Thirsty For Tea | Modernizing a Classic Tradition Did you know that in proper tea culture, it's actually faux pas to drink tea with your pinky up? Personally, I notice that my little finger goes higher or lower depending on the occasion for tea. Play time with my nieces? Pinkies up, of course! Enjoying tea at a luxury hotel? Stay down, pinky. But up or down, there's no doubt about it--tea lovers of all kinds are going to love this cake!So how do we create a cake that looks like a teacup? With Wilton's clever Wonder Mold, of course! You may already know about this pan from making princess cakes. Here, we simply flip the finished cake upside down to create a perfectly contoured teacup shape. Princesses & teacups—you can create both with this one amazing pan!I actually ended up making 2 versions of this cake, each a riff on my favorite English china pattern. The first was a simpler version, while another cake was a much more exact interpretation of the same design. Once you've created the fondant-covered cup and saucer, the teacup becomes a canvas for you to draw and paint on. I've loved Wilton products for as long as I can remember, and am always amazed at the crafty cake decorating tools that they come up with. Wilton's Color Right Performance Color System allows you to create so many brilliant colors in varying shades of intensity. And for the most realistic gold-trimmed effect, I used Wilton's Edible Metallic Cake Paint Set. Simply paint it onto the fondant with a flat-tipped brush. To create the look of a freshly poured cup of tea, one of these teacups is topped with chocolate ganache while the other was finished with brown-tinted piping gel. Feel free to play around with the colors of the "tea." These teacups feature black tea, but green tea or even a frothy cup of matcha would be fun to create too. Special thanks to Wilton for supplying the tools and ingredients for creating this cake. Wilton's Wonder Mold pans come in both large and small sizes so if you're not up to decorating a large cake, try the smaller versions first. Please check out their brunch campaign for more festive recipes, both sweet and savory! "Pinkies Up" Teacup Cake Makes 1 large cake. Ingredients: 1 recipe for your favorite 2-layer cake (I used Wilton's Butter Cake recipe, swapping out 1/2 cup of flour for cocoa powder & adding the contents of 3 tea bags of Earl Grey tea. The result...a delicious Earl Grey Chocolate Cake!) 1-24 oz. box white fondant 1-16 oz. tub white decorator icing, stiff 1/2 cup of your favorite recipe for chocolate ganache or clear piping gel extra decorator icing or stiff royal icing, for decorating the teacup gum paste, for creating the handle Equipment: Wonder Mold Doll Cake Kit 6" or 8" cardboard cake rounds piping bags decorating tips brush set Color Right Food Coloring Set Edible Metallic Cake Paint Set 1. Bake the Cake. Bake one full recipe of a double layer cake of your choice. Allow it to cool completely, then trim the top with a serrated knife until it is even. Brush off any crumbs from the surface of the cake. 2. Make the Saucer. Trace a 3" circle round in the middle of a cake round (use a 6" cake round for a small teacup cake or a 8" cake round for a large teacup cake) Cut the circle out using a box cutter. Stack the cut-out cardboard ring atop another cake round, then tape them together. Roll out the fondant to slightly less than 1/4" thickness, about 1" more than the diameter of the cake round. Cover the top of the "saucer" with the fondant. Cut away any excess fondant and smooth the fondant onto the surface of this cardboard "saucer." Set aside. 3. Make the Handle. Cut out the handle from thickly rolled gum paste. Allow to dry completely, then decorate. 4. Make the Flowers. Make stiff royal icing. Distribute the white icing into smaller bowls, then color each icing according to the flowers on your teacup. Pipe the flowers directly onto the cake or onto small pieces of parchment, then allow to dry completely. Some tips may require that you pipe onto the tip of a toothpick, then puncture the opposite tip of the toothpick through parchment to set the flower atop the parchment. 5. Cover the Cake in Fondant. Roll fondant out to just shy of 1/4" thickness. Place 2-8" cake rounds at the base of the cake. Cover the teacup cake with an even layer of icing, then chill for 10 minutes in the fridge. Remove from the fridge, then coat with a second layer of icing. Chill again for 10 minutes, then cover in fondant, covering the edges of the 2 cake boards as well. Very carefully flip the cake over to reveal a teacup-shaped cake. Remove the 2 cake boards, then roll in the edges of the fondant to create a teacup lip. Spread a thin layer of icing over the exposed cake. 6. Decorate the Saucer & Cup. If you don't feel confident in your ability to draw free form, try using a toothpick to poke small patterns into the fondant. You can use the dots as a guide for painting on a design. Also, use colored icing piped through decorating tips to create a 3D effect. If you've made royal icing flowers, attach them with a small dab of icing. 7. Attach the Handle. Attach the handle to the teacup with decorator icing or royal icing. For extra security, try cutting small slits through the fondant and inserting the handle gently into the slits by 1/4". 8. Fill with "Tea." Heat brown-tinted piping gel in the microwave for about 20 seconds into a more liquid-like state. Pour and smooth over the top of the cake as "tea." Alternatively, you can use chocolate ganache for this step.
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Shetland Wool Week | Shetland Wool Week is a world renowned celebration of Britain's most northerly native sheep, the Shetland textile industry and the rural farming community on these islands Welcome to our November blog which seems to have come around all too soon. As has been the case of seemingly every other month this year, life continues to remain predictably unpredictable around the world, with many of us back in lockdown or adjusting to the ever-changing rules and regulations during this challenging time. While the freedom of spontaneity currently eludes us, it seems like the most meaningful way forward is to embrace a spirit of acceptance and the hope that 'this too shall pass'. In Shetland the short days and long nights have started to set in and at times it is tempting to retreat and close the doors, but now, more than ever, it seems essential to continue to reach out, stay connected, and keep moving. We've been reading various articles on the 'Art of Wintering' which address the 'fallow periods of life' when it's important for us to indulge in a bit of repair time. So we're stockpiling the freezer, building up the wool reserves, noting down books to be read, researching festive recipes, and trying to continue the daily routine of getting outside and absorbing as much natural light as possible. This can be a challenge when there's a force 9 'blowing a hoolie', but it's exhilarating and life-affirming - and there is always the calm after the storm to look forward to. Photos by Alex Mazurov Shetland Wool Week online 2020 has in many ways forced us to approach things differently, to rapidly adapt and learn new skills. We were delighted to bring you a Shetland Wool Week of sorts this year virtually. It put many of us beyond our comfort zones and it was difficult to know whether we would be able to meaningfully capture the excitement, personality and breadth of SWW. But what was achieved was in many ways a true reflection of the ethos of the festival, with so many people generously stepping forward to offer their time, share skills and talk with passion about Shetland and give a taste of what happens during a typical Wool Week. It was a busy nine days for us to deliver it all digitally but it was an honour to share such rich content. Thanks for joining us, and here are just some of the comments we received: Thank you so much for the programme you put forward. It was great. High quality and you managed a real Wool Week flavour to it. So very inspiring! I learned many new things from this video, thank you so much. This was lovely. Really enjoyed learning the history and seeing the creativity involved. It is inspirational to even those of us who live far away today. What a gift you all bring. I was at Wool Week last year and had such a great experience. I've knit the Katie's Kep with all the beautiful yarns that I brought home from your beautiful islands. I've always wanted to go to the Shetland Wool Week and this fabulous video has confirmed my feelings that Shetland is truly a knitter's paradise. For someone way on the other side of the world who hasn't been more than 30 miles from home since March, your efforts to bring Wool Week to us is such a gift and appreciated more that you can imagine. Thank you so very much. Watch here If you were unable to join us much of the content is still available to view via our Shetland Amenity Trust YouTube channel and also on our Instagram IGTV. So whether you're looking for tips on how to create the perfect thumb; hints on how to simplify grafting, observations on Fair Isle knitting; or thoughts on what makes the native Shetland sheep wool so very special; there is something for everyone, with lots of Shetland scenery, chat and good humour thrown in too. Shetland Wool Week Annual 2020 Image on the right by @ullstugan Straight on the back of Shetland Wool Week we were busy fulfilling orders of the SWW Annual 2020. Thank you to all of you who have bought it so far, and for those patiently waiting for their copy. We are on top of all our orders, so if you would like to buy one (more!) for yourself or as a festive gift, now is the time! The Annual is £21 and can be bought here. Filled with original knitwear (and weaving) designs and features, it's packed with inspiration and is a beautiful collector's item too. It has been so gratifying to see it in your hands and already projects are beginning to come off the wires which we are sharing via our social media. Check out our blog too for more images of works in progress and finished projects. Remember to share your knitting projects with us too using #shetlandwoolweekannual2020 and the name of the design. Images from top: Jolene Clark in her Radiant Star Cowl by Ella Gordon; a blue Peerie Leaves Jumper (Ella Gordon Designs) knit by Sarah Moran of @didyoumakeityourself; @vonpoppie rocking her Da Skaw Beret by Angela Irvine; and Marta of @mrsdaftspaniel in her colourful Mirknen Dags designed by Elizabeth Johnston. Be inspired by the Shetland Wool Week Annual knitwear designers Watch: Many of the designers also recorded us a short video introducing themselves, explaining the inspiration behind their piece and also a few tips along the way. You can watch them on our SWW Instagram IGTV and Shetland Amenity Trust YouTube channel. Hear from Donna Smith; Rachel Hunter; Terri Malcolmson; Emma Geddes; Alison Rendall, Elizabeth Johnston; Ella Gordon Our Shetland Wool Week Annual technical editor Steph Boardman has also written a really helpful post on Alyssa Malcolmson's 'Bosie Gloves', which are featured in the Annual. Steph casts her analytical eyes over the design, and takes a closer look at some of the smaller details as well as offering alternative colours inspiration. Acts of Kindness – A Peerie Hansel fae Hame (A little gift from home) Throughout this year, we have seen many acts of kindness, from people helping their neighbours, collecting shopping and prescriptions, or simply by reaching out and keeping in touch. As an island community one group of people in our thoughts during lockdown has been our young people who have travelled off island to study at university. For many this has been their first time away from home. When our colleagues at the Shetland Museum learnt that around 400 Shetland students on the mainland were unable to travel home, they decided to set up a community project to express its support by sending a peerie 'hansel' (gift) from home. The idea for the appeal was inspired by a Fair Isle jumper on display in the Shetland Museum galleries. The much loved and well-worn jumper was a comforting reminder of home for its owner, a WW2 soldier, whilst he was away from Shetland. A local appeal was set up asking for donations of knitted hats, scarves, gloves, socks or a headband which would be passed on to students nominated by families or friends. The result was an impressive array of hand knitted items made with love. There are some beauties there and we are a teensy bit envious of the recipient. They are now all packed up with a few extra Shetland treats ready to make their journey south. A huge thank you to everyone involved and for restoring our faith in the kindness of others. NEW PATTERN: Katie's Cowl We have also launched another woolly project of our own. Wilma Malcolmson has created a final pattern as part of her 'Katie's' series. It has been unusual for our SWW patron not to have attended a physical event, but Wilma has been working away behind the scenes on this new pattern, amongst many other projects, just in time for the colder season. We've already shared her wonderful Katie's Kep and Fingerless Gloves; and now we bring you her Katie's Cowl just in time for winter. The pattern features three different colourways from Jamieson's of Shetland; Jamieson and Smith; and Uradale Yarns. It's a lovely size that's very versatile and adds a stylish extra layer during the chillier months. The pattern is available to buy for £5 as a digital copy from our online shop, so no postal charges or long wait this time! All proceeds will go back into the event. BUY HERE Shetland Place Names A vast quantity of local Shetland names are preserved in a strong oral tradition. In 2001, Shetland Amenity Trust recognised the importance of recording these before they were lost forever. Eileen Brooke Freeman has been posting weekly place names posts throughout the year which provide vital clues about the environment, history, geography, and the people who lived in Shetland in the past and how they used the land. Painstakingly researched with plenty of images, it's a fascinating series. One of particular interest is on sheep-related place names. Here Eileen talks about the dialect words associated with sheep and wool and particularly the place-names that reflect where sheep grazed, rested or were caaed (rounded up). Lambs and sheep appear frequently too – think of 'Sheep Craig or Sheep's Rock' on Fair Isle, which rises to 132 metres and adjoins Fair Isle by a steep but impassable rocky ridge. Check out the blog post and view some stunning black and white photography from the Shetland photographic archive too. #Wovember Something else we have been following with interest is the #wovember photo campaign on Instagram, led by @unravelfestival. It's been fascinating to see so many references to Shetland Wool Week and Shetland Wool, too. Check out @janettebudge; @shetlandhandspun; @emilycpoleson who have been keeping up with their daily posts or follow #wovember for more insights into the multifaceted world of wool. The contributions are often personal and thought provoking and evoke great emotion, especially when reading of the 'comforting balm' and 'joy' that knitting and wool brings to so many. What a wonderful community to be part of.
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