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.