The Great British Bake off in numbers

The Great British Bake off in numbers

I’m a big fan of infographics, aren’t you? So when I was sent this Great British Bake Off one earlier this week I just had to share it with you. I’m super excited to see the finale tonight (along with an estimated 12.29 million other viewers) but a bit gutted that I can’t watch it live- I shall be avoiding all forms of social media till I watch it.

Who do you think will win?


Lemon and Lime Madeira cake recipe

Lemon and Lime Madeira cake recipeLemon and Lime Madeira cake recipe

I’ve been wanting to test out this Lemon and Lime Madeira cake recipe for ages. I made it a few years ago for my sister’s charity cake morning but I didn’t measure the ingredients or take photos so when fellow Free Cakes For Kids volunteer Zowie had a Macmillian coffee morning  this weekend I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make it again.

It’s a bit of a show stopper as this time I made it three tiers tall and I have finally worked out how to have a decent amount of buttercream between layers without it all squidging out from the sides.

You can print this recipe and instructions here 

Lemon and Lime Madeira cake recipe

Cake ingredients

  • 170g Butter – at room temperature
  • 170g margarine – at room temperature
  • 400g caster sugar
  • Juice 1 lemon and 1 lime  (3 ½ tbsp cake, 1tbsp sugar syrup and 1 ½ tbsp buttercream)
  • Rind of 1 lemon and 1 lime  (½ for the cake, ½ for the buttercream)
  • 7 medium eggs- at room temperature
  • 510 plain flour
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 7 tbsp water

Sugar syrup ingredients

  • 40g caster sugar
  • 40ml water
  • 1 tbsp lemon & lime juice (taken from original fruit)

Buttercream ingredients

  • 450g butter- at room temperature
  • 450g sieved icing sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon & lime juice (taken from original fruit)
  • Lemon and lime rindLemon and Lime Madeira cake

How to make the Lemon and Lime Madeira cake

To make the cake

  1. Line three 8″ cake tins with silicon paper and pre heat your oven to

    180ºC (Fan oven160ºC). I use sunflower oil to grease the tins so the cakes stay soft. Butter tends to bake too quickly giving you a harder cake on the outside.

  2. Start by creaming the butters together then add the sugar and beat till it’s pale and fluffy.

  3. Very slowly add the eggs – a spoonful at a time. Add a spoon of the flour to prevent curdling if necessary.

  4. Grate all of the rind from the lemon and the lime then juice them both. Run the juice through a sieve so there are no pips or pith. These will be used for the cake, the buttercream and the sugar syrup so don’t put it all in the cake at once or you’ll end up with a very, very zingy cake! Put 3 ½ tbsp of juice into the cake mix and set the rest aside.
  5. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and have the hot water ready. Add the flour and water in three goes. This produces the fluffiest and most moist cake rather than adding all the flour then all the water.

  6. Finally fold in half the zests.

  7. Spoon into the three cake tins. The mixture should be 565g for each tin – if you want really even cakes.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the centre clean.

  9. Don’t open the oven door for the first 20 minutes. It will make the cake sink.

  10. Place the cakes on a wire to cool.

  11. Make the sugar syrup while the cakes are baking.

To make the sugar syrup

  1. Place the water and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer until all the sugar has dissolved then add the lemon and lime juice.
  3. Set aside and allow to cool.
  4. Once the cakes are out of the oven brush over the top of each cake with the sugar syrup. You only need to cover each area once. Don’t be tempted to put too much syrup on or you’ll end up with a soggy mess.
  5. Leave the cakes to cool for 15 minutes before turning them out of the tin to go completely cold before you arrange them with buttercream.

To make the buttercream

  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. This will take 3-5 minutes. If using a stand mixer you can carefully place a tea towel over the mixer -around the outside of the bowl to prevent the icing sugar being thrown out all over the place. If using a hand held mixer loosely combine the ingredients before whisking. 

  2. Make sure the cakes are level by cutting off any domes from the tops

  3. Fill a piping bag with a wide nozzle with the buttercream. Pipe dots all around the bottom cake layer then fill the inside. Use a spatula to smooth it a little.Lemon and Lime Madeira cake 1
  4. Place the next layer on top then repeat with the next layer of buttercream finishing off with the top layer of cake.
  5. Place in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes. This encourages the buttercream to harden up a little making it easier to spread buttercream on the outside edges.Lemon and Lime Madeira cake 2
  6. Use a little of the buttercream to spread a crumb coating on the top and outside edge – filling any gaps between the layers as you go, then chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. The longer it’s in the fridge the harder the coating will get and the easier it will be to add the next layer. I’ve been leaving the crumb coating a little bit rough (rather than smoothing it completely flat) recently and it’s made adding the outside coating much easier.
  7. Once the crumb coating is firm add a thicker outer coating all over the cake. Use a serrated ruler to create a design in the buttercream across the top and then on the sides.
  8. Place any decorations on the top (these Daisies were from Poundand) and then chill again for 10-15 minutes.

You can print this recipe and instructions here 

From what I tasted – I never leave an off-cut uneaten, that’s what buttercream is for isn’t it?  this is one seriously zesty, moist cake.



Lemon and Lime Madeira cake 1

How to make a Merry-go-round birthday cake

Merry-go-round birthday cake Merry-go-round birthday cake

I can’t believe little Belle is 4! I mean it was only yesterday I made these baby cookies when she was born and now she’s started school. That’s just insane.

I was asked to make Belle’s 4th birthday cake and as you can see it’s a Merry-go-round cake. I decided to make the ponies into cookies that could be pulled off. I’m glad she wasn’t five or I might not have had room for all the ponies to fit on.

How to make the ponies for the Merry-go-round birthday cake

  1. I searched high and low for a pony – or even a horse cookie cutter I could use but none of them were up to scratch, so I decided to make my own- gulp!Pony cookies Armed with a google search and a pen I found a look I liked and used it to base my sketch on. I then cut out the paper pattern (which you can download here) and used it to cut around the rolled out vanilla biscuit dough (Vanilla cookie recipe here)
    Merry-go-round ponies 1
  2. Bake the pony cookies and make more than you need- just in case a leg falls off or anything. That tends to happen to me! Make the royal icing up. – Royal icing recipe here.
  3. First pipe the outline of the body in pale pink.
  4. Fill in the pink body with runny Royal icing. Add a small amount of water to the icing till the trace line disappears in eight seconds. (just in case- a trace line is when you lift a spoon out of the icing and the icing that falls off the spoon leaves a line in the bowl of icing below. The trace line is the line of icing that falls. You need to count how long it takes for that line to disappear. Once it takes eight seconds you know that your icing is runny enough to flood the cookie but not too wet to never dry)
  5. With a darker pink icing outline the mane and tail then flood. Leave to dry for at least an hour – over night is even better.Merry-go-round ponies 2
  6. Using a brown icing outline and flood the saddle and straps. With a thick brown icing pipe the bridle across the nose and up to the mane
  7. Give the ponies horse shoes
  8. To give them pretty eyes pipe a black dot of royal icing and use a tooth pick to drag tiny amounts away from the dot – creating eye lashes and making the ponies look very pretty
  9. Leave the ponies to dry thoroughly before handling. 24 hours is optimal.


How to make the Merry-Go-Round cake Merry-go-round ponies 3

  1. To give the cake a base make a deep 8″ cake and a more shallow 9″ cake. Cover with sugarpaste, stack and set on the covered cake board.
  2. Add a detailed trim along the base of each cake. I use these Edge Cutters  which I picked up at a cake fair. Use royal icing to make them stick or dampen the back of each trim with water.
  3. Each pony sits on a pole which is really a pink and white straw. I use these ones from Talking Tables as they’re strong – also there’s loads left over for drinks afterwards. It’s really hard to push the paper straws through the dense Madeira cake so I cut off the bottom of a straw and stick it onto the base of the cake with royal icing. Flatten the top of this straw before you attach it to the cake so the pony can sit flat against it. I then pushed the top straw into the cake in line with the small one – just as much as I could without the cake being distorted or the straw poking through
  4. Make lots of pretty flowers using plunger cutters. Layer up difference sizes and add a pearl in the centre to finish them off. Leave to dry over night so they are easy to handle without breaking. Merry-go-round birthday cake
  5. Each pony is stuck to the cake using Royal icing. The pony cookies are quite heavy so use toothpicks to hold them in place until the royal icing hardens and the ponies are completely stuck. Two underneath where no one will see the holes should do the trick. Merry-go-round birthday cake
  6. To finish off the merry-go-round place a taller white dowel in the centre of the cake add ribbons to it. I glued the ribbons onto the central dowel before placing it in the cake to save on fiddling near the cake. Cut each piece of ribbon to length then stick to each straw around the outside. Make toppers with white sugarpaste. It’s a good idea to make the tops ahead of time so they can easily sit on the straws without breaking. Make holes in the bottom before you leave them to dry and then stick them in place with royal icing. Make pretty little bows and stick them on the outside of each straw.
  7. Don’t forget to make a topper for the central post too.
    Merry-go-round birthday cake
  8. Add the flowers all over the cake around the base and in the ponies manes.
    Merry-go-round birthday cake
  9. Lastly add the name to the base and the age – with a few more flowers for good measure.

Merry go round birthday cake

Happy Birthday Belle

EmmaMT x

Honey cake recipe for Rosh Hashanah

Honey cake recipe for Rosh HashanahHoney cake recipe for Rosh Hashannah

Every Jewish festival comes with a traditional cake. Rosh Hashanah – which is the Jewish New Year, is Honey cake. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated over two days and it’s one of the biggest festivals in the Jewish calendar. We get together and eat – a lot, gathering for big meals and lots of honey cake.

Traditionally honey cake is a really dense and heavy cake but I’ve been making lighter versions for years now. This one is made with syrup. Now I know what your thinking. If it’s made with syrup why is it called honey cake? Well, Syrup makes the cake a bit heavier than honey and that’s what my mum does and what her mum did and what her mum did. Get the picture? So I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t want my cake to be too heavy so I made it the Genoise way. Still light but with a superior moistness! Yummarge!

Honey cake recipe for Rosh Hashannah

Print this recipe here

Honey cake recipe

  • 90g plain flour
  • 100g Self Raising flour
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs (separated)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 110ml syrup
  • 110ml sunflower oil
  • 110ml tea (the stronger the better)
  1. Line an 8″ baking tin well. This cake mix is more like batter than cake so it will run out of any cracks in a loose bottom tin. It’s also quite sticky once baked so I always bake in cake liners. It also makes it easier to give the cakes as gifts.
  2. Heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
  3. Make the strong tea and set aside to cool a little.
  4. In a separate bowl measure out all the dry ingredients
  5. Measure the egg whites and sugar into a heat proof bowl and place over a bain-marie. You want to warm the mixture not heat it up. If it gets too warm you’ll have scrambled eggs – yuck! Whisk the ingredients to add air and make the mixture double in size. Remove from the heat and carry on whisking with a hand held whisk or in a stand mixer. Stand mixer is easier.
  6. Measure the oil into a jug and while whisking the egg whites slowly add the oil in a slow and steady trickle. Add the egg whites and the oil and whisk further.
  7. Add the cooled tea and whisk again.
  8. Sieve the dry ingredients over the cake mix. Avoid pouring the dry contents into the bowl in one go as the weight of it will burst loads of air bubbles and we need them to give the cake lightness. Fold the dry ingredients into the mix until completely combined then pour the ingredients into the cake tin. The mix will resemble a very wet batter. It will rise into a deep cake so fill the case to ¾ full.
  9. Bake in the centre of the oven for 45minutes or till the cake starts coming away from the sides. This cake is incredible light so if you press the top with your finger it will leave an indent even if the cake is baked.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a rack before removing from the tin.

Honey cake recipe for Rosh Hashannah

This cake tastes great on the day of baking but even better the day after

Happy New Year to all my Jewish readers. Chag Sameach 



How to make sugarpaste roses : My first ever cake demonstration

My first ever cake demonstration- for Create and Craft

Create & CraftLast Sunday I did something I’ve never done before. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and I did a cake decorating workshop at the Women’s Institute Centennial Fair in Harrogate for Create and Craft.

I’ve been  styling photo shoots for Prima’s craft pages for a few months now and they have teamed up with Create and Craft to produce a bumper Christmas craft magazine. (It’s out now) That’s how I got involved. Create and Craft asked Prima if someone from the team would like to do a demonstration. I offered up my services saying that I can do most crafts except knitting and crochet – and felting. I mentioned that I had this blog and they jumped at the cake decorating idea and showing how to make sugarpaste roses.

I’ve done workshops before but they’ve always been in my kitchen and for around six people. This was in a proper demonstration theatre with a stage and microphone (up my top!) and for the WI !!!

I made the cakes in advance then put them in cake boxes. I then put those boxes inside bigger boxes with bubble wrap all around them. Placed them in massive bags and stuck a massive travellers rucksack on my back – full of cake decorating equipment and had one cake bag in each hand and off I went to Kings Cross Station. You should have seen me. I was a very wide load- avoiding every knock and budge from other travellers which isn’t easy when you have to travel in a car, train, tube and then a three hour high speed train and a taxi at the other end to get to the hotel! I made it in one piece and didn’t dare unwrap the cakes till I got to the fair the next day. The cakes were all intact. I don’t know how!

I went on at 1.15pm. I don’t know how I did as it was all a blurr. I think I spoke too fast and I definitely rabbitted on and on while I made the repetitive petals for the roses but I had a pretty good audience and everyone seemed to be smiling at me at the end. The WI ladies I spoke to throughtout the day were so lovely. It was a really great atmosphere and I did spend a whole load of money!

The Create and Craft team were all really lovely and made me feel right at home from the very beginning- thanks you guys.

The demonstration was on how to make three types of roses. Here’s what I demonstrated.


Rose buds
Create and Craft cake decorating workshop

These are some of the easiest roses you can make for a cake. They work well with sugarpaste but if you use florist’s paste they will be much easier to handle and will firm up much quicker. As with most decorations these roses work best in odd numbers. I think groups of three’s look best but five, seven and at a push even nine can look great grouped in a corner of a cake. As they are so small there is plenty of scope for designing a pattern with these tiny roses – be that an initial, a number for an age or a heart as I have done here. In the past I’ve also used these rolled roses to fill in gaps on wedding cakes when the cake is filled with bigger garden roses. Simplicity rules – especially with cake design.  Don’t you think?

To make rolled roses.

If you want all your roses to be the same size you can roll out your sugarpaste and use a small circle cutter to cut out the number of roses you need. When you roll these discs of sugarpaste into balls and then into roses they will all be the same size. I don’t mind them being slightly different. The choice is yours.

Create and Craft cake decorating workshop

  • Take your ball of sugarpaste and roll the ball into a sausage then flatten it.
  • Roll your flattened sausage from the smallest end. Don’t squeeze it too tight and if it doesn’t naturally stick at the end add a dab of edible glue. Try and make the last end narrower so it finishes nice and neatly.
  • Set aside to dry and repeat with the rest of the sugarpaste balls.
  • If your roses all look too different in height you can cut off some of the bottom once they are dry to even them up a bit.
  • To stick the roses onto the cake use a little royal icing. Hold the rose against the cake if adhering to the side for a few seconds. If too much royal icing squidges out at the sides clean it up straight away with a dry paint brush.Create and Craft cake decorating workshop
  • To make the leaves: colour some royal icing green and place it in a piping bag. Snip off a small ‘V’ at the bottom and start to pipe a tiny amount of green icing near the base of a rose and lift away and stop pressing the piping bag to create a triangular leaf shape. Add as many leaves as you think necessary. Leave to dry
  • If you are worried about adding the roses freehand you can score the sugarpaste in your design and then follow the line. You can also make a paper template as you can see I did with the heart,  which you can pin in place and remove at the last minute. It also helps you to know how many roses you’ll need.

Create and Craft cake decorating workshop

Brooch roses

Create and Craft cake decorating workshop

I’ve been making these brooches for cakes and cookies for ages. They’re a great way to add a touch of shimmer to a celebration. You can get pearls in all sorts of colours now so keeping to a colour theme for a party or wedding couldn’t be easier.  I used Wilton’s dark grey, pearl, pink pearl and silver but the world is literally your oyster!
Create and Craft cake decorating workshop

To make the booches

  • Roll out your florists paste (or sugarpaste) to around the thickness of a £1 coin. Brush a little edible glue over a small area. Add one colour pearl to the centre then add an alternative colour balls all around the centre. Press down lightly with your finger so the pearl balls sink in a little.
  • Use a circle cutter to cut out the shape. I made really small ones so I used the end of a piping nozzle to cut out my small brooches. I didn’t have small enough circle cutters as I wanted there to be little or no florists paste showing outside of the pearls. Set these aside to firm up – overnight is best.

Create and Craft cake decorating workshop

To make the roses

  • Roll out your florist’s paste so it’s reasonably thin then cut out large rose shapes. You can pretty much use any flower shape with this design as you are going to layer up so the more the merrier
  • Place the cut out rose shapes into an artist’s palette (reserved just for decorating)
  • Cut out more roses in smaller shapes and different colours. Use a dab of edible glue to stick each rose to the one underneath it. Keep adding till you have enough roses. Create and Craft cake decorating workshop
  • Use edible glue to stick the brooches into the centre. Leave to dry overnight before removing. It’s a good idea to lightly dust the pallette before adding the roses so they don’t get stuck. Also if you have time, remove the roses from the pallette and upturn them onto a piece of florists foam so the underneath can dry fully before you stick them on the cake.
  • To stick the brooch roses onto the cake use a little royal icing and hold them in place for a few seconds if adhering them to the sides of the cake.
  • Position your ribbon on the cake before you stick the roses on as you can overlap the ribbon with the roses (still sticking in place with royal icing).

Create and Craft cake decorating workshop Create and Craft cake decorating workshop

I love making these rosettes ever since I got my hands on these Wilton cutters from Create and Craft. They have two sides – circles and crinkly circles. The crinkles are really small and make pretty designs so these rosettes look super cute.

If truth be told I wanted to make these for the roses for my workshop at the Create and Craft theatre but Tim (my husband) took one look at them and said “I thought you were making roses?” to which I replied “They’re modern roses!” He gave me one of those looks that says “Really Emma?” and so I set about making the brooch roses instead. But never being one to waste an idea I stuck the rosettes on the back of the cake so I could still share the design. Which do you prefer?

To make Rosettes

  • Roll out two or three colours of sugarpaste. I chose three pinks which were close in colour. Try and keep them to similar thicknesses.
  • Cut out an outer crinkly circle then keep cutting smaller ones.
  • Once you have lots of different sizes in different colours mix and match them so they are all flat and neat.
  • Cut out a centre circle and place a brooch the same size as the hole made from pearl balls in the space.
  • Cut out a crinkly circle which is just bigger than the mixed design. Brush it lightly with edible glue. Carefully lift the design with the brooch onto the larger circle and press lightly with the ball of your hand to adhere the two pieces together. Leave to dry.
  • If you want the design to stick to a round cake only leave the design to dry for 20 minutes before adhering it in place on the cake with royal icing. That way you can gently encourage the rosette to bend with the curve of the cake.

Create and Craft cake decorating workshop Create and Craft cake decorating workshop


Garden rose cupcakes

These are one of the most requested roses when it comes to wedding cakes and they are also the most time consuming. If you are planning to make them for a wedding cake start them straight away. As soon as you get the request. Not only do they take an age to make but they will be so much easier to handle once they are completely dry. Even once they are dry they are really frail so always handle them with care.

I love to put these on cupcakes. They make them look really glamourous. Almost too good to eat!

Create and Craft cake decorating workshop


How to make Garden roses

The trick with these roses is to make them a little crinkly. Real roses are never completely smooth so a curve or two will only make them look more real like.

  • Always use Florist’s paste when making these roses. You can roll it out really thin without it tearing – which sugarpaste will definitely do. Florist’s paste will dry out really quickly so always keep any paste not being used wrapped up and in a sealed sandwich bag.
  • Edible glue is used throughout this rose to stick petals on.
  • Make small buds from florists paste and leave to harden for a few hours.
  • Roll out the florists paste so that it’s paper thin and you can almost see the design of your roll out mat through it.Create and Craft cake decorating workshop
  • Cut out one large petal. Stick it to the rose bud so that it covers the entire thing and overlaps at the top. Keep the petal to a point and tuck inone edge of the petal. Leave to dry.
  • Roll out some florists paste and cut out three small petals. Take each petal in turn and any not being used should be stored in a plastic sleeve (the kind you use for paper) so that they don’t dry out.Create and Craft cake decorating workshop
  • Place the petal on the firm foam and use a cell pin (rolling pin with a curved end) to thin it out more. Work in a circluar action thinning out the centre and then concentrating on the edges so they are the thinnest part of the petal. They will start to frill when they are thin enough.Create and Craft cake decorating workshop
  • These first three petals are going to be positioned tight against the bud. Start by adding the first petal. The centre of the petal should line up against the join line of the very first petal on the bud. Stick the petal on firmly and gently pull back the very top of the petal so you can just see the bud. Repeat with the next two petals – again positioning the centre of each on the join of the last petal added.
  • The next layer has five medium petals. Cut out these thin petals and thin them out with the cell pin on the foam as previously done.

  • Create and Craft cake decorating workshop To give the petal shape pinch the bottom of each petal.
  • Take the very top edge of the petal and fold it over a cocktail stick. Slide the cocktail stick out so the fold in the petal stays in place. Be very careful not to break it off. Repeat on both sides near the top. Place the petal to one side to dry for twenty minutes. You can dry petals quicker on a piece of foam.
  • Continue to thin and fold the other petals.Create and Craft cake decorating workshop
  • Once all the petals have been made and are dryer they will hold their shape. Stick them onto the rose bud. Apply glue in a ‘v’ shape at the bottom of the each petal and stick down the right hand side of the first petal. Before you stick the left hand side down position the next petal- overlapping the last. Each petal overlaps the next. The folds you created with the cocktail stick force the petals into place and make the overall rose bigger. Leave to dry over night. The rose will be difficult to handle at this stage if it’s not left to dry. Create and Craft cake decorating workshop
  •  Once dry cut out seven large petals and thin them in the same way. Then pinch at the bottom and fold over the edges with a cocktail stick as with the last layer.
  • Add these rose petals in the same way – overlapping as you go. This is the last layer so let them open the rose up.
  • Once each petal has been stuck on the final layer leave the rose upturned on a piece of foam to dry thoroughly overnight.
  • To stick the finished garden rose on a cupcake turn it over and with a very sharp knife remove the stem at the bottom of the bloom. Keep in mind if you want to travel with these cupcakes they will need to fit in the box with the lid closed so they need to be quite shallow.
  • Pipe a buttercream swirl on each cupcake then position the rose on top. Leave to set for 30 minutes before travelling with them.

Create and Craft cake decorating workshop Create and Craft cake decorating workshop


Wow! That was a long post! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the demonstration. All that’s left to say is thank you to Create and Craft and Prima Magazine for such an exciting opportunity.

EmmaMT x

Summer holiday baking:Jammie Dodgers and Iced ring biscuits with The Great Little Trading Company.

Jammie Dodgers and Iced ring biscuits

Ice rings and Jammie Dodgers

When it comes to baking during the summer holidays I have to say I’m well up for it- sometimes more than my kids are. So, when I was approached by The Great Little Trading Company to do a guest post for their blog I instantly jumped at the chance. Then I realised that I have a pre-teen who likes to stay in her room and watch Netflix or play Minecraft all day long and after having a baking mad mum is kind of a bit over it and a nine year old who has been baking all on her own all summer long – making up her own recipes- some delicious. Some not so much! So, plan B. Borrow someone else’s kid!

Ice rings and Jammie Dodgers

The plan

I was asked to come up with a new recipe to bake with kids in order to keep them entertained during the school holidays. I decided that iced rings were a great idea. Kids love to cut out biscuits and to play around with ‘wet icing’ and I thought I could teach the older ones how to do a more difficult technique. Great for all ages I thought.

What actually happened?

Well, once I had borrowed my friend’s gorgeous four year old daughter Dahlia we got down to it. The GLTC named aprons were put on (they came in cute cotton bags which Dahlia’s dog Rusty was put to bed in- as it made the perfect sleeping bag), hands were washed and we were ready to go.

Ice rings and Jammie DodgersI made the dough ahead to save time and let them cut out the ring biscuits. The thing is, I have a ton of cookie cutters- a whole drawer full in fact, which Darcey decided to open up and share with Dahlia. Cutting out circles and rings is no fun when there are cats and fairies, butterflies, hands and bunnies to be had.  Plan abandoned… kind of.

Ice rings and Jammie Dodgers

I made some ring and circle biscuits and so did Beau. Dahlia and Darcey made everything else they could get their hands on. Beau decided that she wanted to make Jammie Dodgers which was great as this recipe works equally well for dodgers as it does for iced rings.

summer baking 1Too blue

I made up the Royal icing ready for the kids to add their own colours to. I have these new Wilton colours from Lakeland which are brilliant. They come with a colour chart and you add a certain amount of drops of colour to get the specific colour you’re after. A drop is all you need. Each girl was given a bowl of white royal icing to colour and before I could turn around and grab a mini spatula Darcey had squirted a ton of the turquoise into her bowl. “Nooooo!!” was my instant reaction and I was right.Ice rings and Jammie Dodgers recipe For the rest of the day there were blue hands, VERY blue tongues and blue t-shirts. Even once the biscuits were iced and left to harden a day later the blue was still staining tongues when you ate them!Jammie Dodgers and Iced ring biscuits1

I used sandwich bags tied with rubber bands as piping bags. They’re easy to hold and control and cheap as chips. Just snip off the corner and away they went. And they really did love the icing. One squirt for the biscuit. One for the mouth. Dahlia told me that she had to stop the icing dribbling out at the end! She had so much sugar that day I think she could have flown home! (Sorry Fou!)

I decided to still make the pattern on the iced fingers and both Beau and Darcey had a good go at itIced rings biscuits

Click here to print this recipe 

Jammie Dodgers and Iced ring biscuits

Biscuits ingredients

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour
  • 20g cornflour

Royal icing to decorate

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 1 egg white (from a medium egg)
  • food colours

To make the biscuits

  1. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until just combined. I use a stand mixer till it’s all incorporated and then use my hands to really work the butter into the flour. Be careful not to over work the dough as this will give you tough biscuits that spread during baking.
  2. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC) and line baking trays with silicon paper.
  4. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface so it’s around the thickness of a £1 coin. Let the kids have a go and cut out shapes to their hearts content.
  5. Place the biscuits on a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges start to brown.
  6. Leave to cool on a rack for 10-20 minutes while you make the royal icing.

To make the royal icing

  1. Sieve the icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer (you can use a hand held mixer too but it makes a bit of a dust cloud in your kitchen!) Add the egg white and mix by hand until completely blended.
  2. Place the bowl in the mixer and mix for 4-5 minutes. If the icing looks too dry add a little water at a time so it is softer and more fluid.
  3. Place the royal icing in a few bowls then add a drop or two of food colouring to each and mix.
  4. Place the icing into piping bags (or sandwich bags tied with elastic bands) and snip off the tip.
  5. Let the kids have some icing fun. Leave the decorated biscuits to harden for an hour or more before eating or storing.

To make the pattern on the iced rings

Cover the biscuit in white icing. Immediately afterwards pipe horizontal lines across. Using a toothpick drag the lines in one direction at regular intervals. Then repeat in the other direction in between the first lines. Hey presto! Cool iced rings.

Jammie Dodgers and Iced ring biscuits2To make the Jammie Dodgers

Take one circle biscuit and one ring which are the same size. In a heat proof bowl add a tablespoon of jam. We used strawberry but anything goes. Heat the jam in the microwave for 30 seconds. You want it to be warm and runny but not bubbling. Use a silicon pastry brush to brush jam across the circle biscuit then place the ring on top. Leave to cool. Hey presto Jammie dodgers.

Ice rings and Jammie Dodgers

I think a great time was had by all – especially once the biscuits were made and devoured! Ice rings and Jammie DodgersHope you had fun this summer holiday. What have you been baking with the kids? I’d love to know.


Disclaimer: No child was harmed in the eating of too much royal icing in this post! Thanks to The Great Little Trading Company for asking me to write a guest post over on their blog – which you can see here. Thanks also to Theoda for letting Dahlia come and play ‘how much icing can I eat before dinner!” Love you guys. x

Ice rings and Jammie Dodgers recipe


Add a little glitz to your cakes with these stunning cake toppers

Add a little glitz to your cakes with these stunning cake toppers

Talking Tables cake Toppers 2

The moment I saw these cake toppers I knew I had to share them with you. I mean how cool are they? The font, the colours, the style! They’ll look great on any cake and what’s more when you’re in a rush a plain and simple cake can instantly become divine!
Talking Tables cake Toppers 5

I received the Talking Tables newsletter about them just last night when I was actually sitting down to write up a post on Rhubarb jam but I just couldn’t wait to share them.

I’ve been shooting for Talking Tables for a few years now so I’m no stranger to their fantastic and top end products (just head on over to their website  and loads of the shots you’ll see there are styled by me – the silver bath is one of my favourites. Actually this is my all time favorite styled shot which is happens to be a TT shot and is bouncing around Pinterest like mad at the mo) But this is the first time I’ve seen these cake toppers and I know that I’ll be putting an order in soon.

Talking Tables Cake Toppers post

Alice, the product developer has a really good eye for detail. I love it that this range has something for everyone whether you’re getting married, baking something special for your partner or just want to add a bit of ‘Sparkle‘ to your day. Talking Tables cake Toppers 3

You can choose the gold ‘Love’ heart and cover the cake in gold! How amazing does this cake look? I’ve been seeing gold cakes everywhere since I went to The Squires Cake Show back in March. Maybe Silver is catching up with the metallics cake trends too!

Talking Tables Toppers 1The toppers are really easy to insert. I’ve used many of Talking Tables’ other cake toppers on shoots in the past – just check out the ponies! These ones can be wiped clean ready for the next big celebration.

TT LEt's party topper

So which is your favorite? I think mine is the ‘Let’s Party’! It has so many uses.

EmmaMT x

Disclaimer: I did not receive any product for this post and these are not my styled shots or cakes so I can’t take the credit. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Talking Tables didn’t even know I was going to write this post so that will be a nice surprise for them won’t it? 


How to make a quick Ice cream splat cake

How to make a quick Ice cream splat cakeGenoise birthday cake

It’s that time of year again. That time when your daughter who has a summer holiday birthday get’s three birthday celebrations and three cakes! One on the actual day, one with family and one with her friends! I’m shattered just thinking about it now! This has to be the last year we do it like this!

This year I decided to keep it simple whilst trying out a new recipe for the friends party. I’ve heard genoise cake mentioned loads on The Great British Bake off (along with creme pat!) and thought this was the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss was about.

Oh my goodness!

This has to be the lightest, fluffiest, most delicious cake I have ever made. It does take a bit of faffing – what with the heating up of the eggs and all that whisking but it is WELL worth the effort. The cake is so soft it literally crumbles in your hand when you pick it up so be warned – handle with care!

I teamed it with a chocolate ganache buttercream which I made with soya cream leftover from the family party. I have to say that soya cream is doubly creamy! Give it a go. You won’t regret it.

The ice cream splat

Decorating this cake literally took 10 minutes and if I made this kind of design again I would probably make a Madeira cake so I could cover the whole cake with sugar paste and make the dribbling ice cream a bit prettier from sugarpaste too. This cake would never have taken the weight of a sugar paste coating. It would have gone completely splat – more than the ice cream did!

The kids literally went “Wow’ when they saw it and that’s what it’s all about for me. The smiles on their faces – especially Darcey’s who helped me at each step of the way – mini photographer/baker/blogger in the making that one.

Print this recipe 

Chocolate Genoise cake

  • 60g butter
  • 8 medium eggs
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 140g Plain Flour
  • 60g cocoa powder

Chocolate ganache buttercream

  • (this quantity is enough to fill and cover the cake in ganache)
  • 150g unsalted butter- at room temperature
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 50g cream (double or single depending on how thick you want it)
  • 50-100g dark chocolate- broken into small pieces

To bake the cake

  1. Grease and line four 8” cake tins with silicon paper (I use sunflower oil to grease my tins as the edges of the cake stay soft and less crumbly). Preheat your oven to 170ºC (Fan oven150ºC)
  2. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and combine completely. Set yo one side.
  3. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it has melted. Keep stirring it until it becomes a deep brown colour. This adds to the flavour of the butter. Set aside to cool.
  4. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the egg and sugar. Whisk by hand until the mix warms up. You don’t want to cook the mixture – just warm it.
  5. Remove the bowl from the heat. You now need to whisk the egg and sugar mixture till it doubles or triples in size. By warming the eggs you are encouraging the air in them to expand. This will take around five minutes so it’s a good idea to use a stand mixer and let it do it’s stuff.
  6. Once it doesn’t look like it can expand anymore drizzle the melted butter into the bowl while the whisk is still going.
  7. Sieve the flour and cocoa onto the mixture – don’t be tempted to just tip all the dry ingredients in over the egg mix as it will be heavy and will burst all the air bubbles you’ve just created. Without the air bubbles the cake will be heavy. The air bubbles in the egg are the cake’s raising agent. Slowly and carefully fold the flour and cocoa powder into the mix till just combined. It’s important not to over mix.
  8. Spoon the cake mix evenly into the cake tins and smooth with the back of a spoon. I made one cake tin a smaller amount than the others as it was going to be made into a giant cake pop.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sides come away from the tin. The cake will instantly bounce back when pressed lightly in the centre with a finger.
  10. This cake is very delicate so leave it to cool completely in the tin before turning out.

To make the chocolate ganache buttercream

  1. Place the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and mix until light and fluffy.
  2. Place the cream in a saucepan and heat until just starting to bubble then remove from the heat.
  3. Immediately place the chocolate pieces into the cream and stir until completely melted. Set aside to cool.
  4. Once the chocolate has cooled add it to the buttercream and whisk.
  5. Try not to eat it on a spoon from the bowl!

Darcey's Ice cream splat birthday cake

How to make the Ice cream cake

  1. Layer up three layers of cake with chocolate ganache.
  2. Take the small layer of cake and crumble it into a bowl . Add a small dollop of ganache and mix it up until it forms a ball. Roll it up in your hands and pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden.
  3. Make up some royal icing in your choice of colour and put it in a piping bag. Use a little royal icing to position the cake pop on the top centralarea of the cake.
  4. Pipe the icing over the top of the cake pop and let it dribble down over the cake.

Darcey birthday cake

5. Don’t go too mad as the icing will keep dripping once you stop. I let it just reach the sides of the cake.

6. Place a trimmed wooden skewer into the cake pop at an angle. Push it in far enough that the ice cream cone will sit at an angle and won’t slip down.

7. Place the cone over the stick and press into the cake pop. Leave to set.

Happy 9th Birthday Darcey Doodles. We love you so

Mamma x

Darcey's Ice cream splat birthday cake

How to make easy butterfly cookies that look fantastic!

Easy butterfly cookies How to make butterfly biscuits

I made these butterfly cookies for a local charity event a few months ago. As a volunteer at Free Cakes For Kids we’re always being asked to support local charities and this time it was for The Maypole project. Oh I do love a charity bake, don’t you?

I’ve baked a few cakes in the past for The Maypole project charity but this time it was for a summer fete where they were going to be selling bakes to raise funds. I thought 20 odd cookies would make some money so I set about making the biscuits a few days before.

I’d been looking for an opportunity to make butterfly cookies on lollipop sticks for ages. They always looked a bit daunting so I set about decorating them slowly. I painted one stage at a time on all the biscuits so they had time to dry in-between layers and I was really happy with the end result. They looked pretty good on their own but it was when I put them all together that they looked really great.

Displaying the cookies

I used a fake cake made from polystyrene to hold all the biscuits. First I pushed a spare lollipop stick all over the base so the actual biscuits would go in -facing the front, with little need for pushing.

Once they were all in place I wrapped a thick piece of ribbon around the fake cake and wrapped the lot in cellophane. I then insisted on Tim driving us to the fete so I could hold them on my lap for the journey. I didn’t trust them to stay upright anywhere else for the journey.

I dropped them off at The Maypole Project table then we had a look around the rest of the fete. It’s hard not to resist going back and having a peek to see if your baked goods are selling throughout the afternoon. I only looked twice and they seemed to go down pretty well.

So now it’s your turn. They’re easy to do. Why don’t you have a go?

Easy butterfly cookies                                                                          

  (Print this recipe) 

(Makes around 20 biscuits)

  • 200g unsalted butter- at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 egg (medium) – at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • White sugar paste
  • food gel colours

To make the cookies

  1. Place the butter in a bowl. Add the sugar, flour, egg and vanilla essence.
  2. Mix all the ingredients by hand. I always mix biscuits by hand as the warmth from your hands means that it’s all being blended really well and for some reason they taste much better than when mixed with a machine. You can always start the mixing with a wooden spoon if you don’t like gloopy hands.
  3. Be careful not to over mix biscuit dough. It will not only become tough, but the biscuits will spread more when baked and we want them to keep their shape perfectly.
  4. Once it is nearly all blended I turn the dough out onto the worktop and knead it till it all holds together nicely.
  5. Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This allows the gluten in the flour to do it’s stuff. Without chilling the cookie shapes will definitely contort when baked.
  6. Remove from the fridge and knead a little on a lightly floured surface. Roll out using spacing sticks to ensure that your biscuits are all the same thickness.
  7. Cut out the cookies then remove the excess first. This way you can pick up the biscuit without denting it.
  8. Place a lolipop stick in each cookie making sure you don’t poke it through the front. It’s okay if it pokes through the back as the baking will keep it in place.
  9. Place on a baking tray lined with silicon paper and pop them back in the fridge for another 30 minutes. This ensures the cookies bake slowly and don’t spread. It’s the easiest way to make sure each design is exactly the same.
  10. Pre-heat your oven to 160°C then bake for 12 minutes or until the biscuits start to brown on the edges
  11. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Avoid handling the cookies till they are cool. If you pick up a hot cookie by the lollipop stick it’s likely to fall out!

To decorate the cookiesbutterfly cookie decorating steps

  1. Roll out the white sugar paste so it is nice and thin then use the same butterfly cutter to cut the shape. Carefully pick up the sugar paste butterfly and dampen it on the reverse then ‘stick’ it down onto the butterfly cookie. Smooth it onto the cookie with the palm of your hand. Smooth the edges so they don’t stick out – or the sugar paste will snap off.
  2. Use a little yellow food gel colour – watered down with clear alcohol, to paint the edges of the wings
  3. Continue till half the wings are painted
  4. Use a dark brown or black colour to paint the centre of the butterfly
  5. Use jagged brush strokes for the tips of the wings
  6. Paint a thin line around the rest of the wings
  7. Paint across the lower wings and give the tips some detail
  8. Draw veins across the top wings
  9. and the bottom
  10. Make shiny white paint with a white lustre powder and some clear alcohol and paint tiny dots all around the outside edge of the wings on the black area.
  11. Leave to dry overnight.How to make butterfly cookies


EmmaMT x

Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy : Book review and giveaway

Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy

Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy

I love doing book reviews – well, actually I love reading new cakey books and getting inspired and being desperate to share what I’ve found with you guys, but when it comes to the actual writing of these posts I always find myself waffling on and on and making them way too long. And that was the case with Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy, by David and Charles. There was just so much to share.

Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy I’ve Interviewed and reviewed a Lindy Smith book in the past and there’s one thing you should know about her. She works REALLY hard and is really creative. She has a new book coming out in what feels like every five minutes and they are all so different and totally inspirational. How does she do it?

 Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy

The latest book is just the same. Jam packed with clever hints and tips on how to get different effects, some of them basic for the beginner and some of them more challenging but all inspirational. Sometimes you just need to be shown a new tool or colour combination to give you a whole new idea for a cake. One piece of inspiration and the book’s a winner – don’t you think?

What I love about this book are the simple ideas executed to perfection. Whether it’s the stunning colour combinations of the Rosette cake or the cute washboard sides on the beach hut cakes. The way some simple plunger cutters have been used to make an elegant Christmas tree cake look fabulous or the clever use of a flower and some piping to make the cutest diddy wedding cake. Also, there’s buttons. I love a sugarpaste button on a cake!

Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy Why I think Lindy’s books are so great is that no matter what level you’re at there are plenty of photos to describe the techniques so you can understand the way to make every element of decorating. Some books only have one step shot and explain the rest with words and you just can’t get a handle on what they’re on about. Here Lindy explains everything in clear detail and shows you too. You can’t go wrong.Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy

What else is in the book?

As well as seeing where the inspiration for each cake comes from there are templates and recipes (for the main size cake tins when making small cakes) and the sticky toffee cake sounds really deelish. There’s even a vegan chocolate cake in there. There are recipes to make your own sugarpaste, pastillage, flowerpaste and of course buttercreams and ganaches.

If you aren’t sure where to start when covering a fiddly mini cake there are steps to show you how with buttercream, marzipan and sugarpaste.Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy

Whether you want to paint your cake design, create beautiful flowers, go for modern or vintage there’s something for everyone. With 30 fabulous designs you’ll be spoilt for choice.

And what’s more you can win a copy right here on I bet you want to don’t you?

The Mini Cakes Academy Giveaway

The lovely Lindy herself emailed me offering this book giveaway to you lovely people. How honoured and excited am I by that! All you have to do is leave a comment below answering the question AND enter via the rafflecopter site (just click below to be taken straight through to the competition) A winner will be randomly selected on 12th August.

” What cake decorating question would you ask Lindy” leave a comment below and enter the rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


Disclaimer: The book in this post was sent to me by Lindy Smith and David and Charles publishers  (Thanks you guys- it’s fantastic).  All thoughts and opinions and entirely my own. Giveaway Terms & Conditions

This giveaway will close at 12:00am on 12th August 2015. Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by Lindy Smith. I am hosting it on behalf of Lindy Smith. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prize out or providing it. Lindy Smith or her representative will send out the prize, the winner must provide their name, address once contacted. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified within 3 days of the closing date. The prize is one copy of the ‘Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy’ book, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open only to residents in mainland UK (excluding Northern Ireland and Scottish Highlands and Islands) and entrants must be over 18.

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