Vegan Jaffa Cakes and Coping in Lockdown

Hey my guys! How is everyone doing during this lockdown? I hope you’re all thriving, or at least getting through it as sanely as possible. I had my first major breakdown last week. It’s not actually happened for a while but this night my emotions got the best of me and I uuuugly cried in to my pillow. It was just huge racking sobs and I just really hoped that I wouldn’t wake my kids. Kyle thankfully was on night shift so it was just me. I fell asleep from the pure exhaustion of it, had some crazy dreams, but in the morning I felt so much better. Eager to start my day with a clear and happy head, and heart. Burning incense, reading, exercising and creating. And making sure I’m not going too hard on myself when I just feel like eating cookies and drinking coffee all day πŸ™ˆ

I’ve been going through all my vegan cookbooks in this gorgeous sunshine and I came across a Jaffa cake recipe that I though I would try from Ms. Cupcakes Naughtiest Cakes in Town. I used her base recipe for the sponge but because I wanted a gourmet kind of Jaffa cake, and also I had zero marmalade in the house, I made a beautiful vegan orange jelly for the centre. Very much like the store bought Jaffa cake, except BETTER! Guys I’m not even a huge chocolate orange fan but THIS. Absolutely STUNNING. I mean, I could have consumed the whole batch. But I promised to drop some off with some of my favourite people so…

Any way. If you have marmalade, it’s much easier and I’m sure will taste beautiful as well. But if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, absolutely try making this very easy yet fancy orange jelly…you will need agar agar, which I get online. It’s fairly cheap and you don’t need much so it’s worth it as a lot of vegan recipes use agar agar to substitute the gelatin..because I really don’t like the idea of boiled pig skin in my desserts πŸ₯ΊπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

So here we are! The recipe is below. Along with a little video too! And if you love Chocolate Orange, you will love this spectacular Chocolate Orange Cupcake Candle available at Donut Eat Bakery.

Vegan Jaffa Cakes

Gorgeous Chocolatey Jaffa Cakes that beats store bought any day!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Time to Set Jelly2 hrs
Course: Snack
Cuisine: British
Servings: 12
Author: Carrie-Anne Dallas

Ingredients

  • 250 ml fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp Agar Agar
  • 50 g sugar

For the Cake:

  • 100 g Self Raising Flour
  • 60 g sugar
  • 100 ml Plant milk Any will do, soy, oat, almond etc
  • 50 ml vegetable oil

Chocolate Ganache

  • 150 g dairy free chocolate chips
  • 50 g vegan butter or margarine
  • zest of half an orange

Instructions

  • Make the Jelly:
    In a smaull saucepan heat 125 ml water and 1tsp of Agar Agar. Once dissolved, add the orange juice, extract, and sugar. Heat until the mixture reaches a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Line a jelly roll pan with clingfilm. Make sure the clingfilm comes up the sides of the pan.
  • Slowly pour the slightly cooled orange mixture in to the pan. Let cool either at room temperature or in the fridge. It should take about an hour or 2 to set.
  • Make the cake Mixture:
    In a Small bowl mix the sugar, self raising flour and a pinch of salt. Add the plant milk and vegetable oil. Mix until you have a smooth batter.
  • Spoon about a Tablespoon of batter in to a greased muffin or bun tin.
    Bake at 180 degrees C until golden brown (about 8 minutes). Let cool.
  • Using a circle cutter roughly the same size or smaler than your cakes, cut out 1 jelly disc per cake. Using an offset spatula, place one disc on to the flatside of each cake.
  • Melt 150grams of dairy free chocolate (I use Callebaut) and 50grams of vegan butter or margarine. Microwave or heat on a bain marie until the chocolate is JUST melted. If you overheat the chocolate you can risk burning it and your chocolate will have an unatrractive 'bloom' or white streak through it. Mix until all the butter is incorporated and you have a lovely shiny ganache.
    Add the zest and mix in.
  • Let the chocolate cool slightly then spoon over each cake until the jelly is covered.
    let the chocolate set...or not, and enjoy! You're done!

Notes

You can skip the jelly step entirely and use marmalade instead! if you wanna be a little bit fancy and purist...the jelly is divine x

Homemade Tortilla Wraps

My daughter loves wraps. She will choose a wrap over sliced bread any day of the week.

Last week I made a gorgeous vegan burrito and I used store bought wraps. I had to hide them from my daughter because as soon as she saw them she wanted to open them…didn’t matter how many times I told her I was using them for dinner.

Next day all the wraps were eaten and she wanted me to go get some more. Guys I’ve just ordered a 16kg bag of flour, I told her I can’t just go to the shops as soon as we run out of something right now, so I’d make her some. Well she didn’t think I could do it….mainly because how was I going to get them so round and so thin?! I think she forgets I roll fondant on a nearly daily basis and I don’t think she realises I went to pastry school to learn how to make almost every type of bread in existence either. So I just guaranteed I would have wraps for her breakfast in the morning.

It took me less than 5 minutes to make the dough, another 15 to let them rest, and another 10 to roll them all out, and a minute to cook.

Hayden was NOT impressed with how my wraps were not very round, so she took the rolling pin from me, and showed me how it was done….and she did indeed. The shape of her wraps were absolutely perfect! Which was great because while I cooked, she rolled them out πŸ₯° win win.

She watched me put the first one on the pan and then was gutted because she wanted them to have freckles just like the store bought ones….so I flipped it and she gave a little gasp and squeal when she saw the ‘freckles’. Definitely my child this one ❀️

Both kids loved them (‘better than the shop ones’ πŸ™ŒπŸ») and now I can make them on a regular basis…and I’m pretty sure to make 8 wraps only cost about 5p….so it was definitely a win!

Here’s the recipe if you want to give them a go. I made 8….but I think I’ll make 16 next time as mine were sliiiightly on the thicker side even though the tortilla fit my whole pan.

Tortilla Wrap

Easy, soft tortilla wraps
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Keyword: Tortillas, Wraps
Servings: 16

Ingredients

  • 380 g Flour Plain flour or Strong Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 75 ml vegetable oil
  • 240 ml warm water

Instructions

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine your dry ingredients and give a little mix.
  • Add the warm water and oil and mix for a minute or 2 on medium speed until the all the flour has been incorporated. You'll need to push the flour down from the sides of the bowl every so often.
  • Once all the ingredients have come together to form a smooth dough, turn it out on to a well floured surface.
  • Divide the dough in half, then keep dividing until you have 16 equal sized pieces.
  • Roll each piece of dough in to a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand. Set them under a clean tea towel to give the gluten a litte rest. This will make it easier to roll out. 15 minutes is all it needs.
  • Roll out the dough very thinly until almost transparent. The thinner the better as you willg et a teeny tiny rise out of the dough.
  • Heat a large frying pan on medium/high heat. No oil needed! Place the rolled out tortilla in to the pan and cook for about a minute or until the underside has golden brown spots or 'freckles'. Cook the other side for about 30 seconds nd transfer to a plate. Do not over cook or you will end up with a brittle wrap.

 

These will freeze really well, and best eaten the day they’re made. To reheat you can place a damp paper towel on top of the wraps for 10 seconds in the microwave.

Enjoy!!

Vegan Hot Cross Buns

I absolutely ADORE hot cross buns. When it comes to most holiday type foods I try not to buy them store bought, because it’s too easy to just eat a whole pack in one sitting….and I can eat a whole bag in one sitting πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ™ˆ this includes things like Mince Pies, Stollen, and Hot Cross Buns. So I decided I wasn’t going to eat any more hot cross buns until I made them myself. I’ve put together a wee video on how I made them, but the full recipe is just below, and printable too!

Of course I made them vegan, but to be honest, you’d never tell the diference. A lot of store bought ones these days are unintentionally vegan anyway. So it’s a win all round. My go to vegan butter in the UK is Naturli. To be honest, we don’t have a lot of options here for vegan block butter. Thankfully, Naturli Vegan Block Butter is absolutely delicious. They have a spreadable version too which is so so tasty as well.

If you’re in the States or Canada, you can use Earth Balance.I’ve tried to get it here but it’s almost impossible.

Honestly, it’s such an easy and straightforward recipe.  I’m not a huge fan of mixed peel but if you’re feeling super traditional you can replace some of the raisins with the peel. I used orange zest as well, but lemon will do just as nicely. I used unsweetened Almond Milk in this recipe, but generally would use Oat milk. Almond is all I had because I’ve had to substitute with this Covid-19 Lockdown as Oat milk seems a bit more scarce. If you only have sultanas, use those! I prefer raisins, because they’re less mushy. I know! I’m a texture freak! πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

So experiment away, just keep the measurements correct and you’re good to go. An easy, fluffy, simply more-ish hot cross bun!

If you’re wanting to save even more time, forget the crosses! That’s just for show…but can you really call it a hot cross bun without it?

Vegan Hot Cross Buns

Simple, Fluffy, Delicious Hot Cross Bun
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Breakfast
Servings: 12 buns

Ingredients

  • 500 grams White Bread Flour
  • 75 grams White Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 3 tsp Dried Active Yeast
  • 300 ml Plant Based Milk
  • 80 g Melted Vegan Block Butter

Instructions

  • Throw the Flour in to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Place the sugar, spices, zest, and salt to one side of the mixer. Place the yeast in the bowl away from the other ingredients. Sugar and Salt will kill yeast if in direct contact. Turn on the mixer to combine. You might have to use a rubber spatula to combine more thoroughly.
  • Melt the vegan butter and add it to the plant milk. Mix until incorporated. There's no need to heat the milk too as you don't want the mixture to be too hot. Lukewarm will do!
  • Slowly pour the milk and butter mixture into the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on medium high and beat the dough until it starts to come away from the sides of the bowl. This should take about 8-10 minutes.
  • Oil a medium sized bowl and form the dough in to a loose ball. Cover with clingfilm and set in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours or until doubles in size.
  • Once risen, knock the air out of the dough and add the raisins by hand. You can do this in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface.
  • Once the fruit is incorporated, cut 12 equal sized pieces of dough. Be careful not to tear the dough as this will damage the structure of the gluten.
  • Form the balls of dough tightly and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet or dish. Cover them with clingfilm and let rise for another hour.
  • Mix together some flour and water to make a pipeable paste. I used 50 grams of four and 40ml of water. Add the water as you need it. Place in a piping bag and pipe crosses on the buns. This step is completely optional!
  • Bake at 180F in a fan oven for 25 minutes, until golden.
  • Glaze the buns with warmed up apricot jam, or any other syrup you prefer.

Notes

These are best eaten the day they're made. You can freeze these beauties too or have them toasted a couple of days later.
If you prefer to prepare the dough the day before, you can let the buns rest in the fridge overnight and bake them in the morning so you have Fresh Hot Cross Buns for breakfast with a hot cuppa. Bliss!

 

 

Banana Cake, Baking and Creating through a Pandemic

Ugh you guys have got to, HAVE GOT to be soooo sick of hearing the C word this month. I thought I was doing ok. At first. Legit. I haven’t been panicking, I’ve been living my life as per usual, trying to stay away from the news. A few days ago though, it just hit me. I’m not worried for myself or my babies. We’re fit and healthy. But I’m afraid for my husband, who will be dealing with people that are panicked, angry, and scared. The people who might lash out at him because he’s got a job to do, nothing personal, I know. But I’ve seen the worst of people these last few weeks…though I’ve also seen the best. My husband unfortunately deals with the worst much more often. To keep his family and his country safe. I worry that he won’t have enough to eat, or that someone hurts him or that he’s too tired to drive home after a long shift. For the most part I don’t get concerned for his safety….because he’s strong, and smart and knows how to handle himself…but with all these other factors, it’s a LOT to take in.

The cake cancellations and postponements are overwhelming, but because of the circumstances is totally understandable, but I still get scared. Even though I KNOW how lucky we are, and how much more we have than so many. It’s daunting. So I’m surrendering to the universe, calling in my angels, spirit guides, and higher self, and really focusing on the positives.

During this lock down I’m going to make sure I’m creating new products and sharing recipes. Making videos, and baking ALL the things. I’ll knit with my babies, create art, learn sign language, create the vegetable garden I’ve been planning for months, meditate, workout, eat, drink and just BE!

So far so good. Jaxon helped me plant our potatoes, while Hayden sat in the sunshine painting oat milk cartons. I sat outside with them in the moment. Just enjoying their company. Jaxon ran around the garden playing zombies and war games with his nerf guns and they were just being kids. And they know they’re safe, and fed. And that’s the main thing. And I’ll keep them from worrying as best I can.

I made 3 videos already that I’m just editing as I type and I’m going to be making many more. My husband is enjoying having me home more (he’s a bit of a traditionalist) and to be honest, I’m enjoying it too. I was in major burnout! So I’m taking this negativity of this pandemic and turning it to all the positives. I’m listening to my soul, spending time with my babies , and doing all the things I keep putting off or just don’t usually have the time to do. And this introvert is LOVING it! I can honestly say I feel so in my element being ordered to stay home.

Of course I get a bit restless, but that just means having my cup of coffee in the fresh, frosty air, getting my workouts in, and making sure I’m moving and being somewhat productive. Being on lockdown puts so much in perspective for me too, it’s such a truly humbling experience. And I know people are getting sick, and dying, and I’m not trying my to take away from that at ALL. But I’m definitely seeing the silver lining throughout this pandemic. And it gives me so much hope, and it makes me realise all the little, ‘insignificant’ things in life that we take for granted every single day. Because they’re actually much more significant than we think.

So here’s my first lockdown tutorial…it was made for my friends daughter who just turned one and LOVES bananas 🍌 so I made a banana flavoured sponge with Swiss meringue buttercream, and carved the cake to resemble a cute and fun peeled banana. Hope you guys like it! My next videos will include some good ol’ fashioned loaves that are so simple and satisfying both to make and eat. Happy Lockdown my loves, we WILL get through this. And if you need to talk, or if you’re just not handling the situation well, please get in touch. I am always here to listen.

Sending all the love and light and healing energy I can muster ❀️

PS…SEND FLOUR!!!

My SkyDiving Experience! (And the intimacy! πŸ˜³πŸ˜…)

Teenage Cancer Trust SkyDive

Hello my loves!

Today I’m feeling a wee bitty bruised. Like I’ve had a really hard workout. Even though yesterday mainly consisted of waiting…and waiting, and then some more waiting…

A few months ago I signed up to do a charity Sky Dive. Being my usual self, I jumped (πŸ˜‚ no pun intended!!) at the chance when Siobhan from New Look mentioned it. It sounded like a good idea at the time. I can be very impulsive, although I’ve also conditioned myself to be that way over the years , because when you’re so busy saying no all the time, life kinda passes you by.

Anyway! I sorta kinda forgot about the whole thing. Well not really as we were trying to raise money and fundraise etc, but I had definitely pushed the actual thought of throwing myself out of an airplane at 10,000 ft out of my mind.

So then the day before the jump comes, and I’m at working coding drinks, while my manager is taking orders, and someone wants to leave a tip. So my manager says ‘oh, we’ll put that in the fundraising jar for Carrie’s Sky Dive that she’s doing tomorrow!’ And I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. I got a wee bit short of breath because although I knew I was doing it the NEXT day, hearing someone say it out loud made it that much more real.

So Siobhan and Kirsty (from New Look) and myself head down at 6:30am to make it to Strathallan for 9. We got there in plenty of time and waited to get our training!

At this point I think we’re all just pretty excited than we are nervous. And the team there totally put us at ease. We were so excited to have raised roughly Β£600 each when our goal was Β£500 for The Teenage Cancer Trust too!

So we go through our instruction video where the instructors really drum it in to us that the landing is by far the most important factor of the whole jump, so we practiced our leg lifting a bit.

Then after signing our lives away, we waited. Then our names are called and the fear sets in. And guys, I’ve said it before. I am not afraid to die. But I am terrified of the pain! (My instructor told me not to worry, because if my parachutes failed, I wouldn’t feel a thing when I hit the ground). And y’all I had a serious conversation with my spirit guide/angels before I left and they totally put me at ease by sending me 2 beautiful white butterflies, and also the suit I was given to wear was purple (my favourite colour as again it’s one I associate the most with my spirit guides)

So now Siobhan and I are suited up (poor Kirsty had to wait much longer than us as she was being filmed too 😣) and we’re strapped on to our tandem partners and not gonna lie guys. It was weirdly ‘intimate’. You’re basically sitting in between the legs of a stranger and you’re already feeling vulnerable as fuck, and you can literally feel every single movement they’re making, you’re trying so hard to relax and enjoy the view but all you want to do is take a huge breath and calm down but you can’t, because you’ve got a burly man right behind you. I mean, this gal needs dinner and drinks first, know what I’m sayin’? πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‚ but then there’s Siobhan who was being filmed so she was literally in the middle of a man sandwich so that made me laugh πŸ˜† (and she also said she felt exactly the same way! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚) so there’s always someone worse off guys…or better, depending how you want to look at it πŸ€”πŸ˜πŸ˜‚

So all of a sudden we’re at 10,000 ft and my guy (it’s much easier referring to him as ‘my guy’) shifts himself, and me, right on to the edge of the plane. Now I’m just looking out over the gorgeous Scottish landscape, but the ‘oh shit, this is it feeling’ washes over me and the fear sets in. Then I’m pushed out and allll the fear goes away. In a matter of a millisecond. And now we’re free falling I have my arms out and I’m in absolute awe. And the parachute is deployed and OMG in this moment I am so glad I’m not a man, because those straps grabbed my groin in such a way that I am bruised and a wee bitty tender today!

Throughout the whole dive I just can’t believe the feeling of pure calm I’m feeling. I totally expected an adrenaline rush, and something along the lines of a rollercoaster/fair ride. But I’m just gobsmacked for lack of a better word. It’s all just so surreal. At one point ‘my guy’ says ‘Are you still with me?!’ And I had to yell back ‘Yeah! This is just incredible, do you have many people faint on you?!’ Apparently it happens πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‚ but no. I was far from fainting. It was more like I was in a meditative mode than anything.

I even got to steer the parachute a little bit which was pretty cool, because I had NO IDEA how much control a parachutist actually has. We did a few spins (which did not help my motion sickness, but was so worth it) and then we went in for the landing. Which I was the most nervous about. But as soon as we got close enough to the ground, I was told to lift my legs like I’d been taught to, and for real it was like landing on a mountain of candy floss. It was such a smooth landing. Not what I was expecting at all!

So when we got up, instead of walking away on shaky legs (again which I thought would happen) it was like I’d just finished meditating. I honestly felt like I’d had a glass of wine and was in total relaxation mode. It’s such a strange thing to describe, because it’s exhilarating, yet relaxing all at the same time. Would I do it again?! In a HEARTBEAT! And I urge anyone who has the opportunity to, to take the plunge! It’s an experience I’ll never forget. And when you get to do it in the name of a good cause, that’s just kinda cool too πŸ₯°

Calum!! (my guy πŸ˜‚) and me!

Rainbow Cupcake Tutorial

Rainbow Swirl Buttercream Tutorial

Everyone loves a rainbow 🌈 cupcake…am I right?! As an artist and customer..I love the look of a rainbow cake. But as a baker, I cringe at the thought. They’re actually a pain in the backside. We usually charge more…and if you don’t, you certainly should. They’re a faff. I internally groan when I hear that I have to make a rainbow cake. Yeah it’s the same vanilla cake recipe, but then you have to get out every bowl in the cupboard, divide the batter evenly, then use an ungodly amount of food dye to make sure the colour will still be vibrant after it’s baked. And then all the washing up. Oh, and you need to line 6 baking tins too. As I said, a faff! So it’s one thing to bake a rainbow CAKE…rainbow buttercream, slightly different, slightly easier. It’s still time consuming because… the BOWLS, and an all butter buttercream takes a lot of colour to get very vibrant, but I also used a very easy technique to get a gorgeous swirl with half the mess and all the colours.

What you’ll need:

Cling film (Saran wran)

Very large pastry bags

A Wilton 1B Piping tip

Rainbow Coloured Buttercream of your choice!

I actually used American buttercream for this project. Couple of reasons…it had been a very long week and I had to get 60 cupcakes iced and done before work.. (I managed to do it all in 45 minutes) Annd I also find my regular Swiss Meringue takes a little more time to for the colours to develop. I made sure I didn’t compromise on taste though. I will share my recipe with you at a future date.Β  It’s easier to make vegan too..

but you do you! πŸ˜‰ x

Method:

Lay down a large strip of cling film. Make sure it’s not too much longer than your piping bag.

Spoon your buttercream into long lines in the centre of the cling film. I went in order of the colours of the rainbow…but you really don’t need to do this.

Rainbow Cupcake Swirl Tutorial

Bring one side of the cling film over to the middle, then bring over the other side. It’s kinda like making sushi! Then take the ends and give it a twirl, almost as if you’re playing jump rope.

Rainbow Buttercream Swirl Tutorial

Cut one end of the cling film bag and insert it in to your prepared piping bag that has the 1B tip in it.

Rainbow Buttercream Swirl Tutorial

Rainbow Buttercream Swirl Tutorial

Then swirl away! It’s super easy, super fun, and you avoid all the mess that you’d have if you were to line the piping bag with each individual colour.

Here a little video of the piping!Rainbow Buttercream Swirl

Hope you guys ike it! Sending so much love and light,

Carrie xx

Dinosaur Tutorial!

Dinosaur Cake Tutorial

I get quite a few dinosaur requests. Dinosaurs have always been a pretty firm favourite for a lot of kids. My babies enjoyed them, but not near as much as me when I was a kid. As a child, when it came to dinosaurs I was OBSESSED! I knew the names of every kind, and I read ALL the books on the subject. I wanted so badly to be a palaeontologist…actually, it still kinda is a dream job of mine. I remember well, a summer that my dad decided he wanted to take us on a road trip and we ended up in Drumheller, Alberta, to visit their famous dinosaur museum πŸ₯° Thanks my dad, it’s a memory I’ll treasure forever….I’ll be sure to take my kids there one day too.

Diplodocus was my all time favourite dinosaur πŸ¦• probably because they just seemed to have the nicest nature..being herbivores and all. And I totally get the T Rex appeal. I actually think they’re quite sweet too, and Jurassic Park will ALWAYS be on my list of top favourite films, so most dinosaur cakes I make will usually feature a T. Rex. So here’s one I made from Rice Krispie Treats. I’d have loved to do a video tutorial but whenever I make cakes like these I always feel like I’m going to epically fail, so I don’t film, doubt myself the whole way through…and then I LOVE the result. Go figure right? πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ™„

So here’s a pictorial of my T Rex. I hope you like it!

To start, I made Rice Krispie Treats (RKT) . I usually eye ball this recipe. You want to use more rice cereal than marshmallows, and you want to heat the marshmallows quite a lot, because then it will set really hard, and keep its shape πŸ₯° I use gloves for this so I can mould the RKT without burning myself. And lots of butter or oil so it doesn’t stick to your hands.

Shape the RKT in to a large oval to form the head. Make a dent half way down to form the snout. I use the side of my palm to do this. Once you’re happy with the shape, set the head aside to set.

Roll out 3 long strips of fondant. They don’t need to be perfect. These will just make up the bone structure of the face.

Dinosaur Cake Tutorial

Using a bit of buttercream, ‘glue’ one of the strips of fondant down the and back of the head.

Dinosaur Cake Tutorial

Add the other two strips to either side of the head just as you did with the middle strip.

Using your fingers, pinch the fondant to make sharp edges to give the bones a bit more structure. This will be covered so I find the more dramatic you are with it the better as you’ll lose a lot of the definition once it’s covered.

Roll out 3 balls of fondant roughly the same sizes. This will be for the cheek bones and the snout.

Using a knife, cut in to the head to create a mouth. Pry the mouth open enough so you can create a cavity to place the tongue and teeth.

Press the 3 balls of fondant you rolled on to either side of the head as well as the snout. Press into the head to soften out the shape.

Roll out enough fondant to cover the head. I used a mixture of green and brown ProGel colours to achieve this green. Don’t roll too thinly or you will be able to see the rice crispies underneath.

Cover the head, and use the underside of your palm to secure the fondant to the head while giving the dinosaur more definition.

Once you’re happy with the shape, make sure to turn the fondant under the head as well as in to the mouth so there is no rice Crispies showing. Using a ball tool, create hollows for the eye sockets. I used another little tool (I forget the name) to create the nostrils.

I used the same tool as I did to make the nostrils to create some lines under the eyes. I rolled a couple of balls of yellow fondant for eyes and placed them in the sockets. I then used some black ProGel mixed with vodka to paint on the cat like pupil. I like to add a tiny ball of white fondant to the eye to create an animated effect.

Using a straw (bubble tea straws work great) and squishing it will make a great scale effect. Start pressing in to the fondant, but try not to overlap.

Once the whole head has been embossed, take the blunt edge of a knife and score the ridge of the middle bone going down the centre of the head.

Paint the nostrils with black paint to add a bit more shadow and depth.

Take a ball of pink fondant and press in to the mouth, making sure to cover any green, and Rice Krispie treats.

Using a smaller ball took, I made indentations for the teeth. I then formed a cone shape with pink fondant for the tongue. I pushed it down with my hand and scored a line down the middle.

I coloured some fondant with cream ProGel to get an off white colour for the teeth. I then rolled small pieces of the fondant into cone shapes that had points on either side. This just makes inserting them into the pre made holes a bit easier.

Before adding the teeth, centre the tongue in the dinosaur’s mouth. I then used a bit of water to fix the teeth in to place.

Once all the teeth are in place, roll out two long thin pieces of green fondant. This will cover the gum line to give it a clean finish as well. I scored the fondant with the back of my knife to add a bit more definition.

Once everything is in place you can use an airbrush if you have one to add some more realism to the dinosaur. You can also use some cocoa powder on a big fluffy brush (which I did here). I then finished it all off with a spray of edible clear glaze to give my Dino a lovely shine!

To make the leaves I just cut out green fondant free hand, then scored veins in to them. On other cakes I’ve used a magnolia leaf cutter, scored the leaves, and then arranges them around the dinosaur’s head. To cover the cake board quickly and effectively, I bllitzed some bourbon biscuits in the food processor. Not too finely as you wants more course bits to make its look more realistic. And that’s that folks. A fairly simple T-Rex Cake!

Skydiving…. πŸ˜³πŸ˜…πŸ˜¬

Hey my loves. I’m sorry to bombard you with yet another post just a couple of days between one another, but this is for something a little different and not cake related…at all. I will have some more tutorials for you soon though. I promise!

So I’ve clearly gone crazy, as I’ve signed up for a sponsored Sky Dive annnnd, I need your help. And my goodness I am absolutely terrified of heights. I actually would much rather be in a pit of tarantulas or God forbid even cockroaches…but I’ve jumped (no pun intended) at the chance, and I will be doing it!Because I don’t back out easily…and the more I think about it the more terrified I am…but I also have so much faith in my spirit guides and the universe. And what will be will be. We may as well make the most of this life right? Because we don’t all get that chance.

The goal is to raise Β£500 per person, but seeing as there are a few other gals from work doing it too, I may as well try to raise a wee bitty more to help them get to their target as well xx

All the proceeds we collect will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust which helps teenagers living with cancer, and their families to live their best lives while dealing with their illness. To get more information about this fantastic charity you can click here πŸ™‚

If you’d like to sponsor me, please use the PayPal link below. Every penny will be going to the charity. Please keep a look out for some cake giveaways on my page in order to raise as much as we can. Every pound we raise will make such a difference. Thank so much for all your support! Sending so much love and light!


Nanaimo Bars…anyone?! πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦πŸπŸ˜‹

If you’re Canadian….you’ll know exactly what a Nanaimo Bar is. For the rest of you, you’ll need a lesson! The good ‘ol Nanaimo Bar is a no bake dessert or as the Brits call them ‘traybake’ featuring a chocolate, coconut and nutty, graham cracker biscuit base, with a rich custard buttercream centre, topped with dark chocolate and perhaps another sprinkling of nuts. They’re very sweet, but that’s offset by the saltiness of the base. So it’s just dessert perfection. You can’t have too much at one time. Well I certainly can’t and I have some sweet tooth!

The last few years I’ve really been missing home, and how much of my heart belongs there…in more ways than one πŸ’•πŸ”₯ 😞 And I’ve noticed I’ve been becoming that little bit extra Canadian lately. Like really getting even more patriotic than I usually have about it. Anyway.

I initially signed up to a Facebook group called Canadians in the UK, in order to get a bit of advice on my immigration etc. Then I started noticing posts about all the Canadian treats that people were really missing, so I decided to put that to rights! So I’m delighted to showcase my gorgeous Nanaimo Bars, presented in bite sized pieces, and ready to ship ALL over the UK. Better yet…they’re vegan!

And for the non Canadians..

Nanaimo (pronounced Na-nye-mo) Bars are named after a city on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It’s a beautiful little place, and if you ever get a chance to find yourself on the West Coast, you should take a trip across. I’m pretty sure there is some debate as to who actually invented the treat, or if it really came from there, but the general consensus is ‘who cares?!’ They’ve become a national point of pride and gosh darn it every Canadian knows exactly what it is, regardless of the variations. Every time I have made these for my British/Scottish friends. They’ve always gone down a treat!

So I introduce to you, my gloriously vegan version of this Canadian classic. Because when I have the opportunity to save an animals life and contribute to saving our planet, I’m there! And what’s even better, making it vegan does NOT compromise on taste and authenticity. And did I mention I bake my own graham crackers? Yup. You got to give them a try. Order yours today!!! Here!

πŸπŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦

Cake Prices, Sick kids, and Gratitude!

Hellllo my loves. It’s been awhile…as per usual 😳

I was woken up at 4 this morning by whimpering and a tiny little ‘mommy’ you just KNOW that it’s not going to be good. I should’ve known when I went up to bed and checked on my babies that my eldest wasn’t feeling so hot… not literally because she was roasting! But also she has a tendency to bundle up even when the weather is warm. I touched her little brother’s skin and he was cool…mostly because he was in nothing but his underwear and no covers on. So I went to bed HOPING it was just a case of too many clothes and bedcovers. I was wrong. It’s a tummy bug. So now I’m in a slight frenzy. I’m trying to organise childcare and or shift changes.

It’s good! It’s covered, and panic is over! Kyle unfortunately is on training shifts for work this week too so trying to get out of that wouldn’t have been too easy either. So now I’m crazy cleaning the house, using bleach on every door handle, crevice, and every other surface that can and will be bleached! I’ve hoovered the entire house, sterilised the kitchen and bathroom..and when I’m in the cleaning frenzy…I just want EVERYTHING done! I even got my workout in. Leg day. I’m feeling it now.

I managed to swap shifts so I took the close, which I do love to do, and on days like today, a constant supply of coffee is a wonderful and much needed bonus of the job😜 And on a plus! I only have 2 cakes this week…until I face the storm of the next 3 weeks of cakes after that 😳😬

Anyway…pricing!

Right my guys, I know I don’t have to justify my prices. I know. And for the most part I have pretty cool customers who actually do realise the extent of what goes in to making a cake. But for those of you who cheekily, yes cheekily! tell me that they not paying ‘HOW MUCH?! It’s just CAKE!’ This one’s for you…and also to those new bakers that don’t think they’re charging enough. YOU’RE NOT…know your worth my loves!

And maybe it IS just cake….but it’s also so much more than that.

Absolutely my cakes aren’t affordable for everyone. That’s just life. Some people don’t think a birthday cake is a justifiable expense. And that’s okay too. I get it. I do! I know how hard we all work for our money. Im lucky enough to be able to create cakes for my kids that I don’t have to shell out my hard earned money for..But I would absolutely buy art work from my favourite artists. And I always pay that little bit extra to support local businesses where I can. Because I can appreciate that it’s taken years to hone their skills. (Or not..some people seem just naturally talented πŸ™„) Art supplies, like cake supplies aren’t cheap. Groceries aren’t cheap. So let’s give y’all an idea of a standard cake…

8 inch is my most popular. I always try to keep my costs down…don’t we all?

Butter has gone up…like a crazy amount, eggs, sugar, electricity for the ovens….doesn’t come cheap. We all know this. Sooo let’s say I make an 8 inch cake. The ingredients alone cost me Β£10, then adding on fondant, cake boards, ribbon, boxes, electricity. That’s another Β£10.00. This is all before I even start physically making the cake. And I charge for my time…I now pay myself Β£10 an hour. 5years ago…it was about Β£2. And sometimes, I still only make about Β£5 an hour. I can guarantee 99% of people wouldn’t get out of bed for that kinda wage. Am I right?!

I have to go shopping for all these groceries and wash all the dishes and clean the kitchen…and bake the cake…so I give myself an hour for that alone. So now we’re at Β£30. I haven’t even STARTED decorating at this point. I don’t even charge for the research, the back and forth conversations between myself and my customer. And sometimes…that takes a VERY long time.

Decorating can take anywhere from 1 hour, to 8 hours and beyond. And that’s just for a birthday cake! Even a drip cake that can take just an hour to decorate…will cost more because once you load it with sweets and chocolates, the cost of the sweets alone will bring the price of the cake up quite substantially.

So let’s say I spend 5 hours on a cake. Average for a bespoke cake. That includes filling, and covering the cake in fondant. Making the decorations etc. That’s another Β£40 of my time. Now we’re at Β£70

Also, I’m a business. Shouldn’t I make a profit as well? So I give myself 30% profit. 70+21=91…

And I’m laughing already because for a standard 8inch cake I generally charge Β£65!

So your average 8inch cake is looking like Β£90.00 And guess what?! I usually still don’t charge that. Generally quite a bit less. So I try really hard for my ego not to get in the way. And I tell myself that the people that complain and are rude…They’re not my customers. But I’m tired of not realising my worth. I don’t haggle anymore. I respect myself and my business enough to know when to let things go, and lately I’ve learned that a LOT in my personal life too. And if a cake is not meant for me, that’s cool. I move on. With grace, and always a kind word. Because I’m above that. I don’t let someone else’s opinions demean my work. At the end of the day. I’m an artist. And isn’t beauty always in the eye of the beholder? We can’t please everyone. And that’s ok. Because I think I’m pretty damn good most of the time anyway πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜πŸ₯°

So before you knock someone’s prices, please think about what goes in to them. Ask yourself if you’d work for any less. And more importantly, if you don’t agree, move on, keep your opinions to yourself. Because really, what good comes of it. And I URGE everyone to make at least one celebration cake yourself, to the best of your ability. So you can see just how much love, effort, and work goes in to each order. It’s not as glamorous a job as you’d think πŸ™ˆπŸ˜

And on a more pleasant note… I’ve been feeling so incredibly grateful and humbled for all the orders that I have been receiving lately. I was worried when I moved down from Thurso that the work wouldn’t come. But word of mouth is a wonderful thing. And I put my trust in the universe and just knew that if I put everything in her hands, All would be well. And as always. It is. Because letting go, giving in, and having faith is the best thing you can do. Always.

** All the cakes pictured above where from fantastic clients who had no issues with the prices of their cakes πŸ₯°