Rice Krispies Christmas Puddings!

11/17

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.

Book News!

11/17

I have big news!! My book Cakes, Bakes & Business will be released on Monday 20th November!!

I’m pleased to say it is already listed on Amazon and can be pre-ordered here!

The perfect Christmas present for anyone wanting to start making money from their tasty cakes and bakes!

Happy baking!

Britt xo

 

Bonfire Cupcakes

11/17

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

My First Book!

11/17

I am *SO EXCITED* to share this news with you all! Very soon I will be a published author of my first book!

It’s called Cakes, Bakes & Business and it’s a practical guide to starting your home baking enterprise!

Those of you familiar with my blog may know that in 2015 I wrote a little ebook digital download called How To Start A Cake Business From Home. Over the past few years it has helped thousands of hobby bakers turn their love of cake into a career. Earlier this year I signed a publishing deal to turn my little ebook into a real life proper book! I spent months writing and perfecting it and I am so proud to share it with you all! With over triple the content of the old version, brand new chapters, lots of stories and with many more pages of help and advice, this new for 2017 updated version is the perfect gift for anyone who wants to make money from their cakes and bakes.

This easy to follow, useful and practical guide shows you how to start a cake business from home, from someone who has done it. I ran my successful award winning home cake business for many years and now I’m passing on all the advice I learned over to you.

Written with the UK market in mind, but with helpful tools and tips for those wanting to start a business outside of the UK, this book covers all the topics you need to know to get your business up and running. From the rules surrounding getting your kitchen ready, registering as self employed, insurance, advice on pricing your cakes, and marketing advice that is both relevant and easy to implement, this guide is the ‘one stop shop’ for your information.

Stay tuned for more information about the book including the Amazon release date and pre-order link very soon!

Happy baking!

Britt xo

How To Make A Bonfire Cake For Fireworks Night

11/17

This is my favourite time of the year! From Halloween, comes Bonfire Night, leading up to Christmas! The best are months in my opinion. This Bonfire Cake is simple to make and fantastic to look at, making it the perfect show stopper to make for your parties this season! Click here for the tutorial on the matching cupcakes.

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

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

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

Equipment

  • Wilton Wonder Mould Tin/7″ round tin
  • 8″ round thin cake card
  • 11″ round drum
  • 1kg orange sugar paste (For the board)
  • Brown, yellow, peach, orange, black and white modelling paste
  • Paintbrushes
  • Edible glue
  • Small palette knife
  • Small piping nozzle
  • Large rolling pin
  • Icing spacers
  • Royal icing
  • Cornflour
  • Small circle cutters
  • Brown and white dust colours
  • Rejuvenator spirit
  • Paint palette
  • Leaf cutters & veiners
  • 4 packs of Matchmakers
  • Chocolate buttercream
  • 1 meter 15mm brown ribbon
  • Double sided tape
  • Small rolling pin

For the board

Paint your board with water.

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

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

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

Gently lift icing over rolling pin to move and lower it onto your damp board and push down to secure. Cut around your board with a sharp knife to remove the excess icing. Apply double sided tape to the outside rim of the board and stick on your 15mm brown ribbon.

For the cake

Bake your favourite chocolate madeira (you can find my recipe here) in either a Wilton Wonder Mould Tin or two 7″ round cakes, stacked and carved into a pyramid shape. Cut a small ledge into the front of your cake for your ‘Guy’ to sit.

Split and fill your cake with your desired buttercream or ganache and secure your cake to the thin board using buttercream.

Lightly coat your cake with buttercream or ganache.

Fix this to your cake drum with a little royal icing.

Starting at the back, apply your Matchmakers to your coated cake in the style of a bonfire. Continue all the way around and add a second layer on top. Then fill in any gaps you may have with smaller cut pieces of Matchmakers.

bonfire-2

For the leaves

Roll out your yellow, brown and orange modelling paste and cut out lots of different sized leaves. Shape these if desired by twisting them around a cocktail stick and leave to dry on foam. When these are dry, stick onto your cake using a little edible glue.

For the hedgehogs

Roll balls of brown modelling paste and shape and pinch the front into a cone. Using small scissors, snip into the back of the hedgehog to create the spikes. Roll two small white balls of modelling paste for the background of the eyes. Roll three small balls of black modelling paste and glue into place for the middle of the eyes and nose.

bonfire-1

For the Guy

Roll a thick sausage of brown modelling paste and cut up the middle 3/4 of the way. Round off the bottoms of the two halves. These will be the legs. Bend the legs onto a thick piece of foam so it is ‘sitting down.’ Leave this to dry.

Roll a ball of yellow modelling paste and shape into a thick teardrop. This will become the torso. Mark a line down the middle with a small palette knife and indent ‘buttons’ using a small piping nozzle. Leave this to dry.

Roll out a square of brown modelling paste, not too thin and shape this around the torso shape to make the back and collar of the coat. Apply with a little edible glue.

Roll two sausages of brown modelling paste and affix to the outside of the coat to create the arms. Then wrap a small strip of brown modelling paste around the bottom of the arms to create cuffs. Apply with a little edible glue.

Roll two balls of black modelling paste and flatten them to become shoes and stick these to the bottom of the legs. Then wrap a small strip of black modelling paste around the bottom of the legs/top of the shoes to create boots. Apply with a little edible glue.

Roll two smaller balls of black modelling paste and again, flatten slightly. Cut into the side to create a ‘thumb’ and shape the rest of the ball to become a ‘glove’. Repeat with the second ball and apply with a little edible glue.

Roll a ball of peach modelling paste for the head and leave to dry. Once dried, apply a smaller ball of peach modelling paste to the front of the face to become the nose. Roll a small sausage of brown modelling paste and apply under the nose to create the moustache, make some hair lines in the moustache with your small palette knife.

Paint on the eyes and eyebrows using dust colours mixed with a little rejuvenator spirit. Roll out two strips of brown modelling paste and affix to the sides of the head to create hair. And finally roll out a large circle of brown modelling paste and a thick smaller circle of brown modelling paste and affix to the top of the head to create the hat.

Roll out a long strip of yellow modelling paste and lay strips of brown modelling paste horizontally across. Roll over it all again to create the striped scarf effect. Cut to size to fit your guy and apply with a little edible glue.

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!

All of my Online Cake Decorating Courses are currently 50% off! Grab a bargain here.

Happy baking!

Britt xo

 

Happy Halloween 2017!

10/17

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween is my favourite time of the year. Falling leaves, pumpkins invading, dressing up and baking sweet gory treats! Every year my fiancé Tim and I throw a Halloween party. We spend weeks getting the place ready and have been throwing more and more into it with each passing year! This year we had a spooky graveyard entrance, a haunted stairwell, a SAW themed bathroom and a crime scene party area! This year, Tim and I dressed up as Gomez & Morticia Addams! I was feeling the gothic look!

Each year I also make a tasty centrepiece. Be it a tower of cupcakes or a decorated tiered cake. This year I went with a three tier, red madeira, slasher extravaganza!

I originally saw this design on Pinterest back in the Spring and I have been trying to track down the original cake/baker for months. I have used Google reverse image search, tried all number of keywords and asked people in the know. I cannot find the original to credit them. All searches come back to Pinterest boards or lists of Halloween cakes. If anyone out there knows the original design or baker, please let me know so I can credit them here appropriately!

Here’s how I made it!

I wanted a bright red sponge inside to contrast with the white icing on the outside, I also wanted a crowd pleasing flavour everyone would like so I went with a classic madeira cake recipe and coloured it red using Sugarflair Red Extra. I wrapped the cakes in clingfilm and let them sit overnight. Then the following day I split the cakes and filled them with a contrasting white vanilla buttercream.

I then crumb coated the cakes with buttercream and covered the tiers in a thin later of Ruby Red Renshaw Sugarpaste and smoothed them with Flexi Smoothers (I’ve got an article about them here). I then let them firm up overnight.

 

The next day I painted the tiers in a thin layer of piping gel and then covered the cakes in a layer of Renshaw White Sugarpaste. Then, once I had smoothed them, I used a scalpel to slice out ‘claw marks’ of the white icing, peeling it carefully away to reveal the red icing underneath. I then used a dresden tool to shape and fold the white icing surrounding the claw marks. I did this on all three tiers, changing the angle of the marks each time to make it look like the whole cake had been swiped by Wolverine from the top to the bottom. The bottom tier I only took out small slices out of white icing. I then let this firm up completely overnight.

Once this was set, I dowelled the bottom two tiers and stacked carefully, sticking together with royal icing. I then made up some red food paint using red and a tiny amount of blue dust colours mixed with a little vodka. I made it quite watery and with a paintbrush and a palette knife, I flicked red food paint all over the cake to look like blood splatters.

Then, to make the oozing blood, I mixed a few spoons of piping gel with Christmas Red and a little Royal Blue Sugarflair concentrated food colours to make a dark red blood colour, I put this into a piping bag and piped the gel into the tops of the claw marks, letting it run down the cake. I finished the cake with a 15mm white satin ribbon stuck around the cake board at the bottom with thin double sided tape.

I am SO pleased with how this cake turned out. It was the perfect centrepiece for our Halloween party and was very well received by our guests!

Check out below for more pictures from our Halloween party and have a look at my Instagram for all the videos!

Happy Halloween!

Britt xo

 

 

How To Make A Cauldron Cake For Halloween

10/17

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

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

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

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

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

Equipment can be purchased from Iced Jems.

Equipment

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

For the cake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave the icing to set overnight.

Repeat the icing process for your 10” drum.

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

For the decoration

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the Cauldron filling

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

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

Add a message and ribbon as desired.

Cauldron Cake

Check out my other Halloween inspired recipes and tutorials here.

Give it a try 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 Halloween and happy baking!

Britt xo

Depressed Cake Shop Pop Up for World Mental Health Day 2017

10/17

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

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

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

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

Britt xo

 

Rainbow Kitty Cake – Happy Birthday Ciara!

10/17

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

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

In this blog I break down how I made it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Baking!

Britt xo

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!

Don’t Butter Me Up

10/17

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what does this mean for bakers?

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

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

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

Happy baking,

Britt xo

 

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