Monday, 28 November 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Butter vs Virgin Rapeseed Oil

The nice people at Quex foods gave me some Virgin Rapeseed Oil to try in my cakes. So the first experiment was to make a Carrot cake - mainly because in this recipe you melt the butter so I figured I could just swop the oil for the butter and keep everything else the same. Recipe is posted right at the end of the blog if you want to try for yourself.
 After gathering together all ingredients, lining two identical cake pans and warming the oven I made the two mixtures simultaneously so they could be baked together. In all the pictures the Rapeseed cake is on the right and the Butter cake on the left.
 The oil mixture is slightly brighter orange!
Rapeseed oil is not a cheap alternative to butter but it has many advantages for your health as it contains no animal fats and it is rich in Omega 3. It comes in 250ml bottles and you need 120 ml for a full size family cake. Unsalted Butter is often on offer at around £1.20 for 250g and you need 120g to make the same size cake. However some websites say use less oil than you would butter as about 15-20% of butter is water. So maybe the next test should be to use only 100ml oil.
 They look the same before they go into the oven

The finished cakes really do look identical but the big question is texture and taste! My initial tasting was that the Rapeseed Oil cake had a stronger taste - and was slightly nutty but I knew which was which. Blind tastings over the next few days by builders, friends and familygave the following results :
apart from me noone could tell the difference in taste! I think this could have been the very strong flavour of orange and carrot masking any of the other ingredients. Regarding texture there were a couple of people who thought the Butter cake was lighter and a couple who said the Rapeseed Oil cake was more crumbly - but as the cakes were being literally scoffed as I watched I'm surprised they didn't choke when they tried to speak.
The real winner here is you - use Rapeseed Oil and be good to your body or use butter if you have it in the fridge - no one can tell the difference on taste; the big question now is what difference will it make to a sponge cake?
Best Wishes, Janet
If you want your Birthday Cake or Wedding Cake made free from butter email me.

Recipe for Simple Carrot Cake
120g grated raw carrot - peel top & tail before grating
120g sugar - can use your favouite - I use caster sugar as it gives a lighter finish
150ml orange juice and zest - or you can substitute premium OJ
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
100-120ml Virgin Rapeseed Oil - or 120g unsalted butter
Place all ingredients in saucepan and simmer for 5 mins till sugar melted and carrots soften. Cool for 5 mins till you can put your finger into mixture and it not be too hot.
2 large eggs beaten with fork in a jug
240g Self Raising flour sifted with
2 teaspoons baking powder
Stiring the cooled carrot mixture with a wooden spoon add the eggs in a thin stream beating at the same time - If you dont you will get lumps of scrambled eggs in your cake. When all the egg is beaten in add the sifted flour mixture - it will froth a bit from the heat acting on the baking powder - mix it quickly but well and pour into a prelined cake tin 20cm. If you use two cake tins it will cook faster and you dont have to split the cake to fill it with your chosen filling.
Bake for 40 minutes in a fan oven at 130 or 150 in a conventional oven - reduce time to 25 minutes if using 2 cake tins. Cake will bounce back to a finger push and it will smell cooked.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Cake Toppers

Whats the best way to top off your cake - well its easy if its your birthday just add candles - light and get singing! But if its your wedding cake or your baby's christening then maybe what you want is something special to mark the occasion.
Toppers fall into categories I will label as Edible, Perishable and Keepable.

Edible toppers are made of sugar paste and can be made by your cakemaker into any shape or form you desire. From delicate peony petals to baby shoes they adorn your cake, look lovely and if you have a sweet tooth are just right for getting an extra sugar buzz. These baby pink converse trainers are made of sugar paste so they are definately Edible but you could put them in an airtight box with a sachet of silica jel and they would long enough for your baby to admire them.
Edible sugar roses have been the bridal topper of choice for many decades - and these two examples of claret roses in a posy and a single green rose show you how differnt styles can be achieved.

Keepable Toppers are not made of edible products - they can be made of porceline like the ones made by Kate at Atopofthetier. The beauty of commissioning a keepable topper from a porcelin artist or model maker is that they will make the figure look like you and make it really personal. I love these two guys I used to decorate my Chocolate Cake at The Leeds Castle Weddding Show. This cake prompted a couple to order a cake for next summer with themselves on the top tier and their children represented on each of the ledges of the other tiers. This is a lovely gesture as sometime children can feel a bit sidelined when parents get married.
Another popular choice for a topper are Diamante Initials which look fantastic with diamante edged white cakes - perfect for winter weddings.
Perishable cake toppers are flowers or fruit - so think strawberrys dipped in chocolate and piled high or a delicate posy to match the bridal bouquet. You can't keep them as a memento but if they create the look you want -  Go for it! This cake had flowers to match the table decorations and it was perfect.

All of the above designs can be made for you by Janet at Delicakes. Book a Design & Taste session by email today. Wedding cakes should be booked 6 months in advance to guarantee availability especially for Summer 2012  weddings as some dates have already gone in May & August.
Best wishes, Janet

Monday, 17 October 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Wedding Fairs

In my last blog I discussed the decline in wedding numbers every year and so I have to ask, "why are there so many wedding fairs every Autumn?

I know we ladies like a good excuse to shop but I seriously believe the wedding fair market may now be offering so much choice it is just making things harder for couples to make decisions. Its a good principle to bring all wedding industry services together but now every venue holds at least one wedding fair throughout the winter plus there are the big shows like Leeds Castle and Detling.

Last weekend I exhibited at The Wedding Show at Leeds Castle, there were lots of Brides, Chief Bridesmaids and Mothers having a fun day out window shoopping all the fantastic services the wedding industry can now provide. I only met a handful of Grooms and all of them had a wedding date for the next six months. So it seems to me that guys don't get involved till it gets proper serious or do they just want to be involved in the fun stuff like tasting cake? Joking apart the Bride has a lot more to think about and needs a longer lead time to research the market and plan the details of the big day. However my advice is don't go to every one you see advertised and if your wedding is in the next 6 -9 months go to 2 or 3 shows then start booking your suppliers or you'll miss the chance with the one you really want.

On the point of avalability last year several couples were turned down by Delicakes as there just wasn't the capacity to make any more cakes.  So despite the downward trend in wedding numbers in the UK,  Delicakes have doubled the Wedding Cake capacity for 2012 and either Linda or Janet will take sole responsibility for your cake design, creation and delivery. Mind you even with Linda and Janet working flat out July '12 is definately going to be a tricky month to get a bespoke wedding cake and some couples will have to have the takeaway service or find another less busy cakemaker.

One of the really pleasurable parts of planning is going to your Design and Taste together. Would you buy your Wedding Dress or Tux without trying a few on? Of course not - so why would you order a cake that hasn't been designed and made just for you?

All Design and Taste sesssions in October are now booked but if you are free on November 19th or December 3rd you can book with Janet by email.
Just a quick note to any couples looking forward to a 2013 wedding - why not order a birthday cake or christmas cake so you can have an advance taster of your wedding cake. Best wishes, Janet

Monday, 3 October 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Marriage in decline!

Marriage is now a choice rather than a norm. I have been browsing the Office of National Satistics reports on marriage rates in the UK and it is very clear there are fewer marriages now than 10 years ago. In fact the trend downwards as a percentage of adult population is even more evident as population is rising but marriage rates are falling. The chart below shows thousands of marriages from 1950 to 2009 (last year for ONS data).
Chart showing decline of marriages in the UK

So how come if actual numbers are in decline the wedding industry is growing in glamour, spectacle and pounds spent every year? Well it's really because getting married is now a real choice (rather than conforming to parental pressure or society) so as the chosen option we want to spend time effort and money making our weddings glamourous and spectacular.

There are also other ceremonies now that have helped the 'Wedding' industry blossom including Civil Partnerships, Renewal of Vows and a noticable trend towards Big Christenings for the first baby - particularly when the parents have not had a big wedding celebration for themselves.

If you are getting married in the next year you will be investing a lot of time and effort to make your wedding day extra special because it is literally the first day of your new life. Make sure you choose the right professionals to translate your wedding vision into a photobook, video, floral display or Cake!
Using a bespoke cake maker is easy if you are based in SE London or Kent. Phone Janet for Design & Taste consultations  01732 843518 or text 07714286911 (24/7)
check out this website for ideas or email your questions to Janet

Monday, 5 September 2011

Once Bitten - Forever Smitten - Best Value

Are you a price savy bride or a spend thirft groom? The thing is no matter what your normal habits are, when spending on your wedding different rules apply. Who is paying? and are they just handing over a lump sum for you to spend or are they trying to give you something that's not quite perfect. Are the families paying for the reception and the happy couple footing the bill for everything else? Are you hoping to save money by makeing do?

During this wedding season I have had a Sister & Brother, a Step-Mum, a Grandad, and of course the Father of Bride pay for wedding cakes. Paying for the cake is a delightful way of contributing to the couple's big day so providing they still get to choose the cake filling and design its a gift that will be remembered by all of those attending. Savy brides have even been known to add the cake to their wedding list!

 Now I have wetted your appetite with pictures of some of this season's most beautiful wedding cakes there is some good and bad news. Bad news first........due to the ever increasing costs of ingredients, electricity and transport prices will be increasing prices for the 2012 wedding season and theGood News is you still have 4 weeks to book your Design & Taste session and get your 2012 wedding cake at 2011 prices.
Still more Good order to help you plan your costs I will be accepting the full payment in 3 installments rather than 2 so its easier to reserve the cake of your dreams and pay for it next year.
Book your Design and Taste session now for 2011 prices or come to The Wedding Show at Leeds Castle on October 15th and 16th to register for a discount voucher.  Remember to visit the website for lots more ideas for Wedding Cakes or Birthday Cakes and to Order
Best Wishes, Janet

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Once Bitten Forever Smitten - Ultimate Wedding Cake

The ultimate design in my opinion is a four tier cake displayed on a pedestal stand. Perfectly iced in an antique white smooth fondant and decorated with a side design.
This stunning cake has all the elements that I love and that I am sure in time it will become a classic. The fantasy flowers were made to match the flower on the bride's dress and the dusky pink and apple green tinting was used to tie in the bridesmaid's dress colours. The flowers were made in Flowerpaste which means that while technically edible they can be carefully detached from the cake, wrapped in tissue and kept in a keepsake box - perfect for using again on the 1st Wedding Anniversary Cake.

The Ultimate Birthday cake has to be a cake that is just person perfect. Are they simple or complicated? do they like a lot of bling or a sharp style statement? What's their favouite flavour? Do they want to share it with everyone in the office or just their nearest and dearest? That's the beauty of a custom made cake - like a custom made suit you can get a perfect fit.
to order any size cake just email or text me 07714286911and Delicakes will make you the perfect cake.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Delicakes Cupcakes in two finals!

What an exciting week - just been notified that both my entries into National Cupcake Week Championships have been shortlisted for the final in London on 15th August. Not sure who my competitors are but the judges are an exceedingly well respected bunch in the baking and cake industry. I have a Chocolate Fudge cupcake in the free from category and a Courgette Cream Pie in the innovation category. Can't wait to see how we get on.
Other news this week is that I am still looking for a bijoux shop/studio in the West Malling/Sevenoaks area - just cannot find the right thing at the right price but I will continue undaunted to bake my cakes from home until the right premises turn up.
I have ordered the uniform's for the staff to wear at The Wedding Show at Leeds Castle in October - they are so retro I had to have them - who cares if they had to be imported from Venice - yes Venice Italy they are to die for.
I could not leave you without a cake picture, so here's wishing Katie and Rob a long and happy marriage which they started by cutting this cake
 Cakes for every occasion can be ordered from Janet at Delicakes by email, or text 07714286911 or phone 01732 843518 office hours.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Raise the Cake

The cake should be the centrepiece of the celebration - either on a table on its own or presiding over the buffet table. Call me old fashioned but I like small cakes on stands, especially for afternoon tea receptions. Last week I found a beautiful pressed glass cake stand circa 1950's. It's so stunning I am designing a cake to do it justice which will be on display at The Wedding Show.
 For elegance to raise a cake where the side design is the focus I love this ceramic stand - it gives the imression your cake is floating on air. If you are having an intimate wedding with a smaller cake then choose one of the pedestal stands available to hire from Delicakes or your cake may look a little lost on the venue's big silver platform.
 A traditional stand can make even a very simple cake look stunning as seen here with one of Delicakes take away wedding cakes.
And finally I am looking for a supplier in the UK who can get me the sort of stands I've found on this site where they really do Raise-the-Cake
Contact me for all cake enquiries - you know I'm happy to help 01732 843518, text anytime 07714286911 Email direct or use the website contact form.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Creative Cakes

If you are going to pay for a specialist to make you a cake then be inspired - if you can buy one like it at Asda what's the point? Bespoke cakes are for totally indulging your taste buds with sumptuous flavour combinations and for for going wild creatively. Now take this week - its my 5th Wedding Anniversary so wood is the traditional gift but I prefer cake. So this year we have a Dali inspired molten clock cake.
I love to make my own interpretations in sugar of classic themes - so if you have an idea - just ask! Mollie's Daughter asked for her cake to be decorated with her favouite hobby (all these 80 year olds are so active, but maybe that's the secret) so I make a boules cake, its also known as petanque but it doesn't matter. This was a sponge cake perfect for her friends and family to enjoy at a teatime party.
The sand is sugar so the boules rolled around when the cake was carried leaving very realistic trails in the 'sand'.
For more cake ideas seee the Birthday Delicakes website and don't forget if you are getting hitched in 2012 you should book your cake maker before Christmas.
Best wishes, Janet

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - How long does it take to make a cake?

I was at a garden party last weekend and the mother of a prospective groom asked me how long does it takes to make a wedding cake and my response - about three and a half days. This is true for a standard 3 tier cake and I thought no more about it. Then today I got a call asking if I could make an open bible cake for a christening in 10 days time - of course I can make it and I had loads of ideas to make it appropriate and pretty but I cannot make it as there isnt enough time...
So when ordering a special cake its not the time it takes to make the cake that's important for your order to be accepted its the time available in the 3-4 days before the delivery date. With the exception of fruit cakes which should always be ordered 10 weeks in advance most cakes shold be ordered 3-4 weeks before you need them. Then your bespoke cake maker can schedule the purchasing of special trimmings, ensure the cakes are baked, rested, 'dirty iced' so called because the crumbs show through, chilled, second coat buttercream, chilled, marzipan covered, rested overnight, fondant iced, stacked and decorated and finally boxed for delivery or collection.
If you have a wedding make sure you start the selection process for a cake maker 6 months before the big day - and for all other celebrations unless you want a 3 tier cake make sure you have chosen a cake maker a month in advance. Of course at a quiet time you may be lucky with a week or two's notice. And don't forget if you want something special for your own Birthday register for the wish-list. Orders can be placed by email or via the contact form.
Best wishes, Janet

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Wedding Show

Newsflash - Delicakes has signed up to go to my first wedding show!

Put on your sexy M and S food ad voice - this is not a wedding fair but a two day exclusive wedding show featuring Delicakes for the very first time, inspiring designs, exquisitly decorated show cakes and some divine tasting samples.

Yes the show will be packed with Kent's finest:  Venue's, Photographers, 4 Catwalk shows compared by Claire Sweeney, florists and every other thing you need to make your wedding perfect. As soon as possible I will add a link and pictures.

Its at Leeds Castle 15th and 16th October 2011 - make sure you put the date in your diaries especially if you are getting married next year.

I was so excited last night creating new and exclusive cake designs for 2012 to launch at the show I couldn't sleep. Its too soon to reveal the designs but as a little taster I'll tell you the themes include Snow White and Chandelier

For 2011 design ideas see the Once bittten forever smitten website
Best wishes, Janet

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Cake Pops

I cannot believe it has taken me so long to actually make some cake pops - and yes I'm totally smitten - true these ones are rather plain and not perfect but they were just for family to try out as I was creating the recipe.
The thing is they are really like a cake truffle; rich, dense, creamy and moist and all hidden under a chocolate candy coating that makes a satisfying crack as you take the first bite. These have to be the all time best of both worlds - small and pretty like chocolates, tastes of cake and buttery vanilla, a moist mouthfull that is truely addictive. I didn't expect to like them but I am very keen to make some chocolate filled ones next.
they would make great favours so I have featured them on the Wedding Favours page of the website
Next step is to create some designs to feature for Birthdays, keep a look out for these on flickr.
All cakes can be ordered by phone 01732 843518, text 07714286911 or email me direct.
Best Wishes, Janet

Monday, 6 June 2011

Once Bitten Forever Smitten - Father's Day

This year Father's Day is the day after our son comes home from university so there will be more than one reason to have a scrumptious cake for tea. This cake was made for a lady Bridge fanatic but its a theme suitable for many Dad's - especially if they like a game of cards
Or you could go for a garden cake as lots of Dad's like to potter in the garden and grow their own - I really think this cake should be carrot cake but you can actually order any flavour you like
For my own Father I will make his favourite cupcakes with Velvet Cream frosting on a vanilla cake (why do the American TV shows always say Vanilla Bean - is there another sort of Vanilla I dont know about?
If you have any cake requirements this summer I can cater for Wedding Cakes up to 500 portions or Dinner Party puddings for 8 - tel 01732 843518 text 07714286911 or you can email your order
To see lots more pictures and full details of cakes see BirthdayDelicakes or WeddingDelicakes
best wishes, Janet

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Sight, smell, touch and taste

Enjoying a cake uses four of the five senses (all except hearing). When you see that cake you just want to taste it, when you smell that sweet mallowly scent of fondant icing you start to salivate, when it gets onto your tongue you feel the lightness of the sponge and the sweetness of the frosting on your teeth and then your tastebuds are all at once satisfied by the melting butteryness and sugar rush.

The whole concept of Delicakes is that the taste and mouthfeel is so mouthwateringly yummy you will always want more. If you dont like fondant your cake can be covered in butttercream frosting as above or creamcheese for a clean finish as below
Or you can go for a fondant decorated cake to reflect a favouite hobby such as this Snare Drum cake that had a chocolate and vanilla marble cake hiding inside.

All cakes can be ordered by email, and there are now separate websites for Birthday cakes and Wedding cakes so you can quickly find what you want, best wishes, Janet

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Chelsea Flower Show

This week is Chelsea Flower Show and although I've left it too late to get tickets I am celebrating the Queen of English flowers with a fresh rose design in Lime Green. Yes I know its not typical - and it may not be real but this Rose Topper cake has been made specially for my sister and the cake is a lemon sponge with a zingy lime cream cheese filling and I wanted the decoration to complement the filling!
And just to show that Carnations are still a popular flower here is the Wedding Cake I made for a lovely couple who were so not 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' 
 If you have a big celebration coming up why not have a bespoke cake made especially for you - email orders via the website contact form or text 07714286911
best wishes, Janet

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Colour Blocking

All the fashions for this spring and summer are about big bold blocks of colour - and they dont come bigger or bolder than this fantastic 40 - covered in red glitter and sugar diamonds what diva could mind turnng 40 if they had a cake like this to celebrate.

I think the equivalent cake for children would be a lego bricks cake but I havent made one of these yet so here is one made by Dragonfly.

There are so many ways to link cake with current trends and fashion, so if you want a birthday cake and fancy one shaped like a handbag or a shoe let me know by emailing me your order or check out BirthdayDelicakes
Best Wishes, Janet

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Vintage Weddings

Fifties Wedding Cakes
The 1950’s was a decade of iconic society weddings. Princess Elizabeth married in 1951, John F Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953, Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier III of Monaco in 1956 and Paul Newman married Joanne Woodward in 1958 so it was an iconic decade of royal and society weddings.
Princess Elizabeth's (the Queen's) 3 tier cake with pillars was copied by 1950's brides in UK

And my Mum and Dad married in 1956 so I have first hand knowledge of how a traditional wedding cake was made in the UK back then.
It was the norm was to have a three tier fruit cake as this was the current fashion and copied the Royal wedding in 1951. I’m told the cake was often made by the bride or a close female relative. My Mum made her own cake from the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book (see appendix for recipe). Sadly no picture of this cake remains but even the marzipan was homemade.  It was a tall round cake, separated with pillars for elegance and decoratively piped with swags and swirls of royal icing. Sugar roses and silver paper horseshoes were purchased from the bakers to add to the crisp white piping and a small vase with artificial flowers  stood on the top.
Princess Grace of Monaco had a six tier wedding cake which they cut with Prince Ranier’s sword
It’s hard for us to comprehend now but after the Second World War food was rationed and it wasn’t until February 1953 that sugar rationing ended making the possibility of large lavish and highly decorated luxury cakes a reality. So the majority of fifties brides were lavish with the icing using thick marzipan to seal the rich fruit cake and covering it all with several layers of royal icing – sugar was now available and they were going to use it. All this sugar also had the effect of preserving the fruit cake so it could be used for the first child’s christening (that’s me – and it was).
 Elvis Presley married in the early 60's and tall cakes with pillars were then popular in USA
However it was still an age of waste not want not and thrift was a much prized attribute. My Mum still has the baking tin for the 8 inch middle tier of her cake, and she tells me the 10 inch base tier was baked in a biscuit tin, double wrapped with brown paper to protect the cake during its long slow cooking as she thought it too extravagant to buy a 10 inch tin that wouldn’t be used again.
The Kennedy wedding cake was a stacked 4 tier cake
When looking for photos of 50’s wedding cakes I was surprised to find many for very large round cakes, 3 tiers but stacked so they were wide and low rather than tall and elegantly separated.  Further searching has identified that many American cakes were larger and flatter but the celebrities of the time went for very tall, many tiered, highly decorated confections. As now, the perfectly decorated cake provided the photo opportunity of the bride’s first duty as a married woman – cutting the cake.
I use my own recipes to ensure if you have a WeddingDelicakes cake its the most wonderful cake of your life

 To enquire about an order email Janet

Good Housekeeping Cookery Book Recipe for Three Tier Wedding Cake
5 ½ pounds currants
5 ½ pounds sultanas
2 pounds stoned raisins
1 pound sweet almonds
1 ½ pounds glace cherries
1 pound mixed peel
1 lemon
3 pounds flour
3 tea spoons cinnamon
1 ½ tea spoons mace
Pinch salt
3 pounds butter
3 pounds sugar
24 large eggs
1/3 pint rum or brandy
A little caramel or browning
1 ½ pound ground almonds
10 ounces caster sugar
10 ounces sieved icing sugar
Juice small lemon
1 ½ tea spoon vanilla essence
1 ½ tea spoons orange flower water
Egg white to mix