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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, 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, 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

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Friends, Fun, Health, Learning, Recipes, Therapy

Anyone fancy a run?

Side view

Hi guys!

I made this cake a few weeks ago for a friend of my son. It’s the first time I’ve made any kind of footwear out of cake!

I was very apprehensive about this, but I was given a photo and managed to find the brand online and download a template which was very helpful!

I had to use a bit of artistic license as the original was quite a flat running shoe rather than a trainer, and there simply wouldn’t have been enough cake!

Front view

As per the request, this was a chocolate cake, and for stability I used a yummy chocolate ganache for the filling and coating. You can find the recipes for both here.

I used the same cake for the box, and googled the ‘tick’ for images to use as a stencil. Before covering the box, I inserted five bubble tea/milkshake straws. This adds stability and makes sure it can hold the weight of the shoe cake. The shoe cake is also on its own cake card which I custom cut from a large square 12” card. It’s always handy to have one of these for odd shaped cakes!

The shoe is covered in my favourite sugarpaste Select Ireland platinum, which has amazing stretch and is really easy to work with when you need a smooth finish.

Select Ireland platinum white

For novelty cakes that need texture like this one for example

Westie made using Molly Robbins creature creator

I prefer Renshaw Premium Coverpaste, as it’s softer.

For the the box I used Renshaw Poppy red and Renshaw Jet black. I find for deep colours it’s always better to use a precoloured paste as you would have to use a shed load of colouring to get the right shade! There would also be a heck of a lot of kneading involved, which my poor hands wouldn’t be able to cope with! For small quantities of pastel colours, I mix myself with my preferred brand of gels from Coloursplash. For the writing I used a black Fractal Calligra brush pen. This is by far the easiest edible pen to use in my opinion!

Full range of Colour Splash gel colours

The shoe and box are sitting on a 12” round drum board which I covered in Renshaw Lincoln Green which I textured with a brand new unused nail brush!

Other tools used in the making of this cake are 8” square PME cake pan, Cakes by Berina flexi smoothers, small offset metal spatula, serrated knife for carving the cake. All my favourite products can be found here.

All in all, this cake took me three days to make, but I was really pleased with the result for a first attempt 😀

I hope I’ve inspired you to ‘have a go’ at something that is outside your comfort zone? In these strange times, I’m finding my baking even more therapeutic than usual I must admit. It gives me a reason to get off my backside when it would be so easy to wallow! And if you’re going to try new things, whether it’s being creative with cake or something entirely different, then now is your perfect opportunity! 😀

Whatever you choose to do, I’d be delighted to hear about it, so feel free to drop a message in the comments box 📦

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baby Cakes, Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Friends, Health, Recipes, Therapy

A Very Special Birthday Cake 🌈🌈

I’d like to begin this post by saying a big thank you to Viki Shaw and her partner for allowing me to share their story today.

I met Viki as she was part of my children’s group of friends, we are a generation apart, but hers is a story that sadly resonates with parents of any age.

I will let Viki tell you in her own words of the journey to becoming Mummy to her two beautiful girls. It’s a narrative of great loss and grief, but also immense joy and happiness, and is testament to the resilience and strength of the human psyche.

https://rainbowtwinmum.wordpress.com/2019/11/28/grief-gratitude/

Summer Violet and Isabella Rose just had their first birthday and I was lucky enough to make it!

The two cakes were chocolate and vanilla, both baked in PME 6” round x 3” tall baking tins, using PME baking belts. to ensure even baking.

See recipe page The vanilla cake was filled and coated with buttercream, for the chocolate I used ganache.

Both cakes were then covered in Select Ireland platinum sugarpaste coloured with Coloursplash pink.

I made the rainbow by adding Rainbow dust tylo powder to the sugarpaste and used Coloursplash in purple, pink, blue, pistachio and sunflower yellow to make some pretty pastels. These were rolled into long sausages and attached with PME piping gel to a cake board cut to size.

I used Cake Star Mini letters and Numbers , and FMM cloud shaped and heart shaped cutters from this set for decoration. The cakes are on a sugarpaste covered rectangle drum board 14”x10”

I’m not going to say any more, I’ll just leave you with the picture ⛈🌧🌦🌈🌈

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️