Birthday Tea Party

I can’t believe I’m 17!

I can legally drive!

This is all too crazy…

Okay, so I am now one year older than the last time we spoke.. weird huh? I have also settled into amazingly quickly into my new school, and am really loving it. The first day I came home with the biggest smile on my face, and knew things could only get even better! I found a lovely group of girls who have really looked after me and welcomed me in, and after only 3 days with them, we already feel like best friends! I am definitely excited for this year ahead now, although the hard work and studies have already studied, so it won’t all be fun and games.

Tuesday was my birthday. And with one extra day off school, I spent the day wisely. I baked! I had invited my three bestest friends over for tea, and I wanted to throw them the prettiest little birthday tea party, (and also just unleash the little girl inside me and have fun with pink and colourful pretties!) I’m not exaggerating when I say that I spent all morning and most of the afternoon in the kitchen. I literally never sat down.. you guys might know how this feels. I just went in circles around the kitchen, busying myself with different components of the evening’s spread.

I only had major disaster.. a rose meringue shaped one. But we’ll just not mention that one!

I successfully made:

  • Mini pink profiteroles
  • Rose Cupcakes
  • Cake Pops
  • Pink Popcorn
  • One enormous birthday cake!

I had the best night, sharing thoughts of our differing first days back at school with my girls, and just having a good catch up. I was overwhelmed with their gorgeous presents, and then left speechless when my Mum presented me with a huge baking themed hamper complete with cake tins and tea towels, when I thought I had received all my presents earlier that morning! I knew I would really miss my three best friends, but I know now that I have made the best decision to spread my wings, and make my own way in a different school. It was however, very poignant this morning, as I waited for the bus on one side of the street, and 15 of my closest friends from my high school were waiting on the other side of the road, in a completely different uniform, waiting to board a bus to take them in the opposite direction…

I hope to share with you over the next little while, separate posts showing each of the sweet treats I created for my tea party, and hopefully show how easily you can create something similar for yourself!

A x

Sky Blue Chocolate Cake

“Whoever said blue was just for boys, was wrong.”

A cake I wish I could swim in.. well it wouldn’t be a first I guess, but it’s mostly due to the dreamy azure shade of blue that  reminds me of a warm tropical ocean.

Okay enough of the romantic metaphors..

I whipped up this dark chocolate cake at 10.30pm the night before my mum’s birthday and frosted it whilst she was at work on the day. A little last minute due to a busy week, but how could I not bake her a birthday cake! She asked for a chocolate cake and said she fancied a teal or turquoise shade of buttercream.. a brief I ran with! I really hope she enjoyed the finished product. I loved the expression on her face as she walked in from work to find a table full of presents she never expected, and even two bunches of flowers from Dad, whilst my little sister and I sprung up from our hiding place behind the table and shouted ‘Happy Birthday!!!’

I adore the contrast between the rich chocolate-brown and the fresh bright shades of blue. The type of colour scheme you would find in the brochure of a luxury interior designer. I had attempted to create an ombre effect with the different shades of blue, like that of the gorgeous Sweetapolita, but was a little disappointed as I soon realised that my cake was not tall enough at the side to create the full effect, and even more that my colours were not distinctly different enough, and they really did just blend into one. Although hopefully you can notice a light change in tone in the first photo, and appreciate my feeble effort. However, this is a technique I shall most definitely try and master next time, perhaps with pink or purple! Hmm.. imagining a cake already!

For this yummy cake I used my new favourite birthday cake recipe, the super easy One Bowl Dark Chocolate Cake from Sweetapolita, and frosted it with my classic Vanilla Buttercream.

These two weeks spell birthday season, with first my mum’s and then mine within a week of each other. This calls for much cake, presents and our usual girly shopping trip. It’s a time that is also of course, the time to head back to school, and this year for me, it means a whole new school and a whole new beginning…

I am excited, and of course a little nervous. I start a school which over a year ago I would never have though of attending, one which I had stroked off in my head for a number of different reasons. Yet after actually visiting the school,      the warmth and welcome I felt drew me in, and I suddenly had a complete U-turn. I knew that this was where I wanted to go for Sixth-Form. Now  a year later, after thankfully being offered a place, I start my first day tomorrow!

I purposefully and bravely I guess, decided to go the opposite direction to all my friends. And I mean ALL. There is one other guy from my previous school joining me, and that is it. I knew for a while that I wanted to find my own way, break off from the crowd of old familiar faces, meet new people and find a change of scenery. Yes, of course I will miss my old friends, and I am most definitely not waving goodbye to my closest girlfriends, but I am excited at the prospect of new starts and new things ahead.

Butterflies will fill my stomach, I am certain, as I walk through the door to a crowd of strangers, who all know each other, but not me. Yet I have confidence that everything will be fine.. I’ve done something much more scary!

Last summer I stepped on a bus at 4.30 in the morning, with a bunch of new people I had never met, bound for an international conference in Canada, where I would have to meet another 200 new people from all corners of the world. Scary biscuits! Yet this was one of the most exciting, memorable, amazing experiences of my life! You know why? I learnt that underneath it all, we’re all the same. We all have the same fears, the same worries and more things in common than we can imagine. I met a girl from New York who seemed to be like my long lost sister, and we became inseparable. Crazy right?

So although it will be tough for the first few days, and even weeks, I know that things will be alright, and I’m excited for my future at this new school!

Oh, but lastly, I have some sad news..  As I am now going back to school, and the world of studying, exams and homework, the cupcakes might not just be so frequent, nor the cakes or bakes. But I promise, in the sweet name of macarons, that I will try my best to keep you all updated with all that I learn and get up to, in and out of the baking bowl in these coming months.

Once again, thank you for taking this journey with me.

Amy xox

Dreamy Rainbow Cupcakes

Let the fun and games begin!

It’s hard to believe tomorrow marks the start of that rather important world event in London.. Yes the Olympic Games of 2012 have arrived! Cue mass National Pride and just a little harmless rivalry as the world gets ready to turn its eyes to London.

These cupcakes were originally meant to be adorned with those iconic coloured rings, the Olympic Games’ symbol. However as the Olympic organisers/bosses/spoil-sports decided it would be a great idea to ban all use of these harmless and universal coloured circles on all goods, including cakes and cupcakes, this idea had to be sadly scrapped. Where’s the fun in that? This received a very large BOO from me when I found out. I was willing to bravely go ahead and decorate my cupcakes as I pleased, but I soon realised that cutting out rings was proving a little too fiddly, and maybe it was in fact best to stay on the right side of the law.  Thus, these cupcakes became simply Rainbow Cupcakes, but I hope you appreciate their nod towards all things Olympic.

And on a happier note, the sun finally decided to shine on Northern Ireland today! Yay, summer has arrived!

Whilst making these happiness-filled little buns, I found it impossible not to taste and sample as I go along. Yes, I’ll hold my hands up, I am the type of baker who licks her fingers with joy and always pop away a cupcake when its fresh from the oven and still steaming. I guess it’s something that I’ve done since I was very little, and is a habit that doesn’t want to leave me. It ain’t so good for the thighs, but it’s excellent for the soul! I call it the ‘Baker’s Diet’. I often spend so long in the kitchen, and inevitably nibbling away at some leftovers, or finding a happy home for that ugly cupcake (you always get one right?) that soon I get so sick of looking at so much sweetness and gooeyness, and FOOD, that I have to give myself a good few hours out of the kitchen, and drink water, lots of water, that after all that, I wasn’t hungry and oops, I missed lunchtime! I think I need to learn to NOT eat as I go, and NOT constantly lick buttercream off my fingers! Woops! Please tell me this isn’t just me?

Anyway, these cute cupcakes are made with a classic Vanilla Cupcake recipe and a Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream to match.You simply divide the mixture into small bowls, colour each a different colour with food colouring and then gently spoon a little of each in layers into your cupcake cases. Then bake, frost and enjoy!

I hope unlike me, you can resist the urge to taste-test as you go, and have the patience to wait and enjoy the momentous first bite of a huge, fluffy, creamy cupcake. (Man that sounds good, don’t it?)

Hehe, Have a lovely day,

Amy x