Baking for Therapy, Cake decorating, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, chocolate, Inspiration, Learning, Love, Recipes, Sugar and Crumbs, Valentines

Valentine’s Day Ideas

I have to admit, I don’t get asked for Valentine’s treats so much, which is a shame as there are so many great ideas out there ❤️

I love the idea of these cake filled chocolate geometric hearts ♥️ They could be given as they are in some pretty packaging, or as part of a treat box with other items, like decorated cookies, cupcakes, fudge, marshmallow, brownies, home made truffles etc

A lovely soft Fudge can be made in the microwave, coloured red or pink and cut with a heart shaped cutter. You could even make it more decadent by covering it in chocolate! Make sure you use a chocolate friendly colouring medium though!

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/sugarflair-edible-chocolate-paint-pink-35g.html

Home made marshmallow is nothing like shop bought, and can also be cut into a heart shape! See tutorial below for recipes for home made fudge AND marshmallow 😋

For cookies you can’t go wrong with a delicious shortbread recipe, which you can then decorate with royal icing, sugarpaste, glacé icing and sprinkles! If you’re good at piping you could even write a message!

Or what about melt in the mouth Viennese Whirls? The following tutorial uses moulds but there’s no reason you can’t use a heart shaped cutter ☺️

Macarons can be made in any shape you like and are always a favourite. Pretty them up with some edible lustre dust for extra bling!

Chocolate lollipops are easy to make if you follow the next tutorial from ‘Oli the Choc’

As are meringue lollipops, as shown here

How about delicious, squidgy in the middle chocolate brownies? Rich and decadent and oh so easy to make 😀

And we can’t leave out the humble cupcake can we? So easy to make and decorate with a Valentine’s themed sprinkle mix, or if your piping skills allow, give as a beautiful cupcake bouquet 💐

I learned how to make and put together cupcake bouquets in this class, which is still ongoing so amazing value! The next class starts on 17th February and is the first of this year’s series

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/beautiful-cupcake-bouquets-online.html

A simple ganache truffle is absolutely delicious on its own, but can also be dipped in chocolate and decorated 😋

And did you know you can make boozy ganache? Check out Oli again below for vodka truffles, how to make a chocolate ‘Holy Grail’ bark, and some great tips on tempering your chocolate easily, just using the microwave!

Of course, you can always make your loved one a Valentine’s cake all for themselves. There are some lovely examples below ❤️

And if you have leftover cake, don’t let it go to waste, it can still be made into delicious treats!

So, there’s plenty here to give individually or to make up a delicious treat box. And I think we all need a treat don’t we? The option for a romantic evening out may not be there this year, so bring the romance to you!

I hope I’ve given you plenty to think about and that you’ll try a few of the ideas for yourself. If you do, please tag me on Facebook and Instagram, I’d love to see the results ❤️

You might find the following links useful too:

Whipping it up multimix: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop-by-brand/whipping-it-up-by-sugar-and-crumbs.html

Cookie moulds: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop-by-brand/karen-davies-silicone-moulds.html

Lollipop sticks: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop.html?cat=44&type=189

Cupcake cases: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop.html?cat=298

Cupcake, cake, macaron boxes etc: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop.html?cat=48&p=2

Have fun, love and take care of each other, and, as always

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

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Baking for Therapy, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Friends, Fun, Hen party, Love, My Favourite Products, Recipes, Sugar and Crumbs, Therapy

Lockdown Hen Party Cupcakes

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!

Pretty in pink birthday cake

Freya loves chocolate cherry flavours, so to make the cupcakes, I swapped caster sugar for Sugar and Crumbs Black Forest icing sugar in my cupcake recipe, then Black Cherry icing sugar in the buttercream. I used a Sprinkleicious blend called ‘Starry Night’ for decoration and some custom edible toppers from an eBay seller to finish off ❤️

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 ❤️

40 Black Cherry macarons sandwiched together with Black Cherry buttercream

This was almost my last request of 2020, almost! There’s just one more cute cake to tell you about in my next post!

Until then

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Family, Fun, Health, Love, Therapy

Cupcake bouquets and strange birthday cake!

Hi everyone, hope you are all still keeping safe and well as we reach week 6 of lockdown!

It’s been taking its toll on everyone I think. As someone with chronic pain issues I can honestly say that physically it hasn’t made much difference, but mentally and emotionally, I have to admit I’ve had a few ‘moments’

Who knows what triggers them? A few nights of not sleeping well added to the stress of isolation and speaking with my family on ‘Zoom’ as welcome as that was, seemed to do it for me. I was just lying on my bed after a shower and burst into tears! Then immediately felt guilty for doing so, as I know people are in much worse situations than me 😔

However, after my ‘venting session’ I did feel better, so don’t feel guilty, just allow yourselves a bit of the kindness you show to others, and let it out. Your feelings are just as important as anyone else’s, whatever the source, and putting on a brave face in public doesn’t mean you can’t have a damn good cry in private if it eases the stress. None of us have ever faced this kind of situation before, so there are no rules for coping mechanisms! Let that good old British stiff upper lip wobble a bit if it helps 😂

Anyway, moving on! On 29th April I ‘attended’ a class with a difference! For the first time ever, Carol McFarland from Sugar and Crumbs hosted an all day online class using Facebook live. She was teaching us how to make cupcake bouquets from 10am to 7pm! (With breaks)

Prepping the day before!

It was an absolutely fantastic experience with a lovely bunch of people, and in amongst the learning, we had lots of banter and laughs.

I had intended following along as far as I could ‘live’ and then watching it back later if I needed to catch up, but I made it through the whole session! Much to my surprise I might add!

A big thank you to my hubby for keeping me supplied with tea and food throughout, and for coping with my exhaustion the day after, but it was one of those times when the benefits, especially the emotional ones, outweighed the consequences. I had such a great sense of achievement that it was a fantastic boost to my system, and it definitely broke the monotony of lockdown, that’s for sure!

Some of my cupcakes before assembly!

The class cost just £50 and that admitted me into Carol’s Cupcake Bouquet Facebook Group and access to the ‘live’. The great thing is, that once you’re in the group, you also have access to any subsequent bouquet classes and regular updates on new techniques that Carol has promised to add going forward. The first class was such a success that there is already another planned for May 13th, so I get to do it all again, or just watch and learn. Carol has said that she will be showing us how to do something different every time she does a new class so I’m excited to see what is in store! Plus, I’m a little more confident having already done it once!

7 cupcake bouquet
3 x7 cupcake bouquets and 1×3

Above is what I achieved on the day. I decided to split my 24 cupcakes into 3×7 bouquets and 1×3 as I had recipients in mind. My mother and father in law, sister in law and partner, and my son and daughter in law each got a 7 cupcake bouquet and the little one went to my Mum 😍 They were all highly delighted with them, as was I 😀

If you would like to join next weeks class, there’s still time, but there will also be another one running in June! The link is below 😍

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/beautiful-cupcake-bouquets-online-read-product-info.html

So, now on to the ‘strange’ Cake! Well it was a mystery to me! If you are familiar with Pokemon characters, maybe not so strange for you 😂

My son was 34 on May 3rd, and although my daughter in law is an excellent baker, I have more of an interest in novelty cakes, so traditionally I make one for him every year. Lockdown made delivery a slightly different process but we managed!

So this year my daughter in law Abi suggested I make this little fella

Cute isn’t he?

He’s a ‘Grookey’ Pokemon and I immediately thought of using Molly Robbins creature creator mould as the base for the shape. I used the standing style mould for this and widened the head with cake pop dough.

The standing mould is the darker colour

I made the cake using Sugar and Crumbs chocolate honeycomb flavour icing sugar in place of caster sugar. Added the cake pop dough and galaxy cake bars for the front legs and covered the whole thing with milk chocolate ganache.

Once the ganache had set I covered the cake with sugarpaste. I wasn’t brave enough to do it all in one go, so I did the front and back separately. Molly recommends Renshaw Premium Cover Paste for 3D cakes as it’s softer and easier to blend. I coloured it with Wilton leaf green gel colour. I used a large ball tool to indent two spaces for the eyes to sit in 👀

I then spent a little time smoothing out the icing as best I could before adding the details. I made the ears and the pieces for the top of the head the day before to allow them to harden up a bit!

After covering the board, this was the final result!

So there he is, my first ‘Grookey’ Cake 😀

For the delivery, I rang James, my son, to tell him we were on our way and he let us into the back garden to say happy birthday and hand over the cake. It was a bit strange all sitting in garden chairs 2 metres apart but the weather was fine and Abi had made a pot of tea and home baked croissants for us to have while we chatted.

After returning home, we got ready for James’s birthday party, which took the form of a family ‘Zoom’ quiz! All in all, it was a lovely day considering the restrictions. Thank goodness for technology eh?

Today is VE Day, so I’m going to end this post to go and bake some goodies for my neighbours. There may not be a street party, but there will definitely be cake! 😂

So, until next time,

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Family, Fundraising, Health, Love, Pantomime, Therapy

Lockdown!

Hello friends

How are you all coping with the restrictions currently placed on our lives?

Here in the uk, we are into our 4th week of the special measures put into place to try and halt this terrible virus. Covid-19 has turned the world into a very strange place hasn’t it?

Because some of my medication lowers my immune system, I am in social isolation. My husband who has asthma also falls into this category. He is also my carer, so we are being very careful.

Food is being delivered to us, either by the supermarket (when we can get a delivery slot!) or by our son and daughter in law. Modern technology has been a boon for keeping in touch with family and friends, especially our daughter and her fiancé who live and work in Romania. They are currently teaching virtual classes to their pupils from their home!

What are you doing to fill your time? Are you working from home? Or are you part of the army of people on the frontline working to keep us all safe?

If you are, then I applaud you. You are all heroes in my eyes. I really hope that when this is all over, the world has a new found and lasting respect for all that you do. And that the community spirit that has arisen stays within us all.

For Carers in all aspects of society

Checking in on our neighbours should be something that we all do, virus or not, and speaking to the older generation, it’s how it used to be. When did we stop? When did most of us become so self absorbed that we forgot the simple actions that make us a community?

If anything positive has come out of this crazy situation, it is that while we have had to become more distant from each other physically, we’ve become much closer emotionally.

At this time of year, I would normally be baking up a storm, as our family has lots of celebrations between March and May. Starting with my daughter in law Abi’s birthday at the beginning of March, there’s also my brother in law, myself, mother in law, husband (60th!) and son. In amongst that there has been Mother’s Day, a 65th wedding anniversary and Easter, all times when we would have been together as a family. A young couple I was making a wedding cake for have had to cancel their plans, as have my brother and his partner.

But these are small sacrifices in order to stay as safe as possible.

My birthday wasn’t a complete wash out though 😃

Back in February, my lovely hubby bought both Abi and I a cake decorating experience at the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen with the wonderful Molly Robbins. It took place on Sunday 15th March, and I did wonder whether to go I must admit. At the time, the government were advising us not to go anywhere there was likely to be a lot of people in close proximity to each other. I had already backed out of attending the Awards Evening for the Pantomime Society after taking advice from my GP, but the cake class was small, and I was reassured by the precautionary measures that were being taken, so off we went.

I’m so glad we did! It turned out to be the last time I went anywhere other than the doctors!

Abi and I had a brilliant day decorating 3D cake doggies under the expert guidance of Molly. It was our first time in the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen, and a fantastic experience. Carol McFarland and her husband John made everyone feel very welcome in what is essentially their home, and the other ladies in the class were all really friendly. It’s definitely an experience I would like to repeat once things get back to ‘normal’

We decorated cakes baked in Molly’s amazing Creature Creator mould, with the addition of her new product, the ‘standing legs’

I have previously used the mould to make a laying down Unicorn cake (see below) so was already a fan, and was very excited to try something new.

What we all achieved on the day is testament to Molly’s expert tuition! The innovative design of her Creature Creator moulds and now the Creature Feet, are truly a game changer for making 3D cakes. Look what I made! Isn’t he adorable?

Here’s Molly to explain what we got up to!

Molly’s moulds come either as ‘laying down’ style, which you can then add the four leg Creature Feet to, or the ‘standing’ style with two legs!

Standing style mould in the foreground and laying down style in the back.
Four legged Creature Feet
Two legged Creature Feet

Molly’s products can be bought at Sugar and Crumbs or directly from her own website, www.mollyscreaturecreator.com😃

However, mine and Abi’s cakey creations pale into insignificance compared to what my eldest niece produced just before that on March 8th! My first great nephew 🥰

Zachary James Ray
Congratulations Amy and Robb on the safe arrival of your beautiful son ❤️

Unfortunately, because of the lockdown, I haven’t been able to go for a cuddle yet, but Amy is sending daily photos to our family chat group, so I’m building up quite an album! And as a bonus, I can tease my brother Mark about being a Grandad!

On my actual birthday, I was going to bake myself a cake, but was persuaded not to by my hubby. He had a good reason though, as that evening my son and daughter in law arrived and sang happy birthday to me from the end of our drive, complete with a gorgeous cake baked by Abi 💕

Happy Birthday from a safe distance!
My lovely birthday cake 😀😋

I also set up a fundraiser on Facebook for my birthday, and thanks to my generous friends and family, raised £150 for the NHS in my area 😀

Well, I think that’s all for now

I know I always say it, but more than ever, please stay safe and healthy!

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Family, Fun, Health, Love, Therapy

Where have I been?

Hi everyone,

Sorry it’s been a while!

The last month has been a bit bleurgh health wise, and before you ask, no it’s not about the dreaded Coronavirus!

No, I’ve just been trying to shake off an infection, that refused to go away! I ended up taking two courses of antibiotics over 3 weeks before I felt human again 😞 The culprit was a urinary tract infection and if you’ve ever suffered from this, you’ll know how painful and unpleasant it can be! It really knocked me off my feet for a while but after the first course of antibiotics, I did manage to make a little birthday cake for my sister in law before the darn thing came back again!

It was quite a simple little cake, lemon flavoured with Sugar and Crumbs icing sugar, but I was so pleased with the water colour effect buttercream I achieved. It was soooo pretty! I used purple, lemon and pink, but the effect can be achieved using any colours you like 😀

So pretty!

Here’s how you do it.

First bake your cakes and let them cool. I use PME cake strips for an even bake. You need to bake a little lower and slower, but the end result is a light, moist and fluffy sponge. I used my vanilla cake recipe, but swapped out the caster sugar for Sugar and Crumbs lemon drizzle flavour icing sugar. Anywhere you would use sugar, you can swap for a flavoured icing sugar, it’s so versatile and very yummy!

Check out the whole range of flavours here

I also used it in my buttercream, lots of lemony goodness!

Stack your cakes using filling of your choice, I used buttercream and lemon curd, then use your buttercream to apply a thin coat all over the cake. This traps in any crumbs, and is called a crumbcoat (funny dat 😆) Let that firm up in the fridge for around 15 minutes, then apply a more generous coat of the buttercream, smoothing it out as best as you can using either a metal spatula or bench scraper. There’s a YouTube tutorial on how to do that here by Cupcake Jemma

Divide the remaining buttercream by however many colours you want to use for your watercolour effect. I used three, and I’ll leave the links to the colours I used below.

Then, using your spatula, swipe small amounts on to the sides of your cake at random intervals. Using a bench scraper or spatula, lightly blend the colours using the same technique you use for smoothing your buttercream (see above YouTube link)

To see a more in-depth description on how to achieve the water colour effect, click on the following link, also by Cupcake Jemma, where she shows a non baker ( Tom Daley) how to do it!

You can either smooth it all out completely, or leave it with a textured look. Both look beautiful in my opinion.

Finish off by piping some swirls on top, and adding sprinkles and a pretty border around the bottom of your cake. Et Voila!

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️