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.
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.
Aquaclean had a fab idea for the product launch of their new stain resistant sofa The Monica (Gellar, natch). They invited a group of kids to set up The kids Kafe! They wanted to prove just how stain resistant their sofas were and what better way than by small people spilling sticky drinks and dropping food all over them? I was brought in to supply a fun cake making workshop for the kids to take part in between takes (The whole messy experiment was filmed to be shared on social media). The mummy bloggers and kids customers were also able to get involved in my cake class. As you can see the kids did a fantastic job with their cake making. They got vey experimental working sweets and licorice string into their cupcake designs. They even managed to master piping buttercream swirls! At the end of the cake decorating lesson they were very happy to have their cakes packed up for them to take home. A lovely surprise was seeing the fabulous Scummy Mummies who were there to interview the staff and customers in their own inimitable style. It is always a pleasure when our paths cross at various family blogger days throughout the year.
As you probably know by know I love cake decorating and there is nothing I like more than creating a cake table. They are a lot of work though so I only do them twice a year. Once for Teddy's birthday and once for Cosy's. Luckily they are six months apart which gives me plenty of time to recover! For some reason my husband always seems to be away in the lead up to Cosy's birthday which is frustrating as it's when I need him most. This year he was at his brothers stag party and didn't get back till the night before the party. That meant that as well as effectively being a working single parent for the week I had to work cake making night and day to get all the treats prepared for the cake table. When I say had to obviously I mean want to but it does always turn into a big commitment on top of everything else. This year I did a couple of things I haven't got round to before. One is I printed off some mermaid themed 'food cards' from Etsy which my talented adult daughter wrote on in calligraphy. I think this really pulled the whole look of the table together and made it look more finished. The other thing is that I set the table up and photographed it before the guests arrived to make sure I got some good picks before everything got mauled. Also, I got a pic of the mermaid birthday cake in situ before whisking it away to bring out as a surprise for the magical moment when everyone sings 'Happy Birthday'. Unfortunately the mischievous birthday girl snuck a good look at whilst I was taking the pics. Next year I may need to arrange someone to take her to the park whilst I do that. Having done all this in advance did mean that I was able to socialise a bit during the party and have a few drinks rather than my usual rushing around like a mad person. I did indulge in a couple of bottles of Corona beer and relaxed whilst the kids did a great job entertaining themselves. In fact I relaxed so much that it wasn't till everyone had left that I realised that I'd totally forgotten to do the Pinata! Still at least I didn't forget the cake! The funny thing was I had thought I was so organised, wrapping the parcel for pass the parcel (or parcel, parcel, as my kids call it) and prepping the party bags in advance. There's still always something I've overlooked!
Kathryn's Hen was a last minute booking made by her good friend Emily. She had no idea what we were doing and was over the moon when she realised it was a cake decorating workshop. Her outfit couldn't have been better co-ordinated with her apron- or her cupcakes! It was a small intimate group made up of a cousin and a childhood friend, her mum, mother in law and some aunties. It was very relaxing for me and I got the opportunity to get to know everyone a little over the 2hr cake class. They all really enjoyed the workshop and created some really beautiful, jewel like cupcakes. Kathryn was very happy with her signed copy of my recipe book and delighted with her cake making. At the end they all enjoyed a glass of bubbly together. It was such a great occasion. I got to hear all about the outfits the mothers of the bride were going to be wearing at the wedding which was taking place in France. By the end of the workshop I felt like an honorary family member!
Knowing that 'The Real' Father Christmas was going to be at Linleys I couldn't resist bringing my kids in to say hello. They were thrilled to meet him and even happier to receive a tasteful wooden present each. I was invited to host a gingerbread biscuit decorating workshop for their family day. As Linley's is a very elegant furniture store i wanted to do something stylish and design lead. Due to the quality (and cost!) of the sofa's next to us I decided to keep risk of icing and sprinkle spill to a minimum. We managed this through creating rice paper costumes for the elves and fairies. The kids loved cutting them out and colouring them in with edible food colouring pens. I then fixed them on by using the royal icing like glue. Father Christmas was thrilled with the the biscuit we made to look just like him. He also came and serenaded us with the accordion and some ancient Christmas songs. he told us he didn't know anything written after the 19th century! There was delicious cream topped hot chocolate to warm everyone up as they stepped inside the shop. All in all it was a fun event full of Christmas cheer!
When Carousel PR got in touch to ask if we could create an Alice in Wonderland themed biscuit decorating workshop we were only too happy to help. The event was for Bentalls Shopping Centre in Kingston Upon Thames. They had thoughtfully provided it as an activity to keep the kids entertained whilst the parents were Christmas shopping. We made a variety of biscuits including; gingerbread men, rabbits, teapots, teacups, 'eat me' plaques and 'drink me' bottles. The kids were very creative and invented some characters that would need a whole other Alice adventure book to tell their stories! I'm really looking forward to returning on 16th December to fo it all over again....
I had so much fun preparing for this cake making event. When I was asked if I could make edible lego bricks for this PlayStation bloggers event I jumped at the chance. Fondant icing is basically edible plastacine for grown ups. There is not a lot you can't do with it and there are a huge variety of molds available. I spent a few nights in front of the telly happily playing and creating a lot of bricks in different primary colours. As we thought that this brand launch would appeal mainly to boys we made sure there were plenty of football decorations and loads of blue icing. In fact we ended up with lots of girls and event more mums getting involved. The mums were particularly thrilled with the cake decorating as they didn't all want to spend the day playing computer games. As a result I met lot's of lovely new blogger mums whom I'm looking forward to checking out on social media. It really was a great product launch, as well as the cake making and cupcake decorating, there was yummy food by Pear Drop catering, fun arts and crafts, colourful golf and PlayStation games obvs. I had an interesting chat with Ellie from Scummy Mummy's (who I am a big fan of) about my one and only gaming experience. It was many years ago when I got my daughter (now grown up) a copy of a game called Jak & Daxter. I become obsessed. I could barely leave the house until I'd completed all the levels. I vowed never to play again..... She is a gaming journo and it turned out she had helped come up with the name and written the journal for J & D! She then told me that the new 'Crash Bandicoot' game, being launched at the event was made by the same people. I looked across the room and even from a distance I could see that it had the same appealing visuals. I tore my eyes away and reminded myself of the vow I'd made many years earlier. The trouble with those PlayStation games is they are just so damn addictive! I really enjoyed making the edible PlayStation logos for the kids to colour in. My job is basically creating an environment for both adults and children to play. I think we all need more of that in our life! My little girls came for the last hour of the event and had a fab time going home with fabulous Tote bags that they'd decorated themselves. We all agreed it had been a really lovely event.
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!