6 12 2012

Hi dear readers,

It’s finally time for my insanely late competition. I did promise a back-to-school comp but as usual time ran away from me and I was sucked into a vortex of work in the batcave and several cakes (which I’ll share with you at some undetermined date in the future) However, I have finally uploaded and edited my pictures and it’s time to unveil some baking goodies for you to win.

I’ve been gathering up bits and pieces for several months. It isn’t worth a fortune in monetary terms but I’ve purchased everything myself and tried to pick a mix of fun and useful items. I think any baker would be happy to have really good measuring spoons and some great cutters along with some colourful sprinkles.

This is everything you can win in all its glory.


And some close ups of the goodies:

Funky, baking themed teatowels.


A cupcake notepad and some jelly cases. These are similar to cupcake/muffin wrappers but they’re stiff, almost plastic like bowls. I thought they would be great for display or holding sweets or nuts at a party.


Three types of cupcake cases. I particularly like the multi-coloured ones, they’re very retro.


A card cupcake stand. Very pink & frothy but fun for displaying party cupcakes.


An inverted palette knife for spreading frosting on cakes and a product I cannot live without; a great set of measuring spoons. I’ve gone through several different sets of spoons and these are definitely my favourite. They’re easily stored, a great size for fitting into awkward shaped tubs of baking powder & clearly marked.


Two packets of patterned cupcake wraps. I bought a few extra of these for myself, I’m waiting for a special occasion to try them out. They look so elegant, I can’t wait to see how they look.


Small leaf cutter set. One each of a square and round dual sided cutter set. These are some of my most used sets, great for cookies or fondant shapes. One side is straight edged while the other is scalloped.


And finally, a variety of sprinkles and a black edible writer. Everyone loves colourful sprinkles to brighten up a cupcake or even for topping your favourite dessert. The metallic sprinkles are harder to find here so I snapped some of these up. The pen is completely multi purpose, great for drawing detail on fondant figures and for handpainting cakes or cookies.

Okay, now that you’ve seen all the prizes on offer I guess you want to know how to get your hands on them?!

There are two ways to enter.

1) Leave a comment here telling me your favourite baking accessory and why. I love to hear what other baking fans think is the most essential item in their arsenal.

2) Tweet me your favourite baking equipment to @cakesandbakes and use the hashtag #CakesAndBakesNI Please remember if you’re a private user on twitter I won’t see your tweet, you will need to go public for it to reach me.

It’s one entry per person but if you leave a comment here AND tweet me you will be entered into the draw twice.

I’m going to jump on the crazy train and open this worldwide, if you win, as long as Royal Mail can deliver to you I will send your prizes. The competition is for everything pictured but to reduce costs I may post them in a few different packages.

Entrants will be assigned a number and entered into a random generator.

Entries must be received before midnight 30th Dec 2012. Winner will be announced in the New Year.

Please feel free to share the competition with your friends and through social media. Best of luck.

Updated to add the winner! Jagwal aka Gerard! I’ll be in touch soon to arrange delivery of your prizes. Thanks everyone for entering!



Resolutions & Realisations

25 01 2011

So another year has passed and as we enter a new one I’m once again pondering whether I’ll be able to keep on top of blog posting as much as I would like to.  I was going to make a New Year resolution but I don’t think my brain could handle the additional guilt at not being able to stick to my promise.  Instead my focus is on a fresh start.  While life has been kicking me in the behind recently my baking has been neglected and part of me is happy with that.  Don’t all faint at once, it’s taken me a long time to realise that I have no one to answer to when it comes to how often I bake, or blog, or even brush my teeth (well except my dentist)  I think I’m still under the misapprehension that everything I undertake is being overseen by some higher being that has some power to punish me if I fail.  What exactly am I failing at if I don’t bake when no one has asked me to, ordered something from me or is paying me to do so?  The answer is nothing.  I don’t fail at life if I down baking tools, take a break and pay some attention to what is happening around me.  It’s something I’m still learning about & I can’t say I’ve progressed very much but I’m trying to bring the enjoyment back.  Every hobby or interest I’ve ever taken on has very quickly morphed into a chore and baking has been gradually becoming a monster in my life.  At times I feared the passion was gone altogether, I couldn’t even get motivated to think about it never mind produce something worthy of consumption. However I find myself with renewed vigour and the love for the art is back.  Now is the time to put the passion to good use and learn to balance the need to bake with the need to have a life too.  I was bitter for so long that I couldn’t pursue this full time, that other bakers, cake decorators, food bloggers had it lucky and I was forever destined to reconcile invoices while dreaming about macarons & brownies.  I can’t say I’m happy to acknowledge that this may well be my future, no one can know for sure, but I do know that I should not let that affect the love that is in my heart for the craft.

 Now that I’ve shared that insightful little part of my psyche with you I’m going to move onto more constructive information.  Not only was I finding it hard to find time to bake amongst the madness I couldn’t get past the fact that my baking equipment was a mess.  There was no point pretending any longer, I wasn’t even sure what was lurking at the back of the cupboards and instead of creating a space for everything I was just piling new on top of old and holding my breath hoping the whole Jenga like construction wouldn’t fall down round my ears the next time I opened the cupboard.

I’ve decided to share my organisational skills with the world in the hope that it inspires you to de-clutter or even to start picking up the tools of the trade that you think you might need to embark into the crazy baking world.

First things first, this is the horror before I tackled it:

There was more to this mess but I’ll refrain from bombarding you with it all.

And this is the result, totally worth 5 hours of my precious day off, really.

I’ve decided to delve deeper into each of the boxes to share my  basic baking toolkit.  I don’t consider my  collection to be large but I’m sure some beginners would find it overwhelming.  In order to save your sanity I’ll put the rest after the jump…apologies for the lengthy ramblings!

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