Wednesday, 29 October 2008

birthday cake

Ok, new camera (my dad's old one) and a rubbish picture (the husband, luckily, used his flashy DSLR so I will get that off him and show a clearer picture soon!) And I'll also read the manual!

Anyway this is the cake I made for my youngest's 2nd birthday. I iced on Thomas The Tank Engine, and piped stripes down the side and cut out Happy Birthday etc from regalice/ fondant!

Cake was a new recipe from Elisa Strauss Confetti Cakes book - a nice cake, very rich in flavour and depth but fairly time consuming to make.

My son would not go to sleep last night (he's 2) and I'm wondering if he got too much caffeine in the cake (it was chocolate but had coffee in it)

The presents he got he really loved, a Brio Recordable Train Station, some other train bits for our wooden track, a silver astronaut suit, a xylophone and some fab books. A very happy 2 year old. Of course his most favourite thing was the baloons!

Friday, 24 October 2008

cupcake heaven

(I have made a load of pink themed fairy/ cupcakes for the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Charity cake sale at my eldest son's school.

As I have been recently thinking, I need to do far more icing (but I don't want to be eating the cakes!!) so this was the perfect opportunity to get some practice in.

I spent around 2 hours icing 25 cakes!!! I dipped some in fondant, some in royal icing and some in icing sugar mixed with water. All three were dyed shades of pink! Once they were dry I made up some deep pink and white royal icing to a stiffish consistency so it would pipe nicely (Peggy Porshen explains this well in her books). I used a PME size 2 piping tube.

Also I used Peggy's Pretty Party cakes book as an inspiration for some of the designs, she has some more "masculine" designs as well as very girly girl designs! As the theme was pink I kept to that.

The way I did the gold cupcakes was to pipe white royal icing on, then once that was dry, I hand painted over with gold lustre powder, that I had mixed to a solution with the edable painting solution.

I also attempted a "frangipanni" flower that I saw on here and got the tutorial from here! I used regalice/ ready to roll icing as these are likely to be eaten, rather than the flowerpaste I usually make flowers from. I used my Azalea flower cutter which looked a similar shape to the one in the tutorial. I think if I had done it in flowerpaste it would have come out even better, it certainly makes a lovely shaped flower.

I have also been finding lots of inspiration from a tv programme on UKTV food called "Ace of Cakes" about Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, I don't live in the USA but if I was near that cake shop, I would love a cake from them! (and secretly wish I was good enough to work with them - I am a LONG LONG way off from that point!)

UPDATE: Apologies for upcoming boasting! My cakes were priced at £1 each (all other cakes at 50p! And my cakes sold out first!) So I raised £25 - which isn't bad. They asked me to make loads of cakes for the Xmas Fair and wanted my phone number! So I was so so flattered and pleased, as I'm just a beginner and most of the time all I see is the imperfections and give myself a lot of self doubt. So really realy pleased (end of boasting!)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Sugarcraft Lily Of the Valley

Last night we learnt how to do a very simple flower, lily of the valley.

You need:
30 gauge white wire
flower paste
small blossom cutter
edible glue

Step 1
Cut your wire into 4 or 5 lengths (8-10cm long)

Hook the top over with tweezers

Step 2

With your flower paste make a pea sized ball.

Put on top of the hooked end (gently squeeze it on)

Step 3
Roll out flower paste (not too thinly) and cut out a flower with your blossom cutter.

Step 4
Dab a small spot of edible glue on top of pea and place flower on top

Step 5
Make lots more! Also make some without the flower on top!

These are very quick to do, we are making these to go with Azaleas, which are a bit more complicated to make. (will try and do a tutorial for them soon!)

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Birthday Bunting

Last night I knuckled down and sewed for c2 hours to get the bunting finished. I followed these instructions, which were excellent.

The only thing I didn't do was pin the triangles to the binding. Instead I laid my triangles down on the carpet and put them in the order that I wanted them to go up. I had 2 defining triangles, the stars and the gingham and they were alternating for every 4th triangle. The three triangles in between the star and gingham were "random". I tried my best to not get too many of the same fabrics by each other!

I did 6m of binding, which took c28 triangles (8" equilateral) I definitely need more binding if I want to have it all around the lounge but I don't think I have the time (or inclination at the moment!!)

I have the birthday cake all planned out. Pictures next week, as long as it goes well!!!

Saturday, 11 October 2008


This is what I got in the post today! Fat quarters of some lovely fabric for bunting I'm making for birthday decorations for the boys. My youngest son is 2 on the 29th October. I realised I had very little "male" fabric, lots of pinks etc but not much blue. So I had to purchase a few bits to boost what I did have.
I love this stripey fabric by Michael Miller
Then this is a really sweet one with frogs forming squares by Alexander Henry
Here is a fish fabric by Alexander Henry.
Keeping with the animal theme this gorgeous zoo fabric is by Alexander Henry again!
And to finish it off some adorable cupcakes!

Here is the start of the triangles for the bunting. I've cut 8" equilateral triangles out.

I also have some homemade gifts I want to make for people at Xmas, so these fabrics will probably be used in those as well!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Baked Cheesecake Heaven

Thanks again to Rachel Allen and the UKTV food website, as that is where I found the baked cheesecake with blueberries recipe.

My husband described it as "heaven in his mouth"

I'm more of a plain cheesecake person, but this was extremely nice, and you could make it without the blueberries as well. We ate it whilst it was warm, but I think it'll be even nicer when cold from the fridge! My eldest did enjoy smashing up the biscuits with a rolling pin!!!
A very cool thing is happening in our house right now, my eldest son is playing Lego Bionicle on the Xbox, this game was MADE by my husband when our eldest was a baby!!!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Bread bread glorious bread!

Look what I made!!!


This is not my easy cheat's bread machine bread. Oh no! This is bread made by my hand!! No gadgets or gizmos used! Proper kneading! With my hands!

I saw the recipe on TV last night in Rachel Allen's new series Bake! And it all looked straightforward, so I Sky+ it (on the +1 channel for reference, printed the recipe off from the website and off I went!) (this is not the Jamie Oliver disaster bread I once made, oh no, this worked like a dream - thank you Rachel!)

The recipe is for 2 loaves, which was not clear when I printed it out, plus she never said that on TV! So I have a big loaf and a small loaf, I plaited both.

The way to plait is take 5 equal strands, and count them from left to right. Then do the following:

Fold 1 over 3
Fold 2 over 3
Fold 5 over 2
Repeat above until finished.

Mine are not as good as I had too much dough (due to not realising the 2 halves thing) but will do it again with photos next bash at the bread making!

We have yet to taste the bread, but I'll let you know if it is nice!

Friday, 3 October 2008


I have invested in Ottobre design magazine as it's choc full of contemporary patterns which I felt was a very reasonable price for what you are getting. Also the website is really good plus some freebies on there as well. I first heard about this magazine through this blog and was totally inspired! However look at the pattern sheets!
They are more complicated than a map of LA (another story!) This is not something to be tackled with when ANYONE else is in the house!!! I bought the women's magazines, I'm not prepared to make clothes for my 2 boys as I don't think it is cost effective! Their clothes get a LOT of rough play!
Not sure when I'll be able to even cut out a pattern, but hopefully it'll be sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Happy Plate

Last night my son came up to me and said if my plate has a smile on it then the food was good, if it has a straight mouth then the food was not good and not bad, and if the plate has a frown on it then the food was bad.
A picture says a thousand words!!!!