Happy Birthday to Me!

It was my birthday this week. As the world is still on lock-down I decided I wanted to make my own cake.

I have some small cake tins so I made 2 small rounds the weekend before that I froze to keep for decorating this week. I wasn’t 100% sure what my plan was – at first it involved Jammy Dodgers and Party Rings, but ended up only using the latter.

I wasn’t feeling adventurous on flavour, so I went with the good-old Vanilla cake, vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam combo. I smeared some random pink colours around, and used a white chocolate drip. The gin was just as it was colour co-ordinated and made the cake more grown-up!

The top of the cake was decorated with some of the pink buttercream and Party Ring biscuits.

A shot of the inside of the cake

Finally, when I baked the cake layers, there was a bit too much cake mix. I didn’t want to over-fill the cake pans so I decided to make 2 x cupcakes with the remaining mix. I decorated these to match the cake:

Even with a smaller cake, there’s still 2 Party Rings worth left even though I also gave some to friends on Monday! I miss being in work where I could force cake upon my workmates… I love making it, but there’s only so much I can eat myself.

Afternoon Tea

Friday 8th May was the 75th anniversary of VE day. Though we couldn’t have any actual celebrations due to lockdown, I wanted to make an afternoon tea to do something typically British

I had purchased my afternoon tea stands quite a few years ago but had not used them in quite a while. This was another bake where I managed to make everything with ingredients already in the house – sadly this meant no cream for the fruit scones (though I did have jam).

  • Cream cheese sandwiches
  • Cheese and red pepper mini quiche
  • Fruit scones with jam
  • Oat and raisin cookies
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Cocoa macarons
  • Red velvet cake
  • Viennese whirls
  • Mini trifle

I started on the baking on the Thursday my making the cookies and macarons. I was following a Neurotic Mom recipe for the macarons for the first time, then being an idiot I went in the loft to hunt something and forgot they were there – thus over-baking them! Thankfully they didn’t end up too burnt.

The red velvet cake was some of the excess made for the birthday cake I’d made (see last post) so I didn’t need to do anything special for them.

The Viennese whirls were a recipe from Mary Berry that I had used a number of times and they always turn out well. So crisp and buttery!

I made the scones in the morning on Friday morning. They baked up well and I don’t really have any stories for these ones. As mentioned before, you’d usually have these with jam and cream, but I had no cream in and was unwilling to go out and buy any.

The trifles, sandwiches and quiche were the last items to be made. Nothing much to mention about these except my pastry on the quiche got stuck to the pan so they ended up more like little egg-bites.

Oh, finally, I had made so much extra that I ended up boxing-up a number of afternoon teas to take to family members as “doorstep drop-offs” (as we still can’t see each other due to social distancing)

Red Velvet Birthday Cake

Well before social distancing and UK lock-down, I agreed to make a birthday cake for a family friend. I was adamant that I was still making the cake – and thankfully I had everything in the house that I needed to get it done.

The cake was made using a recipe from Chelsweets which I made the week before and kept in the freezer until I was ready to decorate. I made enough mix to make multiple layers, as well as some cupcakes and smaller bite-size cakes to decorate.

The cake was decorated with Cream Cheese forsting (what else?) and a dark chocolate ganache drip.

I didn’t actually have any cream in to use to make the ganache, so I used a method involving milk and butter instead – it worked great! I used this method and had no issues whatsoever.

Another new thing I tried was making icing roses – again, these turned out well for my first go. I didn’t have a cake nail, so I improvised by using some baking paper on my cake turntable. It just about did the job!

I can always find fault with a cake I’ve made, but overall I was happy with how this one ended up. Even more so as I didn’t have to venture to the supermarket for any supplies!