Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Greetings, Loved Ones

I met the awesome Miss Cakehead today for an afternoon tea at The Sanderson Hotel in London.
We were discussing Cakey Perry and I was delivering some Snoop Dogg cookies for the press release.

She very kindly treated me to this gorgeous array of treats.

Their theme was Alice in Wonderland "down the rabbit hole" which we felt was a bit lack lustre and they could have made more off.  (We were being critics as we wanted to compare with the Cakey Perry experience.)  I loved the little bottle, but the toffee, lemon meringue and apple pie flavoured cream inside was too sickly. However the scones were a triumph.  The pink lollipop (raspberry I think) was delicious and the chocolate pop contained ice cream and popping candy. Gorgeous!  The other pastries were delicious too. And a lovely day was topped off by a glimpse of Trevor Eve (sorry all you not in UK but he is very gorgeous).

I had also made some cookie bling rings as a present for Miss CH.

If you are in London and fancy an amazing high tea experience you have three days left before the Cakey Perry tickets go up.  There is information here.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Mad Hatter's Tea Party 2011

She felt a twinge in her back as she pegged out the sheets. From inside the house she could hear shrieks of laughter as the children were playing a game: based on previous experience it sounded like there would be much to clean up later. The wind brushed against her cheek and sent a lock of hair over her eye, and as she flicked it away the sheet fell. Fortunately there had been no rain recently, and the dry earth didn't stain the fresh laundry.

Although hanging out the washing took much longer than shoving it all into the tumbledrier, she always preferred to do it as it gave her a few minutes to herself among the flowers .The garden wasn't perfect, she could see clumps of weeds in every aspect, but it was pretty and slightly wild. There was always an air of magic out here, and today was no exception with birds singing and bees buzzing...in fact there was a very loud buzz just near her ear.
She flicked it away but it came back even louder.
"Shoo" she said.

The bees were insistent, it almost seemed as if they were talking to her.
"Come and play with uzzzz...come and play..."
Was it the bees? Or the echo of her children running in the garden.
"You never have time to play with uzzzz..!"
It must be her children, that was their constant refrain. She impatiently swiped at the bees - rather too violently, and hit herself in the face. "Idiot!" she labeled herself, and then felt a bit woozy: had she clouted herself that hard?  She slumped onto the grass and closed her eyes...and suddenly it went silent.
Ahhh...peace! she thought.
As quick as that thought ran through her mind the peace was broken. There was an even louder buzzing, almost as if hundreds of little raspy voices were shouting at her
"Open your eyes!"
She did, and gasped.
Instead of her garden she was sitting in what could only be described as a bee hive! She was surrounded by hundreds of bees. And opposite her...not a bee, but a man. A man in a hat.
"Felicitations, and cavalcades of joy!" he exclaimed.
"Sorry, but where am I?"
"Oh, for goodness sake, lady, just go with the whimsy! No questions: only fun and merriment."
"I don't just go with things, I meticulously plan and consider situations. I have a checklist of things I need to do before I can even leave the house. I never consider whimsy, and I certainly do not act spontaneously !"

A bee appeared with a bowl of small cakes.

"Madeleine.." it buzzed.
"Go on!" said the behatted man. "They're very good!"
The impossible magic of the situation persuaded her to take a cake from a stranger. She placed the whole little treat in her mouth.
"Mmmm!" It tasted of rosebuds and Summer. She imagined she were growing very tiny, or maybe getting bigger, or was she just melting away? She ate four more!

As she grinned a whole table full of cakes and dainties appeared in front of her.

"Dive in" suggested the man.
She looked at the delicious array in front of her. "Well, why ever not?" she said, and closed her eyes, grabbing the first thing her fingers touched: a lemon and raspberry muffin. It was quite delicious!

"I know!" The man in the hat said, as if he could read her mind. "The best you have ever tasted?"
She nodded in agreement while her eyes settled on a honey cake.
"It's a little known secret, but the bees are the best bakers in the world!"

And they certainly were - she tried each and every pastry, pie and sweet treat laid out in front of her, without ever feeling full.
Eventually the table was empty, and she lay back and sighed. The hum of the buzzing was sending her to sleep, and as she drifted away it seemed to take on a different tone...they were singing a lullaby for her.

Awaking with a start she found herself on the lawn, the children still raucously screaming, the birds still singing,   and the bees still buzzing.
"Ah well!" she sighed "Whimsy can't last for ever. Back to work!"
As she passed the dining room table, her arms full of sheets now dry, her eyes fell on an object that certainly hadn't been there when she went outside:

She retraced her steps to the back door, peeped out and whispered: "Thank you bees, until next year" and blew them a kiss.

You can spy on last years Mad Hatter's Tea Party here.

PS: There seems to be an awful lot of Mad Hatter's Tea Parties about today - you can find out why if you head over to A Fanciful Twist.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Cakey Perry

(Cakepops and photograph by MollyBakes)

Greetings loved ones!
I am very excited (can't you tell?) to be taking part in Cakey Perry, the next event from the fabulous Miss Cakehead.

This event is a pop-up high tea extravaganza inspired by the video to Katy Perry's 'California Gurls', and the paintings of Will Cotton who was the art director on the video.

I even have an official title!  How cool is that?  I am the Art Director.  
We will be styling the room so it's a candy land adventure. As well as a cake stand full of goodies for each table there will be a dessert table (but would you expect anything less?).

There will be fun and surprises and games to play.  We may keep you waiting at the door until you can throw a six!
If you can catch a flying meringue you can add it to your stash and why not have a go at a cupcake decorating balloon?

The high teas run over three days from 29th - 31st July in London (the destination is secret until you've booked).  They are £20 each at the moment but hurry as they go up to £25 in July.
You can get your tickets here.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Painted roses

This is a wedding cake I made last week for a lovely bride.
She really wanted something different for her cake so was delighted to be able to have a painted cake.

It is quite a simple design growing smaller at the top so as not to distract from the topper. (The bride had ordered this from elsewhere, it's ceramic so she can keep it as a souvenir of their special day)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Book club cake of the month...June

(Please don't worry about May's book club cake, it's just temporarily lost!)

This month we read Blindness by Jose Saramago.
It is about an unnamed city which has a mass outbreak of blindness. The story centers on a group of people, including, the first man to go blind and his eye doctor.
Initially they are put in quarantine, but, after a fire, they break out to discover everyone is blind.  Fortunately, for the reader, the doctor's wife is never blinded, so we can see the chaos and devastation through her eyes (and most of what she sees is pretty grim).
Jose Saramago was a Noble prize winning author, so obviously it is a fantastically written book, reflected in the score of 8 out of 10 by everybody.
OK, everyone apart from me...I gave it 6.  
I am a big fan of end-of-the-world movies and apocalyptic scenarios. However I like people to be more gun-ho and less...philosophical when facing the end of the world as they have known it.  I want the survivors to commandeer trucks and move to the country, not wander around aimlessly.
Don't take my opinion though, as the other members of my book group are much more literary and intelligent.
(If you're more like me, go and see 2012).

I was pushed for time and inspiration when coming up with a cake, so I made a large biscuit version of the cover of my book.

The people infected with the blindness see only white, hence it is called 'The White Evil'.  So I added some white chocolate.  The front figure is the Doctor's wife, who never experiences the whiteness.

The next book is my choice.  We always give three titles and let the majority choose.  I decided to go for three more uplifting or funny books, than some of our recent choices.  The group choose 'The Finkler Question'
By page thirteen I was crying!

Previous Book club cake of the month

Friday, 17 June 2011

Father's Day Download

This Sunday is Father's Day, a day to celebrate the (other) special man in your life.  He's a real man, he can fix a plug, put up shelves and make a fine chilli (not all at the same time of course!)
So what special treat to bake this man?  
Not a cupcake or a macaroon, not even a whoopie pie. 
This is a man who needs...flapjack!
Fortunately you can look here at yesterday's post  where you will find a lovely recipe for one.
"Wait!" I hear you cry.  "How can I make this sweet treat even more special?"
"I have just the thing" I reply. "Why not get the kidlets (or yourself) to colour in a lovely flapjack bar label?"
"Brilliant idea! You exclaim. "Why didn't I think of that first?"

So you first need to make the flapjack.

Butter and line your baking tray.

Put your ingredients to melt in the saucepan.

Heat them up until melted.

Add the oats and stir well.

Place the mixture in a tin and pat down with a spoon or your hands.

If the mood takes you why not add smarties?

Clear up by eating anything that has spilled, then get bored and leave it all to your mother.

Colour in the labels, and cut out.  Wrap the flapjack bars in grease proof paper and stick the label on the top.
And easy peasy lemon squeezey, a thoughtful gift for that wonderful Dad.
Right click on the picture above and save for a jpeg version.
Or you can download a pdf version here.

Enjoy your father's day treat with a nice cup of tea!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Flapjack Recipe

This is a recipe handed down to me by my Mum.

You can download an easy to read and follow pdf version of the recipe here. (please let me know if you have any problems with this, you shouldn't be charged.)

Come back tomorrow when I will have another free download for Father's Day!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Super Squirrel

Look at this cheeky chap we spied from our window trying to steal nuts!

I wish I could do that.

He is using his super strength squirrel powers and knows we're watching!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Kerrang!...keepin' it real!

Today I did something very different. I helped create a dessert table for the Kerrang! awards!

Miss Cakehead asked me only a few weeks ago if I could help and I couldn't say no.
The Kerrang! Awards were celebrating their 30th birthday and wanted to have a birthday theme, but with a twist, obviously.  We came up with the concept of a dessert table after the party had finished. They went for the pitch and two weeks later, hey presto...one 'party aftermath' dessert table. For inspiration I just imagined my house after one of the kidlet's parties!

 I didn't make all the cakes as Miss Cakehead has a lot of cake contacts, and I physically couldn't get a whole tables worth of cakes into London. (Well I could if I wasn't such a wuss at driving in the city!)

Anyway I made cigarette butt cookies and ash, I was very pleased with these.

Jelly to look like wine and squash (it was wine, raspberry and passionfruit flavour)
Cheese on sticks (marzipan).

And melted ice cream cones.

Laura from Mamma Jamma Cakes made the fabulous/freaky clown,s head, along with glowing eyes and flashing candy floss hair.

Other cake makers included MollyBakes, sausages on sticks (cakepops) and cupcakes.  Love to Cake made the 'K' cakes and Black Cherry Bakery made cupcakes too.

Here I am with Laura and Miss CakeHead going all 'rock chick chicky rock!'
It was a really fun table to do which I hope you can tell from the pictures!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Inspiration part two

So, in the same week as yesterday's cake, I was given this card by a friend.

She wanted a cutting cake and cupcake tower based on the design.  She also wanted some bunting, a '40' and a birthday message.

I love the thrill of thinking up ideas to fit into a brief.  It's great to be free to go my own way but I also like having limitations set on me, it actually can make me more creative and stops lazy thinking. (I could have said 'it makes me think outside the box', but I'm not taking part in "The Apprentice")
When I was a textile designer I painted lots of ditsy prints and so I was excited to be given this reference.  The joy of ditsys is that they don't have to match perfectly, it's fun to have different styles and colours. 

 They also don't have to be all over designs, I painted some bunches for the cupcake toppers and also sprigs.  I liked the cherry too so I incorporated that.
Having snippets of the prints on the bunting and bunting on some of the cupcake toppers helped tie the whole theme together.

This is another cake I really enjoyed making...I hope that you are enjoying sharing them with me too!