home made cakes for special days and elevenses

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Hello Kitty Birthday Cake and a Big Chocolate Eight

I'm a week behind - these are the products of last week's kitchen endeavours. Hello Kitty was for my daughter's school friend, and the big eight was for a friend's daughter who is by all accounts a massive chocoholic. I hope that both lovely girls had fantastic birthdays and enjoyed their cakes.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Hotel Chocolat Product Review

My son and I recently went to collect a parcel from the Post Office depot and were delighted to find a parcel from Hotel Chocolat. I had been asked to pick a product from the Christmas range to review, so it was no surprise, but exciting to receive chocolate in the post nonetheless.

I love chocolate but usually only in small doses, and have earned myself a reputation for making a box of chocs last an inordinate length of time. The ever present bar of Green and Blacks in my desk drawer would usually keep me going for at least a fortnight (unless discovered by a nosy colleague), and I have never managed to eat a whole Mars Bar.

My only previous encounter with Hotel Chocolat was when I was given a box of their chocolates one Christmas. I enjoyed them but found them a little large and to be honest, nothing special, so I was keen to try something different from their range. My dilemma was whether to choose something aimed at the kids, to share with all the family, or to pick something a bit more grown up and more to my taste. I decided that the kids had already been spoilt at Halloween and went for something nutty, which in my opinion is the best way for chocolate to be.

I chose the Nutty Noel Pick Me Up, and was not disappointed.

The box included cinnamon almonds, six gingerbread truffles and a penguin shaped bar of dark chocolate. The almonds were my favourite, and I had no problem at all polishing these off. The cinnamon flavour was just right and worked perfectly with the chocolate covered almonds. I also enjoyed the truffles, which were small, but just right for me. I thought the gingerbread flavour may be overpowering, but it wasn't, it was spot on. The penguin bar was nothing to get excited about, but still enjoyable. I'm not sure about the name of the product, as the only nuts were the almonds, but overall, it was a lovely gift pack which I imagine most people would be very happy to receive.

The only unfortunate aspect for me was that I had to share my goodies with my son Noah, who unexpectedly loved them all. So much for choosing a grown up gift to eat myself!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Christmas Baking and a New Career

I have been neglecting my blog for the last few weeks as things have been a little busy around here. I finished up at work last Friday (and had a massive night out to celebrate!), and am now going solo as Vanilla Frost Cakes. There is still a lot to do, but things are finally taking shape. I have a beautiful new logo, but due to my technical ineptitude I can't show you that today.

I kicked off my first self employed week with a stall at the very atmospheric St Faith's Christmas Fayre in Brentford. It was a great way to start the festive season, with lots of lovely stalls selling beautiful Christmas gifts, food demonstrations from the local butchers, fishmongers and deli, and hot food and mulled wine a plenty. There were also Christmas carols from a local school choir amongst others.

For my stall I made Christmas cakes, Christmas pudding cake pops, chocolate macarons, florentines, brownies and cupcakes. I'm pleased to say that most of it sold. My lovely friend Emily came to help me man the stall, which was much appreciated.

After last night I am feeling very festive and would like to get started on the Christmas shopping, but the kitchen still needs tiling, so I'm off to get stuck into that instead.