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Showing posts with label cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cake. Show all posts

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Our Wedding on Far From the Wedding Crowd!

Hi all! Just a quick post to let you know that our wedding has been featured over at Far From the Wedding Crowd! We're super excited about it because that's a top notch, high quality wedding blog... What an honour! Also, now that it's been featured, I can write some blog posts over here about some of the details and DIY aspects.
sparklers and fireworks wedding photography
Credit for this amazing photo (and indeed ALL our beautiful wedding photos) goes to the incredibly talented and dedicated one-woman photography powerhouse that is Liz Wan.
So, hello new readers, who may have come here from the land of weddings! I hope you stick around! We've got a cute cat, and now an axolotl... And cake! Plenty of cake!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Blackbird Tea Rooms - A Slice of Brighton's Past!

I've been in Brighton for a couple of days on tour with the Gorilla Perfume bus. Stay tuned for a post about what we've been up to, and how beautiful all of the new fragrances smell. Until then, I've got INCREDIBLE NEWS about a new tea room in Brighton.
blackbird tea room
In case you hadn't already noticed, my life is spent in constant pursuit of whimsy. When it comes to anything twee, I am basically sold. That said, I like to think I can be at least a little bit discerning with these things. Perhaps I am a connoisseur of whimsy. I like that title - let's stick with that.
My stepdad, Andrew, had been recommending me Blackbird for a while, and yesterday seemed to be the perfect time for a vintage pick-me-up. Blackbird is situated on Ship Street, nestled among several other lovely cafes and eateries. There's Marwood which caters to the slightly scruffy, absurdist, coffee aficionado, Cafe Coho which is much more slick and trendy-looking, as well as Bagelman (my all-time favourite Bagel shop on the planet). I love all of these places, and I really hope that they ALL manage to survive in a competitive area!

vintage photo collection
vintage tea collection
The interior of Blackbird manages to address my craving for all things vintage, whimsical, and ever-so-twee, whilst still seeming somehow 'fresh'. It's very easy for a vintage-style tea room to become cloying or sickeningly twee, or aggressively vintage. Blackbird avoids this completely, pairing the vintage collections of photos, postcards and tea paraphernalia with white walls and mirrors, giving the place a light and airy atmosphere.
vintage china vintage postcard collection

Andrew and I chose to sit by the window which gave us a good view of the Fabrica gallery as well as some of the cafes I mentioned above. All of the china is vintage, and matches in a delicately mismatched sort of way. I really like mismatched crockery. In fact, I'm a big fan of mismatched EVERYTHING!!
The menu offered a suitably vintage array of cakes, teas, and savoury snacks. The couple at the table next to us ordered some gorgeous little sandwiches which came cut into triangles and carefully arranged on plates. I was very tempted but it seemed like a tea-and-cake sort of an afternoon. We ordered a pot of Earl Grey for two.

Vintage Earl Grey

Andrew had a slice of the Blackbird cake, the cafe's signature cake which was essentially a Victoria Sponge with blackberry jam instead of strawberry jam. I tried a bit and I've concluded that I prefer this sort of Victoria Sponge to the original type. I ordered a coffee and walnut cake, which was fluffy and perfectly sweet. Both cakes came with mixed berries scattered around the plate. We all know how much I love cake, and this cake was mindblowing.

Ship Street Brighton coffee and walnut

Yes I know, this is two photos of the same cake from different angles. Rather gratuitous, I know, but it was a glorious cake and as such it was necessary to capture its wonderment! In the background of the photo on the right, you can see the Blackbird cake that Andrew ordered.

blackbird brighton blackbird cake

As we paid, the beautiful woman at the till asked me if I was based in Brighton as they are starting up a craft evening. I was heartbroken to have to tell them I lived in London now. Can I justify moving back to Brighton so I can drink tea, eat cake, and do some knitting with these lovely ladies? You should check out their website and facebook page for more photos and information - this may well be my favourite vintage tearoom in the country and I've been to a fair few! I will definitely be visiting again when I'm next in Brighton, and so should you - especially if you love all things vintage, waitresses with victory rolls, incredible cake, and a well-decorated toilet! (Yes, even the toilet is perfect!) I'm in love!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Learn to make: RAINBOW CAKE!

Chums! The time has finally come for the much-anticipated Rainbow Cake tutorial! This is how to make Rainbow Cake in the UK!

This is not a cake for the fainthearted! It contains a LOT of sugar, and a LOT of artificial colouring. It's the sort of thing I almost certainly wouldn't have been allowed to eat as a child - but now that I'm a grownup I can go absolutely WILD and bake whatever I want. Stickin' it to the maaaan.

Rainbow Cake

I made this cake for my beautiful friend Tara (who does beautiful art which you can see here) because it was her birthday. Roughly speaking, I followed the Martha Stewart recipe (which she got from somewhere else, but that's the internet, guys!), but I'll take you through what I did!

Rainbow Cake Ingredients Food Colouring

So let's start with ingredients! Obviously, Martha Stewart's recipe is American, so I had to substitute with ingredients I could find in England! I also converted all of the American measurements (cups, etc) into Metric measurements, using the wonders of Google.
Here's what I used:
* 360g (but let's be realistic, more like 400g) of Plain Flour.
* 4 teaspoons of baking powder.
* Half a teaspoon of salt.
* 250g of unsalted butter.
* 400g of white caster sugar. (1. That's an unHOLY amount of sugar, even once I reduced the amount. 2. I usually use golden caster sugar but you want the mixture for this cake to be as white as possible so that the rainbow colours shine through better, so I'd recommend white caster sugar here!)
* 5 egg whites.
* 350ml of milky milk. Skimmed or semi-skimmed is best.
* 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Not the lovely natural stuff with a syrupy texture and brownish colour. Remember, this cake is in no way natural!

Last but not least, the food colourings. These were a bit of a mission for me! I live in London, but there still appear to be less than a handful of shops that sell proper gel food colouring. I've made rainbow cakes before that have come out lacklustre and dull, despite the fact that I'd added the best part of a whole bottle of liquid food colouring! Our traditional English food colourings, whilst lovely and nostalgic in their little bottles, do not produce the bright colours you can get from American gel colours. I've tried the 'Silver Spoon' gel colours too, and they don't even come close to these 'Sugar Flair' wonders. Now, you can get them on the internet, but I made a trek to Chelsea, to visit the Jane Asher Sugarcraft shop. It's well worth a visit, if you are in the area and love cakey fun.

For the icing, you'll need:

* 500g of butter.
* 1kg of icing sugar.
* Sugar Flair 'super white'

Let's make this bloody cake then.

cake mix
cakey

Oh, I ought to mention at this point, that if you have a hand whisk, your life will be a million times easier when making this cake! Unfortunately, I do not have such luxurious items, so I did it the old fashioned way - with a wooden spoon! So, make sure your butter is lovely and soft, and mix it all up with your sugar, until it looks like a big yellowy play-dough ball!

eggwhite
cake batter

Your next move, is to separate the whites and the yolks of your five eggs. We only need the whites, because we want the cake mix to be as white as possible. Then, mix it up with your buttery, sugary joy - until it is gooey and combined!

vanilla

Then add the vanilla extract. Daintily.

Photobucket

Set aside your goo, and focus on the powdery ingredients for a moment. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. There you go.

Photobucket

This next bit is a little more tricky. Sift a bit of your flour mixture into your goo. Mix it up. Next, pour some of your carefully measured milk in. Mix it up. Then go back and put more of your flour mixture in. Keep alternating milk and flour until everything is smooth. Once that's done, divide your mixture into SIX BOWLS. As equally as you possibly can. Round about now, turn your oven on to preheat. (180 degrees celcius, gas mark 4, 350 degrees fahrenheit)

purple cake blue cake
yellow cake red velvet cake

Once you've divided it up into the different bowls, you can get to the super fun bit of mixing in your colouring! Start off with a tiny, tiny bit, and mix it like hell, until your mixture is pretty! Then add more! Keep going until it's really bright. Here are just four of the six colours I made. It had started to get dark outside by this point, so the colour doesn't look as amazing as it would have in daylight. Ah well.
Grease your tins with butter. You may have to improvise, and do it one layer at a time like I did, as I only have one round cake tin. It just means you will be baking for a long time. Fortunately, because each layer is very thin, they do bake quickly! They will take roughly 15 minutes, but I always check by sticking a skewer in and seeing if it comes out 'clean'. I recommend a cake tin with a bottom that pushes out, as it makes cake removal so much easier!

Photobucket

Whilst your cakes are baking, get started on the icing. This is going to involve creaming together roughly 500g of butter with a kilogram of icing sugar, give or take. You will need a LOT of icing. I weighed the cake when I'd finished, and it was about 3kg in total. Butter icing is naturally an appetising yellowish colour, but as I said before, natural is not what we want in this cake! I added Sugar Flair's "Super White" powder, which does magically make icing so much whiter! It's really cool. The key with buttercream icing is to play it by ear and keep adding icing and/or butter until it is the right consistency for you. I ended up making more as I didn't have enough to cover the whole cake. Take your cakes out of the oven, and LET THEM COOL! Never put buttercream icing on a warm cake, or everything will be ruined forever.
When they are cool, start to stack them. Start with the purple one on the bottom, followed by a layer of icing. Follow it with the blue layer, and then more icing. Each layer of icing should be lovely and thick. Keep sandwiching the cakes together in rainbow order, finishing with the red one. When you've got your amazing cake tower, cover the top and the sides in the remaining buttercream icing. Then, remove several shelves from your fridge so that you can store the monstrosity overnight.

rainbow cake
rainbow cake rainbow cake
Piece of cake

So there you have it. A mammoth post about rainbow cake! It was a slog to make, and I'd really recommend doing it with a friend, because it would be good fun and also cut down the making time a lot! Baking with friends is the best kind of baking. Give it a go. If you've got any problems or something isn't clear, leave me a comment and I'll try to help you as best I can. Happy Baking, chums! If you've managed to survive that mammoth baking session, why not have a go at these CAKE POPS I made last April!?

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Update for you!

I've managed to collect an absolute tonne of photographs and things to write about, to the extent that it has all become rather overwhelming! I have a fair amount of inane news to share, so buckle up, and let's take a trip into Candy's exciting life!
Dan and I went back to Cambridge to his old college, for a May Ball. It was really nice to relive a slice of the old student life; quite possibly the best slice, if we're going to be honest! I wore a dress that I bought from Camden market, although I've seen similar dresses all over the place in cheap market-stall shops. My necklace is a family heirloom of sorts although I don't think it goes back particularly far. The matching earrings don't actually match the necklace at all; I bought them for my Dad's wedding back in 2007.

The dress was floor length but there aren't really any satisfactory pictures of my entire length! It sort of looks like I am indicating my ovaries in this photo!
I made this rainbow cake for my lovely friend Tara, and I also took lots of photos during the making process, so at some point, you can expect a tutorial of sorts! It weighed over 3kgs and I brought it all the way from London to Brighton in once piece (oh ho ho, cake humour).
Here's a sneaky peaky at our wedding venue! We've set a date, and so very soon I shall begin the flurry of sending save-the-date cards! Obviously, I am very excited, but there's still a ton to do!
On the day we visited our wedding venue, we also took a brief detour to Brighton where Dan and I both got new ear piercings at Punktured (my favourite piercing place, and the only one I will ever recommend to anyone! I've had four very joyful piercing experiences there!), and then had incredible cake at Marwood which has fast become one of my favourite coffee shops in Brighton, which is saying something!
Wonderful Tilly and I made some super saucy cherry pie for our Twin Peaks marathon, which was enjoyed by all. I am probably already ready for another Twin Peaks marathon... Let's not lie, I'm ALWAYS ready for a Twin Peaks marathon! Here's our pie in EXTREME CLOSEUP.

I also attended two weddings and celebrated a couple of birthdays. Tomorrow I am off down to Brighton for my gorgeous friend Eleanor's birthday, at which I shall dress up as Suzy Butler from Moonrise Kingdom, and then on Tuesday we are off to Paris for a little jaunt! I can't wait to discover some vintage shops and patisseries in Paris, as well as visiting some perfume houses. Eleanor is 'becoming a woman' and thus must choose her signature scent whilst we are away!

Toodle pip pip pop poop. x

Saturday, 21 April 2012

CAKE POPS: Cake on a stick!

Having seen tutorials for 'Cakepops' on blogs such as A Beautiful Mess I decided to make my own version. Dan had never heard of such a delight, and was so excited that he began to plan them meticulously for days. We would have pink ones and brown ones, and sprinkles, and crushed almonds, and they would be marvellous.

In the end, we didn't get around to doing the ones with crushed almonds, but have a look at what we did manage! Dark chocolate with star sprinkles, and pink chocolate with 'freckles'.


We used a Betty Crocker chocolate cake mixture, and the chocolate icing to go with it. You bake the cake according to the packet instructions, and then once it has cooled, you mash it up with a load of icing until it is a thick brown paste. Then you shape it into little round balls, and leave them in the freezer for half an hour to set. Whilst they are setting, you melt up a load of chocolate, and add some food colouring if you fancy it. The rest is fairly self explanatory, and involves a lot of dipping, spooning, and sticking sticks into things! We had to use cut up barbecue skewers because we couldn't find any better sticks. I would recommend ebay or a craft shop if you want proper sticks!
They need to be put into the fridge to set nice and hard - they are much nicer cold than warm, unlike proper cake!


Cakepop boobs. That one wasn't meant to look as erotic as it undoubtedly ended up...

Outfit-wise, the weather has been so weird recently that getting dressed has been pretty strange. I want to start with the summery outfits, like everyone else in the blogosphere, but I still feel quite wintery inside, which isn't helped by the utterly indecisive weather! One minute, it's thundering, the next, the sun is burningly shiny! In the end, I settled for this black shift-dress with a lace collar and cuffs. It is a bit see-through so I am wearing a plain black t-shirt dress underneath. I paired it with grey tights for some contrast, and cracked out my beautiful old Dr Marten Mary Janes for the occasion!

Oh, and we made a video of us making the cakepops, so have a look at that, by clicking HERE

Dress: YesStyle.com
Underdress: H&M
Grey Tights: H&M
Dr Marten Mary Janes: Office (I think).

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

EXAMS!

Oh My Gosh.

At the moment, I am definitely the most stressed I have been in a long time. I haven't sent any posts for a while, because I have been so busy with my school work and things like that.

I did find time to go on a music camp though. I know, I know... band camp, and all of that... but it was actually really fun. What is odd about it though is that it is surrounded by this kind of enigma. I can't quite put my finger on it, but all of the people who run it seem to be interlinked in ways I don't understand. It is held in the grounds of this farmhouse owned by some people who just... invite a bunch of people to stay there and make music in their barn. It all sounds rather suspect to me, but it is an opportunity to eat cake twice a day and play my oboe for seven hours at at time, so I'm not complaining.

We played Elgar's Cockaigne Overture, and Sibelius;' Symphony 1. They are both wonderful pieces of music. I love Elgar with a PASSION, and the Sibelius can obly really be described as sublime.

Here are some pictures from Camp:
The top picture is of me and my friend Claire. Underneath that is a picture of the oboe section! hurrah! And the one jsut above here ^ is of the whole orchestra!!

I found an amazing person today, on Flickr. Yes, I have a flickr account too... This person's username thing is PaperNest, and I really recommend you check her stuff out. She takes lovely pictures of pretty things, and it doesn't feel pretentious at all, like some photography does.

I was going to be all clever and do linkage so you could look at her stuff, but my computer is being weird. maybe next time.