Baby Shower Cupcakes

baby shower cupcakes bottle teddy footbrints pram duck toy dummy pacifier handmade gift ideas

I’m going to come right out and say it. This is one of my proudest makes to date. I am SO pleased with how the fondant toppers turned out for these cupcakes – and so they should, god only knows how many hours they took!

This was my first ever baby shower, and I was so pleased to be able to make some cupcakes for the lovely mother-to-be. She and the rest of the party were delighted, as was I when they went down a treat.

The base was a light lemon cupcake, with whipped lemon buttercream, but of course the pièce de résistance are the fondant baby-themed toppers. You may guess from the colour palette that it’s a boy!

18 baby shower cupcakes party ready handmade fondant sugarpaste toppers toys blue and green

All the toppers are hand-made of course. Although one of the party asked if I’d bought them – what a compliment! I tend to get an idea for my projects then spend a bit of time on google looking at images for further inspiration and to figure out how I’m going to make the idea a reality. That was exactly the case with these – I sat with google image search open on my iPad with all my fondant and tools in front on the table, colouring and shaping the pieces and fixing together with a little edible glue.

I had 18 cupcakes in total, so decided to make 3 of each of 6 different varieties of topper.

First up – and probably taking the longest to make, smiley happy teddy bears.

handmade fondant teddy bears smiley happy for baby shower cupcakes

Teeny tiny baby footprints – blue for a boy, of course.

blue footprint pairs made from fondant icing sugarpaste for baby shower cupcakes its a boy baking ideas

Three little ducks; these were great fun to make. Can someone please have a fowl-themed party, so I can do some more?!

three yellow ducks made from fondant for baby shower cupcakes handmade

Baby dummies (pacifiers) – I used a pastel green so the colour palette was not overwhelmingly blue.

fondant dummies dummy pacifiers for baby shower cupcakes green

Teat-topped milk bottles, with hand-painted markers, using a little gel food colour and a very fine brush.

sugarpaste green and white baby bottles baby shower cupcakes

And finally – what every baby needs, a first set of wheels! Turquoise prams complete with little white cushions inside.

baby prams puschairs strollers ideas for handmade baby shower gifts cupcake toppers

The finished set – absolutely love them!

baby shower cupcakes homemade handmade decorations pram duck dummy bottle teddy footprints ideas

And because I’m so pleased with the result – more pictures, just because…

baby shower cupcakes with handmade toppers bottle duck blue boy footprints baby shower cupcakes pram teddy bear dummy pacifier handmade giftsbaby showe cupcakes different themed toppers baby shower cupcakes gift ideas unique handmade teddy ducks toys blue and green

I took my Cath Kidston blue floral cake stand to the shower – a perfect display piece for these little babies.

cupcakes for baby shower on cath kidston floral ceramic cake stand

HOW cute are these baby shower napkins?

its a boy footprints cupcake on baby shower napkin party ideas

The only problem I have? That I can’t pick a favourite! What do you think?

baby shower cupcakes handmade sugarpaste toppers

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Easy Orange Chocolate Fudge

chocolate orange fudge easy 5 minute recipe 3 ingredients flavoured sugar and crumbs icing sugar

Oh, those lovely people over at Sugar and Crumbs have done it again. Their delicious ranges of flavoured icing sugars (such as this delicious salted caramel) and flavoured cocoa powders (here is my test of their cherry cocoa powder), are obviously just not enough.
No, now they have added some chocolate flavoured icing sugars to their range. Could they be any more amazing?

They were looking for testers for some of the new range so of course both my hands shot straight up in the air. Then I realised it was an email and put my hands down quickly before anyone in the office noticed 😉

First up is the wonderfully titled Jaffa Twist. It does exactly what it says on the tin (packet), and is a lovely light, tangy orange.

sugar and crumbs jaffa twist natural flavoured orange chocolate icing sugar recipe and review

With so much on at the moment I needed a quick and easy recipe to get this into dessert form as soon as possible. And this fudge really fits the bill. You can make it (and eat it) in less than 5 minutes, it doesn’t need to bake, or really even set. It’d also be perfect to make with kids, as there is no absolutely heat, sharps, or other dangerous kitchen bits involved. It’d also make a great gift!

Chocolate orange fudge
50g butter, softened
45ml (approx 2.5 tablespoons) condensed milk
250g pack Sugar and Crumbs jaffa twist icing sugar

– Beat together the butter and condensed milk until smooth
– Add the icing sugar a little a time, mixing well until you have a smooth, stiff dough
– Roll into balls or cut into shapes (use a little cocoa powder to ice your surface)
– Eat immediately! Or leave in a cool dry place overnight to dry into firmer fudge pieces. If leaving to dry, put the pieces onto a a plate/baking sheet lightly dusted with cocoa powder, so they don’t stick.

chocolate orange fudge mixture easy 3 ingredients method using flavoured icing sugar easy chocolate orange fudge recipe biscuit cutters no-bake suitable for kids and gifts chocolate orange fudge pieces no bake leave to set chocolate orange fudge easy recipe and method

Not content with quite such an easy recipe – I wanted to top mine with some candied orange peel for an extra bit of decoration. Typically, none of our local supermarkets had any in, so I set to making some. Thankfully this post from the Bright-Eyed Baker made it easy! I think as my pieces were thinner it took much less time, only around half an hour in total.

In short it’s a case of topping and tailing the orange, before scoring and removing the peel in strips.

how to make candied orange slices easy 30 minutes method

Remove any thick bits of pith and cut into thin strips. (As my fudge pieces were only small I wanted them to be quite fine).

making candied orange peel candied orange peel slices how to recipe method

Add to a saucepan with 100ml water and 100g caster sugar.

orange peel slices in sugar being candied method

Bring to the boil, and turn down to medium for around 15 – 20 minutes, until the syrup is nearly all gone and the orange is caramelising. Don’t stir the pan or you’ll ruin the caramel. If you need to, swirl the pan around a little to ensure all the orange is covered.

candied orange peel method boiling in sugar syrup caramel

Use a slotted spoon and remove the peel pieces, putting them on a sugar-covered baking sheet. Quickly, using a couple of spoons, toss and separate the pieces, so they are all individually coated in sugar (don’t be tempted to use your fingers, the caramel will be scalding!)

homemade candied orange peel slices easy method and recipe

Et voila! Easy candied peel – who needs to buy it when it’s this easy?

Press pieces into the fudge and enjoy. Any unused peel can be stored in an airtight container.

chocolate fudge star shapes homemade no bake with candied orange peel decoration chocolate orange fudge recipe and method easy no-bake

So what did I make of the icing sugar? In all honesty, it’s fantastic. It’s a rich chocolate with just the right amount of tangy orange. Dare I say it, like a big bite of a jaffa cake. Great job Sugar and Crumbs – I’ll definitely be back for more soon!

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…

Leopard Print Speedo Cake

leopard print speedos swimming trunks pants cake good luck hand made painted hidden design

Today is a sad day in our office, as one of our much loved colleagues is leaving to take up a new role. She is moving to a popular swimwear company, jokes about budgie smugglers have been rife since the news broke, and I wanted to bake something to send her off in style!

I stumbled across a video tutorial the other week from Woodland Bakery for a leopard print cake – inside, not just out, and my mind was firmly set.

Using a classic Madeira cake recipe for firm-ness, I split it into 1/3:2/3 to add the colours and the flavour. The large portion, two thirds, I flavoured with lemon (and left without colour), to the remaining third I added a tablespoon of cocoa powder. Dividing the now chocolate portion in half again, I added a second tablespoon of cocoa powder to one half, giving a darker brown. They all then went into piping bags ready to go into the cake tin.

piping bags filled with cake batter lemon and chocolate flavour tutorial making patterns in cake

I used my number and letter cake pan to create the shape of the trunks – using a paper template to block out the sections that weren’t needed, so I’d not have to carve too much off to create the final shape. First to go in was a whole layer of the base colour / lemon cake:

leopard print cake how to and tutorial lemon flavour madiera piped base shaped tin

Then the start of the leopard print – thick swirls and stripes of the dark brown chocolate batter, spread across the area of the cake, to give each slice a little bit of ‘leopard’!

leopard print inside cake tutorial pipping dark brown lines into light batter

Over the top of this, a smaller, thinner line of the lighter chocolate batter:

leopard print cake tutorial light brown and dark brown chocolate batter piped into swirls on lemon base

Sealing in the light brown with a layer of the dark chocolate:

tutorial to make cake with leopard print inside piping lines and swirls

Then filling in around the sides and in between the chocolate mixtures (so the whole cake was level at this point):

leopard print cake tutorial how to pipe shapes and pattern into the cake batter

Another complete layer of lemon:

leopard print cake tutorial pan tin filled with batter hidden pattern

Now the tutorial only had one layer of leopard spots, but I wanted mine to be vertical in the cake as well as horizontal. Plus I had quite a lot of batter left in the piping bags! So I added another layer of the chocolate mixtures:

leopard print swirls hidden baked into cake how to tutorial

And finally one last layer of lemon filling in the sides and across the top. Without a doubt the longest time it has ever taken me to fill a cake tin!

leopard print cake tutorial pan tin filled with batter hidden pattern

It only took about 40 minutes to bake as the pan is relatively shallow, coming out a lovely golden brown and nice and firm for carving.

freshly baked leopard print hidden design inside cake

Then onto the carving – and I was so happy to see the first signs of leopard print as I sliced down the sides. Success!

leopard print inside cake tutorial first cut into pattern hidden design

A little more carving around the sides and top (the irony of what I was carving was not lost on me!)…

speedo swimming trunks pants shaped cake

… before covering with a lemon buttercream and light orange fondant. A minor disaster occurred just after I’d finished – a rouge packet of fondant fell out of the cupboard, landing right in the middle of the cake and causing a huge dent! Screaming ensued, Rob helped me peel the damaged fondant off and I started again. Groan! Hence why the fondant looks a little dry and cracked – it didn’t really appreciate being worked and rolled twice (nor did I appreciate doing it!)

speedo shaped cake tutorial covered with sugar paste fondant icing in orange

The leopard print decoration was seemingly simple but a little time consuming. Using watered-down food colours, I painted abstract circle and round patterns all across the cake in a darker brown…

hand painting leopard print spots dark brown onto cake using food colouring

… before filling in the centres with a lighter, tan brown.

leopard print spots pattern hand painted onto cake using food colouring dark brown and tan on pastel base

Once this was dry I piped a (slightly shaky) speedo logo using plain white icing.

piped icing white speedo logo on personalised leopard print cake

The finished cake – a true pair of budgie smugglers if I’ve ever seen one!

speedo swimming trunks leopard print cake inside and out tutorial hand made

leopard print speedos swimming trunks pants hand made cake tutorial with hidden design

I added a final finishing touch with a piped chocolate message (shaky again, must practice my piping!):

hand piped in dark chocolate message on cake good luck toni

good luck toni personalised leopard print speedos cake hand painted hidden design

Cutting into the cake – not quite as leopard-y as I’d hoped? But still sticky and spotty, and as always in our office very quickly devoured.

inside leopard print hidden design cake spots pattern

Take care Toni, we really will miss you!

toni with speedo leopard print cake leaving day

Update – May 2014 – I’m so pleased to say that this cake came runner-up in Renshaw Baking’s Cake Catwalk Competition. A classic leopard print never goes out of fashion!

Festive Fairy Light Cupcakes

christmas fairy lights festive cupcake ideas cake decorating fondant icing on white buttercream base silver edile ink metallic decoration

Happy New Year readers! The last of my Christmas posts, I promise. Now that we’re into January it’s nearly time for the tree to be packed away for another 11 months (well, 10 1/2, if I can get away with it!). But before the festivities finish completely I wanted to share these cupcakes that I made as a Christmas present at the start of last week.

My inspiration came from this brilliant silicon mould, that came as a free gift with the Christmas issue of My Cake Decorating Magazine.

christmas fairy light silicon mould for fondant cake decorating small medium and large

As you can see it had 3 different sizes of fairy light, and I honestly wasn’t sure if they would pop out in one piece, my previous experience with silicon moulds and fondant icing has been somewhat mixed to say the least!

Nevertheless I was very pleasantly surprised when they all came out really well. The key I found was to start with quite a dry fondant, fill up the mould, use a knife to scrape off any excess, and leave to air-dry for about 5 minutes (I found this worked quite well in between making the cupcakes themselves, and clearing up afterward!). The flexibility of the silicon meant it could be completely bent around itself to pop each little light out. I made all the lights from bright colours of fondant, and left them to air dry for about an hour before using, so the colours wouldn’t run into the buttercream.

multicoloured fondant icing fairy lights pressed from silicon mould my cake decorating christmas baking

During one of my many rounds of Christmas shopping, I accidentally stumbled across this lovely little present for me – a metallic silver edible ink pen from Rainbow Dust. It’s called a Click-Twist Brush, I’d not heard of these before but was obviously eager to try. I found it really easy to use as you can click out as much or as little ink as you need to get the desired effect.

rainbow dust metallic dark silver click twist edible ink brush review and use in christmas cake decorating

It took a couple of layers to build up the brilliant silver on the fairy light ‘sockets’, but I’m sure you’ll agree the effect was absolutely fantastic:

red yellow and green fairy lights made from fondant icing with silver edible ink decoration

Using a plain white buttercream I stuck the fairy lights onto the cupcakes in my planned patterns, and again used the silver pen to dot on a silver ‘wire’, connecting the lights up.

rainbow fairy lights christmas cupcake fondant pressed from silicon mould finished with silver edible ink

A final spritz of silver shimmer and light dusting of edible glitter later (if you can’t at Christmas, when can you…?) …

christmas fairy light cupcake red and blue with silver edible ink wire finished with silver shimmer spray

The finished festive fairy lights! A Christmas cupcake treat 🙂

fairy light fondant decorated cupcakes yellow purple red blue christmas gift ideas

Chocolate Yule Log – Christmas in June!

christmas in june half year recipe for dessert baking chocolate yule log traditional recipe

Do not adjust your screen, you did read it correctly! A very good friend of mine recently compiled a list of thirty things she’d like to do before she turns 30 next year – and for reasons unknown to the majority of us, Christmas in June made the list.

Not that I’m one to complain – Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year, the sparkles, the presents, the games, the friends, and of course the FOOD! The original plan was to have a Christmas barbecue – turkey burgers, full-sized pigs-in-blankets (forever more known as hogs-in-duvets), and of course some great festive desserts. But, the great British summer being what it is, we looked out of the window and had a bit of a rethink, so a full Christmas roast dinner was had instead.

Dessert was going to be the same either way – a big, sticky, chocolatey, Christmas yule log.

The recipe follows exactly the same method as the swiss roll recipe I posted earlier in the year – more pictures can be found over there if you’re struggling!

And when I saw this Tala swiss roll tin on offer in Hobbycraft earlier in the week, well, it was just fate and I just needed to have it in my kitchen…

tala swiss roll time christmas chocolate yule log recipe festive baking

Recipe

4 medium eggs
125g caster sugar
30g cocoa powder
95g self raising flour

To ice:

150g butter
75g cocoa powder
225g icing sugar

Method

– Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light, pale, fluffy, and about double their original volume (this can take up to 10 minutes, even with an electric mixer)
– Sieve the cocoa powder and flour, and gently fold into the egg mixture
– Take a swiss roll tin (or ordinary baking tray with ridged sides), line, grease, and coat with a layer of sugar and flour
– Pour in the batter, and smooth out very carefully using a spatula, making sure to get into all the corners, and flatten out
– Bake in a hot oven (220 degrees) for 7-8 minutes, until the sponge is light springy to the touch
– Whilst the cake is baking, prepare another sheet of greaseproof paper, a little bigger than your tray. Lay it on a damp tea towel, and cover all over with a good sprinkling of caster sugar
– As soon as the cake is cooked, run a knife lightly round the edges, and flip out onto the sugared greaseproof paper
– Keeping the original sheet of greaseproof paper on top (the one it was baked with), quickly but carefully, start at one end and roll the whole tea towel, cake and paper stack up tightly.
– Tuck the end underneath so the roll is held tightly, and allow to cool
– Once cool, beat together the butter, cocoa and icing sugar to form a smooth buttercream
– Gently unroll the cake, and spread all over with around 1/3 of the buttercream. Re-roll, and place on a plate, ensuring the loose ‘end’ is at the bottom, so it doesn’t come undone
– If desired, cut off a small piece from the end of the log, and place by the side to form a branch
– Cover the whole cake in the remaining buttercream, and decorate!

I decorated my cake with some tree bark effects in the buttercream – simply using a cocktail stick to create lines and knots.

wooden trunk pattern on chocolate christmas swiss roll yule log recipe

And t0 finish, a little robin:

christmas in june chocolate yule log with robin decoration and chocolate wood effect butter icing

… and some leaves and a Christmas sign!

a merry christmas cake decoration chocolate yule log recipe wooden tree trunk pattern in butter cream

One last finishing touch – a sprinkling of festive ‘snow’ – well with the summer we’re having it wouldn’t be a surprise! This snow was actually a mixture of icing sugar, and some white edible glitter.

icing and edible glitter snow on christmas chocolate yule log holly leaves and robin cake decoration

One very festive dessert! It’s amazing just how easy it is to get into Christmas in June…

merry christmas chocolate yule log  easy baking recipe made in june

One epic Christmas roast dinner later, and a table full of hungry revellers, the cake was quite quickly devoured!

half eaten chocolate yule log merry christmas dinnner

So here it is – Merry Christmas everyone! 😉

The Simpsons Cupcakes for Father’s Day

father's day the simpsons cupcakes present gift made from coloyred fondant icing

Happy Father’s day to all the dads out there! I couldn’t let the occasion pass without baking something for my lovely dad, and this year I decided to create one of his favourite TV programs in fondant-form – The Simpsons!

My mum gets a lot of brownie points for asking if I had some new stencils to make the characters – but no! I printed an image off and used the outlines as templates, from there on in everything was created with just a sharp knife, a cocktail stick, and some edible glue.  I used a vanilla cupcake with a big cloud of vanilla frosting to create a blank canvas for the characters to sit on.

First up – the brat of the bunch! Bart Simpson – his extra spiky hair proved a bit of a challenge as my fondant wasn’t happy in such tiny points, but a bit of coaxing with the cocktail stick and it got there in the end.

bart simpson cupcake fondant work had cut no stencil

The first of the sisters – Lisa Simpson. The pearl necklace was so simple to create but I love how perfect it looks! Her eyelashes were painted on using the end of a cocktail stick dipped in black gel food colouring. My only gripe is that she looks a little grumpy though…

lisa simpson cupcake with pearls necklace black eyelashes painted on

The baby of the bunch, little Maggie Simpson. I had a lot of fun making her blue bow and red dummy (or pacifier if you will!) Although a bit fiddly as it was so small, I think the results are super-cute:

maggie simpson cupcake pacifier dummy red and blue bow in hair

Next up – Marge Simpson. I’m not going to lie, that big blue perm was somewhat of a challenge! I made the fondant quite thick on this part, so it wouldn’t crack up too much.

marge simpson hand crafted fondant cupcake on white icing background red pearl necklace

And last but certainly not least, the dad himself! I am thankful to Matt Groening for designing Homer Simpson as such the simple character that he is and therefore very easy to make – a big oval head, 5 o’clock shadow, and then a few sprigs of hair painted on with edible food colouring.

homer simpson cupcake hand cut father day dad

I’m impressed myself with the way they turned out – although very surprised that I couldn’t find any Simpsons cupcake cases to put them. There’s clearly a gap in the market!

the simpsons family cupcakes gift cartoon for fathers day hand crafted from fondant icing

Happy Father’s Day dad! x

Autumn Leaves Wedding Cake with Matching Cupcakes

autumn tree and leaves wedding cake with matching cupckaes custom built marble paint effect stand

Regular readers may remember our visit to New Zealand last month, for my brother’s wedding in Christchurch.

Blogged back from the wedding was the cake itself – and, this week, as we held a UK celebration whilst they visit on their honeymoon, I was delighted to have the chance to recreate it. Of course it’s not Autumn here as it was back in NZ – but, well, with this weather, it could be almost any season!

The original wedding cake:

20130407-123343.jpg

I absolutely loved the idea at the wedding to have a big cake for the couple to share, and individual cakes for each guest to either enjoy on the day, or take away and savour.

20130407-123334.jpg

As we were going to have around 50 guests at the party, and I only had a day to bake and ice everything, individual cupcakes seemed a great way forward. I stuck with the original lemon flavour that had been chosen for the wedding – the large cake was a lemon madeira sponge with a vanilla buttercream centre and coating, and the cupcakes were a vanilla victoria sponge with lemon filling/icing.

Baking done remarkably quickly, I set on the task of coring, filling, and icing 50 cupcakes. No mean feat! I wasn’t watching the clock but reckon it must have taken me a good couple of hours.

48 cupcakes big order for wedding party covering in white fondant

Step by step: coring (with a sharp knife); filling with buttercream and trimming the core to create a thin lid; a top layer of buttercream and a white scalloped fondant finish.

the cake decorating company plastic cupcake carrier six with lid review

I used leaf cutter/plungers to create to toppings, colouring the fondant orange first, and adding a little tylose powder so they would set firm. To get the crinkled autumn leaf shape, I placed them on various curved surfaces to set – around a pen, and in the corners of a mini cupcake tin.

making curled fondant leaves orange harden with tylo tylose powder leave to dry on pen or in mini cupcake tray

Before adding to the cupcakes, I coloured the edges with a little gel food colour, and finished with a sprinkle of gold edible glitter. Then with a little dab of edible glue they simply stuck to the centre of the cupcakes.

embossed autumn leaf fondant icing orange with red paint effects and gold edible glitter

orange and red autumn leaves cupcakes in silver foil cases wedding

For the main wedding cake, I covered in white fondant and formed a tree out of black fondant. By rolling the black icing into thin strips, I slowly built up the tree outline adding smaller and smaller branches as I went on. A few carefully placed leaves around the tree, and some having fallen to the ground, I was really pleased with the look of what was actually a very simple design to construct.

autumn leaves orange tree wedding cake chocolate fondant white base lemon and vanilla

Such a special cake couldn’t sit (or fit!) on an ordinary cake stand; Rob kindly offered (or was ordered, I forget which…) to custom build me a three tier stand for the wedding party centrepiece. He used the cake tin I used for the main cake to measure the top tier, then added a couple of inches to each of the lower ones to get the increasing sizes.
I feel like this is our homage to Cupcake Wars where they show all of 30 seconds of their amazing carpenters constructing these fabulous carts, tables, stands and anything else thrown their way.

custom built three tier cake stand for wedding party marble paint effect on wood

And if Rob says he didn’t enjoy making it – well, I beg to differ. It gave him great oppourtunity to practice his paint effects; white marble for the top of the tiers, and bronze paint with crackle glaze for the copper piping centre. Believe it or not, the stand was constructed entirely out of wood!

marble paint effect on wooden custom built wedding cake stand

The centrepiece of the wedding party table, the cakes looked absolutely fantastic on their stand:

congratulations banner orange autumn leaves tree wedding cake with matching cupcakes

– and we kept the cupcakes replenished throughout the day. They didn’t last long and everyone complemented how great they were 🙂

autumn leaves cupcakes white fondant with orange curled leaves tylo powder

And as the party continued on into the evening, the newlyweds cut the main cake, which was equally as yummy.

bride and groom cutting wedding cake autumn leaves red theme

Congratulations to the happy couple it was such a pleasure to make this for you and share two special wedding celebrations! x

Mother’s Day Tulip Cookie Pops

cookie pops flower bouquet biscuits hand decorated orange and yellow sugar glitter sugar royal icing

Happy Mother’s Day to my lovely mummy!

My Cake Decorating magazine came a couple of weeks ago with a lovely tulip biscuit cutter and this nifty little cake / cookie pop ‘vase’. I waited patiently and knew mother’s day was the perfect opportunity to use them – not your usual bunch of flowers!

mothers day tulip flower cake pops orange and yellow in cardboard polka dot vase mycakedecorating

After baking the biscuits on the sticks (use paper ones not plastic, and push gently in to at least halfway across the biscuit, before they go in the oven), I decorated in two different ways.

The first – as you can see above, are hand decorated in orange and yellow icing. I covered the large flower surfaces in pastel royal icing, allowing to dry before using a paintbrush to add the finer details and edging in darker orange/yellow. Finally, they were topped with gold soft pearls.

orange hand decorated tulip cookie pop with gold soft pearl decoration

The second – and quicker – used a pastel orange icing and dipping in pink and yellow sparkly/glitter sugar. The icing dried pretty quickly so I did the yellow fronts first, then the pink top, before using the icing alone for the sides. I again used a thin paintbrush to apply all the icing so that it only went on the areas needed.

glitter sugar tulip cookie pops biscuits on sticks flowers for mothers day

Tied with a bow for a beautiful bouquet!

flower bouquet tied ribbon bow tulip cookie pops for mothers day

Rice Crispy and Marshmallow House

christmas present gift rice crispy and marshmallow house decorated with royal icing and sweets snowman and penguin

So Twelfth night has passed and the decorations are all down – but that doesn’t stop us playing with our Christmas presents! Of all the lovely things I was lucky to get this is definitely one of my favourites. It’s actually for Rob and I to share – me to make and him to eat!

chocolate crispy house kit christmas present john  lewis baking gift

Inside it had everything needed to make a big sticky house:

ingredients in chocolate crispy kit marshmallows rice crispies royal icing

And instructions on the back! (And if you read the small print you can also see the kit came from John Lewis)

instructions reverse of box chocolate crispy house rice crispies marshmallow

First step was to melt the marshmallows (with a couple of tablespoons of butter, then only thing not included in the kit). At this stage I very nearly dug out a spoon and didn’t go any further!

melting marshmallows gooey pan

The melted marshmallows were not quite what I’d expected, very thick, sticky and gooey. It took a good bit of elbow grease to get the rice crispies mixed in.

melted marshmallows sticky and thick

Then it was a simple case of pressing the rice crispies into the plastic mould. I covered the back with a piece of greaseproof paper to press the mixture down firmly and evenly.

rice crispie marshmallow house firming and flattening pieces in mould

With the mixture so firmly together the pieces came out of the mould easily, with a little pushing through from the back.

crispy house walls coming out of mould marshmallows sticky

After repeating the marshmallow melting and adding cocoa for the roof pieces, I put everything on a baking tray and into the fridge to set firmly.

Next step was to stick everything together. The supplied sachet of royal icing was a good thickness and plentiful for everything I needed to do. Sticking bits together not so easy! I had to employ a few heavy kitchen items to support the sides while they set.

constructing a marshmallow crispy house for christmas using heavy supports to stick the walls together

Likewise when it came to the roof pieces – lucky I had another great present that was a perfect size to sit underneath and hold them up. Cupcake spoons I’m sure will feature again soon!

marshmallow crispy house chocolate roof holding up supporting while royal icing sets

While the house was drying I used up the remaining rice crispies to make up some occupants – a big, round snowman, and cute little penguin. Decorating the with the royal icing and suites supplied, I used an edible-ink pen to dot the penguins eyes as there were no more chocolate crispies left!

penguin and snowman made out of rice crispy and marshmallows decorated with royal icing and sweets jelly beans

And finally onto the most fun part – adoring the house with the rest of the sweets and royal icing.

I piped tiles and a sweet design onto the roof:

roof piece royal icing tiled with sweets jelly beans chocolate rice crispies and marshmallows

And topped the two roof pieces with some jelly hearts:

icing sweetie tiles on the roof of crispy house chocolate

For the front, I’d moulded a chocolate front door, decorated with yet more sweets!

decoration on the front of rice crispy marshmallow house front door jelly beans royal icing chocolate

The finished product! It was actually quite simple to assemble, as long as you have enough space in the fridge to chill the pieces first. And a lot quicker than baking all the pieces for my previous Christmas Gingerbread House!

rice crispy house marshmallows with chocolate sweets and royal icing penguin and snowman

The new occupants seemed very pleased with their new house :-):

rice crispy snowman and penguin chocolate outside christmas marshmallow house

The only downside I could find; the marshmallow never really sets firm so you have to work in a very cold environment. It wasn’t even warm in our house and 15 minutes of decorating was more than the construction could handle…

collapsing marshmallow and rice crispy house too warm

Rob was quite happy with this result as it meant eating the house straight away – if needs must!

A great afternoons entertainment and eating from a brilliant Christmas present, plus I’ll definitely be keeping the mould to use again next (this) year. Chocolate houses maybe…?

I did weigh the ingredients before putting the house together  so could easily recreate the recipe – 2x rice crispies at 85g each, 2x marshmallows at 100g each, and 10g of cocoa powder for the chocolate roof pieces. Melt the marshmallows 1 pack at a time with 25g of butter, stir in 1 pack of rice crispies, cool slightly and press into the mould. Repeat adding cocoa powder for the chocolate pieces).