31 Oct 2011

Tutorial: Cake Pops...

Lily learns with Carousel Cupcakes
Cake Pops - bite-sized balls of decorated cake on sticks - seem to be the hottest thing in the world of cakes right now. But how on earth are they made? I'll be honest, I thought they were some how baked with a stick in them and then decorated with icing sheets which sounds very tricky to me! Luckily, I was 100% wrong and Cake Pops actually couldn't be easier to make! So, under the guidance Carousel Cupcakes' cake-maker extraordinaire, Sam, I had a go at creating some Cake Pops to call my own! To find out how to make Cake Pops yourself, read on for my very basic tutorial. For a more detailed tutorial written by Sam, click HERE.

Tutorial: Fool-proof Cake Pops 
You will need:
- A ready made basic non-decorated cake with buttercream filling
- Candy melts - Something like this. We chose chocolate orange flavoured buttons.
- Lolly sticks
- Cake decorating pens / glitter etc
- A block of styrofoam
- Optional: Wrapping - Cellofane pockets and twisty-grips.
How to:
- Gather your ingredients. Put the ready made cake in your cake mixer and blend until it's all mashed up. 
- Take small handfuls of the cake mix and roll into roughly 1 inch balls. Continue until you've used up the mix. Place on a baking tray, cover with cling film and pop in the freezer for no more than 15 minutes - you want the balls chilled through, not frozen.
- Melt down your candy coating.
- Remove cake balls from the freezer. Take a lolly stick and dip the tip of it in the candy coating then push it approx half-way into a cake ball. Repeat with all balls. 
- Submerge the cake balls in the candy coating and gently rock the stick to ensure the ball gets completely covered in coating (if needed, use a spoon to help get all parts covered). Do not twist the stick or your cake ball might fall off into the candy coating!
- Remove the cake ball from the candy coating, hold the stick horizontal over the mix and gently tap it. Excess coating will begin to run from the cake ball and back into the coating bowl. Continue tapping until the excess is removed.
- Stand your coated cake balls in the styrofoam block and pop them in the fridge to set.
- Remove from the fridge and get decorating - let your imagination run wild!

We created some Halloween-themed pumpkin Cake Pops:
What do you think of the results? We had great fun giving each pumpkin its own character! I was so suprised at how simple and effective Cake Pops are! I love that when you bite into them they actually do go "pop" as you crack the candy coating (simple things...) I have to say a big thank you to Sam from Carousel Cupcakes for teaching me how to make these. Please be sure to let us know if you decide to have a go at making some Cake Pops yourself - they really are a lot of fun to make and, of course, eat! Om nom nom!

Happy Halloween from Lily in the Labyrinth and Carousel Cupcakes!

26 Oct 2011

Finds: Freaky fun for Halloween ...

1: Shadow puppets - £13 for set of three - IsabellasArt
2: Not specifically Halloween-based, but pretty freaky non-the-less, vintage wind-up rabbit toy - £28 - CollectMemories
3: Mini monster bottles - £16 each - PixieDustMiniatures
4: Surreal cat and woman photo-montage - £178 - HandmadeFish
5: Leather sculpture of a UFO - £35 - Pushok1983
6: Zombie clock carved into a record - £24 - MoralMustache - I had to post this as it reminded me of Shaun of the Dead!


14 Oct 2011

Collaboration: Carousel Cupcakes...

Creepy cake making collaboration with Carousel Cupcakes
Last night I joined forces with the amazing Sam of Carousel Cupcakes to work on a range of spooky, creepy and ghoulish Halloween cupcakes. Decorating the cakes was so much fun - and as a cake decorating novice, I learnt a lot from Sam about decorating tools, different types of icing, how to make the perfect buttercream and how to apply chocolate ganache! I really enjoyed sculpting the little hands bursting out of the chocolate cakes and dribbling red food colouring over them to represent blood. Yuck... but also YUM!

The monster faces, pumpkins, eyeballs and ghosts were so fun to make by colouring white icing with special powders and using special Halloween-themed sweets like the vampire teeth as finishing touches.

I hope you enjoyed this post, it was so much fun to create and hopefully there will be some more Lily in the Labyrinth / Carousel Cupcake collaborations in the near future! Be sure to check out the Carousel Cupcakes website for more of their brilliant work and follow @CarouselCupcake on Twitter while you're at it.

Have you ever done any Halloween-themed baking?

12 Oct 2011

Finds: Castles...

1: Vintage 1950s Tammis Keefe handkerchief - £26 - Murdups
2: Castle in the Sky - pop-up card - £13 - Jackie Huang
3: Sterling silver, moonstone and topaz hand-carved castle ring - £165 - Donna's Serendipty
4: Vintage 1950s full skirt with castle print - £64 - Salvage Life
5: Broken china jewellery, necklace with castle - £26 - Dishfunctional Designs
6: Simple castle necklace - £15 - Jewelry and Miniatures
7: Faux-Gingerbread castle decoration - £50 - Janie Champagnie
8: Castle rings - approx £180 each - Lynn Cobb

Lily says: One thing I love about living in the UK, is that you're never very far from a crumbling castle or magnificent mansion! Personally, I absolutely love visiting these heritage sites and just losing myself in history for a while. So I thought I'd put my love of a good castle to use and create this post of castle-related treats from the wonderful world of Etsy . . .

What's the best castle you've ever visited?

6 Oct 2011

That was September . . .

My month in photos . . .
Above: Lots of driving | Working on the biggest issue of the magazine of the year | My birthday - balloons, presents, cake etc - Yeeeeah! | Presents include Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty book and Lucy Sylvester ring | Meals out | Drinks and dancing | A trip to the V&A museum | My name baked in cookies by a BFF . . .
Above: Betty Blue Eyes at the Novello Theatre | Boring meetings at work | Setting up the show at London's Earls Court | Meal at Sticky Fingers | Night drives | Cocktails at Cuba Libra, Angel | A sunny weekend with the parents | Mum messing around with the Sunday Times magazine | Brighton Pavilion | Inside the Pavilion (sneaky photos) | Regency costume exhibition | Purchases from the brilliant Poundshop project | Summer's swan-song - September goes out in a blaze!

5 Oct 2011

Finds: Vintage halloween . . .

Top left: Halloween masks - £3.38 each
Top right: Styrofoam Halloween icons on stands - Approx £10 each
Centre: Skeleton stacking platters - From £10
Bottom left: Skull candle holder (£23) with taper candles (£8 for 6)
Bottom right: Skeleton papercone for sweets - £4

Lily says: Halloween is on the horizon, lurking in the shadows ready to grab us! So why not be prepared early this year? West Elm have collaborated with artist Wendy Addison to create a range of vintage-inspired Halloween decorations to support their own brilliant Halloween range. Expect glittering skulls, Nevermore ravens, quirky hanging decorations, gothic candles and perfect punch bowls - some of which I've highlighted above. This is the perfect range for anyone who loves a gore-free Halloween, and the best thing is that, as with Christmas decorations, you can re-use these items year after year.

3 Oct 2011

Lily Loves: Lucy Sylvester jewellery...

 Like the vintage wooden dolls in this post, this stunning Lucy Sylvester ring was a gift to me for my birthday at the start of September - and I've scarcely had it off my finger since! Bought from one of my absolute favourite jewellery shops, Brighton's Jewel Thief, the ring takes the form of an intricately veined silver leaf that wraps around the finger as a drop of beautiful moonstone clings to the leaf, its haunting colour changing with the light. Below you can see some of the texture and veining on the leaf . . .
Cast of solid, hallmarked silver, the ring isn't over-heavy but feels just right; substantial - not delicate and breakable. I absolutely love it! If you like what you see, please read on for more about its creator - Lucy Sylvester.
More designs and info about Lucy Sylvester:

 Profile: Since completing an MA at Birmingham's School of Jewellery, Lucy has been working from her Oxfordshire studio. Working in silver, gold and platinum, she introduces colour through chemical treatment of the metal to enhance fine details and textures, also through faceted or uncut stones.
"I walk in the countryside to collect delicate seedheads and insects, I'm interested in finding things that would decay into the ground, turning them into precious wearable objects. With climate change affecting our wildlife, my work may become a record for the future of the insect and plant life we have today."
From sketchbook to reality:
What do you think of Lucy Sylvester's designs? I'd love to know!
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