Sunday, 15 May 2011

BDT Round Up - Issue 8

This week on Brew Drinking Thinkings:


Strawberry & Black Pepper Tarts
I love strawberries but am not a big fan of pepper, so I'd been a bit wary of trying the two together. However, I was pleasantly suprised and devised this recipe as something a bit different to just strawberries with a sprinkling of black pepper.

Retro Sweet Macarons
I still am yet to crack the macaron but BDT's resident chef has done it again with these gorgeous recipes for Walnut Whip or Rhubard & Custard macarons. Just wish I'd been there for the testing!

Cashew Carrot Bites
Our vegan witer, Aine, gives us a recipe for these no-cook, sweet bites which will definitely be going on my 'to try' list.


Every week Jack gives us two ingredients that are in season, along with recipe ideas to try out. This week the ingredients are Goosberries & Elderflower. And find out who's Top of the Teas with Carol Oldman, a look at the winners of the 26th annual awards by the Tea Guild.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

So far on Brew Drinking Thinkings...

March saw the launch of a brand new online magazine for women - And I was lucky enough to get a job as one of the food writers, covering home cooking & baking. Each week I submit a baking recipe of some description and will let you know what I post here.

There are a whole host of amazing writers producing posts in all sorts of themes, including Tea & Coffee, Craft, things to do with your children, Weddings & so much more. So I will dig out the best cake, baking & other relevant articles and post them here for you.

You can also check out my recipes page where I'll add links to all the cake & baking recipes I've submited to BDT as a handy reference guide.

This week on BDT (Issue 7)


Vanilla Custard Slices
I searched everywhere for a recipe for custard slices, one that didn't involve custard powder, without much luck. So I spent some time in the kitchen & came up with this recipe.

Goosnargh Cakes
A shortbread recipe, by BDT's resident Chef, Jack Bradley, that includes instructions on churning your own butter.

Pineapple, Coconut & Strawberry Bread, with whipped coconut cream & rose infused strawberries
Aine Carlin is BDT's vegan food writer. You should go & read her posts for the photos alone. This is her first appearance in BDT and if this recipe is anything to go by, we're in for a treat!


Let them eat cake!
A look at the Royal Wedding Cakes by Bridal Occasions Writer, Kat Freeman.

Alternative Wedding Cakes
Kat also explores some of the other options available if you don't fancy a 3 tier fruit cake. Pork Pie anyone?

A Feast fit for a Queen
Find out what the guests were treated to at the wedding of the year.

A New Afternoon Tea Trend - Vegetable Cake
Carol Oldman, BDT's Tea & Vintage Lifestyle Writer, looks at the new trend in baking cakes with vegetables.

Tea & Coffee Culture
Kathryn Pentland looks at the culture & etiquette surrounding tea & coffee around the world.
Part 1 Part 2  > Part 3

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Making gumpaste pansies

Here are some photos of my first attempt at making pansies.

First Pansy

Second attempt

Finished pansies

I did have a set of pansy petal cutters (although in a set of 3 there was one I didn't use) and copied some photos of real pansies, plus this photo tutorial from

I didn't have a calyx cutter, but used an 8-point flower plunger cutter & blob of paste to keep the flower on the wire. I am quite happy with the results and think that with some stronger colours they could look really good.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Wedding Cakes & Patriotic Cupcakes

Friday, 29th April 2011 saw Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton get married. It was a lovely wedding, and Kate (Catherine) looked gorgeous. However I was very intrugued to see the wedding cakes. Yes, Cakes!

A gorgeous and elegant fruit cake, made by Fiona Cairns. It consisted of 17 cakes stacked and beautifully decorated. Kate Middleton was very involved in the design of the cake, including sending a list of the 17 flowers she would like ot have included on the cake, all symbolising love, marriage and happiness. (Source: ABC News)

Photo from:
There was also a grooms cake, made by Mcvities. Unbaked, and made of crushed Rich Tea biscuits and chocolate.

Photo from:
I was also very interested to find out that 2 was a very conservative number of cakes for a royal wedding & I found some lovely stories about royal wedding cakes on my browsing the net.

Prince Charles and Diana had 27 cakes at their wedding. The main wedding cake was made by David Avery, the head baker at the Royal Naval cooking school & he made 2 identical cakes in case one was damaged. Luckily both cakes survived in tact and the second cake was split among the naval cookery trainees - each had 2 pieces, one for themselves and one for their mum. (Source: Wikipedia)

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip's wedding cake was 9 foot tall!!
"The nine-foot high, four-tier wedding cake, was made with ingredients given by Australian Girl Guides. The wedding cake was cut using The Duke's Mountbatten sword. After the wedding, pieces of cake were given to schoolchildren and institutions."

I do love a wedding & want to learn more about the traditions and rituals surrounding wedding cakes.

In order to mark the event my parents hosted a Royal Wedding garden party & here are some photos of my cupcake offering for the day.

Fondant iced Union Jack cupcakes

W [heart] K fondant iced cupcakes

Cupcake Tower

Cake Pops

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

BRAND NEW Sweetie Cake

My sister turned 25 this week and has been complaining that I haven't made her a birthday cake. She does live in London, which makes it difficult, but she was home this year. So I decided to make her a cake. The biggest cake I have made so far.

A 4 tier sponge cake, covered in buttercream and decorated with sweets! 

Each layer consists of a sponge split in two and filled with either raspberry jam or lemon curd. Each on it's own board for ease of serving. From bottom to top, the cake sizes are: 9", 8", 6", 4".

Each sponge was smothered in vanilla buttercream and decorated, ready to be assembled at the party venue.

Top tier - Sugar paste hearts & Love Hearts with piped buttercream & candy covered chocolate pearls
Sugarpaste Happy Birthday banner

From Top to Bottom, the sweets I used are:
Love Hearts
Candy covered chocolates (similar to smarties)
White Chocolate Jazzies
Dolly Mixtures
Fizzy Astro Belts

And no birthday is complete without candles - and these were some pretty spectactular ones. Although they did set off the smoke alarm!! :)

I really enjoyed making this cake. It was lovely to try something new & I had a lot of great feedback - yes, I know it was mainly family members, but they can be quite harsh at times.
If you would like a sweetie cake of your own, please get in touch. They can be any shape (round, square, heart-shaped, hexagonal) and size, and as many, or as few, tiers as you like. You could even match it up with some sweetie topped fairy cakes. I can use your favourite sweets, match to a colour scheme or theme of your choosing, and can supplement it with sugar paste decorations & banners.

Sharing Secrets & Baking Tips

You may have heard me mention Brew Drinking Thinkings over the last few weeks, this is beacuse I am one of their food writers. I am one of many bloggers contributing to this fab new online magazine. My focus is home cooking and baking, but the website covers so much more. If you haven't already had a look, go and have a read.

I've already published a few cake & baking recipes on the site including:

And will be publishing plenty more. You'll also find weekly baking tips on the main Food & Cooking blog page.

Keep an eye out for a BDT section appearing on this blog soon to stay up to date on all recipes.

Friday, 21 January 2011

A look back at 2010

A bit late to the party maybe as it's now over halfway through January, but Happy New Year everyone!

First of all a huge THANK YOU to everyone who ordered a minirhi bakes cake. We've been going for 6 months now and I had much more business than expected, have met some new people and caught up with old friends. I've also had some lovely feedback and repeat business, so I must be doing something right! Anyway, thanks - your business is very much appreciated.

I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite cakes from 2010.

July : Ella's Peppa Pig Cake
I think this was one of my first orders, and I was so pleased with the way it turned out! Smooth icing, the character looked like it was meant to, and it actually went pretty smoothly too....

August : Daryl & Leanne's Wedding Favours
This was a wonderful day, with our best mates getting married...a little stressful making the cookies, but they looked fab on the tables and helped me take my mind off the fact that I had to do a reading on the day!!

Ocotber : My first Giant Cupcake
I had a fair bit of trial and error making giant cupcakes, but I got there in the end! This was my first successful one, for my sister-in-law's birthday.

October : Chicken Cake Ball Cupcakes
I don't really et much time for experimenting, so as we were off to a friend's birthday (who had recently acquired chickens) and because my Cake Pops book was tormenting me for not trying more, I decided to make some cupcakes to take with us. Cute, or what?!

October : New Baby Cupcakes
A friend of ours had a baby back in October, and I had new sprinkles to test, so I created a series of cupcakes for Mummy, Daddy and 'Big Sister' - coz big sisters are always the best!! ;)

November : Baby Shae's Naming Ceremony
This was an order of 'firsts'! My first naming ceremony cake, my first cake pop order & my first time makeing chocolate cake pops....possibly my first time making blue buttercream too! 

November : Mickey's Clubhouse
I think this was one of the most complicated cakes I have made, and I was really pleased with how it turned out. Especially Mickey!

I have to say I have enjoyed making all of my cakes! I've been tired and stressed and worried people won't like them, luckily hubby's been around to tell me I'm being silly or to move me away from the cake so I when I get back to it I can see it's not actually THAT bad! :)

I am looking forward to 2011 - and have already made 3 celebration cakes - plus I am planning an afternoon tea fundraiser sometime soon for TREAT Trust Wales. :)