Friday, 30 July 2010

Tobiah Tayo Photography

Sticking with the theme of Gill and Pete's wedding I must tell you about the photographer that 'shot their day' (is this what it's called?  There must be some cool phrase that is used about taking photos, anyone like to enlighten me?). 

His name is Tobiah Tayo and he is super cool! 

Check out his blog to see the wonderful photos he took of the wedding.  Thank you for letting me use these photos on my blog Tobiah!
What a fab shot of the other boat!

Isn't this a fabuous shot of the cake?!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Which carrot cake was chosen?

I know you must be in tenterhooks wondering which carrot cake was used for the Gill and Pete's wedding cake... well, it was the Marks and Spencer one!  I used the same recipe as the book but just increased the amount of grated carrot and, judging by the reaction at the wedding, everyone agreed it was delicious!

Many thanks to Victoria's Cake Boutique for posting her carrot cake recipe - I will be trying that one when I get a minute!

(I'd just like to add that while we were up in the Lake District we visited a really nice cafe and I HAD TO have the carrot cake (it's my new obsession) and I must isn't a patch on mine!  It was far too cinnamon-y for my liking and in fact it was slightly uncooked!...)

Gill and Pete's Wedding Day

Well, what can I say about this day?....  Lovely place, handsome groom, beautiful bride, lots of smiles and laughter and love, fabulous food, great speeches, relaxing boat trip and the sun even came out!  We had such a good time.

I've just realised that I was rubbish at taking photos of weddings..... I have no pictures of the marquee, the bunting, the place settings, the table plan, the outside of the venue, the polaroid camera and guest book, the food, the band and not many of the bride and groom either....must do better next time....

Me and Dave with shiny faces and Lake Windermere in the background
The groom waiting for the bride (second left)
The marquee was decorated with homemade bunting, beautful place settings and cool table numbers
The boat ride
Fab shot of Gill taken by Dave

The cake was designed by the bride and groom and I love it!  The middle tier colour scheme was matched to the wedding bunting and the topper was from Gill's fifth birthday when she had a wedding party!

I love the topper - vintage and full of memories...

The cutting of the cake
That cheeky Gill just helped herself to some icing!
Ahh, some for Pete too!
The first dance
Congratulations Gill and Pete!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Gill and Pete's Wedding Cake Journey

Gill and Pete married at Cragwood Hotel in Windermere on the 17th July 2010 and kindly asked me to make their wedding cake.  My husband Dave went to university with Pete so we already knew them well!  We had two really nice meetings to discuss the design (as they live in Manchester we had to make a weekend of it and go out and eat and drink, it's a pity that isn't chargable as an expense!)   

Now just in case you don't know we live in Birmingham. 
The wedding was in Windermere. 
That's a 162.71 mile journey....with a wedding cake.....

As this was the furthest we'd travelled with a cake we decided to take each tier separately then construct at the venue.  This was the first time I'd completed each tier individually then assembled on site and I didn't realise how difficult it would be to decorate each tier of the cake without being able to see the overall effect and, as each tier had a different design, would they even 'fit' together?!! 
So after a busy week and a sleepness night (dreams of collapsed cakes were haunting me) we finally set off on our journey. 

I would hardly say it was a relaxing drive (but the Maltesers did help!):
  • It was a warm day so the air conditioning was on full blast (would the cakes be 'melting'?)
  • At one point Dave had to break sharply as we hit traffic (would the cakes have moved?)
  • The Lake District is extremely hilly (I repeat, would the cakes have moved?!!!)
We finally arrived at the venue and I was expecting to be shown to a small private room where I could construct the cake in a calm and peaceful environment.... we were actually taken to their pastry room which was filled with handmade chocs and bread rolls for the wedding the next day and there were people milling about and the manager kept 'popping in' but....I eventually finished assembling the cake and thankfully it looked good!

Gill and Pete came to see the finished cake and they gave me a present - how sweet!  It's a cupcake cushion which Gill had embroidered with their thanks and it now has pride of place on our fancy chair at home.

Me and Gill and Pete
My cushion (can you read the embroided message?)
Even the gift tag was super cute
Next time on Caroline's Cake Company.....the wedding!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Carrot Cake Part III

This time it's a Delia carrot cake recipe...  I must admit I do like Delia, the low fat carrot cake recipe was recommended by one of my Facebook friends Eileen but this recipe is her ultimate carrot cake:

7 oz (200 g) wholemeal self-raising flour
3 level teaspoons mixed spice

1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

6 oz (175 g) dark brown soft sugar, sifted

2 large eggs

5 fl oz (150 ml) sunflower oil

grated zest 1 orange

7 oz (200 g) carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

4 oz (110 g) sultanas

2 oz (50 g) desiccated coconut

1 oz (25 g) pecan nuts

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C), then turn it down to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C) when you have toasted the pecan nuts.

First, place all the pecan nuts on a baking sheet and, using a timer, toast them in the oven for 8 minutes then chop roughly.
Then don’t forget to turn the oven down to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C) for the cake.
To make the cake, whisk the sugar, eggs and oil together in a bowl with an electric hand whisk for 2-3 minutes, then check that there is no sugar left undissolved.
Now sift the flour, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl, tipping in the bits of bran left in the sieve.
Then stir all this in gently, followed by the remaining cake ingredients.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared tins and bake the cakes on the centre shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes.
They should be nicely risen, feel firm and springy to the touch when lightly pressed in the centre, and show signs of shrinking away from the sides of the tin. If not, give them another 2-3 minutes and test again.

The verdict:
Good texture and colour but a little too spicy for my taste...

My quest continues....

Thursday, 8 July 2010

New friend - Beth Goodrham Personal Stylist

It's nice making new friends.  With Twitter, Facebook and blogging you often 'meet' people who are working in a similar field to you or are interested in the same things but recently I met someone face to face! (I know, weird eh?)

I was contacted by someone who had seen my cake car (hurray!) to make a cake for her birthday and it turns out she's a neighbour and in fact only lives two doors away from me (but round a corner so we'd never met).  Her name is Beth and she has her own company Beth Goodrham Personal Stylist. We met up for a chat and her work sounds really interesting... rummaging through people's wardrobes, clothing parties and, well, shopping for a living (perhaps I'm generalising a little!)

I like this quote from her website:

'We all want a wardrobe that inspires us. A wardrobe that, when we open it, is filled with stylish on-trend pieces with beautiful accessories for every occasion.  The reality is often very different. For many people, their heart sinks when they open their wardrobe and in desperation they wear the same few items time and time again.'

So, if you've got a wedding, christening or fancy event to attend but nothing to wear or you are just in need of a seasonal wardrobe update then think about using the talents of personal stylist, I intend to!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Art Deco Cake

This cake was made for my friend's mum. 

My friend Rachael lives in St Albans and I live in Birmingham but we arranged to meet halfway to exchange the cake!  It is so stressful driving with a cake in the car, you always seem to find every pothole and bump in the road but it arrived safely (no need for the extra corner run outs and piping bag of royal icing!).  As part of her mum's birthday celebrations the whole family were going to the Cotswold on a cooking course so the surprise cake was presented there and the teaching chef got to see and taste my cake too and according to Rachael:

'he told me to tell you - he had not seen one that good in a long time and he loved the simplicity of it and also said it was so moist and he did not know how you did it'

What a nice comment...

The topper is based on one made by I Dream of Cake (check out their website, fabulous cakes).  I do enjoy painting, so relaxing...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Carrot Cake Part II

As part of my ongoing quest for a fabulous carrot cake...

This recipe is from an Marks and Spencer cookbook I bought at Christmas
(I was buying books for 'Secret Santa' with my family for an early christmas dinner and thought...why should I not have something to open too?!  I was good too and didn't even look through my book until our Christmas day)

It's a really lovely book and all the recipes are shown with photos so you know exactly what it's all supposed to look like!

175ml sunflower oil
175g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs, beaten
175g carrots, peeled and grated
85g sultanas
55g walnuts, chopped
Grated rind of 1 orange
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Beat together the oil, sugar and eggs.
Stir in the grated carrots, sultanas, walnuts and orange rind.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into the bowl, mix evenly.
Spoon the mixture into an 8" round tin.
Bake for 40-45 mins until firm to the touch.
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and turn out onto a wire tray.

Topped with cream frosting

This one was darker in colour and flavour
Maybe a little more carrot
But I do like sultanas in cake!

This is the current favourite!

Monday, 5 July 2010

The weekend

I had a very exciting Saturday morning as I was a Judge for the annual Allotment competition.  So I met up with John (a traditional looking, overall wearing gardener) who won first prize last year, Sue and Ken (retired couple whose allotment does not have a single weed growing on it!) who won second prize then they was little old me, the third prize holder.  We walked around the plots assessing them for:

Use of plot
Visual aspect
Quality of produce
Variety of produce

and it was great fun.  I got to legitimately walk up and down other people's plots having a good old nose at their plants and structures.  I saw some inspiring things and can't wait for the winners to be announced!

Shopping Trip
Then Sunday afternoon on our way home from my dad's we stopped off at Bailey's.  It's like a cross between a reclamation yard and a designer shop - gorgeous!  Even the little tea room was interesting using vintage tables and chairs.... they do lovely tea by the way and delicious lemon cake! 

The kitchen section was particularly gorgeous
I would LOVE one of these cake stands with a cover....
We bought some lovely glasses, jars and look at that cute super round wooden spoon!
AND a cake stand.... of course!
Overall a really nice weekend!

Friday, 2 July 2010

The quest for carrot cake...

I'm making the wedding cake this summer for a lovely couple called Gill and Pete.  They've requested a top tier of carrot cake as this is a favourite of Gill's which is all fine but...there is a but.... 

I love my current cake flavours:

My fruit cake uses organic cider rather than brandy so it's not overpowering. 
My lemon cake is light and refreshing (and don't get me started on the lemon buttercream!). 
My vanilla sponge is like "a drop of heaven". 
And my chocolate cake "is to die for".
I have a nice carrot cake recipe but it just doesn't make me melt and relax into a sea of cakeyness (and isn't that what you want in a cake?)

So, I'm on a quest....I'm consumed by my mission.... to find the ultimate carrot cake
Recipe 1
This one is from the Marguerite Patten cook book

175g soft light brown sugar
175ml olive oil
3 large eggs
175g wholemeal self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
175g carrots, peeled and grated
85g walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Put the sugar in a bowl and add the oil, mix thoroughly.
Stir in the eggs.
Sift the flour into the egg mixture then stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Mix thoroughly.
Spoon the mixture into an 8" round tin.
Bake for 1 hour until firm to the touch.
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and turn out onto a wire tray.

The verdict:
Light in colour and texture
A bit too nutty (I think I should have chopped the nuts into smaller pieces)
Not carrotty enough perhaps?

It's a contender but with a few tweaks.... Does anyone have a good carrot cake recipe?

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Cakerator

Just discovered that I'm listed as a favourite blog by The Cakerator - how nice is that?!

I really like The Cakerator.  She gives you fab tutorials and shares lots of tip and leaves lovely comments on my blog - how could I not like her?  Incidentally her real name is Maria and she's from North Carolina, USA - funny how with blogs you make 'friends' with people who live so far away!  

Look at this cool Doctor's Bag she made:

And this lovely boot cake (love the Cricut letters!):

Thanks for making my day The Cakerator!