Happy 1st Birthday to Cakes & Cardies!

In the words of Barry Manilow (showing my age and squareness!), looks like we made it….through the first year in business. The official date was 8th September but just getting around to writing this now. It’s been a great year, a tough learning curve with some highs and lows. In fact, there was a moment during the summer that I was considering finishing up but after talking it through with husband and friends I decided to keep going. And since then |I have never been busier.

I am in the lucky position of having my husband’s wholehearted support and for that I will always be grateful. Without that I would not be able to do this. Running a baking business is hard work and it takes a while to get your name out there.

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My first ever cake, supplied to Bambuni, Rosewater and Pistachio

Thanks to Bambuni in Nunhead who have supported me from the start, buying my cakes and giving great feedback too. I am also now supplying The Brockley Deli and Old Spike Roastery. And most recently The Ivy House pub in Nunhead, thanks Aimi for all the orders! And in between that there have been birthday cakes, leaving cakes and cakes for BBQs.

80s Inspired Birthday Cake
80s Inspired Birthday Cake

I have learned a lot along the way and my cakes are better for all the practise and have come up with some of my own recipes (my favourite being the Espresso Martini Cake!).

Espresso Martini Cake
Espresso Martini Cake

On the Cardies side, I have crocheted bikinis, ponchos, hair slides and tops and knitted baby hats, hooded jackets and jumpers. I also set up an Esty shop to sell some of my crafts and it looks like I will be making doggie jumpers and scarves in the near future! I’m nothing if not eclectic!

Multicoloured, to say the least!
Multicoloured, to say the least!

To help with all of this I am  working part time in publishing again, this means that I can continue with the baking and knitting/crochet while having a bit of income and also a really nice job. It is good to have that balance of going to the office and doing my job there, meeting people etc and then being able to do the baking the rest of the time, best of both worlds you could say.

So here’s to the next year! Thanks to all who have supported Cakes & Cardies this year and I look forward to baking for lots of new people in the coming weeks and months!

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Inside Out Malteser Cake

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After testing the malteser cake when my nieces were over I had a commission for one for a birthday cake last weekend. The test showed that the icing needed a bit more malt flavouring. It was ok on it’s own but when you tasted it with the chocolate cake it sort of faded away. So the only tweak to the birthday cake was to add about another 10g of Horlicks to the icing, not a huge amount but it made all the difference.

This version was also completely covered in the icing and decorated with crushed maltesers on the edge of the cake with one whole malteser popped in the middle, just in case you didn’t know this was a malteser cake!

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So, that’s a chocolate sandwich cake with malt buttercream decorated with crushed maltesers, chocolate on the inside, malt on the outside! Apparently the cake went down very well with the birthday girl, job done.

 

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A Lemony 60th Birthday Cake

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My second official order was from a very good friend (thanks to all my friends for their support in this endeavour, couldn’t do it without you!), Bec, a celebration cake for her mother’s 60th birthday. After a phone consultation we came up with a plan: a lemon drizzle cake with lemon curd buttercream and “happy 60th birthday” on top.

As there were several elements to the cake I started the prep a few days before the cake was due for delivery. The first thing to do was to make the lemon curd. I have made this a few times before using a Rachel Allen’s recipe from Rachel’s Favourite Food at Home. Although I have been successful every time I still worry about ending up with scrambled lemon eggs! No scrambled lemon eggs this time.

Next was the lettering. I need to practise freehand icing writing (memo to self, practise freehand icing writing) it is a skill that I need to develop but until then I elect to use fondant and my letter and number cutters. As the cake was a lemon cake and will have pale lemon icing I decided on a bright lemon for the writing. I made up some lemon fondant and cut out the required letters and number (a bit fiddly, I had to do the A’s at least three times each!) and left them to dry over the next couple of days.

The final flourish was some candied lemon peel to decorate the edges of the cake. I found this simple recipe online. Very easy and you end up with a lovely sweet lemon treat. I need to work up batches of lemon, orange and lime candied peel, useful for have around! Now that the embellishments were ready I was all set to make the cake.

I used a basic sponge recipe with the addition of lemon zest at the creaming stage and made a lemon syrup to spoon over the sponges as they came out of the oven. Earlier in the week I was looking up buttercream “designs”, ways to make the top of my cakes a bit more interesting, and came across a youtube video on how to ice a cake with buttercream. Of course I know how to do this already but what was interesting about this was the sponges. She baked two sponges, but rather than halving the batter she put two thirds in one and one third in the other. Then she halved the bigger sponge to give three layers! Handier than baking three separate sponges and so I thought I would give it a go. It all worked swimmingly until it came to slice the bigger one in half, I hadn’t factored in the syrup and the sogginess of the sponge because of it! There was a moment of held breath but it all worked out, with a bit of shoring up!

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Ta da! Very pleased with the finished cake and the use of my new Wilton icing combs although the videos make it look easier than it was but practise makes perfect. It was enjoyed at the birthday celebration too, read the review here.

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