It's been a stupidly busy few weeks. I feel like I ought to apologise for not blogging for so long. However, as I've only got about 5 readers and you lot all know me anyway, it's not like there's an expectant public out there wondering what's happening in the world of Cake Box.
I was laid low with some horrid virus for best part of three weeks, B has lurched from cold to cold, M has worked away a fair bit and Christmas prep is underway. I am ever more aware that what I truly need is a 28 hour day to even attempt to keep up with stuff. Oh, and naps. I deffo need more naps.
M and I did have a truly marvellous night away for his 40th, eating some rather spectacular food from Anthony's Restaurant. The break was a real tonic - so much so that I've booked myself night in London in January to go and see Swan Lake. Again. And to see it here in March as well. I think I got a little carried away.
My mum and dad got back from their holiday in North America. Mum pulled a blinder - she brought me stacks and stacks of sprinkles to use on my cakes. She's a total star. I'll be producing fancy cupcakes for months thanks to her shopping. B is also excited - a fair bit of Dora the Explorer cake stuff ready for her 4th birthday party.
Here's a little picture of my newly organised sprinkle stash -
I also decided we couldn't live with a kitchen filled with bags of ingredients all over the place, so we rearranged he playroom end of the kitchen a bit and got a proper storage unit for my bulk ingredients. I can keep the cake boxes on the lower shelves, which means the cupboard under the stairs, the office and the top of my kitchen shelving unit aren't all crammed with food packaging. It also has a shelf just for cakes, so we have a fighting chance of being able to find counter space for our meal on a Thursday, rather than struggling in vain to find a cake-free surface.
Now that my work space was sorted, I finally got the hang of Christmas cakes to my satisfaction. Given how many people say, "I love Christmas cake by I'm the only one in my house that eats it," I decided on miniature cakes. They are 4 inch squares (plus marzipan and sugar paste, so about 5 inches when finished). If I do say so myself, they are gorgeous. White on white, white glitter, snowflakes - it's just lovely.
I was a little aghast at the amount of marzipan one is expected to use for fruit cakes (half the weight of the cake - gak!) but hell, what do I know? It certainly looks the business when finished.
The photo is a bit rubbish you get the general idea.
Anyway, I've sold 14 of them on pre-order so far. I think that's pretty encouraging. The cost is frustrating - the ingredients, the cooking time and the time scale (what with baking, marzipanning and decorating) means that even small cakes are pricey when compared with sponge cakes, or the stuff you can pick up in a supermarket. Then again, as M reminds me, I'm not competing with the supermarkets.
A big step for me this week was having the deli stock my packaged, branded goods.
I feel like a proper business, much more Official now that my cakes and cookies are in boxes and bags with ribbon and labels. I do so hope they sell, it would be a real step forward.
One of the things the deli is stocking for Christmas is a box of a dozen mini cupcakes topped with Christmas sprinkles (thanks Mum!), tied with a bow. They look ever so cute. My concern is the shelf life. They are freshly made with proper ingredients and they are very small, so they go stale in a couple of days. The trick will be to see if they sell quickly enough.
So, on the whole a busy time behind me and a busy time ahead. It's good stuff, this self-employment lark.