Yearly Archives

2014

Cake Study: Amelie’s Birthday Bonanza

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Preparing for Amelie’s birthday celebrations!

Last weekend we had a lovely group of girls join us at studio E for what was to be Amelie’s birthday party. Amelie was a keen young baker that couldn’t wait to make a mess, and hopefully some cupcakes in the kitchen! Bee, our highly qualified pastry chef, was on hand to greet the children and get them all kitted out with their snazzy aprons.

Once the aprons were tied and the cooking utensils were out Bee gave the girls a quick demonstration on how to whisk up some buttercream and bake a batch of cupcakes. We then swiftly got moving onto the best bit; handing the wooden spoon over to the children so they could get decorating their very own batch of four cupcakes with lashings of butter cream, sugar decorations and sprinkles of sparkle.

Amelie and the girls didn’t hold back, smothering their fluffy cupcakes with lots of buttercream and tons of decorations, all of course with the guidance of Bee to help them along the way. Once the cupcakes were personalised Bee and the girls headed upstairs for some refreshments and also tucked into some of thier freshly baked cupcake, a very well-earned reward! The rest were then packaged up ready for each of the girls to take home their treats for the whole family to enjoy.

A few days after the party Sophie, Amelie’s mum, gave us a lovely testimonial and here’s what she had to say:

“I just wanted to say a quick thank you for Saturday. All the girls, especially Amelie, had a great time. You looked after us all very well and managed to keep everyone under control!

I will definitely let all my friends know what great parties you do.”

If you’re struggling to find the perfect party for your little one then let us take the stress away by offering a fun-filled, hands on hour and a half cupcake demonstration. Priced at £12.50 per child with refreshments served during the party it’s a fabulous way to celebrate your child’s birthday leaving a sweet taste in your mouth.

For more information follow head over to our website:

http://www.contemporarycakedesigns.com/parties/

Which players do you want to start for Roy Hodgson this summer?

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Roy Hodgson and his England team are just about to embark on their latest World Cup adventure tomorrow when they face Italy in the Arizonian city of Manaus.

Being the creative chefs we are, Xavier and I thought we’d offer the team a little treat and good luck message to kick-start their campaign in Brazil by baking up these England team themed cupcakes featuring all 23 players.

#WorldCupcakes - The full 23 players + Roy Hodgson

#WorldCupcakes – The full 23 players + Roy Hodgson

We’ve even gone all out setting Roy Hodgson’s team up on our pitch using his current 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation but with different line-ups, as knowing Roy we can’t quite predict his starting XI yet.

Will Wayne Rooney be placed on the wing or will Steven Gerrard drop deep with Adam Lallana on the left wing and Rooney in the CAM role?

Roy Hodgson's 4-2-3-1 formation

Roy Hodgson’s 4-2-3-1 formation

Will Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin be fit in time for England’s first game?

Chamberlin's fighting a battle to be fit for England's opener.

Chamberlin’s fighting a battle to be fit for England’s opener.

How about Roy going with his young guns?

Roy's young guns.

Roy’s young guns.

Can you guess the correct formation? Let us know what formation you think Roy is going to go with tomorrow or even who you’d like England to start with against Italy by tweeting us @ContemporaryCD. It just leaves us to say good luck to the lads in this summer’s tournament and we’ll be rooting for you from the kitchen!

The History of the Wedding Cake

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Wedding season is upon us and we are busy, busy, busy making and creating all sorts of unique and delicious cakes to help make your special day perfect! Crafting these wonderful cakes and being up to our elbows in flour and icing has lead us to wonder about where the wedding cake tradition comes from and how it came to be. Believe it or not, looking into it we have traced wedding cake/bread traditions back to Ancient Rome! Check out the history of this modern must-have custom at weddings below, some of the customs we can’t believe!

Our modern version of the wedding cake has been developed from a variety of cultural traditions over the ages. The primary wedding cake tradition began in Ancient Rome where pieces of bread (which were the equivalent of cake back then) were broken above the bride’s head to offer good fortune to the couple.  Following this wedding tradition, in Medieval England the guests would throw cakes made of wheat at the bride as a symbol of fertility. As well as this they would make a pile of cakes stacked as high as possible. After the wedding ceremony the bride and groom would attempt to kiss over the pile without knocking it over, if they were successful they would be guaranteed an affluent life together.

This tradition actually inspired a French pastry chef, who was visiting England, to create the first Croquembouche. This soon became a traditional French wedding cake, although in our present day it is usually positioned as the top tier to the cake foundations.

Wow

One of our Croquembouche designs

The wedding cake tradition then continued to evolve as in the early 1700’s a bakers apprentice fell in love with his employer’s daughter and asked her to marry him. In order to celebrate this proposal and express his love, he made an extravagant cake – clearly he was a romantic type!

Eventually it became traditional for the bride to show acceptance of the proposal by inserting a ring in the

couples portion of the cake. Soon after this cake became known as the “bride’s pie” and was served at most weddings between the 1700’s and the early 19th century. Regardless as to whether or not they wanted to, guests had to have a piece as it was considered to be the upmost disrespect not to eat it. Similar to the contemporary tradition of the flower bouquet, a glass ring would often be hidden within the cake, and the maiden who found it would be the next to marry. Over the years the “bride’s pie” became known as the “bride’s cake” as the dessert was slowly becoming sweeter and no longer took the form of a pie. Eventually the tradition of the glass ring died out and was instead replaced by the throwing of the flower bouquet that we know today! As the pies died out fruit cakes replaced it as they were a sign of fertility and prosperity, which was considered relevant at weddings because all married men and women were expected to want a lot of children.

Furthermore the bride’s cake usually took the form of a simple cake with white icing to symbolize purity and virginity – much like the symbolism surrounding the white dress. By the early 1800’s sugar was becoming more accessible to the general public leading to the increased popularity of the bride’s cake. Meanwhile the extravagance of the cake was a way for families to show their social status as the whiter the icing and the larger the cake, the more wealth that family had. Additionally the icing of wedding cakes took the name of “royal icing” after Queen Victoria used white icing on her own wedding cake.

 

Beautiful

Beautiful

However the contemporary wedding cake that our society knows originated from Prince Leopold’s wedding in 1882. Not only was his cake completely edible which was a new development, but it was also tiered. The first pillars between the tiers appeared a couple of decades after this and were constructed of broomsticks covered in icing. Price Leopold’s cake was the origin of the method we use today as each layer was made separately. Only once the icing had hardened would the layers be stack on top of one another.

Of course, given the size of our modern wedding cakes we also use extra support by inserting dowels in the centre of each layer.

 

Now wedding cakes are known for being a centre piece at the after party and a vital addition to the wedding day. Here at Contemporary Cake Designs we are dedicated to making yours the perfect cake in looks and taste – whether it’s unique to you or takes a more traditional form.Helen and Sam - Top tier classic Victoria Spone - Bottom Tier Beligium Truffle Torte with Chocolate Butter Cream

 
We absolutely love helping you design and create your wedding masterpieces! This time of year has to be one of our upmost favourites as we meet with the couples to personally discuss what they dream about and want for their own wedding cake. Give us a call even just for a consultation and we would be absolutely delighted to help!

 

 

 

 

 

Top Tips: How to make our homemade strawberry jam

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Strawberry Jam has been a mainstay in our cupboards for years now; whether it’s spreading it on two slices of bread to make a sandwich, flavouring our cakes or being the perfect accompaniment to clotted cream in our freshly baked scones, Strawberry Jam is without doubt the national treasure of fruit preserves.

A range of our homemade jams.

A range of our homemade jams.

With the British berry season well under way (started 1st May) we’re just in time to see the strawberries begin to be picked off the leaves in all their vibrant red glory; at least before they all get devoured at this year’s Wimbledon tournament alongside the 28,000kg of cream!

Xavier and I love this time of year because it enables us to create fresh, homemade strawberry jam to fill our wedding cakes and desserts with, making sure we have just enough to preserve over the winter months as well. We’re all about homemade produce here at Contemporary Cake Designs and where possible always try to make use of the best local ingredients right here in our kitchen.

With so few ingredients making strawberry jam couldn’t be simpler, just as long as you’re willing to abide by the rules of food science! So with that being said, we thought we’d give you a helping hand by offering our expertise on how to make this homemade sumptuous summer strawberry jam.

Tip 1 – Try using seasonal produce. Jam will preserve over the winter months so it’s best to make as much as you can during the summer when strawberries are in season. Also check to see if any are damaged and if so, remove from the punnet.

Tip 2 – Use more fruit and less sugar as this will give you a more flavoursome jam and will stop it from crystallising in the jar.

Tip 3 – Slow and steady wins the race with this one. Remember to keep the hob on a low heat so that you don’t burn the sugar. Let it dissolve slowly with the juices of the fruit and reach 103°C

Tip 4 – Strawberries are low in pectin so we advise using sugar making jam, which contains pectin, as this will help form a gel and thicken up your jam.

Tip 5 – Use sterilised jars to ensure your jam is safe from any harmful bacteria.

If strawberries don’t tickle your taste buds then why not pick your own flavour. Raspberries and blackberries are good options and have slightly higher pectin levels, which means you don’t have to use as much sugar making jam.

Follow these rules and making jam will never be easier!

The Wedding Season: May’s Magical Moments

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We take a look back at our best wedding creations from May

The month of May has been a crazy one for Xavier and I. At the moment we’re sitting right in the middle of the wedding season; which means we’re frantically whisking up wedding cakes and favours a plenty in the kitchen alongside our other orders.

The wedding season in itself is one that’s full of love, blossoming flowers, stunning manor houses and our favourite thing, scrumptious wedding cakes. It’s a time that allows us to get really creative with our cake designs in the kitchen; from vintage classics to your more contemporary cake designs. We simply love discussing with clients about how we can create the perfect cake for their big day.

This year we’ve seen wedding couples request a more relaxed atmosphere on their big day and this has seen a meteoric rise in dessert tables. These are a great accompaniment to the wedding and offer a wider range of desserts. The cakes themselves have their own trends and we’re seeing people increasingly opt for “naked wedding cakes” which are sponge based but with no icing.

With that being said we’ve rounded up our top five favourite wedding creations of the last 30 days; so why not sit back, grab a slice and enjoy!

 

The Manor House Hotel (half icing, half chocolate)

5. This design was particually special because of the brides dress draping down the side of the cake using icing. The one half was made from a chocolate covered cake and the other half iced; the best of both worlds!  It was also decorated using real flowers, chocolate icing and filled with chocolate butter cream.

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda & Max's Wedding Cake - St Pierre Golf Course and Hotel Country Club Chepstow (9th May)  4. Using one of the wedding cake industry’s most contemporary techniques, ruffled cakes; we hand crafted this beautiful three tiered light Belgium chocolate sponge for Amanda and Max’s Wedding on 9th May.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elmore court Four tiered sponge

3. Again using a similar technique we hand piped this design creating a traditional four tier sponge with vanilla butter cream for a wedding at Elmore Court on the 3rd May.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kingscote Barn - 18th May - All tiers Light Belgian Sponge with Rasphberry Butter Cream

2. This was a wedding cake made for a wedding at Kingscote Barn on the 18th May. All tiers were made from a light beglium sponge with a raspberry butter cream filling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helen and Sam - Top tier classic Victoria Spone - Bottom Tier Beligium Truffle Torte with Chocolate Butter Cream

1. Helen and Sam’s four tier vintage wedding cake decorated with sugar flowers. The top two tiers were a classic victoria sponge filled with vanilla butter cream and the bottom tier was Beligum truffle torte with chocolate butter cream. We finished off by decorating the cake with cascading chocolate roses down the front and dusted off with a gold shimmer.

 

 

 

 

That just about puts the icing on the cake for this month’s wedding bakes. We’d love to know which your favourite cake of this month is so please feel free to comment below.

Xavier Proves Bee Wrong!

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That’s right; a few months back Xavier got an idea into his head that he could make vanilla essence from scratch– an ingredient that we use a lot in our products – most notably in his infamous butter cream.

Anyway, when we were in the kitchen one morning I said “don’t be stupid we can buy some vanilla essence in” and Xavier, well, being Xavier did what he normally does and completely ignored me and made it anyway! A few months later (as we had to wait for the syrup to infuse with the vanilla) and a jar of beautifully scented vanilla essence arrived; Xavier had proved me wrong and I was very impressed!

Homegrown and straight from the jar

Homegrown and straight from the jar!

Today the ingredient is a mainstay in our kitchen cupboards and we’re using our home grown vanilla essence now more than ever in our products.

Xavier is a bit of a maverick in the kitchen to say the least and he only wishes he could have more free time to innovate new products because he loves trying to come up with new creations. It goes to say Xavier deserves a round of applause for his majestic work and we can now be proud of yet another product being made completely from scratch in our kitchen.

Divine Dessert Tables at Eastington Park

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A while back Xavier and I teamed up with some of our favourite wedding industry friends to help style a Black Swan photo shoot at Eastington Park.

On the menu was a two tier sponge cake alongside a dessert table full of delicious treats and this was the end result;

swan shoot christy blanch photography (455 of 922) swan shoot christy blanch photography (461 of 922) swan shoot christy blanch photography (698 of 922) swan shoot christy blanch photography (451 of 922)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the plates featured a group of indulgent chocolate cake pops, scrumptious vanilla cupcakes topped with icing and moist almond biscuits shaped into dinky dresses.

These tables full of gorgeous goodies are continuing to grow in popularity in 2014 and allow us to get really creative with our designs in the kitchen. Each table is artistically fashioned around a theme or colour palette to perfectly fit each couples individual wedding.

This year they’re expected to take off as brides are increasingly opting for a more relaxing celebration and an alternative to the traditional wedding cake. The best bit about dessert tables is that they give you a little bit of everything and will be bring real elegance to your wedding table.

Thank you to the wonderful Christy Blanch Photography for taking these stunning photos.