Hands up who got excited about the Royal Wedding last year and all the baking that happened as a result? My hand goes straight up because I certainly did. We hosted a party at our house and I was in my element planning for it and baking lots of gorgeous treats to serve my guests. Luckily, for us keen bakers there is the Queen’s Jubilee to celebrate this year which means more street parties and family gatherings to bake for. Hip, hip hooray!
In preparation for the Jubilee I started to scan the internet to see what recipes I could find to inspire me and I have to say, I have been disappointed. All I could really find was red, white and blue cupcakes or crown shaped biscuits. That’s all fine, but I was looking for something a bit more original. So I was thrilled when Appliances Online agreed to sponsor a Jubilee Baking Competition on my blog.
I am looking for any bloggers out there to make their best Jubilee themed cakes and bakes and enter them into my competition so I can create a real treasure trove of inspirational ideas. I want you to be as creative and unique as you possibly can. Anything goes! I shall do a round up post of all the entries when I announce the winner.
The judge for this competition is fellow blogger Vanessa Kimbell. Vanessa is quite an inspiration to me. Her first cookbook ‘Prepped‘ was published 6 months ago, she has her own Sunday morning radio show on BBC Northamptonshire, she runs a ‘pop up’ bakery in her front garden each Saturday with her children and she writes popular blog, ‘ Goddess on a Budget‘. I know that Vanessa has the perfect eye for judging this kind of competition and I’ve no doubt that she will pick a worthy winner.
The deadline for entries is 3rd June 2012 and one lucky winner will get £100 of Amazon vouchers, provided by Appliances Online. Think of all the lovely baking accessories or cook books you could buy for that!
Competition Rules of Entry
Main Entry – Blog post
- Your Jubilee cake or bake needs to be featured on one of your posts. Tell your readers that it is for the Homemade by Fleur, Blogging Jubilee Baking Competition with a link to this post (http://wp.me/p1UMex-o3) which tells them all about it
- You also need to mention that Appliances Online are sponsoring the competition and include this link (http://www.appliancesonline.co.uk/cookers/cookers.aspx) within the post
- Copy and paste the competition badge below and include in your blog post
- Add Homemade by Fleur as a tag on your post / page that you are submitting
- I would love you to sign up to follow my blog to find out the results and of course to see the entrants and winner, but this is not compulsory
- Feel free to like the Homemade By Fleur page and share it with others to get into the Jubilee spirit
- Follow me on twitter for competition updates @homemadebyfleur
- Post your entry on twitter mentioning me @homemadebyfleur and adding #jubileebakingcompetition
- I will retweet you and your post when I see it
- Make anything bake or cake that you wish as long as you feel it links to the Jubilee theme and have explained this in your post
- Please email your photographs (no more than 2) and a link to your post to email@example.com
- In that email please also include your name, although I will be listing entries by blog name on the round up
- The deadline is 3rd June 2012
- The winner will be announced a few days after the deadline, so keep you eye out!
- The judges decision is final
Vintage Jubilee Flag Biscuits
To get you all in the mood, I have come up with a Jubilee themed bake of my own. I had a lot of fun making these but the best bit was taking the photos of them on Hove beach in Sussex. I was down there last weekend and along with all the paraphernalia needed for 3 children when planning a day trip to the beach, I packed my biscuits, the mini bucket and spade (pre-filled with sand from our sandpit as I knew Hove beach had pebbles) and my camera. My husband rolled his eyes more than once as I took ages to find the right box to transport the biscuits as we were trying to get out of the door. I’m sure you can picture the scene. But it was all worth it as I love the pictures and the weather was amazing. It has turned out to be the only sunny day in the last 2 weeks, so I was very lucky. It’s a reminder in amongst all the rain that we do have some beautiful days here in England.
I used the Irresistible Chocolate Biscuit recipe from pg 183 of my new aptly named ‘Biscuit’ cookbook written by GBBO finalist from series 1 Miranda Gore Browne. It’s a great book by the way, and if you are partial to the odd biscuit or two this is definitely one to put on your birthday list. But there are plenty of other cookbooks and online recipes for a basic chocolate biscuit. You will probably find one in a book you already have. What you are looking for is one that creates a biscuit dough that you can roll out and use cutter on.
What you will need:
- 8-10 rectangle chocolate biscuits
- Some royal icing (I used 250g (half a pack) of the royal icing sugar mixed with water and it was enough)
- Approx 100g white fondant icing
- Red and blue food colour (I used my new India Tree natural food colouring for these and thought they were great)
- Pencil (not too sharp) ruler and greaseproof paper
- 4 icing containers/bottles or bags
- 4 icing tips, I used 2 x PME 2 tips for the piping icing and 2 x PME 4 tips for the flood icing
- 8-10 Lollipop sticks
How to make:
- The first thing I did was draw around the rectangle cookie cutter I used to make the biscuits onto greaseproof paper and cut it out. I then drew on the central cross from the Union Jack followed by the rest of the flag, but but I found that I only really needed the central cross as a guide and the rest of the flag I did freehand
- Next I made my royal icing. Follow the back of the pack with regards to the amount of water needed. Aim to have it fairly stiff, but soft enough to pass through a PME 2 icing tip and holds its shape with out any problems
- Divide icing into 4 small bowls. Put two bowls aside then add a little bit more water to the remaining two bowls. You are aiming for the consistency of custard. This is your flood icing and is what you will use to ‘colour in’ your flag. The other two bowls contain your piping icing which is what you will use to pipe the flag pattern onto your biscuit
- Colour 1 piping and 1 flood icing red/pink and 1 piping and 1 flood icing blue then fill the piping icing into the icing bottles or bags that have the PME 2 tip and the flood icing into the icing bottles or bags with the PME 4 tip
- Roll out your fondant icing (not too thick) and use your rectangle cookie cutter again to cut out rectangles of fondant and stick these onto your biscuits with a little bit of royal icing (I just scraped out the last bits from the bowl I mixed my royal icing in to do this)
Icing your biscuit step by step
- Take your greaseproof paper flag and place on top of the fondant. Use your not too sharp pencil to imprint the central Union Jack cross onto the fondant
- Pipe the pink/red central cross onto the fondant and then add the 4 diagonal lines that come out from the centre of the flag using the PME 2 tip and piping icing
- Now add the blue triangles onto the flag using the PME 2 tip and piping icing
- Fill in the cross and diagonal strips with pink/red flood icing and the blue triangles with blue flood icing using the PME 4 tip
- Leave your biscuits to dry for a couple of hours then stick your lollipop stick on the back with any remaining royal icing and leave to dry over night
- Cover your royal icing with a clean damp j cloth to stop it from drying out at any point
- Don’t cut your biscuits too thick. I think I did mine too thick, and consequently they were a bit on the heavy side as it was tricky getting the lollipop sticks to hold
- Sticking these in a bucket is a great idea for a centrepiece at your Jubilee party but these flags can decorate cakes, desserts, or if making mini ones, you could use as cupcake toppers
- To make mini flags all you need to do is make smaller flags. You could use the thinner wooden coffee stirrer as the flag pole instead of a lollipop stick giving you the perfect excuse to go for a coffee. See how Maision Cupcake has used them here
HAPPY BAKING EVERYONE!
My blog is 6 months old on the 10th April! It only seems like yesterday that I was sitting on this very same chair at my computer wondering if I should take the plunge and start my own blog. I was scared. Mostly of opening up a window into my life for others to see. What would people think of me? What if nobody read my blog? Why would anyone want to read about me? But deep down I had a bubble of excitement. I could imagine how wonderful it would feel to inspire others to bake and maybe people would like what I write and enjoy reading it! So I went for it and it’s safe to say I have not looked back.
In the 6 months of writing my blog, I feel like I have come so far. I had no idea how much fun it would be or how I would feel writing about something I love in my own way without any rules. I have had unwavering encouragement from my family and friends and I have made so many new friends both online and face to face. There is a fantastic blogging community out there which is incredibly supportive, and I have loved becoming part of this. Planning my posts, baking, photographing what I have made and writing about it is now a very important part of my week. People often ask me where I want to go with this blog, and although I can’t give a precise answer, I do know that it is a fabulous adventure which keeps getting better and I am thoroughly enjoying the ride.
One thing I have learnt in the last 6 months, is that the blogging world is full of awards. Which is a great because whilst writing a blog is a fantastic thing to do, it is also a lot of hard work behind the scenes. I have had many late nights baking, writing, formatting and organising blog posts to ensure that my blog is the best I can make it. I’m a bit of a perfectionist!
Many of these awards are based on votes from readers, and I kind of wish they weren’t as I’m just not used to canvasing for votes. However, last week I found out that I have been shortlisted out of 12,000 nominations for the ‘Tasty’ category in the Britmum’s Brilliance in Blogging awards which I am so chuffed about, I just could not keep it quiet.
So firstly I need to say a big thank you to everyone who nominated me in the first instance. It feels amazing to have made the shortlist it really does. I am 1 of 20 shortlisted blogs in this category. The next stage is to become 1 of 8 finalists which would mean an invitation to an awards ceremony in London, (and therefore a new dress) where a panel of high profile judges pick the final winner. Being a finalist would be incredible. Just having that recognition for my blog would be such an achievement and would mean lots of new and exciting exposure for my blog.
But I’m not just going to ask you to vote for me, I’m going to give you good reason to take the time and vote for me. In celebration of my blog being 6 months old and for making the Brilliance in Blogging shortlist I have created the most scrumptious celebration cake you ever did see (and taste). Inspired by my favorite summer flower, my love of pink champagne and a my very dear friend Anna (because its pink and has champers in it) I have come up with a cake that will make any celebration one to remember. I made it mini sized because that was perfect for me, and it is my celebration cake after all. But also I think there is something special and understated about making an individual sized cake for someone. It’s not over the top, yet all the effort and sentiment is still there in extremely cute proportions.
How to vote:
So here is how to vote if you would like to. Click on the BIB logo below and you will be taken to a survey monkey form. Scroll down to the ‘Tasty’ shortlist (it’s not that far down, category number 2) and click next to Homemade By Fleur. Scroll to the bottom and click submit and that’s it. A big thank you to anyone in advance who votes xxx I’ll let you know how I get on.
Recipe: Mini Pistachio and Rose Celebration Cake with Pink Champagne Buttercream
What you will need:
- 2tsp rose syrup (I used Star Kay white rose water)
- 120 ml whole milk
- 120g plain flour
- 100g sugar
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 40g unsalted butter
- 30g pistachio nuts (25g for cake, 5g for decoration on top) finely chopped. I put mine in the food processor for 1-2 mins
- 2 x 11cm sandwich cake tins greased and lined
- large metal spoon
Pink Champagne Buttercream
I prefer not to have too much buttercream on my cake, but if you like lashings of it, you might want to double these quantities.
- 40g unsalted butter
- 165g icing sugar
- 25ml pink champagne (there should be plenty left in the bottle to pour yourself a glass once you have finished the cake :-))
- Pink food colouring (optional)
- Palette knife
- 150g royal icing sugar
- 1-2 tsp water
- Pink and green food colouring (most supermarkets sell natural colours although I did not use them on this occasion)
- Small rose and leaf icing tips
- Icing bags
How to make:
- Preheat your oven to 170c/325f/gas 3
- Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and butter in an electric mixer and combine with a paddle attachment until thoroughly mixed in and has a sand like consistency
- Slowly add the milk, then the rose water, then the eggs
- When you have a smooth batter, fold in the chopped pistachio with a large metal spoon ( remember to save a bit for the decoration)
- Divide the batter between the two cake tins, gently smooth over and put in the oven for 25-30 mins. To check that they are done stick a knife in both cakes and it will come out clean if baked. If not, pop back in for another 5 mins
- Let the cakes cool in the tins for 5 mins, then turn out onto a cooling rack
- Whilst cooling you can make the buttercream. For this just add the icing sugar and soft butter to a bowl and start to mix with an electric mixer. Then add the champagne slowly. Once all the champagne has been added, add a few drops of pink food colouring. I just did one drop at a time as I knew I wanted a light pink. Once you are happy with the colour, continue to mix the buttercream for another 5 mins or so. This step is quite important as it stops your buttercream from being grainy and gives it a light fluffy texture
- Once your cakes are cool slice off any bumps that have risen up on the top of each sponge. Then slice each sponge in half lengthways. Then fill each layer with butter cream and build up your 4 layer cake.
- Then use a small palette knife to cover the outside of the cake with the remainder of the buttercream. I used upwards motions in the side of the cake
- Sprinkle your remaining chopped pistachio around the top of the cake, then make your royal icing by mixing the royal icing sugar and water together until it forms soft peaks. It is probably best to add the water slowly and watching the icing come together. You may need a little less or more water than I have suggested
- Divide your royal icing into two and colour one dark pink and the other one green. To make a rose I watched a couple of You Tube videos, this video is a good one. Essentially you start with the fat part of the icing tip at the bottom and pipe a small closed circle. In some videos they used a flower pin to do this, I just had my cake on a turntable and moved it round as I went. You then start to add on the petals piping 3 around on the first layer and then 4/5 on the second layer. I does not look like a rose to start with but quickly becomes recognisable. I needed a few practice goes first and I piped mine straight onto the cake when I was ready.
- To create leafs, just point the leaf tip close the rose, flat side down and pipe out some icing pulling away as you do and stop piping when it is big enough pulling high to break the icing off
- Give to someone very special and make their day x
If you are inspired by this cake you must also check out fellow blogger Cakeboule’s Tiffiany inspired champagne layer cake. It’s stunning.
I’m also going to send this over to Kate from What Kate Baked to enter the Easter themed Tea Time Treats. This challenge is shared with Karen from Lavender and Lovage. As Easter is a celebration and a time for getting together with the family I think this little cake would make a lovely addition to any table of treats over the Easter weekend.
Making and decorating cakes was really where my passion for the world of baking began. When I moved to London in 2002 to live with my now husband, I was desperate for him to pop the question. This was mostly because I knew he was the one (obviously), but also because I had decided that I wanted to make and decorate my own wedding cake. With no past experience of cake decorating or baking to that level, I had effectively set myself a little creative challenge to get stuck into. So when he did get down on one knee and asked the big question, my head was an ecstatic whirl of wedding plans, but my predominant thoughts were, what is the cake going to be like? How will I do it? Flavours? Colours? Tiers? You may have noticed my little plan there already, but what I have effectively done with my intro is engineered an opportunity to put in a picture of the said wedding cake. I’m still as proud of it today as I was then.
Since my wedding three little bundles have arrived in my life and I love now to bake and make their birthday cakes. Just to see their little faces light up when presented with a birthday cake is so rewarding for me. My son’s recent first birthday was no exception, and I wanted to share how I made his cake because it is one of the easiest I have done, and yet I think that it looks amazing. It is unisex, and probably suitable for a 1-4 year old, so pretty versatile, which is what we busy mums need. So here it is:
The Hungry Caterpillar cupcakes and cake
The nice thing about this cake is that you can do it in stages. I made it over a couple of nights, cooking the cupcakes and cake first and then decorating the next night. Don’t be put off by what looks like a lot of instructions below, it’s really not that bad and a lot of fun to do.
- 24 white cupcake cases (in fact you only use 22 but the mix makes 24. Perfect opportunity to test your work)
- 12 hole cupcake tin (if you happen to have two of these then even better as you can cook all at once)
- 6″ cake tin
- 6″ thin cake board
- Piece of cardboard approx 55cm length, and 45cm width (I just used brown tape to stick two bits of cardboard together)
- Green or spotty wrapping paper
- Cake smoothers – these are a ‘must have’ item as you cant really decorate cakes with sugarpaste without them. All major cake decorating shops should sell them
- Greaseproof paper
Chocolate cupcake recipe
Cupcakes made to this recipe create the most divine ‘melt in the mouth’ sponge and for me this is the main event in a cupcake. The icing makes the cupcake look beautiful, but it is normally too much for me to eat. I class myself as a ‘scrape and dump’ girl when it comes to cupcake icing, so the sponge needs to be good!
- 350ml milk
- 200g dark chocolate (chopped)
- 250g caster sugar
- 120g unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 300g self raising flour
- Preheat oven to 180c/350f/gas 4
- Put milk, a third (83g) of the sugar and the chocolate into a pan and on a low heat melt together stirring frequently. The mixture should be smooth once fully incorporated. Put to one side
- Mix butter with an electric mixer until creamy, then add remaining sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy
- Gradually add the egg, then sift one third of the flour into the mix and fold with a large metal spoon. Now add a third of the chocolate mix and fold, then the flour again, and so on until all the flour and chocolate are mixed in
- Spoon into cases and bake for 15-18 mins
6″ Sponge cake recipe
Baking a sponge cake all in one tin is slightly different to the norm of splitting the cake batter into two shallow cake tins. It takes a bit longer to cook and you have to make sure you do the knife test before deciding it is done as it may look done on top but is not done all the way through inside. For this recipe I have halved the ingredients of a normal 8″ sponge cake.
- 112g unsalted butter
- 112g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 112g self raising flour
- Preheat oven to 180c/350f/gas 4 and grease and line tin with greaseproof paper
- Cream butter and sugar together in a bowel using an electric mixer
- Add vanilla to eggs and beat together
- Then add the egg mix to creamed butter and sugar tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition
- If the mix looks like it might curdle, add a tablespoon of flour and then continue with the eggs until all added
- Sift flour into mix and fold with a large metal spoon
- Transfer mix to cake tin and cake for 35-40 mins, making sure you have checked it is done completely before taking out of the oven. Cool on a wire rack.
Decoration – What you need
- Large icing bag (I like the disposable ones from Lakeland, and don’t throw away after the first use, they are really easy to clean and can be used several times) and a large star piping nozzle
- Red, yellow, green and black food colour paste
- 5mm width red ribbon (optional but it hides a multitude of sins at the bottom of the cake where it is difficult to get completely smooth)
- Tube of ready to write icing
- 500g sugarpaste
- Green, brown and red smarties (the rest in the bag can be for you as reward for baking this masterpiece!)
- Chocolate sugar strands
How to put the cake together
- To make the base simply cover your cardboard with your chosen paper
- Bake your cupcakes and sponge cake as the method describes above
- Make buttercream by mixing 250g room temperature butter with 800g icing sugar and 4-6 tbsps of warm water (if you have a cover for your mixer, it is good to use it at this point as the icing sugar does tend to make a cloud of sugar whilst mixing)
- Divide the buttercream into two bowls. Colour one pale green and the other dark green
- Prepare your icing bag by cutting the end off if disposable and inserting the nozzle. Add half of the light green butter cream to your icing bag and start piping round the outside edge making overlapping circles as you go in towards the centre. Stop the pressure when the bag is at the centre and pull up sharply to finish. Ice as many cupcakes as you can until the icing runs out
- Now put half of the light green icing in the same icing bag (don’t worry if the two greens mix up as this all adds to the look of the cake) and ice cupcakes until it runs out
- Now mix the remaining light green and dark green buttercream together. Probably only needs three turns as we are looking for a marbled effect not fully mixed together. Put a couple of spoonfuls aside for the sponge cake later
- Ice the remainder of your cupcakes
- Using the picture above as a guide place the cupcakes onto your board. Don’t worry too much about where your light green, dark green or mixed cupcakes go, but perhaps consider placing the shades together if you can
- Cut the sponge cake in half and fill with jam and some of the reserved buttercream. Place the two halves together again and smear with remaining butter cream. Place on the thin cake board
- Take two thirds of your sugarpaste and colour with the red paste. I use a cocktail stick to dot the paste onto the sugarpaste and then kneed until fully mixed in
- Sprinkle some icing sugar onto your surface and roll out the sugarpaste until it looks big enough to cover the top of the cake and the sides as well. As you start to lift the sugarpaste to place onto the cake put your rolling pin in under the paste to help support it.
- Once sugarpaste is on the cake smooth it down onto the sides right down to the bottom and ease away any creases. You might find that the sugarpaste wants to ‘ruffle’ up at the bottom but try and move these ruffles to the very bottom away from the cake where they can be trimmed off later. Use your smoothers to rub over the top and then round the sides. Trim off excess sugarpaste by running a sharp knife around the bottom of the cake. Don’t cut up flush to the cake, leave 1-2 cms and then use your smoothers again to rub round the bottom of the cake. Covering cakes is a case of practice makes perfect so don’t worry if it is not completely smooth. Minor imperfections can always be covered up, (see next step)
- Move the cake into position on the board. Wrap the red ribbon round the bottom of the cake and stick the ends together with pritt stick. I did another bad of ribbon half way up as well and stuck red smarties on the sides (to help cover my own imperfections) but you can choose not to do this is you don’t want to
- Colour three small amounts of sugarpaste yellow, green and black. Make two yellow flat ovals for the eyes, another two slightly smaller green ovals for the pupils, then make a small green button shape for the nose and stick in place with the writing icing. Now make six black little booties and place half a cocktail stick in to the top of each leaving half of the stick still exposed. Use the above picture as a guide and place the booties by pushing the cocktail stick under the relevant cupcake. Finally, make two black antennae and use a cocktail stick to attach them to the cake by pushing the stick half into each antenna and half into the cake. If you have any red or green sugarpaste left you can make a flat strawberry like I did in the picture to write happy birthday on. To do this simply roll and cut to shape.
- Finally, put green and brown smarties and chocolate sugar strands on the edges of the cupcakes which make the back of the caterpillar. And there you have it your very own Hungry Caterpillar and a very happy child!