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1, 2, 3 Can you say GLUTEN FREE!

We all LOVE a delicious and sinful cake, BUT sometimes you can’t eat it because of the GLUTEN! How unfair is that?

I myself have a gluten intolerance and a few of my friends do too. While having that divinely decadent, full-gluten cake is mind blowing in the moment, we pay for it hours later. One of my gluten intolerant friends just LOVES cake, and over the past few years I have been using her as a guinea pig to perfect my own gluten-free cake recipe. In just a few easy steps, you too can convert your favorite cake recipe to gluten-free.

Step 1: Substitute your flour.
I have found that a mix of gluten-free flours is best, so I buy a 1kg bag of coconut flour, 1kg gluten-free cake flour mix and one other gluten-free flour like tapioca flour. If you can’t get that then get 2 x gluten free flour mix with a bag of coconut flour. Mix all 3 bags of flour together to form one batch of gluten-free flour. Pop it in an airtight container and keep it on hand for your gluten-free baking.
Side note: if you can only get gluten-free self raising flour mix, that will also work.
Your ratios of gluten-free flour to normal cake flour is as follows – for every 2 cups of normal cake flour you will only use 1.5 cups of your gluten-free flour mix.

Step 2: This is the most important step.
For every 1.5 cups of gluten-free flour you use, you MUST add 3 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum to the mix.
The rest of your dry ingredients will be as your recipe states, that is: salt, baking powder and cocoa.

Step 3:  Add more moisture.
Add 1 extra egg – if your recipe uses 3 eggs, for gluten-free use 4. If your recipe uses oil, add an extra 30mls. Add an extra 30mls of milk to your milk quota.

If you are feeling brave and want to bake a tried and tested gluten-free recipe, watch my video and follow the recipe below.

Tina’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake  – Makes 1 x 20cm, three-layer cake, or 24 cupcakes

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup gluten-free flour mix
  • 3 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cups castor sugar

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 100ml Canola Oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 5ml vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius. Beat sugar and eggs for 10mins. Whisk in half the dry ingredients. Whisk in all the wet ingredients, once all mixed, add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well. Divide into 3 greased or lined sandwich pans or 24 cupcakes. Bake at 150 degrees for around 30 to 40 mins.

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Mother’s Day treats

In preparation for Mother’s Day – Sunday 9 May, I will be creating a few delicious treats that will be perfect as a gift for mom or shared as a delicious dessert after lunch or for tea on Mother’s Day.

First up, on Tuesday 20 April, I will be creating a delicious cupcake flower basket, because while getting flowers is really nice, it is even nicer when you can receive something pretty as well as be able to enjoy eating them with the whole family – no one will judge if you ate them all to yourself.
In the basket will be some new flower styles that I have never used before – an Astrantia,a Dahlia, a Gerbera and a Rose.

You can now place your orders for this delicious Flower basket. Specify your option for vanilla or chocolate cake.

Second up, on Wednesday 21 April, I will be creating a Giant Heart Sugar cookie, that will be iced with royal icing with a “I love Mom” and a royal icing flower arrangement. This one is for the Dad’s to buy for the kids for the moms.

I made these delicious Giant sugar cookie hearts iced and decorated in royal icing – A delicious message just for mom! These are now, also available for order online.

Last but not least, on Friday 23 April, I will be baking up some new additions to my Tea Time treat range just in time for Mother’s Day.

LIVE on Twitch and
playback on YouTube – Tina’s toppers in a box

Be sure to order your delicious Mother’s day treats online by Wednesday 5 May 2021.

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Easter Colouring-in Competition

Enter and win!

Click on the pic to take you to the competition on Facebook

Download the image from my website or Facebook page and let your little ones get creative. Then post the final artwork on my Facebook page with your child’s name, age, size of clothing (so that we can have the correct size hoodie made) and your contact details. We will select two winners, one boy and one girl. Entries close midnight Wednesday 24 March 2021 and the winner will be announced on Friday 26 March 2021.

The prize hampers include:

  • 12 x small, filled eggs in a bag
  • 2 x individually wrapped 8 cm hollow Belgian chocolate eggs 
  • 2 x Iced Bunny sugar cookies 
  • 2 x homemade decorated marshmallow eggs 
  • 2 x hot chocolate bombs 
  • 3 x White sugar-coated eggs with royal icing and sprinkles to decorate
  • 1 x Craft decal decoration 
  • 2 x Easter colouring-in page 
  • 1 x Pack of Easter Treasure hunt cards 
  • 1 x 16cm basket to collect eggs in 
  • 1 x Bunny ears hoodie

To complete the entry make sure you:

T’s & C’s apply:

  • Entries 𝙘𝙡𝙤𝙨𝙚 at midnight Wednesday 𝟮𝟰 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗰𝗵 2021.
  • Winners will be 𝙖𝙣𝙣𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙣 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙘𝙝 26 2021.
  • 𝘗𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘷𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘪𝘮 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘻𝘦.
  • Winners have 24 Hours to claim their prize.
  • Collection of prize in Table View CT on 1 & 3 April 2021.

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Easter treats galore!

The shops have been full of Easter goodies for a few weeks already (is it just me, or does it seem to get earlier and earlier every year?). And while you may have already picked up a box or two of marshmallow eggs to snack on and perhaps even a few hot cross buns, you’re going to need to stock up on chocolates for the Easter weekend itself before the shelves are empty. 

With Easter Sunday coming up on April 4, why not plan ahead and give the little ones something different this year? I’ve put together a couple of exciting Easter Treat Basket options to make sure your day is full of tastiness and fun (see details below). Instead of stocking up on the mass-produced bunnies that line the shelves every year, these treat baskets include high quality, home-made treats and more! The Small Easter Treat Basket makes for a sweet surprise for your little one with added colouring-in pages, and the Deluxe Easter Treat Basket is larger with chocolatey snacks, has a fun paper decoration craft, white candy coated eggs with royal icing and smarties & sprinkles to decorate, colouring-in pages, to keep you busy on Easter and of course to make life even easier there is a set of Easter Egg hunt clue cards in there too, to make the hunt so much more fun!

So instead of running around from shop to shop trying to find those last-minute Easter eggs that haven’t already been squashed by your fellow shoppers, you can spend the day getting creative, egg hunting and nibbling chocolate goodies comfortably at home.

For Easter 2021 I’m collaborating with a couple of talented treat makers. First up is Leeane Liversage from Lee’s Corner. She makes delicious Hot Chocolate Bombs. A dark or milk chocolate shell, filled with home made cocoa and mini marshmallows. Pop the bomb in your mug, pour hot milk over it and watch the magic! The bombs come in various flavours and you can buy them separately for R25 each, or a pack of six for R150.

I’m also running an egg-citing colouring-in competition, so get your crayons and pencils ready!

My second collaborator is Marianne Vinck from Marianne’s Fine Chocolates. Her addition to the Easter range this year is an 8cm hollow milk chocolate Easter egg. You can also browse some of her other Easter treats on my site. 

Both contributors will also be donating prizes for the colouring-in competition. The hampers will also include bunny ear hoodies from Denver and Colette from Kismet Kids. These hoodies are made from brush fleece, perfect for cold winter days. To browse their range, head over to their Facebook page. 

Deluxe Easter Treat basket R195

All about our Easter Treat Baskets
Make this Easter egg-stra special with an Easter Treat Basket. There are two options available, packed with delicious treats and activities. And of course you can also order it all individually!

The Small Easter Treat Basket costs R85 and includes:

  • 1x 9cm basket to collect eggs in
  • 1x 8cm hollow Belgian chocolate Easter egg
  • 1x iced bunny sugar cookie,
  • 1x home-made decorated marshmallow egg,
  • 1x hot chocolate bomb and two colouring-in pages.

The Deluxe Easter Treat Basket costs R195 and includes:

  • 1x 16cm basket to collect eggs in,
  • 1x 8cm hollow Belgian chocolate Easter egg,
  • 1x iced bunny sugar cookie,
  • 2x home-made decorated marshmallow eggs,
  • 1x hot chocolate bomb,
  • 3 x white sugar-coated eggs with royal icing and sprinkles so you can decorate them yourself,
  • 1x craft decal decoration,
  • 2x colouring-in pages and
  • 1x set Easter egg treasure hunt cards.

Get your orders in now as orders close Friday 26 March 2021! Collection for orders will be on Thursday April 1 and Saturday April 3 2021.

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Covid-friendly treats for school and parties…

Iced Sugar cookies
Chocolate coated cake pops

One of the best parts about having your birthday during the school term used to be bringing delicious treats for your classmates, and running around the playground hyped up on sugar at breaktime. While some parents may have started to opt for “healthier” options in recent years, 2020 dealt a far sadder blow to celebrating birthdays in general as little ones were stuck at home away from their friends.

But now that schools are largely open again, class and birthday parties can and must resume! Obviously with safety front of mind. That’s why we’ve come up with a plan so that your kiddos can still take yummy party treats to school for their friends, we want things to feel as normal as possible. Being able to celebrate our birthdays with friends, family and collogues is so important, especially for our little ones.
Our Covid-friendly treats come individually packaged and sealed. The added bonus is that if someone would rather they wait until they get home to enjoy their nibble, Mom isn’t going to discover a mangled cake pop squished all over said child’s books and pencil case in the bottom of their school bag later that day. 

Chocolate coated cakesickles
Cake Lollies

Treats that are perfect for school parties in particular, include iced vanilla sugar cookies, cake pops, Cake Lollies and cakesickles. We will also pop cupcakes into individual boxes if you arrange that specifically with us. As far as theme goes, let us know if you have a specific colour scheme in mind, or what the theme of your child’s party is going to be, and we’ll make sure the treats fit perfectly. Whether your little one is going through a Pokemon phase, is wild about jungle animals, or keen on partying like a superhero, we can make their dreams come true.

Our kitchen and collection processes stick to very strict safety protocols to ensure that both you and we are kept as safe as possible. The kitchen is kept clean and sanitized at all times. When collecting your orders, please remember to wear your mask and make use of the sanitiser provided at the door. Arrange your collection ahead of time so that we can ensure your order is ready and waiting in the entrance way so that collection is a quick and easy process for everyone. 

Go have a browse of all the party treats we offer and start planning your child’s school celebration today.
You can order directly through our website, it’s safe and simple.

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get up to 25% off online orders. 

Have a delicious day!

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Buttercream Flower Series Part 6 – Pansy

This is the final instalment of our buttercream flower series. I hope you’ve enjoyed my demos and have tried out some of these new techniques at home. I’d love to see what you’ve created, so please get in touch or leave a comment on my YouTube videos and let me know what you thought.

You will need:

  • Standard petal nozzles, two sizes
  • Standard leaf nozzle
  • Piping bags
  • Knives
  • Purple, yellow and green buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Cupcakes
  • Pearls and edible glitter

Getting set up: 
Fill your large petal bag with purple, the smaller petal bag with yellow, and the leaf bag with green. 

Petals: Because you’ll be doing three pansies on each cupcake, you need to position them carefully so they fit nicely together. Using the same technique as the magnolia, place the thicker edge of the nozzle on the cupcake and make almost a full circle. Then almost directly on top, make your second petal, also almost a complete circle. Move on to the second flower next to this and make your two petals. Then, the third. Next, using the yellow bag, thick nozzle side down, start at the centre of the two petals, make one large full circle all the way round. This is a smooth movement. It does take practice to get your spacing right, so don’t give up! Add the large yellow petal to all three.

Leaves: Fill in the edges with your leaves – they can be long and thin, short and thick, rippled or smooth, it’s up to you!
To finish them off perfectly, pop one pearl in the centre of each flower, and sprinkle with glitter.
One of the things you can do is make the big petal two tone using a dark purple and yellow, but this can be challenging. But once you’ve got the hang of the technique, feel free to give it a try.

If you have any questions, give me a shout, or if there are any future demos and tutorials you’d like me to do, let me know!
Have a delicious day!

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Buttercream Flower Series Part 5 – The Protea

While this video was initially uploaded in celebration of Heritage Day, a collection of protea cupcakes will make a stunning addition to you celebration at any time of the year.

You will need:

  • Standard leaf nozzles
  • Red, green and white buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Piping bags
  • Cling wrap
  • Knives
  • Cupcakes
  • Edible glitter

Getting set up:
I like to do the proteas in two tones with dark pink and white, so make your cling wrap buttercream sausage like I’ve shown you in previous videos and slide it into a piping bag with a leaf nozzle.  Fill the other leaf nozzle bag with green buttercream, and the round nozzle bag with white.

Centre stamen: Start with the round nozzle and squeeze a large tall blob in the centre as a base to work off. Then from the base, pull lines of buttercream upwards to the tip with the same nozzle to create a row of stamens all around the blob. Pipe two layers.  

Petals: You’ll use the two tone and leaf nozzle bag for the petals. With the thick side of the nozzle facing downwards, start at the base of the white stamen, squeeze and pull upwards. Then, overlapping slightly, do the next petal by squeezing and pulling up, and so on. Squeeze enough at the beginning to get a nice base for your petal, then pull upwards, leaving some of the white centre showing at the top. Add as many layers as you like, until the cupcake is mostly covered. Yes, this is a lot of buttercream, but it’s going to look gorgeous!

Leaves: The leaves you’ll pipe the same as the petals: working from the bottom, squeeze and pull up. Slightly overlapping, pull the leaves upwards, leaving the tops part of the petals and stamen exposed. 

And finally, you guessed it, a sprinkle of glitter!

Have a delicious day!

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Buttercream Flower Series Part 4 – Carnations

There’s something so delightful about this beautiful buttercream flower, and once you’ve got the hang of this technique there’s really nothing to it. We’re just using one nozzle – the standard flower petal nozzle and the medium sized one is perfect for cupcakes.

You will need:

  • Standard flower petal nozzle
  • Red and pink buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Knife
  • Cling wrap
  • Piping bag
  • Pearls and edible glitter

Getting set up:
These carnations will be mostly red with a pink frill along the edges of the petals. Spread a large amount of red buttercream onto a piece of cling wrap, then edge it with a little pink. Roll, twist the ends, snip one end off. Pop your nozzle into a piping bag and slide your buttercream sausage in with the lighter colour in line with the thinner edge of the nozzle. 
In this video, I’ll be piping into parchment square instead of cupcakes. Remember, this is a great way to practice your techniques without having to bake a batch of cupcakes each time.

Petals: There will be more than two rows of petals, so start right at the edge of the cupcake and work around a large imaginary circle. Put the thicker edge of your nozzle down first with the thinner side facing upwards. Using a similar technique to the magnolia, we’re going to follow the imaginary circle making half circles, but this time shaking the nozzle slightly as you turn. Then, starting at the centre of that first half circle, start a new half circle, shaking gently as you twist. Complete three layers and form the final petal in the centre by twisting slightly to finish it off. 

As always, add a touch of glamour with a tiny edible pearl in the centre, and glitter!

Have a delicious day!

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Buttercream Flower Series Part 3 – Magnolias

In this instalment we’ll show you how to make a beautiful magnolia flower – the symbol of longevity. It’s a simple yet beautiful flower that doesn’t require any complicated techniques.

You will need:

  • Standard flower petal nozzle, two sizes
  • 2mm circle nozzle
  • M-shaped leaf nozzle
  • Green, brown and white buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Cupcakes
  • Piping bags
  • Knives
  • Edible glitter

Getting set up:

Load your piping bags. Brown into the bag with the round nozzle, white into the petal bags, and green into the leaf bag.

Standard leaf nozzle
Standard Petal nozzle

Petals: Pick up your cupcake. Using the larger petal bag, follow an imaginary circle with the thick side of the nozzle down, squeeze and form a half circle. From the centre of that first half circle, make another half circle, and so on. Work smoothly and confidently. Both the hand with the piping bag and the hand holding the cupcake will move. Continue this until the first layer is complete. 
Then take the smaller nozzle and use the same technique in the centre of the ring of petals you’ve just completed. 
Centres: Take the brown icing and pipe a little ball in the centre, squeeze and pull upwards to create a stem. You’ll make three of these little stamens. 
Leaves: Always do the leaves last to fill in the gaps nicely. Starting under the lip of the outer petals, squeeze and pull with a slight shake of the hand to create your leaves. 
Finally, give it a sprinkle of glitter to add a touch of glamour.

TIP: Instead of practicing on cupcakes, cut a square of parchment or baking paper and stick it to your surface using a blob of buttercream.

If you want to decorate a cake with these flowers without having to ice directly onto the cake, pipe the flowers onto parchment paper in advance. Let them dry and harden for a day or two and then lift them off the paper and ond onto your cake with a spatula. 

Have a delicious day!

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Buttercream Flower Series Part 1 – Intro and Roses

Over these long moths of lockdown, many people have used the extra time to try new things, learn new skills and even start side hustles. So it’s not surprising that 2020 has produced a whole new crop of enthusiastic home bakers. You’ve perfected your sour dough recipe, made and eaten more banana bread than you’d care to admit, and even ventured into the realm of cakes and cupcakes to help make those lockdown birthdays special. But what about decorating your bakes? 

Our Buttercream Flower Series over on YouTube is the perfect place to start learning how to finish off your cupcakes beautifully. I’m all about teaching budding bakers new techniques and I’m a firm believer that no matter your skill level, there’s always something new to learn. 

The six instalments each cover a different kind of flower that you can recreate with just a few supplies from your local baking store.

Week one I started with a simple, yet elegant, buttercream rose. 

The Rose pattern can be used in so many different ways.

You will need:

  • A selection of nozzles
  • Piping bags
  • Cling wrap
  • Knives
  • Pink and white buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Cupcakes
  • Pearls and edible glitter

The consistency of your buttercream needs to be just stiff enough that it holds its form. In winter in Cape Town I find I normally need to soften it a little, and in summer I need to harden it a touch to make it perfect to work with. 

TIP: Cling wrap makes things so much cleaner and easier, especially when you’re doing multiple colours. Spread the dominant colour down on a piece of clingwrap. Add a thinner strip of the lighter colour down next to it. Roll the cling wrap up and twist the ends. Pop your nozzle into the piping bag, trim the one twisted end off and slip your icing sausage into the bag, twist the end and squeeze till both colours start coming out.

Twist the end of the piping bag closed and, holding it in the palm of your hand, squeeze the bag from the top. This saves you from icing squirting out the back. 
Centre the nozzle on the cupcake and squeeze, pull up and out towards the edge, circling smoothly around. 
It’s going to take some practice, be patient and keep at it. Piping requires muscles and movements you may not have used before. A good idea is to practice on a flat surface till you’ve got the hang of it, before worrying about actual cupcakes or cake. It’s easy to scrape up the icing and try again and again till you’re happy with the result.

Have a delicious day!

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Buttercream Flower Series Part 2 – Sunflowers

Part 2 – Sunflowers 

The next episode in our Buttercream Flower Series, shows you how to make bright and beautiful sunflower decor for your cupcakes. 

You will need:

  • Leaf nozzles 
  • 2mm circle nozzle
  • Yellow, green and brown buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Piping bags
  • Knives
  • Cupcakes

TIP: If you have leftover colours of buttercream from a previous bake, instead of wasting it, put it all together, add cocoa and you get a beautiful rich chocolate buttercream.

Getting set up

Pop the small round nozzle into a bag and add a little of the chocolate buttercream. Twist closed and set aside. 
Using the v-shaped leaf nozzles, load two more bags with the yellow and green buttercream. You’ll need more yellow than green since you’ll be doing at least two rows of petals.

Petals: You’ll be following an imaginary circle in the centre of the cupcake. Using the yellow buttercream, squeeze and pull towards the outside of the cupcake. Repeat all around the edge of your imaginary circle so you have petals that are broad at the base and thin at the top. Overlap them slightly as you go. Don’t worry if your circle ends up a little lopsided, you can always add more petals to even it out. Besides, not even nature is perfect. Now do the next row inside the one you’ve just finished, overlapping the first layer slightly. Make sure you leave a big enough space in the middle for a nice large centre.
Centres: Pipe little dots all the way around the centre, work from the outside inwards until the space is filled. 
Leaves: Like you would with the petal, you squeeze and pull, but shake your hand a little as you pull to create the leaf texture. Pipe leaves all the way around the edge, under the outside line of petals.
The finishing touches: Glitter, of course! Try to only sprinkle the petals. Chocolate sprinkles are great to add to the centres for extra texture and taste.

Have a delicious day!