A Box!!!!!!

ImageOur long-awaited shoe cupboard arrived recently with much excitement from all of us. At last my plan for a clutter-free zone in the hallway had a chance of taking shape. As I signed for the cupboard the delivery man joked with the kids that this was something they would have to learn to use, and probably wouldn’t even though it was right there in the hallway (how very dare he!). My 8 year old son, however, had a far away look in his eyes and a cheeky grin as he stared at the large box standing in our hallway. As the delivery man asked him why he was so happy he just said “That’s a BRILLIANT box! I want that box!”

So, as I unravelled my beautiful oak solver of shoe-related problems, my son impatiently jumped up and down waiting for the box. His sister then caught on and was just as impatient, standing ready with pens to colour it in. For once, they worked well together in creating a den of sorts, with lots of peep holes for Sooty and friends. It was a joy to behold such camaraderie, though this was short-lived when they realised that it was a real squash to both go in at the same time. Cue more half-term squabbles and the suggestion of a box rota!

So, I bet you all know what I mean when I say that kids really do prefer the box to the contents, even at age 8. I wonder how long I have before this fabulously simple and creative little bit of fun becomes less interesting. I hope I have years to come as I love it!

 

Birthday Cake – Done!

Well, I promised an update on the whole Birthday cake story, as last time I wrote about it it was just an idea in my head, and scribbled on a scrap of paper. So, here you go, this is what I did – the story of the cake (duh duh duuuuhhhhhhh!).

The request was for a Tinkerbell cake, so I quickly came to the conclusion that I was not going to attempt to create Tink’s delicate features in fondant icing – oh no, I didn’t want the birthday girl to end up screaming in horror at a bendy, wobbly version of her fave fairy. So, sticking within my abilities, I bought some cake topper fairies and made them a lovely fairy garden with toadstool to play in!

I started by doubling my madeira cake recipe and plopping the mixture into two oven-proof dishes.

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Now, I’m not going to pretend this all went like clockwork. The first problem encountered was that even though I’d thought about baking for longer due to my ailing oven, I’d not banked on it taking 2 hours!! I’m sure someone with a fully-functioning oven wouldn’t have this problem though. Now behind on time I realised I had one egg too few and not enough caster sugar for the second part of this extravaganza – the chocolate ‘garden’. So I raced off to buy these, and made the next cakes at speed. Substituting 1oz of flour for cocoa made it nice and chocolatey, but I had no idea if it would work. I bunged the two square tins in the oven on different shelves with less than 1 hour until school pick up time.  Half way through the nervous wait, I changed the cakes over, at which point I saw how wobbly they still were – yikes!! They were not fully cooked by the time I had to race off to school so I did the only thing I could, switched the oven off and hoped the residual heat would finish the job!

Luckily when I came home the damage was not so bad. The middles of the cakes were cooked, if a little softer than they ought to be, and less risen, but ok! So I had the cakey building blocks!

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The next day was the big decorate. I shut the kitchen door and got going. Luckily I’d coloured some coconut green the previous day while I waited for the cakes to bake. This took almost a whole bottle of green food colouring (for a whole pack of coconut) and STILL it wasn’t completely green. Anyway, I made choc icing (mud) and smothered that on the chocolate cake, then added the green ‘grass’. No problems there :0)

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Then came the part I’d worried about. Time to see if two bowl-shaped madeira cakes will sit one on top of the other and stay that way! I added some wooden skewers inside to help them out – and to give me peace of mind, and it worked! Then I got going with the fondant – just red and white. I cut out white circles for the toadstool using a bottle lid, and made the ‘stalk’ and underside of the ‘umbrella’ with the white, before getting the red out. I think that’s a good tip. Get your white done first!!

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Anyway, apart from having to make a bit of my own red icing as I didn’t have enough, I managed it. I then scattered sweeties around the garden, added the fairies and gave it a generous sprinkle of edible glitter, and hey presto, bibbety bobbety boo, a cake for my 5 year old! Here it is before its big moment:

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Luckily she loved it :0)

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Phew!