home made cakes for special days and elevenses

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Jungle Cakes and a Fabulous Bag

I had a busy couple of days recently, working on cakes for a joint first birthday party. I made two three tiered cakes, each with six handmade jungle animals. I also made some jungle cupcakes and cake pops to match. I'm afraid that the photos are a bit dark as the weather has just been so awful it has been hard to find a good time to take some snaps, particularly with my limited skills. The fact that I finished these cakes at some ungodly hour doesn't help much either!


I have better pictures of the cupcakes, because my friend Jane took them rather than me! Jane is a whizz with a sewing machine, and writes a fantastic blog about the clothes she makes. She also makes fabulous bags, cushions and all sorts of other bits and pieces. I recently asked Jane to make me a new bag to hold the square cardboard boxes I use to transport cupcakes, and she has produced two fantastic bags that are perfect for the job. They have proved invaluable over the last couple of weeks as I have been delivering cakes here, there and everywhere.
Do pop over to Handmade Jane to read more about the bag and Jane's lovely handmade clothes.

A Junk Food Birthday Cake

Some girls love chocolates, some love cake, others love burgers and crisps! This cake was a for a lady with a penchant for junk food, and was a present from her cousin. I made all of the toppers from sugarpaste, and used a little royal icing for some of the details. The burger is my favourite as it was easy to make with lots of simple layers, but it looks good too. I just hope for the sake of her teeth that the birthday girl didn't take a big bite of it. I know a few children who would be tempted. Happy birthday N'chicka.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Baking with Kids - Dairy Free Muffins

I am making a conscious effort to increase the number of cakes I make that cater for those with allergies. Several of my children's friends have dairy free or egg free diets, and even more of mine can't tolerate gluten. My repetoire is currently limited, but I am working on it!

One of the most used baking books in our house is one called 'Muffins Fast and Fantastic'. At less than £5 a copy on Amazon it is an absoloute bargain, as thus far all of the recipes I have tried have turned out brilliantly. It is also a great book for baking with kids. There all kinds of flavours that the kids will warm to, and the recipes are all simple. It works particularly well when baking with two little helpers, as one can prepare the bowl full of dry ingredients and one can take care of the wet stuff. There is the potential for arguing when the two are combined, but careful management (and the threat of not getting to eat a muffin) should take care of that.


Our two favourite recipes to date are the orange and poppyseed, and the banana and walnut. The latter is perfect for using up those brown bananas that always linger in the fruit bowl and for those that do eat eat dairy, chocolate chunks can take the place of walnuts if preferred. Both of these recipes can easily be made as dairy free, as the recipe gives the option to use either melted butter or vegetable oil, and either milk or water. I have always opted for milk in the past but tried the banana recipe with water today and really couldn't notice the difference.


The only drawback as far as I'm concerned is that the banana muffins really need to be eaten the same day, although they can also be frozen. The orange muffins seem to have a longer shelf life though, and are my favourite anyway. The orange icing on top really finishes them off nicely.


We still have lots of recipes to try, and I think that the ginger or the peach and almond may be next on the list.

Branded Cupcakes for Hotpot Pictures

I had a busy couple of days last week, making almost 300 cupcakes for Hotpot Pictures. Hotpot make fabulous films about food, showcasing some of the country's top names and businesses with slick, stylish films for tv and online.


Take a look at the Hotpot Pictures website to see some of their exciting projects.