When Lavinia invited me to write a blog post for the Lavolio website after I had tagged their fabulous and unique chocolates in my latest Instagram post, several emotions started coursing through me: bewilderment, excitement and finally the sobering fear of not being up to the task as I haven’t written anything substantial since completing my education. I’m also quite gauche when it comes to talking about myself, never mind writing about it! But thankfully, I know I can talk cake at length!
So here goes!
From France to the UK
My name is Peggy, I’m French and the lucky mum of three teenage daughters. We live, with their outnumbered Irish dad, in North Kent, about ½ hour away from London by train. I regularly post my bakes on Instagram under @peggysuegotbaking.
I was once told that we all speak a particular “love language” by which we express our feelings to our loved ones and interpret their actions. Some use and expect words, for others it’s gifts, touch, etc… Although I didn’t completely adhere to the idea, it got me thinking. By that notion, what would my love language be?
Where my passion comes from
If you’re familiar with the Disney Tinkerbell movies (and with three daughters you can easily imagine I’m close to being an expert!), you’ll understand what I mean when I say I’m a tinker. I have to make, that’s the love language I speak, and my favourite medium is through creating personalised cakes for all our family occasions. I guess you could call that “Edible Love”. And I thrive on it!
What we don't do for our children!
Some time before our second daughter’s 18th birthday, I put my head down and started listing all the things that she’s fond of and imagining how they could translate into a cake: dogs, art, koalas, dinosaurs (but I’d already gone with that theme last year so probably not), Doctor Who, etc… I liked all of these themes but I couldn’t feel the “spark” for any of them.
Apart from saying that she’d like me to use the same recipe as the year before (The Ultimate Chocolate cake by Cupcake Jemma with added dark chocolate drip), she had given me free rein. Occasion cakes call for tiers and my favourite format recently has been the “mini” two-tiered cake made of a 6” base and a 4” top. Logistically, it is easy to fit into a busy schedule and still has the wow factor. So, there I was, I had my canvas, a dark two-tiered cake!
And suddenly, there came the idea for the theme, another one of her favourite things: Succulents and cactuses! I could breathe a sigh of relief and get on with the research: which designs to pick, the all-important colour palette, which new techniques to learn, the necessary tools to source, what sort of cake topper to make, etc… I can never be grateful enough for the incredible amount of online resources at our fingertips and the generosity of the baking community when it comes to offering tutorials and tips.
How I found Lavolio
That brings us to how I came across the Lavolio brand. It was while watching a Craftsy class about how to build an edible succulent garden that I realised that adding some chocolate rocks to my project would not only serve an aesthetic purpose but a practical one too, providing smooth transitions between groups of piped succulents.
A quick Google search brought the Lavolio brand and range to my attention. After I’d seen their products, nothing else compared. I read the descriptions and reviews and, although you can never really tell you’ve made the right choice until you actually see the product, I felt very confident that I would not be disappointed.
Let's make a cake
As for most of my cake and sugar cookie projects, I’d decided to go for a whimsical colour palette for my succulents rather than a realistic one and the Nutty Forest mix with its pink, green and yellow chocolates looked ideal. Upon receiving it, I could see I had made the right choice, gorgeous colours, perfect variety of sizes, delicious selection and superb packaging. I started thinking that these were too special to simply use as props and I had to remind myself that they were being used for a very special occasion after all!
Being French, it’s a tradition of ours to offer small bags/boxes of what we call “dragées” (sugar coated almonds, sometimes with a layer of chocolate in between) as party favours at weddings and baptisms. They can vary greatly in quality, and you will not find anyone more picky than my mum on the subject but I have no doubt that these would receive her highest mark!
Once a cake is completed, I get in a sort of frenzy (and not just because there are tons of chores around the house that have been neglected and are in urgent need of attention!) and I have no rest until the moment of the big reveal, when the recipient finally sees it and their eyes light up!
The cake was a total success with the birthday girl, both in taste and looks, and we both decided that the Lavolio chocolates were too good to feature as mere rocks so we agreed to think of them as dinosaur eggs instead, tying in neatly with last year’s cake!
Ready for the next challenge
No sooner have the candles of one cake been blown that I start thinking about the next one! I am currently putting together some ideas for my husband’s upcoming milestone birthday and, easy as I find it to come up with girly designs, I seem to always struggle to get in touch with my masculine baking side! Ah, well, I still have a few weeks before panic strikes!