Baking for Therapy, Cake decorating, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Health

Too hot to bake?


Here in the UK, we’re a bit unfamiliar with the concept of ‘Summer’. Oh, we know it’s a season that follows spring and precedes autumn, but more often than not the lines between are somewhat ‘blurry’. But not at the moment. At the moment it’s 32 Celsius 🌞 and because we’re not used to it, we’re not very well prepared. Trains have been cancelled because the overhead lines are overheating for goodness sake πŸ₯΅

For me, it’s both a bonus and a burden. Because I have nerve damage from my spinal cord injury, my skin is hypersensitive. This means that any extremes in temperature cause pain. So although I love the sunshine, I don’t cope well unless I can cool down.

Hence my hubby buying an inflatable paddling pool and blowing it up in the back garden this afternoon bless him. It’s funny but if I can keep my feet cool it helps the rest of me feel cool too!

Anyway, I haven’t felt like being in a warm kitchen this week, so no baking! Fortunately I haven’t had anyone to bake for, so I could allow myself a break πŸ˜€

This Sunday though, I am making a cake for a baby shower, which I will be starting tomorrow (thankfully, it is forecast to be a bit cooler πŸ™ ) and I have a portable electric fan I can take into the kitchen just in case too…..I just had an image pop into my head involving a fan, flour and icing sugar πŸ˜‚ …..better be careful where I situate it!

So, seeing as I haven’t any cake to show you for a few days, I’ve spent some of my spare time putting together a couple of ‘movies’ to showcase some of my past cakey creations.

Hope you like them 😍 I’ll be back in a few days with a ‘real’ cake 🍰

Until then,

Stay safe and healthy (especially in the sun!)

Debbie ❀️

Baking for Therapy, Cake decorating, Cakes, Bakes, and Me, Celebration

The long awaited pictorial!

You may remember that back when I made the ‘Zelda Cake’, I promised to document it photographically and produce a pictorial. Here’s a reminder of the finished cake……

And I shall now attempt to get all the pictures in the right order! Here goes…

I made 2 cakes separately as I only have one 9″ Cake pan! So you’ll need to double the ingredients if you want a taller cake 🍰

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 3-5 minutes until smooth and pale in colour. Add the sifted icing sugar in 3 or 4 additions, scraping the bowl down frequently. Add the vanilla and beat for a further 5 minutes on low to medium setting.I found a template for the emblem on google images and used it to cut it out of yellow fondant, rolled to about 3mm. I also found pictures of various items associated with Zelda, and just copied them the best that I could. I made the sword, stone, chest and winged ball thingy (it has a name but I’ve forgotten it πŸ™) by adding some tylose powder to coloured fondant. This makes it dry harder and quicker. I added guide holes with cocktail sticks where needed while it was still soft. Once the main pieces of the sword and chest were dry, I added the extra decorations to them with normal fondant. I rolled out green fondant to cover the 12″ drum, and top of the cake, and used a marbled grey round the sides. I rolled this a bit thicker, about 5mm, so that I could use a PME cobblestone impression mat to create the ‘wall’ effect. I used Renshaw’s premium Coverpaste coloured with Wilton gel colours throughout.

A large ‘Z’ on the front, and a few more additions, and the requested ‘Dungeon Master’ reference, and the cake was finished!

I also made a little video. Now go easy on me, I’m not the most technology minded person in the world!

I hope you liked this tutorial, if you did, let me know and I’ll do some more πŸ˜€ I mean, I can only get better at it, right?

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❀️

See below for more in-depth tips on preparing and covering a cake πŸ˜€

How to Crumb coat a cake

How to cover a cake with sugarpaste (fondant)

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

A (very much!) younger me would have loved this….

Hi there

As a little girl, I kind of lived in a fantasy world of princesses and castles. I read a lot, and I think that lead to a very vivid imagination. I believed in fairies and that all my toys came to life when I was asleep…… and this was long before Toy Story! I acted out little stories, made up songs and sang them to myself in my bedroom. I also loved to draw, although I wasn’t particularly good at it! I created cartoonish characters, and princesses of course, who were always saved by a handsome prince 🀴 “Sigh” The innocence of youth eh?

I must have carried some of that experience forward though, because as an adult I got into amateur theatre. Firstly musicals and plays, and then Panto. And of course I found a way to express myself ‘artistically’ through cake decorating πŸ˜€

Anyway, if I’d received a cake for my birthday like the one in this video tutorial by Cakes Step by Step, I would have been absolutely ecstatic πŸ˜† I can just imagine a little me all dressed up in the princess dress my mum made me out of her wedding dress…yep she really did! God bless her, I didn’t appreciate the sacrifice until I had my own wedding dress.

Isn’t it just fab? What I like most is its ‘doability’. Painting the ice cream cones with candy melts is genius! The details are mostly made from candies and wafer biscuits which are then embellished with simple piping. I love those vines connecting the main body of the cake with the turrets πŸ˜€ I just need a little girl to make it for now! I’m open to enquiries lol πŸ˜‚

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❀️

p.s I still believe in fairies πŸ§šβ€β™‚οΈ

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

The World Premiere of……….

Hey there,

As some of you know, I am Chair of the best amateur Panto Society in the world, Greenbrook Methodist Church Pantomime Society. Last weekend, we had our annual dvd night of our January production, in this case ‘Snow White and the Mini Ones’

It’s a great social event where the cast get back together to watch themselves on the big screen. Because, if you think about it, we are the only ones who haven’t seen the whole thing all the way through! Our families and friends have all seen it, and they can tell us what they thought, but it doesn’t beat seeing it for yourself.

Our cameraman Graham, takes multiple recordings from all different perspectives, and then he and Edward, our director, get together and edit all the best bits together to produce a dvd. We organise some food for the interval, and it’s just a great evening πŸ˜€

We also got the chance to present our Costume lady, Sandra, with her lifetime achievement award, as she hadn’t been at the Awards Evening. Sandra has been costume lady for the Panto society, and Greenbrook’s Theatre Group, for many many years, and she does an absolutely fantastic job every single time.

On a personal note, in her professional life, she was a pharmacist, and one of the first I ever worked with when I started training as a technician at sweet 16! Years later, she was the reason I started doing amateur dramatics and then Panto, so it’s all her fault! Seriously though, she was the best role model I could have had, and her suggestion that I join the ‘Operatics’ as it was then referred to, really filled a gap in my life when my brother moved from the UK to Spain. My brother was a singer you see, and I used to sing with him at some of his gigs. When he left, I lost my performance ‘outlet’, so joining the Society was perfect. I’ll always be grateful for that, and for her mentoring during my training as a Pharmacy Technician πŸ˜€

Back to dvd night, and traditionally, this is when we reveal the next production, but as the Awards Evening preceded it this year, we already knew. So instead of making a cake themed around Snow White, I decided to get everyone in the mood for ‘Treasure Island, a Musical Panto’ instead. I made a vanilla sponge with jam and buttercream (you cant go wrong with this when you’re feeding a crowd) and decorated it to look like……well, a Treasure Island!

I got the chance to use the shell moulds I bought ages ago, added a little boat, palm tree, and a treasure chest, and some blue buttercream waves completed the look πŸ˜€

The cast workshops start next month, so it’s going to be very exciting very soon!

I also have a few cakes to make over the next month or so, including the one I’m going to document as a tutorial, so keep an eye out for that.

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❀️

Used in this cake:

Renshaw premium coverpaste

Renshaw Belgian white chocolate fondant

Renshaw chocolate flavour fondant

Renshaw Lincoln green fondant

Rainbow dust food art double ended black edible ink pen

All above items from Party Animal Online

Wilton ivory gel colour, Wilton blue gel colour,

Tesco edible gold ‘coins’ sprinkles

Cakes, Bakes, and Me

Back in time for a birthday celebration….just

Hi everyone,

Back from where I hear you ask….you did ask didn’t you? Well, it’s been very exciting as me and hubby spent a week in Romania πŸ‡·πŸ‡΄ visiting our daughter and her fella. They both teach at a school in Bucharest, and as their Easter Break is a week later than ours, we had a lovely sunny Easter here, then another one with them 😊

This was actually a very big deal for us. We haven’t flown since my accident, so had no idea about the logistics of travelling with a wheelchair, but both airports (we flew from Liverpool) were brilliant.

The other concern was our dog Charlie. He’s so used to having us around 24/7 that we were worried that he would fret. Back in 2014, we used a company called ‘Barking Mad’ just for two nights when our son got married, but apart from that he’s only ever been left with family. Barking Mad take all your dogs details, likes, dislikes, where they sleep, whether they’re allowed on the furniture etc, and pair them up with like minded hosts who look after them in their own home. So with some trepidation, we approached them again. We needn’t have worried. The couple who hosted him were so sweet and sent photos throughout the week to reassure us. Charlie looked to be having a great time! I highly recommend them.

Anyway, back to Bucharest, and we also had a great time 😊 Katie and Josh took us somewhere different every day, always being mindful of my limitations and need to rest. Even so, I managed to walk a little every day with my crutches. The downside to that was swollen ankles, and I did have to go and lie down for a couple of hours a few times, but it was worth it. We found the Romanian people so friendly, and for a city, Bucharest has quite a lot of green space. On (their) Easter Sunday, we went to Herastrau Park, which was beautiful, and had lots of artisanal stalls to browse. We were so busy having a good time, that our phones barely came out of our pockets and we took hardly any photos! The week passed way too quickly though πŸ™

Forest view from the apartment, a dreadful selfie in Herastrau Park, meal with Katie and Josh on a lovely restaurant terrace, and a cuddle with Jeremy, Katie’s leopard gecko

We arrived back on my sons birthday. Luckily, he had arranged a family party for the day after! He’d asked me for a cake themed on one of his favourite bands, ‘Muse’, and knowing I wouldn’t have much time to make it, I’d baked the cakes before we left and frozen them. I then chose some artwork from the many I found on google images, and finished it off before we went to the party (luckily I had most of the day to do it)

It was a bit of a rush job, I’m not going to lie, but this is what I came up with…

1 & 2 my cake take on the artwork, 3 the original artwork, 4 the birthday boy

The cake was vanilla sponge with jam and buttercream. I coloured the grass with Wilton Kelly Green gel colour, made the teddies out of Renshaws white Belgian chocolate fondant mixed with Renshaws regular chocolate flavour fondant, and used Renshaws Lincoln green round the sides. All except the Wilton colour bought from Party Animal Online The Wilton colour is part of a set I bought from Amazon.

Now usually, when I’ve had a ‘busy’ day, I factor in a rest day. A day when, for all intents and purposes, I’m fit for nothing. This time, my rest day turned into a full week. I fell asleep during the day, then slept again at night. Brain fog kicked in, and all I could do was let it happen. Luckily, both me and hubby were kind of expecting it, and he was fantastically supportive. But do you know what? I’d do it all again in a heartbeat πŸ’— As anyone with a chronic condition knows, it’s all about whether the consequences are worth it, and if it means I can visit my daughter, spend quality time, and see where she lives and works, then it definitely is!

I think that’s about it for now, but I will try and post more regularly now I’m recovered πŸ˜€ Oh! I almost forgot! The young lady who won the Easter Cake Competition requested a ‘cake credit’, so I never got round to making that tutorial πŸ™ However, she has asked me to make a cake later this month, so I’ll definitely do one for that πŸ˜€

Until next time

Stay safe and healthy

Debbie ❀️