E: hello@kitschnbake.co.uk | T: 01382 542704

Ladies who Lunch, Liquid or Otherwise

The run up to the weekend is always a busy one.  Cake seems to be high on the list of weekend treats people line up for themselves, and this weekend my friend decided I needed a little bit of a treat and cake too. It made a very pleasant change indeed to have someone else doing the baking!

Afternoon Tea

After I finished baking, decorating and delivering all of Kitschnbake’s orders, I met with the lovely Jacquie of Jessie’s Kitchen fame. She was in need of a bit of rest and relaxation too. The work involved in running that fabulous establishment, and making sure Kitschnbake cakes are served in a perfect setting, takes its toll you know!

Jacquie was treating me to afternoon tea at another local establishment. The fact it came with a bottle of Prosecco didn’t influence our choice of venue at all, obviously! Everything looked lovely, and we quite felt like  ‘ladies who lunch’, as opposed to ‘ladies who work all the hours God sends, managing businesses and running homes with three children each.’ If they’d have thrown in a manicure for our cake-worn hands, we would’ve been ready to take on high society at a moment’s notice!

Apple and Raspberry Martinis

Of course, we didn’t quite manage to stop talking shop. A baker’s oven doesn’t cool down the minute she switches it off, you know! You can see the cakes we ate in the picture here, and they were a bit less glamorous than the wodges of soft sponge smothered in delicious icing, scones lathered in local strawberry jam, and chintzy china floral cups we were gossiping  about. 

After a while, it dawned on us that we really weren’t getting the point of an afternoon off at all. We needed to find a way to set our minds on pleasure rather than work. And that, my friends, is where our trip to a cocktail bar came in. It would have been rude not to, don’t you think? 

A Long Overdue Overhaul

We’ve had a little facelift here on the blog, a nip and tuck if you will.  The blog hadn’t evolved at the same pace as the rest of KitschnBake, so an overhaul was required.  It’s intended to be more streamlined, easier on the eye, and a good stopgap until we manage to produce ‘scratch and sniff’ pictures to make your mouth water.

For now, you can pin our pics on Pinterest, tweet us on Twitter and follow us on Facebook from here. Flickr is very kindly providing you with a slideshow, and you can even sign up for email updates if you like. We’re delighted to have your company, wherever you find us.

The cunning plan is to have the blog as an extension of a full KitschnBake website.  It’s on the to-do list and I’m happy to say, it’s creeping ever closer to the top.  Bear with us and we’ll let you know when it’s out of the oven.

If Cupid Made Cakes.

Home is where the heart is.  Cake is where the home is. 
Heart is where the cake is.  You get the gist!

White Chocolate Mavis Cakes with White Chocolate
 Italian Meringue Buttercream
Valentine’s Day is all about showing
the one you love how much you care.  Cakes made with
love seem a more than appropriate gesture don’t you think?

Vanilla Mavis Cake With Vanilla Italian Meringue
 Buttercream and a Marshmallow Heart
Big or small, the size of gesture isn’t the issue here.  As long as
some effort is made that’s really all that matters!
Red Velvet Cakes with Italian Meringue
and Pink Mallow Heart
Of course it doesn’t hurt to have something that can be
shared between you and the one you love!
Red Rose Vanilla Cake
Happy Valentines Day.  Here’s hoping it
was full of cakey bakey love for you all.

Turkish Delight Rose Cake with Pomegranate Seeds

“It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating,” said the Queen presently. “What would you like best to eat?”

“Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty,” said Edmund.

The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very centre and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S Lewis

Still as magical as when I was a child.

KitschnBake Cake Table (Other Items of Furniture are Available)

Some recent photos of a ‘Cake Table’ I did for an event Jessie’s Kitchen held.  I was thrilled with how it went and I hope the photos speak for themselves.
Heart Shaped Marshmallows from Markies

Sticky Toffee Chocolate Bannoffee Bites

Vanilla Mavis Cakes

Lemon Meringue Mavis

Fresh Cream Tarts

Cake Table

A Great Big Jessie

If you follow KitschnBake on Facebook or subscribe to my Twitter witterings, you’ll have heard me mention Jessie’s Kitchen, and it really is time I told you all more about this favourite place of mine.

In May last year, I got chatting to Ross Turriff.  He asked me if I’d be able to provide cakes for a new café he was opening. When I was invited over to have a ‘nosey’, I found myself standing in the middle of what could only be described as a building site. Furniture deliveries, painting, wiring: you name it, it was happening, and Ross was confident it would all be ready on opening day. I’d met him a couple of times previously and he hadn’t seemed delusional at all! 

He and his parents run the family business, Turriff’s Broomfield Garden Centre and Farm Shop. I had supplied them with cakes previously, both for the shop and private orders, and his daughter Hope had written me a lovely thank you letter. They’re all fantastic people, and so – although I couldn’t see how they’d get finished in time – I couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement of it all. 

Broughty Ferry isn’t short of a café or 12, but they all just miss the mark.  Starbucks, Costa, Cafe Nero …  you get the gist.  You could be on any high street getting the same prepacked sandwich or mass-produced cake.  Now someone had finally had a brilliant idea for a quirkier place, and they had the drive to make it happen too.  I was inspired by the promise of great coffee, fresh home baking, locally sourced products, original menu ideas, upcycled furniture, a child-friendly atmosphere, bold  patterned wallpaper and pink. A whole lot of pink.   

Everyone was involved in the menu process from the beginning. So much thought and care went into developing it and filling it with things the owners genuinely love to eat, and it’s not just the menu that appeals. You can’t help but feel brighter when you’ve spent time there surrounded by fresh flowers, local art, high ceilings, and stunning views across the Tay into Fife.  There’s not a hint of chrome or plastic in sight. The vibe is relaxed and chatty, and you can tell the staff genuinely want to be there. It’s my idea of cafe bliss.

It has to be said that I had to make my own personal leap of faith when I agreed to take up Ross’ kind offer, not least because I had to start thinking on a different scale. I’d been thinking of myself as a home baker with big ideas; now I was a proper grown-up supplier for a place with amazing standards, and an awful lot of plates to fill.

When I drove over to Jessie’s on the opening morning, my heart was fluttering and I was muttering, ‘What have I done? What if they hate everything?’  I’ve never driven so slowly in my life! Thank goodness it has turned out beautifully for all involved. For the first time in years I look forward to going into work, and I sing my heart out on the car on the way over.  I don’t speed (Mr Kitschnbake would take a dim view), but I don’t dawdle either. 

Jessie’s Kitchen is 8 months old now. The seasonal menu is evolving brilliantly, the vibe still electric, and the customers return time and time again.  Mr K loves doing deliveries there as he’s usually spoiled with a freshly made latte, some chat and the occasional bacon butty! No delivery there ever goes without a thank you, a chat and a freshly baked scone.  It’s all testament to the way Ross and Jacquie run the place. 

It’s an absolute pleasure to be a part of it all, and – for as long as they enjoy what I’m doing – I’ll happily be part of their Gang of Jessies!

Does the Rocket Man Need More Frills?!?

I may have mentioned that I’m not a trained baker.  I haven’t had lessons, I haven’t been to classes, and I wasn’t raised in the bosom of a home which had mothers, grandmothers, aunts or cousins all baking recipes that had been handed down through the  generations. In fact it’s fairly safe to say that I make this up as I go along!  

A very lovely friend and I once signed up for a cake-decorating course. We went along, almost skipping with excitement about the new and wonderful things we were going to learn. Imagine our dismay when we found we going to be taught how to decorate just one cake over the course of six weeks!  Week one was marzipan, week two was royal icing, and week three was frills … Now, I’m really not the kind of gal who wishes to frill a cake.  I just couldn’t get the image of the frills on a toilet roll dolly out of my head!

I love brilliantly-decorated cakes. My Pinterest profile is full of them.  They are works of art, and the skill, imagination and dedication they take to make is not to be sniffed at. The cakes from Celebration Station in Perth, are exquisite, and their cakes have added to some really special occasions in our family. 

Our wedding cake was a 3-tier sponge cake delicately decorated with a snowflake theme to match our winter wedding.  The tiers were made from chocolate, vanilla and lemon sponges, each as delicious as the other. The cakes were covered with white royal icing and piped snowflakes, with just a very a light dusting of blue to match my dress. We were delighted with it especially as all Angela had to go on was one of our invitations.

Youngest kid’s christening cake was a two-tier sponge cake with a sunny yellow butterfly theme.  Rather extravagant for a christening cake but as she was our last I thought ‘Why not?’, and I made lovely lemon butterfly mavis cakes to compliment it too.  We wanted it to be bright and cheerful, a cake to celebrate all the joy that she brought with her and to this day she remains a wee ray of sunshine!

But my heart lies with the kitsch appeal of home baking. Take a look a previous creation: a retro hedgehog cake with chocolate buttons. I remember them from when I was wee (Those and the igloo cake my mum made me using marshmallows, even though my birthday is in May!).

Hector was a handsome hulking great lump of chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, Cadbury’s giant button spines, green bean eyes and a cherry red nose. I was rather pleased with the result, and, most importantly, under all those spines there’s a decent wodge of lovely home-made chocolate cake!
There’s a time and place for a fancy cake, and a time and a place for this chap too. 

I’ve no doubt that, being the mother of 3 girls, I’ll have to try my hand at more themed cakes in the future.  For now I’m happy enough doing what I do best which is home baking.  As further proof as to why I don’t do sugarcraft, here is the cake I’ve done for my big brother’s birthday.  His nieces adore him and I adore the fact that Eldest Kid couldn’t say his name when she was wee.  To this day they still calls him by his nickname, I think he’s secretly pleased by it, it’s a pretty cool name.  Hopefully he’ll like his cake and if not, I’ve had fun decorating it and if all else fails I’ll tell him the girls decorated it!  Happy Birthday Rocket, we all think you’re fab!

Raindrops on Roses, Whiskers on Kittens, Or Chocolate and Cheese?

These are a few of my favourite things (friends and family aside, holidays in the sun and comfy slippers not included.  Long walks with the dog and the smell of new books also don’t count in this category).  We’re talking food, or more precisely we’re talking cake.
This year I’ve promised myself more new recipes.  It’s easy to fall into a habit of baking cakes that I can make from memory, and that Kitschnbake’s loyal customers are familiar with.  I know those recipes by heart.  I know which ones turn out better if I use my Kenwood, a handheld mixer, or even just a big wooden spoon, and I’m sure of all the little tweaks and quirks that you only learn from making something time and time again.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love creating them but I also want to make new exciting things.

With a new recipe, I never know if I’ve stumbled upon another favourite, it’s destined to be a tried once disaster. Those ‘Disaster Cakes’ are rarely publicised, though they’re thoroughly enjoyed at home! 

Of course a new recipe doesn’t mean you have to leave old favourites behind …

White Chocolate Cheesecake is my best selling, most requested, item.  My Dad, (who assures me he doesn’t have a sweet tooth) could eat an man- sized portion and come back for more.  Fights erupt over this little beauty and diplomatic skills have to be deployed.  Summer sees it topped with delicious soft fruits and dark chocolate curls sit elegantly on the top in the winter.  It needs no further adornment other than a plate and a spoon.

Another favourite KitschnBake recipe is the Rocky Road.  It’s not difficult to make, but the addition of a few luxury items makes all the difference.  Rich, decadent, soft and crunchy, you only need a little to satisfy the largest chocolate craving.  Marshmallows, chocolate, nuts, cherries and biscuits are all there in one glorious slab. A hint of glitter at Christmas helps to provide some festive sparkle just because you can never have too much Christmas Spirit!

It occurred to me, why not combine the two and make a Rocky Road Cheesecake using a layer of Rocky Road rubble mix for the base, with cheesecake topping piled on top.  The top would offer one extra chance to taste the Rocky Road rubble, and hey presto, we have a Rocky Road Cheesecake!

Not content with heaping marshmallows, cherries and chocolate digestives on the top I had to take it one step further by adding melted dark Belgian Chocolate drizzled over the top to make me smile.  It reminds me of the stuff you used to get for ice cream.  What was it called? It went hard when you poured it over the top and cracked and snapped when you smashed into it with your spoon.  I think I liked it more than the ice cream itself!

So, new recipe number one for 2012 has been tried and thoroughly tested. Numbers 2,3 and 4 are already in the planning stage!  The only way to ensure great home baking is to go through a lot of trial and error. Watch this space as I may even post some disaster cakes for you too!

I May Have Been Just a Tad Remiss


Is there anybody there?

Anybody at all?

I wouldn’t blame anyone if there wasn’t. I have been just a tad remiss with my blogging! I’d like to have a list of elaborate excuses or a ream of valid reasons. I don’t. For the past year I have eaten, slept, and dreamt about cake, decorations, and recipes, and I haven’t stood still for long enough to write about them. Huge apologies all round. 2012 is a whole new year and whilst 2011 has been the most exciting yet, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one.

Many things have changed for me here at KitschnBake. I’ll try to bring you up to speed with a very brief synopsis so as not to lose you the minute I’ve (hopefully) got you back. The three KitschnKids are growing like cake-fuelled mushrooms. Mr K continues to keep the nation – well at least the part of Tayside he’s responsible for – safe. He is my biggest supporter and, as per his own description, my Chief Cake-Tasting Connoisseur. He’s been a great support in every decision I’ve made this year, the biggest one being to step away from the day job.

After 11 years of working for the emergency services, I answered my last 999 call in July 2011, and I haven’t looked back! I was able to make the leap of faith partly thanks to the support of Mr K, the kids and my glorious friends (I hope they all know who they are). The main catalyst, however, was Jessie’s Kitchen. It’s run by husband and wife team, Ross and Jacquie Turriff, and their faith in me and my home-baked creations gave me the confidence to take flight from the control room and dive head first into the mixing bowl full-time. Their devotion to lovely food in a beautiful, relaxed setting merits a whole blog post of it’s own, and I’m loving every minute. At Jessie’s, I’ve been given the title of ‘Cake Crusader’ and it’s a pleasure to get to promote the cause of great cake in such fabulous company.

Now you can have your Kitschnbake cake and eat it at Jessies’, or you can place a direct order with me. Kitschnbake is apparently here to stay, and I’ll be baking cakes for as long as you lot want to eat them, and wittering about my creations more regularly here too. For now, I’m going to leave you with a few cheeky, cheerful cake pictures from Christmas just past. I hope you had as much of a ball as we did.

The True Value of Home Baking

Last week I had a phone call from a very lovely local lady who wanted to place a special order. She asked me if I’d be able to provide afternoon tea for a gathering she was having with her daughters and her granddaughter. I was delighted when she told me that she used to bake all the time herself and wanted her granddaughter to experience some proper ‘home baking’ rather than shop-bought, batch-baked goods. 

Her order was quite specific: she wanted to indulge her granddaughter’s love of chocolate and to have some ‘pretty’ cakes and other treats to display on the cake stand that she’d dusted off for the occasion. It was a really lovely order and I thoroughly enjoyed baking for it.

Mr KitschnBake put the icing on the cake when he came home after delivering the order to tell me how thrilled she was with it and that she was delighted to have found someone who values the art of home baking as much as she does herself. I’ll  admit to being rather chuffed with that comment, rather chuffed indeed.