Too early to feel festive?

I'm not entirely sure what's happened this year but everyone I know seems to be getting into the Christmas spirit really early. I blame all the amazing festive advertising campaigns (which all make me cry btw).

I ADORE Christmas. It was my Mum's favourite holiday and unfortunately she passed away a few weeks before Christmas in 2004, so the season remained full of heartache for me until a few years back when I decided that I no longer wanted to wallow but I'd rather instill that festive spirit in my boys!


Times are a changing...

Summer seems to have disappeared in a flash but I adore the autumnal days that are started to creep in. It's no secret that this is my favourite time of year and I can't wait to whip up some pumpkin spice to add to just about EVERYTHING I'm baking!

But baking has taken a bit of a back seat recently as life has been so hectic of late, so all of my baking has been firmly reserved for the bakery as my wedding cake season extended into September and October this year.


Delicious roasted vegetable soup

Do not adjust your screens. I'm about to post a savoury food recipe with VEGETABLES IN IT AND EVERYTHING.

The last few weeks in my household have mostly consisted of picnic style food, desserts and wine (well, wine on my part anyway). The recent heatwave we had in the UK might seem like a distant memory, but couple that with my week away in glorious Hunstanton and August makes has made for a very 'weighty' month...


The Great British Bake Off just got awesome!

So I've literally been bursting at the seams about this news for months, but today we can finally get excited and announce that one of our amazing Cake Eaters Anonymous attendees is going to be on the new series of the Great British Bake Off! Can anyone be more excited than us about this news? I think not...


Review: Lunch at the Three Crowns in Nottingham!

I love a traditional pub. With all the drinking establishments in Nottingham you'd think that we'd be overrun with pubs but alas, themed bars and certain chain pubs have taken over and I often find I need to venture out of the city centre if I want to find a nice pub or somewhere for a nice beer and a bite to eat which isn't too overcrowded.


Peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie bars

I had a craving. A peanut butter one. I know it's serious when I get a PB craving, and if it's not seen to immediately then my cupboards will be raided until I'm sat on the floor with a spoon and a jar of the creamy stuff....


My recent cakes from Swirls Bakery

As most of you will be aware, aside from blogging, parenting and working part time in a sugarcraft shop I also run my own bakery from home! I've run my business for 6yrs now and with each year I get more and more amazing cake request from my fab clients, so this week I thought I'd share a few of my favourite cakes from recent months.


Salted caramel shortbread

It's wedding season. For a cake maker running a bakery this means one thing - cakes, cakes and more cakes. I'm not complaining though, far from it. In fact, life seems more structured when I'm busy as I fall back on my trusty to-do lists, but actually my blogging hiatus for the past month has helped me manage my work and get things back on track. You can see all the cakes I've been working on here!


Celebrating Star Wars day on May the 4th!

Needless to say, Star Wars is a big deal in our house. I wasn't exactly brought up watching Star Wars but you know I love my sci-fi and it's a great movie to get your kids started in the world of science fiction. So, I have embraced the force in recent years which is a good job as my eldest knows the Star Wars universe inside and out...


Cake club and carrot cake brownies

I love carrot cake. I don't make it nearly enough as I would like as I HATE grating carrots (I normally end up with more grated knuckles in my cooking) but when I spotted this recipe for Carrot Cake Brownies from Crazy for Crust, I knew I had to try it! One of my favourite bits of carrot cake is the cream cheese frosting so these little brownies sounded heavenly.


Easter egg hunt cupcakes featuring Cadbury's Creme Eggs!

 I think it's pretty clear from previous blog posts that I'm a fan of Cadbury's Creme Eggs. My only gripe is that I can't possibly eat enough for the duration of their sale period, so baking with them ensures I hit my creme egg quota for the year.


The Cake and Bake Show Manchester

I clearly don't have enough cake in my life as it seems I'm now resorting to spending my free time searching out cake and attending cake shows like the Cake and Bake Show!

Actually, that's a bit misleading. I attended the Cake and Bake show in Manchester this past weekend to represent my employer, Sweet Success Ltd, and check out the amazing CakeBomb team and see how they had brought some of our cakes, ganache and chocolate sugarpaste to life. And I wasn't disappointed!


Pimpin' my creme eggs

The famous TV campaign asks us "How do you eat yours?" and apart from 'frequently', my answer has always been the same - by scooping out the insides with my index finger and then gobbling up the shell. Is there any other way?

Cadbury's Creme Eggs haven't changed in years. I mean literally, I think they look the same since my childhood which is weird as normally everything you eat as a child seems to shrink when you grow up at least...


White chocolate and mini egg rocky road bars

Rocky road is one of my go to recipes when I need to make lunchbox snacks for the kids. It's delicious, easy to make and more importantly you can make it using any leftover biscuits/sweet/fruit you have leftover in your cupboards! Bonus!


Gooey chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting

Chocolate cake with peanut butter ganache and marshmallow frostingA lot of the cakes I make for clients in my bakery tend to be more sturdy madeira style cakes, I mean they have to stand up to doweling/stacking and a whole host of decorations so the style of cake has to be more robust, tasty and have a decent shelf life. This means that when I get to bake for the family, I like to go all out and make the gooey and softest cakes imaginable.

American cakes are very different from English cakes and when it comes to chocolate cake I always stick with my favourite - my Mum's recipe. It is a slight variation on the ever popular Hersheys recipe but with less sugar and more....oomph!


Zesty orange cake with whipped cointreau ganache

I've been suffering from a chocolate orange craving recently that just WON'T QUIT. Now the thing is, I physically can't bring myself to buy a Terry's Chocolate Orange outside of Christmas time so I knew I'd have to bake myself out of this particular craving.

Orange cake isn't a very popular cake flavour is it? Lemon is the real citrus fruit that steals the show.


Frugal fun: simple homemade play dough!

And so the half term begins. It seems like a looooong time since the Christmas holidays, but I can confidently say that the kids and I have been needing this school break for the last few weeks. The pain of an early start is wearing thin after 6 long weeks...

But, we're still feeling the pinch after Christmas so this week I'm trying to keep it frugal and and create as as many homemade activities as possible.


Peanut butter cookies filled with praline centre chocolates

*Sigh* Peanut butter, how I love thee. Let me count the ways... Now, if I could write a poem in honour of my peanut butter addiction then I would do. But, I can't so let's just leave it there and end by saying I bloomin love the stuff.

A few supermarkets in Nottingham now sell the American Skippy peanut butter which is my all time favourite but it's very sweet, so if you're more of an earthy peanut butter fan then just keep moving...


Eggless chocolate cupcakes with cookie dough frosting

You all know the drill; you have an itching to bake, you have time to create something decadent for your family, all the ingredients are in place and then wham! You check the fridge and yep, no eggs. Gaaaah! Of course there are lots of yummy egg substitutes but nothing beats the real thing.

Well this happened to me today. I had *just* enough eggs for our meal that evening but the mood to bake had well and truly stuck and for the first time in ages I found myself craving cupcakes. In recent years I've baked waaay too many for work that it's kind put me off baking them for leisure (hence my cookie obsession).


Chewy Nutella filled Valentines sprinkle cookies

My memories of Nutella go right back to the beginning of my childhood in England - I was around 9yrs old and Mum bought one of those little white lidded jars from our local shop. She didn't know what it was but it looked chocolatey and she knew her eldest had a sugar addiction like no other, so she decided to take a chance and buy a jar. And I'm sooo glad she did.

We'd typically indulge in Nutella on toast as an after school treat - but I'd typically indulge in eating copious amounts off a spoon when no one was looking. Alas, it was an indulgent and expensive treat so a jar would only frequent our cupboards on rare occasions.


Giant red velvet cookie cake with white chocolate buttercream

Red Velvet is taking over the world. I mean, you can even buy a red velvet boxed cake mix at Tescos now which is surely a sign that we're knee deep in the midsts of a full on red velvet invasion in the UK...

I love red velvet cake. The flavour is hard to sum up but it's a mix between vanilla and chocolate cake with a tang to it. I'm not sure if it's the food colouring or vinegar but it's not as sweet as most cakes and I find it's especially popular with men. Traditionally it's paired with cream cheese frosting but I think it works well with white chocolate too.


Cinnamon and hazelnut biscotti

In an unprecedented twist to my dinner out last weekend, I finished my meal with a coffee. Now, whilst this might be a standard trait for many of you I simply cannot drink coffee after 6pm. If I even *look* at a caffeine filled beverage in the evening then rest assured I'll be awake until the wee hours.

But I was shattered by the time dessert came around and decided to opt for a Baileys coffee, I think the alcohol kinda cancels out the caffeine so I figured I was on safe ground. And with my coffee came a micro piece of biscotti - which turned out to be an amazing compliment to my hot drink.


Hazelnut and white chocolate chip flapjacks

I woke up today with a flavour in my mind, I have no idea where it came from but there it was hanging over me like a thought you just can't shake.

The flavour combination was white chocolate and hazelnuts. Now, I've always been a big fan of hazelnuts (or anything nutty really) but I do find white chocolate a little too sweet so I worried that putting this combination of ingredients into anything like a cake might be too overwhelming.