Christmas Cake

After a visit to the Cake show at the NEC in November we came back full of ideas for this year’s  cake. We had been  lucky to catch a very good demonstration on how to model figures by a lady from Cake Craft and Decoration magazine which my daughter used as a starting point. I made two fruit cakes, a 6 and an 8 inch using Darina Allen’s gluten free whiskey cake which never lets me down and feed it copiously right up to decorating with various whiskeys including an interesting one flavoured with maple syrup that had travelled all the way from Canada . Then it was over to Fiona.
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We picked up lots of Renshaw marzipan and icing at a very good price so we had lots to play with and my advice would be never stint on the on the quality or quality of the icing.

IMG_4580Interestingly my daughter doesn’t like Christmas cake so most of it made its way to the WEA office and kept us all going through the first dark and rainy days of January.
IMG_4581A few extra figures made by Fiona including Ice Hockey playing snowmen and a couple of very cute penguins. Not sure it they’re based on any of the Nottingham Panthers players!

Honey Madeleines

I’ve always wanted to have a go at  making Madeleines so on a recent trip to Lakeland I bought the specialist tin you need.

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I used a recipe from Hannah Miles The Gluten-Free Baker and they were much easier than I thought. The recipe includes honey, hazelnuts, cinnamon and orange and they where lovely with summer fruit and ice cream.

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Wedding Afternoon Tea

A few weeks ago  my daughter and I helped with the wedding preparation for two of  our friend wedding. It was a steep learning curve and one of the main things we learnt was not to attempt a chocolate wedding cake in 30 degree temperatures. The theme was afternoon tea and we spent a very hot week trying out ideas and freezing ahead what we could.

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The  cake for the bottom tier was make using  Martha Stewart ultimate chocolate cake recipe and the top tier was our tried and tested wheat free  victoria sandwich cake. Because of the heat we kept the decoration to a minimum and purchased the chocolate cigarillos, which were brilliant and well worth the expense. First we covered the cake with dark chocolate ganache and then added the cigarillos. we got lots of very good feedback on the taste. The top tier was covered with white chocolate buttercream with lemon curd used to sandwich the layers together.

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We made a selection of small cakes including plain and cheese scones, chocolate brownies, macaroons, lavender biscuits, almond clusters, lemon drizzle cake and ice cream cone cakes which were very attractive and fun,  The cake stands were made using old LPs.

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Good food Ice cream cone cakes recipe. Beware though the calorie is 756.

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The  hall was decorated using 1001 origami cranes, bunting and pompoms. A thousand paper cranes are traditionally given as a wedding gift by the father, who is wishing a thousand years of happiness and prosperity upon the couple. These cranes were made by the bride and her sisters and it was very effective.

New chairs and cake

I’ve needed new dining chairs for a long time now, but having decided that I was only going to buy real wood, it’s taken me sometime to save. I fell in love with Ercol furniture  when I was a child and my Aunt and Uncle had a few pieces. I thought long and hard and finally went for a  simple retro kitchen  style.  Then I realised that what they needed where seat pads, and  I felt the fabric needed to be vintage from roughly the same era.

I found this fabric in a vintage/junk shop on Byres Road in Glasgow. There are 2 panels and I think they were probably caravan curtains and there is just enough for 4 seat pads. Just got to make them now.

Fiona made this cake for her birthday a couple of weeks ago and very nice it was too.

If you’ve followed some of my other posts you’ll know I don’t eat wheat so it was lovely to get these little jems as a present from our friends Deirdre and Dave from a local food fair.

I’m usually anti the nasty cup cakes on sale at food fairs and markets that taste of nothing but sugar and food colouring, but these were great. All have a different flavoured topping, including ginger, mint and my favourite lavender, which was a revelation.

Visual Clock App and Butterfly Cake

All over the world parents of school leavers and graduates are in a state of  anxiety  as their offspring search for work with little or no success. In Spain the unemployment rate for under 25s is running at 53%.  After 3/4 years of study  they are told they have no experience. So I thought I’d give mine a bit of a hand and spread the word on their wonderful creativity.

Adam has spend months working with his friend Alex Hawes on the development of a visual clock app , that you can download onto your smart phone and is a snip at 50p. He needs to sell thousands to make any money so give it a go and make a mother very happy.

Fiona has spend a lot of her time this summer making cakes and after the success of her owl cake she  made a retirement cake for one of my colleagues. Not bad considering she only had a a few hours. It looked good and tasted good too and went down really well.

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