As I’m sure you all know, I absolutely love baking. I’ve got the stage now where i feel pretty undaunted by the idea of making different cakes. But when it comes to cake decorating, I’m completely out of my comfort zone. I think baking and decorating are quite different skill sets and I’ve mastered one, but not the other.

tala-christmas-icing-setWhen I was recently invited to try Tala’s Christmas icing kit, I jumped at the chance for two reasons. Firstly as I’ve mentioned before I collect vintage Tala baking equipment and have a few 50s icing sets from them, so using the modern equivalent rally appealed to me. Secondly I love to throw myself in at the deep end and try new skills, nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that.

tala-christmas-icing-set-and-bowlSo armed with my new icing set and a rather lovely festive red icing set I got to work on decorating my Christmas cake. I had a vision of what I wanted in my head, I’ve been making a lot of tiered cakes, so I knew I wanted to try another one. I also knew I wanted to go for a red and white theme, just like I did on my Christmas tree.

tala-christmas-icing-kit-christmas-cakeI’ve only covered a cake in fondant once before, so this was something I was really glad to practice again. It’s actually harder than it looks and I needed to refer to a few Youtube tutorials to make sure I was doing it right! The result isn’t perfect, but I’m just happy that it looks OK!

tala-christmas-cake-train-detailTo create the train on the cake I used my train cookie cutters, for the snowflakes I used the cutter from the Tala kit. I also added some piping using the piping bag from the kit with royal icing to complete the decoration.

tala-piping-bagI found all the products in the tin really easy to use, which made the whole experience much more enjoyable. The heavy duty piping bag was so much easier to use than disposable ones and I was really happy with the choice of nozzles. I know these will be getting lots of use all year round.

tala-snowflake-cutterThe cutters are also really good, as I got used to using them my snow flakes got much neater. Its a really handy little tool for creating something detailed with very little effort.

vintage-tala-icing-setI really enjoyed giving cake decorating a go and it’s definitely something I will try again and try and improve my skills a little. I was really impressed with the kit and I’ll using the piping bits loads and I’m hoping to use my holly cutter for something nice this year too.


See the full baking range on the Tala website.

*Thank you to Tala for sending my the icing set and bowl to make my cake. All opinions are my own. 

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As we all know I love a bit of baking. It’s my number one way to relax. Christmas definitely gives me a good excuse to get my bake on. Not only is it nice to prepare lots of festive treats to eat, but cookies and cakes also make great little gifts for my friends and family.

dot-com-gift-shop-christmas-baking-haulThis week I stocked up on some baking essentials from Dot Com Gift Shop. They have loads of lovely festive baking treats and their prices are fantastic.

dot-com-gift-shop-christmas-cookie-cuttersAt the moment I’m planning to make some festive flavoured muffins and cupcakes and lots of cookies, so I stocked up on cake cases and Christmas themed cookie cutters. I’m also going to use the cutters to make some salt dough decorations for the tree with the kids.

christmas-bauble-cookie-cuttersThese Christmas bauble cookie cutters will be perfect for making ginger bread and salt dough decorations for the tree. I picked up some pretty string to use to hand them as well.

retro-christmas-cup-cake-casesThe cute little cupcake cases and mini loaf cases, have lovely retro designs and will be perfect for some of my vintage bakes.

gingerbread-and-man-and-train-cookie-cuttersYou can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned ginger bread man and the train cookie cutters are just so adorable. I’m really looking forward to making a big batch of gingerbread and decorating these.

dot-com-gift-shop-christmas-cake-tinAll the lovely things I’m planning on baking, need somewhere to live, so I picked up this lovely retro cake tin. It’s a really good size and I can’t wait to fill it up with tasty Christmas goodies.

The whole haul cost me just £30, which I think is fantastic value for money and I’m going to have so much fun using it all!

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Todays recipe is perfect for when you feel like making something nice, but without taking too much time or effort. I absolutely love bread and butter pudding, its such a classic recipe and really quick and cheap to make.

bread-and-butter-pudding-recipeYou will need:

  • 10 slices of white bread
  • Butter
  • 50g sultanas
  • 25 g caster sugar

For the custard:

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 40g caster sugar
  • a few drops of vanilla essence
  • 400ml milk

bread-and-butter-puddingHow to Make:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºc
  2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla together.
  3. Continue to whisk while gradually adding the milk.
  4. Butter a pie dish.
  5. Cut the crusts off the bread and spread both sides with butter.
  6. Arrange your bread in an overlapping pattern in the pie dish.
  7. Sprinkle with Sultanas.
  8. Pour over half the custard mixture and allow to fully soak in.
  9. Add the rest of the mixture and sprinkle with sugar.
  10. Bake in the oven for around 45, until the custard has set and the pudding is golden and crisp.

traditional-bread-and-butter-puddingTo make mine look a little prettier, I cut a heart out of one slice of bread with a cookie cutter and placed it in the middle.

If you try this recipe, please send me pictures as I love to see your bakes too. For more recipes check out my baking section. I’m also writing about food and drink for Vintage Life magazine every month, you can pick up the latest issue here.

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One of my favourite things about Halloween and Autumn is pumpkins. Carving our pumpkins into weird and wonderful designs is one of my favourite family activities of the year and working out what to do with the spare pumpkin is always a challenge. This year I decided to make pumpkin pie and it came out absolutely delicious.

pumpkin-pie-recipeI’ve used a mixture of butternut squash and pumpkin in this recipe, carving pumpkins don’t have very much flavour and the squash helps to make a smooth mixture and give the pie a better taste.

pumpkin-pie-recipe-vintage-frillsYou will need:

  • 375g chopped pumpkin
  • 375g chopped butternut squash
  • 350g sweet shortcrust pastry (I use this recipe)
  • 140g caster sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 25g melted butter
  • 175g condensed milk

traditional-pumpkin-pie-recipeHow to make:

  1. Put the pumpkin and squash in a large pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Leave to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºc
  3. Roll out the pastry and fill the bottom of your pie tin.
  4. Line with parchment and baking beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment and bake for another 10 minutes.
  5. Increase oven temperature to 220ºc.
  6. Push the pumpkin and squash mixture through a sieve and put to one side.
  7. Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  8. Mix in the eggs, butter and condensed milk, then add the pumpkin and squash puree and stir together.
  9. Pour into the pastry shell and cook for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes reduce the temperature to 180ºc and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool, remove from the tin. Store in the fridge and serve chilled.

traditional-pumpkin-pie-recipe-2This did take quite a long time to make and my pastry isn’t the neatest, but the pie tastes absolutely delicious and I think I’m going to have to make it a yearly tradition!


As usual if you try this or any of my other recipes, send me over some pics, I always like to see them!

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Today I’m sharing a recipe for a cake I made back in the summer. I’ve cooking with treacle and syrup quite a bit recently and I really like the results. This cake is nice and heavy and goes down a treat with a cup of tea in the autumn.

black-treacle-cake-from-a-1950s-recipeYou will need:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125g butter
  • 60g sugar
  • 3 tbsp black treacle
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 6 tbsp milk

black-treacle-cake-recipeHow to Make:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC and prepare a 6 inch cake tin.
  2. Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Rub the butter into the mixture
  4. Add the sugar to the mixture and mix it in.
  5. Melt the treacle and syrup together in a saucepan on a low heat. Add to the mixture.
  6. Add the milk to the mixture and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  7. Pour the mixture into the tin and level out.
  8. Bake in the middle of the oven for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours
  9. Once baked, leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out ad cooling on a wire rack.

lyles-black-treacle-treacle-cake-recipeI slightly over cooked mine, most because I got distracted and didn’t take it out of the oven in time, but it still tasted really lovely. I’m looking forward to giving it a go again and seeing if I can get it perfect.

vintage-black-treacle-cake-recipeIf you try this, or any of my other recipes please send me pictures as I’d love to see. Don’t forget that I’m also writing about food for Vintage Life magazine, which you can pick up online here.

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