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Supermarket, Bakery or Scratch Recipe… Which Christmas Cake is Best?

I don’t mean to panic you, but do you realise we are less than five weeks away from *whispers* Christmas?

Tomorrow is Stir Up Sunday, your last chance to get cracking on all of your Christmas baking – but this got me thinking… would it be easier to fake it?

As a result, I tracked down the best Christmas cakes that a supermarket, a bakery and the internet could offer up and put them to the test…

Find out what happened in this week’s video:

 

PS. Stay tuned ’til the end to find out if you are the lucky winner of my Mystery Box Haul mega giveaway!

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Review: The Creature Creator from Molly Robbins

Sponsored Post – Molly kindly #gifted me my Creature Creators

Three hours to create a sculpted, gluten free, semi-realistic grey cat cake? No problem, right?!

If you saw my video from Cake International on Tour last month, you will have seen me meeting up with the one-and-only Molly Robbins of Extreme Cake Makers to talk about her exciting new venture – Molly’s Creature Creator.

As a fellow fan of making sculpted animal cakes, Molly had noticed that even the idea of sculpting from cake can be fairly intimidating for many people and, once you add into the equation all of the wastage from carving cakes, it can put a lot of people off.

After a bit of head scratching, Molly and her boyfriend Dean came up with the idea for a set of heavy duty silicone moulds that allow you to bake the basic shape of either a standing or lying down animal, perfect for turning into whatever creature you fancy.

Now, having seen the early prototypes in action at the NISE show back in March, I was immediately excited to have a play with Molly’s Creature Creator and, after Molly kindly gave me both kits to play with at Cake International on Tour, I was ready to put them through their paces.

The kits both come with two original tutorials AND Molly’s own Madeira Cake recipe for you to use in the moulds, but obviously, I wasn’t going to make things that easy for myself…

Seeing as how it is Coeliac Awareness Week and I have a perpetual fear of carving gluten free cakes – they’re generally more crumbly than their gluten-containing brethren – I figured, why not try baking the (prize-winning 😎) gluten-free version of my chocolate mud cake in the Creature Creator and surprise one of my friends with her first ever sculpted birthday cake?!

Sticking with the challenging theme, I also decided to do a semi-realistic take on one of the aforementioned friend’s own cats, which is dark grey – my least favourite colour to airbrush! 🙈😂

Oh, and because Molly’s Creature Creator is supposed to make sculpted cakes simple and easy for anyone who wants to create sculpted cakes at home, I decided to set myself one further challenge with this creation: I would only have one evening to create my Earl Cat Cake – from demoulding, right through to the finish.

So basically, three hours to create a sculpted, gluten free, semi-realistic grey cat cake. No problem, right?!

Using my recipe in the Creature Creator was a relatively simple experience. Molly has created a high-quality product made from sturdy food-safe silicone that holds its shape incredibly well. After preparing the moulds with cake release spray and a little gluten-free flour, I poured my mix straight in and placed it in the oven for my recipe’s usual baking time for an 8” round cake.

On Molly’s advice, I left the cake to cool in the Creature Creator overnight, before unmoulding it the following morning – about seven hours later. In spite of preparing the Creature Creator thoroughly, I did experience some sticking, but that was probably due to the gluten-free recipe rather than the mould itself.

I then used my usual delicious milk chocolate ganache recipe (find it here) to fill, sandwich and cover my cake – remember to check that your chocolate is free of wheat-based allergens if also baking gluten free!

When it came time to decorate my Creature Creator cake, I still wasn’t going to do Molly’s mould any favours, reaching for the softest of supermarket sugarpastes to create my cat. I started by building up some of the additional features such as the outline of the back leg and the facial structure with some extra sugar paste, and then covered the entire thing in one go. Other than one tricky fold that refused to blend away (thank goodness for fur texture – it hides a multitude of sins), covering my cat was actually fairly trauma-free, and then I set about adding detail using my silicone tipped Cerart tools – which are perfect for working with softer sugarpastes.

Thanks to the design of the Creature Creator, the only internal supports needed in my cat were a couple of cocktail sticks to hold up the ears (soft sugar paste and a strict time limit remember), with all other details simply added using the same supermarket sugarpaste, coloured with grey gel food colour.

The entire piece was then airbrushed straightaway, using Fractal Colors FlowAir liquid colours in White Snow and Black and I also used the White Snow to hand paint additional some highlights, referencing the real cat’s fur pattern.

All in all, I am unbelievably thrilled with the result I was able to get with Molly’s Creature Creator in only three hours (plus baking time). As I mentioned before, I would never normally try creating a sculpted cake using a gluten free recipe, so knowing that this is now possible thanks to Molly’s creation has enabled me to do something previously unobtainable – how many products can say that?

If I am able to achieve results like this in only three hours, I can only imagine what I could do with even more time. As such, I can definitely see myself continuing to play with the Creature Creator and I’m looking forward to coming up with some new designs and possibly even incorporating it into some future tutorials.

On that note, if you have any ideas of things you would like me to try and create using it, make sure you let me know in the comments down below!

The Creature Creator is available directly from Molly’s own website (find it here) or from Sugar & Crumbs. It is priced at £29.99 per set, or you can grab both for £54.99. In the box, you will find the standing or sitting moulds (both halves), two original tutorials, Molly’s own cake recipes, which are perfect for use within the moulds, and all of Molly’s essential top tips for creating your very own sculpted cakes using the Creature Creator.

I must say huge thank you to Molly for allowing me to have a play with her brand new innovation and for finally making gluten free sculpted cakes both achievable and simple!

I hope you enjoyed finding out how I created my Earl the Cat Cake and be sure to let me know if you decide to pick up Molly’s Creature Creator. I’d love to know what you think of it and to see the fantastic cakes you create with it too, of course!

Until next time, happy caking! x

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Baking with a GBBO legend…

So have you heard about Bake With A Legend yet?

If, like me, you’ve been seeing their posts pop up in your social media timelines over the last year or so, then your interest has probably been well-and-truly piqued – just like mine was.

If, however, you are unfamiliar with the concept, allow me to explain:
Basically, a while back, some enterprising fellows realised that there were a great many fans of The Great British Bake Off out there and that they would probably enjoy spending the day learning to bake with some of their favourite bakers from the show. They were not wrong and the Bake With A Legend experience days have been a massive success, with attendees including everyone from corporate team building types right through to parties of friends and hen nights.

Now, as huge fan of baking in all of its forms AND a huge fan of The Great British Bake Off, I knew that the Bake With A Legend experience would be right up my street and so, when I heard that the team were putting together a special one off event, hosted by series seven finalist Jane Beedle, to launch a selection of new packages in partnership with Airbnb, I had to check it out.

Check out my latest video, to see what we got up to:

Being completely honest with you guys, it really was a fantastic day and I loved every single second of it.

Obviously, it was great to see Jane again – not to mention learn from her – but in addition to that, spending the day with an amazing group of like-minded baking fans of all levels of experience and defeating my once-nemesis, choux pastry all ensured that the day was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

I would highly recommend checking out Bake With A Legend if you are a fan of GBBO and I definitely think I’ll be back for another helping of the Bake With A Legend experience!

I must say a massive thank you to Jane and the Bake With A Legend team for having me along for the day and for allowing me film the entire experience to share with you all.

Bake With A Legend hold classes in London, Brighton, Manchester and Bristol, with a whole host of your favourite GBBO alumni. If you would be interested in finding out more about classes with your favourite baker from The Great British Bake Off, then you can visit the Bake With a Legend website right here.

Who knows, I might even see you there… 😉