Thursday, 22 May 2014

A week to recover...

Greetings lovely readers! I have been away too long. I am still recovering from last weekend’s birthday bash, our village May Day celebrations and a baking marathon. I love to bake, but it all got outta hand last weekend...

It started when I baked three dozen cupcakes for Bunny’s class and teaching staff to celebrate her birthday as well as surviving the stressful SATs exams held Monday to Thursday. We took the cupcakes to school on Friday and they were appreciated and enjoyed by all. I also baked five dozen sugar cookies for Little Flower’s pre-school stall at the village fête – luckily I didn’t have to embellish them, because they were for a cookie-decorating fundraiser.

Friday afternoon I baked the cake for Bunny’s birthday party on Saturday. Given that she was turning 11 and therefore is entering the Supremely Cool ranks, she and four close friends celebrated with a Happy Hour party at the highly scented and colourful Lush shop, where they played with bath bombs, moulded playdough-like soap into funny creatures, and made their own Comforter Bath Bars from scratch, to see what ingredients go into these scrumptious products.
The Comforter Bar
So I came up with a fun idea for a cake. Cupcakes were old news, and little cakes shaped like round bath bombs were too obvious – half the bath bombs there look like cakes anyway. But when I was looking at the Comforter Bar they’d be making, I was struck by just how much it resembled a Swiss roll...

I made a traditional Swiss roll, following Mary Berry’s failsafe recipe. I added a deep pink food colour gel and made buttercream frosting to fill the cake (I decided against fresh whipped cream – no refrigeration issues). When sliced, it would reveal a fuchsia cake with white filling, just like the bath bar.

But now we must cue ominous, sinister music.

I dusted the cake with fairy glitter, then wrapped it tightly in cling film and hid it under a tea towel so Bunny wouldn’t see it. Tidied up and went to bed.

Next morning, about 10 a.m., Darling Husband calls me from the kitchen. I said I’d be there in a moment. Darling Husband calls out that I need to come now. In a very serious tone.

We’d been up a while, shared birthday presents with Bunny, had breakfast, and were getting ready for the afternoon before the party guests arrived at 4:30. I popped downstairs to discover that beneath the tea towel, under the cling film and all over the cake were tiny ants.


And not just one or two on the end bit that I could brush away and cut off the piece. Ants all over. The cake was ruined.

I don’t know how, I don’t know why. The kitchen was clean, no trail of sugar, no idea how the little Houdinis got through the cling film (but believe me, I called them a few more names after ‘Houdini’). All I knew was that no way on this green earth was I going to buy a supermarket cake to replace this!!! My fellow bakers will understand completely where I’m coming from...


When faced with moments like this, I get upset, but then very quickly I get very angry. Then anger turns to utter determination to conquer the situation and get the results I want. Ain’t nothin’ gonna stop me! Efficiency takes over, and in this case I grabbed a pen and paper, listed the few ingredients I had run out of, and gave the list to DH, telling him that I would fix this, if he could just pop out and get me these few things. And something chocolate. To keep me going.

(Hmmm, I wonder if this sort of attitude would work well on the Great British Bake-Off? Bet they never had a problem with ants. Hmph.)

Half an hour later I was whipping up another cake (my beloved pink KitchenAid proved her worth yet again, I think I’d like to be buried with her) and it was even better, with a deeper shade of fuchsia. We had to tell Bunny what had happened, and reveal the joke Comforter Bath Bar cake since she was witnessing the minor chaos in the kitchen. In her optimistic, yet practical manner, she said, simply and in all honesty, “Well, it could have been worse. We could have discovered the ants when we cut into the cake at Lush.”

And that was that. Crisis averted. I love her so much it makes my heart ache.

The cake was served right after they made the bath bars, and when it was sliced, the resemblance was obvious. I popped extra slices in the goodie bags alongside the bars, reminding each girl not to confuse the two – buttercream frosting would not be good in the bath!

Following the Happy Hour at Lush, we went over the road to Jamie’s Italian restaurant for dinner. But I had rung up beforehand to ask if the five girls could have their own table, with me and two mum friends sitting across the room enjoying our own meal. The girls felt like proper “big girls”, and we mums enjoyed some proper grown-up time and yummy food!

But I wasn’t finished baking, nosiree. On Sunday we had a wonderful time at the annual village May Day fête, with perfect blue skies and lovely community spirit. Little Flower was taking part riding on the pre-school float in the parade, dressed as a purple fairy with rainbow wings. Bunny was playing the role of the dragon in the traditional recreation of St George battling the dragon. As far as we know, she is the first female dragon in the 110-year-history of the fête! I couldn’t be more proud! “I will die a very dramatic death,” she said when chosen to play the role. And that she did:

Because we ate most of the cake at the party, Sunday afternoon I baked her favourite lemon drizzle cake to have that evening after a barbecue. We sang Happy Birthday again and I watched her devour three-and-a-half pieces of cake! Little Flower had two, DH had, well, I stopped keeping track of who was eating what at that point. I just enjoyed being with my happy family!

Mother of Dragons
But I’m done baking for a while.

Chrissie x


  1. Fabulous post ..... but I feel exhausted now at the thought of all that baking ;o)
    You are such a wonderful mummy to your sweet girls, just think of all those happy memories they are stacking up!
    love Jooles x x x

  2. Wow, soooooo much baking, I can't begin to imagine the sugar rush in your household! What a wonderful idea for a cake (and I'm keeping a mental note of the Lush party for a few years time....) and what great weather for the fete. Well done on overcoming the pesky ant situation....grrrrrrr.

  3. My goodness, no wonder you are exhausted! That cake just looks delicious! Looks like you've been having fun times :) x

  4. What a lot of cake baking going on! Great idea that roll an it looks delicious, especially without the ants ;)!
    Do you spit fire when angry, you know,as mother of dragons ;-)?
    Love, Mirjam.

  5. You definitely need a baking break! My goodness, the ant situation!!! I would have cried - so unfair!! Well done for getting another cake made - I hate ants, you didn't let them beat you!

    Maria x

  6. You should be on the Great British Bakeoff! What a lovely thing to do, to make a last-minute non-ant cake for bunny! I can't bear Lush, the smell is overpowering, I even have to cross the road rather than walk past it!

  7. What fabulous times had by all and some great memories to store. All that baking, you are to be admired. Have a break this bank holiday.

  8. Hi Khaleesi, sorry Chrissie ;-D
    So glad to hear you have recovered from your very busy brilliant weekend. That Lush party idea is such the fab idea and have filed it into the ole grey matter for the future. Love the pics of the May Day fete - oh the drama dahling bunny! X

  9. I'm worn out just reading about it all! I baked my husbands birthday cake (he was 50 on Jan 1st). I decided to make a cup cake tower, and whilst I love cooking, baking "special" cakes is something I avoid. I made a batch, and then tasted one on New Years Eve, only to declare I didn't like it. Guess who was baking cakes late into the evening to make sure we had a good selection! x

  10. Oh my goodness I am completely worn out and in need of a cup of tea myself after reading that marathon weekend of fun. Ants do seem to be able to get in the most unual of places but at least you were able to restore calm to the situation. I think I would of just been in tears admitted defeat and gone to the nearest supermarket or M & S. So well done you for all your efforts.

  11. Wow, you certainly need to sit down and recover. I think you should be on the bake off, everything looks so delicious

  12. The Lush party sounds wonderful, pity I have boys! You have been so busy, hope you have a nice peaceful weekend full of crochet.

  13. Ps - don't blame the little ants... They know a good cake when they see it ;-)
    If I would have been in your kitchen, your cake wouldn't have been safe too... Cling film or no cling film :-)

  14. Hail mother of dragons!
    We have ants too, maybe its a good year for ants.
    I really admire your spirit in the face of 'antversity' !
    I would have loved a lush party at that age, you are a brill mum...actually I still think I would love a Lush Party...
    super post C lots of love A xxx

    1. Oh you make me giggle, 'antversity'! They do Lush parties for all ages - believe me, after the day I'd had I was asking them about pamper packages and a grown-up soirée...Cx

  15. Wow, that is a lot of baking! I have to admit I would probably have got a shop bought cake after the disaster! What a great idea for a party - I quite fancy one of those myself! X

  16. What a wonderful Mum you are Chrissie and what a trooper after finding the ant-y cake. I've never lived in a house where ants were an issue but I have seen the little critters trotting about my patio in the past month and am terrified they find their way indoors - now I'm even more scared! I know Kitchen Aid mixers are supposed to be very robust but I am surprised yours hasn't blown up with the workouts it has been getting.

    I don't know about the 11yr olds but I'd have absolutely loved that party and meal out! How sweet of you to allow them to be grown ups at their own table too. 11 is a sensitive age and that was a lovely balance.

  17. Hi Jacquie, I've so enjoyed reading your post. You certainly sound all baked out for sure but what a fabulously lush mum you are!
    There are certainly a lot of ants around this year. I'm not sure how true it is but I've been told many times (in NZ) that there are two types ant - one liking sweet and other savoury - do you think they were having me on? I do know that ants certainly like tinned cat food because on many occasions when living there I discovered the cats dish smothered ants.
    Tracey xxx

  18. Wow you have been a very busy lady...what a lot of baking. Pesky ants though! I love the idea of Bunny's lush party and the cake matched it perfectly too. Well done to the first female dragon and her clever mum!
    Marianne x

  19. Oh Chrissie I would have cried too, all your hard work.....well done you on being such a fab mum and pulling out all the stops!!! Sarah xo

  20. Oh my goodness, nightmare! But like a trooper you rose to the occasion despite your already mega bakathon! Supermum to the rescue!
    I don't suppose you'll be wanting to do much baking for a while now but it sounds like your daughter had a wonderful Birthday!!!
    Gill xx
    Gill xx

  21. Anonymous9:44 pm BST

    Oooh I love game of thrones khaleesi! Your cakes looked divine ... I love baking but mine always come out looking a bit flat - taste ok though! Great photo and you look like you had a great weekend. Hope the bank holiday is a good one. Emma

  22. oh my goodness, you deserve a medal!! I would have to retire from baking, but I'm sure you won't! Heather x

  23. Well talk about snatching triumph from the jaws of adversity! You did an amazing job to rescue that situation. It sounds as though all went very well in the end. Congratulations to you and Happy Birthday to the special young lady! Congratulations also to the dragon for her excellent job fighting St George! xx

  24. I thought that was a cookie when I first saw the picture. Well done on saving the birthday cake situation. I don't much like panic baking, but I've done my fair share of it, you're a star! Have a little sit down now, and maybe a slice of cake. If there's any left. CJ xx

  25. Dear Chrissie, mother of excellently played dragons and baking supremo! There's no stopping ants once their scout finds it's way back to tell the others where the good things are, but you triumphed in the end, your cake looks yumptious and it seems a good time was had by all. Have a great weekend.
    Jane x

  26. Brilliant party, brilliant cake concept and brilliant mummy xxx

  27. You saved the day, lovely Chrissie! Well done on all that baking and then the extra baking too after the shocking ant discovery! This was a suspense filled post...... What a great time you all had in the end though :)
    Happy weekend!
    Helen xox

  28. Chrissie, you the most wonderful Mother, I loved this post and all the baking that went with it. I am so glad all went well in the end including the demise of the ant cake and the best dying dragon in 110 years. well done by all of you,

  29. Lovely post ! I'm Swiss and we don't call that cake Swiss roll...but he's really good !
    Have a nice weekend ! With no backing !

  30. Dear Chrissie, I enjoyed this post SO much, you write with such warmth and humour. I felt like I was there with you. But I have to say...ants?? Dear god! You poor woman! You are a master baker and then some, because as all mothers know, it's not just how good the cake looks, it's all the planning, juggling and thinking on your feet that goes into the whole shebang. You are a star baker. And your girl had a magical birthday and I think you handled the whole "entry into supremely cool ranks" thing very well indeed. x

  31. OH NO!!!! What a disaster, I think I would have cried. Well yes think it is that anger that somehow makes us feel like we won't fail, and girl you did good. Well done Mamma, I am sure your gorgeous girlie had a fabulous birthday and one she will remember. GBBO here we come!! xoxo