This isa selection of cakes I baked for people like you this month!
Chocolate cake for Henry... Double raspberry tequila cake for my husband's birthday... Mickey Mouse (actually, 3!) for Leo... Chocolate Vanilla for a lady in Henbury... A watermelon cake and matching cupcakes for Matilda... Penguin cupcakes for a Penguin (bar!) lover... Vegan chocolate cake for the Pipal Tree restaurant... A vegan birthday cake for Anna...
... and I've already got some booked in for October!
See you next month,
Food is very evocative - a simple taste or scent of a certain type of food can bring back very specific memories; Cake is no different.
For me, the first cake that springs to memory's mind is lemon drizzle. Those two words will forever be associated with my Grandma Pat, who passed away over ten years ago now.
My memories of her are laden with baking - cherry buns, runny water icing, fruit cake, apple pie - but mainly lemon drizzle. It was never fancy, just a sponge, but she had a name for making a brilliant bake of it. Sure, it's a relatively simple bake, but none can compare to my grandma's! I like to think she'd be very proud of me and my lil' cake business.
The second memory blast I have when thinking about cake is a very festive one. Every year since I've been on this planet my mum has made a showstopping Christmas cake. Sometimes more than one, if a school raffle or church fete needed one. She's even been known to make it for someone's birthday, as it's their favourite. It's all about the cake here, even though the decoration is always perfect; the dark sponge is always absolutely packed with dried fruit and booze. Mum is a complete foodie, and loves a decent fruit cake, and Christmas wouldn't be the same without a big slice of her boozy Christmas cake.
Christmas is one thing, but birthdays are even more about cake in my memory. Christmas dominates with so many other foods, activities, traditions over a longer period of time, whereas a birthday is just one day (or two, if you;'re the Queen and you're reading this). So, in terms of percentage of importance, I would argue birthday cakes are even more important that Christmas cakes, being a central feature to one's big day. After all, 'a party without a cake is just a meeting', or so the famous saying goes. I've been lucky enough to have many cakes baked for me on past birthdays - here was this years! Thank you Max, very much!
And while we're talking birthdays, banana cake may always remind me of my little one's first birthday. Cake was an important part to the celebrations as a nationwide lockdown hugely restricted what we could do. I made Rox two vegan - she had an egg allergy at the time - banana cakes, one for a cake smash (see here) and one for a sandwich tea in the garden with a handful of family members. Even though I say so myself, it was a bit of a corker - fabulous memories.
What kind of cakes bring memories to your mind?
Cake smashes for babies are all the rage, so here are my SIX Top tips for a fun and messy afternoon!
I did my first cake smash last month, for Baby V as she turned a year old. I took weeks planning it, so excited... probably a little more excited than my befuddled baby!
I baked a soft vanilla cake in the shape of a heart - vegan, because she had an egg allergy until recently - and decorated it in a simple but bright design. It had to be iced with buttercream for maximum messiness, and I wanted it to have blue elements to match part of the bunting.
Honestly, I can't exactly say Baby V had the time of her life - she was a little confused and needed some encouragement - but I certainly had fun! She was very elegant, picking at it with her fingers, and a little confused, but it's a great memory as parents.
Would you brave a cake smash with your little one?
If so, here are my top six tips for a successful cake smash!
Let me know how you get on!
Here's A selection of what I've been baking this month!
Top line: Tequila Rose cake (for Rose's birthday), Espresso Brownies, vegan Chocolate Cake
Bottom Line: Lemon Drizzle Cake, Chocolate Cake (for a very pregnant friend!), Blackberry cupcakes.
Ok, the last ones were for my family, but yum, can't beat a seasonal bake!
When I set up 280 Bakes, I never thought about the international angle of cakes... We're getting more and more orders from people living in foreign countries.
It can really suck missing out on birthdays and family occasions when you live abroad (speaking from experience), but having a cake delivered really lets your loved knows know they are in your thoughts and you'd be there if you could!
From Australia to the USA, across Europe and India, we are receiving orders from well-wishers with family and friends living in Bristol, Stroud and Portishead.
Here's a recent customer - currently living in Spain - with her feedback on our service.
Of course, we'll also take orders from Brits on holiday too. One lovely lady placed an order in a panic because she was on holiday for her son's birthday, and only remembered when she was lying on a beach! Google saved the day, and found us. We'll always offer services via Whatapp too, to save your foreign phone bill.
Recent orders include:
-- Brownies for Diwali, from parents in India
-- Birthday cake and flowers for a mum from a son in the USA - he came back for a second order for his dad later that year!
-- A 'thank you' gift for a family in Almondsbury from their friends in France
If I were you, I'd tell all your friends who live abroad about 280 Bakes - you might receive a cake from them from across the oceans for your next celebration!
Owner, 280 Bakes
We love sharing our baking triumphs - here are the most creative cakes our wonderful home baking team have made in the last few months.
Petals, leaves and buds are our favourite to ice, they look really effective. Real flowers are so lovely to work with and they look so pretty - we plan to incorporate more of these into our bakes. Chocolate is fun to work with (like with the waterlily petals above), but more unpredictable. We do love a challenge though!
What's your favourite flower? Have you ever seen it on a cake?
The Team @ 280 Bakes
We celebrated our second birthday today, and this is how it went down!
From today, we have bakers based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, who are delivering our cakes in the town. Find out more here, including how to join our team of bakers.
Then, we actually WENT to Stroud!
Given the main part of our birthday celebrations was the above announcement, we decided to surprise a business in Stroud with a cake. This is where Spacehoppers Co-working came in - we delivered a 280 Bakes branded cake (see the logo and BRIGHT PINK nature of said cake in the picture below!) to three entrepreneurs who were at the time working in the shared office space. A complete surprise to all and a welcome tea break from their hard work!
We chose Spacehoppers because we've had previous experience in co-working environments and we love the vibe from entrepreneurs who work in such places. A big 'HELLO AND THANKS' goes to Ben at BeKagool who tweeted us a photo of the cake being enjoyed in the office after we left.
Finally, we popped along to St Andrew's Park, Bristol...
We had to celebrate on 'home turf' too, of course! Word got to us that the Bristol Vegan Parents Group was meeting with the kids for a half term get-together, so we took them some complimentary cupcakes to sort out a snack for that lovely lot. The meeting point was "by the coffee hut in the centre", so cake and coffee worked out perfectly!
A fabulous day - we feel well and truly celebrated!
Thanks to all our willing cake eaters and our hard-working team. Here's to another successful year at 280 Bakes!
Owner of 280 Bakes
Here are some of our latest bakes, all home baked and delivered. which one's your favourite?
We often post photos of our cakes on our social media, when they're off for delivery. Join us over on Facebook, Twitter or follow us on Instagram today!
The Team at 280 Bakes
BUTTERCREAM or fondant: The choice is yours on our cakes, but what's the difference?
When helping our customers decide what they would like as decoration on their home baked cakes, we normally recommend either buttercream or fondant icing (both can be made vegan and gluten free friendly). However, not everyone knows the differences between the two types of icing, and there are pros and cons to each, depending on what style you want from your cake, so here's your definitive guide.
Buttercream is our cheapest option, and is nearly always used on our cupcakes. We'd describe it as sweet and rustic looking, perfect for filling sandwich cakes like Victoria Sponge, or a base for decorating with other items, like your favourite sweets. We can do it vanilla or chocolate flavour, but have done lemon in the past. It's not great in hot weather though, be warned!
Some customers like to know fondant is "the kind you see on traditional birthday cakes". Fondant is sheet sugar paste, essentially, is used in modelling and can come in many colours. It is a little more expensive as more work and skill is involved in using it compared to buttercream, kneading it until it's smooth and pliable. A buttercream 'crumb coat' is normally applied underneath the fondant to ensure there's no lumps.
It's not for everyone, as it's a little sticky to eat and is fingerprint prone if you have little hands around, but fondant gives you a beautiful smooth finish on a cake, like you can see here:
This is the third type of icing we use at 280 Bakes. It's not a common request, but it's good if you want something a little less sugary. Meringue icing basically a sugar and egg white mix, creating a meringue style finish. Glossy white, fluffy, and very pretty, we love this one. A word of caution goes to our bakers on this one: Another cake for cooler days, this icing needs to be stored in the fridge. Make sure there's no strong odours from other food in there. Meringue icing picks up strong smells and ends up tasting a little off. Garlic icing, anyone...?
The Team @ 280 Bakes
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