Today I turned !?! and it was fabulous - even in lockdown!
Thank you for all your good wishes - I had a lovely day with lots of food (dressed up for dinner!), birthday cake, a dog walk with a friend, a movie and opening some lovely presents with my family.
And what was my cake, I hear you cry?! My lovely mum made me my favourite cake and posted it to Bristol for me - Christmas cake in February, excellent!
Lockdown birthdays: I wasn't sure I'd get one, but I think I'll remember it for being not really very grand, but it was super lovely. I think I beat lockdown, today!
This time of year is challenging on a 'normal' year, without being in lockdown, so I am making a point to feel grateful for things in my life.
This week I am super grateful for...
1. Coming back to baking after two weeks recovering from having my appendix removed. I had so many orders waiting for me, it was a busy weekend! I feel so thankful for my lil' business and my lovely customers, it really makes me happy when I can bake, but also make people smile.
2. Finding a new supplier for dried rose petals - now I can get these beautiful cake embellishments in 100g bags instead of 20g bags, much better, I hate running out!
3. My husband has said will be baking me a birthday cake next week! He's only missed one year, I think, since we've been together, and it's a big deal. He doesn't bake, like, ever!
4. I am finding lots of time to read in the evenings, enforcing a 'no chores, no work' mantra from 8pm. This makes me happy.
5. And, of course, I'm extremely grateful for this little creation of mine (ours). She is the most adorable baby ever - yes, every mum says that, but really, she is!! - and the true love of my life. She's really impressed me lately with how comfortable she was being taken to nursery by someone else while I was sick, and how she laughed off repeated well-meaning pokes in the face by another 18 month old yesterday!
Yes, February is wet, windy and cold, but I'm feeling good - even a little lighter with than b*gger of a giant appendix gone!
Hope you're having a good week too,
You know i love to partner with other small local businesses... Well, Here's what I've been cooking up over the festive break!
Sweetly Special Breakfasts is a small Bristol business, run by a lovely lady called Lilly. She delivers delicious breakfasts to people all over the city, focussing heavily on sweet treats to start special days off with a good feeding. That's where I come in!
Lilly firmly believes (and I agree!) that special days like Mothering Sunday or birthdays should be memorable from start to finish. Hampers from Sweetly start the day off perfectly, and keep you going throughout the day, enough goodies for lunch, elevenses, afternoon tea, supper... The delivery includes fresh flowers, balloons, tea and coffee, a personal card and of course, cakes. And if you're vegan, your home baked cake comes from me at 280 Bakes! If you're ordering for a child, the package also includes a party bag.
The main product I am helping Lilly (see her sunny face below) with is the Perfect Gift Breakfast - see above to the left - and is now available!
Check out Sweetly on Facebook and find them also on Instagram. Marballoons, a balloon artist in Bristol, also work with Sweetly, so it's a real team effort!
Support local business and why not shop with Sweetly next time it's a special day in your household - it'll be like sending a hug to your favourite person!
This is a little selection of the 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
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