Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Cake Britain

Every once in a while an idea pops into my head that I can't ignore! This time it was Cake Britain! Let me explain. My customers are spread far and wide as I post slices of cake all over the UK but what happens when they need something bigger? Ok so you can buy whole versions of my cake slices but these are rectangular lovelies and maybe not what you want for your wedding cake! So here the seed is planted...

A customer calls or emails and asks what I can do. I explain that, for large novelty and wedding cakes, I hand deliver. Now, don't get me wrong, I will deliver if you live in Cornwall but would you want to pay my delivery charge? No of course not. And do you want to be cheeky and ask if I know anyone closer? Again probably not. So what happens now? You hang up wonder who else you can use? Ask friends, family, Twitter? Or ... What if...there was a map you could click on that brought everyone up locally?

Now I realise you could go to Yellow Pages or some such thing too but to be honest most of us don't pay for advertising, as word of mouth is a lot better. This is not to say we want to be hidden away, we want a way to work with you.

I have now designed Cake Britain, a user friendly map that you can just pop in your postcode and your local baker pops up! I don't charge anyone for registering their details and it is made up mostly of small businesses specializing in homemade cake of superior quality. What's the catch? Why do I want to advertise other people? Why does anyone want to go on a map that shows someone else who lives round the corner? Simple because not one of us can provide for everyone. We share tips, business links and friendship, because like our customers we are normal everyday people who mostly work from home and so things like Twitter become our coffee room. So bookmark it now ready for the next occasion, don't forget I'm still always here to help you with the new birthday card!

View Cake Britain in a larger map

If you bake yourself email your postcode, description and contact details to and I'll add you on, the more the merrier! Spread the word, this is Cake Britain!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is something of a favourite in this country but I wonder if you know how it came about, you know throwing veg into a cake?

Although a relatively simple cake made individual by the type of oil and spices used, the history of cake dates back to ancient times. The first cakes were very different from what we eat today. They were more bread-like and sweetened with honey. Nuts and dried fruits were often added. According to the food historians, the ancient Egyptians were the first culture to show evidence of advanced baking skills. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the English word cake back to the 13th century. It is a derivation of 'kaka', an Old Norse word. Medieval European bakers used vegetables regularly in their puddings, often making fruitcakes and gingerbread. These foods could last for many months.

According to the food historians, the precursors of modern cakes (round ones with icing) were first baked in Europe sometime in the mid-17th century. This is due to primarily to advances in technology (more reliable ovens, manufacture/availability of food molds) and ingredient availability (refined sugar). At that time cake hoops (round molds for shaping cakes) that were placed on flat baking trays, were popular. They could be made of metal, wood or paper. Some were adjustable. The first icing was usually a boiled composition of the finest available sugar, egg whites and, sometimes, flavorings. The icing was poured on the cake and returned to the oven for a while. When removed the icing cooled quickly to form a hard, glossy covering. Many cakes made at this time still contained dried fruits (raisins, currants, citrons) and are the predecessor of our rich fruit cake.

It was not until the middle of the 19th century that cake as we know it today (made with extra refined white flour and baking powder) arrived on the scene. Butter-cream frostings (using butter, cream, icing sugar and flavourings) began replacing traditional boiled icings in first few decades 20th century.

However, it was the second world war and rationing that saw a true revival of this cake as again sugar was scarce. And it wasn't until the 1960s that it became popular in America, possibly reaching its peak in the 1970s but still a true tea room favourite today!

If all this has made you hungry, help yourself to a slice! My weekly club will be receiving this today themselves so look out for reviews on twitter!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

New Website!

The new website is finished! Tell me what you think! 

What can I say? I like cake!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Christmas Tips

It has suddenly struck me today, how close we are to Christmas! I know it's 108 days away but that is nothing. My children are going back to school this week after the school summer holidays, now 6 weeks ago 6 weeks felt like a long time but it passed in a flash and now the house is empty again. So I've been thinking...! Tips for making Christmas pass smoothly and enjoyably, here goes!

  1. Prepare! Keep your eyes open, if you see a present that you think someone would like BUY IT! Don't wait till christmas eve to go round getting a load of 3 for 2 things that no one uses. Best thing is you will seem like the most thoughtful person on the day! You are also likely to spend less money as instead of bulk buying and then finding you have forgotten someone or have something spare you will know in advance and they won't have sold out!
  2. List. Keep a check on who you have bought for and what. Bought granny something? Great tick her off! You will feel like you are achieving something too.
  3. See what you can get out of the way well in advance then the sting of Christmas won't be so bad. Think how gloomy January is after you have over spent in December. Little things like ordering you cake early will mean that you can spread out the costs and really enjoy the day.
  4. The most important piece of advice is to decide what your budget is and stick to it. If the kids what a trip to the moon learn to say "no". The pressure of kids is immense, they want the latest in everything and that comes at a cost so...
  5. Give the kids a budget. Tell them how much you have to spend on them and let them decide what to do with it. Better still, give them chores and make them earn it!

Need a cake? Just ask! I make a 7" fruit cake which is well matured, then marzipaned and iced. It costs £40 plus £10 delivery but will see you through till New Year with contented smiles all round and will be delivered shortly beforehand, one less thing for you to think about!