tins with paper cases.

Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy before adding the food colour and vanilla extract. Add the eggs slowly along with spoonfuls of the dry ingredients to prevent the mixture from separating, keep mixing until everything is incorporated.

Finally mix in the buttermilk and vinegar before dividing into 24 cupcakes.
Bake for 20 minutes then leave to cool in the tin.

Meanwhile, blend all the frosting ingredients together starting with the butter, cream cheese and vinegar before gradually adding the icing sugar. Spread or pipe on top of the cooled cakes and enjoy!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Sunflowers, Hessian & Vintage Lace Cake

I designed this Vintage Sunflower cake for a friends 50th birthday, the brief was "up to you to feed 100 party goers!"

The invitations had a sunflower theme so I used that for my inspiration. I thought two deep cakes would be better than one huge one so opted for 6" deep 10" square with an 6" deep 8" round on the top.

I made the sunflowers using yellow flower paste for the petals and brown for the centres, when dried a good dusting with darker shades of yellow and some orange was added to the petals and darker brown to the centres before steaming to set the colour and achieve a more natural finish.

This flower choice does some what limit your colour options but I decided on a mink brown and sage green colour scheme to blend together rather than to clash.
White sugar paste had brown and a dash of pink food colour added to achieve the right shade of mink and spruce green was added to ivory sugar paste for the sage green colour.

A wood effect iced cake drum helps to draw the eye away from the dark flower centres making them less obvious and obtrusive. (there is a video on this blog showing how to achieve the wood effect)

Edible Hessian and Vintage lace was was achieved with "edible lace & moulds" after letting this dry over night the Hessian was dusted with shades of brown and beige for a realistic look.

I draped one piece over the top tier, the other around the base of the bottom tier.
For a more feminine look I added a double edged decorative lace and edible buttons to the bottom and a taller flat edged lace around the base of the top tier.

Bunting was made out from pieces of left over Hessian cut into triangles with letters added to spell out a birthday message, attached with piped string and more vintage edible buttons.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Yummy Pud!

Don't waste your left over bread, make a yummy pud instead! This bread pudding is a great way to use up left over bread, rolls and buns. Try it you'll love it!

Bread pudding recipe

500g left over bread
500ml milk
200g dried mixed fruit
2tsp mixed spice
2 medium sized eggs
100g melted butter
100g caster sugar
2 table spoons of brown sugar.

The darker the sugar you use the darker the pudding will be, I've used light brown sugar in this one cos that's what I had in the cupboard.

For the mixed fruit, sultanas, currants raisins and mixed peel work well and give lots of flavour and different textures.


Pre heat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4 and line an 8" square tin ready for the bread mixture.

Soak the bread in the milk for about 15 minutes until soft before adding all of the other ingredients and mixing well.
Put in your prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes in the middle of your oven.

Sprinkle with granulated sugar while still warm, then cut into small squares once cool and enjoy!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Any One For Tennis!

This tennis court cake is great for Wimbledon fans. Grass effect green sugar paste/fondant, crisp white lines, net with posts, racquets, new balls, and not to forget the score, which is a great way to add a persons age and a sneaky little message!

The grass effect can be achieved with a veining mat or with a kitchen scourer, a new one of course!
Cover the cake with green sugar paste/fondant and immediately press on the mat or the scourer for the grass, this needs to be done before the paste begins to form a skin and starts setting.

For the white lines, roll out flower paste very thin, cut into even width strips and attach to the cake with edible glue to form the lines of a tennis court.

The net is also made from thinly rolled flower paste, cut into even strips, long horizontal strips the width of your cake and shorter vertical strips 2" long. Space the 2" strips evenly along some non stick paper and apply edible glue, then place the long strips evenly spaced across, attaching a extra wider band along the top of your net and a thicker band down the centre, like a real net and it also adds some extra support. Leave this to dry thoroughly.

Lolly sticks are supporting the wooden posts, they are pushed down into the cake and brown flower paste is rolled into a sausage shape then placed over the stick to cover it. Using a craft knife cut down the inside of the posts to make a slit which will hold the net in place with the help of some edible glue.

Racquets are made with sugar paste rolled into really thin sausages, shape into an oval about the size of a ten pence piece, then add a "V" shaped sausage for the neck and a black handle. The strings are piped royal icing as are the little bouncy lines around the cake.

Tennis balls are also sugar paste in yellow with piped white markings to give a better effect. For the top of the cake the balls are completely round and for the sides they are cut in half with the flat part attached to the cake.

Any Score can be added, in this case it was a 50th birthday cake for a lady from her husband, hence "50 - Love". How Sweet!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Piñata Cake With Surprises Inside!

This Piñata cake is packed with surprises, brightly decorated with multi coloured sponge layers to match and filled with yummy sweets. Kids love them!

I made this one for my 29 year old big kid and she and her friends loved it! Filled with their favourite sweets it's a great surprise, in my daughters case it was Dolly Mixtures, Skittles and M&Ms, but you can use any. It's more effective if they are out of the packet so that they tumble out of the cake as the first slice is cut!

For this cake I used a basic sponge recipe as gel colours needed to be added to the mixture which would require a good bit of mixing, if you use something like a genoese recipe you will end up beating all the air out.


225g (8oz) Self Raising Flour
225g (8oz) Butter, at room temperature
225g (8oz) Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Essence


Mix all the ingredients together in one bowl, divide into 2 and colour each one differently.

I used Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange and Purple. You can fill two 8" lined and greased sandwich pans out of each batch so you will need to make 3 batches in total for 6 brightly coloured layers.

Make sure you use bake stable food colour to achieve a bright baked finish, in a gel or paste so it will not alter the consistency of the cake mixture.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c/ Gas mark 4 for approximately 15-25 minutes.

When cooled cut out the centre of 5 of the cakes and stack using butter cream, fill with you chosen sweets and add the last layer. Thinly coat the outside with butter cream.

Using your food colours from the sponge make 6 different coloured batches of butter cream and with a frill tube pipe from the bottom of the cake to the top and then into the centre, alternating colours as you go.
We got about 30 portions from this cake and they were generous! So you could get more!

If you would prefer to watch how this Piñata cake is made and decorated there will be a video following shortly.

Hope you enjoy making this cake, it's well worth the effort for the surprised and happy faces!
Let me know how you get on and what you filled yours with?

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Best Chocolate Brownie Ever!

I've tried a number of chocolate brownie recipes in the past but none come close to this one, it's crunchy on the top and gooey in the middle with chunks of chocolate in every mouth full, fabulous!
You gotta try this, let me know what you think, it could be your best ever brownie too!

275g/10oz plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
275g/10oz unsalted butter
85g/3oz milk chocolate, cut into large chunks
85g/3oz white chocolate, cut into large chunks
175g/6oz plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
325g/12oz caster sugar

Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas3. Line a 30x20x3.5cm tin with buttered greaseproof paper.

Put plain chocolate and butter in a bowl over boiling water until melted.
Sieve flour and baking powder into a bowl. Remove melted chocolate from heat and stir in the sugar.
Add the eggs and vanilla essence, then fold in the flour and chocolate chunks.

Pour into prepared tin and spread out evenly. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
The top should be firm but the inside should be soft when baked.
Allow to cool in the tin before carefully removing and cutting into small squares, cos it's very rich!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Edible beads for cakes!

Silicone bead moulds are a very effective way to make edible beads for adding detail and enhancing the finish on your cakes.

See how easy it is with this video tutorial and give it a go!

They make a lovely border around cake bases as an alternative to ribbon or royal icing. Draping them down the sides can help achieve that very popular vintage look with different sizes and patterns available to choose from.

Using shimmering dusts can give a pearl effect or to add drama gold and silver edible paints are great.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

It's Not Just A Spatula!

This is an every day essential, ergonomic spatulas are fab, you've got to get yourself one!

I've just treated myself a bright green one and am not disappointed.
Really easy to clean as it is all in one, no where for nasty germs to hide, just wash in warm soapy water or put in your dishwasher.
Being made of silicone, it very flexible and gets every last drop of cake mix, chocolate or butter cream out of your bowl, nothing is left.
Great in non stick and ceramic pans too, can take the heat, releases everything from the surface of the pan and doesn't scratch or stick.
I've only had mine a short while and would be lost without it, my wooden spoons are redundant!
Why don't you try one? Choose from one of the lovely bright colours and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Sprinkles aren't just for sprinkling!

Fab & Fun Rainbow Sprinkles Cake!
This eye catching cake is oh so simple, all you need is sugar paste, sprinkles and edible glue.
After covering your cake with sugar paste, apply a thin layer of edible glue all over the surface and press the rainbow sprinkles on flat with your hands removing any excess. Placing it on a white covered cake drum emphasises the chaotic pattern of the sprinkles, as does having a plain white cake to set off the numbers. These are cut out of flower paste and left to dry before applying the glue and sprinkles in the same way.
It's advisable to keep patterns separated to avoid clashing of colour and design, complementing your creation.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Cake Drum, Board or Card, that is the Question!

What do you use and when? This is one of the most frequently asked questions in our showroom.

Cake drum is the thickest at 13 mm, covered in foil and comes in many shapes, including hexagonal, heart and oblong, sizes from 6" to 20" and colours such as silver, gold, black, pink, blue and purple.
These are perfect for heavy fruit cakes or as a base for a wedding or special celebration cake.
As a guide you would normally have a cake drum two inches larger than the cake, 8" cake, 10" drum, however if you are icing the drum, as you probably would with a Wedding cake it's advisable to opt for three or even four inches bigger, 10" base cake, 13"/14" cake drum this an important consideration as most cake stands at the venue or to hire are at least 14" and will help to enhance the overall appearance.

Cake boards are 3 mm thick and made from very strong board in order to take the weight of heavy cakes including those to be stacked as in the case of multi tiered Wedding cakes. Being more cost effective they are frequently used in the making of novelty and celebration cakes. Also available in different shapes, sizes and designs, they are a great way to set off your creation.

Cake cards at 2 mm thick are ideal for multi tiered stacked cakes where the boards need to be hidden from view, using the same size board as your cake they are for gateaux, sponges, and light weight cakes. Available with hygienic silver foil covering in round and square, sizes from 3" to 12".

Polycoated cards are the thinnest at 1.5 mm and have a non stick coating so will not allow the moisture from your cake to leach through. Available in 6" to 12" round and 6" to 10" square they are ideal for gateaux and light sponges. Also used for tiered cakes like the cards but not as heavy duty, so small light weight cakes only.

Gold and Silver foil is also available if you would like to reuse tired or damaged boards to reduce waste and keep your costs to a minimum.

I hope you found this information useful and that it has help you make an informed decision with regards to which one and when!