Happy 5th Birthday Pudsey!

11/16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. Britt xo

Pusey 2015

 

A Pipe Dream To A Piping Reality

11/16

A few years ago, I did something I probably wasn’t supposed to do. But that one action changed my thinking and ultimately was a key factor in who I am today.

I started blogging back in 2013. Armed with a packet cake mix and a laptop with no clue of how to bake, I started writing. (To find out more of how I got to that stage, with no desire to ever bake, check out my blog here). My writing about cakes and pictures of cakes I had made, most famously my square Pudsey cake, soon turned into baking product reviews through the eyes of a complete beginner, show reports (basically me going to food events and writing about them to my three followers!) and it started to become a fully fledged blog as opposed to my random ramblings.

I was fortunate enough to be recognised as a blogger from late 2013, being invited to foodie events, supermarket previews and being sent products to review. However it was mid-2014 when I really started to feel like I was earning my blogging stripes.

The Cake & Bake Show, a show I had visited a number of times and loved, asked if I would be interested in blogging about the show, in return I would get a press pass and access to celebrity bakers to interview on the day. I jumped at the chance! I wanted to say yes before they changed their mind! They offered me two passes to their Manchester show and I was so excited. I took my friend Colin (the now internet sensation and very cool Colin’s Time To Bake!) and we had a wonderful day.

When we arrived, however, we were slightly early as I was told we could access the show before the general public, which was all very exciting for us both! We walked around feeling very important and loving life. As we got to the back of the show hall, I spotted the big stage; The Cake Kitchen. Never one to miss a photo opportunity, we walked casually around the side of the stage and I ran onto it. I posed for a photo and Colin took it from a few rows back.

I stood there, on that stage and looked around. It felt amazing being up there. There was no one in the audience and only a few people in the hall but the sense of achievement was one I had never felt. I realised, in that moment, that being on that stage was exactly what I wanted to do. I was off in a dream, I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on in real time when suddenly I heard; “Excuse me, can you get down from there please.” I looked over to see a rather burly security guard coming towards me. “Oh I’m sorry!’ I said, “I just wanted to check out the view!” and showed him my press pass so he wouldn’t kick me out! He didn’t look very impressed! Colin and I scarpered and tried to avoid him for the rest of the day.

When I got back to Kent the following day I sat and thought about how that felt on that stage and how I wanted it so badly. I knew I had to work hard. I was an unknown baking blogger with no formal training who had fallen into this purely by accident when dealing with my mental health after losing my mum. How on earth was I going to get up on that stage?

I knew it would be hard work. I knew I would be up against a lot of competition. But I also knew this is exactly what I wanted to do in my life and I wasn’t going to let anything stand in my way.

I wrote, I baked, I wrote some more, I baked even more than that. I became She Who Bakes. I put myself out there and I refused to listen to anyones negativity, anyone that told me I couldn’t. What’s more, I enjoyed every second of it.

This week, I was back in Manchester for the Cake & Bake Show. This week, I was back on that stage. This week, I was invited. This week, my demonstration sold out to a crowd of wonderful people who all paid to see me. This week, my dream came true.

You can do anything.

Happy baking,

Britt xo

Me before my demonstration in the Baking & Decorating Classroom at The Cake & Bake Show, Manchester 2016.

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Halfway through my demonstration!

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Cutting the ribbon to open the show with some familiar faces!

 

Gingerbread

11/16

Gingerbread makes me so happy. I don’t care if it’s a gingerbread man, woman, star, stocking or tree. The smell is so festive and the taste takes me back to being a kid! I didn’t have homemade gingerbread growing up, my mum wasn’t a baker at all and my nan stuck to Italian breads (which were phenomenal by the way), so shop bought gingerbread tantalised my tastes from an early age.

When I first got into baking back in 2010, it was in November so it wasn’t long before I enjoyed my first, homemade gingerbread shapes! I wrote the recipe down in my notebook and it’s the one I have used for the past six years every Christmas (and sometimes just because I fancied some!).

I realised I hadn’t written this recipe up on my website, so I made some this week and set about documenting for my blog as I usually do. However, with a little research I have realised the recipe I have transferred from notebook to notebook each year, the one I swear by and use all the time isn’t mine!

Back in the early days of my baking adventure I used a lot of recipes I found online, not getting the confidence to make my own until a few years later. It turns out ‘my’ trusted gingerbread recipe belongs to the BBC Good Food website! On further inspection too, it turns out that so many gingerbread recipes available on the internet are exactly the same as this one, and some are identical with only a few grams difference either side on a couple of ingredients.

This says to me this is a known, trusted and great recipe, and who am I to mess with greatness? What you’ll find below are my top tips to create festive gingerbread shapes at home. You can find the recipe here.

Make the dough as instructed. Firstly mixing together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger, then adding the butter and making a mix that resembles breadcrumbs. Then, mix together the egg and golden syrup and add this to the mix, finally adding in the sugar (not pictured).

My tips for getting a good dough are to have the butter the right temperature. Too cold and the dough will struggle to form, too soft and it will be hard to get the dough into a ball. Take it out of the fridge about 10-15 minutes before using. We don’t want it room temperature, but we don’t want it fridge temperature either! Then, wrap the dough in cling film and I like to chill mine for 20 minutes or so before rolling out.

Then, when it comes to rolling out the dough, dust a side with a little plain flour and knead the gingerbread a few times before rolling, this will make it easier to roll and shouldn’t crack as much. I like to use these marzipan spacers to make sure I have evenly rolled dough. Then, pop your shapes on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake at 180°C for 12-15 minutes.

Once baked, leave them on a wire rack to cool.

When it comes to decorating gingerbread shapes, the only limit as they say, is your imagination. You can use anything you like to decorate them, sugarpaste, chocolate or most commonly royal icing. Now, I make no secret about the fact I don’t like royal icing that much. It was never something I wanted to learn or get better at as I have shaky hands and not a lot of patience. I would much rather model something than pipe something and over the past 6 years have only really used it as a glue, sticking down my cakes to their boards and sticking on decorations. That said, I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for those who are brilliant with royal icing and I can watch videos on it all day long! (A special mention to SweetAmbs who blows my mind with her talent! Go check out her cookie work).

You can of course make your own royal icing, there are lots of recipes readily available online or you can buy it ready made, which is what I usually use. But today I’m using Whitworths Royal Icing Sugar. I’m also using a disposable piping bag and a 2.5 nozzle.

Then the rest is up to you! Dots, lines, outlines, squiggles, smarties, sprinkles – however you want to decorate your ginger shapes! It doesn’t have to be perfect, just have fun with it!

Once the royal icing has set, store in a cake tin and enjoy within a week!

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

Toblerone Travesty!

11/16

November 8th. This date will go down in history.

Years from now there will be the questions; ‘Where were you on this historic day?’

The day we discovered what has happened to our beloved Toblerone.

Toblerone, for those who don’t know, is a Swiss chocolate bar with nougat, almonds and honey. It has a distinctive triangle shape to resemble the Swiss Alps and a hidden bear in the logo. It’s a much loved bar often seen at airports and Christmas. It comes in many different flavours, with my personal favourite being the white one. This is the look we know and love –

toblerone-hero

I even made a recipe with it earlier this year, the Toblerone Traybake.

Toblerone Traybake by She Who Bakes

However, everything we currently know is about to change. The company that owns Toblerone, Mondelez has said the change was due to a rise in the cost of ingredients.

As reported by the BBC this morning –

In a statement on the Toblerone Facebook page, the company said it had to make a decision between changing the look of the bars or raising the price.

The move has resulted in the weight of the 400g bars being reduced to 360g and the 170g bars to 150g, while the size of the packaging has remained the same.

It said: “We chose to change the shape to keep the product affordable for our customers.”

So, essentially, same price, less chocolate, silly design. It looks less like the Swiss Apps now and more like  a chocolate toast rack. Surely the better option would have been to make a smaller bar? The gaps in the triangles are iconic and not something that I believe should be messed with.

I mean, how on earth are we going to make another Toblorange this Christmas??

Toblorange

Where does the madness end? Single finger KitKats? One and a half Bounty bars? Three smarties in a tube?! Is this the future of Toblerone??

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-11-24-45

In these times of uncertainty, where there is bad news all around us, please don’t mess with our chocolate.

What do you think? Let me know on either on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.

Britt xo

50% Off ALL Online Courses!

11/16

For a limited time only all of the She Who Bakes Online Cake Decorating Courses are half price!
In the popular Professional Finish Course & Tiered Wedding Cake Course, I teach you how to use different types of icing, make edible decorations and how to split, fill and cover your cake to a professional standard.
In the Pretty & Pink Cupcake Course, I show you how to use professional silicone moulds to create beautiful decorations, make cute flowers and a 3D bow. Finally you will learn how to pipe the perfect cupcake swirl using two different designs.
If you fancy learning something a little different, my Shirt & Tie Course is full of fun decorating techniques.

Once purchased, you can log in and watch these videos as many times as you like! You will learn a wide range of decorating and modelling skills in each one. These courses are perfect for beginners and for those with a little knowledge who are looking to learn some new creative ideas and techniques.

Professional Finish Course was £19.95 now £9.95
Tiered Wedding Cake Course was £19.95 now £9.95
Pretty & Pink Cupcake Course was £11.95 now £4.95
Shirt & Tie Course was £14.95 now £7.95

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

wedding-cake-vid Professional FinishOnline Course-2

Pretty & Pink Cupcakes Thumbnail Shirt & Tie Online Cake Decorating Course

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

10/16

Pumpkins are one of my favourite things. I love how they look, how they smell, how the taste and how much joy they bring me when I get to carve them, I’m a pumpkin addict!

This year, I went for slightly less traditional pumpkin carvings going for a few of my favourite things; a unicorn, a cupcake and the Deathly Hallows (shout out to all the Harry Potter fans).

pumpkins

With all of these lovely pumpkins I had lots of lovely pumpkin seeds hanging around. I usually just roast them but this time I wanted to get a little experimental, so I divided them into two bowls and flavoured one sweet with pumpkin spices and brown sugar and one savoury with salt, pepper and paprika and I tell you now, they were delicious!

As they were an experiment they weren’t going to get an official write up but it’s been requested of me by a few people on social media so here it is! Enjoy!

Sweet Pumpkin Seeds

  • 250g pumpkin seeds (from 2 medium pumpkins)
  • 50g melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon Pumpkin Spice
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Savoury Pumpkin Seeds

  • 250g pumpkin seeds (from 2 medium pumpkins)
  • 50g melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Method;

  1. Detangle the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkins
  2. Wash them well and dry them on kitchen towel
  3. If making both flavours, split into two bowls (or put in one bowl for the one flavour)
  4. Pour in the melted butter and mix well
  5. Add in the dry ingredients depending on your flavour
  6. Spread into a single layer on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper or foil
  7. Bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes
  8. Leave to cool slightly and enjoy!

The savoury ones are great warm on a salad and the sweet ones are delicious on their own or in a flapjack recipe or to top granola! Get creative with your flavours. The possibilities are endless!

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

Happy Halloween and happy baking!

Britt xo

 

Halloween Recipes

10/16

I love Halloween! Below are some of my Halloween themed and Pumpkin flavoured recipes. I’m adding more all the time so make sure to check back! Click on the picture below to be taken to the recipe.

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 Halloween and happy baking!

Britt xo

Halloween CookiesPumpkin & Ginger Cookies by She Who Bakes

Pumpkin Spice Slicetumblr_inline_ne65cfK8y41qf7teq

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tumblr_inline_nbpdht5aa71qf7teqHow To Make A Pumpkin Cupcake For Halloween by She Who Bakes

How To Make A Jack Skellington Cupcake For Halloween by She Who Bakes How To Make A Cauldron Cupcake For Halloween by She Who Bakes

How To Make Pumpkin Spice by She Who Bakes

How To Make A Cauldron Cake for Halloween by She Who Bakes

 

 

How To Make Pumpkin Spice

10/16

Most of my pumpkin recipes also have in them pumpkin spice. This is something readily available in some countries and is basically a mix of yummy spices that set off the pumpkin taste really well! I had a bit of trouble finding it ready made in the U.K. and so I decided to make my own. Now, I make a big jar of it and use it whenever I use pumpkin! My house is currently filled with pumpkins after a recent trip to PYO Pumpkins, check out my vlog here!

I’ve used it in several of my seasonal recipes including Pumpkin Spice Slice, Pumpkin Macarons and of course, Pumpkin Pie. Follow the recipe below and check out the video on how to make it at home!

Pumpkin Spice

  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground mixed spice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves

Mix well. Keep in a jar and use as and when needed.

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 Halloween and happy baking!

Britt xo

How To Make Halloween Cupcake Toppers

10/16

This trio of toppers are perfect for your Halloween bakes! Here I show you how to make a ghost, witches hat and pumpkin! Check out below the tutorial for a video on how I made it!

These decorations can be made ahead of time. I recommend using modelling paste for stability and keep the toppers 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. The green and orange was white modelling paste, readily available which I have coloured green using Sugarflair Party Green and Tangerine colour respectively and pre-coloured black modelling paste

I recommend using actual edible glue as opposed to water as water can make your shapes soggy. My top tip with edible glue is less is more! Only use a small amount.

Equipment can be purchased from Iced Jems.

Equipment 

  • White, black orange and green modelling paste
  • Cornflour in a shaker
  • Edible glue & paintbrush
  • Dry paintbrush
  • Large circle cutter
  • Small circle cutter
  • Small star cutter
  • Cutting wheel
  • Small triangle cutter
  • Dresden tool
  • Ball tool

Ghost

Roll a smooth round ball of white modelling paste, elongate this shape to create a ‘tic tac’ or ‘minion’ shape. Set aside.

Roll out white modelling paste onto a side dusted with cornflour and cut out a large circle. Paint the moulded shape with edible glue and place the large circle of modelling paste on top, fixing down the sides. Make sure there are pleats around the ghost as this is essentially the ‘duvet’ he is hiding under!

For the face, roll out three small balls of black modelling paste and flatten the third to create an O shape. Stick these on using a small amount of edible glue.

Ghost Cupcake Topper by She Who Bakes

Witches Hat

Roll out black modelling paste and cut out a small circle, this is the base of the hat. Then roll a ball of black modelling paste, tapering it into a cone shape. Stick this on top of the circle using a small amount of edible glue.

Roll out a longer piece of black modelling paste and check it goes around the circumference of the base of the cone. Then cut a strip using a cutting wheel or sharp knife. Glue this around the base of the hat.

Lastly, roll out a small piece of green modelling paste and cut out a small star. Stick this to the front of the hat using a small amount of edible glue.

Witches Hat Cupcake Topper by She Who Bakes

Pumpkin

Roll out a smooth round ball of orange modelling paste. Using a ball tool or the end of a paintbrush indent the top of the pumpkin, this is where the stalk will go.

Roll a small amount of green modelling paste into a sausage. Then taper the end slightly and bend it over. Stick this into the hole we created with a little edible glue.

For the leaf, roll a small ball of green modelling paste and flatten it slightly, squeeze the end to create a point then, using your dresden tool, mark a line down the middle and a few either side to create the leaf pattern. Fix this to the side of the stalk using a little edible glue.

Roll out black modelling paste quite thinly, then using a triangle cutters, cut out two eyes. Then, cut out another triangle but make it a little smaller by cutting off the end using the same triangle cutter. This will be the nose.

For the smile, cut out a small circle of black modelling paste and then cut it again using the same cutter to create a crescent shape. Use the same circle cutter to cut the points off. Using the triangle cutter, cut out two points from the top either end of the smile and one from the bottom in the middle.

Then, stick these to your pumpkin using a little edible glue.

Pumpkin Cupcake Topper by She Who Bakes

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 Halloween and happy baking!

Britt xo

Red Ombre Cake Made With AEG

10/16

This week, in celebration of the final of The Great British Bake Off 2016, I’ve partnered with AEG to create this stunning Red Ombre Cake Showstopper!

I created this recipe which makes a 7″ round, baked wonderfully in the AEG oven! Check out the video below for how it’s made.

Earlier this year, I received an AEG SteamBake oven, (you can read my review here) and I absolutely love it! The steam cooking keeps the dough moist on the surface to create a golden colour and tasty crust on your bakes.  As well as an excellent oven for baking, the SteamBake oven is also a great all-rounder multifunction oven (with up to 13 functions) that grills, roasts and bakes. Mine also features pyrolytic cleaning, a food probe and soft close door! It was awarded The Good Housekeeping Institute seal of approval after rigorous testing and SteamBake is now available on all AEG single built in ovens at no extra cost.

As mentioned on the website here AEG’s exclusive ThermiC° Hot Air cooking technology ensures higher performance for precise heat circulation for even cooking, temperature control and energy efficiency, meaning I can bake more than one cake at once and still get great results!

I’ve used the SteamBake function on my oven for so many different things including Sun-Dried Tomato & Parmesan LoafLemon & White Chocolate MuffinsBaked Raspberry Cheesecake, Apple & Blackberry Pie and Yorkshire Puddings and the SteamBake function provided excellent results!

Red Ombre Cake;

  • 350g caster sugar
  • 350g butter
  • 350g self raising flour
  • 95g plain flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • red food colouring (gel not liquid)

Vanilla Buttercream;

  • 250g butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Method;

  1. Preheat the oven to 140C
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar
  3. Add in the eggs
  4. Add in the self raising and plain flour
  5. Add in the vanilla
  6. Mix well
  7. Divide the mix into four bowls
  8. Add colour into the bowls in varying amounts for different shades
  9. Mix to get your desired colours
  10. Pour your mixes into lined tins
  11. Bake at 140C for 40 minutes
  12. Leave to cool on greaseproof paper
  13. Make a buttercream filling by mixing together the butter and icing sugar, adding in the vanilla
  14. Spread buttercream onto your darkest layer
  15. Top with the second darkest and repeat
  16. Add the third darkest sponge and repeat
  17. Top with the lightest sponge and chill for 10 minutes
  18. Once chilled, cover with a layer of buttercream
  19. Chill again and repeat
  20. Smooth the edges with a scraper
  21. Cut into slices and enjoy!

This cake will last 4-5 days once covered in a layer of buttercream and 2 days once cut into. Make sure to wrap any exposed sponge in cling film to help keep it fresher for longer. It doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge as this will dry out the cake, just a cool dry room.

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 baking!

Britt xo

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

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

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