Win A Year’s Premium Membership to Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School!

Win A Year’s Premium Membership to Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School!

I consider myself a competent baker and making your average cake is not too much trouble for me, but when it comes to cake decorating, this is the area I struggle in! I can pipe buttercream on a cupcake and drizzle chocolate on some brownies in my sleep, but when faced a with a block of fondant I freeze. Thankfully, there are lots of amazing and talented people out there to lead the way through the wonderful world of sugarcraft, and one of them is the Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School.

So, if you’re looking to hone your sugarcraft skills, learn new tricks and designs,
or start from scratch, it’s a great place to go to for detailed
tutorials and expert advice.

Paul has had a long career in the food industry. From working in a bakery, to starting his own cake business and then eventually setting up his cake decorating school. He’s made cakes for celebrities like the Bee Gees and even royalty too!

The Sugarcraft School is based in Edinburgh, but for those of us that can’t make it up to Scotland he also runs online decorating courses which you can take from the comfort of your own kitchen.

The Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School have kindly offered me a year’s premium membership to their online cake decorating school (worth over £95) to give away to one lucky reader! All you have to do is use the Rafflecopter at the end of this post to enter for your chance to win.

Premium Membership includes:

  • Over 150 Free Lessons
  • Step by Step video tutorials for all levels
  • Tuition from Paul Bradford
  • 306 Cake Decorating Courses
  • New detailed course every week
  • No contract, cancel anytime
  • Access to private PBSS Members Facebook Group
  • 15% discount on your first Cake-Stuff.com order

For more information on the membership and FAQs, check out their website by clicking here.

 

NB. I have not received any products or compensation for this post, all opinions are my own

 

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Book review and giveaway!

Book review and giveaway!

I recently received three exciting new recipe books from Ryland Peter & Small, who publish books about the greatest pleasures in life such as art, food and crafts – as mine is all things baking I was happy to receive three books all about cakes and desserts! I’ve reviewed the books and tried recipes from each one, and at the end of this post I am running a giveaway so one lucky reader can win a copy of each book!

Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta is all about that moment late at night when you just need cake! The recipes are easy to whip up in minutes, satisfy a variety of cravings from chocolate to cookies, and many of them don’t even need a set of scales. You might know the author, Suzy Pelta as she was the winner of ITV1’s Lorraine’s Cake Club Competition in 2012. She’s a regular at The Cake & Bake Show and BBC Good Food Shows.

I made this Peanut Butter & Nutella Cake (apologies for the bad lighting but I was having one of those late night cake craving moments I mentioned earlier, so there was no time to wait for natural light!) and it took a few minutes to throw together and less than two minutes to bake in the microwave. I had all the ingredients already in my cupboard so I could get that cake craving I needed with minimum effort involved. The sponge was soft and tasty, and there was a pool of warm Nutella and peanut butter at the bottom, it was also massive and very filling.

My favourite of the three books and the one most suited to my style of baking is Lola’s A Cake Journey Around The World. The book is separated by continent and then there are recipes for each country. There’s such a huge variety of cakes in here, some I had heard of and some I hadn’t. This would be a great book to read before a Great British Bake Off technical challenge!

I was immediately drawn to this Sticky Orange & Almond Cake from Spain, it involved boiling whole oranges and the pureeing them – which smelt amazing! The cake was gluten free too as ground almonds were used instead of flour. The recipe was so easy to follow with a yummy result.

I also made this Amarula Cake from South Africa. Amarula is a spirit made from the fruit of the African marula tree, then it’s mixed with cream and sugar. If you like Baileys you will most likely enjoy this drink! The cake was a fabulous chocolate sponge, soaked in Amarula and decorated with caramel and whipped cream. I was in cake heaven!

The third book is called Japanese Patisserie and the author is James Campbell who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants and now works for Marks & Spencer product development. The creations in this book are very high end and absolutely stunning to look at. It’s definitely one for those people that are interested in experimenting with their baking and challenging themselves. Although there are lots of more complex and impressive recipes, there are also simpler yet still impressive options to start you off such as madelines and scones.

If you enjoy Asian cuisine you will have heard of most of the ingredients in the book, such as yuzu, miso and matcha, but they have been fused with western recipes to create elegant and stunning desserts. I always wanted to try yuzu so I tracked some down at the Chinese supermarket, you can also get it in Waitrose and online. I made a yuzu and lemon meringue tart recipe from the book which was absolutely delicious.

If you would like to be in with the chance to win a copy of each of the books I’ve reviewed in this post, enter by using the Rafflecopter below – good luck!

NB. I received the books to review free of charge, all opinions are my own. Competition is open to UK residents only. The winner of the competition will receive one copy of each recipe book featured in this blog post.
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If I Knew You Were Coming Baking Kits Giveaway

If I Knew You Were Coming Baking Kits Giveaway
 If I Knew You Were Coming Baking Kits are a subscription service that deliver a delicious recipe and the required dry ingredients by post. You can sign up for 3, 6 or 12 months and they will send you sweet treats to make at home like muffins, cookies and brownies. The name of the company comes from the song ‘If I Knew You Were Coming I’d Have Baked A Cake’ by Eileen Barton and I think these boxes are very handy to have around for a sudden sweet craving, or an unexpected visitor as you can whip up the tasty treats in no time! I was sent the White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies kit to try out.
 

When the box arrived I opened it up and found inside a recipe card for the cookies, a full list of ingredients and allergens, the dry ingredients for the cookies – sugar, flour, white chocolate chips and dried cranberries – and some vanilla extract.

The only fresh ingredients I had to add was some butter and egg. I started by combining the sugar mix with butter. The muscovado sugar smelt really nice and I could tell it was good quality.

I added the egg. The recipe only called for 1/2 an egg which was probably my only dislike as I hate wasting things, although it did say you could use a whole egg, but the cookies would have a more cakey texture. So that was good to know.

I added the flour then the white choc chips and cranberries. All of the ingredient sachets were really easy to open and I was impressed with the amount of choc chips and cranberries, it was a very generous amount.

I seperated the dough into eight and put the balls onto lined baking trays.

I baked them on 170C for around 15 mins until they were golden brown around the edges. I left them to cool.

The cookies were really delicious and packed with tasty cranberries and white chocolate chips. I really enjoyed them and they were an easy and quick tasty treat to make.

If you’d like to win a 3 month subscription of your choice from I Knew You Were Coming, enter my giveaway using the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!

-The giveaway has ended-

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Bake Box 2 & 3 Unboxing and Giveaway!

Bake Box 2 & 3 Unboxing and Giveaway!
 If you haven’t heard of Bake Box yet then you are missing out! It’s a bi-monthly subscription service for all the baking lovers out there. Once you sign up, every two months you receive a themed box filled with bakeware items, a specialist decorative item and 6 recipe cards to inspire you. I’m such a huge fan of this subscription service as I love the surprise element of it. Every time I’ve received a box I’ve been so excited to see what the theme was and really impressed by what I’ve found inside. If you’d like to check out what I got in box 1, read my previous Bake Box post here.

I’m very excited to announce that I am now a Brand Ambassador for Bake Box, this means I get to share with you what’s inside each new Bake Box as I get them, and what I make using the items inside. I’m combining the unboxing of Boxes 2 & 3 into this blog post and I can’t wait to share with you all the goodies that were inside and the treats that I’ve baked with them so far! There is also a giveaway at the end of this post to win a 6 month subscription of Bake Box so keep reading!

The theme for Box 2 was Springtime In Paris, which I think is such a fantastic theme as I love the French style of baking. Inside the box was:

  • A madeline tray
  • A silicone brush
  • Eiffel tower and cat shaped and embossed cookie cutters
  • A heart shaped macaron mat
  • 2 flower presses
  • 3 tear drop shaped cookie cutters
  • A black decorating pen with edible ink

The Eiffel Tower and cat shaped cookie cutters were so unique and pretty, I was particulary excited to try them out. I thought the silicone brush was especially useful as it can be used for so many different things, and the madeline tray looked like it would create beautifully shell shaped cakes.

There were also 6 Parisian themed recipes inside. Each card has full details on how to make each recipe, step by step instructions and expert tips. The cards also correspond to a different item in the Bake Box, so you immediately have some inspiration to help you use each of your new baking toys.

From Box 2 I made Parisienne Biscuits. The cookie cutters and embossers were really easy to use, the recipe was simple to follow, and I love how pretty the final results are. However I definitely need more practice with the decorating pen!

 

The theme for box 3 was Decorate With Flowers, such a pretty a feminine theme, and inside the box was:

  • A rose shaped silicone cake mould
  • Flower jelly moulds
  • Flower shaped cookie cutters
  • 4 flower shaped plungers
  • A flower decorating template
  • A pie top pastry cut out
  • Pink blush rainbow dust

The rose cake mould immediately stood out for me, I thought it was gorgeous. I also loved the pie top pastry cutter, which I thought could also be used as a template to dust icing sugar over a cake with, and the flower jelly moulds are so beautiful too.

The recipe cards were are floral themed in both flavour and apperance. And just like the box before, each card corresponds to an item in the Bake Box. The recipes are all very detailed, simple to follow, and some of them include expert tips to help you get the best results. They are also all hole punched so you can collect them in a binder.

I made this gorgeous rose cake using the silicone mould from the Decorate With Flowers theme in Box 3. It was easy to make, tasted delicious, and I greased and floured the mould as the recipe card instructed and it came out easily and looked beautiful!

-The giveaway has ended-
 
To win a 6 month subscription to Bake Box, enter using the Rafflecopter below:
 

 

 

NB. I am sent the Bake Boxes free of charge, all opinions are my own.

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6 Month Bake Box Subscription Giveaway

6 Month Bake Box Subscription Giveaway

I am so excited about this giveaway! You may have noticed that subscription boxes are all the rage at the moment, I’ve seen them for beauty products, geeky gadgets, weeknight dinners, snacks, alcohol… the list goes on! And now finally I am so pleased that Bake Box has come along for all the bakers out there. And I’m even more pleased that I am offering you the chance to win a 6 month subscription!

Each box has a surprise theme, which I found so fun as I had no idea what to expect when I opened it. It was so exciting discovering what was inside.

As well as the theme, you get 6 recipe cards with each box, 6-8 baking gadgets or tools, 1 decorative ingredient such as food colouring and access to the Bake Box Bake Club!

From the box I chose to make the Fashonista Biscuits. The recipe card was so easy to follow and all the baking gadgets I needed to create the biscuits were included in the box. I used the dress shaped cookie cutter, the circular plunger, and the fondant wheel cutter to shape and decorate the biscuits.

It was perfect timing as I was hosting a clothes swap party that weekend and these colourful dress biscuits went down so well! I used some Renshaw ready to roll fondant that I already had in the cupboard too so I got creative with my dress colours and designs!

I really love Bake Box and I honestly wish I could win this giveaway myself! Well I can’t win it, but you could! Enter using the Raffecopter below…

-Giveaway has finished-

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Renshaw Hamper Review & Giveaway

Renshaw Hamper Review & Giveaway
I am so excited about this giveaway as it’s for some really awesome products that I’ve really enjoyed trying out. I’m assuming most people have heard of Renshaw already, but if not… they are the leading British manufacturer of cake decorating products like frosting, ready to roll icing and marzipan. They have been going for over 100 years and have a royal warrant which means they supply products to the Queen and royal family. Essentially, they are icing pros and produce quality products!

I was sent 12 different Renshaw products to both try out and also give away (don’t worry you get new ones not my leftovers!)

 

I gave the Decor-Pan coloured marzipan a try when I made Raspberry Mille Feuille. It was really easy to use, the colour was so pretty, and it tasted delicious! I think this product would be fantastic for making a fun coloured battenberg, and it’s a great way to make marzipan the star of the show, rather than being hidden under fondant.

 
 

For the candy melts I made some cake truffles, which are a big favourite of mine. (I’ll be sharing the full recipe next week!) I melted the white Colour Melts quickly in the microwave in the tub they came in, and I also dipped the truffles straight into the tub – saved on washing up! The truffles were a bright white colour, and I dipped them twice to get a nice thick coating.

For for the ready to roll icing I had a go at decorating some cupcakes. I am by no means an expert at using this type of icing! But I found it to be a fun experience, a chance to be creative, and it was also really easy to use. I like that you get a small selection of colours in each pack as it is a good way to try it out if you are new to this type of cake decorating.

I haven’t had a chance to use the royal icing yet or the flower modelling paste, but when I do I’ll definitely blog about it to let you know my experience and opinion!

The products in the giveaway are:

Pack each of coloured marzipan (green, blue, pink, black)
*Please note the wooden hamper pictured above is not included

 

You can also watch my YouTube video where I go through each product and tell you a bit more about them. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel as there will be more videos coming soon!
 
To enter the competition please use the Rafflecopter below:
 

NB. The products were sent to me to review, all opinions are my own and I was not paid or required to write a positive review.

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One Year Blogiversary & Giveaway

 

Happy Birthday to me! The Baking Explorer is one year old today!

 

 

One year ago when series three of The Great British Bake Off started, I decided to challenge myself to bake something every week that the contestants made, and began my blog to record my efforts. I never imagined it would grow as much as it has, and continues to do so every day. 12 months later and GBBO is back on our screens! I’ll be continuing the challenge this year, watch out for my next post! This blog has lead me to so many amazing and tasty places. I’ve massively expanded my baking skills and knowledge, met some of my GBBO heroes, met fellow bloggers with the same passion for baking as me, and been welcomed into the food blogging community. Plus getting the chance to review baking products and events doesn’t suck either!

My GBBO baking – collage created with Pixlr Express
 

In order to celebrate my year of successful exploration into the world of baking, I’ve gathered some fantastic, gorgeous and delicious prizes that you can win! I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported me, given me advice, eaten my bakes, commented, followed, read my ramblings, and drooled over my photos…long may it continue. This is my way to say thank you and offer you something in return for all your support – although sadly there can only be one winner! Good luck!

The Prizes

 

12 (collection only) or 6 (UK postage) delicious brownies in a variety of flavours from Lush Brownies.

3 pots of infused sugar from Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range – Cinnamon, Vanilla & Lavender. Check out a review of the sugars by clicking here and see some delicious recipes to use them in!

Sainsbury’s Ready Rolled icing in 5 colours (Green, Red, Blue, Yellow & Pink) and a box of White Flower & Modelling Paste

 

(Photo is an example of what you will get)
 

Goodie bag from Baker & Maker filled with baking cases, cupcake wrappers and cookie cutters.

Gorgeous Gillian Kyle tea towel.

Image Source – Photo is an example of what you will get
 

Selection bag full of Whitworths Sugar’s fab range.

Want a chance to win? Enter using the widget below!

 

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
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