book review: Baking: One Step at a Time

December 5, 2009

I first spotted a version of Baking: One Step at a Time in France a few years ago and was very taken with its lovely layout and beautiful, instructive photography. How many of us are seduced by the design of a cookery book and buy it for its aesthetic appeal rather than any remotely edifying content? I do, all the time. Happily, this book has CLICK TO KEEP READING…>


swags and frills

December 1, 2009

I know you’re on the edges of your seats waiting for my next Christmas cake update. I can sense it. It’s been a full 24 hours since the last one. Here she is then, looking not too shabby, adorned with swags and frills (well one swag so far, with three more still to do).

This is a much more traditional design than I would usually go for, but we had to master the skills for my cake class so I thought I should use them. I haven’t decided yet what to put on the top of the cake. All suggestions welcome.


cake update: marzipan Monday

November 30, 2009

This is my round Christmas cake with its layer of marzipan. It’s getting there. I opted for mass-produced marzipan rather than making my own in the end <hangs head in shame>, although I did go for a premium brand so it has quite a high almond content – 36% instead of the typical 25%. By tomorrow the cake will be ready for icing – the marzipan needs to dry first, which takes at least 24 hours. In the left-hand photo you can see CLICK TO KEEP READING…>


christmas is coming…and recipe swapshop

November 26, 2009

they got a little bedraggled when I walked home from class in the rain...

I started making my Christmas cake this evening. I’ve been going to a cake decorating evening class since September; this week we made reindeer cake toppers out of sugarpaste and for the next few weeks we’ll be working on ‘swags and frills’ (yikes) and modelling winter flowers. I decided that instead of working on a polystyrene dummy I would make my own fruit cake – cue a frantic search for the perfect recipe.

For the past couple of years I have been following a very special Christmas cake recipe given to me by CLICK TO KEEP READING…>


chocolate cupcakes, two ways

November 15, 2009

After a sugartastic day at the Cake International exhibition at the Birmingham NEC last Saturday, a friend and I decided to bake cupcakes for another pal’s birthday party last night. The theme was ‘Achromatic Farce on the Earth: the flawed duality of our society’s systems – recession/growth, Tory/Labour etc etc..’ (deep), so we opted to make one batch of white cakes and one batch of black. I was tasked with the latter…which was more difficult to pull off than I anticipated.

I ended up opting for chocolate cupcakes with black icing, jazzed up with CLICK TO KEEP READING…>