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It’s been a while………

Hi,

The last couple of months have flown by, with a mixed bag of events contributing to my lack of posting.

My health has been up and down, with several episodes of ‘fainting’ or inability to respond while still being aware of what is going on around me.

I have history of low blood pressure and of partial complex epilepsy, and it could be either or both! However it seems to have settled down for now 🤞

My gorgeous furbaby Charlie whippet has also been struggling 😢 In October last year, he had an accident and fractured his neck and displaced three discs. He was in ‘hospital’ for five days, but slowly recovered, albeit on a medication regime that seemed to be mirroring mine!

So when he started crying with pain when trying to stand we assumed he had exacerbated this prior injury. But on taking him back to the Small Animal Hospital, a CT scan revealed sacral lumbar stenosis which is so bad, his bones have been pushed out of alignment.

So today, we are taking him back so that they can prep him for surgery tomorrow. It’s very scary, but I know it’s the right option if he stands any chance of a pain free future. We won’t be allowed to visit because of Covid regulations, so it’s going to be a long week!

Charlie in happier circumstances

In amongst all this, I have of course had some welcome distraction by baking for some friends and family members ☺️

First up, I practiced with my new Brigids Cake Room ganaching kit. Instead of using ganache though I used buttercream with confetti sprinkles. Look at those straight sides and neat top! After a tidy up of the bottom edge, I was very impressed with the result, and gave it to my son and daughter in law for their wedding anniversary ❤️

This one was for my lovely mother in law’s birthday. A lemon sponge made by substituting Sugar and Crumbs lemon drizzle icing sugar for caster sugar in a basic Victoria sponge recipe. It was then filled with lemon buttercream and decorated with fresh fruit.

Lemon sponge

Then I made a Sticky Toffee pudding flavour birthday cake for hubby, using the same method, and topping with chocolate pearls 😋

Semi naked Sticky Toffee pudding flavoured cake

For my son’s birthday, I decided to revisit a cake I made for him five years ago, before I began learning cake decorating! Looking at the photos, I think it’s safe to say I’ve improved! In case you’re wondering, it’s a Pokemon character called Bulbasaur. Again, I made chocolate cake using S&C chocolate milkshake flavour icing sugar in the batter. It was then baked in Molly Robbins laying style Creature Creator mould. His head needed to be wider so I used cake dough to do this before covering with milk chocolate ganache made with Callebaut Belgian chocolate Callets and double cream. Once that was smooth (ish!) and set, I covered the whole thing in Select Ireland Platinum sugarpaste that I’d coloured blue with Coloursplash gel colour.

I made his ‘bulb’ out of Rice Krispie treats, then covered in Renshaw’s emerald green sugarpaste.

To add the ‘splotches’ I mixed a bit of the green into the blue sugarpaste, and for the other details I used Renshaw poppy red, and black. My son James provided the plush toy for comparison 😂

Before and after…..what a difference!
Side view
Top view

The next request, from my niece for her partner, really made me giggle 🤭 I mean, do we ever grow up really? For your information……it’s a guitar pedal 😆 Chocolate cake again, ganached and covered with Select Ireland Platinum and Renshaw Poppy red and black.

I’d made too much chocolate sheet cake for the guitar pedal cake, so I decided to join the caterpillar cake club using the offcuts!

I cut them into circles and sandwiched them together with leftover Sticky Toffee pudding buttercream that I’d saved in the fridge from hubby’s cake. The whole thing was then covered in chocolate buttercream and melted white chocolate, drizzled with Callebaut strawberry flavoured chocolate, and decorated with smarties. I added a sugarpaste face and used marshmallows for the feet. The whole cake was made from leftovers and things I had in the kitchen already 😋 I named her Konnie and she was shared out via doorstep deliveries to family members ❤️

My friend then asked me to make a gluten free chocolate overload cake for her son’s 21st birthday. I’ve never made one before, so I was very cautious! I removed all my wheat based products from my work area (they were banished to the conservatory for a few days) and thoroughly cleaned my surfaces, Kitchenaid and any tools I needed…….twice!

The cake itself was relatively easy. My usual batter made with Doves farm gluten free self raising flour, and all three layers came out great. All S&C icing sugars are allergen free so the buttercream wasn’t a problem, and the sugarpaste used on the board was also gluten free.

For the decorations, I chose products based on a list provided by my friend Sam, or double checked the packaging to make sure! I gave Sam the packaging when she collected the cake too 😀 I made the chocolate shards myself from Callebaut chocolate.

Gluten-free chocolate overload cake

I was so pleased with the feedback from Sam, who said it was the best gluten-free cake she’d ever had!

Last but not least, was this Silver wedding cake for Janet and Ken, who count as family as Janet is my niece’s grandma and a lovely lady she is too 🥰 The frog Prince was an unusual request, but apparently that’s what my nieces, Amy and Lucy used to call Ken!

The cake is vanilla, made with S&C velvet vanilla icing sugar, filled with raspberry jam and velvet vanilla buttercream. I then used white chocolate ganache (Callebaut white Belgian chocolate and double cream) to coat, before covering with Select Ireland Platinum white sugarpaste. I made the froggy with Renshaw emerald green mixed with some white and added tylo to make it firmer. For decoration, I used Karen Davies plaited border mould, a rose mould I’ve had for ages, and hand made the little church. I also used a Sugarflair silver sparkle lustre dust, and finishing sparkle pump spray.

And that’s about it! March to May cakes cover a lot of family birthdays including mine which was made for me by my lovely daughter in law Abigail and is pictured below ❤️

My birthday cake 😋

Well, back to reality now, please keep Charlie in your thoughts tomorrow 🤞

Until next time, stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Products used in the cakes in this post:

Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugars

Callebaut Belgian chocolate Callets

Select Ireland Platinum sugarpaste

Renshaw coloured sugarpaste

Coloursplash gel colours

Fractal Calligra edible pens

Sugarflair silver sparkle lustre dust

Doves farm gluten free self raising flour

Karen Davies plaited border mould

Rainbow dust Tylo powder

Sprinkleicious chocolate pearls

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 ❤️

My favourite products

Baking for Therapy, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, chocolate, Christmas, Friends, My Favourite Products, Novelty Cakes, Recipes, Sugar and Crumbs, Therapy

🎼 Rudolph the red nosed reindeer 🎼

Ok, I know that technically Christmas is behind us already, but I couldn’t resist sharing this cutie!

A very chocolatey ‘alternative’ Christmas cake!

This yummy cake is 6” round, 3 deep layers of chocolate cake, made using my vanilla cake recipe but substituting Sugar and Crumbs chocolate milkshake flavour icing sugar for the caster sugar. I made buttercream with the same flavour icing sugar and used it to fill and crumb coat the cake.

After chilling in the fridge for half an hour, I final coated with milk chocolate ganache, made with Callebaut 823 callets, smoothing it as much as I could with a heated tall metal scraper. (To do this I had a tall jug of hot water that I dipped the scraper in, wiping off any excess water on kitchen towel before using)

I made the antlers out of Callebaut milk chocolate callets and free handed piping the shape on baking parchment. I inserted lollipop sticks whilst the chocolate was still wet, attaching them once they were good and set! The rest of the features were made from Renshaw sugarpaste in poppy red, chocolate brown, white and black.

I had some ganache and buttercream left over so I mixed them together and piped some decorative swirls and stars with a Wilton 1M piping tip, adding Sprinklelicious Christmassy sprinkles whilst it was still soft. A liberal dusting of Sugarflair Gold Finishing Sparkle was practically obligatory……I mean it was Christmas!

I placed the cake on a 10” round cake drum covered with Renshaw poppy red and Lincoln green sugarpaste, partially kneaded together to create a slightly marbled effect, then finished off with a red ribbon.

Et Voila!

The recipient of this cake, my friend Steph from Panto, won a cake from me in a charity prize draw earlier this year, and this is what she chose. I had great fun making it and it smelled amazing!

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, chocolate, Friends, Health, My Favourite Products, Recipes, Sugar and Crumbs, Therapy

Pretty in Pink 30th Birthday Cake

Hi!

My good friend Elaine asked me to make her daughter’s 30th birthday cake recently. Having previously made a baby shower cake for her, I had a good idea what flavour she would request! And I was right!

Freya loves chocolate cherry cake 🍒

For the cake itself I modified my vanilla cake recipe by substituting Sugar and Crumbs Black Forest icing sugar for the caster sugar. I also drained a can of cherry pie filling and put the cherries in the batter too. (I got the cherry pie filling just from my local supermarket)

I used 2 x 8” round 4” deep PME pans and cut each cake in half to make 4 layers (double recipe) While the cakes were cooling, I took the remaining liquid from the cherry pie filling and thinned it out with a little boiling water. I brushed this over each cake layer to add flavour and keep it lovely and moist.

For the filling I made buttercream with more Black Forest icing sugar, but to crumb coat the cake I used Black Cherry icing sugar as this remains white in colour.

Once the crumb coat had set in the fridge for 20 minutes, I added Coloursplash pink to a small amount of the white buttercream and set it aside.

I then covered the cake with the remaining white (Black Cherry) buttercream and smoothed it out with my tall metal bench scraper. I wasn’t too bothered about it being perfect at this stage!

I then added random ‘blobs’ (technical term 😆) all around the cake, and kept going round it with my smoother to achieve a sort of watercolour blended finish. For the final few swipes I heated the metal smoother by dipping it in hot water. I find this really helps get a nicer finish 😃 Check out the video below for an in depth tutorial on getting smooth buttercream!

I lightly blended the rest of the buttercream (pink and white) and transferred it into a piping bag with a Wilton 1M star tip that I bought in this set of three but you can also buy it separately It’s easily my most used piping tip for cupcakes so I have several!

I’d previously made some meringue kisses and macarons to decorate the cake with. I used Black Cherry flavour ‘Whipping it Up’ for this step.

Whipping it up was developed by Sugar and Crumbs as a sister product to its flavoured icing sugars and has pasteurised dried egg white added. It is a multi use product that you can use to make meringue, Swiss Meringue buttercream, pavlova, marshmallow fluff, roulade, macarons, shortbread, mousse and……. oh there’s so much I’ll just leave you a link to all the yummy recipes!

https://www.sugarandcrumbsmixingitup.co.uk/?s=Whipping+it+up

Back to the cake! I made a white chocolate water ganache drip and applied that before popping on my kisses and macarons whilst it was still wet. This helped everything to stick nicely!

I had covered a 12” round drum board with Renshaw Premium Coverpaste white marbled with pink, and after transferring the cake to this, I took the piping bag and made a border at the bottom. Waste not want not, I used the rest of the buttercream to add more detail to the top and sides still using the 1M tip.

The lettering on the board was made with PME fun fonts embossers, while the sugarpaste was still soft, and ‘coloured in’ using Fractal Calligra edible pen in red

To finish it off I made white chocolate number lollipops with Callebaut Belgian chocolate in a 3 and an 0!

Finished! Pretty pink and white chocolate cherry cake

I was very pleased with the result, what do you think? It also gave my baking mojo a boost as I’d been feeling a bit down with all this Covid-19 rubbish! Feeling useful is something I’ve been missing lately, and being cooped up doesn’t do much for anyone’s mental health does it? 😞

I hope you are all keeping well….. and reasonably sane!

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, chocolate, Recipes, Sugar and Crumbs, Therapy

Can you ever have too much chocolate?

I recently had another request for a ‘chocolate overload’ cake, but this time the recipient was a big fan of ‘kinder bueno’, so most of the chocolate decorations were to be along this theme.

The week before I was due to make the cake, I dutifully added kinder bueno bars (and a selection of other chocolates) to my grocery delivery, but I must have had a twitchy clicky finger, and accidentally ordered 2 packs of 20 bars! Oops! 😋

Now, I could have put them away in my baking cupboard for the next cake, but hubby spotted them first! I wasn’t aware that he even liked Kinder Bueno, but the ones I didn’t use soon disappeared 😝 I may even have had one myself 😉

One for the cake, one for me……..

The cake was made using a double quantity of my chocolate cake recipe with Sugar and Crumbs Chocolate Milkshake icing sugar in place of caster sugar. It’s the first time I’ve used it in the actual sponge and 😳 it was absolutely delicious! So much so that I ordered a large pack and will be making all my chocolate cakes this way from now on!

Of course it also went in the buttercream, along with some melted and cooled Callebaut Belgian Milk Chocolate for extra stability and chocolatiness! I buy this in callet form as my hands can’t handle chopping chocolate anymore, plus the Callebaut is just gorgeous chocolate 😋

This cake was for a 16 year old boy’s birthday so I tried not to make it too ‘girly’ by cutting back on the bling, but couldn’t resist adding a bit to the board to highlight his name 😁

The finished cake
And the birthday boy!

As always, I bake for therapy not profit. It’s a great hobby for me, helping with my mental health, especially now! It also gets me off my backside when it would be so easy to sit around all day. I may have to factor in a rest period afterwards, but It gives me such a great sense of satisfaction whenever I finish a cake for someone, that it’s totally worth it 😁

That’s all for now

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Other products used:

Cake Drum 12” round

Renshaw Dark Brown Sugarpaste

Faye Cahill Signature Gold

Gold ribbon 15mm