Charlie and the Chocolate Factory birthday cake.

I was pleased to make this Charlie and the Chocolate factory cake for two reasons. The first being that I have been making cakes for Amara and her family since she was a baby and I can’t believe she is 6 and old enough to enjoy the delights of Charlie and the Chocolate factory! The second is that I’m a fan myself; I remember having it read to me at school when I was about the same age (and reading it myself numerous times since then) and adoring everything about it – I can’t wait to read it to my boys.

The Golden ticket on the cake is edible – it is made with royal icing and painted with edible gold paint. I don’t buy Smarties (Nestlé is evil) so these sweets came from M & S and actually I prefer them – the muted colours were pretty without being too bright and flourescent! It is a chocolate cake covered in vanilla Italian meringue buttercream and the matching mini cupcakes were vanilla with swirls and not-Smarties!

 

Sweets on birthday cake

6th Birthday cake

 

charlie and the chocolate factory cake, sweets and golden ticket

Golden ticket cake!

 

lavender bakery cupcakes

Mini cupcakes with sweets and swirls.

Pirates and flowers party cakes.

I love orders that have several opportunities to work a theme into the decoration. This order was for a joint sibling birthday and by using bright colours for all parts of the order it was possible to have two distinctly individual cakes which were complimented by the party favour biscuits and the cupcakes. The birthday cakes were raspberry and chocolate cakes – both covered in vanilla buttercream. The cupcakes were lemon and the biscuits, gingerbread.

 

boys birthday cake

Pirate themed decoration.

 

Pretty border birthday cake.

Flowers and butterflies.

 

Pirate ship cookies.

Pirate ship party favour biscuits.

 

Flower cookie favour.

Flower gingerbread party biscuit.

 

Skull cross bones cupcakes.Birthday party themed cupcakes.

Pirate and flower cupcakes.

 

sibling themed party cakes.

Joint birthday party cakes.

Cakes decorated with fresh, edible flowers; available to order now.

I’m as fond of brightly decorated cakes as anybody but I have always felt that the more natural the cake the better. Fantastic ingredients and cakes covered with delicious and beautiful Italian meringue buttercream  have always been the signature offering at The Lavender Bakery. I happily put colouring in the piped decoration – it can be removed easily before eating – and occasionally in the cake or frosting by request (hello Red Velvet cake lovers!) but I just love the idea of nothing but natural, fresh ingredients in a cake and these edible flowers make beautiful cakes that are perfect for a special birthday, a tea party or a summer wedding. They can be ordered in an array of bright colours or in a single colour of your choice. The price will depend on the exact design but do get in touch to discuss your ideas and requirements. A combination of flowers and fruit would be wonderful too!

 

Natural cake.

Cake with lavender and cornflowers.

 

All natural cake.

Cake decorated with real flowers.

Engagement cupcakes.

Engagement cupcakes.

Engagement cupcakes.

I decided to experiment a bit with this Engagement cupcake order; I thought an engagement ring made from royal icing in the same style as the tiaras would look good! It’s like it is displayed in one of those little ring boxes!

Engagement cupcakes.

Engagement cupcakes.

Cupcakes for a baby boy (or his parents, really!)

Christening cupcakes

Name and nappy pin!

These were a gift ordered by someone for a friend who had recently had a baby boy. They would also make great Christening cupcakes; I love the nappy pin decorations (used by my Mum but does anyone use nappy pins these days? Still, they look cute in icing!) and the pastel blue, white and green colour combination. They are vanilla cupcakes with a salted caramel center and salted caramel buttercream.

hand decorated baby shower cupcakes.

Baby gift cupcakes.

 

Cupcakes gift.

Baby boy themed decoration.

Sleeping Beauty Cake and mini cupcakes.

Birthday cake.

4th birthday cake for Magdalena.

 

This birthday cake was inspired by the story of Sleeping Beauty; the vines with flowers representing the forest that covered the sleeping princess! The birthday girl asked for a pink number 4 that she could eat and I worked that into the design for the cake. I love trying to find a way to express a theme or idea in a more understated way that best utilises the royal icing as a decorating medium. Disney style princesses can be extraordinarily hard to replicate in royal icing and I think this is a great alternative; it looks pretty and satisfies the preference shared by many for a Princess themed cake. Especially when it is combined with tiara cookies for the guests!

The other part of this order was 50 mini cupcakes. I decorated them with royal icing flowers to match the flowers on the main cake. They were dried in advance on silicone paper which makes the process of finishing the cakes quicker and also gives a more uniform appearance as it is easier to get them all the same size than icing freehand directly onto the frosting. The mini cupcakes were baked only a few hours before the party – they dry out too quickly to do them too far in advance – so having the decorations ready to go helped with getting them out the door for delivery to Islington! I really enjoyed this order – nice to do cakes, cupcakes and biscuits with a single theme all for one event!

 

Birthday cake.

Edible, pink number four!

 

 

cupcake decorations.

Mini cupcake flower decorations.

 

Mini cupcake sponge.

Mini cupcakes waiting to be frosted.

 

Birthday mini cupcakes.

mini cupcakes.

Red velvet cupcakes.

Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and swirl.

Cupcakes with royal icing decoration.

A recent order for a London law firm who appreciate their staff! 195 red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and a red royal icing swirl; they were individually boxed for the recipients upon arrival. The bright morning sun (where has that got to?) made taking pictures difficult but you get the idea! The other problem with red velvet cake (besides the mess it makes in the kitchen!) is the fact that you can’t see the intense red colour of the cake itself; also a problem with rainbow cakes! To avoid the cakes coming out a dull brownish red you really need to use paste colour for red velvet cake, not natural food colouring – I like Sugarflair.

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Cupcakes in the morning sun, boxed and ready for delivery.

Cupcakes with sprinkles.

cupcake frosting

Swirl of vanilla frosting and 100’s and 1000’s.

 

These remind me of birthday parties I attended when growing up in Australia. Not a cupcake in sight but ubiquitous on party tables was fairy bread; white sliced bread spread with margarine and sprinkled with hundreds and thousands. The ingredients in these cupcakes are much better quality but they are evocative of simpler times. Anyone else grow up with fairy bread? Did it exist in the UK?

These are vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Couldn’t be more simple but they are delicious. A tip for those of you who make your own cupcakes – brush the top of the cupcakes with vanilla syrup before frosting, it makes them even more delicious. Make simple syrup with equal weights of water and sugar (vanilla sugar if you have some). Allow the sugar to dissolve over a low heat in a small saucepan and then bring to the boil. You could infuse with a piece of vanilla pod or add some vanilla extract once it has cooled.

Cupcakes are available to order by the dozen – see the product list on the website for the full cake flavour list.

Sleeping Beauty in the Woods cake.

Sleeping beauty in the woods cake.

Square cake with princess crown on the front.

 

A cake with a princess crown and forest inspired decoration for a three year old. Square chocolate birthday cake with vanilla Italian meringue buttercream and banana cupcakes with vanilla frosting.

 

Cupcakes with flowers.

Banana cupcakes with vanilla frosting.

 

I love making banana bread (Nigella’s recipe from Domestic Goddess is my long standing favourite) for its comforting homely quality and I didn’t think it got much better than that so it was a revelation to add banana to a butter cake (Creamed butter and sugar, then add beaten eggs then mashed banana followed by plain flour with baking powder). The crumb is soft and the banana flavour is subtle but clear and uninterrupted by fruit or nuts and the like. It keeps well and is fantastic with vanilla frosting. Further details for ordering are here. It can be made as a cake or cupcakes.

 

Square birthday cake, chocolate with vanilla buttercream.

Third birthday cake for a Sleeping Beauty in the Woods party.