Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Making memories in the kitchen.

I have always enjoyed baking, my dad was a chef to trade and I learnt very young how to cook and bake. I passed that skill on to my own children and they in turn are passing it on to my grandchildren. Fifi at fourteen can make pretty much anything she puts her mind to. from full roast dinners to pots of soup, and it is not unheard of for her to randomly make a cake at nine o'clock at night. So when I was offered the opportunity to join in with Whitworths - the UK's best loved provider of dried fruits, nuts & seeds - to really capture the meaning of a family Christmas I could not say no. 

As part of our new #ShareTheLove campaign we've created the perfect children's e-book, an adorable story about a Cake That Made Christmas.  You can read the book here if you want a look
 The book is beautifully illustrated, with the core focus being around baking and sharing your creations with loved ones. The Cake that Made Christmas story is all about baking someone happy.

the hard backed version I got sent.

I am going to have a go at making the cake later on. 

One tradition I started with my children and now do every year with the grandchildren is mince pies. It is a great bonding time and making age dependent makes it fun for them all. So earlier this week I had Minky and Dinky over to make some cakes and mince pies. Fifi at fourteen was excited about coming over and joining in, and I think that says it all really, that she still enjoys it and wants to come and do it.

cakes prepared 
I believe the secret to baking is not allowing them to get bored. The twins are just three and can not appreciate that things do not happen instantly. So for me the key is in the preparation, making it simple and rewarding. Before I went down to pick them up I creamed the butter and sugar together and cracked the eggs into one bowl and put the pre-weighed flour and drinking chocolate into another and had also put the cake cases in the bun tin.

cupboard cleared

mixing in the eggs

and the flour

scraping the bowl 

 I got Fifi to trail them off into the bathroom to wash their hands while I redistributed the raw mix slightly more evenly so that they all cooked at the same rate, they did not see me doing this so it did not matter.

prepared pastry items
While the cakes were cooking we made a start on the mince pies. Again the bun tin was greased and the mince meat transferred into a tub so that two of them were not struggling to get two spoons into the jar at the same time.

I have taken the method suitable for their age, ready rolled pastry. Getting them to place the cutters logically so we did not need to re-roll was hard work, and more than one of Dinky's had pieces missing where she over cut with her cutter. The next bit was quite comical. placing the bases in the tray. Minky was to say the least very heavy handed, most of them ended up with holes in the bottom where he poked them down a bit harshly. The mince was added, and as with the cakes a lot more filling in his than hers. They did an amazing job cutting  the tops, we used a star shape as they call mince pies stars because the ones their mum buys have stars on the top.

cutting out the bottoms 

adding the filling

and the lids

While the cakes were cooking and the pies were cooking and the cakes cooling we had play with a few toys and the Santa hand puppet book. I even brought Buster our hand puppet down to play as well. Buster belongs to DS2 who is now in his 30's.

a picnic

Buster meets Santa

We then went and had the most fun of the day, decorating the work top and floor along with the top of the cakes. I remember when the others were that age how they love to just keep decorating. They managed the icing well and then as Minky still had dry hands he made a fairly quick job of covering his. Dinky on the other hand was quite hilarious. Children this age do not worry about germs or being hygienic. So as her fingers were wet the sprinkles stuck, so before she did the next cake she had to lick them off so all the more stuck.

adding the icing 

and the sprinkles

Dinky adds sprinkles 

and licking lots more off her fingers

No I am not eating the icing.......

the cupboard

sprinkles all over her fingers 

The finished products looked and tasted the part. They were all very pleased with the job they had done and went home happy children. 

finished cakes 

finished pies 

So all in all we had a lovely afternoon making our memories.

Today I had Bob over to do some baking as well. I could not risk having him over at the same time due to his allergy issues as my kitchen is not big enough to have safely kept the separate. So before Bob got here I made his pastry and placed it in the fridge as it needed an hour to cool before using. I used egg replacer and gluten free vinegar to make it safe for him. 

gluten free pastry mix 

So firstly Bob made the cakes, and as I say can do it all for himself.

creaming the ingredients 

He then made his mince pies, he opted for without tops. 

rolling put the pastry 

Once the cakes were cool they were decorated and then eaten. 

with cakes and mince pie. 

If you have been inspired to bake with your children or grandchildren, or just on your own Whitworths are currently running a competition to  Win a weekend trip to London for 2, including 2 nights in a 4-Star hotel, return rail travel, breakfast, afternoon tea, walking tour of London's leading bakeries and cake shops, food tasting and free cake.
Simply upload your image here  Competition closes on 31st December.

Disclaimer - I received the hardback book and a few items in the Whitworths range, but I was writing the blog post anyway. 


  1. great to see the kids joining in and that at 14 your grand daughter wants to share these times and activities with you


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