Thursday 17 April 2014

No-sew Easter table runner (from Pin to win!)

I have close to 4,000 pins on my many Pinterest boards. Most of them I have pinned with the hope that one day I will bake, make or recreate them.... but that day never arrives! Until now!

I pinned this table runner (which I love) a good while ago and today I decided to make it!  I wanted to give it my own spin (but you can get the original instructions here). So I made it with pretty spring-like floral fabrics, I am not going to pretend this a tutorial, it's more like vague descriptions and pretty photos, but hopefully it is clear enough to help you recreate it , if you want, and why not add your own spin. 

As it is no sew, I didn't hem the runner, just tell people that it is 'rustic'. My runner is 40cm x 190cm, I made it long enough so that there is a slight hang over each end of the table.

Begin by making the pom-pom tails. Trace the pom-pom maker template onto very thick card and cut out. Wrap wool around the ears. 

Tie a length of wool around the middle, take the pom-pom off the bunny ears and cut the edges. You may need to trim the pom-pom.

Choose your fabrics for the bunnies and iron them flat. I used bonda-web to attach the bunnies to the runner, it is also called wonder-web, but it may be called something different in other countries. It basically fuses two fabrics together. 

Trace the bunny template onto the bonda-web, I had six bunnies on my runner, but you could have more, or less. Roughly cut out around the design then iron the bonda-web onto the fabric. Peel off the backing and then iron the bunny onto the runner.

Finally use the glue gun to attach the fluffy tails.

You can right click on the image above to download the template as a jpeg, or download a pdf here.

Then add some flowers, fluffy chickens and gorgeous props and voila! a very pretty Easter table.
ps You can follow me on Pinterest here.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Simnel cake printables

Now that you have made your fabulous and delicious simnel cake it's time to add the finishing touches.

I have created a cake cuff which is suitable for any size cake, just add a ribbon to tie it around the cake.

There is also a sign for the top of the cake. I used these straws from Baker and Maker, but you could use plain ones or even lollipop sticks. I used my glue gun to attach the sign.

You can download your printables here, then just print them out onto card, cut out and add to your cake. 

Then stand back and wait for the appreciative noises that your family will make.

Happy Easter!

Monday 14 April 2014

Chocolate orange simnel cake recipe

My kidlets have been on holiday for a week already, and thankfully the weather has been fabulous, so I have been able to throw them into the garden to play and keep them from under my feet. However one day last week my eldest was whisked away for a play date with a friend. My littlest kidlet is the type of child who needs a constant playmate, so I decided I would get her to help me make a recipe for Amelie's House, rather than play endless Pokemon battles.
I thought it would be good to make a seasonal treat, a simnel cake.
Simnel cake is a light fruit cake eaten at Easter. It has a layer of marzipan in the middle and is topped with another layer of marzipan and twelve marzipan balls. These represent either the twelve disciples or Jesus and the disciples minus Judas (depending on which version of the story you read).
As ever, I wanted to mix it up a little bit, I'm not one to stick to the traditional flavours. I asked LK what she would like to add, although I really didn't need to, I knew that chocolate would be high on the list. I threw in some orange and cinnamon too, and we came up with this recipe.
I made a 7" and 4" cake from this recipe, one for my family and a mini cake for an Easter present, you could probably get a 9" or 10" cake from the recipe.
Also the fan element is broken on my oven and while I am waiting for a brand spanking new one all my timings are a bit out as I have to use the conventional oven and it is not the best. So do keep checking on your cake when it is close to being cooked.



(Obviously if you want to save some time then you can buy ready made marzipan)
  • 90g icing sugar
  • 90g castor sugar
  • Grated zest of an orange
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 175g ground almonds
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 500g marzipan
  • Marmalade or apricot conserve


  1. Sift the sugar into a bowl.
  2. Add the egg.
  3. Place the bowl over a pan of hot water on a cooker.
  4. Whisk the egg and sugar together whilst still over the pan for about ten minutes.
  5. Take the bowl off the pan. Add the almonds, orange zest and cocoa powder and knead together until the marzipan is formed.

Cake Ingredients;

  • 250g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 250g light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • Grated zest and juice of one orange
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 250g mixed dried fruit
  • 150g chopped good quality dark chocolate


  1. Preheat your oven to 175C.
  2. Butter and line 4" and 7" cake tins, or a 9" or 10" tin.
  3. Place the fruit in a pan with the orange juice. Bring the liquid to a boil and then turn off the heat. Leave the fruit in the pan to cool. This will plump up the fruit and add a nice orangey flavour to the cake.
  4. Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time. If the mixture starts to curdle add a tablespoon of the flour. Beat the mixture until it is well mixed.
  6. Sieve the flour and cinnamon over the mixture and fold in well.
  7. Fold in the fruit, any juice that hasn't been absorbed and the chocolate.
  8. Spoon half the mixture into the tins.
  9. Roll out the chocolate marzipan and form it into circles roughly the dimensions of the tins. Place a layer of the marzipan on top of the cake mixture. Then spoon over the rest of the cake mixture.
  10. Place a square of greaseproof paper over each of the tins, this will stop any fruit from burning.
  11. Place in the oven. Cook the 4" cake for 60 mins and the 7" cake for 2 hours. Check the small cake after 45 mins, and the larger cake after 1&1/2hrs. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 10 mins then turn out and place on a cooling tray.

Once the cake has cooled down you can finish it off by adding the marzipan top.
The best way to do this is to use a kitchen blow torch, I  however do not have one of these. Every year when I make my simnel cake I decide to buy one, but then I never do, so I am forced to use a grill.
Roll out the marzipan, I have used yellow marzipan here, but the natural is just as good. I used spacers to get the marzipan to a depth of 1/4". I then used the cake tin to cut out a circle that would fit on top of the cake.
Heat up the marmalade or apricot preserve in a pan and then brush a little on top of the cake (if you are using marmalade make sure you don't pick up any chunks of orange as this will give you a wobbly top!)
Then place the marzipan circle on top of cake/cakes. 

Divide the remaining marzipan and make twelve balls.

If you have a blow torch you can put the balls on top of the cake at this point, use some of the marmalade to stick them together, then toast the top of the cake with the torch.
If you are using the grill method, first toast the top of the cake, then the balls separately. then when they are cooled stick the balls on the cake. It is a matter of minutes to toast, DO NOT LOOK AWAY, or you can be guaranteed it will burn. 

I will return tomorrow (hopefully) with a downloadable cake collar and sign to make your cake even more Eastery.

ps, this is what you get when your kidlets help you out!

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Cakey catch up

Here's a quick catch up with a couple of the cakes I have made in the last few weeks. I have also been making some dummy cakes for various photo shoots, but you will have to wait a while to see those.

The first is a Vivien Westwood themed cake I made for my gorgeous niece who turned eighteen and loves a bit of VW.

This Glastonbury themed cake is a new version of one I made last year. this couple met at Glastonbury and got engaged there too. They picked various elements of the festival that were personal to them for me to paint, including the cider bus (the groom is from Somerset) and a bride and groom 'just married'

I'll be back soon with some Easter treats.

Monday 7 April 2014

Afternoon tea at the Grosvenor

I was very fortunate to receive an invitation to a special press launch for a Paul A Young chocolate afternoon tea at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. I was so pleased that even though I was snowed under with work I was going to go and nothing was going to stop me! So I literally ran into town, sampled the amazing goodies and ran home back to the cake face.

I have loved Paul A Young chocolates since I first fell upon them (literally) and this was the most amazing afternoon tea ever.
Obvioulsy with Paul involved there was a chocolate theme running throughout the tea but there were other non-chocolate elements too.

To begin there was a glass of champagne, and an amuse bouche of melon, mango and pineapple. 

To drink there was coco nib tea which is really delicious. It smells like the richest hot chocolate ever but tastes so light and refreshing.
Then the afternoon tea arrived..hurrah!

I love a dainty sandwich and these were delightful, there was a chocolate and cucumber one which sounds a bit of a crazy combination, but actually worked really well. The chocolate was thin and crispy, and the cucumber slices were salted.
I did sample quite a few sandwiches but I didn't want to fill up too much as there were many varied and gorgeous cakes.

I started with some feather light scones topped with traditional clotted cream and then not so traditional salted caramel...mmmmmmm...words cannot convey....too good....
There was a chocolate biscuit with Madagascan chocolate ganache scented with rose and raspberry.
Earl grey chocolate tart with a salted lemon truffle
Orange, English honey and geranium ganache, this was my favourite and I could have eaten a bucketful!

Pistachio and raspberry slice, these last two items were non-chocolate which was a nice touch as it prevented the whole tea from becoming too sickly.
To finish there were three Paul A Young truffles, which were, as ever were, amazing.
I had a really lovely tea, with all the elements presented coming together to create an afternoon tea with a twist, that is a fabulous indulgent treat. The service at the Grosvenor was perfect with the waiters and waitresses being lovely and attentive with being intrusive.
The tea will be available from April 14th and if you are looking for a special Easter treat (or even just a treat) then I would heartily recommend that you book as soon as you can! 

Here is Paul himself, making sure we were all happy with his tea...which we were and then some!