home made cakes for special days and elevenses

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Easter Recipes for Good Food Channel

I recently developed some new recipes for the Good Food Channel website, including a couple especially for Easter. I am not a big fan of fruit cake and as such the traditional simnel cake doesn't often get made in my house. However I do like the idea of a big cake to share with the family over the Easter weekend, something that is especially for Easter. I came up with this zesty lemon simnel cake as a modern alternative, using cake pops coated in white chocolate to represent the apostles, instead of the traditional marzipan balls.

It does require a little effort but looks impressive and will appeal to kids and grown ups alike. I used a version of this as a birthday cake too. This worked well as the children ate the cake pops at the party and took their cake slices home with them.  

This cake was baked by my lovely friend Katie at Feeding Boys and a Firefighter, and photograped by Sharron Gibson of The Image Garden, for the Good Food Channel website, where you can find the recipe.

I also came up with some chocolate ganache and coconut tartlets, topped with a Mini Egg to look like a little nest. These are very moreish, and I find it hard to stop at eating one, but I do love that dark chocolate and coconut pairing. These are quite simple to make, and again the recipe is over at the Good Food Channel website.

Katie also wrote a lovely Easter recipe for Good Food - these delicious and dainty simnel biscuits. Incorporating all the flavours of a simnel cake, these a lighter treat to have with a cup of tea, and as Katie says, they would make a great Easter gift alternative to chocolate. 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Minions Cupcakes

Minions is the name of a small Cornish village on the edge of Bodmin Moor, just a few miles from where I grew up. We still go there regularly, for Sunday lunch in the pub, Cornish ice cream with clotted cream on top in the tea room, or for a walk up to the Hurlers or the Cheesewring (ancient standing stones). However, this favourite place from home is not what springs to mind when I hear the word 'Minions' any more. It's these cheeky chaps:

I have made Minions cupcakes and Minions figures for cakes. We love the Despicable Me films in our house, and the little yellow guys are great characters to work with.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Passionfruit, Almond and Yoghurt Loaf Cake

This is a new recipe I have written for the Good Food Channel website. It is very easy to make, deliciously moist and full of fruity flavour.

Visit the website to see the recipe in full.

Photograph by Sharron Gibson, the Image Garden

Friday, 14 March 2014

Vintage Style Wedding Cake

Between Christmas and New Year I had the honour making a wedding cake for my tap dancing teacher. Alex has been teaching my daughter tap for a couple of years and she now has the dubious pleasure of teaching me as well. Generally speaking I don't 'do' wedding cakes, as I find it all rather stressful. The pressure of getting the cake absolutely perfectly right is magnified when the occasion is a wedding. I find this (and also some brides to be!) a little scary, however I couldn't possibly say no to the lovely Miss Alex, especially as she was planning a vintage theme for her wedding.

I met with Alex and Kevin a couple of times and between us we came up with a simple but elegant design, using lace from Alex's dress and some pretty vintage lace that I found at a fair. There were four tiers, each a different flavour, decorated with piped royal icing, a dusky pink ribbon and fresh flowers to match Alex's bouquet.

We had decided to have a layer of fresh flowers between cake tiers, which meant that I had to do some research as this was a new skill for me to learn. Luckily Jen from Jen's Cakery was kind enough to give me some advice on this, and I am very grateful to her. Jen lives near me and makes stunning wedding cakes, so she was the perfect person to consult.

The wedding was beautifully styled with lots of little vintage touches. I love the stack of books on the middle of each table, carefully chosen to suit the guests seated there. I have already asked to borrow a couple of things for a tea party photo shoot!

Congratulations on your marriage Alex and Kevin x


Friday, 7 March 2014

Vintage Tea Party Offer

Vanilla Frost Cakes is now able to offer a range of specially bended teas from the Clocktower Cafe in Hanwell, as part of our pop up vintage tea party service. To celebrate we are offering a free selection of teas along with a 50% discount for the host, with any tea party booked between now and 31st May. The tea party can be held later but the booking must be confirmed by this date to qualify for the offer.

Please visit the Vintage Tea Parties page for more details, or email lucy@vanillafrostcakes.com.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Nigella's Custard Creams for Valentine's Day

My sister picked up a charity shop bargain a couple of weeks ago, a very cheap copy of Nigella's 'Feast'. Unfortunately it was too heavy for her to take back on the train to Cornwall so it is temporarily residing next to my bed. I had a flick through the other night and came across the recipe for custard creams, in the Valentine's Day section of the book. I thought this would be a good recipe for my daughter and I to try together, but she had other ideas and wandered off as soon as I got started. She was, however, quite happy to eat the finished goods.

The custard flavour buttercream filling in these biscuits is essential as they are rather boring without it, but once filled they make for a tasty little treat with a cup of tea. Much as you would expect from a custard cream really, but heart shaped and pretty for Valentine's Day, as well as being extremely easy to make. They would take no time at all without the little dots around the edge, but they do finish them off very nicely.

I haven't made any decorated cookies for Valentine's this year, but will take this opportunity to show you the ones I made two years ago. I used a recipe resembling the Biscuiteers' chocolate biscuit one from their book, which is a great reference for tips on decorating with royal icing.

Monday, 10 February 2014

My first painted cake

This Harry Potter cake very nearly went horribly wrong, as I almost made a cake with the wrong book cover. I'm glad I went back and double checked the email before I started. When I looked at the correct book cover I realised that the only way to get a reasonable representation of it would be to paint it myself. I spend a lot of time admiring Nevie-Pie's painted cakes and had fancied having a go myself for some time. I had imagined something flowery and pretty, but Harry Potter is as good a place to start as any.