APP Cupcakes Muffins and Afternoon Tea

  • Tate and Lyle Taste Experience launch - The Cake Hotel

    You have no idea just how excited I was to receive an invitation to Tate and Lyle's launch of The Cake Hotel, an edible house made with their new Taste Experience range of sugars.  Oh my goodness, this was definitely a 'clear the diary' day.

    So last week I arrived in Soho outside this lovely Victorian House eager to see what it was all about.  Wow, just wow, each room was dedicate to one of their new sugars.  Now, I've always been a fan of Tate and Lyle and if any one reading this has been on any of my courses or has my APP, Cupcakes, Muffins and Afternoon Tea you'll know I rave on about sugar made from sugar cane being massively superior to the stuff made with sugar beet which shouldn't even be allowed into the same category of food substances.

    Those clever people at Tate and Lyle have created a new sugar crystal size with enables more flavour to be carried per grain, improve baking performance by creating more air bubbles for improved 'creaming' (again a point I harp on about incessantly) and increasing the ability to hold moisture and preventing our lovely cakes and scones from drying out quickly.

    Each sugar has distinct tasting notes to help identify the best use, these have been created by the fabulous Lorna Wing who's also come up with some amazing recipes.

    I could keep going on about sugar all day, but I really should talk about the fun stuff, the edible hotel.  This was put together by 14 cake artists taking more than 2,000 hours to bake and 900 hours to decorate and using more than 600 kilos of Taste Experience sugar - it's cake, of course it's a sugar overload, der! Let me take you an journey through the rooms....starting with a balustrade of macaroons

    Golden Syrup Sugars Golden Syrup Sugars

    British Inspired Golden Syrup sugar room

    Gorgeous bowls of sugar roses and peonys, sugar teaspoons, a doughnut croque en bouche, brandy snap bowls and the amazing logo of Tate and Lyle's Golden Syrup the lion and bees in a cake, deliciously syrupy.

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    Guyanese Inspired Demerara sugar room

    I've got to say that this was my favourite, a life sized sea turtle cake on a bed of sugar sand with duck eggs that had been blown and filled with cake mix so when you broke them there was cake inside, absolutely lifelike, just beautiful.

    Caribbean Room Treasure Chest Caribbean Room Treasure Chest

    Caribbean inspired LIght Muscovado sugar room

    My son loved photos of this, Pirate's of the Caribbean in cake, this treasure chest was beautiful, gleaming and glittering in gold and silver complete with gingerbread swords and dubloons, the chest itself is cake and totally edible.

     

     

    Barbados inspired Dark Muscovado sugar room

    Barbados

    The shells are all cakes, so realistic that I wanted to touch them to make sure but was too worried that I'd break them, so delicate and pretty.  The rich rum soaked fruit cake was to die for.

     

     

     

     

     

    Mediterranean Inspired Light Brown Soft sugar room

    medroom2

    It was a hard choice between this room and the turtle for my favourite and the meringue rug blew me away, made from 1,080 rainbow coloured meringue shells with cake cushions on the bed, a bath

    full of toffee popcorn, toast hearts with homemade jam, chocolate cake truffle bath bombs, edible book,

    medroom

    ooooh just amazing.  OK I know I'm going on a bit about this being pretty good, but it was.

    mayan

     

     

     

     

    Mayan Inspired Golden Caster sugar room

    In the deepest darkest depths of the basement, it actually felt like going into a Mayan pyramid and in the centre of the dark room, lit with a single light ...... a Mayan pyramid made of fudge with a Miss Cakehead lifelike edible heart and chocolate skull alongside, loving the hearts.

    easterisland

    Easter Island South Pacific inspired Golden Granulated sugar room

     

    Eating the brains of a giant Easter Island statue was a little weird but the chocolate cake was moist and yummy if a little decadent but then, it's cake, it should be.

     

     

     

    The credit for the work goes to the following amazing cake artists:

    Miss Cakehead as curator, Sarah Hardy Cakes, Cake for Breakfast, Sarah King, Miss Insomnia Tulip, Nevie Pie Cakes, Cakeadoodledoo, Carina's cupcakes, Conjurer's Kitchen, All Mine Patisserie, Rosalind Miller, Dan P Carter, Juliet Sears, Two Little Cats Bakery and of course, Lorna Wing, James Whiteley at Tate and Lyle and the team at Mischief PR

    medroom5medroom3macaroons

     

     

     

     

    medroom4

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  • Jam making goes underground

    Did you ever think that homemade jam could become a black market item?  I have a vision of those glorious women of the WI, the doyennes of the home made jam industry setting up illegal jam shops where Afternoon Tea is served in the dark with a haunting saxophone soloist playing in the background.

    Customers enter with a secret 'tap' on a dark door in a dingy back alley after walking round the block a few times to make sure they're not followed by the jam police.  Tea drinkers sip Darjeeling in almost silence using sign language to indicate which jam they wish to have on their homemade scones....blackcurrant, damson, gooseberry, raspberry, or dare I mention it..........strawberry (deep gasp for being so daring!)

    There are secret escape hatches, the tables turn upside down at the flick of a switch to switch the illegal jam for gin and tonics, the dark days of the jam trade have arrived.  Jars can be taken home but are so 'hot' people pay jam smugglers to do the trade for them, these jars of homemade jam are reaching record levels, exchanging hands for up to £10,000 a jar.  Illegal jam making has given the WI new kudos in the black market, these ladies have always known how to make fabulous cakes and jam, but now with their skills being driven underground they are making serious money.

    Don't panic, this is all pure fantasy but you never know what the EU directives for the FSA will do next.  If you're not aware of it there has been a new Directive reported widely in the press.  The Daily Mail this morning reported on it as did The Telegraph and The Sunday Times.  Illegal homemade cake making next?

    The point the EU Directive is getting at is that glass is permeable and as people who make bottle jam have no idea what on earth could have been in the jar before they used up the ingredients in it and washed it out (der!) that this could be something dangerous and could kill the luckless person who happened to buy the resulting homemade jam. OK so glass is permeable but really only for hydrogen and certain radiations, it's glass after all and I suppose we're injecting common sense here which obviously no one in the EU has any of as that's we have directives like this isn't it?

    I personally tend to keep only jam jars for reusing to make home made jar as sundried tomato ones are a real pain to get the grease out of so I tend not to bother, I don't go foraging around in other peoples recycling bins to drag out unsuspecting ex-hydrogen filled jars to fill with homemade jam, maybe other people do?

    Apparently you're allowed to reuse jars for personal use but not if you are going to donate the jars, given away and definitely not to sell, beware the jam police or things could get a bit sticky, even worse you could end up with jam on your face.

    Going Underground by The Jam - says it all really

    Beverley's homemade damson jam, can't let you try it, I could get arrested.

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  • GlitterGate - the drama continues

    After much goings on over the past few months the team over at Splat Cooking have just withdrawn EdAble Art Glitter from sale due to current labels being on contravention of the Food Safety Act 1990, here's the article for further info

    http://www.splatcooking.net/blog/new-products/2012/09/edable-art-glitter-withdrawn-for-the-moment/

    Splat Cooking are currently trying to source an alternative product as the other biggie on the market is Rainbow dust's Sparkle Dust but that has never been recommended to use on food and clearly states that it should not come into contact with food.  So it's rather frustrating and I'm certainly feeling like I've lost some of my sparkle (yes, I know very corny but couldn't resist) but as soon as I managed to locate some sparkles that are safe to glitter up my cupcakes I'll share it with you and Splat Cooking will def be stocking it so keep an eye out.

    In the meantime if you do have any Rainbow Dust or EdAble Art glitter around nows the time to make up some gorgeous glitter Halloween or Christmas cards and get ahead of the  game, your friends and relatives will be amazed and you could design future cupcakes on the cards and colour them in with the glitter, they'll look amazing.

  • Damson Jam

    Beverley's homemade damson jam

    It's September, it's sunny, grab your boots and get outside with the kids to gather damsons from the hedgerows and go home and make jam with them.  Damson jam is seriously good, homemade damson jam tastes nothing like the stuff you get in the jars in shops which is just about always way too sweet.

    Homemade damson jam is worth all the time it takes to remove the stones from the middle of the fruit, this does take time, serious time, probably the best of an hour of two if you're doing it on your own so don't - get the kids to help.  It is worth it too.  Also you don't use jam sugar, just normal granulated or caster sugar as damsons are really high in pectin so it sets very easily.

    Try it, it's really really good, also 1kg makes around 5 jars so you've got homemade Christmas pressies already waiting for Grannies and Aunts, damned efficient for September.

    Damson Jam Recipe

  • Cupcake Glitter - is it safe to eat?

    I've used Edable Art glitter for years, I make sure that the products myself and the team source for Splat Cooking are safe to eat, after all Splat Cooking is all about teaching children and adults how to cook safely so the items we sell have to reflect that.

    Over the years there have been other storms in teacups about glitter.  Some websites have stated that the 'glitter is not edible and is suitable for use on parts of the cake that will not be eaten', ie cake decorations that lay on the cake and can be removed. However, everyone who has ever used this stuff knows that no matter what you do it transfers.

    So we talked to the manufacturer, I've had lots of conversations with the lovely people at Edable Art over the years and I've seen toxicology reports from them as they've always been open and honest and I've satisfied myself that their glitter is 'foodsafe'.  I've had conversations with local trading standards chaps, David Gravy at Aylesbury is very aware of the cookery school and has been actively involved with us for the last 11 years of trading and is incredibly helpful.  We were advised to market the glitter as 'foodsafe' not 'edible', when we have new staff and cookery leaders join we make sure that they know not to call the glitter edible.

    However, as of Monday last week, this all changed - way before it hit the newspapers. Audrey, one of the team, did her regular check up with the FSA, there was a bulletin about just this, so she called Edable Art who were right on the ball and said that they knew all about the new guidelines and were putting together a Declaration of Compliance which they'd send us.  In the meantime he was very pleased to let us know that Edable Art glitter is fully compliant with the FSA Guidelines on Edible and Non-Toxic Glitters and Dusts (April 2012). This is the only glitter Splat Cooking sell.

    Things have moved on, in August we had a call from EdAble Art's local EHO who had purchased a sample of their glitter from us - without our knowledge of what it was form, bit underhanded I think, and they've taken it away for analysis but won't commit as to whether Splat Cooking ought to be selling it as a food additive or just as a decoration.  The Splat Cooking Team have taken the view that until the tests come back we're taking off any reference to 'foodsafe' and we're not using it at the parties or on any of the cakes, as soon as there is an update and the results come back I'll post it here.  As far as I am aware no one has been damaged by eating the glitter but at the end it's up to you if you decide to use it or not.

    If you have any queries please do call Splat Cooking on 0870 766 8290

     

  • APP - Cupcakes, Muffins and Afternoon Tea

    My new APP has it's own Facebook page, please click and 'like' it.  The APP itself launches in June 2012 and will be available from that date on the APP store, if you 'like' it on facebook we'll keep you updated on events, competitions and appearances plus heaps of extra recipes and tips.

    I'm really excited, come and see me at Foodies Festival in Bristol on 113-15 July, I'll be in the Chef's Theatre as MC for the event and we'll have the APP on iPads on our stand for you have have a look at.  The Splat Cooking team are also running the Kids Cookery Theatre with lots of hands on cooking workshops

  • When making lavender and honey...

    When making lavender and honey cupcakes make sure you use lavender and not cumin seed, similar looking, totally different flavour!!!

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