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Tag Archives: autumn

A wedding! I love weddings! Drinks all around!

I also love Johnny Depp. But that’s besides the point. 

A friend has trusted me to make the top cake for their wedding. It’s not till October, but I am excited. And pooping my pants.

So last night we practised. And avoided any more research into the value of Reggio Emelio inspired displays in the outdoor classroom.

And then this morning Baby Bear helped me to take some photographs. Well, I say helped. I mean that whilst I was trying to find some natural light in the Bears teeny tiny flat, Baby Bear painted my drying foam with edible glue. Very helpful.

  

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At this point Baby Bear was poking at the flowers between photos and saying “Mmmmm, hungry mumma” and making exaggerated licks towards the cake. 

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And by now he was drawing on the oven in blue edible pen, and singing “Paint, paint, Dora, paint”. So we pretty much gave up. 

 

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So now we’re off to scrub the oven. And the kitchen floor. And Baby Bear himself. And then maybe bake some stem ginger shortbread!

Mummy Bear x

CAKE! (International)

You may have noticed that as of recently I seem to have lost my baking mojo. I even *shock horror* BOUGHT cake from a supermarket last week. I know. I have let the team down. So, in an attempt to clear my guilty conscience and reignite a baking passion… or at least my oven, Auntie Bear and I went to Cake International yesterday.

It was awesome, as usual. Stupidly, because Big Bear decided yesterday was the day to have some sort of freak out over ALL of his shoes, I was rushing and forgot my camera. So here are some photos taken on my (quite ancient and none i) phone of my favourite cakes on show!

 

Harry Potter and Cake, my two most favourite things in the whole world… Except the Bears of course!

 

Hagrid’s Hut….. this was astounding, my rubbish camera doesn’t show it, but through the door, INSIDE the cake was the furniture. It was Amazeballs.

 

This was so very realistic, even down to the drool coming from the mouth!

 

 

 

This was all completely edible – I would love to know how they did the panes of glass in the windows and doors!

 

Look at all those tentacles!

 

Another completely edible cake – how real does it look?!

 

Because Uncle Bear and Big Bear are both Skylanders obsessed…. Almost as much as I like Harry Potter!

Possibly the most beautiful cupcakes ever!

 

And these must be the most elegant cupcakes ever!

 

 

Cupcake Bouquet – WIN

 

It must have taken hours to pipe all that stitching on!

 

 

 

 

Yes, I love shoes too. And Cake.

This made me want to get married again, just to have this cake!

 

Or this one, I’m not fussy.

 

 

This effect was stunning.

 

I think this may have been the tallest cake in the show!

And saving one of the most stunning until last!

 

If you’ve never been to Cake International, go! (But use public transport, parking charges are horrendous.) Not only is there amazing inspiration, but you can watch some fab product demonstrations, pick up some real bargains (and some not so great bargains, just have an idea of prices before you go) and also meet your Baking heroines. Awesome.

Ruth Clemens (From The Great British Bake Off, and author of The Pink Whisk) was there. I may have been a tad excited!

 

I will be back with a baking related post soon, my mojo is coming back. Hopefully, with better pictures this time.

Mummy Bear x

 

 

 

 

Boo!

Boo!

As mentioned before, The Bears aren’t huge Halloween fans…. but we can’t resist a bit of pumpkin carving. Especially if it has a Mario theme!

Mummy Bear x

Chai spy with my little eye

A couple of months ago, I decided to be adventurous and bought some chai tea. All was going well and I thought I had discovered a new favourite winter drink, until I read three little words on the back of the packet: 99% caffeine free. Honestly, what is the point of caffeine free drinks?! So the packet of chai tea got relegated to the back of the cupboard and I resumed drinking my trusty English Breakfast blend.

And then somewhat of a revelation came in the form of Brooke at Adventures of a Cake Diva, who used chai spice in her apple chai spice cake, and suddenly I knew those tea bags made for people without children which were lurking in the cupboard finally had a purpose!

My oldest friend was home for the holiday and after meeting in our beautiful home town, we had a bake date – finally my baking obsession is beginning to wear off on others. I bet they’re glad I’m not passionate about extreme ironing. Or stamp collecting. It seemed that on this cold crisp Autumn day, the warm chai spice in a cake as I had seen in Brooke’s blog would be perfect. To put our own spin on it, we topped the chai tea cupcakes with an orange buttercream as a spur of the moment decision, but mainly because I had a whole bowlful of oranges on the table, and Big Bear had eaten all the honey.

Ingredients:

Chai Tea cupcakes

280g  caster sugar

240g self raising flour

80g stork

80ml whole milk

2 large free range eggs

2 x chai tea bags

Orange buttercream:

120g unsalted butter

400g icing sugar

Grated zest and juice of one orange

Preheat the oven to 175 C. Measure the whole milk and pour into a small saucepan, then place the tea bags in the saucepan too. Heat the milk gently over a low light until warm, then remove from the heat pour into a jug and cover the top with cling film. Leave to cool with tea bags in for at least 10 minutes.

Whilst waiting for the milk to cool, use and electric beater to mix together the stork, flour and sugar until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. when the milk is room temp, remove the teabags and then break the  2 eggs into the milk. Beat with a fork until just combined, and then pour the milk mixture into the large bowl with flour sugar and stork in.

With the beater on a low spread, beat until the batter is just combined. It will be quite runny, this is normal. Use an Ice cream scoop to measure batter into 13 cupcake cases, and then bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes.

Whilst the cakes are baking, grate the butter into a  large bowl (if it is straight from the fridge – this will help if soften quicker) and then beat with electric beaters until smooth. Add in the orange zest, juice and icing sugar, and mix initially with a fork, then once the icing sugar is combined, beat with the electric mixer for a further 5 minutes to make it super smooth.

We used a 1M wilton nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes, and then decorated with flowers and golden sugar balls. It’s quite a Christmas-y cake and it reminds us of something, but neither of us could quite put or fingers on what!

So here’s to caffeine free tea and baking dates. Good times!

Mummy Bear x

Don’t believe everything you read…

Last week I saw an awesome idea about how to make Jelly worms for Halloween. It looked amazing, and also incredibly simple. Well looks can be deceiving.

As usual, I started to make these and then realised I didn’t have exactly the right ingredients. Never fear. Just make it up as you go along, right?! I guessed as long as you have some straws some form of jelly and a tall glass, you’re essentially good to go. Well yeah, sort of. What I didn’t figure that you’d also need is a bucket full of patience. Good job Baby Bear has worked so hard to extend mine over the last two years then.

Ingredients (That I used.. the original recipe was different)

1 pack Hartleys raspberry jelly cubes

1/2 pint boiling water

1/3 cup double cream

1 tsp black liquid food colouring

Measure out 1/2 pint of boiling water. Cut the jelly cubes into the boiling water and stir until they have all dissolved. Put in the fridge until it has cooled to room temp. One cool, pour in the cream and the black food colouring and mix.

Assemble your straws so they are wedged in to the glass, and tie with a band at the top. Pour the disgusting jelly/cream mix into the straws slowly. It will seep out the bottom and start to fill the gaps into the glass too, but due to some physics which is beyond me, it will also fill the straws to the same level (so use the tallest glass that you have) so all will be good. Once you have poured as much of the mix into the straws/glass as possible, place the glass into the fridge and leave to set overnight.

Don’t be tempted to remove the straws any earlier, even if the jelly you can see in the glass has set, because it takes much longer for it to set in the straws (apparently the straws act as insulators. Wow, this is full of science.) Once set, pull the straws out of the glass one at a time, and squeeze one end (really hard!) until the worm starts popping out of the other end.

The once all the straws are empty, and you’ve figured out what you’re going to do with all the revolting looking jelly left in the glass (don’t ask me, mine is still sat on the side, waiting to be washed up!) you can use them to freak out your children. Or other people’s children.

Yes, they look cool, but don’t be fooled, it is a LOT of effort. This is why the Bears much prefer Christmas and Birthdays. At least there is cake involved then!

Mummy Bear x

Falling a little out of love with Autumn

Falling a little out of love with Autumn

After my brief romanticism of Autumn, I have remembered why I am fond of summer – I get to take baking photos during daylight hours. No such luck any more. Expect dark and overly processed photographs, with an abundance of apologies.

Mummy Bear x

Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.

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Baby bear has been having a love/hate relationship with blackberries – or ‘grapes’ as he insists on calling them. He is incredibly excited that he can find food on branches outside, and does not discriminate between any colour of berry at all. He will even try the odd leaf, smile at me and say ‘mmmmmmmmmm’. What he is much less keen on are the thorns, and no matter how many times he gets prickled, the expression is still the same; a sort of ‘Huh?! What the hell just happened to my hand?’ type face. But his enthusiasm combined with the beautiful field beside the Bears house, means we now have a huge glut of blackberries, and have been making blackberry jam a plenty.

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Some of the jam was experimented with in Apple bear-y cakes with a blackberry jam filling and a custard buttercream frosting. Honestly, they were like Autumn in a mouthful! And gone so quickly I didn’t even get a chance to grab the camera, which I feel speaks volumes about their deliciousness!

The rest of the jam is in jars in my fridge, and has presented the perfect opportunity for some experimental bread baking. I wanted to make something which had an autumnal feel to it (Silly, I know, as this encompasses the whole genre of bread really!) but what I settled on were Wholemeal rolls with poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, golden linseed,  chopped walnuts, raisins and dried apple –  a type of Autumn muesli breakfast roll. Which as it turns out is perfect for    filling with butter and spreading with blackberry jam!

I used Allinson Premium wholemeal very strong bread flour, and followed the recipe on the back, adding in handfuls of the seeds, nuts and dried fruit once the dough had been mixed. I split the dough into five pieces, rolled each segment into a long sausage, then tied it in a knot and tucked the ends underneath. Leave it to rise for 40 minutes and then brush with an egg wash before popping in the oven et voilà, as soon as they look golden on top and have a hollow knock on the base, they’re ready to be devoured by hungry Bears!

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I’ve just seen Nigel Slater make a blackberry sauce to go with roast pork, now there’s an idea for the next basketful of berries. Provided Baby Bear stops eating all the unripe red ones on the bushes first!

Mummy Bear x

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