Friday, 21 June 2013

Elysia's Oreo Cake

I recently made a cake and posted a picture of it on Facebook that attracted quite a few likes, and Facebook even went so far as to add " This post is more engaging than many of your others"! Well that told me... So I thought I'd share the recipe. I call it 'Elysia's Oreo Cake' not because it contains Oreos but because  my granddaughter (Elysia) says that it looks like a giant Oreo.


For the sponge
8 oz Butter
8 oz Caster sugar
8 oz Self raising flour ( Minus 4 Tablespoons flour)
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 eggs

For the butter icing
8 oz icing sugar (sieved)
4 oz butter
few drops of vanilla extract
tablespoon milk


1. Heat oven to 180 degrees - I never use a fan setting when I'm baking 
2. Grease and flour two 8" sandwich tins
3. Beat together the butter and sugar, the longer you can beat the mixture the lighter the sponge will be.
4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Don't worry if the mixture starts to curdle slightly, it will all come good.
5. Add 2 tablespoons of the cocoa powder to the flour and stir in. Add enough hot water to the remaining cocoa to make a smooth slightly runny paste and beat into the cake mix, this will make the sponge nice and moist.
6. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder.
7. Divide the mix between the two sandwich tins and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the sponges are cooked ( the sponge will come away from the sides of the tin when it is done).
8. Cool for five minutes then turn out on to a cooling rack.
9. Beat together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract, again the longer you can beat it the better.
10. Add the milk a few drops at a time till the icing is nice and soft but not too runny.
11. When the sponge is completely cooled sandwich together with the butter icing and dust the top with icing sugar.

Voila!     Elysia's Oreo cake  - enjoy!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Losing my way

I've not done any sewing for the last couple of weeks,  which is unheard of, I think I have 'sewer's block'! Instead I've been concentrating on Jewellery making as I find it relaxing and therapeutic. I'm not planning on giving up bag making, but I feel that I've lost my creative identity. When I first started making bags I had a clear idea of the look I was aiming for - vintage style glamour. At the time I was only making evening bags but have since expanded my range considerably. I've had lots of advice from well meaning friends and family... " you should try making ..." But as a result I've kind of lost my way. My shops no longer have a signature style and I think that it's important to have one. If you do, people know what to expect in your shop and will hopefully bookmark it for when they are in the market for whatever it is that you sell. So I'm going to return to making things that I love - vintage inspired glamour and shabby chic - rather than what I think will sell. I think your passion for making things you love shines through in your work and though  many people may not like the same things as you, it's a given that a fair few will.    So from now on I plan to make sure that my makes have a style of their own, it may take me a while to get it right but I'm sure I'll enjoy the journey.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Though not an avid gardener I do go through phases of spending lots of time and money on my garden. Last year due to the awful Summer, I spent neither. But over the years I have accumulated a collection of shrubs and plants that have survived my sporadic attention and all too often neglect, those that aren't man enough fall by the wayside to be replaced by something else. This year I've noticed that many of my patio plants have fallen - I can't say whether this was due to my lack of care or to nature. But a couple that have survived to live another day are a yellow Camellia that I inherited from my Mum when she moved from a house to a flat and a pink Tree Peony. The Camellia had lots of flowers this year and I'm relieved not to have killed it off as my Mum loved it, and as she was a keen gardener she took great care of it. The tree peony I've had for a few years now and each year it produces just one bloom. Oh but what a bloom it is! It's about six inches across and really beautiful. Each morning when it is bathed in sunlight it opens up to reveal a stunning interior of yellow stamens and then as the sun goes down it closes again. Sadly within a week or so it will be gone for another year but I live in hope that one day there will be other blooms to join it. Maybe I'll have to try a larger pot?

The yellow Camellia

My Beautiful Tree Peony