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.