3 beautiful floral cake designs for spring

23 March, 2017

As the mornings become lighter and temperatures rise, it’s time to think about spring. A beautiful time of year, we can take plenty of baking inspiration from not just the colours of this season, but the blooming landscapes surrounding us. Floral cake designs have been around since forever, but there’s never a more apt time of year to experiment with what attractive creations we can produce, and the new designs you could whip up with your baking skills. In this blog, we’re showcasing three amazing floral cake designs, for talented bakers.

1. Daffodil bouquet cake

 

A tricky yet rewarding design, making daffodils from ready to roll icing really does need a little patience, but the end result is definitely worth it. To create the flowerhead, you’ll need a calyx cutter. Roll out your yellow icing and cut out two calyx shapes. Using a knife, draw several lines at the centre of every petal for extra detailing. Then, using water, stick one floral shape to the other. Place diagonally to create the full floral effect.

Mix orange and yellow sugar icing, and roll into a cone. Using a blunt object, hollow out its centre to create a trumpet design. Stick the trumpet to the centre of the two floral icing shapes, and voilà – you have a flowerhead!

To create the stems, roll green marshmallow fondant into thin tubes, before sticking them to the sides of your cake – covering the sponge. Then, carefully place the flowerheads to the top of your sponge.

Tip: Why not experiment with different shades of green for the stems, and add ribbon around to finish off the baked bouquet?

2. Daisy lemon cake pops

 

Daisy lemon cake pops

Beautifully intricate, cake pops are miniature sweet treats without the hard work! These, however take a little more effort. Crush your lemon sponge into fine crumbs. Add a small amount of lemon syrup to the crumbs and mix together, creating a slightly stickier consistency – you want the mix to hold a ball shape. Scoop out the ingredients and place into cake pop moulds, following the instructions on the packaging. Then place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Melt yellow colour melts in a glass bowl over a water-filled saucepan. After removing the cake pops from the freezer, dip each end of the cake pop stick into the yellow colour melts, and insert into the cake pop.

Following this, dip your cake pops into the yellow colour melts, making sure each one is completely covered. With white roll icing, cut out a daisy shape using a small cutter. Then, using an edible ink pen, colour the centre of each daisy. Stick to the cake pop’s exterior, and leave to dry.

Tip: Why not cover a proportion of your cake pops with daisies, and create simpler ones featuring alternative frosting detailing?

3. Hydrangea cupcakes

 

Hydrangea cupcakes

To incorporate some of those seasonal colours we love so much, it has to be hydrangea cupcakes. And, they’re actually really simple to make – it’s all in the frosting! After baking your cupcake sponges, you’ll need to decide which colours you want your floral icing to be. Add food colouring in your chosen shades to three or four batches of frosting (depending on how many shades you want! Then, using a seven-point open star frosting nozzle, simply pipe your hydrangea cupcakes, starting with the edges, and then filling the centre.

Tip: Create several shades of each colour for a more authentic hydrangea design!

What delightful cakes would you recommend for this time of year? Share your recipes with us via Twitter!

5 fun afternoon tea ideas for Mother’s Day

22 March, 2017

Afternoon tea selections are a brilliant opportunity to try out a few new recipes, from tempting savoury snacks to delicious sweet treats. With Mother’s Day fast approaching, we thought there was no better time to add a few spring-inspired treats to your menu, using some of our favourite floral flavours, as well as bolder, nuttier tastes, to reinvent your selection. So, to provide you with a little afternoon tea inspiration, we’ve picked out five brilliant miniatures to experiment with this spring.

1. Dill Crêpes with Smoked Salmon

 
Dill Crepes with Smoked Salmon

Who says your savoury layer has to be exclusively sandwiches? Mix things up by adding these dainty dill-infused crêpes intertwined with smoked salmon. Simply add a good helping of dill to your usual crêpe mixture, then spread with a lemon mayonnaise and add the smoked salmon on top. Roll the crêpe into a spiral and finally secure with a cocktail stick.

2. Lavender Scones

 
Lavender scones

No afternoon tea selection is complete without an array of delicious scones. But why stick to just the classic fruit or plain combinations? This year, take your customers’ taste buds up a notch by adding a hint of lavender into the mix! Pair these fragrant scones with either strawberry or blueberry jam, or if you’re feeling adventurous, serve with good quality honey.

3. Rose Macarons

 
Rose macarons

Always an exciting afternoon tea addition, macarons are a great way to add colour and flavour to your sweet layer. In true spring fashion, we’ve opted for a floral-inspired treat! Flavour your macarons with rosewater to match the delicate rose design, or whip up a more intense flavour sensation by infusing with tangy rhubarb. The choice is yours!

4. Mini Pistachio Cakes

 
Mini pistachio cakes

Bursting with flavour, these mini pistachio cakes are perfect for spring. A soft and delicate vanilla sponge combined with crunchy pistachios, these light, nutty cakes are a great afternoon tea option. Top by piping cream cheese frosting using a small round nozzle, and sprinkle with crushed pistachios to complete the effect.

5. Mother’s Day Daisy Cupcakes

 
Mother’s Day cupcake

Finally, why not finish with an ode to Mother’s Day itself? Such a simple, yet effective design, this daisy cupcake is a brilliant way to round off your tea. Flavour your cupcake with lemon zest and top with a citrusy lemon frosting. For the decoration, use ready-to-roll white icing, cut out discs using a circular cutter and delicately write your message in edible ink. For the finishing touch, mould a daisy out of white and yellow fondant and attach to your Mother’s Day message.

What brilliant afternoon tea ideas have you spotted? Let us know via Twitter!

Baker in the spotlight: An interview with Fondant and Apron Strings

21 March, 2017

At BAKO NW, we want to find out a bit more about our customers. With wedding season just around the corner, we got in touch with Stanhope-based Fondant & Apron Strings, a wedding and celebration cake making and decorating business, with a passion for making innovative, bespoke cakes for all occasions. We caught up with co-owner, Lee, to discuss how they set about designing a cake for every new client and what advice they have for individuals looking to start a baking business of their own.

Tell us about Fondant and Apron Strings and how you started out.

The first thing I need to say about us is, we love to make cakes. Because we love making cakes, this means that we love our cake customers. We love to talk to our customers about cake flavours, we love to work with our customers to create the design that’s perfect for them and their special occasion. We just love making cakes!

Fondant & Apron Strings are based in Stanhope, County Durham where we have a Cake Café serving our own baked goodies. In the back of our café, well, that’s were all the cake magic happens. After returning from living in Ohio, USA, I wanted to carry on making cakes for people, so we rented a small space and converted it into a cake design studio. It was within the first year that we realised that the space was soon going to be too small. Now, we are in a bigger space, and because of customer demand, we converted the front into a small cake café.

There are many things that we pride ourselves on: our cakes, flavours, design, relationship with past, repeat and present clients, and our customer service. Not only have we been nominated for multiple awards and featured in cake design magazines, but we also work with some great wedding and event venues all over the North East and are proud to be on many of their recommended wedding cake suppliers lists.

What’s your process for designing a wedding or celebration cake for a client?

Fondant and Apron Strings wedding cake

When we are first approached, for a cake (wedding, celebration or corporate) the very first thing we do is meet the client. This gives us a clearer picture of who they are and what they are looking for. During this cake consultation and tasting session, we sit down with them and help them bring their ideas to life on the page so that we can then convert the ideas into cake.

What are your favourite flavour combinations for tiered wedding cakes?

We’ve got so many great flavours to choose from, but the most popular flavours at the moment are fresh lemon cake with lemon curd buttercream and a layer of fresh raspberries (perfect for summer weddings), and as all our cakes have an amazing layer of Belgian chocolate ganache under the delicious fondant, the lemon and the raspberries make the whole combination irresistible. At Fondant & Apron Strings you can have a different flavour per tier, so sometimes our clients find it difficult to choose which flavours to leave out!

Which Fondant and Apron Strings cake design are you most proud of?

Fondant and Apron Strings Alice in Wonderland cake

One of my favourite things is when a client comes to see me with just a theme for their cake as inspiration. This means I can let my imagination run wild.

My favourite type of design is what we call at Fondant & Apron Strings ‘tribute cakes’. These are cakes that all the family can be involved in where they give us personal memories, which we then make out of edible mediums and put all around the cake.

It’s always difficult to decide which design is my favourite. My favourite is always the cake I’m working on at the time. However, I do like the cakes that have moving parts on. Having lived and worked in America for a number of years, I still get a thrill out of the more extreme cakes!

What advice would you offer someone looking to start their own baking business?

We have sugar craft and cake decorating classes which we hold in our Cake Café, so I’m often asked questions about starting a cake business and there are a couple of things that I always say.

Firstly, be prepared. For the clients, for the cake making and the cake delivery. However, the most important piece of advice would be, only do it if you really, really love it. It can be an all-consuming business, working more hours than you will expect, late nights and weekends so a very understanding family is probably a prerequisite too.

Are there any new cake decorating techniques that you would like to experiment with this year?

Fondant and Apron Strings wedding button cake

It’s always great to find new techniques. I’m really lucky because I have never thought that I couldn’t do things with cakes or not use a certain technique on a cake so I’m always experimenting. I’ve been painting on cakes for a number of years, so it’s lovely to see this trend coming more into the forefront in 2017.

Fondant & Apron Strings has never been a business to stay still and we are very much customer driven so I’m always looking for new opportunities, new ways of working and new ways of connecting with clients.

You offer a whole range of services, from classes to cupcake parties – what’s next for Fondant and Apron Strings?

We have just launched our four separate Dessert Bars which are perfect for that unique touch at weddings, parties, corporate events and all celebrations.

We already have our Brownie Bar, Cookie Bar, Cake Bar and Dessert Bar, each with amazing menus. Everything provided in these delicious bars is baked right here in our Cake Café, so everything is fresh and delicious. You can find all our menus on the Fondant and Apron Strings website. It’s so easy to book one too, you just choose the items, and then leave the rest to us!

Would you like to be our next baker in the spotlight? Let us know via Twitter!

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