Crystal’s 30th Birthday Cake

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties,
Sorry that I haven’t posted in a couple of months, I’ve been travelling again and going through some things…More about that later but for now.
Right let get straight into the blog post…
A Couple of months ago I was asked to make a birthday cake for a very special lady,
Ms Crystal Afro of the United Kinkdom Blog.
Crystal was the ideal customer in the sense that she knew the basic aspects of the cake she wanted – (a Victoria sponge cake in the shape of the number 30 with yellow icing) but was open to suggestions and let me use my imagination for the final result.
For me, people who are too specific are very hard to please because they have an exact image in their mind and it’s not possible to produce an exact match for what is in their imagination, in addition I NEVER copy cakes – yes there’s nothing wrong with that and it takes a lot of talent and skill to reproduce a real cake from a picture/photo but I prefer to use my own original ideas.
My first challenge was how to make the cake in the shape of a number 3 , I considered carving the cake but I wanted to minimize wasting cake and ingredients by not having lots of off-cuts, I decided to hire a couple of number cake tins and found a shop not too far from me that offered this service, I reserved my tins 2 weeks in advance but when I arrived at the shop to collect the tins I was informed that the ‘0’ was not available because it was in Scotland!!! I was not offered any explanation or apology for this, in fact the customer service I received at this shop went from bad to worse but this post is not going to turn into a rant about bad customer service…
I had no choice but to hire the number ‘8’ tin instead because it was the day before Crystal’s party and I didn’t have time to ring around looking for another shop that had what I needed.
When I got home my first task was to cover the cake board with yellow fondant, it was easy to colour the fondant by kneading  yellow food gel into it but I had been misadvised (by the owner of the same crappy cake shop) about the amount of fondant I would need and no matter how many times I re-rolled that !”£$%& it would not fit over the 20” square cake board!
I had to go out and buy more fondant, colour it again knead it for ages and then finally I was able to roll it neatly over the cake board and add the finishing touch of a black satin ribbon.
2014-10-12 10.31.12
Yes there are a couple of imperfections but I was still proud of how it turned out. My next task was to work out how I was going to turn an “8” into a “0” without the whole thing falling apart, I traced the tins out on some cardboard to give me an idea of the final shape I wanted to achieve.
2014-10-12 07.04.12
Baking the Victoria Sponge cake was pretty simple and the “cake surgery” was not as complicated as I thought it would be… Icing around the 3 was actually much more difficult than I imagined it would be and I struggled to get the icing completely smooth in the crevices, I used a buttercream-hybrid icing of my own invention it has a very buttery and creamy texture due to the addition of double cream and yogurt in my recipe.
2014-10-12 08.21.08 (1)2014-10-12 08.57.10
2014-10-12 10.56.44
2014-10-12 16.58.43
I added a few pink highlights as requested by the Birthday lady and a few edible crystals around her name, I didn’t want to go too overboard on the decoration as it was a cake for a grown up after all! After a day of baking and decorating the cake was all packed up and ready to go.
2014-10-12 17.38.48
I was also an invited guest at Crystal’s birthday as well as a few other UK Naturalistas, I asked the ladies to pose and show me their cake faces!
2014-10-12 21.24.40
I had a really great time at Crystal’s Party and thankfully Crystal and her guests really loved the cake, mission accomplished!
Here are some amazing photos of the taken by Raymond of a A-Picture Photography, thank you very much to Raymond and Chelena for giving me permission to use your photos on my blog.
Crystal Afros's 30th Birthday Party Logo Version205
Crystal Afros's 30th Birthday Party Logo Version206Crystal Afros's 30th Birthday Party Logo Version215
Crystal Afros's 30th Birthday Party Logo Version130 Crystal Afros's 30th Birthday Party Logo Version134
  The “3” cake was demolished in a matter of minutes and the “0” was not far behind…
cakey
I have a lot of love and respect for Crystal, Crystal thanks for letting me make your birthday cake it was an honour and a pleasure.
2014-10-12 22.42.31
Thanks for Reading
Luv
Sian
x

February 8th Part 1 – Pirate Party!

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties!

Last weekend was really busy and hectic for me, I’ve decided to split that crazy day into 3 parts so that each post is not too long.

If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, THANK YOU! You will also know that my nephew Widget’s birthday has rolled around again, last year I made him a cake spelling his name out.

This year my Sister told me that Widget is really into Pirates so he would be having a Pirate themed birthday party.

With a theme like Pirates there are so many ways I could go with the cake, but I knew that whatever I chose to make, planning would be the key to my success.

I considered making various cakes:

a Large Gold Coin – boring

Treasure  Map – too flat

Jolly Roger Flag – not enough colours

Treasure Island- I didn’t think I had enough time

I work a full time day job which  is 35-45 hours per week, by the time I get home from work on Friday Evenings I’m knackered!  On Friday 7th Feb -the night before Widget’s Party, I also had a Princess cake to make which takes 7-9 hours from start to finish. I’d already committed to the Princess cake so I HAD to it but time was of the essence because Wesley’s Birthday Party was starting at 11:00 the next day and I didn’t want to be rushing around in the morning.

I finished the princess cake at around 00:06 in the early hours of Saturday morning, finally I could start on Widget’s cake!

I had decided on a Pirate Ship cake about 2 weeks before his birthday and knew that I wanted it to somehow be in a “Sea” of blue jelly, what I didn’t know is that we don’t make blue jelly in UK, Ugh! So I ordered some from the good old  E-number filled USA.

I also ordered a light blue cake board so that the bottom of the cake wouldn’t get soggy and the jelly wouldn’t get crumbs in it.

I found a huge round serving tray at my  parents’ house which was perfect to pour the jelly into, after I’d placed the cake board into the middle of the tray.

I’d prepared my Sea the night before so it could set  firm before I constructed the cake, once the jelly had set I put cling film over the jelly on the tray so that crumbs would not fall into the jelly (yes I’m obsessed with crumb free jelly.)

While I had the oven on for the Princess cake I’d baked 2 large chocolate cakes which would be the base of my Pirate ship, I’d also made my chocolate ganache so I could crumb coat the cake once the shape was constructed which would ensure my cake would not dry out over night.

I’m sorry I don’t have photos of the process it was really late and I didn’t have much time to spare.

I stacked my 4 cake halves on top of each other and stuck them together with chocolate ganache.

After that I turned my stack over so that they were resting on their  curved side with the flat side facing straight up.

It did look somewhat like a boat and was the right size but I trimmed a couple of centimetres from the curved bottom of my cake so that the boat could sit flat on the cake board.

I used all the spare bits of cake to add more detail to the deck and make the cake look a bit more “shippy”  please bear in mind that I’m not a professional and I have 0% nautical experience.

I just didn’t want to waste any cake so I stuck it all on with ganache, creating  a bow and stern on the ship.

Once I was happy with the shape I covered the whole ship in ganache and smoothed it out as much as possible it was a bit tricky going around the corners and the “steps” on the stern but I managed it.

I used wooden skewers to draw lines on the sides of the ship to represent wooden planks then I put the whole thing in the fridge overnight.

In the morning I was so glad that I only had the decorating left to do!

I used various edible items to add more detail onto the ship, like spraying Cheerios with edible gold spray and stacking them on top of each other to represent the cannons on the ship. I also cut notches and a hole  out of a large chocolate coin for the ships wheel.

I added metallic details to the cake with edible gold piping spelling out Happy Birthday and dots and swirls to look like metal work on the ship.

For finishing touches I poked indoor sparklers in the centre of the cannons, a set of Lego pirates for the deck and a mast sails and Jolly Roger Flag.

The mast was made from bamboo skewers taped together with tea stained paper for the sails, I printed a tiny Jolly Roger from my computer and stuck that to the top of the mast.

I’m aware that I could have made a completely edible ship, but I wanted to make this cake without any icing at all and not too many extra sweets, I was going to carve some figures and details from raw fruit and veggies but my Mum wasn’t keen on the idea

I finished all the decorations to the cake in about an hour and made my way to the venue to set up the cake table.

2014-02-08 13.39.25 2014-02-08 13.39.09 2014-02-08 13.39.03 2014-02-08 13.38.45

I had another event to attend that day so I had intended to drop the cake off early and go to my other event in Brixton for a couple of hours before going back to the party to sing Happy Birthday to Widget  and do all cake cutting stuff.

However the Universe had other plans for me…

Please read Feb 8th Part 2 to find out what happened next.

(Sorry for the picture quality, we forgot to bring the proper camera with us)

My Birthday Cake!

My Birthday Cake!

This is the best birthday cake I have ever had, because my husband made it for me from scratch.

My husband has never made a cake in his life and despite being married to me he has never shown an ounce of interest in baking.

Somehow he managed to smuggle this cake into the restaurant where I had my birthday dinner (Ping Pong St Katherine’s Dock). At the end of the meal the waiter brought the cake out and I asked who made it, my Mother-in-Law confirmed that my husband made it… as DH himself was feigning ignorance.

I was so shocked that I burst into tears! I was so happy and surprised that my DH made it as he HATES cooking and he did it all by himself with no help.

Despite my love of baking I refuse to make my own birthday cake out of principle. Because I spend the rest of the year making cakes for other people I’ve always thought it would be nice if one of my family members or friends made me a cake. It wouldn’t matter to me if it came out wonky or didn’t rise it ‘s just the thought and effort that someone would have made for me.

As you can see this cake rose perfectly and is not wonky at all. It’s chocolate and hazelnut cake filled and covered with dark chocolate ganache and roasted hazelnut nibs , absolutely perfect for me, my husband knows me too well!

Thank you Hubby, I love you so much! xxx

Birthday Celebrations, Part 1 -Curlvolution at Crowne Plaza Hotel Docklands.

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties,

My Birthday was on Saturday 25th May and I had a nice weekend of hair related and shopping events planned.

Usually on my birthday I don’t do anything much during the day, but this year Curlvolution – Curlfriends day out was held on my birthday and I thought it would be a fantastic way to spend the day.

Image

I wanted to get the special early bird offer three tickets for £9 each, but events conspired against me and I wasn’t able to buy them on time!

However I emailed Curlvolution on the day the early bird offer ended and explained my situation and asked if the deal was still available, I know it’s cheeky but if you don’t ask you don’t get and my slight audacity paid off as the organiser of the event emailed me back and offered me one free ticket if I bought two full priced tickets, at around £15 plus booking fee this was still a good deal so I purchased tickets for my Mum and Sister and I did receive my free ticket straight away.

The weather in London was horrible on 24th May, it chucked down with rain all day and was grey and miserable so I was dreading what I might wake up to on my birthday, but luckily the 25th May was breezy but bright and sunny. I was so glad for the sun as rainy weather would have ruined my plans for my outfit and I always feel good when the sun is shining.

My Mum and Sister met me at my place as I live closest to the venue and we used the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) to get to Royal Victoria Station which is 5 minutes walk away from the venue.

On the way we saw lots of people in fancy dress, none of the different groups of people seemed to have costumes that matched each other and we were so confused at first, but my bright spark sis figured out they were all going to Comic Con! All of the interesting and some very bad costumes really made for an interesting journey, in fact we were so busy gawking that we missed our stop!

Once we arrived at the venue it was still quite early so we headed over to the Colour Riot Nails, stall where My Mum and Sister got their nails done. (I’d already had mine done the day before.)

Image

My Sister’s Nails Before

Image

My Mum’s Nails Before

Image

Image

They used a combination of “gellish” and regular nail polish to create this look on my sister:Image

These women have such an amazing talent and I’ll definitely be getting in touch with them in future to have my own nails done.

My Mum had “gellish” only:

Image

Mum’s Nails After

While the ladies were getting their nails done, I was waiting for my make consultation with Giselle Alie, I had pre-booked my consultation via email and the area I chose for Giselle to focus on was my skin.

I’ve been looking kind of tired recently and wanted to know how to achieve a fresh faced look with make up. I know the proper way to get dewy skin is with plenty of water, sleep, exercise and fresh fruit and veggies but let’s face it some times we can’t manage all of these because we’re burning the candle at both ends or can’t always be bothered.

Image

My face before: (sorry I look so upset).

Image

Giselle looked fantastic and her hair was a gorgeous array of loose waves and curls.

ImageImage

Image

Giselle used Sleek powder foundation on me my shade is “Earth” (middle left).

Image

This last photo of me is my face after Giselle had finished, it was light coverage which is what I wanted,I didn’t want to look to “made up”. I really liked the look, but I have very sensitive skin and by the end of the day my face had broken out in a rash. I think I need to use a different brand of make up if I were going to try this look out myself.

My Face After the Foundation

My Face After the Foundation

(Sorry about the different angles on the before and after photos, the photos were taken by my Sister and Mother, none of us are photographers but I’m always trying to improve the content of my blog posts)

Giselle was also sweet enough to give my Mum a make up consultation, my Mum wanted to know how to do subtle but defined eyes, I think they turned out very pretty, even though my Mum does not need make up, she looks amazing even on a “bad” day!

All day people couldn’t believe she was our Mum, I won’t say how young Mum is, but she is a Grandmother!

Image

Image

Look at that Face, not one wrinkle!

While we were getting prettied up the Hair Show had started but I popped my head in briefly to see what was going on, the host Action Jackson was interviewing a couple of Actors.

Image

I’m so sorry but I didn’t watch any more of the show until after a late lunch, so for a full run down you will have to check out other blogs. As it was my birthday I wanted to spend quality time with my family, which for us includes a lot of talking… LOUDLY and I wanted to mix and mingle with the vendors.

Here are some of the beautiful hand made items from Meen .

Image

Image

The lovely Root2Tip ladies, that I had the pleasure to meet last week were also in attendance. They sneaked out of the photo this week but left their yummy Mummy to happily pose for me.

Image

Image

Then I swung by the Shea Decadence stall and had a nice chat with Sharron the owner and creator of the company.

As one of my birthday presents my Mum bought me the “Kinky Girls Essential Kit”, which consists of – Jamaican Black Castor & Nilotica Conditioning Shampoo, Mineral Rich Clay Hair Masque, Fusion Finishing Rinse and Cocoa Frappuccino Leave In Conditioner.

I’ve used all of the products already except the Fusion Finishing Rinse which I will be reviewing once I’ve used it, but what I love the most about the Kit is that everything is in 100ml which makes it a convenient travel size pack, I can’t wait to take it on holiday when I go to the Dominican Republic later this year.

My Mum bought the Clay hair Masque that I love so much, she wants to try it out for herself. Sharron was kind enough to give me the Sweet Marmalade Pomade as a birthday Pressie (Thanks Sharron! x)

Image

ImageImageImage

We also bumped into the enthusiastic Stylist at Design Essentials, he “pounced” on us and proceeded to demonstrate their products on us, the stylist found a tuft of dry hair by my ear and used their Defining Creme Gel to finger curl it, I’m sceptical as you can probably ascertain by my expression…

Image

Image

Image

My sister has a different curl pattern, and the stylist decided that their mousse would be better for her hair.

Image

He showed us how to apply the mousse and scrunch to define her curls and to get rid of “frizz”.

Image

He then applied it all over her hair and it did immediately cut down on the frizz so my Sister bought a bottle.

Other vendors on the day included:

Naturally Nourishing, The founder – Natalie was a Curlvolution attendee last year and within one year she started her business and came back to Curlvolution as a vendor.

Natalie went up on stage in the afternoon and told her story, Natalie is so strong but humble  and was such an inspiration to me, she explained how we can achieve anything we want to even within a relatively short space of time.

Super Funky Me were selling customised jewellery, I got a cute hair accessory, I’ve never seen newsprint fabric before, I think it’s really funky and unusual, which I love.Image

Mane Diva’s were also present with their own line of hair products, as well as hair extensions for weaves and Tropic Isle Products.

Iman from Imanmade had a table too, she was selling her lovely home made products specially for sensitive skin, I’ve used some of her body butters before and I really liked them.

I love Afro were representing with their amazing natural hair product range, I haven’t tried their stuff yet but as soon as I use up some of my “Product Junkie” backlog I’ll be buying and reviewing their range.

Sheabutter Cottage and Beunique Hair Care, had their tables set up inside the main hall, Check out Belinda’s amazing hair and T Shirt!

ImageImage

I didn’t buy anything from BeUnique as I’d made a purchase last week at Project Embrace and I’m yet to try it.

At this point we hopped on the Emirates Cable Car and went to the o2 for a spot of lunch.

Image

London’s o2 centre as seen from the cable car above.

We ate at Cafe Rouge but the meal was disappointing 😦 which is why I’m not posting any photos of the food. Normally the food at Cafe Rouge is reliably tasty but not that day.

After lunch we were actually knackered so we decided to head back over the river back to Curlvolution and watch the rest of the show.

Action Jackson was calling some of the vendors to the stage and asking them to speak about themselves and their businesses, it was so uplifting to hear so many success stories from women who are basically just like me, they had a dream, a goal and a talent and they made it into a reality.

There were several “golden tickets” that had been stuck under the chairs before the show and we were all directed to check our seats to see if we had won a prize, Mum sis and I hadn’t won anything and were feeling too lethargic to go charging round the auditorium looking under unoccupied seats but some of the audience were more dynamic than us and about 7 young women won prizes from the various vendors present on the day .

Next Jackson asked for volunteers and my hand shot up ,  even though I didn’t know what it was for, but you have to take risks sometime in life and in this instance it paid off. Jackson asked me to say a bit about myself and tell everyone what I do, so I started by saying hello to everyone, then I told them it was my Birthday , I got a massive cheer for that, then I said I bake cakes and my name is Sian and before I could finish someone in the audience shouted “The Baker” I was so shocked that someone knew who I was, and no it wasn’t my Mum or Sister! Action then told me that  I had  won this exquisite Silk eye mask  by Ayamour

Image

And since it was my birthday Angela Appiah the creative mastermind of Ayamour also offered me a free hair styling session, which of course I graciously accepted.

SONY DSC

Me and the ladies from Ayamour

There was some more motivational speaking from Action Jackson and then the Darren Scott Salon Hair Show, it started off with everyday styles and then went edgy with the finale being the Avant Garde hair creations, here are some photos.

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

At the end of the Darren Scott hair show, all of in the audience were forced invited to go up on stage to celebrate ourselves and our fabulousness as we are all special, some of us were uncomfortable doing this but they actually blocked the doors and refused our exit unless we had been on stage! here are just a few samples of the beautiful and unique sisters in the procession

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

Action Jackson and Bukky wrapping things up on stage…

SONY DSC

I missed most of the other bloggers on the day, as we were not in the main room but I spotted Ms Laila-Jean Washington a.k.a Neffy Fro Fro but better known as Fusion of Cultures of course Kaila was there too. I really wanted to speak to Laila and let her know how much her channel has inspired me, but I wasn’t able to get to her.

However I did get to meet two ladies who both, inspire me hugely and encourage me to achieve my aspirations (and hair goals) .

Image

Cynthia Butare on the left, the producer and director of amazing documentary Kickin’ it with the Kinks and to the right Crystal Afro the lady whose blog helped me to take the plunge and do my big chop over a year ago.

Cynthia even gave me two free “I kick it with my Kinks” badges, I wore one of them on Monday 27th at the “Kickin it with the Kicks” anniversary showing…

Image

but more about that in a couple of posts time!

All in all I had a great birthday and I would love to return to Curlvolution next year but as a vendor or blogger.

A big thank you to Bukky for my ticket and for organising such a fantastic event, my only disappointment is that I didn’t get a goody bag as they had run out by the time I got to the table, not sure how that happened as I’m sure there would have been enough goody bags for all of the ticket holders but then maybe some cheeky women took two!

Thanks for reading this long post.

Luv Sian

xxx