Birthday cake: Jo ‘I just want to tell you all the things you are, and all the things you mean to me.’

Since I have already written blogs about most of the friends/family I have made cakes for I’ve decided to hand them over to other people who know them. So here is Jo’s birthday cake blog by a guest host, copied directly, unabridged, imperfect and not corrected. Happy Birthday Jo, sorry your cake is a few days late x

Jo is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. She is selfless in every sense of the word, always putting others above herself. When Jo and Ange took over the shop over 3 years ago now, it’s was such a refreshing change for me, them being the total opposite to the previous owner. If it wasn’t for them taking over I probably wouldn’t be still doing the job I love and for that I will always be thankful to them. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t sit there in fits of laughter together. I am as everyone always tells us, jo’s mini me, we share the same interests and are really similar in personalities which is so strange as the other two in our little team Ange and Alex are also so similar, this is why I think fate played a massive part in them walking in the shop that day. We are so girly, get excited about stupid things, and hard work beyond belief lol but I think this is why we get on so well. She isn’t just my boss, she is one of my best friends/ adopted mother lol who helps me with everything, the general struggles of everyday life, from bereavements, relationship troubles or just the simple task of finding me an outfit to wear for a night out, (or maybe not so simple with me lol ) whatever the problem she will be there in a heartbeat to help and I love her so much for that. Jo and Ange have just opened their second store within the space of 3 years and I am sooo proud of what they have achieved, like everything Jo n Ange put their hand to I can’t see this goin any other way than being a success. I can’t wait to work with you everyday in our little boutique, sure there’s something strange about not being able to wait to get in work every mornin, and our little team of 4 is the reason for that 😊
Well Jo here’s your blog from me jessica lee haha, hope you like it, I know I’ve not got the writing skills Alex has got, but hope it’s come across how much you mean to me.
Happy birthday, Enjoy your fab cake off Alex and can’t wait for tea at one of our favourites ciao baby, Luv ya xxxxx

Cake Stats
121g Malteasers
252g Revels
100g Dairy Milk
½kg chocolate buttercream
2 6″ chocolate sponges
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Review: And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon

The Place &  Time: 4 of us booked into ‘Dish & Spoon‘ on a gorgeous Sunday in June at 2pm. It’s located in West Didsbury on Burton Rd which seemed to be the main high street, there’s no parking directly outside as they have a couple of tables on the street but we parked a bit further down the road and walked up.

20140623-171603-62163877.jpgAs soon as you enter the size of the place hits you, it’s tiny! There’s literally a few tables which gives it a really cosy feel. The walls are decorated with vintage flour bags and baking utensils (madeline tins, cupcake tins) which as a baker I was fascinated by, what great decoration! 2 blackboards listed specials and an extensive range of teas and coffees. Then the cake counter… Layer cakes, brownies, traybakes, cupcakes, scones and pies the list of it’s contents were endless and everything looked stunning.

The Food: We were seated at our reserved table next to the counter and shown the Afternoon Tea menu. For £14.50 you get a choice of finger sandwiches, a scone, jam&clotted cream, a filo pinwheel, and a choice of 2 cakes from the cake counter (You can only have 1 cupcake choice so choose wisely it’s a tough one!) all that is accompanied by a cup of tea or coffee. While we were perusing the menu, and the cakes again!) we were brought a bottle of water and some glasses, our order was taken: 3 lattes & a tea and a selection off the Afternoon Tea menu. A table came free outside so we moved out to enjoy our tea in the sunshine.

afternoon teaNext the CAKE! My 1st choice was a brownie cupcake (killing 2 birds with one scone(!)) So I could try the brownie & the cupcake. Now I like my brownies gooey so maybe I should have picked the gooey chocolate brownie as I could see across the table the most amazingly gooey chocolate explosion taking place but the brownie cupcake was nice, consistency of a brownie in a cupcake case. Very clever and definitely one to try at home, the buttercream wasn’t too sweet either which balanced the richness of the brownie out. My second cake was the remaining piece of ‘Dime bar cake’ which was left on the counter, this should have alerted me that it was an older piece of cake but it didn’t. I am ashamed to admit I couldn’t finish my ‘Afternoon Tea’ serving so I took this piece of cake home with me. Obviously a popular cake and I realised why when I tried it. Even though it was slightly dry (#oldercakeproblems) I flipped it over and tasted it, 3 layers of a caramel sponge filled with buttercream and a caramel sauce moistening each layer topped with Dime bar pieces! An truly awesome piece of cake. I also had the pleasure of trying the pistachio tray bake which like everything else was delightful.

We finished our drinks and sat chatting for about an hour, not to be bothered by anybody which was fantastic as some places tend to ‘mither’ you when you appear to have finished, which ‘Dish&Spoon’ didn’t do. We paid the bill and in the process accidentally smashed a glass, apologising profusely but that like everything else didn’t seem like a problem at all.

Would I go back?: Yes, For the Afternoon tea. Yes, for a lazy Sunday catch up with the girls. Yes, not to be mithered and just to enjoy some cake & a coffee and even just for one of those gooey brownies I missed out on.

Birthday cake: Bekki. ‘I knew you were trouble when you walked in.’

You know those girls that girls don’t like because she’s very familiar with your boyfriend and you aren’t entirely sure why or she looked at you the wrong way 6 years ago and you don’t think she likes you and for that reason you hate her, she’s actually turned into your arch nemisis? Bekki is that girl and by God I love her for it, you might not like her for it but let me assure you she neither cares nor dwells nor discusses that shit.
She is exactly what you see, no bitching, no secrets, she tells it like it is, you only have to ask why she looked at you that way and she’ll tell you, it’s your problem if you don’t like the answer but it’ll be the truth.

Bekki is one of my oldest friends, oldest as in time period not oldest as in age. She is probably the friend who is most similar to myself, we have had phases (as most people do) or not talking to each other but when we catch up we just click straight away. She is straight talking and doesn’t give nor will take any shit. She is the friend who I envy the most, she has travelled the world and experienced the most amazing sights, quite literally from side to side, she has no ties and can just pick up, decide to go somewhere and go the next day, she is a true raver: a quiet catch up in town turns into rolling in at 5am and going straight out to work.

I am the one she rings if she’s about to commit murder or similarly jump off a bridge. I’m the one who she has to stay friends with because I know far too much about everything, and vica versa to be fair. I love her and would do anything for her.

Our friendship has lasted almost 15 years and I am still proud to have a Bekki on my team. So I decided to make her a birthday cake, plain and boring vanilla sponge but covered in rainbow roses and filled with different flavour Skittles. FUN!

Cake Stats:

3 vanilla sponges
5 gel colours (red, pink, yellow, blue, green)
2lb vanilla buttercream
500g Skittles
Smear of strawberry jam

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Birthday cake: Jess. ‘Remember spring swaps snow for leaves, You’ll be happy and wholesome again.’

I know Jess will have forgotten that getting a cake off me also means getting a blog about herself (her memory at the age of 24 is exactly the same as when she was 23, rubbish.)
I hope the cakes nor the blog disappoints when she remembers… So here goes, Jess could be described as ‘nice’. Actually, the phrase ‘nice’ doesn’t really cover it, ‘too nice’ would be more accurate. ‘Too nice for her own good’ is even better.

I’ve worked with Jess now for I think 7 years. She is still exactly the same as when she started, she never changes, she treats everyone the same. She is not the brightest bulb in the box with regards to common sense and academically, (she can however tell you about the Great Train Robbery, the Bermuda Triangle and where Aiya Napa is) but she proves these things are not the important traits to have. (She can Google the shit out of anything you want to know!) Her kindness and empathy towards the people she encounters knows no bounds. She is one of the most obliging people I have ever met, and will bend over backwards for you without wanting anything in return. She is a ‘Yes’ person, saying it without considering the consequences. She hates hurting people’s feelings or potentially upsetting people and is too loyal with her friendship and love which is an admirable trait and not as negative as I make it sound, she is a true romantic.

In real life, had we not met at work me and Jess wouldn’t be friends. Our paths would never have crossed, different ages, different friends and definitely different interests!
But I am glad she walked into the shop that day and wanted a job because I not only gained a workmate but I gained a friend. We’ve seen each others hearts get broken and watched them get fixed again, we’ve suffered loss and grieved over loved ones. She makes me laugh every day, we can tell what the other is going to say before the other is going to say it. Our friendship has grown long past just being work colleagues, I feel like I gained a second little sister which is much more fun than just a work mate.

Happy Birthday Jessica Lee! Enjoy brunch and then Slattery’s x

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Cake Stats:

1 giant vanilla cupcake
1 string of bunting
2lb vanilla buttercream
16 cupcakes
100’s sprinkles
½lb white chocolate

Birthday cake: Ryan. ‘My fierce dinosaur.’

Ryan (Mav) is my boyfriend, fiancé, significant other, other half, partner, companion and any other word you would use to describe that person that you couldn’t imagine your life without because they have made a positive impact and memories with you in every tiny aspect of it.

Mav and I grew up together whether we were aware of each other or not, we became friends, then best friends and then soon after soul mates, we have travelled to famous beautiful cities, breathtaking Greek islands, we’ve danced infront of the Disney castle and tasted Guinness in the the deepest and darkest pubs of Dublin. We’ve listened to each other’s day’s at work, comparing wedding parties and aspired to be little old couples who’ve been together twice as long as we’ve walked the earth. We’ve made up ridiculous jokes that only we understand and cried laughing about them. We’ve fought intensely about the most stupid things because we care and broken up and got back together on the proviso we would never leave each other again. We’ve sung the right words to the wrong songs and chastised the singer of the song for making a mistake. We have some of the best banter I know, (even though he is knobbing Kimberley Walsh on the side and I’m having a all consuming affair with Mark Webber).

But most of all we share love, all the different stages of love you can; obsessive, teenage, jealous, passionate, unconditional, can’t bear to be without each other, fairytale, and real life love, the day to day stuff that you sometimes have to work at, but it’s not a chore, it’s just something you do because sometimes he drives me insane but most of the time he makes me laugh, and by God he does make me laugh.

All my Love,
Your Lovely Other Dinosaur

Chocolate Cookie Cake

Cake Stats:

2 chocolate sponges
1 giant chocolate chip cookie
60 chocolate fingers (milk)
1½lb chocolate buttercream

Birthday cake: Jo. ‘Turn the lights off in this place, and she shines just like a star.’

I met Jo for the first time about 2 years ago. Never have I met anyone so engaging and enjoyable to be around almost the second I met them. She has such a pleasant personality, it was a refreshing change when she became one of my bosses at work 18months ago when her and Angie took over. When I say refreshing change I actually mean a complete U-turn from how things used to be.

Originally Jo only came in the shop on a Saturday as she had another job but when she made the massive decision to take redundancy and come in the shop full time we really hoped it would pay off, I hope that she doesn’t regret it now. So now there are 4 of us and it’s quite odd how it worked out, Jess & Jo have such similar personalities (and by personalities I mean they are the same person just 20years apart): very girly, not very practical, take forever to make a decision, thoughtful and generous to their detriment, patience of a Saint. Where as me and Angie are the opposites of most of those statements! So the energy in the shop is off the scale when we’re all in, and people have even commented that it feels completely different to before and other shops they’ve been in.

That last sentence just sums up Jo, the energy and atmosphere she brings is off the scale, I can’t tell you how but she just has this air about her and it’s infectious. She is so fair and honest in her opinions and I value that in our friendship, I know if I question something she will give me both sides of the story without bias or judgement. I feel like a better person now she is in my life.

So onto the cake! Jo doesn’t like things that are too sweet (I told you she was the opposite to me and Angie) and she loves fruit on cakes so obviously I had to go down the strawberry route. I made her a strawberry and raspberry extravaganza similar to the one for my Mum.

Happy Birthday Jo! Hope you enjoy your birthday brunch and cake. Thankyou for being you. I hope you aren’t crying too much after reading this! x

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Cake Stats:
2 chocolate sponges
54 chocolate fingers (white and milk)
400g strawberries
300g raspberries
½lb chocolate buttercream

Birthday cake: Joe. ‘You know the type, loud as a motorbike.’

Joe is a crane driver and a biker, I don’t ask him about his work or his hobby because I am in awe of what he does, he has such a cool job (he won’t agree) and once we got started on bikes he would regret answering the initial question cause I literally wouldn’t stop.

The hard part of this cake for me was the planning, Joe is boyfriend to Ruth (yes, the one who’s birthday it was on Sunday!) So both of them were messaging me about each others cake at exactly the same time, I dislike surprises anyway as I am always too excited to keep them so trying not to send the other one the wrong message took a Lot of my attention! There was talk of a motorbike cake, I swiftly put Ruth off this idea (as a motorsport fan this cake would never have been ‘perfect’ for me so I couldn’t do it). We settled on a crane/construction theme.

He and Ruth have known each other Forever, as in his Mum used to say Ruth was her future daughter in law! (I’m ahead of myself, as she was but still…) There’s not much else I can say about him really, he is such a lovely person. His love for Ruth (and hers for him) shows through ever fibre of their being, they are the perfect match and since they have been together as a couple she has been so happy. They just fit like a glove, their relationship is not an effort or a chore, it is perfection and it is a delight to see my best friend finally beaming with happiness. So the cake which I made for Joe’s birthday (from Ruth) serves as a thank you from me for making my best friend so happy and rescuing her like only a knight in shining armour could have done when she was at a low point after a health scare (Another one!) I am confident I will never again see my friend sad over a relationship because you have both found your match in each other.

Thankyou Joe, to me you really are a Motorbike riding crane driving Superhero cause you brought my friend back to life.

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Cake Stats:
3 sponges: 1 vanilla,1 vanilla & chocolate marbled and 1 chocolate chip
16 Kitkats (8 Milk & 8 Cookies & Cream)
1 truck
1 mini crane
1 big crane