California-Sweet-And-Simple-Wedding-Cakes

Dark Cake Trends 2016

Dark Cake Trends 2016, fashions come and go but when it comes to baking 2016 is all about the dark and mysterious, the rich and decadent. Here are some of our favourites for our little corner of North Norfolk for the up and coming year, it’s darkly fascinating.BlackCherry

When you think of cake for weddings, birthdays or other celebrations a dark cake maybe isn’t neccesarily a first thought. Maybe nice old chocolate cake might hit the spot, but move over Mr Hum Drum Chocolate cake, reveal centre stage a rich dark fudgey chocolate cake made with a hint of coffee, or a delectable Guinness cake resplendent with a dreamy cream cheese topping. More often than not my special celebration orders are requests for my gingerbread cake and cinnamon frosting which has been a favourite for the past couple of years, along with new pal Salted Caramel and its glorious cascade of molten caramel with crunches of sea salt.  They’re partnering up on some occasions too – nothing says we’re having a party like calorific abandonment and pure cakery hedonism!!

sweetie cake

To whet the appetite we have firstly have a couple of cupcakes and big cakes after my own heart, we’ve added caramel popcorn, halved Maltesers, crunchie bars, fudge and other sweet treats with a good glug of caramel on a caramel cake and matching buttercream.

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Smartened up these topped cakes can be simply stunning with some precise dribbling and piping, crowned with buttery crumble on a sticky toffee inspired cake.

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A meeting in the middle from the naked cake fascination that still holds true and cake tables is a pudding cake.  Think of your favourite comfort puds and pile ’em up with Chantilly cream and beautifully shiny toffee sauce.  something for everyone, it’s a sure-fire winner!

California-Sweet-And-Simple-Wedding-Cakes

If there are no allergy sufferers amongst your number (of which we could cater for undoubtedly) there’s a rather smashing peanut thing going on out there. Peanutty hot drinks have been hitting the shops and Reese’s Peanut Cups are over here and have no fear. We love ’em.  Perfect for your fellow nut lovers out there.

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More dark and brooding naked cakes, there’s plenty for everyone to whet all appetites.

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If cultured and swish is favoured how about this immaculate black fondant covered cake with our favourite gold leaf technique on the base cake, simply stunning.  Evergreens compliment the black and gold to perfection. Adorable.

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Still comfortably in its groove is the faithful naked cake of 2014/15.  It’s a look that’s still going strong as a tall, dark silhouette adorned with seasonal fruits and blooms.

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If these or any of the other cakes on our site or blog have captured you imagination contact us on 07932 874576 or email us on bunsoffun@hotmail.co.uk.

 Winner of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas 2015 ‘Gingerbread Lighthouse’ as_seen_on

Kirstie Allsopp

Kirstie’s Gingerbread Champion 2015

Kirstie’s Gingerbread Champion 2015 – Kirstie Allsopps words, not mine.  You night have seen a little flurry of well wishes and congratulations recently on Facebook & Twitter.  I was blessed enough to go to Devon and live a waking baking dream…

“How did you get asked?” I get asked, quite frequently… I had a speculating Tweet from Raise The Roof Productions which is Kirstie & Phil’s production company..

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I replied in the positive, after all I didn’t expect it to come to much ‘spray & pray’ we call it in the Recruitment industry (in a previous life before children & gingerbread).

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Imagine my joyous horror when on dropping them a casual line to express interest but not believing it would transpire into hard graft, when I received a phone call from Paul McGinness on the team asking if I could be available to film. In Devon. At Kirstie’s house!  Eeep! I think I might have squeaked a bit too loudly down the phone…

“Send us your design”, said Paul… Ah, during a period of head scratching and pondering I got rather stuck on a Dickensian Christmas themed house or maybe a Hobbit type house – because they’re obviously so similar, naturally….

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It came as no real surprise to me that I diverted from either fantastical creations (in my head..) and came up with a Lighthouse (“it has the word ‘house’ in it”, see?) They were looking for magnificent, original and surprising.  That’s the look I was going for anyway..  So I sent my doodle in at that was that.  Arrangements were made to go to Devon.

To Kirstie’s house.

Eeep! All over again.

It’s so teeny tiny my little picture here, so small the Christmas elves could have drawn it although it’s on A4.  I’ll post on FB and you can have a gander if you like.  I made a run-list of everything that had to be pre-made. The competition rules stipulated that gingerbread needed to be baked and decoration materials prepared then assembled during filming. So I made copious notes of scribbles which when straightened out resembled thus:

Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas 2015 – Gingerbread House Competition

Everything listed below is hand made by me using techniques I would use in baking and sugar craft. I had help from Papa to make a bespoke wire baking cage to get the shape I need and cutting templates for the other elements.

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Now I can’t reveal how I finally gor the bake shape I needed but this was one of the abortive 8’s….

BASE & BODY:

Bottom / flat base of Gingerbread (Light)House circular baked and textured on one of our ceramic pizza stones

Body of GBLH banded in red and white. I made a handmade a cage to bake a specific shape in. The key was the bake shape so with the supervision of my crafty Pa we made a tapered tubular creation to make in / on… So it took 8 test runs to create the right shape – gingerbread gifts were duly bestowed upon classes and teachers at school, nursery, the folks, and friends and generally anyone who was in close enough contact to share the gingerbread love with.

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The lighthouse colours were typical red & white as seen in Happisburgh so the red was represented by the bake, textured with cake techniques and the white was what I piped in light sea green and pale blue wave’s swirled piping and white wave crests, a sugar craft tapestry technique finished with a damp brush.

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In the wave swirls were small hand crafted sea creatures crabs to represent Cromer, Small craft, Mikado Oars and spun sugar lobster pots with fondant lobsters to represent Sheringham as well as tiny starfish, shells, etc

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There were Porthole windows with ‘stained glass’ (melted crushed hard boiled sweets) with buttercream piped poinsettia in red & green and white royal icing piped octopus sucker marks

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Ultimately the Lighthouse was cited on a gingerbread cake with cream cheese and mini raffia cobblestones – super yummy and bequeathed to the crew on the designs demise….

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The Lamp room had a walk way around at top of lighthouse, with a base of GB with a Mikado walkway, topped with sugar pearl finials, stained glass uprights surrounding the lamp (rice paper, white jelly bean & edible glitter) one door/window left open to peek in and see the lamp.

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To top it off I used 2 small battery packs of mini fairy lights illuminating under the walk way, lamp room and under eaves of cottage

In the keepers cottage there were sweeties on the roof and porthole windows with fondant candles inside, poinsettia at the window frames and little fondant shutters and an RNLI motif over the door of the keepers cottage. There was a ‘Flake’ log pile by the side of the cottage & GB cookie Christmas tree decorated with pearls, glitter and sweeties – a nod to Holkham Hall each year.

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Sugar ‘sand’ and snow, fondant/sweetie pebbles and ‘ice’ for to represent our beautiful coast in winter and all elements were edible and handmade (excepting the 2 x mini fairy light packs and flower wire).

The Actual Making:

Little round gingerbread porthole windows were crafted with melted Glacier Mints; the ones for the Light room had flower wire struts to strengthen the design. In filming they were adhered with caramel (which Kirstie helped stir – if it went wrong I had my beady eye on Allsopp!).

The filming on the day was stop / start for the production crew but it was straight onto the moon for us beavering away with sugar, biscuit and more sugar.

Until lunchtime I didn’t hold out much hope for it looking like the image I had in my head – one of the things I love about my work is that I feel like a 3D printer sometimes, I think of a thing and transpose it on cake. This is how I felt about this structure once I knew how it was going it HAD to be built. So prior to midday break it was ok but not wildly enveloping me – there was a long way to go. When we got back to filming it was all about the piping for me –THEN it started to come to life and it got Very Exciting on my table. I think I drove them nuts with ‘Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?’ and ‘My Lighthouse’

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When Kirstie and Richard Hunt came to judge we tootled off to tea and met some of the other contestants in other competitions going on around the grounds and house. There were puppies, school children from a local school, table centre piece builders (Lego man didn’t even tell his wife he was filming he kept it so secret!!).

Once we got back in there was a decent air of anticipation as Kirstie held the trophy and Richard of the Devon Scone Empire looked stern and bemused all at once?

And the Winner is …

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Eeep!!

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Kirstie had made some Appletinis then we all went home.

The other gingerbread houses were by some lil’ crackers, Rhian Mewis who came 2nd (by 4 points) and I have become lovely Facebook friends (hers is the fairy House)

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Rhian’s Fairy House from The Splendid Bakery

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Johns gingerbread house

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Annes Santa’s Workshop

Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas was televised on Tuesday 8th December on Channel 4 – the link is the episode although there is a lovely upwards sweep of the camera on the first episode a few minutes in.

Happy days – all the contestants were amazing and it was a pure pleasure to meet some like minded bakers who are bonkers about gingerbread. Can’t wait until next year!

 

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Christmas Treats

Christmas Treats are our #1 pastime in the kitchen at this time of year with so many spices and rich smells coming out of it. Particularly the wafts that create watering mouths, namely orange zest and dark chocolate, peppermint and vanilla. Homemade treats are something we get stuck into with the boys every year and it’s lovely to share with their friends and families. Christmas comes but once a year, with all that comes, we bring foody cheer!

Christmas mini-muffins

Make 24 mini muffins in cute individual cases – perfect for Christmas canapés or as a daily advent calendar-style treat.

mini-xmas-pudding-muffins

Ingredients

200g/7oz self-raising flour, sifted

100g/3½oz golden caster sugar

100ml/3½fl oz sunflower oil

75ml/2½fl oz milk

1 large free-range egg

50g/1¾oz qood quality dark chocolate, chopped

1 heaped tbsp high quality mincemeat

50g/1 ¾oz good quality white chocolate, chopped

50g/1¾oz dried (or fresh) cranberries

Preparation method

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and put 24 mini-muffin cases inside a mini-muffin tin.

Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl, then make a well in the centre. Whisk together the oil, milk and egg and slowly pour into the bowl, stirring gently. Divide this mixture between two bowls. In one bowl add the dark chocolate and mincemeat. Add the white chocolate and cranberries to the other bowl. Stir very gently.

Divide the two mixtures among the 24 muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and risen.

Remove the muffins to a wire rack and eat warm.

cc tin

Bite-Sized Party Bark

You can have this party bark done from start to finish in an hour or less – about 15 minutes of prep, and the rest of the time for your bark to set.

With the help of a set of shaped ice cube trays or candy molds, a simple recipe like chocolate bark looks so much more festive.

What you will need:

White Chocolate to melt or use milk chocolate just as easily.  If you do, make sure you are using something that’s designed to melt easily.  How do you know?  Check to see what the melting instructions on the package are.  Avoid anything that doesn’t have melting instructions or it could go claggy…a technical term there for you.

You will also need something salty, something crunchy, something chewy, and something with nice color for a good recipe.  You don’t need to follow my recipe exactly – check your cupboards!  You probably have ingredients that will work.

What I used for 2 trays of treats (28 pieces):

1/2 package of Vanilla Candy Melts
2 Tbsp. chopped nuts (your preference)
2 Tbsp. toffee pieces or Smarties
2 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips
1 oz. Craisins  (sorry, I don’t know how many Tbsp. that would be, I just had the individual packages on-hand for lunches, and I used one of them)

Stir all your mix-ins together, melt your chocolate and stir it often.  You can spoon your melted chocolate into the cube sections, but I’ve discovered that you can put it into an empty ketchup bottle or squeezy dressing container r(washed thoroughly of course) and squirt it that way.  No little candy strings that way, and you can put in exactly how much you want.

Sprinkle your toppings on.  Press them in just a little, to make sure that everything sticks.  You may wonder why we didn’t just stir the whole mixture together… I just find that this way is easier and prettier.  If you’d rather mix it and spoon it and smudge it around a lined baking tray – feel free! (picture attached)

Now, just cool your cases until they are solid.  If you’re in a rush, you can speed this process up by putting it in the fridge, though it’s not necessary – it will harden just was well on the counter.

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(These bite sized bark are from the Happy Hour Project)

Then, just pop them out.  If your trays are pretty rigid (like mine) I found that by twisting them like you would for ice, then turning it upside-down and giving each cavity a decent press on the bottom with a spoon handle, I got all of them to pop out without too much of an issue.  If you’re using silicone trays – it will be really easy.  Just press up on the bottoms and your bark will pop right out.

Then, just toss them on a plate to serve!

party bark

 Ho’ Cho’ Sticks – Hot Chocolate on a Stick makes about 45 treats

Ingredients:

3 candy canes for crushing
6 x 200g Melts or cooking chocolate
silver balls
100 g white chocolate for melting

Piping bag or zip lock

Ice trays for moulding, you can use shaped fun ones which might make less than 45 treats or the standard ice cube version which should get the full quota from this mix
Wooden teaspoons
Cellophane bags or sheet
Twist ties in Christmassy colours

Method:

Crush the candy canes and set aside.
Melt the milk chocolate according to package directions.
Fill the pastry bag or zip lock bag with the melted chocolate. If using a zip lock bag, snip off a corner.
Fill the trays by piping in the melted chocolate.
Leave to partially harden (about half an hour), then place the wooden teaspoon in each one. Sprinkle with some crushed candy canes and silver balls.
Leave to harden completely.

Melt the white chocolate according to package directions.
Carefully remove the chocolates from their moulds. Dip each in the white chocolate and then in more crushed candy canes and silver balls.
Leave to harden on a plate.

You can spread the work load over 3 days/evening. I melted and formed the treats the first day let them harden overnight. (I used the Wilton brownie bites pan.) I added the white chocolate glaze and the garnishes the second evening. I wrapped them and added the gift tags on the third day.

Package each treat with cellophane and a twisty tie.

choc spoon

 Crystallised Orange & Chocolate ‘More-Mores’

 Ingredients:

4 large unwaxed oranges, or 2 oranges and 2 lemons

Big bag of granulated sugar

 Method:

Cut the fruit into 8 wedges, and then cut out the flesh, leaving about 5mm thickness of peel and pith. Cut each wedge into 3-4 strips.

Put the peel in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 5 mins. Drain, return to the pan and re-cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 30 mins.

Set a sieve over a bowl and drain the peel, reserving the cooking water.

Add 100g sugar to each 100ml water you have. Pour into a pan and gently heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the peel and simmer for 30 mins until the peel is translucent and soft. Leave to cool in the syrup, then remove with a slotted spoon and arrange in 1 layer on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Put in the oven at the lowest setting for 30 mins to dry.

Sprinkle a layer of sugar over a sheet of baking parchment. Toss the strips of peel in the sugar, a few at a time, then spread out and leave for 1 hr or so to air-dry.

Pack the peel into an airtight storage jar or rigid container lined with baking parchment. Will keep for 6-8 weeks in a cool, dry place.

To make into a delicious gift, melt the chocolate in a small bowl.

Dip the candied orange peel into the chocolate to half-coat them, shaking off the excess. Put them on baking parchment to set, and then pack into small cellophane bags tied with ribbon or pretty kitchen string.

choc orange

 Vanilla Extract

A really simple ‘wow’ gift – perfect gift for a baker or ‘pretty kitchen’ lover – this is an all year round special gift.

Ingredients:

2 or 3 vanilla bean pods

Vodka

Method:

Place 2 or 3 vanilla beans in a bottle and cover with vodka. Let sit for 2-3 months (or more) and you’ve got the most amazing homemade vanilla extract. PLUS: you never have to replace it! – Just top off with fresh vodka when 1/3 of it is used and you’re good to go!

Pretty it up with a personalised label – we love these printables from the Botanical Printer Works that are free and good to go!

cookie

Reindeer Food

Ingredients:

Oats (the magic sort)

Edible glitter

Wishes and dreams (you’ll extra if you can’t get magic oats)

Method:

Place the magic oats, edible glitter and wishes & dreams in a bowl, mix well and scatter through the garden or on in a bowl on your front door step.

The reindeer will have a little bit of this while they wait for Father Christmas unload. The nicer your wishes and dreams the faster they fly.  Listen out for the jingle bells on the 24th!

Here’s a printable if you want to leave a note too.

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Have a great Christmas y’all x x

Apple Crumble Cake Recipe

Apple Crumble Cake Recipe – perfect pud or coffee morning cake

Beautifully moist spicy apple crumble cake recipe with a filling with af stewed apples and crunchy Crumble topping. A tasty treat for a coffee morning, winters dessert or just because with a brew.

When I cook this cake I’m reminded of the many time I baked with mum when I was little, sitting on the work top and smelling the cake batter as it wafted up for the mixer. It evokes warm memories of spices cooking, apples heating and licking the K beater on mums Kenwood Chef which had its own signature oily aroma as it was put through its paces. The kitchen was wood panel lined like a Swedish sauna (circa 1970s) and there was always a bustle of something good and home-cooked coming from it. Apple Crumble was one of the much loved dishes that came from the oven as well as mums Apple Cake. I’ve blurred a couple of mine and mums recipes here to combine a new family Winner at the table.

licking mixer

Ingredients

Cake batter

200g Butter

200g soft brown sugar

2 eggs

200g  self raising flour

 Apples

50g sultanas

2 rounded tsp ground cinnamon

2 large Bramley apples

bramley apple

 Crumble

100g Plain flour

100g Butter

100g Demerara sugar

50g oats

1 tbsp ground cinnamon (we like a lotta cinnamon although you can half this if you prefer)

Preparation

Apples

Address the Apples first, like ‘Howdy!’

Peel and core the apples, then slice to 2 or 3 mm thickness and place in a large pan

You have 2 choices at this point just to jazz it up

a) Sauté the apples, sultanas and cinnamon on a medium heat until soft but not mushy

Leave to one side to cool, there’s no need to add liquid

b) Slice finely and add a squeeze of lemon to stop them going brown and flatten cling film over them so the air doesn’t turn them

Cake

For the cake batter beat the butter, cinnamon and sugar till smooth and lighter in colour, this is when the air is incorporated to the mix

Lightly whisk the eggs to break up the albumen and add to the mix

Finally sift the flour to keep the mix light and airy

streusel cake

Assembly to oven

Prepare a cake tin by oiling and cutting a greaseproof non stick liner to fit

Carefully add 2/3 of the cake batter to the tin and level slightly

If you have chosen Apples A) gently smooth the apple mix over the batter without using lots of pressure

Or Apples B) layer the sliced apples and scatter sultanas and cinnamon

Add the final 1/3 of cake batter and level again

Bake 180oC for 25-30 minutes

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Crumble

When the cake is has been baking for 15 minutes, layer the crumble mix. This will bake and go golden on the top as the cake continues to cook for another 10 – 15 minutes.

Test the batter with a cocktail stick or skewer to ensure the dip is clean, if there is wet batter it needs another 5 minutes (and repeat if necessary as there is a lot of moisture)

Once removed from the oven let it cool at ambient temperature, not near an open window or this will cause condensation and make for a messy turn-out!

Great with clotted cream, custard or on its own with a strong brew.

 applecake

wedding show chat

Wedding Shows – Why You Should Go To One Copy

Wedding Fairs

There are many reasons to attend Wedding Shows and why you should go to at least one. As we dust the confetti out of our hair and settle into Wedding Show season this year’s brides we have baked for are remembered fondly for their beautiful, creative, sometime wacky creations and allowing us to make them.  A large percentage this year came from earlier Wedding shows. Here’s Buns’ Guide to Why, Where and a little bit more.

Image by Seahaze Photography

10985415_898897183473906_89246291176800049211_n

Who?

Looking on both sides of the coins we have Brides wanting inspiration and ideas or looking for something different or the next big trend. It’s a time when you can get up close and personal to look, feel or sample the items you covet most. You get to meet your potential supplier (I’m going to talk cake maker here, Hello!) you can strike up a working relationship and a cake compatibility conversation. It also works for us as suppliers, we can get a wider understanding of what makes a bride & groom tick, forthcoming trends and who is the decision maker ;0)

Cake by Buns of Fun, matching Posies by Flower30 and pictures by Chris Taylor Photography

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

What?

There will be butter creamed, ganached, piped and sugar crafted cakes galore with sampling to boot (and not s single calorie is noted at wedding fairs – how liberating!) there are acres of fabric for brides and bridesmaids with dresses a aplenty, shiny rings, headwear, crisp menswear, try a sip of something to toast with, swoon in delight at the array of colours, textures and scents from the florists. There’s so much to take it make a note of what you really want to look at but be adventurous and have a look and chat to everyone –if they can’t help they might know who to recommend. You can expect a high standard of showmanship from us as a WOW Team collectively. We’re here (there?) to meet you, talk about your ideas and have a look in that old diary to see if ultimately it’s all do-able.

cupcake partiespin5mint

Where?

Soon my pretties…soon… More to the point where are we? Norfolk Brides at Oxnead Hall in Aylsham is flying high on our cake-dar as it’s this weekend, Sunday 11th October. The first event for Norfolk Brides at this prestigious venue and we must say it looks stunning – very exciting! Next on my excitement indicator is The Most Unusual Wedding Fair at the gorgeous Godwick Great Hall, we were at this one last year and it rocked. We saw lots of very happy brides & grooms and brides & brides who have already tied the knot with Buns of Fun officiating the cakery. Early next year is The Most Curious Wedding Fair in Norwich March 20th, this beautifully creative and artistic culmination of excellent artisans in a very atmospheric ancient City church. Another high flier for filling the diary with amazing ideas and inventive couples. We can’t wait!

11992412_10153599066251543_1807355792_nTMUWF-2015-text-logo-badge-circular-200pxvelvet+johnstone_most+curious+wedding+fair

Why?

If we’ve made it to a Wedding Fair you can bet your bottom dollar we are fully insured for public and private events. If you’re getting married locally you’re probably attending a wedding show near you. You can be assured that if we’ve arrived with cakes / flowers / favours or whatever we are demonstrating you can be happy in the knowledge we’ll get to your event in one piece too. We’re fully insured with public liability, have a grade 5 award for Food Hygiene from North Norfolk District Council, Food Allergen trained by ABC Food Law, Norwich, attended Peggy Porchens piping master class, Belgravia, London and awarded High Commended for Beautiful Baking with EDP Food & Drink Awards. We’ve also appeared in numerous articles in print (Brides magazine, Wedding magazine, Your Perfect Wedding, Your East Anglian Wedding) and blogs worldwide  Burnetts boards, b.loved, Festival Brides, Want That Wedding, Wedding Sparrow, Wedding Bazaar

bloved badgefestival brides badgestyle me pretty2015perfect wedding badge WS_FEATURED_BADGE_Blush

Where ever you’re heading to for Wedding inspiration or to find your cake maker, florist or dress maker please check they are insured, have relevant accreditations or certificates you make sure you have the most fabulous stress free day of your life.

food standarsds EDP Norfolk FADA HCnfad-pink-tp-md

 

 

 

wedding show chat

Wedding Shows – Why You Should Go To One Copy

Wedding Fairs

There are many reasons to attend Wedding Shows and why you should go to at least one. As we dust the confetti out of our hair and settle into Wedding Show season this year’s brides we have baked for are remembered fondly for their beautiful, creative, sometime wacky creations and allowing us to make them.  A large percentage this year came from earlier Wedding shows. Here’s Buns’ Guide to Why, Where and a little bit more.

Image by Seahaze Photography

10985415_898897183473906_89246291176800049211_n

Who?

Looking on both sides of the coins we have Brides wanting inspiration and ideas or looking for something different or the next big trend. It’s a time when you can get up close and personal to look, feel or sample the items you covet most. You get to meet your potential supplier (I’m going to talk cake maker here, Hello!) you can strike up a working relationship and a cake compatibility conversation. It also works for us as suppliers, we can get a wider understanding of what makes a bride & groom tick, forthcoming trends and who is the decision maker ;0)

Cake by Buns of Fun, matching Posies by Flower30 and pictures by Chris Taylor Photography

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

What?

There will be butter creamed, ganached, piped and sugar crafted cakes galore with sampling to boot (and not s single calorie is noted at wedding fairs – how liberating!) there are acres of fabric for brides and bridesmaids with dresses a aplenty, shiny rings, headwear, crisp menswear, try a sip of something to toast with, swoon in delight at the array of colours, textures and scents from the florists. There’s so much to take it make a note of what you really want to look at but be adventurous and have a look and chat to everyone –if they can’t help they might know who to recommend. You can expect a high standard of showmanship from us as a WOW Team collectively. We’re here (there?) to meet you, talk about your ideas and have a look in that old diary to see if ultimately it’s all do-able.

cupcake partiespin5mint

Where?

Soon my pretties…soon… More to the point where are we? Norfolk Brides at Oxnead Hall in Aylsham is flying high on our cake-dar as it’s this weekend, Sunday 11th October. The first event for Norfolk Brides at this prestigious venue and we must say it looks stunning – very exciting! Next on my excitement indicator is The Most Unusual Wedding Fair at the gorgeous Godwick Great Hall, we were at this one last year and it rocked. We saw lots of very happy brides & grooms and brides & brides who have already tied the knot with Buns of Fun officiating the cakery. Early next year is The Most Curious Wedding Fair in Norwich March 20th, this beautifully creative and artistic culmination of excellent artisans in a very atmospheric ancient City church. Another high flier for filling the diary with amazing ideas and inventive couples. We can’t wait!

11992412_10153599066251543_1807355792_nTMUWF-2015-text-logo-badge-circular-200pxvelvet+johnstone_most+curious+wedding+fair

Why?

If we’ve made it to a Wedding Fair you can bet your bottom dollar we are fully insured for public and private events. If you’re getting married locally you’re probably attending a wedding show near you. You can be assured that if we’ve arrived with cakes / flowers / favours or whatever we are demonstrating you can be happy in the knowledge we’ll get to your event in one piece too. We’re fully insured with public liability, have a grade 5 award for Food Hygiene from North Norfolk District Council, Food Allergen trained by ABC Food Law, Norwich, attended Peggy Porchens piping master class, Belgravia, London and awarded High Commended for Beautiful Baking with EDP Food & Drink Awards. We’ve also appeared in numerous articles in print (Brides magazine, Wedding magazine, Your Perfect Wedding, Your East Anglian Wedding) and blogs worldwide  Burnetts boards, b.loved, Festival Brides, Want That Wedding, Wedding Sparrow, Wedding Bazaar

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Where ever you’re heading to for Wedding inspiration or to find your cake maker, florist or dress maker please check they are insured, have relevant accreditations or certificates you make sure you have the most fabulous stress free day of your life.

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Damson Gin – Norfolk Slow Food

Saturday afternoon saw us all out with an ever-growing pile of jumpers and tops on the freshly turned earth as the weather got warmer and we collected bags and boxes of sloes, damsons and blackberries – we even got some elderberries and hawthorns. Naturally we followed the law of the land pick no more than you need, leave some for the wild life and leave nothing but your footprints.

Our top tip for our Damson Gin – Norfolk Slow Food – Leave it to mature!!!

That’s the main instruction for making your own tonics for a cold winters night…. If you are a fan of slow food and Damson Gin read on .
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There are various damson gin recipes, but the basics are the same. Some people prefer a much sweeter, more syrupy damson gin and add more sugar. I prefer the recipe below. Use good quality damsons, discard any bashed or bruised fruit and dicard the little stalks.

There are 2 methods of releasing the juice, you can either prick the skins a couple of time with a skewer/knife/cocktail stick or freeze and thaw then use – we’re fans of the latter. There’s a theory, certainly with sloes that they become sweeter or denser in flavour once you’ve had a frost (or freeze). Make sure you have sterilised your jar properly. After weighing, place the damson fruit into the jar, add the sugar and then the gin. Simples.

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Give the jar a swirl every day until the sugar has fully dissolved. Cover the jar or place in a dark place – this will help keep the colour of the damsons, and give your damson gin a wonderful rich colour. Leave it for a minimum of three to four months, testing every month or so to see if a little more sugar is required. This wonderful damson gin concoction can be kept for almost a year, much longer than that and the fruit will disintegrate too much and spoil the taste of the liqueur. By Christmas the damson gin will be superb, and ready to savour with friends. Sample the damson gin from your jar now and then, when you are happy with the result, strain through a muslin cloth and re-bottle the damson gin. To be honest it’s pretty easy, your damson gin will be naturally clear and a beautiful rich colour.

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What do you do with the damsons after bottling? Try a decadently rich Damson Crumble, some people even boil up into jams or preserves, but for me, I’m just delighted to sample the Damson Gin!

INGREDIENTS FOR DAMSON GIN

550g of fresh damsons
250g of granulated sugar
1L of gin

  1. Tip the fruit into a clean, sterilized jar with a wide neck – youll have trouble stuffing them into a very narrow-necked bottle. Pour in the sugar and top up with the gin.2. Seal and shake to encourage the sugar to start dissolving, then turn gently every few days for between 8 and 12 weeks before drinking.

Wise Woman Alert! Keep your empty gin bottle –  there’s nothing worse than scrambling around for a bottle when you’re are ready to strain and decant!

If you are going to keep the damson gin for more than 3 months, strain off the damsons. Don’t discard the used damsons: remove the stones, chop, and stew them with sugar for use in sweet pies, spoon over ice cream or add them to a fresh lot for an extra kick to jam or jelly. Most of the alcohol in the gin-soaked fruit will cook off, but some gin flavour will linger.

Try serving a small shot of damson gin with full-flavoured hard cheeses such as a tangy cheddar.

MMM-Mmmm bottoms up!

Apple & Blackberry Crumble crumble

Fruit Fall Bounty – Apple & Blackberry Crumble

One of my favourite things about the forthcoming season is the fruit fall that’s all around us. There is an abundant glut of bough heavy fruits and colourful berries about to explode with ripeness into our harvest. We’re fans of pick your own, foraging and the wee ones are dab hands at scrumping.. It’s a rite of passage I think…

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Heavily scented fresh autumn apples and plump juicing blackberries are typically sweet buttery crumble territory, best served steaming with hot creamy custard.  Beautiful gentle green and blushed goosegogs, which make a stonking tart jam to have with wedges of crumbly Wensleydale. What about pears, plums, mulberries, damsons who also make great jams, perfect for filling cakes or tucking into cobblers, pies and puddings. There’s still sloes to come and quince next month – the former being a deadringer for a blueberry but so much better pricked and bathed languorously in Mothers Ruin. Who doesn’t love a warming nip of Sloe Gin when the days are short and glittering with frost? Quince is another perfect pair for savoury slices, cold cuts or cheeses.

Where shall we start? I’m going to share a couple of recipes for this season, tried and tested (and loved and finished by 3 menfolk of the house).

First up, a staple because if you don’t already make your own here’s our favourite plate scraper.

Scrumpers Tip: If you are all for free food make sure you dunk these in cold water for some time to see if any residents emerge from your bounty. Apples can be peeled, cored and quartered and popped in a freezer bag in the portion size you would cook in. I’ve never met a bunch of blackberries who didn’t need a good ‘rehoming’ – just sayin’.

Apple & Blackberry Crumble

A lot of what I cook for the family has my mothers air of ‘I just know’ about it so I’ve had to go slow and make notes as I go to get a recipe for something ‘I just do’.  I start with the crumble as it can sit and the apples don’t loiter very well, they get a brown tinge to them once they’re cut and the acid hits the air.

Apple & Blackberry Crumble topping:

12 oz plain flour (it works with Doves plain flour too)

6 oz butter (I like Willow particularly as it has a buttery taste and makes a subtle ‘chew’ to the top—not the sort you’ll lose a tooth in)

2 or 3 oz rolled oats

4oz Demerara sugar

Combine the flour and butter creating lots of lift when rubbing in. I pick up in the palm area and ‘drop’ it out through the fingertips, brushing it through my fingertips thumbs starting at small fingertips and working in. Once you have fine breadcrumbs you know you have the flour and butter combined, go a bit further with it and form a larger crumb. At this point add in the Demerara and oats and just rub a little to integrate it. This can sit to one side while you prep the fruit.

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Fruit prep:

5 or 6 large Bramleys, peeled, cored and sliced

500g blackberries, if you are using these straight from a freezer stash of pre picked berries add a tablespoon of corn flour to the dish, they can be cooked from frozen and the corn flour makes a little sauce.

Allspice or sweet mixed spice – allspice is actually one large peppercorn like berry that comes from India and has a many hued flvour, cinnamon meets cloves suggled with nutmeg and pepper.  Read more here

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Place your prepped fruit in a suitable baking dish, I use a family lasagne dish, our crockery is pulling double duty in our galley. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of Demerara and a teaspoon o f allspice or sweet mixed spice—it gives a lovely heady aroma as it’s cooking along with the berry juices. Tip the crumble over the fruits and level slightly.

Depending on your dish type it could be 25—45 mins cooking at 180c. I usually stick mine in the oven during the main cook mid week. On a Sunday it goes in once everyone’s plated up, then we take our time until our golden Apple & Blackberry Crumble is ready..

Serve with double cream for a rib sticking treat or custard or half fat crème fraiche for a lighter touch.

Bon appétit!

Apple & Blackberry Crumble crumble

 

 

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GIANT PMT Cookie Recipe

Cake are quite emotional things, there’s always an occasion for cake, big or small. Birthdays, weddings, christenings are the usual fayre here at Buns HQ, followed by the odd divorce cake, one funeral cake and a vasectomy celebration cake for a surprise party for the recipient (straight out of surgery!)

Sometimes you might want to bake with the children to feel that warm made-at-home glow and that nurturing mother hen supervision clucking about the place. In reality it’s a messy, batter flinging experience that leaves you bereft of a calm and placid demeanour with the added pain of a whopping clear up job (if your children are young like mine – particularly one, naming no names..)

During a half term and holidays it can be a trick to keep small folks occupied and not digging up the lawn, throwing things in the pond, tipping cupboard contents out, drawing on walls (believe me the 3 year old is BUSY!) we also have the addition of ‘The Monster’ at some point. . .PMT by another name and a most unwelcome guest. This rampaging guest once a month tiptoes through the calendar, inert at times; blowing dandelion clocks and other features of whimsy, and then wakes up one day with hob nailed boots on, smashing joy and delivering misery in a large dose.

For example, oh let’s say we’re returning from a lovely green and leafy wedding photo shoot in the middle of the beautiful North Norfolk countryside and decide to detour on the way home to a nearby a nearby craft centre. It is a ‘Monster’ day – so far she’s calm… The One Who Shall Not Be Named (the small one) fixes his gaze upon the many items available and decides to fling, with aplomb, the lovely swirly stand that hold hundreds of colourful tapestry silks. A rainbow of cottony colours filled the air briefly then dashed to the floor. ‘Monster’ kept calm but boy did we shift out of there once in high gear after clearing up and apologies were undertaken by one small sheepish person.

Driving home.          Monster awake.          Not good.            Short sentences.

CCCCOOOOOKKKKIIIEEEEEEEE.

My only thought.

And PMT Cookie came into this world at about 2.30pm that day.

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Giant PMT Cookie

This is how it shakes down people, and if you don’t  want the guilt factor of one GIANT one… serves 36 for those regular friendly days with friends and the wee ones..

15 minutes to prepare and 25 minutes to cook The Big One, or until golden

or  15 minutes to prepare and 14 minutes to cook for smaller cookies in batches of 8 per tray

Freezable (forward planning for next month…)

Servings: – 36 small dudes or a GIANT Mother Lover of a Cookie! (or 3 biggies!)
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 Sticks) 225g Unsalted Butter Softened
  • 3/4 cups Golden Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup (rounded) Horlicks
  • 175g bag Milk Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 175°C.

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Start with creaming the calories, beat the butter, white & brown sugar until smooth. This will help with legally punishing something…

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De-stress by whisking the egg then splosh in the vanillla extract with a dash of Devil-may-care-attitude.

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Combine the flour and Horlicks  separately from the mixture. (other malted drinks may be available)

Stir into the creamed mixture and then fold in the chocolate chips. ‘One for me, one for the bowl’…

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Now here’s cheeky for you – either use the PMT baking method or skip to regular normal function folks aka the regular method below:

PMT method: Drop the mixture onto a baking sheet, slap it around and smear it about until it’s at the edges, you don’t want to miss out on these calories!

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Cook for 15-20 minutes in preheated oven then remove from the oven and allow the Giant Cookie to chill.

I know you want to Cookie Monster it right about now but patience is a virtue, don’t sulk – you will burn yourself. I selflessly blistered the roof of my mouth with molten chocolate drops just for you.

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FEED Cookieee Monster

Nom Nom Nommm

N.B: This the size of 1/3 of the mixture and it’s a whole baking tray size

( 14″ x 11″ or 36cm x 28cm)

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Or the regular method from here on in:

Using two teaspoons drop the mixture onto a baking sheet and press down slightly to flatten.

Place on a greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Isn’t that nice.

Cook for 10-14 minutes in preheated oven.

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool for 5 mins before placing them on a wire rack to cool completely.

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Gluten-wheat-egg-dairy-free vegan Brownies! Honestly!

More and more I get asked for specialist baking or dietary cakes in the form of Gluten-wheat-egg-dairy-free vegan. At Buns of Fun it’s exciting when a request comes in for something like this and we’re more than happy to be able to stretch our apron strings and use a variety of ingredients and mix it up.Here at Buns HQ there are 2 small budding chefs who love to lick a bowl and are only too pleased to be asked to ‘mix this’ and ‘stir that’. It’s lovely to hear them discovering about food and it’s origins and having pride in producing (or ‘helping’ to produce) something that the whole family can enjoy.

If you have a specialist requirement or have little folks who like to wave a spatula, this is for you. Stand back and be prepared to be amazed by what shouldn’t really work – but actually does!

With only a soupcon of regular kitchen ingredients you can knock up a batch of this too-easy-to-make versatile pud’. Brill as brownies or served warm from the oven with custard or cream (other non dairy additions are available. ;o)

Super Peasy One-Bowl Chocolate Brownie

(p.s. Egg-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, vegetarian and vegan)

((pp.s. and super peasy for children to make!))

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 Ingredients – Dry

1 ½ cups Doves Wheat & Gluten Free Flour

3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa (I use Belbake cocoa which is vegan)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsb baking powder

½ tsp salt

Ingredients – Wet

1 tsp white vinegar (I know, trust me..)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

5 tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup water

 instructions
Stage One:

Super easy peasy sifting flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into an 8” square greased cake pan.

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Stage Two:

Make three wells. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well.

Pour cold water over all, and combine with a fork.

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 Stage Three:

Bake at 180c for 35 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

Wait 5 minutes to cool before turning out or slice and serve with fresh summer fruits and a dollop of cream. Or if you can restrain yourself dust your bake with icing sugar and keep a safe distance until chow time. You’re welcome!

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If you have any dietary challenges you’d like us to knot our apron for please email bunsoffun@hotmail.co.uk or call Emma on 07932 874576.