Tag Archives: decorative cakes

Swallows and Amazons Christmas cakes

Traditionally, this is the time of year when families stir the Christmas pudding. We have been busy making literary cakes:

Miranda Gore Brown brought her version of Mrs Dixon’s tradtitional fruit cake to The Arthur Ransome Society pirate feast at Cobnor Point this year, along with her book Bake Me A Cake As Fast As You Can, which has ideas on how to ice festive cakes. She has more ideas for Christmas baking here

Cake depicting the book cover of Swallows Amazons and Coots

A cake was baked to celebrate the launch of Julian Lovelock’s book ‘Swallows, Amazons and Coots‘ with a forward by Sophie Neville.

This cake celebrates Arthur Ransome’s book ‘Great Northern?’ set on the Isle of Lewis where filming took place for the DVD ‘Encountering the Ransomes’ that has recently been released by The Arthur Ransome Society

Great Northern cake

We would love to see your ideas for literary recipes or decorations. Here are a few more photos to inspire you:

Winter Holiday cake - the tarn

~Winner of The Susan Prize 2017~

It was my privilege to award The Susan Prize 2017 to the girls who baked this cake. It proved they must have loved Arthur Ransome’s book Winter Holiday. The Swallows, Amazons and Ds are obviously contemplating whether or not to skate on the tarn that I understand was made by melting sweets and ‘took absolutely ages.’ You can see two of the characters approaching the ice.

Winter holiday cake - Dorothea skating

Dorothea, the aspiring novelist, is skating around this cake, which tasted so delicious it almost transported me into Mrs Dixon’s kitchen on the banks of Coniston Water.

Winter holiday cake - the igloo

~Winner of the Crumbly Creations 2017~

A number of crumbly creations, using biscuits and chocolate, gave us a good idea of what the igloo in Winter Holiday must have looked like, while this birthday cake, inspired by the Puffin cover of Swallows and Amazons was much appreciated by members of The Arthur Ransome Group.

Swallows and Amazons birthday cake from Rebecca AskerDetail of a Swallows and Amazons cake based on the Puffin cover

Swallowy dodgers with slices of cake obviously claimed by Amazon pirates were on offer at Lakeland Arts to accompany their Swallows and Amazons exhibition earlier in the year:


and, “There was an enormous gooseberry tart.” We’ve had a recipe published in Signals:

Gooseberry tart Outlaw 54

You can see other examples of Swallows and Amazons cakes as well as ideas for parties and presents here.

We would love to see your photographs of any cakes inspired by Arthur Ransome’s books. It would be great to be able to add them to this post. Please send Jpeg photos to sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

Adam Quinan has written from North America sending this picture:

WH Cake

‘I made this for an Arthur Ransome Birthday party event in Toronto back in January 2004. We went skating on an outdoor rink and ate Igloo hotpot and then came inside and listened to some storytellers retelling some of Old Peter’s Russian Tales with the Winter Holiday cake and tea.’

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Swallows and Amazons parties and presents

Holding a party with a Swallows and Amazons theme is a great idea, especially if you can be under canvas. A campfire and either swimming or archery with geo-cashing or a treasure hunt would keep your guests occupied. Everyone can dress up as explorers or pirates. If it’s wet you can always show a DVD of the film, the BBC serial of ‘Coot Club’ or organise a cinema outing to see Swallows and Amazons (2016).

There have been some wonderful cake designs. This impressive creation was put together by Evie and Sam Rose:

Over the years the most amazing ‘Swallows and Amazons’ creations have risen to fame. I have put up a few more ideas on Pinterest here

The cookery book writer and GBBO finalist Miranda Gore Browne transformed her garden into Wild Cat Island, served iced buns and a cake worthy of a pirate feast, sending everyone home with old-fashioned sweets in a tin mug.  You can see some of her wonderful party ideas here

Miranda Gore Browne mugs

You could hang ‘Swallows and Amazons’ flags or bunting. The Gingerbread  House show you how to make these:

Pippa Middelton and her family, who are related to Arthur Ransome, have a company called Party Pieces who have loads of ideas for Pirate Parties on their blog here. They cater for the younger age group but do sell chocolate pieces of eight and a retractable telescope very like Titty’s on their website for only £2.99. I liked the idea of an inflatable parrot, although properly it should be a green one.

I found these 38mm badges and fridge magnets for sale on eBay. They’ve used my own drawing of the crossed flags, without permission, but never mind. They might be something fun to award as prizes for games such as ‘Walk the Plank’ or catching crabs, which you could do literally if you live by the sea. You might find a few ideas for party games here.

I’ve been collecting further ideas for Swallows and Amazons presents. The Nancy Blackett Trust shop has some great ideas including these small porcelain mugs:

swallows-and-amazons-mugs

and dishes

swallows-and-amazons-china

along with T-shirts and hats for Amazon pirates of all ages:

nancy-blackett-hat-and-t-shirt

StudioCanal have broadened their collection of movie memorabilia on offer to include cushions. They also sell mugs, mouse mats, prints and 400-piece jigsaw puzzels. I like these 300 piece jigsaws.

A scene with the Swallows from Swallows and Amazons

-A scene with the Swallows from ‘Swallows and Amazons’ (1974) –

I found this lovely design for Swallows and Amazons wash-bags made by Rachel:

She has a Swallows and Amazons bag on ebay right now

Swallows and Amazons bag made by Rachel

I’ve listed more gift ideas here

A year’s subscription of Classic Sailor magazine makes a gift for adults as it keeps coming all year.

Why not give a year’s membership to The Arthur Ransome Society? For information please click here.

Or chose a book. They always make good presents.

sophie-neville-signing-books-at-aldeburgh-bookshop-2016

~Sophie Neville at Aldeburgh Bookshop~

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