2019 has started with much excitement and a number of plans for the year ahead with both my baking and continued charity work underway I spend New Years Day reflecting on the year past and look to plan the year ahead.
One of the initial reasons I started to bake, was a wish to create a healthier celebration treats using natural ingredients. So with this being one of the core reasons to bake, I wanted to highlight my popular Egg-less, Vegan and Organic creations.
As January is now re-titled Veganuary, when better to put them in the spotlight.
Those who approach me for Egg-less and Vegan cakes, often do so due to religious, ethical or health beliefs. But those new to, or exploring a vegan diet for the first time, frequently ask if chocolate or cake is even an option in a vegan lifestyle! With a Vegan cake containing 60% less saturated fat than its butter alternative, you really can have your Vegan cake and eat it!
Image shows a Vegan Unicorn Cake, constructed with vegan chocolate sponge, vegan vanilla buttercream frosting and vegan fondant details.
Christmas is always a special time of year and one which I love for many reasons. From carols to heart warming food, time spent with family to remembering those who aren't with us.
With Live Aid on the radio and those iconic words ringing out ‘In our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy, Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time. Christmas is the time I reflect on all that has been and all that is to come.
I have been honored to fund raise for a number of charities this year, The Y Leicester being one, inspiring and supportive in equal measure to all those whom are in need of their input. This year on the 5th December 2018, the very day 135 years ago that it began, saw them celebrate their magnificent achievement,with their annual carol concert and birthday celebration. I was approached to design a celebratory cake for all those attending, a center piece to the event for all to enjoy after the concert. And well you can’t have a birthday without a cake, right?
If you've never been to Leicesters oldest Theatre its well worth a visit, transported back to the opening, a warm and inviting atmosphere, the excitement of the evening to come, the beautiful surrounding and the support of a charity and event which has been giving for over a century, we enjoyed the Salvation army accompany the carols, readings and Gospel singing.
The cake represented the past and present with the images of The Y from its opening to present day topped with 135 not only to signify how old it was but to represent there challenge. Their aim this year was to recruit 135 people to each raise £135 of which I wholeheartedly supported hosting a cake sale earlier this year. There is still time to take part and make a difference x
After a lot of hard work, late nights reading, completing documentation and training courses, I welcomed an inspection from the council to rate my kitchen and cooking practices.
I dedicate a lot of time to ensuring high levels of food safety and hygiene, so the assessment I hoped would confirm this, but the proof is in the pudding as they say!
And so the time arrived, rating awaited and what can only be compared to a bake-off style technical challenge was completed, along with in-depth discussions on all aspects of food production. Then waited nervously while the inspector reviewed the visit.
I am so pleased to say that I have been awarded the highest rating for food standards for compliance with food hygiene and safety, structural requirements and management and control procedures.
A 5 star rating for midnightbaker13!
As my baking journey evolves, I have an increasing will and desire to put these new found skills to good use. Last year saw me bake for Macmillan and I suppose this was the catalyst for many of the Charity Bake Sales that have followed.
Little did I know that baking for charity would provide me with the opportunity to engage with so many different people and organisations, with a shared view of, supporting the cause, spreading the message, fundraising and of course sharing the love of a favorite bake!
So here I am one year on, sending my creations off to raffle once more. Will they be wanted? Will they raise money? Yes, It seems they are, both raising a staggering £400 in raffle ticket sales.
Life isn't always sweet, but facing challenges is a bit like a Charity Fundraiser, easier when done together and with a cup cake in each hand
100 cupcakes, gluten free brownies, vegan muffins, giant cookies and a Victoria sponge
A whole heap of energy and a passion for making a difference
Batch bake until you run out of ingredients and room in the kitchen
Allow to cool then completely fill the cake fridge with all your bakes
Chill ready for decoration
After a busy day with the family and a chance to meet up with friends, in true midnightbaker13 style, on the stroke of midnight decorate cupcakes, prep labels, posters, leaflets and equipment needed for the sale
The day of the sale, box up the bakes
Arrive early at venue
Display signs and leaflets about the sale and the charity
Set up the tables, then SELL, SELL, SELL
Meet some wonderful people who share a love of cake and support of local charities
2 1/2 hours later, when no crumb remains, tidy away and head home for a well earned cuppa
Count the donations and message the charity
Another charity cake sale, another mammoth bake. This time in aid of The Y Leicester, a charity transforming young lives through housing, education, arts, health and advice and providing every homeless young person to have a safe place to call home and the support they need to create lasting change in their lives.
I was inspired to take part in Challenge 135 after listening to a wonderful address by The Y's fundraising team, headed by Michelle Haggerty-Wood and one of the young people who had been in receipt of the support the charity provided. Leicester Cathedral was the venue and with the moon installed filling the apse, we were asked to imagine, a dark cold night, no money, no possessions, no place to go, no one to turn to. What would you do?
A minute to contemplate, a service to be inspired and a reason to say, yes.
Could I be one of the 135? How could I say no to such a compelling request. I can bake, right? I love to bake!
Total Raised £207.33
The first episode of Great British Bake Off 2018 aired tonight and if this was just the beginning, I cannot wait to see the final!
12 new contestants waged war on dough and soaring temperatures in the tent to produce some truly spectacular bakes.
This week was biscuit week, showcasing traditional biscuits to open the show, Paul’s choice of technical challenge, wagon wheels and completing the hat trick, the showstopper, a selfie biscuit!
With each new series, the standard of baking and food artistry just keep getting better as better, a real inspiration for flavours and creativity for novice and professionals alike.
Looking forward to Fridays airing of GBBO An Extra Slice, for more action and gossip of from this weeks episode as well as the obligatory home bakes. I have to say, I love it all!
Roll on, next weeks episode.