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Everything you need to know about icing

If you’re limited on space, the best icing for you to buy would be icing sugar. This is one of the most versatile ingredients you can buy when it comes to cake decorating and flavour.

What is icing sugar? It’s a powdered sugar made from finely milling normal granulated sugar into a powdered form. It’s so fine that we think it’s the best type of sugar for making any type of cake icing. We’re going to talk through some of our favourite icings and give you some top tips along the way.

Buttercream Icing

Buttercream is one of the most versatile toppings for cakes and is extremely popular spread between cakes too. Buttercream is made of 2 main ingredients; butter and icing sugar. Once you have these two mixed, you can add wide varieties of flavours or cobuttercreamlours to really bring it to life. The nation’s favourite flavour is vanilla – and using high quality vanilla is important as it makes such an incredible difference to the taste – why not try adding some Nielsen Massey vanilla extract – you’re sure to notice the difference.


Buttercream Icing Recipe

If you want to make it a chocolatey affair, try our chocolate buttercream made with melted chocolate in it.


Chocolate Yule Log Recipe

Buttercream can be piped into different textures to form some really dramatic results. If you don’t have a piping bag, start off with a sandwich bag. Simply fill the bag with the icing, squeezing it down to one of the bottom corners and snip the bottom corner off – and this is where you’ll pipe from! The size of the cut is up to you – we recommend you start small and keep getting bigger – much easier than trying to decant the mixture to another bag if you cut too big!


Glacé icing

This is probably the simplest of icings to make and children love it – simply mix your icing sugar with a small amount of water. You can use other liquids too – why not try adding flavoured juices such as orange to really make it pop. It can be applied thickly like a syrup (use less liquid if this is the result you want) or as a drizzle (simply add more water). Whether you opt for a syrup of a drizzle, make sure you work relatively quickly, as the glace sits, it starts to thicken slightly, making it more difficult to decorate.

Glace Icing Recipe

Cream cheese frosting

One of our favouritecream-cheeses here at BakingMad – Cream cheese frosting is a tasty combination of icing sugar and cream cheese. You tend to find this on the top of a carrot cake, or red velvet cupcakes. The only tricky thing with this particular icing is that it has a tendency to go really runny if it’s overmixed, and by overmixed, we mean any more than just mixed – so proceed with caution! We always make it using full fat cream cheese, as itl adds to a better flavour and texture.


Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

Royal Icing

This mixture of egg whites, icing sugar, and often a touch of lemon has a consistency that can be piped, but it dries hard for a smooth surface and is often used to create ornate cookie decorations. It can also be used to pre-make flowers or other cake decorations to be used at a later date, and it’s also what you use to make homemade sprinkles.

If that seems like too much bother, why not try Silver Spoon ‘Royal Icing Sugar’ – it’s is perfect for a traditional hard royal icing finish and there’s no need to get the eggs out – simply add water and beat.

The hardest bit is to cover a cake. Watch this video to see how it’s done:

Royal Icing Recipe

How to cover a cake in Royal icing

Fondant Icingfondant-icing

Fondant icing is different to icing sugar because it includes dried glucose syrup. This gives you a smooth, glossy, soft iced finish which is perfect for icing cupcakes, sponges or bakewell tarts. You can even use it to create edible cake decorations. You make it by mixing icing sugar, water and cream of tartar or liquid glucose. Our friends at Silver Spoon have kindly taken the difficulty out of this task by offering fondant icing sugar! Just like the royal icing, simply add water.

(please For allergen information please refer to the icing sugar packs for details- please note that these products may contain traces of egg.

Fondant Icing Recipe

What’s your favourite icing? We’d love to know  – Why not share your icing creations on our Facebook page? We’d love to see what you’re up to in the kitchen.

nadiya hussain blog image

Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain, current title holder of the 2015 Great British Bake Off and the nation’s sweetheart will be headlining the Cake and Bake Show from 7-9 October at ExCeL London and 10-13 November  at EventCity Manchester

We take time to ask her a  few questions…

  • How old were you when you first started to bake? And what inspires you?

I started to bake properly at the age of 21 when I bought my first house with my husband Abdal.  He is obsessed with eating cake and turns out I’m obsessed with baking them. I take inspiration from most things around me when I’m baking. But my children and husband help me to create new flavours and help me test them too.

  • What’s your go to bake?

It has to be carrot cake. It’s the one thing I can bake for everyone where nobody will complain. My kids are not usually fussy but it’s all the extended family that can be tricky to please.

  • If you could only bake 1 thing what would it be?

Chocolate cake. It’s everyone’s favourite and so versatile. Paired with other flavours. Eaten with fruit, custard or ice cream. Eaten hot or cold.

nadiya h What’s your favourite ingredient?

At the moment my favourite ingredient to bake with is matcha green tea powder. It’s earthy, vibrant and aromatic. It’s also versatile.

  • After winning GBBO and all the media attention, do you still find passion in baking?

Absolutely it’s the one thing that helps me relax. Even though now I’m always making notes and typing in between it is given me a new appreciation for all the things I do and document in the kitchen.

  • Do you have any advice for the GBBO finalists?

Have fun !!! It’s a tough being in that tent but once you walk out there’s no coming back for enjoy and revel in every second.

  • nadiya cupcakeWhat do you find the most challenging baking technique?

I think meringues are very tricky as they can fail depend on external factors like weather and humidity. But practice makes perfect.

  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt filming your new TV show?

I’ve learnt that I can travel alone even though it’s petrifying at times and that otters can be trained!

  • Who would you invite to your ultimate dinner party and what would you make for dessert?

I would invite David Attenborough and make him a mango and parsley pavlova

  • Out of Mary and Paul which one gives the most difficult challenges?

Who did you want to impress the most? The challenges were equally difficult but I think when Paul does a technical with bread making he is the one to impress. He only has to look at bread to know whether it’s good or an utter disaster.

  • What you are most looking forward to about the Cake & Bake Show?

I was at the C&B after winning bake off and it’s safe to say I was nervous and not sure about what I was doing. I can’t wait to come back and do demos, something that I have really come to love. Looking forward to meeting all the cake mad bakers out there too.


We have 500 tickets for the Cake and Bake show to giveaway, head here to find out more: Cake and Bake Tickets Information

Hurry book claim your ticket to the opening of the Shows, or book for just £9 and  SAVE £6**

Please quote BAKINGM and visit  or call the hotline on 0844 854 1364.

Plus kids aged 6 and under go FREE.

 **£9 advanced booking offer valid until 8 October 2016. £1.75 transaction fee applies per order. Calls cost 7p  per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

jam low res

How to Make Jams and Preserves

If you’re at home surrounded by a seasonal glut of fruit which will soon peak, you might want to start thinking about how to preserve the rich and sweet taste of your summer bounty. What better way is there than making your own delicious home made jams and preserves? We’ve got the know how, top tips and recipes to help you on your way.

First things first. Ever wondered why you’ve lost colour or flavour when making jam previously? It’s probably all down to your pectins. Depending the level of pectin in your fruits will depend on which sugar type is best to use to get the optimum flavour for your preserves. Sound confusing? Silver Spoon have taken the stress out and developed 2 key sugars especially.

silver-spoon-preserving-sugar-5x1kg_4805722Silver Spoon Preserving Sugar is perfect for making marmalade, jams and preserves using fruits that are naturally high in pectin.

The large sugar crystals dissolve slowly and reduce the risk of burning or the need for stirring and skimming. Silver Spoon Preserving Sugar also produces less froth, which helps create a clearer preserve.

Use with fruits such as plums, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries, greengages, damsons and Seville oranges.

 silver spoon jamFor soft fruit containing lower levels of pectin, Silver Spoon Jam Sugar helps ensure these jams and jellies set successfully every time.

Containing the right amount of natural pectin that certain fruits lack, it helps ensure the jam or jelly sets quickly and retains its fresh fruity flavour and natural colour.
Use with fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, apricots, blueberries, cherries, pears, peaches, rhubarb and loganberries.

Here are 3 of our most popular recipes, all rated 5 stars:

Raspberry jam. With raspberries in season from June to October. Get yourselves outside and foraging for big juicy berries.

Raspberry jam

Tinned fruit?  This Crushed peach preserve recipe uses tinned peaches, which are available all year round and great value for money.

Crushed peach preserve

Blackcurrants are usually quite sharp in taste, making it the perfect base for a jam.

Blackcurrant jam

You’ve got your recipe, you have the ideal sugar, now for some top tips to guide you through the making process;

  • If you’re wondering how to tell when your jam is close to it’s setting point; You can spot the change in the rolling boil (Rolling boil? check out out FAQs where we explain further: The bubbles which will turn to a slower pace. The surface of the jam will look shiny and feel thicker when you stir it. The air bubbles will go as the jam thickens and forces the air out. The temperature should read 105’c. Be careful not to overdo it. If you over cook the jam, the process cannot be reversed.
  • Choose your jar. If you’re going for something with a twist metal lid, you do not need to use waxed discs. Make sure you sterilize your jars to keep the contents as fresh as possible
  • When you come to jarring your jam, make sure you fill to the brim when the temperature of the jam is still over 85’c.

Want to know more? Head to our Frequently Asked Questions where we have lots of jam related answers:

Simple chocolate cookies WEB

Our Top 10 Child Friendly Recipes

It’s the summer holidays and you’re at home entertaining the kids. The question is, how to keep them entertained without resorting to game consoles and TV?

Don’t worry, we have your back! We’ve tried and tested our recipes and have narrowed it down to our Top 10 Recipes you can involve the children with.Allinson Pizza dough STAMP

  1. Start with our easy Allinson Flour Pizza Dough recipe, this one takes the longest because of the proving time. What’s feels better than the squidge of dough between your hands? Make sure you apron the kids first! Flour will be guaranteed to get everywhere.

Pizza dough by Allinson

Rainbow Meringues WEB




2. Rainbow meringues. Not as difficult as you think. These colourful individual meringues will ensure your children don’t over indulge. Try mixing colours together for a fun science experiment. Perfect for the up-and-coming scientists in the family.

Rainbow meringues

Cake balls



3. Cake balls! These are easy to make. If your kids can’t agree which flavour to choose, not a problem, separate the ingredients and add whatever flavour you like before rolling into balls. We personally love the Nielson Massey Rose water extract.

Cake balls


Chocolate pancakes with banana WEB

4. One of our quickest and most popular recipe to make with children is pancakes! Try our chocolate pancakes with banana. These are delicious. Fussy eaters won’t eat bananas? Substitute with strawberries. These are sure to be a hit in the kitchen.

Chocolate pancakes with bananas



Fantastic fairy cakes WEB

5. Fairy friendly cake recipe. We promise no fairies were harmed during the recipe creation! This simple batter recipe will bake in 15 minutes. Not too long to wait, but can they wait long enough to ice them? That’s the tricky bit!

Fantastic fairy cakes



Simple chocolate cookies WEB

6. Close the back door when you’re making this one, you don’t want the cookie monster to turn up. This recipe makes 16 cookies. Perfect for sleepovers!

Simple chocolate cookies



Hot Dog Rolls WEBjpg



7. There’s nothing better than the idea of a barbecue. These Allinson bread rolls are easy to make and are the perfect accompaniment to hot dogs. With a 20 minute baking time, it would be rude not to.

Hot dog rolls by Allinson

8. Chocolate Dipped ApplesChocolate dipped apples. One of your 5 a day! No ovens involved, these are a great idea for all ages. Really simple and quick to make



Chocolate dipped apples

No bake chocolate cake


9. No bake chocolate cake. These bars are great. It’s easy to make substitutions if the fussy eaters don’t want things like glace cherries.

No bake chocolate cake



10. Lemonade WEBAfter all this hard work, you’ll all be quite thirsty. Just like the old days, you can reminisce with your children about how freshly homemade lemonade was the ultimate thirst quencher and how it still is now!

Cloudy lemonade

This will take no more than 10 minutes to make and involves no baking. Perfect for the younger ones who want to be involved.







Baked in the USA

Whichever side of the Atlantic you’re on, we can all appreciate what the USA has to offer us in terms of bakes. With a whole host of American cakes on our website, we’re counting down from 5 so join us for some lip smacking American favourites.

New York baked cheesecake WEB

5- New York Baked Cheesecake

Recipes vary, but the key ingredient to this dessert is no surprise: cheese. Our New York version uses cream cheese with Allinson plain white flour, Billington’s Unrefined golden caster sugar and Nielsen Massey Vanilla bean paste amongst many other ingredients. Other types of cheesecake are topped with or contain fruits, chocolate, or pretty much any other decadent ingredient that you can imagine.

New York baked cheesecake

Chocolate Pretzel cupcakes WEB4- Chocolate cupcakes with pretzel decorations 

If you’re looking for a dessert fix but don’t want an entire cake. This is the perfect solution. Thanks to the American love affair, the cupcake has grown in popularity both sides of the pond. Surprisingly, we found pretzels and cupcakes make a delicious marriage in crunch and sweetness. Try making our Chocolate cupcakes with pretzel decorations.

Chocolate pretzel cupcake


Simple Key lime pie WEB

3- Simple Key Lime Pie

Head south to the Florida Keys. This is where the key lime pie originated. We’ve whipped up a miniature American classic using a much simpler recipe which only takes 20 minutes to prepare.

Simple key lime pie



The campfire hit! Don’t worry, you don’t need to wait for a campfire to make these little beauties. Wondering what a s’more is? Essentially a marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between 2 biscuits. What’s not to love?


Peanut butter and jelly cupcakes WEB

1- Peanut butter and jelly cupcakes

Jelly or Jello? That is the question. Jelly in America refers to jam, and jello- is what us Brits call jelly. These cupcakes feature a spot of jam. If you’re feeling like an accomplished baker, why not make the jam as well?



For a tasty raspberry jam, try this:

Raspberry jam

Raspberry Jam WEB


How to plan a BIY (Bake it yourself) Wedding

There are many reasons you may opt to plan a BIY wedding. Perhaps you want to showcase your hobby and make truly delicious treats for all your guests. Maybe you want to keep yourself occupied and banish any over-thinking ‘did I sit my Aunty and her sister together? They really don’t get along!’

Here are some ideas and advice for you.
naked cake

Keep it Simple:

Don’t think that just because it’s your wedding you need to create something elaborate. If you’re not an accomplished baker, sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. Maybe you want to go for a classic 3 tiered shape or a trendy naked cake – it’s easier that you think! Watch this step by step tutorial video by Juliet Sear for everything you need to know.

In Advance:

Don’t leave shopping for your ingredients to the day of the bake, have as much as possible prepped in advance. Even if your chosen recipe is tried and tested, if you’ve never made it in such a large quantity, make sure you do at least one trial run.

wedding cakeDecoration:

If you’re nervous that your cake (or anything else you’re planning on making) will look amateur, remember that the key is in the decoration. Once you’ve added your final touches, it will look the part. If you make a mistake, remember decoration can hide a multitude of sins! Try making these sugar roses, our simple video tutorial will help you create them.

Three tier sponge wedding cake recipe

salted caramel doughnut Dessert:

What can you make to keep everyone happy? Something that doesn’t conflict with the cake they’ll have later? Why not try this?

Customise your own doughnuts with a variety of toppings, you can cater even for the fussy eaters.

Follow this simple salted caramel doughnut recipe for the ultimate tasty dessert.

wedding biscuits Wedding Favours:

Go for something like fruit cakes, biscuits or fudge. These can often last longer so you can bake these several days before your wedding.

Why not try these delicious wedding biscuit favours

Wedding cake biscuits

The most important piece of advice we could give to you, is don’t panic! Only take on as much as you realistically have time to accomplish – baking should be fun not a chore. Remember to take time to relax and enjoy the build up to your wedding.

How to throw the ultimate hen party

hen party image

Having to plan a hen party is a personal and intimate experience. This may be something that the bride to be has dreamt of since she was a little girl, and if you’re the maid of honour, that’s quite some pressure on your shoulders to make sure you get it just right.
Fear not! Here is a list of tips from party games to guest favours to make sure the party is a success.

Break the ice cocktail
You could be in a new place with new people, so it’s always good to have a welcome drink to introduce everyone and make people feel at ease. Why not welcome everyone in with a glass of bubbly and a naughty alcoholic cupcake? Our mojito cupcake recipe and Caipirinha Cocktail could do just the trick.

Once everyone has arrived, your next step is to get everyone feeling in the party spirit. Here are some fun games you’d might like to try;

Dress the bride Split your team into equal groups (no smaller than 3s). Give each team a toilet roll. It is then their task to create a dress using the toilet roll on a member of the team in 8 minutes. This usually ends with some fabulous creations!

Hen Party Pinata:
Perfect for any size of group. Fill the piñata with individually wrapped sweet treats so there’s a little prize for everyone once the piñata has been opened. If you are feeling particularly creative make your own sweets – our white chocolate mice filled with raspberry ganache are a delicious retro favourite.

Truth or dare maple bacon cupcakes
This is perfect for letting your imagination run wild. Why not scrum up a few of these maple bacon cupcakes to pose as dares? These will be sure to challenge the fussy eaters.

Pace yourself
It’s especially important if you are out for the whole day or weekend, you don’t want the bride or anyone else feeling too tipsy and unable to enjoy the rest of the evening. Make sure you have frequent snacks and factor in some down time to eat and re-hydrate with soft drinks. What goes better with a group of lovely ladies than a slice of chocolate cake with a cup of tea?

wedding biscuitsWhen it’s all over
A little momentuo of the event?

Wedding themed biscuits. These are quick and easy to bake, and with a long shelf life, you can make these up to a week beforehand to give you lots of time to focus on the rest of your planning.

How to throw a beautiful baby shower

baby shower theme
(Image courtesy of

Having a baby is one of the most special moments in a lifetime and should be celebrated in style. It’s is becoming increasingly popular for expectant Mummies to celebrate the pending arrival of their new bundle of joy with a baby shower hosted by their nearest and dearest. But don’t panic if you have offered to host the shower it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think, we have put together a simple guide of great ways to pull off a beautiful and memorable shower.

Make your own food baby cupcakes

Ask the guests if they wouldn’t mind bringing along some nibbles for you all to enjoy to help with the catering. Perhaps find out what the mummy to be has been craving to make sure that her pregnant desires are being catered for (unless of course it is something obscure like coal!)

We have some great baby themed biscuit and cupcakes that are sure to impress the guests or alternatively would make lovely party favours for everyone to take home with them at the end of the party.

Cake glorious cake baby cake

What is a party without cake? Why not try recreating our beautiful yet simple baby shower cake. A delicious sponge cake covered in blue sugar paste icing and decorated with white clouds and an adorable baby ornament which also acts as a lovely gift for Mum. (We purchased a pack of 5 fluffy cloud cutters from Hobbycraft and the ornament from The Craft Company online)

Baby cake recipe

Don’t forget refreshments!
Whilst it is lovely to celebrate with bubbles, don’t forget that the star of the show will be steering clear of alcohol. Whip up a scumptious batch of refreshing cloudy lemonade and you will be on to a winner. These also look really cute served in mini milk bottles or jam jars with bright and colourful straws to tie in with the theme of the baby shower; i.e blue for boy, pink for girl or neutral.

Party games

After showering Mummy with gifts for the new arrival it is fun to get everyone involved with some quirky baby shower games. Collect baby photos in advance from your guests and get everyone to correctly identify who is who? This game is always guaranteed to bring lots of laugh and a few cringes too!

Why not blindfold Mummy for a baby food taste test to see how many she can identify? Or if you wanted to save a few pennies create your own baby food by blitzing various foods to a purée and serving in jam jars i.e apple, carrot etc.

But most of all…it’s important to relax and enjoy the shower. With many of these suggestions being able to be prepped in advance this will save you lots of time on the day and prevent you running around getting your nappy in a twist.

For our full baby shower recipe collection, click here.

Ultimate guide to making the perfect cup of tea

Tea image

By Eric Lanlard


Did you know that tea is the second most widely consumed drink after water? No surprise there – after all the UK is a nation of tea lovers.

It all starts with the water – your ingredients are secondary; it doesn’t matter if you use a tea bag or loose leaf tea, a horrible taste like chlorine, iron or sulphur can damage the taste and aroma of your tea. Fill a kettle with cold mineral or filtered water – do not use pre-boiled or distilled water, as the more oxygen there is in the water, the better your tea will taste.

Bring fresh water to the boil. Immediately fill your empty cup or teapot and leave for 5 minutes to warm.

Fine china is a great insulator of heat that will keep your tea warmer for longer. Empty the water from your cup or teapot and refill with very hot (but not boiling) water. If the water is boiling or too hot you could destroy some of the complex flavours from the tea leaves. If using a cup, leave some space for the milk (if liked).

If using a tea bag, leave it to infuse for 3–5 minutes depending on the type of tea and how strong you like it, then remove the tea bag using a spoon. There is always an argument about when to add the milk (if using), but it has been proven that tea will infuse more effectively in just hot water rather than a mix of milk and water.

If using loose leaf tea, add one teaspoon of tea per person to the tea pot, plus one extra (this is the same if using a infuser).

Using a preheated spoon, swirl the leaves in the water and leave to infuse for:

  • 1 minute  for green tea (don’t leave for more than 2 minutes, as green tea will become bitter)
  • 3 minutes  for black tea
  • 8–10 minutes  for herbal or fruit infusions

The taste and flavours of loose tea leaves is incomparable to tea bags, even expensive brands. In the Far East, the traditional way to use loose tea leaves is to add them first to very hot water to remove any impurities, and then infuse them in slightly cooler freshly drawn hot water.

book image Add sugar or honey to sweeten your tea, and what we call in France ‘un nuage de lait’ (a cloud of milk) if you want, too. Sit back, relax and savour the moment with your perfect cup of tea.

The ideal accompaniment to the perfectly made cup of tea is a slice of tasty cake.

My new Afternoon Tea book is filled with cakes and perfect bakes to accompany a well made cup of tea.   Enjoy!

Find Eric’s new ‘Afternoon Tea’ book for sale here