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Baby it’s cold outside ❄️

It’s mid October and decidedly chilly today. There’s a biting wind making it feel even colder. Winter is definitely in the air!

Which reminded me of a cake I made recently for a lovely little girl, who is the granddaughter of one of my son’s work colleagues.

Last year I was asked to make her a unicorn birthday cake

But this year, she’s into ‘Frozen’, probably prompted by the release of the film sequel earlier this year ❄️

The request was for chocolate cake, and although I was sent some photo suggestions, I was given free rein to interpret them in my own way, which is good because it’s not good form to copy another cake decorators design!

I had a little rummage on Pinterest etc, and ended up going with a fairly simple design ❄️

I used a double batch of my chocolate cake recipe to make 4 layers of sponge and filled and crumb coated with chocolate buttercream.

I used milk chocolate ganache to coat the cake and give it a firm base for the sugarpaste.

Making cake batter and buttercream is fairly easy for me because the Kitchenaid mixer does it for me, but I’ve always made ganache with blocks of chocolate, which I break into small chunks.

Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that because of the pain in my hands, it’s getting really difficult. It hurts to break it up, but also sets off tremors a few hours later! So I’ve decided to swap to Callets which are like little wafers or buttons. They’re more expensive, but if it means avoiding pain it’s a no brainer! It’s Belgian chocolate too, and is absolutely yummy!

I did an online course with ‘Oli The Choc’ a chocolatier based in Manchester recently. He filmed in the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen for the day, and recommended Callebaut brand Belgian chocolate, so that’s what I’ll be using from now on!

Anyway, I digress! Back to the cake!

Once the ganache had firmed up, I covered the whole cake with Select Ireland platinum strawberry flavoured sugarpaste. I coloured it with Coloursplash blue until it was a light ‘Frozen’ colour leaving some white for the decorations.

If the yummy flavour of this sugarpaste doesn’t tempt you, the elasticity in this product makes light work of covering tall cakes! I’m a serious convert!

However, as with the chocolate, the kneading in of the gel colour really hurts my hands, so I’ve also decided to swap to precoloured sugarpaste in future, at least for large batches!

Luckily, Renshaw have a very extensive range of ready made coloured sugarpaste 🌈

I used Renshaw flower and modelling paste for the stars on the wires, and the shards on top of the cake, just so they would be firmer. The wires are Culpitt white covered 18g

I made simple little balls to go around the base of the cake, which gave it a nice neat finish, and pressed silver crispy balls into the snow drift effect on top.

Lots of snowflakes covered the board and the rest of the cake. I used PME plunger cutters for this. The lettering and number are from Cake Star. I also used an 8” and a 12” Drum board for this project.

Then I applied my favourite Finishing Sparkle from Sugarflair to give the whole thing that frosty glittery finish ❄️ I loved the final look of this cake 🥰 Let me know what you think in the comments, I’d love to hear from you 😀

I can’t finish this post without mentioning that this month has highlighted the importance of Breast Cancer screening, and World Mental Health Day.

Baking for Therapy includes looking after my mental well being, as well as the Chronic pain caused by my OPLL, and I support Breast Cancer Now by fundraising in memory of my late Grandma Molly.

If you would like to donate to this charity, I have a Just Giving page, or you can go directly to their website if you prefer. Amongst many others, I haven’t been able to use my baking skills to host a bake sale this year because of social distancing rules, so any donation would be doubly welcome 🙏

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Disclaimer: Sugar and Crumbs is my preferred supplier of all things Cake. I am not sponsored by them and do not receive payment for recommending their products.

Baking for Therapy, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Castle Cake, Celebration, Classes, Dragons, Friends, Fun, Gerry Chiu, Health, Learning, Novelty Cakes, Prizes, Recipes, Sugar and Crumbs, Therapy

The Castle and Dragon Cake!

Hi everyone

A few weeks ago I told you that I would be taking an online class with Gerry Chiu broadcast from the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen.

Well, albeit later than expected, here I am to show you how I got on 😀

My Cake! Tutorial still available here: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/cute-dragon-and-castle-with-gerri-chiu-online.html

It all starts out with a 6” round and a 4” round cake. They were both between 5-6” high, so 3-4 layers depending on the depth of your tins.

I used my Madeira Sponge recipe with buttercream filling and white chocolate ganache under the sugarpaste.

I used Renshaw flower and modelling paste for the dragons and other details, Renshaw Premium Coverpaste for the board and Select Ireland Platinum Strawberry flavour to cover the cakes (it is delicious!)

The inspiration!

The cake was won by Viki Shaw, an inspirational young woman with two beautiful twin girls who absolutely loved the cake 🥰 You can read more about her journey to becoming a ‘rainbow mum’ below.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/106069037

Summer and Isabella both making a beeline for the dragon!

As this was a paid class, I can’t divulge the individual processes that went into the making of the cake. What I can tell you is that I did it over 3 days (more if you count the baking which I did the week before and froze!) I followed along for a while on the day, then just watched, finishing off at my own pace over the next two days 😀

I’m really pleased with the result. Gerry is a fabulous tutor, and as always whenever we’re ‘in’ the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen, we have so much fun!

You can find Gerry’s personal Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Studio8cakes

And a list of all the classes available at Sugar and Crumbs here: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop.html?cat=144

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, chocolate, Friends, Fun, My Favourite Products, Novelty Cakes, Recipes

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate!

Hi, when my friend asked me to make this cake for her Mum’s 80th birthday, I got very excited!

Believe it or not I’ve never made a ‘Chocolate Overload’ cake before, so this was a first for me, but great fun!

Chocolate Overload!

I started out with 4 x8” round layers of my Chocolate cake recipe, and filled and crumb coated it with chocolate buttercream. As it was another hot spell, I made ganache for the final coat as it sets firmer, and despite being made from chocolate and cream, it is actually more heat stable than buttercream! I applied the filling and coatings with my trusty palette knife, and smoothed the final coat with my metal bench scraper. *Tip: Dip metal knives and scrapers in hot water before smoothing for a great finish!

The board was covered in Renshaw dark brown sugarpaste and finished with a gold ribbon.

You can find the recipes here

And the tools I use here

After that, it was really just play time! My friend had said her Mum was a serious chocoholic (a woman after my own heart ❤️) so I’d bought a variety of different chocolates and just went to town!

I used a mix of chopped chocolate bars, biscuit bars, truffles, buttons, etc and added them around and on top of the cake somewhat ‘artistically’ 😂 I made the chocolate shards myself to give the cake a bit of extra height and interest. How many different chocolate goodies can you identify?

And then of course, I couldn’t resist adding a bit of bling by dry dusting with Faye Cahill edible gold lustre 🤩

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/faye-cahill-dust-signature-gold-20ml.html

I was really pleased with how it turned out, and, more importantly my friend’s Mum was too!

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Classes, Friends, Fun, Health, Learning, Novelty Cakes, Pets, Therapy

Puppies! Cake! What’s not to like?

Hi everyone

As you know I’ve been keeping myself sane during the restrictions imposed by the a Coronavirus pandemic by taking lots of online cake ‘classes’

These have been offered by Sugar and Crumbs at really affordable prices, and have been very well received by everyone who has participated.

Carol McFarland, the owner of the company has 3 of her own classes, the Cupcake bouquet class, Nifty Nozzles (Russian piping tips) and the Buttercream flowers class, and there is a whole host of guest tutors including Molly Robbins, Georgie Godbold, Claire Corbett, Hector Rocha, Gerry Chiu, Hannah the Cake Illusionist, and Do Griffin!

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop/classes-come-join-us.html

I haven’t been able to join them all, but I’m in quite a few! In this post, I’d like to show you what I made in the second of Molly Robbins classes. (The first was the show stopping Fast food cake) https://bakingfortherapy.com/2020/06/06/wow-i-did-this/

In this class, Molly showed us how to make pupcakes 🐶 and oh my word, they were soooo cute!

3 of the 12 different ‘pups’ Molly demonstrated

I was amazed at how quickly they came together, aren’t they adorable? We used Renshaw premium Coverpaste in white, Renshaw precoloured ready to roll sugarpastes, and some Coloursplash gel colours to create the puppers. Like real dogs, they came in all shades of fur!

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop-by-brand/renshaw.html
https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop-by-brand/colour-splash-range-edible-food-colours/gels.html

We started at 10am and did everything in real time, following Molly’s excellent tutoring. Unfortunately, I had a doctors appointment right in the middle of the day, so missed some of it, but when I got back I watched the rest and joined in with the comments and banter! Oh the banter! We have such a giggle in all the groups, and I’ve ‘met’ so many new friends 😀

When you sign up, you’re given access to a private Facebook group where the live sessions are aired, and you can chat with your fellow ‘students’. If you miss any classes for any reason, as I did with my appointment, the class is always there for you to rewatch at your leisure.

This is great for me, as I usually manage to do half the session then watch the rest and finish the next day, or even over 2 days! My body dictates how much I do at any one time nowadays, but this way I don’t feel like I’m missing out!

The whole range of pupcakes!
My ‘Mongrel’ 😆

In Molly’s next class we will be making a standing dog 🐕 This was chosen by a group vote…very democratic…..and we will be using Molly’s Creature Creator mould which she devised to help bakers make novelty cakes with no carving or wasted cake. I’ve used it before and it’s brilliant. I also managed to attend a real class with Molly in the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen just before lockdown, so I feel like I have a bit of a head start 😀 I’m going to try and recreate my own dog this time though….eeeek!

My handsome boy, Charlie ❤️
Molly’s Creature Creator moulds
The result of my previous class!

Well, I’m off now to do some baking in readiness for next week when I have 3 classes!

Until next time,

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Friends, Golden Wedding, Health, Learning, My Favourite Products, Recipes, Therapy

Golden Celebrations!

Hi!

When my old school friend asked me to make a golden wedding anniversary cake for her neighbours, I was very honoured to be entrusted with the task. Especially as all she knew about my cake making skills was the cake I made for our school reunion event in February!

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/bakingfortherapy.com/3308

But any opportunity I get for playing with sugar flowers and liberal use of bling is good with me!

So, I sent her a picture of a golden wedding cake I made for another friend, and she sent me an image, and between us we came up with a design 😀

Little did I know that the timing of this cake was going to coincide with one of the hottest days of the year! 🥵

I started by baking the vanilla sponges, two 8” rounds to be layered into 4. Disaster number one – they sank! I don’t know if it was the heat, the fact that I was using a different baking spread, or I just opened the oven door too soon, but there was no saving them, or so I thought, so in the bin they went 😔

They looked something like this:

Image courtesy of https://images.app.goo.gl/FhyuRfcHkmiduAQL7

If I’d seen this article, I might have been able to make use of some of the cake for cake pops or just with custard as a dessert! If you want to know the various causes of a sunken cake, and some ‘fixes’ I recommend having a read.

https://delishably.com/desserts/Baking-Tips-Why-a-Cake-Sinks-in-the-Middle-and-How-to-Stop-It

The next day I tried again, used my usual baking spread and resisted the urge to peek in the oven too soon and voila! Two perfect sponges! Phew 😅

Image courtesy of https://images.app.goo.gl/6EfWBJWNcVkGEo8h9

So, a day later than scheduled, I divided the cakes into 4 layers and decided to use white chocolate ganache to fill and coat the cake as it sets firmer than buttercream – or at least it usually does! It was so hot, I had to leave it overnight, losing another half day! This is why I need a dedicated cake fridge!

Thinking I was going to have a (literal) meltdown, I contacted my friend only to be extremely relieved to find that although we’d arranged collection on a Friday, the cake wasn’t actually needed until Saturday evening – another phew 😅

Luckily I had pre-made all the flowers using Renshaw flower and modelling paste, and covered the board already, so early Saturday morning I started covering the cake with sugarpaste and adding the quilted effect. I used Select Ireland platinum sugarpaste which is great quality and behaves very well in hot and humid conditions. Renshaw Extra is also good in similar conditions 😀

I have learned most of the techniques needed to put a cake together using ganache from good old YouTube! Here are a couple that I found very helpful 😀

For the recipes I used for the cake and ganache click here

I used two PME 3” deep 8” round cake tins and doubled the recipe. I greased and floured the tins and put a parchment paper circle in the bottom. I also used my PME baking belts (see My favourite products at the end of the post)

For the ganache I used 900g white chocolate to 300ml double (heavy) cream

And finally! I applied the decorations and lettering, then got busy with my Faye Cahill gold lustre dust! This can be dry brushed on to your embellishments or mixed with food grade alcohol to make a paint. There are lots of lustre dust brands out there, and they’re all good, but I must admit, I really like Faye’s range.

I used Sugarflair rejuvenator spirit to mix my paint. I’ve used vodka in the past, but find this works much better. Don’t worry, all the alcohol evaporates as the ‘paint’ dries!

Right at the end I liberally ‘twinkled’ the cake with Sugarflair finishing sparkle in gold. I love this stuff as a finishing touch ❤️ It comes in silver, gold and rose gold in a pump spray, but there are lots of other sparkly colours available in pots too 🌈

Finished and happy, I messaged my friend with a couple of photos, boxed it up and it was collected – socially distanced of course – in plenty of time for the party 🥳 (or whatever passes for a party at the moment!)

I received some wonderful feedback from my friend Joanne, and her neighbours loved the cake, so all’s well that ends well 😀

The moral of the story? Although I already have to give myself plenty of time to tackle a cake project, you can never account for the weather chucking a spanner in the works!

If that happens, take a breath, walk away for a while and think about what ‘fixes’ you can utilise. Most of all, remember why you do it. For me, it’s therapy, so getting stressed kind of defeats the object! When I contacted my friend to say I was behind schedule, she reminded me of that! Thank you Joanne 🥰

That’s all from me for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, and that the ‘how to’ links are helpful.

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

My favourite products