60th Birthday Cake

60 birthday cake happy sixtieth sixty shaped homebake fondant decoration green grass flowers and butterflies

It’s been ahem a few months since my last post – what can I say, things got rather busy! Rest assured I’ve been busy baking and have plenty of recipes photos waiting to be shared. And how could I not share this wonderful excuse for a celebration. Last month was my mum’s 60th birthday (sorry mum, it’s public knowledge now!) and of course I was tasked with making the all-important birthday cake.

I used my number and letter pan to make the two number-shaped cakes. Both were madeira cake as it makes a great stable base for decorating onto. One was vanilla flavoured with a blueberry and raspberry buttercream, and one was lemon with a lemon buttercream. Even though the birthday party was only a few weeks ago I can’t actually remember which was which!

After the buttercream I covered the cakes entirely with a pale green fondant icing. Next up came the grass in a rich, fresh green. I rolled long strips before cutting the blades by hand and wrapping round the cakes. It took some doing but I was so pleased with the effect 🙂

Last but by certainly no means least, the cake was finished with fondant flowers and butterflies, in bright spring colours of orange, purple, and pink, edged with edible glitter. These took up most of my evenings in the week leading up to mum’s birthday, to ensure they were fully dry and set in time. In the absence of enough flower-forming cups, I made temporary ones out of a strong tin foil. This meant all the butterflies could set in a v-shape, and gave the flowers a rounded-3d effect. The centres of the flowers were filled with a tiny piped circle of white royal icing.

edible glitter purple orange and pink flowers handmade fondant icing

edible glitter on fondant butterflies birthday cake homemade

fondant icing edible flowers with glitter edging pink orange purple

sixtieth birthday cake garden themed fondant flowers and butterflies

As ever that’s not the end of the story – just the small matter of 50 matching cupcakes for the birthday party! These were chocolate, half of them filled with caramel, and half with nutella. To top I cut matching circles of the pale green fondant, and curved pieces of the darker green grass, before finishing with butterfly and flower toppers.

matching cupcakes for 60th birthday cake green grass with fondant flowers and butterflies garden themed cupcakes flowers and butterflies on green grass fondant topping

Surprisingly enough we didn’t fit 60 candles on the birthday cake – in all honesty we didn’t really try! It was still quite an impressive inferno nonetheless 🙂

60th birthday cake flowers and grass with candles burning happy 60th birthday mum blowing out candles on cake

The party was great fun and the cakes went down an absolute treat – it was of course a pleasure to make them for my lovely mummy! ❤ Happy birthday again!

sixtieth birthday cake garden themed fondant flowers and butterflies

Dad’s 60th Birthday Liquorice Allsorts Cake

happy birthday dad liquorice allsorts cake homemade black cream filled tube yellow coconut and blue aniseed round

You may have guessed from the title, but today is my lovely dad’s 60th birthday. If this doesn’t call for a cake, what does!

Liquorice allsorts are one of his all-time favourite things. For as long as I can remember they have been a staple birthday / father’s day / christmas present when stuck for any other ideas. While trying to figure out what to call the individual allsorts, I came across this brilliant h2g2 guide. Very entertaining but not sure I’d agree – why on earth would you leave chocolate until last!

As I was making 3 cakes I wanted them all to be different flavours, so they truly were allsorts!

First and most time-consuming from a decorating perspective – a replica of the blue sugar ball covered allsort, which normally has an aniseed jelly inside. This one was much sweeter however – a lemon madeira cake centre, covered with a blueberry buttercream, and finished with rolled circles of blue fondant.

liquorice allsorts blue aniseed ball recreated as birthday cake fondant blueberry and lemon

To make both the round cakes I used the smaller of my Ikea Sockerkaka moulds – a perfect size so we wouldn’t be eating cake for the rest of the month! And very quick & easy to clean between recipes as well.

ikea sockerkaka silicon cake mould small

Next up, in the same circle mould, the yellow coconut covered allsort. Sticking with the coconut covering made it easy to recreate the look, and inside I used my Tropical Fruit Cake recipe. A simple circle of black fondant on the top finished the liquorice look.

liquorice allsorts birthday cake yellow coconut and black and white tube

Finally, and sneaking into the above picture, the black liquorice tube filled with a white cream, for want of a better name! This one was an easy chocolate swiss roll , filled with a vanilla buttercream. To get the outer look, I wrapped white fondant around the ends, before rolling the whole cake in some black-coloured chocolate fondant. My hands were rather black too after kneading the food colouring into that!

black and white liquorice allsort made of cake chocolate swiss roll covered in fondant

By the wonderful power of hindsight, I do wish I’d made the swiss roll a bit smaller. Putting all the cakes together on the board I realised that the planned “60” was actually rather tricky to read!

60th birthday cake liquorice allsorts black tube yellow coconut and blue aniseed round

liquorice allsorts birthday cake blue aniseed balls created from fondant yellow coconut tropical fruit cake and chocolate swiss roll with fondant covering

Still, with black hands and a bomb-site of a kitchen, it had to do! I’d bought a pack of allsorts to model the cake on, so used some of these to decorate the edge of the cake board, and the others as well-earned reward for a tired baker 😉

Trying to spell out a message with allsorts was not a big success, so a piped message in matching liquorice-black took their place. And more allsorts for me to eat!

happy birthday dad hand piped icing liqourice allsorts cake board

liquorice allsorts birthday cake tropical coconut fruit chocolate swiss roll blueberry and lemon aniseed balls made of fondant

We celebrated with afternoon tea at Perkins Restaurant in Nottingham, (as it was THAT good last time), alongside some suitably over-sized helium balloons.

60th birthday giant helium balloons afternoon tea at perkins restaurant nottingham

And of course it was amazing as always! The staff let us while away the afternoon with plenty of tea refills, and just when dad thought all the cake was gone – out they came with much, much more! One happy daddy 🙂

dads 60th birthday at perkins restaurant nottingham liqourice allsorts cake handmade

Happy 60th dad! x

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie Bites

gluten free mini brownie bites heart shaped with white chocolate zig zag topping

As promised, the first of the recipes from my lovely Afternoon Tea Birthday Party last weekend. This one is quick, easy, gluten (and flour) -free, and best of all, full of chocolate. What’s not to love!

100g bar of dark chocolate
100g butter
120g light brown sugar
2 medium eggs
30g cocoa powder

White chocolate to top


– Melt the dark chocolate, butter and sugar in a saucepan, over a low heat. Stir often to avoid burning and sticking- Once everything is melted together, turn off the heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes (or transfer to another bowl if you’re in a hurry)
– Beat the eggs together, and stir into the chocolate mixture along with the cocoa. Beat well until everything is combined
– Spoon into individual cases about 2/3 full. You could also bake a big pan and chop into brownie squares, but would need to adjust cooking time
– Bake at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the top is crisp and firm to the touch
– Allow to cool before piping over with melted white chocolate

The cases I used are these lovely little petit four cases from Dotcomgiftshop, in four co-ordinating red and white patterns. Aren’t they cute!!

heart shaped petit four cases foil dotcomgiftshop recipe and how to use easy and quick red white valentines polka dot heart

When making such small brownies the recipe does make quite a lot – I used whole pack of 40 cases and still had a little batter left over.

mini heart shaped brownies gluten free recipe in individual foil cases pola dot

Cases should only be filled about two-thirds full as the mixture does rise up during baking!

individual gluten free brownie bites heart shaped gingham and polka dot red white cases

Piping matching zigzags looks incredibly effective but takes next to no time.

art food photo gluten free brownie bites heart shaped individual cakes recipe ane method

Et voila! Gluten free means healthy… right? So you can eat more! Hurrah!

gluten free mini brownie bites recipe topped with white chocolate

Birthday Afternoon Tea Party

Ah yes, the week of my birthday, where, once again, friends and family gather to eat their own body weight in cake. There is a definite theme to all my birthday presents and the respective celebrations at which they are received – cake, cake, and more CAKE! Take for example this amazing 3d patisserie card – will definitely be finding a permanent home for this little lovely in my kitchen.

patisserie 3d birthday card cake lover

This year Rob and I hosted a birthday afternoon tea at home; we moved house in September and still love our new bolthole, as today proved it’s perfect for parties!

A windy Sunday afternoon in Derbyshire didn’t deter the party goers, and we made sure the house was well decked out for an afternoon tea party – balloons, banners, and of course bunting, zig-zagging across the hallway. I’m wondering how long I can get away with having this up for, the cats seem to have designs on pulling it down though…

pastel bunting and cats hosting traditional afternoon tea party at home

Starting with sandwiches, served with champagne, we tucked in to the veritable feast in front of us.

birthday afternoon tea champagne sandwiches and cake

afternoon tea party at home derbyshire happy birthday

Enjoyed freshly baked from the oven, delicious fruit scones made by Al…

afternoon tea party freshly baked scones

… and topped with home-made (by t’other Jen) blackcurrant jam, and whipped cream. Yum!

afternoon tea party fresh scones with homemade blackcurrant jam and whipped cream

Offerings from my kitchen included strawberry swirl meringues, and gluten-free brownie bites (both recipes now posted & linked up!) home afternoon tea birthday party chocolate brownie bites strawberry swirl meringues finger sandwiches

And and experiment with one of my brilliant birthday presents, a cake pop maker, little white kitty cat cake pops! They are not my finest work of art but not a bad testament to my battle with the evil that is candy melts.

kitty cat cake pops white chocolate candy melt birthday party ideas pink glitter sugar ears

cat cake pop white chocolate in place of a nose birthday party fun

And what else could you finish a birthday party with, other than a big sticky birthday cake?!

birthday girl blowing out candles afternoon tea party

Made by the lovely Jen this was one brilliant birthday cake:

chocolate swirl birthday cake with candles

– that just got better and better when I cut inside. Look at the chocolate checkerboard!

checkerboard chocolate happy birthday cake

Some more fun and games…

fun and games birthday afternoon tea party host at home derbyshire

… before waving guests off with full tummies and little party bags! Who doesn’t love a party bag, at any age?

mini afternoon tea party bags chocolate freddo cat toy

Thanks to all my lovely guests for a great afternoon, helping to make (and demolish) all the yummy food, and of course my fabulous presents! All that remains now is for me to get baking and start using some of them…

All-in-One Rainbow Birthday Cake

all in one rainbow giant cupcake recipe and method one cake simple design gel colours

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of being invited to Clandestine Cake Club‘s Third Birthday. As co-organiser of the Nottingham group, this was my opportunity to meet with other cake-clubbers from around the country, pick up some tips (and wonderful free gifts) from the sponsors, Renshaw, and of course, eat cake!

Although we had to travel to Liverpool, about a 2 hour drive, I still wanted to contribute some cake to the afternoon club. This seemed like a great time to crack open my Lakeland Giant Silicone Cupcake Case, which I bought in the sale about a month ago.

lakeland giant cupcake case silicon mould recipe and how to use

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love this case (the lovely pink colour is always a plus), but it’s not what I’d describe as giant. The box notes that you should use a 2 egg recipe, which is very much on the medium side to me, and comparing it to the size of a medium egg… yes, it’s not huge. But perfect for what I needed!

lakeland large cupcake mould to scale two egg recipe size and method

For a third birthday I wanted to do something a bit special. And what is more special than rainbow cake! However 6-7 layers (depending on your variations of purple/indigo/violet) all individually filled and stacked… this was neither easy nor going to travel well. However as per my previously made rainbow cupcakes, I was sure this would work all in one big cupcake. As the mould was a relatively deep, I opted for a madeira cake recipe, that would remain moist and light, without the fragility of victoria sponge.


100g butter
135g sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (or lemon juice, if you prefer)
2 eggs
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 tablespoons of milk or water

– Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
– Add the eggs, milk and vanilla essence, and beat again
– Sieve in the flour and baking powder, and fold until just mixed (don’t over do it)- Divide the mixture into 6 (or 7!), and colour with gel food colours only (don’t use liquid colours, it won’t work)
– Layer carefully and smoothly, don’t be tempted to spread the layers with a spoon or you’ll end up mixing the colours
– Bake at 180 degrees for 35 – 45 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. If the top is looking done before the inside is cooked, cover it with tin foil to prevent it browning.

I use a mix of Wilton and Home2Bake gel colours, all come out with lovely vibrant colours. First up, purple then blue… (the observant among you will notice a major baking error in this photo – not greasing the tin! Thankfully I realised quite quickly, scooped out the mix, greased, flour, and continue!)

all in one rainbow cake how to layering colours purple and blue bright from gel food colouring

And layering a colour at a time, finishing with orange and then red. In order not to mix the colours, I found a combination of pouring and spooning the mix was best to get it spread out evenly.

all in one rainbow cupcake how to layering red and orange bright vibrant colours achieved using food gels

giant rainbow cupcake recipe all in one layers of red and orange how to

And the full cupcake ready to bake. In hindsight it was a little over-full, next time I’d take a couple of tablespoons out of the mix before colouring.

lakeland two egg giant cupcake silicon mould recipe and how to

Unfortunately this was definitely too much mix – on checking the oven part-way through baking I found a big rainbow ooze coming from the side!

oozing cake overfilled giant cupcake mould recipe and how to avoid

With no time to make another cake, I crossed my fingers and carried on baking until it was done. Thankfully when it turned out of the case the damage wasn’t obvious from the outside, and the extra oozed bit of cake actually came in useful as a platform for the topping!

giant rainbow cupcake all in one purple blue green yellow orange and red birthday idea easy

Due partly to a lack of time, and partly as the cake looked so great on it’s own, I kept the topping quite simple. Firstly cutting fondant stars out of matching rainbow colours:

rainbow fondant stars decoration for birthday cake kids ideas

… and lining them round the top of the buttercream-topped cupcake. Edible glitter mandatory of course!

easy all in one rainbow birthday cake giant cupcake with vanilla buttercream and bright coloured fondant stars

rainbow birthday cake simple decorations white vanilla buttercream and fondant coloured stars

And of course no birthday cake is complete without candles!

rainbow birthday cake with candles all in one giant cupcake recipe with buttercream topping and fondant stars

I was so relieved to see the layers when it was cut open. Heaven knows where the oozy-mix had come from, but the colours lined up beautifully.

all in one rainbow birthday cake recipe sliced into the middle perfect layers the easy way purple blue green red orange yellow

Of course we had an amazing time at the birthday party. Much tea was drunk, cake was eaten, and lots of excited chatter. Happy Birthday Clandestine Cake Club, and a big thank you to Renshaw for making the party possible!

One Year Blogiversary!

bakearama one year blogiversary cupcake purple wrapper piped chocolate icing candle birthday anniversary

Happy birthday to blog, happy birthday to blog…

Can you believe it’s been a whole year since my first post, on a blog dreamed up in a corner of my mind on a quiet afternoon in the office. That humble first post – Baked Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake – still looks pretty tasty to me!

88 posts later – that’s 1.69 a week and an awful lot of sugar, fact fans, and things are still going strong. Although I originally started the blog to keep a track of all the birthday and celebration cakes I made for friends and family, it’s become so much more than that. Yes, a bit of an addiction, I can turn any occasion into an excuse to whip up some cakes or bake some biscuits! No complaints to be heard from the cake-filled mouths friends, family or colleagues mind… But, I’ve also learnt a lot, travelled far and widetried out new things, made new friends, visited cake clubs, and had the odd disaster or two along the way, all in the name of baking blogging.

So thank you for reading – as my stats tell me many do – and for those of you that follow as well. What you must think when some of the posts pop up in your inbox I am not sure! I also get some lovely comments, please do let me know what you think (good or bad, I can take it… I think!) – that little comment box at the bottom of every page is awaiting your thoughts.

If you haven’t done so already, please take a look at my photo gallery page. Not least because it takes me ages to keep up, and uses almost the entire extent of my somewhat minimal HTML coding skills, but also because it’s an (almost-up-to-date) amazing pictorial log of everything I’ve made and posted to date. It’s great to scan through for ideas, inspiration, or just to make your mouth water. And by the wonders of modern technology (and some dubious coding), you can click on the pictures to take you to the relevant post.

Here’s to many more golden-brown, well-risen, fondant-topped and chocolate-covered bakes!

Jen x

PS I know I bake for almost any occasion but I didn’t for this. Promise. Just took a few extra photos of some cupcakes that will follow on a post soon.

bakearama one year blogiversary cupcake ipad blog wordpress purple leather case kitchen

Chocolate Burlesque Biscuits

A friend’s birthday last weekend – and one of my favourite occasions to bake for, a theme party. The theme was burlesque / Moulin Rouge, so I went to town with dark, sexy colours, intricate details, and a little bit of sparkle for added razzmatazz.

The biscuits were my chocolate sable recipe which you can find here, cut into fluted rounds, hearts, and a corset dress shape (which I adapted from an online print off like this one).

I topped them with thick royal icing, piping a stiff outline round the edge to get the shape, before flooding with more watered down icing.

Then it was onto the detail – I piped tiny spots, swirls, and stripes, all in a deep black, to give the look of seductive lace and fine details.

From tassels:

…to corsets..

… to feathers…

and intricate patterns everywhere:

As you may have guessed, I also got a bit trigger happy with the silver shimmer spray. By laying some mesh over the biscuits before spraying I created a fishnet style pattern across the edges (I used our (clean!) chip mesh basket to get the large net size).

I also used pieces of paper to section off some of the areas from the shimmer spray – like this belted corset dress:

Gift boxed, and ready to go:

Needless to say it was a fantastic party and there were some amazing costumes. Not really for me to share on here – but here’s a quick snippet of mine – I opted for a slightly more demure outfit of leopard print dress with matching fascinator – what you can’t see from this is my fishnet tights and heels!

Nanny’s 80th Birthday Cake

Yesterday was my maternal grandma’s 80th birthday. Known to her 7 grandchildren as Nanny, this was a celebration that deserved a very special cake!

I bought a new tin to make the numbers – but it will come in useful for years to come. An alphabet tin, it is divided into 28 equal segments, and comes with 12 square blocks which fit in to make any letter or number you need. It comes with instructions for each, and you can either make large figures, the whole height of the tin, or slightly smaller, using 2/3 of the tin, as I have here. You can buy this amazing alphabet and number tin over on Amazon.

The blocks simply slot into the pre-cut groves so they won’t move around when you add your cake mix.

Because the blocks fit together so tightly, there’s not really a need to line the cake tin. There was almost no seepage (perhaps a drip or two) in any of the 4 cakes I made. I did, of course, use a very generous spray of cake release, being sure to get into all the corners so none of the shape would stick.

For the cake itself, my grandma had requested sponge cake, and I chose to use a madeira cake recipe. It uses exactly the same ingredients and method as victoria sponge, but in different ratios, resulting in a firmer, more robust cake, better for shaping and covering in fondant. The recipe I used was this one from the BBC – it worked so perfectly that I have re-listed it here. I omitted the lemon as my flavouring was to come later!

I really wasn’t sure how much cake the tin would take – but this recipe was perfect for 2 cakes of each number – about an 1.5 inches high each – which were then to be sandwiched together.

Madeira Cake


– 175g butter
– 175g caster sugar
– 3 medium eggs
– 250g self raising flour
– 2-3 tbsp milk


– beat together the butter and sugar until lightly and fluffy
– add the eggs, milk, and 2 tablespoons of flour, beating again
– sieve in the rest of the flour and fold until well-mixed
– transfer to the tin and bake at 170 degrees centigrade until the top is golden, and a skewer comes out clean when inserted. The timing will depend on what size and shape of cake tin you use. Mine took around 18 minutes per cake. If you’re making one large cake it would be around 30 minutes.

NB – in order to have flat cakes after baking, I used a spatula to push the mixture up the sides of the pan, and create a gully in the middle all around the shape. As the cake rises most in the middle, this means the end result is an even flat cake all the way around.

I had wanted to sandwich the cakes together with jam and buttercream, but a quick test and it was quickly apparent that the jam would be too liquid in the centre and the two halves would be sliding all over the place when I came to ice them. S0 – I created myself a new recipe!

Strawberry Jam Buttercream


– 50g butter
– 100g strawberry jam
– 200g icing sugar


– beat together all the ingredients until smooth
– try and resist sampling a bite!

This recipe was a sufficient quantity to fill and crumb coat both cakes.

The kitchen was what I’d called cake-a-geddon at this point – having made 4 cakes (two 8’s and two 0’s), there was cake and buttercream on pretty much every surface!

Then it was onto the fondant – I have to admit I called in Rob’s help here, as I couldn’t be having any cracks! I’d bought some pre-coloured fondant in hobbycraft the week before – as the cake would need to much, and there was already so much going on in the kitchen, I decided buying ready-coloured would make life much easier at this point.

We did use all 5 packs, but after trimming ended up with about a pack spare which I wrapped carefully to use another time. Because I wanted the cake to be perfect, it was easier to use thicker fondant to cover the large shapes, as it was much less likely to crack.

We started off by covering the sides of the holes – the easiest way was to cut a strip of fondant, roll it up, then gently push into the corners of the shape.

Then, when the whole sheet of fondant was laid over the top and trimmed, it left only a little join…

…which was easily smoothed down with a little trex (white vegetable fat).

Quite some time later, both cakes were (relatively) smoothly covered in fondant, and ready to decorate.

To decorate, I made 3 more colours of fondant – yellow, purple, and red – cutting flowers in 3 different sizes. I imprinted circles in the centre of each flower, added a dab of icing, then filled with pastel coloured sugar sprinkles.

Finally, I added some gold soft pearls (readily available in the supermarket and won’t break your teeth like silver dragees do!), creating lines of the little dots across the 2 cakes.

A quick spritz of gold shimmer spray, and the cake was complete. I meant to pop it onto the scales but didn’t have time before we left for the birthday lunch – safe to say it was rather hefty!

The birthday lady absolutely loved her cake – even if it did take a little while to blow out the 20 candles!

Inside the strawberry buttercream looked great, and yes the icing was quite thick, but surely this was the best bit 🙂
One cake easily fed all the family, leaving plenty for Nanny to share with her friends and neighbours and finish celebrating this great birthday.

Rainbow Cupcakes

This weekend a good friend was having a birthday party, and I simply couldn’t turn up without cake in hand! I’d originally planned to do some simpler 2-colour cupcakes, but happened upon some gel colours on my supermarket run, and knew he’d love these, reminiscent of Nottingham Pride last weekend.

Believe it or not they are super-easy to make, and don’t require anything other than some gel colours (don’t even contemplate using normal food colouring, it’s fine for icing but doesn’t have in any way the same effect in the cake itself), and if you’d like to ice them, multi-coloured sugar sprinkles are a great finishing touch.

(nosy cat optional!)

The cake mix was a simple victoria sponge, divided into 5 bowls and coloured accordingly.

Using a teaspoon, put a small amount of the purple into the bottom of the cake case. I found it was good to spread this one out so it covered the all the way across. Then, one colour at a time, spoon the same amount of each colour into the middle of the case.
Annoyingly I didn’t take a photo at this stage, but the idea is to keep spooning the next colour into the middle of the previous one, so it pushes the other one down and out, and you end up with the top of the cake having concentric circles of each colour. Don’t be tempted to try spreading the other colours out, spoon them in and do not mix, stir or touch! Otherwise you will end up with smudgy colours and cupcakes more reminiscent of grey rain clouds than rainbows….

Bake the cupcakes for just under the normal time for your oven – I gave them 11 minutes at 180 degrees C in my fan-assisted, and keep an eye on them in the last few minutes, as you don’t really want them to start browning, it can spoil the rainbow effect.

I chose to carefully peel mine out of the cupcake cases to show off their food colour, then topped off with whipped, white vanilla buttercream, and a good shake of sugar sprinkles!

Not your average birthday cake – but definitely cupcakes that I’m proud of! Striking, sweet, and particularly photogenic 🙂

Fire! Fire! Theme Party Cupcakes

Another one from the archives of my iPhone! As this was BB (before blog) it is sadly lacking in work-in-progress photos, but the end result is still pretty impressive, if I do say so myself 🙂

Back in January 2012, a friend of mine held a uniform-themed party for his birthday. As his costume was a fireman, I decided to theme the cupcakes on this!

A quick google led me to this lovely blog from marythekay (others are available but I liked this one!)

The concept was quite simple: chocolate cupcakes in red and orange wrappers, piped with red, orange and yellow icing.

The piping was incredibly messy, but a lot of fun! Split your buttercream into 3, colour red, orange and yellow. With a star nozzle on your piping bag, spoon in some of each colour, and away you go!

A quick squeeze on the piping bag before pulling away sharply will give the short spiky effect of fire, and the colours mix together brilliantly to give the streaked colours.

In a change from edible glitter, I topped these cupcakes with matching fire-coloured sprinkles. I think it really adds to the crackling fire look.

The final touch came from some quick printing. I found firemen and fire engine images online, and set them up in a document so they’d print in a mirror effect – when I cut them out I could fold over and they’d be double-sided. They were stuck together / onto a cocktail stick with a small blob of blu tac. Very Blue Peter -esque, but I love them!

From what I remember (memory slightly blurred through alcohol on the night & time passed since…), it was a great party. The hosts had done a great job in theming their house too! Including a fireman’s car:

Gigantic fire engine complete with lights – you could even get inside and have your photo taken with Fireman Sam!

And a fabulous war room – for all those in miiltary themed costume:

This certainly won’t be the last you see of theme / fancy dress parties… my wardrobe is heaving with all kinds of costumes, and of course any excuse to make a cake to match!