Let's Bake!

Tilly's Top Tip

Butter can be quite yellow in colour and becomes slightly darker when adding vanilla essence. Beating the buttercream on a high speed will make it lighter.

Vanilla Buttercream


250g Unsalted Butter (Room Temperature)

500g Icing Sugar

5ml Vanilla Essence


  1. Beat the softened butter in a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer.

  2. Sieve the icing sugar.

  3. Add the vanilla essence to the beaten butter.

  4. Add the sieved icing slowly and continue beating together until smooth and creamy.

Tilly's Top Tip

Sugar syrup can be enhanced with other flavours like lemon, orange or liqueurs.

Sugar Syrup

Sugar syrup is brushed on the sponge to add moisture and flavour.


40g Caster Sugar

40ml Water

5ml Vanilla Essence


  1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.

  2. Add the vanilla essence and leave to cool.

  3. Sugar syrup will keep for one month in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tilly's Top Tip

If the chocolate gets too hot it may burn and cause the chocolate to seize, turning grainy and thick. If you notice before it all changes, you can rescue it. Remove from the heat and add a little hot water, stirring well until glossy. 


It is important to use good quality milk chocolate with at least 53% cocoa solids


200g Chocolate - chopped or callets

100ml Double cream

Ratio is 2:1 Chocolate to Double Cream


300g Chocolate - chopped or callets

100ml Double cream

Ratio is: 3:1 Chocolate to Double Cream


  1. Bring the double cream to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Just as soon as you see a simmer, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate, swirling the bowl to make sure all chocolate is covered.

  2. Place the lid on the chocolate to trap in the heat and let sit undisturbed (no mixing) for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and swirl the chocolate with a whisk starting in the centre and working outward until smooth. 

  3. Once it’s velvety smooth, you can now use it to make three different icings.

    1. Allow to cool slightly for a smooth glossy icing that you can pour over your cake.

    2. Cool a little longer for a thicker icing that you can spread on to your cake or use a piping back to pipe swirls on to cupcakes.  

    3. Leave to cool completely to become firm. Keep in mind, the longer ganache sits, the thicker it becomes.  If the ganache sets too firm, pop it in the microwave for 10 second bursts until it softens again.

  4. Store for up to one week in the fridge.

Tilly's Top Tip

Re-rolling the dough will make it fragile.  Try not to roll and cut more than twice.

Always use butter and eggs at room temperature.

Vanilla Cookies


250g Unsalted Butter (Room Temperature)

250g Caster Sugar

1-2 Medium Eggs (Room Temperature)

5ml Vanilla Essence

500g Plain Flour (plus extra for dusting)


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180oC/350of/Gas Mark 4.

  2. Beat the softened butter and sugar together in a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer until creamy and fluffy.

  3. Add the eggs and vanilla essence until combined.

  4. Sieve the flour, add to the bowl and mix until all the ingredients come together. Do not over mix.

  5. Turn the dough out and wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  6. Roll the cookie dough out on a lightly dusted surface to about 4mm thick. Lightly dust the top of the dough to prevent your rolling pin from sticking.

  7. Cut out your chosen shapes with cutters or a sharp knife.

  8. Place the shaped dough onto a baking tray lined with grease proof paper and return to the fridge for a further 30 minutes.

  9. Bake the cookies for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown.

  10. Store in an airtight container.  The cookies will keep for 1 month.

Tilly's Top Tips

When colouring royal icing use gel pastes rather than liquid colourings, very sparingly as they are very strong, as they won’t change the consistency of the mixture. When working with royal icing keep it covered with a damp tea towel or cling film to prevent a crust forming.

Royal Icing


3fl oz Water

7tsp Meriwhite

500g Icing Sugar (Sieved)


  1. Add the water and the Meriwhite to a stand mixer

  2. Mix to a froth

  3. Add the sieved icing sugar

  4. Mix for 3 minutes until soft peaks

Wedding Cake Chester