How To Make A Present Cake

06/19

Last week was my lovely mother-in-law Pauline’s birthday and I wanted to surprise her with a birthday cake. I didn’t have a lot of spare time but I still wanted to make something pretty that I thought she’d love. A ‘Present’ cake is one that can be done at relatively short notice, it doesn’t need a lot of extra ingredients or equipment and can be adapted for any size, shape or theme of cake or occasion!

I really enjoy making them and wanted to take you through how I made this one!

Firstly, you’ll need an iced cake. For this, I made a vanilla madeira with pink vanilla buttercream. I went with a coloured filling for a little surprise when the cake was cut into.

I split the 7″ round cake into three sections and filled with lovely pastel pink buttercream. I then crumb coated the cake and covered it in a layer of white sugarpaste. I also iced the 10″ round board with a pink sugarpaste and I left both the cake and board to set overnight before decorating.

You can see how I ice my cakes in my Professional Finish online cake course here.

On the same day that I iced the cake and the board, I started making the bow decorations as these too, had to set overnight before using otherwise they would become soft and limp and wouldn’t create the 3D effect on the top of the cake. For these I’m using modelling paste, a sugar stronger than sugarpaste. I don’t advise using roll out icing for these bows as it can crack and bend very easily. I’m using white modelling paste which I have coloured with Sugarflair Baby Pink and Sugarflair Lavender.

To make these you will need;

  • Modelling paste in desired bow colours
  • A small rolling pin
  • Small spacers
  • A strip cutter
  • A cutting wheel
  • Edible glue
  • Paintbrush

All equipment needed for this cake can be purchased at Iced Jems.

  1. Roll out your modelling paste on a surface dusted with cornflour using spacers if you have them (this just makes sure the strip is a nice even thickness).
  2. Cut out strips using a strip cutter, tidy up any edges if necessary with a cutting wheel. Again, this is just for uniformity, if you don’t have one of these, a ruler and a sharp knife/cutting wheel will do. Simply mark out your strips and cut them out.
  3. Halve the strips so that each one is around 2 inches long.
  4. Using a paintbrush, paint a little edible glue on the end of a strip.
  5. Fold the strip over on itself and press down to secure.
  6. It should look like this.
  7. Leave to dry, on it’s side on foam overnight.
  8. Continue with making bows in whatever colours you like. For this 7″ round cake I made 14 purple and 14 pink and had a few spares leftover.

Once your cake and board icing is set the following day, secure the cake to the board using a little royal icing. I use pre-made tubbed royal icing for this.

I will always have a thin cake card of the same size as the cake underneath to keep the sponge safe and allow for ease of movement.

Carefully lift up the iced cake and drop it down onto the board. I tend to have my cakes off centre ever so slightly so I can add a message onto the board.

When your cake is secure, using a ruler and a scribe, mark even lines on your cake where you want the ribbons to go. I found the halfway point of my cake and scored a line. Then I did the same the other way to make a cross. Then I did the diagonal lines. Once you’ve done this, score lines down the sides of your cake to keep it all nice and even.

I’m using modelling paste again for the ribbons on top and down the sides of the cake and I’ve matched the same colours I’ve used for the bows. I’m also using a slightly longer strip cutter than I used for the bows. This one came with my Tappit letter cutting set and I find it perfect for this. You can always cut your own strips however.

  1. Roll out the modelling paste on a cornflour dusted surface.
  2. Cut out the strip using either a strip cutter or cutting wheel.
  3. Place the strip onto the cake on top of the scores you made and make a mark where the middle is.
  4. Cut to size and paint the back with a thin layer of edible glue.
  5. Stick the strip onto the cake and do the same for the other side. Don’t worry about the line as we will be covering the middle with bows.
  6. Repeat so you have a cross as pictured.
  7. Next, do the other cross either in the same or a complimentary colour.
  8. It doesn’t matter if the strips overlap or you see the joins.

For the bow –

Stick down alternating colours of your pre-made bows using royal icing. I start by going around in a bigger circle with the first layer and then building the second layer up with a smaller circle until I get to the middle where I stick 2-3 bows upright to finish off the design.

Finishing Touches –

To finish off the cake I cut out a message using Mexican paste and my favourite, Tappit cutters (you can see more on how to use those here), and a 15mm lilac ribbon around the edge of the cake board stuck down using 3mm double sided sticky tape. I also created a little ribbon bow on the front (you can see how to make this little bow halfway down this blog post).

I then left the whole thing to set in a cool dry room, all the royal icing to dry before boxing it up and taking it over to surprise Pauline! She really loved it and I’m so pleased I got to make it for her.

This really is one of those cakes you can make in a short amount of time but still leave a lasting impression!

Happy baking!

Britt xo

If you want to turn your baking hobby into a career, check out my book Cakes, Bakes & Business for everything you need to know about running a successful baking business, including pricing, marketing, insurance and much more!

Classic Madeira Birthday Cake Recipe

05/19

A classic birthday cake will have a few elements to it. A soft vanilla sponge, tart seedless raspberry jam, smooth vanilla buttercream and a layer of sugarpaste (ready to roll icing).

Contrary to popular belief, most birthday cakes aren’t a ‘Victoria sponge’. A Victoria sponge is a soft light sponge, baked in two sandwich tins then put together with jam and fresh cream. Lovely for an afternoon tea, but doesn’t lend itself well to be covered in sugarpaste (ready to roll icing). For this, you are better off using a madeira recipe. It’s close textured and firm, whilst still being light and soft to eat. The inclusion of plain flour makes it stronger and better for decorating.

It’s also perfect for carving cakes too, although if you are carving, I recommend popping the cake in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes before starting work. This will reduce crumbs and make your life a lot easier! For more about freezing cakes, click here.

Below is my 7″ round (my most popular size of birthday cake ordered) vanilla madeira recipe and vanilla buttercream recipe. It also is perfect to make 12 cupcakes, for more on cupcakes click here. Make sure all of your ingredients are room temperature as this will help make a better bake! I also recommend lining your tins. I bake one deep cake and use a cake leveller to cut my cake into there sections (see lemon cake below) as opposed to using individual tins, however, this recipe can be used in sandwich tins, just lower the baking time to 35-40 minutes. I use 3″ deep PME tins that are seamless tins made from professional quality anodised aluminium.

If the cake isn’t baked fully when you cut into it, or it’s squidgy in any way, it needed longer in the oven. Ever oven is different and these timings are an approximation. If in doubt, leave it in a further 10 minutes. Due to the low temperature it won’t dry the cake out and will ensure it’s fully baked. The cake needs to spring back to the touch, be golden brown and a skewer come out clean. This will come with experience, the more you bake, the more you’ll know a fully baked cake on sight.

Should you wish to scale the recipe up or down, a number of helpful charts to work this out are easy to find with a quick google. The convertor on CakeBaker is great and they also have a handy app.  I also like this one found on The Pink Whisk or you can use the water trick I explain here.

To make the cute owl toppers in the above picture, check out my tutorial here.

For more information on how to decorate your cake and go from home bake to showstopper, check out my list of latest online cake decorating courses here.

Madeira cakes

Vanilla Madeira Cake Recipe

  • 200g self raising flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g Stork/butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Cream together the Stork and caster sugar.
  2. Add in your eggs.
  3. Add in your flour.
  4. Add the vanilla.
  5. Mix for 2-4 minutes on a high speed.
  6. Pour mixture into a greaseproof paper lined, 7″ cake tin. 
  7. Bake at 140C (fan assisted) for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean, the cake is golden brown and springs back to the touch. (Check after 1 hour)
  8. Once baked, after 5 minutes on the side, turn out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave upside down to cool. This ensures a nice flat top.
  9. Once cooled, wrap in clingfilm overnight to ‘settle’.
  10. Once split, filled and iced, this cake will last 7-10 days and will freeze well for 3 months.

NOTE: This recipe is for a 7″ round tin. It is not enough mixture for bigger tin sizes. For this, you will need to convert the recipe here.

For a chocolate madeira;

Follow the recipe above and replace the plain flour for cocoa powder and add 100g melted dark chocolate. For chocolate buttercream, follow the recipe below and add two tablespoons cocoa powder and 50g melted dark chocolate.

For a lemon madeira;

Follow the recipe above and add the zest and juice of one lemon. Alternatively add two teaspoons of lemon extract. For lemon buttercream, follow the recipe below and add two teaspoons of lemon extract and the zest of one lemon.

Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Cream the butter on it’s own for a few minutes.
  2. Add icing sugar.
  3. Add vanilla.

You can watch me bake this cake in real time on my Facebook page here; PART 1. PART 2.

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

For more information on how to decorate your cake and go from home bake to showstopper, check out my list of latest online cake decorating courses here.

If you want to turn your baking hobby into a career, check out my book Cakes, Bakes & Business for everything you need to know about running a successful baking business, including pricing, marketing, insurance and much more!

Happy baking!

Britt xo

Lemon Madeira by She Who Bakes

Topped with Scrumptious Sprinkles Lemon Crunch & Lemon Jelly Squares! I LOVE them!! xo

How To Bake And Ice A Number Cake

05/19

This week, I made a 70th birthday cake for my partner Tim’s wonderful mum, Pauline. Back when I was making cakes every week, I made my fair share of number cakes and I can remember when I first started doing them, what a nightmare they were! So, I took the opportunity to document what I did and how I did it in the hopes it may help you when baking and icing number cakes in the future!

The first thing you will notice with a lot of number tins, is that they are bottomless. They are basically shaped frames to bake in. I hired these from my local cake shop.

Lining The Tin

So, the first thing we need to do is create a bottom for the cakes and line them, and for that you will need a few things;

  • Number tins
  • A baking tray per number
  • Greaseproof/baking paper
  • Tin foil
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Cake release
  • Silicone pastry brush

Because I flip my cakes over and use the top as the bottom to make it nice and level, I need to make sure I flip my tin over so it bakes the wrong (right) way around, otherwise I will have a back to front 7! As per picture 1.

Draw around the inside of your numbers onto the greaseproof paper and cut them out. Put these to one side for now.

To create the ‘bottom’, place the number onto a sheet of tinfoil, then, fold up the sides of the tinfoil tightly around the number.

To properly line the tin, paint the inside with cake release. Then, gently unravel a strip of greaseproof paper along the inside, pressing it firmly against the sides to stick down (to know how to get the right size strip, check out my lining a tin step by step here). Then, do the same for the middle of the number, wrapping this in a strip of greaseproof paper also.

Then, paint the bottom of the foil ‘tin’ we have made and stick down the greaseproof number we cut out earlier. Repeat this for any other numbers you are doing.  *Note* When lining a zero, make sure to cut the inside hole a little bigger to fit over the frame.

Baking The Cake

For this cake, I am using my vanilla madeira recipe which I have adjusted. This recipe will also fit an 8″ round cake.

This recipe makes one number cake in these tins.

Ingredients

  • 300g self raising flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 300g Stork/butter
  • 85g plain flour
  • 5 eggs
  • Teaspoon vanilla

Method

  1. Cream together the caster sugar and Stork/butter
  2. Pour in the eggs, mix well
  3. Add in the flour, mix well
  4. Finally, add the vanilla
  5. Mix on a high speed for 4-6 minutes

I find the best way to get cake mix into awkwardly shaped tins is by using an ice cream scoop. You have more control over it and you’re less likely to get it all over your greaseproof paper and sides.

Bake this at 140C for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Now that the cake is baked, you can see there was a slight bit of leakage when it was baking in the corner of the 7 and the hole of the 0 but a little bit is absolutely fine, it means we get a little snack! Normally I would say to turn the cakes upside down and leave them to cool on greaseproof but I don’t use this method for number cakes as they can be very fragile. Instead, I let them cool like this in the tin for a few hours with a tea towel over the top just to make sure nothing can get into it. I’ll turn them upside down later.

Once cool, carefully slip them out of the tin and wrap in clingfilm and leave overnight. Because these can be so delicate, giving it time to firm up will really help us when we come to split and fill it.

Splitting & Filling

Firstly, level the cake by cutting off and excess rise using a cake leveller. I highly recommend using one of these over a knife for precision. Then very gently flip the cake over. I put a silver cake board on top if it and then used the green one below it to flip it over carefully.

I will be filling my cake with a dense vanilla buttercream for stability. I have used 500g unsalted butter to 1kg icing sugar and two teaspoons of good vanilla and this was enough for both numbers. If you’re only doing one number you can halve this recipe.

Using a cake leveller, cut into your cake. I always split mine twice so I can even out the filling and it looks pretty when you cut into it too! So I make the first cut 1/3 of the way up the cake, and another halfway between the first cut and the top of the cake.

Use another thin cake board to slip between the layers and lift up the rest of the cake, otherwise you may risk breaking the sponge as it will be thin around the edge. Spread over your buttercream filling and jam if you’re using it and by using the thin cake board, you can slide the top section of the cake back onto the filled section. Repeat for the second layer.

Pop this into the fridge to firm up for 15 minutes while you do the same for the second number.

Once your cake has chilled you can ‘crumb coat’ it. This is when you spread a layer of buttercream on the outside of the cake to keep the crumbs in, help keep the cake fresh and to act as an adhesive for the sugarpaste/icing. Once you have done one layer, pop it back in the fridge briefly for about 5 minutes then do a second layer. This ensures a nice and smooth finish under the suparpaste/icing.

Icing The Cake

I am going to be covering my number cakes in a layer of sugarpaste, also known as icing. For this, I am using 1KG of icing per number. Roll out your icing onto a surface dusted with cornflour between spacers or to ¼” thick.

Using your rolling pin, gently lift up the icing and place gently over your cake. Start to smooth it with your hands in a ‘scooping up’ movement so as not to tear the edges. Then, carefully cut away the excess icing.

For the hole in the middle, make a small cut using a sharp knife in the middle of the hole and smooth down the icing into the hole as far as it will go. Don’t try and make it touch the bottom as there won’t be enough and you risk ripping and tearing the inner edge. Instead, cut a strip of sugarpaste and place it in the middle of the hole like the middle picture. Using your hands, gently push this onto the cake, smoothing down as you go. There will be a small trace of a line, but nothing noticeable. Complete this with a smoother as per picture three and smooth the rest of the cake too.

For the 7, the place you will have difficulty is the inner corner as you can see in picture 1 above. To cover this, cut a shape loosely like the gap and push this into place. Smooth it down with your fingers at first in circular motions to stick down, then use a smoother to finish. If you’re going to “crimp” the outline of your cake as I have done, do this now.

Leave these cakes to set overnight before trying to move them or decorate them. It’s much easier to work with harder, set icing than soft icing where you risk damaging it.

Now is when I recommend icing the board too. I’ve gone for a marbled purple style but the choice is yours! I’ve used a 20″ x 14″ cake board to fit both numbers. A single number would only need an 18″ x 14″ board. To find out more about how and why to cover boards, check out my article here.

Assembling The Cake

It’s now the following day and it’s time to assemble the cake. The best way to stick down a cake to an iced board is by using royal icing, the cement of the cake decorating world. Having measured roughly where I wanted to place my cake onto the board, I have painted an 0 with royal icing as you can see in the picture one above. I’m then using two large palette knives to carefully lift the number into place. Be careful when pulling the palette knives out. Pull them out straight and not angles otherwise you risk damaging your sugarpaste/icing.

Then, leave the cake to set on the board before decorating as desired! I have used edible flowers and petals on the cake, small sugar blossoms on the board and a 25mm purple ribbon around the border of the cakes, stuck down with a dab of royal icing. I have also given the board a ribbon edge using 15mm satin ribbon and thin 3mm double sided sticky tape.

And there you have it! How to bake and ice a number cake start to finish! This madeira cake recipe will last up to two weeks from the day you bake it, about a week once split and filled and 3-4 days once you’ve cut into it.

You can watch me bake a madeira cake in real time on my Facebook page here; PART 1PART 2.

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

If you want to turn your baking hobby into a career, check out my book Cakes, Bakes & Business for everything you need to know about running a successful baking business, including pricing, marketing, insurance and much more!

Happy baking!

Britt xo

Coffee & Dark Chocolate Cake

02/19

This week I made this super easy and very tasty coffee and dark chocolate cake for when my good friends Freddie & Alvin popped over.

It’s made from my Classic Maderia Cake recipe but with a few tweaks!

Once I’d completely made the mix I added in 2 tablespoons of strong coffee (made from 2 teaspoons of instant coffee and 50ml boiling water). You could also use coffee extract or flavouring but I find instant coffee works just as well!

Then I did the exact same thing and added it to the vanilla buttercream recipe also listed on the madeira cake recipe.

Once I had stacks the layers and coated it in a layer of coffee buttercream, I melted 100g dark chocolate. I then mixed in about a teaspoon of vegetable oil to give it a better, pourable consistency.

Then, when the chocolate was still soft, I topped it with gold edible stars from Sainsbury’s.

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

If you want to turn your baking hobby into a career, check out my book Cakes, Bakes & Business for everything you need to know about running a successful baking business, including pricing, marketing, insurance and much more!

Happy baking!

Britt xo

 

Salted Caramel, Fudge & White Chocolate Cake

01/19

Well, baking season is well and truly upon us! I know for some of us, myself included, baking is a year round joy but with The Great British Bake Off returning to our screens we turn our attention away from the sunny BBQ’s of summer and on to the falling leaves, cosy nights, tasty home bakes and all the joys of Autumn!

This week, I partnered with Bacofoil® to try out their Non-Stick Baking Paper.

I had never used it before but had seen it on the supermarket shelves so I was both intrigued and excited to try it. I wanted to create a recipe that included super sticky ingredients, notorious for sticking to the tin. So I went with three of my favourite flavours; fudge, salted caramel and white chocolate.

With all three ingredients included in the cake, I felt it was a good way to put this product to the test! The Non-Stick Baking Paper felt different to other baking papers I’ve used in the past. This is because it has an innovative and unique Non-Stick textured surface – the little dimples on the paper mean there is less surface area in contact with the bake so everything bakes evenly and food just slides off, making cake mess and cookie disasters a thing of the past! It’s also non-stick on both sides which makes quick baking much easier!

I’m lining my cake tin with Bacofoil® The Non-Stick Baking Paper and as it’s non-stick, there’s no need to grease the tray! This also means it saves on the washing up. Win!

For this bake, you have a choice. Depending on how adventurous you feel.

You can make your own salted caramel, which is actually really simple, the biggest worry is not letting it burn, and if you would like to I have included the ingredients and method below. Or you can use store bought salted caramel sauce. The results are the same, so it’s completely up to you!

Salted caramel ingredients –

  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 60ml water
  • 175ml double cream
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt

To make the salted caramel:

  • Mix together the water and sugar on a medium heat. Shaking the pan every so often.
  • When it starts to bubble, take it off the heat.
  • Mix in the butter, pour in the double cream and whisk well.
  • Add in the sea salt and leave to cool.

Cake ingredients –

  • 300g self raising flour
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 140g light brown sugar
  • 285g unsalted butter
  • 75g plain flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 50g melted white chocolate
  • 50g fudge pieces
  • 4 tablespoons salted caramel sauce

To make the cake:

  • Cream together the unsalted butter and sugar.
  • Add in the salted caramel and mix well.
  • Add in the eggs and mix again.
  • Fold in the self-raising flour and plain flour.
  • Pour in the melted white chocolate and add the fudge pieces.
  • Spoon this mixture into a 8” round tin lined with Bacofoil® The Non-Stick Baking Paper.
  • Tap on the side to get out any air bubbles.
  • Bake at 140C for 1 hour 45 minutes or until it is fully baked and a skewer/cake tester comes out clean.

Once the cake is baked, I like to turn it out from the tin soon after removing it from the oven. One of the main reasons I do this is to ensure a nice flat top. If you take the cake out of the tin and leave it to cool upside down on the side (not on a wire rack), then any bumps on the top flatten, leaving you with a lovely flat, even cake to decorate later!

Using oven gloves, as the tin will still be hot, turn out the cake onto a strip of Bacofoil® The Non-Stick Baking Paper on the side. The great thing about Bacofoil® The Non-Stick Baking Paper is that as the paper comes away from the cake so easily, bakes look perfect and nothing sticks to the paper!

Leave to cool completely. I also like to leave my cakes until the next day before cutting into and filling so once the cake has cooled, wrap it well in two layers of cling film and leave overnight.

Decorating the cake:

I’m going to be filling this cake with a salted caramel buttercream but feel free to get as adventurous as you like! A chocolate ganache would work just as well, as would a white chocolate buttercream or something else entirely!

Salted caramel buttercream –

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salted caramel

To make the buttercream:

  • Cream the butter on its own for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the icing sugar.
  • Add in the salted caramel and mix well.

Don’t add in any liquid to the buttercream like water or milk. The salted caramel sauce is all it needs.

To split and fill the cake, I recommend to use a cake leveller. They are readily available in cake shops and online. Because I’m using a leveller as opposed to a knife, I feel more comfortable cutting the cake. For this cake, I’m going to split it twice, creating three lovely layers.

Split the cake once about a third of the way up and then again halfway between the first cut and the top of the cake. You can measure if you like but I normally do this by eye! Once cut, carefully take the top two layers off and spread your filling. Then reassemble an take off the top layer, adding more buttercream. Then reassemble and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. This firms up the buttercream and makes it easier to handle.

Once chilled, spread a layer of buttercream on the top of the cake and a thin layer around the sides, creating the ‘semi-naked’ look.

To finish the cake, melt a little white chocolate and pour onto the top, using a palette knife to push the chocolate to the edge of the cake, allowing it to drip down. Top with rosettes of buttercream (I used a 2D nozzle), white chocolate stars and more fudge pieces.

 

Leave to set and enjoy!

This cake, once baked will last 3-4 days if wrapped well.

I loved working with Bacofoil® The Non-Stick Baking Paper. It made making this cake really easy and it’s a great product I will certainly use again! It’s ideal for all kinds of baking jobs – lining, making and baking and for all types of food – savoury or sweet! The next thing I think I’ll use it for is some chocolate chip cookies!!

For more information about Bacofoil® and all of their products, check out their website www.bacofoil.co.uk

Happy baking!

Britt xo

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Bacofoil®  All views and opinions are my own.

Cupcake Wreath Tutorial

12/18

Merry Christmas to you all! If you fancy baking something a little different to a Christmas cake this year, why not try a cupcake wreath. A simple but impressive display made up of cupcakes. I demonstrated how to make this at the Cake & Bake Show in London last year and it’s one of my favourites.

You will need;

  • 10 cupcakes in green cases
  • 12″ cake drum
  • 300g sugarpaste to cover drum
  • green 15mm ribbon
  • 3mm double sided sticky tape
  • 100g red modelling paste for the bow
  • paintbrush
  • edible glue
  • drying foam
  • green buttercream
  • large piping bag
  • 1J nozzle
  • royal icing
  • Christmas decorations made and dried overnight

This tutorial shows you how to make a cupcake wreath using 10 cupcakes and a 12” cake drum, but you can make them as big or as small as you like. Even doing a second layer inside the first for a really big party.

I’ve broken it down into separate tutorials as there’s a lot I want to show you.

You will need to make your wreath decorations, including the modelling paste bow, in advance. I’ve used a mixture of moulds which I’ve painted, cutters and mini candy canes, but this is where you can really personalise your wreath using whatever toppers and colours you like.

Firstly, cover a 12” cake drum in sugarpaste (roll out icing). To do this, roll out your icing to 5mm thick on a corn floured surface, turning the sugarpaste as you roll to get an even shape and to stop it sticking. Spray your drum lightly with water and then using your rolling pin to lift your sugarpaste, lay it gently on the board, securing it with your hand and cutting off the excess with a sharp knife. Leave this to set overnight. To see a video of me covering a board in sugarpaste, check out my post here.

Then, to apply a board ribbon, use 5mm double sided sticky tape and a 15mm width ribbon. The hardest part here is peeling off the backing of the tape!

Next, create a cute flat bow to attach to the front of the board. Use a length of your 15mm ribbon (approx 12cm) and fold in half to make a crease. On this creased line, stick two bits of double sided sticky tape, as pictured. Then fold the halves in on themselves to look like the middle picture. stick a shorter piece of ribbon around the middle of your bow. Attach to your board with more double sided sticky tape.

To create a bow out of modelling paste for the top of our wreath, cut four identical strips out of red modelling paste to your desired thickness. On two of the strips, cut a triangle to create the ends of the ribbon. Then cut a smaller strip for the middle of the bow.

With a small amount of edible glue, fold over the plain strips in on themselves to create the bow loops. Then glue the small strip in the centre as the third picture.

The strips that you have cut the ribbon ends, dry on foam with a ripple in the icing to create a more fabric look. Do this by pinching the top and bottom together, you can also use a cel stick if it helps.

Leave the bow to dry upright to create prominent bow loops.

Now for the wreath. Bake your desired flavour cupcakes in green cases, I’m using my vanilla cupcake recipe here (I’ve used metallic ones for a more Christmassy feel.) Make up some green buttercream (you can find my recipe here) and fill a large piping bag with a 1J nozzle.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe onto them by starting in the middle of the cupcake and working your way slowly outwards. (I found I went round the cupcake 2 ½ times.) A gentle and even pressure is needed here.

Leave the buttercream to set slightly so they are easier to move about. Then position your cupcakes on your dried iced board. Once you are happy with the shape of your wreath, stick your cupcakes down with a little royal icing. You don’t need to use a lot. It’s just to secure them enough to transport the wreath. We still want people to take them off to eat them!

Once your cupcakes are secured to your board, decorate to your hearts content! Adding the bow to the top first, then using your toppers.

And there you have it! A cupcake wreath for the festive season!

Equipment can be purchased from Iced Jems.

For more information on how to decorate your cake and go from home bake to showstopper, check out my list of latest online cake decorating courses here.

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

If you want to turn your baking hobby into a career, check out my book Cakes, Bakes & Business for everything you need to know about running a successful baking business, including pricing, marketing, insurance and much more!

Happy baking and Merry Christmas!

Britt xo

All of my online cake decorating courses are currently HALF PRICE! Grab a bargain here

 

Rice Krispies Christmas Puddings!

12/18

My latest quick video shows you how to make a no- bake sweet festive treat in no time at all!

You will need;

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 180g marshmallows
  • 100g Rice Krispies
  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 100g white chocolate
  • Holly leaf decorations (I got mine from Sainsbury’s but they are available from most supermarkets)

Method;

  1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a pan.
  2. Add marshmallows and stir until they have melted.
  3. Add in your Rice Krispies. Take off the heat and stir well.
  4. Once they have cooled a little, spoon a tablespoon of mixture out into your hands and roll into a ball. Put these on a lined baking tray and then chill for 15 minutes.
  5. Melt your white chocolate and pour into a piping bag. Pipe a little white chocolate on top of each Christmas pud and top with a holly leaf icing decoration.
  6. Pop back in the fridge to firm up for a further 15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

They will last a good few weeks in the fridge!

If you want to turn your baking hobby into a career, check out my book Cakes, Bakes & Business 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 and Merry Christmas!

Britt xo

All of my online cake decorating courses are currently HALF PRICE! Grab a bargain here.

Happy 5th Birthday Pudsey!

11/18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is dedicated to a very special yellow bear. Now, I know what you’re thinking, it’s actually Pudsey’s 30th birthday this week with his first Children in Need appearance being way back in 1985, but I’m talking about a different Pudsey. I’m talking about an icing covered Pudsey mess that changed my life forever in 2010.

If you aren’t aware of the back story, let me set the scene. Back in 2005, my mother had died of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a type of cancer. In the years that followed I had been diagnosed with depression, was put on very strong anti-depressants and after two (thankfully unsuccessful) attempts to take my own life, I realised I wasn’t living, merely existing. In 2010 I was recovering from an appendix operation after getting septicaemia when a friend asked if I would bake a cake for a Children in Need bake sale.

I had never successfully baked a cake before and, not wanting to give anyone food poisoning, I thought my best bet would be a packet mix. I bought a ‘Victoria sponge’ mix, a small block of yellow icing and a pack of squeezy coloured icing tubes. When I got into the kitchen, I realised I didn’t have a round tin so used the next best thing, a square roasting dish. It made perfect sense to me!

I followed the instructions to the letter and waited, Bake Off style, sitting in front of the oven. As I watched it rise, I realised I had been smiling the whole time. As back then my depression was at an all time high, this was unusual for me. But I didn’t question it, I just enjoyed it.

The alarm went off on my phone to tell me the cake was done. I put it on the side and let it cool for about 5 minutes before I simply couldn’t wait any longer and turned it out. I remember thinking it had dipped in the middle but didn’t know what that meant and just assumed that was how it was supposed to be! I rolled out the icing and couldn’t quite figure out how to get it onto the cake, in the end I guess I kind of… threw it on. I squished down the edges and caught it and nicked it so many times with my nails. The edges were cracking and the middle was sagging but it was on. I breathed a sigh of relief. I remember feeling ever so clever at cutting out his eye patch and sticking it down with water (that was a guess!) Then, as a finishing touch, squeezy tubes at the ready, I made his facial features and distinct colourful spots.

I stood back and looked at him. Pudsey. My Pudsey. I had felt so proud and happy and wonderful. I thought he looked amazing, perfect in fact. I wanted this feeling every single day.

Five years later and I can honestly say every time I turn on my oven, every time I go to my ingredients cupboard, I still get the same feeling now as I did on that day. Whenever I look at my Pudsey cake, I still feel overcome with pride. That cake started something very special.

So, as fitting on his fifth birthday, I decided to recreate Pudsey. I wanted to make him exactly as I saw him that November afternoon. As my way of saying thank you. I owe a lot to that cracked icing, raw mixture, inedible, wrong-shaped cake. So, happy birthday Pudsey. Here’s to many more years.

See the video below for my TEDx talk where I tell my story in full and Pudsey gets a staring role.

Britt xo

Pusey 2015

 

Bonfire Cupcakes

11/18

These Bonfire Cupcakes are super simple to make and look really effective! Perfect for a bonfire and fireworks night! A step by step video on how to make these is below.

For this, I’m using my flat topped chocolate cupcakes which are perfect for decorating. You can find the recipe here.

I’m using brown cupcake cases and concentrated Sugarflair food colouring in Red Extra, Tangerine and Melon. Also my open star nozzle is a 1M and using large disposable piping bags. All equipment is available from Iced Jems.

You will need;

  • 12 cupcakes
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • Matchmakers (I’m using the orange ones)
  • Red, orange and yellow food colouring
  • Piping bag
  • Open star nozzle – 1M

Method;

  1. Cream the butter for a few minutes
  2. Add in the icing sugar and mix well
  3. If flavouring your buttercream, put the flavouring in now
  4. Divide the buttercream into three bowls
  5. Colour the buttercream red, orange and yellow
  6. Fit a piping bag with an open star nozzle
  7. Put the piping bag into a stand or pint glass
  8. Fill with all three colours
  9. Squeeze down the buttercream and twist the bag at the top to stop buttercream coming out
  10. Starting in the middle of the cupcake, squeeze out a large star shape
  11. Then, from the outside squeeze the buttercream out and go around the outside of the star twice and into the middle
  12. Stop squeezing and pull away
  13. Using halves of Matchmakers press them into the sides of the buttercream swirl to create a ‘bonfire’ look

Store in a cool, dry room in a cake/cupcake box and enjoy within 2-3 days!

If you want to turn your baking hobby into a career, check out my book Cakes, Bakes & Business 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

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