Mmm, cake! As a major Great British Bake Off fan and serious sweet tooth sufferer, C was very intrigued when she had a chance to attend a baking trends and cake decoration masterclass with Edd Kimber, winner of the very first series of the now infamous show.
Here are the three trends we should all be attempting this year, then - and the good news is that they're all surprisingly easy to master...
1. Vivid Colours / Nature
Incorporating two baking trends in one, this flowerpot cake with wafer daisies is very cute and uses brilliantly vivid coloured icing. It's really pretty simple to make, too; Edd suggested making up some green icing with one of Dr Oetker's coloured gels, piping this onto the cake, and then adding some wafer daisies and small butterflies. For a really nice twist, you can also get some flowerpot cake cases (sadly not edible) and pop them in there. We reckon these would be a great bet for kids' parties - C's now keen to put this theory to the test at one of her little cousins' birthday parties sometime soon...
2. Ombre PastelsThis is undoubtedly C's favourite of the three baking trends: an ombre pastel swirl bouquet of cupcakes. It looks great, and is encouragingly easy.
Once you've made the cake, make up the icing by placing butter in a bowl, beating until soft, and then gradually beating in the icing sugar until it's smooth and creamy. Edd added rosewater to his for flavour, which was wonderfully aromatic and really went with the "bouquet" theme, so C would recommend trying this too.
Next, divide the mixture into three portions: leave one plain, and colour the other two with violet and red gel food colour (but only use drops, since pastels are the objective here!).
The trick then comes with the piping: spoon the three types of icing down each side of the piping bag, being careful to keep them separate as you put them in. Gently squeeze the icing down the bag to reach the nozzle, and then squeeze some icing out on a saucer or similar until all three colours are coming out and pipe the cake.
For the bouquet itself, tape a polystyrene base to a slide plate and push a cocktail stick through the centre of each cake - through the case - and push the rest of the stick into the polystyrene.
Once all your cakes are attached to the polystyrene, you can carefully wrap tissue paper around the base and the sides of the cakes, holding it in place with a few pins or a coloured ribbon tied in a bow. Very pretty!
3. No-Bake Cake Pops
Yes, more cake pops! The difference with this version, though, is that they're not really cake: they're actually popcorn covered in chocolate. C's not actually a huge popcorn fan, but even she had to admit that these were lovely, and very simple.
To make these, melt chocolate in a microwave (Edd's advice: do this with lots of butter, and very cautiously) and then stir in the crushed popcorn and biscuits and mix together.
Once it's cooled, form into balls and push a cake pop stick into the centre of each ball, moulding it onto the stick. Leave to chill.
For the decoration, melt milk and white chocolate in separate bowls and allow to cool (this is important - don't attempt the next step if it's still piping hot!). Hold each Popcorn Pop over a bowl of chocolate and spoon the melted chocolate over it, turning it to coat completely.
Tap the stick gently on the edge of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate and then stand it upright in a vase or tall glass. Leave to set, before decorating with wafer butterflies or similar. Cute!
And, here's one of C's efforts: note how it compares to Edd's (ie: not very well). We may have some work to do...