Updated: Dec 12, 2020
When the Cotswold Baby and Toddler Show team asked, “would you like to make a cake for the blog?” My first thought was to run for the hills… I’m not a baker and up to this point, my children’s birthday cakes have largely been shop bought. Often from a supermarket and sometimes made by very talented, local cake makers. They were bought with love and with our children’s’ interests in mind, but I had absolutely no hand in their creation.
My issues with making a birthday cake are as follows:
Aside from the cost, (which isn’t small if you’re buying decorations and good quality ingredients and buying absolutely everything for the first time), we also have limited cupboard space; so don’t have room to store everything that’s inevitably left over after making an occasion cake. Chances are that most of it would be out of date before it was needed again too, which is such a waste!
Time (or lack of it)
Researching designs, making lists, shopping, baking and creating the chosen design isn’t a quick process. I have total respect for people who do this for a living and it always annoys me when I see people asking for someone to do it at a cheaper price! The kitchen isn't my favourite room, I love to eat and I love to try new things but day to day, I’m all about quick, easy recipes that will be on the table without hours of preparation and faffing.
Skill (or lack of it ;-)
I will give most things a go and I love baking with my children and getting them involved in preparing their meals, but anything that involves a high degree of presentation is not my strong point. It takes a type of patience that I don’t have, I just want to eat! I also have a habit of substituting ingredients or trying to freestyle a method, which is nearly always unsuccessful. This is why I like baking with children, you can let them do it then legitimately blame wonky presentation on them!
So with all this in mind, it was with a mix of excitement and trepidation that we received our very first cake kit from the award winning Craft and Crumb. I’d browsed their website and had a tough time choosing from their beautiful designs. Rockets, rainbows and superheroes made the shortlist but as soon as I saw the digger cake, the decision was made. Ace absolutely adores vehicles and if they’re huge, noisy and likely to get grubby, even better!
The kit came beautifully packaged and with a set of very clear instructions. These were so helpful and even included hints for novice bakers, to help the process run more smoothly. I was unaware that frozen cakes are easier to ice or that the initial layer of icing is known as the crumb layer, so I’ve definitely learnt a few things by doing this! The step-by-step approach worked really well for us, as Honey and I could chat about what was going to happen next and why we had to do it in the order stated.
Inside the box, we found almost everything we needed to be able to get started and a clear (short) list of fresh ingredients that aren’t included, for obvious reasons! So after a trip to the shops for eggs, butter and milk, we were ready to go.
Honey loved tipping the packets in to the bowl, she was ecstatic to see that the cake mixture was sparkly and excitedly called Daddy in to see this miracle! She had fun cracking eggs and showing off her number skills by reading the scales. Lots of life skills practiced in a fun and engaging
way. Honey also loved trying out the hand mixer and rather wonderfully, the whole process created minimal washing up. Disposable cake tins were included (made from cardboard so they can be scraped clean and popped in the recycling box) and the mixture tasted so delicious that Honey licked the bowl, spoon and mixer clean (don’t worry, we washed them too, although Honey was most upset about this as she thought she’d done a great job of getting them sparkling)!
After freezing the layers, we waited until Ace was having a nap then got to work turning his cake into a construction site! Icing the large cake was easier than I thought it would be, thanks to it being solid and the buttercream was the perfect consistency first time, which has never happened to me before. Icing the cupcakes was trickier because I hadn't frozen them, it took a while to cover them in chocolate without cake crumbs marring the overall look but we got there and it was a good comparison to show how well freezing your cakes before icing them works!
The last leg was to add the decorations and this was where we had the most fun! We got to dig a hole in our cake, fill it with ‘rubble’ then cone it off and finish the look with boulders, logs and wood shavings! While I shan’t be giving up my day job any time soon, I definitely enjoyed making Ace’s birthday cake this year and Honey and I are very proud of how it turned out! Everyone who tried some reported that it tasted delicious and nobody guessed I’d had rather a lot of help with its creation, so we will definitely be going down the Craft and Crumb route again in the future.
If someone you love has a birthday or other special occasion coming up soon, make sure you head over to the Craft and Crumb website and browse their fantastic range (they have also just started making party bags – what a game changer). If you sign up to their mailing list, you can even get £5 off your first order. Alternatively, you can keep up to date with new products, competition and offers by following Craft Crumb on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Here's the finished cake, what do you think?