Winnie the Pooh themed christening cake

For my niece’s christening I wanted to make a special cake going with the theme that decorates her nursery – Winnie the Pooh.  Her very talented mum painted the fantastic characters onto her wall and they look amazing,

We needed lots of cake to feed everyone who was coming to the day so I choose to make a four tiered cake.  Each tier was covered in white fondant with some decoration and ribbon added.  I then placed the characters I had made a few days earlier on to the cake.  The characters were made from fondant mixed with some tylo powder to strengthen it up.  I cut round templates to create the shape of each character then painted the colour and design onto the pieces of fondant cut out.  The painting was done using paste colours mixed with some rejunvinating fluid and a paint brush.

The cake was made up of a lemon cake, two chocolate cakes and a vanilla cake.  I used a photo frame we had been given at Dave and Fin’s wedding which they used for the name cards, to top the cake.  I even went to our friend Jo to ask her to write out the photo frame as she did all the writing for the wedding and I wanted it to match.

I had a lot of fun making this cake and we had an amazing day.

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Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the pooh
Winnie the pooh
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh

 

To go with this cake I also made a photo frame and card to match and a helium foil balloon.

winnie the pooh frame handmade card winnie the pooh

Winnie the pooh and friends foil hellium balloon

Hours Of Fun Craft Countdown To Christmas. Make your own Shortbread – 5 Days To Go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………A basket of homemade Shortbread!

Make your own Shortbread

My husband has recently discovered he can make amazing shortbread – another reason he makes a fab husband!!  He has been mastering the technique and can now produce a batch of evenly baked, delicious in taste, Shortbread rounds.

You can make Shortbread without rice flour, however we have found that a recipe with rice flour listed makes an improved shortbread.

Ingredients – make approx 15

150g unsalted butter cut into small pieces

100g caster sugar

180g plain flour

55g rice flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

How to make the Shortbread

oven temperature – 170 degrees C

  1. Grease two baking sheets
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until combined
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the mixture
  4. Mix well with a spoon
  5. Using your hands bring the mixture together to form a dough
  6. Roll out the dough between two sheets of grease proof paper until approx. 7mm 

The grease proof paper helps it roll without sticking, Kev then uses a smoothing tool to finish it off.

  1. Using your round cutter, cut out circles.  Decorate them using smaller cutters, cocktail stick anything you have to hand and get creative!  Then place them on the greased tins approx. 2cm apart
  2. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes
  3. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the tray then cover them in caster sugar
  4. Eat them!

Christmas baking makes fantastic gifts for people.  We are putting together bags of goodies for people this year, last year we did Christmas cakes and mince pies.  It makes a fab little extra gift for people, it helps to keep the costs down and most importantly it is handmade with love by us for all our friends and family and nothing can beat that 🙂

Back to Mince pies for an update!

2 days ago we explored making your own mince pies and mincemeat.  Since then we have made more mince pies using different techniques and I wanted to share them with you.  Apologies it is not shortbread but its more Christmas baking to get you inspired!

Hours Of Fun Craft Countdown To Christmas – Mince pies. 8 Days To Go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………Some scrummy home made mince pies!

Make your own Mincemeat and Mince Pies

Last Christmas we decided it was time to make our own mincemeat.  We love making mince pies and Kev now makes the pastry so it seemed only right that we should make the mincemeat.  It was set as a January task.  Late on in November I decided I should really start buying the odd jar or two ready for Christmas baking, only to get home and remember about the jars we had put away 10 months ago!  I love it when that happen.

I used Delia’s recipe for mincemeat, click here to visit her site for the recipe.

You can have a lot of fun making mince pies as they are simple and if you don’t want to make it all at home you can buy ready to roll shortcrust pastry usually found in the freezer or fridge sections and jars of mincemeat ready to use.    You can make them different sizes by using different muffin tins and decorate them in all different ways.  You can do lids in the shape of a star or other shapes so you can see some of the mincemeat through the gaps or do full lids and decorate them with shapes using small Christmas cutters.

To make mince pies, roll out your pastry to a thickness of 3mm.   Grease your tin.  Using cutters to match the size of your tin cut out circles and place them as the pie bases. Cut out your lids – match your cutter to the size you are making.  Spoon mincemeat on top of each pie base, brush the edge of the pastry with a little milk/egg mixture and place your lids over the top, sealing them around the edges using your finger.

Bake them in an oven for 15-20 minutes, keeping a close eye on them to ensure they don’t brown too much.  Let them cool then sprinkle with icing sugar and eat!

Hours Of Fun Craft Countdown To Christmas – Mince pies. 8 Days To Go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………Some scrummy home made mince pies!

Make your own Mincemeat and Mince Pies

Last Christmas we decided it was time to make our own mincemeat.  We love making mince pies and Kev now makes the pastry so it seemed only right that we should make the mincemeat.  It was set as a January task.  Late on in November I decided I should really start buying the odd jar or two ready for Christmas baking, only to get home and remember about the jars we had put away 10 months ago!  I love it when that happen.

I used Delia’s recipe for mincemeat, click here to visit her site for the recipe.

You can have a lot of fun making mince pies as they are simple and if you don’t want to make it all at home you can buy ready to roll shortcrust pastry usually found in the freezer or fridge sections and jars of mincemeat ready to use.    You can make them different sizes by using different muffin tins and decorate them in all different ways.  You can do lids in the shape of a star or other shapes so you can see some of the mincemeat through the gaps or do full lids and decorate them with shapes using small Christmas cutters.

To make mince pies, roll out your pastry to a thickness of 3mm.   Grease your tin.  Using cutters to match the size of your tin cut out circles and place them as the pie bases. Cut out your lids – match your cutter to the size you are making.  Spoon mincemeat on top of each pie base, brush the edge of the pastry with a little milk/egg mixture and place your lids over the top, sealing them around the edges using your finger.

Bake them in an oven for 15-20 minutes, keeping a close eye on them to ensure they don’t brown too much.  Let them cool then sprinkle with icing sugar and eat!

Hours of Fun Craft Countdown to Christmas – Christmas cakes. 11 days to go!!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting yesterday with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me………A homemade yummy Christmas cake!

Bake and decorate your own Christmas cake

For as long as I can remember we have had a homemade Christmas cake and it’s always delicious.  I have a few different recipes for fruit cake I like to use.  Delia’s classic Christmas cake is a good one and Beginner’s guide to cake decorating which includes a light and dark fruit cake recipe of which both are delicious.

A fruit cake does require some preparation time and ideally should be made a couple of months before Christmas to allow you to feed it every week or so with more brandy.  Don’t forget to weigh out your fruit the night before baking your cake and leave it to soak in brandy overnight.  Ensure you will not need your oven for anything else when it is time to bake the cake as it can take a very long time.  I often find it takes at least one hour longer than the recipe states however everyone’s oven is different so make sure you check it as it nears the end time given.  Stick a skewer in and if it comes out with bits of cake on then it’s not ready.

Then you get to the decorating part which is a lot of fun.  If you want a marzipan layer this goes on first.  You can then go for something simple by covering the cake with ready to roll fondant to give a smooth finish or you can make royal icing and cover the cake giving a rough  snow scene finish.

Ideas for decorating the cake  include a Christmas message written across the cake, modeled figures made from fondant and rolled fondant cut into shapes.  You can also buy lots of fantastic decorations at your local supermarket or cake supply shop, plastic and edible.

Making a Christmas cake is a lot of fun and very rewarding as you get to eat it too!  You can get the children involved, have a night with some friends making models for the cake and try out different types of fruit cake as there are a lot!  You could try Jamaica cake made with rum or Stollen which is a traditional German fruit cake.

 

With fruit cake back on the menu there is no stopping me!!

I have recently had to bake a fruit cake, which was the first since my disaster before christmas with every cake going wrong.  Luckily it all went well and now I am expanding the menu to include Jamaica Fruit cake.  I have a wedding cake due at the end of July that includes a tier of Jamaica Fruit cake, so I had a new recipe to try out.

The ingredients are mostly the same as the fruit cakes I have been making.  The main difference is to use Rum and Red Wine to soak the fruit in, rather than Brandy.  Prunes are also included in the recipe and switch lemon for lime flavouring.    The recipe I used was for 2 shallow 9″ round cake tins, however I wanted to do bake a 6″ round so I adjusted the measurements and left the fruit to soak.

When I first checked on the cake in the oven it was bubbling away, showing it was extremely moist.  My first thought was – was it going to be too moist?  However, when we let it cool and cut in to it to try it, it was delicious yeay!  It was lovely and moist and definitely all cooked through.

I took some into work and got people to try it and provide feedback.  The guys at work are fab for providing honest feedback and love taste testing cakes – surprisingly!  Everyone reported back they liked it, with one comment suggesting the rum could be stronger to taste.  With this cake I only soaked the fruit for 24 hours before baking, and cut into the cake without feeding it more rum.  With the wedding cake I will aim to soak the fruit for at least 4 days and feed it once a week to help it mature nicely for the big day.

 

Yeay back on the fruit cake. It was scary returning after the dissater stricken christmas cakes!

I have the honour of making one of my best friend’s brother’s wedding cake in June.  The cake includes a fruit layer which made me realise – I had not made a fruit cake since I had a run of fruit cake failures in the build up to Christmas.

I needed to get “back on the horse” and decided to make the fruit cake in advance, to allow it time to mature with brandy and ease up the cake baking during the days leading up to the big day.  It didn’t start the best when I realised I had measured the wrong amount of mixture out for the tin I was using.  This however was recoverable as it was too much mixture, so I was given the opportunity to try my new 4″ round tin still awaiting its first cake.

My husband is a big fan of fruit cake, marzipan and icing with extra cherries in.   After pouring in the mixture in the 6″ tin, I then added more cherries and poured the remaining mixture into the mini tin – 2 fruits cakes, perfect.  We could now taste test the cake to make sure it has cooked through and is delicious.

I decorated it in hearts for Kev, after putting on a layer of marzipan and then icing.  I also used my star crimper to emboss hearts onto the cake.  The fruit cake was a success yeay!

A little thank you gift to Kev for being super cake assistant  xx

Homemade Mincemeat for next Christmas – I am loving the organisation!

I decided I had to make mincemeat now whilst Christmas spirit was still about the house.  It may be too late for Christmas 2011 but it will be perfect for Next Christmas and very organised to have made it in January – this rarely happens!!  Mincemeat is part of my January Christmas ‘to do’ list due there not being enough hours in the day leading up to Christmas to do everything I want to do!

The photos below show it at its various stages.  I used a recipe from Delia and it was simple to follow and looks fantastic.  I just need to decorate the jars now.

Christmas Cake Take 2

The icing on our Christmas cake had gone rock hard.  The excitement of thinking  ‘ooh I’ll have a piece of cake’ is quickly squashed when realising it was time to cut a new slice.  This had become an unpleasant task as the icing would just crack and shatter, sometimes crumbling off and other times taking an ice burg size piece off.

After a few times of going through this emotion I decided enough was enough and took the icing off and re-iced it.  I had previously used royal icing, as I had always thought this was the way, but it’s not!

The second attempt was done using glace icing, which is softer and does not set as hard as royal icing does.  It is a million times better and I have learnt the lesson after making it at least 4 years on the trot!

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The pile of icing and marzipan taken from christmas cake take 1!

Christmas Cake Take 1 blog click here to see the first cake.  The finish of the icing looks much better, the second cake got off to a bad start as I started with glace icing being too thick so some of the cake had 2 coats!

The christmas cake!

As part of our christmas tradition we have a christmas day part 1 some time in the week leading up to Christmas.  This started because we always spend christmas with family away from home, this way we get to enjoy a christmas dinner at home and eat more!!

This tends to also be the day the christmas cake gets finished as i am always last-minute!

Kev got involved in making the decoration and made the snowman.  12″ of christmas cake yum!