Saturday 25 May 2013

Homemade Gifts, Knitting Club & GIANT Fondant Fancy Cake

One of my "27 Things To Do In The Year I Turn 27" is to partly home-make or bake some of the presents I give throughout the year. I think something home made, home baked or personalised has a much more special feel to it, and really helps to show the recipient of the gift how much you care. A little thought goes a long way.

With this in mind, I have been trying to plan in advance of birthdays - shopping ahead of time, planning bakes and makes to ensure I have time to complete the home made items for friends and loved ones.

May 23rd is my lovely Mum's birthday - and this year I thought she needed some extra spoiling (...just because!) so I planned an advance make, and bake, and did a little shopping for her too!

The Make

Every fortnight I attend the Monster Yarns Knitting Club at Pensieri, Bedford. Run by the lovely Judit, the group allows for yarn crafters to meet, share their passion for knitting/crochet and indulge in some (very necessary) tea & cake. Judit is always on hand with inspiration, advice, she can trouble shoot any projects we're working on, and she also brings along her gorgeous selection of yarns, needles, ribbons and knitting kits for purchase.

A few weeks ago at knitting club Judit showed me her knittable-ribbon, and I instantly loved it. She inspired me to use this new product for a lovely gift for mum.
The ribbon makes what's called a 'tutu scarf' - which is a light, spring time, frilly, dressy scarf - a perfect accessory to any spring/summer outfit. You can purchase the ribbon in a variety of patterns/prints here from Monster Yarns. When I saw a finished scarf I just had to make one myself, and knew that my mum would not only appreciate the skill involved in making one, but would also love its quirkiness. I chose a navy blue & white polka dot pattern for Mum's scarf as I thought it was a very 'classic' look.

It was so fun to make - and was very quick to pick up - Judit taught me in a few minutes and I was away (only stopping to munch on cake, of course!) ... in fact, the whole ribbon-knitting process was so addictive that I had finished the scarf in just a few days!

I'm so pleased with the results...and hope my Mum will be too.

So addicted to the process of ribbon-knitting I was doing it on my commute

close-up of  the tutu scarf

the wonderful cake that fuelled my tutu scarf knitting at Pensieri :-)

The finished scarf! 
Hope you like it Mumsy! 

The Bake

The other element of my Mum's birthday gift was a cake. 

You can't have a birthday without a cake, after all. 

I really wanted to challenge myself with this bake, and make her something special, so out came all of my cook books and during my search I found the perfect cake to make her... a GIANT Fondant Fancy! 

The little Fondant Fancies (French Fancies) are my Mum's favourite cakes from her childhood, and when I saw this recipe in the Clandestine Cake Club cookbook I just HAD to make it. 

The sponge is lemon flavoured, with a lemony butter-cream dome, layer of lemon curd, then finally layers of marzipan and yellow fondant icing, followed by a drizzle of white glacee icing to decorate! 

You can find the full recipe here.

the lemon curd covered lemon sponge

buttercream dome and marzipan layer

icing layer on

the start of the decoration

the finished cake

the finished cake 

GIANT Lemon Fondant Fancy

I'm so pleased with the final outcome, and can't wait to see my Mum's face when she see's it. It was well worth the effort to make it, as I think it looks pretty impressive (even if I do say so myself!) and I'm hoping it will taste scrummy! 

Have you baked a show-stopper recently?

Do you hand make/bake gifts? Or are you a serial-shopper? 

I think a mixture of hand made, home baked and purchased gifts makes for the perfect balance - it is drastically unrealistic to think you can make/bake every single part of every gift you give, but when you can fit it in it is totally worth the effort. 

Bye for now

Mrs B