If I had to take a headcount for the number of Londoners (and beyond) regularly putting in extra hours at work, my little poll would end up overwhelmed by its own surveying curiosity. I have long forgotten what it feels like to leave work before 8pm, at which point the cleaners in the building have a tendency to throw sympathetic glances my way (and patiently put their own tasks on hold whilst I see to completing mine.) But I do gain some comfort from the knowledge that so many of you can relate.
As far as my career goes, my body has become accustomed to the long days (even if my appetite hasn’t!) But as far as my blogger life goes, the perpetual late finishes are the reason I reluctantly have to turn down the majority of event invitations that come my way.
But when Zomato proposed I attend a Halloween themed cupcake decorating class at Sponge and Cream Bakery in Brixton, the temptation to
eat cupcakes learn new skills was too great to resist. Outside of blogging, baking is a serious extra-curricular passion of mine. I can whip up a happy little cupcake, no problemo but I categorically have not been able to master the art of making them look like they belong in any self-respecting patisseries.
And so, I begged and pleaded with my colleagues, stuttering some incomprehensible ramblings about extra shifts, swaps and cupcakes and the next thing I knew, I was in Brixton on a Wednesday evening (at 7pm – hurrah!)
And I was eating cake for dinner. Now, if that isn’t victory all round, then I’m not sure what is.
The Sponge and Cream Bakery, Brixton Village
I am yet to explore the ins and outs of this hip, foodie part of London properly but the sense of regeneration and prominence of energised, small businesses is apparent throughout Brixton Market and Village and Sponge and Cream, which at first glance looks like a home kitchen with a few outdoor seats and some immaculate cakes at the front to draw you in, is no exception. We were welcomed with bubbles, tea and an enormous slab of cake of our choosing.
Even in my ravenous state, I had the good sense to pause for a few moments to make an informed decision, which was no easy feat when we were faced with goodies such as German chocolate cake, zucchini and orange and the one I eventually opted for – an utterly moist butternut squash, apple and raisin cake with strawberry and marshmallow frosting.
AND it’s gluten-free for all those of you that way inclined.
Before we got started with moulding Halloween props, we watched Paulina assemble and decorate her coconut and lemon curd cake. In true Blue Peter style, she had prepared the cakes and icing earlier but somehow, in less than ten minutes, she managed to proceed through the following stages of cake decoration effortlessly and it left me wondering why it takes me quite so long to assemble mine. Perhaps I am daydreaming about my next travel adventure when I should be working the palate knife? Perhaps, I am poking my nose into Twitter conversations when I should be levelling off the rounded domes of my sponges?
Halloween Cupcake Decorating
As Paulina gathered together various shades of fondant icing, we took our seats excitedly like children in a primary school about to learn how to sculpt play dough. I have never been great at arts and crafts so my attempt at a ghost did end up looking rather like a foetus (and not the kind of foetus anyone would want nestling in their womb) but as Paulina reassuringly pointed out, who even knows what a ghost looks like anyway?!
I was, however, rather more pleased with my pumpkin.
Those of you who are regular readers of my blog will be aware of the fact my husband was given the affectionate nickname of Pumpkin at the point of creation of this blog (much to derision of his friends) so without further ado, here is a photo, quite literally, of me with my Pumpkin. 🙂
We were lucky to have been generously given a selection of three cupcakes to ice and take home but I became so swept up in the cake decorating mayhem that I managed to get some icing on my camera lens so a big thank you to Sheepa for photographing my final cupcake products on display.
The cakes themselves were scrumptious, my preferred being the light and refreshing coconut and lemon curd ones, which we were given the recipe for (wish me luck) and with the kind of summery, citrusy, tropical flavours that put me in the perfect spirit for my upcoming trip to the Caribbean.
Do you prefer to make your cakes or buy them and have you ever tried cake decorating?
I was a guest of Zomato and Sponge and Cream during this cupcake decorating glass but I am a hot-headed opinionated cake-monster and all opinions are entirely my own. Let’s just say that when you try that butternut squash cake, you’ll wonder why you ever argued with your Mother about eating vegetables as a child 😀