A great week ending in my daughter’s 6th birthday party. My kids’ birthday cakes are one of the main reasons I got into baking in the first place. This one was particularly sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!
It’s been another busy week. I went to film a new set of videos for the Scoff channel on Tuesday. It’s always a right laugh and I’m really looking forward to these ones going up on YouTube. I did a Father’s Day breakfast in bed recipe that the crew wolfed down. That should be up this week but I might post another Father’s Day recipe on my blog before the end of the week as my Mother’s Day recipe is the most popular thing I’ve blogged to date. This week’s recipe on YouTube was one from my forthcoming book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, and it’s for big, soft pretzels – mmmm!
Speaking of recipes, I created this one above for lemon and blueberry scones for Marie Curie’s Blooming Great Tea Party campaign, where they’re encouraging people to host fundraising tea parties between 20 and 29 June. Why not give these a go – they’re dead easy and really delicious! I’m doing a few nice local events this week. I’m opening the school fair at my old primary school, St Paul’s Mill Hill, on Saturday, which feels a bit surreal! On Sunday I’m off to Totteridge & Mill Hill Cricket Club for their club open day, as amongst other things they’re celebrating 10 years of their women’s team, that my wife Sarah has played on and off for since 2005. So if you’re in the area, why not come along to one of these and say hi. But the thing I’m most excited about this week is going to the Empire Strikes Back Secret Cinema event on Friday evening with my best mate Ross. An early Father’s Day present for us both!
On Friday, I jumped on the train at Paddington like old times to return to the Bake Off tent. We’re filming the ‘Bake Off Class of 2014’ programme so half of us met up for this, the others having done their bits a few weeks ago. The twelve of us all still Whatsapp each other nearly every day but it’s great when we get to catch up in person too. Last year, the Class of 2013 returned to the tent and Ruby Tandoh left a really nice note for us to wish us all luck, which I’ve still got. I’ve paid it forward and left a note for the 2015 bunch – I hope they’re enjoying the whole experience as much as we all did. We didn’t get to meet any of them so their identities are just as much of a mystery to me. I can’t wait for the next series to start.
We had a family trip to ZSL London Zoo yesterday for our daughter’s birthday. I’d been working with them again recently writing some animal-food recipes for their quarterly ‘Wild About’ members’ magazine. I really enjoy working with ZSL as my degree was in Biodiversity & Conservation and it’s my favourite place to visit in London. Our daughters liked the komodo dragons best of all yesterday as they got really close up to them. It was also a good opportunity to see my old friend Zaire the Gorilla again, as it’s been a while since I celebrated her birthday with her:
Today’s cake challenge was making a Wreck It Ralph themed cake for our daughter’s 6th birthday. She was adamant she wanted a Wreck It Ralph cake as it’s one of our favourite films and she particularly loves one of the main characters, Vanellope von Schweetz. It’s set inside a computer game called ‘Sugar Rush’ and so the cake had quite a lot to live up to but it also gave me free rein to go bonkers with different types of sweets.
The tiered cakes were chocolate sponge with Nutella Italian meringue buttercream filling. The bottom layer was edged in Skittles and the top layer with Smarties, as you can see in the picture right at the top of this post. I cheated a bit and used my daughter’s Vanellope doll inside the kart but I made her kart from scratch carving a lemon Madeira loaf into the right shape and covering with coloured fondant, glitter icing and tempered chocolate. I think her pink wafer spoiler is my favourite detail.
It took a few hours to make the kart alone, but it’s all worth it when you see grateful little faces and it makes them this happy! It’s been a really special birthday weekend for our lovely girl. But I’m spending the rest of the evening flopped on the sofa now with my Kindle, a cuppa and some Marmite on toast (craving savoury) as I’ve had enough sugar to last me the rest of the month at least! See you next week!