Sunday, 19 October 2014

Curing Cancer With Cupcakes

A couple of weeks ago I was baking for England...well, MacMillan really. My plan was to hold a MacMillan Garden party (which ended up as an indoor gathering due to the changeable weather of October in Yorkshire). 

Growing up in the 70's two of my best friends, who lived just doors apart from each other, both lost their Mums to breast cancer. This year another friend learned that she too had developed breast cancer and that for the best part of the coming year she would be doing all she could to get rid of it and regain control of her destiny. She has had a tough time of it and is doing brilliantly; she really rocks a jazzy headscarf it has to be said. So it is probably no surprise that I wanted to contribute in a small way to the fight!

I hadn't baked in quite a while, months even, but I love to bake and create fabulous cupcakes. As I was a little time strapped, and a little less confident of my baking prowess than I should have been, I decided to purchase a couple of Betty Crocker cake mixes and frostings. 

I used the Devil's Food Cake mix for my Terry's chocolate orange cupcakes and a Red Velvet cake mix for the Red Velvet cupcakes (obviously!). I wanted to kind of practice with those before experimenting with what I hoped would be a new cupcake success, a MacMillan Mojito cupcake (virgin of course).
The Devil's Food cake always makes the most amazing chocolate cakey goodness, and when topped with the Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge icing and a Terrys Chocolate Orange segment (the exploding candy sort) you are on to a winner. To make it extra special I popped a mini Chocolate Orange segment in the center of the uncooked cupcake - uummmmm!
Next for the Red Velvet. Again I reached for the Betty Crocker. I usually make my own Red Velvet but it can be a bit of a faff. You see you need buttermilk and it's not so easy to come by here. It's easy enough to make however;

Combine the milk and lemon juice. Measure 1 scant cup of milk. Stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar.
Let stand 5-10 minutes. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.

I've had some great results in the past but this time I went for the "safe" option. Well, they turned out OK, but my own are better I think anyways. These were flat cupcakes with a vanilla frosting and freeze dried raspberry sprinkles,  topped with a fresh raspberry.

And finally, now more confident, I was ready to create a totally new cupcake from scratch - the MacMillan Mojito. This consisted of a regular plain sponge batter, flavoured with Rum flavouring and a lot of Lime juice. The frosting was a buttercream flavoured with more Lime and a secret surprise ingredient - Sea Salt flakes. Yes, you read correctly - Sea Salt Flakes! It works and added a great sweet/salty contrast with a hint of crunch. lastly I decorated with a Lime green sugar sprinkle by Wilton.

These turned out to be my personal favourite. 48 cupcakes and a messy kitchen later I was ready to go. Guests arrived in a steady trickle throughout the day. We even had a mini Stampin Up class held by my good friend Caroline. You can read more about Stampin Up at her blog page...
When the word got out that there were cupcakes leftover people started asking for boxes to be delivered. I raised around £80 for MacMillan through baking and eating cupcakes with some friends. Not bad for a last minute and half baked plan (see what I did there LOL?).


Friday, 19 July 2013

Hot Summer Days ...(and nights too!)

Wow, typically British, (unlike this heatwave) we can't cope with our weather. We love it for a week but now I think a lot of us Brits just can't stand the heat - not without a pool and a long cool drink at least.
Everyone I speak to is fed up of being so sweaty during the day and struggling to sleep at night.
I tried to buy a fan today - I tried several large well known retailers to no avail. It would seem that there are no fans to be purchased within a 50 mile radius at least!
I was happy last week to host a garden party; gazebo, bunting and a few bottles of non-alcoholic fizz helped create the perfect setting (well almost).

I found this amazing watermelon cake on Pinterest (on the left) and set to work on my adapted version.

I was so pleased with how it turned out and gave everyone a surprise with the first slice.

This is smörgåstårta, a Swedish dish. It's basically a huge sandwich with a layer of tuna and baby gherkin in lemon mayo, smoked salmon pate, egg and cress mayo with tomatoe, and prawn cocktail with bread separating the layers. the whole thing is covered in cream cheese and decorated....lush.

Excuse the chipped plate - WHAT WAS I THINKING? But once that baby was done I wasn't going to move it until I had to serve it.

So, I enjoyed the weather last week, struggled this week - maybe I need to host another party?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

love and kindness

Love and Kindness

This is a card I made for a dear friend who really 
helped me out in my hour of need. 
Her help will be always appreciated - thank you Anne xxx

I used card and a topper by Kanban and a Martha Stewart
border punch

Oh I do like to be beside the Seaside...

Oh I do like to be beside the Seaside...

I love this old photo of my husband's family when they were growing up. It was taken in Bridlington, Yorkshire and shows an era when we still had summers in England!!! I love how I managed (by chance) to find a paper that matched the wind breaker almost perfectly. The bucket and spade were cut from the Cricut "Life's a Beach" cartridge and shaded using Promarkers. I cut out the bunting using a steel die (sorry, don't know which brand) on white card and coloured it in with Promarkers too.

Stampin' Up

Wow, It's been a while...

but I have been playing and creating a little. Its been an eventful summer with lots of highs and lows. I have done some traveling to Ireland (twice) and to Iceland and Norway which was spectacular and had some well needed R & R. Unfortunately, the lows were very low and saw the passing of my mum at the ripe old age of 84. I have also had some minor health issues due to stress ( go figure!). 

Over the summer I had the opportunity to create some wonderful scrapbook pages with the inspiration offered by a great friend who has recently signed up as a Stampin' Up demonstrator. At the party I hosted last week I made this cute card, ready to go in my "I need a card now!" stash.
 Hope you like it.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Freebies from a friend...

If you fancy your chances at winning this fab cartridge just pop over to leave a comment on and good luck. Don't forget to tell her where you found out about this great prize offer. Actually, I hope I get to win it - LOL! It looks a great cart. Happy Easter all x.