It’s been a strange 2020, and so far 2021 isn’t looking much different!
Despite that, my friend’s daughter Freya decided to get married on New Year’s Eve, and her mum, Elaine asked me for some cupcakes for a very cosy family hen party just before Christmas. It was so lovely to find some joy in the middle of the COVID-19 chaos, and I wish the happy couple a long and happy life together ❤️
At the same time, Freya requested 40 macarons. I’d previously used some as decorations on her birthday cake ‘Pretty in Pink’. I’d used Sugar and Crumbs cherry flavour Whipping it Up to make them, and she liked them so much, she wanted more!
As I said, I used Sugar and Crumbs Whipping it Up to make the macarons. It’s basically flavoured icing sugar with pasteurised egg white powder added, and is a multi use product that makes Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Mousse, Pavlova, Meringue, Shortbread, Macarons, Marshmallow fluff, Roulade and lots of other yummy recipes! It comes in lots of different flavours too! Much easier than separating eggs, then having to find a use for the yolks! Here’s the recipe for the macarons I used half the 500g bag and got about 50 macarons! Coloursplash pink was used to colour them ❤️
This was almost my last request of 2020, almost! There’s just one more cute cake to tell you about in my next post!
This cake was the third in a series of classes with the lovely Georgie Godbold…..online of course, but a live class nevertheless.
Unfortunately, Georgie had an unavoidable family situation so was unable to take the class herself. Rather than cancel, Gerry Chiu from Studio8Cakes very kindly stepped in 😁
Because this was a paid class, I can’t reveal the techniques we were taught, but I can show you the finished cake!
I made this back in September and it was my Mum’s birthday cake. Mum loves sewing so it came just at the right time!
I used my vanilla cake recipe but substituted the caster sugar with Sugar and Crumbs raspberry ripple icing sugar. For the buttercream crumbcoat I used lemon drizzle flavour. I love the raspberry/lemon combination, it’s so refreshing…..like pink lemonade 🥤
All the participants, whether watching to do later or taking part on the day had an absolute blast! These online classes are so much more than just tuition. It’s a chance to ‘get together’ with my online friends from Sugar and Crumbs and share some much needed light hearted banter too.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Carol McFarland from Sugar and Crumbs for setting up these online classes with some extremely talented tutors including Molly Robbins, Gerry Chiu, Georgie Godbold, Oli the Choc, Dawn Butler, Do Griffin, Hannah the ‘Cake Illusionist’ and not forgetting the Cupcake bouquet, Buttercream Flowers, and Nifty Nozzles Classes that Carol herself hosts!
I’m even more thankful for all the free Facebook live sessions that Sugar and Crumbs have been doing throughout the Pandemic 😷 This is in addition to the regular sessions, so there’s barely a day goes by that I don’t look forward to checking in with Karen Griffiths, Carol McFarland or a guest tutor to learn how to make something yummy 😋 With so many people struggling with their mental health at the moment, I can honestly say they’ve been an absolute lifeline, and I know that the rest of the S&C family will concur 🥰
Note to family: There’s plenty of edible Christmas gifts coming your way!
Much to my disappointment, I’m rarely asked to make Halloween goodies, and especially not this year!
But it got me wondering…..what’s your go to Halloween theme? Do you prefer ‘Trick’ (scary)
or ‘Treat’ (cute)?
As I haven’t had the opportunity to bake anything this Halloween, I thought I’d give you a few examples from each category 🎃
From the ‘Trick’ section, take a look at these terrifyingly realistic creations from ‘Epic Confections’, ‘How to Cake it’ and ‘The Lovely Baker’
For ‘Treats’ try these from ‘Cakes by Lynz’, ‘The Icing Artist’, and ‘Sugar and Crumbs’
And for a bit of both, how about these clever two sided cakes from Koalipops?
I hope you find something you like in there! There are so many to choose from the talented cake artists I follow 👻 🎃 🧙♀️
Like I said, I haven’t done many, but I dug through my photo archive and found these to show you 😀
I hope you have fun with your boys and ghouls today. I have my pic n mix ready just in case any local kiddies and their parents decide to do some social distanced ‘Trick or Treating’! (If not, I’ll just have sweeties for me 😀)
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 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!
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
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.
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!