Cake Bag March Review

03/16

This month, I was sent a Cake Bag!

What is Cake Bag you ask? Well, it’s a bag filled with cake decorating tools and equipment delivered to your door every month.

You generally get between 6-8 items in your bag and it’s a wide range of silicone moulds, cutters, stencils, tools, edibles along with some super special treats too! With the likes of Karen Davies Sugarcraft, Squires Kitchen Products, Wilton, Sugarveil, Culpitt, Marvelous Moulds, Patchwork Cutters and lots more brands on board, it’s a great way of trying out something new which you may or may now have thought to buy of yourself before.

The March Cake Bag was a Floral Vintage edition. It arrived in a lovely pink padded envelope which just LOOKED exciting!

Inside the envelope was my bag. It looks very pretty and one I can take to the supermarket! Then, inside there were more things to unwrap. The cool thing is, if you receive this each month, it feels like getting lots of little presents rather than shopping, and who doesn’t like a present?

Cake Bag March Review

I unwrapped it all to find the following;

  • A Karen Davies Sugarcraft – Sugar Flower Garland Mould
  • Premier Stencils – Arum Lilt Stencil
  • Patchwork Cutters – Tea Rose Embosser/Cutter
  • Custom Designed Notebook
  • Two lengths of board ribbon
  • Wilton Fondant
  • Nila Holden’s Sprinkle Cookie!

It all looks great! I loved the addition of the cookie to snack on while you perused your goodies!

I must admit, I’m not a flowers kinda girl so I very probably wouldn’t have bought a lot of this for myself but looking at it, I can see how they would really set of a cake and I’m really excited to use them! I used to get a beauty box delivered every month and I think having a cake one is a brilliant idea.

You can sign up to April Cake Bag which has a party theme, from the 1st April at 7am on the Cake Bag website. But be quick, as they are limited edition!

Included this month is a brand new for 2016 Balloon Mould by Katy Sue Designs RRP £9.99, a fabulous item of stationery by Natalie Lea Owen, as well as another five surprise items! The monthly cost is £15.99 (plus £1.99 P+P) or you can buy a one off Cake Bag for £18 (plus £1.99 P+P)

They would really like to see your creations too so use the hashtag #CakeBagCreations on social media if you get creative with your goodies!

Happy baking!

Britt xo

How To View My Online Courses

03/16

Once purchased you can view your online courses in a number of ways.

Once you pay you will be redirected to a “Order Received” page which includes the link and looks a little like this:

You should Also receive an email from the She Who Bakes website which has the link inside it. If you don’t receive your confirmation then please check your spam or junk folder and try adding no-reply@shewhobakes.co.uk to the contact list. The email looks a little something like this:

You can also log in and go the the My Courses page where you can see your course details again.

Once on the course page, you need to click on the link at the very bottom of the page to access your video. It looks like this:

It then takes you to the course page which looks like this:

If you click on the course link and you get directed to a page telling you that you need to purchase the course, like below, you need to log in, either in the top left corner of the screen or to the right, where it says ‘welcome guest’

Easter Chick Cupcakes with Stork!

03/16

Easter is one of my favourite times of the year! A combination of changing seasons, bright flowers and lots of yummy treats make for a pretty epic weekend. So when Stork told me about their Easter campaign, and invited me to make these gorgeous Easter Chick Cupcakes, I was all over it like a chicken on an egg (See what I did there…?).

For those who follow my posts and recipes, you’ll see I use Stork in a number of my bakes. It always makes for a light and fluffy sponge and is perfect for a classic Victoria sponge. I also highly recommend it in Maderia cakes and I use it in my Classic Birthday Cake recipe. So when I found out about the new Stork with Butter, I was really keen to get baking and try it, make some sweet treats and eat them… for research purposes of course!

One thing that is pretty cool about this product, is that it can be used straight from the fridge! How many times have I forgotten to get the butter out to bring it to room temperature and had to wait ages before I could get my apron on and get baking! It’s lovely and smooth and has a nice buttery taste.

For this post, I’ve followed Stork’s recipe to make these light and fluffy Easter Chick Cupcakes with a hint of lemon and sweet taste, perfect for Spring! I’ve popped them in some yellow polkadot cupcake cases to finish the look!

Don’t they look delicious? In the week of making these, I’ve had quite a few friends pop over (it’s like they know exactly when I’m baking!) and they have all left with a cheeky chick to take home and have all told me how scrummy they are!

This recipe was so lovely and really easy to follow! A really nice buttery taste and a super fluffy sponge! Perfect for a fluffy chick! Haha! If you click here, you can find the full recipe and step by step method including a video to takes you through the baking and decorating.

Also included on the recipe is a frosting lightened with lemon. It’s gorgeous! I had a bit leftover after making my chicks so I spread it on some biscuits for an afternoon treat. I’ll definitely be making that again!

When it came to decorating, I tried to give each of my chicks a different personality, I even named them but regardless of how much I loved them, I had no problem enjoying them with a cuppa!

Give them a go this Easter and impress your guests with a cute chick! I’d love to see how you get on so use the hashtag #StorkChick and tag Stork using the following; Twitter – @bakewithstork, Instagram – @bakewithstork and Facebook – /bakewithstork.

Happy Easter and happy baking!

Britt xo

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Stork – Bake with Stork Easter Chick Campaign to encourage everyone to get baking this Easter! All views and opinions are my own.

 

The SundayGirl Company Aprons

03/16

Wow! Check out this beautiful apron by The SundayGirl Company! It matches my kitchen perfectly!

The SundayGirl Company are a creative award winning British design brand who take an innovative approach into breathing new life into the glamour of yesteryear with our beautiful Pinnies for Pin ups and Little Misses. Based on original mid century apron styling, we design our own fabrics which are screen printed on hard wearing durable cotton drill. We’re inspired by all things feminine, beautifully vibrant and engagingly kitsch. 

They have a wide range of gorgeous aprons in lots of colours and styles, all made here in the UK. The fabric feels amazing! If you want to feel like a kitchen goddess when you’re baking up a storm, go check these lovely ladies out here!

Have you got one of these beautiful aprons? I’d love to see! Send me a picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Happy baking!

Britt xo

Instant Flower Nozzles from Iced Jems | A Review by She Who Bakes

03/16

I’ve got an exciting review for you today! It seems everyone and they grandmother has seen or knows about these Instant Flower Nozzles. Perfect flowers in one easy step! Needless to say, I was rather excited to try them out.

Iced Jems sells these in a set of 7 and they come adorable packaged in this cute pink slide out box with rainbow plastic separating them. This alone could sit on my shelf as a decoration quite happily!

I baked some vanilla cupcakes (my recipe can be found on my Cupcake Conundrum blog post here) in red and white Iced Jems Baking Cups (naturally…) and set to work making my buttercream.

I normally make quite a soft buttercream to use inside cakes but for cupcake piping I usually make a firmer version. Having spoken to Jemma from Iced Jems, she told me to use a 1:2 ratio to make my buttercream so I mixed 250g butter to 500g icing sugar. I was also told for best results, not to add water or milk as this will make it soft and that temperature not liquid, will make the right consistency.

I made up my buttercream and it was rather solid. I’m blaming the cold British weather!! So I popped it in the microwave on the defrost setting for 10 seconds and it worked a treat. I then separated this into 7 bowls ready for me to colour.

The nozzles are larger than your average, so I found disposable piping bags the way to go here.

I found this handy tip on Jemma’s website;

When piping onto a cupcake, simply spread a thin layer of buttercream over the top of your cupcake, then pipe the flowers on top. This will help the buttercream flowers to stick down and not come away with crumbs.

So, that’s exactly what I did!

As with all cupcake piping, I found it was easier to hold your piping bag directly over the top of the cupcake.

Again, I followed the instructions to the letter – You need to squeeze gently whilst your piping tip is nearly touching the cake surface, this will ensure the base of your flower sticks to the cake. Now continue to squeeze whilst lifting the piping bag upwards for about 2 seconds, then release the pressure and pull the bag away.

I’ll be honest, the first one didn’t go so well! I did get covered in red buttercream. Haha! BUT! Not to be deterred, I tried again. The second time was a lot easier. Practice, practice, practice!

I used all of the nozzles with different colours and these were my findings;

  • Temperature of buttercream is key. At the start I was struggling a bit but it was due to my buttercream being too cold and therefore too hard to push out. A quick zap in the microwave on defrost sorted that!
  • Darker colours don’t work as well. I used a very deep purple for one of the nozzles and I couldn’t see the definition of the petals very well.
  • Mixed, light colours work beautifully! One bag had a slight mix of lilac and cream (mainly due to my hasty mixing) and this looked really nice. I think a deliberate mix of two or more colours really brings these to life.
  • The roses are my favourites.

I like them! I think they are cute and add something a little special to the top of your cupcakes and cakes. A must-have for any baker! You can buy a set of 7 for just £28 on the Iced Jems website.

Have you used them? What do you think? Let me know your thoughts, either on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!

Happy baking!

Britt xo

Chick in Egg Tutorial

03/16

Equipment

  • White, orange, yellow & black icing (I recommend modelling paste)
  • Scalpel or sharp knife
  • Paint palette or something of a similar shape
  • Edible glue and paintbrush

1. You need a smooth round ball of white modelling paste, this is for the shell.

2. Squish this down into a circle. It doesn’t have to be neat.

3. Using a scalpel, cut triangles out around the edge to make the cracking shell.

4. Push this into a paint palette using a ball tool and leave to dry slightly.

5. Roll a ball of yellow modelling paste and shape into an elongated ball. (Egg)

6. Shape two teardrop shapes out of the yellow modelling paste and mark some lines into them. These will be the wings.

7. Using a little edible glue, stick then wings on.

8. With a little big of orange paste, create a beak and attach. Do the same with two small balls for the eyes and two small yellow strands for the hair!

Give it a try and let me know how you get on either on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

Happy Easter and happy baking!

Britt xo

Thoughts From The Supermarket Aisle

03/16

Today, while in the supermarket picking up various baking goodies, I saw something that made me stop and think and has been playing on my mind since. Let me set the scene for you.

I needed supplies for a few specific posts I am in the middle of writing and while standing in the home baking aisle trying to choose between plain and milk chocolate chips (I went with plain, in case you were wondering), I noticed next to me a young girl about 10 or 11.

I specifically noticed her because she reminded me of me at her age. Same hair colour (no, not red), same height and face shape and I remember being her age and going shopping. Although, I never ventured into the baking aisle. I didn’t start baking until I was 21 and before that had only made a few uneven and biscuit-like fairy cakes with my nan.

The young girl was looking at me and watching me choose items off the shelf. She picked up the same chocolate chips as me. She had yellow icing in her hand and as I picked up the orange colour, she too, grabbed that one. She looked like she was thinking of what she could do with all of the colours.

An older woman, who I am assuming to be her grandmother came over to ask what she was doing. “I’d really like to make mum a cake” she said. I thought it was really cute. I don’t know if it was her mum’s birthday or for Mother’s Day, but I thought the gesture was adorable. My mum never tried my baking. Having died when I was 16, I could only just about successfully make toast at that age. I always made my mum a cup of coffee in the mornings though. Gold Blend, 2 sugars, white.

“No” said the grandmother, proceeding to take the baking items from the young girl and put them back randomly on the shelf, “we’ll buy her one, it’s easier.” Then took her by the hand and led her to the prepackaged cake section at the end of the aisle.

I don’t know why, but this made me a little upset. The young girl looked so disappointed, she really wanted to make her mum a cake. Ok, sure, I’m not saying the grandmother was wrong, buying a cake would have indeed been easier, but baking a cake for someone is showing you love them on a completely different level than just buying one. It comes from the heart, not from a box.

Every year for my birthday my friends tell me they are faced with the dilemma of buying me a cake or making me one. I tell them every time I would appreciate them making one. “It wouldn’t look like yours” my friend Laura said to me once, and of course she’s probably right, considering she doesn’t bake every day. But it wouldn’t matter to me what it looked like! When it comes to baking for loved ones, it really is the thought that counts.

I’ve shown in my Budget vs Premium article that you can make a pretty good Victoria sponge for around £2.63 whereas celebration cakes in supermarkets tend to start at the £8 mark so home baking is more cost effective too.

I guess, seeing this unfold in the supermarket got me thinking. This little girl may very well forget about this whole thing by the end of the day but it’s stuck in my mind. Maybe it’s because I can’t ever bake a cake for my mum, maybe I’m getting softer as I get older, but honestly, I really wanted to help this young girl bake a cake.

My first cakes, including the frankly beautiful giant cupcake pictured at the top of this post, were a mess. No other word for them. But they made me so happy, and at a time when smiles were few and far between, I was so grateful for it (You can read that story here). It’s only now, six years later that I look back and see how far I’ve come. How much I’ve learnt. How much baking changed my life.

Baking isn’t always easy, but it is fun and it is worth it. It’s made with love, and to me, that’s better than anything that you can buy in a box.

Happy baking,

Britt xo

Mother’s Day

03/16

Sorry in advance that this isn’t a baking related post, but blogging has always been one of my outlets and this week has been pretty tough.

Mother’s Day, or more specifically the lead up to the day itself, has been a tricky one for me to cope with for years. I used to be able to simply avoid it by not looking around the shops at this time of year but in the age of internet shopping, my inbox is full each day of subject headings like ‘Find the perfect gift for Mum today!’ and  ‘Don’t forget your Mum this Mother’s Day!’.

As if I could forget.

Now, I know it’s blanket marketing and for the majority of the people that open those emails, it won’t cause the pain and upset it does when it catches me off guard. The sharp pang right in my heart that sometimes makes me lose my breath when I see the word ‘Mum’ flash up on my phone.

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I can remember the last ever time she called me. She wanted to know what time I finished school and when I was coming home and if I could pick up washing up liquid from the shop at the bottom of the road. It all seemed rather normal. That was her last day on this earth. I would never see ‘Mum calling’ again.

I was only 16 when I lost my mum to cancer. I was a child. Granted, if 16 year old me had heard me calling her a child she would have protested, maintaining she was an adult, capable of making her own choices, her own decisions and her own way in this world. The fact of the matter is, she, or I, wasn’t.

You need your mum for so much in this life and there is never a good time to say goodbye. You need her for as long as you can hold on to her. She is your first teacher and friend. If you’re happy, you call your mum. Sad, you call your mum. Need advice, mum. No matter who else you have in this world to help you through it, they aren’t her, and that’s really bloody hard. Sometimes, her opinion is the only one that really counts.

My mum never saw the woman I have turned out to be. She will never know all of the things I have accomplished. That hurts me every day.

Every award, every accolade, every bit of success, I do it all in her memory.

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I visit the crematorium where my mum rests several times a year, Mother’s Day is usually one of those times. It’s also one of the only times I am surrounded by people that know what I’m going through. Other people who are laying flowers for their own mums who left too soon. This year, I will be away and not in the UK, more by accident than by design, the timing just coincided. I will visit her when I return and I know she would understand my need for a holiday after working 24/7.

It may have been 11 years this year, and some days it really seems like I’ve not seen her in that long and even longer, but sometimes, occasionally, it feels like she was just here.

It saddens me that I don’t have as many photos with my mum as people might have nowadays, we didn’t have camera phones when I was growing up and so the only pictures of us were taken on disposable cameras. Sadly, the last photo I took of my mum was on a device that was damaged beyond repair some years ago. She had a face mask on and slices of cucumbers under her eyes. I loved it.

When I was clearing out the old house before I left it I found hundreds of photos of me growing up, but only a select few of my mum and me, and rarely any of my mum on her own.

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April 2005, when I tragically lost my mum to cancer, was a simpler time. Before the iPhone, before Facebook and before we lived our lives online.

Sometimes I feel lucky that my mum never had a Facebook page purely so I don’t have to see it. I am, however, jealous of the interaction that social media has brought families, specifically mums and daughters. Don’t get me wrong, I often joke to my friends that if my mum DID have a Facebook page, she would no doubt be the sort of woman to friend request anyone tagged in photos with me, get lured into Facebook scams by constantly sharing status updates pleading with Mark Zuckerberg not to share her information and be partial to a ‘what leaf would you be?’ kind of quiz.

I often wonder if my mum would have had a twitter page, or if she would have turned to internet dating to find someone. I can make a fair assumption however she wouldn’t have been on Tinder. The thought of my mum ‘swiping’ her next date is comical for me to say the least.

I have no doubt I would cringe at every emoji, every humble brag and every comment of ‘look at my beautiful girl!’ underneath any new photo I post. Which makes me so jealous of those who have it.

I would give anything to smile at my mum’s text messages, roll my eyes at her naivety online, laugh at her comments, add her to groups, send her funny memes.

Then again, I would give anything to hear her voice again, to see her one more time. To tell her I love her.

Mother’s Day advertising has seemed particularly heavy to me this year. On television, in shops, on the internet and social media, it’s everywhere. I don’t know if I’m just sensitive to it more due to the fact that the past year has been a pretty amazing one for me and for my business and there are so many awesome things that have happened that I am just desperate to tell her. But since I can’t, I’m writing this post. Thank you to all of my readers for your continued love and support over the years, it really does mean the world to me and I know my mum would be really proud of it all.

Treat your mum like the queen she is, not just this Sunday, but every day.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Britt xo

 

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