Postcard Greetings Cards

June 26, 2012

I have been making these for years and only thought about posting about them yesterday as I made two birthday cards.
I use postcards that usually come from postcards collections or little postcard books. As it works out very reasonable per card. I like the book covers collections from penguin, puffin and ladybird. Which I got from amazon. The penguin one features classic titles in their signature plain orange top and bottom style. So I tend to pick my friends and family’s favourite books, but the ladybird has a few good ‘how to’ and ‘how it works’ covers, with the lovely retro illustrations from my childhood.
The card blanks with envelopes usually come from ‘the works’ discount bookshops, (who, I notice, now have an online shop) they are 5″x7″ which accommodates most standard postcard sizes. I attach the postcards with photo corners, (I like these brown paper ones from paperchase), so they are not permanently stuck. Which means the recipient can remove them if they wish to send to someone else!
I am not sure whose bright idea was black envelopes, if you don’t have a metallic pen handy how will Mr Postman read the address?

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Peppa Pig Cake

August 31, 2011

This was the cake I made for Alice’s birthday (almost a month ago!), I wasn’t sure it was a particularly interesting post, but as I have posted about all the other birthday cakes I have made I thought I would write it up in the spirit of consistency.

The cake itself was  a double ‘Betty Croker devils food cake’ mix, one mix for the top layer and one for the bottom with pink buttercream in between. I made the Peppa figure out of coloured packet fondant icing the big pack of the dr oetker stuff. I coloured all the required colours first, pink for her head, arms and legs, red for her dress/body and black for her shoes. The large blob of dark pink I coloured up for the number 2 for the cake at the same time and used it for the detail on her face, her smile and her cheeks. I actually covered the top bit of an icecream cone for her body as this icing is not ideal for modeling it is a bit soft until you pop it in the fridge it has a tendency to slump a bit. Basically I made all the pieces got them nice and cold then assembled them. I coloured some more icing blue and green and covered the cake in the blue (the blue ribbon round the edge hides the pigs ear – see what i did there! – I made of the sides of the cake). I cut a wobbly shape out of the green (in the style of peppa’s logo) then popped her on top, with a few bought icing flowers (sainsbury’s own – in the cake stuff isle) that Martha helped me to stick on with leftover buttercream.

I think it came out ok, if my cake covering had been better it would have almost looked bakery made. Anyway it tasted good and got eaten up by her friends and family at her party with leftovers going to her nursery.

Princess Birthday Cake

January 12, 2011

It was Martha’s birthday at the end of last year, 4 years old, its unbelievable how quick its gone! So it was birthday cake time – just what we needed 3 days after christmas. The doll came from a charity shop for the purpose of becoming a cake decoration so I didn’t feel too bad about snapping her legs off and giving her a good wash. I made a good old ‘Betty Crocker’ Devils Food Cake in two different size cake tins, one was 15cm cake tin and the other 23cm, when cool I sandwiched them onto of one another, with vanilla buttercream and carved it into a dome/crinoline skirt shape (although to get the skirt shape you could always use the flower pot trick from my ‘sandcastle cake’ post and trim off the sharp edges). I covered this in more buttercream then cut a small hole to sit my doll torso into the cake. I rolled out some sainsbury’s ‘ready to roll’ icing, dyed pink (of course) with some pink food colouring, into a large circle and cut a hole in the middle and sliced the icing from the hole to the edge to allow me to wrap the icing round the skirt with the hole for the doll to stick out and neatened up the seam of the skirt at the back. I trimmed the icing from the hem of her skirt, and with the trimmings covered the dolls chest to make a little strapless bodice for her dress. Then using a piping bag an nozzle decorated the dress with the buttercream coloured slightly darker pink. I gave her a bracelet and necklace with the buttercream too, and 4 blobs of icing on the cake plate stuck the candles down.

Martha was very pleased with her pink princess cake and even though we ate loads of it we still had so much food left over from Christmas that the leftovers were given to the staff at her nursery for a teatime treat.

Sandcastle Cake

August 12, 2010

It was Alice’s 1st Birthday last week (yes it has gone really quick!), so it was birthday cake time – yippee! I do love making my kids birthday cakes (and cakes in general), although I do get pretty stressed out by it, they usually come good. I was particularly pleased with this one for a few reasons, including; it was all my idea, it was simple to make, it looked really good and it tasted even better! and at no point was I tempted to throw it out the window!

Here’s how it was done;

I baked the actually cake in a terracotta pot, I sealed up the hole in the bottom with a ball of tin foil (making sure it was flattish on the inside but would still stand up – you can fill the divot in the cake with the icing later, greased it really well with butter and lined the bottom with greaseproof paper. I used a ‘betty crocker’ packet devils food cake mix (I am a pretty good baker and I still think this is the yummiest, easiest, chocolate cake you can make and it always works!). It took a bit longer to bake than the directions stated and there was a big lump in the middle where it did not rise evenly – I think this was down to the pot absorbing alot of heat unlike a metal tin. So I simply cut this off and had a little cook’s treat.

When it was cool I iced it with a chocolate buttercream, I make this instead of using the betty crocker stuff because it tastes better and has a paler colour. I took 100g room temp butter, 300g icing sugar and 30g cocoa powder and beat them together with my hand mixer, then spread it thickly over the cake. Then I crushed up some digestive biscuits (in a plastic bag with a rolling pin) and smushed them into the soft buttercream this was achieved best with a handful tipped up and onto the cake working round in sections, I found it looked more authentic patted in to give a smooth sandcastle finish. I also iced and biscuit coated the base (a small chopping board) and this I did not smooth off so well to look like the rest of the beach/sandpit.

Separately I made some scallop type seashells. But you could use those seashell chocolates if you don’t have the time/confidence. These were made with packet fondant icing (the roll out type) which was white so to colour it I made a paste if cocoa powder and hot water and added it to the icing, (this does make it quite wet so add some more icing sugar to firm it up again) This made a beige coloured fondant which I added back to a ball of white not mixing it completely to get a marbled appearance. Working with a small piece, flattened it in my palm and formed a rough triangle shape, then using a scalloped edge pastry cutter (I usually use these for jam tarts and mince pies) cut just the long edge of the triangle. Then using the back of a dinner knife pressed lines from the indent of each scallop up into the ‘shell’.  I stuck these to the sandcastle cake with more chocolate buttercream a big lump of cream and pressed the edges of the shells onto the cake to make them more of a convex shape.

I did also make a little cutesy crab out of red fondant and used cut down bendy straws in his front pincers for shape and stability, I did not photograph this little job, I guess if you have a basic experience of modelling you would give it a go. I made a flag from a piece of paper and a cocktail stick (I was out of bamboo barbecue skewers) and popped in the requisite candle.

Taa Daa!