May Moments 2

My previous blog post May Moments 1 looked at food festivals I attended and a bit of home cooking.

May Moments 2 catches you up with where I am at, in terms of my baking and cake decorating. I haven’t been baking as much as I used too. I’ve been taking a bit of a break this year with cake orders, as felt I took too much on last year. Baking was no longer enjoyable. Cake decorating really stressed me out. I’ve been turning down some orders this year, whilst I said yes to everything last year. The break has done me good.

I got back into the baking this month with tackling the tricky beast that is macarons, swooning over the best coconut cake ever and creating a charming Hey Duggee 1st birthday cake.

May bank holiday

My brother Aaron and his fiance Aarti were up for the May Bank Holiday weekend and stayed over. It was a busy weekend, as we had our annual Summer barbecue and it was Aaron’s birthday.

I made Aaron a birthday cake and used Violet Bakery’s recipe for the best coconut cake we’ve ever tasted. It was a recipe I tried for the wedding cake I am going to make for them this coming Summer. And it’s absolutely delicious. Really special and a level above other coconut cakes I’ve eaten. The difference between this coconut cake and others I’ve made is the use of coconut milk in all the parts of the cake. There is coconut milk in the cake, the syrup and the pudding-like filling. There’s more steps to this cake than your average sponge cake but is so worth the effort. No desiccated coconut is used, which probably helps to keep it moist and not dry it out. I used Sugar and Crumbs coconut flavoured icing sugar to make buttercream for the top of the birthday cake then dusted with desiccated coconut.

Me and Aarti also made a firm family favourite of peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies for the barbecue. You can find the recipe here.

Peanut butter & chocolate chip cookies

Coconut cake


I’ve had a few attempts at making macarons in the past. I tried different recipes each time and they were always a a failure. I ended up with lumpy shells, shells lacking feet, hollow shells and shells that were too soft. Very annoying as the process is so lengthy and it’s been a waste of ingredients and time.

I saw @thebakingnanna1 (Twitter) had made great looking macarons and praised the recipe she used. I was intrigued and had a look at Nancy Birtwhistle's macaron recipe and noticed that the recipe differed from the ones I tried previously. Nancy’s recipe uses the Italian meringue method (cooked sugar) rather than the French meringue method (uncooked sugar). It was helpful to watch Nancy Birtwhistle’s macarons video alongside the recipe.

I used vanilla extract as my flavouring and didn’t use food colouring for the shells. For my filling, I made buttercream using Sugar & Crumbs salted caramel icing sugar. For decoration, I kept it simple but striking, with a thick brush stroke of edible gold paint.

So, I gave macarons another go, and although not perfect, I had the most success I've ever had with macarons. I was chuffed with how my salted caramel macarons turned out. They had feet, were crisp and not hollow! They were yummy too. I need to improve on piping more regular shapes/sizes though. These turned out a bit ‘rustic’. I’ve been wanting to master macarons for a long time and feel as I am on my way. I think I know what I can do next time to further improve on my macarons. I’d like to be confident and be able to add these to my repertoire and offer them alongside cakes/cupcakes/biscuit orders. I will try making macarons again, and am excited as the colours/flavours are endless!



Salted caramel macarons

Hey Duggee

I had never heard of Hey Duggee but as with any cake order I take on, I did some research to see what it was all about. Hey Duggee is a great cartoon which is fun, heart warming, joyful and educational. Duggee is the leader of a youth group (like the Scouts) and the Squirrels are the group members. The Squirrels take on a task and earn a badge in each episode. I was introduced to The Stick Song (I recommend you watch it - so catchy!). I went on to watch (and I’m not ashamed to say) many episodes of Hey Duggee.

I was given free reign over the design of the cake. I love it when this happens. I knew that the mam and dad like the bright and bold colours of Hey Duggee. I looked up colourful backgrounds from Hey Duggee and The River Badge episode caught my eye. The Squirrels travel with Duggee across a river to deliver a package, which earns them their River Badge. I especially like this design as there isn’t one like it on the internet. A lot of Hey Duggee cakes are same-y and I wanted something different.

This was a 4-layer 8” carrot cake with orange white chocolate buttercream. I used the Carrot cake recipe I usually use, which is perfect for kids’ parties, as it is nut-free (in case of nut allergies). I paired it with this White chocolate buttercream and added orange flavoured extract.

This was a special cake made for Leigh’s best friend’s son Wilfred. A lot of hours went into it and it took a long time to complete. I enjoyed the creative process and I’m happy with how it turned out. It was made with love and enjoyed by everyone at the party. Afterwards, I was chuffed to be tweeted by Hey Duggee that I earned my Cake badge!




Hey Duggee on Twitter