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Be a Baking Hero – Hold a Butterfly Tea Party or Colossal Cake Sale this week!

April 28, 2013

Do you love to bake? Would you like to help raise funds for two amazing charities in this coming week?  Then read on…

Childrens Hospice Week

This coming week 29th April – 3rd May 2013 is Children’s Hospice Week.   In common with most charities, Together for Short Lives (the charity behind Children’s Hospice Week) relies heavily on the fundraising activities and donations received from the public to supplement its other income streams, and continue the life-changing  work undertaken by its staff and volunteers in supporting children and their families.

I think we’d all agree that helping children with life limiting or life threatening conditions is an amazing thing to do, and we can help all the year through.  Visit the Charity’s fund-raising page here to see the full range of activities that are currently being organised … there are some fantastic physical challenges including the “Super-hero Fun Run”, marathons, treks and cycle rides to choose from!

Butterfly Tea-Party

This week is also the final week of  Help For HeroesColossal Cake Sale” – a superb event running between 20th April – 5th May 2013.   Help for Heroes is obviously a very well known, high-profile charity these days and has raised a phenomenal amount since it began in 2008, supporting our current troops injured in conflict.

H4H Colossal Cake Sale

The Charity’s mission is “to deliver an enduring national network of support for our wounded and their families. We will inspire and enable those who have made sacrifices on our behalf to achieve their full potential.   The war in Afghanistan may be nearly over, but for those who have suffered life-changing injuries, their battles are just beginning. We will not let them fight these battles alone.”  If you’d like to read more about the charity visit their website here.  Just like Together for Short Lives, Help for Heroes has a full program of amazing physical fund-raising challenges but encourages smaller scale events too, so we all feel we can help.

The GREAT NEWS is that the bakers among us can help both of these charities by doing what we love doing best – BAKING!

DocMarten Cake

Why not hold a Butterfly Tea Party for the children (the Butterfly is the logo for Together for Short Lives) or, if you want to help our military heroes, organise a “Colossal Cake Sale” event?   For both you scale the event to suit your circumstances – it can be big or small, and held wherever you like – at home or at work.   To find out more visit the links in this paragraph, these will take you to each Charity’s website fundraising pages.

White Rabbit Cake

Bakers bake because they love to give and make people happy…so why not fundraise at the same time for these worthy causes?  With a Bank Holiday weekend coming up in the UK its the perfect opportunity!  Good luck with your fund-raising!  You are amazing!

Dx

Images Source/Credits:  Help for Heroes, Together for Short Lives, Cake Central/Shellismycakedreams and Cake Central/Cakeage

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“Give us a Peep” Apron! A lovely new design from Herdy…

April 28, 2013

I need a new apron…pinny…apron. Heck, you know what I mean! That essential of kitchen life that saves you from wiping all sorts of “stuff” down your clothes whilst you cook/bake!

GIve us a Peep Herdy

Herdy is a favourite website of mine, and I recently found these wonderful aprons on their site – which I love and adore (and that is no exaggeration!)

Oh but which colour to choose… what is your favourite? Please! Help me pick 🙂

Dx

Oh, and what about the matching Oven Gloves…? Irresistible don’t you think?

Double Oven Gloves

Time for Tea? My 10 favourite Teapot Cake designs.

April 27, 2013

Teapot template

Tea and cake; cake and tea; high tea; afternoon tea… whichever way you look at it tea and cake just “go together”.  Its a marriage made in heaven… after all what could be better than a lovely cup of afternoon tea and a slice of scrumptious cake?

My love of tea and cake must be in my genes… my granny Kathleen loved nothing more than a pot of tea in a china teacup accompanied by something sweet, usually a piece of cake made by her daughter (my mum).  Happy memories 🙂

Today I celebrate the designs of 10 cake makers who have taken this happy relationship one step further – by fashioning a teapot entirely from cake!  What better design for someone, like me, who has an inherent love of this traditional brew?

Butterfly teapot

To start, how about this beautiful springtime themed “Daffodil Teapot” by and unknown super duper cake designer! (Please get in touch if this cake is yours so I can give you the credit!)  An ornate handle, neatly executed throughout, and with flowers that evoke the spirit of the hand-thrown potter’s skill make this a top 10 cake for me.  I love the butterflies that appear to have just flown along and settled on the lid and spout…

Just like real teapots, that come in all shapes and sizes, my next cake is a completely different shape from the first.  A plainer spout and handle, but with a more pronounced lid design and classically beautiful floral embellishment make for a most attractive design.  Spot a design detail in common with the first? Yes you’re correct – the butterfly has landed 😉

Alyanna Teapot Cake

Oh, and the matching cupcakes are a lovely addition to the overall design.  This one by Cakes by Alyanna.

Now for something funky – and ideal for the young at heart tea lover!  A Fairy teapot design by Celebrate With Cake.  I love so much about this design; the funky colours, the adorable fairy, and the attention to detail – such as the beautifully decorated cake board and toadstools!

Fairy Teapot

Back to something more vintage in style and, according to the designer, a “Cath Kidston inspired” teapot (and matching cupcakes).  Now, I’m not a great fan of Cath Kidston myself (I know; I’m probably in the minority here), but I do like the delicate feel of this design by Cakes by Louise.  The teapot is a great shape and the cupcakes are beautifully individual yet aesthetically linked.

Cath Kidston Style Teapot

Now, how about this one then!  A naughty, cheeky little teapot if I ever did see one!  Makes me think of that song “I’m a little teapot, short and stout” for sure!!!   Love the colour combo and just look at that adorable and cheeky face 😉 !  This little teapot looks as though its going to take a huge bite out of that cupcake sitting in front of it…!   Sad thing is… I don’t know who designed and made it! If it was you… LET ME KNOW x

Naughty Teapot

Back to a most realistic design… something that granny Kathleen would have adored.  Great shape; good shaped spout and handle and the finish on and around the lid in gold is simply stunning.  Hand painted butterflies and flowers (that is a Wisteria don’ t you think?) make for a beautiful design that is so realistic.  As you can see, this was designed by Truly Custom Cakery.

Truly Custom Cakery Teapot

With a similar feel is this glorious “Delicate Rose” design teapot by Juliet Stallwood.   Hand painted rosebuds and a rose handle on the lid make for an attractive design that just oozes “Sunday Best” tea-set.

Delicate Roses Teapot

Do you have a “Christmas Tea-set”…? We have a Christmas dinner service but not a Christmas Teapot… but I wouldn’t mind this one for sure!   A clever design by Custom Cakes By Susan, with candy stripes, poinsettia red colouring, holly berries and fir.  Lovely.

Christmas Teapot

Julie Woods of Vintage and Cake next.  Julie is a talented cake decorator that I’ve known through Facebook and Twitter for many years. Julie runs a fabulous company called “Vintage and Cake” and she specializes not only in making the most stunning cakes but also hires vintage tea services!   Take a look at her cakey teapot below – I love the delicate flowers and lid.

Vintage and Cake Teapot

Finally… when you think of a tea-party you’ve just got to think of  the one thrown by the Mad-Hatter in Alice in Wonderland!  And this is just the cake to bring it to life….designed and made by Aunt Julie’s Bakery.  Go Aunt Julie – you rock!

Eat Me - Teapot

A superb range of cakes indeed that celebrate the wonder of TEA!  Which one is your favourite?

Denise x

Wedding Cake of the Week: April 21st – from CakesaLouisa

April 21, 2013

CakesaLouisa template

My choice today was tough.  Tough because I’ve recently come across a supremely talented cake designer based on Australia’s Gold Coast, whose website is simply crammed with pictures of the most irresistible wedding cake designs – so crammed it was almost impossible to choose my favourite among them!  But here it is…called the “Parisien”, and standing an incredible 4′ tall!

Parisien Wedding Cake

I simply love the colour variation of the amazingly realistic roses that cascade down the entire height of this stunning cake.  I dread to think just how long it would have taken to make them all and I’m certain the bride & groom and their guests were bowled over by this cake on the day.

The cake designer behind this stunning design is Louisa Massignani, a qualified career pastry chef now running her own business,  CakesaLouisa, in Burleigh Waters, Queensland, Australia.

If you are lucky enough to live on the Gold Coast and you’re looking to commission an extra special wedding cake, then I would urge you to take a look at Louisa’s website or visit her Facebook  page for more inspiration.

Denise x

Question: What makes a baker an “artisan baker”?

April 20, 2013

Artisan Bakery template

ar-ti-san

Artisan Baker; its a term you hear bandied about an awful lot these days, particularly by the media since Paul Hollywood began to grace mainstream TV a few years back.

As a viewer it is all to easy to accept most of what you’re told without question; but what exactly makes a baker an artisan baker?  Is it just a “sexy” label applied by a TV production company to ramp up their presenters credentials OR is there actually a quantifiable qualification that entitles you to define yourself an artisan?

bread ingredients

The Oxford English Dictionary defines an artisan as: “a skilled worker who makes things by hand”.

If you accept this definition as correct (and why wouldn’t you), this presumably means that any baker with skill and experience could justifiably call him or herself an artisan, but only an artisanal baker if they are producing their product by hand – and does this mean that unless your local “artisan bakery” can guarantee it makes all its loaves by hand, it cannot legitimately sell its product to you as “artisan bread”?   (Actually, thinking further, is it even possible for a bread to be described as artisan?  Adhering to the OED’s definition the answer to this has to be “no” as a loaf of bread in itself could never satisfy the requirements!)

granary_bread

I’m splitting hairs, I know.  Clearly by buying an “artisan” bakery product, we’re buying into the concept of smaller scale production -which need not be handmade – but always with an eye to the careful sourcing of key ingredients, avoiding the use of artificial preservatives and reducing food miles.  If you can afford the consequential premium on cost, then this has be a good choice… but what do you think?

Are you a commercial baker – what do you consider the prerequisites to describing yourself an artisan?

As a consumer – does the term “artisan” define the baker, the product or the process?

I call myself a baker but mostly I have only baked cakes.  I have made bread in the past, occasionally, but really I have to admit to buying my bread as part of my weekly supermarket shop (albeit, usually the wholemeal variety), generally for convenience reasons.

BUT I would like to learn more.  In future posts I aim to explore the history of bread-making, understand more about the benefits of making your own bread and/or buying from your local baker, and would love to celebrate the talents of this Kingdom’s smaller-scale bakeries – so why not nominate your favourite local baker and tell me why you choose to buy from him/her?

Denise x

 

Photo credits: http://www.bbc.co.uk and http://www.dozenbakery.co.uk