Questions you should ask your cake maker

Choosing a cake maker should be a relatively pain-free experience but as with any profession, there are definitely certain things you should be asking before you commit to buy.  

Making cakes takes a lot of skill and experience, not only do you need someone who makes delicious cakes but they need to be amazingly talented and creative to be able to decorate them to a high standard. There will of course  (like in every profession) be someone who can make it cheaper and faster, but be prepared for cakes to topple and to taste like cardboard when using inexperienced hands.

A couple of weeks ago I spent a day with Jess from Pickacake and whilst she baked an amazing train cake for her father in laws birthday. I ate leftovers, took some pictures and we chatted in depth about what questions you should be asking your cake maker.

1.  How long have you been in business and do you hold all the relevant food hygiene certificates?

Jess has been in business almost 2 years, has insurance and her food hygiene certificates.  

2. Can I see your portfolio and did you make all of the cakes in it?

Jess has an extensive portfolio of her own cakes on her Facebook page and website, you are very welcome to take a look and ask any questions you may have. 

3. How far in advance is my cake going to be made?

Whilst some cake makers pre-make their sponge bases and freeze them, Jess prefers to give her clients fresh cakes and generally bakes them the day before.

4. What are my filling choices?    

Jess tells me that the choices are endless, of course, buttercream is the regular stuff your nan put in her cakes but that's traditional and some may say boring. So why have boring when you can have Chocolate Fudge, Mousse, Custard Cream, Cream Cheese, Bubblegum, and Banoffee. If you can think of it Jess can make it.  

5. Do you work with fondant or buttercream?

Jess works with both as she uses the buttercream as a base underneath the fondant. 

 

 

6. Can you make sugar flowers? 

Jess makes the most amazing little sugar flowers from scratch using special tools to make the petals

7. Do you customise cakes or do I select from set designs and will you work within my budget?

Jess will make you anything you want and will offer you options to suit your budget. There are different ways to save on costs and Jess will work with you to achieve your dream cake.

8. I am not sure what I really want, can you design me something based on a few random ideas?

Jess is super creative and will work with you to design the cake you never knew you wanted.

 

9. Do you offer different dietary options?

Totally!!

10. Can I have fresh flowers on my cake?

Yes, the design of the cake is ultimately down to you, Jess will always advise you on the best options and explain the reasons why.

So now you have it there in black and white, a solid list of questions that you should really ask! 

 

 

 

The grandparents are in town

With my immediate family living in Surrey and me not driving it is not often I get to see my mum and dad.  

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Taking time to appreciate their visits is something some families take for granted. Don't get me wrong I would love to see my parents more often but the little I do see them makes me value those couple of days ever so much more. I think seeing them every week would make me lose sight of who they really are.  

They say you can't choose your family, well I guess that is right but your family can choose you and that is exactly what my mum and dad did when they chose to adopt me.   

I was a one-year-old red headed freckly kid when my mum and dad said: "we want this one". 

It was thanks to these 2 people that my childhood was filled with fun, laughter and great memories. 

My favourite being our holidays, the caravan ones in particular were always the best. 

The morning of our holidays we would drive off early to meet our parent's friends and off we would set with our caravans in tow and depending on our location, sometimes the communal boat 'Plank' would come along too.

The long drive to our designated site was filled with questions from my sister and me to our parents asking if we were there yet. This question always came about 20 minutes into the 4-hour journey and needless to say it is a question my parents and every other parent in the whole world is sick of hearing. Along with the incessant bugging of parents, we would, of course, demand our dad drove around the roundabout multiple times for our amusement.

Once we arrived at our campsite we would help get everything set up and then we would be off to befriend the whole campsite and it was then of course that the real fun began.

The love you have for your parents is there, unconditional and forever. But you will never realise what a parent goes through until you become one yourself.  

The love you have for your parents is there, unconditional and forever. But you will never realise what a parent goes through until you become one yourself.  

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Holi - The celebration of love and the arrival of spring.

Before children and responsibilities I had a carefree life, I saw many different countries and cultures but my favourite without a doubt was India. I loved it there so much I stayed there for 3 years enjoying the way of life, the culture and of course the festivals.

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India has so many festivals and celebrations but my all time favourite is Holi. 

In India, Holi marks the arrival of Spring and the passing of Winter and is celebrated with people from all ages covering the streets in colour, dancing and singing. The colour, noise and entertainment that accompanies Holi is an overwhelming feeling of unity and brotherhood. 

Here in Ipswich we celebrate Holi  in one of the local parks and whilst it is not as good as the real thing it's still really good fun. This year a couple of friends and I decided to head along with the kids. 

We all met up in the park and the music and smells of the bonfire and food were amazing, for a moment it took me back to the days of living in India and reminded me of all the things I loved. 

We sat around for a bit and enjoyed our surroundings until everyone was ready to receive the powdered paint. We all waited until everyone got their hands full of it and then went crazy, we covered the kids and they covered us we even threw paint at people we didn't know. The paint, the craziness, the feeling of everyone being together  for one reason was amazing and I thoroughly recommend this festival to everyone. 

Hopefully see you all next year  😀 

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Single Mums on Mothers Day

Mother's day as a single parent can be pretty tough, whilst you're reading everyone posts on Facebook about how their partners/kids have spoilt them. You're off to the shop to help your kids buy your own card and getting out the paints to help them make a creative gift, you know the kind us mums always love. 

This mother's day was of course never going to be any different and on Friday my littlest one, Jake came home from school in a right state, reason being... The gift he had made me for mothers day was not in his bag. Panic set in and the tears started to roll so I of course jumped into protective mummy mode and reassured him that we would make something together after dinner.

Dinner over and whilst they had been eating I had been on Google researching what on earth we could make.

Salt dough seemed to be a good idea so I went rummaging through the cupboards for salt and flour.

Now most people think that they don't suffer with OCD until that is, you have to let a child make something that involves flour or any other messy stuff. Giving your child control when there is mess involved is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do but give control is exactly what I did. After all it was meant to be a gift for me and Jake wanted some element of surprise. 

 

After measuring out the ingredients Jake mixed it all  together. For those that want to try making it we used 1 cup of plain flour and 1 cup of salt. We had 2 cups of water but added as much as we needed to make a dough.

It took a lot of mixing (by hand) and like most kids Jake had great fun making a complete mess.

Once it was ready Jake prepared the table and proceeded to roll his dough out.

It took multiple attempts at rolling and cutting to create his masterpiece but as you can see from his efforts it was well worth all the hard work.

Once the finishing touches had been put on the creation, it was straight into a hot oven (180' 10-45 mins depending on thickness) and Voila..... A hard piece of salty dough has been formed.

This salty formation once cooled can be painted, the best type of paint if you want to do this properly is acrylic but all we had to hand was regular kids poster paint which did the job. 

Watching a five year old create something is really special and the concentration and effort that went into making this 'thing' (and no, I do not know what it is) was amazing.

Taking photographs of him doing it just makes the memory even more special as now i have not only my 'thing' to remember our day but I have the pictures as well.  

My 'Thing' lovingly crafted by Jake, aged 5

How can you celebrate your child's first birthday?

You spent months trying and mainly failing to teach them how to eat with a spoon, constantly going through packs of wet wipes wondering how they can possibly get so messy. So for their first birthday why not them go crazy with a whole cake to eat to themselves. They can use a spoon, a finger, a whole hand or even a foot to eat and destroy that cake. The more mess the better and really, anything goes. The best part of the session is you don't have to do any of the clearing up ;)

A cake smash and splash session always starts with a few portrait photos, it's a great way to get your little one to relax in front of the camera and nice for you to have some beautiful images of them before they get messy! 

The next part of the session is my favourite bit... the cake. Now I know there are some of you out there that for one reason or another can't let your little ones have cake, well do not worry as we offer fruit alternatives too! This part of the session is really a chance to let your model shine, they are free to explore the taste, smell and textures of the cake or fruit. We dont mind how much mess they make... REALLY!

As parents will all know, their little people love bath time so what better way to clean off all that mess by letting them have a splash about in the final part of our cake smash and splash session. 

Ipswich, Suffolk Cake Smash and Splash Photography Sessions

To book your very own cake smash and splash follow the link...