Sunflowers and summer blooms…

 

Matt and Jemimah – Photograph kindly supplied by Ben Photography, Truro
When Matt and Jemimah asked me earlier in the year to make their wedding cake I was over the moon to be given the colour scheme of powder blue and sunflowers especially for an August wedding when the sun should be shining high in the sky. There was something distinctly seasonal about their wedding with the bride choosing to have her bouquet made of only the flowers that would be blooming at this beautiful time of year.  This is perfect for a wedding in Cornwall where we are all proud of the produce and seasonal beauty available here.

Summer Blooms – Image kindly supplied by Ben Photography, Truro

It is particularly lovely when a bride and groom have a few simple asks and then they allow you to create a cake that is unique to their special day and Matt and Jemimah were very much the perfect customers!

Flavour wise a rich, indulgent fruit cake would fill the first two tiers of the cake – matured over several months and happily soaked in delicious spiced rum.  The final tier of the wedding cake; a simple vanilla sponge with vanilla buttercream to please those with more simple tastes in life.

The cake was then decorated with summer blooms and wildflowers in mind – the sunflowers being the centre stage of the design that cascaded around the cake as though a gently breeze had guided the flowers in their path.

I wish the beautiful bride Jemimah and her new husband Matt all the very best for the future!

The cutting of the cake! Image kindly supplied by Ben Photography, Truro

Advertisements

how did Justin Bieber end up atop my Christmas Cake?

Before we start strange blog topic I know.

It is now January 4th and hopefully everyone is well rested, stuffed to the brim with sweet goodies and ready to kick their New Year’s Resolutions into 2012 with a bang! A couple of weeks ago I posted a sneak peak of the choir boys that would sit atop my Christmas cake this year and without knowing it (and completly oblivious to it until my 15yr old sister pointed it out!) I had created the pint sized pop star Justin Bieber out of sugar….not sure realistically how I feel about this but I still think they are all super cute!

So below are the final pictures of my Christmas Cake for 2011 I hope you enjoy and it gives you something to think about when you attempt a Christmas Cake in 2012!

 

Happy New Year to all the readers of this blog – I hope 2012 brings much love, happiness and cakey goodness into your lives!

Claire x

More Wedding Bells…

I seem to be asked more often than not to create wedding cupcake towers over traditional wedding cakes lately…not that I am complaining!  As this time the bride was family, and so obviously the bride’s family were my family without trying to sound too much like the mafia – this time it was personal!

Kelly wanted cupcakes that would match the burgundy and cream theme of the wedding with a little golden sparkle to finish.  We decided upon two different flavours – Caramel Crunch and a simple but delicious Vanilla sponge.  Each individual cupcake was tied in a burgundy ribbon and finished with tiny little gold stars as well as a hand-made sugar roses. Kelly wanted a traditional cake on the top tier so that she could still have that moment as the bride to cut the cake with her new husband.  This was made to resemble the smaller cupcakes finished with a large burgundy rose with stars shooting out of the top.

When I agreed to make this cake (or these cakes being that there were over 100 of them!) I didn’t exactly consider the logistics of transporting from Cornwall 300 miles into the Midlands. With a little bit of careful packing and some very careful driving they all arrived safely – phew!

I couldn’t finish this post without mentioning the incredible dance moves that took place later on at the evening reception and decided to include a few anonymous pic’s – you know who you are!

Red and yellow and pink and green…

I recently made some out of the ordinary wedding cupcake favours – by this I mean with a rainbow theme! Usually when I am asked to make these it is based on a simple cream buttercream and then a little hint of the chosen colours of the Bride and Groom’s wedding theme.  The two Groomsmen had chosen a rainbow style tie for the wedding suits and wanted the favours to match – and I certainly wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity for the spreading of multicoloured love!

As the wedding party had chosen to arrive in a pink Fiat 500 it seemed only right that the main colour for the cupcakes would have to be a sexy hot pink!  I decided to swirl the hot pink in with the cream buttercream and then add multi-coloured sprinkles.

 The cupcake favours were doubling up as place cards so they were finished in little clear gift bags, tied with a ribbon (multi-coloured of course!) and the hand-made place-card/thank you’s were attached.

 

 

These were then put at the head of each place setting at the wedding breakfast.  From what I can tell there were two types of reactions to these cupcake favours – 1. Devoured immediately 2. Hidden in bag to take home and admire before no.1 takes place, either way this was a happy brightly coloured day for me!

 

The now happily married couple are emmigrating to New Zealand in the New Year and I wish them all the success and happiness that life can offer.

Going to the Zoo, Zoo Zoo, You can come to…

I was lucky enough this summer to have my sister Beth from ‘Up Country’ come to stay and this mean’t without a doubt baking something weird and wonderful was on the cards. Beth may only be 15 but has the sugarcraft skills of a pro and I have no doubt that whatever she chooses in life she will make the most of it!  We decided to create some multi-coloured cupcakes that would be topped with a green grass buttercream and zoo animals – we had visited Paradise Animal Park earlier in the week and this was enough inspiration for us…

P.S. You can click on the picture below to see it in full screen glory! Claire

A Tribute to Chocolate…

As it is Chocolate Week (10th-16th October) it seemed only right that I dedicate a little space to such a well loved versatile ingredient, one that is often used in my baking and soon demolished by all! So with this in mind I am sharing one of my favourite recipes – The Double Chocolate Triple Layer Cake finished with handmade chocolates and dark chocolate shavings.  This cake is for the serious chocoholic, the one that is either chocolate crazy or in the need for a serious chocolate hit due to factors beyond every day control (it’s ok you can admit that these situations are usually men-related).

Double gold award winning truffles. A dark chocoate shell with a smooth hand-made caramel centre with fresh Cornish cream and a hint of Cornish Seasalt. Dusted with cocoa powder. TM Nicky Grant 2010

The chocolates can be made well in advance of the cake or you can take the opportunity to visit one of the beautiful local chocolatiers you probably have right on your doorstep. Living in Cornwall I can whole heartedly recommend many but you haven’t lived until you have tried a Nicky Grant Award Winning Cornish Sea Salt Caramel. (if you are not lucky enough to live in Cornwall you can order these online here)

Anyway on to the cake recipe I promised…

For the Cake – 100g butter (if you wanted to be a little more saintly you could use stork!), 265g Caster Sugar (golden if possible), 2 Medium eggs, 50g Cocoa Powder, 1/4 tsp Baking Powder, 1/4 tsp Bicarb of Soda, 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract, 175g Plain Flour, 165ml Milk

For the Chocolate Custard/Ganache – 500g Caster Sugar (golden if possible), 1 tbsp Golden Syrup, 125g Cocoa Powder, 175g Cornflour, 85g butter (again stork could be used here..decide on your halo and whether you want it to slip or not!), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

You will need 3 8″ (20cm) cake tins greased and lined, and you will need to preheat your oven to 170C (325F)

You will start out by making the Chocolate Custard/Ganache as this will need around 2-3 hours to cool down before you can spread it lavishly over your baked cakes.  In a large saucepan mix together the sugar, golden syrup, cocoa powder and 600ml of cold water and bring this to the boil over a medium heat.  You can whisk this occasionally but its not essential.  The Cornflour needs mixing in a separate bowl with around 150ml of cold water, you may find this seems like you are making cement but it will with a little bit of elbow grease end up as the consistency of thick glue (think the pre-school variety and your there!) Add this gradually to the saucepan with the other ingredients and whisk it constantly over the heat until it goes lovely and gooey and thick.  Then add the butter and vanilla extract, pour into a bowl and leave to cool.

The cake is simple enough, cream your butter & sugar, then add the eggs one at a time until well mixed.  Add the vanilla extract, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb of soda and continue mixing. Add half the flour, then all of the milk and then the rest of the flour and give it one last mix until all is combined. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Then the fun begins, layer your cakes and lather them in the thick chocolate custard/ganache until the whole cake is covered and then shave some dark chocolate for the top – you can do this by pulling a knife blade along the smooth side of the dark chocolate or by using a peeler to create little curls! Then add your chocolates around the top and voila….a chocoholics dream.

If you want to find out more about what is happening during Chocolate Week 2011 click here to visit the official website!

Claire x

Ding Dong the Bells are going to Chime…

It all started with a message posted on one of my wedding cake pics by the lovely Louisa Ussher that simply said “When are we going to talk about mine then?!” Little did I know at the time she would become one of my closest friends, and I couldn’t be more happy for the now Mrs Ussher-Bass, you deserve all that life can offer x

Now I have finished gushing about the romance of the day lets talk cake!  Louisa wanted a simple cupcake tower that matched the colour theme of the wedding – Cornflower Blue and Yellow.  Louisa and I decided to go with a simple rose swirl buttercream on a base of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes finished with a cute little sugar flower and the customery RosyCheeks Bakery sprinkle of glitter!  The tower was decorated with beautiful fresh flowers from the wedding breakfast tables. I base the success of the cakes on the small children seen sneaking over during the first dance to carefully take a cake and disappear into the darkness never to be seen again, the only evidence were the empty cases littered around the marquee…

Ooo La La – Cupcake Camp Paris

Cupcake Camp is quite simply described as “an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and eat cupcakes in an open environment.” Cupcake Camp (2011)

The second annual event took place this past weekend and over 2600 cupcakes were sold and devoured! If you wanted to find out more information check out their beautiful blog over at cupcakecampparis.blogspot.com 

Below are a few photographs of some of the winning cupcakes;

Marie Grave won Best Fall Inspired Cupcake with her Apple, Nut and Maple Syrup cupcakes.

Rose of Rose and Cook won Most Unusal Ingredient with her Vitelotte Potato and Violet Syrup cupcake.

The big winner of the day, Rahima Mohammad a.k.a Fairy Cooker, won not only Most Parisian Cupcake and The Make a Wish contest, but she also won Best in Show.

If you wanted to check this out further with some enchanting pictures that really capture the day in all its colourful sugar filled glory please click here for the wordpress freshly pressed choice of the day ‘Colourful Concoctions at Cupcake Camp’

Claire x