Cake Trends: sugar people!

Hello again… is it still the summer or are we in a time warp?

I promised I’d share some more of the ‘cake trends’ that I’ve noticed over the last year, based on some of the most popular requests from my customers.

So here’s trend number two: sugar-paste figures!

These are some of my favourite cakes to make, I get very involved with the details, and obsess over tiny things like the positioning of eyebrows – it can turn a figure from scowly to friendly with just a few mm of adjustment.

Very small children love to see their favourite characters smiling at them from their cake, whilst more mature customers have requested their loved-ones in cake form, usually with the tools of their trade or hobby.

Do you know someone who would love their own little Winnie-the-Pooh or Peter Rabbit? Or, perhaps someone who would like their own sugar-paste mini-me? Sugar-work is a real head turner, and makes for very photogenic cakes, as you can see!


Cake trends: ombre icing and OTT treats

We’re halfway through the year, and some definite trends are coming through in cakes people are asking for! So, in these next few blog posts, I’ll put up some examples of designs that have proved popular in 2016.

First on the list…  well, I couldn’t think of a one-word way to describe these cakes, but they all have these features in common: round, tall (with more than 3 layers), often with a water-colour swirly buttercream frosting, and VERY over the top decorations.

More is definitely more with these cakes! Decorations should be fighting for space and spilling over the edges. These cakes are very popular for older teenage birthdays, and for anyone who loves luxury and opulence. Lashings of cream, mini-meringues, chocolate, fruits, and sweeties are all sure to grab attention and get everyone’s mouths watering!

Here are four of my favourite examples of these cakes from 2016 so far. We’ve got a gin and tonic cake with fresh fruits, mini meringes, and nuts and shards of chocolate; a Chocolate Orange cake with Terry’s and Matchmakers, and plenty of candied orange; a bold blue mojito cake loaded with huge fresh flowers and berries; and some wild hundreds and thousands! And of course, three of these cakes are showing off another key trend – the ombre icing, which looks gorgeous in so many colour combinations.

Which one would you have? And do you prefer these OTT cakes or a more traditional royal icing top?


Happy Birthday Simply Delish!

So, today I celebrate a year of trading as Simply Delish! It’s been a whirlwind of cakes, buffets and celebrations. I have met some lovely people over the last 12 months and had so much support and encouragement from everyone. I’ve said more than once how I wish I started years ago, but I have no regrets and there are many positives to starting something once you have lived a little and learnt to take the rough with the smooth. Had a couple of shaky moments at the beginning when there seemed to be more and more expense but, as thing settled, the books seem to be balancing a little better and some of the big investments I’ve made are beginning to pay off. Not least my lovely Kenwood mixer – sad to get sentimental about a piece of kitchen kit I know – but I credit it for the lovely fluffy cakes which have come out of my oven over the past few weeks.
My order book is filling up nicely with orders through to September. I have some lovely customers who come back again and again – which means a lot – and each week, I meet new people who set me great challenges! I never know what I’m going to be asked to do next! It’s exciting and scary at the same time. I look forward to seeing the finished cakes as much as my customers and sharing their excitement gives me a big buzz!
There are lots of people I’d like to thank for pointing me in the right direction and giving me a kick when I was ready to throw in the towel but I thought I take this opportunity to acknowledge their support in a way that I’m sure they will appreciate.

1. This will forever be known as the ‘Carol Bradley’ – much requested and reincarnated in various forms ….

Chocolate and strawberry celebration cake

2. Will from this day forward be known as the ‘Graham Bradley’ – much admired and a chocolate lover’s dream …

chocolate orange cake

3. My nemesis – though I love them all dearly … have lost count of the number of Frozen cakes I have made…

frozen cake

4. Finally, I was going to post a picture of my favourite cake but ended up finding 3 which I loved doing and just can’t decide which one is my absolute favourite so I will let you decide.

I suppose I should include this one too!

chocolate orange cake

Let me know what you think and I’ll select someone to receive a little something as a special treat.

Thank you again to all my customers and friends, and here’s looking forward to the next year of baking for your celebrations!


Little Pixies Market at Hungerford Town Hall – 23rd May 2015

I’m really happy to have been invited to provide a cafe for the coming Little Pixies Market next weekend 🙂

Come along to Hungerford Town Hall on the 23 May!
Come along to Hungerford Town Hall on the 23 May!

I’ve been busy putting together my menu of take away lunches, snacks, teas, and coffee, and I’m looking forward to having a little browse around all the great stalls myself (leaving the sous chefs in charge – haha!).

Some of these cupcakes might make an appearance alongside the lunch goodies!
Some of these cupcakes might make an appearance alongside the lunch goodies!

Check out Little Pixies Markets facebook page for more information on the market, and on future events.

See you on Saturday!


Cake Secrets… shhh!

I regularly get asked questions about making the perfect sponge, and it’s something I’ve never really sat down and thought about… I’m too busy making the cakes 😉

But, just for this blog, here are a few things that I do that give me good results – most of the time!!

1. Line your tin… carefully!
Ensure that the base and every side is well covered. Well worth the extra effort to get a neat finish.

2. Weigh your eggs
This is my secret for the traditional Victoria sponge. Weigh your eggs, then match all your other ingredients to them. Except for the sugar…

3. Use 10g less sugar
A crispy top is not what you want on a sponge. I usually skim off 10g of sugar off of whatever recipe I’m using, and seems to do the trick.

4. Good quality cupcake cases
I’ve found that some cupcake cases can pull away from the cakes as they cool, so it’s worth getting to know which cases work. When you find a brand that works, stick with it! I love to experiment with lots of cupcake cases, and sometimes they can go a little wrong… even if they are pretty!

5. Give your cakes a coat
For a super smooth finish, before you ice your cake give it a thin coat of butter cream to seal in any crumbs – a ‘crumb coat’ for those in the know!

Do you have any secrets you’d like to share? Comment below!


Red Nose Day 2015

I was really happy to be asked to make some special Comic Relief inspired cakes for T K Maxx Newbury. They added the cakes to their fundraising raffle, in their mission to make as much as possible for this excellent cause!

Comic Relief supports some amazing projects in the UK and all over the world. If you’d like to donate, you can still do that on their website, even after Red Nose Day.

Red Nose Day cake for T K Maxx Newbury
Red Nose Day cake for T K Maxx, Newbury
Red Nose Day cake and cupcakes for T K Maxx Newbury
Red Nose Day goodies for T K Maxx, Newbury

Thank you to the kind people at TK Maxx for asking me to help with this great cause!


First cakes of 2015

As January whizzes past and February appears, I thought I’d share the first cakes of the year!

I’ve loved developing lots of different ‘Frozen’ inspired cakes, they seem very popular at the moment. I particularly enjoy making the icing Olaf!


Frozen birthday cake


The second cake of the year was a very classy suggestion indeed. It’s great when customers come with a bold design in mind, block colours and simple shapes work really well when using icing.

black with white daisy birthday cake


And the last cake of January took the longest to make, but I had the most fun doing it. It’s got lots of different elements: a handmade modelling icing figure with little hand made wire glasses, ‘soil’ made of crumbles of chocolate cake, and lots of other little icing elements that I always enjoy making!

80th eightieth birthday cake

80th eighteith birthday cake close up

He’s just so cute! The chocolate coins represent this gentleman’s love of metal detection. Maybe in his 80th year he’ll strike gold.

Please do get in touch if you have any birthdays, anniversaries, or other celebrations coming up.


Technical glitches…

technical hitch
Ooops… found this fantastic mistake-cake online. Not one of mine 🙂 Just a technical hitch, no problems with the cakes here!

Hello everyone!

Just a quick note to apologise to anyone who has got in touch but hasn’t had a reply recently. I had a bit of trouble over November and December with emails going astray when they were sent using my online enquiry form.

The enquiry form should be working perfectly now. But, if you don’t hear from me after using the online form, you can find me on facebook, or just give me a call, 01488 – 733 -29 between 9am-9pm!



The countdown to Christmas

Sooo … Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat.  Have to say, have never been a fan of goose but I do love Christmas and I always steer clear of any Christmassy type foods until the day.  I love the anticipation of those first Brussels sprouts … yes, I know I’m weird but I love them and the fact that I deny myself these lovely goodies – parsnips, baked ham, mince pies – makes them all the more desirable on Christmas day.  By the same token, I love to eat with the seasons and enjoy fruit, vegetables and even meat at their best and freshest.  Having said that, I am happy to fulfil other peoples likes and to this end produced the first mince pies of the season yesterday.  They did look enticing but I was happy to send them on their way.

Christmas mince pies

The next few weeks will be filled with Christmas preparation – hampers to gather, cakes to ‘feed’ (the brandy is taking a bashing!) and decorate. Pies and biscuits to bake.  A few birthday cakes and a couple of celebrations to fit in as well.  We gave our sloe gin a couple of shakes today and had a swift taste of last year’s brew just to make sure it hadn’t gone off!  Filled with anticipation, it was returned to the cupboard to be released on Christmas eve.

The end of December will see Simply Delish celebrate 6 months in business …. it’s been a rollercoaster.

Christmas Cake Reindeer


Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy and Peaceful New Year!



Hungerford Food Festival 2014

Two days of frantic baking and crazy preparation still didn’t prepare me for this wonderful day which celebrated all kinds of food from amazing mushrooms to bacon sandwiches!  My first time in the public domain was thrilling – if a little scary – and left me keen to re-visit this type of event.


My stall at the Hungerfood Food Festival - before all the hungry shoppers!
My stall at the Hungerfood Food Festival – before all the hungry shoppers!

I have to admit that things didn’t get off to a great start as our lovely dog Oscar was poorly which meant my KP (aka Robert) couldn’t come with me.  This was then compounded on arrival at Hungerford Town Hall only to be told that my table was upstairs!  I had heavy boxes and far too much with me but, undaunted, began to unload my car.  As luck would have it the Town Hall has a lift, so I quickly piled everything outside then called the lift and off I went.  I took far too many things but this gave me a great insight into what people like and what they are literally ‘hungry’ for.

Hungerford food festival 2014
Photo from the Hungerford Food Festival Facebook page… like them!


Sampling was definitely the way to go with people tasting then buying.  Everything on my table sold and the whole day was a brilliant experience and a big confidence booster.  My pork pies were very well received, as were the sausage rolls and cakes – by the slice or whole cakes.  The biggest surprise was the hummus…. it was the star of the day and was certainly popular.  I ended up selling bags of hummus as I left the containers at home!  A grand day – thoroughly exhausting but exhilarating.

Hungerford Food festival 2014
Photo from the Hungerford Food Festival Facebook page… like them!

The fun part of the day was demonstrating pasta making.  I’d had second thoughts about doing this as I was on my own and thought I wouldn’t be able to juggle the demo and the sales but people were happy to watch as others dared to take on the pasta machine.  Children particularly enjoyed making the gnocchi – a simple introduction to pasta making which requires no machinery and great results can be achieved with only a cheese grater.  If you don’t have a cheese grater, then a fork will do.  I’d love to hear from anyone interested in learning how to make pasta as I will be offering courses in the new year… drop me a message in facebook ( or email me micky (at) to register your interest and you’ll be the first to know when booking opens!