Some of you might remember that I am an official ambassador for Bake Box - the bakeware subscription box that is delivered to your door every other month.
If you'd like to hear more details, prices and see how I got on with my first box you can read my review here.
The fruits of my labour from my first Bake Box was this amazing polka dot swiss roll - it was such a showstopper...how could I top that?
Since Connie's arrival on the 9th June I've not really had the energy or inclination to get baking - life has been full of sleepless nights, a mastitis infection, sterilising bottles, nappy changing & cold cups of tea, hence why freshly baked cakes haven't been at the top of my priority list (unless someone else baked them!).
Now that Connie is almost 6 weeks old I am starting to feel much more human: I am now physically healed from the birth, and we're starting to get into a bit of a routine - we are slowly adjusting to our 'new normal', and so I decided it was time to dust off my apron and wooden spoon & delve into my latest Bake Box delivery.
Having our new addition is obviously taking up lots of my time, and I'm constantly plagued with the "mum guilt' that I can't spend as much time with Bert as I used to be able to pre-Connie. So, last Saturday we made the most of Daddy being at home to hold the fort with Connie, so that Bert and I could have some quality time together. We headed into the kitchen to bake a masterpiece together!
Each Bake Box has a theme, and this month's box was called 'Teddy Bears' Picnic' - it was bursting full of wonderful bakeware and Bert and I couldn't wait to pick a recipe and get started.
Contents of the 'Teddy Bears' Picnic' Bake Box (minus the Teddy cake mould - which was in the oven when I took this snap! ;-))
Contents of the box:
- Teddy Bear silicone cake mould with Teddy Bear Cake recipe
- Flower, Leaf and Ladybird mini stencil with Picnic Cupcakes recipe
- Toadstool and Owl cutter and press with Woodland Biscuits recipe
- Rainbow Dust Pro-Gel in Yellow for tinting marzipan with Daisy Battenberg recipe
- Three cherry plunger cutters with Cherry Traybake recipe
- A lattice roller cutter with Mini Lattice Rolls recipe
We decided to give the Star Recipe (Teddy Bear Cake) a go, as it looked the most fun, plus I had a large supply of ready-to-roll coloured icing (a gift from the lovely people over at Renshaw Baking - thanks guys!) to use up...
A rainbow of Renshaw icing ready for our teddy cake!
Whenever I bake with Bert I tend to set it all up at our large dining room table, so he can access everything more easily. This way he doesn't have to teeter on a stool at the kitchen counter, and can really get his hands dirty! I weighed out all the ingredients before-hand, and popped everything into bowls ready to get pouring, cracking, whisking and mixing...
All ready to get our bake on!
We followed the recipe card religiously and found it to be very reliable.
Firstly, we pre-heated the oven to 160 fan, then we greased the silicone teddy bear mould really well with the butter wrapper. Next, we creamed together the butter and sugar in the food mixer, then Bert whisked the 4 eggs and we added them slowly to the butter/sugar mix, adding a spoonful of flour with each pour of egg to help prevent the batter curdling.
Bert the Baker's Son! ;-)
Most almost 3 year olds know how to use a Kitchen Aid Artisan Mixer, right? ;-)
The next stage was to add the remaining flour to the mixer, followed by a cocoa powder/water paste and a splash of my homemade vanilla extract. Once the mixture was fully combined and nice and light Bert helped me to spoon it into the mould.
The cake baked for one hour, and once completely cooled I trimmed it down to make the base flat and gently removed it from the mould. It slipped out really easily and we were so impressed with how brilliantly teddy-bear-like it was!
Cake fresh from the bear mould
The next stage was to whip up a batch of chocolate buttercream - combining soft butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and a splash of whole milk. I whipped it up in my Kitchen Aid food mixer, beating it until light and easily spreadable.
I used a palette knife to spread a thin, even coating of buttercream all over the bear cake (acting as a crumb coat as well as being a well needed addition to the final cake, adding texture and moisture to the sponge). I built up the snout and tummy with a little mound of buttercream (as stated in the recipe) and then popped it into the fridge to chill and harden for another hour.
Crumb coated and ready for the fridge
At this point we took the kiddos out for a long walk to the park for a few hours, to let of some steam, blow away the cobwebs etc. Plus, the promise of coming home to finish decorating the cake proved to be brilliant bargaining ammunition to get Bert off of the swings after an hour in the playground - parenting is all about bribery after all! ;-)
Home to decorate!
We had to improvise a little as we had small amounts of multiple colours of icing rather than just one batch of brown. We also didn't have any black icing to do the eyes and nose, so we free-styled it a little with hazelnuts for eyes and half a dried prune for the big bear nose- I think these worked brilliantly!
Honestly, the decorating part of this bake was just too hard for Bert's still limited skills in the kitchen (it was almost too hard for my kitchen skills too! Ha!), but he enjoyed watching me roll out the icing and helped me decide which colours to use where etc. I used edible glue to attach the smaller details and the buttercream acted as the glue to hold the main icing covering in place. Bert spent the time I took to decorate it chomping away on little lumps of icing...perks of being the sous-chef, right?
I was actually totally thrilled with the overall look of our finished bear cake - considering I've never made a character cake before, it's not too bad at all. At least it's clearly a Teddy bear! Bert was absolutely made up with it, and couldn't wait to take it to his Nanny and Grandad's house the next day for lunch.
T'ah dah! Our finished Teddy Bear cake!
We waited patiently to tuck into our Teddy bear cake, as we took it over to my in-laws' house for Sunday lunch. I loved seeing Bert's proud face when he showed it off to them, and it was great to hear him be able to answer questions about how it was made and what ingredients we used.
There was a super cute toddler moment when his Nanny asked him "Did you put flour in the cake Albert?' and he replied "You don't put flowers in cakes Nanny, you silly billy!" BLESS HIM.
Our finished Teddy Bear cake, basking in the sun in Nanny & Grandad's garden, waiting to be eaten (sorry Mr Bear!)
After lunch on Sunday we (finally!) tucked into our Teddy bear cake, and he didn't disappoint us; reminiscent of childhood birthdays gone by the cake was really tasty - everyone enjoyed a slice - in fact, I believe Liam had 3 slices ;-)
This would be the perfect bake for a child's birthday or for any adult's birthday too come to that!
The cake sliced perfectly...
A slice of cake for mummy - a little of what you fancy does you good, right?
Finally Bert got to tuck in - he waited very patiently for 24 hours, pretty good for an almost 3 year old!
Over all we have been totally thrilled with this months Bake Box - the Teddy Bear Cake recipe had great results, the variety of bakeware in the box is just brilliant, and all very sturdy, good quality pieces. I'm excited to try some of the other recipes with Bert soon - I think he has his eye on the woodland biscuits next!
Have you been baking much recently?
Disclaimer: I was sent this Bake Box in exchange for a fair and honest review.