I know it’s been and gone, but we did celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee. Just a small gathering in the conservatory and garden, with myself and my daughter in law doing a bit of baking for the occasion 😊
As you can see, we had quite the selection! My daughter in law Abigail made the fabulous red, white and blue cake with chocolate shards, and the brownies.
I also made the Sticky toffee pudding cake and the multicoloured rainbow cake, which was finished with purple to represent the colour scheme of the Jubilee. I also made the cupcakes which were a request from a friend. (see previous post re colour pop)
Hubby Glen and myself were joined by my son James and his wife Abigail, my Mum, Glen’s Parents, and Abi’s Parents. Oh, and Charlie whippet of course ❤️
I hope you all enjoyed your own celebrations if you chose to do so, and the extra day off work if not! 😆
There’s a new way of colouring your cakes and bakes. This new product from Sugar and Crumbs is a water activated powder which produces colours so vibrant you’ll need your sunglasses! I tried it out on this rainbow cake, in both the cake batter and buttercream 🌈
They are aptly named ‘Colour Pop’ and can be activated in water, egg white, cream, anything with a liquid content. I’m really impressed with them!
I also used them on these Jubilee cupcakes. More on the Jubilee next time!
I have reasons, of course I do. But I’m not going to get into them now. Too much time has passed. I’ll just say they were health related and jump back in!
So, I think for this post, I’ll just catch you up on what I’ve been making for my friends and family over the last few months.
Here we go…….
I’ll start with the two most notable events ❤️
Firstly, Back in November, my brother finally got married after postponing twice because of the dreaded covid!
Rustic wedding cake for my brother and sister in law ❤️ Bottom tier chocolate and Irish cream, middle lemon and top carrot cake. Flavoured with Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugars from http://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk All cakes ganache coated and covered with Renshaw coloured sugarpaste #sugarandcrumbsicingsugar #renshawbaking #weddingcake #rusticwedding #treebarktexture
Then in April, my daughter and son in law came over from Bucharest for their stag and Hens!
Us girls went to York on a Viking themed weekend. It was great fun, exhausting but fun!
Everything else! From October to May 🤦🏻♀️
Baptism cake for a little girl. Both tiers chocolate cake, made using Sugar and Crumbs chocolate milkshake icing sugar instead of caster sugar, then using same icing sugar in the buttercream filling. Covered in Select Ireland Platinum sugarpaste. Pink colour achieved with Coloursplash pink. FMM easy rose cutters used for flowers on top. Gold accents courtesy of Sugar and Crumbs bright gold Wonderdust mixed with rejuvenator. #sugarandcrumbs1 #sugarandcrumbsicingsugar #wonderdust #chocolatecake #prettypinkcake #baptismcake #cakesofinstagram🎂🍰
Mr Blippi birthday cake! Flavoured with Sugar and Crumbs delicious lemon drizzle icing sugar and covered in Select Ireland platinum sugarpaste coloured with Coloursplash blue, navy and orange #spongecake #sugarandcrumbs1 #selectireland #coloursplash
Birthday cake for a construction mad 3 year old ❤️ Main cake flavoured with Sugar and Crumbs velvet vanilla icing sugar, cupcakes in lemon drizzle and chocolate milkshake flavour. Covered in Select Ireland platinum sugarpaste. Digger made with Rice Krispie treats and Renshaw yellow sugarpaste. Also used renshaw red and orange #sugarandcrumbsicingsugar #selectirelandsugarpaste #renshawfondant #birthdaycake #vanillasponge #constructioncake #noveltycakes #cupcakesofinstagram #cakesofinstagram
Birthday cake made with Sugar and Crumbs lemon drizzle icing sugar in cake batter and buttercream. Coated in white chocolate ganache using Brigids ganache kit. Covered with Select Ireland platinum sugarpaste coloured with Coloursplash blue and navy. Nick’s children wanted daddy to have tools on his cake, which were painted with S&C Wonderdust silver mixed with rejuvenator spirit #sugarandcrumbsicingsugar #sugarandcrumbs1 #brigidscakeroom #selectirelandsugarpaste #coloursplash #wonderdust #birthdaycake #lemoncake #noveltycake #toolcake
I asked my lovely niece what theme 2nd birthday cake for my great nephew/grandson substitute! (My two refuse to give me grandchildren, so unfair 😆) Apparently he likes Elmo and Woody from Toy story, so I did both! Lemon drizzle flavour in the cake batter and buttercream, white chocolate ganache courtesy of Brigids Cake Room ganache kit, then covered in Select Ireland Platinum coloured yellow, and Mona Lisa red. I marbled what was left for the board and centre trim. I used Fractal red pen to do the check effect, and made a star shape for a sheriff badge painted with WonderDust silver. The toppers aren’t edible, just printed card on lollipop sticks!
Yummy chocolate cake filled with chocolate buttercream, coated with ganache and covered with sugarpaste. Tractor base is RKT and models all hand made from modelling paste 😊#sugarandcrumbsicingsugar #monalisasugarpaste #selectirelandsugarpasteplatinum #saracinomodelingpaste #coloursplashgelcolours #birthdaycake #farmyardcake
If you’re a Terry Pratchett/Discworld fan you’ll know how pleased I was with this cake for my son’s birthday. This year’s birthday cake challenge is based on the second image. I’m super happy with ‘The librarian’ orangutan! The desk is the cake part and is chocolate fudge filled and crumb coated with S&C chocolate milkshake buttercream. Covered in Renshaw brown sugarpaste. The orangutan is made from Saracino modelling paste coloured with orange Coloursplash. Couldn’t resist blinging up the desk handles and decorative features with bright gold wonderdust mixed with rejuvenator. I used the inside of the box to set the scene by sticking some images to the sides. The stone effect floor was achieved with crinkled up tin foil! We celebrated my son’s birthday today and guess what? He said it was my best one yet! ❤️❤️❤️
Here’s a few more bits and bobs and then I think I’m up to date!
I know I know it’s been a while, two months to be exact, and for that I apologise but the positivity of that last post didn’t last, and I didn’t want to lower the mood!
So I’ve left it a while, but now feel able to catch you up on what’s been happening.
If you’ve been following for a while, you know that I have a spinal cord stimulator that helps mask the pain caused by OPLL. The spinal cord stimulator was fitted in 2014 and the battery powered leads were placed according to where my pain was worse at the time.
Recently however, the pain has spread, most embarrassingly to my buttocks. Any pressure in that area has become unbearable, meaning that I can’t sit down for any length of time. Because of pain in my legs, I also can’t stand or walk for long either! A no win situation 😔
I had hoped that the device could be reprogrammed to cover the new areas, but my neuro appointment turned out to be a dis-appointment! They tried their very best, but it wasn’t to be. So I’ve been left having a review of my pain meds instead, which has so far been unsuccessful.
And I’m spending more time in bed lying flat or on my side, which isn’t ideal from a social perspective! Although I am usually joined by the dog so I do have some company 😆
Then about 6 weeks ago, I started getting very acute pain in my neck whenever I tried to turn it from side to side. I’ve been referred to MSK as I’ve had trouble with a disc in that area in the past, but because of Covid, NHS appointments have long waiting lists at the moment.
I won’t lie, it’s really been getting me down, and I haven’t felt like doing much at all.
Then, my daughter’s hen party plans began which lifted my spirits a lot. We also had a ‘zoom’ wedding fitting session which was exciting, and I began to feel better, emotionally at least!
My family keep reminding me how strong I am, even when I don’t always feel it. Surprise visits from my niece and nephew, followed by my brother and sister in law helped enormously too. And I couldn’t do anything without my lovely hubby who bears the brunt of my ups and downs on a daily basis 💗
My Sugar and Crumbs family have kept me distracted with Facebook lives and classes, and a few cake requests have got me up off my backside and actually putting some of my cakey skills into practice. And of course, recent events in Afghanistan have reminded me that there are a lot of people going through much worse.
So, I have lots to think about, to look forward to, and to be grateful for, and I’m now in the right frame of mind to appreciate that.
I’ll end by showing you some photos of cake, because it wouldn’t be a Baking for Therapy post without them would it? And if my friends didn’t keep trusting me with their requests, I wouldn’t have the therapeutic value that creating them gives me!
As of last Monday, I have joined the ranks of the fully vaccinated 😁
My 2nd dose of Astra Zeneca caused me no problems other than a slightly sore arm, and I feel so much safer for it. I know it doesn’t 100 percent mean I can’t catch the virus, or pass it on if I do, but it’s a step in the right direction towards getting back to ‘normality’
We have to wait until tomorrow to find out if all restrictions will be lifted on 21st June here in the UK, but if we have to wait a few more weeks to make things safer for everyone, then so be it.
Last time I posted, I told you that my furbaby Charlie was awaiting major surgery. I’m very pleased and relieved to say, the operation seems to have been a success! Charlie is no longer struggling to get up or walk, and doesn’t seem to be in any pain.
He had a ‘blown’ disc removed, and the misaligned bones at L7 and sacrum were put back in place and pinned and cemented to keep them there. The biggest problem we have at the moment is keeping him still! He wasn’t allowed walks for 4 weeks (11/2 to go!) then he will be allowed 5 minutes, building up slowly to the 6 week mark, when he will have another CT scan to make sure his pins are still in the right place. As long as everything is ok, by 8 weeks we should be able to go back to his normal exercise routine. As you can see he’s quite happy 😃
Meanwhile, I’ve been continuing to learn new cake decorating skills in virtual online classes, and made a couple of cakes for friends this week.
I know I shouldn’t have taken on 2 cakes in one week, and believe me, my body knows it as I’ve practically slept for 2 days! But, as ever, the sense of satisfaction I get is a great boost to my mental health, and I know to block out at least 2 days of doing nothing to recover afterwards. My hubby is my carer and always gets the brunt of this, but is also incredibly supportive.
The first cake I knew would be tricky, as it involved 2 techniques that I’ve never done before. One is a ‘starburst’ or ‘explosion’ effect, and the other involves covering half the cake in one colour sugarpaste, and the other in a different colour! Who knew covering half a cake would be more difficult than a whole one?
I watched the following YouTube video for the starburst
I probably should have looked at a few tutorials on half and half cakes too……..but I winged it 😆
Luckily I had a good base for the cake, having used my Brigids cake room ganache kit. Oh those straight sides and flat top! Absolute game changer for me, as it cuts out the application of the ganache, and the constant scraping round the cake trying to get the perfect finish! Much easier on my painful hands. I’ve now got 3 of them in my most popular cake sizes.
I’m very proud of the cake I achieved, which was Spider-Man/Hulk themed. Although working with dark coloured sugarpaste on a hot day is yet another challenge!
The 2nd cake request I accepted was for twin girls who were 2. I mentioned to Mum that I could make a simple cake (as I had the tricky one also) and chose buttercream for the finish in a watercolour effect. Again, the hot weather was a bit of an issue, and at one point it was in the garage in a box as that was the coolest place (I really need a cake fridge!)
A rainbow and unicorns finished it off nicely 🥰
Recipes for the cakes can be found here. In both cases I used Sugar and Crumbs chocolate milkshake flavoured icing sugar in place of caster sugar in the batter.
See the full range of flavoured icing sugars here and a list of other products used below 😀