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

How are you coping with lockdown fever?

Hey everyone

Here in the UK, we’ve now had 2 months of ‘lockdown’, and I must say that for the most part, it has been rigorously observed. Community spirit has never been better, with heartwarming stories everywhere about what people are doing to help others cope with being isolated.

My hobby is being supported brilliantly by frequent Sugar and Crumbs Facebook ‘lives’ broadcast several times a week, either by Carol McFarland or Karen Griffith from S&C itself, or guest tutors filming in their own homes. Each time, we are shown how to achieve a different recipe. These are absolutely free to access, and you can do so via the Facebook page ‘Sugar and Crumbs with Nifty Nozzles’. All you need to do is like the page and you’ll be notified every time there’s a tutorial 😀 You can also find all their past ‘lives’ there or on their YouTube channel, so there’s no excuse to get bored anytime soon!

Carol has also featured on ‘Cakeflix’ another cake community run by Paul Bradford. He and his partner have set up ‘Caking all over the World’ and have got lots of renowned ‘Cakers’ doing guest slots for them.

If Cake isn’t your ‘thing’ try searching for something that is! Crafters TV (Crafters Companion) is also providing ‘lives’ for its followers. This company is owned by Sara Davies of ‘Dragon’s Den’ fame, and they have lots of different activities to join in with. Whatever your hobby, I’m willing to bet there’s something out there to keep you from lockdown fever!

Since my last post, there has been another Cupcake bouquet class too. Sadly I wasn’t able to do it along with Carol and my fellow ‘bouqueteers’ on the day, as I wasn’t feeling too well, but I watched it all and managed to produce my bouquets a few days later. The great thing is that I can rewatch both previous classes anytime I like, and any others going forward 😀 There’s a mini nozzles class already set up for 26th May, and another full class scheduled for June 13th. Although this is a paid class, it’s extremely good value for money, as it’s a one off payment giving you access to every previous and subsequent broadcasts! At £50, it’s an absolute bargain, and as it’s online it can be watched from anywhere in the world! If you’d like to join the merry band of ‘bouqueteers’, click the link here: Cupcake Bouquet Class

Along with my new bouquets, I’ve also made another Pokemon themed cake since I last saw you. This one is ‘Gengar’ and was made for Robb, my niece’s fella who had his birthday last week. You might recall that my niece, Amy, had a beautiful baby boy two months ago. Lockdown has prevented any of the family having a cuddle yet, but we are being kept well provided with daily photos. He’s way too young to appreciate Pokemon cake, but Robb has two girls from a previous relationship, and they waited to cut it until they were there ❤️

Gengar ……bit of a Cheshire Cat vibe going on
My gorgeous Great Nephew, Zach
The girls enjoying a slice of the Gengar cake

Gengar was made from purple velvet cake (red velvet with purple food colour instead of red!) with purple tinted white chocolate buttercream. The whole cake was then covered in sugarpaste* I also got the opportunity to try out a new gadget ‘the lil’ rolly’ by the company ‘Evil Cake Genious’ and I must say, I’m impressed! It is for smoothing out ridges and bumps in buttercream, ganache and Royal Icing, and resembles a tiny paint roller** Evil Cake Genius is an American company but Sugar and Crumbs is their uk supplier, and does currently have stock. There’s a brief video tutorial by Evil Cake Genius on YouTube here: and a more in depth one by Sugar and Crumbs where Carol tries it out for the first time here:

Before and after using the lil’ rolly!

*I used Select Ireland Supreme Silk White, and Renshaw Deep Purple Renshaw Tiger Orange, Renshaw Jet Black, Renshaw Emerald Green (mixed with white) Gandar has one support dowel (milkshake straw) right down the centre and is sitting on a.10” round cake drum

**This product is food safe. Please do not use any similar items from a diy store!

Well, that’s all for now, keep caking, crafting, sewing or whatever is keeping you sane!

Most of all

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 ❤️