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, Christmas, Fun, Golden Wedding, Pantomime

Guilty as charged…..of neglecting this blog!

Hi all,

I’m ashamed to say that it’s been a month since I last posted!

I’m guessing that, like me, you were all busy busy busy with the run up to Christmas?

Personally, I had other issues to deal with as well, with my husband, who is also my carer, being put ‘out of action’ with a suspected slipped disc 😣

Glen helps me with my personal care, keeps the house clean and tidy, does the laundry, is my ‘chauffeur’, and our little dog’s playmate.

I bake cakes and Chair a Panto Society only because he enables me to do so. Actually that’s not fair, close family and friends also have to take some credit for that! But my husband is there 24/7. He sees both sides. He sees my pure elation when I’ve successfully finished a cakey creation, or come back from a particularly good Panto rehearsal, but he also sees how long it takes for me to recover, and is there to wait on me hand and foot whilst I do! (Or just let me sleep 💤 )

Thank goodness for those aforementioned friends and family! They’ve been amazingly supportive, whilst Glen was frustrated by the slow recovery process. He’s ok now, but unlike me, he’s wasn’t used to limitations on his mobility, so it was hard on both of us. But you have to manage don’t you?

Anyway, back to just before Christmas, and actually even further back to September when at my Macmillan coffee morning, I offered a custom cake as a raffle prize. One of my elderly neighbours won and wanted to give it back because ‘they didn’t have anyone to gift a birthday cake to’. Glen, who had gone round to let her know she’d won, suggested a Christmas Cake, which I was more than happy to do.

Here’s what I came up with, a mix of traditional and contemporary, all liberally ‘twinkled’ with glitter dust!

Top view
Side view

On top of that the general busy-ness of Christmas and New Year has been partly responsible for my neglect, and Panto rehearsals became more intense too, the nearer we got to opening night, (Oh! and I had a couple of cake requests in there too! )

As you know, because of my condition, I have to factor in rest and recovery times from all of the above. Much as I love my therapeutic hobbies, they do incur ‘repercussions’. It’s my responsibility before I undertake any ‘activities’ to decide whether the benefits to my emotional health outweigh the physical after effects. If I think they do, I make sure I’ve allotted a few days to just rest.

Of course, that’s all well and good, but it doesn’t just affect me. I’m well aware that without the support of my wonderful family and friends, I couldn’t do it, for which I’m extremely thankful and blessed.

At home, where I do my baking, it’s usually hubby cleaning up after me then waiting on me hand and foot for a few days, (when he’s not out of action) and at rehearsals I have my Panto family making sure I’m not overdoing anything. I’m a very lucky lady!

Shortly before Christmas we had our annual Panto Christmas party. This was held at Northern Relish, a local venue, and they really did us proud. I go there every week with my Mum to have lunch with my son James who works nearby, so I knew the food was good, but they really exceeded all my expectations. We had a fabulous night, and to say thank you, I took them a cake, Rudolph, pictured below was a rich chocolate cake, with solid chocolate antlers. In fact I used almost a kilo of chocolate altogether!

Rudolph Chocolate Cake

Christmas brought my daughter and her boyfriend home from Bucharest for 5 days. As if that wasn’t enough of a treat, they also insisted on cooking on Christmas Day, and a brilliant job they did too. They actually ended up cooking on Boxing Day too which was an added bonus, but it was just a really lovely family time – minus my son and daughter in law who were in New Zealand and Australia! But that’s ok because we had an early Christmas celebration with them before they went, and spoke to them on the day. We hosted my Mum, Glen’s parents, and my niece and her boyfriend too, so it was still a houseful!

It all flew past in no time at all and then there was Panto! We’ve just had our last night, after a very successful run, and it was a very emotional finale, as our very talented Director, script writer, set designer, performer and my Vice Chairman, not to mention a very dear friend, Edward Munday resigned. His involvement over the past years has seen the Society grow enormously and he will be very sadly missed. I will still see him, his lovely wife Bev and family socially, but Greenbrook Pantomime Society will not be the same without him. There were tears from everyone on Saturday night 😔 showing just how highly he is thought of by those who matter, the adult cast, the children, the parents and everyone who has helped out in any of his fantastic productions 💕

So – the other cakes I’ve made recently included this Golden Wedding Cake for a friend’s parents. I sparkled it up with gold cake lace, flowers and lettering and was really pleased with the result.

And more recently a lady my hubby used to work with asked me to make this pretty white chocolate and raspberry confection for her daughter’s 21st. I do love a bit of glam!

White chocolate and raspberry 21st birthday cake

My next cake is a wedding cake…eek! My friends Edward and Bev, who I mentioned earlier, have a lovely daughter Rebecca who is trusting me with her design. I’m definitely feeling the responsibility of delivering something she and her fiancé Danny will love 💓 but that will be a whole separate post I think!

Well, I think I’ve caught you up with everything now, so I’ll stop waffling!

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Products used:

From Sugar and Crumbs:

Select Ireland supreme silk sugarpaste 5kg

Select Ireland platinum edition sugarpaste 5kg

Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugar – White chocolate and raspberry

Faye Cahill royal gold edible lustre dust

Sugarflair finishing sparkle silver

Sugarflair finishing sparkle gold

Sweet Stamp Vanilla letter set

Patchwork Cutters igloo set

Video tutorial on how to use the Patchwork Cutters Igloo Set

Patchwork Cutters Festive Forest Set

From eBay:

PME Snowflake Plunger Cutter Set

Cake decorating, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Christmas, Health, Pantomime

And breathe!

What a week! Beavering away in the kitchen to get my goodies ready for the Church Christmas Fair, finally having my tooth out, plus Panto Rehearsals………I’m absolutely shattered, but glowing in a sense of achievement 😊

So, the first thing that happened was the tooth saga. This has been going on for well over a month, starting with the dreaded abscess 😔 So painful that I have a new found sympathy for anyone with toothache! Fortunately for me, I’ve never before had toothache like it, and perhaps not been very empathetic when others have described it. It’s a pain unlike any other! Unfortunately for me, it happened on a day that my dentist was closed, so I ended up in the emergency dental clinic. They patched me up and recommended extraction. My dentist wanted to try and save it, and so began root canal treatment. When the pain hit again it was weekend, so…. back to the emergency dentist again. A different one this time, but he also recommended extraction, and that it needed to be done by an oral surgeon. My dentist said no. He would extract it himself. After what felt like an hour of tugging, pulling and twisting, he gave up after only managing to remove half of the tooth! Finally, I was referred to the proper clinic, where they had to cut my gum to get the rest out. This was 6 days ago and it’s still really sore 😷 and the stitches haven’t dissolved yet. Unsurprisingly, I’m thinking of changing my dentist!

On to the Christmas Fair. I had made quite a few things in advance, but they still needed packaging up, and some things had to be made nearer the time. I ended up last minute, after planning my week so that I wasn’t doing too much every day, best laid plans eh? First the tooth thing happened, then on the Wednesday, I’d forgotten we were going for afternoon tea with my in laws as a pre Christmas treat. On Friday I delivered some cakes, which turned out to be an hour and a half round trip due to bad traffic, and I wasn’t sleeping well because of the toothache (gum ache?) so kept falling asleep during the day too! Anyway, I got there eventually, and had a lovely morning. Pantomime Society opened the fair with Christmas carols, and a sneak preview of our opening number from ‘Cinderella’, and I (just about) managed to get my stall set out in time thanks to my friend Elaine 😊

Pumpkin jam, Apple and Cranberry chutney, Mincemeat

Selection of home made fudges

Mini Panettone

Christmas Mug set (see below for snowman stirrer, then add a treat or two and package in a Christmassy mug. Wrap in cellophane and curling ribbon) I got these mugs from

home bargains

Cute little Snowman hot chocolate stirrers

Christmas Cake in a paper cup!

The whole shebang (apart from the gingerbread which forgot to photograph)

Father Christmas made an appearance, to the delight of the kiddos…..well most of them! I suppose a large chap in a red suit might be a bit scary for a toddler lol 😋

By the time I got home, I just wanted my comfy chair, Charlie on my knee, a good cuppa and a nap! After snoozing away most of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, I was refreshed enough for Pantomime rehearsal, where fortunately my task of going through the songs with the cast was quite relaxing for me 🎶

So, resting is on the agenda again today. It’s really cold out, there’s snow on the ground, the Christmas tree lights are twinkling, the fragranced candle is lit and I’m snug as a bug!

If you’re out and about today, watch out for icy conditions, and as always

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤

Mini Panettone, Paper cup Christmas Cake, Pumpkin jam found on Pinterest

Apple and cranberry chutney – BBC Good Food

Snowman hot chocolate stirrers made by combining two Pinterest finds

Mincemeat – tweaked Whitworths recipe (I substituted some of the fruit with soft apricots and cranberries)