Tag Archives: rainbow cake

Chasing Rainbows

There’s no question about it, rainbows hold a special place in most people’s hearts. Whether you believe that they are a symbol of God’s promise to us to never again flood the earth to the Biblical proportions of Noah’s time, or simply a natural phenomenon that occurs when you have the perfect conditions of both sunshine and rain*; most people would agree that they are a wonderful representation of hope and promise to us all.

At what is one of the darkest moment of current times and an experience that few of us have ever even had to contemplate, yet alone live through, the rainbow has become a reminder that there are bright days to come again and that storms don’t last forever. Reportedly starting in Italy, and now spreading worldwide, in much the same manner as COVID-19 though at a much slower pace, households are creating rainbows and putting them on display in a show of solidarity.

In our village, the local FB group has been encouraging families to put their rainbows up and we have enjoyed spotting them when we doing our daily exercise routine. I will rapidly clarify that we are fortunate to live in a relatively small community and have rarely come across anyone else whilst we are out and about. And it’s not just our community that is inviting young people to get involved with sharing these uplifting images. Communities nation- and worldwide are seeing these images spring up and our favourite charity, Over The Wall, launched its first #MondayMayhem today with the challenge to create a rainbow and put it on show.

Never being ones to reject a challenge, and finding it a good alternative to the monotonies of an isolated life, G and M worked together to create their “alternative” rainbow – their teen years apparently wouldn’t allow them to be in anyway typical or predictable – which is now proudly in the spare bedroom window for all who travel the A-road past us to see. There were also some threats to paint one another’s faces rainbow-style when emotions ran a little high, but thankfully we’ve managed to avoid that, at least for a few days.

Have your children or you created a rainbow of your own to bring some inspiration and hope to others in your local area? Have you spotted any that have brightened your day? Please do share them.

*the “perfect” conditions include geometry, raindrops and being in just the right place with just the right refraction of the sunlight. There’s a much better explanation of it all here!


Piece of cake

20150225_231442 sr_162935_largeThese photos are of the supplies I needed to create this year’s  birthday cake masterpiece for Master M as, after all, this had to be a birthday cake like no other I’ve ever baked before.  In the same way that I had discussed my plans for the food we would serve at their Cluedo party with M, we sat together to talk about the various options for his birthday cake.  I could bake a “normal” cake for him to give to his friends, I could use polystyrene dummy cakes to create an authentic-looking, but totally M-friendly cake or we could try something completely different.  A friend had suggested using small bottles of 7-up to create a tiered cake and then giving every party guest a bottle to take home, which I thought an inspired idea as it’s one of the few things M has been able to enjoy since his NG-tube was passed, but M disagreed.  He preferred the idea of the polystyrene “fake” cakes and we headed off to the shops over half-term to source the cakes, decide how many tiers he wanted and get all the art supplies I might need.

20150225_200407Every year I try to create birthday cakes that either echo the themes of the parties themselves, be that mini-golf, magic or minions; or that are innovative and something the children have never seen before, such as last year’s pinata cake for G.  This year’s Cluedo theme offered me a wealth of ideas and I just needed to decide how to put them into action. I settled on a black base layer and ever-grateful to avoid the nightmare of icing a free-from cake, attacked our 3 tiers with a sturdy brush and bottle of black paint.  “Cakes” fully covered, I liberally sprinkled some silver glitter over them all before the paint dried, positioned the silver 9 on the top and added an emerald green ribbon trim for that touch of old-fashioned glamour and to fit with M’s role as party host, “Captain Emerald”.  I stuck the tiers together using PVA glue and then inserted some wooden skewers, just to make sure there was no chance the cake would fall apart before the day itself.

20150225_210001Next came the fun part of adding the decorations.  I had previously printed out silhouettes to use for the characters and images for each of the murder weapons and had a number of them left-over after I had prepared the cards for the party itself. Choosing carefully, I glued the weapons to the bottom layer and a selection of characters to the middle layer, making sure I included the image of G’s character, “Countess Pearl”.  My final step was to stick Captain Emerald’s silhouette to a piece of black card that I had already covered generously with more silver glitter and added this, leaning against the top-tier of the cake, before leaving it all to dry.

20150227_132323M’s cake sorted, I moved on to the preparation of a cake for G.  Much as I had enjoyed exploring the “crafts” side of my personality, this was the moment I’d been waiting for since Christmas.  Not so much the baking of a cake, though I love decorating birthday cakes to wow my children, but more because I finally got to use the best Christmas present I had received and one that was completely unexpected.  I’ve been drooling over the KitchenAid food mixers for years, imagining one gracing my kitchen counters and last year started saving towards buying one of my own.  To my delight, and absolute surprise, my wonderful Mum invested in a Ice-blue model as my Christmas/birthday present and it’s been sitting in the kitchen, taunting me daily with its absolute beauty, whilst I’ve waited for a chance to take it for a test-run.  All I can say is thank goodness I needed to whip up 24 G-friendly cupcakes as well as the birthday cake itself as I flew through the first task and loved every moment spent doing it!

20150227_141709My birthday cake challenge was easier this year as although G has allergies of her own, I was able to use eggs, an ingredient I haven’t baked with in over 3 years.  I used a simple gluten- and dairy-free recipe and then split the mixture between 5 bowls.  Inspired by both the colourful characters in the Cluedo game and a recent episode of Great British Comic Relief Bake-Off, I added 5 different food colourings – 1 to each bowl – and then marbled the cake mix in the baking tins.  20150228_114150As I waited for the cakes to bake, I turned to my trusty laptop to search out some ideas for how to decorate G’s Cluedo cake and settled on recreating the board itself out of icing.  Working late into the early hours of Sunday morning to finish this final part of the party preparations and when I finally fell into my bed at around 3am, I was delighted with the end results.

The big reveal of my “showstopper” cakes was a huge success.  Both G and M were thrilled with their cakes and liked the fact that even though they were completely different, they both fit our Cluedo theme perfectly.  The cakes had pride of place at the centre of our Dessert buffet table and were a real talking point for children and parents alike.  A job well done, though I’m not rushing to make 2 cakes for the same occasion again any time soon – my nerves just can’t take it!

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