Friday, 2 November 2012

Gruff the Gruffalo

Well you met Gruff a few weeks ago and he was finished last week in time for Tom's birthday.  I feel I have to point out, Tom is 25!!! (he loves the Gruffalo.....ahhh!)

Clandestine Cake Club

I finally got my email last Friday telling me the venue of the Clandestine Cake Club (its all very secret!), so I started baking for that cake on Saturday.  The theme was Trick O' Treat so I decided to do a spiced pumpkin & walnut  (or butternut squash in this case) cake with an orange cream cheese frosting.

I've made this cake before and its gone down well (the recipe is on the Good Food website) so I felt quite confident about making it.  I added extra spices to the original recipe and I decided to add walnuts to it to give a bit of variation.  If you like carrot cake, you will love this one it has a very similar texture and taste to it.

I spooked it up a bit with the addition of a glitter bat and some fondant pumpkins and scatted some bats and ghosts around the cake.

The CCC was great.  It was lovely to meet so many other bakers who are so enthusiastic about cake.  There was no air of competition with anyone's cake and everyone took a genuine interest in what other people had baked.  I took along Mrs S as a guest and we had a fabulous afternoon drinking tea & coffee and eating LOTS of thing was, everything was divided up at the end and you took home what was left, how fab is that?!!  Mrs S was very impressed, so much so that she might even dust off a pinny and bake next time as well when we meet up again in December

 Spiced Pumpkin & Walnut Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

 Graveyard cake complete with lit up pumpkins!

 Soggy Moggy ginger cake

 Selection of the cakes made - there were 10 or 11 all in all

Complimentary Jasmine and Very Berry teas courtesy of the venue

All in all it was a great way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  Can't wait for the next one!!


Phew, last week was a whirlwind of activities, mainly all happening at the weekend.  Some serious baking took place in my house last week and my trusty Kenwood K-Mix was worth every (expensive) penny!  Without it I doubt I would have managed all that I did / baked.

Baking preparations for me started earlier on in the week where I hand made over 190 petunia fondant sugarpaste flowers, individually dusted each one with lustre dust and placed a little edible pearls in the centre of each flower.....time consuming to say the least!  Each flower then had to set up  ready for them to be placed on top of the cupcake.

The theme was autumnal colours so I chose 3 colours for the flowers....brown (chocolate flavoured sugarpaste), peach and cream (white chocolate flavoured sugarpaste) all dusted with golds and bronzes

A few days beforehand I had iced the top tier cake and decorated with the same flowers so that was setting nicely.  The bride's mum had made a delicious smelling fruit cake (well doused with alcohol she assured me!) but I was just asked to decorate it to tie in with the cupcakes.  I have to say, I don't like working with marzipan.....terrible stuff to handle; very sticky so I was glad when that job was done!

Next up was making the cupcakes; lemon with a lemon buttercream and chocolate orange with chocolate orange buttercream.  The wedding was on the Saturday so I booked the Friday off work, collected the cake stand first thing in the morning, had a cup of tea and was baking by 10am!................Nine and a half hours later, I finally finished!!  I have a stone floor in my kitchen and standing on it for literally 9 1/2 hours did my feet no good at all!  To say I was shattered was a little bit of an understatement!!

With all the cupcakes baked, it was then on to icing and decorating them..........

 This was all the ingredients for the cakes!

 Lemon cupcakes all lined up

chocolate orange cupcakes cooling

I made extra in case of any mishaps with the cases etc so then it was on with the icing.

All the cakes were sprayed with a pearl lustre spay which gave a really nice sheen to the cakes.  At £8 a can it was expensive stuff (I went through 2 cans) but I thought it made the cakes look really nice.

Then next morning it was off to the venue to set up.  It took a fair few boxes to transport everything..

Apart from the manager of the venue being a bit difficult with where I could set the cakes up, everything went smoothly (I would have liked to have taken some better pictures of the cakes when all set up but that wasn't possible so what follows are a bit blurry I'm afraid).

Most important of all though was the Bride & Groom liked them and they both had an amazing day and night (watching the mother of the bride showing her dancing moves gangnam style will stay with me forever!!!!)

We had a brilliant time at the evening reception and the buffet was Fish & Chips with Mushy Peas!! (the fish wasn't that 'mini' either!) great idea!!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Place Your Bets....

It was my OH's Grandad's birthday yesterday so we are visiting at the weekend to drop his birthday cake off.  He likes to place a bet does Grandad, so this is my homage to him!  I got the idea from a cake that had done and I thought it looked really good so decided to give it a go!

 Everything on the cake is edible including the coins....good old chocolate coins!!

Monday, 15 October 2012

I can hear a Gruffalo........

I've been asked to do a Gruffalo cake and this is a sneak preview of my Gruffalo!  I got the idea for the cake from who have done a brilliant Gruffalo cake.  Hopefully my finished one will look just as good as theirs!

I have to say, they do some fab looking cupcakes on their website but jeez, they charge alot for them!  £2 per cake with a minimum order of 12.....thats £24 a box!!!  Hmmmm, maybe I should put my prices up?!?!?!

Anyway, introducing Gruff the Gruffalo!!

Millie's 1st Birthday

Another 1st Birthday cake this weekend was dropped off on Saturday   A beautifully simple cake which looked lovely when finished with a cute bear peeping round a number one with daisies and a heart with Millie's name on it.  Millie's mum said the cake didn't last longer than half an hour......a good sign?!! Lol!!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Peppa Pig

A little girl whose 1st birthday cake I did last year (a number one shape) has just turned 2 - how time flies by so quick!  Her mum said she was mad on Peppa Pig and so she wanted of course a Peppa Pig cake!  We decided on a flat cake as opposed to a 3-d model and I did cupcakes in the same theme to match.

Neon Icing Toy Story Cupcakes

Just a few vanilla cupcakes for a little boy who is mad on Toy Story.  I decided to do neon coloured buttercream and the colours came out very well.  Using gel paste's are far better than liquid food colouring as they are a more concentrated colour.  Even though they are more expensive, you use less of it which makes them more cost effective!  The toppers are little rice paper discs with Toy Story characters on them.

Spiced Butternut Squash Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

I am 'trialling' cakes at the moment in preparation for attending a Clandestine Cake Club meeting at the end of the month.  The theme is Spooky / Trick or Treat.

The cake is called Pumpkin Cake but you can use butternut squash instead.  I made this the other week with Mr & Mrs S being the 'Tasters of the Day' and both had good positive reactions to it.  Neither of them could guess the 'secret' ingredient (i.e. butternut squash).  The cake itself is very moist and very similar to carrot cake.  It definitely needs a cream cheese frosting topping to it and adding orange zest to it gives it a nice twist.

Do try it, it really is one on trial this weekend is Toffee Apple Cake......

PS, the Clandestine Cake Club is a great idea and I am very excited to be going to an event.  Basically its all a big secret!  You join the club (nothing more than a few email details) and then you are notified of events happening in your area.  If you wish to attend you put your name down to go and a few days before they email you with where the venue is.  You as the baker have to bring a cake (they usually set a theme) but you can bring a non-baking guest with you.  You cannot just turn up though as a non-baker.  Most of the venues they hold the events in do not charge but they do ask they you buy refreshments from them (most of the venues are cafe's, tapas bars etc).  The idea is its not a competition and no cakes will be judged in any way but its a chance for other bakers at whatever skill level they are to swap recipes, have a chat and generally just eat cake!...Cannot wait!!

Anyway, this is trial one.........

The recipe is from the Goodfood website (


  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 300g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g sultanas
  • ½ tsp salt
  • eggs , beaten
  • 200g butter , melted
  • zest 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 500g (peeled weight) pumpkin or butternut squash flesh, grated

  • 200g pack soft cheese
  • 85g butter , softened
  • 100g icing sugar , sifted
  • zest 1 orange and juice of half


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and line a 30 x 20cm baking or small roasting tin with baking parchment. Put the flour, sugar, spice, bicarbonate of soda, sultanas and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine. Beat the eggs into the melted butter, stir in the orange zest and juice, then mix with the dry ingredients till combined. Stir in the pumpkin. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 mins, or until golden and springy to the touch.
  2. To make the frosting, beat together the cheese, butter, icing sugar, orange zest and 1 tsp of the juice till smooth and creamy, then set aside in the fridge. When the cake is done, cool for 5 mins then turn it onto a cooling rack. Prick it all over with a skewer and drizzle with the rest of the orange juice while still warm. Leave to cool completely.
  3. If you like, trim the edges of the cake. Give the frosting a quick beat to loosen, then, using a palette knife, spread over the top of the cake in peaks and swirls. If you're making the cake ahead, keep it in the fridge then take out as many pieces as you want 30 mins or so before serving. Will keep, covered, for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Try this
Pumpkins can vary dramatically in water content, so keep an eye on the cake towards the end of cooking - yours may take less or more time to cook through. If you're not carving out a pumpkin this year butternut squash works brilliantly, too

I also added a good handful of chopped walnuts to the cake as well

Monday, 17 September 2012

18th Birthday

A beast of a cake!!!  This cake was HUGE!!  The bottom tier was chocolate with chocolate buttercream filling, middle tier was vanilla and the top tier was lemon.

It took me a week to bake and decorate the cake tiers, then they had to be dowelled and stacked but I decided to do that at the venue in case there were any mishaps on the way there in the car.  Once there I placed the rolled balls round the tiers to finish off.

Looked good though when all finished, but I have to say I wouldn't be in a rush to do a 3 tier cake again anytime soon!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Harry & His Bucketful of Dinosaurs - For Ethan

Ethan is 3.  Ethan is slightly interested in dinosaurs.  They are his most favourite things.....IN THE WORLD!!  For his second birthday last year I did him a baby dinosaur and for his third birthday at the weekend I think we've taken it up a notch!.......

This is my take on Harry & His Bucketful of Dinosaurs (Google is a marvellous thing seeing as I had no idea who Harry was, let alone his dinosaurs!!).  Cake inspiration came from The Whole Cake & Caboodle who made a beautiful cake from which I tried to re-create.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Pretty In Pink

I am practising flowers!  I have a wedding coming up next month and I need to do a lot of flowers!!  Currently this petunia cutter is my favourite....