Have yourself a Mary Berry Christmas

Christmas came early for me this year.  A fortnight early, to be precise.  First I was super-excited to receive Season’s Eatings the festive cookery book on feasts and celebrations, as Secret Santa present.  Then later that day, I was a VIP guest at An Evening with Mary Berry.

An evening with

Being part of the select audience, I got to hear insights on all things- Mary.  She was pleasant and so practical with her advice and observations, there was so much love in the room.  Mary spoke about her childhood, her career, family life and her plans for the future.  We got to hear insights and inspiration for her latest book, Mary’s Household Tips and Tricks. Plus how to plan and prepare for Christmas Day.  There was a question and answer session at the end, and like an over enthusiastic schoolgirl, I kept my hand up for ages, eager to be picked to ask a question, but alas, I was not selected. I wanted to ask ‘what’s your guilty pleasure?’

Mary Berry

After the event, I queued up and quickly took a photo as she was signing my book – Mary doesn’t ‘do selfies’ and the queue was getting quite long.  Technology and I aren’t the best of friends, so only managed to get one photo in focus.

“Cynthia,” she said.  “There’s not many of them about…” I smiled sweetly and thanked her.

Book signing

Thrilled to bits, I could have skipped all the way home with my book and my goody bag. I had finally got to meet cake royalty!

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Wish list

Dear Santa,

I have been good this year.  I’ve not burnt a single cake in 2017 and I’ve not even been tempted to ‘lick the spoon’.  If you’ve not bought my presents yet, any of these will come in handy for me.

Cake steamer

Cake steamer – So I can add some gloss, sheen and shine to my cake creations.

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Blow torch –To turn up the heat in the Delights Kitchen.  Think of all the great techniques with fondant and meringue.

Star Baker

Apron – Nothing frilly or silly.  Just something to wear when I’m baking or decorating.

Doormat

A cake-themed doormat – To welcome all my friends and customers.  A doormat with cake will lead them straight to the Delights Kitchen.

Red Velvet

Red Velvet Shoe Bakery Shoes – It’s good to look good on days or nights out.

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Black buttercream – Either ready-made or for some hints and tips for the blackest buttercream.  In 2018, it’s time for me to release my inner Goth and make some of these cakes that have been roaming through my mind.  They may not be pretty, but they will still be fab!

Cupcake charm

Tiffany Cupcake Charm– It will look so cute and dainty on my wrist.  In fact, it will look charming

And finally, if it’s not too much trouble, I would like a Christmas Miracle…Or at least, a Christmas Angel.  Someone to show up and sort out all my cake clutter (Mr Delights will be happy, all my cake gadgets and equipment is taking over our home).

If you’re swinging by on the evening of the 24th, I’ll leave your cupcake and a drop of the ‘good stuff’ in the usual place.

Lots of love and kisses,

Cynthia

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United Sweets of America

As we approach Christmas Day, there are usually more sweet things on offer, wherever you go – the office, get-togethers, even supermarket tasters and freebies.

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In the UK, Old School traditionalists are cracking open a family tin of Quality Street or passing round some good cheer with a tub of Celebrations, or the odd candy cane or chocolate coin. I’m not sure what the UK confectionery consumption is during December, but I’m sure it doesn’t match our stateside cousins.

Celebrations

According to Candystore.com   Americans are spending a jaw-dropping $1.93 billion on candy for Christmas.   They have calculated the candy consumption down to a breakdown of sweet preferences by state.

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Here is what each state prefers when it comes to Christmas candy (or the United Sweets of America):

  • Alabama – Reindeer Corn
  • Alaska – Hershey Kisses
  • Arizona – Pez
  • Arkansas – Starburst
  • California – Peppermint bark
  • Colorado – Hershey Kisses
  • Connecticut – M&M’s
  • Delaware – Candy canes
  • Florida – Skittles
  • Georgia – Candy canes
  • Hawaii – Starburst
  • Idaho – M&M’s
  • Illinois – Jolly Rancher
  • Indiana – Snickers
  • Iowa – M&M’s
  • Kansas – Peppermint bark
  • Kentucky – M&M’s
  • Louisiana – Pez
  • Maine – Candy canes
  • Maryland – Reese’s Pieces
  • Massachusetts – Skittles
  • Michigan – Reindeer Corn
  • Minnesota – Jolly Rancher
  • Mississippi – Snickers
  • Missouri – Starburst
  • Montana – Skittles
  • Nebraska – Hershey Kisses
  • Nevada – Peppermint bark
  • New Hampshire – Candy canes
  • New Jersey – Reese’s Minis
  • New Mexico – Pez
  • New York – Skittles
  • North Carolina – Pez
  • North Dakota – Chocolate Santa
  • Ohio – Pez
  • Oklahoma – Starburst
  • Oregon – Reese’s Minis
  • Pennsylvania – Candy canes
  • Rhode Island – M&M’s
  • South Carolina – Pez
  • South Dakota – Reese’s Minis
  • Tennessee – M&M’s
  • Texas – Pez
  • Utah – Reindeer Corn
  • Vermont – Candy canes
  • Virginia – M&M’s
  • Washington – Candy canes
  • Washington, D.C. – Jolly Rancher
  • West Virginia – Peppermint bark
  • Wisconsin – Pez
  • Wyoming – M&M’s

candy cane

I wonder whether the US dentists are aware of this list.

 

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Out and about with cake

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Last weekend, I stepped out of the Delights Kitchen and took part in a Christmas Fair at our local nail bar, Pili Does Nails. Paloma Banks, the owner and I, have been business buddies for quite some time now, so it was a good opportunity to support the event and continue to spread the word about my fabulous cakes and cupcakes. 

While ladies popped in for a pedi or mani, there were festive cupcakes on sale, with the lovely Jemimah at the helm in her branded t-shirt. She enjoyed her first day as a sales assistant, but seemed more in awe of the artistry, glam and glitter, as Islington’s finest came in to pretty-up for the season. 

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I had a little bit of nail envy, as I saw several ladies head out the door with terrific talons.  I spend most of my time baking or decorating cakes, which means that it’s not best to wear nail polish for health and safety reasons. But once the last cake order is collected or delivered on the 23rd, I’m popping into Pilli’s for a festive mani (it is Christmas, after all).

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By the end of the day, there were only a few cupcakes left, so this was a successful day for Delights by Cynthia.  Arriving home, Delights and Daughters had a ‘post-match chat’ about the day.  The general team feedback was that it was a fun day out, it was an opportunity to meet new customers and to spread the word, and we’ll definitely do it again.  So keep your eyes peeled for the Delights Girls as we step out to satisfy the desires of the sweetest tooth.

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It’s National Cookie Day!

It seems like there’s a special a day for everything. It turns out that 4 December is National Cookie Day. A day to feast on and celebrate the humble or mighty cookie! The day was set and fixed as 4 December by the Children’s Dictionary of Sesame Street. Since then, lovers of all things sweet have joined in the celebrations.

Unusualcookie

Back in the day…
The first biscuit was baked in Denmark. Danish bakers used to check the temperature of their ovens, by using small pieces of dough, so they wouldn’t spoil their whole pie cases. At some point, somebody in the bakery realised that these little lumps of baked dough were delicious enough to eat on their own…and the rest (as they say) is history.

 

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What’s your flavour?
Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal or Gingerbread….

Chocolate Chip: In 1937, Ruth Wakefield (the owner of a small hotel) added slices of chocolate bars into butter dough, instead of grated chocolate. She hoped the chocolate would melt and give the biscuits a chocolatey brown tinge. Instead, the chocolate didn’t melt and her happy accident, resulted in chocolate chip cookies. It’s perfectly ok to experiment or mess-up a recipe, you never know what you will create.
Oatmeal: Let’s go back to Seventeenth Century Scotland. A time when wheat was seen as inferior and oats were the grain or seed of choice. Oatmeal cookies were initial baked on an open fire. Today you can bake them in your oven; plain or sweet.
Gingerbread: Legend has it that English monks in 12-13th Century invented gingerbread cookies, at a time when many European countries were using spices in their cooking. The most popular spice was ginger. Over time, ginger has become synonymous with Christmas, as has the gentle gingerbread cookie…Why wait a whole year for these delicious delights.
Here are some more interesting facts about cookies:
• The word “cookie” is an English word, which derives from a Dutch word “koekje,” meaning little or small cake
• The most popular cookie around the world is the chocolate chip cookie
• The world’s largest cookie was baked by the Immaculate Baking Company, weighing in at more than 18 tonnes and 102 feet wide
• Fortune cookies were created in California, and not China

All this talk of cookies is making me hungry.  Hand me a glass of milk…

 

 

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Gingerly…

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Not long now until Christmas and I’m well under way with my shopping (if truth be told, I’ve been Christmas shopping since August).  This year I have seen and have been buying lots of things with a gingerbread theme.

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I think I’ve found my Christmas jumper for this year…

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Gingerbread candles. A bargain at £3, from Primark.

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Check out these little fellas.  Cute enough for cupcakes.

I’ve also picked up:

  • Gingerbread wrapping paper
  • Gingerbread Lip Balm
  • Gingerbread Mugs
  • Gingerbread to decorate

I do feel sorry for the little ginger darlings (I call them Gingerlings – hey, perhaps I have made up a new word), they only seem to get a look-in at Christmas, and they are perfectly cute at any time of the year.

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The Joy of Cake

I’ve made cakes and cupcakes this year with joy being a big part of them.  Excuse the pun, but it truly was a joy to create them.

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Rachel’s 50th birthday cake consisted of an illustration by Stephanie Hill; a depiction of Rachel on her bike, singing ‘Joyful, Joyful, Lord we adore thee’, one of her favourite songs, riding to work (or perhaps the tennis court).  I decorated the cake with hand-made tennis balls and rackets to represent her love of tennis and the things that bring her joy.

Joy Cupcakes

Last Christmas, I created these joy cupcakes.  They went down a treat, with everyone who received them.

Goodbye shouldn’t always be about sad farewells.  So when Anne was leaving our church to move out of London, I was asked to create a ‘goodbye cake’.  This simple verse of scripture was the perfect send-off from her church family:

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“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;

the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,

and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55 v 12

Cakes are usually part of the most joyous occasions, so there is definitely joy in cake.

 

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Posted in 50th birthday, art, Art inspired cupcakes, Bible, Bible verse, Cakes, Celebrate, Celebration, Celebration cake, Christmas, Cupcakes, Decoration, Design, Happy Birthday | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment