Decorated by April Carter

A few weeks ago I was lucky to get invited to the book launch of Decorated by April Carter. Since then the book has kept its place next to my bed for nighttime reading and I've been pouring over the delicious recipes and stunning photography.

I finally decided to go with the recipe that first caught my eye, the Gingerbread Cake with Whisky Caramel. At the back of April's book are some handy tips on decorating, so what better an opportunity (excuse) to purchase a few new cake tools and try some new techniques.

April's instructions on assembling, icing and decorating cakes are easy to follow and with my new cake leveller I was very pleased with how precise my layers were.

I had a lot of fun putting this cake together and here's how it went... 

Firstly the levelling of the cake

Next the stacking of the layers


Then the crumb coat

And finally the drizzling of that heavenly whisky caramel

mmm delish!

I was a little obsessed with how uniform the inside of the cake looked; cutting in straight lines has never been my strong point (just ask my mum!) but with April's pearls of wisdom, and my new leveler, her Ginger Cake with Whisky Caramel has been an all round success.

And here it is, the final product... a perfect gingery/caramel/whisky treat just in time for Christmas.

Happy Baking x

Decorated by April Carter (Hardie Grant, £20.00) Photography: Danielle Wood

Pumpkin Pie

The cold snap has officially arrived in London; with a definite hint of winter. This is my favourite time of year and I have been anxious to finally christen ‘the pie dish’… I’ve only had it since April, and that was after technically ordering it in October last year. It’s been awhile.

This post is mainly for the benefit of my friend Craig; he asked me for the recipe and so I thought I would share it on my blog. However, it’s currently 38°C in Australia and pumpkin pie or any pie is that last thing I want to eat in that heat... unless it’s a chilled pie made of ice!!

Pumpkin Pie

from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
Basic Pie Crust
No pre-baking required
260g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
110g unsalted butter

Grease a 23cm pie dish.

Put the flour, salt and butter in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
Add 1 tbsp water and beat until well-mixed. Add second tbsp water and beat until you have a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for an hour.

Roll out on a floured surface and line the pie dish, trimming the edges.
Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.

For the filling
1 egg
425g tin pumpkin puree (such as Libby’s)

235ml evaporated milk
220g caster sugar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp flour

Put everything in a large bowl and mix until smooth and well combined. Pour into uncooked pie crust and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the filling is set firm. I did find I had to bake it for a bit longer, but that is just my oven.

Leave to cool completely, and serve with a big dollop of whipped cream.

And finally have all your friends come around to eat it... I've tried and I can't eat a whole pie myself.

Happy Baking x

Decorated: Sublimely Crafted Cakes for Every Occasion by April Carter

This evening I was lucky enough to be invited along to the book launch for the latest book by April Carter, Decorated: Sublimely Crafted Cakes for Every Occasion at Books for Cooks in Notting Hill, London.

Me, April and her amazing cake

 I met April back in 2012 when I attended her Cake Pop class at the Make Lounge in London. Before that and ever since then I have enjoyed following her blog Rhubarb and Rose and also her adventures via Instagram. 

 I'm very excited to now have my hands on a copy of her new book and looking forward to trying out some of the fabulous recipes. I might start with the Gingerbread Cake and Whiskey Caramel... what doesn't sound amazing about that!

Apple, Parsnip and Rosemary Syrup Cake tasters 
Sea-Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

I recommend everyone should put this on their Christmas list or just go buy it now.

Happy Baking x

The Cake Book by Cupcake Jemma

I have always loved Crumbs & Doilies and so when I saw that the lady behind it all Cupcake Jemma had written a cookbook I was very excited.

I bought The Cake Book in the summer; but its been a crazy summer and the book lived in a box for a few months. Since I've moved into my new flat I have been a little obsessed with it and I have made numerous of the delicious recipes.

The recipes in the book are fresh, fun and easy to do. There is also Youtube tutorials which are very helpful (listed below). It definitely makes it easier to visually see when caramel change colour to the lovely amber colour and how quickly it happens.

A couple of treats of I have made recently...

Lemon meringue cupcakes

I must say, homemade lemon curd is something I wish I had made a long time ago. Its incredible and simple to make.

And when my friend Jane was visiting from Australia, we decided to tackle salt caramel and made these delicious Caramel Mudslide cupcakes! So decadent.

Jane was a great bakers assistant...

and took her duties seriously ensuring the quality was up to scratch!

I highly recommend you checking out her Youtube page... I definitely want to try the Chocolate High-Hat Cupcake next!

Happy Baking x 

Konditor & Cook Baking Class

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to get a spot on the trial baking class for Konditor & Cook. It was a steal at £10, especially since we all came home with 3 cakes each.

My colleague Lucy came along and we spent 4 and a half hours learning “all about sponge”. I have made many sponges, but sometimes things just don’t turn out how they should and I’m always willing to find out why, so this class was perfect.

It was a busy few hours, but after all our hard work we each had a six inch curly whirly cake,

a lemon chiffon,
 and St. Clementine tart
to take home with us. Our teachers Lau and Marie were very energetic and had so many useful tips that I have already put into practice, though my egg cracking still needs work!

The best tip of the day (for me anyway as I really despise lining cake tins) was to use tin foil. No greasing, measuring or cutting needed!! It literally has changed my life.

If you haven't tried any cakes from Konditor & Cook then best you do, they are incredible. Or if you fancy leaning to bake them yourself, I would highly recommend one of their baking classes.
  Their cookbook is definitely on my Christmas wish list for anyone struggling to think of the perfect gift for me… and you might just get a cake from me in return!

Happy Baking x


The Amazing Unicorn Rainbow Poop Cake

It's been a pretty crazy summer to say the least. At the start of June I had my 2nd P&I exam; annoyingly the day after my birthday. It meant I got the day off, however I spent it doing practice exams and flash cards. I did use some of my birthday luck to pass my exam and to keep me focused my youngest sister Alice was arriving from Australia a few days later.

Once she arrived, we managed to ease her out of her jet lag gradually(!) by heading down to the Glastonbury music festival. And then to recover from that we packed our bags again and headed off to Ireland and Scotland. It was an incredible trip; definitely the best I've had in years. Scotland is definitely of my favourite places and was a pleasure to spend it with one of my favourite sisters.
My sister pestered my to make her my carrot cupcakes while she was here...
I was pleased to see she enjoyed them. I think 3 were consumed in one afternoon alone  

After a few days back in London to relax, Alice and I had a teary goodbye at Heathrow as we headed our separate ways. As much as I wanted to sit around being homesick, wondering when I would see any of my family next, I started packing again as the lease on my flat ran out a week and a half later. Luckily my friend Tom took me in until we found a new place in North London a month later.

My flatmate Tom and I on the 1st day in our new flat...
check out the bunting!  **love it**

Despite having an amazing summer, I have missed being able to bake and the first weekend in my new flat I already had a baking order lined up. It was a bit of a trial run in my new kitchen, but it was such a joy to be baking again.

I was excited to do this order; the instructions were a vanilla cake with rainbows and glitter... But now with the official name of "The Unicorn Rainbow Poop Cake."

The cake is a basic Victoria sponge from BBC Good Food with a buttercream icing. If you would like to give the rainbow swirl a go, check out Cupcake Jemma's fantastic tutorial which you can watch here

And thanks to Mark Box for the amazing photos, as always! 

Happy birthday to the BDD birthday Kittens!!

Happy Baking x

Sorry I realise that's 2 rainbow cake posts in a row, they are just so much fun to make! 

Rainbow Cupcake

There are a number of baking blogs I follow for inspiration. One of my favourites blogs is by Lyndsay and her website is Coco Cake Land. I have followed this blog for a few years now and she has made some incredible creations (without using too much sugarpaste), and her photography skills are amazing too. There are also some really helpful tutorials and step-by-step instructions and recently she has been into brightly coloured creations which I have wanted to try.

Last weekend, my friend LK invited me along to the pub for her birthday and I wanted to give her one of my cupcakes, so it was a good chance to try out something bright and colourful.

The idea was pretty simply; I used my normal vanilla cupcake recipe with vanilla butter-cream and split both the mixtures into 3 bowls and added my colours. Then I set up a piping bag in a pint glass and filled the bag with the coloured mixture. Ensure you keep the amounts down either side even so you get a good spread of each colour.

I was really impressed with how they turned out, so vibrant!

And my friend LK was pretty happy too, Happy Birthday LK!

Happy Baking x