Baking for Therapy, Cake decorating, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, chocolate, Inspiration, Learning, Love, Recipes, Sugar and Crumbs, Valentines

Valentine’s Day Ideas

I have to admit, I don’t get asked for Valentine’s treats so much, which is a shame as there are so many great ideas out there ❤️

I love the idea of these cake filled chocolate geometric hearts ♥️ They could be given as they are in some pretty packaging, or as part of a treat box with other items, like decorated cookies, cupcakes, fudge, marshmallow, brownies, home made truffles etc

A lovely soft Fudge can be made in the microwave, coloured red or pink and cut with a heart shaped cutter. You could even make it more decadent by covering it in chocolate! Make sure you use a chocolate friendly colouring medium though!

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/sugarflair-edible-chocolate-paint-pink-35g.html

Home made marshmallow is nothing like shop bought, and can also be cut into a heart shape! See tutorial below for recipes for home made fudge AND marshmallow 😋

For cookies you can’t go wrong with a delicious shortbread recipe, which you can then decorate with royal icing, sugarpaste, glacé icing and sprinkles! If you’re good at piping you could even write a message!

Or what about melt in the mouth Viennese Whirls? The following tutorial uses moulds but there’s no reason you can’t use a heart shaped cutter ☺️

Macarons can be made in any shape you like and are always a favourite. Pretty them up with some edible lustre dust for extra bling!

Chocolate lollipops are easy to make if you follow the next tutorial from ‘Oli the Choc’

As are meringue lollipops, as shown here

How about delicious, squidgy in the middle chocolate brownies? Rich and decadent and oh so easy to make 😀

And we can’t leave out the humble cupcake can we? So easy to make and decorate with a Valentine’s themed sprinkle mix, or if your piping skills allow, give as a beautiful cupcake bouquet 💐

I learned how to make and put together cupcake bouquets in this class, which is still ongoing so amazing value! The next class starts on 17th February and is the first of this year’s series

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/beautiful-cupcake-bouquets-online.html

A simple ganache truffle is absolutely delicious on its own, but can also be dipped in chocolate and decorated 😋

And did you know you can make boozy ganache? Check out Oli again below for vodka truffles, how to make a chocolate ‘Holy Grail’ bark, and some great tips on tempering your chocolate easily, just using the microwave!

Of course, you can always make your loved one a Valentine’s cake all for themselves. There are some lovely examples below ❤️

And if you have leftover cake, don’t let it go to waste, it can still be made into delicious treats!

So, there’s plenty here to give individually or to make up a delicious treat box. And I think we all need a treat don’t we? The option for a romantic evening out may not be there this year, so bring the romance to you!

I hope I’ve given you plenty to think about and that you’ll try a few of the ideas for yourself. If you do, please tag me on Facebook and Instagram, I’d love to see the results ❤️

You might find the following links useful too:

Whipping it up multimix: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop-by-brand/whipping-it-up-by-sugar-and-crumbs.html

Cookie moulds: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop-by-brand/karen-davies-silicone-moulds.html

Lollipop sticks: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop.html?cat=44&type=189

Cupcake cases: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop.html?cat=298

Cupcake, cake, macaron boxes etc: https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop.html?cat=48&p=2

Have fun, love and take care of each other, and, as always

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

My favourite products

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Health Update & Minnie Mouse inspired 1st birthday Cake

Hi! Hope you are all doing well 😊 I have to admit that during these past 10 months ‘Baking for Therapy’ has never been more of a therapeutic tool for me!

In between taking online courses run by Sugar and Crumbs, and the odd cake request, it’s been a lifeline for my mental and physical health. I’m still struggling I have to admit, some days I find it really hard to motivate myself and end up spending the day in pjs. In the online class groups, we’ve nicknamed them ‘baking scrubs’ 😆

I know there’s lots to do round the house, but some of it I can’t physically do, so I just look at it and get frustrated! Other things I could do if I tackle it in bite size chunks but even the slightest exertion at the moment brings me out in a sweat. I think being confined to the house for so long has weakened my already admittedly poor physical health. I find myself in ‘CBA’ (can’t be arsed) mode because I know whatever I do is going to tire me out and, going off past experience, will lead to a couple of ‘recovery days’ when I will mostly sleep!

So I’m very thankful to my friends who have asked me to make cakes, as it means I have to plan my days, and once I start, I do enjoy the process. My lovely hubby makes sure I rest in between each process, to minimise the after effects, and when I hand over the finished cake, I feel a brilliant sense of achievement, which is a great boost to my mental health too ❤️

This pretty Minnie Mouse inspired 1st birthday cake was for my friend’s granddaughter and the last cake before Christmas, Christmas Eve in fact!

It’s a simple Vanilla cake, made using Velvet Vanilla icing sugar instead of caster sugar in the batter. Covered mostly in buttercream with sugarpaste elements like the ears, spots, bow and frill. I added CMC/Tylo powder to the sugarpaste for the ears and bow, so that they would stand up on their own! (See tutorial below) I then set it on a marbled sugarpaste 12” drum board, and used PME fun fonts and Faye Cahill signature gold lustre for the lettering. A pretty cerise pink ribbon finished it off nicely 😁

And this is how it turned out! What do you think? Check out below for the recipe. I’ll also leave links to the products and tools I used.

Cake Recipe

Tools and Ingredients:

  • Preheat oven to 150C Fan
  • Prepare 3×6” round cake pans. I grease mine and use a parchment circle in the base.
  • You will need:
  • 250g baking margerine
  • 250g Sugar and Crumbs Velvet Vanilla icing sugar
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 250g sifted Self Raising Flour

Method:

  • Whip the margarine in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment until light, pale and creamy.
  • Add the Velvet Vanilla icing sugar and chop it in by hand until mostly incorporated, then beat on medium speed until fully mixed. Scrape down the bowl to make sure.
  • Add the eggs one at a time. If the mixture curdles slightly, add a tablespoon of flour with each egg.
  • Mix the flour into the batter by hand, then beat for about 20 seconds on med – high speed.
  • Transfer the batter to the 3 x 6” prepared round cake pans.
  • Bake at 150 C fan for approximately 30 minutes. Every oven is different so keep an eye on it and check with a skewer in the middle of the cake if you’re unsure. If it comes out clean, it’s ready!
  • Allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool fully

Buttercream Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 250 g butter, softened
  • 500g Velvet Vanilla icing sugar
  • Coloursplash pink gel
  • Warm pre boiled water – optional

Method:

  • Whip the butter in stand mixer with paddle attachment until increased in volume, very pale and creamy – about 6 minutes
  • Add the icing sugar and mix or ‘chop in’ with spatula before beating until it comes together. Add colouring if using. Scrape down, then beat on med-high speed for 20 seconds. Add water a tablespoon at a time if consistency needs loosening up.

If, like me, you’re in need of inspiration, I highly recommend taking a look at the online classes offered by Sugar and Crumbs, and don’t forget, there are free tutorials on the Sugar and Crumbs with Nifty Nozzles Facebook page regularly 😍

That’s all for now

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Products and Tools used:

Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugars

Parchment paper circles

Colour splash pink gel food colour

Select Ireland Platinum sugarpaste

Renshaw pre coloured black sugarpaste

Tylo (CMC) powder

Drum boards 12mm

PME fun fonts

Faye Cahill signature gold lustre dust

Palette knife

Metal scraper 6”

Metal scraper 10” (for taller cakes)

Spatula

Tutorial for marbling sugarpaste

Tutorial for covering a cake in buttercream

Tutorial on adding tylo to sugarpaste

Tutorial for sugarpaste bow

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🎼 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 ❤️

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Pretty Cotton Reel Cake

This cake was the third in a series of classes with the lovely Georgie Godbold…..online of course, but a live class nevertheless.

Unfortunately, Georgie had an unavoidable family situation so was unable to take the class herself. Rather than cancel, Gerry Chiu from Studio8Cakes very kindly stepped in 😁

Because this was a paid class, I can’t reveal the techniques we were taught, but I can show you the finished cake!

Cotton Reel Cake featuring Georgie’s trademark ‘sugar wobblies’ animals

I made this back in September and it was my Mum’s birthday cake. Mum loves sewing so it came just at the right time!

I used my vanilla cake recipe but substituted the caster sugar with Sugar and Crumbs raspberry ripple icing sugar. For the buttercream crumbcoat I used lemon drizzle flavour. I love the raspberry/lemon combination, it’s so refreshing…..like pink lemonade 🥤

https://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk/shop-by-brand/sugar-and-crumbs/icing-sugar.html

For the models and other edible items I used Renshaw flower and modelling paste, and to cover the cake I used Select Ireland Platinum sugarpaste.

The mould for the scissors is from Patchwork Cutters

All the participants, whether watching to do later or taking part on the day had an absolute blast! These online classes are so much more than just tuition. It’s a chance to ‘get together’ with my online friends from Sugar and Crumbs and share some much needed light hearted banter too.

I’d like to say a big thank you to Carol McFarland from Sugar and Crumbs for setting up these online classes with some extremely talented tutors including Molly Robbins, Gerry Chiu, Georgie Godbold, Oli the Choc, Dawn Butler, Do Griffin, Hannah the ‘Cake Illusionist’ and not forgetting the Cupcake bouquet, Buttercream Flowers, and Nifty Nozzles Classes that Carol herself hosts!

All the classes are available here 😀

I’m even more thankful for all the free Facebook live sessions that Sugar and Crumbs have been doing throughout the Pandemic 😷 This is in addition to the regular sessions, so there’s barely a day goes by that I don’t look forward to checking in with Karen Griffiths, Carol McFarland or a guest tutor to learn how to make something yummy 😋 With so many people struggling with their mental health at the moment, I can honestly say they’ve been an absolute lifeline, and I know that the rest of the S&C family will concur 🥰

Hopefully I won’t be making this much mess, but there are no guarantees 😆

Note to family: There’s plenty of edible Christmas gifts coming your way!

If you’d like to join in with the live sessions, all you need to do is find ‘Sugar and Crumbs with nifty nozzles’ Facebook page…that’s it! Easy peasy 😀

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Fortnite Cake …….again!

This Fortnite cake is for the same young man I made the last one for, I can’t believe a year flew by so fast!

It seems that as the game evolves, different elements become popular. This time a ‘battle bus’ needed to be incorporated into the design, so off I went to good old google images!

For my cake I just needed a topper as it was to be one of a few elements.

After trying unsuccessfully to use a kinder egg as the balloon (too heavy) I eventually raided my cake stash for a polystyrene egg instead. It was probably a bit small scale wise, but otherwise worked perfectly. Note to self: buy bigger polystyrene eggs!

It’s not an exact copy of the actual bus, more a representation! I think to get all the details right I would need to make an actual ‘Battle Bus’ cake! Maybe next year Josh? 😉

I used Renshaw flower and modelling paste for all the toppers, coloured with Coloursplash gels.

I used a double batch of my chocolate cake recipe, chocolate buttercream, and milk chocolate ganache under the sugarpaste, which is Select Ireland Platinum coloured green. Renshaw yellow was used for the lettering which was created using Cake Star Push Cutters

Josh with his cake 😁

Josh looks really pleased with his cake, and apparently when he saw it he said ‘that’s definitely a Debbie cake’ bless him. Josh is one of the kids from Panto and even though I’d decided when I resigned the chairmanship this year, that I wasn’t going to be involved, I’m really missing the rehearsals and get togethers which usually start in September, and I can imagine the frustration and disappointment that the pandemic has brought to the society, and lots of amateur theatre groups this year. Let’s hope we can all get back to normal soon and live theatre, both amateur and professional will be back in our lives sooner rather than later!🤞

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️