Mariam had the great idea to have a cake making class for her birthday. She is a big fan of The Great British Bake Off and really wanted to have her very own cake class. She got together seven of her dearest friends and together they baked up a storm in our lovely HQ kitchen at their very own cake baking class in London. They really appreciated the relaxed atmosphere and the fact that it felt like they were 'home from home'. They did a great job making the cupcakes from scratch using free range eggs and butter to ensure the tastiest, most melt in the mouth cupcakes imaginable. They then showed off their competitive piping skills which I must say were generally very impressive and led to some beautifully decorated cakes. They were thrilled with the end results from their cake class and excited to be taking their freshly baked cakes home to share with their families. As a lot of them are getting married soon there was a lot of talk about hen parties. It was even discussed that they could do one of our cake making hen days. Watch this space as they may all be back to improve their skills before too long!
It was really lovely to have Emily and Millie come back for another cake class. They have now worked their way up from basic through intermediate to advanced cake decorating (featured here). As you can see their results were spectacular. They made a beautiful antique ruffle cake, a buttercream rose cake, a variety of carnation cakes and even a poinsettia style cake (although we kept to pastel colours). it was tricky work pipin each buttercream flower petal by petal but the results were well worth the effort. They were very keen to learn how to make sugarpaste roses as they had never worked with fondant icing or sugarpaste before. So I created a bespoke class for them. We also had a mum and daughter join us. They did brilliantly, particularly considering it was the first class they had attended one of my classes. If you would like to learn how to do the sugarpaste roses then come along to one of my full day cake decorating classes and we will cover that and so much more. If you are mainly interested in the buttercream flowers then come to one of my advanced classes.
This was such a lovely lesson. David had never baked before and it was something that he'd always wanted to learn. After a life changing event he realised that there was no time like the present. He wanted to learn to make a cake with real wow factor. I thought that a chocolate and vanilla marble cake would be prefect. We spent a lovely afternoon together and he couldn't believe how quickly he got the hang of it. He had literally never attempted to bake anything before not event cupcakes or cookies. You can imagine how delighted he was by the end results once he'd finished off the cake with piped buttercream swirls. The finishing touch was an edible rice paper leopard print butterfly and gold sprinkles. When he got home his wife could not believe that he made the cake from scratch.
I was asked by Natalie, who was organising Weeta's cake making hen party, if I would also be able to provide them with afternoon tea. Although I new that it would be a lot of extra work I though 'Why not?'. It gave me the opportunity to create some delicious pastries which was a refreshing change from my usual repertoire of cakes, cookies and biscuits. As well as a selection of savoury sandwiches I made them; plain, fruit and gluten free scones. All served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. They then tucked into; mini Mille Feuille, mini strawberry & vanilla tartlets, mini lemon meringue pies, mini pecan brownies and mini chocolate eclairs. Needless to say this was one group of hens that didn't get started on the cupcakes they had made during their cake making class. As far as hen days go it was a very civilised one with only a couple of bottles of bubbly drunk but much fun and games had by all. Weeta is lucky to have such a wonderful group of friends who ensured her hen party was a day to be remembered.
I absolutely love teaching our advanced cupcake decorating class. The students are always amazed by how professional their results are. With our beginners http://www.cookiegirl.co.uk/empty-land/ and intermediate http://www.cookiegirl.co.uk/empty-land-1/ cake classes we use cream cheese icing as it gives a good flow. When it comes piping roses, carnations, frills etc we use buttercream for this cake decorating class as we need a firmer icing to allow the individual petals to stay up.
We have a lot of clients who come to the beginners class and then move onto the intermediate and advanced classes. Some people choose to do them all in one day. This means they can from amateur to professional standard in a very short time.
I was really excited about doing this for Cosy's 6th birthday party. Having thought there was no theme she would like better (ever since her princess party last year) i was a bit miffed to discover that she wanted a My Little Pony one instead! Having already invested in unicorn balloons, plates etc I dug my heels in. As you can see she couldn't have been more thrilled with the results. I made a Rainbow Unicorn Cake, Rainbow Cupcakes, Unicorn Bark, Unicorn Cake Pops. Recipes to follow....
5oz golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs
½ cup (125ml) filter or cafetiere coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract
7oz self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time then stir in the filter coffee and vanilla extract. Use a fork to combine the flour and baking powder together. Add the flour mixture to the egg, butter and sugar. Fill a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases and divide the mixture equally between them. Bake in a preheated oven at 170º for 15 to 20 minutes until springy to the touch.
Place on a cooling rack and leave to cool.
1 dsp instant coffee powder
1tbsp boiling water
250g unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
400g royal icing sugar
Chocolate sprinkles to decorate
Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water. Cream the butter in an electric mixer. Add the coffee mixture and the vanilla to this followed by the royal icing sugar. Whisk on a high speed for five minutes. Once the icing is ready put it into a piping bag and pipe classic swirls on to the cooled cupcakes. Use chocolate sprinkles to decorate.
What a wonderful group of ladies came along to Sarita's cupcake decorating hen party. It was a family get together and included both the brides mum and the future mum in law. Who was clearly already a well loved member of the clan. They had a great time making cakes that looked really professional. I think that a couple of them were already quite experienced cake decorators, although they tried to keep that a secret! The girls were all limitting themselves to one cupcake each as they didn't want to eat too much pre wedding (especially the bride who didn't want to have her dress refitted!) They loved the huge variety of glitter and sprinkles we had provided and had a healthy bit of competition going with regards to who was piping the most perfect buttercream swirls. A glass of bubbly got them in the hen party mood and by the end they were thrilled to be taking home 8 perfectly iced cupcake creations. They said it was well worth coming to London for the cake class hen day. In fact they are even talking about joining us for one of our cake baking classes in our North West London HQ. Maybe not before the honeymoon though!
These are very lemony!
75g unsalted butter
3 large eggs
75g caster sugar
125ml lemon juice
Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to whisk over a low heat until the mixture thickens up. Leave to cool.
3 oz butter
6 oz golden caster sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
4tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 medium eggs
3tbsp Greek yoghurt
6oz self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
Cream the butter and sugar together and then add the vegetable oil. Stir in the lemon juice and once combined add the eggs one at a time. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled at this stage. Stir in the Greek yoghurt. Use a fork to stir the baking powder into the self-raising flour. Add the flour to the mixture and stir to combine.
200g cream cheese
100g unsalted butter
2tbsp lemon curd (that you made earlier)
600g royal icing sugar
Use an electric whisk to cream together cream cheese, butter and lemon curd. Once the ingredients are combined add the royal icing sugar. Whisk for 5 minutes.
The Easter holidays passed in a flurry of activity when will I learn that the word 'holiday' implies some kind of respite from the madness of everyday life? We began by visiting Powderham castle in Exeter where my older daughter is working. It is an astonishingly beautiful part of the world. I can't visit without daydreaming a life there before waking up to the fact it is just too far away. If I can ever prise my husband away from london it will be to Norfolk as that's where we grew up. I sometimes think we would have moved years ago if it wasn't for the park club. All that green space for the kids to run around in. And to be able to float on your back in a heated outdoor pool in central London is definitely worth staying for.
Anyway, I digress. Back to Easter. On Good Friday I hosted a cupcake decorating area for the family day at Lingfield park races. It was hugely popular and great fun to do. It was a 4hr round trip though and the next morning we headed to my mother in laws house in Norfolk. This would normally have been our queue to relax. However, not this Easter. My brother in law, quite uncharacteristically had taken it upon himself to arrange his mums belated 70th birthday celebration. He had booked a house for the night for the whole family and a group of close friends. For Easter Sunday! So the next day we had to drive for an hour and a half to stay somewhere for 24hrs before driving back to his mums. It was utter madness but we went along with it. (The whole thing was planned whilst I was in Mexico otherwise I could have talked some sense into him!). Anyway when we got to the hose all was forgiven. Butlers Priory was absolutely stunning and in the prettiest grounds. DGs mum was suitably surprised and absolutely overwhelmed with the whole experience. The little ones (and some of the lucky bigger ones) loved the novelty of new grounds to forage for their Easter baskets in. As usual desperate to catch the bunny chocolate handed. Then we all pitched in to create a delectable salmon super, drank way to much Prosecco and danced into the early hrs. The next morning we feasted on freshly baked croissant and browsed the papers whilst DG serenaded us with Eric Sate. We really felt we were inns home from home. Unfortunately it was soon time to go. I'm sure we will return. Next time for at least 48hrs! We briefly returned to my mother in laws house before trundling back to London in desperate need of a rest. Roll on half term!