Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Christmas is a-coming!

It is my goal this Christmas to make Darling boy his very own stocking. I have seen some gorgeous fabric in Heathcoats and I am busy designing something lovely. This craft project was on the schedule for last year, but I just didn’t get round to it.

I hadn’t discovered Heathcoats and hadn’t had my haberdashery desire sparked by the offerings in Exeter. Also, as parents, Handsome Husband and I decided he was too tiny anyway and would be getting a mountain of toys from the rest of the family, so we would get a couple of good prezzies, and put money in his bank account instead of doing a stocking .

This year though I think Darling boy might be keen on the idea, especially if there is a train or car in the stocking. I just love the idea of Darling boy always having the same stocking each year, and for it to be home-made by his dear old mum. Christmas is all about tradition and doing the same things at the same time, it’s about comfort and familiarity, but mostly it’s about love. The great thing about starting your own family is that you get to make your own traditions and customs. You get to set ‘they way it’s always been’, to re-invent the cozy warm Christmas you had as a kid for your own bambinos.

The next project

I popped into Heathcoats the other day, quite innocently just intending to browse. I was just mooching when the most scrumptious chestnut brown silk with shades of green velvet stripes jumped out at me. Well, what was I to do, but buy 4 feather cushion pads and the fabric and rush off home with good intentions of sewing up envelop cushion covers as excellent craft inspired Christmas presents.


Is that a real cake???

The giant cupcake made it’s debut at the market this weekend.

As the recipe is a mocha cake, I iced it in vanilla butter cream to look like a mocha coffee. Decorated in tiny gold stars, with a flash of three bigger gold stars dashing across the top, with gold sparkles all over, it won much admiration.

It certainly is a substantial cup cake, and would easily feed around 20 people I have estimated. Several people asked me if it was a real cake, and one bright young chap claimed boldly that he could eat it in 5 seconds. Very impressive!

Also making a first appearance where chocolate cupcakes with toffee butter cream icing. These seemed to go down well too. Perhaps it was the cold weather, but Tiverton seemed to be in a chocolatey mood on Saturday as all things with a chocolate twist were very popular.

also appearing for the first time, new decorations on the lemon cupcakes...and baby lemon cupcakes.  Each featuring a handmade yellow butterfly with golden sprinkles. 

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The story so far...

Help...the timer has gone.  The top is cooked and the bottom isn't...

I think this will always happen as the top section is that much smaller than the bottom.  This might be a job for giant electric saw man.

The giant cupcake has landed!

The giant cupcake tin has arrived! so exciting.  It's two halves of a cupcake.  There is a tin with two shaped holes, one for the base and one which is very much Mr Whippy shaped, which is what would normally be the iced top.  Both bits are sponge- and then you ice around the shape of the top section.

I have made up the batter as per the recipe that came with the tin- it's such a funny shape I have no idea what quantity of a normal recipe would fit.  The recipe is an American one- so is in cups, argh! its always such a nightmare trying to measure in cups- how do you measure butter in cups??? and what is a stick of butter when it is at home?


The cake is in the oven now- its supposed to cook for 60-70 mins...its all very exciting!  I will report back with how it turned out (if indeed, it will turn out!)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Kissing a lot of frogs


I thought the prince was going to be my answer in salvation to having to use the beast for all my baking, but sadly it was a match not made in heaven.  A faulty thermostat has meant that actually it is almost as unreliable as the beast- it just can't achieve an even, or accurate temperature- and so it has to go.

A nice man from Comet- who had a striking resemblance to a young John Travolata, was unable to fix it and suggested a replacement.  So my new Prince is due today

The big one!

I'm very excited, I have just bought a giant cupcake tin from Amazon and it should be here by the end of the week.  It is made by Wilton- those American cake supremos.

The lovely family from Halberton who asked for the Firework party cupcakes has placed an order for Christmas time.  We were talking about giant cupcakes, and I had been toying with the idea of making them for a while, and she has spurred me on to buying the tin and trying it out.  

Hurry up postie- I wanna bake a big cupcake!

'Saturdays wouldn't be the same without you...'

...So one of my regular customers at Tiverton market told me.  Ahhhhhhhhh, what a lovely thing to say- and bearing in mind this was only my 6th market, it made it all that much more the lovelier.

The weather was awful, high winds, buckets of rain and really cold.  Us stall holders were all expecting a slow, quiet day, but actually, it wasn't too bad.  It was quieter than usual, but those who had braved the elements obviously felt in need of a little treat, or reward for being so daring... and cupcakes and cookies obviously hit the spot.

This week, I had made rocky road (a chocolatey bar filled with marshmallows and crushed biscuits, with added golden syrup) as a new treat on offer- they sold really well, in fact they sold out.  Its always a nice feeling to be able to display a little 'sold out' card each week.

Also on offer were the sticky toffee pudding cupcakes- this week decorated with gold stars.  They are a fiddly and time consumer cupcake to make- but oh so worth the effort.

Next on the horizon for me is a wedding fair at Bickleigh Castle and a christening order - its all very exciting!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Girly girliness

My most recent special order was for a little girl’s first birthday.

My clients had bought some cupcakes from my stand at the market and asked me then about birthday cupcakes. They called me a week or so later and super girly cupcakes were requested.

And what could be more girly than vanilla cupcakes, with pink vanilla butter cream icing, tiny pink fondant icing flowers, and pink glitter? Alongside these were some very chocolately chocolate cupcakes and the girliness was complete.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

I am a pie eater

Since it's Sunday- a big lunch is called for.  The night before I had poached a chicken ready for a chicken and mushroom pie, with cream and tarragon.  After a trip to visit the cows, we headed back and the pie was assembled (alongside a mini one for Darling boy) and then popped in the oven to bake.  We loafed on the sofa with the papers whilst Darling boy napped and the pie cooked.

The results were good and the pie was gone fairly quickly, along with the roast potatos.  I wonder if any Sunday is complete without roast potatos?  (and pies labelled as pies?)

chickens in trousers

This weekend Marvellous mum and dad were down for a visit, which was pure golden lovely.  Darling boy loves them to bits and has such fun when they are here.

On Saturday, after delivering the Firework party cupcakes we headed off to Crediton to check out the monthly farmers market there.  I'm considering having a stall there, and wanted to check it out.  They already have two stalls and I wanted to see the competition.  This was duly checked out and after this sleuthing, our tummies were rumbling.  After a local tip by one of my good friends who lives in the village, we headed off to the Devon Traditional Breed Centre at Home Farm  where they have a collection of hilarious chickens with excellent feathers, as well as pigs, chickens and rabbits- and a tasty cafe.  We had a tasty lunch and after a good examine of the animals and a slide on the slide, and picking up lots of stones (which is very important apparently?) we headed home for a well deserved cup of tea and slice of sticky date slice.

whizz pop bang

Here are the baby chocolate cupcakes I made for the Firework party order- I think they turned out rather sparkly!

The old saying goes 'Every day is a school day' and this was true on Friday.  I learnt that powder food dye is not so good, it tried it's hardest, but was not vivid enough.  The cupcakes were baked, cooled and iced.  I then spent at least an hour or two fiddling around with teeny tiny stars, cutting them out and painting them individually with gold paint mixed from the powder I had bought that day.  It was gone 11pm when I gave up, they just weren't bright enough.  By this point I was seeing stars myself as we had got up that day for work at 5.30am.  If I were going for subtle, antique hints, then these stars would be just the thing- but I was after something more bling, more fireworky.

I cleaned up and headed off to bed, and just as I pulled the duvet over my tired bump, Darling boy woke up and- here the irony was not lost on me- required me to sing Twinkle, twinkle little star. Who can refuse a tousle-haired toddler clutching his teddy?  After the first verse, a tiny, sleepy voice said 'again', and after the third or fourth time through- he was back to sleep.  It seemed stars were the theme of the evening.

Darling boy then saw fit to wake up at 5am...he took some convincing to go back to sleep and although he did for a while, he then woke up again and by 6am, he had decided actually it was time to get up.  Handsome husband got up with Darling boy, and I decided since I was awake, I may as well trot downstairs and apply a second coat of gold paint to the stars.

After going back to bed for a snooze, I got up and looked at the stars again, and I still wasn't happy.  So I zoomed to the local cake supplies shop as soon as they opened to buy what I had wanted in the first place, sugar flair pastes have such a rich vivid colour.  'Autumn leaf' won the day and I zoomed back home and remade the stars.  Arranged onto the cupcakes and sprinkled with glitter, I was hoping they would fit the bill.

Bright vivid colours had been requested and when I dropped them off, my new clients seemed really happy- which makes me happy too.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Going with a bang???

Yesterday was a great day for Adventures in Cake.  I received two orders for cupcakes, one a girl's1st birthday party in a couple of weeks- so lots of pink is required, and the other a last minute order on a bonfire night theme for a fireworks party tomorrow.  I  though chocolate cupcakes, with chocolate butter icing and bright orange and hot pink vanilla icing decorated with tiny gold stars and gold glitter...I am making them tonight and hoping they go down with a bang tomorrow.  I might even think up some more awful firework puns by then...