Pimped Easter Eggs!

This post has nothing to do with wedding cakes - but everything to do with having fun with your food!

Every year I give my family's easter eggs an up-grade. I've blogged one instructions (very loose instructions....) before, click on the "Easter Eggs" link (at the bottom, or over there --->) to find it.

Here are this year's eggs!

Golden Snitch egg...with edible wings!!

Golden Snitch egg...with edible wings!!

Asterix Easter Egg!

Asterix Easter Egg!

Wilson from castaway easter egg!

Wilson from castaway easter egg!

Have a lovely Easter!

Food Standards Agency

I've had my routine food safety inspection and I'm delighted to say I got the full 5 stars!

I think it's important to brag about this becuase I work from home. Many, many cake makers work from home, but that doesn't stop people some times assuming that it's therefore a 'hobby'. This is a full-time business and my sole income. I am registered, insured, and all the rest of it. If you get your cake from a home-based business then it's completely acceptable to ask what their food hygiene rating is. If they haven't got one then run a mile! A good food hygiene rating means you have safe working practices and treat your catering business seriously.

The advantage of buying from a home-based business is, of course, that the price of your cake doesn't include shop overheads. Also, I don't take on too many orders so yours will always get the attention it deserves.

Still got it!!!

A post shared by Jen's Cakery (@jenscakery) on

Hampton Court Palace

A quick post about Sunday! I don't need to tell you that Hampton Court Palace is beautiful, nor that it has a remarkable historical connection with the institution of marriage. Humm. Well, if we learned one thing from Henry VIII it would be that it's quality not quantity that counts when it comes to weddings!

Hampton Court Palace

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Hampton Court Palace approved suppliers wedding showcase. I took a few of the girls (Maya, Tootsie, Delilah and Greenery, to be precise) and a huuuuge pile of slices of chocolate and salted caramel cake.

I met LOTS of lovely couples - one couple who'd only been engaged for a week! - and lots of really incredible suppliers, including but not limited to: Gatsby-inspired girl group The WIld Tonics, Toastmaster Ian Low, Stationers Coral and Slate and Florists Lavender Green and Violets and Velvet.

1920s singers The Wild Tonics eating a whole wedding cake.

If you are getting married at Hampton Court Palace then get in touch. I deliver and set-up there for free!

Literally Literary Wedding Cakes

I've writen about naked and semi-naked cakes recently, but my real love is for iced cakes. Once a cake is iced, you can do almost anything with it, decoration-wise, as the icing can take all sorts of pimping! One of my favourite quirky ideas is my 'book club' cake.

I first made this cake for Michelle and Graham in 2013. They had met through an on-line book club, and they came to me with the idea of a pile of penguin classics. I grabbed some books from the bookshelf to try and demonstrate how we might stack them. Graham said that most of the books I'd (randomly) grabbed were books they'd have on their cake. And that was the exact moment I fell in love with these two!! The link above is well worth a look, not least because their photographer was awesome Assassynation.

Since then, I've made this cake so many times. Every time is different. Two things stay the same:

(1) I'm told that all the guests wondered why there was a pile of books on the table, not realising that they'd be eating them later!

(2) Someone, somewhere, will see the cake and ask me if the couple get to choose the books. Yes. Yes they do. It would be some kind of weird cake maker that met a couple once and then made sweeping generalisations about which books they'd want!! I'd never have got to ecclectic lists such as Noam Chomsky / Black Beauty or The Very Hungry Caterpillar / Wuthering Heights!

The top book can be a 'real' book, or it can be something to summarise things, such as "The Next Chapter by Georgina and Daniel", or "A Day at The Zoo by Julia and Jeff", who were married at London Zoo.

Of course the books don't have to be penguin classics. They just lend themselves so well to making a fun cake as they are iconic, beautiful and - my favourite bit - brightly coloured! I can make them any colours though so you could have some more muted colours if you prefer. I believe that the aforementioned 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' is yet to be published as a penguin classic, but the campaign starts now.

Louisa and Sam sent me a lovely card after the wedding, and I think Louisa's words serve as a pretty ace review for this design. Lousia says, "What can I say? THE CAKE WAS AMAZING!!! Seriously, we had fairly high expectatoins but you completely blew us away! Your cake was the talking point of the whole wedding, people were wondering at it for days afterwards: it basically stole the show! Several people even confessed to me they thought it was a bit odd that we had a stack of books on the table - until we cut it...And I have to agree - we were marvelling at the level of detail: the way you had added individual pages, the way each spine wrapped around the books. Incredible!" 

If books are the way to your heart, then do get in touch. I WANT to hear from you!!

An "iconic album cover" themed buffet table.

Hot on the heels of last new year's eve's themed buffet table quiz round, I present to you our 2016/17 NYE buffet table! This year's party theme was songs: everyone dressed as a song, and our quiz was music-based. In a room with quite a few serious music buffs, the quiz was entirely non-serious. Infact, the buffet table round was possibly the closest we got to testing anyone's music knowledge. The kids were slightly mystified by it though ("what's an album?") but the food kept them interested. So, for your enjoyment, here it is. Name the 23 iconic (ahem) albums hidden with this buffet table!

Last year my photography was hampered by the fact I was wearing Madonna's white lace gloves. This year I KNEW I would be hampered by my costume (I went as Nena's 99 Red Balloons) so I managed to take photos earlier!

1. Houmous and Celery

3. The Roast is Toast. Roast chicken drumsticks.

5. Quavers. I was pretty pleased with myself over this, I can tell you.

7. Cheese board and percy pig.

9. Brownies

11. Sherbert fountains. Yes, I do a very classy buffet table.

13. Retro sweets

15. Lemonade

17. Jazzles

19. A bag of chocolate money

2. Tzatziki, carrot & cucumber (and, err, raisins)

4. Sausages. Full disclosure: this maybe isn't an 'iconic' album, more of an album cover that featured sausages, and I really wanted to eat sausages.

6. Pineapple & cheese. Ditto on the 'pretty pleased with myself" front.

8. Banana

10. Mini pavlovas with slightly frightening lychee & blueberry eyeballs.

12. Mince pies

14. A little hard to tell, but these are jelly babies, in jelly. It turns out that jelly babies dissolve in jelly...so this is a little more macabre than the album cover that it represents.

16. Chocolate sticks.

18. Cake!

20. Popcorn/chocolate/lemon combo!

21. Cookies

22. Napkins

23. Plates

How many can you guess? How many do you own?? Can you work out my age based on the albums I chose??? (clue: I do not know one single song from number 23). Answers below.........

1. The Cure, Boys Don't Cry.

2. Ride, Going Blank Again.

3. The Smiths, Meat is Murder.

4. Crosbie Stills and Nash, Live it Up. (yeah, ok, I don't know it either, just here for the sausages...)

5. Kylie Minogue, Kylie.

6. Limahl, Never Ending Story. YES IT IS ICONIC.

7. Pink Floyd, Animals.

8. Velvet Underground & Nico.

9. Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures.

10. The Pixies, Trompe Le Monde.

11. Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill.

12. David Bowie, Blackstar.

13. Happy Mondays, Pills Thrills & Bellyaches.

14. Nirvana, Nevermind.

15. Beyonce, Lemonade.

16. Led Zepellin, IV.

17. Radiohead, Pablo Honey.

18. Rolling Stones, Let it Bleed.

19. Teenage Fanclub, Bandwagonesque.

20. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses.

21. Sex Pistols, Never Mind The Bollocks.

22. The Beatles, White Album.

23. Kanye West, Yeezus.

 

Semi-naked Cakes

At the start of the year, I wrote a post about Naked Cakes. I've made looooads of beautiful naked cakes this year, but there is a new rising star on on the horizon - the semi-naked cake - so I thought I would jot down a few thoughts about those! I've made loads of them this year and I'm expecting them to be just as popular next year. Why? Here's why....

A semi-naked cake? That just sounds weird.

Yeah, not the greatest ever name. I don't know who came up with it. A naked cake has no icing on the outside - a semi-naked has a bit. Just a scraping so you get nice straight lines, but with a bit of cake peeping through.

Let's call them something else.

Fine with me - I go for 'Salome'. She was the biblical character who perfermed the dance of the seven veils. In my head, this cake is doing a strip-tease.

What do they look like?

Pretty! Check out the pictures. They can be dressed with fresh flowers and/or fruit. They are a really ace mix of rustic and contemporary. If you like your rustic to be tidy, then this is what you want.

Do you supply the flowers?

Normally, you will just order them from your florist, and I'll arrange them on the cake.

Are they a good budget option?

Yep. I charge a little bit more than a naked cake, as they are a little bit more work, but they are still less work than a fully iced cake and that's reflected in the price.

Can they be any flavour?

Yes - you can have different flavours in different tiers. Some flavours work better than others.

Can I have one?

Drop me an email and I'll sort it all out for you!

A "1980s movies" themed buffet table.

Firstly, an apology as this post has absolutely nothing to do with wedding cakes, or even weddings. However it does include some cupcakes, and also a lot of...urm...creativity with food. It is in fact a bit of a public service post. When I decided to have a 1980s movie themed New Years Eve party, complete with themed buffet table, I obviously thought the internet would give me all the ideas I needed. Imagine my surprise when I could find NO blog posts about 80s movies themed buffet tables? So I'm posting mine as a service to all of you out there, for the sake of internet completeness.

Before I go on, an apology for the crumby photography. I was dressed as Madonna in Desperatly Seeking Susan, and it is VERY hard to take decent photographs when you're wearing white lace gloves. How Madonna achieved so much, whilst wearing such impractical gloves, I don't know. 

This buffet table was actually the first round of a quiz (we know how to party).  So the challenge was: examine the buffet table, and find the 22 movies hidden within it. Then eat.

Because the photography is SO bad, here's what you are looking at:

  1. A bowl of roast chicken with a can of coke.
  2. A bowl of sausages, with some signage saying "Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago"
  3. Dips in monkey-skull shaped bowls (which I made from air-drying clay, if you are interested, although you can buy 'proper' ones on line.)
  4. Carrots for dipping. Labelled "Camberwell Carrots".
  5. Celery for dipping. Labelled "Kryptonite".
  6. Pate and toast. I had to reassure my guests that the pate not foie gras. No geese were harmed in the making of the pate. In this particular instance, goose hasn't died. Yes, that is a clue.
  7. Cheese board Stonehenge. Not real size.
  8. On the cheese, between two chopsticks, a small fly made of a raisin and flaked almonds. 
  9. A trail of M&Ms... 
  10. Chocolates, in shape of someone dramatically handsome, frozen in carbonite. You can buy the moulds for these on line.
  11. A pile of chocolate money and other pirate gold, watched over by a skull with one eye.
  12. A mountain of mince pies, with the sign "tri-county Pie Eat - barf-o-rama"
  13. A chocolate fondue. Which we're calling a Fire Swamp.
  14. Marshmallows for fondue-dipping. In the shape of the the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
  15. Iced cookies, in the shape of fish. In a fish bowl. Ready to be eaten. Alive.
  16. A display of cream eggs, slightly mutilated to look more alien.
  17. A bowl of popcorn, with some monster-y fingers holding the bowl and (probably) chucking it around the room.
  18. Jelly, made up to look like cocktails.
  19. Cupcakes, with a dangerous looking pot plant on the top.
  20. After eight mints. Wafer thin.
  21. Novelty bank note serviettes.
  22. A watermelon.
*faints*

*faints*

Feed me...

Feed me...

barf--o-rama

barf--o-rama

Don't call me stupid

Don't call me stupid

We came, we saw, we kicked its ass.

We came, we saw, we kicked its ass.

They mostly come at night....mostly...

They mostly come at night....mostly...

Stone'enge

Stone'enge

At some point in your life, you WILL need this blog post. Book mark it for later.

Answers....below. Scroll down and let me know how you scored!

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The Blues Brothers. "4 fried chickens and a coke"

  2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Ferris tells the doorman at the fancy restaurant that he is Abe Froman, sausage king of Chicago.

  3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

  4. Withnail and I.

  5. Superman II. The 2 is important. I will not accept Superman as your answer, this is a 1980s film quiz, people.

  6. Top Gun. (Tenuous. Roll with the goose explanation).

  7. This Is Spinal Tap.

  8. Karate Kid. Not The Fly. The chopsticks are there for a reason!

  9. ET

  10. Empire Strikes Back and/or Return of the Jedi. I will not accept Star Wars, as it's the wrong answer.

  11. The Goonies

  12. Stand by Me

  13. Pricess Bride

  14. Ghostbusters

  15. A Fish Called Wanda

  16. Aliens. Not Alien. Refer to 5.

  17. Gremlins

  18. Cocktail

  19. Littel Shop of Horrors

  20. Monty Python's Meaning of Life

  21. I'll give you a point for the Colour of Money and/or Wall Street.

  22. Dirty Dancing.

Naked Cakes

The new year always brings with it a flurry of enquiries and this year is no exception! As usual I'm getting lots of enquiries about one design more than any other - I call it "Lady Godiva", but the cake world calls them naked cakes.

Naked cakes are as popular as ever, and it's not hard to see why. All your guests will be love it: the ones that love eating cake, the ones that like cake to look like cake, and the ones that want to see something really different. They are quirky AND traditional, all at the same time, and they look soooo delicious!

Lots of people don't want iced cakes. They've been put off sugarpaste (aka 'fondant', the smooth icing most cake makers use) by those supermarket birthday cakes with a thick wodge of sugarpaste on the top. These naked cakes are perfect for you, sugarpaste haters. However, in defence of icing, I usually tell clients that my cakes don't have a big slab of icing on the top, it's much thinner - I'm not mass-producing these things like the supermarkets do so I can take the time to make it nice. Also, once the cake has been cut each slice only has a tiny bit of icing on the top so it doesn't dominate. But if you're still anti-icing, go naked!


Mmm, Cake. What flavours work best?

For me personally, I love naked cakes to be a traditional jam-and-buttercream cake, like a viccy sponge. I like the way the jam oozes out of the sides! So I'd go for a combination of vanilla ad raspberry, and strawberry and champagne tiers.

But then again....they look ace with lovely chocolate cakes filled with lighter coloured buttercream, so chocolate and salted caramel, or choc orange, or chocolate and peanut butter....

I make lots that totally mix and match the flavours, too, and you can see from the pics above that they look fantastic too - so anything goes!

Fruit? Flowers? How should we decorate it?

I love them decorated with fresh fruit and fresh flowers. I supply all the fruit, and I'll ask you to order your flowers from your florist. Obviously, they can't be toxic flowers! The flowers sit on top of the cakes but they are in contact with cake you'll eat, so if you hate the idea of fresh flowers on cakes (some people do, and that's fine!) then just stick with the fruit. You can see it still looks fab! Either way, I'll set the cake up and arrange all the fruit and/or flowers on it.

Oh but I read that they dry out...

I have never worried about this. I bake them at the very last minute, and use great recipes that really aren't dry, and I set it up as late as I possibly can for you. They don't get a chance to dry out! Sure, if you baked it a few days in advance, or set it up the night before, it wouldn't be nice, but I'm not going to do that. So don't believe all the internet scaremongering, but do select your baker carefully!

Budget-busting?

Not at all, Naked cakes are obviously less work for me than an iced cake covered in sugarflowers, and that's reflected in the price.

I want one now!

Yay! Drop me an email!

My very first blog post

So, now I have a blog. I am planning to use the blog for cakery news, and also for highlighting some of the beautiful styling I see at weddings...plus a few makery and bakery ideas! Jen x