Friday, 13 February 2015

Pancake Day- My Favourite Day of the Year!

Pancake Day is one of my favourite days of the year! I can, with no guilt, cook as many pancakes as I like, and devour them all day, both sweet and savoury, rolled up, folded, laid out flat. Yes, I make enough for the family, but I will unashamedly consume piles of them throughout the day.

Below I have shared my pancake recipe with you, so you can know the joy! Be liberal with your chosen toppings. It's a day that only comes round once a year.

  • 110g sifted plain flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 275ml milk 
  • 50g butter

  1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, ensuring they are fully incorporated. You can use either a hand whisk or an electric whisk.
  2. Whilst continuing to whisk, slowly pour in the milk. The mixture may appear lumpy at first, but as you whisk these will disappear. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the edges of the bowl, incorporating these into the mixture, and whisk again. 
  3. Melt the butter in the pan, ensuring it doesn't burn. Pour off any excess into a container (for use later). Turn the heat down to a medium heat. Pour approximately 2 tablespoons of the batter into the centre of the now hot pan, manoeuvring the pan from side to side so that the batter coats the bottom. It will take about 30 seconds to 1 minute to cook. Use your spatula to lift the pancake. Once it is golden brown, flip the pancake and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Once it is finished, slide it out onto a plate.
  4. Using kitchen paper, dip this into the now cooled butter and smear the pan with it. Make sure the butter is cool before doing this. Pour some more batter into the pan and repeat the process.
  5. To stop them sticking together, stack the pancakes between sheets of greaseproof paper.
  6. If making sweet pancakes, sprinkle each with freshly squeezed lemon juice and caster sugar. If making savoury pancakes, fill 1/3 pancake with filling and fold over twice.

My personal favourite toppings include:
  • Banana and peanut butter
  • Whipped Cream and Golden Syrup
  • Nutella (just Nutella!)
  • Strawberries and white chocolate chips
  • Fried Mushrooms and Pesto
  • Chicken breast, tomatoes and onions

Happy Pancaking!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Blue and White Wedding Design

Cakings 4 tier wedding cake, with rose details, edible ribbon, piping and edible diamonds

I was contacted by a client who I met at a wedding fair earlier this year and we arranged a consultation. The Bride-to-be had a number of ideas, and we were able to discuss these and settle on a final 4 tier design of white, blue and silver.

The wedding breakfast and reception was held at Kervan Banqueting Hall, based in the Edmonton area of North London. Event Planners were completing their preparations for the event as I arrived to set up the cake.

Draped diamonds on a sparkling branch table centrepiece 

Menu and sweet favours for each guest

The cake was a 4 tier design, with Cakings Caribbean Fruit cake for the two lower tiers, Smooth Red Velvet Cake with Vanilla Pod Buttercream filling and Cakings Madagascan Vanilla Bean Sponge Cake with Vanilla Pod Buttercream filling. The blue roses on top flattered the handmade edible blue ribbon around each tier. The edible diamond and silver piping details gave the cake an extra sparkle, along with the monogrammed toppers.

For a Free Wedding Consultation with Marsha J, Head Cake Engineer at Cakings, please fill out a contact form on the website, or send us an email at

Engagement at The Orrery

I was privileged to be asked to create an engagement cake and some cookies for an overseas client, who was celebrating their engagement here in London. They had quite specific ideas for what they wanted, and although I have not created many cookies for clients before, this was a much appreciated challenge.

The engagement party was held at Orrery, a wonderful French Restaurant on the bustling area of Marylebone High Street. 

Each cookie was hand made and hand wrapped with an individual ribbon and label. The guests were presented with one as they were seated.

The 3 tier cake design consisted of 2 Madagascan Vanilla Bean Sponges with fresh Lemon buttercream, and one Lemon Drizzle cake with Vanilla Bean Pod buttercream. The design was classic, perfect for its setting, and included delicate ruffle details, ascending butterflies and an engagement topper.

It was a lovely event, with almost 100 guests tucking into a sumptuous meal and cake for dessert. It has encouraged me to work more with cookies, as party favours and as part of overall cake designs.

Featured: The Orrery, Cakings.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Styled Shoot- Grace in Greenwich

I love the opportunity to create cakes for photoshoots, so when I was contacted by Jessica Barrie from Diamond Rose Events for an impromptu wedding shoot, I jumped right on board!

It worked in my favour that I would already be spending time with friends in the Greenwich area, not to far from the shoot location. What I was not prepared for was the spectacular view of the city and The River Thames. On this clear (albeit chilly) day, the view from the balcony was exquisite, and only enhanced my excitement to be involved in this event.

I just adore London on a clear day!

For this shoot, I decided to make an upgrade on Grace, a cake design that I have adapted for clients in the past. 3 cake tiers, each decorated with individually embossed blossoms, each connected with royal icing to create a beautiful lace effect, topped with large sugar roses. The cake was a fresh addition to the rest of the Red and White Winter Theme.

Grace on the serving table, matching the colour scheme and theme beautifully.

Unfortunately I had to leave the shoot early, so I did not get to see the rest of the fantastic work presented by the other professionals on the day. Be sure to check out the Cakings Weddings page, for the final pictures of this shoot in the coming weeks!


Sunday, 15 December 2013

If I tell you its easy, will you try it?

Well, it was! Even for a baker like me who only really bakes cakes.

My first attempt at a Gingerbread house
... and I'm only just noticing that there's already Smarties missing!

Gingerbread houses. Considering biscuits are not really my current forte, this were a lot easier than I thought it would be.

My creation, posing oh so proudly :o)

This was my first ever ginger creation (well, I have made a pretty amazing Ginger-spice cake with honey, but cake doesn't count here) and I decided to make one this Christmas to really test the theory that it could be easy.

I found a nice recipe online and got to work. Not much preparation needed, baking time was quite quick, which meant my sister and I could get to decorating within about an hour.


For the gingerbread
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 7 tbsp golden syrup
  • 600g plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 tsp ground ginger

For Royal Icing
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 1 packet egg white powder 
  • 55ml water
  • 1tbsp lemon juice

For the decorations

Anything sweet and colourful.
But if you want specifics...
  • Packet of Smarties
  • Candy canes
  • Chocolate buttons
  • Royal Icing
  • Silver Balls
  • Jelly Babies
  • Almond Flakes
  • A Flake or Mini Roll (for a chimney)

You will need a couple of things...
  • A template. I made my own template up, but if you want one already made, check out this one by I Knead To Bake  or this one by The 36th Avenue 
  • Piping bag and nozzle for the Royal Icing

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/fan 180C/Gas Mark 6. Cut out the printed template of your choice.
  2. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pot. Take your time, continue to stir and do not overheat. Stop when the butter has melted. 
  3. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into a large bowl. Stir in the butter mixture to make a stiff dough. If its crumbly and its not quite coming together, add a tiny splash of water.

    My dough needed a little water. It should look like this
    1. Put a sheet of baking paper on your work surface and roll about one quarter of the dough to about 6 or 7mm thick. Cut out one of the sections, then slide the gingerbread (still on its baking paper) onto a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, re-rolling the trimmings, until you have all four walls and roof panels. If using flaked almonds for your roof tiles, pick the ones that are most in tact and gently poke them into the roof sections, pointy-end first.
    2. (You may have some leftover dough. Scroll to the bottom for some great tips on how to make great use of leftover dough!)
    3. Bake all the sections for 12mins or until firm and just a little darker at the edges. Leave to cool for a few minutes to firm up, then trim around the templates again to give clean, sharp edges (the dough will expand whilst baking). Leave to cool completely.
      Two of the sides prior to trimming
    4. Make your royal icing by whisking the icing sugar, egg white powder  and water, first on a low speed then a higher speed until it stands up in peaks. Pop your royal icing into a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice. Pipe generous snakes of icing along the wall edges, one by one, to join the walls together. Use a small bowl to support the walls from the inside, then allow to dry.
    5. Once dry, remove the supports and fix the roof panels on. Due to the angle, you may need to hold these on firmly for a few minutes until the icing starts to dry. 
    6. To decorate, get creative. Use the royal icing as glue to put on your Smarties, chocolate fingers, chocolate buttons and all your other sweets. To make the icicles, put the nozzle at a 90-degree angle to the roof and squeeze out a small blob of icing. Keeping the pressure on, pull the nozzle down and then take the pressure off, still pulling down. The icing will pull away, leaving a pointy trail. You can add as many icicles as you like. 
    7. Dust the roof with icing sugar for a snowy effect (as always, I forgot to do this). 
    My attempt at icicles- don't quit the day job, right?

    It turned out pretty well for a first time project (it didn't fall down when my sister went "Big Bad Wolf" on it). Your gingerbread house will be edible for about a week, but will last a lot longer as a decoration... As long as no one gets to it first. The beauty of my house didn't last for long. In fact, The Midnight Snacking Demolition Crew got to that very night. 

    It started with a Smartie and a couple of sprinkles...

    Within 3 days, it looked like this:

    Lead tiles, chocolate tiles, both in high demand, apparently

    This is what happens when you use luxury vanilla icing on the cake board

    And then, by the end...

    Big Bad Wolf got to it in the end...
     Okay, it was me.

    I guess sweets treats are supposed to be eaten, right?

    So, will you try it out? :o)

    Tip: Your leftover dough can be used in a range of different ways- check out our Pinterest board "Left Over Dough" for some inspiration.

    Mince Pie Recipe: Easy Peasy!

    Its surprising that not many people know: mince pies do not contain minced meat. Well, not any more. After a bit of research (thanks Wikipedia and the rest of the World Wide Web!) I found out that mince pies used to contain meat, fruit and spices, and used to be quite large. The Victorians omitted the meat and shrunk them down. I think you'd agree that the more recent sweet flavour is a much better treat!

    Anyway, I LOVE Christmas time, and I like to try new recipes during this time of year. It makes me feel like I've accomplished something! 

    This year, I thought I'd try my hand at mince pies. I'm not much of a pastry baker (I try stick to cakes!) but I had heard that mince pies are really easy.

    I am pleased to inform you that they really are! My favourite part is that you don't have to wait for any of the ingredients to come to room temperature- you can literally just get stuck in! Saying that, the "mince" is probably better if you make it a month in advance- you get a deeper, richer flavour.

    Here is my ingredients and instructions for making them: 


    For the "Mince"

    50g sultanas
    50g raisins
    50g grated bramley apples
    50 suet
    75g soft brown sugar
    50g finely chopped mixed peel
    35g blanched and chopped almonds
    ½ tbsp mixed spice
    the zest and juice of ½ an orange
    a large splash of brandy.

    For the Pastry

    225g cold, diced butter
    350g plain flour
    120g golden caster sugar
    a pinch of salt. 

    1. Preheat the oven to 200C / fan 180C / Gas Mark 6. 
    2. Rub the cold, diced butter into the plain flour (I started this off with my stand mixer because I'm lazy, but it isn't too difficult with your fingers). Once it begins to resemble breadcrumbs mix in the golden caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball and knead it briefly. It will look a bit like shortbread dough. 
    3. Take a cupcake baking tin and line the 12 holes with pastry. Do this by rolling out the pastry with a rolling pin, then use a circle cutter (or a glass if you don't have one) to cut circles. Line the tin, ensuring the bottom and sides of each hole are covered. You shouldn't need to use any extra fat to line the tin, but use a little flour to roll out if necessary
    4. Spoon a teaspoon of mincemeat into the centre of your pies.
    5. Please excuse the quality of my picture!
    6. Using a star cutter, cut out 12 stars and place them on top of each pie. Conversely, you can cut circles and cover the pies. Seal each pie by pressing the edges together (you will not need egg to do this, it will seal itself quite nicely).
    7. Brush each pie with a bit of milk (or an egg. Personally, I prefer not to waste an entire egg on basting) and pop in the oven for about 20mins until golden brown.
    8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 5mins, then remove from the tin and pop onto a wire rack to completely cool. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar or sprinkle with a little caster sugar (which I always forget to do!)
    My finished pies!

    You can keep these in an airtight container for up to 4 days, and freeze for up to a month. Pour any remaining mincemeat mixture into a clean jar and you can store this for up to a year.

    This recipe is relatively easy. Personally, I used my silicone cupcake baking tray, so I was able to pop the mince pies right out. They were delicious, I can't deny! I've made a few batches and I'm quite happy with the result.

    Good luck with yours!

    Tuesday, 26 November 2013

    Cakings Sugar Modelling: Zombies Beware!

    Ohhhh, this was a good one! My best friend's sister is really into zombies (and so am I, if you wanted that crumb of trivia!) so it was top of the list when it came to her 21st birthday Cake Design.

    Having a sugar model was a no brainer (no pun intended!) but the actual cake was a bit tricky. At first, my friend and I came up with an elaborate design, which involved a cross-section of the cake where the zombies would clamber through the earth and out of their graves (yes, when my friend and I get together the ideas are extreme!) However, after a lot of chocolate cake baking, it became apparent that I'd need a cake the size of my kitchen to pull it off.

    So, we went for a simpler, although rather effective graveyard scene for the final design.

    Modelling the zombies was my favourite part of the creation. As their bodies are so mangled anyway, it was fun to create the shapes. I like the tendons in the zombie's neck, the lack of a nose and goggly eyes, and love that he had one ear rotten off and filled with "mud" (moist chocolate cake).

    The "earth" was made with chocolate cake and some dark chocolate ganache, as opposed to dark brown sugar and royal icing as I'd initially planned. As the cake was a rich double chocolate cake, it made sense to keep with the theme. Piped grass was another great touch (if you know me, you know I love piping grass!)

    Its the cakes with character that I most enjoy, and this one had graves full! (Okay, fine, I'll stop now.)

    Do you have a special event approaching with lots of character? Contact Cakings today in order to have a wonderful cake designed. / +447984259431