Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Silver Whimsy Winter Wonderland at The Peryls Victorian Extraordinarium

Dearest Darling Readers,
And so it was one crystal clear wintry December morn that Silver Whimsy and her ever suffering SIBF set off on a trek to the Wuthering Wilds of the Mythic Country of Crystal Palace.

Armed with many bags featuring products made mostly out of butter, sugar and eggs, Grandma's croched (how on earth do you spell crotcheed?) table-cloth, Christmas paraphernalia and that all important skull tinsel, our intrepid explorers made their way on trains, tubes and autombiles (more of which later) to Antenna Studios where they had been invited by The Peryls to be a part of The Victorian Christmas Extraordinarium.

Gosh - this third person malarkey is hard work. Enough of that already! How are you all? Ready for some photos of TSWCS 2:0? I do hope so... But before I give you the pics which (let's face it) are the most exciting part, I must tell you all that we were rescued once more in our hour of need by the kindness of strangers! Regular readers will remember how Ryzard and the Whizzcar people saved me during TSWCS in the Summer by essentially paying for taxis, minding the stall and then giving me a lift home (!), well imagine our DELIGHT and unparalleled GRATITUDE when, on arrival at Gipsy Hill, the gentleman who had been sitting opposite us on the train offered to give us a lift up the massive hill to the Studio! Quelle modern day knight in shining armour! Thanks to him I only dropped the cakes once and we arrived in plenty of time to enjoy the Victorian magic...

The beautiful Lara lent us PJ the ravenous Raven who, as a customer said, lent us good luck because his presence meant that the roof wouldn't fall down... Phew! (He did try and steal the brownies though...)

My Uncle Robin gave me these fabulous cupcake holders which added a hint of Snow Queen style magic to the festive themed fairy-cakes...

In a nod to the Victorian theme, we decided to go for a Miss Havisham and Pip double act (my SIBF was the perfect Pip replete in a Robin red-breast waist-coat and flat cap) - but, in honesty, it was really just another chance for me to wear my ripped and bloodied wedding dress, and to wildly backcomb my hair. (Apologies for the split infinitive.)

What would The Silver Whimsy Cake Stall be without My Boyfriend's Favourite Cookies? As a customer said, what a great selling point - who wouldn't buy my boyfriend's favourite cookies?! (The customer bought some.)

Finally, I shall leave you with a photo of myself and PJ (we bonded, dear reader, we really bonded) and wish you all the merryness associated with this peculiar season.

A tout a l'heure,
Silver Whimsy x

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Dear Diary...

My Teen angst bullshit has a bodycount...

Oh YES, Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, collective readers of Confessions, I present for your reading/viewing delectation;
The Cigarette Burns First Annual Heathers Themed Halloween Bake-Off!

I adore Christian Slater.
I adored him when I was a teenager and I still adore him today as a thirty year old baker.
Heathers is one of my favourite films ever. It was the first DVD I watched with the SIBF. It is one of the most trusted DVDs I own. It goes hand in hand with Reality Bites as the films you can always rely upon when you've got a bad dose of the mean reds.
The best thing about Heathers is that it just gets better and better the more times you watch it. The second best thing about Heathers is that Christian Slater and Winona Ryder are at their absolute coolest, and the third best thing about Heathers is that you can make damned good thematic cupcakes from its many iconic moments...

I put quite a lot of thought into these cakes. I resisted the temptation to watch the movie and make notes, knowing that the main part of the Cigarette Burns evening (run at The Mucky Pup by the super-cool Josh and Ed) would be watching the film on a big screen, so instead I thought about my favourite Heathers quotes. It goes without saying that in an ideal world I would have re-created the sight of JD and Veronica making out in a moonlit garden on a cupcake, but even I am more realistic than that, so I swiftly turned to my favourite lines from the film. For instance;
"I love my dead gay son."

I made basic vanilla cupcakes, iced them generously and prettily with vanilla and raspberry flavoured buttercream and then made the funnest ever tiny quote flags to stick in the cakes. There is something very pleasing about writing "Bulimia is so '87" and sticking it on a cupcake;

The next unavoidable topic when it comes to Heathers is death. So what better way to celebrate the film than with tombstone cupcakes dedicated to the dead members of Heathers! I couldn't fit Kurt's name on a tombstone hence he is omitted.

My SIBF had a go wasn't up to the Silver Whimsy standards so we just left it with JD, Heather Chandler (H.C.) and Ram. These cakes were made by using chocolate buttercream icing on a vanilla cupcake and then adding a few sugar strands to look like grass (?!). The tombstones were made by icing cats-tongue style biscuits and then sticking them into the cake at a rakish angle. Super-fun! (Wow - the word 'rakish' is such a great word to use in relation to a tombstone don't ya think?)

The final Heathers themed cupcakes were based on the croquet colours and dress colour-codes that the Heathers and Veronica use.

(I put some flags on with their names for the sake of non-Heathers afficionadoes, and also because they added to the prettiness/fun factors. And because I am now clearly obsessed with making mini-flags.)

So those were the cakes! And here are real life members of the public tucking into a Veronica and HM cupcake respectively.

The man in the red had a beautiful dog called Tarka with whom SIBF, the amazing Sonja and I made friends. She was so lovely. In fact, there were no less than four dogs visiting The Mucky Pup during the course of Cigarette Burns. That's a fact, fact finders!

All in all, Cigarette Burns provided the most amazing, exciting, fun, free and un-expected evening's entertainment - especially when a mystery guest turned up and gave a kind of amazing music/spoken-word/hypnotically Lynchean performance with a band composed of Brechtian un-dead musicians including an accordionist - WOW!

I think I might take a bit of a break from baking for a while, as I kind of exhausted myself with the spookily friendly pumpkins and the many flags of Heathers (two whole days at the crafts table boys and girls!), but I will be back with more adventures from the frontline of coffee'n'cake very soon...

Until then,
Cupcakes and Kisses,
Silver Whimsy. x

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Ginger and Pumpkin Cupcakes

Dearest Readers,
It has been an age! I have been so busy I can't really describe, but now I am back...
And I'm baking!
Tomorrow eve there is a very exciting bake off happening. It's a Cigarette Burns Halloween special featuring an exclusive showing of every self-respecting indie girl's favourite Christian Slater film, and a lot of baking themed to afore-almost-mentioned film... I will report back with photographic evidence of the competition (!), but as a first post back, I just had to share my latest cupcake heaven discovery with you...

Above you can see the fabulously autumnal looking ingredients; Below you can see the cakes as they come straight out of the oven...


I thought I would give them a distinctly Halloween feel so went a bit...ummm...festive with the icing!

They are friendly skeleton pumpkins, don't worry!

Words can't describe the deliciously moist and subtly flavoured cakes this recipe produce; only eating them can do that!

The most super-ace part about it all is that you are left with a fabulous pumpkin to carve out in your favourite Jack O Lantern way. I was a bit inspired by Jack Skellington for mine. I can't wait for my SIBF to get in from work and sample my handiwork!

That's it for now but I will be back in a few days with tales of Slater...
Til then I will leave you with this;
"Are we were going to prom or hell..."

Silver Whimsy x

Monday, 14 September 2009

How to Make a Raspberry Milkshake Cake!

It all started on Sunday morning rather early.
Or rather, it all started on Sunday morning rather early after an epic trip to the Central Hornsey District Allotments and Horticultural Society annual show in an autumn wardrobe in blistering heat with the SIBF, but that's another story...

This story is about the World Famous Raspberry Milkshake Cake!

Whenever you need to bring a celebration cake out of the bag or the hat (or really actually a food blender would be a more appropriate object from which to extract the aforementioned cake but whatever), this has to be the ultimate cake to bake because apart from anything else you can have fun asking the question "Is it a milkshake or is it a cake?" and then answer it with "It's both! It's a Raspberry Milkshake Cake!" and quite frankly if that doesn't give you a kick nothing will!

The recipe comes from Dan Lepard in the Guardian but he hasn't provided fun step by step pictures so you might like reading about it here instead, although please accept my apologies in advance for the New Kids on the Block lyric references...

Step One ("We can have lot of fun"):
Put your milkshake ingredients in a 1950's looking blender!

Step Two ("There's so much we can do"):
Blitz up the milkshake!

Step Three ("It's just you and me" - ok, I know, that doesn't really work but if I'm going with the Step by Step lyrics I can't miss out Step Three, I mean that line was sung by Jordan!):
Add the milkshake to the whisked egg yolks and sugar and beat it in along with the flour and baking powder. It turns the mixture pink!

Step Four ("I can give you more" - fashion tips for instance);
Always wear accessories that are the same colour as your cake! This will help with your baking.

Step Five ("Don't you know that the time has arrived" - to take the Raspberry Milkshake Cake out of the oven???):
Take the cake out of the oven revealing the pink splendour of not just the cake, but your carefully colour-matched outfit!

And after a bit of tricky cutting, cream whisking and icing making there you have it! Your very own party favourite Raspberry Milkshake Cake. It can be seen below with a hello kitty sugar bowl. This is optional. (But preferable.)

The major difficulty with making a RMSC is one of transportation; it's a bit too tall to fit into tupperware. I was desperately trying to cover the cake in a little tin foil house without getting the foil stuck on the icing when my SIBF suggested I simply took the cake apart and put it in tupperware in two different layers. This was a very good idea but not one I would have come up with myself, so having de-constructed the complicated three-tiered construction of the triple layered cake, we finally made our way to the bus stop.

There is no Step Six in the New Kids' wonderful song, but if there was a Step Six it would be something along the lines of "Step Six: Don't try and take a structurally complicated cake on public transport when invariably there will be scary shouting and swearing old men and you'll only have to get off the bus and walk to your final destination anyway". So as you can probably imagine, it was in true to form Silver Whimsy Nervous Bakedown style that we made our way to the party on foot. Once we had arrived and re-constructed the RMSC, we happily set it on the table amongst the other beautiful cakes made by my amazing cousin and relished watching people eating and enjoying it. Hooray! It was quite a spread at the party as you can see below!

Until next time,
Cupcakes and Kisses,

Silver Whimsy x

PS Still no news of Mike deCuisine....

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Oh Manchester, So Much To Answer For!

It all started with a trip to Manchester.
Or rather, it all started with a trip to Manchester in the rain in high heels with several bags and a great need for a cup of tea.
It was a bit like time travel. I felt as if I had fallen into Life on Mars except it was Life on Mars; The Britpop Years and starred me instead of John Simms. I was trawling through rails of vintage clothes at the Afflecks Palace in Manchester remembering the days of A Level English Seminar Day Trips with Sally, where we always got an hour or so off at lunch time and headed straight to Oldham Street. I thought I'd go to Cafe Pop and have a milkshake but when I got there it didn't feel the same as it used to and no-one even said 'Hello!' when I walked in so I thought I'd try and find somewhere else.

I wondered down Thomas Street Looking for the Light through the Pouring Rain and came across a glass fronted cavernous tea shop with it's door wide open and lots of tea sets in the window as if to say "Welcome Traveller! Have a cup of tea! Come inside and shelter from the rain." It would have been rude to refuse the invitation so in I went to CUP.
It's a super-cool cafe belonging to Mr. Scruff and was filled with pretty young things being modern on their apple mac lap tops but not in a remotely irritating way. I ordered some tea and malteser cake. I've generally stopped eating cake that hasn't been made by me but I couldn't resist on this occasion. A nice man brought my pot of tea over and informed me that this tea was Mr. Scruff's very own brew! He had become so sick of having a bad cup of tea that he went off on a quest to find his own. Very sensible indeed. You can tell that Mr. Scruff is a man who knows a thing or too about tea because look at the fabulous colour of this cuppa;

What's more, they even give you a little cartoon entitled 'how to make a proper brew' just in case you weren't sure. Sorry that this photo is so out of focus but ever since I dropped my camera my photography has been a bit hit and miss. You can find out all about Mr. Scruff's tea here; .

I didn't intend to write about other people's baking creations on this blog, and I have to say the cake was unexceptional (although it was PERFECT for what I needed at that moment - it reminded me of a homely tasting malty flavoured cake that you might purchase outside in the wet weather at a local historical monument that was having a charity fayre) but the tea was so stunning it commanded a new post.

I will be baking next week for my cousin's daughter's party (and you never know what might happen between now and then) so more adventures to follow!

Actually, my SIBF's still asleep...maybe I'll do some baking right now...

Until next time,

Cupcakes and Kisses,
Silver Whimsy x

Monday, 31 August 2009

Zombies eat Cakes!

It all started when Uncle Robin gave me some heart shaped cupcake tins. Or rather, it all started when Marc Price made a zombie movie. But that's another story...

This Bank Holiday Monday morning in the heart of London's Leicester Square, there was a strange stirring. The Zombies were out in force to celebrate Frightfest and have a special Zombie Sports Day. I can't remember exactly whose idea it was, but it seemed like I just had to bake some heart shaped cupcakes, go to Leicester Square, hand the cakes out to hungry Zombies and then, obviously, take photos of Zombies Eating Heart Shaped Cakes.

Clearly, if I was going to do this it was time to try out a recipe for Red Velvet Cake (I'm sick of hearing people go on about it) so that the hearts would look bloody all the way through...

Red Velvet Cake is a genuine mystery to me. It was a mystery before I made it and now, having made it, it remains utterly alien to my sense of what constitutes a good cake. Firstly, it has WEIRD ingredients in it. Secondly, it smells of chocolate but does not look chocolatey and thirdly it is RED which is just wrong. I must have read at least fifty recipes last night before I started making the mixture. I have to admit it was fun stirring in all the food colouring, but it wasn't fun enough to constitute ever making it again. SIBF was waiting for the football to come on the TV when I walked into the sitting room to make him sniff the bowl. In retrospect, this was a slightly odd thing to make someone do ("Hi honey, I know you're watching TV but will you just sniff this bowl?"), but I couldn't get over the CHOCOLATE scent and RED cake mixture. Super-weird.

The cakes went into the oven and the baking aroma started filling the flat, just I couldn't get over the chocolate/redness disparity. Half way through baking I opened the oven to turn the tray and... Eek... They had turned into Heart Shaped Cupcake Mountains. When they had finished cooking, they looked OK but a little less red. However, after a touch of icing, a sprinkle of red hearts and some silver balls they didn't look too bad;

The fun bit came when we headed down to Frightfest. How were the Zombies going to react? How many would be there? What would they look like? So many questions, so few answers.

The first Zombie I met was Organiser of the Undead Extraordinaire, Ed.

He runs Terror4fun - the UK's home for Zombie information! Wow! I had stumbled on the Zombie Leader without even knowing it! Ed hadn't had any breakfast, so what a perfect way for him to start his day.

Next up I met two very nice Zombies who were almost fighting over a heart shaped cupcake but in a very slow, Zombie-like manner.

Here is Team Zombie! I love the fact that two are going in for a bite, but the Everton supporting Zombie is just kind of standing there looking a bit glum. Cheer up Toffee Boy, Everton won yesterday!

Pirate Zombie! Aragggh me Heart-ies;

Finally, here is my favourite Zombie moment. True Love Zombies celebrating their Bloody Surgeon Union with a Red Velvet Heart Shaped Cupcake. Awww. You've got to love a Zombie with a Heart.

Until next time...

Cupcakes and Kisses,
Silver Whimsy x

PS If any of you are wondering what happened to my cake tins, I still have them all! Mike deCuisine is completely un-contactable and I haven't been able to send the tins back. Never shop at!!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Attack of the Killer Cake Tins. (Or,' I've got 99 Problems and the Cake Tins are one.')

It all started with hysterical laughter at 8.30 this morning.
Or rather, it all started with hysterical laughter at 8.30 this morning when the postman arrived with this box:

Which turned out to contain this...

...the dreaded '6' and '0' Cake Tins.

My SIBF awoke to the dulcet tones of my high pitched shrieking as I unwrapped the over-sized and un-wanted parcel that had come from Mike deCuisine's headquarters in Dorset. SIBF stumbled into the living room in his murky green t-shirt, ruffling his scruffy hair and rubbing his eyes, to discover me perilously arranging 6's and 0's on the bookshelves for an impromptu Cake Tin photo shoot...

It's possible to create a whole army of long numbers with my excessive cake tins and they really are rather good models - they're shiny, they're quiet and they don't complain about the awkward places in which you want to shoot them. Here are some examples of the numbers you can make if you too invest in over-priced hard to find cake tins;

Number Nine Thousand and Nine Hundred! (Modelled here with the help of Apple Jack, Gingerbread, Princess Sparkle, Baby Bow Tie et al...);

Number Six Hundred! (Styled here in an original Fritz Hanson Swan Chair and accessorised with one of my Grandma's avant-garde embroidered cushions...);

Number Six Thousand and Sixty! (Best seen with a simple background of striped tiles...);

By this point, SIBF decided he wanted to get involved in the modelling of the cake tins (the My Little Ponies were getting way too much attention), so he suggested he held the tins and I photographed him from the neck down. Here he is with Number Sixty Nine;

I think it could be a record cover or a better way of advertising American freeways. If there is an American Freeway 69. If there isn't, there really ought to be.

Anyway, an amusing morning was spent with the 6's 9's and 0's. An amusing morning, that is, up to the point it occurred to me that I now have to try and send the tins back. Every time I call Mike deCuisine he's engaged and he never replies to my emails. I can't believe that two weeks after the 6oth Birthday Party Phenomenon I now have another set of '60' cake tins...

If anyone needs a 'Cake for the Elderly' making please let me know!

Kisses and Cupcakes,
Silver Whimsy x