Mermaids, mermaids, mermaids!

We aunties find that having a theme helps when it comes to thinking up activities for the dotes.  If you have an idea of something they like to begin with, a quick think and an internet search can provide enough activity to get you through a rainy summer day.

The latest theme? Mermaids.

For a while now, Lil D has been obsessed with mermaids (encouraged greatly by the kids offerings on a certain on demand streaming service) so Bear came up with some under the sea craft ideas. 13658996_10153810914775749_446217057411689408_n

Somehow this morphed into making a mermaid cake because who doesn’t enjoy the chance to create a showstopper cake?

We began with a pinterest search, but surprisingly found little to inspire (mostly because we lacked fondant to make a fantastical mermaid topper and had only one colour to dye our icing…).  But we weren’t about to let that stop us.  Two round cakes, and a quick sketch later, we began the epic journey

from this ↓


To this ↓









A simple sponge covered in a pink buttercream and sprinkles gave our mermaid (tail) some fishy definition.  And a batch of madeleines were whipped up to create some amazing shells.

Yes it was an all day kind of project, and yes, Papa struggled to get his head round the headless mermaid (he insisted it was just a fish tail) but it fed an army of people (and tasted good!)


Push Cakes

Bank Holiday Weekend baking with Lil D is always a good idea.

Having watched yet another YouTube video, Lil D had her heart set on pushcakes.

First up the sponge.

We’ve been obsessed with the funfetti craze we’ve been seeing everywhere at the minute so we opted to try lemon “skin” and sprinkles for our sponge. Baked flat on a baking sheet and sliced right down the middle when cool, ready to cut out circles.  Experience shows regular sprinkles do not show up when baked so no spectacular funfetti this time. The circle cutting was hugely satisfying though, and the scraps are on standby for some Danish Romkuglar (Rum Balls).

Next you need frosting to create layers between your sponge circles.  Lil D decided on purple but something brighter could have been more effective.  She assembled her pushcake all by herself, piping and squishing sponge down with glee.

In the meantime I was moved to play with the mini cake shapes.  They screamed mini victoria sponges – an idea we really need to keep in mind for future baking moments.

Mini food is fantastic and we all enjoyed today’s activities so well done YouTube, you win again (^-^)





Swedish Chokladboll


Swedish Chokladboll

Ever since trying the fabulous mocha balls in KaffeO (Belfast) I’ve been obsessed with having a go myself.  Memories of Stockholm and Copenhagen trips are always worth reliving.

A quick google led me to this recipe. Oats, butter, sugar, cocoa and coffee.  No bake simplicity.

As I followed the quick steps I began to fear dryness. The KaffeO chokladboll had been so moist and chocolatey.  I began to suspect further experimentation would be needed but gamely carried on. (Mostly because I had used all my oats.)

After an hour of chilling in the fridge the mixture did form a ball but I wasn’t convinced that they would be the texture I was looking for. Still, the mixture tasted amazing so at worst I’d made an awesome sprinkle for icecream.

A couple more hours in the fridge and the verdict is in. They held together as a ball; not as dry as I’d feared but definitely not as moist as I wanted.  The flavour had sadly dulled a little with the chill but hope is not lost.  There will be a revenge bake.  I’ve since seen a creamed butter method or the addition of cream for moisture.  I can *totally* see these as my signature afternoon tea offering, just as soon as I can get them right.

Fondant fancies


Lil D loves to play with her food and we love to encourage her.

At 7 years old she’s had a rich history of cake baking and cupcake showstoppers.  Oftentimes the original plan goes out the window with her ever evolving creative input.

We start each bake with a photo and an explanation then wait for her to say, “Or we could…” (^-^) We’re learning to let it go and allow her to experiment.

These cute penguin cupcakes make a fun winter offering. January blues begone 💫

Banana Walnut Bread


Waste.   I really want to be conscious of how much we produce this year. I want creative recycling and upcycling to be part of our business future.  Good morning 2016!

Every little helps so lets begin small with those overripe bananas sitting on top of the fridge.

Bananas don’t usually rank highly on the {auntie dotes} fruitometer.  They are a functional fruit for energy when its most needed.  Not loved so much as appreciated.

But no-one likes black, bruised, squishy bananas, do they?

Sometimes a bake can be so much greater than the sum of its individual parts.  4 uneaten bananas make for a moist and tasty loaf cake.  Add leftover Christmas nuts to the mix and you’re beginning to produce something you could really get interested in.  Cake with one of your five a day? Happy New Year to that we say.

Find the recipe here



Gingerbread is our nemesis.

Last year we handmade everything.  Panels, icing, the lot.  We were so sure we’d be awesome gingerbread housers. Oh the frustration.  Why doesn’t it stick together right? Why won’t the walls stay up? There’s no way a roof can stay on without walls up properly.

If it wasn’t for the fact that we completely enjoyed our haunted dilapidated cathedral complete with jelly baby ravers we would have written the exercise off as a failure. And that’s always hard to do.



This year we thought we’d found the answer.

How could you go wrong with a gingerbread house kit?

Look how happy those gingerbread kids are.



So at 9:30am Lil D and I cleared the kitchen table and got stuck in.

Sure some of the sweeties looked like plastic but all the walls were there and the gingerbread kids were definitely smiling at us.

Erm why are the foundations that were so handily provided bigger than our walls? Why is the icing so tough to pipe? Memories of last year come flooding back.  Bah humbug gingy.  Why can’t we master you?

We battled through, both telling onlookers that they shouldn’t expect much, that it wasn’t going well.  We packed the foundations with icing and held on tight as we lowered the roof and hoped. 15 minutes later we came back to decorate, unsure it would even still be standing.

Surprisingly it was.  And oh how the decorating made up for the construction woes.

Lil D wanted to follow the box so I piped and she embellished.  Not quite as satisfying as making mini elf doughnuts but pretty good.  Plus Short Circuit was on in the background and the way it drew Lil D in was amusing all by itself.

When we stood back to view our creation we had to admit it was pretty awesome.

Still I felt compelled to promise Lil D that I’d spend the year practicing gingerbread to get it right for this time next year.

Then again, these ninjabread men seem much more fun.