Thursday, 20 September 2012

Bowling Cake

At long last - a celebration cake! Phew, I cannot tell you how bored I am of making cupcakes. It is not-so-little- P's 9th birthday this weekend, and a request of a cake to go with her bowling party has been loudly hinted at for weeks. As this is my last chance for a celebration cake in this current job, I gave in and devoted all of 1 hour to baking, and 30mins to decorating (all the time available with 6 kids running around!) 

Having moved all my baking equipment into my new house, I was rather unprepared for baking this cake - hence the simple design (got to love a tray bake!) and slightly uneven lean to it (I never thought I'd miss my cake leveller this much!) But in true nanny style- I improvised a tin (roasting pan) and spatula (knife) and leveller (copious amounts of buttercream and a layer of chocolate philadelphia that I have found no other purpose for) and voila, a cake was baked.

To the fun part - decorating! An experiment in painting a cake proved to be quite successful for a first attempt! Good quality gel food dye painted on with a very wet brush then almost rag rolling with kitchen towel to give a wooden effect, + slightly drier brush strokes for the darker plank effect = one very quick and easy bowling lane. Add to that fondant skittles with a red painted stripe held in place with cocktail sticks and a coloured fondant bowling ball, and the whole thing is done in next to no time at all! 

Phew! Back in the cake creating game... what next I wonder?


Monday, 3 September 2012

Inspiration please!

This is a plea to all my followers - I'm bored of cupcakes!! I need some inspiration and a new challenge. Answers not on a postcard, but in comment form would be greatly appreciated. If there is something you haven't had time to try or fancy stretching my baking skills - anything you'd like to see, or something you just want pretty pictures of, let me know - I'll give it a go!

Strawberries and Cream

I've been lacking inspiration recently. Other than 72 of the usual glittery mixed flavour cupcakes for a charity ball I haven't had many commissions. So to branch out a bit, and to put a new twist on classic British summer favourite (loving the late summer we seem to be having this week) I thought I'd experiment with these little darlings!

These simple vanilla cupcakes were definitely fun, quick and easy to make. There is a surprise strawberry hidden in the centre of the cupcake, topped with whipped cream mixed with a dash of caster sugar and decorate with sliced strawberries. Light, delicious and not too shabby to look at! Give them a go, you know you want to...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

An Apology

Sorry about my unexplained absence recently dear readers! I have no excuse other than simply life has gotten in the way, and unfortunately I have been lacking in time to do any really exciting baking (the occasional 100 odd cupcakes here or there an exception). I promise you though, I shall be back soon with a proper post hopefully with something a little more interesting in it than this!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Cheshire Cat Cake

This was a cake put together for a friend's Alice in Wonderland themed party. Unfortunately one of his stripes and his tail died in the heat! This was a triple layered red velvet cake, covered in pink fondant with purple fondant stripes. It took me a while to figure out how to make the stripes look good, but in the end I went with cutting them into thin, long triangles using a pizza cutter. Would have looked fab if one of them hadn't fallen off on the 2 hour journey to the party. Oops!

Treasure chest

Just found this photo on my phone! I super quick treasure chest made for little C's Pirate Party. So simple and easy - find a shoe box with a hinged lid, paint the whole thing brown, then ad darker brown lines to make to look like pieces of wood, and black lines (or gold if you have the paint) to add the finishing details. DONE.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Jungle Cupcakes

I had a very last minute order put in for 12 jungle themed cupcakes this week. So I had to go for something simple but hopefully effective. I coloured some buttercream jungle green, sprinkled on some glitter and painted some sugar icing sheets to look like safari animal prints. Kinda fun I think. Might add some sugarpaste leaves next time. I think they need something more. Any suggestions?

Vintage Flower and Button Cake

This was a quick cake that I put together this week for a very good friend of mine's birthday. She is a wonderful seamstress and the wardrobe mistress of my amateur musical theatre group. For such a classy lady I thought it best to go for a classic vanilla sponge but with a twist - strawberry buttercream. Decorated in a vintage theme I made some sugarpaste buttons as a nod to her skills with a needle and thread. Happy Birthday Mary!

Cake Pops

I've jumped on the cake pop bandwagon! My lovely employers bought me a cake pop maker for my birthday (its pretty and pink and dead easy to use!) so the children and I immediately put it to good use! I wish I could take credit for the decorations on these delightful little bitesized cakes, but it was all them! Aren't they clever?

Monday, 30 April 2012

Ballet Bags

This was a quick and easy project that I had going on whilst the children were at ballet for 3 hours every Monday. After picking up some cheap materials in the wonderful shops on Goldhawk road (magical place!) I made these as reward for the children's good behaviour.

Simple enough drawstring bags (one piece of material folded and sewn with the hem kept open at the sides - in order to put 2 pieces of cord or ribbon through to make the drawstring bit!) with the letters cut out of contrasting material and cross-stitched on by hand.

Simple as that!

The Nannymobile

The latest thing needed for my work. The kiddie-winks have so much stuff for ballet and tennis that I now have to use this contraption to get it all there. Elegant it may not be but practical it certainly is. My back is cetainly thanking me! Sometimes my life as a London nanny does seem peculiar!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Teddy Sleepover Cake

The latest birthday cake request from my darling charge Mr F, who was having a build-a-bear party (absolute nightmare - avoid at all costs) followed by a sleepover. A red velvet cake in the shape of a bed with teddies on it. Should be straightforward....


Here are the recipes that I use for various buttercreams. I find the easiest way to make them is to stick them in a food processor (or your kitchenaid if you have one.) All these recipes cover 24 cupcakes or a standard 9" cake.

Vanilla Buttercream: 

  • 10oz/ 300g unsalted butter
  • 1lb/ 500g icing sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3tbsp whole milk.

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 8oz/ 250g unsalted butter
  • 20oz/ 600g icing sugar
  • 3oz/ 80g cocoa powder
  • 80ml milk

Chocolate Fudge Buttercream:

  • 7oz/ 200g plain or milk chocolate melted
  • 4oz/ 100g unsalted butter melted (with the chocolate)
  • 4tbsp milk
  • 6oz/ 150g icing sugar

White Chocolate Fudge Buttercream:

  • 7oz/ 400g white chocolate melted
  • 10tbsp milk
  • 12oz/ 300g icing sugar

Lemon Curd Buttercream:

See the fabulous caked crusader's blog:

In fact just see all her buttercream recipes they're brill (although I still haven't braved the swiss meringue buttercreams since, well, the accident: oops.)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Golden Cupcakes

Just a quick post to show off some lovely simple cupcakes that I made for some friends' golden wedding anniversary....


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Pirate Ship Cake

So my darling youngest charge, little C, had her 4th birthday last week. As you can probably guess from the picture, she is more than a little obsessed with pirates. After much teasing about her having a princess party, I finally caved and made her much requested pirate ship cake! I must admit, it turned out a lot better than I had hoped. I'm rather proud of this one!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Sushi for kids

As ever, trying to keep packed lunches/teas interesting is not such an easy task (especially when your darling charges require 3 of them a week). So after asking the advice of a gardener (you'll find I've already exhausted all my nanny friends' ideas) I came up with this. Exceptionally tasty and child-friendly sushi!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Last minute card

Just a quick post here to show how handy it is to have letter stamps around the house. I slightly panicked this morning when I remembered that little C and I had a very important birthday party to attend, and I hadn't bought presents or a card. Oops! Fortunately, thanks to an obsessession with improving my (somewhat lacking) organisational skills - we happened to have a few presents stashed around the house. With five minutes to spare little C and I put our crafty skills to the test to make a card that was both simple enough for a 3 year old to do and pretty enough to keep me happy! Here's the result:

Quite pretty huh? Simple letter stamps, 2 different inks and plenty of space on the inside to create pirate inspired masterpieces - (who am I to say whether these go down well at a princess party or not?!)


Well today was not my most successful day of baking cakes ever. I decided today to experiment with a new buttercream recipe (swiss meringue to be precise). And I must admit that whilst time consuming this turned out pretty well, very light and tasty really! Note to self however, remember to leave the cake to cool overnight before filling with swiss meringue buttercream - otherwise this happens:

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Who doesn't love pancake day?! 3 very excitable charges today, not least because the day started with pancakes and consequently a shedload of sugar! Although to my slight horror I discovered that these pancakes had been produced from *GASP* ready made batter!  Pancakes are little C's favourite things ever to make, and so that no-one else (Penny O'dwyer) stoops to store-bought pancakes again, here is our twist on scotch pancakes for you. (Variations suggested by C, F and P - they know their flavours!)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Carrot Cupcakes

These are a sound favourite of little C's to make, and a favourite of P and F to eat. These work really well with either cream cheese or vanilla buttercream, but I prefer to leave them plain and let the little ones have them as an after school snack.

Vanilla Cupcakes

No photos to go with this but thought I ought to put up some recipes while I remember. Anyone that works with, or has children, or even just loves to bake should have a simple cupcake recipe and this is one of the easiest. This supposedly makes approx. 15 regular cupcakes, or approx. 7 large (muffin case size) cupcakes.

School Cake Sale

Here are some standard cupcakes that I bring out for the school cake sales. With 3 children in different years, these come around fairly frequently!

Present Cakes and Teddy Cake

Here are a few photos from my eldest charge's most recent birthday. The teddy bear cake was the cake orginally intended for P's party, the present cakes were an addition brought on by P's mum knocking on my door at 8pm asking very politely (and slightly panicked) if I would mind creating a cake for P's other party (at 9 am the next day). I must admit I'm quite proud of the present cakes, although ~I would have liked to spend a little more time making them look perfect. 

Chocolate cake covered in vanilla buttercream and coloured sugarpaste. As you can probably  see from this photo, the stripes are not quite as neat as I would have liked, but the little square shapes make very effective presents.

Dragon Castle Cake and Topsy Turvy Cake

So still attempting to organise my life, and came across some more cake creations, thought I'd stick them up here for you to see and admire (all flattering comments especially welcome). These two were created for a friend's school fair.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Castle Cake

Well hello everyone! There is a first time for everything, and me attempting to be computer literate is one of them. And as such I thought that the first time I blogged, I ought to show you the first really fun cake that I baked. The cake that got me hooked - on decorating, I have to admit I'm not a fan of cake myself, but they sure are good to have fun with!