Thursday, December 30, 2010

Big numbers, small numbers and cake on a stick...

Finally getting round to uploading some photos of recent cake creations, both for special birthdays!  One was for my son's Grandma's 70th, so I opted for a subtle cake, with raised "7-0" created with fondant icing.  White and pink handmade poseys were then placed around the number, along with a sprinkling of spray lustre to lift the whole thing.  

Next was my son's 1st birthday, which I think I'd been subconsciously planning since he was about 6 weeks old.  It was originally going to be Peter Rabbit but he became fascinated with Waybuloo so I switched to that as a theme.  We were having an 'open house' afternoon rather than a party so I made cupcakes with fondant icing sheet toppers which featured hearts, flowers and cut outs of the number 1.  Guests had the cupcakes which left the main cake for the remaining family to cut later on in the day.  Meant that guests arriving later in the afternoon weren't faced with a half-eaten birthday cake!

The Piplings were made using fondant and were entirely edible (much to the delight of my 5 year-old son!)  I'm quite keen on this arrangement for a birthday party as it is more versatile.  My 5 year old's birthday is coming up and the cake and cupcakes will be out in force (Ben 10 Alien Force!) again; cupcakes for party tea and cake to be cut for party bags.

Another development (or experiment!) in the Curiositea kitchen is Bakerella's Cakepops!  I'd been fascinated with the idea and tried some for Christmas.  My son took them to a Christmas party he went to and they went down extremely well!  I'm thinking of perfecting the art in the future as they are ideal for children's parties, as well as being incredibly decadent!

2010 has been an incredible year for me and I'm so excited about what 2011 will hold in store.  I love being invited to contribute to your celebrations, so feel free to contact me to see what we can come up with!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmassy Cosiness

Everything's turning Christmassy and I'm gearing up for the Christmas Fairs at The Guildhall in York this weekend.  

This is one of my most recent creations which will be for sale; a very cute Christmas Pudding Tea Cosy!  It's is entirely handknitted, (including the holly leaves!) and topped with button berries.  There'll be some Pink Cupcake Tea Cosies available too, along with homemade, hand decorated mini fruit gift cakes, bunting, mug hugs and plenty of other bits and pieces. 

I'm so excited to be sharing the stall again with Classic Crockery, who'll have some fantastic vintage teacup candles for sale, along with other handmade items and decorations.

I've got so many plans for delicious treats to prepare ready for the weekend, I'm just hoping that there are enough hours in the day to get everything done!  

It's the last weekend before Christmas so come along and get those last minute presents from local producers.  You never know the perfect present for the tricky-to-buy-for might be waiting for you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Merchant Adventurers Hall St Nicholas Christmas Fair

Preparations are well underway for the Merchant Adventurers Hall St Nicholas Christmas Fair on Saturday 27th November. It starts at 10am and is on until 4.30. Could well be snowy so hope people come well wrapped up!

I'm busy finishing mini and half-sized Christmas cakes for the day as well as some craft items such as tea cosies and bunting.

I'm also planning some other tasty treats so can't wait! Right, back to it.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Curiositea Cupcakes at Bar Lane Studios

I'm so excited to be able to announce that Curiositea Cupcakes can now be purchased at the gorgeous Bar Lane Studios Cafe which is adjacent to Micklegate Bar in York.


I'm so pleased to be associated with this exceptional organisation.  It is a spectacular social enterprise which not only supports local artists, practitioners and creative graduates, but is also rather snazzy too.

Their range of art, design and digital media courses begins next week, and from Wednesday there'll be some cute pink cupcakes to enjoy with your coffee too!

More information can be found on their website (about the courses, not the cupcakes!) which is  and a map of their location is below.

Might see you there!

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wedding fair at The Priory

Thank you so much to everyone who came to the Priory near Wetherby today. It was great to meet so many brides to be. More photos will follow so, as will the price lists as promised.

Such a lovely day!

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Monday, November 1, 2010


Our plans to create the most monstrous of Halloween cakes didn't quite happen, but my 4 year old son and I did manage to create a beautiful round sponge cake (albeit green!) ready to decorate today.  Halloween is so yesterday so we opted for the variation on the Fireworks Box Cake I'd promised we'd do.  Orange icing was still the order of the day (as my son had set his heart on it!) so we worked around this.

We found some jelly diamonds to create the fireworks on the box.  I wrote across the cake (battling with some very stubborn writing fudge icing!) and then Harvey was free to decorate with sugar stars and edible glitter!

 He did such a good job and it was so lovely for me to be able to recreate this cake with my family.  Cutting it will be interesting, and fishing out the buttercream coated sweets will be a challenge but that's all part of the fun!  We've been used to eating fairy cakes with black and green icing this week, due to various Halloween creations, so anything currently goes in this house!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes

I've had great fun this week using orange cake cases, green and black food colouring and making ghosts and bats! Tried to create something spooky but without any hidden nasties. I managed to find natural colourings, even the black, and avoided using sweets for decoration which contained gelatine, to ensure they were vegetarian. This is my second spooky batch and I love them!
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Remember, remember....

Since having children my Mum has passed some of her cake decoration books down to me for ideas.  The holy grail of which was the Cadbury's Novelty Cookbook which annually my brother and I would peruse to choose our birthday cake.  I couldn't wait to make a farmyard cake with a tractor ploughing up the chocolate icing in the green dessicated coconut field for my son's 3rd birthday!  Though was slightly dismayed at the amount of butter which was required in the recipe!  A chocolate cake, with raisins in too which I'd not come across before either!

The other great thing to look through now, twenty or so years later, is all of the magazine pages which my Mum had torn out, with cake decorating instructions on.  I remember her creating this enormous teacup and saucer, with silver painted decoration on it which was for a magazine.  Only a vague memory, so I'm sure I've missed some of the details.  

One cake I do remember my Mum cooking for us was a version of the box of fireworks (something I plan to do for my family this year - shhhhh!)  Using sweets which look like packets of sparklers, rockets and catherine wheels, they explode out of your cake 'box'!

I think my Mum used chocolate buttercream to decorate the cake 'box', and possibly used something else for the lettering on the top.  My memory of this cake was that it was so thrilling!  That memory is probably mixed with the excitement of Bonfire Night itself, and my Mum's cakes were always better than the photos in the books or magazines.  I might try to adapt the idea somehow, but something draws me to making it just as it was described in the 80's.  I'm never sure when something is vintage or retro, but for me this cake is certainly nostalgic.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Love Autumn

Though we seem to be having nicer weather now that we're into October, than we did in July, there's no doubt that Autumn is here as there is definitely a nip in the air.

My thoughts are already well and truly into Christmas so it's nice to be starting to complete some of my 'Winter' projects ready for some fairs I'll be doing in York up to Christmas.

I've nearly finish a limited run of Love Autumn bunting, the first of which is pictured here.  There will only be three of these garlands made due to the limited amount of fabric I have.  I may be doing some others using the red and rose fabrics but sadly I have no more of the striped.  The woe (and joy!) of using found fabrics as once they're gone they're gone!  Though it does mean there are some more exclusive items to add to my collection.

Can't wait to showcase more craft items, but had better get on and finish some more first!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Nanny's Sherry Fruit Cake

Having set a competition question recently, for which the answer was 'my nan's sherry fruit cake' it's great to finally get round to using it again and filling the house with such wonderful Christmassy smells.  I love that this recipie has been passed down to me from my Mum, who inherited it from her Mum, my Nan.

My Nan was wonderful.  She could knit for Britain (a skill I'm hoping has been passed down to me, as I attempt to improve my own knitting), and her house was always warm and welcoming.  She lived in a small cottage in Newent, Gloucestershire, and I remember my Uncle and my Dad having to stoop to get through the doorways inside.  The kitchen (if memory serves me correctly) had a stone floor and always seemed dark, but always warm and with something delicious cooking on the stove.  I distinctly remember the ceramic chicken which housed the eggs too!

Willo the WispThough I don't remember my Nan cooking the recipe I do remember my Mum cooking it.  It would be a cold, dark Autumn evening and my brother and I would be sat watching Blue Peter or Willo the Wisp and the smells of mixed spice and sherry would waft through to the livingroom.  My Mum would always come in with the mixture to let us stir and make a wish; a tradition I have now continued with my eldest son.

Stirring the mixture today, I think of my Nan, I think of my Mum, and I think of my family.  Memories of the past and hopes for the future are stirred into the mix.  I always put twelve cherries in; one for each month of the year to come.  I look forward to the cakes I am making today becoming part of other people's Christmas', traditions and family memories.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fantastic fabric

I've finally sorted out my fabric stash - well, when I say sorted, I suppose I mean got it all out and had a look through it then put it all back roughly where it was in the first place.  It's frightening how much I've accumulated.

It mainly comprised of two suitcase full of remnants of fabric which  inherited from my parents and various relatives along the way.  They are stuffed with old curtains, nets, scraps of cloth, half-made clothing and some fabrics which I've no idea what they could have been intended for!  There are bags of scraps too which are a treasure trove for things I'm making which have appliqué motifs on them.

I also buy things from charity shops - the worn duvet cover, the stained tablecloth, the lonely pillowcases.  I also love to re-purpose the clothing casualties!  Turning the singed checked shirt into an apron; or shirts with worn collars and ink stains into bunting flags.  I'm about to start a Memory Quilt for my son who starts school in January.  I want to keep hold of some of the t-shirts from his toddler years and make him something he can cherish for a while longer.

My approach to using fabric is 'waste-not-want-not'.  As I'm using rare vintage fabric or a fantastic unique pattern, I want to make sure I squeeze as much out of it as possible, as it's very unlikely that I'd find it again.  I make sure I cut my patterns out as economically as possible.  Any scraps are kept (even the tiny ones)!  The larger sized pieces are re-cut and used for appliqué motifs; the small, thin strips are made into rosettes, awkward scraps are made into Curiositea labels, and the rest is used as stuffing.  I love the fabrics I use and love creating things with them which can be enjoyed by others.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New £22 Curiositea Cake Range

I'm so excited to share images of the first two additions to a range of birthday cakes I'm developing, which will each cost just £22!

The first is a Giant Cupcake which is glittery and fun and can be decorated in whatever colour scheme you wish.  It is a vanilla sponge cake with strawberry jam and buttercream filling and decorated using pink buttercream, sugar decorations and edible glitter.

This cake would serve around 12 people and is just £22!

It comes boxed and on a small thin cake board.  Cake stand not included though can be hired if required.  Please enquire for more details.

This cake would be ideal for the little princess in the family.  If you wish you could also add to your order with some regular cupcakes, decorated accordingly.  Prices start from £9 for a dozen so feel free to enquire.

This would look great too on top of our 7-tier cake stand with a mountain of regular cupcakes beneath to make a fun alternative to a traditional wedding cake!  Icing and decorations can be made to coordinate perfectly with your colour scheme, and bespoke handmade edible toppers can also be added to your order.

The second cake is for the little monster in your house!  This cheeky Sweet Monster has devoured all the goodies, so he'd better get eaten up quick!

He is a vanilla sponge with buttercream filling covered with green fondant icing.  His mouth is filled with sweets but could be any kind of monster you like; a Chocolate Monster, a Cake Monster!  And colours can be altered as required.

Why not add to your party with some mini monsters made from cupcakes with handmade mini monster toppers.  You could even have a Trick Or Treat Monster or Ghostly Ghoul for a monstrous Halloween party!

It comes boxed on a thin cake board (plate not included).

This cake would serve around 12 people and is just £22!

More designs will be added to this range very soon including a Princess and a Pirate!  

Please contact me if you have any specific requirements as I'm more than happy to come up with designs and prices for you to choose from.  I've had so much fun making these and can't wait to do some more!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Look What I've Made

I am absolutely thrilled tonight as Look What Mum's Made, which is on Gillygate in York, have agreed to stock some of my bunting!  I'm so excited, and really hope that more items will be accepted soon.  This feels like such a big step for me, but something that definitely seems like the most appropriate one at the moment.

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Make sure you pop down to have a nosey at the other items there too, as there really do have some beautiful items.  I am so proud to have some of my work included there too.  Let me know what you think!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nerves of steal

It's been a busy weekend so far with two challenging cake requests to tackle.  I always love a challenge as turning an idea into a cake is half the fun!  This weekend has taught me that no matter how well thought through the idea is, how planned the plan is, it's not until you've got that fondant in front of you that you know how it will turn out.

And the clock's ticking.  From the moment the cake's baked you're on a countdown until the cake is collected.  Usually there's an event for which the cake is a key ingredient.  When thing's go wrong (which is usually at half past midnight, let's be honest!) you can either give up or press on.  The thought of giving up can often be the thing that spurs you on.  It did for me last night.  The thought of ringing a customer to say "I'm sorry but..." doesn't bear thinking about!  So I pressed on.

And it wasn't quite as disastrous as I'd first thought.  Half an hour later I was ready to leave things for the night and was pleasantly surprised to see that nothing had collapsed while I slept.  Some last minute tidying up first thing and a cake subsequently collected and hopefully well received.

To me my cakes are a labour of love; I enjoy making them and love the challenge of decorating them.  But their life-span is relatively brief - sometimes even a fraction of the time it took to create them.  Within hours they are reduced to crumbs and committed to memory.  They become part of a birthday, a retirement, a childhood recollection.  Which is as it should be.

Once a cake is collected I never relax until I know the occasion has taken place.  I hope the has cake lived up to expectation and I can begin to nurse my rattled nerves and start planning the next creation.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ladybirds and the bees

Had fun making these little fellows last night.  Once again I was up until all hours accompanied by the swing bands on Radio 2, throwing icing sugar around.  These lovely chaps are currently winging (well not literally!) their was to my cousin for her daughter's birthday cake or birthday cupcakes.  I wasn't able to make the cake due to other commitments but wanted to do these chaps by way of a contribution.  Packaging them was a challenge, but I'm hoping they will survive the journey from North Yorkshire to South Wales.  Fingers and wings crossed!

If you'd like to order some toppers for cupcakes please do let me know.  Ooh, I've just reminded myself about some I'd like to try to create so watch this space.  Dreams come true!  Well, they can do if the involve cake!  If there's something you'd like for a special occasion, please complete the form to the right or email me at

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Last Rolo Cupcakes

Had another cupcake baking day today, which seem to be becoming quite regular these days!  I made some chocolate flavoured cupcakes with my son, who's attention throughout is sustained by the promise of being allowed to lick any chocolatey spoons once there are no longer needed!

The buttercream topping was flavoured using melted milk chocolate which gives it a lovely pale colour.  I improvised on the decoration and used a Rolo on top of a swirl of icing!

Make sure you save the last one for the one you love!  I did - honest!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Teatime '99's

Decided to have some fun today and experiment with some ideas for cupcakes.  I had a batch of buttercream left so obviously some swirly cakes were required.  Just fancied baking something simple so opted for some plain vanilla sponge cupcakes (though slightly more vanilla essence than usual - and making a mental note to get some vanilla pods in for future batches).  I wanted to keep the buttercream icing uncoloured as it looked so perfectly crisp and white.

I think I must have been hankering for some sunshine and sea air as I immediately thought of Mr Whippy ice creams and that classic, the '99.  And if you're having a '99, you've got to have a Flake, and why not add a few sprinkles on top too?

It's the perfect excuse to put your feet up with a hot mug of tea when it's raining outside, so why not reclaim some of this lost summer and indulge in a scrumptious Vanilla '99?  Stick the radio on and daydream about sun, sea and sandy feet.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cupcake Creations for Dainty Do's!

I'm so excited about the range of cupcakes which are slowly emerging from the kitchen lately.  I never really set out to make cupcakes as part of this venture but they're so appealing it's hard to resist really.  Having perfected my 'swirling' ability I'm now confidently able to start introducing these little lovelies!

Whether you fancy a dozen lemon drizzles or a mixture of chocolate and coffee, they're hard to resist.
(Mental note to try out some chocolate/coffee cupcakes again soon!)

I was really excited to be asked to create a mass of cupcakes for a friend's wedding, but unfortunately due to being away the weekend of the big day, I has to decline.  Would have been great to produce an array of pretty cakes for the do.

My enthusiasm is ignited so expect to see more creations very soon!  My obsession with books is unending too.  I'm using Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery one a lot at the moment but I keep seeing so many other great ones out there!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Live & Love York Article

I'm so excited to be included in the month's issue of Live & Love York Magazine!!  It is available to read online via and go to pages 16 and 17.

It's such a beautiful publication and I'm so pleased to be included.  I've written a short piece about the nostalgia surrounding 'tea', namely elevenses and the lost art of afternoon tea.  There's also a photo of some of my cupcakes included which is excellent!!

The cake competition is going well too with lots of entries so far.  Still plenty of time to enter so click on the link above to be in with a chance!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wind-swept tables and new-look labels...

Had a really productive time at the Knavesmire Primary School Fair.  Very windy day and many times we had to charge across the playground to retrieve fly-away aprons!  It was a fantastic opportunity to meet people who were really keen to suggest products and potential outlets which might be interested in stocking my items.  It was also a great opportunity to test out my new logo which my brother has been working on for me.  We're hoping to develop an image to go with the "Curiositea" brand name.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Babies and bunting

Feel as though things have been frantically busy the last few days and weeks. I've been building up and broadening stock in preparation for my second table top sale which is TOMORROW! It's at a primary school and I'm really keen to be prepared. I've been cutting and sewing new lengths of bunting as well as some more children's aprons. I've not yet made as many children's clothes as I'd hoped but am still excited about the things I have to include so far. Ideas are swirling around, I just wish there was another 'me' so I can get twice as much done!

The life/work balance has been a challenge to say the least, possible with 'life' taking a definitely back seat! I've had great support from home though which has meant I've actually achieved quite a lot in a short space of time. Sewing and small children don't always go hand in hand, though I have discovered that my youngest has an extreme fascination with the greaseproof paper I use for making patterns. Though he can't quite crawl yet, he moves incredibly quickly in order to get his hands on the crinkly, crackly stuff!

Right , back to it.... :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Etsy Shop and Table Top

I've finally got round to updating the Etsy shop with some more recent cake creations! One is a cake I made for my son's christening which was so much fun to make! It was lovely to make a cake which I got to eat as well!

This week has also seen my first foray into face-to-face selling, with my first table top sale. Though the event itself was apparently quite quite it was thoroughly enjoyable and I learnt an awful lot. It certainly helps to talk about your business with people who are total strangers as it forces you to say what is important.

It was great to get feedback on my crafts as well as the positive mmm's about the free cupcakes available on the stall! I've got the enthusiasm and more importantly the confidence to test myself further with the craft items, and am keen to push the cakes as much as possible too.

Next week will hopefully bring the launch of my new Curiositea branding! The need for business cards became very apparent this weekend, and I can really see the Curiositea Shop identity and ethos emerging.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pipe Dreams

I've been practising making cupcakes with perfect pink swirls of icing on top. It's actually harder than it looks to get effortlessly elegant swirls and then be able to repeat them so that all the cakes look uniform(ish!). I'm hoping to develop some things to include on a table top sale I'm hoping to attend in June and thought these cutie cupcakes would be just the thing. I'll just have to keep practising I suppose..... oh well!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cozy's, Clothes Pegs and Carrier Bags

Having started the day thinking I'd finish the tea cozy and lavender love birds, I ended up abandoning the tea cozy and completing instead a carrier bag dispenser and clothes peg holder.

Both in coordinating fabric so I've already added them to the Etsy shop to see how they fare.

The tea cozy is still a work in progress. I did finish it but still need to address some construction issues as the lining wasn't as tidy as it could have been. The one featured in this photo eventually made it into the kitchen so will be our prototype model. Loved making it though so eager to start another one for the shop.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Have finally got round to finishing some appliqué on my son's new pyjama top. One flying saucer down, one wobbly alien to go.

Have added a few more items to the Etsy shop too. Very excited about the mini gift cakes - really love them!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Link to Etsy Shop

Here is the link to the Etsy shop. Hope you enjoy browsing.

The CuriosiTea Shop is is now live!!

After tinkering with Etsy for a few days I'm now taking the plunge and starting to promote my wares!

Handmade craft items and homemade cakes. As soon as I'm feeling braver I'll post more!