Naked Winter Berry Cake

Hello My Cakers and Bakers.

Happy Holidays!

Of course I’ve been busy baking over the Christmas period.

Below is a Red Berry “naked cake” I made for a customer, in the cross section you will see that the cake has several layers as well as a horizontal pattern. A naked cake is simply a cake without external icing it’s naked so that all the layers can be seen from the outside and it allows for the flavours of the cake to shine through and not be overpowered by heavy sugary icing or frosting.

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PicMonkey Collage (5)

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Thanks for reading

Luv

Sian

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I’m Still Baking!

Hello Cakers Bakers & Beauties!

With all of this hair and travel talk you would be forgiven for thinking that I’m not baking anymore,  I am ALWAYS baking…lol

I just don’t always remember to take photos or blog about everything I cook, life has been so hectic lately…Arghhhh!

This weekend I remembered to take a few pics before everything got eaten and it was too late…

Friday night I made a pizza from scratch, we used to get a takeaway every Friday but it’s a waste of money and most of the time it doesn’t even taste that nice. We live 3 minutes away from an amazing Italian deli so I was able to pick up authentic ingredients on my way home from work.

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My Mum also asked me to make her a Banoffee Pie, these requests come about every couple of months and it’s a bother dragging my pie tin around London, so I bought a stack of disposable pie tins from Lakeland, I’ll leave the stack at my Parents’ house so I can just rock up and bake on demand. I made the base with crushed biscuits, butter oats and sunflower seeds, it had a fantastic texture…Yummy!

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I forget to take a pic when it was whole, sorry!

Last week my dear friend CeCe had her 4th baby, I wasn’t able to attend the baby shower as it was the day before my birthday and I was in Vegas so I promised myself I would go and see her while the little bubba was still tiny. I decided to make my own “congratulations it’s a girl” gift, I saw some gorgeous baby socks with a touch of sparkle, one foot has “little” on the sole and the other one has “princess” on the sole, so adorable. I made a balloon bouquet from assorted pink balloons in my decorations box, pink hydrangeas from my garden and the first lily that bloomed in my garden this summer.

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I actually made 12 cupcakes because I wanted to try different toppings and piping effects.

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Then I picked the best 6 to bring to CeCe and her family of 6 (including CeCe and partner.)

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For some reason I decided to be “clever” and I cycled from London Bridge to Croydon on my “new” bicycle to deliver this gift package. I got into a spot of trouble along my way and every single cupcake got flipped upside-down! Luckily nothing else got damaged including me, the balloons and my beloved bike!

CeCe loved her gifts and the cupcakes were still delicious!

Thanks for reading.

Luv

Sian

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Vegan & Nut Free Little Boy Blue Cupcakes.

Hello Cakers!

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I haven’t forgotten about you amongst all this hair and body talk, one of my recent projects was Vegan Cupcakes for a little boy with food allergies, well they were Vegan plus because this little boy also has a nut allergy.

The Mother of this little boy Chelena, asked me to make some cupcakes for her son because he often misses out on sweet treats because of his allergies. I had to make sure that as well as being egg, nut and dairy free the cupcakes had blue frosting, the flavour was up to me. I searched online for Vegan Cupcake recipes but most of them had ground almonds or too many synthetic ingredients. As you know I try to keep my creations as natural as possible, I’m not under any illusion that cake is healthy but if you are going to indulge your sweet tooth you might as well use the best ingredients you can afford and little to no chemicals.

The other day I was watching a documentary and Tesco (a major UK Supermarket) have created a “chocolate cake” that has a shelf life of 26 days! How Disgusting!

Some of the issues I faced while making these cupcakes were: rise, density and flavour. Luckily the cakes didn’t have to be gluten free so I was left with Flour and Sugar as my two “normal” ingredients .

You might not know how much flavour is imparted into most cakes from eggs and butter, seriously it’s a lot, plus they also help create a light and fluffy texture. My first recipe attempt was awful it was heavy and doughy with little to no flavour.

To help combat the heaviness I substituted one third of my flour with cornflour it’s an old trick for when I can’t use ground almonds. I also added 4 times as much baking powder as I normally would to help with rise and fluffiness in the finished cake which is created by tiny air bubbles in the cake batter. Rather than use margarine, which I truly hate, I used Organic vegetable oil as my “fat” element in my cake, it is possible to make a cake without fat but it helps with moisture and trust me these cakes needed all the help they could get! To add and intensify flavour I used 2 whole Vanilla beans in my cake batter and switched out some of the (Unrefined Caster) Sugar for Light Muscavado Sugar, this amount of Vanilla may sound excessive but trust me it was just right for this mix as before I put the vanilla in, it just tasted sweet but not of anything in particular. I also used unsweetened soya milk in my cake batter.

The icing was also tricky but I used half a tablespoon of Vitalite (a Vegan margarine)  and half a tablespoon of Trex, as my butter substitute then I creamed the two together and added a ton of icing sugar. I used soya milk to make the icing more creamy and used Maple syrup and half a Vanilla bean for flavour. I added natural blue food colouring in the cake batter and icing since that is what the little boy – Zach had asked for.

It took a long time to make a recipe that I was happy with and thanks to my lovely husband for tasting and eating all of the not so great recipe tests. If you would like this recipe then let me know in the comments and I’d be happy to share it with you.

It was all worth it in the end as you can see from the Videos Chelena sent me, the videos are shared with permission.

 

Who is Aunty Sian? That’s ME!!!!

Thanks for Reading and Watching

Luv

Sian

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The Cake and Bake Show 2013

Hello My Cakers, Bakers and Beauties!

I attended the Cake & Bake Show on Friday 13th September 2013.

I didn’t really know what to expect as I didn’t attend the show last year and I intentionally didn’t do much research before going.

I’d like to say thanks to Celina F, she sent me a link for discount tickets to the C&BS while I was on holiday in Dom Rep and thanks to modern technology I was able to buy my tickets for £7 each, I bought one ticket to the actual show and a VIP ticket to the Cake Kitchen with Shelina Permalloo, for those of you who don’t know who Shelina is, she is the winner of 2012’s Masterchef (UK – the original and best version).

Shelina Winning Masterchef, she was the first female champion in seven years! (image from dailymail.com)

My Mum and I were rooting for Shelina since we first saw her on the show and we were so glad she won. From the beginning Shelina came across as very passionate about food, beautiful inside and out but humble too.  We were also really glad to see that as a “woman of colour” Shelina was always representing her Mauritian background and bringing those flavours and dishes into her amazing food.

I also have a bit of a girl crush on Shelina, I’m not ashamed to admit that I think she is incredibly sexy, she is curvy, pretty and can really cook! what’s not to fancy?!

The Cake and Bake show was held at Earls Court 1 in London. I went on my own so I could spend the entire day there perusing all the stalls and chatting to anyone and every one without my companion getting bored and making me feel like I have to rush.

The C&BS was huge! I dont think I got to visit every stall even though I was there from 11-5!  There was a lot of people selling baking related items which is to be expected really but I didn’t feel pressured in any way there were enough free samples and demos to keep me happy. I wish that there were more toilets because each time I had to good there was a long queue. In addition more savoury food on sale would have been nice, there were a couple of gourmet pie stalls within the show and the sandwich type places that are permanently at Earls Court but nowhere I could get a proper balanced meal, at least not on the Friday.

Now for the pictures!

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These guys were making instant ice cream using liquid nitrogen!

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Beautiful Meringues

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The Queen and Her corgi were entirely edible!

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Entirely Edible Woodland Scene

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All of the “fabric” on this bodice is edible lace – except the cris crossed ribbon

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At the end of the day I was so happy to sit down at the cake kitchen and watch Shelina’s demonstration she made a pork stir fry dish and delicious white chocolate and cardamom cookies! I know they were delicious because the VIP  tickets holders were able to have a cookie each.

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Me, Shelina and yummy cookie!

That’s All Folks!

Sian

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My First Three Tired Wedding Cake!

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After the Cake was cut

Hello my Cakers, Bakers and Beauties!

This wedding cake gave me nightmares for weeks on end, it was a wedding cake for a very dear friend of mine and I didn’t want to mess it up. I don’t have photos of the stages because I was concentrating too hard during the process and didn’t have time to mess about taking or posing for pictures.

The bottom layer is a 12″ vanilla cake with home made raspberry conserve and Dominican Republic Vanilla Buttercream.

The middle layer is 10″ rich chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.

The top tier is a Lemon Drizzle cake.

I covered the cake in an Ivory coloured sugarpaste, it’s made by Renshaw and the colour is called “celebration”.

The bride and groom wanted a very simple Ivory cake with Gold accents, because of their religious beliefs they couldn’t have a mini bride and groom cake topper, but the bride had said she was going to leave a topper at the venue on the day so I could put it on top then.

After a precarious journey with the fully assembled cake I arrived at the venue to find no topper! After trying to communicate with staff at the venue – a massive waste of time, another friend of the bride turned up and informed me that the bride didn’t like the topper when it arrived so she decided not to leave it at the venue. The cake looked so unfinished that I grabbed a few roses from a centre piece and laid them on the top of the cake, it wasn’t perfect but it was better than nothing.

In total the cake took me about 18 hours to bake and assemble, I spent weeks and weeks on the prep, I know I could have done it in stages and spent a week doing it, but that’s not my style and I wanted the cakes to be as fresh as possible.

I did enjoy making the cake but it was so stressful I’m not sure if I’d do it again.

I’ve made a Croquembouche before for someone’s wedding anniversary and it was a breeze compared to this, I don’t particularly like working with sugarpaste though….

Yes I know the cake is crooked and I know what I did wrong, my dowels were not all the exact same length, the difference was in millimetres though and when I finally went to bed the cake looked straight to me. Also my sugarveil was applied in a slanted fashion which made the cake look more crooked than it was, but again it look straight when I put it on.

The bride and groom were delighted with their cake but I was horrified at the crooked-ness, I wanted to throw a sheet over it and cut it up quickly but that wasn’t really an option, I also wanted to apologise every single time someone took a photo of it, but again not an option.

I was so sad when I set it down and it was crooked I wanted to cry, I really did. I put my heart and soul and so much careful planning into the cake for it to be crooked on the day. I was actually very angry at myself but since I was also a guest at the wedding I couldn’t brood about it all day.

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Cutting the Cake

Congratulations Mr and Mrs “D”! 

To respect the couple’s privacy, I’m not posting any photos of them but here are a couple of pictures of me and my lovely  hubby!

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The person who took this photo didn’t know what to do and almost dropped my camera this is why my face looks like this!

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That’s Better!

For the readers interested in hair who read this far, Thank you so much! Just for you I’ll throw in some hair talk…

I wore my hair in a high bun and managed to get some “baby hurr” going on at the front, instead of a hat I wore an oversized bow in black & cream and leopard print.

Luv

Sian

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