FAQ: How to use Sugar Syrup on Cakes?

FAQ: How to use Sugar Syrup on Cakes?

Sugar Syrup

Ahhh Sugar Syrup. My new and most amazing discovery! It’s the small things that seem to make the biggest difference in my baking. I hadn’t even heard of sugar syrup until I went to the Peggy Porschen sugar roses class last year. I mean I had heard of it but I just thought it was something people added to give a cake more taste – like with lemon cakes and the like, but no. I was wrong.

What sugar syrup does

One of the ladies at the sugar roses class had also been to one of the Peggy Porschen cake baking classes and she mentioned how sugar syrup had completely changed her cakes. They’re now super moist. The trick – as she told me, is to brush sugar syrup directly onto a warm cake once it comes out of the oven. This basically stops the cake from continuing to bake in it’s very hot tin once it’s removed from the oven – preventing it from drying out. The added water keeps the cake super moist.

So armed with this information I gave it a go and do you know what? It’s worked on every single cake I’ve made so far! Madeira cake, chocolate cake, Victoria sponge cake and even cupcakes – actually especially cupcakes!

The Ingredients

I’ve tried out a few different recipes but the general rule of thumb is to use the same amount in grams of sugar as millilitres in water then add a dash of flavour. The following quantity is suitable for an 8″ cake. You will have some left over though. Don’t be tempted to use it all.

  • 100g sugar – granulated/ caster/ golden – anything goes
  • 100ml water
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence / lemon juice / almond/ orange essence
  1. In a saucepan heat the water and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then add the flavour and leave to cool. I make my sugar syrup when the cake goes into the oven.
  2. Once your cake is removed from the oven let it sit for 5 minutes then use a pastry brush to brush the sugar syrup over the entire cake. You only need to cover each area of the cake once and avoid soaking the cake or you will end up with a big soggy mess not a nice moist cake. Make sure you get the edges of the cake covered as they tend to dry out the most.
  3. Leave for a further 10 minutes before turning your cake out onto a rack to cool completely.

Top tip: I use a bristle brush as it is easier to control the sugar syrup than with a silicon one. It also stops you adding too much in one go.

SUGAR SYRUP recipe

Another sugar syrup tip.

Another time I saw sugar syrup being used was at the Squires Kitchen cake show. During her workshop Helen Mansey brushed her cake (which was baked the day before) with sugar syrup when she was stacking the layers. She added a light coating of syrup to the top of each cake using a pastry brush in exactly the same way as described above before she covered each cake layer with chocolate ganache. I’ve never seen that done before but she said that it keeps the cake moist as she bakes a cake on a Monday and decorates it ready for delivery on Friday/Saturday. She said the cake would still be okay to eat a week after the wedding. I’m not sure cake would last that long in my house but it’s good to know.

So, do you use sugar syrup? What flavours do you use? I’d love to know. Just leave a comment below and share your tried and tested recipes with the whole baking gang.

EmmaMT

x

Wedding cake Inspiration at the Squires Kitchen Cake show

Last Friday I went to the Squires Kitchen cake show in Surrey and I have to say that it never disappoints. This is the third time I’ve been to this show and it’s my favorite. The venue is really higgledy, piggldy with rooms and halls all over the place on different levels and the competitions are in another part of the building all-together but I think that’s why it works so well. It’s like you’re going on a treasure hunt and around every corner there’s something new to discover.

I went to two workshops on the day. One was how to make succulents with Paddi Clark and the other was how to make a double barrel cake with Helen Mansey who has a new book coming out in a couple of weeks. (It looks beautiful!) I learnt so much in those short 45 minute workshops which I am hoping to share with you when I get round to trying the techniques out. I am pretty sure that they made it all look very easy. We’ll see!

The Cakes on Show

One of the highlights for me is always checking out the wedding cakes. They are just fantastic so I thought I’d share just a few with you.

Cake Creations by Jill Fisher

Cake Creations by Jill Fisher

Cake Creations by Jill Fisher

Cake Creations by Jill Fisher

How incredible are the flowers on this cake by Cake Creations by Jill Fisher. How on earth did she make them? Are they sugar paper? They’re just so delicate and unbelievably realistic. Ranunculus are one of my favorite flowers so I may be a bit biased with this one!

Cake Creations by Jill Fisher

Cake Creations by Jill Fisher

These roses look just exquisite in the flesh. I wish I could take better photos to share with you guys.

Cakes by Elizabeth Finch

Cakes by Elizabeth Finch

There were lots of chalk board cakes at the show like this one by Elizabeth Finch. The roses on this cake are exactly like the ones by David Austin Roses.

Cake House

Cake House

The cakes by Sherry Hostler of The Cake House were also fantastic. I love this green one inspired by the art of quilling.

Authenticake

Authenticake

Authenticake’s modern twist on a classic is the kind of cake you have to look at twice before you realise that the tea cup is all made from sugarpaste.

Authenticake

Authenticake

I really love the colour combo here. Another cake trend I spotted at the show was metallics. We’ve seen it in fashion and home wares and now they’ve reached the cake world. Hoorah!

Sylvia's Kitchen

Sylvia’s Kitchen

Sylvia's Kitchen

Sylvia’s Kitchen

I really loved the cakes by Sylvia’s Kitchen. They were timeless elegance personified. I’d love to make a cake like this – Just give me a year to make all those flowers!

Sylvia's Kitchen

Sylvia’s Kitchen

Sylvia's Kitchen

Sylvia’s Kitchen

This is another design I would love to try out. I haven’t mastered the art of piping at 90º yet without it making a whole lot of mess but as soon as I can I want to make this cake- but maybe in a one tier birthday version. Just stunning!

Scrum Diddly

Scrum Diddly

Scrum Diddly

Scrum Diddly

Just look at all the pearls on this wedding cake by Scrum Diddly. This was one of my favorite cakes.

Scrum Diddly

Scrum Diddly

Scrum Diddly

Scrum Diddly

Another cake that must have taken ages to create. The clean and crisp colour combo with the textured sugarpaste and roses and strawberries make this a perfect summer wedding cake.

Jelly cake

Jelly cake

This was my favorite gold cake (of which there were quite a few!) by Jelly Cake. The colour just pops out as you look at the table. I also really like the colour of the other cakes in this trio. Really elegant on their wooden stands.

Jelly cake

Jelly cake

Another tea cup and saucer filled with floral paste flowers. Do I need to learn how to do this too?

Simply Alpa

Simply Alpa

Simply Alpa shows the amazing effect you can get with a paint brush and a little talent ( make that a lot of talent!)

Iced Innovations

Iced Innovations

This is another cake with a really pretty colour palette by Iced Innovations . Soft and delicate with cute pin wheels on the front. I can’t tell what they’re made of. Any guesses?

Lou's amazing cakes

Lou’s amazing cakes

Lou's amazing cakes

Lou’s amazing cakes

Lou’s amazing cakes really are just AMAZING. They’re the cakes I remember every year. This one is just a riot of colour! I showed it to Beau and it was her favorite.

Lou's amazing cakes

Lou’s amazing cakes

This is another painted cake but just look at that shape. Where do you start when it’s time to cover it in sugarpaste? All those ins and outs!!! Rather Lou than me!

Helen Mansey - Squires tutor

Helen Mansey – Squires tutor

Helen Mansey - Squires tutor

Helen Mansey – Squires tutor

This is one of the cakes by the tutor Helen Mansey in the Squires main hall. It was huge and so beautiful. Even the buttons on the back were perfect.

Helen Mansey - Squires tutor

Helen Mansey – Squires tutor

I can’t tell you how amazing the piping on this cake waa. What isn’t totally clear in the picture is that it’s white writing with black writing on top. It’s so delicate and fine. I was blown away by it.

Natasha Collins - Squires tutor

Natasha Collins – Squires tutor

Natasha Collins - Squires tutor

Natasha Collins – Squires tutor

I didn’t know that Natasha Collins does a class for Squires on how to paint cakes. I’m a bit of a fan of hers. Her cakes are totally original don’t you think?

 

So that’s my short round up of just a few of the wedding cakes on show at this year’s event. Amazing aren’t they? Which one’s your favourite? I’d love to know….

EmmaMT x

Spy Cake for Agent Asher

Spy Cake

Agent Asher’s Spy Cake
IMG_3195 Agent Asher (aka the other little man in my life) was 7 in January. He and Darcey are mad on playing Spy games. Asher creates alarms that go off when you walk past a beam (YES! at 7!!) and Darcey has been practicing sneaking around, hiding, then jumping out on me to see if I knew she was there. She’s getting very good at it. So, it was no surprise that Asher asked for a spy cake for his birthday. Actually when I asked him what cake he wanted he said “A pair of spy sunglasses!” There isn’t a lot of cake in a pair of sunglasses and that’s where the suitcase idea came from.

How to make a Spy cake

The Sunglasses on the Spy cake CAKE 1

First I kneaded a little Tylo Powder into the black sugar paste. This makes it into a modelling paste so it will get harder quicker. I drew a template of sunglasses and then rolled out the sugar paste. I then carefully cut out around the shape. I used a sharp knife to do this and then marked the outline with a pointed tool. Then I cut out the arms of the sunglasses and placed all the pieces onto a piece of kitchen paper and left it to harden up over night but leaving it for 24 hours is better.

I wanted to position the glasses open onto of the cake but when it came doing that I fiddled with them so much I broke them! Next time I would make two pairs just in case and not fiddle so much!

The Walkie Talkie

SPY CAKE 2

I wanted the walkie talkie to be a bit brighter as I knew nearly everything on the cake was going to be either grey or black. I chose a yellow and red design randomly from a google search of what they look like and it turned out that I chose the exact model that Asher already had! Funny how that happens.

To make the walkie talkie I made a large rectangular cube and curved it in the middle. I then rolled out some yellow sugar paste and shaped it so it would fit over the top of the block. The grey knobs and dials were positioned on the top and front with a little edible glue and a small piece of spaghetti to keep them in position.

The dials were added to the front with the red info panel using edible glue then I used a bulbous cone tool  to make holes for the speaker area. I painted the 007 onto the panel with black food colour then left the whole thing to harden up.

The Camera and binocularsSPY CAKE 3

The camera was pretty easy to make. It’s just some flat cylinder shapes glued onto of a rectangular cube.

 

The binoculars took a long time to dry out as there was so much thick sugar paste in them. I wish I had made them a week earlier so they could have dried up a bit more.

I rolled out two long cylinders which I tapered slightly at one end. I then made two smaller cylinders for the eye holes. I used a circle cutter to imprint circles on the ends then cut out thin white circles and placed these over the ends and stuck these onto the narrow end of the binoculars. To hold the binoculars together (or at least to give that illusion) I rolled out a ball and then squished it between my fingers so there was a pointed line down the centre. I then turned this over and repeated on the other side. I then sat it between the two long cylinders. It was then left to harden up a bit.

How to make a suitcase cakeSPY CAKE 4

The actual cake was only for around 10-15 kids so I made a flat-ish Madeira cake and didn’t fill it with buttercream as I wanted it to stay flat so it looked like a briefcase rather than a suitcase. I covered it how my mum covers her Madeira cakes – with raspberry jam and then marzipan followed by sugar paste. This is without a doubt the most delicious combo! What’s more we all love marzipan so the four thick strips which were placed over the cake to give the case some shape were always going to go down well.

SPY CAKE 5

The whole cake was covered in grey sugar paste and the shape was flattened and smoothed by hand which was quite tricky to get completely smooth with the ridges in the way!  SPY CAKE 6

To make the spy case look like metal I covered the whole cake with metallic lustre. I placed a piece of kitchen paper over the cake board as I moved around the cake with a soft paint brush as that stuff is so fine and powdery it gets everywhere.

I made a lock for the front with two rectangles and a small latch then poked holes for rivets at each corner. I painted the rivets and lock black.

The Top secret files SPY CAKE 7

The ‘TOP SECRET’ files were cut out of layers of white modelling paste which I made as thin as I possibly could without them tearing. I cut them into a backwards ‘L’ shape that would slot right up against the cake and look like it was sitting underneath the cake. I did a test run with a piece of paper first to get the angles right. I layered the pages up then covered them with a thin brown modelling paste. I used a thin paint brush and edible food colours to paint on the words “TOP SECRET: AGENT ASHER” then positioned the file on the cake board- sticking into place with edible glue.

To give the pages a bit of a ruffled look I placed folded pieces of kitchen paper in between each page and left them to harden.

Once the file was in place the handle was added to the front of the case. Edible food glue was used to stick it in position.

The finished Spy cake

Spy cake To finish off I positioned all the elements on the cake. I used a little royal icing to keep them all in place and piped the birthday message on the top.Spy cake

I was pretty happy with this cake. I didn’t like the fact that my little nephew had an almost grey cake as if feels wrong for a bubbly seven year old not to have something with a bit more colour but I think he was thrilled with it. I didn’t tell him what I was doing so he thought he was just getting sunglasses! I think Agent Asher was happy with the result.

My sister Shelley put on a fantastic spy party with tons and tons of spy games – including an obstacle course with laser beams – of course! so I think the cake was just right!

Spy Cake

EmmaMT

x

Madeleine cakes by Tim

Madeleine cakes Madeleine cakes Yep, that’s right Mr MT did the baking this weekend and it was goooood!

A few weeks ago he announced that he wanted to make some Madeleine cakes but we didn’t have the right tin and let’s face it Madeleine cakes don’t taste right if they’re not the right shape do they now? So, I got in touch with Eddingtons. You may not know Eddington’s by name but as a keen baker you have definitely seen their baking goodies on the shelves. They’re sold all over the place and now I’ve mentioned them to you you’ll be spotting their cake tinsCookie cutters and kitchen gadgets all over the place.

Madeleine cakes

I have always found their bake-wares to be really top notch quality which is why I approached them. The Madeleine cake tin is really tough, thick and completely non-stick which if you’ve ever looked at my shortbread fiasco I mean post, you’ll know why this is essential! It’s also dishwasher safe – another bonus. Tim hunted around my baking book shelf for a recipe but once the tin arrived he decided to follow the recipe on the packaging.  Orange Madeleines. Who wouldn’t?

So armed with his tin and a recipe he embarked on making as much mess as possible in our little kitchen which he did with much success!!!
Madeleine cakes

 Orange Madeleine cake recipe

Makes 24 cakes

  • 110g  (2/3 cup) flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 113g (1/2 cup) melted butter – cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 130g (1 cup) icing sugar
  1. Heat the oven to 170ºC). Spray the pan with a non stick spray or brush a little melted butter into each well like Tim did. Then dust a little flour over the top. This is the trick to the Madeleines literally falling out of the tin once they’re baked.
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
  3. In another bowl use an electric whisk to beat the eggs, orange zest and extract on a high speed for five minutes. Gradually beat in the icing sugar. Whisk until it becomes thicker – another five minutes.
  4. Gently fold in the flour mixture then the melted butter until smooth.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the tins filling to 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes. Loosen the cakes with a knife then invert the pan on a rack and watch them pop out.
  7. Once completely cool sprinkle with icing sugar

Madeleine cakes

I couldn’t leave them alone. The whole house smelt amazing. The Madeleine’s were so light in texture and the hint of orange flavour was really just perfect. Tim made them in two batches and we’d eaten half the first lot before they had even cooled down! I had to be really strong willed not to eat more before I had taken the photos to share with you guys.

Fingers crossed he makes some more this weekend. I could get used to him baking!

Enjoy!

EmmaMT

Eddingtons Non-Stick Madeleine Pan RRP £24.95 available from http://www.PoshRosh.co.uk

 

Disclaimer: Eddingtons sent me this Madeleine cake tin (thanks you guys!) All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

Cake and Bake show: Ticket offer

C&B_composite_logo_NEFF

 

Have you ever been to the Cake & Bake show? It’s one of the biggies. There’s tons to see, do, learn and let’s face it – what we all want to do – shop for new baking gadgets and gizmos! And this year I am really excited to be teaming up with them to give you a discount off adult ticket prices. Yaaaay!

The Cake & Bake Show will be an experience to behold. There are now four new shows taking place in Harrogate, London, Manchester and Edinburgh. Each show will be the perfect mix of live demonstrations, expert classes, market stands, live competitions and so much more to develop your home baking talents! Purses (and wallets) at the ready!

PLUS! You can also see and meet renowned baking stars, patisserie experts and the industry’s best cake decorators. From demonstrations on the Super Cake & Bake Theatre in association with NEFF, to do-along classroom sessions and book signings – there’ll be lots of opportunities for you to learn from the best!

So, if you’re planning on visiting one of the Cake & Bake shows this year you can get £3 off the price of an adult ticket just quote CAKE35 when purchasing before 30th March 2015  to receive the offer!* Tickets are on sale NOW!!!

CAKE35

 

See you there!

EmmaMT

T&C’s: *Offer valid on Adult full price advance tickets only. Offer ends 30.03.15. Ticket terms and conditions apply. Information correct at time of print.
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Disclaimer: This is a CakesBakesAndCookies.com affiliate. Every ticket sold will put a few pennies in the sugar paste buying purse! 

Lemon and Blueberry tray bake recipe

Lemon and Blueberry tray bake recipe

Lemon and Blueberry tray bake recipeMost Friday’s my dad pops round to my house with a delivery of fruit and veg that would rival a Sainsbury’s delivery truck. He gets it for us (that’s me and my sister – as she gets a delivery too) to share as he bought us both a Nutribullet last November and we’re all mad keen on smoothies now – especially Tim. I got told off for not drinking my smoothie earlier this week. Tim makes Nutribullet smoothies first thing in the morning and then that’s it.  Six AM and we’ve already had our 5 a day! So we really go through a lot of fruit and veg. How cool is that? My Poopah is the best. (Thanks Poopah)

Last week he bought some blueberries. There were loads and loads of them;  more than we could blend in a week – so you know what I wanted to do don’t you? Yep. Bake!

I decided that I would make a tray bake- as I’ve just made a load for other people recently and there was no cake in the house! Well, with all that healthy smoothie making I needed to address the sugar/healthy eating imbalance. This tray bake is adapted from a Mary Berry recipe that I have used time and again from her Baking Bible book.

When Tim tasted it he said “I’m not sure about the lemon and blueberry combination”. I thought it tasted great. I then went off for a bit and when I came back the three slices of cake I had just cut were gone. Errrrr? Not such a bad combination after all is it Tim?

Lemon and Blueberry tray bakeLemon and Blueberry tray bake recipe

  • 225g butter at room temperature
  • 225g Golden caster sugar
  • 275 Self Raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 large eggs – at room temperature
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 150g blueberries for the cake plus some extras for decoration.
  • 100g icing sugar
  • juice of one lemon
  1. Line an 8 x 10″ tray with silicon paper. Pre-heat your oven to 180C (160C for fan ovens)
  2. Mix the butter and sugar together until well blended. Break up the eggs in a bowl then add slowly to the cake mix so that it doesn’t curdle.
  3.  In a separate bowl sieve the flour and baking powder then add to the butter/sugar mix. Add the lemon zest and juice and water. Whisk until smooth and creamy.
  4. Gently fold in the blueberries then pour the mix into the tray. Level it with the back of a large tablespoon and bake for 34-45 minutes until the cake comes away from the side of the cake tin and the cake bounces back instantly when pressed in the centre with your finger.
  5. Set on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing from the tin to cool completely.
  6. Once cool make the icing by sieving the icing sugar into a bowl then adding the lemon juice and mixing until smooth. You can add lemon zest to the icing too if you want. Add the blueberries to the top then leave for 30 minutes and allow it to set.

 

This is a great cake to share. What do you think? Lemon and blueberry a winning combination or not?

EmmaMT

Top 10 ways to give a cake WOW factor

Top 10 ways to give a cake WOW factor

Do you ever want to bake a really simple cake that tastes delicious and then just add a ton decorative flare? Well us bakers at Free Cakes For Kids do all the time. So, I decided to do a little research (after a little prompting – thanks Cristina) and here’s my top 10 wow factor cake ideas courtesy of Pinterest – where else?

1. Just add pearls

How cute are the multicoloured pearls on this cake?  Great for adults and kids alike. You can always pipe the pearls on if your feeling brave! I love the colour combination but you could always use just one colour.

Pearl and dots cake

2. Go Sprinkles mad

I made a similar cake to this one for Beau’s birthday last year. Although the kitchen was trashed after I did the sprinkles at speed the cake looked fab. What do you think?

Easy Sprinkle number cake

3. Model some cars… and a track from sugarpaste.

This cake is pure simplicity at it’s best. The racing cars are practically cartoons – very much my kind of cake. I think this is a winner as you can literally make any number the track on a regular rectangle cake. Brilliant!

Racing car Cake

4. Dribble that chocolate

Oh my word! How totally delicious does this cake look? It’s fluffy chocolate cake inside, dripping with chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate dipped strawberries. What’s not to love!

Wowzers Strawberry cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Add some ribbons and a bow

Although this cake is technically quite difficult – have you ever tried to get sugarpaste to stay neat when in a horizontal direction? the actual design is gorgeous. I would re-create this look in one colour and on one layer. It would still be just as effective.

Gorgeous horizontal stripes | Black and White Wedding Cake

6. Get the paintbrushes out

For a quick and easy design these flowers and butterflies are perfect, but what gives this cake the WOW factor is the way the leaves have been painted on. Have you ever painted on a cake before? it’s so much fun!

Tinkerbell Cake!!! - This is more along what I was thinking.... except no painting!!

7. Make a house

Just the colours on this cake alone make this cake dreamy and every girls first choice. I’m sure it took hours and hours to make but a few simple adaptations would make this possible for even a beginner.

House cake via Pinterest

8. Everyone loves an owl…

and a fox and a hedgehog. The cakes on this pinterest board are so cute and relatively easy to make. I love the pretty colours used and the simple design.  Click on the pic to see the other cakes.

Owl cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Just add tons of M&M’s

I don’t think I could resist picking at this cake; especially if those are peanut M&M’s! I love them and I bet kids would too! Such a clever idea.

M&M birthday cake

10. Pipe some flowers

This cake is decorated using a grass piping nozzle (No. 233 if you’re interested?) They look like hundreds of iced gems don’t you think? I love the colour combinations used. So effective.
Fun and easy cake decorating idea!

So, there you have it. What do you think? Which one is your favorite? Or do you have any great ideas for creating wow factor in a cake? I’d love to know. Just join the conversation and leave a comment below.

EmmaMT

 

Almond pancakes with Tory

Almond pancake recipe I have a lovely friend called Tory who has a list of food that she can’t eat that’s as long as your arm. I can’t imagine being so restricted with my diet. I’m in the middle of my February ’30 day challenge'(yes I know there are only 28 days in Feb but I choose a new challenge each month!) and this month it’s no chocolate and no crisps. Last month it was no Dr Pepper and I didn’t struggle with that at all but this – no crisps business is proving to be a real challenge, so I can only imagine how hard it was for Tory to deal with being told that she would have to cut out ……..

“sugar; all grains (so: no bread, pasta, couscous, polenta, rice or even quinoa); yoghurt, cream, milk, soft cheese, chick peas, sweet potatoes and potatoes, soya, broad beans and butter beans”

Why am I telling you all this? Well she has a new blog How to eat (when you can’t eat anything at all) and I totally love it. Her recipes have to use a different combination of everyday foods in a creative way and she makes them all sound so yummy and intriguing that I thought I’d share it with you.

A few weeks ago she posted about Almond pancakes and as it’s pancake day next week I thought I’d share her recipe with you. Just click on the link above or either of the photos of my Almond pancakes (which didn’t last very long I have to say!) to be sent straight through to Tory’s blog.

Tory's Almond pancake recipe

Because these pancakes don’t contain flour – just ground almonds they don’t taste like regular pancakes. They have a more granular texture. I really like that difference but what made it for me was the cinnamon honey. What a brilliant idea. Why didn’t I think of that before?

 

Are you gluten or dairy free or someone like me who just loves anything almond? Let me know. I’d love to hear how you get on with this recipe

 

Enjoy

EmmaMT

 

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Win tickets to Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft Exhibition 2015,

Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft Exhibition 2015,

It’s competition time here at CakesBakesAndCookies.com and the prize is a pair of tickets to one of my favorite cake decorating shows of the year.

Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft Exhibition 2015

The Squires show was actually the first ever cake decorating show I went to and I’ve been coming back year after year. Some shows are all about the stands selling tons of gadgets and goodies – which I know we all love, but this show is more about the bakers and decorators than just the shoppers. You come away with a ton of new tips and techniques as well as new tools. The stands have so many experts showing you how to use tappits/ make model heads and flowers / use porcelain paste- that you actually feel like you’ve been to one big cake decorating workshop! There are plenty of free tutorials with the Squires experts. Last year I took mum with me and we watched Mark Tiling do his thing with chocolate. Very inspiring.

For mum and I the highlight of the show is always seeing the amazing creations in the cake competitions. Hundreds of wedding cakes, cupcakes and painted cakes and more all made by bakers like you and me are on display and they’re just breathtaking. Some people are so talented. You can see some of the designs from the post I wrote about the show last year.

Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft Exhibition 2015, competiton

Tickets are £12.95 per person and visitors can enjoy up to 36 theatre demonstrations, 105 hours rolling demonstrations, hundreds of display pieces and much more over the weekend.

For more information on the show and to buy tickets, visit http://www.squires-exhibition.com or call 084561 71 810 or +44 (0)1252 260 260.

Ticket prices:Adult £12.95, Bring a friend tickets: 2 adults £22, Bring a friend tickets: 3 adults £30

Please note that this is a ticket-only event.

How to enter

Squires Kitchen have offered Cakesbakesandcookies.com one pair of free one day tickets to Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft Exhibition 2015! The show will be held at the Farnham Maltings in Surrey from 13th–15th March. Please note that the prize doesn’t include transport and is for UK entrants only. You will be able to select which one day is most suitable for you.

To win simply share this post on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and leave a comment below with your sharing link. A random number generator will be used to select one of the comments as the winner. The closing date for this competition is midnight Saturday 14th February 2015. Winners will be notified by email.

So good luck bakers What are you waiting for? Get sharing!

EmmaMT

Disclaimer: Thanks to Squires Kitchen for providing this prize. I have not been paid for this post but I have been given tickets to the show- yippeee! See you there!

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p.s. Just in case you weren’t sure… to share your link in the comments simply copy the web address on whichever social media site you choose and paste it in the comments below. I (and only I) will be able to see your email address and will be able to contact you.

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Evie’s Easy Minecraft Birthday cake

How to make a Minecraft cake for a gorgeous girl

Evie’s Minecraft Birthday cake

Minecraft is absolutely massive in our house. In fact I’d go as far as saying it’s my strongest bargaining tool. “If you don’t finish your homework there’ll be no Minecraft!” Works every time.

This isn’t my first Minecraft birthday cake – it’s actually my third but it is the first one for a girl. Evie is the cutie who I bake gluten free cakes and biscuits for when there’s a school cake sale. I can’t stand the thought of her missing out on cake!

Gluten Free Madeira cake

This cake is a gluten free Madeira cake. Having made a few gluten free recipes now I know that I get the best results by swapping out regular flour and replacing it with 50% gluten free flour and 50% rice or almond flour. It just works better. Sometimes I add an extra egg after I was advised that gluten free flours make cakes more dry and an extra egg makes “all the difference”.

This is the Madeira cake recipe I used. 

How to make a Minecraft cake I wanted to make it quite a cute Minecraft birthday cake without any weapons so I went for the trees and bushes route with a pretty pink ‘Evie/Steve’. Evie seemed pretty happy with it when she saw it.

Although quite a simple design don’t be fooled by it’s simplicity. Cutting and positioning all those squares takes time – but that could be because I was watching Netflix whilst making this cake and that always slows me down!

How to make a Minecraft personGirls Minecreaft birthday cake

It’s really easy to make a Minecraft person if you have plenty of time to leave it to harden. That’s the key to being able to handle the model and it not break.

I start by rolling out the sugar paste and cutting out the body and sleeves. To give the legs more strength I make one large rectangle and use a cutter to make an indent where the legs separate rather than cutting two separate legs and sticking them together. Insert half a cocktail stick into the top of each leg with a little edible glue and insert into the body.

Use edible glue to stick the sleeves to the body and then do the same with the arms and head. Insert half a cocktail stick into the bottom of each leg once you have glued the feet in place.  Finally add the head. Check that the model will stand up straight as you go by standing it in a polystyrene block with something for it to lean against so it’s at 90º.

I wrapped the whole model in cling film so it would stick in place and left it over night to harden. Girls Minecreaft birthday cake

To make the trees I cut out squares of brown sugar paste with a plunger cutter and made holes in the centres so I could insert cocktail sticks into them. I threaded the squares onto the sticks; gluing as I went, until I had a few in a row. The sticks were then inserted into the polystyrene so they were upright and could harden over night. The large green tree tops and bushes were made from larger squares of sugar paste which had holes made in the bottom and were left to harden. The harder the green tops and brown tree trunks are the better as they won’t collapse so easily so try to make these in advance.

The outer edge of the cake was surrounded with three colours of green square so they looked like grass- kind of!

Minecraft birthday cake

An ‘8’ was added to the front of the cake using pink squares.

Girls Minecreaft birthday cake

Once the model had hardened and could be handled the hair was added and the face was painted on. I added an ‘E’ for Evie onto the body.

Then all the elements are added onto the cake and that’s it.

I hope this has been helpful.

Have you made a Minecraft cake? Are you about to? I’d love to see it. Just head on over to the CakesBakesAndCookies.com Facebook or Twitter page and post a picture to share with us bakers. I’m sure we’d all like to see them. Follow the links below.

Bye for now

EmmaMT

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