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Telling it like it is…..

It’s been some time since I last posted, so I thought I would catch you up on what’s been happening over the last two months.

My mother in law was in hospital for 7 weeks (not Covid related) and we were all very worried for her. She’s home now but needing care. She’s not in our bubble so it’s very frustrating not to be able to help more, but hopefully will continue to recover.

I have seen an increase in my anxiety levels, partly I’m sure from worrying about her, but also in general. As you know, my distraction techniques include learning more about cake decorating in online live classes – Thank you Sugar and Crumbs – and I’ve also been trying some mindfulness exercises.

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop.html?cat=144

Getting Started with Mindfulness

In a bid to distract myself as much as possible, I’ve been baking for my friends, which is great for my mental health, but does take a toll on my physical issues.

As always, it’s a precarious balancing act between the benefits and the outcome, and I don’t always get it right!

In my online class groups I’m the joker, (amongst others!) who always has a quip ready, and I love the camaraderie in there, it really lifts my mood. But each bake or class also takes a few days to recover from.

My poor husband bears the brunt of this as my carer, and has become used to the transition from ‘Joker’ to ‘Zombie’! He really is the only one who sees this side of me, but is so supportive as he knows it keeps me sane and feeling useful.

But with his Mum being ill, he’s had more than me to worry about obviously, and I’ve been doing my best to support him too. As if the pandemic wasn’t enough to be anxious about eh? 🤦🏻‍♀️

This past week, I’ve also been filling in my PIP award review. Although not as detailed as the original form 5 years ago, it does ask about any changes. This meant going over the answers from last time in order to ascertain if there had been any. Unfortunately, this brought back everything from my accident, diagnosis, surgeries, counselling and therapies from 2012 to present. All the things I try not to think about, suddenly rushing back to haunt me once again!

I know the review is necessary, but it took me a long time to be able to look forward instead of dwelling on the past, and it was a bit of a shock to the system to realise how close to the surface it still is. But it’s done now, so hopefully I can get back my positivity!

Mother in law home, hubby had his first vaccination (he’s older than me) and I have mine tomorrow. We’re moving in the right direction 😊

My lovely mother in law shortly after she was allowed home from hospital 😊

So rather than this post being about one cake, I’m going to thank you for letting me ramble on, and just show you some pictures of all the cakes I’ve made since January and end on a positive note!

I hope you are finding your own ways of dealing with this strange situation we’ve been in for the past 12 months. We’re only human and it’s normal to have some anxiety and stress, and not to beat ourselves up about it, so I’m sending positive vibes to each and every one of you.

Keep doing whatever it is you do to keep sane!

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, 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 ❤️