Monday, 27 December 2010

Glam Gingerbread

I hope everyone had a sparkly Christmas with lots of baking and making things. This year I made loads of gingerbread - some to hang on the tree like this snowflake with silver balls, edible glitter and baker's twine and also loads of DIY gifts wrapped in a cellophane bag and tied at the top like the one below. I also had a great time making tags (like the one above) with my new snowflake stamping set from Muji which I LOVE!

I tried a few different gingerbread recipes this year but here's my favorite...

INGREDIENTS:
6 cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup Trex, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/2 cup black treacle
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Note: This recipe uses American cups rather than weighing the ingredients - just use something that takes about 240 ml of liquid.

METHOD:
1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the Trex, golden syrup, black treacle, brown sugar, water, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until they are completely absorbed. Divide dough into three pieces, pat down to one and a half inch thickness, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least three hours.
3. Preheat oven to 175C (gas mark 4). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to one quarter inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies one inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When the cookies are done they will look dry, but still be soft to the touch. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. When cool, the cookies can be decorated however you like - I would recommend the instant royal icing sugar that you get in supermarkets - much firmer if you want to stack your gingerbread without it sticking together.

Makes loads!

Adapted from the Channel 4 Kirstie & Phil's Perfect Xmas show - brilliant pre Xmas viewing this year.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Make Lounge Cupcake Workshop

I spent a brilliant evening at the The Make Lounge Figurines & Flowers Workshop recently. Over a glass of wine we made these cute guys and the pretty flowers below from sugarpaste. Our tutor was Louise Hill from Love to Cake - Louise makes incredibly life like cake sculptures so we knew we were in good hands (my favorite are these spherical chocolate hedge cakes!)  We even got to take our left over sugarpaste home so I will definitely be trying out a few things with it soon.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Christmassy Cake Pops for We Make London

It's December which means Christmas is almost here woo! Time to break out the glitter and make some Christmassy cake pops. These ones are winging their way to the We Make London Christmas craft fair at Chelsea Town Hall on Saturday 4th 11am-5pm. Get there early to get a free one on the door!

The pops are made in the usual way - here's my cake pop tutorial if you haven't seen it before. All of the sprinkles for these (apart from the Christmas tree ones) are from Betty Blythe, a lovely local tea room and 'fine food pantry' near me in Brook Green - definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. I've also used white hologram edible glitter which makes everything look amazing and really Christmassy!

Glam Peach, Gold and Black Themed Birthday Party

A glamorous peach, gold and black themed 30th birthday party for one of my best friends who loves all things Victoriana. I was so pleased with how the cakes and decor came together that I couldn't resist posting lots of lovely photos (courtesy of Mr Rhubarb & Rose). We had cakes galore, a dressing up hamper, typewriter for messages, and vintage style photos of the birthday girl through the years. This was the biggest cake I have made ever (I was secretly hoping for a cake fight at the end but it all got eaten!). Skip to the end for all the deets on the deets!



 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
The cake was a 10" lemon layer cake with a lemon curd filling and vanilla buttercream icing. The decor was made from chocolate moulds (for the bows and roses) and candy melts with gold edible glitter and lustre dust. I left a an old typewriter from eBay in a corner of the room for messages. The labels were made from parcel tags and typewriter font rubber stamps. The 'Red Heads Have More Fun' dressing up hamper was filled with red wigs from a local fancy dress shop. The stickers were from Moo. The photo frames were from Ikea and painted gold. The little bottles were left over from our wedding this summer and were filled with roses and placed on paper doilies on each table along with simple tea lights. The lovely room is above the Defectors Weld in Shepherds Bush (they looked after us very well - thanks guys!).

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Green and Gold Christmas Pops

Lots of cake pops for the Samaritans Winter Fayre this weekend in a Samaritans green colour with gold sprinkles and edible glitter - hope you raise loads guys!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Naomi's Really Easy Brownies

I made these brownies for my wedding to serve along side cupcakes, cake pops and macarons. This recipe is really easy, always seems to work and once baked, they freeze brilliantly too (very handy as I didn't have to bake them them the night before the wedding!) - my friend Naomi gave it to me in a lovely recipe book on my hen do. Thanks Nabs!

INGREDIENTS
100g butter
175g caster sugar
75g brown or muscovado sugar
125g chocolate (plain or milk)
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder

METHOD
1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.
2. Place the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar, chocolate and golden syrup in the pan and melt gently on a low heat until it is smooth and lump-free.
3. Remove the pan from the heat.
4. Break the eggs into the bowl and whisk with the fork until light and frothy.
5. Add the eggs, vanilla extract or essence, flour, baking powder and cocoa powder to the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly.
6. Put the mixture into the greased and lined cake tin and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 25-30 mins.
7. Remove and allow to cool for 20-30 mins before cutting into squares and serving stacked up on a pretty cake stand.

Adapted from BBC Good Food.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Wedding: DIY Thank You Cards

This week we're finally getting round to writing our wedding thank you cards. I can't believe it's taken us 3 months! After getting the photos back from our photographer we picked out one of our favorites and ordered matt finish postcards from Vistaprint. I love getting postcards - these are fun and not too formal plus you save on envelopes too!
For the backs I photographed the back of a blank old fashioned style postcard (this one is from the Penguin box of 100 that we used at the wedding instead of a guest book).
And I absolutely love these classic album cover stamps from Royal Mail. I went for the New Order, Power, Corruption and Lies design. I'm all for attention to detail and these stamps finish off our postcards beautifully and don't cost any extra than normal stamps.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Pudsey Pops

Pudsey yellow pops for Friday's Children in Need. Here's how to make 'em! Don't forgot to donate (or make these and charge a few quid a pop!).

Vintage Pink Birthday Cake

A vintage pink 21st birthday cake for twins Louise and Emily - happy birthday guys! This was a traditional birthday cake with vanilla sponge sandwiched with vanilla buttercream and raspberry jam. I decorated the top with chocolate roses, pink pearls and lettering piped with royal icing (my first attempt at icing words!)

I also made some cheeky pops to accompany the  big cake with coordinating mini roses and pearls.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Big Nan's Fruit Cake Recipe

This recipe was passed down from my grandmother (‘Big Nan’) to my Mum and then to me and probably dates back to the 1940s. I love the idea of sharing recipes across generations as a little piece of family history and this one reminds me of tea at Nan's and after school at home with Mum.

There’s something satisfyingly untrendy about this cake and also very of it’s era – it’s cheap to make, the ingredients can be found in most kitchens and it’s a great staple to accompany a cup of tea if someone pops round. My favourite recipes are the ones with lots of taste but not a lot of ingredients. It's all in one pan which means less washing up too.

INGREDIENTS
12 oz mixed fruit
4oz soft brown sugar
4oz margarine
2 eggs
8 oz self raising flour

METHOD
1. Combine the fruit, sugar and margarine in a saucepan with ¼ pint of water, simmer for 20 minutes and leave to cool.
2. Beat in the eggs and flour
3. Transfer into a greased cake tin (I’ve used a 6 inch round one but you could use an 8 inch or loaf tin)
4. Bake at 150 degrees (gas mark 2) for 1 ½ hours

This post was inspired by Innocent 's Great Recipe Archive. Visit to vote for Big Nan's Fruit Cake and add your own!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Postcode Pops

Red and white cake pops with a red velvet centre to celebrate I Love My Postcode's birthday (a great fellow Shepherds Bush based company that help you show your local pride with their range of t-shirts and other fun clothes). These were won by a lucky customer from Greenwich (hence the postcode) - enjoy!

Cupcake Camp London


Cupcake Camp London was loads of fun last weekend. Lots of cupcakes (of course!), bands, celebrity judges and lots of cash raised for the North London Hospice. It was so hard to choose what to bake (and even harder to transport them all there on the bus!) but here's what I went for...
 
 
 
 
 
From the top:
Labels made from my favourite typewriter font rubber stamp set.
Rhubarb & Rose cupcakes (had be done!). These were the most popular of my flavours and you can get the recipe here.
Red Velvet Heart flavour (recipe here).
Spooky Ginger Fudge.
The 'Violet Beauregarde' - a Violet and Blueberry flavour cupcake which I entered for the unique ingredient competition category. 

See the website for lots more pictures and the competition winners.

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