Top 10 tools for cake decorating

08/14

Recently in an interview, I was asked what were the best tools to get when you are starting out as a cake decorator so I thought it would be best to list my top 10! Now, I’m not saying I could live without any of my other tools, however, these are the 10 most used tools in my kitchen when I am specifically icing and decorating a cake. 

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Price guide – 

£ – £10 or under. ££ – £10-£20.

Number 1.

What is it? A 16 inch non stick rolling pin.

Who makes it? PME.

Why do I need it? It doesn’t leave any marks on your icing like wooden rolling pins and is much easier to keep clean.

Price Guide – ££

Number 2.

What is it? Marzipan and icing spacers.

Who makes it? PME.

Why do I need it? It makes sure your icing and marzipan is evenly rolled and to a good thickness.

Price Guide – £

Number 3.

What is it? A 10” serrated cake knife.

Who makes it? PME.

Why do I need it? Super sharp and well made, this cuts through cakes like butter making it easy to level the tops of your cakes.

Price Guide – ££

Number 4.

What is it? A 10” stainless steel pallet knife.

Who makes it? Little Venice Cake Company.

Why do I need it? Great for spreading onto large surfaces andIt makes lifting up and moving your iced cakes very easy indeed.

Price Guide – £

Number 5.

What is it? A 10” cake leveller.

Who makes it? PME.

Why do I need it? I can’t cut through a cake in a straight line to save my life, so this is perfect for splitting your sponge cakes evenly.

Price Guide – £

Number 6.

What is it? A 4.5” cranked pallet knife.

Who makes it? PME.

Why do I need it? With the cranked knife, it makes spreading buttercream in and on your cakes so much easier and gives a nice, smooth finish.

Price Guide – £

Number 7.

What is it? A scriber.

Who makes it? PME.

Why do I need it? This little tool is great for marking out spaces on your cake and perfect for bursting any unwanted air bubbles in your icing.

Price Guide – £

Number 8.

What is it? A wide paintbrush.

Who makes it? PME.

Why do I need it? Fab for affixing decorations onto your cake with edible glue and use it dry to brush off any excess cornflour from your decorations.

Price Guide – £

Number 9.

What is it? Edible glue.

Who makes it? Sugar City (DPM)

Why do I need it? To fix decorations onto your cake. Also good for sticking icing to your boards. (Because naked boards should be outlawed.)

Price Guide – £

Number 10.

What is it? Side scraper.

Who makes it? Little Venice Cake Company.

Why do I need it? Perfect for achieving a smooth finish when crumb coating your cakes.

Price Guide – £

So, there we have it. My top 10 tools for cake decorating. Of course… a special mention goes to a turntable and a set of smoothers. 

You can find all PME products on their website here, all LVCC products from docrafts, here and Sugar City products here.

Hope that helps and if you have an questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch either on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy baking!

Britt xo

How to make edible drapes

08/14

Hello muffins, I’ve had a fabulous response to my Belle from Beauty and the Beast inspired cake. Thank you very much. I have had enquiries as to how I made the drapes around the top tier. So, from me to you, here is a picture tutorial to show you how!

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  1. You will need modelling paste, three dowels, a rolling pin and a cornflour dusted surface.
  2. Roll out a strip of your modelling paste to the thickness of about 3mm.
  3. Space your dowels evenly on your surface.
  4. Lay your modelling paste over the top and gently press down onto the dowels, making sure you can clearly see them through the paste.
  5. Pull your dowels out carefully.
  6. Pinch together the modelling paste to create pleats. 
  7. Cut off both ends and affix to your cake with edible glue.

Hope it helps and make sure to let me know on Facebook or Twitter how you get on!

Britt xo

Sainsbury’s Christmas Press Show 2014

07/14

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Merry Christmas in July! Yesterday was one of my favourite days of the year, the Sainsbury’s Christmas Press Show. And of course, it was the hottest day of the year so far!

This year, the beautiful Somerset House in London played host to some festive filled excitement in the middle of summer. The Sainsbury’s Christmas Press Show gives the media, bloggers and writers a chance to preview what is sure to be an amazing season for the supermarket.

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Upon arrival, the bannisters are wrapped with holly, the tables are adorned with seasonal centrepieces and there are Christmas trees fully decorated of all shapes and sizes. Christmas songs are playing over the radio and if it wasn’t for the fact I was wearing a dress and sandals, I could have believed we were a week from the big day itself.

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The first room consisted of fresh produce, meat, fish and accompaniments. The produce department have given classic dishes a bit of a twist. Samples on offer included Anya potatoes baked with herbs and garlic. Brussels sprouts with bacon, maple syrup, apples kale and chilli. Warm red cabbie, pear and walnut salad. And a vegetable layered cake. It was all divine and a really good way of keeping things traditional with the ingredients but serving them in a contemporary way.

The meat all looked amazing. As well as a maple glazed stuffed turkey crown and a three bird roast, there was also cured gammon, a Welsh lamb crown, and my new favourite cranberry and mulled cassis chipolatas. Cassis seemed to be a running theme throughout a lot of the Sainsburys Christmas range. It is an amazing flavour that works well both in sweet and savoury.  

Then we move on to the fish. Salmon was key in most of the starters and for good reason, it’s very popular. Sue, who is one of the product developers is so passionate about fish and really knows her stuff. The smoked salmon shots were a firm favourite of mine and something that will be around my table come the festive season. The smoked salmon canapés come in three varieties in a pack to keep everyone happy and they look very pretty too!

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CHEEEEEEESE! No Christmas is complete without a well stocked cheeseboard. Win, who is a pure fountain of cheese knowledge was on hand to tell me the latest trends and popular cheeses this season. As well as the counter range growing exponentially, there are also the whole mini (2kg!) barrels of stilton and cheddar which look adorable and are very tasty too. I also tried Wensleydale with sticky toffee and Wensleydale with sticky fig and salted caramel. I, of course, had my reservations but I needn’t have. The flavours work very well together and I recommend you give it a go!

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Bring on the cake! Mulled cassis mince pies, pecan tartlets, 18 month matured Christmas pudding, mallow snowmen, biscuit fairy wands and layered red velvet cake to name but a few superstars com in out of the Sainsbury’s bakery. And for the desserts, trifle shots, limoncello gateaux, chocolate and raspberry baubles, and a chocolate and cream wreath cake sure to make you leave room after dinner. The good thing is, not only do these all taste fantastic, but they look great. Perfect for parties and entertaining. (Or just because you want a trifle… I get that…)

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Next on show was a range of cake decorating ingredients such as pre-coloured icing, ready made cake toppers, sprinkles, frostings, icing tubes, and of course, the Sainsbury’s flower and modelling paste. (For those of you who have followed my story will know how key that little pink box had been in the birth of She Who Bakes. But that’s another story!) Everything you need to decorate your own Christmas cake. Their popular gingerbread house kit is back, perfect for kids. And they have added a Marshmallow kit to their box mixes now too! I’ve got a sample and I’m very much looking forward to featuring it in an article very soon. 

As well as decoration ingredients, I was very excited to see a range of Taste The Difference sauces and jellies. There was a belgian chocolate sauce and a salted caramel sauce. Both would be perfect on desserts. And the jellies which would be a key ingredient in some amazing recipes. They are also now selling gold and silver leaf to top your creations!

The next room you could smell before you walked into it. Chocolate! They were giving you the opportunity to top your own chocolate, which was a lot of fun. The swiss praline assortment boxes are great for presents and the novelty chocolate tool kit and new chocolate sewing kit are fab stocking fillers. The marshmallow snowmen, chocolate scottie dos and chocolate penguins would be great cupcake toppers too.

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The gifts and home department really made me feel festive. With the cooking and baking equipment having a Nordic feel and the table place settings being so inviting, I was ready to sit down to dinner and open some presents. I REALLY liked the ceramic pie dishes that had ingredients to a recipe printed inside. Someone needs to get me one of those for Christmas. 

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Clothing and beauty was the last stop. With fleece onesies, leather boots and beautiful coats, I’m longing for the colder weather now. It all looked gorgeous. And speaking of gorgeous, the hair and beauty ranges were fabulous. There were Phil Smith hair products and the Boutique make up range. 

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After all that hard work, I thought it was only fair to treat myself! A manicure by Colour Riot Nails using the Boutique polishes by Jo and Sophia. Then having my hair curled by Stephanie of psBegorgrous! It’s a hard life…

Get yourself down to Sainsbury’s and try these beauty products. They are amazing and you deserve to treat yourself!!

All in all I had an AMAZING day. I’ve got so many ideas and inspiration for Christmas. Sainsbury’s have done so well and I’m really excited to see all these fabulous new products hitting the shelves after Autumn. 

Until next time, happy baking,

Britt xo

How to: Floating Malteser Cake

06/14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, some of you will have seen my floating Malteser cake I posted at the weekend. I’ve had so many messages and comments asking how I did it. And because I’m just that kind of generous, I thought I’d show you.

You’re going to need;

  • A baked and ganached/buttercreamed cake.
  • An iced cake drum.
  • Cadbury fingers. (I used two boxes)
  • Maltesers. (I used two big share bags and you will need an individual small bag for the top)
  • A small bar of chocolate for melting.
  • A straw.

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Stick your crumb coated cake onto your iced board.

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Starting at the back, stick Cadbury fingers to the outside of your cake.

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Try not to eat them all when you are doing this…

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Then, again starting at the back, stick on your Maltesers all the way around the edge, going into the middle.

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And, again, try not to eat them all when doing this.

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Melt some chocolate. You don’t need a lot. I’ve used a 100g bar.

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Dip the top end of your straw into your melted chocolate.

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Using the melted chocolate, stick your empty small Malteser bag onto the top end of the straw.

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Stick the straw into the middle of your cake and cover it with melted chocolate to stick it in place.

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Then, using melted chocolate as a glue, start to stick Maltesers around the base of the straw and all the way up to the bag. I even stuck a few just inside the bag to make it looks like it was being poured.

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And there you have it! A floating Malteser cake!

give it a go and as always let me know how you get on either on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy baking (and decorating!)

Britt xo

How To Use Tappit Letter Cutters On Cakes

06/14

Lately, I have received a lot of messages asking what cutter I use for my favourite font I like to use on cakes. And also, how to use it. So I thought I would make a quick tappit tutorial!

Here are some of the cakes I have used the tappit set on.

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The cutter is an FMM Block Upper Case & Lower Case. You can get these cutters here at Party Animal Online.

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  1. Roll out your flower or Mexican paste on a cornflour dusted surface very thinly and cut into strips. Then leave it to dry a little, go make a cup of tea or something.
  2. Press down your chosen letter firmly and putting pressure on the back, wiggle it from side to side for a clean cut.
  3. Pull the cutter away to make sure it has come out cleanly.
  4. Gently tap your cutter onto your counter.
  5. The cut out letter should just pop out! If it doesn’t, use a scribe to gently ease it out. If it’s really not budging, let the paste dry out a little more and try again. If this doesn’t work, then you may not have rolled your paste thin enough. Continue with the rest of your message and leave to dry on some foam

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

Jane Asher’s Kitchen Range at Poundland

05/14

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Hey muffins.

The other day I was told about a Jane Asher range of bakeware at Poundland. So, I of course had to go check it out! I’m not going to lie, I was very impressed. Even in my local store which isn’t that big, there was a large range of baking equipment from tins to whisks to liners.

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Now, if anything costs £1 you are obviously going to be skeptical. I was. So I picked up 5 items I actually needed as it’s easy to go a bit mad when things are so cheap! 

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I got a tin, a cake set complete with slice and cake forks, a zester, a cake pop set (20 sticks, bags and ties) and 40 cake tin circles. 

Having opened and used all the products, I must say they are good quality and I’m especially impressed by the cake tin circles! Pre-cut for the lazy cow in me and they work perfectly!

The tin is small but great for storage. The cake slice & forks and zester are sturdy and work great. And the cake pop kit is fab, everything you need for 20 cake pops.

I don’t know how they have done it, it must be witchcraft in my opinion but I’m really impressed and will be stocking up before they sell out!

To see the full range you can check out the Jane Asher section of their website here.

What do you think? Have you tried any of the products? As always I’d love to hear from you either on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy baking (for £1!)

Britt xo

She Who Bakes goes to France

05/14

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Hello muffins, hope you are all well.

So, last week my good friend Travis and I went on a French adventure. We got an early ferry from Dover to Calais and spent the morning driving along the French coast. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. On our drive we stopped at Nord-Pas-De-Calais and basically had the beach to ourselves!

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We drove down to Boulogne, parked up and went for a walk. Found a fab place to have lunch and started to discover! We found a beautiful patisserie called MTD Lestienne where I picked up some colourful and delicious macarons (with one ‘o’ because you can’t get more french than a macaron made and bought in France… But let’s not start THAT debate again…)

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We continued onwards only to fall into a beautiful chocolate shop called Leonidas. I bought a selection of chocolates and went on my merry way happy with my purchases!

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After more shopping, sun and sweets, we headed back to Calais for some duty free before getting an evening ferry back to England.

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After a fun filled day in France, Travis and I were shattered!

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But I had an amazing day, met some lovely bakers and chocolatiers, did some networking (never a day off…) filmed some short videos too and you can see my fabulously edited vlog on YouTube here.

Britt xo

*Some photos shamelessly stolen from Travis’ Instagram which can be found here.

Afternoon Tea Blogger Event with #aocooks & Neff

05/14

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Hello muffins!

As promised here is my article all about the #AOcooks first blogger event in partnership with Neff for a day of demos and baking at the Neff’s test kitchens in Milton Keynes with special guest John Whaite (off of Great British Bake Off! He won in 2012 and is one of the nicest guys I have ever met.)

When I got to the centre I was greeted by some familiar faces from Neff whom I have met before and some new guys an gals from ao.com. I was given my name badge and a coffee, which was much needed after the train journey from London! After all the tweeting, it was really nice to meet my fellow bloggers and writers in person too!

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We were then given a tour around the showroom by the lovely Stephen who is the head trainer at Neff. Turns out, he’s a fellow Maidstonian! I fell in love with all of the Neff appliances. From the Slide & Hide oven which is one of my favourite things (Although, they seemed to forget to put one in my goody bag…) the Aqua Assist and all of the touchy hobs. (They were touch sensitive, not angry.)

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We were then moved into the meeting room where we had a brief overview of the Neff brand and AO.com as a company. And we got to view the cool stop motion videos! (I will share links to these at the bottom of the page)

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Carl Andreas Neff founded the company in 1877 and it was made originally and still to this day for people with a passion for cooking. He famously said;

“The heart of the kitchen isn’t the oven, it’s the people”

In 2013, one in five ovens sold in the UK was a Neff. They have also branched out into the ‘Bake it Yourself’ brand which is a great forum for bakers and cooks at all levels. There is a Facebook page, twitter page and free app that goes with this. I recommend you check this out!

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AO.com was started in 1999 after a bet in a pub! This solidifies my beliefs that bets in pubs are a good thing for all those concerned! (See; Dave Gorman…) AO.com has 1.38 million ‘likes’ on Facebook – a million more than rival Currys PC World. The electricals specialist offers customers Eco Delivery whereby customers can choose to cut their carbon emissions by opting to receive their goods at a time when one of its lorries is in its area.

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We then got to move into the test kitchen where John Whaite and Neff’s Home Economist, Lynn Williams were waiting. John was a delight as always. Very friendly and welcoming and it was great to see him again. Lynn once again showcased her talent as we watched her bake salmon and watercress tartlets and lemon and poppyseed muffins. Here’s the kicker though people, these two bakes were put in the SAME oven. Neff were proving that their CircoTherm technology means that the smells and flavours do not blend into one another when baking. These were put into the oven and left to bake whilst we all had some fun.

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John then showed us how to bake cranberry and orange scones. I’d like to point out at this point that Mr Whaite loves a scone. He is full of handy tips and tricks to get the perfect one and I’m hoping he takes my advice and brings out a book that is exclusively scones! 😉

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Once the demo was complete we were then allowed to get stuck in! Everyone partnered off and I was with Stephen, the super cool head trainer I mentioned earlier! Under the counter were all the weighed out ingredients to make cheese scones. Some of the room also had cheese scones and some had the cranberry and orange ingredients the same as John. It all felt very Great British Bake Off – I loved it! 

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Once the scones were mixed, cut and in the oven, we had time for a cup of tea and a taste test! The scones and tartlets that were baking in the same oven were now ready for us to try and, as promised, none of us could tell the difference! The amazing Neff CircoTherm technology was clearly demonstrated. The air is circulated around each rack and does not mix or mingle the flavours meaning the muffins weren’t unaffected by the salmon tartlets. I was super impressed and fell a little bit more in love with the Neff ovens than I already was! (Seriously guys, there WASN’T one in my goody bag…)

We were then told that tea was served and were brought into the beautifully decorated dining room where all of our scones were laid out as well as the salmon and watercress tartlets, lemon and poppyseed muffins, goats cheese tartlets, quiche and other tasty goodies! I found a seat, poured myself a cup of tea and got stuck in. Everything was so tasty! 

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John and I had a discussion about which should go first on a scone, the jam or the clotted cream. We didn’t come to any sort of agreement I don’t think as we were too busy eating them!

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Once we could not eat another bite, we finished off the day with a Q&A session with the guest of honour himself, John Whaite Bakes. (That’s actually how you have to say his name.) I will be posting the Q&A as a separate blog post with all the gossip soon!

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After a fun and informative afternoon it was sadly time to leave. We were given our goody bags which contained all sorts of treats, including our scones, John’s cookbooks, a Neff recipe book, a selection of tea and AO tea towels! The books made for great reading on the train home and I can’t wait to try some of the recipes!

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All in all it was a brilliant day. I want to thank AO.com for inviting me as a special guest, Neff for hosting in their fabulous kitchens and John Whaite for being a fountain of knowledge as always. I hope to see every one who went again very soon.

Until next time, happy baking.

Britt. xo

The week of awesome

05/14

Muffins. I have SO much to share with you all. Here is how my week has been shaping up so far.

MondayWoman’s Own issue with the article about She Who Bakes goes on sale;

Tuesday – I was lucky enough to attend the first #AOcooks event at the Neff HQ in Milton Keynes. Check out the AOathome article on the day here. My FULL report of my amazing day will be up soon (promise!) but here is something to tease you with for now;

Cheeky scone selfie with the always awesome John Whaite. (I always want to say John Whaite Bakes, damn you!)

Wednesday – Bake, bake, bake. Gotta pay them bills, girl. Here is the cake I made for a lovely lady who makes cards;

Thursday – I went onto the fabulous Look Good Feel Good Show on Channel Radio with the beautiful Trayc Randall and Leah Buckingham-Warner. The show this week was all about body confidence, something I am very passionate about! If you missed it or just want to listen again, you can find the link here.

Here are some pics from the morning!

Friday – When the gorgeous Kaddy Lee-Preston (BBC TV/Radio Presenter & Broadcast Meteorologist) picked up a birthday cake from She Who Bakes HQ!

So what of Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday I hear you cry? Well, tomorrow I will be finishing a cake for my lovely friend Lydia whom I have known for 547 years, Sunday I’m going on a pub crawl and if last year was anything to go by, Monday I will be drinking pints of water and eating many bacon sandwiches!

For more photos and details of anything I have spoken about in this blog, make sure to check out my Facebook and Twitter.

 

Happy baking,

Britt xo

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