Sunday, April 18, 2010

Today was party central

At our house, for Poppy's 7th birthday.

The popcorn containers I made for Poppy's party today, using Robert Gordon straight sided cupcake papers, to which I attached a POPCORN sticker, which I made. They were quite popular with the kids, and vanished quickly.
Most of my china is vintage, so I didn't have anything plain & flat - so I picked up this white platter for 16.99 at the Warehouse (thanks Republic at Home), whilst I was there, I got the two hurricane lamps standing behind for 9.99 each, which I stood the Strawberry wafers up in (2.99 jar at the 4 Square, photo represents 2 jars in total).
I couldn't decide whether I liked the platter vertically or horizontally for display, in end I opted for horizontal.

I was ecstatic to find heart shaped 2 tone marshmallows at New world supermarket - I had never seen those before - the foil picks I've had in the cupboard for a long time, waiting for "one day" when I might need them.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Take home gift for our little party guests

apologies, currently the picture loading on blogger, won't let me load landscape, it is doing everything potrait. I will endeavour to fix asap.

This year, when I was planning Poppy's 7th birthday party, my husband Vaugahn asked if we could give our party guests, a gift that was reusable or recyclable (I.E no plastic toys that would break on first use). With a little help from a friend, th Oh-so-0fabulously talented Lisa (who did the sewing), we came up with My little pony aprons, cupcake papers and cupcake sprinkles. I also handmade some cupcake picks.
The gifts are packaged in wilton cupcake boxes. Each guest received, 1 apron, some cupcake papers, 12 picks & sprinkles. (The sprinkles & cupcake picks were packed inside the small pink pony box)

Poppy's cake

This cake is for my daughter Poppy's 7th birthday party tommorow. I could not manage to properly show 7 ponies in one photo. I made the cake, but the ponies are the work of Lisa from The Whole Cake & Caboodle I ordered them from Lisa, when I was somewhat overworked, at the time Poppy requested 7 ponies for her 7th birthday, as I simply didn't feel I would have enough time to make them. I'm glad I did. Lisa tells me the 7 ponies took 10 hours to make.

Cake specs for those interested: 12 & 6 inch cakes, using Wilton petal pan tins. Icing base colour Wilton kelly Green, top layer Wilton Sky Blue. Grass piped using tip 233. Candle holders are sparkled using Rainbow Dust crystal lemon. Lettering if FMM funky alphabet tappit set.

My little pony party favours

Tommorow is my daughter's 7th birthday party. Poppy wanted a my little pony theme. This year I decided to hand make a lot of her party items. I started with a lollipop display. These are store bought (pams brand) lollipops. I applied a sticker to either side and a small bow. They are displayed in a Wilton lollipop stand.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My family recipe journey #3

Post #1 & #2 of my family recipe journey went without a hitch, Mum and I had such fun. This post was not without it's dramas. I chose pikelets for this post. Whilst pikelets for many may not seem extraordinary, my Grandad's pikelets were exceptional. I have many vivid memories of events Grandad attended with his pikelets in tow (always a large batch), whenever we left to go home, not one pikelet was left, the often embarassing thing for anyone else that had taken pikelets, was their plates were virtually untouched.

So how good can a pikelet be?. Grandad were large, airy, a beautiful colour and better yet, they tasted awesome!.

When I went to make pikelets - I couldn't believe, I couldn't find the recipe. Mum did not have it, in the recipe book Granny had begun to write down some of Grandads recipes in, nor was it in her own. I knew that I had it written down. It was in my Standard 4 school recipe book, but I could not for the life of me find that. When I attended Kamo Primary, we had what many might call an "Ag day" although being a surburban primary school, there were not many animals - we did however have all the fun of the fair. I entered the decorated biscuit competition "1st prize" and the Pikelet competition "2nd prize" - why second prize?? when my Grandad's recipe was so good??. Well it was a bit upsetting on my part. Mum received a telephone from the school to say it wasn't fair that she had baked the pikelets for me, as we were supposed to submit our own work, they suggested the pikelets were too good to have been made by a child. Mum told them in no uncertain terms she had not baked the pikelets, in fact she didn't know how to make pikelets. And if they wanted confirmation I had made them myself, they should simply ask me how I made them. They never did - and I was demoted to second place.

I emailed my Mums cousin Anne (who is the daughter of Grandads brother and Grannies sister - no wonder our family is so small and all looks alike). She had a copy that my great Aunt Margaret (her mum) had written down one day as Grandad made them. Grandad never used a recipe, so she stopped him as he worked and measured everything. Grandad always used 6 eggs, so I chuckled when I saw the recipe Anne had included only 5. I guess there was only 5 left in the egg basket that day.

My first attempt at baking Grandads pikelets resulted in absolute disaster. The printer broke down, so I was unable to print out Anne's email with the recipe. I hastily scrawled it down, as I had a short time on the allotted day to make them. I left out a crucial instruction "mix with beater", I also failed to remember in Grandad language 1 tsp, is not 1 tsp, it is a big teaspoon out of the cutlery drawer and you heap it up. To top it all off, whilst baking my leathery disasters, the electric frypan, which is likely as old as me, broke down during baking. The entire batch batch was fed to the birds and I resolved to start again. AND GET IT RIGHT.After a quick visit to Noel Leeming, armed with a brand new electric frypan, I was on my way again. I was glad to see Sunbeam now makes a NON TEFLON coated frypan. I'm not sure why they teflon coat everything these days, I'm sure real cooks really don't want teflon on everything.

I had to adjust the recipe Anne gave me, to incorporate Grandads SIX eggs - and I know Grandad always said, "some days you need a little extra milk and some days you don't".

My second attempt was a huge success, this is when I remembered a few things, such as, the recipe makes an enourmous batch, no wonder Grandad was always giving them to everyone - and they taste great warm!

This recipe was my first disaster (albeit a minor one) along the way on my recipe journey, it made me think about a lot of things.

1. Before it is too late, spend some time baking the things you love, with the ones you love - especially when no recipes exist, as was the case, with many of Grandads specialities. You might think you don't need to know how to make that awesome chocolate cake, as Aunty always does it for you, but if you want to have that awesome chocolate cake, when Aunty is no longer around. Make sure you take the time NOW.
2. Even if you have the recipe, spend some time making it with the recipe creator/holder. You certainly learn some intersting things along the way. Not just about the baking (although if Mum hadn't reminded me a tsp in Grandad speak was not actually a teaspoon, I might still be stumped). Mum & I are only three recipes in to our family recipe journey - but already I've learnt a few things about our family, that I am sure I didn't know before. There can be variables in a recipe, if you have them explained to you by your loved one, you can makes notes alongside the recipe that make sense to you (such as BIG HEAPED TEASPOON - when the recipe only says teaspoon)
You may wonder why I haven't made pikelets in the 15 years since my Grandad passed away, the answer is simple. I haven't needed to. My wonderful mother in law Margaret is the world's second best pikelet maker (I have to leave the top award for Grandad). Margaret came in to my life a year or so before Grandad passed away, when I met her son (now my husband of 10 years). I just about fell off my chair when pikelets were placed on the table and they were the spitting image/taste of Grandad's. (Grandad was terminally ill at this stage). I've never seen any one else bake them as well. Margaret knows just how much I love her pikelets and when she bakes a batch, she saves some for me. She is so thoughtful. When I was stuck in hospital for an extended period of time, after the birth of our first child, the first thing she arrived with at the hospital was pikelets.
Whilst I wish Margaret will be with us forever, the laws of nature suggest this is not possible, so I have decided, I too am now a pikelet baker. I am even going to ask Margaret for her recipe and try it out as well.
Here is the recipe I used to create the SECOND successful batch of pikelets. (featured below at the bottom, is the disaster batch, just so you know it was real)

6 eggs

5ozs sugar

1 pint of milk (or less)

Mix these ingredients together with the beater, before adding dry ingredients below.

4 breakfast cups of flour

2 big heaped teaspoons of baking powder

Set temp of frypan to 380F aprx 180-190C

lightly grease pan.
Pikelets should be turned when bubbles appear.

The invasion of the cake boards!

This is what the packing room looks like when new stocks of cake boards arrive!. I just had to share my sculpture with you all. Look for these cake boards listed on the Kiwicakes website within the next day or so.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Edible images new designs finally here!

Well finally they are here, only 1 week late, the edible icing images I have been promising some of you. New designs this week are Disco mirro balls (cake & cupcake size), Skateboarder, Castles (2 styles pink & grey), golfers, fire engine, rock band, motorbike mermaid, clown & shoes

This new delivery has taken longer than usual to arrive, which means next week (if the airfreight comes according to schedule) our next order with even more new designs will be hot on their heels.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Help the RNZSPCA decide

I'd love to hear which one you like best!

Cupcake Day merchandise work in progress! The SPCA has some great tea towel and oven mitt designs and they want to know what you think - vote for your favourite design(s) by clicking 'Like'! Comments and suggestions greatly appreciated. 24 HOUR VOTING ONLY!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chocolate tempering and more!

I was thrilled when Haniela granted her permission for me to share with you her blog post on chocolate tempering. It is one of the most simple & easy to understand explanations I've read. And Haniela's photos are amazing. Check out her chocolate tempering post here.

She also has a fantastic post on how to create these wonderful Marshmallow sandwhiches. Check out the marshmallow post here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

How to have heaps of fun in 3 seconds!

That's right 3 seconds is all it took, for these super cute little shrink wraps to suck on to the previously boiled egg. On Saturday of Easter - I opened up a pack of these great Easter egg shrink wraps (purchased at 75% off, at Spotlight after Easter last year - normally $2.99 for 12). Simply pop a sleeve over a hard boiled egg, pop egg on a large spoon and lower in to a bowl of boiling water, the plastic shrinks to cover the egg by the time you count to 3. Little Mr 3 was so excited he couldn't wait to eat his egg (he doesn't like egg). I had hoped these colourful wrappers might inspire him. Alas when he had the egg halfway to his lips, he declared "yuck I still don't like egg". I've grabbed another pack of these wraps, since getting the first and the designs vary wildly, from pastels, to bright retro cartoon designs. I urge you to pop to Spotlight after Easter and see if you can snag some in the sales. There isn't much in life, that is this much fun - in just three seconds!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Treats and an Easter egg hunt

Yesterday, with a little help from my 6 year old daughter Poppy, we embarked upon some Easter treat making. We had treats to make for an Easter egg hunt we were invited to today, as well dessert for dinner last night, to which we had invited Grandparents, and a little Easter present for Grandma (often referred to here as Grandma Kiwicakes). Grandma' cake was made using a 3 inch diameter cake pan and a chocolate wrap with a pattern of leaves I splashed on some edible gold lustre dust in metallic Sunny Savannah The chocolate eggs came from the Warehouse and are Walker brand. The black are Rum & Raisin and the red are Cherry.

Not everything went according to plan - in the past I have made these little Easter cupcakes, with Jelly Beans for eggs. This time thinking I had made the cupcakes with grass, too often. I decided to try baskets.

This was spurred on by the recent purchase of THUNDERPIPES from the local 4 square. Thunderpipes are for want of a better description, coloured licorice with a sour fizzy filling. I thought they'd make great basket handles. I set about colouring some buttercream icing, to pipe straw on the cupcakes. The moral of this story is............. if you've never used a particular shade of icing colour before, it would pay to test it out on a small amount of icing first, instead of believing the sticker on the outside of the bottle. My straw was a bit on the peachy side. Never mind I thought, it's only for kids and pushed ahead. Once finished, I knew I was right, not to waste an entire batch of icing, when the kids declared "they're so cool Mum!". This morning however when we woke up, all of the thunderpipes had snapped under the pressure of being bent. Luckily the local 4 square is open on Easter Sunday and I raced down for replacement handles.

I took them to the Easter hunt with mini birds nests on the tray
The cupcake papers I used for the nests came from the local supermarket, they were just what I needed for nests, as they had very low sides (I wouldn't want to bake cupcakes in them), perfect for nests, as they don't look right, if you fill a regular cupcake paper up to the top, they are too high.

The kids spread out so quickly and so fast, I couldn't get a picture of them all together

Some of the eggs were hidden very well

Friday, April 2, 2010

Book crazy at Kiwicakes

This week at kiwicakes, I have gone a little book mad, with heaps of new titles from Aland Dunn (the sugar flower King), Debbie Brown (the novelty cake Queen) and this brand new, hot off the press What's new Cupcake? from the creators of the hugely successful Hello Cupcake

Thursday, April 1, 2010

And the winner is! (Kiwicakes 4th birthday cake competition)

Fiona Hume of Upper Hutt. With this lovely creation. The photo of this drawing simply doesn't do it justice. Fiona will be making her cake during the month of April and I'll update you with a photo of the winning cake, once it is created.
Fiona will be making the cake with vanilla, choc banana and lemon tiers. For those of you that can't see the photo on a large computer monitor, it's a recipe book on the bottom, a parcel sent by Kiwicakes in the middle and a slice of cake on top.

This competition was so terribly hard to judge, and based on this, I've decided to award a runner up prize, which goes to Lisa Hansen for this lovely creation (no cake making required). In fact, in complete honesty, I can say I would be happy with every one of the cakes submitted.

Kiwicakes 4th birthday competition entries

Here's a look at all of the entries in the Kiwicakes 4th birthday competition - in no particular order, the winner will be announced later today.

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