Saturday, 30 July 2011


I had my biggest order to date this week... about 200 cupcakes and 3 big cakes for a corporate birthday function. It was insane seeing as this is my sideline and I do actually have a full time job!

Cakes waiting to be boxed up

So many things went wrong; I lost my voice at the start of the week & had a horrible sore throat, the 200 toppers that I'd lovingly prepared in advance decided to stick to the greaseproof paper & were all ruined so I had to make the whole lot again, AND, the company I ordered my cupcake boxes from, 'Little Cupcake Boxes' made a mistake with my order so I couldn't use any of them. To make matters worse they were away on holiday (??) so I had to buy another 200 in a completely different design, that are harder to pack & drive halfway across England to get them in time!

Red Velvet Cupcake individually boxed

I'd like us to take a minute to reflect on how it came to be, that a company specialising in wedding favour stuff, deems it appropriate to go on holiday for a week, in peak wedding season, with absolutely no-one manning the phones and/or emails. It's madness! We all need a holiday but it can't be good business sense! I almost had a melt-down, you know that frustration when you can't even speak to someone!

On the upside, in my frantic bid to get more boxes, I found a wholesale company that has much better service and cheaper boxes called Cake Boxes Direct. They have a warehouse on a farm so I also got to meet some horses who were a bit camera-shy but gorgeous :)

I hereby name you Bailey and Ana :)

I probably had about 5 hours sleep over three days but when I delivered my last cake, the sense of achievement was intense. I stopped off for a non-alcoholic beer with some work colleagues who were out and then drove through Central London soaking up the scenery and just enjoying the moment.

It's amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. What is also amazing is how many Red Velvet cupcakes you can eat without getting fed-up! I have had to give away all of the cakes that didn't pass quality control, because I literally had cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner... I need help! :)

"Reject" cakes ready for shipping to my brother :)

An extra special thank you to Susan for helping me out and my mum (as always) for just being amazing. After all of this hard work I am off for a week with my boys for some well needed rest and relaxation. Next weekend it starts all over again :)

xxx Pin It

Sunday, 24 July 2011

How To - Red Velvet Cupcakes

I figure it's been a while since I did anything vaguely helpful on this blog and it's about time that I shared some hints and tips. As I've been making so many Red Velvet Cakes recently with 200 to make this week alone, it seems like a good place to start.

Recipe (taken from the Hummingbird Bakery Recipe Book and slightly adapted)

Makes 16 cupcakes 

For the Sponge
120g unsalted butter
300g caster sugar
2 large eggs
20g sifted cocoa powder
38ml red food colouring
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
300g sifted plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
240ml buttermilk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the Cream Cheese Frosting
100g softened unsalted butter
600g sifted icing sugar
250g soft cheese (Philadelphia)

1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF), Gas Mark 5
2. Mix the butter and sugar together (known as creaming) with either a food processor or an electric hand whisk until they are pale and fluffy.
3. Whisk the eggs together separately and slowly add the eggs until everything is mixed together.
4. In a separate bowl, make a smooth paste out of the food colouring, vanilla essence and the cocoa powder and then add it to the batter. Mix thoroughly.
5. Mix the salt and the flour together and then add half of it to the batter and mix together. Then mix half of the buttermilk with the batter and repeat the steps again until everything is mixed in smoothly. You will need to use a spatula or a spoon along the edges of the bowl to make sure that everything is fully mixed together.
6. Lastly add the white wine vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to the mixture and mix it all up until everything is incorporated.
7. Fill the muffin cases to just over half way and cook in the oven for about 18-20 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when you put it into the centre of a cupcake.
Leave to cool down a bit (so you don't burn your hands) and then cool the cakes on a wire rack.

8. For the frosting add everything together in a bowl & mix with an electric mixer on a medium speed until it is smooth and there are no more lumps... Easy peasy. If you are not icing the cakes straight away then store the icing in the fridge. It gets quite hard when it is cold so leave it out of the fridge if you  will be icing them at the same time.
9. Lastly cover the cakes with the frosting when they are completely cool otherwise the frosting will melt.

Things to watch out for!

1. Don't try and substitute the ingredients as it won't taste as amazing! It's worth taking the time to find the right thing. For buttermilk go to a big store like Tescos, Morrisons, Sainsburys or Waitrose etc. Note - Asda does not sell buttermilk and you won't get it in smaller versions of the above stores.

2. Artificial food colouring is best - in my opinion at least. It gives a proper red colour and has no lingering flavours (only dodgy chemicals :). I tried to use natural food colouring once and ended up with Brown Velvet cake that had hints of beetroot & paprika flavours lingering in the background. If that is your sort of thing then by all means go for it but I was unhappy with the effect.

3. This mixture makes a lot of cakes. Depending on how full you want the muffin case you can get way more than 16 out of this mix. I have found that if I try to fill the cases up too much, it overflows and you end up getting ugly cupcakes. Not my thing but they still taste gorgeous. It's a fine line between under filling and over filling. Ultimately you will need to practise with your muffin cases and see what works for you....

I hope that was useful, happy baking :) Pin It

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Princess Cake

It was my niece's birthday today & I had the chance to relive my childhood and make a castle fit for a Princess :)

My brother has been on at me for ages to make him a Red Velvet cake. I've made loads of them recently and as much as I love them (and him); as cakes go, they are one of the trickier cakes to do. What I mean is, it's not something you just rustle up.

But, this is a special day and to celebrate all of my lovely nieces, I thought I would go for something a bit special. That, and I haven't baked a cake for a full 10 days or something crazy like that which is an eternity for me.

This design is a 3-tier Red Velvet cake with Pink Cream Cheese Frosting. I used biscuits, sprinkles, sweets and ice-cream cones as decorations - basically anything I could find. The only things that aren't edible are the flags... It was a lot of fun to make!

This is the kind of cake that when you get it, makes you feel loved and special. It took a while to make and was made with love. 

This cake is dedicated to all of the Princesses big and small out there because you are worth it.

Love and Peace xxx

Special shout out to Bailey and ChAna who couldn't join the celebrations today but where there in spirit.
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Saturday, 16 July 2011

My week in pictures....

It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you, without a dope post to chill to, chill to...

It has been pretty much a week since I last posted a blog. It was a week jam packed with me losing my iPhone (my true love), an amazing holiday at the Worldwide Music Festival 2011 in the South of France and the birth of my beautiful niece. The last few days have been all about Facebook; posting pictures, tagging pictures, liking other people's pictures and adding and accepting new friends (and looking at their pictures). That and settling back into the 9-5 and cooing over my gorgeous niece.

I am just about ready to get back to my current reality but in the spirit of keeping the memories alive, I have compiled a very small collage of the events of this week especially for those of you that aren't friends with me on Facebook and therefore totally pictured out....

Before I sign off I have to say that this is the first time that I have gone away on holiday & decided I wanted to live elsewhere. I am an Anglophile at heart but I am ready for some time in the sun. I am officially putting it out there... Sun, sea, sand, the French language, family and opportunity. Watch this space :)


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Sunday, 10 July 2011

Pink hearts

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Friday, 8 July 2011

Under the Sea


First you make your crab out of sugar paste icing

Then your chocolate cake...

Add a few finishing touches

...some candles & a badly sung Happy Birthday song

Cut the cake...

And enjoy :)
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Monday, 4 July 2011

He ain't heavy... he's my brother

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Friday, 1 July 2011

It's difficult to think of anything but happy thoughts while eating a strawberry tart...

Because I spend more time than most baking sweet things I don't often buy cakes and stuff like that. However one afternoon I was passing by Carluccio's in Islington when I saw a mini strawberry tart that I just couldn't pass by.

A delicious shortcrust pastry with a mascarpone cheese filling, it was literally the most delicious thing ever. It was so good that I actually felt guilty as I sat at my desk eating & enjoying, like I should really be having this much fun in private :).

I had to recreate this again & I used a mascarpone cream icing to fill the flan then topped it with fresh British strawberries and a jam glaze.... Delicious.

Like the title of this post says, it's difficult to think of anything other than happy thoughts when eating a strawberry tart. Click here for a recipe if you'd like to make your own :)

Peace & Love 
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