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Monday, 25 June 2012

Firsts and Favourites

Good afternoon,

I thought I'd show you my first attempt at a fondant iced cake today. I'm not gonna lie - I can see faults - particularly the icing was a little thick in places - but I'm learning!

This was a 9" cake for my nephews 4th birthday as he was pirate mad (and still is a little - although it's more dinosaurs now...not looking forward to attempting one of those!)

I also thought I ought to bring up one of my favourite recipes, which is for a lemon drizzle cake - in fact, the recipe I use makes 2!

This is a recipe from Tana Ramsey (that's right - Gordon's wife) and it is delicious.

I do tweak it a little and make the glaze with a bit of bottled lemon juice. I do use a particular brand - but i'm sure any will do.

These are literally fresh out of the oven! Yum...

I have also tried my hand at tiger bread (now known as giraffe bread at Sainsburys!)

Use a basic bread recipe, and after a first prove add a glaze made of rice flour, yeast, oil, sugar and warm water. I got my recipe from The Pink Whisk.

Got to love the smell of fresh bread...

Speak soon.x.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

God Save The Queen....and Jubilee cookies...


It's been all over the news for the past...what....year?

The Queens diamond jubilee finally arrived last week with some rain, some music, some ceremony but most of all - a whole lot of baking!

Now, I only get the "whole lot of baking" from the sheer amount of cakes and bakes I saw being posted on social media sites such as facebook. I, myself, well...I was unwell. However...I did have a chance to make some cookies.

I used my favourite cookie recipe which is called "sugar cookies" - which are basically, vanilla biscuits. Then, I got down to business. I should have done a step-by-step guide, but I took long enough making them that any longer to spend on them would have killed my back (which I am having major problems with, but that's another story!)

Firstly, I made a couple of cardboard (you could use plastic) templates in a rectangular shape to cut around to make the cookies "flag" shaped. Using a sharp knife, cut around the cardboard. Please only use cardboard/plastic which has come from food packaging as this is classed as "food safe"

One these were cooked, I set to the mammoth task of cutting fondant icing sugar in the shapes I needed.

I had a pack of white fondant, a pack of red fondant and a pack of blue fondant....can you guess what I did?

I rolled out the white fondant, and using one of the cardboard shapes i'd made, cut rectangles and put them to one side to "set" a little. No need to add tylo or any other hardener to these as they are sitting flat and you don't want to be biting through hard icing!

Whilst these were setting, I cut out a cross of red (bit like the red cross from the St Georges flag) and put these to one side.

Then the difficult part....the blue shape. This is super difficult to describe, but basically the template had the cross left in and then the blocks going up at diagonals. Take another look at the cookies - you'll get what I mean! Then cut into the spaces of this template and keep the cutouts (they should be little triangles) as these are the bits you need.

Then, using my FMM ribbon cutter - I cut little strips of red to add finishing touches.

Now to assemble.

Using a bit of water as a glue - lay the white fondant on the cookie. Then add the blue bits - I put the template on the cookie for this and slotted the blue triangles back in place. Then add the red cross, and finally stick on some thin strips of red on the white.

VoilĂ !

Apologies for the mass of time I'll get snap happy!

Speak soon.x.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Course - Final Lessons

Hi All,

Just a quick update on what I learnt in the last few lessons of my course.

By far my favourite week was when we had a chance to model heads!

I'm pretty impressed with these! (even if I do say so myself..)

They were actually quite easy to make using fondant with tylo and for the man in the middle, I used a sieve, using fondant that was softened with trex, and pushed it through to make thin strands. I have heard of an icing gun you can buy that does this - but I have an old sieve at home and can use that instead and not pay £15+!

We also had the opportunity to make some more animals...

This frog is a little more realistic than the last one I made!

In week 8 of our course, we studied piping techniques. I don't have any pictures for this week, but we used royal icing, which as I mentioned in my last post, is great for piping. I wouldn't recommend using normal icing sugar as it's far too runny!

Speak Soon


Saturday, 2 June 2012

Cupcakes and stamps...

Hi all,

Again, sorry for the lack of posts...I'm really bad at this!!

I have a few things to update you on...firstly:

I was asked to make some cupcakes for one of the ladies in works 50th birthday! Here is the finished article:

Not bad for my first order - here is a close up:

These were just vanilla cupcakes, with a vanilla buttercream. I have cut out circles on red fondant with added tylo, and piped on the numbers and dots using "Royal Icing". You can either make this yourself or buy it in the shops in a box. The making it method includes using egg whites with icing sugar, so unless you need a lot, I'd buy in the box form and you can make up what you need as otherwise you'll need to be able to use a lot or freeze it.

Also, I have recently bought a job lot of cutters/stamps for sugarcraft. They took around 5 weeks to arrive because they came from Hong Kong, but not bad for around £18!!

I have had a play with two of the cutters and have made a carnation and a gerbera. these both have tylo in the fondant so will dry quite hard.

You'll notice these are setting in a paint palette. I have found this one to be particularly useful - and it only cost me 99p from "The Works"!

I do have some updates from my course - which has now finished - but I just need to upload the photos.

Speak Soon


Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Hello again!

Yes, two posts in one day!

I thought I'd share with you my book collection:

Quite a few books there, and I may have ordered two more this week...

I would recommend the Peggy Porschen book (Peggy's Favourite Cakes and Cookies) and the Lindy Smith book (Contemporary Cake Decorating Bible) although they can be a bit in-depth for new bakers (including myself!) and I do love my "1001 Cakes, Cookies and Tempting Treats" book as it has some wonderful recipes for pretty much everything baking wise!

There are some amazing books on the market, but I'd say check out Amazon (see the ad above for books and on the left for sugarcraft equipment) and their "look inside" feature when looking to buy books, so you can have a look (if ordering online, and not in a shop) as you can see some recipes and some ideas on the net.

Also, I would recommend using "youtube" as there are some amazing videos online which give you step by step instructions on making anything!

Speak soon.x.

My Project - April 2012

Hi all,

I can now reveal my little project!

I spent a few days, a few tears and a few tantrums making an Arsenal cake for the fellas little brother whose 21st was on the 4th April.

Firstly I started by making a sketch on paper and buying the colours of fondant (I needed two strong reds so bought as otherwise it would have taken an age to colour white fondant!!). I then made a plaque with just the overall shape of the shield using white fondant and tylo to give it a bit of suport when I started to add the other fondant.

To transfer over onto the fondant, I simply placed the paper over some rolled fondant and used the scribing tool from my sugarcraft tools to make an indent into the icing, then cut with a sharp knife.

The tears came when I made the cake! I'm sure everyone has had a few disasters in the kitchen before, but I made a 9 inch madeira cake that could have been used to anchor a boat as it was so unbelievably dense and heavy!! That went straight in the bin and I restarted using an 8 egg sponge mix and using a flower nail in the centre on the tin (which you put in before adding the mixture) to ensure the cake was cooked in the centre (the flower nail acts as a convector and heats up helping to cook the inside of the cake so no hard crusts and sloppy centres!). I would recommend adding a flower nail if doing a cake larger than 7 inches as it takes a while for the inside to cook otherwise. Obviously remove before icing!!!

I'm pretty impressed with this considering the plaque was done in two sittings - without throwing anything away and starting again!

Speak soon.x.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

New toy

Hi all.

Sorry for the lack of posts, my class hasn't been on for two weeks due to tutor illness and the start of the Easter break....but I have a new toy!!

Meet my new helper in the kitchen!

In my last class we learn how to cover cakes. I made this for my nephew to give to my sister for mothers day.

I have also been playing with the mixer and making cupcakes!

I've also been working on a little project which I can't reveal until after Wednesday, but I'm pretty chuffed with the outcome! I will upload a photo once its beven shown to the birthday boy!

If you have anything you want to try, let me know and I'll see if i can do a tutorial on it.

Speak soon.x.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A Pig - The Tutorial


Firstly, apologies for the lack of updates - I've been having a few issues with the layout on Blogger and have been a little busy!

The last two weeks of classes have consisted of making a few more flowers and learning how to cover a cake board and hide the joins between the board and the cake. This week we are doing the cake itself so fingers crossed I will have something to show you.

Now though, the pig!

Using the pink icing I coloured in the colouring tutorial I made this pig.

Now - how to make it!

Firstly roll one ball for the head and a small one for the snout.

Then, flatten the small ball out into a slightly oval shape and make two small holes with a cocktail stick. Glue these on with a bit of edible glue or water (water takes longer to dry so I would recommend the glue here. You can get this from most cake suppliers)

Then make two more small balls for the ears. Flatten and stape into little points. Using either a cocktail stick or a ball tool (I will detail the kit I use in a further post, but these are widely available at a range of prices, so shop around) make a small indent into the point to make the inside part of the ears

Then, roll out a ball a bit bigger than the head, which becomes the body.

You will then need to roll out a long sausage of fondant for the legs, and cut into four equal pieces. At one end of these pieces make a slight lip for the body to sit in

Then, glue the legs onto the body and leave to dry for a few minutes. As long as the legs are quite short, you shouldn't need to give the body any support, but you could use those little candy sticks inside the fondant as extra support. Once this is done and they have been left to dry for around 5 - 10 minutes, turn the body over, and glue the head on. You must support the head otherwise it will drop off!!

As you will see in the above picture, while this is drying I have made a thin sausage on fondant and wrapped it around the cocktail stick for the tail, leave this to set for a few minutes, make a small hole with a cocktail stick at the pigs, well, bum, and then add some glue to the tail and, insert.

Make two small holes on the pigs face as eyes, and add a touch of black gel colour on the end of a cocktail stick to make them black. Et Voila!


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Colouring Fondant - A Quick Tutorial

Right, now for colouring fondant. Firstly pick a gel colour. As I've mentioned before, only use gel colours for colouring fondant as the water based colours mess with the structure of the fondant.

For this example, I have chosen "Poppy Red" by sugarflair as I am aiming for a pink. You can add more of the gel to get a stronger colour, but to get the bright or deep colours you may want, I would recommend with buying the pre coloured fondant or add some to the fondant, and the paint a layer of the colour over the top to achieve a darker red.

Take your fondant and add some of the gel with a cocktail stick (don't add a lot otherwise you'll get more on your hands than on the icing!

Now you will need to knead the fondant until the colour is incorporated.
Warning - your hands do get stained and it is hard work!!

It does get a little streaky, and I would recommend adding a little more colour at this point (again to save your hands ffrom the start)

As you incorporate it more, it will look a little marbly, which is ideal if you want to add a marble effect to your cake.

After a while, it will become the same colour all over. As I said, I was aiming for a pink, so this is how I've left it.

Roses - The Tutorial

First of all you need to have some fondant with a touch of tylo so it will harden.

Then, roll a small amount into a ball then change the angle of your hands so you make a point like so:
This forms the centre of the rose.

Now roll out a small sausage, no longer than the height of the centre

Then flatten the sausage so it's very thin like a petal

Then wrap this around the centre of the flower like so

Gradually add more petals until a rose starts to form. Make the petals by rolling a small ball of fondant and then rolling it out into a petal shape on the ball of your hand (at the base of the thumb)

At this stage the base of your rose is getting pretty fat, so pick it up, squeeze the base and twist until it breaks off

Add around 8 petals or until you think you have enough, and done!

Friday, 2 March 2012



In week two of my course, we learnt how to make "plaques" for cakes.

Now, whats a plaque you may ask? Basically a plaque is a piece of hard icing with either a figure, animal, words or numbers on. They can be flat, or 3D.

Now, the plaque I made in class wasn't too great as I didn't have access to all of my tools, so these are the two I made at home. I used the Dr Oetker pre coloured modelling icing for this, but you can use normal fondant icing with a small amount of either tylo or gum tragacanth.

The basic receipe for using tylo powder is 1/2 tsp per 250g of fondant. This needs folding in and kneading into the fondant until it becomes quite stretchy.I would always recommend when it comes to colouring the fondant you use the gel colours (Asda do a small range and they are currently 2 for £3 (as of 02/03/12)). Add this using a cocktail stick as you really don't need a lot! I will do a little tutorial on colouring icing soon! Warning - your hands get pretty messy and stained!

These are my attempts at plaques. You'll see they are sitting on white icing bases, and this is the plaque base to put onto the top of the cake.

Not to shabby for a first try!! I may attempt a pig at the weekend, so I'll upload that too, with maybe a tutorial on how to do it.

I have prepared the photos for the fondant rose tutorial, I just need to upload them which should be done over the weekend, so come back and check!

Speak soon.


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Sugar Roses

Just a quick update to share what I did last night on my course, which is sugar roses.

These roses are made of ready to roll fondant, a small amount of vegetable shortening (brands such as Trex and Cookeen) and a tiny dusting of gum tragacanth.

I will be adding a step by step shortly so you can have a go, but I will be using 'tylo' instead of the gum tragacanth, which I am just awaiting delivery of!

Will update soon.


Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Well, here goes, my first blog post. This is going to take some getting used to!

I'm starting my Sugarcraft course tonight, which I'm looking forward to. It's a weekly course over the next 12 weeks, so I'm really hoping to learn some new skills, which I can showcase on here with a few hints and tips for any other cakers out there. I am aiming to update at least once a week during my course, but bear with me if I don't do it straight away!

Just a little background info about me. I'm a 20 something new baker, making the occasional large cake for family/friends which started with making my mum a cake for her birthday last July. I enjoy making biscuits and cupcakes too, and the cupcakes normally have an orange flavour buttercream icing (I really must try some new recipes though!) I will go through my photos and add some images of the cakes/biscuits etc I have made. I live at home with my parents, and work full time so this is just a hobby for me at the moment, and I have a wonderful boyfriend who I have been with for around a year and a half now.

Not a lot more to add to that until I go to my course tonight.

Speak Soon