Sunday, 21 December 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone, I should be back in the New Year!

Cake Decorator TV Interviews

I find it really useful to see any professional on TV demonstrating their work. I think in the US, you get Martha Stewart, and therefore access to lots of creative people. Over here in the UK, we're not so lucky.

Anyway, on Wedding TV (!) no, I can't say I've watched it, there are a few interviews with some of my favourite cake designers, plus Rachel Allen also interviewed some amazing people on Bake on Living TV. Catch them if you can. I'll update this page as and when, and have it linked in my sidebar!

Peggy Porshen Wedding TV

Peggy Porschen & Eric Lanlard Wedding TV video 2

Maisie Fantaisie

Elissa Strauss You Tube Reel - she has a few videos on You Tube under Confetti Cakes

Sunday, 14 December 2008


I made this last night, I don't know whether to keep it for me, give it to my sister or my best friend! It has turned out better than I imagined. I wasn't sure of the fabric, it's a very wide woven linen, that has a special name, which I have forgotten. I did a triple stitch to make sure it's really secure, and strong enough to hold lots of shopping!

As the linen was plain, I added this sweet little bird applique. I zig zaged it on, but my machine wasn't doing as close a zig zag stitch as I would have liked, but I couldn't find my manual!

I am really pleased with how it's turned out! Would you give it away?!!!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Artist's Drawing Case

These are the artist's cases I have made from Craft Apples pattern (delivered in a week from the USA). The patterns I can confirm, are very straightforward and I'm very pleased with my results.

The pattern

This pink one is for my niece, Inside has spotty and cupcake fabric.

This is for my son, stars and gingham fabric (all used in bunting as well)

Here are the ribbons I bought the other day. Flower one, and then the Jessica Jones ones and then the matching pink stripey ones in 2 widths and the ric rac! (Camera is now working again, just)

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Sweet As....


Unbelievably I have all these different types of sugar in my house at the moment, and they all get used. (Camera is broken so having to take pictures from websites : ~( )

Caster Sugar = good for baking

Granulated = for sweetening drinks/ everyday

Icing Sugars - for decorating and baking

Molasses and muscovado = for baking

Light and dark brown soft sugar = baking

Demerara = for sweetening drinks, coffee
Quite scary that I have pretty much everyone of these sugars in my cupboard right now!
Does anyone know all the differences etc and how it is made? I obviously don't need to know, but I do like how dark brown sugar tastes in biscuits and cakes, it gives a depth of flavour, I think.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Lovely Lewes

Yesterday I took myself off to Lewes, which is a lovely town not too far from Brighton. There were a few reasons why I wanted to go and I was not disappointed.

My first stop was at the oddly named Patchwork Dog and Basket in the Needlemakers Mill. The Needlemakers is one of those lovely old converted mills, all exposed brickwork and beams, full of artisan shops and a nice cafe. If only I had lots of money to spend! Anywa, I had found this shop through the yellow pages, and did think the name Patchwork Dog and Basket makes it sound very fuddy duddy and old fashioned. But readers no! It was the exact opposite. It was a lovely, beautiful even, shop, with its fabrics displayed in colour order from floor to ceiling folded in rectangles, so it was very easy to see. And the ribbons they had were amazing. So obviously I had to buy some!

And guess who had made them? Jessica Jones , who does this blog, and has designed this fabric. I didn't even realise when I had chosen them, it wasn't until I picked them up to buy them that I saw her name. The shop assistant thought I was quite mad, when I started telling her about her blog etc etc!

I also bought this lovely pink and brown striped ribbon in 2 widths. A cool fabric in 2 widths, I just HAD to have it!

Plus some more loveliness in blue ric rac and more woven ribbon.

I was in heaven!

Then it was onto
Harveys Brewery Shop in Lewes. Harveys are a local brewery, and my husband wanted a selection in for Xmas. (It's quite amazing how we have sorted out the drink first for Xmas and New Years!)

I bought an 8 pack selection box and 8 bottles of their Sussex Best Blue Label, that my husband likes. I'm surprised the buggy didn't collapse under the weight of it all.

Then I popped into Waitrose (posh supermarket) and picked up some of this Willie's Cacao. Which I've never bought before, but I think it's come down in price (slightly).

I will make his cake from it - A Venezualian Cloud Cake, that sounds very romantic! He suggests to serve it with chocolate truffles, but I can't justify spending more money on his cacao! If anyone has used his cacao or tried any of Willie's recipes let me know your results!

I did go to Lewes to look for a walking foot for my sewing machine, for quilting but the patchwork shop did not sell them. So I need to know can I get away without one to do that meandering, curly stitch to quilt my quilt? Let me know!

I think I'll stop writing now, as I seem to have gone on far too long!

Monday, 8 December 2008


My husband always asks for certain things each year for Christmas. These all are food and drink related. Most of the time I ignore the requests, this is only the 3rd year I've made a Xmas cake. Anyway I have made 2 Xmas cakes, so that'll keep him in fruit cake until mid February, I'm sure (he likes it with a slice of cheese on top, stilton or wendsleydale I think).

Now he wants Xmas Pudding as dessert on New Year's Eve. I've decided that can be bought from a local supplier.

And on top of that a Stollen.

I'm sure you can see the similarities in these 3 things (fruit, almonds, marzipan, rum/ brandy!)

To my mind they are a variation on a theme.

Anyway, I've been googling for stollen recipes, if anyone has a good one, and can be kind, can you forward it on to me. I would suggest one with lots of the spice flavours and the marzipan. That feeling of Northern European Winter, I guess!

Thank you very much.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Colour Lovin'

If I was a starter sewer I would HAVE to buy this:
And if I had lots more money I would HAVE this:

And possibly these:
Who would have thought that from the all black wearing teenager I was I am now a colurful 34 year old! Unrecognisable!

Wonderful 2

I know I don't normally talk about my children as a blog post (merely a mention in connection to sewing or baking) but my youngest, who is 2 years, 1 month and a few days old has just been staggering me lately. As a parent you cannot help but compare and see the similarities, and more often the differences between your children, but what I'm loving about my 2 year old is his belief that he can do the same things as his 5 1/2 year old sibling!

He will not allow you to leave him out of anything, whether it's food, a game, bedtime - he thinks he should go to sleep at the same time as the elder one - so we have to play a game of pretending the elder one is asleep just to get him to go down!

The sweetest thing that he has just learnt to do is to kiss properly. He's been kissing for ages, but just air kisses, now he has discovered contact kisses nothing is left alone! When we read a book he hugs the book and gives his favourite pictures or characters a big kiss to show his love. Not every book gets a hug and kiss!

He loves a cuddle and is very good at them! (I'm not making this up, every nursery worker comments on his cuddles!) He just buries himself into you. Sometimes I think he feels left out, as his elder brother is louder, more demanding and has a habit of taking over! So we both try to make an effort to share and give one on one time with the youngest.

You may wonder why I'm posting all this, but my children inspire me to make and do so much for them, for us as a family, and certainly show me the joy of sharing. My little one is making me smile so much lately with his sweet little ways. BTW he seems quite stubborn (like his dad) and always seems to know what he wants!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Xmas Fair

My son's Xmas School Fair was last weekend. I did go a bit crazy and made quite a lot of things. It was as much for me as it was for him (I got a load of practice in and got to try out a few new things) So it was a win win, apart from the lack of sleep (I went to bed at 1am Friday night and was up again at 6:30am Saturday morning!!)
The things I took to school were:

Snowflake Chocolate Mini Cake inspired from Lindy Smith's book Cakes to Inspire and Desire

Xmas Tree Magic Cake (recipe from Konditor and Cook) The Xmas trees did dry out and didn't break. Clearly the 3 days I left them to dry was the key! I had them in a wardrobe, away from little fingers! I wish I had made my fondant a touch darker. I was worried a dark green would put people off.

Gingerbread Snowmen

Gingerbread Rudolph - these were unplanned and just came to me in a flash but these were v popular, all I did was pipe a dot of royal icing on the nose, then dip that in Red Disco Glitter from Ed Able art. Easy peasy and v effective!

Wonky Cake Cookies - I think these are great, but the cookie cutters are huge. Personally I prefer a smaller biscuit!

Fairy Cakes with fancy flowers made using my new flower mould and blossom cutters. I was going to pipe dots in the middle but time got the better of me. Plus pink ones with royal icing.

It was fun, but next time I'll stick to fairy cakes and just 1 set of biscuits! I'm sure I developed a few extra lines due to lack of sleep!

The most decorated cake has to be this one:
Made by my eldest at the decorate your own cake stall! He couldn't actually finish it!!!

Hopefully the school made lots of cash (they're buying a few more Interactive Whiteboards - why the school budget doesn't cover that I don't know?)


If anyone has any fundraising ideas that their school PTFA does can you give them to me. My school sticks to fairs, cake sales, the odd wine evening, film nights and a harvest sale. Thank you in advance.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Xmas Trees

This is a tricky thing to make (as they are very delicate and like to break!) However if you can do them, they look great. Make them c3 days before you need them, as they need that time to dry out fully.

This is from Peggy Porschen's Pretty Party Cakes book.

You will need:
Royal Icing
Piping bag
Ed Able art Hologram Glitter (I'm addicted to this stuff!)
Greaseproof Paper/ Baking Parchment

1. Draw out your tree designs on some white paper.
2. Place your non stick paper over tree designs, you should be able to see your design through the paper.
3. Very lightly grease the paper
4. Mix some Royal Icing to a soft peak stage and put in an icing bag. Cut end off icing bag to give a smallish hole.
5. Start piping outlines of trees

6. Mix up some more royal icing to a runny consistency (or if you have the soft peak mixture left add mor water to give you a runny mixture). Put in a new icing bag.
7. Carefully fill your tree outlines.
8. Shake your edible glitter over the wet trees.
9. Now leave to dry in a dry and warm place. DO NOT TOUCH for at least 2 DAYS, so they can dry out fully.
10. Very carefully ease off paper (this is where they tend to break)
11. Add to small cakes! (pictures of this will hopefully appear at the weekend when I have made my cakes!!! As long as trees do not snap!)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Favourite New Thing

The one thing I really wanted from Cake International was this amazing silicon flower mould from Sunflower Sugar Art. It was not cheap, £17.50, but I can see I will use it a lot.

One of the best things is that you can make flowers from Flower Paste and they can be stored in a cardboard box for years!

I first saw this veiner on Cake Journal's site, which is a wealth of information. In fact she must spend a long time looking through websites and buying amazing cutters etc which she shares very kindly with everyone else.

A Quick How to Use the Flower Veiner

1. I dyed some flower paste purple with Wilton food dye (I either use Wilton or Sugarflair colours, both are vegetarian) and pink colouring.
2. Roll out flower paste thinly. (I dusted my board with corn flour first)
3. Cut out the flower with the 5 petal blossom cutter
4.I dusted down the veiner with corn flour, lay your flower in the veiner, push the top of the veiner down and then remove top and gently lift out your flower using a cocktail stick, gently easing each petal back one at a time.
5. I lay it on a paint palette to keep the 3-D shape as it dries. I will pipe in a middle dot and then they can be attached to cupcakes, cakes etc. A calyx could also be added.I used different size and shaped cutters to get some different looks.
For these tiny flowers I used blossom cutters, to create the bent shape just push them out onto a foam pad and they naturally curl up.

All flower paste flowers can be kept for years in a cardboard box, so I've made lots ready to be placed on cakes for special occasions and school cake sales!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Cake Shows Across the UK in 2009

I found this site listing a lot of them!

Plus the one I just went to in Birmingham at the NEC in November.

It's a good idea to keep track of the one you want to go to, as the tickets for demonstrations and workshops sell out very quickly!! As soon as they release the tickets buy them!!!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Cake International Part 2

Bart van Vliet from Holland, was the second demonstration I saw. He was doing an animal parade from Marzipan.

He runs a bakery and around now he starts making 1000s of marzipan animals to sell!

He was very quick at what he did and did not go into a step by step detail but I did write down some instructions and I'm hoping from looking at the photos I can work out what he did! What I liked about the demonstrations was that they were videod and put up on 2 large tv screens so you could see exactly what they were doing.

More animals

His stall
His windmill from Amsterdam!
Lots of lovely marzipan animals, I might be able to make the duck!
Unfortunately Bart does not have a book, but I noticed that Ann Pickard did!