Every weekend the wonderful people at Cupcake Heaven create "Something Special for the Weekend" So, knowing I wanted to do a photo story on them I set them a challenge for this weekend coming.
Now, for me, mixing two things that I love, cake AND Christmas means that inspiration should have been over flowing, and to be honest, I wasn't doing too bad. But what follows in the next few images proves that your starting point is hardly ever your ending point.
Last Monday (Dec 2nd) I left Sandy and Sharon thinking about Mistletoe and Wine, and Holly and the Ivy….
Usually their brain storming happens with Paul and Graham at a local pub over a glass of something festive and a tasty morsel of food, however, this time it started in the shop, although it may not have ended here.
Everything about Cupcake Heaven is the personal touch, including the fact that note taking is all done by hand, scribbled notes and lots of A4 pads of paper filled with ideas and musings.
Having left Sandy and Sharon on the Monday with Christmas song titles to inspire them, I went home thinking about a million other things. What do you think about when you think of Christmas, I have crackers and sweets, brandy snaps and stockings, decorations and everything was just whizzing about in my head. However I've learned that having all the ideas is all well and good, but someone then has to turn these ideas into cakes!
Things like chocolate or vanilla cake??? Red icing and red cake cases??? Do we add anything into the cake mixture itself, maybe mixing a flavour with the icing… Thankfully I'm not the one making the deciding factors.
Sharon has been baking for a few years now (being a lady I didn't ask how long) but she's incredibly talented and was kind enough to share some tips of her trade. So if you've ever wondered how to get a bit of colour in your icing (like an ice-cream Mr Whippy) you need two pipping bags, one set ready with the nozzle, the other snipped just at the end with a small hole for the coloured icing to be pipped down the bag of the main icing bag.
Then you run a line of the coloured icing down one side of the main icing bag before filling with normal vanilla icing; it's so easy, why I never figured this before I don't know.
And doesn't it look amazing!
It seemed that Sandy and Sharon had set on the idea of a peppermint candy themed cake, and I instantly got excited about the possibilities. However, on this first try we decided that there was just a little too much red - it reminded me of the clove flavoured gob-stoppers I used to get as a kid, a little too red hot, so….
We thought that green might be a better colour… mixing up more icing and prepping the icing bag ready
Adding there green to the piping bag and then topping with vanilla, it was really starting to come together. But it's always the attention to detail that makes the different between something thrown together and something well thought out and professional.
Now, a big decision, do the candy canes look better sitting on the icing, or pushed into it, we actually debated this at some length
And should pearlescent or silver edible glitter be used? I bet you didn't think it would be so difficult to choose.
They do look delicious don't they, and we were about to sign off on the decision before I got all excited and suggested something else
So, what would happen if the candy cane is crushed…?
Now, I'm not saying that this is the final evolution of this particular cake, so you'll just have to pop along to Cupcake Heaven this weekend to find out! But I do think that if I ever hang up my camera I could take a job in creating cupcakes - just as long as there's somewhere like Cupcake Heaven that can make them for me.
Is it me or do you feel like cake right now?
You can find Cupcake Heaven here
9 The Maltings
In the mean time, you can read more about Cupcake Heaven in my first blog about them "It Really Is Cupcake Heaven"
My huge thanks to Sandy, Paul, Sharon and all the staff at Cupcake Heaven for letting me sneak into their world and share it with you; Salisbury is a richer place having you guys in town x