Chocolate, cherry and coconut banana loaf

When I started writing this blog, I made it my intention to only post recipes that I truly loved, the keepers, the ones which are 100% worth making again.  For those who read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’ve not been cooking or baking much lately, and the few things I have managed to squeeze in really haven’t been worth reporting back about. I could tell you about the cake I made today, though, which was so full of sugar all I wanted to do after my average-sized-slice-that-I-couldn’t-even-finish was lie down down in a dark room clenching my stomach and moaning and desperately wishing that sugar-rush induced dizziness would soon be over. Also, this cake is HUGE! I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with the rest of this ginormous cake, which, to eat, almost verges on a mild form of self torture…it’s thoroughly depressing.

The banana cake I made this week, however, was far from depressing. IMG_0952

I’ve tried countless banana cakes, the last few of which have been nothing more than mediocre, causing me to forget how much I really do love banana cake. Continue reading

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Marzipan and clementine cake…a Christmas cake for those who only like the marzipan bit…and it’s wheat-free

Life continues as crazy as ever.

Clementine and marzipan cake

Perhaps it’s a test, to build my adaptability and capacity to handle uncertainty.

Currently, I have absolutely no idea where I’m headed next. I’m still stuck in limbo land. I want to follow that part of me that lights up at the thought of a food related career. But I just can’t quite figure out how to make that a reality.

Clementine and marzipan cakeWhich food-related route do I attempt to go down? Chef school? A commis chef job? Take a journalism course that may, or may not, lead me towards a career in food writing? Continue reading

Mini chocolate-courgette cakes

Nine times out of ten – no, maybe make that nine point five times out of ten – whenever I bake something, out pops the perfectionist in me trying to fish out the flaws in whatever I’ve made. Was it, perhaps, a touch too dry, too sweet, a bit dense, not flavoursome enough or the spice too overpowering? What does it need to step it up from really good, to amazing?

But when I took my first bite of one of these little chocolate and courgette cakes, the perfectionist was well and truly silenced. All I could think was amazing… perfect, even. Continue reading

Lemon madeleines

Trying to decide what cake to bake for someone’s birthday is almost an impossible task with me. What are they going to enjoy the most? What type of cake feels special enough to be a worthy birthday cake candidate?

When I asked my Mum what she might like for her birthday cake last week, she pondered it for a while, decided she quite fancied something citrusy, and then eventually pulled the idea of madeleines out of the air. And as soon as she got to thinking of madeleines, she began reminiscing about the ones she used to eat for ‘le goûter’ as a child growing up in Belgium. The little, ridged cakes she loved so much, despite their relative plainness. And that was that, a craving was awoken and it just had to be madeleines, regardless of their lack of birthday cake characteristics. We weren’t going to be getting anywhere near a three tier celebration cake covered in butter cream this time around.

Now, the problem with madeleines, which is probably the same problem preventing many people from ever making madeleines, is the need for a madeleine tin. Do I really want to invest in a tin that just makes madeleines? Am I ever going to make madeleines that much to warrant the purchase? Continue reading

‘something chocolatey….’

‘Bake something chocolatey.’

Those were the parting words from my boss when I left the office on Friday.

There are few requests I am more happy to oblige than to ‘bake something chocolatey’.

It was also very handy to have my focus narrowed. I am notoriously bad at making decisions, especially when it comes to baking – there is so much choice!  Without such direction, my entire Friday evening would likely have been taken up with hours of searching through cookbooks trying to decide what to bake on Saturday. Continue reading

Marmalade cake with sultanas and pecans

I’ve had a series of failed recipes this week, including a cocoa and almond granola which was totally bland and unimpressive, and a nasty rice pudding (and I have a huuuuge thing for rice pudding, so I found this failure highly distressing!) So when my marmalade cake didn’t fail – didn’t even come close to failing – I was over the moon happy to have finally broken free from the failed recipe rut.

As much as I don’t want to knock this cake in any way, if I’m going to be completely honest the marmalade I used, which was a home-made grapefruit one, was a touch too bitter for me. The cake itself was just perfect though, gently sweet, with a very light, loose crumb which was wonderfully soft and tender to eat. The orange soaked sultanas and pecans added interest with their juicy/nutty bursts. But you could always leave them out if you prefer a simpler cake, the sponge is definitely good enough not to need any extra adorning. Continue reading

Lemon and blueberry buttermilk drizzle cake

Just before leaving Cardiff to go home for the summer my boyfriend and I went for tea at Waterloo Gardens Teahouse.  I LOVE tea, especially with cake, but I’m never very adventurous with trying different types of tea. So we went with the intention of ordering anything but English Breakfast. We opted for the Darjeeling, and it was wonderful. I am definitely a fan, and I definitely need to buy some, although perhaps not until my bank balance has recovered from the hit it received this week…graduation gown, £40 of petrol, clothes shop (definitely bought three dresses in one day…I don’t even wear dresses!) hair cut, facial (still trying to decide if facials are at all worth it) and a new hair dryer (old one was starting to smell like fire when I turned it on)…It’s a good job I’m going to be stuck in a kitchen 9-5 Monday to Friday for the next four weeks and unable to blow large sums of money in short spaces of time. Although ‘stuck’ is absolutely the wrong word. Much much much too negative. From tomorrow I’m going to be taking the four-week cookery diploma at Ashburton Cookery School. Excited much? Hell yes! I can practically hear my fluttery stomach butterflies squealing in excitement. Continue reading