Return of the Blog

Last April my husband and I were lucky enough to buy our first home; a Victorian house in need of a lot of love! Whilst I've still found time to bake (thankfully!) in between all of the wallpaper stripping and painting, I've sadly not had time to write about it. But now, with only one room and the garden left to tackle, I finally have the time to write again! 

As I mentioned before though, the last 12 months have still been jam-packed with butter and icing sugar. Cue movie montage...

I loved making every one of these bakes and could bore you with details on them all, but I'll let the pictures do the talking in this instance. However, today I decided to make apple and almond muffins, and am happy to share details on these!

I couldn't really find a recipe online to suit the apple and almond muffins that I wanted to make, so I amended a few to create my own. First, I combined 200g plain flour with 100g caster sugar, 50g dark brown sugar, 20g ground almonds, a teaspoon of cinnamon, 2.5 teaspoons baking powder, and a pinch of salt. To this mix I slowly added one egg, 80ml vegetable oil, 90ml almond milk, and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, mixing each ingredient in one at a time. I then chopped 2 peeled and cored Granny Smith apples into 1cm chunks and folded them into the mix, trying not to overwork the batter.

After 18 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius, I took the muffins out and sprinkled them with granulated sugar, just to add a doughnut-style texture on top. Icing sugar would easily work too, but it just wasn't what I wanted on this lazy Sunday afternoon.

Now all that's left is to put the kettle on and catch up on some vital TV time. Happy Sunday all!

Where the forest meets the sea

A friend asked me to make a surprise wedding cake for her sister's surprise wedding - so many surprises! Like the happy couple, the cake needed to combine an eco-warrior wowing woodland theme with a sailor-suitable navy theme, which certainly provided a challenge for design. Fortunately my friend was at hand with lots of advice and we managed to find a combination for the cake which we think suited the couple to a tee. 

We decided that it would be good to surround the cake with flowers in the wedding colours and with lots of little woodland animals. I can only hope that real animals smile as much as these fondant chaps:

Woodland creatures need some nice wildflowers to play in. It's just cruel otherwise. Fondant roses are fun to make, but a little more complicated than normal flowers.

For both you need to do a bit of palette mixing, kneading up some nice colour combos into your fondant. Flowers are perhaps worth their own post at some stage...

Once the cake (a Victoria sponge) was baked and iced, I placed it on an iced cake board and got to work on the nautical element. I started by hand drawing anchors on the icing:

Using a light brown fondant, I made lots of small pieces of fondant rope to write 'Congratulations Rosie and Mike'. Basically that meant making two thin cables of fondant and twisting them together, pretty much like a real rope. But not as suitable for actually rigging up a yardarm, obviously.

Then I went round the edges, adding some woodland features - blades of grass that climbed up the side of the cake, wildflowers and animals. I was going for that disorderly, natural vibe. Here's the final result:

So congratulations again to Rosie and Mike, and I hope you enjoyed the cake! Big thanks also to Emma for asking me in the fist place and for helping with the secret plans (mwah ha ha!), and to Rachel for carrying it all the way back to Yorkshire!