Monday, 9 September 2013

Baking with Children – Why Cup Cakes Weren’t Enough This Summer

If you follow me on twitter (and if you don't why not?) you may have seen I've been getting quite excited about this week. I have some amazing bloggers to introduce you to this week. Kicking us off with the first today, I have a guest post from Kelly Quance. Kelly is a mum to a 6 year old daughter and a 2 year old son, a free lance writer and blogger at French With Mummy. She lives in the south west of England and has a soft spot for Cornwall and clotted cream. She also has a new found fondness of baking with her daughter, which I approve of whole heartedly!



As if life with children doesn’t already tug us mums in several directions at once, along comes the summer holidays with endless days to fill with fun, learning and golden childhood memories; memories that is up to us to weave out of the magic of summer sunshine, ice cream, beaches and BBQs on the lawn. Idyllic isn’t it? It’s all fun and games until day three and everything in the trick bag that doesn’t cost the earth has been tried and tested. What then?

This summer I decided to plan weeks of activities, adventures and hijinks with my six year old and two year old. I managed to get to week three before we all got tired of packing up the car, making limp picnic lunches and adding to the sand pit in the foot wells of the car. One drizzly day when it was grey my six year old discovered the cooking channel on TV and in particular “Amazing Wedding Cakes”. That was when the clouds suddenly brightened up with silver linings, she was hooked, mesmerised by the creations, her vocabulary for all things delicious and pretty expanded no end as she learned far better words than “wow” to describe how incredible these cakes were. “Great” I thought a small pat on the back, a cuppa and a biscuit for thinking to engage her in something other than Sponge Bob for a change when suddenly she suggested that we make a wedding cake.

Hmmm. A wedding cake, a tall, layered, carved cake complete with sugar craft decorations and dowels to hold the weight. I’m no Nigella in the kitchen, I tried once, you can read about it here if you like and I pondered for a while how to go about it. YouTube, cookery books and the trusty mother in law, goddess of her own kitchen came to the rescue so that’s what we did.
Making a wedding cake was the single best activity we did all summer, it took five days and cost just about £30 (ish).

Day 1 - We spent a day shopping for the ingredients which involved making lists, heading to town, picking which jewel shades of colouring we wanted and what flavours to make our cake.

Day 2 – We designed the cake , i took a while to get the design right, we looked on Pinterest, drew some sketches, borrowed old fashioned books on sugar craft from aforementioned mother in law and did several drawings.

Day 3 – We made some sugar decorations. We made ribbon bows, buttons and a blue whale - after all what wedding cake would be complete without a yellow eyed whale?

Day 4 – We baked the cake opting for a layer of never-fails Victoria sponge, deep chocolate and a toasted coconut top layer. It takes ages to bake a proper cake with kids by the time you choose the recipe, make the batter, grease and line the pans and wait for the cake to bake and cool. The mummy method of baking a wedding cake meant that this time around we didn’t have enough cake to make a tall layered cake so we just decided to “Keep Calm and Bake” tradition of pop culture.

Day 5 – We crumb coated the cake in rich butter icing; there was more going in our mouths than on the cake but that’s cook’s perk. Finally, we rolled the fondant icing and threw it over the stacked cake, used a smoothing tool which made me feel very competent and squirted blobs of swirly icing on the perfect –ish fondant to stick on our decorations.

Voila, five days of fun for around about £30 (I had a few ingredients and borrowed cutters and other bits and bobs to reduce the cost). We now have the bug for baking and maybe for Christmas we’ll make that carved, stacked cake with all the prowess of Mary Berry.

Good luck Kelly, I'd love to see a picture. As always follow me on Facebook or Twitter to be kept up to date with new blog posts and hijinks from our family

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