Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Big Launch!

Whew! The cakes have been devoured, the fizz has been downed, the heels have been discarded (damn my feet are sore) and Auntie M's big launch party has ended. We were all a lot fuller by the end of the night and there was some fear that a few people might actually have to be rolled out. But, that's the dangers of a free cake buffet!

Now that the party is out of the way, time to think about the real thing! Monday-that's tomorrow people-TOMORROW, I throw open the doors to my own bit of 1950's home fantasy and hope that people like it.

On offer will be a fabulous array of baked goodies but that's not all folks! I also have selection of the finest sweeties around (twizzlers anyone?), fantastic homewares like teatowels, mugs and candles that smell freakish realistically of baked treats. Mmmmmm, I think I could actually eat the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie one.

So come on down to my house at Auntie M's Cake Lounge (starting Monday at 10:30) and join me for a spot of tea and cake! Who could resist...

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

What's new pussycat?

Where the hell have I been?
Well, since you asked so nicely, I'll tell you! Busy, so very very busy. It's all good though and my business has not been without direction. No, in fact it has led to a whole new (and exciting!) venture. Roll up, roll up for the opening of my brand spanking new shop! That's right, I am opening a shop, a cake shop! In fact it's a cake shop with a serious 1950's vibe. It's full of gorgeous vintage fittings, atomic wallpaper, fab mid century furniture and rocking music on the phonograph (OK, it's an ipod but still...).
I have been working hard getting it just right for all you cake lovers out there and it's coming together nicely.
So, Auntie M's Cake Lounge opens in less than two weeks now (eeeek! Did I saw less that two weeks?) and I hope to see all of you down here scarfing cakes and bottomless cups of coffee.
The shop is in DeCourcy's Arcade upper floor on Cresswell Lane in Glasgow, just off of Byres road and officially opens on the 22nd of March.

While you are up there you can also visit some of the other brilliant shops where you can get cool vintage gear at "Not Now Cato', handmade fabulousness from the gals at the 'Made in the Shade Maisonette' and the perfect pin up outfit from 'Rachael Albert'.

Stay tuned for sneaky peeks at the progress starting today. Here's the kitchen almost set up.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Blog, huh? Oh yes!

Ah yes, a blog! That thing one UPDATES to pass on info, share stories and even the occasional amusing anecdote.

I've been busy, no really I have. The Peanut and I have been to several craft shows in the last two months. Some were great, some a bust but they were all enjoyable. Yes, even the one where 9 out of ten people who came up to the stall and looked at the cupcakes said "are those real?" I finally resorted to writing "yes, they are real!" on the sign. Even the woman who asked me if I was "lying" about whether they were real and that the glitter was in fact edible on them was amusing. Hey I got a story to tell about that at least, sorry I mean an 'amusing anecdote'!

I have been in a craft making frenzy with lots of stuff going out to various places. The Marchmont Gallery is soon to be carrying my owls, chickens and embroidered pouches, which will be arriving with them next week.

The Made in Shade Maisonette has several of my items this week but hurry as they won't last! There you can find my craft kits, pinnys, owls, dachshund (he needs a loving home) and my new favorite shifty foxes.

I'll also be at Mono this Sunday for the Glasgow Craft Mafia's Handmade Haven along with The Stitchn' Kitten (the Peanut) who will have her pin cushions, magnets and vintage matchbook notebooks-all great stocking stuffers!

As for baking, that is going along nicely as well and in addition to the delicious things I send over to the gorgeous Heart Buchanan daily I am also supplying KI Yarns in Edinburgh. They have an adorable little shop here in Glasgow which I frequent (all too often really, it's like yarn porn) but in Edinburgh in addition to the yummy yarns, they also have a little tea shop!

On a personal level I have been getting started on my annual Christmas cookie boxes where friends will each receive a box of assorted goodies for Christmas! I'll post more on that later and maybe even add in a recipe. I really love making christmas cookies.

Also in the works a secret potential business opportunity which would completely change my life...stay tuned.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Pumpkin Tea Cakes

It's almost Halloween. I love Halloween. I would have gotten married on Halloween but the timing didn't work out so we just had our anniversary yesterday. I am one of those annoying people that plans for halloween way in advance and I have had the Peanut's costume made for weeks now. Tomorrow she will finally get to wear it and be a There's always "cat" involved when it comes to most anything she does. Past halloween costumes have been, and cow. Cow being because she was 4 months old and didn't know how to speak the word "cat". The poor girl didn't have a clue as to the humiliation that her trusted mother was putting her through by dressing her as a cow with a giant udder. Hmmmm, giant udder...this may have been my revenge for the constant breast feeding I was enduring. Seriously, I am surprised that she was unlatched long enough to get this photo.

When Halloween comes around we have an annual Halloween party. This year we are making skull cookies, meringue ghosts, spider cupcakes and pumpkin cookies aside from the savory hot food as well. So, I thought I'd share a recipe with you this time. This is lovely one for autumn in general as it is full of warming fragrant spices and perfect for this time of year. I started out calling them 'Pumpkin Cookies' but as one precocious child in the Peanut's class pointed out "these aren't really cookies, they are little cakes." "just eat your free cookie kid."
In fact, she was correct. So, they will from this point on be referred to as 'Pumpkin Tea Cakes'.

These are made with tinned pumpkin which is difficult to find but is around in delis at this time of year. I hear rumors that Waitrose carries it as well but I cannot confirm that. IF you cannot find tinned pumpkin, used roasted butternut squash. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, drizzle with oil and roast for an hour or so until tender. Scoop out the softened flesh, mash and use.

On to the recipe...

Sorry this is in American measurements because that's how I make it.


2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup soft light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350/180 degrees (where is the degrees sign on the key board anyways??)
Line two baking sheets with baking paper or alternatively lightly grease the pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.

In another large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until well mixed then stir in the pumpkin. The mixture will look a little curdled at this point, don't worry that's just how it looks.

Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir until combined. This will look a little wetter than your typical cookies dough.
Scoop the dough into TBsp sized balls onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave at least 1 inch between the balls. I use a cookie scoop which is like a mini ice cream scoop which is why mine look so round but this is not necessary.

Bake one sheet at time for 8-12 minutes, until puffed and starting to brown lightly on the edges. They will also feel firm to the touch. Cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes then remove to a cooling rack. Repeat until all the cookies/cakes are baked.

Once completely cool sprinkle each cake/cookie generously with icing sugar. Eat.

The awesome tea towel is by the gorgeous Claire at Miso Funky! Get your own!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

News and Updates

Damn, October is almost over. It's definitely feeling like the onset of winter out there and I am really not looking forward to the clock change. I have enough trouble getting up in the morning without it being even darker than it is now. It all just really makes you want to stay home and huddle under the covers in front of a fire drinking hot chocolate. I have a million things to do, don't have a fire nor am I particularly fond of hot chocolate so I guess I'll just get on with it instead.

In fact this post is about just that! The millions things I am doing I mean. I am pleased to say that I have restocked my online shops so do take a look and get yourself some one of a kind things for Christmas gifts. I am still in the middle of photographing some new things as well-watch for small plush felt trees, I am in love with them!

Other good news is that my 1950's retro housewife aprons are in my shop and are available! There sell out faster than I can make them lately and I am thrilled with that not only because I am making sales but also because I know that means people are out there looking pretty in their kitchens! What a pleasure.

The best news of all though is that the Peanut's business is going great guns. There is an interview about her on which was really fun to do. She's also going to have her first stall of her own. It's just going to be a wee space next to me but it's her own and everything on it will be made by her. I have really struggled with the desire to help her finish and make things for her but I am holding back so that it truly is her own. She will have pin cushions, magnets made from bottle caps and vintage children's illustrations as well as some of her artwork.

Both of us will be at The Craft Mafia's Handmade Haven this Sunday afternoon at Mono in Glasgow. We'd love to see you! Come on down, drop by and say "hi".

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Birthdays and a Giveaway

I'm thinking cake, the big indulgent covered in whippy fluffy frosting kind. I'm thinking wibbly wobbly jelly and creamy ice cream. I'm thinking traditional party games like pin the tail on the donkey and pass the parcel. How about party bags with nostalgic retro sweets and a classic little toy like a yoyo or a skipping rope? I am thinking birthdays.

Now, being the mother of a 6 year old, we do attend a number of birthday parties each year as well as throw our own parties. Not, just birthday ones either, we also have a halloween party annually. This means that I have attended quite a few kids birthday parties and they have ranged from scary bad to pretty good with the occasional really good one thrown in there. I have sensed a trend in most kids birthday parties though and that is the theme of the parents wanting to do as little as possible. I know it might sound like it but I genuinely do not mean that as an insult! I get not wanting to do much, really I do. I am a busy mum myself and this sort of thing happens to be my forte but if it's not yours, I really understand wanting to avoid it. It seems that there is a limited number of choices when it comes to the birthday party that someone else organizes though.

I love birthdays and celebrating them and growing up birthdays were always important and it was your day and you were really made to feel special and even a bit spoiled. My mother always made an effort at putting together beautifully wrapped gifts, fanciful and fun parties and of course lovely cakes. Well, except that one time with the doll cake and her hair on fire...actually, let's just save that one for my therapist.

So, why on earth am I going on about birthdays? It's not my birthday or my daughter's even. No, it's that I have an idea and I want to run it past you. I'm thinking 'Retro Birthday Package'.
Yes, I have too much time on my hands and have come up with another business idea that I can fit into my spare time! "What is a retro birthday package?" you ask. Well, I am so glad you asked because it would be swell to tell you all about it.

I see a retro birthday package a providing all you need for a fabulous old fashiondy (not a real word, I know!), traditional birthday. What I would provide would be; a party plan, a couple of games, invitations, a tea party style finger food buffet (little sarnies, mini tarts, jelly, ice cream...), party bags (as described above) and either a cake or cupcakes. This would all be delivered to the host and even set up if needed.
I'm not talking princess, fairy, ninja turtle pirate party. Just a good old fashioned, back to basics birthday party. What do you think?

What I need here is some feedback now. I am looking for opinions on this-real ones, if you hate it say so but do tell me why please. I'm interested in knowing how parents feel about this as well as non parents. In addition, anyone think this kind of thing would also go over for the 20 something market? Please comment and let me know what you think.

Just to motivate you all, though I know you'd help out through the kindness of your heart, I will throw in a little giveaway.
That's right, just comment on the idea, give me your feedback, your constructive criticism and be entered into a giveaway! "What could I win you ask?" Gosh, you ask a lot of questions!

What you could win is a fabulous Make a Fake Cake kit. That's right, what you be more festive than a fake cake, ugh, I mean aside from a real cake that is.

The giveaway will end on Monday October 12th at midnight (UK time).

Monday, 21 September 2009

Housewives Stand Proud!

Well that's shameful, it really is. I am ashamed, I really am. How I have let it go so long without blogging, I don't know.

I have been thinking though so perhaps that's what's been taking up all of my extra time! Hey, sometimes I am a bit too busy to spend a lot of time thinking. It's occurred to me lately that there seems to be a resurgence of pride in domestic skills. There was a period of time where it was considered uncool to be a woman/girl who loved to cook, bake, sew, knit or any variety of domestic pastimes.

I am thrilled that we can now take pride in these skills and perhaps the next generation will get to know these skills just like generations of women in the past did, passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter. Don't get me wrong I am really in awe of women who lead less than domestic lives and have high powered jobs et al. While I do have high regard for the domestic goddess I do think that women should have choices and if your choice is to be a housewife-brilliant, a corporate banker-brilliant! Actually maybe in the current financial climate, a corporate banker isn't quite so "brilliant", but you get my point. There's no shame in doing what you like!

I have made a bit of a career out of housewifedom (is that a real word? Who cares, it should be!). In all honesty it did take some letting go of false pride as I left behind a successful career when I left the US but I am loving what I do now. I am coming to terms with the amount of time I have alone during the day now that the peanut is in big school but I have been filling it with baking and sewing.

I have for one started my vintage style girl's dress empire! So, what if I only have four dresses so far, all empires have to start somewhere! I found the most gorgeous fabrics, many from Boden which are thick but soft and almost sliky feeling cotton.

I am going to bring there out for the first time this weekend on Saturday at Made in The Shade which is happening at the Lighthouse in Glasgow.
I'll also be at Granny Would be Proud at the Argyle hotel on Sunday. Wish me luck on the dresses and come down and see me if you are in the area.