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Hello… It’s May… AGAIN!

I don’t know what is going on right now, but once again it seems like everyone (and their wife) is celebrating their birthdays this month! [Note to self: Check whether there are any statistics as to why late September is a particularly popular month for conception.]

But that aside, do you all find that as the ‘cake maker’ of your social group, you have certain periods of the year when you find your skills are particularly in demand?

Sorry, I saw this meme this week and I couldn’t resist…

In some ways, it’s great because you never find yourself wondering what to get that tricky-to-buy-for friend as their birthday gift. But in all honesty, I generally always find it tricky to keep up with demand every single time May comes around!

One of the best lessons I have learned for my super busy month is to keep it simple! Once upon a time, I’d have tried to whip up one of my signature sculpted numbers for each and every single birthday celebrator, but, in more recent times, I’ve found that they are just as delighted with a well-made, simple-but-tasty little treat – and they take me an awful lot less time!

So far this month, we’ve celebrated the birthday of my work bestie, one of my one-to-one assistants, my sister and my mother-in-law – and those are just the ones that would usually have cakes (Sorry to those who missed out this year!).

The work bestie happens to be one of them-there gluten-free types, so for her, I rustled up a gluten-free take on my carrot and orange cupcakes (recipe available here), by using one batch of cupcake mix for each layer of this 7” cake – with four layers in total. To make it gluten-free, you just need to switch out the regular and wholemeal flours for an equivalent gluten-free alternative. I use Freee by Doves Farm Free from Gluten Self Raising White Flour.

This rather-orange number was decorated with crushed pecans and homemade macaron, which are the perfect treat for all your gluten-free friends as they don’t contain any flour.

A week later, to celebrate the birthday of the one-to-one assistant (who loves a fruity cake), I did a simpler take on Jane’s Patisserie’s Lemon and Blueberry Cake. My assistant loved it when I did it for my birthday back in January, so my reimagining with a zingy lemon buttercream was just the ticket.

My sister’s birthday was on Monday, but mercifully we haven’t arranged our meet up and celebration yet, so I have a bit longer to plan her treat – I’m under strict instructions to avoid chocolate though. Apparently, that’s what I keep giving her and she fancies a change…

Still to come though, we have my teaching assistant’s birthday this coming Friday and she DOES love chocolate cake as I discovered today, so it may be time to whip up another one of my Loaded Chocolate Cakes!

Oh, and just when you were thinking it was safe to come out of the kitchen, it’s my other half’s birthday on Monday – I don’t think I’ll get away with something simple this year as he’s starting to realise that the more elaborate cakes I create for the blog never seem to go in his direction – he usually gets fobbed off with the leftovers.

I’m still to decide what to do for his cake this year though, so any ideas (that will worth a blog post, of course) will be gratefully received…

A Weekly Slice of Something Sweet, All Content, Blog

A right Royal issue of Something Sweet…

I think it’s fairly safe to say that this week has been a big week in cake!

In a week that saw the long-awaited marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle or the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they are now known (and of course the much anticipated reveal of their modern take on a royal wedding cake), a truly amazing cake show down under (look out for a dedicated post all about that soon) and a breathtakingly beautiful collaboration involving team ups across the globe, we have been pretty spoiled by all the cakey excitement.

Luckily, issue 14 of Something Sweet is here to catch you up on anything you might have missed, along with all your favourite features – including cake megastar Avalon Yarnes and the one cake tool she couldn’t live without, I shine my spotlight on yet another baking boy and I try to get to the bottom of the confusing developments in the Rolkem Saga…

Find the full issue here

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I think I’m in love…

I often talk about how I consider myself a reformed shopaholic and regularly advise those new to caking that they don’t actually need ALL THE THINGS to make beautiful cakes. That’s one of the reasons why I include the ‘I couldn’t live without…’ section in my weekly newsletter, (A Weekly Slice of) Something Sweet actually – to show new cakers that even the biggest names in the industry often rely on the simplest of tools to create their masterpieces.

And while, for the most part, my reformed status is true, every now and then, there will be a certain cake product that just crawls under my skin and whispers ‘You really need me in your life…’

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If you are familiar with the Shopaholic book series by Sophie Kinsella, you will know that the protagonist, Becky Bloomwood often imagines how other people will see her once she has acquired her latest potential purchase: “So I buy it. The most perfect little cardigan in the world. People will call me the Girl in the Gray Cardigan. I’ll be able to live in it. Really, it’s an investment.”

Quite honestly, that’s how I have felt about my latest purchase for the longest of times. Pretty much since last November when my friend Vicky of Yellow Bee Cake Co. bought one first. So actually, it’s really her fault, thinking about it.
 But I digress…

In my head, I was imagining that people will call me The Guy with the Enviable Cake Tool Case. I will be able to take it along on all of my deliveries (bearing in mind, I don’t sell my cakes – so deliveries usually just means competition set-ups) and for when I demonstrate (which I have NEVER done!), but you never know, that could change in the future. It’s forward thinking. Really, it’s an investment.

And yes, that is what this mysterious purchase is. The very gorgeous wheel-along tool caddies from Italian tool manufacturer, Cerart – and mine actually IS grey too – just like Becky’s cardigan.

And I also bought the matching tool case inserts as well, of course. Because, investment.

With the inserts, there is literally a home for all of my favourite tools (and a fair few more besides), with just the right amount of clearance for my apron, whites and anything else I might want to sit on top. It’s like it was made for me.

And it is beautiful and I love it. Possibly a little too much.

A couple of weekends ago, I actually DID have a delivery, when we celebrated the wedding of my brother to his lovely new wife. Setting up their wedding cake (their gift from us) was the perfect opportunity to take my swanky new addition out on the road and, do you know what? It was actually really useful.

When I have made wedding cakes in the past, I usually rocked up on the day with a ton of ‘bags for life’, stuffed full of the things that I might need, but inevitably I always forgot something.

This time, because I was carrying pretty much my entire cake room in my new case, I not only had everything I had anticipated needing, I also had all sorts of other useful bits and pieces that I was able to whip out as the need arose. The florist had the wrong posy picks? Not to worry, I have a variety of spares! You need more scissors? I have some!

*whispers* Granted I would probably have taken these things in my ‘bags for life’ too – but, this time, I looked really professional and efficient doing it!

And if I’m honest, it’s just pretty. Can I be blamed if I like beautiful things in my life?

If you would also like to invest an incredibly useful, but possibly a tiny bit frivolous ‘swanky tool case’, you can find them at Fabricake Sugarcraft Ltd and they come in a choice of four colours. And remember, as always you can take advantage of my partner discount of 10% using discount code: MRBAKER10 – so really you’re actually SAVING money! That Martin Lewis has got nothing on me…

You’re welcome!