Diamond Jubilee Street Party

Kitchens up and down the country will be a hive of activity this week as party-goers prepare for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.  I unpacked a parcel with a few items from Lakeland’s Street Party Collection.

If you’ve been given the cake-baking task for your Jubilee Street Party, have little time to bake, why not cheat. I’m not saying don’t make your own but if you have little time and catering for hundreds and not a handful, I managed to bring a few inexpensive shop-bought fairy cakes to life.  Here are a few of the cheats I undertook and some ideas to help make your table look, well, Jubilicious.

The set of 3-crown cookie cutters (£2.99) are a good start and I knocked up a shortbread dough and cut out the shapes – I didn’t make the time to do more than this, not least it was a thousand degrees in my kitchen (I made these during the recent heat wave) and the dough kept melting and the icing was like a running tap, but on a cooler day, with helping hands, may just do the cutters justice.

There are plenty of options here, flooding is a great technique needing a steady hand a heap of patience.  You pipe an outline of the shape using thin royal icing and then “flood” inside using a 2 or 3 tip nozzle and a piping bag. You flood to within millimetres of your guideline and use a toothpick to move the icing to the edge. This avoids over-flooding and icing escaping all over the place. Make sure that the icing is left to dry completely. Then you’re free to add further piped elaboration on top.  Another quick yet effective method is to roll out coloured icing paste (you can buy this in all big supermarkets) then use the same cutter to add the colour on top.  Use an apricot glaze to glue the base to the icing.  Silver baubles will act as ‘gems’, so will jelly diamonds.

The flag cookie cutter is fabulous (£1.29) but again time just wasn’t on my side but have a look at what you can do with this gorgeous cutter.  This is a great example of flooding and if you complete an internet search – certainly for the brilliant Biscuiteers – you’ll find some top flooding tips.

The starting point for my cheat were a packet of fairy cakes from Sainsbury’s – 12 for £1.00, Asda and Tesco do the same.  No one would know they weren’t hand-made by the time you’ve given them a colourful makeover.

I made up a batch of butter icing – 50g butter to 100g icing sugar and split them up three ways – two I coloured with scarlet and blue food colouring. I kept one batch plain cream.

I used ready-made colours – Silver Spoon, red white and blue (these come with three nozzles) were £1 per tube in Sainsbury’s.

I spread butter cream on some cakes and I decorated some with designer icing.  There are so many sprinkles on the supermarket shelves, I found some Jubilee (red, white and blue) sprinkles and believe you me, these can add sparkle to the dullest iced cake.

I even managed to split one to make a mini Victoria sponge – no strawberry jam that was open, so please forgive me purists – I used black cherry instead and slathered on the buttercream.

If you’ve got time to bake then the BBC’s Good Food website has plenty of recipes for fairy cakes.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/415618/iced-fairy-cakes

The 2-tier cake stand (£6.99) is a gorgeous easy-to-use and wipe-down stand which is simple to assemble and reusable and certainly showcased my cakes.  It’s sturdy enough to take iced muffins too and easy to dis-assemble for storage.

There are so many lovely things to do with the Jubilee you’ll be spoilt for choice but the lion and crown napkins are gorgeous and a decent quality as you’d expect for the price (£3.49).

I also tried the Silverwood Victoria Surprise Cake set (£19.99) which for a baking pan is seriously on the steep side. However, this is not any old cake tin it’s a Lakeland cake tin and with that comes the added benefits. The loose bottom inserts give three different cakes – from the sponge with the hidden filling, the regular Victoria and a single layer flan base. Genius I hear you cry! Well it would be if the ingredients didn’t stick to the anodised bases like glue. Even my Cake Release (used on two attempts) didn’t work in any way shape or form. I’m a lazy baker so what I should have done really after the first attempt was to line the centre bases with greaseproof and butter and flour – but I’ve never had to do this before – and I don’t have a roll of greaseproof. After an expensive double-disaster I’m afraid I didn’t have the time or patience to start over but if the cake results are this then it might be worth the effort.  And, what a glorious centrepiece for any Jubilee spread – here the blueberry surprise – but imagine that with raspberries or strawberries.

I managed to get a couple of the cookie cutters to sink through the sponge and so you could bake a rectangle plain sponge and sandwich these together for a Royal take on the Victorian sponge.

They’ve also got a plethora of party cake cases – Union Flags (£2.49), assorted Street party cake cases (crowns, spots, thistles) all to compliment the range (£3.49).

For those of you jamming it up for the Jubilee will find these paper toppers and coordinating tags with elastic bands, lovely for jams or jars of sweets. Jubilee Jam kits (£5.99). There are two designs in each pack.

Again, time-poor, I made my version of a small jam-jar Jubilee trifle. I soaked some of the fairy cake sponge in Sherry, then I put a teaspoon of the black cherry jam in the jar, then I put in some Bird’s custard, then layered more sponge and finished off with whipping cream.  Great for the table and not what you’d normally expect to arrive in a jam jar.

Whatever you have planned I do hope you have an amazing bank holiday weekend and party – I’ll be working and hopefully having fun at some news story in the capital.  Please do let me know your party cheats from savoury to sweet.

If you’re worried about delivery, then you can place your order with Lakeland online and pick up in the store.  You could always call your order in with their excellent customer services team – they’ll be able to give you an exact idea about delivery.

015394 88100 – open 7 days a week from 6.30am to 10.00pm