Ideal Home Show – Christmas 2018!

10/18

I’m so pleased to announce this year I will be demonstrating at the Ideal Home Show Christmas! I’ll be on stage at The Christmas Kitchen in the Eat & Drink Festival section showing you how to make a giant cupcake Christmas tree on Friday 23rd November at 1:45pm and on Sunday 25th November at 10:45am!

I would love for you to join me in the festivities! I’ve been given a 2 for 1 offer on tickets exclusively for my readers! Simply head over to the Ideal Home Show Christmas website and use my code – SWB241

This year’s show is set to be the best edition to date, bringing together all of the seasonal essentials to help you create the ultimate Christmas at home. Surrounded by trees and covered in twinkling lights, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale yuletide celebration. As you walk show, you can discover the most imaginative and awe-inspiring Christmas products available this year – including everything you could possibly wish for to douse your home in Christmas magic. With over 600 exhibitors, you’re sure to find some new festive favourites – from hand-crafted gifts and hanging decorations, to home decor and hampers for the foodies. Plus, your ticket will also get you free access to Eat & Drink Festival Christmas, offering the ultimate festive foodie experience, with top celebrity chefs Rosemary Shrager, Theo Randall, Aldo Zilli, Rachel Green and Ed Baines as well as yours truly, all on hand to offer their top tips and expert advice on perfecting the ultimate festive feast.

*T&Cs: Book before 25 November 2018. 2 for 1 tickets offer applies to the adult on the door price only (£19 Weekday/ £21 Weekend). Calls cost 7p per minute plus your company’s access charge. A £1.70 transaction fee applies. Kids age 15 and under go FREE when accompanied by a paying adult (maximum 2). Tickets include free entry to Eat & Drink Festival Christmas.

Getting a clean oven with OvenClean!

10/18

When you’re a baker or you’re using your oven ALL THE TIME, it can get quite greasy, quite quickly. Not only do I really dislike cleaning my oven, but I’m really bad at it! So when OvenClean got in touch and asked if I fancied having my oven sparkle again, I jumped at the chance! I wouldn’t say it’s dirty but it’s certainly well used (and well loved!) and needs a bit of attention. Please don’t judge me for the ‘before’ photo. I’m busy and I hate cleaning haha.

Stuart from OvenClean arrived on time and was really polite and professional. My husband (still not used to saying that yet!) showed Stuart to the kitchen and the oven and he got to work. Turning the oven on to make it warm, which makes the cleaning easier, and taking all the wire racks out to the van to be soaked and scrubbed for a deep clean.

Within two hours Stuart told me he’d finished and when I went into the kitchen to see, for a second I thought he had replaced my oven with a brand new one! I was so impressed. The racks were sparkling, the tray which was once covered in thick charcoal and rust was new again and the inside of the oven looked brilliant. It’s given my oven a brand new lease of life and I can’t wait to get baking in it!

I promise to try to take better care of her now but on the off chance I don’t, I know I’ll be giving OvenClean a call! I can highly recommend them and their services!

Happy baking!

Britt xo

N.B Cleaning service gifted by OvenClean, but my views are my own, impartial and honest.

 

The Importance Of Using Quality Eggs In Baking

09/18

So, a bit of a funny story in case you didn’t know. I’m a baker who is allergic to eggs. I know, I know, how on earth do I cope? Well, I have quite a specific egg allergy (because, of course I do). Sadly as of a few years ago I can no longer have tasty scrambled egg, poached egg, omelettes or quiches, even mayonnaise is out of the question for me! But I can indulge and enjoy cakes, cookies and biscuits.

This is because the type of allergy I have unfortunately developed is to uncooked egg proteins. If you get an egg and throw it in a pan for a few minutes it will very probably make me sick, but if you bake it at a high temperature for a longer period of time (as you do in baking and also known as ‘baked’ egg), the higher temperature changes the nature of the proteins enough that my body can tolerate them. Which is pretty cool.

Basically it means that eggs in my breakfast is a no (unless I just have cake for breakfast), but eggs in baking are thankfully a yes!

Laying hen farm. High Park Wall Farm. Barnard Castle. Co. Durham. United Kingdom.

Eggs play such a big role in traditional baking. The fats and proteins in eggs provide flavour, create structure and stability to cakes, add moisture, bind biscuits and cookies, help thicken and emulsify sauces and custards, act as a glue or glaze and even create delicate meringues.

But have you ever really thought about where your eggs come from and what kind you are using in your kitchen?

When I first started baking (and didn’t really know what I was doing) I was using the cheapest ingredients, and to be honest with you, this included using caged eggs. I’m not proud of it now but back then I couldn’t see a difference between the stacks of similarly shaped egg boxes in the supermarket, except for the price. I’d heard of ‘free range’ and ‘high welfare’ eggs but I didn’t really understand what that meant for me, my bakes, or for the chickens.

As my knowledge of baking and the importance of quality ingredients grew, but I learned about the truth of ‘caged eggs’.

The tiny spaces the chickens are confined to sometimes for their entire life makes living conditions uncomfortable and even physically painful. Having such a poor quality of life is not only cruel and unfair, but of course, it impacts the quality of eggs they are able to lay.

When the hens are looked after and cared for properly, given room to roam around, fresh air as well as decent food and living conditions, the eggs they lay are naturally more nutritious and tasty (based on research by Compassion in World Farming on the nutritional value of higher welfare eggs vs. battery/ caged hens. The main benefits seem to be more omega-3, antioxidants and Vitamin E). They are generally deeper in the colour of the yolk and richer with a buttery flavour which makes for a much better and more consistent bake.

But sadly, around 50% of egg laying hens in the UK are still kept in battery cages.

So how can you be sure you’re buying good quality, high welfare eggs?

There are a number of phrases and logos to look out for on packages. The Lion Mark that you see on most eggs shows you that they were laid in Britain and that they keep to food safety standards. Free-range, ‘woodland’ and barn are all phrases you will see on egg boxes, but to know that the chickens have truly been looked after, you need to look out for the RSPCA Assured logo as well.

RSPCA Assured is an ethical food label dedicated to farm animal welfare. It sends assessors and farm livestock officers out to the farms to make sure that they meet strict welfare standards, which lays out the kind of food, shelter and environment that the chickens must have access to. This includes things like plenty of space, perches and litter for dustbathing and foraging.

Once the assessors are sure the farm is following these practices to give the chickens their best life, the eggs are given the special RSPCA Assured mark. This mark can be found on 90% of non-caged eggs sold in the UK, and 50% of all UK eggs, so they are very easy to get hold of. They are only just pennies per egg more than the low quality, low welfare alternatives.

L to R: Graham Atkinson (Contract Supplies Manager, Noble Foods), Stuart Richardson (farmer), Rob Howorth (Freedom Food Assessor). Laying hen farm. High Park Wall Farm. Barnard Castle. Co. Durham. United Kingdom.

I stopped buying caged eggs many years ago and I believe that my bakes have vastly improved in quality and taste since then. As someone who buys eggs regularly as a baking ingredient, it’s important to me to buy the right ones and doing so gives me a sense of doing something good. By buying higher welfare eggs and spending our money wisely, we can all show large corporations (retailers, farmers and the food industry) that happy hens are important to us as consumers.

I implore every baker out there to do their own independent research when it comes to where their ingredients come from and the ethics and welfare standards which surround them. If I could go back in time and use higher welfare eggs sooner, I would.

Happy hens lay better quality eggs, which make better quality bakes. Better for you, better for the chickens.

Happy baking!

Britt xo

Laying hen farm. High Park Wall Farm. Barnard Castle. Co. Durham. United Kingdom.

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

Happy 1st Birthday Chrome Pole Studio!

09/18

If you follow me on Instagram you may know one of my other passions is aerial fitness (check out my aerial Instargam here!). The two I love and do regularly are pole fitness and aerial hoop.  I’ve been doing it on and off for 10 years and went back properly two years ago. This week marks the first birthday of the the pole school I learn with, Chrome. We had a birthday party at the weekend and I offered to make a cake for the occasion!

It’s a 6″ round vanilla madeira cake and an 8″ round chocolate madeira cake, both made using my recipe here where you can find a link to a cake calculator to work out the mix for different size tins. The 6″ was split with a cake leveller, filled and crumb coated with vanilla buttercream before being iced with Renshaw black sugarpaste. I usually mix up my own colours but I have a few exceptions, black being one of them. Life is too damn short to colour icing that dark so for the sake of my sanity I spend a little more and buy pre-coloured. My buttercream recipe can also be found on my madeira cake recipe page here.

The 8″ round chocolate madeira was split with a cake leveller, filled and crumb coated with lovely chocolate buttercream. This was then iced white with Renshaw Extra (I really like this stuff!) smoothed with Super Sharp Edge Smoothers and left to set overnight. Once the sugarpaste had hardened, I sprayed it using a PME Silver Lustre spray. This was much easier and quicker than hand painting it.

Once that tier had dried, I measured and cut 5 wooden dowels to go into it as the 6″ would be stacked on top. I then carefully lifted this tier and stuck it to the middle of a 10″ round cake drum  which I had iced with black supermarket icing the day before. I tend to use cheaper icing to cover my boards with as it’s not going to be eaten and I don’t have to worry about the strength of the sugarpaste. It doesn’t matter what kind of icing you cover your boards with, just as long as you COVER YOUR DAMN CAKE BOARDS. I stuck the tier down with a thin spread of royal icing. The cement of the cake decorating world.

I then spread a layer of royal icing on top of the 8″ cake, making sure to cover the tops of the dowels, and carefully placed on the 6″ round. I then left this to set and dry a little before decorating.

For the decorations I cut out a lot of stars in different sizes and I made a silver and black starburst by using black flower paste and white Mexican paste which I painted silver with lustre dust and rejuvenator spirit. I also used an acrylic pole dancer topper I got from eBay.

I stuck some of the stars to the cake with royal icing and pushed a few into the sides of the cake once they had dried completely overnight.

I then used double sided tape to add a 15mm silver ribbon to the cake drum and a little tape to add a 25mm black ribbon for the base tier and silver ribbon for the top tier. I finished this off with a string of diamantes which I secured at the back of the cake with a little royal icing.

I also cut out a personalised message and name of the studio using tappit cutters and Mexican paste. I painted these silver the same way I painted the stars.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out and it looked so good at the party!

To learn more about how to stack and decorate a tiered cake, check out my wedding cake course here – currently 50% off!!

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!

 

My TEDx Talk!

08/18

Oh my goodness. It’s finally here! My TEDxFolkestone talk is now live on the TEDx YouTube channel!

Back in June I fulfilled one of my lifetime ambitions by doing a TEDx talk. This is one of my proudest achievements, something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m so happy I get to share it with you all.

My talk is about my journey, mental health and how baking played a big part in it all.
Thank you so much to everyone for all of your kind words and support leading up to this. I’m overwhelmed. Here’s to TEDx 2018.

It was so stressful, but an absolutely brilliant experience that I will remember for the rest of my life!

Britt xo

 

How To Bake And Ice A Number Cake

08/18

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

My 30th Birthday!

07/18

This week I had my 30th birthday! It was an absolutely amazing day which consisted of breakfast in bed, a surprise home-made escape room, a trip to the Harry Potter Studio tours and my favourite meal cooked for me. Tim treated me like an absolute Queen and I am so very thankful.

On top of this amazing day, I held a 30th birthday party at the weekend and it was a very special party indeed. It was the Harry Potter/Slytherin themed party I wanted to have when I was 16 but sadly my mum was too ill for it to happen. I knew one day I would make it a reality and it may have taken 13 years to do it, but I’m so glad I did.

I’ve been a Harry Potter fan most of my life, with the first book actually coming out on my 9th birthday! It’s something that means a lot to me, I’ve even got a Deathly Hallows tattoo! So when it came time to make my cake, it was clear there was going to be a lot of green, a few snakes and other magical goodies involved.

I’ve made my own birthday cake since I first started baking and it’s always something I look forward to designing and making each year. Here are some of the cakes I’ve made over the years.

 

This years cake was a vanilla madeira ’30’ numbered cake made using tins I hired from my local cake shop. You can read more about how to bake and ice number cakes in my blog post here. I actually referred to this post several times while making this!

The buttercream was a vanilla buttercream I coloured green to match my outward Slytherin theme. All the decorations were handmade and edible and made from either modelling paste or Mexican paste. The modelling paste was used for the bulk of the toppers with the Mexican paste being used for the wings of the Golden Snitch, stars and tappit cutter message. You can read more about putting messages onto cakes using tappit cutters here.

The cakes themselves were iced using Renshaw Extra which I coloured ivory and dusted cocoa powder onto the edges. The footprints were painted with black powder colour iced with rejuvenator spirit.

I then sprayed the whole thing with pearl lustre spray to give it a little magical sparkle.

I really love how it turned out and it looked great as a centrepiece at the party!!

More pictures below including some party pics!!

Happy baking!

Britt xo

Llama Birthday Cake!

05/18

My friend Jodie is obsessed with llamas and alpacas. I think if she had her way she would move to a farm and live, surrounded by them. It’s her birthday this month and, as one of the perks of being friends with She Who Bakes, I wanted to surprise her with a birthday cake for her party at the weekend.

I knew I wanted to make something llama based but I had no idea where to start. I had thought I would make a lovely chocolatey drip cake and buy a toy llama to stick on top that she could keep, but then one evening as I was scrolling through Instagram, my cake problems were solved!

I had seen a new post by one of my favourite talented bakers. Billie from Sweetie Darling. She had just posted a tutorial to make a llama cake on her YouTube channel! It was like cakey fate. So, following her fantastic tutorial (that you can find here) I made this lovely llama cake for my equally lovely friend Jodie!

 

I wanted a super tall cake so I started by making two 6″ round madeira cakes; one vanilla and one chocolate. I split these both into three sections as always and then I stacked them alternately, filling with lovely cream coloured vanilla buttercream. I then crumb coated the whole thing twice, chilling briefly in between coats and then it was time to decorate!

I followed all of Billie’s instructions you can find on her YouTube video with the only exception that I covered the side of cake with a small panel of sugarpaste instead of icing the whole thing (which she said was absolutely fine!). It was all explained so well, and I absolutely adore the end result!

Happy Birthday Jodie! I hope you enjoyed eating Larry the Llama as much as I enjoyed making him!

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!

No Bake Recipes

05/18

In the heat of summer when you fancy a sweet treat but can’t bear the thought of putting the oven on, no bake recipes are the way to go! I’ve compiled my favourite oven-free creations below, 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 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

Peanut Butter Cups by She Who Bakes

Snickers Cereal Bars by She Who BakesMint Aero Cheesecake Recipe

Kinder Bueno FudgeCustard Cream Cheesecake

Mini Egg Rocky Road Recipe by She Who Bakesfrozen banana chocolate peanut butter bites

Daim Fridge Cakespeanut butter chocolate squares

Cookie Dough Stuffed Oreoscoconut ice

Valentine's Strawberry CreamsAfter Eight Mint Chocolate Bark

Creme Egg Brownies

03/18

I absolutely love Creme Eggs. I think they are a fab little Easter treat and I love baking with them. I’m seeing a few friends and loved ones over the Easter holidays so I thought I would bake up something tasty to take with me and share with them!

I’ve made a few tasty recipes with them in the past including Creme Egg Cookies and Creme Egg Cake but one recipe I found on the Cadbury UK Facebook page years ago for Creme Egg Brownies came out so perfect the time I made it, I return to it time and time again. I mean, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? You can find the full recipe here.

You can always, of course, use your favourite brownie recipe for this too. Just add in the Creme Eggs halfway through baking! I’ve made it before with my Triple Threat Brownies and it’s come out equally as delicious!

The following pictures are taking from my Instagram stories which I highly recommend to watch as I often post how to videos and step by step tutorials whenever I’m in the kitchen.

Equipment wise you will need;

  • 8×10″ baking tin (I’m using two tins as I’m making two trays of brownies!)
  • greaseproof paper
  • pencil & scissors
  • Cake release

The only difference between what I did and the Cadbury UK recipe is I baked at 180c fan instead of 160c and I baked for about 20 minutes before pushing in the Creme Eggs and baked for a further 10 minutes. It all depends how squishy you want you brownie!

Cut into pieces and enjoy!

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

Happy Easter and 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!

Sign Up to my Newsletter

Subscribe here to my newsletter!

Designed by Clockwork Moggy