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

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

Just ‘Cruising’ along

A month or so ago, I was asked to make a very special 90th birthday cake………in the shape of a cruise ship!

Never one to shy away from a challenge, I found a reasonably simple design that the family was happy with, made myself a template and set sail!

I started by making vanilla Madeira cake using my large rectangular roasting tins, so that I could carve the shapes of the different layers. Once happy with that, I sandwiched them together with buttercream before (very) roughly coating the whole thing with white chocolate ganache

A very messy crumb coat!

Once that was set, I applied a second coat and smoothed it out ready for the sugarpaste. After applying a base of white, I then started making all the little details that would make what looked a bit like a wonky shoe look more like a ship!

I covered the cake directly on the board as it was so big, and decided to finish it off in situ.

After adding the finishing touches, this is what it looked like 👀

The finished cake

I’m happy to report that the recipient was delighted with it! 😁

Birthday boy Peter ❤️

You can find the recipe for the Madeira cake here and the buttercream here (I used Sugar and Crumbs Velvet Vanilla icing sugar)Velvet Vanilla

I used Select Ireland Platinum white, and Renshaw ready to roll sugarpaste for the coloured details.

I really hope you like it as much as I enjoyed making it 🥰

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, chocolate, Classes, Friends, Frozen, Fun, Fundraising, Health, Learning, Novelty Cakes, Recipes, Sugar and Crumbs, Therapy

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