A jumble of days

Here we are on a 2nd post for 2017 and it’s only 11 days in.  My goodness.

January 3rd to 11th has been a bit of a mix.  3 days in London, a weekend baking and some random bits’n’bobs.  Lets start with the randoms.  January 3rd was a trip into town and a quick shot of a nice bridge.  It was sunny but with it being winter and all I completely got the timing wrong and arrived far too late for there to be anything but shadows on the bridge.   The fourth was a walk slightly further up the river and a young swan trying to remove the grey.  Then we have wellies from January 6th (they’d just been used and I love the difference in sizes between us all) and finally some lovely chunky Rusty Ferret B.A.M.F yarn I was given as a christmas present which was about to become a hat (more on that in the next post).  I didn’t get the white balance at all right for that shot – it’s not green, it’s more blue.

Next up we have London and a fabulous day on Jan 5th so I just had to stop and rub shoulders with the tourists when walking over Westminster Bridge.  Somewhat depressingly, I didn’t realise at the time that I had some camera shake / focus issues so it’s not as sharp as it should be.  I’ll just need to try again on another lovely winters day.

It wasn’t quite so nice on the 10th when I was walking past Westminster and yesterday (11th) the photo options at Elephant and Castle eluded me so I caught the Old Vic on the way back to Waterloo.

Finally, we have cake from the weekend.  A cake of the world no less. Well, actually it was a cake of  a bit less than half the world.  I might write about this separately actually as it was a pretty impressive feat for a 14 year old.  The images are from (failed) attempt number 1 and the carnage from decoration.2017_jan-72017_jan-8

Hope you’re all having a good week and enjoying the snow which is apparently due to arrive.


Castles are not built in a day

This involves just a little duplication from my last post in terms of pictures but actually this is all about cake.  In particular, the cake the 12 year old wanted to make for his medieval castle project.  It took the teachers 3 days to eat and he was copied (in terms of them making a cake) by four others in his class so it must have made quite an impression.

I’m absolutely delighted he came up with this idea and did most of the work himself.  He had to make a medieval castle.  Apparently a motte and bailey castle was just a bit boring so it had to be a stone keep which had a central tall keep with tower and then the smaller walls round the edge.   Paper mache, building out of wood, using stones, fimo, clay, nothing else would do – he enjoys baking, wanted to make a cake and worked out how to create one.

A shopping list was created, we visited the local cake shop (they make lovely decorated cakes and very kindly sell various bits of icing and other decorations), the local cookery shop (as my largest cake tin was just not large enough), the supermarket and by this point we couldn’t see the work surfaces.

Castle Cake-1

We’ve been baking together now for a few years so for this stage, all I had to do was sit and read my book – it was great!


18 eggs,
1kg flour,
1 kg caster sugar
1.5kg butter
150g bournville powder (sounds so unimpressive)
2kg icing sugar
2.5kg fondant (shop bought but home coloured)

went into making a 10″ square deep vanilla sponge cake (standard victoria sponge recipe but multiplied quite a bit) and a 20×14″ or so shallow traybake chocolate cake (Mary Berry’s chocolate fudge cake cake recipe – we didn’t do the ganache), a huge amount of butter icing and of course, the fondant icing which needed to be made grey rather than white.

First and foremost it was stacking 3/4 of the 10″ cake (we kept one quarter to taste just to check we were not poisoning the school) and covering with butter icing and then grey icing.

Castle Cake-2

I’m not hugely confident at wrapping cakes that are taller than they are wide in one sheet of fondant at the best of times, let alone when guiding someone else to do it so we wrapped the sides then stuck the top on and it worked well.  Unfortunately I’ve missed a picture opportunity here.

Next it was making the outside walls and small turrets which involved cutting the chocolate cake into strips, covering ourselves in chocolate butter icing and everything else. At this point, there was chocolate icing everywhere and I was not risking my camera.Castle Cake-3

Finally that meant it was time to start the fun bits … making a flag, a biscuit door, icing turrets (you know, the uppy downy bits on a castle wall) on every possible surface and drawing windows onto the cake.

Castle Cake-4 Castle Cake-5

I’m particularly impressed with how he dealt with the cracks in the back from the fondant wrapping of the large cake – green food colouring and they become deliberate moss coloured cracks (it’s a medieval castle that has survived until today).

Castle Cake-6Finally, after one day planning, one day to shop and make the cakes and one day to put it all together and decorate …. the Ta-Da moment.

Castle Cake-8