Getting Started – My top 10 cake decorating essentials…

Now I am a few months into my cake business journey, I’ve decided to put a little post together for you all about my top 10 cake decorating equipment essentials.

Starting out cake decorating can be really daunting, but it shouldn’t be and you really don’t need loads of fancy pieces of equipment to get going. That said, there are a few pieces of equipment that will make your life A LOT easier and will, hopefully, mean you’re less likely to have a Gordon Ramsay-esque rage resulting in your beloved cake being launched towards a window or set of doors with a parting profanity…


We all have bad days.

Trust me.

You can read my post by clicking here.

I hope you find it useful and it inspires some of you to get in the kitchen and just have a go.

Go on, get your bake on!

“But it’s only cake…”

Back at the end of last year, I started out on my journey to beginning my own cake making business, Little Gem Bakes.

It’s something I’d wanted to do for a while but either the timing was never right, I had a crisis of confidence or something else would crop up meaning I didn’t have the time and energy to put into it.

After much learning, studying, sleepless nights, planning and preparing, my little business is now fully fledged (hello 5 star food hygiene rating!) and my shiny new website is now up and running.

It’s hard keeping your confidence when you become a mum, well it was for me anyway. I’ve never been very confident in myself or my abilities and I always seem to focus on what could go wrong rather than what could go right. I’m definitely a pessimist…

Over the last few months I’ve worked really hard on telling myself I can do things, like I do with my children, and I’ve now been brave and taken the plunge.

I’ve started a little blog over on my baking website and this is one of the posts I’ve recently written for it. It’s called,

“But it’s only cake…” 

I was prompted into writing it because, after building myself up confidence wise, I have had a bit of a dip again in the last couple of weeks because I’ve had so many enquiries that don’t come to fruition, mainly because of the price I quote. So, as I always feel better for it, I’ve had a ramble about it and the reasons why bespoke cakes cost what they do.

If you’re a cake maker, have a read and nod in agreement and if you’re not, sorry if it sounds a bit ‘ranty’ but sometimes these things just need verbalising.

You can read the post by clicking here.

Thanks to all my family and friends who have encouraged me to start this new little venture. I’ll pay you all in cake…

Get your Bake On: Homemade Smarties Cookies – soft, squidgy and delicious!

Crikey, well, it’s been a while hasn’t it!

Happy new Year to you all and I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. By wonderful, I mean alcohol and food filled.

I don’t know about you guys, but our kitchen cupboards currently resemble the snack aisle of a supermarket on Black Friday. Smarties, Toblerone’s, Chocolate Oranges, Chocolate truffles, Ferrero Rocher, Pringles, Doritos…and a fridge full of random pieces of cheese.

In a futile attempt to cull a load of chocolate in one go, the other day I made some Smarties Cookies. The kids LOVED them and they taste even more delicious than the ones you spend a load of dosh on at the supermarket bakery, trust me, I ate 3.

I suggest using Smarties in my recipe because we had enough to make me morbidly obese in a week, but any chocolates in a sugar shell will work for this recipe, M&M’s, Minstrels, etc, will do the same job.

This is also a super recipe to get the kids involved with too. My littlest mainly just taste tested the Smarties and the cookie dough, but he tried.

Homemade Smarties Cookies Recipe


Don’t skip chilling your cookie dough. Chilling it ensures you end up with gooey, squidgy, delicious cookies and not crumbly ones. You know, like the ones you get at Millie’s cookies *drool*.

Make sure you leave a lot of room between the cookies as they spread a lot when you cook them. I also like to bash the top of the cookies down gently as they come out of the oven to flatten them a bit.

Leave the cookies to cool down on the baking tray for 8-10 minutes once they’re out of the oven. This allows them to firm up enough to put on a cooling rack without risk of them falling apart.

Don’t over-bake the cookies, 10 minutes in the oven is really enough. They should be very pale and slightly golden around the edge.

Homemade Smarties Cookies recipe

Happy Baking!

Get Your Bake On: Old School Butterscotch Tart

One of my fondest memories of primary school was, believe it or not, the school dinners.

I’m not talking about the questionable ‘meat’ slices we had with our roast dinners (WTF was that stuff?! It’s probably best not to know) nor the pink gunge known as Blamange that we were often presented with. I’m talking about the holy grail of puddings that we got once in a Blue Moon, but when that day arrived, my word I was a happy little person;

Butterscotch Tart

Butterscotch Tart recipe

I can still remember the taste of it if I close my eyes.

The way the Butterscotch filling stuck to the back of my scratched spoon.

The way the pastry flew across my melamine plate if I wasn’t careful as I cut it.

The dollop of sweet, marshmallow like cream on the top of it.

Utter childhood bliss.

My two eldest boys are suckers for this pudding too so we spent some time yesterday making one. They sat there in the kitchen last night, savouring every mouthful and telling me, “this is the pudding of my dreams Mummy!”. Happiness personified.

I hear ya kiddos, I hear ya. Now, where’s my slice?

Here’s the recipe!

Butterscotch Tart recipe

Get your Bake On: Rainbow Swirl Buttercream Icing

Here’s a little ‘How to’ YouTube vid I made showing how to make, and pipe, rainbow coloured buttercream swirls.

Rainbow swirl icing

This icing technique is a really easy way of creating an eyecatching topping for celebration cakes and cupcakes. It’s so easy, even I managed it – and that’s saying something! Piping is not my strong point!

I don’t include the basic vanilla buttercream icing recipe in my video because everyone has their own way of making it, but my go to recipe (which makes enough buttercream to top about 16 cupcakes or fill and crumb coat a celebration cake) is;

2 tsp – Vanilla extract

500g – Sifted Icing Sugar

160g – Unsalted, softened butter

20ml – Milk

You can adapt the recipe to use any colours you wish and I always use gel colours rather than liquid ones because the colour is more vibrant and it doesn’t change the consistency of the icing.

Happy Baking!