Evolution of a FaceCake…

Hello lovely people!

Baking has taken a bit of a back seat this year.  It turns out that 2015 will go down in my personal history as, “My Year as a Sofa Bear.”  This is because of health issues, but I am doing very much better at the moment and this is why I have a post today.

My youngest son and I were talking the other day, and he mentioned that he would really like a cake with Batman’s face on it.  As it’s his birthday soon, (today actually – Happy Birthday D)! I said I’d make him one, and I asked what flavour he’d like Batman to be – carrot.  OK then.  By the way, he’s quite grown up now, so this isn’t for a party, just for him and whomsoever he chooses to share it with.

I began with my favourite Cake book by Rachel Allen:

Cake Book

and turned to the Carrot Cake page – yum!

Recipe Page

and got to work.  A relatively short time later…….

Yummy Cakes

and then all I had to do was add the cream cheese filling, shape the cake and cover it with fondant icing.  Finally I had to find something to put it on so he could take it away with him.  I found a picnic plate that I could spare – a bit small, but it would do.


Batman FacecakeSo that’s what I’ve been doing lately.  Hope you’re having a good summer/winter wherever you are in the world.

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Making of a Birthday Waistcoat

One of the most satisfying things to make, in my opinion, is something that the recipient has chosen for themselves – picked out the pattern and yarn – and all I have to do is make it!  I paid close attention to the tension so I knew it would be the right size and I can’t wait to give it to my sister-in-law when her birthday rolls around at the beginning of July.

This is the pattern she chose:  King Cole, chunky:

King Cole Cable Patt



The colour she chose was purple – and the yarn came from one of her local shops and is very reasonably priced at £1.20 a ball for 100grms.

My finished version looks like this:

waistcoat in purple

and this:

purple waistcoat 2

and this is a close up of the cable detail:

cable detail2

So, were currently up to date with the makings.  The next thing on the needles, or rather crochet hook is a scarf for me in shades of red, or as the ball band calls it, Rose.

Hope you’re having a productive time too.

See you down the road!


Posted in birthday, Crafts, Family, Home Made, Knitting, pattern, purple, waistcoat | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping Track of wips


It’s been a while.  The reason is that I had rather a nasty surprise early in the year when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  I am now having chemo and am doing o.k and according to my surgeon the outlook is good, so enough of that then.  Craft is a real tonic and is helping me whilst I spend hours and hours on the sofa.

One of the ways I keep track of the stuff I make is to chart it all as I go along in a note book.  It’s a real mess, but it does help.  It looks like this:

2015-05-24 12.38.48

This is for waistcoat I have just finished knitting – it’ll be here once it’s got it’s buttons on.  It was a relatively easy cable pattern, but you’ll see at the top that I had to unravel it twice before I finally got the hang of it.  I think it was because I wasn’t paying attention, but it is really frustrating to knit up 50 or so rows and then discover you made a mess at row 10!  Sometimes it’s possible to rectify a mistake, but cable patterns like this one meant I had to go back to square 1.

The notebook itself was a cheap one from Paperchase and has a very boring dark, plastic cover.  What to do? What to do? Go to the bookshelf and find some inspiration, that’s what.  So that’s what I did.  I went to this:

2015-05-25 10.29.27

and found this:

2015-05-25 10.29.43

and did this:

2015-05-24 10.59.44

So I now have a crochet cover on my work in progress book.  It was a handy use for the little bits and bobs of yarn left over from other things.

Hope you have a good day, and if you’re in the U.K, enjoy the Bank Holiday.

Posted in Crafts, Crochet | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Playing Hooky

Hello Everyone!

I hope you’re all keeping well and happy.

It’s a while since we got together, so here’s a bit of a catch up.  Christmas time sped by in a bit of a whirl, what with all the making of yummy stuff, but all gifts were gratefully received and I got a lovely surprise on Christmas Day when my beautiful daughter telephoned to let me know she’d got engaged!  No specific date yet, but it will be later on this year, so 2015 is sure to be a busy one.  One of her requests is to have knitted/crochet flowers, (the real ones bring allergic reactions with them), so over the next few months you will, doubtless be seeing yarny bouquets and suchlike things.

Over the Christmas period I began to make a crochet granny square blanket.

I had heaps of yarn in the stash as I was going to join in with an online mystery knit-a-long.  I bought the materials in anticipation, only to discover that I didn’t like the pattern one bit!  It was all diagonal stripes – set off my astigmatism something shocking.  so there I was with all these lovely coloured bundles of woolly potential…. what to do? what to do?

The answer:peacock blankie on sofa peacock blankie close up peacock blankie detail







I wouldn’t necessarily have picked these colours to go together, it was quite a nice surprise to see how well the bright blue and bright green set off the other tones.

It isn’t quite finished yet, I’ve still got the edge to do.  I’ll probably also crochet the squares together on the ‘wrong’ side in order to make the seams stronger.

So that’s what I’ve been up to since we last met.

Bye for now!

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An Angelic Host

O.K, I know it’s only the 3rd Sunday of Advent, but at our church, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” indeed, our Moderator, (who was visiting this week), said so.  In honour of her visit, both churches got together to worship and at the end shared tea and mince pies.  Some of them looked like this:

Mince Pies 1and, a close up:

Mince pies close upThanks for stopping by.

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Dreamy Recipe…… (or not)

So,  a strange thing happened to me today….  I dreamt a recipe!  This has not happened to me before, and I decided to have a go and see what my sub-conscious was trying to tell me.

It’s good timing as I’ve got a lunch guest tomorrow and, (providing it works), this will do nicely for an ‘afters.’

I’m guessing it came about because I have been thinking about ways to indulge my liking for chai tea, wondering how I might use it in baking. This then is the result:

cake in tin


2014-12-13 16.21.34


Recipe for Flavoured Pear and Chocolate Loaf

400grms firm conference pears, (finely chopped, or a bit chunkier to taste);

Pot of tea, (I used Tesco Vanilla Chai, but you could use Earl Gray or any other flavour you particularly like).

200grms  Caster Sugar

200grms  Softened Butter, (or Pure – dairy free)

4 eggs

200grms Self-raising flour, (I used gluten free)

I tsp Vanilla paste, (or good extract or seeds of vanilla pod).

3 tbs Cocoa Powder

1 tsp baking powder.

1. Make a pot of your chosen tea; once made, allow to stand for approx 3 mins before pouring contents of pot into saucepan, (if you’re using tea leaves, strain into saucepan).

2. Add chopped pears to saucepan and heat gently, poaching pears until soft; remove from heat, strain, (saving some of the liquid), and leave to cool.

3.  Heat oven to 170c and grease and flour a 2lb loaf tin

4. Cream together the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.

5. Gradually beat eggs into the mix, (you can also add a tiny amount of the flour mix with each egg to prevent curdling), add vanilla.

6.  Sift together the flour, cocoa-powder and baking powder and fold into batter mix.  If the mixture is too stiff, use a little of the reserved liquid to loosen it.  The mixture needs to be what my teacher called, “a dropping consistency,” this means that when you load a spoon with mixture, it holds firmly, but drops easily with a slight shake.

7.  Stir in the cooled and dry pears and transfer mixture to loaf tin.

8. Put into oven, on middle shelf for 35-40 mins, (until skewer comes out clean).

When baked, leave to cool in tin for about 5 mins and then turn onto cooling rack.  Once cake is completely cool, decorate as preferred.

I used melted white chocolate and just dribbled over the top.  I went a bit over the top – but hey, it’s chocolate, right?

If you do have a go, please will you let me know how it worked, (or didn’t), and what you thought of it?  Just leave me a note in the comments, thanks!


Posted in Baking, Cake, Chai, Chocolate, Home Made, Pear, Tea | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Christmas Cards


Amidst all the baking that’s been going on around here I have also been making this year’s Christmas cards for friends and family.  If you’re not on my list, please accept the following picture as a card, for you, Dear Reader.  You can chose either the silver or gold version, whichever you prefer.

Christmas cards 2014bye for now!

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Santa’s Little Helper

Here we are again then, with an update to yesterday’s post.  In the photo of the brownies, you can see something gingerbready in the background.  These are gingerbread men and tree cookies, baked to go with the brownies as a Christmas treat for some lovely people I know.

Now they’re all finished:Gingerbread men and cookies

and ready to go:

Gifts to go

Hope they like them.

I found the recipe here.

See you next time!

Posted in candles,decorations,Christmas, Christmas, Cookies, Crafts, Gifts, Gingerbread, Home Made, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Choc Orange Brownies


The baking faerie has been busy in the house again.  I decided that, instead of a cake I’d make the choc-orange version of brownies.  I got the recipe on line but adapted it slightly to increase the orangey taste.  I used this recipe.

They turned out like this:

Choc Orange Brownies

Excuse the messy tin – they’re resting on baking paper.  I briefly dotted each piece with some of a melted chocolate orange and dotted a Smartie on top.  I wouldn’t normally use Smarties as they’re produced by Nestle, whose ethics are suspect in my opinion, but I was given a pack, so waste not, want not, and they do look cute, (at least I think so).

You may notice some other bakes lurking in the background…. more on those later.

Thanks for dropping by!

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Choc Orange Cake Test 1

Greetings All!

Another day off and another day of baking in the kitchen.  Today I decided to test run a cake I want to make for a friend, and what a good job I did!  The idea was to make a cake that tasted like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, (a Christmas favourite in our house). The cake was to be a marbled sponge cake made up of chocolate and orange flavours and colours, covered with a meringue butter cream, also flavoured with chocolate.  Here’s the finished cake:

Test Cake 1

it blends a bit into the table and the photo’s not great because today is very dark and dreary and not too helpful for photos.  Having said that though, the buttercream is way too pale, so next time I shall use dark chocolate to colour the meringue.

Fancy a slice and a cup of tea?  Here you go:

Test Cake 2

Hmmn, the marbling didn’t work too well either.  Where’s the orange colour? I used an orange gel, which called itself neon orange and I was too cautious with it, fearing it would exude an unearthly glow. Apparently, this was a completely ungrounded fear as the orange colour is invisible.  The chocolate is very pale too – like the buttercream I shall adjust next time.

What does it taste like though?  Success!  It is very yummy and does indeed taste like a chocolate orange.

So, for next time, a few lessons learned.  I shall also decorate it a bit more and will probably use chocolate buttons and/or strands.

This one was made with gluten free self raising and I would be willing to bet that no one could tell the difference from usual flour, I was very pleased with it.

So practice is a great teacher and I shall enjoy making it for real in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for dropping by.

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