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And now for something a little bit different…

Recently, I made a wedding cake for my sister-in-law, Hayley and her new husband, as they celebrated their wedding day at the stunning Three Choirs Vineyard in Wickham, Hampshire.

Hayley was keen to keep things simple, with a fresh, buttercream-finished design and the only decorations were some fresh blooms and foliage from Peony Blue Floral Design.

As someone who has to deal with a number of severe dietary allergies, including gluten and dairy, Hayley had to be very careful to avoid any of her allergens during the wedding and I must give huge props to the venue for catering for her needs perfectly – and even better, the rest of us barely noticed the difference.

Similarly, the cake had to be equally allergen-free, so I was faced with the prospect of creating a gluten- and dairy-free cake – with a buttercream finish, no less – that needed to stand up to being stacked and sat out for the majority of the day.

Now, a disclaimer: I am not a specialist allergen-free baker by any means and I don’t think I have ever posted a gluten- or dairy-free cake recipe here before. However, after the wedding cake was posted online, I received a few requests asking me to share the recipe that I used, so I thought I would do that in the hope that it gives others, who find themselves in my position, a bit more confidence when tackling a gluten- and dairy-free celebration cake.

Find the recipe for my Free-from Wedding Cake here.

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes, it’s that dreaded day once again. Not because I fear getting older, you understand – I think I’ve been prematurely middle-aged since my mid-twenties – it’s more like there is nothing drearier than an end of January birthday. Everybody is skint, they’re all on post-Christmas diets and it’s all just a bit blah.Unfortunately, I’m one of those irritating people for whom birthdays are a really big deal. Yours, mine and even strangers’. I love that we all have a special day that’s all about us – I think that’s why I love making birthday cakes for people so much. It’s wonderful to be able to add a bit of sparkle to someone’s special day.This year, after a few too many years of blah-ness, I decided that today was going to be a good day – mind over matter and all that. And do you know what? It really has been. I got to spend the day with 28 over-excited six and seven year olds who I think were even more excited about my birthday than I was, I have been spoiled rotten by my family and colleagues with beautiful, thoughtful tokens (many of which were handmade and gorgeous) AND I got to treat them all to a lovely cake.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t yet discovered the wonder of Jane’s Patisserie, you must look her up! Jane is an absolutely lovely friend of mine who spends her free time dreaming up wonderful recipes and sharing them all for free over on her blog. She’s far better at it than I am (I have no shame in admitting that) and I always know that I can find something delicious over there.Today’s ‘work birthday cake’ was her newest creation: a stunning lemon and blueberry cake, with a light lemon buttercream, blueberry jam and fresh blueberries to garnish. I have to say, the balance of flavours was just perfect and it was a real hit at school.I also started the day by sharing a recipe of my own – Mr Baker’s Foolproof Ganache. I won’t repeat myself here harping on about how much I love ganache, but do check it out in my recipes section. Hopefully it will help out those who are plagued by the ganache demons.I’ve spent the rest of the evening cracking on with the cake that we designed over on Facebook Live on Monday. No rest for the wicked, eh? It’s coming along well, so hopefully I shall be able to share my right royal Murder Mystery cake with you all this weekend.

Oh and in other news, the other half treated me to a lovely new camera lens for my birthday too, so hopefully I shall be stepping up my photography game now.

Finally, just a quick thank you for all the lovely messages and birthday wishes today. I really do appreciate each and every one and will endeavour to reply to them all over the next few days.

Much love! x