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, Cake decorating, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Classes, Friends, Fun, Health, Learning, Novelty Cakes, Prizes, Therapy

Cute Castle and Dragon Cake

Hi!

Just a quick post today 😀 Please read to the end for a giveaway opportunity!

On Friday I shall be ‘attending’ an online class attempting to make this gorgeous cake 🥰

The class runs from 10am until we’ve finished, and is hosted at the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen. The tutor is the wonderful Gerry Chiu

There’s still time to join if you fancy having a go yourselves by the way! It only costs £30 which is absolutely amazing value for a full day class!

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/cute-dragon-and-castle-with-gerri-chiu-online.html

Access to the class is via a private Facebook group, and the best thing is it’s then yours forever. So, if like me you’re unable to tackle it all in one day, you can do some of it, do none of it and watch first or any combination of the two!

Anyhoo, the point of this post is that I’ve decided to offer my version of the cake to one of you! You will have to be local I’m afraid, as it will need to be collected, but apart from that, all you need to do is follow my blog and leave a comment and your name.

I will then use this handy dandy spinny wheel thingamajig from wheelofnames.com to input everyone’s names, give it a whirl and whoever it lands on will win 😀🥳😀🥳

https://wheelofnames.com/

I’m going to run this until Thursday 17th at 6pm to give the winner the option of choosing the colours.

On the day, I will be doing 2-3 hours, then following along from the comfort of my recliner for the rest of the class. I know from experience that it’s better for me to break it down into 3 or 4 sessions, otherwise I won’t be able to function for a week! So, I’m hoping to get some prep done on Thursday and have the cake finished by Sunday 🤞

So, please leave your names/comments as instructed and Good Luck!

As always, stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Classes, Fun, Health, Learning, Novelty Cakes, Recipes, Therapy

Honey honey, how you thrill me aha!

You might be forgiven for thinking this post is all about ABBA’s greatest hits, but you’d be wrong! (Wonderful though they are!)

I’m a bit of a muso though, and I often find songs popping into my head that are related to what I’m doing, in this case a gorgeous beehive cake I recently made on a live online class.

Remember the Teapot cake? Well the Beehive is the 2nd of 3 classes I’ve signed up for with the very talented Georgie Godbold.

Georgie Godbold’s Beehive Cake

Georgie is well known for decorating her cakes with what she calls ‘Sugar Wobblies’. These are cute figures like the bees 🐝 and the little mice on the Teapot. Adorable aren’t they? 🥰

All the classes I’ve been ‘attending’ have been organised by, and run from The Sugar and Crumbs kitchen, which is large enough for social distancing to be observed between the tutors and the camera operator, and have been broadcast live on Facebook on given dates.

Now, I’m lucky enough to be able to join in on the day, but I’ve usually followed along for the morning and watched the rest to finish off over a couple more days. I do it that way because of my pain and mobility issues, but lots of participants do it at a later date because of work or other commitments.

The format works because although every class is filmed live, it’s then yours to keep going back to forever! It came about because of lockdown, but is actually a brilliant way to teach. It means classes can be offered at a very affordable price because more people can actually take part than would physically fit in the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen, big as it is! (Even without the current situation) Plus no travelling arrangements to make as you do it all in your own home 😄

It’s actually become a standing joke that most of us do them in our pjs! I know I do!

Anyway….to the cake! Now the bad news is….I can’t actually tell you how to make it, it is a paid class after all! But the good news is….you can still join in the fun! Yay! 😁 This particular series of 3 full day classes costs just £60…..yes that’s right £20 per full day class! Amazing value!

Click the link to find out more…. and remember, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, because you do it in your own home 🙂 The next ‘live’ class is on the 8th September, but you will also get access to the Teapot and Beehive to do at your leisure ❤️

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/georgie-godbold-sugar-wobblies-online-8th-september-2020.html

Here is what I achieved and I’m so pleased with my little self!

The full 360 degree!

What I can tell you is that I used a Madeira Sponge recipe and substituted Sugar and Crumbs lemon drizzle flavour icing sugar for caster sugar in the batter. I also used it in the buttercream 😋 You can find the recipes here: https://bakingfortherapy.com/recipes/

And if like me, you’ve now got an ABBA ‘earworm’ click below for a little treat!

More treats on the way!

Until then, stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

My favourite products: https://bakingfortherapy.com/products-i-use/

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

Wow! I did this!

Hi everyone

Hope you are all keeping safe and well in these strange times. What sort of lockdown changes are happening where you are?

I have to admit I’m a little uneasy about some of the lockdown measures being eased so soon, what do you think?

Although we obviously have to take care of ourselves physically, the statistics show that more people are suffering with their mental health whilst coping with the pandemic. As someone who deals with this on a daily basis, I know how important it is to look after this aspect of my life. For me, it’s baking, which I manage to do by carefully planning a schedule that isn’t going to ‘break me’. Sometimes though, you just have to decide which is more important. Doing something you love releases pain relieving endorphins at the time, but you have to be prepared for the ‘crash’ on the following days. Don’t give up doing what you love – whatever it is – but allow yourself time time to rest and recuperate afterwards is the advice I was given 😍

From a notice board at Royal Preston Hospital

One of the things keeping me sane at the moment is ‘attending’ some online cake classes. The most recent one has been with the lovely Molly Robbins of channel 4’s ‘Extreme Cake Makers’ (UK)

I showed you in my last post what I would be making, and promised to show you the results, so here I am fulfilling that promise!

I made the cakes about 3 days before and froze them. I used Sugar and Crumbs lemon drizzle flavour icing sugar in place of caster sugar and vanilla in my go to vanilla cake recipe. Lemon is one of my favourite flavours! 🍋 I made a traybake while I was at it too 😋

The shortbread for the ‘fries’ was done the day before, so I was as prepared as I possibly could be!

Shortbread ‘fries’

The days running up to the online class (Friday) had been a bit fraught to say the least. On Monday I had one of those horrible headaches behind the eyes and felt a bit nauseous. I had been taking advantage of the beautiful weather, so maybe I’d got too much sun in the garden 🥵 On Tuesday I was fine, and got my baking done, but on Wednesday I was really ill and stayed in bed all day 😔 By Thursday I was ok again (shortbread day) but was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up in the class the following day.

Luckily, once you’re in the private Facebook group where the class is streamed, you have permanent access to it, so I had the option to just watch it and do it later, or try and follow it ‘live’

In the end, I did a bit of both! I managed the morning session and watched in the afternoon. That way I could still ask questions and interact with my fellow class members.

The group has been named ‘Molly’s Cake Club online’ and let me tell you, we have so much fun in there! The banter between us all is hilarious and everyone is so friendly and helpful 😀

I finally finished my project, and here’s the result guys!

Fast Food Cake!

From start to finish, including prep it took me four days, but I’m so proud of it! Everything is edible apart from the straw and the box lid!

The only problem I had was what to do with it! It’s far too much for hubby and me, so a quick look at my Facebook friends list and voila! One of my friends has a birthday this weekend and was absolutely delighted when I offered it to her 😀 Happy Birthday Marcia 🥳 and thank you so much for the flowers, they are beautiful 💐

Click the link below to learn how you could achieve this and have access and a sneak peek at the future classes that are planned (next month it’s cute doggy cupcakes)

Woof erly

Here is the link:

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/molly-s-cake-club-online-24-july-2020.html

My next class is with Georgie Godbold making this beautiful teapot and little mice 🐭 on June 30th

How cute is this?

The link for this class is:

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/georgie-godbold-sugar-wobblies-online-30-june-2020.html

Then there’s another cupcake bouquet session. Can’t wait to see what new flowers we’ll be making in July 🌷

Beautiful buttercream flowers

To access this class go to:

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/beautiful-cupcake-bouquets-online-read-product-info-1.html

And remember, it’s online so you can be anywhere in the world and still join in the fun! And you only pay once for multiple projects. That’s my sanity saved, and worth every penny!

Just so you know, I’m not sponsored in any way by Sugar and Crumbs! I just love the ethics of the company and the way they really look after their customers 💕 and if you are looking for a supplier of all things baking related, you won’t go wrong!

Well, I think you’ve probably had enough of my waffling by now, so I’ll sign off

Until next time

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 ❤️