c July 2014 | Garden, Tea, Cakes, (Books) and Me

How to make a Loom Band Cake

Every year I make a cake for my niece Ava, this year she is celebrating her eighth birthday. I had originally planned to make a pinata cake, but over the last month or two she has discovered the #loombands craze! As a surprise I would make her a Loom Band cake, I had recently seen some loom bands cupcakes and used that as my inspiration.
Loom Band Cake
Loom Band Birthday cake
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Recipe - Loom Bands Cake

I baked a batch of mini fairy cakes using my basic fairy cakes  recipe but using small cake cakes and a small cake tin. I also made a large batch of butter cream a day earlier. I knew it was going to be a hot day, so wanted a few less things to do the day of the main cake. 

  • bowl or electronic food mixer
  • scales  
  • cake tin 26cm x 13cm  (10" x 5")I used a multi size adjustable cake tin
  • large serrated knife
  • baking paper to line the cake tin
  • cooling rack
  • pastry cutter
  • palette knife
  • ribbon
  • ruler
  • knife
  • cocktail sticks
  • scissors
  • icing smoother (optional)
  • rolling pin
Loom Bands Cake
adjustable cake tin 

makes one oblong cake approx 26cm x 13cm  (10" x 5")
4 eggs
8oz butter or margarine
8oz caster sugar
8oz self raising flour

Filling and Topping
175g butter
160g icing sugar
a pack of Renshaw Neon colours sugar paste 
box of Smarties (optional)
packet of marshmallows (not the mini ones)
edible cake decorating glue or water

  • Pre-heat oven 160 degrees / Gas 2-3
  • Line the cake tin
  • Cream the butter and caster sugar, I used an electric whisk
  • Whisk in the eggs a little at a time, if you think the mixture is splitting add a little of the flour.
  • Fold in the flour, a few tablespoons at a time.
  • Pour the mixture into the cake tin, make sure the mixture is spread out evenly 
  • Bake for around 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave the cake in the tin for 15 minutes, before placing onto a wire rack, remove the baking paper and allow to cool.
Assembling the cake

#LoomBands Cake

Choc full of Smarties
  • Slice the cake in half using a large serrated knife.
  • Optional - cut a channel in the middle of one half of the cake, fill with chocolate sweeties such as Smarties. 
  • Sandwich the cake together with strawberry jam and vanilla butter cream. 
  • Use a large knife to trim the cake so you have even edges.
  • Using a palette knife cover the cake thinly with butter cream.
  • Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes, particularly if it is a hot day.
  • Roll out 500g of white sugar paste, use a little icing sugar or cornflour to prevent the sugar paste sticking. Use a piece of ribbon to measure the width and length of the cake, you can then use this to see if you have rolled out the sugar paste enough. 
  • Carefully lift up the sugar paste and place on to the cake. Use the side of your hand to help mould the sugar paste to the cake, watch out for your nails though.
  • Trim the sugar paste around the bottom of the cake. Keep the excess sugar paste you will need it later.
  • If you have a smoother used in cake decorating use this on the icing to give a lovely smooth finish.
  • Use a ribbon to decorate around the bottom of the cake, secure with either a pin or a little stiff runny icing.
Decorating the cake

  • Top the cake with ten mini fairy cakes, you want to try and choose those that are of a similar size and shape. If needed you can level the tops with a knife. 
  • Smooth a small amount butter cream onto the top of each cake.
  • Roll out the white sugar paste left over from covering the cake. Using a small pastry cutter (plain not fluted edge) cut out ten discs. Then place each one on top of the butter cream topped mini fairy cakes.
  • Secured the mini fairy cakes to the main cake using a cocktail stick pushed part through the bottom of the mini fairy cake, then secured into the main cake.
  • Take ten marshmallows and using scissors cut the bottom off each marshmallow, around a quarter of it. The bottom will now be sticky and should easily stick to the top of each covered fairy cake.
  • To work out the length of the sugar paste loom band, use a piece of ribbon to wrap around the marshmallows.
  • Roll out coloured sugar paste, use a little cornflour or icing sugar to prevent it sticking. Using a knife carefully cut your loom band to length. 
  • Now the tricky bit, wrap the sugar paste loom band around the marshmallows, make sure the two ends connect at the back of the cake so you can not see the join. Stick in place with a little cake decorating edible glue, if you do not have any you could use a dab of water.
  • Continue until you have completed all your loom bands.

Please remember that the finished cake may have a pin securing the ribbon, and the cocktail sticks securing each mini loom band cakes.

I used the remaining neon sugar paste to cover more mini fairy cakes and spell out my nieces name and age. Everyone was delighted with the cake, and I thought the bright colours looked fabulous!

Other recipes you may like to try:-


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A day out to Baddesley Clinton and the best sausage sandwich ever!

Baddesley Clinton, National Trust
The few weeks ago I visited Baddesley Clinton, National Trust property in Warwickshire, in the Midlands. It was a lovely sunny day and the trip was a very late Christmas present to my parents, which had been postponed twice earlier in the year. 

National Trust Midlands

Baddesley Clinton is a moated manor house dating from the 15th century, set in acres of land and gardens. As with many National Trust properties there was a restaurant, gift and garden shop and a secondhand book area. We arrived around 11 am and immediately headed for the restaurant for a late breakfast. Which proved to be the best decision in a long time, we all ordered sausage sandwiches and enjoyed them sitting in the courtyard outside in the sunshine. I am not exaggerating when I say this was the best sausage sandwich I have had - ever! I was not alone in this opinion both my parents and sister also agreed. The sausages were local to the area as was the delightfully fresh bread roll. Well done Baddesley Clinton for the best sausage sandwiches in England, according to me.
Baddesley Clinton
Best sausage sandwich - ever!

Moving onto the moated house, which was a very short stroll from the restaurant and shop area. You enter the house across the drawer bridge, and once through the entrance area you encounter an adorable  small but immaculate garden. This property breathed history, as expected a house of this age and history had a priest hole, stories of intrigue, marriages of the unusual, a bloodstained floor and tale of murder. I will not go into detail as if you decide to visit the property I would not want to ruin your visit.

National Trust
One of many of the magnificent stained glass windows

There were two particular volunteers that helped to bring the property to life, they were very good and delivering the story of the house without making you feel you were back at school. A number of stairs and floors were a little uneven as you would expect, there were seats dotted around to sit if you needed a rest. 

What a beauty - not your average garden shed

A moat - every home should have one!

There are extensive grounds to the house including a number of fish pools, we did not explore the wider grounds as I can only do so much walking. There is a formal walled garden, which hosted fruit trees, roses and a peacock roost along with some lovely benches and thatched hut.  Some of the benches had a large handheld information board, which explain the view or area of interest located by the bench - which made rest stops interesting. There was most oddly to the rear of the gardens a vegetable area in a dug up section of a field, which just did not seem to fit in. Maybe I just missed the explanation around this area. Although there was a rather splendid scarecrow.

We finished a our trip with another visit to the tearoom for a cool drink and a slice of cake, the Rose Lemonade was very refreshing.  A most enjoyable day indeed.

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Triple Chocolate Brownies - Recipe

Easy Recipe Chocolate Brownies
Triple Chocolate Brownies 
I can now tick off another recipe from my list of bakes, this one's from Australian's Woman's Weekly Cupcakes and Baking book and made especially for my cousin Verity's birthday. It is my first time at baking chocolate brownies, I have previously made Butterscotch Brownies but they are very different in texture to chocolate brownies. It is  a recipe that I will bake again and again - they were delicious!

Easy Recipe Triple Chocolate Brownies
Triple Chocolate Brownies

Triple Chocolate Brownies 

  • saucepan
  • scales  
  • wooden spoon / spatula 
  • 19 cm square baking tin
  • baking parchment to line tin
  • sieve
  • knife
  • chopping board

makes 16

Oven temperature
oven temperature 180 degrees C / 160 degrees C fan

200g dark chocolate chopped
100g milk chocolate chopped
150g white chocolate chopped
185g plain flour sieved
2 eggs
125g butter cubed
110g caster sugar

  • Preheat the oven.  Line cake tin. 
  • Melt the dark chocolate and the butter in a saucepan on a gentle heat. Then leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Stir the sugar and eggs into the chocolate mixture. Then mix in and plain flour.  
  • Add the white and milk chocolate and mix.
  • Pour the chocolate mixture into the cake tin.
  • Bake in the oven for no longer than 35 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and leave brownies to cool in the tin.
  • Once cooled, lift the brownies out of the tin using the parchment paper. Cut into squares, these are very rich brownies so you may want to think small.
Chocolate Brownies
The best Chocolate Brownies recipe ever!
Recipe Triple Chocolate Brownies
Brownies so easy to make
Other recipes you may like to try:-

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Garden Flowers Bouquet #2

Sweet Pea Flowers - waiting to be picked
My effort to bring more of the garden into the house continues, time for Bouquet #2. Today's small bouquet contains all red flowers, as you can see they are deep, rich, red in colour.

Flowers in Bouquet #2
  • Sweet Pea
  • Pelargonium
  • Knautia Macedonica previously called Scabias
Knautia Macedonica are the spiky looking flower

Garden Flowers
Sweet Pea - Tall
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Afternoon Tea - Fortnum and Mason

My recent trip to London included Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, a chance to celebrate my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary.  The Afternoon Tea was served in The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, the atmosphere was relaxing with the sounds of a pianist playing Debussy's Clair de Lune.  The service and attention we received was exemplary, whilst warm and welcoming.
Afternoon Tea Cakes - Fortnum and Mason
I have my eye on those afternoon tea cakes!
Review Fortnum and Mason
Afternoon Tea Cakes - Fortnum and Mason
You will see from the photographs and menu, there was an excellent choice of sandwiches and cakes, they even included some plain sandwiches for some of us. We did not quite manage to eat all of the cakes, we left one scone and a chocolate cake. My favourite was the Rose Eclair, a light and slightly fragrant cake. Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason cost £40 per person, which I thought was good value for the surroundings, atmosphere and quality of the cakes. 

Fortnum and Mason cup and saucer
Cup of tea at Fortnum and Mason

Afternoon Tea Menu

Fortnum's Classic Blend Tea
Fortnum's Single Estate Tea

Finger Sandwiches
Cucumber and Cream Cheese
Chicken and Sweetcorn
Fortnum's Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream
Rare Roast Beef, without Cafe de Paris Butter

Plain Scones
Apricot and Amaretti scones

Afternoon Tea Cakes
Mini Rose Eclair
Cherry and White Chocolate with Pistachio tart
Mango Choux bun
Chocolate Parfait 

Rose Eclair - my favourite cake
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