Both kids take their roles as senior taste testers very seriously, and there was much debate and discussion over what their birthday cakes should look like.Read More
Tea and cakes make people happy, and it turns out that making tea and cakes makes me happy too. (And making cakes makes my family and friends very happy, especially when I'm looking for taste testers for new recipes!)Read More
It's been a while since my last journal entry, but what a busy few weeks it's been. There's been a few firsts along the way - our first G & Tea cocktail event, our first video, and getting ready for our first market!
Our first cocktail afternoon tea took place on a sunny Saturday afternoon in September, with a group of lovely ladies in Dunfermline enjoying some gin themed drinks with their scones and cake. The cocktails were a big hit, although there might have been a few sore heads the next morning... We've now updated our afternoon tea menu options to include a cocktail add on package, and I'm definitely looking forward to the recipe testing for any new cocktails we do for future parties!
A couple of weeks ago, my friend/web designer/tech support/photographer William Adam got in touch to see if he could test out a new lightbox to take some shots of a cake. With the promise of unlimited coffee, he came along for the morning and managed to get this awesome video of one of our Unicorn cakes, from start to finish in 60 seconds. He did leave muttering to himself about getting the lighting better next time, and then had to put up with my demands over what music to have with the video, but I think the end result is fantastic. (He ended up composing the music himself by the way...)
As well as lots of baking and cocktails, I've been able to attend a couple of Business Gateway workshops over the last month or so. These have been fantastic, both for the knowledge and guidance available in the workshops themselves, but also as an opportunity to meet other people either starting out on or already running small businesses locally. The PR on a Shoestring workshop in particular was a real eye opener for me - run by Julie Edgar, an experienced PR consultant, it definitely encouraged me to think of PR in a different way.
This week has been all about planning. With several markets and food fayres lined up between now and Christmas, it's been a busy time finalising menus, ordering stock and materials, and also taking delivery of our lovely new banner sign. Our first event is the Little Birds Market next weekend in one of my favourite places, St Andrews. Changed times from my student days there, The Vic is looking very upmarket, and I'm really excited about having our stall at this lovely event.
As well as planning for upcoming markets and other events, we've also been working with a local Jamberry consultant, Anne Bury, to organise a very special Gin and Jam tea next month. With lots of jam themed goodies, including our usual fresh scones with delicious raspberry jam, plenty of fabulous gin themed cocktails, and of course lots of lovely Jamberry nail wraps, this promises to be a fantastic evening.
Now we're well in to October, it's not too soon to mention the C-word, and I'm hoping to have some special Christmas treats available to order soon. For now though, it's definitely autumn, so a fresh pumpkin spiced latte cookie is sounding good right now!
Well the last few weeks have been so busy with all the final preparations ahead of our launch, so this journal is very overdue, but it's nice to take half an hour to sit down (with a cuppa!) and take stock. There's been alot to do to get to this point, but it's been so worth all of the hard work and I can't wait to see what the next few months will bring.
There's been lots of recipe testing going on, with new flavours for the layer cake options coming soon and lots of new ideas for the afternoon tea menus. My favourite has to be the tiramisu cake created for a special order, with espresso chiffon sponge soaked in a whisky and coffee syrup, then layered with chocolate and espresso curd and a mascarpone frosting. The recipe testing has also been useful as a bribe to keep the kids happy during the school holidays!
Over the last couple of weeks I've been running a competition on our Facebook page, and I've been amazed at how successful it's been. The post was shared by over 120 people by the time we picked the lucky winner yesterday, and she'll collect her lemon and raspberry cake very soon. So many people have left lovely comments on the Facebook page too, it's been great to read them all. I'll definitely be doing more competitions this way in future.
A couple of weeks ago I spent the day on a training course held by the Cyrenians (www.cyrenians.scot). They're an Edinburgh based organisation who support people excluded from family, home, work or community. The course was held in their depot in Leith, where they take in food donations from major supermarkets and other local suppliers and then distribute them to charities and families in and around Edinburgh. It was great to see just a little bit of the work they do and the difference it makes, and also to get to know some of the other people attending the course.
With the schools back next week, it's time to concentrate on some wedding cake tastings coming up. I'm really excited about doing them, choosing a wedding cake must be one of the best bits about planning your big day and it's a chance to create some really delicious and special cakes.
I've added a couple of photos of some of the cakes from the last few weeks below. Might need to think about a photography course next...
Almost midway through the summer holidays, today it was time to turn the kitchen over to the kids for some baking fun. My two were joined by their two friends, and after spending ages looking through various recipe books and concocting grand plans for three tier show stoppers that would have taken a team of bakers several days to pull off, the girls eventually decided to try an ombre cake. The boys on the other hand, got distracted by Power Rangers costumes and light sabres, and ditched the kitchen completely in favour of super hero battles!
Baking with the kids is a very different experience to my own baking. My normally organised and calm workspace is turned on its head, with plenty of mess and chaos all round, and very little time spent planning out what's needed before firing straight in with the butter and sugar. The highlight was definitely the buttercream splattered across walls and floors after someone forgot to put the mixer back in the bowl of buttercream before switching it on. But for two nine year olds working pretty much on their own with minimal help, I think the end result looks fab, and it was lovely to see how proud they were of their finished cake and all their hard work. It tasted delicious too, and funnily enough the boys managed to stop playing for long enough to have a slice! Now if only I could manage to get the same enthusiasm from all of them when it comes to cleaning up afterwards...
Time for another slice of that cake I think!
So after many, many months of planning, testing, organising and most importantly tasting (which funnily is the bit that most people want to help with!), we're almost there! With just a couple of final hurdles to jump, Florence and George is almost a reality.
Most of the work this week has been on the website, which has been a bit of a steep learning curve and has resulted in several cries for help to a very patient tech support friend (his website is here is you want to have a look, although it could benefit from a few more cakes if you ask me...) I'm really pleased with how the Florence and George site is looking now though, and very excited about adding lots of new photos and updates over the coming months.
Next week we've got a special request for a birthday cake, a tiramisu layer cake - can't wait to see how it turns out. It's always fun to try something new, and really if you're combining cake with coffee and alcohol everyone is a winner!