Tag Archives: cake

Adventures in Baking: Paralympic Swimming Cake

Earlier this year I became involved with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the sport of swimming in particular.

When another charity cake sale came around at work, this time for Sport Relief, complete with sport-themed showstopper challenge, there was really only one way to go. I decided to make a swimming cake!

It’s a simple five (?) layer vanilla sponge like my Pink Rainbow Cake and a piñata cake like the one I made for my friend’s wedding. People seem to love the surprise centre in these cakes; certainly I have witnessed some very excited adults when the sweets tumble out!

The blue of the ‘water’ was achieved with a mix of blue and small amounts of yellow gel colour. The fondant was purchased in blocks of white and red and then coloured with a ‘fleshtone’ gel colour for the swimmer’s body.

(Please accept my apologies for the dodgy phone photos – my phone at the time was utterly past it and I didn’t have any batteries for my DSLR.)

Onto the pictures!

image1

The basic cake waiting for the exciting bits to be added

 

image3

The whole cake complete with Paralympic ‘agitos’ made from royal icing

image2

Royal icing piped ‘waves’ (an experiment which happily went well)

image4

The confectionery contents specially chosen to match the IPC logo colour scheme of red, green and blue

Advertisements

Day Sixteen – 30 Days of Creativity 2015

I’m disappointed with myself on this one. Seems it’s harder to draw a fairy cake on a computer than you might think. Perhaps cupcakes are easier?

Day Eleven – 30 Days of Creativity 2015

Today’s theme is cherry, and I had the thought of cherry bakewells in my head for the entire day. To make my craving worse, I decided to make another pattern, whipped up in five minutes but still needing some amendments because looking at it makes my eyes go funny. Anyone else getting that?

2013 – Year in Review

It’s that time of year again, to mull over what has happened in the last 365 days and look forward to what might occur in the next 365. In 2013, amongst other things, I:

– Somehow gained a Distinction in my latest (now discontinued) OU course: T211 Design and Designing
– Started supplying rowing-themed button badges to Rock the Boat
– Made an unexpected wedding cake for my friend’s wedding
– Celebrated my one year rowing anniversary
– Watched Luisa Omielan’s comedy show What Would Beyoncé Do?
– Had a ‘Health MOT’ and passed with flying colours
– Started a challenging and interesting new job
– Watched The Leisure Society live (again!)
– Won my first race final at a rowing regatta
– Had a Hawaiian-themed joint birthday party for my 30th
– Watched my friend’s long awaited, much anticipated and
very funny debut film ‘Dead Cat’
– Moved house
– Did a screenprinting workshop at Print Club London

As usual, at the start of the year, I decided on my New Year’s Resolutions. This year’s were intended to be more about ‘doing’ and less about ‘thinking’, though I could not have foreseen that a combination of rowing and studying would take over my life for nine or ten months of this year, leaving me little time for anything else (including writing blog posts)!

1) Make marshmallows, macarons and madeleines.
I managed to make marshmallows (and very tasty they were too), and some madeleines for my friend Madeleine’s birthday (though I didn’t get to try them). I’ve not quite got around to making macarons, though having not ever actually tried one I might find that I don’t like them after all! I was tempted by the make-your-own-macarons kits that I spotted in Sainsbury’s the other week, but alas the raspberry ones contain cochineal (off-limits to vegetarians) and the chocolate ones are out too because I don’t like chocolate. So this might be a longer term project. Perhaps I’ll take a class in how to make macarons, because by all accounts they can be tricky little so-and-sos!

2) Make fewer excuses.
This was the obligatory ‘floaty’ resolution but one I’ve been meaning to do for a number of years. I’ve had a tendency to blame stuff on things that are outside my control or that I could change if I really wanted to. Working on making less excuses (both spoken and in my head) has actually resulted in a lot of inner peace this year. I’ve learnt to change things and to just get on with life without coming up with feeble reasons not to do things. Hurrah!

3) Work on becoming very healthy and fit.
This was all to do with rowing, which I think I was a bit cagey about at the start of the year when I wrote about this resolution. Suffice it to say, a year’s worth of rowing training has done wonders for my fitness and figure; I actually have definition in my bicep, calf, stomach and thigh muscles for the first time in my life. The being healthy bit is going to need some work into next year though, as I rely far too much on carbs and dairy products to keep me going, and need to try to get more protein and good stuff into my diet.

4) Make my own clothes (or modify more).
I still have a pile of ‘to do’ projects in my craft room but didn’t really have any time to do them. This year, instead of making and modifying, I made a point of seeking out small boutique shops (such as my current favourite, Aspire Style), clothing brands that I know work with my figure, and investing in higher quality items that are properly tailored and will last a long time. My shape changed so much from all the exercise that I had to donate two thirds of my wardrobe to the local Oxfam charity shop (resulting in an amazing Tag Your Bag total) so really I have had to start again from scratch. I also bought my first pair of skinny jeans this year, a lovely high-waisted stretchy version that actually fits! Only a decade after everyone else started wearing them…

5) Do a photography project.
This went right out the window when the aforementioned epic rowing-and-study combo kicked in. I managed a few weeks (six, to be precise) but I think that I may have fallen out of love with my camera. Perhaps one of my 2014 NYRs should be to save up for a new one?

Did you make any resolutions for 2013, and if so how did they go?

Becky

Adventures in Baking: An unexpected wedding cake

My lovely friend Sarah (a prolific commenter on these pages) got married to her Lovely Man recently, and asked me to make a cake for the post-ceremony tea-and-cake gathering. I actually made a selection, including marshmallow rice crispy cakes, my famous banana bread, and a popular sticky sugary lemon drizzle traybake.

However the piece de resistance was the ‘wedding cake’ (there was a ‘proper’ iced fruit cake too). Sarah basically gave me free rein to do what I liked! I enjoy surprising people and incorporating as many little things that I know they’ll like into whatever I’m making for them. With that in mind, I sent off a quick questionnaire to Sarah and her fiancé with questions like, ‘what is your favourite colour?’, ‘what are your favourite sweets?’, ‘what is your favourite type of cake?’.

Eventually I came up with this. It was inspired by the pink rainbow cake I made a while back, raspberri cupcakes’ pink and white layered sprinkle cake and about a hundred different ‘piñata’ cakes (particularly this rainbow one and this sophisticated blue one from Betty Crocker). I put all of the couple’s favourite sweets on the inside, and added sprinkles in their favourite colours (blue and green) to their favourite kind of icing (buttercream). Then I topped it with a custom laser cut topper made of mirror acrylic inspired by their favourite song!

You are shining light

sarahwedding%20034

From the outside of course it just looked like a normal, if very tall, speckly cake, so people were amazed when it was cut open to reveal pick’n’mix sweets. Now that the secret’s out, I’m going to have to think of other surprises to hide inside cakes!

Becky

Adventures in Baking: Lemon Drizzle Traybake

People know that I bake, and that I’m pretty good at it (and modest), so when it’s their birthday or a special occasion, they like to request cakes from me! This one is no exception: lemon drizzle cake, requested by a colleague in honour of their birthday. I’ve made loaf-shaped lemon drizzle cakes before but although they turned out reasonably well, they just didn’t have that ‘wow’ factor. So this time I decided to try doing it as a traybake, following the recipe from the Queen of Baking, and judge on The Great British Bake Off, Mary Berry. Although I’ve used her basic recipe, I’ve made some little modifications to it here and there.

Mary Berry's Lemon Drizzle Traybake

Ingredients

275g self raising flour
225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar (I used 110g golden caster sugar and 115g normal caster sugar)
2tsp baking powder
4tbsp milk
4 large eggs
grated zest of 2 lemons

For the topping:
Juice of 2 lemons
175g granulated sugar

1. Lightly grease and line a 30 x 23cm tin. Preheat your oven to 160°C.

2. If you have an electric mixer, mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. If, like me, you don’t have an electric mixer, start by creaming the butter and sugar together, add the eggs and milk and mix well, then add the flour, baking powder and lemon zest and continue to mix well for a few minutes.

3. Empty the mix into the tin and level the top with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula.

4. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until golden and the sponge springs back when pressed lightly.

5. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes. (I didn’t remove my cake from the tin but if you want to then you can remove it from the tin using the baking paper. Carefully remove the paper and allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.) Prick the cake all over the top with a fork. This will allow the topping to sink into the cake a little way and imbue it with lovely lemony sugary mmmmm-ness!

6. While the cake is cooling, mix the topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle the topping over the cake while it’s still slightly warm. When the cake cools, this ‘syrup’ forms a crunchy lemony sugary glaze.

7. Cut into squares once completely cooled. Grab some for yourself before it all disappears!

What’s your favourite go-to cake recipe, or your favourite cake?

Becky

Pink Rainbow Cake

I seem to have become the resident baker at my place of work, and as one of my colleagues was turning 18 (so young!) this week, I decided to make an extra special cake. She’d requested a sponge cake with butter icing in the middle and white chocolate and sweets on the top. So that’s what she got – but with a twist. I’d spotted this beauty (the blog is in Swedish but English text is below the pictures) on Pinterest and decided to have a go at making a pink rainbow cake myself. I could have made a standard rainbow cake but my young colleague loves pink! Continue reading