Tag: food

Fun with Christmas Cake!

It’s one of our favourite times of the year….when we get to decorate the Christmas cake! Our cake (made from a very old family recipe going back three generations) has been resting happily under the bed all wrapped up in parchment for the last few months, only coming out every now and again for a feed of brandy, sometimes whiskey and occasionally rum (and to be honest any alcoholic spirit we can find……eeek it’s going to be more like a Christmas cake cocktail!) and now it’s time to decorate it – before the fumes knock us out. We thought we’d share the process with you – we are no Nigella’s here at Vintage Dorset so bear with us, we like things simple and uncomplicated and we’re not looking for perfection!

So to begin – most importantly we always have a small glass of something gorgeous on the side to help the decorating process go smoothly (this year a lovely Pedro Ximenez sherry) and put the fab old Christmas tunes CD on to really get in the festive spirit, then we can get started.

Our lovely vintage Christmas cake stand


We’ve chosen a lovely old single tier cake stand for our cake this year.








And here’s the monster itself in all its naked glory! We’ve turned it upside down to give a nice flat (ish) decorating surface.

Christmas cake awaiting decoration

We used clingfilm on the board when we rolled out the marzipan as it’s so much easier and you don’t end up with a sticky mess to clear up. We’ve gone for white marzipan as we like icing to be fairly thin and we don’t want the yellow marzipan showing through. You can use brandy marzipan but we thought there was already enough booze going on! We spread apricot jam over the cake before applying the marzipan – or you could use marmalade but not the lumpy kind – not conducive to a nice flat surface!

Rolling out the marzipan on Vintage Dorset cakePutting jam on the cake

Here’s the marzipaned effort and then the iced cake. We used fondant icing – mainly for ease but Royal icing is fine – and definitely better if you want a good old fashioned snow scene. Ok so our iced cake may be a bit wonky but as we said – we’re not after perfection here – and by now we’ve had a glass or two of sherry!

Finished marzpanned cake at Vintage DorsetThe cake icing

And so to the decorating! We found some lovely reproduction vintage Christmas cards and cut out the scenes we liked to make a 3D effect. Just make sure you allow some card below the picture to make a little stand. We used sterilised pins to pin the cutouts to the cake but you could use a bit of icing instead.

Close up of Vintage Dorset Christmas cake

Then we added a lovely ribbon with a cutout label (again from a Christmas card) and finished off with a little vintage inspired wreath at the front with another ribbon round the cake (mainly to disguise the lumps and bumps!). Very simple but very pretty. Here’s the finished article – we like it, hope you do too!

Finished Christmas cake at Vintage Dorset

Vintage Dorset Christmas cake


Published by annie, on 16th December 2012 at 1:22 pm. Filled under: Christmas,Vintage Activities,Vintage Events,Vintage Food Tags: , , , , , , Comments Off on Fun with Christmas Cake!

Cake inspiration

Cake and vintageFinding a good cake maker is one of those tricky tasks that needs careful consideration and even more tasting! We’ve recommended lots of cake-bakers for parties and weddings or sometimes we arrange deliveries of cakes to accompany our vintage teas; but how do we choose the cake bakers – what to look for in cake scumminess and decor?

1. Begin with good cake!

One of the first things to remember is that no matter how nicely the cake is decorated – the cakes themselves need to be lovingly baked to perfection if you want great flavour.

perfect cakes on a vintage cake stand

We suggest checking out Country Markets (the name used by the WI cake bakers) for gorgeous home made cakes some very expertly decorated and finished and all very yummy and exceptionally good value.

Mrs T from Mrs T's teatime treats

Our other favourite is Mrs T’s teatime treats (this is Sgt Bun’s wife!!)

2. Cupcake mumpreneurs

Country Markets are great at large cakes – but for consistent cupcakes then you’re best trying one of the growing number of cottage businesses making cupcakes.

lemon cheesecake cupcakes

We often use Moorethancupcakes at Beaminster for good value cakes that taste delicious (like these lemon cheesecake cupcakes) but we also love Lulubelle’s Cakes in the Bournemouth area and Simply Cakes in Dorchester. Modern cupcakes tend to follow the large American-style with heaps of frosting and toppings. They are really great for gifts or afternoon tea, but, for parties with lots of other food choices they can be too much to eat (we do see half-eaten cakes that were just too filling!) If you’re buying cakes for parties, ask your baker to make your cupcakes “fairy-cake” size so your guests can enjoy lots of different sweets (its also cheaper!)

3. Flavour flavour flavour!

Rum babasBe brave with cakes! Cakes will taste delicious if they’ve got great flavourings that are more than just “sweet”. At home, we find coffee cakes in particular do well from a very generous dose of coffee blended in the buttercream but citrus and fruit flavours also work really well. We adore these Rum Baba’s from Moorethancupcakes. Now there’s a flavour that really packs a punch!

4. Design your style and challenge your baker!

Vintage Mad Hatter Tea Party

When you’re having a themed party then you can really challenge your cake maker when it comes to design. They’ll love the opportunity to try something new!

We commissioned these cute “eat me” labelled cakes from Sharp Events for our Mad Hatter hen party and they were perfect for the job – but there are also some cake designers out there that have exceptional decor style.

We recently found the amazing Nibble and Scoff of Exeter. Its very rare for us to recommend anyone outside of Dorset – but these near neighbours are incredible when it comes to cake design!

Check out these gorgeous vintage tea cup-cakes and look up their website for even more gorgeous creations including circus, gardening, beach, golf themed cakes – all edible – they are really perfect!
vintage teaparty nibble & scoff

summer deckchairs on a cupcakeschool cupcakes

5. Finally…. learn it and try it!

Wenda from Simply Cakes Our last hint is to get out there and try some cake decorating yourself! We recently went along to a cupcake demo held at Goulds in Dorchester and hosted by the lovely Wenda from Simply Cakes. She was demonstrating simple tips for great cake decorations at home.

cake decorating

Simply Cakes peach roses on green

For more inspiration try going to Cupcake Camp – the first one in Dorset at the Lighthouse in Poole was organised by Cake Heaven and was over-run with enthusiasts! You might want to try cupcake school for more hands on help – we especially like Julia’s Kitchen in Poole – especially as Julia’s offering a free cupcake class to someone as part of her 1000’th Facebook likers.  More and more bakers are offering classes and evening classes are also available from local colleges and there are loads of youtube teach-me videos to follow – we especially like these ones from Sue McMahon of Women’s Weekly – she has a lovely soothing style! No excuses then – time to get baking!

Published by vdorset, on 1st November 2011 at 10:47 am. Filled under: Vintage Events,Vintage Food Tags: , , , , , , , Comments Off on Cake inspiration