A Yorkshire Wedding Cake

This weekend saw the completion of my third wedding cake. It had an excellent and unique theme – Yorkshire. The couple came to me with their ideas, and after a few sketches we confirmed which design to go with, along with the sizes and flavours wanted. In case anyone ever needs to know, rhubarb and vanilla jam can only be found in Waitrose, unlike rhubarb and ginger jam which can be found in every shop in Edinburgh (and an assortment of places off the A9 too).

The base tier (vanilla) was to be the Yorkshire country side, complete with rough fell sheep. The middle tier (chocolate) was to have a representation of the Yorkshire flag. The top tier was a Yorkshire pudding, complete with bride and groom figure.

I like a blog post with photos to show the making of pictures, but time tends to get away from me and having to wash my hands before I cover the camera in cake/ icing is a fiddle. So at Lewis’ suggestion, we set up the Gopro, which can be used to make time lapse videos. It worked really well – apart from the battery recharging while I actually covered the cakes. You can see the bottom and middle tiers being iced, then the decorations being applied.

The Yorkshire pudding doesn’t really feature in the video, but that was air bushed yellow, then with a mix of yellow and brown, a bit more brown on top. I then filled it with ‘gravy’ aka piping gel, which was surprisingly easy to make!

Here is a shot of the finished cake once it is all in place at their venue, Surgeons Hall in Edinburgh.

Yorkshire wedding cake

The groom did not quite make it to the very end of the night – I guess he could not resist a swim in the gravy! (it was taken on my phone)

Gravy groom

My Rice Krispie Birthday Cake

February 7th marks my birthday! As I was away on holiday, I just wanted something tasty, easy, and quick – and also not requiring a lot of equipment! 

I love the cupcake pan, so decided chocolate krispies in the shape of a giant cupcake was the way to go.

It took a while for the mixture to set up in the pans, which gave me time to eat the left over mixture.

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They turned put pretty successfully,  you can see the indentations from the pans.

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Then came the decorations. First up was a ring of marshmallows, cut in half and dipped in white chocolate.

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I made ribbon roses using fudge, by rolling it into a sausage and flattening it out before rolling it in to a rose shape.

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And once they were stuck on, along with some giant chocolate buttons, I had he finished rice krispie cupcake.

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Delicious!

London Cupcake Tour Round 2

Long term readers might remember round one of the London cupcake tour, and 2014 brings you round two! As a treat to myself I decided to go down to Kent for my friends birthday, and she had planned a cupcake crawl in London.

We started off visiting Peggy Poschen’s cafe. It is an adorable wee place, with a few tables, as well as cakey bits and pieces for sale. The display of cakes is lovely, with some cakes and biscuits alongside the cupcakes.

Peggy Porschen cake display

I went for chocolate cupcake. The icing was delicious, and although the cake was good it wasn’t amazing, but on the whole it was a great wee cupcake – although at £3.50, I would hope so! My other travellers had banoffee and red velvet cupcakes, and gave similar feedback, agreeing that the cakes were made by the icing, and that they were the best they had all day too.

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We walked over to the market for a trip to Crumbs and Doilies (at Partridges Fine Foods Market off Kings Road). I have followed their blog for years so was delighted to make it at last! And it was a nice wee cupcake – clearly this is a stand you need to get to first thing, as many flavours had sold out. However, I went for a mini lemon cupcake – just £1. It was nice sponge, and good traditional buttercream – although with it being such a cold day, the buttercream was pretty hard! My friend got a selection of minis (in  a little box, so they had room to move, but being packed in to my rucksack, they did survive the trip home), salted caramel, red velvet, lemon and vanilla. I have to say what a wonderful market it is too – there was so much hot savoury food to choose from, as well as plenty of bakeries, cheeses and nibbles, and it was a nice place to wander round, so the market its self is well worth a trip.

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A tube ride later, we were in Hummingbird Bakery (in Soho).

Hummingbird Bakery

With a shortage of bar stools, we got ours to go, and they still have those dinky wee boxes, and the cupcakes did survive their trip home. I got a cookies and cream cupcake (just under £3), chocolate sponge with Oreos baked in (my friends one had more Oreos than mine though!), and Oreo buttercream. It was a good cake, although very sweet, so I would say just for sugar lovers. My friends also went for an Oreo cupcake and a pumpkin whoopee pie, which was much loved. This stop was followed with a visit to the sushi shop Wasabi – I wasn’t feeling that adventurous, but it was very good according to them. (my friends pictures – check out that huge chunk of Oreo!)

Oreo cupcake

I also found Paul. A. Young’s chocolate shop on the same street! The smell as you walk in the door will just knock you out! I ended up with a bar of dark chocolate, and milk chocolate frogs (both just under £5 each). They do fresh hot chocolate too, and truffles – although they had some of the basics, they also had some more adventurous ones like marmite, and passion fruit. Theres some good shops in this area, including an impressive fabric shop, with plenty of exotic and fancy materials to admire.

Paul A Young chocolate heaven

Another short walk took us to Choccywoccydoodah. With a 45 minute wait for the cafe, we decided it was not worth the wait, and just had a good look round the shop. My friend got a bag of white, milk and dark chocolate drops, which were delicious, for £4.99. Anything else, you are looking at least £10. Most of the cakes you will recognize if you watch the TV show, the whole place screams trendy. However, it is worth a visit just to look at it if you like the programme (or are feeling particularly flash and not so full of cupcakes) – and there are a lot of good shops to browse in the neighbourhood.

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With an other tube trip, and a late night opening, we headed to Beas of Bloomsbury (at Theobalds Road). Again it was a busy little shop, but we got a seat outside. The hot drinks were lovely. I had a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing. The cake its self was gorgeous, deeply chocolaty, but the icing was very average, although together it was fine (just under £3). My friends went for a townie, brownie in a tart shell. Although a bit hard, they enjoyed the challenge of eating it, and after stealing a bit, it was delicious.

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So this time round, Peggy Porschen was the tastiest, so at least being the most expensive venue paid off in good cake! The journey was easy too, everywhere being near a tube stop or a short walk away. The shops are located in some nice and varied neighbourhoods – crazy couture hats anyone?

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Although a large part of our group were particularly excited to find Irregular Choice near Choccywoccydoodah, I reckon these badger shoes might have been the best find!

Badger badger!

The prices this time round were more varied – probably a sign of the different neighbourhoods, as much of the passage of time. Certainly, cupcakes are still going strong in London, with the odd woopee pie and macaron thrown in for good measure. If only there were a few more seats going round!

 

Midlothian Science Festival

I recently entered a competition as part of the Midlothian Science Festival. You had to design a cake with a theme of nature – and I won in the adult category! The prize was getting to go to Edinburgh college (or Jewel and Esk!) to decorate the cake, and a goodie bag from Ikea.

I had a great time decorating the cake (and seeing the other cakes get decorated) with a college tutor and two people who helped to run the whole festival, so here are some of the action shots.

A collection of animals from the other cakes:

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The finished blue cake:

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The finished three tier cake:

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The finished cow pat cake:

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And some action/ detail shots of my cake being made (made in just under three hours!):

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And the final thing, with its original design… bonus points if you spot the major difference!

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Cinnamon Doughnut Bites

If you live in Edinburgh, chances are you have been to the Krispy Kreme at Hermiston Gait. Chances are also, that you have had a few Original Glazed doughnuts left over. There comes a point where there is actually such a thing at too much doughnut. But they can be quickly and easily turned into hot cinnamon doughnut bites. They could equally be called cheats churro bites too.

So, take one doughnut.

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Attack with scissors (less squashing than a knife).

Naked doughnut bites

Mix together 1/2 tea spoon of sugar, and a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per doughnut. Dip the naked doughnut sides in the mixture. Put onto a hot George Foreman grill, not for long, a minute or less. Carefully remove boiling hot sugary doughnut bites onto a plate. Admire gorgeousness. Eat, with a glass of milk.

Cinnamon doughnut bites

Try not to go and buy another dozen doughnuts!

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

When I felt the need to bake something, I thought the fact that it is National Cupcake Week should be my inspiration. So a flick through my recipe books, and I decided that chocolate fudge cupcakes sounded good, especially as they use brown sugar.

The cake its self is a chocolate Victoria sponge – 4oz butter, caster sugar, 2 eggs, 4oz self raising flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa (I took out a bit of flour to make up for the cocoa, otherwise it would be a bit dry). You can mix it all in one, or cream the butter and sugar, then slowly add the eggs, then the flour and cocoa. Then bake at gas 4 for about 20 minutes. Really, these are more large fairy cake sized than full on cupcakes.

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Then comes the icing – melt together 2oz butter, 5oz soft brown sugar, 3oz plain chocolate and 2 table spoons of milk. Heat it until the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually mix in 8oz icing sugar. Put it straight onto the cupcakes (it sets up fairly quickly), and you may find that wetting the knife helps to spread it. It turns into a deliciously fudgey mixture.

I had some chocolate stars left so used them for decoration, and hey presto, the tastiest cupcakes I have had in a long time!

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Fender Stratocaster Wedding Cake

I was excited to land my first non-family wedding cake in July. And a little bit more excited to find out it was for a novelty cake, which is after all, my specialty. The request was for a guitar – not just any guitar though, a Fender Stratocaster. I admit to knowing nothing about guitars, but my research (which included standing in a shop in Newington just staring at guitars) suggested that this is *the* guitar to have.

So I started off with making a huge cake, to cut to shape using a template. Then making a smaller cake to add on when that one just didn’t have the right proportions on its own. With a giant cake board purchased, I assembled and buttercreamed the cake.

Naked guitar

I did some serious airbrush practice before this – black on to white, on a wedding cake – it doesn’t get much more high pressure than that. Thankfully practice made perfect. Then it was a case of hand painting on the other colours, and fixing on the white plate.

Airbrushed cake

In a surprising fit of organisation I had premade all the silver bits earlier on, using grey sugarpaste. For the screws, I used silver lustre dust. For the tuning pegs, I used the Dr Otker spray. I really like both looks, but if you are ever using the spray, be warned that it does cover everything in the room (people included).

Silver bits

For the neck of the guitar, some serious maths was used to get the scale right. I used my extruder to make the frets, edible pen for the inlays and spaghetti for the guitar strings. There are a few different ways you can make the strings, but I wanted to stick with a 100% edible.  Then there was writing ‘Fender Stratocaster’ on the head as well. Again a bit of practice with writing on paper beforehand seemed to pay off. To finish it all off, I covered the board in yellow sugarpaste, before using gold lustre dust to turn it golden.

Finished guitar

Giant novelty cakes are no fun if the delivery isn’t a bit of a challenge as well. Thankfully I got parked right outside the venue, Cruz in Leith, as the finished cake weighed about a ton. Carrying the cake up a flight of stairs just proved that while cake decorators need the ability to do the fine detail work, they also need arms like Popeye to actually deliver the finished article!

 

 

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