Cupcake Decorating with Bella’s Cake

As you may have noticed, I have started to do a lot more baking since the New Year. I decided that this year, I want to get better at it & try my hand at a lot of different things like birthday cakes, cupcakes, sweets & so on. One of my Christmas presents, that I had arranged, was tickets to cupcake decorating classes with the lovely Sydney at Bella’s Cakes  in January. For those who don’t know, Bella’s Cakes were our wedding baker of choice & created an amazing custom dessert table for us on our big day.

Wedding Dessert Table

The 2 classes were aimed at being a beginner & intermediate cupcake decorating class, with the second class expanding on what was learned in the first. They took place in Little Botanica in the southside. Little Botanica is a lovely little cafe, full of quirky decorations (most of which you can buy) & a real homely feel to it. A perfect setting for a creative class!

The first class focussed on learning how to pipe buttercream onto a cupcake (something I have really struggled with) & as it was near Burn’s night, if you wanted to, attempt to create a thistle decoration. We were each given 6 cupcakes each & there was an array of decorations & equipment. From stampers (to create fondant decorations) to coloured fondant to candy decorations & edible glitter.

Decorating EquipmentPiping attempts

I thoroughly enjoyed the first class, allowing me to try out a couple of things such as creating edible decorations that I had not been able to try previously. I also attempted a thistle which I thought was not too bad, even if I do say so myself!

ThistleWeek 1

The next class was a couple of weeks later & as some people who were not able to attend the first had come along, it meant a lot of what I had learned in the first class was repeated. It actually didn’t bother me as it was good to get a refresher & there was a new skill to learn – piping a rose design. Of course I jumped straight in & attempted to recreate the rose design. It turns out the trick to this is that the buttercream has to be cold & so my first attempt was a bit of a disaster. After a wee chill in the fridge, I was quite pleased with my second attempt.

Rose first attemptRose!

In this class, we also had edible paints to use. I struggled with these! My only attempt (which I’m too ashamed to show) ended up with a wish-washy dishwater colour looking swallow as the blue food dye I attempted to use was far too think to use. I’ll admit I was struggling with inspiration for decorating ideas that night but it’s amazing how quickly the time passed & it was soon time to take our cupcakes home.

Cupcake

I’ll admit, these classes have given me the bug & I have invested in some new decorating equipment to help practice the skills I learned. The thing I enjoyed about the classes was the laidback atmosphere & also that Sydney aims to have a theme for each class. The next class naturally being for Valentine’s. Bella’s Cakes have classes lined up for the next couple of months & I would encourage anyone who has an interest in baking to check them out!

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The Tea Rooms @ Butterfly & Pig

I recently visited the Tea Rooms as The Butterfly & The Pig for my mum’s birthday. It was actually the second time in the past few months I had been there for afternoon tea as I’d been in July for my hen party. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “Afternoon Tea? Is that not just tiny finger sandwiches & scones?”. If you think that, then get yourself down to the Tea Rooms & you’ll be blown away by their afternoon tea!

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The Tea Rooms are upstairs to the actual Butterfly & Pig bar/restaurant. As soon as you enter the building, you’re greeted with a vintage desk adorned with lots of vintage bits of bric a brac. It sets you up nicely for the whole vibe of the place. The Tea Rooms themselves seat around 20-30 covers, giving it a nice cosy feel. There decor is tastefully vintage, with lots of nice touches. I especially liked the shelf containing a collection of various teapots. Quite fitting! We were seated at one of the windows, which had a bench & 2 seats opposite. The only problem with this was that we were right next to the cake cabinet – so many amazing delights on display!

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We had the normal afternoon tea which contains unlimited tea, sandwiches, cakes & scones for £12.50pp. If you want to have a glass of bubbles as well, it is an extra £4pp. Compared with other venues that offer afternoon tea, £12.50 is around average, if not a bit cheaper than most venues given that you get unlimited tea. When ordering the afternoon tea, your waiter will ask you if anyone has any dietary requirements & they will bring a custom afternoon tea to fit your needs.

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Now down to the main attraction! The afternoon tea itself is HUGE! I’ll work my way down from the top (yes there is that much!). On the top tier, there are salmon bilinis accompanied with a pot of pickled cucumber. A very Swedish touch to the afternoon tea. The pickled cucumber was a hit for our table. Something about it made it very moreish!

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The second tier is where the main attraction is – CAKE! Each person gets half a scone with cream & jam on it & there are an assortment of cupcakes & slices of cake. Our cakes included cherry scones, banana & walnut bread & peanut butter & jelly cupcakes. I will say, if you do not like any particular types of cake, say to your waiter. I was the only one our of our party who likes peanut butter so 3 of our cupcakes went to waste which was a shame. Back to the scones, yes half a scone does not sound like much but these scones are the size of a saucer which more than make up for not having a full scone.

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The final tier contains a selection of sandwiches & salted crisps. Now having been to various afternoon teas in the past, I have had some pretty awful sandwiches. Ones that are no thicker than your finger & containing fillings like cucumber & cream cheese that no-one would eat on a normal day! These sandwiches are pretty big, with around 3-4 per person, per stand. The fillings are also pretty tasty with our sandwiches including tuna mayo & onion, ham & pickle, chicken & bacon mayo & beef with grain mustard. Altogether, the afternoon tea is a lot to handle but if you’re hungry, then it’s the perfect alternative to the normal lunch. If there is some leftover, the staff will also be more than happy to put some in a doggy bag.

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Overall, the afternoon tea at the Tea Rooms was a big hit & I find it hard for any other afternoon tea in Glasgow to live up to it. One part I would change is to have the jam & cream served separately to prevent any disappointment for those who prefer their scones with cream & jam vs jam & cream (it’s a big deal don’t you know)!

A Foodie Heaven!

We’re back! After a long absence (almost 7 months!!), Get Stuffed is back! Apologies for the hiatus but our wedding took precedence & with the strict diet I was on, it would’ve been posts rambling about how much I was missing pasta, cakes, bread, alcohol etc!

We’ve also joined the world of Facebook so please give the page a wee like over there: https://www.facebook.com/getstuffedfoodie

A fitting first post back is about my visit to the BBC Good Food Show at the SECC yesterday. Oh my, what a foodie heaven that place was! Both my sister & I are big fans of cooking shows & always wanted to go along to the show. This year, we finally were able to have the time (and pennies) to go along.

Before going to the show, we’d decided to go along to see James Martin in the Super Theatre but when we arrived that show was sold out 😦 Instead we opted to go & see Tom Kitchin of The Kitchin in Edinburgh. Quite fitting actually, going to see a local chef at a local show.

We had a good couple of hours to kill before the show, which I thought would be more than enough time to see all the stalls – it was only enough time to get around most of the show!! There honestly was something for everyone – from cheese to cookies to gin (a lot of gin merchants!) to kitchen gadgets. Everywhere you turned, there were queues for various stalls & lots of tasters & freebies being handed out. What more could you ask for?!

We made our way around the stalls in our agreed on path – there wasn’t much logic to it! I could go on about each stall we visited but there were too many to mention! A few that stood out for me were:

St Andrews Brewing Co – A one man brewery based in St Andrews

St Andrew's Brewing Co.  St Andrew's Brewing Co.

Dough It Yourself – They have the St idea of selling cookie mixes in jars that just need an egg & butter added. Wish I’d thought of it first!

Hebridean Sea Salt – Regular, Peat Smoked & Seaweed rock salt from the Isle of Lewis. They had run out of peat smoked by the time I got round to them but you need to try it to understand how amazing it is!

Secret Sausages – They look like sausages but are in fact veggies stuffed in veggie casing. Genious!

A shout out does have to go the The Barnados Big Bake Off for the coolest cake of the day:

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Finally 3pm came around, much quicker than I thought it would, so we went off to the Super Theatre to see Tom Kitchin in action. He made 2 dishes – pumpkin soup served in little pumpkins & (I can’t remember the name) mackerel & orange dish. Both looked pretty tasty & I have to admit I will be attempting a pumpkin soup in the next week.

Of course I couldn’t attend the show without picking up a few goodies:

– Black Bean Sauce, Szechuan Chilli Oil & Hot Salt & Pepper spice from Kwan’s Kitchen (had the black bean tonight & it’s soooo tasty!)

– Cairn O’Mhor Cider (Ok I’ll admit they’re a regular at my local farmers market but the cider is pretty good)

– Cute Cupcake cases from Simply Vintage Designs

– Le Mesurier Hollandaise Sauce

– Funkin Cocktail Mixer (normally I would steer clear of pre-made mixers but these were really fresh)

– And of course how could I resist some Border’s Dark Ginger Biscuits!