Baking for Therapy, Birthday, Cake decorating, Cake decorating products, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration, Family, Fundraising, Health, Love, Pantomime, Therapy

Lockdown!

Hello friends

How are you all coping with the restrictions currently placed on our lives?

Here in the uk, we are into our 4th week of the special measures put into place to try and halt this terrible virus. Covid-19 has turned the world into a very strange place hasn’t it?

Because some of my medication lowers my immune system, I am in social isolation. My husband who has asthma also falls into this category. He is also my carer, so we are being very careful.

Food is being delivered to us, either by the supermarket (when we can get a delivery slot!) or by our son and daughter in law. Modern technology has been a boon for keeping in touch with family and friends, especially our daughter and her fiancé who live and work in Romania. They are currently teaching virtual classes to their pupils from their home!

What are you doing to fill your time? Are you working from home? Or are you part of the army of people on the frontline working to keep us all safe?

If you are, then I applaud you. You are all heroes in my eyes. I really hope that when this is all over, the world has a new found and lasting respect for all that you do. And that the community spirit that has arisen stays within us all.

For Carers in all aspects of society

Checking in on our neighbours should be something that we all do, virus or not, and speaking to the older generation, it’s how it used to be. When did we stop? When did most of us become so self absorbed that we forgot the simple actions that make us a community?

If anything positive has come out of this crazy situation, it is that while we have had to become more distant from each other physically, we’ve become much closer emotionally.

At this time of year, I would normally be baking up a storm, as our family has lots of celebrations between March and May. Starting with my daughter in law Abi’s birthday at the beginning of March, there’s also my brother in law, myself, mother in law, husband (60th!) and son. In amongst that there has been Mother’s Day, a 65th wedding anniversary and Easter, all times when we would have been together as a family. A young couple I was making a wedding cake for have had to cancel their plans, as have my brother and his partner.

But these are small sacrifices in order to stay as safe as possible.

My birthday wasn’t a complete wash out though 😃

Back in February, my lovely hubby bought both Abi and I a cake decorating experience at the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen with the wonderful Molly Robbins. It took place on Sunday 15th March, and I did wonder whether to go I must admit. At the time, the government were advising us not to go anywhere there was likely to be a lot of people in close proximity to each other. I had already backed out of attending the Awards Evening for the Pantomime Society after taking advice from my GP, but the cake class was small, and I was reassured by the precautionary measures that were being taken, so off we went.

I’m so glad we did! It turned out to be the last time I went anywhere other than the doctors!

Abi and I had a brilliant day decorating 3D cake doggies under the expert guidance of Molly. It was our first time in the Sugar and Crumbs kitchen, and a fantastic experience. Carol McFarland and her husband John made everyone feel very welcome in what is essentially their home, and the other ladies in the class were all really friendly. It’s definitely an experience I would like to repeat once things get back to ‘normal’

We decorated cakes baked in Molly’s amazing Creature Creator mould, with the addition of her new product, the ‘standing legs’

I have previously used the mould to make a laying down Unicorn cake (see below) so was already a fan, and was very excited to try something new.

What we all achieved on the day is testament to Molly’s expert tuition! The innovative design of her Creature Creator moulds and now the Creature Feet, are truly a game changer for making 3D cakes. Look what I made! Isn’t he adorable?

Here’s Molly to explain what we got up to!

Molly’s moulds come either as ‘laying down’ style, which you can then add the four leg Creature Feet to, or the ‘standing’ style with two legs!

Standing style mould in the foreground and laying down style in the back.
Four legged Creature Feet
Two legged Creature Feet

Molly’s products can be bought at Sugar and Crumbs or directly from her own website, www.mollyscreaturecreator.com😃

However, mine and Abi’s cakey creations pale into insignificance compared to what my eldest niece produced just before that on March 8th! My first great nephew 🥰

Zachary James Ray
Congratulations Amy and Robb on the safe arrival of your beautiful son ❤️

Unfortunately, because of the lockdown, I haven’t been able to go for a cuddle yet, but Amy is sending daily photos to our family chat group, so I’m building up quite an album! And as a bonus, I can tease my brother Mark about being a Grandad!

On my actual birthday, I was going to bake myself a cake, but was persuaded not to by my hubby. He had a good reason though, as that evening my son and daughter in law arrived and sang happy birthday to me from the end of our drive, complete with a gorgeous cake baked by Abi 💕

Happy Birthday from a safe distance!
My lovely birthday cake 😀😋

I also set up a fundraiser on Facebook for my birthday, and thanks to my generous friends and family, raised £150 for the NHS in my area 😀

Well, I think that’s all for now

I know I always say it, but more than ever, please stay safe and healthy!

Debbie ❤️

Baking for Therapy

Who wants to see a very girly birthday cake?

Hi everyone

I recently bought Molly Robbins Creature Creator moulds from Sugar and Crumbs after watching her demonstrate them at one of their Social Mornings.

The first thing I did when I got home, and I mean literally the same afternoon 😂 was make a unicorn with the laying down style mould. One of my sons work colleagues saw a picture of it and asked me to make one for her granddaughters 3rd birthday. The original one I made was white….

But apparently little Reys favourite colours are pastel pink and lilac, so this time I changed it up a bit 🦄 She also wanted chocolate cake (see recipe page)

After baking, I made up some milk chocolate ganache and gave the cake a couple of coats which gave me a lovely firm base for the sugarpaste. I coloured some white ‘The Sugarpaste’ with Wilton pink gel colour for the main body of the cake, and then did the same in smaller amounts with Wilton lemon yellow, purple, blue and leaf green from a set of 8 that I’ve had for a while, but it’s still available from Sugar and Crumbs. I’ve linked it at the end of the post.

I took some of the lemon yellow and added tylose to it to make the horn. Tylose makes the sugarpaste harden like gum paste. I tried making a paint with Sugarflair gold lustre dust and vodka, but it wasn’t going on very well. It kept streaking, so I left it to dry then dry dusted it instead, which worked much better 😀

I shaped the legs as per Molly’s instruction leaflet, but instead of adding the snout after covering the cake, I put it on underneath, attaching it with cocktail sticks and edible glue and leaving it to dry for a while before covering with the pastel pink.

After that, it was playtime! I tried a different ‘hairstyle’ this time around. Added some ears and the horn,

Pastel marbled sugarpaste on the cake drum, and the horn pre lustre!

and then it was time to play with my new Sweet Stamps set!

I’d marbled some of the pastel colours together to cover the cake drum, which I was really pleased with, it looked so pretty 😍 Then I impressed ‘Happy Birthday Rey’ with my Sweet stamps, and painted inside the impressions with gold. I’m so impressed (pun intended) with this set. I don’t have a steady hand due to my nerve damage, so having those beautiful guidelines was perfect. Mine is the ‘Vanilla’ set but they do quite a few different ones and they all look gorgeous ❤️

After adding a pink ribbon to the drum, I gave everything a quick spritz with PME pearl lustre spray, which finished it off with a beautiful sheen.

And here she is!

Little Rey absolutely loved it, and feedback on the cake itself was that it was delicious 😋

I’m so pleased that I got to make another Unicorn, and can’t wait to see Molly’s new ideas for the moulds at November’s Sugar and Crumbs Social Morning. Christmas themed so should be amazing 🎅🏼

Next time, something completely different!

Until then

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

See the amazing range of products from Sugar and Crumbs here including the Wilton gel colours set

Baking for Therapy

Girl fanning on Molly Robbins!

If you’ve ever watched Extreme Cake Makers on channel 4, you’ll know exactly who Molly Robbins is, but for the less cake obsessed of you I’ll explain.

The series showcases lots of very talented cake makers, creating stunning and challenging cakes. One of these is Molly. She has a background in special effects and worked in the film industry before getting the baking bug. If you’ve ever seen her cakes, there’s no doubt that she’s brought the skills she learned in her previous career.

Molly specialises in carved cakes which are a wonder to behold! Just take a look at her Facebook page to see what I mean https://m.facebook.com/mollyscreativecakes/community/?ref=page_internal&mt_nav=0

Last Saturday I had the chance to meet her in person when me, my Mum and my daughter in law Abigail went along to a Sugar and Crumbs Social morning. Molly was there as a guest host and demonstrated her new product ‘The Creature Creator’

There are two very well made, sturdy silicone moulds that enable you to bake a basic shape, then use it to create any cake you want without carving a thing! It means less wasted cake, needs no internal support, and saves hours of painstakingly shaving off bits of cake trying to get the perfect base. It’s a definite game changer for hobbyists and professionals alike. As a bonus, it’s dishwasher safe too 😀

There are two moulds. One is for a laying down figure, and one a sitting up figure. Amazingly, Molly demonstrated how to decorate them both in under an hour! All whilst chatting to her audience, and the whole thing being filmed and going out on Facebook live!

Molly in action and my fangirl pic!

It was my first time at one of the Sugar and Crumbs Social Mornings, but it certainly won’t be my last. We had such a fun time 😀 On arrival, we were all given a free raffle ticket and the opportunity to buy more. The prizes included both cakes that Molly had just decorated, more beautiful cakes that had been made by Carol, the founder of Sugar and Crumbs, and her team (including a very on trend fault line cake)

The most beautiful raffle prizes ever!

There was also a raffle for ten bags of the innovative S&C flavoured icing sugars, which my daughter in law was lucky enough to win, and generously shared with me and Mum. It was all very informal, and the S&C team were so friendly and welcoming that it would be rude not to go back to be honest 😂

After the demo, we were treated to cake (of course) and a cuppa, got time to chat, and then let loose in the S&C warehouse to do some shopping! I bought a mould (I already had one 😍) and some other bits and pieces (they have a fantastic range of products!) and when we were leaving, we all got a free bag of chocolate honeycomb flavoured icing sugar. Then because I’d spent over £20, I got another free bag! Rose and Mint flavour which sounds very interesting. Sugar and Crumbs is an online shop and this offer is still on by the way 😉

When I got home, I couldn’t wait to try out one of my moulds, and we just happened to be having a family get together on Sunday, which was excuse enough for me (like I need an excuse 😂)

I decided to use the laying down style, and make a unicorn 🦄 You get a recipe and full instructions for a couple of designs in the box. Neither of these was a unicorn however, but Molly was selling the instruction booklet for it at the demo, so we bought one. Unfortunately it was in Abi’s handbag, but undeterred, I remembered that Molly had demonstrated it on a previous S&C Facebook live. So with the help of my very good friend Youtube, I was all set!

In the instructions, Molly recommended greasing and flouring the mould. I’d definitely stick to that. I used cake release, and had a bit of bother getting it out, but a bit of gentle persuasion, and it thankfully came out without any damage. I baked it on Saturday afternoon, crumb coated and covered with a white sugarpaste base (I used Renshaw Premium) then did all the fun stuff, adding all the details, on Sunday morning.

Lemon Madeira baked in the laying down mould, with lemon buttercream, white sugarpaste, coloured sugarpaste, gold edible lustre

I used Molly’s lemon madeira recipe, and S&C lemon drizzle icing sugar in the buttercream. On a side note, I also got 12 cupcakes out of the remaining batter! I must admit, I’m quite pleased with my first attempt 😀 Can’t wait to try the sitting up one next!

I’ll keep you posted when I try it, but until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❤️

Products used:

Renshaw White Premium Coverpaste

Renshaw black ready to roll icing

Faye Cahill signature gold edible lustre

Wilton primary gel colours set (mixed with the white to make the pastels)