Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blue is the new pink

Here are the mini cupcakes that I've made for my elder daughter's last-day-of-term class party.  She specifically requested that all the cakes be decorated the same, so that no-one could argue about which one they wanted to choose.  Sound logic, learnt from good listening, tee hee.  From all the colour and sprinkle options we have available here at Becca Towers, she chose blue, and lines - not dots.  Mr Becca helped me achieve the precise shade of blue, that was obvious but not too strong.  I know my girls will, but here's hoping the rest of the Primary 2 and 3's at her school, (that's Grade 1 and 2's for you non-local readers out there) and the teachers, love them...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cupcakes on order

This is a bakers dozen for the leaving-do of a colleague of a friend.  The request was for colour and sparkle, as she was happy to be moving on.  The cakes are vanilla and the purple icing is too.  The pink icing is delicately rose flavoured.  I made a full batch of cupcakes and made about 40 mini ones with the rest of the mix, to give to my daughter's school class as a treat for their last-day-of-term party.  I only did a half-batch of the icing, and will make more fresh tomorrow for the kids' ones on Friday.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Oreo's anyone?

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
I had copied this recipe out of my neighbour's Good Housekeeping recipe book, and been looking forward to trying it for a while but life got in the way.  Finally had a chance this morning, and chose baking over folding dry washing - go figure!  It was, not surprisingly, really easy and I had to keep the girls away as they're both not fully well (hence both of them at home on a school day).  Luckily they were placated with putting the cases into the tray, then 'cleaning' the bowl and beaters afterwards, tee hee.
The cupcakes didn't disappoint, though personally I'll put more crumbled Oreo's into the mix next time.  That way there's more chance of getting a bit in each bite.
By the way, I finally managed to find a 2011 diary.  Now let's just hope the orders come in...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First order

Am v chuffed - our first paid order.  The ladies came to collect it today and seemed really thrilled with it.  I took a photo on my mobile and showed it to a couple of the school mums for feedback, and they too thought it looked good.  Which is half the battle, of course.  Note the wee sticker in the middle of the box lid - I've ordered a matching notepad so I can get membership to a local cash and carry, and may yet order matching business cards - to help spread the Becca Bakes lurve...
Although you can't really tell, it's bright pink sponge on the inside, with paler pink vanilla buttercream icing then all covered in pink glitter with sweetie hearts dotted around - hope the birthday girl loves it too.  Even better news is that we have another order for next Thursday, a bakers dozen of cupcakes to be delivered.  Need to get myself a diary, pronto!  Although unfortunately, this is proving easier said than done...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Officially recognised

I had a meeting, which became an inspection, yesterday from an Environmental Health Officer.  It was designed to talk over what was required of me to register as a food seller/business with the Trading Standards authority.  She gave me lots of relevant leaflets, and talked over what I had considered doing regarding setting up as a possible business.  She was happy with what I said, made a few suggestions, helped me complete the registration form et voila!  Becca Bakes is open for business.  eek!  I'm not yet sure how busy I shall become, nor how busy I want to be.  I'm slightly scared, as I imagine all new start-up businesses are, that no-one will want my goods.  Also, there's some lovely ladies already baking beautiful, tasty cakes in our fair city (I know, I've tasted their goods and met the ladies) so I don't know that there's room for another - we'll see.
She suggested some ideas for marketing and growing the business and said to go ahead now and accept any orders that may come in.  So I did, and am doing a birthday cake for collection tomorrow afternoon - woo hoo!  Thanks for believing in me Steph C, hope you and your friends love the cake.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is here...

Yellow-coloured sponge cake with yellow sparkle/red glitter
We had a lovely weekend with friends and today dawned brilliantly sunny.  Windy, sure, but gloriously sunny.  (I really really like the sunshine, can you tell?)  So here is last night's effort - a great big yellow coloured sponge cake, generously decorated with icing sugar, yellow sugar sparkles and red glitter, to welcome in the Spring.  Though from the photo it looks like I was too light-handed with the glitter, you can barely see it.  Sorry. A friend came over to play (with her kids) and have lunch, and this was dessert.  As were her home-made Hummingbird Bakery recipe chocolate chunk biscuits - yummy!  And she'd switched to using her new Cath Kidston beautiful floral Day Bag, such a lovely day for a lovely bag.  Totally makes you feel happy to be alive.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chocolate chunk cookies

All-American chocolate chunk cookies
We're visiting a friend tomorrow morning whom we've not seen at home for a wee while, and she has a new cookery book to show me, from Pop Bakery.  So I felt it only right to bake something to bring along for us to nibble while the kids play - hence the cookies.  I'm also having a different friend over while our youngest kids are at nursery/kindergarten in the afternoon and we'll need something sweet to nibble with our coffee... hence the need for lots of food at once.  I made the cookies smaller than the recipe suggests,
and thus got 4 dozen rather than only 1.  But they must be mighty large cookies to make only 12!!  Last time I made 24 and this time they don't seem that much smaller...  But they'll go a lot further, as I'm sure the mini's will want some for morning tea or after-lunch treats, or even breakfast - knowing their genetically inherited love of chocolate.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cupcakes & an Easter pudding

vanilla cupcakes with pale yellow buttercream
the same cupcakes with snow-white icing from the USA

Hot Cross bread and butter pudding
Here are the latest delicacies from our kitchen - delicious vanilla cupcakes in a midi-size.  This way they're not so big that you can't have a couple, and not too small so that the kids won't eat too many  ☺.  Although it didn't stop the mini-Becca's having more than one at once.  I think it's the variety of the toppings that tantalises them - first they chose a multi-coloured balls on white one, then one chose a pink sparkly one, another a black/white one.  The yellow iced ones were taken to my final meeting for the FPA-run Speakeasy course I've been attending for the last couple of months, really interesting and well-worth the time.  The other mums in the group were well-impressed (with taste and visuals), and the remainder went to the nursery teachers to say thanks for looking after mini-Becca #2 so I could attend.  Hope they liked them too!
The other item I tried was meant to be ready as an after-school snack, and as such it was a tad too warm for the mini's.  We all thought it was okay, not fab (so I won't be doing it again either) but nonetheless it was all gobbled up quite quickly.  Therefore, it's salad for dinner for me...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Tooth Fairy Visit

Strawberry Buttermilk Muffins

We had our first-ever visit from the Tooth Fairy last night, so as a treat for our gap-toothed lovely girl I baked these strawberry muffins.  They were easy to do and rose well, but not fabulously exciting to eat.  They taste good, and are light and not too solid but beyond the actual strawberry or two within, and some flavour from the zested lemon, there's not much to recommend them.  So we won't be making these again.  Ah well, there's plenty more recipes in that little book to try (101 Cakes and Bakes from BBC GoodFood team)...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Nothing tasty in the house

sparkly pink Malteser Traybake
After the fun of baking and selling out for the school, I fancied a little something sweet but had nothing in the house, and precious little ingredients with which to bake anything.  Then I remembered the trusty Malteser Traybake recipe, which required none of the ingredients that had been all used up, score!  So here it is, and despite using up the remaining Rice Crispies from the Mars Bar Crispy Slice a couple of weeks ago in place of some of the required amount of Maltesers, of course it still tastes amazing because of how much chocolate etc is in the recipe.   Mmmmm, that sure hit the spot!

Open for business?

Weeeell, I went to the meeting but got the time wrong and so turned up quite late - how embarrassing!  I spent so long apologising that there was precious little time left in which to have relevant conversations.  However, the advisor was attentive and well-informed and made some very good suggestions as to how I could actually start the process of thinking about possibly setting up as a business.  I have some tasks to do to help us decide if it's gonna be financially viable to progress my hobby, so away I go...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

School Fundraiser

dozens of purple-coloured flower-shaped vanilla cookies

vanilla mid-sized cupcakes with coloured buttercream icing and various toppings
Well, the school fundraiser went really well for me - my cupcakes had nearly sold out by the time the event started!  Woo hoo.  Admittedly, being a school event they were hideously underpriced, but I still take it as a success and am well chuffed.  The biscuits didn't sell so well, but once tasted were appreciated.  There's leftover yellow icing, so it's in the freezer.  Still in the piping bag with the nozzle in situ - buttercream icing freezes and defrosts really well.  Because I made so many more cupcakes than usual, we had the chance to use nearly my entire array of sprinkles, sparkles and toppings and had lots of fun.  Then later on one of my neighbours came by to ask my advice on something baking-related and I showed her what I had recently bought and she's going shopping and will choose other items.  Yey, we get to do swaps!
Am not sure I'll go to the Business Gateway meeting tomorrow, as mini-me#2 was rather ill tonight.  Will see how she is in the morning...