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  1. Good Morning,

    I am back from my holiday rested and raring to go. I have had so many emails since I’ve been away and one question which is being asked constantly is, “how do you get such uniform results with your cupcakes?”

    Well to share my top tip I have taken a photo for you. I like my cupcakes to be flat when working on them so I use an Ice cream scoop.

    How to get flat cupcakes

    As you can see I scoop the batter into the scoop and before I turn the scoop horizontal I scrape away the excess and leave a small crescent of the scoop empty. I have used a chocolate batter in the hope it shows this easier for you.

    The scoop is basically filled to 2/3 full. The second part of my technique is to bake longer. I bake all my cakes and cupcakes on 140c a much lower temperature and for a longer time. My cupcakes, which are large, take 26minutes exactly to bake perfectly.  

    Of course you will need to trial these techniques with your own recipe and oven as each oven is different and every recipe reacts slightly differently. For example I bake in a fan oven so it has a constant heat yet I know there is a slightly cooler area in the back left side of the oven so I keep my cupcakes to the front of the shelf to combat this.

    I would trial this technique and keep an eye on your cupcakes when baking for longer. Perhaps take some out at 25 minutes and some at 26 and some at 23 you will get a good average then and will be able to see which ones are baked perfectly and if it has any effect on the longevity of the cakes. Some recipes don’t react well to longer baking.

    Again with the scoop it will all depend on the size of your scoop, each brand seems to be different.

    I hope this helps and please do let me know how you get on.

    Until next time

    Shelly x

  2. Today I thought I would address something I think so many people over look, a food hygiene certificate.

    So many new cake companies pop up each and every week but you can bet your life on it around 75% are unregistered until they are either made to by their local council or are informed by blogs such as this that it is compulsory.

    Many people assume that a food hygiene certificate is just to say you can wash your hands and know how to store the food you work with but in fact it is there to safe guard you as a business too. If you do a certificate you have something to back you up should you want to branch out into corporate baking.  You will have the support of the local council when you register your business and having a certificate also gains their respect. They know you are running a professional business and your customers will know you care about what passes their lips and aren’t just concerned with how full your till becomes.

    So how do you get one and how much is it? Well I have done lots of research into this many of you will only find the local council courses which can be charged at upwards of £100. However I have found this great company called www.saferfoodhandler.co.uk  they do a level 2 certificate for just £12. I have spoken to my local environmental health officer and have been advised their courses are valid with local councils and that you should seek to do a level 2 certificate to cover you for all eventualities regarding cakes and baking.

    You do have to be careful as some online courses aren’t approved for local councils to accept them but my local officer said it was perfect.

    I have used the service myself recently when renewing mine and I found their website incredibly easy to use. You can do the test again if you fail for free. They have a pass guarantee which is what swung it for me. With 3 little ones always asking for a drink or when they can go out to play, I was always distracted so the knowledge that I could repeat it for free if needed really impressed me.

    Remember if someone decides to take you to court for any food issues it will pay to have things like a food hygiene certificate and your business insurance to show you are a professional. You will gain more respect as a business and it will help to protect you from any bogus complaints.

    Just think if you had the choice between a ladies baking in their home unregistered and uninsured or someone working from home that is fully certificated, insured and legally registered. With the reassurance that you know they have been inspected and they know how to handle the food you will have to eat. Which would you choose?

    I hope this information helps some of you and will encourage you to do things officially and get your certificate. I have to say I was feeling like I had graduated when I printed out my certificate. I did expect a graduation cake, balloons and presents. Sadly I had to make do with a rich tea biscuit and a mug of tea.

    Until next time

    Shelly

    x