Cake Week…Friday – Part One

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe
Another day, another fantastic baker. I don’t think I shall ever tire of uploading photos of cakes, they have all been deliciously different and today is no exception…finger licking good!
Name: Viv Ferguson
Twitter: @crazybakinglady
Bit of a background on you:
Originally from Yorkshire, but now live in Manchester with my long-suffering other half. Studied English Lit and French at Manchester University before deciding to go in a completely different direction and make beautiful and tasty cakes and baked goods for a living. Currently work from home but dream of one day opening a lovely cafe or tea rooms. Cups of tea and cake genuinely make me happy!
Background on your business:
Started in early 2010, based on a lifelong sweet tooth and love of baking. After graduating in 2008, I spent a couple of years wondering what on earth I wanted to do with my life. Several people had joked over the years ‘you should do this professionally’ when I produced my latest cake or biscuit creation and, encouraged by the fact that no one protested that it was a ridiculous idea, I took the plunge, sorted out the legalities and founded There for the Baking.
I’m not sure I really have a ‘style’ as such; I’m always experimenting with new recipes and designs whenever I have the chance and enjoy developing new products and ideas. I like to try and provide whatever it is that my customers want or need, and I love a challenge – if it’s something I’ve not done before, I’m all the more eager to give it a go!
I must confess it’s hard work being a one-woman cake baking and decorating machine, and it involves insanely long days and early mornings/late nights from time to time, but I genuinely love what I’m doing so I really don’t mind at all; plus the delighted looks on customers’ faces when they see (and taste!) the finished product definitely makes it all worth it. Spreading joy through the North West via cake!
Favourite flavour of cake/cupcake/pastry:
My personal favourites would have to be carrot cake and lemon drizzle cake.
Most memorable wedding creation you have done:
This three-tier black and white tired cake, as it differs a little from the traditional feminine/pretty/floral wedding designs. The bride knew she wanted a black and white theme, but with a splash of colour thrown in somewhere, and she wanted to include a particular piping design she’d seen, but didn’t want it on every tier. She was also under strict instructions from her fiance that it wasn’t to be too girly or feminine! At her consultation we bounced some ideas around and between us eventually came up with this design. When it came to making the cake, it came out exactly as I’d pictured it and I was very pleased. I think the end result is a really striking and beautiful cake.
Advice to brides about selecting their cake, any tips or things to remember?
Don’t feel hemmed in by tradition. Can’t stand fruit cake? Ivory fondant and sugar roses not really your thing? Then opt for something else! Whether it’s bright colours, bizarre flavours or quirky decorations, the only limit on what your cake can be like is your own imagination – it’s a custom creation that can be used to reflect your own and your partner’s tastes and interests.
Do you have a recipe you are willing to share for budding bakers?
Try our yummy Cookies and Cream Cupcake recipe:
150g Unsalted butter, softened
150g Caster sugar
100g Self-raising flour
50g Cocoa
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
3 Eggs
1-2 Tablespoons milk
A few drops vanilla extract
1 pack Oreo cookies
For the icing:
200g Unsalted butter
250g Icing sugar
A few drops vanilla extract
Makes 12
Pre-heat oven to 180C.  Prepare a 12-hole muffin/deep bun tray with muffin-size cases. Open the pack of Oreos, and twist away the tops on 12 of them, so that you are left with just one half of the cookie and the creamy filling. Place these, filling side up, in the bottom of the muffin cases.  Put the discarded biscuit tops and any unused Oreos to one side for now.
Cream together the butter and sugar with a drop or two of vanilla extract. Add the eggs and sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Mix together until thoroughly combined. Add 1-2 tbsp milk as necessary (you don’t want the mixture too thick and dry, but equally it shouldn’t be too runny).
Place the remaining Oreo biscuit halves into a medium size plastic food bag, seal, then batter briefly with a rolling pin or similar, until the cookies are in fairly large crumbs. Pour just under half into the cake batter and mix in with a spoon. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases and bake for about 20 mins until the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centre. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
While the cakes are cooling, you can make up your buttercream icing.  Beat the butter briefly until soft and creamy, then sift in the icing sugar and mix in thoroughly. Add a few drops of vanilla extract for flavour, and you can also add a little milk if the mixture seems a bit too thick and stiff. Take the bag with the remaining cookie crumbs and bash them up a bit more with the rolling pin, until the crumbs are very fine. Add these to the buttercream and stir in with a spoon until evenly distributed.
When the cakes are completely cool, spread the buttercream on the top of them, or, for a more professional look, try piping it on with a large round piping tip.
A Quick Q & A
Favourite Colour: Black
Favourite Film:Breakfast at Tiffany’s – I loooove Audrey!
Favourite Song: Iron Maiden ‘Fear of the Dark’ – never fails to send a tingle down my spine when I hear it live
Favourite Month: April –  the beginning of warmth and sunshine, and all the gorgeous spring flowers are out and about
Favourite Drink: A nice cup of tea
Favourite Food: A good old-fashioned roast dinner
Favourite Word: Beautiful
 Favourite Perfume: I don’t use any
Favourite Book: I’m a librarian’s daughter and an ex English Lit student – not sure I could ever pick just one favourite! 
Favourite Quote from a Film: Recently, “Dobby did not mean to kill. Only maim or seriously injure…” It set me off in a fit of giggles at the cinema.

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