Monday, 21 April 2014

#docraftsmonday Dimensional Butterfly Birthday Card

It's time for #docraftsmonday once again! My lovely Grandma is an amazing 94 this coming Thursday and over the weekend, we held a kind a crazy Easter/Birthday family party to celebrate. I have been so manic recently, I haven't had time to craft but this occasion definitely needed a handmade offering...

 I wasn't too sure where I wanted to go with the layout for this card, so I got all the elements
out I wanted to use and went from there.
This week's docrafts Creativity Club printables is a fab collection of brick and decking textures (photographed by Carly Barrett) in a monochrome colourway, so I started with that. The theory is a garden wall which has rambling flowers and butterflies climbing up it!

As usual, I went slightly mad on the dimensional side of things - my cards are not suitable for
posting unless you want to box them up! I used a mix of Xcut dies and punches as follows;
 Xcut Butterflies A5 Die Set - XCU 503196
Xcut Large Dies Leafy Flourishes - XCU 503189
Xcut Dimension Butterfly Punch Stamp - XCU 2701000
Xcut Daisy Palm Punch
Xcut Tags and Bookplate Dies - XCU 503066
Xcut Petal Posy Dies - XCU 503065
I have to say, the Leafy Flourishes look so much nicer once they have been die-cut. This is the first time I have used them and will definitely do so again!
Add in a touch of antiquing with dye ink and a few Papermania adhesive gems and there you have it!
Thank you for looking. If you would like to take part in #docraftsmonday, visit the docrafts facebook page and join in the fun every week!
Thank you for looking!
Jill x

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Gluten Free Naked Cake!

I am being converted to loving the new trend of Naked Cakes which is getting more and more popular in the cake world. They skip the iced covering and show off the actual cake and filling in all their glory! You need to consider your cake and filling colour, flavour and consistency in a different way to when you cover cakes with icing - you can have no runny fillings or burnt edges - there is no room to hide!
Here is my first Naked Cake which I made for my Mum on Mother's Day. With three coeliacs at the tea party, gluten free vanilla sponges were the order of the day! I am a massive fan of Orgran Gluten Free Self Raising Flour - it is an ideal swop for normal SR flour- there is no difference in the taste or consistency and is so easy to use (I'll give you the recipe further down the post)...

 The beauty of Naked Cakes is that you can use simple decorations - I know I have combined flowers and fruit on this version, but assorted fruits and any other relevant edible offerings work perfectly. I sprinkled mine with a little icing sugar just before serving to get a lovely finish.

The flowers were made with gumpaste (sugarpaste mixed with Tyo powder in this instance) and shaped using the Little Venice Cake Company Modelling Tools and Mat. They were possibly the quickest flowers I have ever made as time was short (10pm the night before!) but I was happy with the overall effect. The flowers were wired and inserted into mini flower picks which were pushed
into the sponge at staggered heights.

Here's the gluten free recipe for 3 lots of 8" vanilla sponges (base tier) 
(swop the vanilla extract for other flavours if you wish)
12oz Soft Margarine (at room temperature)
12oz Golden Caster Sugar
6 Large Eggs (at room temperature)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract (spend more on a quality one such as Nielsen Massey -
it is worth the expense as it makes such a difference to the flavour)
Heat the oven to 180 0C then grease and line your cake tins (I used the Little Venice Cake Company Professional Grade Anodised Cake Tins as I love the quality). Cream the margarine and sugar together until fluffy then gradually add in the beaten eggs and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and use a metal spoon to fold it onto the mixture. Divide the mixture equally between three tins and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until light golden brown and springy to the touch in the middle.
If you do not have three tins the same size, make each layer one at a time using freshly prepared mixture. It is worth the effort as the baking agents in the mixture can start to work whilst it sits in the bowl and can spoil the sponge.
For the top tier, use 6" tins and alter the quantities to 9oz of margarine, sugar and flour and 4.5 eggs
(add one egg to a cup, beat it then measure out half) - use the same amount of vanilla extract and bake for 15 - 20 minutes.
The cake was filled with beaten double cream and strawberry jam and went down a storm! Apparently, it even freezes well too (just as well as there was rather a lot to eat!). As you can see, I used Little Venice Cake Company Dowelling Rods to support the top tier and prevent it
squashing the base.
Thank you for looking - I would love your thoughts or ideas on naked cakes or gluten free baking!
Jill x

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