30 November 2008

Final Preparations and Nigella

I've managed to upload my photo of Nigella ('the' Domestic Goddess) from my phone, don't you think she is so pretty and I like her fluffy white coat. I wanted to get a signed copy of her Christmas book, but the queue was so long and it was pouring down with rain outside....nevermind.
Last Sunday went really well, we got very good feedback from our tasters (thank you darlings) and we have now finalised our menu. Yay. Grace even popped over to my place for a quality inspection of my green tea cake today.....Hee! Hee! My favourite cake last Sunday has to be the Black Forest Cake (photo above) which I only got a bite from my husband's portion (Grace, you must make me some more, otherwise you may find one missing next week from our stock :)).
Most of the packaging has been bought and organised, this is just a sample:
The pretty apron was given to us by Alex and we will be wearing this on the day. I'm looking forward to next Saturday.

24 November 2008

First snow

So, it was the first snow yesterday, what luck! Could it get any more festive for our Great Tasting afternoon! :)
BIG THANKS to all our tasters and cake munchers... it was a really fun afternoon, the cakes were in abundance and the mulled wine was flowing... Of course, there were some feedback forms on hand to help us on our way... afterall, "there's no such thing as a free cake !";)

Cupcakes Galore:
* Matcha Green Tea cupcakes
* Chocolate Chestnut
* Lemon Glazed and white cherry
* Carrot Cake
* Choco-Banaramel

Other Cakes:
* Cranberry Walnut Brownies
* Cheesecake Brownie bites
* Pistachio and white chocolate mousse mini gateaux
* Mini Blackforest Gateaux
* Baked Vanilla-Caramel-Raspberry Cheesecake
* Mincepie Streusel slices - (I made a batch of these, and put them back in the oven just as people were arriving, to warm through... and of course - me with my less than effective memory forgot all about them, and they didn't make it out for the party ! Doh! Sucha muppet! )

17 November 2008


So I had an idea... well, it's a been on my mind for a while, though I had't found the key ingredient until Saturday...! Okay, I may have been a bit casual in my efforts to track it down, though still... it has been on the to do list for sometime...!

What is the big idea? Well... since we decided that we would be predominantly cupcakes, you may have noticed that I do tend to veer a lot from the brief. Well, who wants to be too predictable and is so much fun coming up with new ideas. Anyways - as usual I am digressing... So, whilst thinking about cupcakes and cupcake cases... I have been wondering what I could use other than your usual paper muffin/cake cases. Then it came to me... cake and ice cream, cake and ice cream... what about an ice cream cone as the shell for my cupcakes! Though obviously I needed the sort that could stand up on their own... hence the search for the right cone...
Best of both worlds... especially as the weather turns a little too chilly for the real thing... I hope you agree...! All that is missing is the 99 Flake... next time perhaps... and what about neopolitan sponge... :)

16 November 2008

Shopping and Christmas Truffles

This weekend I have driven from the South East of London down to Kingston upon Thames (1.5 hours one way) on Saturday and then all way down to Bromley on Sunday (40 mins one way). This is all so I can get my hands on some lovely packaging and supplies. I also managed to squeeze in some time to make some truffles for my Mum and work colleagues who wanted to have a taste. So it has been very productive weekend. In fact, if my rascal falls asleep early tonight, I might make some cupcakes. A few of my colleagues are having a 'Cake-Off' tomorrow and the theme is 'Cupcakes'. However, my cakes won't be in the competition as, according to my colleagues, I have the advantage of running Simply Scrumblicious with Gracie (so I would have had quite a lot of practice.....I should have kept quiet about it...huh). Nevermind....
Anyway, here are some photos of the truffles:

(Dark chocolate ganache covered in white chocolate with a cranberry topping, dark and white chocolate with glazed cherries and hazlenut)

Also, I was suppose to have a meeting with Gracie last Thursday at Waterstones, Piccadilly, but due to work commitments Gracie couldn't make it. Instead I met Nigella Lawson at her book signing. Hee! Hee! I'll post the photo of her signing her books once I figure out how to do this from my mobile.

10 November 2008

Baked with love...

Like buses - I don't blog for a while but when I do, they come in quick succession! :)

This weekend was a busy one. I was commissioned with my first birthday cake and it was for a very special person too, which made it all the more important that I get it just right. I don't know about you, though the I always find there is just something a bit special when someone bakes something just for you - whether the outcome is good or bad, it's the thought behind it that will make the cake so enjoyable for me. I was hoping this would be the case for auntie Mina's birthday cake.

Armed with an idea of the flavours and colours she likes I came up with an idea for a chocolate raspberry gateau. I wanted a shiny chocolate ganache glaze, though was worried that it would look too dark for such a joyful occassion, so offset it was my signature charlotte surround and some white chocolate decoration, with some fresh raspberries thrown in too! The chocolate decoration didn't quite turn out as I had hoped - I was aiming for a two-tone chocolate ruffle - though I didn't quite have the technique right. It ended up looking slightly like a scarf flying in the wind... ;)

Charlotte Cake - Chocolate sponge, layered with chocolate mousse and fresh raspberries, another layer of sponge topped with a Tia Maria cream, and then decorated with a chocolate ganache almost mirror glaze (think will have to spread it whilst it is warmer next time to get a smoother finish!)

Sunday - early morning baking, getting into the festive spirit and preparation for the fair - mincemeat streusel squares ... They were a bit yummy served warm with a dash of cream! :)

9 November 2008

Feeling Festive

Yay! It's almost Christmas and the Wemake fair is under a month away. I've been busy with Mary sorting a few changes to our original plans. Here is the final voucher to all the stall holders:

There will also be a choir there so it will be very festive, so we have agreed to provide some handmade mince pies to them. So this morning I made some with my daughter which was really fun, which is what Christmas Fair should be all about. The pastry was made from scratch and we added some ground almonds. We added some dried cranberries and chopped walnuts to the mince.
I was having a discussion with Kyoko regarding 'handmade' goods one evening over a light dinner at Liberty. She often hear people say that handmade goods/food are not 100% perfect, e.g if you buy certain mass produce goods, they are often made to the same proportions and size etc each time and they are cheaper. However, handmade goods are produced to a high standard and the fact that they are not all the same makes them unique.
Anyway, I will stop ranting. On Saturday, I took a bus journey around South West London to buy a few things for the fair and I will be ordering a few supplies from the internet. I'm just a bit worried that if I leave it all till the last week everyone will be fighting for them. I go back to my checklist now.

7 November 2008


So, I have been awol for a while...

Though it has not been a quiet time away! What have I been up to? To be honest, I have been overwhelmed by work these past few weeks to be baking as much as usual. Though there were still a few treats to be had, and some disasters too! (What's with the flower? It's just beautiful don't you think?)

October came and went too quickly, it brought with it a quick dabble with truffles with some left over ganache from a chocolate truffle cake, though being the mischievous types we are, it was the adulterated version gently laced with some rumlicious tipple. Very naughty, but oh so nice against the smoothness of the chocolate...

It was a month of birthdays too... though disorganised as I am, usually forget what dates they land on. Pleased this year that I had managed to get the date right, I decided that morning that I would surprise my friend with an impulsive visit to personally deliver her birthday wishes... for once. Of course, I was armed with some equally impromptu cupcakes, though being less than prepared, I was baking early on the Sunday morning, with only the ingredients I had to hand. This evolved into some cute caramel cupcakes, some matcha experiments, and some others with the lovely chestnut cream... I vow to be more organised next year and bake a properly planned out cake! :)

Finally, the disaster... oh well... my friends came last weekend for our usual catchup, though it was the first time they had come to see me in London. Again, due to disorganisation and general skattiness, I only decided on the morning that I was going to make them profiteroles. Though having been out the night before celebrating all that was goulish, I was somewhat late in actually getting up and getting to it before they arrived. This resulted in a very flustered me, rushing and underbeating my batter, which resulted in some very sorry looking deflated choux wannabes.

Refusing to acknowledge that I cannot make the perky little puffs (as I have successfully done so in the past!) I tried again last night, and am happy to say, they poofed !