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

x

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Princess in Pink Cake (contains topless doll images…lol)

On Friday 22nd March 2013 I had the day off from my day job, I booked the day off because I had a Princess Cake to make for a lady I really didn’t want to let down and I knew I would be very tired in the evening after a full day of work so I used up some of my flexi -time and spent the day making the cake.

The following photos and words are the whole process from start to finish, at the moment I still do not have a fantastic camera so once again please forgive the quality of my photographs, (Nicole if you’re reading this we really need to collaborate on a post soon..)

This is going to be a very photo- heavy blog, here goes…

I tried to order a miniature Princess Tiana doll (specifically for cakes) from the USA but there was no guarantee it would arrive on time so instead I bought a normal Disney Princess Doll. Image

ImageI decided to undress the doll and save the clothes and accessories in a little bag so after the cake was eaten and the icing washed (or eaten) off the little girl could play with the doll.

The doll has a straight updo as pictured above, but I’d seen a photo of the birthday girl with a stunning curly ‘fro so I decided to try and style the doll’s hair to somewhat resemble the hair type of the recipient of the cake, of course I wouldn’t get it exactly right as this is a doll with shiny fake hair but I knew I could curl the dolly hair up a bit, I did this by co-washing the doll’s hair then doing two-strand twists while the hair was damp, I then coiled those twists into “Chiney Bumps” or Bantu Knots to my American Cousins. Image

I then tried to cover the doll’s nudity.. a bit late I know ….LOL Image

Some of the ingredients and equipment I used, Image

I began in the normal way by creaming my butter and sugar, ImageImage

Then I added real vanilla paste,

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After I mixed the vanilla in, I added each egg with a spoon full of self raising flour to stop the mixture from curdling.

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After all 8 eggs were beaten in I folded in the remaining flour then added milk Image

Mixture was plopped into the “Wilton Classic Wonder Mold” ( I had greased the tin with Sunflower Oil even though the tin recommends that vegetable shortening should be used, I’ve never been one to follow all the rules..BORING)

The metal rod in the centre apparently ensures the cake is cooked evenly by conducting heat through the centre of the mix, instead of heat coming from the only the outside and causing dry over cooked crusty edges and a soggy undercooked middle.

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I tucked the cake into my pre-heated oven and prayed, wished and hoped it would rise, cook evenly and slide out of the tin nicely.

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SUCCESS! Image

I only lost a tiny bit of cake which was stuck to the edges of the tin, am I now going to buy vegetable shortening in the future…. err no! The amount of cake I lost was negligible and wouldn’t be noticed.

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I knew the cake was not tall enough for my full sized doll to fit in the centre and have the cake start at her hips so I prepared another cake to be added to the existing one and give more height. The theme was pink so I added natural pink food colouring (made from beetroot) to the sponge mix. ImageImage

I forgot that you need to add extra food colouring to a raw mix as it loses it colour when cooked, I guess this is especially true for natural colouring. My cakes came out looking exactly the same as when I don’t put in any colouring in.

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While the cakes were cooling I prepped the doll, by wrapping her in clingfilm (saran wrap) from the hips down and taking down her chiney bumps, I was happy to discover I had created a somewhat Afro effect.

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I then set about making my Pink Vanilla butter cream, which I would use to layer, crumb coat and decorate the cake. ImageImage

I used to biscuit cutter to cut disks out of each layer of cake, in order to create a hollow tube through the centre of the cake in which the doll would stand. Image

Once the cakes were completely cool and the off cuts devoured by hubby and I, I began stacking and layering the cakes, I used home made cherry conserve and the pick buttercream for added moisture and flavour. I intentionally allowed the filling to overlap the edges of the cake to ensure a complete connection between layers and to use the extra to help smooth on the crumb coat. Image

I know it looks crooked here but it ended up straight.

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she’s saying “Yay! I’m finally getting fitted for my new gown I was getting cold” (Humour Me)Image

On goes the crumb coat…

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I then added a bit more food colouring to the icing and began piping and sticking on the decoration. I used a mixture of pink sweets and my own home made edible decorations to create the finished dress, and new accessories. I used a very small piping tip to do the bodice effect, bracelet, necklace and tiara.

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The finished cake!

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In total the entire process took me approximately 9 hours, including styling and preparing the dolls hair from the night before. I’m sure a more experienced baker could knock this out in half the time but I enjoy each one of my creations so much, that I do not like to rush and take my time over every detail.  Unfortunately on the way to the lady’s house disaster struck and a small crack appeared in the front right corner of the cake, that crack turned into a crevasse then finally an avalanche as we went over more and more speed bumps and eventually a chunk of cake fell out! I was devastated to deliver a less than perfect cake and I literally felt like crying, I don’t know why that piece fell out but I was able to stick it back into the cake unfortunately all the decoration from that part of the dress was ruined.

I’m sorry I don’t have photos of the damage but I was too busy, panicking and attempting to mend the cake with thin air, (whilst simultaneously trying not to cry in front of the lady and her gorgeous kids) to take photos, I kinda have one photo but you have to look very closely  to see the damage…

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I have learned that I need to carry an emergency cake mending kit with me when I make deliveries. The lady had to go out that evening so she was unable to wait for me to make my way home, whip up a batch of buttercream and return to fix the cake. However she was gracious enough to let me return early the following morning and repair the damage. I could barely sleep that night I was so upset for what I deemed as ruining her little girl’s cake. All’s well though… I fixed it in time for the party and the birthday girl and all her guests enjoyed the cake…. Phew!

Until next time,  good bye folks!

xSx