It was my sister's birthday this weekend so I thought it would be fun for Minty and I to make some soap for her. When I told Minty she became really distressed and exclaimed, 'Oh no, oh no! A soap present?!' She could not comprehend why anyone would want to receive soap as a gift! After getting over this initial distress, she had great fun helping me make the soap. As I wanted to make this a child friendly exercise I opted to use melt and pour bases (bought here) to which we added our more specialised ingredients. Basically you just melt some of the base in a glass jug in the microwave, mix in any additions you are using and then pour them into a mould which you have sprayed with vegetable oil. Spritz the top with rubbing alcohol to remove any bubbles and then leave them to set. This takes a couple of hours and then you can pop them out. Our soaps (clockwise from top) were goats milk and honey; camomile; honey and oatmeal; and cinnamon and clove. This really is a fun thing to do with kids - it's very easy and yields quick results.
Here is the birthday cake I made. Three layers of meringue, sandwiched with alternating layers of chocolate ganache and mascarpone cream which had been laced with chocolate liqueur. Though by all accounts this cake was delicious (in a diabetic coma inducing sort of way), it was an epic construction disaster. I won't go into the details, but let's just say a series of minor baking errors compounded and caused the top layer of the cake to slide off onto the bench in a puddle of ganache. I tried to remain calm and salvaged it as best I could, though it did end up looking like a bit of a dogs breakfast. I'm not going to share recipe details now as I'm determined to try this out again when I'm in my new kitchen with a better oven. Hopefully my second attempt will be more visually appealing!
These are the miniature 'dry' versions of the cake I made for the kids. I didn't think it would be particularly responsible parenting to inebriate my children with chocolate liqueur, though perhaps they would have gone to bed a bit more easily! As it was they were bouncing off the walls on a sugar high!