365 Days of Cake

Oh my gosh and goodness!

This morning I’ve spent a good chunk of time sorting out my cake pictures and I’m completely overwhelmed by how many cakes I’ve created in the past 3 years. My mind is blown. I’ve never been shy with the fact that sometimes I crumble over cakes, get way too emotionally invested and often have a few tears (although I have been SO good this year) but seeing everything I have achieved makes it all worthwhile. All the late nights, the extra hours and the two jobs: worth it.

I also feel very ashamed because some of these cakes have never been seen by you lovely people.

So, I am giving myself a challenge: to make sure that every day this year I share with you one of my cakes. That means that by 31st December I should have shared with you 365 different cakes, in the aim that I can see how lucky I am to be able to create cakes for your specials days, and hopefully you’ll get some enjoyment out if it too.

#365daysofcake

This is going to be super tricky for me because I will need to be super organised in order to not miss a day and I”ll need to remember that I’m doing it. So if you see me slacking – give me a nudge!

We are obviously now 11 days into the year so I’m going to play catch up by sharing cakes 1-11 right here! These first 11 are picked completely at random, were made for all sorts of occasions and some of them date right back to the beginning of 2015! I hope you enjoy them and I hope you enjoy the next year of cakes!!

img_0694

img_0696

img_1024

img_1069

img_1748 img_1775

img_1818

img_1943

img_2113

img_3794

img_3970

Phew, wish me luck,

Vicky

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, cake friends!

Phew, how did we even get here! January 2017 already. I know that in reality it’s really only a day later but I do find something refreshing about the start of a new year; I feel more get up and go, more refreshed and more ready for a challenge. Maybe that’s why, once again, I am giving this blog another go. Only this year, I am ready! After being spoilt rotten at Christmas I now have diaries and planners galore and I am going to make sure I make the most of them and keep myself on track.

But before we move forward, let’s look back a little:

Some lovely life events happened in 2016: Kurtis and I bought our first home, he popped the question while we were on a family holiday in South Africa and we got cats! Talk about being blessed. There were such exciting things that still take up most of my thoughts each day: how should we decorate this room, where should we put this, oh my gosh, how cute are the fur babies, will everyone have a lovely time at the wedding, OMG, will I actually find THE dress… I am so lucky to have these decisions to make and equally as lucky to have a Kurtis. Awwwww…

img_5461

I had a couple of lovely travel adventures this year to South Africa in October and Vienna in December. SA was a mega group travelling experience; 10 of us went over and sometimes we were travelling about as a group of 16! But we had some amazing South African experiences, oh and did I mention I got engaged? Highlights includes walking with ellies, leopard and cheetah spotting, pothole exploring, and… oh yeah, getting engaged! And then we had Vienna which was a fun filled weekend of drinking mulled wine, walking and general carrying on!

collage-2017-01-02-19_55_51

And then there were cakes. I am so lucky to have some wonderful people trusting me with their cakes. I had a personal triumph this year with overcoming my wedding cake fear which gripped me so terribly in 2015. I have learned so much about trusting myself and it has made the world of difference. And of course that goes for my other cakes too, which I have enjoyed so very much. And I can’t wait to push myself even further this year!

collage-2017-01-02-20_02_51

 

So there we go, 2016 all wrapped up and it was quite alright actually. I feel it deserves a toast… Is there any more fizz left…?

Love and bubbles,

Vicky

 

Cake Catch Up

Hello Everyone!

How are we all? Well, I hope.

Now this is the time of year when I am full of excuses about why I haven’t been blogging like I constantly promise to and blame work, etc etc. However, this year I have a most excellent excuse: I have moved house! Yes, Kurtis and I have moved into an actual house all of our very own. It’s exciting and tiring and wonderful and stressful and lovely all at the same time. We are currently working on filling the house with furniture and trying to decide what to have for tea of an evening. Priorities.

But it has been business as usual in the bakery so here is a little look at some of the things I have been doing lately:

IMG_4644

IMG_4462

IMG_4390

IMG_4523

IMG_4368

IMG_4714 (2)

IMG_4118

IMG_4178

IMG_4573

IMG_4269

IMG_4139

IMG_4361

IMG_4356

IMG_4339

See you soon!

Vicky x

 

 

Wedding Cake Feature: Jess & Jack

Hello beauties,

How are we all?

I’ve got a lovely little wedding cake to show you today. Jess got in touch with me kind of last minute (in wedding cake terms) for this cake as her previous cake lady had to cancel the order. All the better for me as I was so excited about her plans: rustic naked cake! I have wanted to do one of these cakes for ages. It was a bit nerve racking that the first time I was going to get to do one was for someone’s wedding but I was ready.

Cake

The cake itself was 3 tiers of Victoria sponge and was to be decorated with fresh flowers and fruit.

The cakes themselves were made as close to the day as possible so, as the wedding was on a Friday, they were made mid-morning/afternoon on Thursday. They were left to cool and wrapped in cling film as soon as possible. The cakes were then stacked and buttercream-ed the morning of delivery so they were still fresh, fresh, fresh! The tiers were left separate and had an hour in the walk in fridge (AKA the conservatory) to harden up a bit before delivery.

Dry edges was my main concern with the cake and it was, in fact, my brother who suggested that what I needed was some sort of syrup to cover the outside edges of the cake to keep them moist. I obviously thought this was a stupid idea until I did a bit of research and discovered that this was the norm… Sorry, Boy! So I made up my own vanilla sugar syrup (100g caster sugar, 200ml water, drop of vanilla essence) and brushed the edges of the cakes with the mixture before delivery.

I must say taking the cakes as separate tiers and stacking at the venue is so less stressful that taking a fully stacked cake: I didn’t fear for my life every time I went around a corner.

Jack & Jess - Wedding Cake

Cake 2

At the venue I was greeted first of all by a heater blasting hot air directly at the cake table. Oh my days! I definitely made some sort of audible whimper. Luckily the florist was also concerned about this so managed to find a nice chap to come and turn it off. (But did put on a different one so I was not responsible for the whole wedding party being cold!)

But the venue itself looked fab. The wedding was held at Middleton Lodge in a marquee which was set up simply and elegantly, with a Midsummer Night’s Dream kind of a feel. With tree trunk centre pieces and ivy crawling up the marquee posts. Very delicate and pretty.

Cake 3

The fresh flowers  for the cake and the venue were provided by Diana Kaye florists, who are based in Yarm. And oh my gosh were they stunning: the roses were to die for! Unfortunately these were quite large and I could get them on the tiers of the cakes as much I would have liked but they looked beautiful as the cake topper and around the base of the cake. I was met at the venue by Victoria and her colleague (whose name escapes me, sorry!) and they were both a treat. Extremely professional but also fab to have a chat with during the nerve racking task of placing the flowers. Unaware to them, their chats about food and the odd encouraging comments really helped to keep me relaxed.

I previously had reservations about using fresh flowers on cakes and have always encouraged people to go for sugar flowers but this experience has made me open to using fresh flowers in the future and I would definitely want to work with Diana Kaye again.

image1 (3)

IMG_4237 (2)

So that is the story of my very first naked cake and I must say it was a pleasant experience. Thankfully, and most importantly, the bride was also a happy girl and sent me some lovely comments, which of course is why I am in this game in the first place! Thank you Jess and Jack and I wish you all the happiness for the future.

See you soon,

Vicky xx

Inspired By… Drip Cakes

Argh! How much do I ADORE these drip cakes? A whole heap, that’s how much. A whole heap as high as the mountain of goodies piled on top of these drippy delights.

I am desperate to make one of these cakes. So desperate in fact that I might have to stop waiting for someone to ask me and make one anyway. I am positive someone will eat it…

Don’t know what I am talking about? Have a look at these bad boys…

Katherine Sabbath

Katherine Sabbath is THE lady of the moment for these types of cakes and you can see why. From chocolate heaven to super bright numbers, this lady is owning this trend.

What I love about her more colourful creations is that you just wouldn’t think to put the colours together. But they work so well to create something bright and fun rather than something garish. And just check out that ice cream number what a charming cake!

For more: www.katherinesabbath.com

Katherine

Jenna Rae Cakes

Before Katherine Sabbath Jenna Rae’s Instagram feed was my go to place for dreamy cakes.

In opposition to Katherine Sabbath they do understated drip very well. Everything is coordinated, and oh so pretty and delicate. Swoon!

For more: www.jennaraecakes.com

Jenna

Sweet Bloom Cakes

Now THIS is what I am talking about! Wowee zowee! Check out the sky high pile o’ treats on these babies. I am kind of torn between wanting them as pieces of art and just wanting to stick my face in them… after removing those chocolate shards of course!

What I love about these examples are those extra details that just take these cakes to another level: the bit of gold leaf on the pink number and the oh-so subtle cake toppers that give those cakes an extra special personal touch. Bravo, Sweet Bloom Cakes.

For more: www.sweetbloomcakes.com.au

sweet

Unbirthday

Chocolate crowns, macarons, chocolate gems and fresh fruit make up ‘The Hybrid Cake’ from Unbirthday and they certainly do make a statement.

But my favourite thing about these cakes has got to be those beautiful and delicate edible flowers. They add amazing bursts of colour and a delicate prettiness that you almost don’t want to eat!

For more: www.un-birthday.com

Unbirthday

Faye Cahill

Urgh, Faye Cahill why must you constantly blow my mind!

This kind of cake is quite unusual for Faye Cahill; they specialise in completely flawless and stunningly elegant cakes. However, these quirky pink and gold numbers, still maintain that perfection. What impresses me the most is that they have decided to drip over that exquisite gold leaf application; if I had managed to do that I wouldn’t be covering it up with pink drips, but then I am not the queen of the metallic leaf.

For more: www.fayecahill.com.au

Faye

Now, where is the melted chocolate…

Vicky x

Last Month in The Bakery: January

Happy New Year!

Oh, yeah, right it’s February.

I don’t normally buy in to the hating of January; a fresh start, resolutions and new year’s plan are all very exciting. This year, however, I struggled. I think mostly I struggled under the weight of my own ambitions and resolutions, and as I didn’t achieve everything in the first week, I was over it by the second.

But now it’s February. And that means Spring is on it’s way and I am getting fired up again thinking about those plans: just as I am heading back to work full time. Of course…

Anyhoo, here is what I have been up to since the beginning of the month and a few bonus pictures of previously unshared photos:

IMG_3026

IMG_4054

IMG_4018

IMG_4056

IMG_3970

IMG_3795

IMG_3765

IMG_3561

IMG_3534

IMG_3526

IMG_3450# IMG_3435

IMG_3429

IMG_3240

IMG_3098

IMG_3076

See you soon,

Vicky x

Wedding Cakes

This summer was my most chaotic yet for wedding cakes. I some how ended up with 5 cakes in 4 weeks. 4 consecutive weeks. And gosh it was hard work.

I am going to admit that I find wedding cakes so stressful. I think calling it a wedding cake just adds a bit extra pressure. You don’t want to be the thing that ruins a bride’s day or end up on Cake Wrecks!

However, as much as I cried and stressed and yelled and started over, I think we managed to put together some lovely cakes, all of which had the stamp of their respective brides and grooms. Lovely.

So take a look and let me know what you think!

IMG_2763

IMG_2706

IMG_2671

IMG_2637

Just for your information on I have been working on my wedding page on the blog so if you, or anyone you know, is planning your special day take a look on there for all the important info and some more pictures.

See you soon,

Vicky

Back to Basics: Cupcakes

When I first started on the road to cakes I made a lot of cupcakes. Cupcakes were becoming a bit of a thing then and I was also bought Kate Shirazi’s ‘Cupcake Magic’ book and the recipes were so beautifully simple and tatsy it was hard not to get on the cupcake bandwagon

Cupcakes have fallen our of favour slightly, making way for celebration cakes and my enthusiasm for them also wavered. Mostly due to this…

image1

Urgh! That silly pulling away from the case. I swear I went through a period when every cupcake I made ended up like that and it’s not the end of the world but it was really because it just looked a mess. After a bit a research on this I decided that this was happening because my cupcakes were so deliciously moist and maybe just needed an extra minute in the oven.

What an easy thing to do to fix the problem. Easy peasy…

Let’s take a look at these. Look at them. Lovely!

image2

Do you know how long they stayed lovely for? About ten minutes. I was having a mini celebration that only one pesky (and spare) cupcake had pulled away from it’s case. I packed them up all nicely in a box and felt pretty smug.

image4

But that is when it all went a bit ary… I went to check on them a bit later in the box and guess what? Cupcake case separation! Urgh! WHY? I think I just didn’t learn from past mistakes and took them out of the oven a minute or two too early. Bleugh

But for now let’s just look at how lovely they did look for a time and remember that my cousin and his football team didn’t care so much about the case situation when they were devouring them!

IMG_3367

 

To do: More cupcake practice.

Vicky

Halloween

IMG_3199

I was working in the lab, late one night, when my eyes beheld an eerie sight… Of a fantastically terrifying mess in the kitchen. Oh yes, I must have been baking.

But it was Halloween baking so the mess was allowed. There was blood and guts everywhere! Everywheeereee! Muahahahahaa!

*cough cough*

This year I made haunting voodoo gingerbread men and a collection of creepy cupcakes.

Let the terrifying begin…

IMG_3186

Poor gingerbread men. I don’t know who has it in for them but they are doing a good job of tormenting them. And then presently they will get their heads bitten off and that will be terrible. But delicious.

IMG_3188

I had a lot of fun with the cupcakes this year. I’ve seen broken glass cupcakes and really wanted to give them a go. Might have been a bit much for a children’s party but it’s Halloween and I am sure they want to be freaked out! Bah!

IMG_3200

I think I should have stuck with the black cases for these for the impact but they still look pretty effective. The ‘glass’ shards are melted down Fox’s mint glaciers. I just popped a dozen on a baking tray and bunged them in the oven. Then just checked on them until they had melted into a nice puddle. Once they were out and had cooled down, I just smashed it up. It was beautifully simple. The ‘blood’ was red food colouring mixed with maple syrup. I had tried to use red royal icing at first but it wasn’t flowing like it should and it was the wrong kind of red.

IMG_3205

The other cupcakes were an assortment of Halloween favorites. I quite like the eyeball. And maybe, if I had dared go super over the top, I could have put an eye ball all bloody in the glass. Urgh – freaking myself just thinking about it!

I hope you have got lots of lovely treats for yourself this evening. I would encourage you to grab the sweeties and watch a scary film but as the scariest film I will watch is Harry Potter, I will just simply wish you a magical Halloween.

Vicky

 

A Trip To Edinburgh Gin

Because I am totally spoilt and have the very best friend, last week I was taken to Edinburgh for a gin experience at the Edinburgh Gin distillery. And it was fab.

I love a gin. I love how refreshing it is and if you are ever stuck for what to drink, a G&T always hits the spot. I prefer mine with a slice of lime, of maybe some cucumber if I am feeling crazy. One time I had a G&T in a gin bar with a basil garnish. Madness. But I digress…

11407016_1003008296417148_7576247700285117341_n

I’ve borrowed this image from the Edinburgh Gin Facebook page but I hope they won’t mind because I’m about to say nice things about them! 🙂

From the outside the distillery doesn’t look like much. The website describes it as ‘a hidden wonderland’ and that pretty much sums it up. Once you get down the stairs and through the door, it’s a wonderful mix of cave-like seating areas, a cosy bar and a tempting seating area that makes you feel a little bit sophisticated when you are sat in it.

The experience started with a little talk on the botanicals used to make Edinburgh Gin and went on to talk about the fascinating history of gin. We discovered the origin of ‘Dutch courage’ and ‘Mother’s ruin’ and found out the first gin to be drunk in England was basically turpentine and tasted better when flavoured with the a carcass of a dead cat. No amount of lime or basil is going to mask that…

Next we given a tour round the two old but space-age looking stills. It was pleasing to learn that Edinburgh Gin produce very little wastage during their distilling process. And everything was just so compact and tidy.

The tour was given by staff member, Dougie, and he was a delight! He had such a dry, quirky way about him that just seemed to fit with the tour and the environment and made it all the more enjoyable. And of course he was very knowledgeable about the product.

231666646alt1

And he knew how to make a tasty G&T. Now, I’m not saying the next bit was my favourite part of the tour, because the first half was very enjoyable, but when you are given a whole bunch of gin to taste it’s a good afternoon! To start, we got a sample of each of the flavoured liquors that are produced by the distillery: raspberry, elderflower and rhubarb and ginger. The raspberry was delicious: tasted like raspberries! It was just like sipping a sloe gin; not too sweet and could easily be enjoyed just with a couple of ice cubes. I love elderflower so was looking forward to the next one but was quite surprised by how sweet and thick it was. However, that floral loveliness you’d expect from an elderflower drink was there and you could easily imagine it at the bottom of a glass of bubbles or mixed in a cocktail. The rhubarb and ginger was also good but I’m not particularly a fan of either of those flavours so that was that. We each got to pick a bottle to take home. Yum!

Edinburgh-Seaside

We were also allowed to try two seasonal gins. The first was seaside gin, which was made from flavours foraged from the Scottish coastline. Nice idea but for me it just didn’t work. One of the ingredients was seaweed, which gave it saltiness I just couldn’t get away with. The second was a navy strength rum, distilled with szechuan pepper and it was good, strong but good. It was something a little different but still really smooth and would be great ice cold with a quirky garnish.

We ended the tasting with an original Edinburgh gin and Fentimans tonic, garnished with orange peel: light, refreshing and delicious.

gin_edi1-900x900

Overall the tour and the tastings was a great way to spend the afternoon. I appreciate there are loads of things to do in Edinburgh but if you like gin it’s a great use of time and I would definitely recommend it. After 5pm, the bar opens and you can enjoy drinks and cocktails. We didn’t do that but I think it would be a very cool place to have a couple of drinks, and I can only imagine the knowledgeable staff would mix up some great tipples.

If you want to book a tour or treat yourself to a new bottle of gin, you can view their website here. We did the Gin Connoisseur tour and it really is such good value.

We finished our evening at The Dome, Indigo Yard and Copper Blossom, all of which I would also recommend. Oh yeah, we also looked at the Castle the next day to get our culture fix but mostly we ate all the foods and drank all the drinks. (This was birthday related after all.)

So big thank you to Clarke for the lovely birthday present and to Edinburgh for the gin. Cheers!

Vicky