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

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Silver Whimsy; Cakes for the Elderly

It all started with a cake tin. Or rather with two cake tins. ‘6’ and ‘0’ to be precise.

I thought I had it all sorted. I’d found a relatively reasonable cake tin supplier – – and placed my order well in advance of the Friday baking deadline. There wasn’t very much more I could do. I had bought the shocking amount of butter required to make enough of Nigella’s Vanilla Shortbread to feed 90 people and been to the farmer’s market for the freshest, largest free range eggs. I just had to wait for the cake tins to arrive. My mobile rang. It was an ‘unknown’ number so I let them leave an answer phone message. To my surprise it was;

Mike from deCuisine. Just wondering when you need the tins by because I always check if it’s a number tin because it might be for a specific date.

I rang him back;


Hello I recognise your voice. I’ve got to say you’ve got a very pretty name. You mustn’t get married because you’ll lose it.

This was when I made my mistake;

Actually if I married my current boyfriend…

I could feel my scruffy indie boyfriend (SIBF) freezing agog next to me as he heard me describe him as ‘my current boyfriend’. It had just sort of slipped out in the most innocent way possible, but I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to forget about it for some time. Mike was busy telling me that he wouldn’t be able to get the tins by Friday but I only had ears for my SIBF’s outraged silence.

In the end, the tins came from Jane Asher’s over-priced Sugarcraft shop. My long-suffering sister went to buy them from the deepest darkest heart of Chelsea and came back laden down with flower shaped sprinkles, pink cake pens and edible paper hearts. My ‘current’ SIBF was still somewhat un-impressed with me and my sister was headed to a wedding the following day when the baking began.

The Jane Asher shop assistant had given my sister strict instructions on how to use the cake tins. Current SIBF and I followed them to the T. It was Friday and all the shortbread had been baked, all 60 fairy cakes were cooling in the living room and the ‘0’ of the ‘60’ was in the oven. There was nothing to do but wait.

The allotted baking time up, I opened the oven to discover the ‘0’ tin was oozing expensive free range organic cake mix out of the many joins in the metal contraption. I tried the ‘6’ and this worked so spectacularly that I had to re-make the ‘0’ to reach the same level of beautifully risen joy.

All cakes made and iced (thanks largely to a panicked icing SOS call to SIBF’s mother), we set off at 8.15 on Saturday morning to the North.

During the perilous transporting of cakes, fanzines, photographs, an 18th century Hogarth print and other items universally acknowledged to be of great importance for a 60th birthday party, I ridiculously insisted on purchasing coffee, a fact I would live to regret when, in a freak accident, I managed to pour the entire cup of strong boiling bubblingly dark coffee into the bag containing all of the aforementioned items. There is no scientific scale strong enough with which to catalogue my grief/shock/hysteria/disbelief/lack of functioning at this happening. No Kelvin, rankine, ampere, ohm could be referred to as a sufficient measurement to sum up the grief and pain thrown upon me by the coffee cup deluge. If it wasn’t for my SIBF I would still be sobbing in an Alice-like puddle of tears at Kings Cross Station. Happily, however, SIBF took the situation in hand and managed to get me, sodden items, my amazing cousin and her mother all on the train headed north AND somehow succeeded in rescuing everything from coffee stains, tear stains and wreckage at my hands.

In the end, all the cake was eaten and universally praised and we all lived happily ever after.

Unfortunately, however, I have just received an email from Mike at deCuisine letting me know that my ‘order has been despatched from our warehouse’ and contains another ‘6’ and another ‘0’ cake tin… I have seen enough of these cake tins to last a life time and there are two more in the post! Quelle expensive nightmare!

If you or anyone you know needs a 60th, 90th, 66th, 99th, 69th or 96th birthday cake made please let me know. I have started a special new range - Silver Whimsy; ‘Cakes for the Elderly’.

Cupcakes and kisses,

Silver Whimsy x

From Club Kid to Domestic Cookie Baker in Three Decades

It all started on a whim. 

Or rather, it all started on a Whimsy.

I had already been baking far more than it was conceivable for anyone to eat, s0 that when the tempting flyer advertising 'stall-holders needed' at the Jester Festival drifted through my letterbox like a feather-lite sign from on high I simply had to make the call and say;

I run 'The Silver Whimsy Cake Stall' and would adore to be part of the West Hampstead Jester Festival...

The answer I received was slightly less gushing; 

Be warned! We are rather over-subscribed on the cake stall front!

But they let me go ahead anyway. 

This was to be the cake stall of my dreams. This was to be "The Silver Whimsy Cake Stall".

I began writing endless lists;

Things I need to do
Make some Bunting
Make Labels
Work out how many Ingredients I need
Find a table
Source Roses for the Teapots
Get some more Tupperware
Find a Cupcake Carrier
Remember the My Little Ponies...

Cakes I ought to make
Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Swirl Icing
Zingy Lemon Drizzle Loaf
My Boyfriend's Favourite Cookies
Good Old Fashioned Victoria Sponge
Is it a milkshake? Is it a cake? It's both! It's a Raspberry Milkshake Cake
Deeply Delicious Dark Chocolate Brownies...

Things I need to buy
Greaseproof Paper
Ice Bags
Cooking Tray

It went on and on and on and on... 

I ate, slept and drank Silver Whimsy. So did my scruffy indie boyfriend, my sister and her boyfriend. It all started getting a bit too much. The day before The Silver Whimsy Cake Stall (TSWCS) was a baking frenzy! No cake tin was left un-turned, no-one could move for the butter-icing mountains and Green&Blacks chocolate fountains. Everything came to a sudden and unforeseen halt, however, with the advent of an unexpected visitor...

She was mewing on the back stairs as I was obliviously lining up fairy cakes in the living room. My sister and my scruffy indie boyfriend found her. She was timid and starving and thoroughly exceptionally beautiful. All baking stopped. All everything stopped. We only had eyes for the kitten. We played and played and she was so happy and sweet. We knew action was the only way forward and organised a trip to the vets first thing the next morning (the day of TSWCS) to see if she was microchipped. I awoke at 5am to ice cakes/play with the kitten. TSWCS seemed unimportant compared to the fate of the now-named Bobbie. My scruffy indie boyfriend was going to a wedding so my sister and I took her to the vets and discovered she wasn't microchipped but the vet said we had to put her back outside where we'd found her because she clearly belonged to someone else and would find her way home! The heart-break/hysteria was instant and horrifying. It was with a leaden heart, little sleep and many tears that I went back to my 'pitch' to find all the abandoned cakes I had left there. 


Oh for the kindness of strangers! Ryzard and the gang from Whizzgo who were on the stall next to me had not only paid for the cab that I took to the site and then promptly abandoned owing to the plight of Bobbie, but had also put up my table and put all the cakes under it to make sure they didn't get too hot! They were genuine modern day knights in shining armour, rescuing a Hampstead Cake Baker in the middle of a Nervous Bakedown. So in spite of my lack of sleep and the ever brewing tears over Bobbie, I set up TSWCS.

I met the local police, St John's Ambulance Brigade, Firemen and many local folk. It was quite thrilling. I sold my Victoria Sponge before the stall was even properly set up. I did have some bankrupting problems relating to the fact that everything was organic and fair trade and I hadn't costed things properly but still... People were drawn to my portable record player that happily filled the Summer air with Blondie and Arcade Fire and many parents forced their children to look at this relic from the past! People were drawn to the essence of Silver Whimsy. They loved it! The 84 year old magician set up behind my stall, the Ham & High photographed me with my cakes and I had repeat customers in the same day!!

There were archery demonstrations, boxers, ballet students and weird cover bands and the festival was a true tour de force. I sold out of my under-priced delicious cakes before the afternoon was out which meant I had to start baking all over again for the day two as soon as I got home... Drained and exhausted Ryzard gave me a lift home with all my many tupperware boxes and imagine my joy when - yes oh yes, my oh my - Bobbie was waiting for us on the doorstep! I baked as she sat and watched. 

The second day of TSWCS dawned and I felt compelled to follow the vets instructions and put her outside again to let her find her way home. My amazing cousin helped me by making some chocolate muffins and giving me a lift to the site. 

As soon as we arrived there was a torrential downpour and all I could think of was the Bob-cat being just a poor tiny kitten out in the horrid rain, so hysteria set in and there was a lot of Holly Golightly style running around in the rain shouting "Cat! Where's the cat?" The cat was found, put inside out of the cold and I returned to TSWCS to discover once more how blessed I was as the beautiful Liza and Glen had been looking after the stall in my absence. I sold out of cakes again and once more got by purely through the help of my friends and the kindness of strangers... It would be too much to go into the heartbreak that ensued when, after a week with us, Bobbie was claimed by her owners and we had to give her back to her parents, but suffice to say I am still recovering from it... All in all, the weekend of TSWCS was quite eventful!

So, a rather long post to start off with but then where would we be without an introduction?

Welcome to my world, I hope you'll join me for the ride and bear with me bumps and all...

Until next time, 

Cupcakes and Kisses, 
Silver Whimsy x