I was really excited to be invited by Amiculum to give an inspirational speech as well as a cupcake making conference activity. They wanted me to tell my ‘Start Up’ story which is the easiest speech I can give as i know it so well! They even prepared me slides to illustrate my story (me on my cookie rounds, on my cake stall on Portobello, my cakes and cookies being sold in Selfridges and my recipe book) so I could give a power point presentation. I wasn’t sure whether to use a mike or not to teach the cake decorating workshop as it would have been impossible to hold it whilst i was demonstrating. Luckily one of the delegates stepped in and held it for me so I could concentrate on the cake class. There were 90 participants none of whom had done cake decorating before. Although I’m not sure if I believe that as the general standard of their cake making was so high. Everyone learnt 3 different piping techniques during their conference activity. They then voted for each tables best cupcake. Then they brought all of them to my table and i picked the three winning cupcakes. One of them won a signed copy of my book and 2 of them won a Cookie Girl decorating kit. I really loved working with this company and think they did a great job in their cake making conference activity.
I had a lovely morning on Saturday teaching Aimee and Beejal how to make sugar paste roses by hand in our full day cake making class. They also used cutters and moulds to create a variety of different sugar paste flowers and leaves to create a stunning range of floral cupcakes. We also spent time working on their buttercream piping techniques and using rolled fondant to cover the cupcakes. Although both of them are keen bakers neither of them had any experience with piping icing or working with fondant icing or sugar paste. They were surprised to discover how straightforward it was to construct these beautiful adornments. It is really about knowing the correct equipment to use and having the process broken down into simple step by step instructions. The girls absolutely loved their cake making class and are looking forward to coming back to do more soon.
I’d had the idea ages ago to do a Hawaiian themed party for Cosy Mae’s 8th birthday party. The combination of palm trees, pineapples and Hula girls just seemed like an inspiring combination for a cake table. Also, being June I thought we were pretty much guaranteed sunshine- ha! In the lead up to the forecast every report I read predicted rain all day which was hardly surprising as it had pretty much rained every day leading up to the party. By some miracle the sun came out and we were blessed with blue sky and temperate weather. It was a big relief as we had 20 kids coming and had recently moved out of a house and into a flat with a huge communal garden. It would have been really depressing (and very claustrophobic) if we’d been rained off and had to be inside. We had some brilliant games; limbo, hula dancing statues, Hawaiian treasure hunt and of course parcel parcel, as my kids call it (when will they grow out of it?!). As usual, like a nutter, I spent weeks planning the cake table and then a couple of weeks prepping and making the contents for the cake table. On it we had; Hula Girl Birthday Cake (Oreo flavour), Tropical flower cupcakes, iced biscuits (Palm tree, Pineapple, Mermaid and Ice cream), Hawaiian Hula Bark, Tiki Cake Pops, Sea and Starfish Meringues. I used an orange cotton fabric to make a sunset colour back drop and table cloth (I finally got a piece of foam board to use as a backdrop base.) I was pretty pleased with the over all effect although I do always wish there was a professional photographer on hand to capture my hard work before it is all devoured and demolished by ravenous kids.
This group of students did a fantastic job at their cupcake decorating class. They had all taken part in the beginners cake making class and now wanted to improve their cake icing skills. This class is great for preparing you to tackle the more advanced cake icing techniques as it begins to get you to work on a smaller scale with greater detailing. As long as you are able to pipe an icing rose then you will be able to manage the content in this 2hr workshop. You will focus on flat icing the cupcakes with a palette knife before going on to pipe miniature roses and rosette designs on top. I then show you a fantastic and deceptively simple technique for piping on leaves without using a nozzle. It is just created by cutting the piping bag in a particular way. These girls had all mastered the techniques during the intermediate cake decorating class and are planning to attend our advanced cupcake decorating class soon. We are also really pleased to be able to offer these classes to our corporate clients for their team building, networking and client events.
Genevieve got in touch to enquire about learning to make a naked wedding cake with me. It was something that her and her step mum wanted to do together. The company she works for Karmarama treated her to the cake making class as an early wedding present. Geneveive and her step mum have such a great relationship and it was really refreshing to see how well they get on. Certainly a much better relationship than many of the step mother daughter relationships that I’ve come across. We had so much fun spending time together and they learnt how to make a naked wedding cake from scratch which is what they wanted to cover in their cake making experience. They had some great flavour ideas including lemon & elderflower and cardamon & vanilla flavours. They learn everything from how to bake the cake to how to get the perfect ‘naked’ icing effect at the end. As well as how to create the support structure and decoration ideas. As they were heading home with so much cake I suggested that they freeze some of it so they can use it on the actual wedding day. This works as long as you put the cake in Tupperware or use plenty of clingfilm to make sure it doesn’t get frost damage. They left the cake baking lesson with a new found confidence and excitement about collaborating on the wedding cake.
It was a real treat to have the opportunity to go back to The Milestone Hotel to host this fab cake making baby shower. Amy, who organised the cake making workshop, had seen the cake decorating event we did for Celeste Bickle at the Lanesborough Hotel and wanted to do something similar. We were happy to suggest The Milestone and the girls were absolutely thrilled with everything about it; the setting, the service and the superb afternoon tea. And our cake making workshop of course. Cupcake decorating is the perfect activity for a baby shower (as well as hen parties) and the girls, many of whom had travelled all the way from the USA for the baby shower, absolutely loved it. They found it a great ice breaker and really got inspired by all our fabulous sprinkles, Especially the unicorns and mermaids. This was a double baby shower and most of the guests were friends they had made at London Business School. They really loved getting to so such a creative activity that is so different to what they do in their work lives. We had a lot of requests for our contact details so we are lookig forward to seeing some of them again at team building, networking and client events where they can further improve their cake making skills.
There is nothing I like better than a challenge so I was thrilled to hear from Nik who wanted something unique. He told me he worked for a company called nike. ‘Ah yes, I’ve heard of them’, I replied. He wanted a bespoke event created that would stimulate some great brainstorming. This gave me the chance to create some fab edible trainers (Nike obvs), football kits and world cups. They would use the cakes instead of a mood board and then pitch their concept. The themes they were given were; ‘Woman’s World Cup’, ‘London Marathon’ & ‘Nike Air’. Let’s just say that some of the deliveries were more successful than others and the stand out pitch was not for the winning presentation. But the first pic below shows the winning teams brilliantly executed design. They showed great focus and team work as well as an impressive technical ability with the actual piping and decorating. For me there design stood out as cohesive and well realised. The girls were thrilled with their prizes of Cookie Girl cake decorating kits.
The company Allmeds had been supporting the fantastic work done by Variety children’s charity for a few years. This year they decided to do something more involved than simply donating money. So they had the fantastic idea of creating a fun filled family day to treat a group of deserving children with. They got in touch to ask if we could create a gingerbread decorating workshop for them and we were very happy to do so.The kids had a great time in the biscuit decorating workshop. They did really well with the piping and loved the fact that there were sweets to decorate them with. At the end of the event they took there gingerbread men home to share with their families.
I had a lovely time teaching a private baking class to Imer and her daughter Emine. They anted to learn how to make red velvet cookies and chocolate fudge cupcakes. I’d never tried making this flavour of cookie before but soon realised that I could easily adjust my class is cookie recipe. I have to say that the results were absolutely delicious. So I thought I would share the recipe with you.
Red Velvet Cookies (double quantity)
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp vinegar
3-4 tsp red food colour
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g/8 oz butter, room temperature
340g/12 oz granulated sugar
85g/3oz sof dark brown sugar
425g/15 oz self raising flour
200g/7 oz white chocolate
Preheat oven to 190/375/Gas Mark 5. You will need a large, heavy, ungreased baking sheet.
Add the vinegar, food colour and vanilla to the milk. Set aside to curdle. Cream together the butter and sugars, then add the eggs, one at a time.
Now add the 'buttermilk' mixture alternating with the flour, mixing well between additions. You should now have a soft dough. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and add to the dough. Now use a spoon or ice-cream scoop to portion up balls of cookie dough. Place these inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until they are just cooked/dry on top but still wet and gooey under the top layer. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 10 mins then place on a wire rack to cool fully.
Although Celeste Bickle now lives in Ireland she decided to host her baby shower in Central London. That way all her closest friends could be there. Bryony and the whole team at Entourage Collection had done a fantastic job creating a beautiful space for the baby shower event. They had covered every detail perfectly. Each of the place names at the dining table had a unique portrait of the guest on them. Due to the fact that Celeste had watched my cake making and cake decorating tutorials on YouTube she was really keen that I host the event. Initially I didn’t think I could do his as that week before Christmas was incredibly busy for us with a variety. In the end I managed to move things around so that I could be there for the first hour before handing over the workshop to the lovely Nadia. She was really thrilled that I’d managed to make it as I kept it as a surprise. The cake making activity was a huge hit with her guests. They did a fantastic job and loved all our new sprinkles including rubber duck sprinkles as well a baby elephants and bunnies. It was a great ice breaker for the ladies who didn’t know each other already. All in all the cake making class was just perfect for a fun baby shower activity. Celeste was such a delightful lady and her friends were very warm and relaxed. Attending the event was an absolute pleasure.