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!
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!
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 🤩
I was really pleased with how it turned out, and, more importantly my friend’s Mum was too!
As you know I’ve been keeping myself sane during the restrictions imposed by the a Coronavirus pandemic by taking lots of online cake ‘classes’
These have been offered by Sugar and Crumbs at really affordable prices, and have been very well received by everyone who has participated.
Carol McFarland, the owner of the company has 3 of her own classes, the Cupcake bouquet class, Nifty Nozzles (Russian piping tips) and the Buttercream flowers class, and there is a whole host of guest tutors including Molly Robbins, Georgie Godbold, Claire Corbett, Hector Rocha, Gerry Chiu, Hannah the Cake Illusionist, and Do Griffin!
In this class, Molly showed us how to make pupcakes 🐶 and oh my word, they were soooo cute!
I was amazed at how quickly they came together, aren’t they adorable? We used Renshaw premium Coverpaste in white, Renshaw precoloured ready to roll sugarpastes, and some Coloursplash gel colours to create the puppers. Like real dogs, they came in all shades of fur!
We started at 10am and did everything in real time, following Molly’s excellent tutoring. Unfortunately, I had a doctors appointment right in the middle of the day, so missed some of it, but when I got back I watched the rest and joined in with the comments and banter! Oh the banter! We have such a giggle in all the groups, and I’ve ‘met’ so many new friends 😀
When you sign up, you’re given access to a private Facebook group where the live sessions are aired, and you can chat with your fellow ‘students’. If you miss any classes for any reason, as I did with my appointment, the class is always there for you to rewatch at your leisure.
This is great for me, as I usually manage to do half the session then watch the rest and finish the next day, or even over 2 days! My body dictates how much I do at any one time nowadays, but this way I don’t feel like I’m missing out!
In Molly’s next class we will be making a standing dog 🐕 This was chosen by a group vote…very democratic…..and we will be using Molly’s Creature Creator mould which she devised to help bakers make novelty cakes with no carving or wasted cake. I’ve used it before and it’s brilliant. I also managed to attend a real class with Molly in the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen just before lockdown, so I feel like I have a bit of a head start 😀 I’m going to try and recreate my own dog this time though….eeeek!
Well, I’m off now to do some baking in readiness for next week when I have 3 classes!
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 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 ❤️
I’d like to begin this post by saying a big thank you to Viki Shaw and her partner for allowing me to share their story today.
I met Viki as she was part of my children’s group of friends, we are a generation apart, but hers is a story that sadly resonates with parents of any age.
I will let Viki tell you in her own words of the journey to becoming Mummy to her two beautiful girls. It’s a narrative of great loss and grief, but also immense joy and happiness, and is testament to the resilience and strength of the human psyche.
I made the rainbow by adding Rainbow dust tylo powder to the sugarpaste and used Coloursplash in purple, pink, blue, pistachio and sunflower yellow to make some pretty pastels. These were rolled into long sausages and attached with PME piping gel to a cake board cut to size.
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 😍
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!
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!
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)
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