The showering of Baby M {part 3}

So Baby M, or Em, arrived on 14 January! What a small cute (and screaming) bundle. Just a month before I had nominated myself to arrange her (or Mrs M’s) baby shower. Who does the shower actually belong to anyway? Either way, I didn’t have a clue where to start.. well, maybe I did. Trusty Google. Overloaded with horrendous ideas for baby showers, I knew Mrs M wouldn’t be having any of it. She had her hen party only a year earlier where she was dressed ridiculously and she’d completed all her dares like a trooper. All she wanted, was a little get together. So thats what I gave her.

While Mrs M originally wanted to name her unborn daughter hippy names (I’m quoting her husband and mean no disrespect to these names) like Levi, Riley or Ivy, when the old english name Emily was decided on, so was the theme for our tea party.

It was an English country garden theme and drawing inspiration from my favourite pretty websites the table had pink rose table cloth overlays (which have now been converted into cushions for Emily’s room) and country garden flowers in milk jugs and old teapots.

I filled bottles with berry juice and tagged them with girly nursery rhymes and poems.

Our generous guests brought incredible cupcakes and biscuits along and I threw in some pink champagne for the girls who weren’t pregnant!

But before the pressies and after the cake and tea (champagne) – there was the little task of creativity. Mr and Mrs M had a very white wedding, they have a very white house and needless to say – they planned to dress their baby daughter in very white clothing. A long standing joke – I planned to throw some colour in. I had bought enough white baby grows for each guest to turn into their own masterpiece.

I found freezer paper in a back street of Bergvliet at the Quilting Bug, and went about cutting stencil shapes to be ironed onto the front of the baby grows. Fabric paint in the primary colours and ofcourse white (only to make pink!) I set everyone the task of bringing colour into baby Em’s life. The results were awesome!

Definitely a fun alternative to games that involved chocolate log and nappies or appletizer in a potty.

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Deep Red Sponge with White Cream Cheese Frosting

Cheryl McEwan_Red Velvet CupcakesYes, I’m talking about Red Velvet Cupcakes.

I had never had one before.. and had never dreamed of indulging in something so deep red in colour that wasn’t steak. Or wine.

New Years Day, and at my folks for tea, my mom produced these cupcakes made by my very own lifelong friend Lady K. I had to suppress my almost inappropriate (I was at my parents afterall) ooh’s and aah’s of delight (seriously, they’re THAT good) as I indulged without regret on the first day of the new year.

Although Lady K had probably only just touched down back in London… I pinged her, emailed her and whatsapp’ed her in a desperate attempt to get the recipe.

Here it is. I haven’t actually tried to recreate the incredible Red Velvet pieces of heaven myself. But here’s the recipe for anyone who wants to try:

Mix all the ingredients well so that the sponge has an even colour and texture. Red food colourings vary in strength, but we recommend Dr. Oetker Red Food Colouring for the best result. To make a red velvet cake instead, double the quantities below, divide between three 20-cm cake tins and bake for 25 minutes at the same oven temperature. Frost with 2 quantities of Cream Cheese Frosting.

Ingredients
60 g unsalted butter,at room temperature
150 g caster sugar
1 egg
10 g cocoa powder
20 ml red food colouring (preferably Dr. Oetker Red Food Colouring)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
120 ml buttermilk
150 g plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 quantity Cream Cheese Frosting
*still to get this part of recipe
Makes 12
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed.Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour, and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Cream Cheese Frosting on top.

The Cream Frosting:

  • 300g Icing Sugar, sifted
  • 50g Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 125g Cream Cheese, cold

Mix everything together with an electric mixer until just combined (don’t overbeat or it will go runny)

Yum, enjoy!

Happy Friday xx

ps. Check out more of Lady K’s awesome cupcakes, and other pretty things on the talented Cheryl McEwan’s Photography website.