28 April, 2016

Baking Equipment 101 | Cake Pops

Over the past few weeks, I've been writing tutorials on what equipment is useful to have for basic baking, using fondant icing and piping icing.

This week I thought I would share what equipment I find useful for making Cake Pops!

Again, please note that I am NOT an expert but these are just some tips I hope you'll find helpful! 

Basic Cake Pop Equipment

Cake Pops Mould
Some people like to make their cake pops by baking a cake and then crumbling it up and making balls out of cake crumbs. Personally, I find this method harder so I prefer to use cake pop moulds! It's also easier to make different shapes as you can buy all sorts of moulds! I use the Sweetly Does It moulds, here and here.

Basic Cake Pop Equipment

Cake Pop Sticks
Because you'll need something to hold your cake pops! I love these ones which are super cute but you can buy really cheap ones from places like Wilko that will do just as good a job!


Cake Pop Holder
I got one of these for Christmas and I must admit it makes life so much easier! When you've finished decorating your cake pop, you can put it into the holder to dry and it stops them getting smudged or whatever. My one is here although you can make your own out of polystyrene if you want a cheap solution!

Basic Cake Pop Equipment

Melting Pot
These make melting chocolate or candy melts a doddle. The Wilton Cake Pop holder above comes with a melting pot, but I also bought another from Lakeland for just over £3.

Basic Cake Pop Equipment

Cute Cake Pop Holder
This is one of those things that really aren't necessary but are good for display purposes, you can get cute cake pop holders to pop them in to take photos of or for parties. Mine is from Wilko and was super cheap!

If you make cake pops, what equipment do you find useful? Let us know in the comments!

And also, please let me know if you're finding these posts helpful- I really hope you are!

26 April, 2016

Delicious Donuts!

Delicious Donuts

I've always had a thing about doughnuts. My friends used to tease me about how many doughnuts I used to eat and they were totally right, I used to have them every day! Now I have them every now and then as a little treat.

So when my mum bought me a 2 in 1 cake maker which makes Cake Pops & doughnuts, I was worried the doughnut monster in me would come out! In the end, it sat up in my baking cabinet along with my cake airbrush kit until I was brave enough to try it out.

Then at the beginning of this month, I finally tried to make my own doughnuts. And I was okay! They were delicious but I didn't go crazy, I just had a couple- I know, I'm proud of me too. ;)

So I thought I would share with you the recipe I used to make my delicious doughnuts. Be warned though, you may become a doughnut fiend like I used to be! 

You will need:

  • Some kind of doughnut maker, whether that's the one I've linked above or another
  • 225g plain flour
  • 112g sugar
  • 225ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil.
Method

1. Mix all of the dry ingredients (flour, sugar and baking powder) in a mixing bowl.

2. Create a well in the centre and add in the milk, egg, vanilla essence and cooking oil.

3. Using a cake mixer, mix all of the ingredients to form a batter.

4. Once you have a smooth batter, preheat your doughnut maker for the specified time on the instructions.

5. Fill in the doughnut "wells" with your batter, making sure not to overfill! 

6. Bake for roughly 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

And that's it, you'll have yummy scrummy doughnuts!

Delicious donuts!


After that, it's up to you- you can cover with sugar (note that covering with sugar needs to be done while the doughnuts are hot, otherwise it won't stick!), or you can make some icing and coat half of the doughnuts in that- or chocolate. Oooh, like dipping donuts!

Delicious Donuts!

Delicious Donuts!

Have you ever tried to make doughnuts before? Let me know if you make these by tweeting me @cakeydreamer or by using my Instagram hashtag #cakeydreamerbakes! :)


24 April, 2016

Fitness Update #7

Fitness Update

I'm finally getting somewhere! I feel a lot better about myself and I know I'm working towards a good goal of being fitter and healthier, the weight will come with that.

At the moment, I'm struggling with my tummy issues. I feel sick everytime I eat and it was starting to get me down. So I've looked into the FODMAP diet which is recommended for IBS sufferers as it cuts out anything that could potentially irritate your stomach. This is the link if you are interested, although please speak to your doctor before starting any sort of diet like this! It cuts out a lot of foods that I'd never even thought could irritate me, like apples or cabbage- even sausages!

I'm hoping it will help although I've only just started it, so I'll let you know in my next update. Wish me luck!

As for fitness, I'm still doing pretty well. I walk to the station most days (unless it's raining) and I've even managed to make myself walk home some days too! A few people from my work have started a running club which I'm going to join, so I'll be back to running at least once a week. I'm hoping that will build my stamina (and my confidence) back up and I can do a bit more than that too!

Fitness Goals from last update:
  • Up my daily steps to 15,000- I didn't quite manage this, mainly because it's been raining quite a lot lately so I haven't been able to walk to or from work, but I am still aiming for this!
  • Try and do at least 2 weight workouts a week- Er, I think I did one in two weeks. So, this failed. Onwards and upwards though!
  • Make a new plan for the diet overhaul- THIS ONE I DID! Haha, I'm ready for the new diet and have printed a little list into my diary so if I'm on the go I can quickly look at what I can and can't have. 

This week's fitness goals:
  • Continue aiming for 15,000 steps a day- I WILL do it!
  • Try and do at least 2 weight workouts a week- This SHOULD be do-able. To be honest, the only reason I haven't done this yet is purely from laziness- and that needs to stop! 
  • Go running at least once- I don't think running club is on this week but it is the week after so I want to make sure I go running then! 
Let me know how your fitness journeys are going!

21 April, 2016

Baking Equipment 101 | Piping Tools

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been talking about what basic baking tools you need and what basic fondant tools you need. I really hope you've been finding them helpful and I'm back today with a list of tools you need when getting into piping icing!

You may remember my tutorials on using buttercream icing and royal icing, well this is going to go through what tools will help you get the most out of your icing.

Basic Piping Equipment

Nozzles
When I first started baking, I thought there would only be a few nozzles but oh my god was I wrong. There are SO many types of nozzles and they all do different things (my review of Sugar & Crumbs' Nifty Nozzles is here if you want to see a completely different kind of nozzle!). My advice is to buy a nozzle set like this one that I use, which gives you the essential nozzles.

Piping Bags
With those nozzles, you're going to need piping bags! There are two different types of piping bags- the reusable kind and the non-reusable kind. When I first started, I was like "well, clearly reusable ones are the way forward because it saves money!" but now I really prefer to not use them. Yes, they are cheaper but they're also SUPER hard to clean and that creates a bit of a hygiene problem. And for me who is so afraid of germs, I can't be dealing with that! But it's up to you, use whatever you find easiest.

Basic Piping Equipment

Piping Bag Holder
Without one of these, spooning icing into a piping bag is a bloody nightmare. These are a godsend because they keep your piping bag propped up and open which means putting icing into the bag is quick and easy. The one I use is here but sadly has been discontinued!

Basic Piping Equipment

Icing Bottles
I use these for icing biscuits with royal icing. Because they're so small, they're super handy and allows you to keep a steady hand when you're icing biscuits, so I think they're perfect. They only have small nozzles so you probably wouldn't want to use them to ice cakes, unless you're icing decorations like pearls etc. I use these ones!

Those are my favourite and most useful tools to use for piping icing, but please feel free to add any of your favourites into the comments below! Let me know if you're finding these posts useful, I really hope you are!

20 April, 2016

Spring & Summer Cocktails with Aldi

Last Christmas, I had a go at making some yummy festive cocktails with Aldi which I really enjoyed, so when they got back in touch to see if I fancied making some Spring/Summer cocktails, I couldn't wait to get started!

Dan is great at making cocktails after working in hotel bars for years, so I always get him to help me out whenever I need to make them. It's actually really nice because we get to spend time together- and then we get to enjoy some yummy cocktails!

Spring & Summer Cocktails

I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin and a bottle of Belletti Dell'Italia Prosecco to try out two of their delicious cocktail recipes and I'm going to share the recipes with you too!




BLACKBERRY SMASH

You will need:
  • 50ml Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin*
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 10-12 blackberries
  • 25ml fresh lemon juice
  • 6 mint leaves
  • Sparkling water to top
Method
1. Fill a tall glass and cocktail shaker with ice.

2. Dissolve the white sugar in the hot water and add 10-12 blackberries to make blackberry syrup.

3. Allow syrup to cool down to room temperature and strain, then leave to chill in the fridge.

4. Once chilled, pour 25ml of the blackberry syrup into the cocktail shaker along with the gin, lemon juice and mint leaves.

5. Shake hard and then pour through a tea strainer into the tall glass.

6. Top with sparkling water.

7. For decoration, add a lemon wedge, blackberry and mint sprig! 

This cocktail is really refreshing, it would be lovely on a hot summer's day!

Summer cocktails with ALDI

PROSECCO THYME

You will need:
  • Belletti Prosecco*
  • 2 large plums
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 4 sprigs of Thyme
  • 25ml fresh lemon juice
Method
1. Cut the plums into quarters and discard the stones, then muddle them in a cocktail shaker.

2. Dissolve the white sugar in hot water and add the thyme sprigs to make the thyme syrup.

3. Allow the mix to cool and strain, then leave to chill in the fridge.

4. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add 25ml of the thyme syrup.

5. Add the lemon juice and shake hard.

6. Fill a glass with ice and pour the mixture in.

7. Top with Prosecco!

Summer Cocktails with ALDI

This cocktail is so summery, I can really imagine it being perfect for a barbecue or summer garden party. It's really fruity and the prosecco adds a touch of class. You could use it to celebrate the Queen's birthday, perhaps!

Let me know if you try these cocktails out, I'd love to see them! You can tweet me @cakeydreamer or find me over on Facebook!

*ALDI sent me their gin and prosecco to use in these cocktails, however all opinions are my own.

19 April, 2016

Chocolate Cake Pops

Chocolate Cake Pops

When I looked through my page of all my cakes and bakes that I've featured on my blog, I realised that although I've made a LOT of cakes and cupcakes, I haven't made many cake pops.

This is probably because cake pops and I don't get on very well, so I tend to avoid them. But I'm determined to get to grips with them and so I decided to try some chocolate cake pops!

You will need

  • Cake Pops made with your favourite chocolate cake recipe
  • Cake Pop Sticks
  • Dairy Milk chocolate or your favourite type of chocolate! 
  • Multi-coloured sprinkles

METHOD

1. Bake your favourite chocolate cake recipe in a cake pop mould and leave to cool completely before decorating.

2. Once cooled, melt a small amount of chocolate and dip one end of your cake pop stick into the chocolate and then push inside each cake pop.

3. Put the cake pops into the fridge for 20 minutes to allow the chocolate inside to set.

4. Once the cake pops are ready, take out of the fridge and allow to return to room temperature.

5. Melt the rest of the chocolate ready for dipping. TIP: if you can, melt your chocolate into a tall container- if you can dip the entire cake pop in chocolate without swirling, there's less chance it can go wrong!

6. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off or swirl and tap if needed. 

7. Before the chocolate dries, pour your sprinkles over the cake pops however you like! 

8. Leave to dry and then enjoy! 

Chocolate Cake Pops

Cake Pops are a bit temperamental but if you're patient and allow yourself to make mistakes, you'll find they are actually really fun and super cute to make! I'm going to try to make a few different cake pops to see if I can finally get to grips with them!

If you make these, I'd love to see them so please feel free to tweet me @cakeydreamer or use my Instagram hashtag #cakeydreamerbakes! Let me know what you think of these cake pops in the comments!

Chocolate Cake Pops


17 April, 2016

Life Update

Life Update


After my last life update post did so well, and because so many of you have been asking how I'm getting on at my new job, I thought I'd give you another update into my life at the moment!

Life & Work
So my new job is going really well, I'm much busier than I used to be at my last job and I'm really enjoying it. Everyone's super nice and although at first it was a bit overwhelming, I really feel like I'm settling in. Yay!

Life itself has been pretty quiet- I don't get paid from my new job until the end of this month so I'm struggling a little bit to keep my spending to a minimum, which has meant a lot of staying in. I'm not too fussed about that though because it's nice to relax- but it did mean I missed out on seeing two of my best friends this weekend which is pretty gutting. But hopefully we'll go on a spa break soon which will be lovely AND relaxing!

Blogging & Baking
I've had a bit of a funny month or so with my blog. I still love my blog and I really feel like I'm putting out good content lately (I hope you guys agree), but I'm also struggling a little bit. I put a LOT of pressure on myself to make great cakes to share with you and I put pressure on myself to make sure that I'm doing everything for my blog- and I think I kinda burnt myself out.

So in March, I worked super hard to give myself a month off from blogging in April, apart from these few posts that I could only write nearer the time (because there's no point giving you a life update from a month ago is there?! ), and I really feel like that month off has helped. I've been enjoying being away from it all and just having some time off after work and at the weekends, rather than worrying about what blog posts I need to write or what cakes I need to bake etc.

The funny thing is, because I felt like I HAD to bake for my blog, I found that I could just never be bothered to bake. I had no inspiration or motivation and I just couldn't bring myself to start baking. Once I took away the need to bake because all my blog posts were done, suddenly I was super inspired and I wanted to do loads of baking- isn't that silly?! I'm still struggling a little bit to want to start writing blog posts again, but technically I'm still on my break so I guess that doesn't matter!

I guess the moral of this story is to stop pressuring yourself and if you stop enjoying doing something then it might be a good idea to take a break from it!

Health & Feeling Poorly
I've had a really awful month with my stomach problems. I get bloated a LOT and a lot of funny tummies and lately I've been feeling sick every time I eat. I was tested for coeliacs disease which turned out to be negative, so my doctor is pretty sure it's IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I'm looking into the FODMAP diet at the moment which is recommended for IBS sufferers to help you find which foods irritate your bowel, so fingers crossed that will help. I might write blog posts about how the diet goes!

So that's been my month so far! How is your month going?

15 April, 2016

My Favourite Walt Disney World Instagram Accounts

Last month I wrote a list of my favourite Instagram accounts, which was really popular and I love writing posts like that, the ones that share the love to my favourite people.

Today I thought I'd share the love to some of my favourite Instagram accounts that share photos from Walt Disney World.

I LOVE these types of accounts because although I sometimes feel super sad when I look at them because I miss WDW SO much, it's also really nice to see it again and reminisce.

It's also lovely to be able to see other people creating their own memories there!

So in no particular order at all, here are some of my favourite Instagram accounts (note: not all of them post solely about WDW but they post WDW-related pictures often!)




Tigger Tim is one of the people I've been following for the longest- he's a WDW cast member and regularly posts his adventures in Walt Disney World. He's super popular too and people love going to meet him! He seems like a really nice guy too, but his photos are always SO cute!


A photo posted by Haley Morrison☀️๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿฆ„✨ (@haleylove) on


Haley is another Walt Disney World cast member who posts the most adorable photos of her and her friends hanging out at Walt Disney World. She regularly meets characters and seems like she has a lot of fun there!

A photo posted by Claudia °o° Arce (@thehappiestplacesonearth) on


Claudia hangs out at Walt Disney World a lot and her photography is SO good in a lot of her photos. I chose this photo not just because Belle is my fave but because I love the way she's captured them perfectly in the frame!


Tresha's Walt Disney World photos are just incredible and I love her account so much. It's funny, I used to prefer accounts that posted mainly of the characters but now I love accounts like this, where the focus is mainly on the landscapes. WDW is a gorgeous place and I love being able to look at it, even if it is through someone else's camera!


A photo posted by Walt Disney World (@waltdisneyworld) on


And of course I couldn't forget THE Walt Disney World Instagram account. They repost a lot so if you want to get featured, tag them in your WDW photos!!

So, these are a few of my favourite's, but there are SO many out there. I often like to look through these on the days I'm suffering super badly with the Disney blues. I really, really miss Walt Disney World more than I ever thought was possible to miss a place.
But, still. One day we'll go back!

Do you have any favourite WDW Instagram accounts? Why not share them in the comments below?!

14 April, 2016

Baking Equipment 101 | Fondant Tools

Last week I wrote a post on the basic equipment you need for baking. Hopefully you found that helpful, so this week I thought I would move into the basic tools you need for using fondant icing!

Basic Fondant Equipment

Rolling Pin
You'll need one of these to roll out your fondant in the first place. I have a big one currently as it's easier to roll out fondant for covering cakes but I do need to invest in a small one for when I'm rolling out smaller bits of fondant for cupcake toppers etc. You can find my one here.

Basic Fondant Equipment

Marzipan Spacers
I only learnt about these recently but I'm including them in this post because I really wish I'd learnt about them earlier! These spacers basically help you to get the correct thickness of fondant. Put them either side of your ball of fondant and then roll out to the desired size. Once your rolling pin is rolling onto the spacers, that means your fondant is at the desired thickness for cake covering! I found mine here.

Basic Fondant Equipment
Basic Fondant Equipment

Smoother
Once you've put your fondant onto a cake, you'll need a smoother to smooth it out. Didn't see that one coming did you? But this is actually a vital tool as it helps you to get rid of any bumps or smudges in your fondant. You can also use two, one to smooth the top while the other smooths the sides. There are two types of smoothers, both of which are good but I find the best type is the straight edged smoother. You can find mine here.

Basic Fondant Equipment

Fondant Tools
If you're looking to make cupcake toppers or figurines, these tools will help you to do so! Each tool does a different effect. I won't go through that now, but most tool kits will tell you what each tool does. You can find my set here.

Basic Fondant Equipment

Cutters
Cutters are good for cupcake toppers or cake toppers. You can find all sorts of cutters, I used leaf ones for my Autumn Cupcakes and Daisy ones for my Spring Cupcakes. You can find butterflies, hearts, so many different types of flowers and all sorts for amazing cake toppers!

There are a million other tools like moulds and embossers but these are just the very basics- the ones you would need to cover a cake with fondant or make a fondant figure.

Hopefully if you're thinking about using fondant then this will have helped you! Let me know if you can think of anything I've missed!

Next week I'll be listing tools that will help you with piping buttercream or royal icing!

12 April, 2016

Bow Cupcakes

Bow Cupcakes

I make a LOT of cupcakes I've noticed recently, but they're one of my favourite things to make as they don't take as long as big cakes but you can still make adorable results!

So when I had cake mix left over from my Epcot cake, I decided to make some cupcakes to decorate.

I went for a simple yet adorable (if I do say so myself) theme- a baby blue fondant covering with a cute ribbon! But don't worry, they're super simple to make and I am going to show you how!

09 April, 2016

The 90's Tag

My good friend Jess from Cake Crumbs and Pages recently tagged me in the 90's tag, which as a 90's kid myself I am SO excited to do. Probably a bit more excited than I should be, but let's do this!

1. Favourite Disney Film? 
Beauty and the Beast which came out in 1991. The 90's was a really good era for Disney though, they had loads of amazing films in that decade!

2. Favourite Music Artist? 
Steps. I adored the heck out of them. I had all the albums, the posters, the board game (Yeah I can't believe they had one of those either) and I even had my hair cut to look like Claire. Good times.

3. Favourite Sweets?  
I don't really like sweets but I used to love Flumps, the marshmallow thing. Ugh, I'd like one of those now actually- anyone know if they still do them?!

4. Favourite Game? (Board game / school game) 
My favourite board game was Dream Phone. PLEASE, someone tell me they remember this. It was the funniest game ever, you had this huge pink phone and you had to work out which boy fancied you and it was just so cringy. You'd call up a "boy" and he would say things like "I know where he hangs out!... It's not at the park" and you had to work out which of the boys on the board it was. The best worst game ever.

As for school game, me and my friends used to love Cops and Robbers and I was always a cop. I liked being the good guy. Then one day my friend Tom decided that cops and robbers was SO yesterday, so he created the revolutionary game- Runners and Chasers. Which was cops and robbers, except you were either a runner or a chaser. See? Revolutionary. We were astounded by his brilliance and it became our new favourite game.

Also shout out to Ms Morley our old headmistress- no one has forgiven you yet for getting rid of the tyres we used to play in in the playground. NO ONE.

5. Favourite McDonalds 'Happy Meal' Toy? 
I used to have a big trunk full of Disney toys and some of my favourite ones were the toys you got out of the Happy Meals. They did amazing toys!

6. Favourite Book? 
I'm not sure if this was the 90's, it probably wasn't but I was obsessed with a book called The Frog Princess when I was growing up, which actually was later adapted into the Disney film The Princess and the Frog.

7. Favourite Clothing Store? 
I loved GAP as a child, I really did. My sister and I had matching jumpers and thought we were super cool.

8. Favourite TV Show?
I loved Arthur when I was growing up, I watched it every day after school and I really think I could sing you the theme tune right now if you asked. Feel free to ask.

9. What Show Would You Watch After School? 
Oh, well I just answered this so that's awks.

10. What Was Your Favourite 90s Game Show? 
Catchphrase. I'd be SO good at Catchphrase, I really need to apply.

11. Did You Own A Virtual Pet? (Cyberpet, Tamagotchi etc) 
I do remember having a tamagotchi but not very well :(

12. Favourite Video Game and System To Play On? 
I loved my Sega. I had a Little Mermaid game and I was obsessed with it. I also had these cool little handheld consoles of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, does anyone remember those?

13. Weirdest Fashion Trend? 
I once wore pink jeans and a pink top and a pink jean jacket. Oh yes. Also does anyone else miss wearing shoes that light up when you walk?

14. Favourite Toy? 
I adored my Baby Annabelle. A doll that breathed and cried and was like a real baby?! Count me in! My niece plays with her now when she visits my Dad. I also loved my Sylvanian families and Barbie's and my Disney dolls.

15. Favourite Nickelodeon Show?
I loved Hey Arnold! from Nickelodeon, but I never had the channel or anything like that.

This was so much fun, and I really hope you enjoyed learning about my life back in the 90's!

I tag Kirsty and Jess. I can't wait to see your answers, they're going to be so funny I can just tell!

What were your favourite things in the 90's?

08 April, 2016

Fitness Update #6

Fitness Update

So, here we are again! I feel like every two weeks goes by super quickly, I can't believe it's time to write another one of these already! I really enjoy writing them though, so I hope you enjoy them too.

The good news is, I'm still walking to the train station every morning, yay!!! The bad news is, I still can't quite make myself walk home from the train station... but I'm still managing to do around 10 - 12,000 steps per day which isn't too bad!

I've been trying to make myself go for walks on my lunch break too so I get a bit more exercise but the good thing about my new job is that I walk around a lot more. In my last job, I just sat at a Reception desk all day every day and never really moved, whereas in this job I feel like I walk up and down stairs to different floors of the office a lot which is good.

And I'm starting to want to push myself more! I'm usually based on the 5th or 6th floor of my office building and I'm starting to eye up the stairs when I get in in the morning- will I be brave enough to start climbing those everyday? Who knows!

I also really miss running. Last weekend was Reading's Half Marathon and I remember saying this time last year that I wanted to run that, and I didn't. I don't remember the last time I went for a run actually and that makes me really sad!

I also want to start using my weights again, I think I mentioned this last time. I feel like I've been getting weaker again, (I probably haven't) so I want to try and build muscle back again. I don't know if I will yet though, I have a tendency to go barging into things and then find that I lose motivation which is why I'm so determined to go along with the softly, softly approach.

In terms of diet, it turns out I do not have coeliac's disease but my symptoms have led my doctor to believe that I have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Well, actually my GP claims IBS isn't a thing, but the second opinion doctor I went to actually knew what she was talking about...

So I'm still struggling to see if I've lost any weight, although according to the scales I may have lost half a pound, but it could be more because I'm still bloating a lot.

I'm looking into a new diet which I won't go into too much detail about yet until I know more about it, but it's recommended for IBS sufferers to try and find what aggravates your symptoms, but it means a HUGE overhaul of my diet.

So, by my next fitness update in two weeks time I hope to:

  • Try to up my daily steps to 15,000. It's only an extra 3,000 a day but I can work my way up to doing more. I miss WDW where I was doing around 25,000-30,000 every day! 
  • Try to at least do 2 weight workouts a week. Start small and all that haha! I'll get my weights out and try to do an arm and a leg session. 
  • Make a plan for the new diet overhaul- hopefully I'll know more of what I'm talking about so I can tell you more! 
I don't want to set too many goals or too many big goals, but I think these are all definitely achievable,

Let me know how your fitness journeys are going, I love hearing about them! We can do this!!!

05 April, 2016

Baking Equipment 101 | The Basics

I've written a lot of tips posts on baking and cake decorating but one of the main things I struggled with when I first started was what equipment I actually needed to get.

So many times I would read recipes or blog tutorials where they mentioned all of this equipment that I just had absolutely no idea what they were on about or how I used it.

I thought in order to help any of you who also wonder the same things, I'd write a few posts on what a beginner needs for baking. If these are popular I might do some more in depth ones because I know a few people read my blog who are a bit more advanced, so we'll see how these go!

Note: Just saying that I'm still not an expert, but these are things that help me and will hopefully help you! 


BASIC BAKING TOOLS

The tools I'm going to suggest today are the very basics... i.e, if you want to make a very basic cake. I'll go through fondant tools and piping tools in the next posts!

Basic Baking Equipment

Mixing Bowl
A mixing bowl doesn't have to be a gorgeous one (although it helps right?!), it just needs to be big enough to put all of your ingredients into for you to use. I'm in love with the Mixing Bowl I had in my giveaway last month though! My mixing bowl above is from Mason Cash, it's new and I adore it!

Basic Baking Equipment

Cake Tins
Obviously you're going to need something to bake your cakes in! I have a range of cake tins in different sizes and shapes (you can find the ones I use regularly here), but to be honest, if you're starting off all you need is one 8" cake tin.

Basic Baking Equipment

Spatula or Wooden Spoon
You'll need something to mix your cake with! You can use a spatula or a wooden spoon but personally I use both- a wooden spoon to mix with (if I'm not using my mixer), and then a spatula to spoon the mixture into my cake tin. Spatulas are much easier to use when you're spooning your mixture into a cake tin!


Basic Baking Equipment

Measuring Scales
They don't need to be fancy but you do need a way to measure your ingredients! I got mine from Wilko and they're super pretty and only cost £6!

Basic Baking Equipment

Stand Mixer
Unfortunately, this is the most expensive item on the list. However stand mixers don't need to be hugely expensive (this is the one I have) and you really don't need a Smeg or a KitchenAid mixer if you're just starting out but they are good to have. If you're happy to mix by hand then you could put this off for as long as you'd like, but be warned that more difficult things like Macarons need a firmer mix that unless you are Superman/woman, you may not be able to give!

Look into them when you feel like you need them and maybe get a basic- or start off with an inexpensive hand mixer!

Basic Baking Equipment

Flour Sifter
Not necessary but does make life a LOT easier when it comes to sifting flour. Mine is an inexpensive one from Wilko's but does a great job- it's also good for spreading flour before rolling pastry etc.!

So these are the pieces of basic equipment I would recommend. Like I say, I'm no expert but these are the things I use on a regular basis.

Next Thursday's post will be on the equipment you need for using fondant icing!

Let me know if this post helped you or if there's any equipment you think I've missed!

Basic Baking Equipment

03 April, 2016

Visiting Marwell Zoo

A couple of weeks ago on my week off, Dan and I took a spontaneous trip to Marwell Zoo! We'd been to Marwell Hotel for my birthday back in December and part of our hotel package was 2 zoo tickets, which we'd ended up not using due to the weather- so we basically had a "free" trip!

I love Marwell Zoo, it's only about 30 minutes away from where I live and I've been quite a lot in the past! I'm not entirely a-okay with the idea of zoos, but I do love being able to see animals that otherwise I'd never see.

Like penguins and giraffes. Oh boy, I love 'em.

01 April, 2016

The Disney Princess Tag

I've seen this tag floating around a lot of blogs lately, so I thought I would try it out myself! I actually don't remember where I last saw it, but if you've done it before please feel free to pop your link in the comments for others to read!

All images are from Disney Screencaps


Which princess do you adore the most?
 Belle is my absolute all-time fave. She's smart, beautiful, kind and caring and I've always loved her. When I was growing up, my favourite Princess was Ariel but as I grew up I grew to love Belle!

Which princess do you like the least?
It's not that I DON'T like her, but I relate the least to Merida I would say. Brave didn't draw me in as much as I thought it was going to and although I like the film, it's not in my top 10 or anything like that.

Which princess do you relate to the most?
I'd probably say either Belle or Rapunzel. I've always dreamed about going on an adventure and I love books (like Belle) and drawing (like Rapunzel).

Which sidekick do you wish you had?
I adore Flounder, I'd love to hang out with him. Although I'm a fraidy cat too so we wouldn't do much. I would also choose Pascal or Lumiere.

Which best friend would you want to hang out with?
Flounder!


Which prince would love you?
All of them. Wait, that's not an answer? Well then hopefully the Beast/Prince Adam.


Which parents would raise you?
I mean, there's not many parents to choose from is there? But I like Rapunzel's parents so we'll go with that. FYI, my dad really reminds me of King Triton. Hey Dad, if you're reading.

Which castle do you want to live in?
The Beast's castle. That library!


Which town do you wish you lived in?
Arendelle looked cute didn't it?! I loved that.


Which dress do you wish to own?
I've always loved Aurora's peasant dress when she is Briar Rose. I can't explain why, I just think it's beautiful. Ballgown wise, I'd have to go with Anna's Coronation Day dress, even though normally I don't like green!


Which voice do you wish you had?
Well, I do a pretty good Ariel impression. At least I used to when I was a teenager, I don't know if I still can!

Which two princesses would be best friends?
When I was growing up, I used to have loads of Disney dolls and I used to pretend that Cinderella and Aurora were best buds. Ariel and Belle also got on really well. Haha!

Which two princesses do you think would hate each other?
I'm pretty sure Merida would hate Snow White because of the whole "waiting for a Prince" thing.

Which two sidekicks would make a good duo?
Hmm... I feel like Crickee and Pascal would make the CUTEST duo!

Which two princes would be best buds?
Aladdin and Flynn would be such good friends I think! They have similar personalities and backgrounds.


What scene makes you cry?
So many. But the scene from Tangled where *spoilers* Flynn/Eugene nearly dies always gets me.

What scene makes you cheer?
Every happy ending. And the one where Anna punches Hans.

What scene makes you cringe most?
I hate hypnotism, it creeps me out, so any scene in Aladdin where Jafar hypnotises the Sultan. Blech.

What story do you wish was your life?
This is kinda hard because they all go through a lot. I'll go with Belle because I'd like talking objects to talk to!

Which movie do you love the most?
Beauty and the Beast. Hands down.

I tag Danielle, Jess, Jess, Hannah and Becster to do this tag if you haven't already, I feel like you'll be good at this!

Now I'm off to go binge watch all of the Disney Princess films!

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