Baking with style

Candice Aboderin is a mother, vlogger and runs her own cake business Cake By Candie. A zest for life shines through in her YouTube videos, which she began as a way of capturing family life for posterity. Candice waxes lyrical on a range of different topics and doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable truths. We asked her to share her story and one her favourite cupcake recipes.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Candice Aboderin and I am 29. I currently run my own cake business Cake By Candie. Prior to motherhood (finally making me take a long walk off a short bridge) I dabbled in advertising and marketing roles, my last job before going alone was with Penguin Random House Publishing. My daughter Esme-Olivia is three and can be very frank about my cake designs, so I still feel like I have a boss of sorts! Apart from that, I love making videos I began doing so just to document my family life, as after my father died I realised I had no video of him. I find comfort in the fact that should I no longer be here and Esme has a burning question she knows that mummy probably made a video about that. I didn’t think others would find it interesting but here we are! As time has gone on it’s made sense to start making baking tutorial videos. With business’ heavily dependant on Google search algorithms, the more content tied to my business name, the better.

How has digital technology and social media changed the way you work?

Thankfully, I’m young enough to say that I don’t know life without it. When it comes to running a cake business, the plus sides are tremendous. Gone are the days of sourcing bank loans and dealing with overheads. With a bright, beautiful Instagram, authenticity and most importantly a great product, you are able to run a business from your sofa! The consistent downside to social media, is watching others and their numbers thinking that you or your business is not doing as well as it should. Whenever I feel those feeling creep in, I know it’s time to take a little break. Personally, it has really helped me build a community that have shared my business and content no end. I am forever indebted to women whom I haven’t (yet) met. I don’t ever see it changing the way I work but hopefully, it will continue to enhance it.

Pink Faux Velvet Cupcakes: far easier twist on the red velvet classic

Ingredients

Cupcakes
7oz caster sugar
7oz butter
7oz self-raising flour
1tbsp milk
¼ tsp red gel food colouring
1tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Buttercream
9oz butter (softened)
1lb 11/2 oz icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp red gel food colouring

Method

Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (fan) or 180 degrees Celsius for gas/gas mark 4.
  • Line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases and set aside.
  • Cream together the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat the eggs in one at a time until fully incorporated. At anytime if you see the mixture curdling add in a tablespoon of flour. Then throw in the rest.
  • Now add the gel food colouring and combine until your mixture is positively pink! At this point if you want to use vanilla extract, throw that in too.
  • Fill the cupcake cases two-thirds full. I find the easiest way to do this with an ice cream scoop but using two spoons will suffice if you don’t have one to hand.

Buttercream

  • Beat together the softened butter and sifted icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Consistency is key here, so try not to over beat as it can make the buttercream too runny. Once done, add in the food colouring until a desired shade of pink is reached.
  • Once the cakes are cooled you are now at liberty to get the party started. For beginners, there is no need to fuss with a piping bag and nozzles, you can jut use a palette knife (even a butter knife will do) and spread until your heart’s content. For those that want to try their hand at piping, I have instructions in this video.
  • Lastly, sit on the sofa and stuff your face!

Candice is following…

 

I love Yvadney and all that she creates. A part-time stylist and full-time mum, it’s wicked to see a mother who hasn’t got totally lost in the SMA sauce and still takes pride and finds a way to have fun with the way she looks. She also created an awesome platform Mum’s That Slay which celebrates a plethora of mothers tackling teething while wearing Gucci loafers. I love it!

Motherhood_RXMotherhood, especially motherhood as a black woman, can be really lonely. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been to a mother and baby group and been the only POC in the room. Visibility is so important. I love the way MotherhoodRX don’t exclude anyone but really work hard to lift up black mothers who aren’t usually represented in mainstream media

June AmbroseThe queen of celebrity styling (can you tell, I really love playing dress up?). June Ambrose is such an inspiration. With a glowing CV and such a positive outlook to life, her Instagram is where I go to feel good. Plus she styled, Jay Z who is my fav, married to everyone’s fav Beyonce. So June Ambrose has breathed the same air as Beyonce. I’ll take my kicks where I can get them!


Candice’s work 

cakebycandie.com
youtube.com/c/candiescorner
instagram.com/candiceaboderin
instagram.com/cakebycandie

Recipe for success

Sarah Akhurst is a food writer and recipe developer, currently working as Food Editor for Weight Watchers magazine. I was inspired by Sarah’s story because it demonstrates that despite juggling family life (and parenting a child with complex needs) she has been able to carve out a successful career in an industry she’s really passionate about. It also goes to show that social media can be a positive force in people’s lives.

Sarah shares two quick and healthy supper recipes (perfect for busy working mums): sticky peanut butter chicken with egg fried noodles and middle eastern style stuffed aubergines with mint and feta (see bottom of article).

Sarah Akhurst Weight Watchers Food Editor

Tell us about yourself

I started my career in radio production before moving into magazines, working across women’s and consumer magazines at the BBC as a commercial editor on titles such as Eve, Good Food, Vegetarian Good Food & Radio Times. From there, I moved to Guardian News & Media where I continued to work for a number of years as a commercial editor producing sponsored editorial content for sections such as Guardian Weekend, the Observer magazine and Observer Food Monthly.

I’ve always been a food obsessive – as a child I used to spend hours in the kitchen prepping Sunday dinner or cooking for my mum’s dinner parties. I had always wanted to direct my career in that direction, but the opportunity never really presented itself. Then, in 2010, the chance of voluntary redundancy came up so I decided to take the leap. After nearly 15 years of working in media, I swapped my laptop for a pinny and embarked on a professional cordon bleu diploma at Tante Marie Culinary Academy. It was wholeheartedly one of the best decisions I have ever made and I loved every second of my training.

When I graduated with a first, I initially worked as a private chef, cooking for a family of nine. Whilst it was an amazing experience, I knew it would be difficult to combine this kind of career route with family life if I planned to have children. I started doing a bit of private catering and styling for photography shoots, before finally moving into doing recipe development for brands. In 2014, a couple of years after having my son, I took a job as a Food Editor at Seven Publishing and am now the Food Editor for Weight Watchers magazine, and also produce recipe content for the Sainsbury’s brand.

How has social media been a positive force in your work and personal life?

Social media is a really important tool of my job, most particularly Instagram and Facebook. I use them both to keep in touch, and get inspiration from, the communities I develop recipes for. The Weight Watchers community is particularly engaged on social media, sharing recipe ideas and using each other for motivation to hit their goals. I’m always on Instagram checking what foods or cooking techniques the community are raving about, to help inform what we do in the magazine.

Social media is an even more vital part of my personal life. As the mother of a child with special needs, I literally don’t know where I would be without the support I get from specialist communities on Facebook! Our 4-year-old son Dexter has a very rare chromosomal disorder called 2q23.1. As a result of a small but significant genetic deletion, he has a diagnosis of autism, global development delay (which includes delays in his speech and language, as well as gross and fine motor skills) and also low muscle tone. To add to this, he also has problems with his colon and in April last year had to have stoma surgery. He now lives with a colostomy bag, which he may or may not have permanently. There are less than 300 people with his condition scattered around the world and without Facebook we would all be dealing with the condition in isolation. With very little medical research or medical experience available, there is scant professional support so the practical experience of other parents is like gold dust! I can post about an issue we are struggling with and I know that within a few hours someone somewhere in the world will respond. Even if they don’t have the answers, knowing that there’s a sounding board is so important. Parenting someone with special needs is an incredibly unique experience, and social network support from people who understand exactly what you go through on a daily basis is a lifeline I couldn’t cope without.

Sarah’s following…

eleanor fordEleanor Ford @smalleleanoramazing food writer, beautiful Instagram account showing her recipes, travels and family.

 

 

 

Claire Thomson @5oclockapronclaire thomsonfood writer who specialises in cooking with kids, great ideas of things to cook that kids can help out with.

 

 


MIDDLE EASTERN STYLE STUFFED AUBERGINES WITH MINT AND FETA

stuffed aubergines

Serves 4
Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes

 

 

 

 

Ingredients
4 medium aubergines
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
1 each red, orange, yellow pepper, thinly sliced
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
50g sultanas
50g pistachios
Handful fresh mint
100g feta, crumbled

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Halve the aubergines lengthways and score the flesh in a crisscross pattern, making sure not to cut through the base. Place them cut side up in a roasting dish and brush with 1 tbsp oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until soft and golden.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large, deep frying pan and cook the onions for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further minute or so. Add the peppers, and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the peppers are starting to soften. Add the chopped tomatoes, pomegranate molasses and vinegar and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and leave to cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the peppers are nice and soft and the tomato has reduced down. Add the sultanas, ½ of the pistachios and most of the mint, reserving some for garnish. Season well.
  • When the aubergine is cooked, remove from the oven. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh, making sure you leave ½cm around the edges and taking care not to pierce the skin at the bottom. Add the aubergine flesh to the tomato mix and stir to combine. Divide the mixture between the empty aubergine shells and return to the oven for around 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Scatter with the feta, remaining pistachios and mint. Serve.

STICKY PEANUT BUTTER CHICKEN WITH EGG FRIED NOODLES

sticky peanut chicken

Serves 2
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus marinating time)
Cook time: 20 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ingredients
For the marinade
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
½ tbsp sriracha
3cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 x large chicken breasts, cut into thick strips
For the noodles
100g soba noodles
½ tbsp sesame oil
3cm piece of ginger, peeled and thinly julienned
2 tbsp soy sauce
400g spiralised vegetables (I used carrot, butternut squash, celeriac and broccoli stem)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Handful of peanuts, roughly chopped

Method

  • Whisk together all of the ingredients for the marinade. Put the chicken in a shallow dish and pour over the marinade. Chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the noodles to pack instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Spritz a griddle pan with a little oil and heat over a medium high heat. Griddle the chicken pieces for 5-7 minutes, basting with the extra marinade as they cook, and turning half way through. Turn off heat when cooked and leave to rest in the pan while you cook the noodles.
  • Heat a large frying pan or wok over a medium high heat and add the sesame oil. Fry the ginger for a minute, before adding the noodles and the soy sauce. Stir fry for a couple of minutes, then add the spiralised vegetables. Continue to cook for a further 4-5 minutes, tossing frequently, until the vegetables are cooked but still retain a bit of bite.
  • In a separate pan, scramble the eggs until cooked. Toss the eggs through the noodles, along with the chicken and any sticky residue from the pan. Squeeze over the lime juice and stir through most of the fresh coriander. Divide between two bowls and scatter with more fresh coriander and the peanuts.

Meet the London Mother

Meet Mads Panchoo, founder and editor of The London Mother (a lifestyle and parenting magazine for Londoners).

Mads started The London Mother (formerly The London Mummy Blog) back in 2014 and its continued popularity amongst parents led to a rebrand last year. It has become a destination website to discover top tips for families living in and visiting the capital. A place to get money-saving tips and read articles by a range of professional including doctors, teachers and authors. The next big project that Mads is working on is producing a TV series about social media and parenting – something we’re equally excited about!

the london mother logo

We asked Mads to tell us her story and share her digital tips for aspiring bloggers.

Tell us about yourself

I’ve worked in marketing and PR my whole career for brands as varied as Universal Pictures (which didn’t feel like work – we were paid to watch films and scripts – terrible pay but so much fun) to serious financial PR for a large multi-national FTSE 100 company. I’ve always loved writing so after the birth of kid 2, I decided to take the leap into freelancing. I set up the blog as a side-hustle when I was writing for HELLO! Magazine Online but never thought that it could lead to anything. Suddenly brands were wanting to work with me and a quick rebrand and relaunch later, I’m doing it full-time.

How has digital technology and social media changed the way you work?

I think coming from a PR/marketing background has really helped, lots of the companies I worked for were early adopters of digital technologies so I worked from home even before I was working for myself and used social media at work so it was easy to start using them to launch and market my own brand. Digital technology means I can and do work from anywhere in the world – my living room, the beach – you name it, I’ve probably worked from there. On the ‘downside’ it gets hard to ‘switch’ off when your phone equals your living!

What are your top tips for creating a successful blog

Don’t recreate the wheel
Look at the competition in your niche and who you want to be. Aim high. So if you want to be a fashion writer, look at the fashion bloggers with a similar audience to you. Then look at Anna Wintour. What do they do well, not so well? What was Anna’s journey? Be inspired, improve on what they offer and add your unique spin. The hardest part is knowing where to start. Start there.

You are your own PR
Unless you can afford to appoint someone (and if you can – yay) you have to be the PR department for your brand. Don’t spend all your time writing – do the PR. Guest blog, attend events with your business card, work with bloggers in your niche, know your niche inside and out.

Learn the business of blogging (or your online brand)
Everything you need to know is inside Google. Spend less time writing and more time learning sales and marketing.

Mads is following…

patricia bright

 

 

 

 

Patricia Bright: You Tube star who knows her business inside and out.

the inside edit

 

 

 

 

Leti from The Inside Edit (a fellow Londoner)

manrepeller

 

 

 

 

Man Repeller and Into the Gloss for how they’ve turned their blogs into global brands

into the gloss

 

 

 

 

Mads’s work…

thelondonmother.net
instagram.com/thelondonmother
twitter.com/thelondonmother
facebook.com/thelondonmother
pinterest.com/thelondonmother