Popping Candy Firework cakes: Welcoming in 2019

These cakes add a bit of fun to a party and reminded me of being a kid. I absolutely love them. You can make them whenever you have fireworks. Or just because you want to.

Recipe:

For the cakes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 110g golden caster sugar
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 110g butter
  • 50g cocoa powder

For the icing:

  • 250g Icing sugar
  • 100g butter (at room temperature to soften)
  • 1 packet of Popping candy
  • Sprinkles of your choice (I used “gold crunch”)

For the decoration:

  • Metallic cupcake cases
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Scissors
  • Sellotape

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with the metallic cupcake cases
  • Melt the butter
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar together
  • Add the melted butter
  • Fold in the flour and the cocoa powder
  • Fill the cases evenly
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until risen and browning.
  • Once baked leave to cool
  • Whisk together the butter and the icing sugar
  • Spoon (or pipe) onto the cupcakes
  • Sprinkle the popping candy and the sprinkles you have chosen on top

Making the decorations:

Use spare cupcake cases and cut out the base. Then cut in half.

Make a fringe by cutting down the ribbing in every other space, leaving 5mm at the bottom.

Put a piece of sellotape at one end and start wrapping this around the cocktail stick.

Once wrapped all the way around secure with more tape.

Finally stick them in your cakes for that added sparkle!

The cases I bought came in bronze, silver and gold. I used two colours for my decorations. You could do it with as many as you like.

Children seemed to love these, running around waving them like sparklers!

Find and excuse to give these a go.

Happy New Year!

My wedding dress: a knitting dream come true

It came as no surprise to the people who know and love me that I knitted my own wedding dress. I still don’t know where the idea came from but once I had it, it took hold and I couldn’t stop until I had done it! It was a simple project in the end. Very lengthy but so worth while. I highly recommend it!

I am also proud that I managed to keep the whole thing a secret from my husband.

You will need:

  • Good quality circular needles: I used Addi Click Lace
  • Lace weight wool: I used Patons Lace Sequin in Crystal
  • Stitch markers
  • Imagination
  • Many a good film or TV series to keep you company

The skirt

As soon as I saw Renata Brenner’s Heliotaxis Pi Shawl I fell in love. I knew I wanted a leafy design in my dress and this could not have been more perfect

copyright: Renata Brenner

The shawl pattern is available on Ravelry and is really easy to follow. It knits up really quickly and it really looks like I worked much harder at it than it felt like I did.

See YouTube on in the background so I don’t go completely mad!

The Pi shawl was created by Elizabeth Zimmerman and is explained in great detail in her book:

If you follow her basic principle you can have any design you like for your skirt. You can make it as simple or as complicated as you like.

To make it a skirt rather than a shawl I skipped the first rounds and started at row 26 by casting on 144 stitches onto 5mm needles.

I follow the pattern exactly using stitch markers to keep track of where I was.

At the very end, to add a little more flare, I gradually increased the needle size. From row 103 I did 2 repeats in 5mm and then I went up 1mm at each repeat until I was at 8mm. I them finished of with the 8mm needles.

The finished skirt:

The top

The top was a piece of cake… I made this (available on eBay) :

I knitted 2 the same (front and back). The lace is so loose that there is no need to knit 2 panels for the back – I just wanted it to look like there were so I sewed buttons down the middle.

Making up:

I put both pieces on (many times) and sent endless photos to my long-suffering sister:

We started looking for embellishments to match my purple shoes:

…before settling on the dark purple you see in the final images.

I finally put the outfit on all together to decide how it should sit. My sisters decided that the skirt was too long so I ended up weaving elastic in about 2 inches from the original cast on and pulling it tight. This actually looked quite nice because it created a bit of extra “puff” around the hips. I decided to sew the top and bottom together after this so it would all stay in place on the day.

I bought a tutu skirt in the ASOS sale to go under the skirt and then I had to worry about the top.

I took a cheap white spaghetti strap vest top, turned it inside out and draw a sweetheart neckline on it. I recycled the spaghetti straps to edge it and the sewed this into the dress. It was not neat or pretty but no-one could see it!

And so:

What I learnt:

Knit a test square: I don’t always because I roughly know my tension with most wools but lace knitting is so different and comes out different each time so practising your tension will make it a more uniform piece.

Know what you want: The design is really important. You have to know where you’re going before you start or you end up with mismatched pieces and something that doesn’t quite fit right.

Don’t sweat the detail: I made SO many mistakes in this dress. At first I would unpick and correct every mistake but as the dress progressed most minor errors were hidden in the overall design and I only knew they were there because I stared at it for so long while making it.

Just start: The hardest part was starting. I thought it was ridiculous to think I could knit my own wedding dress but I started and then just kept going.