Wedding cake practice

In July I am making my brothers wedding cake and wanted to learn some new skills to make it pretty. Whilst browsing Instagram I came across a beautifully decorated cake using buttercream flowers – actually a promo for a teach yourself kit that Wilton sells. The first challenge I had was locating somewhere in the UK that actually sold it (massive thanks to the UK Wilton Customer Services team who helped me locate one!) once that was done, last weekend was a practice run.

Slightly over the top colours (some testing with my ColourRight colours) but generally, not a bad first go!


Rainbow cake 

One of my friends had her third baby a week or so ago and today I went to visit and meet him. Rather than take presents as he really doesn’t need any clothes, I thought I’d make a bright colourful cake for her family to enjoy – it also gives me the opportunity for some much needed decorating practice as I am making my brothers wedding cake later on this year.

I used the Wilton 5 pan set, and coloured the cakes green, blue, pink, purple and yellow!

Iced with traditional buttercream icing and topped with 100’s and 1000’s.


275g caster sugar
275g self raising flour
275g margarine
5 eggs
2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp milk

500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter
50ml milk
Vanilla extract


1. Lightly beat eggs
2. Add to mixing bowl with all other ingredients and mix until smooth.
3. Separate into 5 bowls (c200g per bowl)
4. Colour each of the mixtures according to preference NB I use colour gels rather than liquids as it’s much more potent and creates a much brighter colour – the thing to be wary of is getting it on your hands as it is hard to get off!!
5. Put into greased and floured tins and into pre heated oven (180c) for 18mins
6. Take out of oven and leave to cool for 5 mins before removing from tins and place on cooling on wire rack until completely cold.


1. Beat butter and icing sugar together.
2. Add milk and vanilla slowly until incorporate then beat on medium/high speed for 5 mins until light and fluffy.

Recipes, Vegetables

Amazing cabbage 

Not 2 words you normally hear together, but in this case, it’s true.

Just calling it cabbage is a bit of a lie though…

It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe that I love to make in the winter, although it also makes a delicious cold accompaniment in the summer.

1 x red cabbage, centre removed and chopped into chunks
1 x red onion, sliced
2 x apples, peeled, cored and chunked
150ml balsamic vinegar
1 x packet good quality streaky bacon, fixed
1 x tbsp fennel seeds

1. Pour some olive oil into a saucepan, get it hot and add the bacon and fennel seeds.

2. Cook until golden then add the onion and continue to cook, with the lid on, for a few more minutes until golden and sticky.

3. Add the apple, followed by the cabbage chunks, salt and pepper and the vinegar, and stir everything together well.

4. Put the lid back on and continue to cook on a low heat for an hour, checking and stirring every so often.

5. Scoop it into a serving dish, put the butter on top and sprinkle over the parsley.


´╗┐Ombre icing

Today is the birthday of one of my colleagues. Without going into too much detail, she’s had a pretty rubbish 12 months so I wanted to help her celebrate in style.

Inspired by The Great British Bake Off, I wanted to up the stakes when it came to both the baking/cake and the icing.

Cake wise, I opted for a traditional Victoria sponge base – with some whole raspberries throughout for a bit of variety, but icing wise, I was inspired by the ombre fashion.

9 medium sized eggs
16oz butter
16oz caster sugar
16oz self raising flour
200g raspberries
1tsp baking powder
240g unsalted butter
750g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
75g full fat milk

Method Cake

1. Cream butter and sugar together until light, fluffy and pale
2. Add eggs one by one (adding a little of the flour if needed to prevent curdling
3. Add flour
4. Add vanilla essence
5. Beat until light and fluffy
6. Split between 3 prepared (greased/floured/lined) cake tins (c25cm diameter)
7. Bake in a preheated over (c. 180) for 25-35 mins – until golden and a skewer comes out clean
8. Allow to cool


1. Soften butter
2. Gradually add icing sugar and milk
3. Once incorporated, beat on high speed for around 5 mins, until light and mousse like

I also did three tiers (not something I do very often, and made more difficult by the fact I only have sets of 2 tins!!).

Cake turned out well – and i’ll try the ombre again as it looked pretty!IMG_2917 IMG_2918


the pudding stop

  A brief entry today and no recipe…

Last weekend was the local annual food festival – lots of pop up stalls and restaurants in the town de true showcasing their wares to encourage regular visitors I guess.

One that took my particular fancy was The Pudding Stop – a regular feature outside the station on my way me (yes, every evening I have to pit my will power against this little cart so that I don’t turn up at home with a dessert…)

And the item in question was a salted caramel and peanut butter brownie. I love salted caramel and I love brownies, but one thing I don’t normally like is peanut butter (that in itself is an oddity to me as a love butter and I love peanuts). Actually not strictly true, I don’t like peanut butter but I do like peanut butter flavoured things, such as Reece’s pieces or peanut butter cups.. Anyway I digress… 
So I bought said brownie and OMG it was amazing – it lasted me 4 sittings (I diligently cut it into 4 before I started otherwise it would have been gone in one and I would have felt very sick…) 

I am now just summoning up the audacity to ask him for the recipe so I can make it myself…


What do you do with unripe tomatoes….?

  For the first time this year I grew tomatoes – my mum gave me 6 plants and so I felt a little obliged to try and make them produce tomatoes…

They were a little (a lot) late going from pots to bags so unfortunately didn’t really benefit from the long hot summer (!!) we experienced, and whilst we did get a reasonable number of nice juicy red tomatoes we also had a lot of yellow/green and not ripe ones which I needed to harvest today as the plants are dying.

So, what to do with a load of unripe fruit? Add loads of sugar to it and turn it into something tasty – ,ugh as you can stew apples and make a lovely crumble, I decided to make chutney.

Using a recipe from ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly – preserves’ book that I was kindly given by my boyfriends father (more on that at another date) I gave chutney making my first try.


  • 8 medium tomatoes (or in my case, c. 1.5kg)
  • 3 medium white onions, finely diced
  • 300g brown sugar 
  • 375ml malt vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coarse cooking salt

I actually didn’t have a number of these ingredients (mustard powder and cooking salt – what is that anyway?) so used standard salt from my salt grinder and upped the cayenne in place of the mustard powder.


  1. Peel and coarsely chop the tomatoes (I didn’t peel them)
  2. Mix with all other ingredients and simmer (uncovered) for 1 1/4 hours or until mixture is thick – stirring occasionally
  3. Spoon hot chutney into hot sterilised jars and seal while hot