Friday, 21 May 2010

"A Stitch (Back) In Time....."

I think its fair to say that there have been hundreds of fashion "whys" over the years; Mantyhose (quite literally tights for men), shellsuits (yes I had several), Ugg boots (really, just pick your feet up it's unbearable) and Jodie Marsh.....

However the biscuit was well and truely taken during a recent discussion with a colleague regarding a cake for her mothers 80th birthday. As it transpires the mother regularly wore a green knitted swimming costume whilst in her teens. A knitted swimming costume? I can imagine that some "bright" spark may have the rather ingenious idea of a woolen outfit you could wear whilst taking a dip off Margate pier but how would this idea really take off? Surely after watching your fiend walk out of the briney being tailed by a sodden gusset (which incidently doesnt fully emerge from the deep until said friend has walked seven feet from the waters edge) how could you seriously consider one for yourself?!
Admittedly its rather chilly in the UK and usually just as bad during the Summer but would a wet, scratchy and still saggy, wooly cozzie keep you any warmer?

Well technicalities aside, we wanted to surprise the birthday girl with the trip down memory lane that had had everyone "in stitches" (sorry..) I needn't have been so worried about the stretched gussets and wayward seaweed, as this swimsuit was worn casually around town and glamourously in the garden rather than pool or indeed sea side. I wanted to take the lady back to her youth and so began working on my fabulously 5o's Glamour Girl in her glorious green knitted bathing suit! I deceided upon the garden theme for this cake and love the bright colours of the flowers and her towel. Just to give it more of a vintage look I went with the heart shaped lips and what 50's siren would be complete without her pink Roberts radio?!

Ladies and gentlemen its time for A Stitch (Back) In Time....

And now it’s onto the next.....I’m afraid my dears there can be no rest for the decadently wicked x

Sunday, 16 May 2010

"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche......"

Ok, so I’m not here to judge and I’m not here to bicker over who actually said what, but this really has to be one of the most influential quotes I have ever heard!
Picture the scene; it’s 1792 and you’re a young, beautiful queen lounging delicately over an elegant Louis Quinze banquette (granted, less imagination is required by some for this ...). Your sipping Pernod and nibbling on Ladurée Macaroons (mmm ok, I agree this is a big stretch as we are ahead of our time now by 100 years, Ladurée opened their first bakery at 16 Rue Royale, Paris in 1862 - we are never too old to learn my dears). So, back to our banquette. ...
It’s been a perfectly lovely afternoon tripping around the Tuileries Palace, playing with small puppies and having your wig blow dried but just as you pop another almondy treat into your perfectly rouged mouth, Cosette (your Lady in Waiting) bursts through the doors at such a speed she nearly breaks the heels on her Louboutins (you may have noticed I have now given up being factually accurate by this point, after all I’m an artiste not a history teacher....)

"A mob of terrifying aspect” has broken into the Palace grounds and is heading straight for your drawing room, Cosette wails.
So what would you do? Faced with certain death and humiliation (but with the flip side of a more central Paris view from La Bastille...) would you run or just look for your petite livre of famous quotes and quip the scoundrels as they burst in with flaming torches? Well whether it was uttered by Marie Antoinette or not the very idea of keeping your head whilst the great unwashed are breaking through the garden gates and bludgeoning the staff I think it would make you feel so much better to tell the blighters “Qu'ils mangent de la brioche......

As a respectful homage to Marie (I'm fairly sure we'd be on first name terms by this point) and of course as a thank you too, after all, no revolution would mean no Les Mis and what would the West End be without this juggernaut of theatre, which is now almost as old as me, turning out hundreds of sobbing punters every night onto our rain soaked streets? So on this “relaxing” weekend of mine I have decided to create some beautiful cupcakes based on my vast historical knowledge (ahem) and all things French.
Se faire plaisir,

And now it’s onto the next.....I’m afraid my dears there can be no rest for the decadently wicked x

Monday, 10 May 2010

Time for Tea (1940's)

This seemed like it was going to be a true Guilty Pleasure from the outset, a former Land Girl was turning 90 and I had been asked to create something exciting to mark the occasion. “How exciting indeed” I thought with images of tanks, Marines, The Windmill and burly GI’s flashing before my very eyes. BUT, how could this be made more appropriate for someone with a few more years and in fact more class than I?
How indeed...
I had a further chat with a friend of the client who had suggested that since our former LG loved cakes, maybe a modern shop front filled with cakes, rather than focussing on the past would be a good starting point, and for a while it was...
The more I thought about this project the more I couldn’t get a certain image out of my mind. If you search for Miss Polly Rae on the web the same, incredibly striking photo always seems to be listed first. Dressed in what I imagine all Land Girls worth their salt to have been wearing (although on reflection, a bustier and hold-ups would be terribly impractical for picking your way through the “Blitzed” streets of London, especially during a blackout), Miss Rae stands triumphantly (and saucily) before burning planes and a battleship. I was desperate to use this as my starting point but it’s a battleship not a “Battenberg”.

It wasn’t until the day I ventured out of my glamorous central London apartment for baking supplies that I really started to get a feel for this Guilty Pleasure. Within my first few paces I had my first flash of inspiration (if this was a movie there would have been sounds of German planes overhead and some very dramatic music). The builders have moved in opposite and started to demolish an old 70s maisonette block –leaving behind half walls and debris. It was (and still is today...)exceptionally beautiful.
Turning the corner onto a quiet residential street I was happily mapping out my trip around the store and feeling quite glad that there was a tiny fraction of sun peeking through the dismal skies. When I looked up I noticed three sad looking flags tied into a tree, the leftovers of last summer’s street party.

I couldn’t have been more inspired by this point and with a determined nod (to myself, of course, it wouldn’t do to start acting crazy in such a cute little street) - I had finally cracked this. My cake would be a smashing tribute to cakes and to the Land Girls!
With a few extra touches, such as the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster, radio and Union Jack bunting I hope I have captured the spirit of the times and made someone very happy in the process.

And now it’s onto the next.....I’m afraid my dears there can be no rest for the decadently wicked x

Friday, 7 May 2010


With so much going on this week I have already found myself behind with my Blog before I've even begun......

I was recently asked by a regular Guilty Pleasures habitué to design something fabulous for a Hen party she would be attending in Brighton. I knew right off that I wanted to steer away from the usual Hen fare of handcuffs and L-Plates - if this was going to be a real Guilty Pleasure I would have to start at the bottom (quite literally) and see where the mood would take me.

I needed inspiring, I needed a muse but most of all I needed a night out! A few days after the initial consultation, I rounded up a group of exciting chums for a GP Theatre Trip and very soon found ourselves in some marvellous seats at Priscilla The Musical at the Palace Theatre, London.

Well I was looking for inspiration and found it in spades, amazing costumes, feathers, boobs, bums and muscular thighs. Not only was this the most inspiring show for this particular cake it was a blindingly fun night out for our group. Somehow, one costume stuck in my mind (and there were hundreds! Actually on a culinary theme I should mention the 6 drag queens dressed as lime green cupcakes, spinning to a fabulously disco MacArthur Park)! Anyway, during an outback inspired "I Will Survive" Bernadette shows her travelling companions how to lip-synch with all the gusto and glamour of a former "Les Girl", wearing an amazing leopard print jumpsuit which got me thinking about the basis of the Hen cake....

Now I had the more than enough material to work with and decided to hand paint leopard print onto my cake and trim with black marabou for an extravagant look. Then it was back to the biggest "What" of all. Just what could top this creation with all the style and panache befitting of me? Ok so no L-Plates and no handcuffs and definitely no saggy condom festooned veils...well that only leaves one thing for a Hen Party;

So Ladies and Gentlemen I proudly present "Backstage, with Sonny, Rod and Marco"

And now it’s onto the next.....I’m afraid my dears there can be no rest for the decadently wicked x