Social Distancing Baking

It’s a struggle to try and pretend that everything is normal at the moment, but I still wanted to do some baking and spread some joy to people (whilst keeping my distance, of course).

Cupcake baking

I had two people to make some cakes for and do a doorstep drop & run (cakes on doorstep, knock on door, run away).

The first batch I made were Red Velvet Cupcake Baileys cupcakes. This was made using the limited edition “Red Velvet Cupcake” Baileys, and resulted in some pink cakes (no food colour used, this was solely the colour of the Baileys).

Red Velvet Cupcake Baileys
  • FOR THE CAKES
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Baileys (red velvet)
  • 1/4 Cup, + 1/4 of the 1/4 cup Self-Raising Flour
  • 1/4 Cup + 1/3 of the 1/4 cup Plain Flour

FOR THE ICING

  • 1/4 block butter
  • Red Velvet Baileys
  • Icing Sugar
Red Velvet Baileys Cupcake

The second cupcakes were for my Sister-in-law and these ones were chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

For the Cakes

  • 1/2 Cup Sugaer
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Flour
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 Tablespoons Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 Cup Coffee

For the Buttercream

  • 1/4 block butter
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Icing Sugar
  • Milk
Chocolate batter and Red Velvet Baileys batter before baking
Straight out of the oven

Anonymous Cake – February

The weather so far this month has been awful! High winds, multiple storms, and what feels like non-stop rain. It’s been sad to see people’s homes and businesses impacted yet again by the weather. Sadly, some of my old roller derby friends were impacted by flooding again, so I wanted to do a little something to cheer them up a tiny bit.

I made some PB&J blondies and boxed them up to post to them anonymously (unless they read this blog, in which case – oops!)

I used this recipe that I found online for the blondies. I then added a small bag of chocolate chips to the mix, and topped with white chocolate ganache.

Once they had cooled down, I cut them in to squares and put into cellophane bags. I posted them and thankfully I knew that they had arrived as my friend put a post on Instagram asking who the sender was (I still haven’t owned up).

Next up, I need to think about what to bake & give away in March!

January’s “Secret Baker” Cake

I’d never actually use the “Secret Baker” name, but I laughed when someone used it when talking about January’s cake.

This one was a last minute change in nomination due to a change of circumstances, but it went to a work colleague (anonymously). He was nominated because he is an amazing colleague who gives up time in work to listen to others and is always willing to go out of his way to help. Outside of work, he gives up his time to work with the Scouts.

I was told he was a fan of bourbon, so this led to a chocolate whiskey cake being left on his desk on Monday Morning:

Chocolate whiskey cake. Chocolate whiskey buttercream. Melted chocolate.

I got told that the recipient looked very confused at first, and maybe a little concerned that someone knew about his love of bourbon and work outside of work with the Scouts. Oops!

Next month I’m going to try find someone not in work to give a cake to. Watch this space!

Giving Something Back – With Cake!

I get so much inspiration from Instagram bakers. In December, Neurotic Mom posted about donating a number of cakes to people who were nominated by her followers. Her cakes went to some of the most deserving people, and it made me feel inspired! I decided that each month in 2020 I would bake and give a cake to someone who had been nominated as a recipient.

Being me, I actually started this in December when I was feeling in the festive, giving spirit. I won’t give all the info on here, but here are pictures of the cakes that I baked to bring some cheer to the recipients…

Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Buttercream, and Candy Canes
Same cake, just another angle with a little more chocolate drip on display.

Chocolate oveload cake – chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, white chocolate drip, snickers and marc celebration chocolates to top

Work Halloween Baking Contest

I was planning on making a cake for my work colleagues for Halloween, but then work announced a Baking Contest so I had to get creative. The idea is that staff enter a cake that gets judged, and then they sell off slices of cake for our nominated charity.

I had three ideas, but could only enter one. I ended up making all 3 anyway (further posts to come) but entered one and just gave the rest for selling to raise money as it was all for charity anyway.

The cake I decided to enter was my Brain Cake

Brain Cake

I made one of these last year, and it is surprisingly easy to make. The Gallery below roughly shows the steps, but essentially:

  • Bake 3 round cakes (I used vanilla cake dyed with pink food colouring)
  • Stack the cakes then cut the edges from the rounds to create the curved pieces for the dome
  • Cover with buttercream
  • Colour some fondant with ivory colouring and a drop of pink
  • Roll out the fondant into ropes
  • Apply to cake
  • Cover in jam

The bakers in work are really good so there was some stiff competition! The next gallery shows some of the cakes that entered – you’ll see that the decorating work on the cauldron was really good!

Judging took place based on Appearance and taste. I was happy to say that I won the contest đŸ™‚

I get to go have Champagne Afternoon Tea for 2 at Cloud 23 at the Hilton in Manchester.

Rainbow Pride Blondies

The Typhoons all inclusive rugby team

My brother and I were never sporty when we were children. As a teen I started to do more cardio at the gym, and when I was 25 I discovered Roller Derby which I played for 6 years. It was great to feel a part of a team and it really helped build my confidence. As a child I was fatter and never did well at sport. As an adult, I was actually good at roller derby and it was a great feeling.

I imagine my brother was in a similar situation, and he discovered all-inclsuive rugby in recent years. He’s really blossomed in the sport and he’s doing amazing – I am very proud of him!

I like an excuse to bake, and as this month is Pride celebrations all over the place i decided to try make something to celebrate Pride and send them to him (secretly) in the post. I just really hope they have shipped OK…

Rainbow “Pride” Blondies

I used this recipe from All Recipes to make the blondies, and then topped them with a white chocolate ganache. I used a 3:1 chocolate to cream ratio and coloured some of this with gel colouring.

To begin with I covered the full tray of blondies with white chocolate ganache, then I added rainbow stripes which I then feathered:

cooling in the tray
fresh out of the tray, just before cutting.
Small squares of blondies
Yummy dense blondies, with a rainbow ganache topping

I posted these to his work without him knowing, so hoping they get there in one piece. Time will tell!

Cinnamon Rolls

I love cinnamon. I love cinnamon rolls. When we go to America, I love the smell of Cinnabon when we go shopping in malls (though I have to restrict how often I eat it as I know they are so full of calories). With this in mind, I wanted to try making some cinnamon rolls at home for the first time.

The dough was made with flour, salt, milk, yeast, and sugar and had to prove for 90 minutes. After this, I rolled it out to try make a rectangle:

You have to coat the dough with butter, and then sprinkle a LOT of sugar and cinnamon over it

I followed a recipe that allegedly made 12-14 buns. Instead of cutting it into thinner buns, I cut it into 8 instead.

A second prove is then needed to allow the buns to puff up before baking:

Pre-rise
After the buns had risen
Baked rolls, fresh out of the oven

I believe that I over-baked them a little, but it was nothing that a little cream cheese frosting wouldn’t fix:

And finally, the inside of the bun as I was eating it. Yum yum yum yum

Peppa Pig Birthday Cake

Another family birthday means another cake. This time around the spec was “Peppa Pig” and “Normal cake” (I always assume people just mean vanilla and strawberry jam when they ask for “normal”.

As I don’t like making fondant covered cakes anymore, the below is what I came up with…

Peppa Pig Cake. Without Candles

I took the above photo then remembered I’d bought some candles too.

Peppa Pig Cake – with candles

I cheated on the cake making as I couldn’t be bothered to make my own pigs. Instead I spent £3.99 on the set from eBay.

Toppers Close-up

Finally, the obligatory cake insides shot. The cake rounds were 7″ each, so that’s quite a chunk of icing for the outsides!

A Cake Buffet atWork

It’s been a year since I got some software in work that I never thought I’d get, so I used this as an excuse to bake a load of cakes and share them with my work colleagues…

The Blue theme was literally because I bought a Dr. Oetker sprinkle-mix that I liked the colour of. Some more details on each item follow:

Cakesicles. These had a chocolate cake and salted caramel  centre with dark chocolate coating
Chocolate cupcakes: Chocolate cake with a chocolate buttercream swirl
Vanilla cake with strawberry compote and vanilla buttercream
Lemon Cupcakes: Lemon cake with lemon curd filling, topped with lemon flavour buttercream
Vanilla Cupcake: Vanilla Cake with vanilla buttercream
Cakesicles: Blueberry muffin filling mixed with jam and buttercream, coated in white chocolate
Not on theme, but I made a gin bundt cake too!

Mum’s 60th Birthday Cakes

Birthday Cake

My mum had an early celebration for her 60th Birthday so of course I used this excuse to make her a cake. The plan started with a Balloon Cake (as I had been wanted to make one of these for a while) and quickly escalated from there.

Posing with the cake table

In the end I made a cake table with multiple types of cake.

Lemon Cupcakes – lemon buttercream rose + sprinkles to garnish
Chocolate Bundt Cakes – coated with white chocolate ganache, buttercream garnish, and sprinkles.
White chocolate covered cakesicles with vanilla & strawberry cake inside
Birthday cake – vanilla cake, strawberry jam, vanilla buttercream, sprinkles, gold writing & a cake balloon!