Santa Through the Years

Our top 10 treats of Christmas

Over the next four weeks we will be faced daily with treats and temptations with every step we take, on the run up to Christmas Day. Then between Christmas and New Year, we are faced with even more delicious morsels that threaten to expand our waistlines with every bite. Now is the time to enjoy, then come the 1st January we can get back to the healthy eating (and the gym).

Here at My Cupcake Toppers we have put together a list of our top 10 treats of Christmas - the goodies our families enjoy over the festive period.


Gingerbread men1. Gingerbread men are not only extremely tasty but are great fun to make as well.  You can go with the traditional decorations of currents or raisins for buttons etc. or you can jazz them up with coloured icing, sweeties - anything you and your kids want to use.

Mince Pies2.  Mince Pies are an absolute must around Christmas and with the shops stocking them from late October, now we don't have to wait. Nothing beats a homemade mince pie though in my opinion and I don't think Santa would pay our house a visit if there wasn't one waiting by the fire place on Christmas Eve!

3. Back in September I made my Christmas cakes for this year - 8 in total!  One for my own family, then one each for Ruth and Joyce here at My Cupcake Toppers, three more for friends/family and the last two are gifts for our local school Christmas raffle and also another raffle for our local hospice.

Since then, I have been feeding them brandy every second Sunday religiously and next week I have the job of covering them with marzipan and icing, finally adding the decorations the week before Christmas. 

Whilst my mum always used to create some kind of festive snow scene when I was a child, I find it much easier to use one of our Christmas cake toppers and then add a few extra touches with icing.

Christmas cake


Christmas cookies4. If you like getting in the kitchen at this time of year, Christmas cookies are a quick and easy treat you can make. There are so many different cookie cutters on the market these days, along with glitter, sprinkles, icing tubes ready to pipe onto your creations - you really could make a different batch every day!

5. We don't need to buy in much chocolate for the holidays as the girls are given selection boxes at School, Church, Brownies, Dancing, Swimming club... and the list goes on.  Thankfully they all seem to be of the Cadburys variety, which is my chocolate of choice - "if mum's happy, everyones happy".

6. There is only so much dessert you can eat after a big Christmas dinner, however I would not be thanked by my husband if I didn't make him a big trifle. 

Candy Cane cake7. Whether you put them on a cake, hang them on your Christmas tree or simply eat them straight away, the sweet peppermint taste of a candy cane is a welcome relief from all the chocolate consumed at this time of year.                                                                                              Christmas Pudding

8.  Not everyone likes Christmas pudding in our house (hence the trifle) but I would not be without it.  Especially topped with lots of hot rum sauce - plenty of rum! 


Chocolate Truffles 9. From the 20p truffles sold at the school Christmas Fayre to the £20 luxury truffles sold at Fortnum and Mason, they are all delicious.  Buy them or make them yourself, the variety of flavours that can go into these tasty bite size delights are too many to count.

10. The ultimate treat - Christmas may be the only time for many people to justify spending the price of a small car on what really is just a sweet confection.  The amazing colours and flavours are incredible though - a real thing of beauty.Macarons
 I hope you like our round up of sweet Christmas treats.  I know there are lots of other things out there that we have not mentioned - we would love to hear about your favourites at this time of year.  Please feel free to leave us a comment.

 

Decorate your own dog biscuit

Gift buying for pets has seen a huge increase over the last few years, and dogs top the list by a mile.


Decorate your own dog biscuit from TescoThis Christmas, Tesco have launched a new addition to their Christmas range for pets - "Decorate your own dog Biscuit".  The kit includes a large wholemeal dog biscuit in the shape of a bone, a wee tube of red icing, and two of our printed edible rice paper cake toppers.  This means that you can use the icing and topper to decorate the biscuit however you like for your pooch and he gets to enjoy a treat at Christmas with the rest of the family.

We are so excited that they have chosen to include our cake toppers in the set, and rushed straight out to buy one to try our ourselves.  You can check out our video below to see how we got on, but my friends dog, the wonderful Sidney, really enjoyed every last crumb.

Our Top Five Halloween Treats

It's 31st October and it's Halloween. The sun has gone down and you hear a knock at the door. Gone are the days when you can give your guiser five pence or a handful of monkey nuts - they want MORE!!!

We have put together a collection of what we think are the best treats to hand out this Halloween.  Let us know if you have anything else hidden up your sleeve.

Toffee apples

The ultimate Halloween treat: whole apples covered in a hard toffee coating, with a stick inserted as a handle. These are a common treat at autumn festivals such as Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night because these festivals fall in the wake of the annual apple harvest.

Cupcakes



This is the treat I have been handing out for the last six years at Halloween, and every year I have to make more and more.  Thanks to our printed cupcake toppers, we can tailor them to Halloween easily, and our mini cupcakes are the perfect bite size treat for some of the younger visitors we get.

Sweets

There are an incredible amount of sweets available that are geared specifically towards Halloween; mini chocolate pumpkins, jelly eyeballs, crunchy spiders... but all the supermarkets have shelves full of multipacks of favourites like Haribo and Cadburys mini's too.

Crisps

Many a bag of crisps are handing out at Halloween, but did you know that Paprika Pringles have neen totally rebranded to celebrate the spooky season?

Erasers

This may be hard to believe, but kids love erasers! Especially when they’re shaped like an animal or some other character, or even a lego brick!

 

 

 

 

READY FOR HALLOWEEN?

Printed edible Halloween cake toppers and cupcake toppers

Yesterday the office temperature dropped dramatically. Anna was still aching from the #greatscottishrun and the maintenance boys were out clearing the gutters. Christmas has exploded into the shops, it’s judges houses on the X-Factor and the October holidays are within reach. All of this can mean only one thing – It’s nearly Halloween!


Halloween (or all Hallows' eve) is the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day, a time for people to remember the saints (hallows), the martyrs and those who have passed on. It is understood that this Christian practice replaced the old Pagan ways, mainly the Gaelic festival Samhain which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the ‘dark half of the year’. This opening to the dark half, as many believed, was the time of year when the veil between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest – a time when not only did the spirits of the dead return to visit but the fairies were also let in.


The spirits and the fairies were equally respected and feared and the belief was that they must be celebrated as well as placated with gifts of food and drink or bad luck would bestow the family. Being a mischievous lot, the fairies would play pranks and cause trouble if they weren’t satisfied with their gifts. Places were set at the table for the departed and candles were lit from the graves to every room in the house in order guide the spirits home from the afterlife. Church services were held, hearty meals prepared and games planned to honour the occasion. 

Some Christians abstained from eating meat on Halloween leading to an English tradition of eating apples, potato pancakes and soul cakes and children earned their treats by ‘souling’ or going door-to-door offering songs and prayers for the dead. Those with Celtic origins would dress up as ghosts and carry lanterns carved from turnips so that the spirits would not harm them and tricks and pranks were played throughout the night. This mix of cultures gradually combined in the early 19th century to give us the tradition of guising.


Wherever you come from food has always been a big part of Halloween and if you’re interested in serving up a traditional Halloween dish this year we’ve found great recipes for soul cakes, potato pancakes, Scottish cranachan (made with seasonal raspberries, cream and whiskey) and not forgetting the good old toffee apples. Just click on the dark grey link for more information.

The popularity of cupcakes is catching on year by year. Orders are starting to filter in for our pre-designed Halloween range and now is a good time to order your cupcake toppers to make this years Halloween unique. You can also upload your own images either using our new ‘Design Your Own Toppers’ tool for a speedier delivery or if you’d rather we do it for you, through our ‘personalised toppers’ service.

Whatever you decide to do this Halloween - Happy Haunting

Online cake toppers just got easier

A few weeks ago we launched our new "design your own cake topper" tool at My Cupcake Toppers, letting our customers easily decide exactly what they want on their printed cake toppers.  Not only can customers upload multiple images for their cake toppers they can also add their own text, choose a font, different colours and preview their masterpiece before adding to the shopping cart.  Designs can even be shared via social media!

If customers would rather we do the hard work, we still offer our in-house design service for a small additional charge.  Just upload the images and add any special instructions to an order and we will send a proof asap.

Whatever your special occasion, My Cupcake Toppers can print edible cake toppers just for you - including corporate events, charity fundraising, celebrations and many more.

As well as personalised toppers, we also offer a wide range of pre-designed toppers for decorating cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, biscuits or pies.  Our designs include popular TV shows, sports, special birthdays and wedding anniversaries, and seasonal occasions throughout the year.

It's a great way to get people talking about your event or occasion.

 

The Great British Bake off

For the next few weeks, the British public will be glued to their sofas every Wednesday evening with a cup of tea and slice of cake, ready to watch the Great British Bake Off.

Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood will be joined by Mel and Sue and 12 new contestants, all hoping to be crowned the winner.  Each week they will face the challenge of the technical bake, the signature bake and the showstopper.

Whilst most of us do not have the skills or talent to produce some of the incredible baked goods that we see on #GBBO, I for one, constantly long to sink my teeth into the crispy, flaky layers of golden pastries or breathe in the warm aromas of the freshly baked breads.

Finding the time to even attempt one of these masterpieces is tricky though.  Instead I find myself beating up a batch of tasty cupcakes instead, (decorating them with our cupcake toppers of course), or whisking up some egg whites for cute meringue kisses.  

I’m not sure if they would meet Mary and Paul’s high standards, but it keeps everyone in our house happy.




Mothers Day Memories

Picture this. A 10-year-old scullery maid climbs up the stone stairway to the attic in the dark, all alone except for the small candle she carries in a jar. Condensation from the windows runs in a steady stream down the walls with nothing to catch it and no other source of heat. It’s an early night for her, only 10pm, because she worked so hard to wash the dishes from the servant’s hall as well as the family dinner. Soaked to the skin with perspiration and dirty dishwater she crawls into bed full of anticipation and excitement. Tomorrow is Mothering Sunday.

 

The Christian holiday on the fourth Sunday of lent, ensured that every domestic servant in the UK had at least one full day off a year. They came from some of the poorest families in the country and were considered lucky to leave home at the age of nine or ten to enter into a life of service. It was better than the workhouse. The work was gruelling and the hours were long, starting at 5.30am and not finishing till 10.30pm. Mothering Sunday took them home to their families and to their ‘mother’ church, just for one day and the children would stop along the way to pick wild flowers to give to the church or to their mothers.

The yearly religious occasion eventually fused with the secular event of Mother’s Day to become a day to appreciate motherhood with cards and gifts. Things have only gotten easier as time goes by. Where once, Mothering Sunday would have been the highlight of the year, for those of us who still get to text our mothers, call them, email them, see them anytime we want and even still rely on them – it’s easy to leave our appreciation till the last minute with a quick card and bunch of flowers on the way home from work.

But picture this.

There’s an old box of photographs hidden away at the bottom of a cupboard with a lifetime of memories. Snapshots of a wedding day, a pregnancy, countless birthdays and precious holidays. Now picture these stolen moments decorating a dozen freshly baked cakes and the surprise as cherished memories are brought back to life. Because let’s face it – everyone loves cake and what better way to let your mum have her cake and eat it than with a gift that is tailored to her memories.

With just over a week to go, now is the time to order your personalised Mother’s Day toppers or choose from our predesigned range. Check your latest My Cupcake Toppers newsletter for our simple cupcake recipe and your 20% mother’s day discount. It’s easy to give your mum something unique this year to show her how much she is loved.

EPILEPSY SOCIETY FUNDRAISING TOPPERS!

 

St Valentine is recognised as the patron saint of epilepsy so today we’re giving a shout out to our friends at the Epilepsy Society  who have been keeping us on our toes lately. We’ve been busy making thousands of cupcake toppers for their annual Purple Day fundraising packs which will be used to help turn the world purple on 26th March 2016.

 

          

 

Anyone involved in Purple Day will know that this international fundraising and awareness day is a big deal and it’s getting bigger by the year. On Purple Day, anything goes (so long as it’s purple) and we take our hats off to the families and friends of the Society who raised a massive £45,000 last year through events including fun runs, coffee mornings, cake sales and dress-down days.

More than half a million people in the UK alone have epilepsy (that’s 1/100), defined as a sudden interruption in the way the brain works. It was first recognised by Hippocrates so it’s been well researched over the years. These days, 40 different types of epilepsy have been identified but it’s very difficult to diagnose and although 70% of cases are controlled with drugs, more research is needed which all costs money.

The Epilepsy Society use the money raised on Purple Day to help support their hospital, the Sir William Gowers Centre which is the national epilepsy assessment and treatment centre, taking patients from the UK and overseas. Funding also goes towards continued research as well as the provision of a helpline and information services for those living with the condition.

We have just shipped off a fresh batch of toppers so it’s not too late to get involved. Purple Day packs are available online from the Epilepsy Society and contain a fundraising guide, poster, stickers, banner, balloons, collection box, leaflets and sponsor forms. The second pack (our favourite) is the Bakers Edition which includes cake toppers, labels and recipe cards.

If you can’t do it yourself but come across any purple people on 26th March, we hope you’ll lend your support to these fun-loving fundraisers and to those of you already planning your big day, the staff at My Cupcake Toppers wish you the very best of luck!

DID SOMEBODY MENTION VALENTINES DAY?

After spending the last couple of weeks printing hearts, romantic photos and Valentines messages for all you lovebirds out there, it occurred to us here at My Cupcake Toppers that we don’t really know how we came to be ordering so much red ink in February? So we took to the search engines to try and find out what all the fuss is about and came up with some interesting facts and theories about our national day of love.

                                                                                     

Turns out no-one is really too sure how it all started but the most common story is that Valentine was a Roman bishop during the short reign of Cladius II. Claudius decided that men should not marry during wartime but Valentine rebelled and carried out secret ceremonies which earned him a prison sentence. During his stay, he healed his jailers blind daughter, Julia, before being tortured and beheaded on 14 February 269. It is said that one of the last things he did was to send Julia a letter, signing it ‘Your Valentine’.

By the time Gelasius I became pope in 492, Valentine was down in history as a Christian martyr and Gelasius declared that the 14 February would be celebrated as the feast of St Valentine. However, it wasn’t associated with love until almost a thousand years later when English poet and writer, Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote about the traditions of Valentines day. It's been argued that his accounts were purely fictional but when they were studied in the 18th century (the time of courtly love), his ideas were taken on board and people begun sending each other valentines cards and notes.

             

The first printed cards were available in the late 1700’s and ‘The Young Mans’ Valentine Writer’ was published around this time with suggested verses for those who couldn’t come up with their own.  By the 19th century, cards were factory produced and it is documented that in 1835, 60,000 Valentines cards were sent by post in the UK. In 1868, Richard Cadbury made chocolate love official by producing the first box of Valentines chocolates and by the 1900's, swapping gifts became the norm.

The diamond industry didn’t join in till the 1980’s making jewellery a popular gift and it’s now thought that 10% of marriage proposals take place on 14 February.Today, it is estimated that the global business of Valentines day is worth up to £1.3bn annually with 35m heart shaped boxes of chocolates, 110m roses and more than 140m cards being exchanged around the world
each year.

Despite our best efforts we still can’t tell you when baking came into it and how many cupcakes are gifted each year but we’re happy to say it’s enough to keep us busy for a little bit longer. It’s not too late to order toppers from our valentines range or personalised toppers of your own if you want to mix things up with something that’s a little bit different this Valentines day.

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