Friday, 27 July 2012

30 'THANK YOU' cupcakes

WOW what a challenge!!! And the challenge wasn’t the 30 cupcakes. That was the easy bit.. the Challenge wasn’t writing ‘Thank You’ on each cupcake. That was exhilarating and a true test to my dyslexic-ness ( if that is even a word in the dictionary ) to ensure that I did not miss-spell ‘thank you’. The challenge was the HEAT. Yes the weather, in the middle of July we are currently experiencing a heat wave (I’m not complaining, especially after weeks and weeks of torrential rain and flooding). But BUTTERCREAM icing and HEAT are not the best of friends. Yep, I learnt the hard way.
After wrestling with the buttercream icing I finally finished my ‘thank you’s’ but I had 15 more cupcakes that needed some serious piping. To say that the piping was a flop would be an understatement. And YES I thought of putting them in the fridge but there was no space. So plan B was to abort the piping and until it was cooler and the sun had set.
That seemed to work but I wished for days when it was cooler and my buttercream was perfect.

The order was delivered safely to a friend who had ordered the cupcakes for her colleagues on her last day at work as a pre-reg pharmacist. On her last day she was also due to receive the results of her last pre-reg exams. The next morning I received a message that she had PASSED. She could enjoy the cupcakes with her colleagues GUILT FREE!!!

Friday, 20 July 2012


I’m in a BAKING FRUMP !!!!

What does the word ‘frump’ even mean????? All I know is that at the present moment it best describes how I feel… I’m in a baking frump!!!!
Good ol’ google describes FRUMP as :
frump  (fr mp)
1. A girl or woman regarded as dull, plain, or unfashionable

I am DEFINITELY none of the above but this does describe how I feel about my baking. So a baking frump would mean that I have reached the stage where my baking is dull, plain or unfashionable. Since the buzz of the launch of the blog fizzled away, I found all my baked good’s a bit of a drab. I knew I had to go out and find some inspiration. Cake books or blogs were not gonna cut it, I needed to venture out and taste what people were making. So my quest began!!!!!!
My housemate introduced me to GARAGE LOUNGE ( Albert road, Southsea, Portsmouth ). I loved the atmosphere and the quirky décor; it’s a cross between retro meets vintage. I have only been there twice but on each visit I kept finding pieces of remarkable furniture or wall hangings that I would not have noticed from the last visit. The only down side of the place is that there is limited space to move your body around. That was easily resolved because once you had ordered and were seated, you easily forget that you were packed like sardines in a room ( ok maybe not as packed as sardines but you get the picture ). I really wanted to love the cakes but they were a little bit of a letdown. I expected more from the texture. I guess the challenge of a cake shop is how to keep a cake fresh and moist whilst on display for a few days.  I tasted a  honey cake for the first time and i liked it because you actually tasted the honey. The food was good and I liked the display of what your food would look like.
Overall I would go back just for the ambiance and the décor of the room. It never gets boring. And yes I will still eat the cakes because despite the cakes not meeting my ridiculously high standards, they are still better than most places.

My Quest for Inspiration continues……..

.... AND ...

(this is not GARAGE LOUNGE !!!! just some random inspiration)

I need more of this in my life !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Cake Catastrophe!!!!!
Yes I actually had one of these and I have to say it was not my finest moment.
This will be the first entry without a photo. The cake was that disastrous. Since the excitement of the blog I have received quite a few cake orders. This has been exciting but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would have a cake-catastrophe (I think cake-catastrophe could pass as a tongue twister… mmmm just a thought…)

Ok back to the debacle of the cake. It was my favourite cake, BLACK FOREST GATEAU and what let me down on the 11th hour was the cream. I whipped the cream and I thought a bit of cream cheese frosting won’t affect the texture of the cream. In my head it was a great idea. it would add a bit of tanginess to it. OH BOY was I SOOOO wrong!!!!! The mixture was too runny. I even tried adding some over whipped cream to the mixture. That did not help!!!! Then with 40minutes to layer the cake and deliver it, all HELL was breaking lose. The cream was sliding off the edge and the cherries were too dense for the cream. I tried to salvage the cake by putting it in the freezer for a few minutes. That only gave me enough time to cover the whole cake with the cream. At this point I wanted to cry, scream, and hide from this nightmare in front of me. I had ruined my friend’s graduation cake!!!!!!!

So with my housemate holding the cake and my impeccable driving skills we tried to salvage as much of the cake until we reached our destination. There were screams, squeals and lots of laughter to try and distract us from the debacle that was in front of us. The worst thing was the embarrassment of my graduate friend and her family having to see this shame of a cake. For the first time I was embarrassed and ashamed to own up to making a cake. The waiter took the cake out for everyone to see this shamble of a cake. Yes I still cringe at the thought of it. We had to sit through all the speeches as this cake stared at me in all my humiliation… My saving grace was that despite the appearance, I received reassuring comments that the cake was good and people asked for seconds. That is always a very good sign. For once I ate my own cake just to make sure that it tasted ok, despite the presentation.

Overall it was a great day despite the DRAMA

Friday, 15 June 2012


It was LOVE at FIRST BITE  Black Forest Gateau 

To say I LOVE this cake would be putting it lightly. I Luuuuurv this cake. The first time I tasted this cake was in my home country Zimbabwe when my parents had it delivered to me at school for my 17th birthday.  Now that was a whole decade ago but the love for this cake is still strong. I love the black cherries and the cream and then the decadent chocolate cake.

Now that I have the freedom and the finance to bake all the time, I try resist the temptation to make to make this cake weekly.  So the solution to all my cake cravings is to always make it for my friends.
This past weekend after a long day at work and a tough workout session headed by my brother I embarked on making a black forest gateau for my friend. She had requested this a month ago and I was still trying to find time in my schedule to make it.
I adapted the recipe from

Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe:

2 cups self raising flour
2 cups castor sugar
¾ cup cocoa (NOT drinking chocolate or cocoa)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
½  vegetable oil
¾ cup boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Sift all dry ingredients in a boil.
Beat eggs in a separate container, add oil, vanilla, milk.
Mix dry and wet ingredients. 
Add boiled water and mix.
Prepare two 8inch baking tins or desired tin.
Pour mixture in tins and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30-40mins depending on oven.
Once the cakes have cooled. Whip some double cream and then add 1 tbsp of confectionary sugar (icing sugar) and mix. Cover the first cake with a layer of black cherry filling (leave some for the top of the cake) and then add a layer of whipped cream. Place the other cake on top and cover the whole cake with whipped cream. Place remaining cherry filling in the middle of the cake.
Decorate with shavings of dark chocolate.

Let me know how your chocolate cake comes out !!!!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

'Cinnamon' a GIRL's BEST FRIEND

Cinnamon and baked goods are a girl’s best friend (OK maybe that's a
bit extreme but it’s close)

So when  invited to an evening of games and fun what does one take
apart from themself… well I obviously bring cake when everyone else
bring chips and dips.
I know there are some non-cinnamon lovers out there but I truly
Luuuuuuuurv cinnamon with baked goods alone… anything savoury would be
bordering on overpowering. I associate cinnamon with sweetness.
As well all know I have the most hectic weekends but one thing that I
love about weekends is baking. No matter how busy I am I will make
sure that every weekend I have baked something. So I came across this
recipe in a BBC FOOD cake book. I made the first batch and it just
came out hard and dry but the taste was amazing. So this time it
wasn’t my housemates that were the guinea pigs it was my church family
and they loved the cake but I know there was room for improvement.

So the second take of the cake was a success (It had to be a success.
I had a room full of people playing games and they would have hurled
those comments without biting back):

I have taken one of my favourite sponge recipes and added cinnamon and
beautiful swirls of nutella.

Nutella and Cinnamon Cake
9 ounce butter/margarine
9 ounce castor sugar
4 eggs
9 ounc e self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2 tsp of cinnamon (or more if like a stronger cinnamon taste)
3 tablespoon of Nutella

Cream sugar and butter in a bowl until pale in colour.
Add Cinnamon
Add eggs one at a time in between mixes.
Sift flour and baking powder and mix
In a separate small bowl microwave the Nutella for 5 seconds just to
ensure that its soft and slightly runny
Pour into a cake tin or desired baking sheet. Take a teaspoon of
Nutella and swirl into the cake mixture.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius  for 20-30 mins depending on ovens.

I always enjoy making the Nutella swirls in the cake mixture and the
smell of cinnamon in the house whilst the cake is baking.

So my friends loved the cake and there was none left after a night of
games and playful banter.
You gotta love a successful bake!!!!!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

RED VELVET what !!! RED VELVET who !!!

Somebody help me!!!! What is the fuss about red velvet cakes? What is it about this cake that has all the celebrity bakers and shops raving on about this? So for the past 8 months I have been dying to make this cake. I attended a friend’s black tie event where she was testing out the market for her new events and catering business. On the menu was a red velvet cake. I was so excited because I finally got to taste this infamous cake.  To say that I was disappointed was an understatement but this gave me more of a resolve to attempt this cake myself.

So after researching a few recipes, most which came out as a block of red ‘uncooked’ cake. I then came up with my take on the red velvet cake.

Red Velvet Cake:
9 ounce butter
9 ounce castor sugar
4 eggs
2tbsp cocoa
9 ounce self raising flour
1tsp vanilla extract
½  cup of buttermilk
 Dr Oetkar red food colouring (use until he cake mixture is a vibrant red )

Cream sugar and butter in a bowl until pale in colour.
Add eggs one at a time in between mixes.
Add Vanilla extract and food colouring
Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix
Pour into a cake tin or desired baking sheet.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius  for 20-30 mins depending on ovens.

Cream Cheese Frosting to cover the cakes

And this was the result:

It was a good cake but I still did not understand what the fuss was about. My family and friends loved it but it left me very baffled.
I love the look of the vibrant red cake but the taste did nothing for my eager taste buds.
So has anyone had any good experiences with Red Velvet cakes? If you have what recipe have you used?
AND can someone PLEASE tell me what the FUSS is all about?
Signed off by a ''Distressed Red Velvet Cake Maker''

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

My Housemate's Dream Cake

It was my housemate's birthday yesterday. Birthdays in our house are a BIG THING !!!! When I say BIG THING I mean we go CRAZY!!!!!

Throughout the day we would burst into song singing the famous 'happy birthday' song by Stevie Wonder. Basically we couldn't simply say happy birthday we had to sing it, which isn't anything new in our household. We are constantly bursting into song half way through a sentence when a word reminds us of a song..YES these are my confessions ( burst into an Usher rendition of 'Confessions') our lives are like a musical...

OK so back to my housemate's dream cake. 8 months ago before we were housemates, word had gotten around that I baked gorgeous cakes. It was a habit that when I met up with friends they would make a request for their dream cake. One crazy day out of the blue Paula said her dream cake was a sponge in the shape of a 'P'.... We laughed so hard....SERIOUSLY of all the cakes she chose that cake!!!!a simple vanilla sponge in the shape of disappointing for me as a baker who loves to experiment with flavours.

Anyway 8 months down the line her dream finally came true....