Sunday, 27 January 2013

New Adventures for a New Year

2013 looks set to be an exciting year for us here in the back of beyond.  First up is the challenge of returning to work after my year of illness that marred 2012. I am very lucky that my employer is allowing me to have an extremely gentle phased return back into the work which therefore still allows time for my baking and cake decorating which has become something of a passion for me.

Secondly, the wedding that inspired my new love of cake decorating is now only 10 days away and I am looking forward to (and being anxious about in equal measure) the challenge of a 6 inch cutting cake and 65 cupcakes all individually decorated with handmade roses, I am starting to look at what my next challenge will be after the vows are exchanged and the cake is cut. I have been playing around with the idea of going into the bakery business for a while now and have finally taken the plunge and asked the local environmental health to inspect and certify my kitchen for commercial use. Once this is done I plan to advertise my services for cupcake and occasion cakes as well as general biscuit and cake baking for the local area.

I have already had my first enquiry for a box of cupcakes delivered to the south west of England, some 90 odd miles from us here in the back of beyond! Now, as one to enjoy a challenge, I have managed to find some packaging that claims to transport cupcakes via post with no damage to the cakes whatsoever. Watch this space for my testing of this product when it arrives!

To help extend my decorating skills and practice my fondant work I have tested out cakes and my skills on a batch of cupcakes for my darling niece's baby shower. She is due to have her second baby in mid March and already knows that she is having a boy  I was able to theme the cupcakes appropriately, with lots of buttons and booties in shades of blue. I also created an fondant icing model of Elmo as this is her family pet name.
My second cake challenge of the week has been buttercream roses. I have seen lots of lovely pictures recently of cakes decorated with buttercream flowers which looks fabulous.  After a quick trawl of Youtube I found that they are extremely easy with the right nozzle (a Wilton 1m nozzle ), a piping bag and a large quantity of buttercream.

For the sponge I used the Great British Bake Off - (How To Turn Everyday Bakes Into Showstoppers) recipe for simple sponge cake. I had this book for Christmas from Gem and have been bursting to try out some of the recipes! This recipe was really simple and turned out a nice cake so definitely one to keep. I used my standard buttercream recipe with the addition of 50 grams of Cocoa powder. You can find the recipe for the buttercream here:

Simple Sponge cake

250g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
1tsp Vanilla extract
4 large free range eggs, beaten
250g self raising flour, sifted
50g cocoa
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons of milk
Preheat the oven to 180c
grease and line a 20cm round cake tin

Place the butter into a large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl. Beat until very creamy with either a wooden sponge or electric mixer (I used my Kenwood with the K beater).
Gradually beat in the sugar and then the vanilla. Continue to beat until the mixture is pale in colour and very fluffy in texture.

Gradually beat in the eggs a tablespoon at a time. Add 1 tablespoon of the weighed flour with each of the last  2 portions of egg to prevent the mixture curdling.

Sift the remaining flour, cocoa and salt into the bowl and fold in using a big metal spoon. Fold in the milk until a soft dropping consistency is achieved.

Transfer the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a cake skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Decorate in anyway you wish!


  1. I love the look of those buttercream roses...something I keep meaning to try. Perhaps I will this week now!
    Good luck with the wedding cakes, I'm sure they'll go down a treat, and really pleased you're taking the next step on your baking journey...hope the kitchen inspection goes well x

  2. Thanks Vicki.Make sure you post a pic of your roses! x