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I learned to make a pretty parcel cake

For my birthday back in March my lovely husband and daughter bought me a voucher for a cake decorating course at Sweetie Darling.  

With my 2012 mission of baking all close friends and family cakes this year for every occasion, I feel I can bake fairly tasty cakes so now it’s time to step things up a level and learn how to confidently use the many different types of icing there is out there!  So the Pretty Parcel course looked a great way to do this.  My glamourous friend Michelle (who made our wedding cake) also came along so we had a great day learning brilliant skills!

Here we are with our finished masterpieces:


We learned how to slice a large madeira cake using a snazzy device like a cheese cutter, then filled it with jam and butter icing.

Then covered the whole cake (apart from the bottom) with a thin layer of butter icing to stop the crumbs from escaping and ruining the lovely regal icing we were to drape over the top.

The cake board was also covered in regal icing in a contrasting colour – and we used a rolling pin with a decorative stencil embossed all over which gave the bubble effect (got to get myself one of those!!).

We learned how to knead and roll regal icing with so many little tips – it was brilliant!   The draping over the top of the large cake and positioning over the cube shaped cakewas quite hard to get right – I kept getting folds and creases and air bubbles but got there in the end.

We used modelling paste to make the bow and ribbons, and royal icing for the label and stars.  

We just added C2C powder to the regal icing to make it into modelling paste – which I never knew existed before!  This makes it set really hard quite fast so we had to keep the icing moving in our hands until we needed it to set.  But it made the bow stay looking like it was made of silk rather than hard icing, a beautiful effect.  Sugar glue kept everything in place – whoever invented that deserves a medal 🙂  It’s like superglue but edible!

The stars were white and we painted them with edible sparkly powder mixed with alcohol.  That part was fun but messy for my fingers.

Here’s a close up of my cake:


I wrote ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ in royal icing as my daughter loves singing that nursery rhyme!

Here is the back of the cake to prove I didn’t just make the front look pretty and forget about the rest!


The course has given me so much confidence to use the 3 different types of icing.  I can’t wait to start trying it out by myself at home!!


Top Safety Tips For Cooking With Children

I believe part of the reason my daughter is such a non-fussy eater is because I try to include her in the cooking process as much as possible.  The other part of the reason is probably that she takes after me and just loves all types of food!!  Here is a lovely guest-poster who has some brilliant tips for cooking with children:

Cooking with your kids is not only messy and fun, but it is a great way to set them up for the future and ensure they have good eating habits.

I always try to get my kids involved when I get the chance, as they love mixing the dough, chopping the vegetables and stirring the sauces.

Yet if I have learnt one thing over the years safety really does matter when kids are involved. That is why I have come up with the following safety tips so you and you kids can whip up biscuit recipes safely, and still have fun.

  1. Are your hands clean? It is important that you all wash your hands before you begin handling food and cooking to prevent the transferral of germs. Similarly whenever any of you cough, sneeze or go to the bathroom, you need to wash your hands again.
  2. Choose your recipes wisely – it can be hard to judge what recipe is right for your kids, especially when they are so curious about cooking generally, but don’t give them too much too soon.
    Instead judge their tasks based on their age and ability. For instance toddlers will have tonnes of fun simply decorating the top of chocolate chip cookies, whilst older kids will easily be able to follow recipes, measure ingredients and mix them themselves.
  3. Be organised – get out all the ingredients and tools you need in advance so your kids can begin cooking straight away. Just remember to take over using knifes or turning on the oven if they are young to prevent accidents.
  4. Show them what to do – eventually your kids will get to the age where they want to cut things themselves. To prevent them cutting themselves or their fingers, first show them how to do it properly, get them to practice and always ensure that you are there to supervise.
  5. Supervise – even the most innocent of objects can be dangerous in the wrong hands, so make sure you supervise them closely and offer to help where needed to keep them safe.
  6. Don’t be tempted to sample – whilst we are constantly reassured that eggs have been processed to protect you from salmonella, I strongly recommend never letting your kids try uncooked foods, especially those with egg in them, to protect them from poisoning. Instead allow them to sample the finishing touches of your biscuit recipe endeavours…

Cooking with your kids can lead to countless hours of fun. Just remember to keep the above points in mind and you too can offer your kids a fun and safe cooking environment.

I’m Keli and I love cooking with my kids. I prefer the healthy option of making my own food but when I want to spoil my family I like the easy option of ordering from an online bakery.


Helping your children to eat better

So far my posts have been all about recipes (and mostly cakes … I can’t help it, they’re so yummy!), so I have taken the opportunity to share a brilliant guest post from Heather.  She has 8 tips to help your children eat better which sound really helpful, so I think they will be of use to other mums and dads too.

Why is it once our kids hit the 2’s they never want to eat the things you offer them? Sure as they get older their habits improve and they are willing to try more, but generally why does the sight of healthy, nutritious meals or even meat send them running?

It’s a strange phenomenon, but if you’ve got a picky eater in the family then you’ll be all too familiar withwhat I’m talking about.

Yet feeding your child well doesn’t have to feel impossible. Try any of the following tips and you’ll notice an improvement in their eating habits:

1.  Make the same for everyone – don’t get into the habit of making them something different. Instead try to offer them the same foods you’re eating – family style – so they can pick and choose what they want. You’ll soon notice that your child is mimicking what you eat.
2.  Introduce new foods slowly – whilst you want to broaden their tastes, too much too soon will make them rebel. Start subtly by adding it to a recipe and once they are familiar with it, give it to them on their own. Similarly don’t try to give them too many new foods at once. Allow them to get used to a taste, and then introduce another.
3.  Use a little hero worship – you’ll be surprised what they’ll eat if you tell them their favourite star or character eats them.
4.  Hold your tongue – hard I know, but don’t pressurise them to eat their fruit or vegetables as all this will do is make them have negative associations with the food.
5.  Take advantage of dips – if they won’t eat vegetables on their own, offer them a dip to dip it in to improve the flavour.
6.  Be creative – the more creative the meal, the more excited your kids will be to eat it. Giving healthy foods silly names as well, will make meal times more interesting.
7.  Don’t be afraid to give treats – less healthy food shouldn’t be treated like a forbidden food otherwise your kids will want them more. Instead make them a treat to be looked forward to.
8.  Be a role model – most of us are on a diet these days but this doesn’t always set good habits for our kids. Instead of following the latest fad, offer you and your whole family healthy balanced meals so you’re sending your kids the right message about food. 

Whether your child is refusing to eat meat or refuses to eat anything healthy, it is possible to broaden your kid’s taste buds and help them to take a better approach to food.

Simply give the above tips a try, and remember to be patient.

Thank you for reading, My name is Heather and I write about Food and Kids and how to bring the two together. I also look to make life easier by getting my meat from an online butcher and buying just about everything else online!