Jan 112013

It is now January of this year and many couples are preparing for their wedding in the coming months. And with Valentines Day not far away some are just thinking about popping the big question. Proposing can be a daunting prospect for any man or woman (If it’s a leap year) and it is not just the thought of their love refusing their offer of marriage that can be the problem. Trying to think of how you are going to ask the person is becoming an issue with so many different places and ways to do it these days.

Marry me Cake

I know many men how have struggled to think of a unique way to propose to their girlfriends, many just do it the traditional way of getting down on one knee and opening the ring box and popping the question. However I recently heard of a lovely idea for proposing that I personally think is very different and would definitely be remembered. It involves a beautiful love heart shaped cake with the ring inside and the inscription saying “will you marry me?”

You could go to your local cake maker to discuss the idea of getting this cake made or you could make it yourself which is sure to make this idea even more special to the recipient.

Watch this video to see how a proposal cake would work:

I decided to go along to a cake maker in my local area to ask if this style of cake or any similar ideas were a common request for people looking to propose. The one I chose to visit is called Dream cakes Glasgow. Contact details for them can be found online on their website.  Upon my visit, I was rather surprised to hear from the head confectioner that in fact over the last year they have noted an increase in orders for popping the question cakes as they are now known. The confectioner said the staff always try to get an idea of the personality of the recipient before they make any suggestions as to the style of cake the customer should present to their loved one, as after all the cake could be a make or break in the outcome of the all-important question being asked. I asked what was the strangest request was they had made, the confectioner had a quick think and then laughed as he explained how a young man wanted to propose with a cake shaped like a penguin. The customer’s fiancé loved penguins and he therefore thought I would be a great idea to have a penguin shaped cake with a caption coming out its mouth asking the big question for him. It was apparently a huge success as the lucky lady said yes and was apparently overjoyed at her new fiancés unique idea. I do not think a penguin shaped cake is going to be for everyone, however after speaking to the lovely staff at the cake shop and with a few of the female staff sharing their favourite popping the question cake designs I realised that this truly is the perfect way to propose as it can be personalised to the people involved.

I personally would be very happy with one of the many popping the question cake designs that I was shown at the cake shop, and I hope I meet someone who would think of doing this for me one day.

I would like to thank the head confectioner and all the friendly staff at Dream Cakes Glasgow for their time and helping me with this post.

 Posted by at 2:14 pm
Dec 042012

Hello and welcome to the newest post here on the Knowledge Wire. Today we are going to enlighten you with architectural knowledge about one of the most famous cities of the modern world, Glasgow.  The river Clyde, which runs through the city of Glasgow, was long thought of as a significant benchmark for quality in shipbuilding and engineering during the industrial age. Today, the cities riverbanks have been rejuvenated for other more social 21st century purposes. There is now a distinctive, futuristic architectural style that now defines the area once famed and renowned for its dockyards.

mansion house glasgow
Picture: Charing Cross Mansions building

Modern day Glasgow, and its surrounding landscape, has been shaped in rather dramatic ways by the thoughts and visions of some local talented architects, or famous sons as they are known in the city. Many of the cities impressive buildings and landmarks, often very distinctive in their architectural appearance were designed by people of the city, with many being constructed of locally acquired red sandstone, such as the famous People’s Palace and the Charing Cross Mansions building.

Andrew Thomson was born born in the city in the early half of the 19th century and is best known for his idio-syncratic Greek style and his belief creating sustainable buildings. His commissions include the local sites of Holmwood House and the Grecian Chambers.

The most famous and well respected of all the Glasgow architects is Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a man who is now thought of as a leading influence of European architectural design throughout the world. His commissions include House for an Art Lover and the the Lighthouse building, located near the heart of the city.

Would you like to know more about Charles Rennie Mackintosh? If you do then please feel free to watch this video:

For those prepared to travel outward of the city, they will find many interesting buildings worthy of note,  Chatelherault house located in Hamilton and Kelburn Castle. For visitors who wish to stay to the inner city, the numbers of buildings worthy visiting include:

  • City Hall
  • Templetons Carpet Factory
  • Trades Hall
  • The Necropolis
  • Hutchesons’ Hall

City Hall

The City Hall, located in the Merchant city quarter of the city, has a unique Italian style to it and is often used to hosts gala events such as concerts and exhibitions.

Templetons Carpet Factory

The unique factory was built in the later half of 19th century, and was originally refused planning permission.  Because of this rejection, the owner set upon creating and building an extravagant building, that would be considered worthy and welcome addition to the cities landscape. Through the use of colourful decorative tiles, expensive glass-work and numerous art deco features, this was achieved.

Trades Hall

This impressive, Victorian style building was designed in the later half of the 18th century for the local Trade Federation by architect Robert Adam.

 The Necropolis

The elegant Victorian style cemetery, located at the heart of the medieval side of the city, was inspired by the Pere Lachaise cemetery located in the city of Paris. There are many extravagant statues and memorials contained with it including the the statue of John Knox, which stands a towering sixty two metres tall.

Hutchesons’ Hall

Located in the Merchant City quarter, This building was built in the 19th century to commemorate George and Thomas Hutcheson, who were the founders of an important 17th century hospital built in the city to serve its citizens.

Glasgow’s is an iconic city with many interesting architectural buildings, designed by people who have helped shape modern architect ideas for future generations. A special thank you is given to Stephen Miles Architects(SMA) for providing scope and analysis for this post. if you would like to find out further information about Glasgow ans its history of architecture then please feel free to contact SMA via their website, which can be found by doing a simple on-line search for Glasgow architect. If any readers would like their home city to be feature in some way on our site, then please feel free to contact us and we will consider it for inclusion.

 Posted by at 3:28 pm
Nov 152012


Royal IcingHello and welcome to theknowledgewire.com and its inaugural publication. Here we will talk about a variety of subjects and topics covering a vast range of categories. Today we are going to provide information about Royal icing.

What is Royal Icing?

Royal icing is a simple mixture of water and icing sugar that is mixed together. At first the mix is wet and slimy at the touch but when it is whisked and dries out it becomes a chalky like substance that is hard and robust and smudgeless. Like any icing, it’s main ingredient is icing sugar, therefore it is a very sweet product. To make Royal icing thicken and harden another ingredient has to be added: egg whites. The icing sugar is mixed with egg whites and flavoured if so desired but many users simply keep it in its simple, natural white form. For those who have concerns of using raw egg whites, alternatives include Albumen solution or Pasteurised Egg White powder with both providing a safer, healthier substitution.

What can Royal Icing be used for?

Royal icing is a versatile product that can be used many different ways with applications in food and cake decoration. Common uses for  Royal icing include piping shapes, lines, alphabetical letters, numbers and various other decorative features.  Another very common and important use for Royal icing is its easy and practical use to act as a food adhesive. Many bakers and confectioners use it to stick shapes and objects to cakes and cookies such as edible silver balls, pearls and edible diamonds etc. As the icing is wet at first it adheres to the surface and to the element which is required to stick. As the icing dries out, it attaches on to the piece and therefore holds it in place as required.

Looking for a video tutorial? Then please feel free to watch this informative video for some helpful tips:

Royal icing can also be used to coat or cover a cake (with this being a very traditional way of decorating),  instead of using a butter-cream topping,  fondant or sugar-paste. This technique can work with sponge cakes or marzipan covered fruit cakes, with the Royal icing best being made a day previously as when it sets, all air bubbles dissipate and the icing becomes easier to use and work with. Recently made Royal icing has a fluffy consistency due to a higher concentration of air being whisked through it and is thus harder to manage. To avoid excessively hard icing when eating the cake, it is recommend to use a product called Glycerine which will soften the icing slightly for a certain period thus allowing for an enjoyable eat.

What is the right consistency of Royal icing?

This all depends on what its purpose is.  If you attempting to make decorative sugar flowers and/or leaves, then the icing should be whisked until it is rather rigid. A way of testing how rigid it is would be to dip a finger tip into the icing and then remove it quickly. If a small stiff peak is attached to your finger then your icing is ready for use. If not, then the icing will require further whisking.

What are the basic ingredients and measurements needed for a royal icing recipe?

There are many good ways to make royal icing with many resources found online:

675 grams (1½ pounds of icing sugar), 3 egg whites, 1½ tablespoon of glycerine and an extra egg white to thin icing if required.

Royal Icing method

  1. Sieve the icing sugar until no lumps are present
  2. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl that is clean
  3. Add icing sugar to the egg whites
  4. Add glycerine and whisk until ready. Use Glycerine sparingly
  5. Beat the icing until it is stiff,white in colour and stands up at peaks
  6. Spread over the top and sides of the prepared cake and spread with a spatula so that it forms peaks
  7. For smooth icing the icing will needed to be thinned down and spread/coat using a kitchen palette knife
  8. Transfer to a prepared cake tin and seal up until ready for future use

Source: BBC website

Storing Royal Icing properly?

As mentioned Royal icing stiffens until fully dried out.  It is important to keep the icing covered with a damp cloth while not in use.

The methods and processes listed above have been kindly provided by the helpful members of the Cake in a Box confectionery staff. For further help or information about this topic please feel free to contact them. They can be found by searching on the Google search engine. All feedback and reviews on this post are welcome.


 Posted by at 1:54 pm