How To Make A Cauldron Cake For Halloween

10/17

I absolutely LOVE Halloween. Growing up in Canada, it was such a big deal and it makes me so happy to see it gaining popularity with each year here in the UK! This Cauldron cake is also one of my favourite cakes I’ve ever made. It makes me so happy to look at and I’m thinking of recreating it again this year too!

If you fancy recreating this design, follow my tutorial below.

I have used my chocolate madeira cake and chocolate buttercream recipe but feel free to use any flavours you like! I would recommend using a strong and stable cake that is suitable for carving, which is what a madeira is perfect for.

The models and decorations on top of the cake can be made ahead of time. Use modelling paste for stability and keep in a cake box or another container that the air can get to (not in a sealed box, otherwise they may melt). For more on types of icing, check out my blog post here.

Once baked and decorated, this cake will last 4-5 days. Make sure to properly crumb coat so no air can get into the cake and make it dry. You can read more about my cake timelines here.

Equipment can be purchased from Iced Jems.

Equipment

  • 7 deep round cake
  • 7 round thin cake card
  • 10 round drum
  • 1kg black sugarpaste
  • 500g brown sugarpaste
  • Modelling paste
  • Sugarflair colours; Tangerine, Poppy Red, Melon, Party Green, Ice Blue, Dark Brown
  • Paintbrush
  • Edible glue
  • Large rolling pin
  • Icing spacers
  • Sharp serrated knife
  • Cake leveller
  • Piping gel
  • Cutting wheel
  • Double sided sticky tape
  • ½ ball mould
  • Ball tool
  • Wood impression mat

For the cake

Bake your favourite cake in a 7 round tin. It needs to be a deep cake of 4”.

Level the cake and carve a dent around the top edge with a sharp knife to make the ‘cauldron shape’. Also, carve a well into the top of your cake so we can ‘fill’ the cauldron. This well doesn’t have to be very deep, it’s just to create the effect.

Split and fill your cake with your desired buttercream or ganache and secure your cake to the thin boards using buttercream.
Prepare cake by lightly coating with buttercream or ganache.

Before rolling out your black sugarpaste, knead until it’s a workable consistency. If the sugarpaste is sticky or your hands are very warm, sprinkle lightly with cornflour. Lightly dust your smooth work surface also to prevent it sticking.

Roll out your sugarpaste to a 1/4 of an inch thickness. If it helps, you can use icing spacers which are perfect for this.

To keep the sugar paste from sticking, lift and move it around as your roll. Add more cornflour if needed.

Gently lift icing over rolling pin to move and lower it onto your cake. Be careful to gently smooth the sugarpaste into the well you have created at the top and around the edge of the top of your cauldron.

Beginning in the middle of the cake top, gently rub the sugar paste onto the cake. Start on one side and by a process of gently lifting any creases out and lifting down onto your cake, you can secure the sugar paste all the way around. If an air bubble appears, use a scriber to gently pop the bubble and smooth the air out.
Use a knife to mark the sugar paste at the base of the cake and trim the excess using a palette knife or sharp knife.

Leave the icing to set overnight.

Repeat the icing process for your 10” drum.

Once the sugarpaste has set for both, secure the cake to the drum using a little royal icing.

For the decoration

To make the eyeballs, roll a ball of white modelling paste and dust with cornflour. Push into a ½ ball mould until the bottom is flat. Tap the eyeball out and leave to dry. Once dry cut out a circle of eye colour, a smaller circle of black and a tiny circle of white. Layer these using a little bit of edible glue to finish the eye and leave to set.

For the tentacles, colour some modelling paste orange and roll into a smooth round ball. From there, roll it into a sausage with a tapered end. Bend into a wavy shape and leave to dry on foam. Once dried, roll small balls of yellow modelling paste and dent with a ball tool to create the ‘suckers’. Glue these onto one side of the tentacle.

For the bubbles, roll small balls of green modelling paste and leave to dry.

For the fire, knead together red, orange and yellow modelling paste until the colours start to mix but stop before they mix completely. This will give you a marbled effect. Roll out this tricoloured icing and using a cutting wheel, cut out wavy flames.

Glue these to the bottom of your cauldron and bend in wavy shapes. Leave to dry.

For the wood, roll out brown sugarpaste and texture with a wood impression mat. Then, using a cutting wheel, cut out rectangles of wood. Glue these to the board underneath the flames.

For the Cauldron filling

Colour come piping gel with a paste colour of your choice, I’ve used green for slime! Then fill the well you made with piping gel. I have also dripped it down the side and on to the board.

Once all your decorations have dried, you can fill your cauldron as desired. You can also glue the bubbles to the side of the cauldron using a little edible glue.

Add a message and ribbon as desired.

Cauldron Cake

Check out my other Halloween inspired recipes and tutorials here.

If you want to turn your baking hobby into a career, check out my ebook How To Start A Cake Business From Home for everything you need to know about running a successful baking business, including pricing, marketing, insurance and much more!

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

Happy Halloween and happy baking!

Britt xo

Depressed Cake Shop Pop Up for World Mental Health Day 2017

10/17

This week on Tuesday 10th October  was World Mental Health Day 2017. A day to raise awareness for mental health issues, to talk and to share. To know you aren’t alone and help is out there. I make no secret of my past battles with my own mental health and the terrible darkness I felt in. You can read more about my story here.

One of the biggest parts of my recovery was baking, and one of the first projects I did was making a cake for the Depressed Cake Shop promo back in 2013. You can read more about The Depressed Cake Shop and my involvement with them here.

Amazing bakers and volunteers all over the world run ‘pop up’ cake shops to raise awareness of mental health issues as well as raising money for mental health charities! Sharon Manship, who runs Depressed Cake Shop – Medway was putting on just such a treat extravaganza at Canterbury Christ Church University Medway Campus to raise money for the charity Mind. I really wanted to go along and help, chat to people about the project and show my support.

With cupcakes, cakes, cake pops and cookies all on offer, the stall looked amazing and it was so good chatting with the students and faculty at the university about mental health and how baking can help – it certainly helped me. It was such a fun day and I want to thank Sharon for organising such a great event and to Jacqueline, fellow Canadian who chatted with people and got them involved with the Mind Apples Tree! In total, the pop up raised over £80 for Mind.

Britt xo

 

Rainbow Kitty Cake – Happy Birthday Ciara!

10/17

One of the best things about being a baker, I believe, is that you can make tasty treats for your friends and loved ones. Sometimes the best type of tasty treat is a surprise one. It was my friend Ciara’s birthday last week and she was popping over to see me for a chat and a takeaway on the Friday night. But I had a sneaky little surprise in store!

I’ve known Ciara since primary school and I couldn’t let a milestone birthday go by without something special. So on the days that preceded her visit I made a rainbow kitty cake I knew she would love. I made a bright coloured tie dye rainbow sponge with a pastel watercolour rainbow buttercream exterior, topped with rainbow roses and a handmade 3D white kitty (whom I named Winston).

In this blog I break down how I made it!

Firstly I made up the madeira recipe I always use which can be found here. Then I Split the mixture into six bowls and coloured them using Sugarflair concentrated food colouring.  You only need a little bit of colour as it’s very concentrated so it goes a long way and lasts ages! I’m using the following colours;

Sugarflair Red Extra, Sugarflair Egyptian Orange, Sugarflair Melon, Sugarflair Party Green, Sugarflair Ice Blue and Sugarflair Grape Violet.

Once the cake was baked I left it to cool on greaseproof paper upside down. I do this to get a nice flat top on the cake (which becomes my base). I then trimmed it a little to make it nice and even and to try some too. Bakers perk. Look at the lovely colours!!

I then used a cake leveller to split the cake into three sections. I made up a batch of white vanilla buttercream as I thought the white would be a lovely contrast to the rainbow colours once you cut into it. Once the cake was filled I chilled it for 10 minutes to firm up. Then I did a layer of buttercream around the outside to crumb coat it. Chilled again briefly and then a ‘tidy up’ layer of buttercream and left it out on the side.

The rest of the buttercream I split into six bowls and coloured rainbow but this time with the pastel versions of Sugarflair. I then spread different colours of the buttercream around the cake and using a large scraper, went around the cake over and over again until the colours blended together in a lovely watercolour pattern!

Then with the leftover rainbow buttercream, I spooned them into a piping bag fitted with a 2D nozzle and piped roses on the top of the cake. Added a few piped ‘stars’ and sprinkles and it was done! I put the cake onto a small pink iced board with a wash glitter tape edge.

For Winston the cat, I made him out of white, pink and black Karen Davies Sugarpaste (which I love for modelling). I even made him a tiny little pink bow. I was in my own little world modelling him so I don’t have any step by step photos but if you want to know how he was made, leave a comment below and I will endeavour to make a tutorial at some point!

Once Winston was dry I placed him on top of the cake and it was complete! Ciara absolutely loved it which made me so happy. Seeing the joy on someone face and knowing it’s you that has made that smile is one of the great joys of baking.

Happy birthday Ciara. I’m so pleased you liked you cake.

If you try any of these techniques let me know how you get on either on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

Happy Baking!

Britt xo

Check out my ebook How To Start A Cake Business From Home for everything you need to know about running a successful baking business, including pricing, marketing, insurance and much more!

Don’t Butter Me Up

10/17

Back in December 2015 the price of a 250g block of unsalted butter was 85p.

By October 2016 the same block of 250g had risen to £1.10

Today, October 2017 the price stands at £1.60 for 250g. That’s over a 50% increase in less than two years.

Similarly to butter, since November 2015, 100g basics milk chocolate has increased from 35p to 50p.

As a baker, the price of ingredients has to be reflected in the price of cakes. But what do you do when a staple ingredient has doubled in price? I have already this week seen two bakers I know post on their Facebook pages saying there will be an increase in their prices to reflect the rising cost of baking and fortunately their customers have all taken it well.

The increase in butter is due to a supply issue where there isn’t enough milk production to keep up with the demand for butter and cream. Because many dairy farmers have gone out of business in recent years, cream supplies are down.

So what does this mean for bakers?

No one is sure what will happen to the price of butter, wether it will continue to increase or eventually fall once production levels have been met. My advice is to re-asses your pricing structure (you can read more about that here) to make sure the increase in butter is included in your figures, buy when it’s on offer (and buy a lot if your fridge can handle it!) and to shop around. I have read updates from fellow bakers finding butter bargains in shops like Aldi and Lidl as well as offers in independent stores.

The price increases may not sound a lot, especially if you’re only making one or two cakes a month, but for those who are baking 5 or 6 cakes (or more) a week, it has really impacted their business. I hope there is a resolution soon and this isn’t a taste of what’s to come for other ingredients.

Has the increase in butter price affected you? Share your comments below.

Happy baking,

Britt xo

 

National Cake Week 2017

10/17

Happy National Cake Week! A week to celebrate all things cake. If you’re a baker, a cake eater or like me a nice mix of both, you’ll love these cake recipes. From your classic madeira to a delicious rich chocolate, traditional Christmas cake to a brightly coloured rainbow delight! Below I’ve listed my favourite cake recipes, simply click on the picture to be taken to the full recipe and method.

If you want to turn your baking hobby into a career, check out my ebook How To Start A Cake Business From Home for everything you need to know about running a successful baking business, including pricing, marketing, insurance and much more!

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

Happy baking!

Britt xo

Classic Madeira Cake in Vanilla, Lemon & Chocolate!

 

 

World Bread Awards 2017

10/17

Last week I was invited to London to be one of the judges for the World Bread Awards! Starting in 2013 and open to all – artisan bread makers, small high street bakers, home bread-makers, child bakers, everyone is welcome to submit their loaf in hopes of picking up a prize!

Bread is a huge industry in the UK – 12 million loaves are sold every day. The phenomenon of the artisan bakery has taken off in the last decade. Not only is commercially-made bread popular, but home-baking is massively on the rise too (pun).

I was so excited to take part in this judging event, held in the beautiful hall of Westminster Cathedral, I along with a plethora of other bakers made up the panel to choose the best between over 600 loaves of bread! I was in the Speciality Savoury category. There were four tables of Speciality Savoury split between eight of us in the whole category. I was partnered with Masterchef finalist, food writer and all round fabulous lady Saira Hamilton and I couldn’t have wished for a better foodie friend!

Together as a team we inspected all of the loaves on appearance then split up into our tables and teams to test the bake and the taste. I was in bread heaven.

Also throughout the day I saw some familiar friendly faces including The Great British Bake Off’s Paul Jagger, Chetna Makan, Luis Troyano, Frances Quinn, Kimberley Wilson and Martha Collinson as well as ITV Lorraine’s Cake Club Winner Suzy Pelta, fellow baking blogger Sarah Sibley and cake decorator extraordinaire Daisy Brydon. It was so good to catch up with people I’ve not seen in a little while over a cup of tea and a slice of bread!

The awards ceremony is in London on Tuesday 17th October. I sadly will be unable to attend as I’ll be down the road at the Royal Albert Hall that evening but I will update you here on who was announced the winner!!

I had an absolutely fantastic day trying bread from some amazingly talented bakers. It was so hard to choose a favourite in our category and I know my fellow judges had similar quandaries. The standard was just so good!!

Here are a few pictures from the day!

Britt xo

 

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