A few weeks ago my friend asked if I would bake some cupcakes for her mum’s birthday. She requested lemon cupcakes with a lemon icing drizzle on the top instead of buttercream.
The recipe for these came from the new cookbook from GBBO winner Frances Quinn, the same as where Sophie got her recipe the other week. Sophie very excitedly introduced me to the book, which I of course bought immediately (and recommend!). It used a basic recipe and shows you several different ways to add to it to make it more exciting, the illustration is beautiful as well.
The feedback from the cupcakes was all very positive, they had a really nice strong lemon flavour to them. These were based on Frances’ fried egg cupcakes, simple but delicious.
A couple of weeks ago was the Great British Bake Off final. It also happened to fall upon the day that Chloe and I – and our department – were due to deliver cake for Cake Wednesday. As you might be able to imagine if you know me I was mega excited for the final; although sad that GBBO was coming to the end for another year. I decided that a good way to celebrate the final was to go all out on my contribution to Cake Wednesday.
To celebrate GBBO I used a recipe from a book written by a past winner (Frances Quinn) and made her confetti cupcakes. This entailed drying fruit (I was gifted with rhubarb from my parents garden so dried some of that, as well as lemon zest) and mixing it with flaked almonds and crystallised ginger. Additionally I cut pineapple into thin rounds and dried it in a mini muffin tray to create edible “flowers”. The cupcakes themselves had ground almonds in them, lemon curd and a raspberry hidden underneath sweetened marscapone cream. I was really really pleased with how they looked (having tasted one I do think they should have been taken out of the oven a just a couple of minutes earlier to be spot on but hey ho).
Now, normally we keep our cakes by our desk until we bring them down at break time to be consumed. However this time we pooled them all together in a room not manned by us. Unfortunately this meant that some of our department’s cakes were taken and shared out before the judge could try them – and mine was one of them. I might have instigated a mini
witch hunt with Chloe to find out who had taken our cakes down early. It turned out that the people who took the cake down only did it so that some of the other staff who take a different break to most of us could share the joy of cake Wednesday. Annoyingly it did mean that there was no winner of cake Wednesday that week.
Rant over, look what I made!
It’s long established that I adore baking, luckily I have lots of likeminded friends who feel the same. When one of them came up for a weekend we decided that one of the best ways to unwind after we’d both had busy weeks at work and catch up was to bake a massive cake.
I would very much recommend trying this cake for yourself, we tinkered with the recipe to make it slightly more lemony and slightly less sweet which worked perfectly for us (I would also suggest a good G&T by the side). The frosting is lemon cream cheese, there’s lemon rind in the cake and it has raspberry jam layered in between as well as the frosting. In fact it tasted so good that we might have eaten 7/8ths of the cake in the space of 24 hours between us.
It was our turn again for cake Wednesday at school a couple of weeks ago. So the pressure was on to win the Star Baker award! I thought I would try a new recipe out.
I turned to the wonderful Nigella for this recipe, making the curd was surprisingly easy and very satisfying (and tasty!). Managed to get 2 spare jars of it – so any ideas with how to use it up are welcome!
The cake went down nicely, I personally think it could have done with having more of the curd in the middle, I was originally worried about putting too much in! Oh well, looks like I’ll just have to bake it again!
For my birthday Sophie booked us both into a Parisian Patisserie class at Little Kitchen Cookery School in Bristol. They have a lovely little shop, with a very nice set up of baking stations. We made, as you might have guessed from the title, macaroons with a dark chocolate ganache filling and Tarte au Citron (I just ate mine and it was lovely).
I didn’t think I liked macaroons before, but with the dark chocolate filling I am starting to come around to them. I have kept eating them at least, to help aid my final decision.
We both very much enjoyed learning some new techniques. I had never made macaroons before whereas Sophie had some prior experience – one good turn out, one not so great (so she says, but then she can be very critical of her own baking), this time they turned out rather well I think. Also we learnt how to make a lemon posset, something that both of us were saying was on our ‘to do’ list.
The class definitely inspired us and made us excited for what the future could hold for Chlophie’s cakes. So thank you to the ladies at Little Kitchen!
It was my birthday last week as you know (lots of baking paraphernalia received!!). I decided to go to Australia for the Easter holidays to visit a very good friend, which meant that I would be travelling home on my actual birthday. Of course it’s definitely against all rules to not have a cake on your birthday, so we baked one a few days before.
Anything lemon flavoured is by far my favourite, the recipe for this cake came from Jen’s memory (so thanks for that!). I had to make her write it down for me afterwards, as it was beautifully moist (sorry Soph) and super lemony!
Looking forward to making it again for an big event we have in two weeks! Tune in then to find out what that is!
So Chloe’s birthday came up this Saturday just gone and obviously a cake had to be baked (and a new recipe had to be tried). This time in the year brings up particularly fond baking memories for me as it was (I believe) when we properly discovered just how deep our love of cake and baking went, and how similar we actually are in that respect.
Last year, Chloe wanted a rainbow cake and she wanted to be a part of the baking. So she came round to mine and we spent 11 hours giggling, baking and icing in the kitchen. We had decided to flavour it with earl grey tea and, as per Chloe’s request, it was stacked according to the rainbow song (“red and yellow and pink and green…”) rather than the true rainbow order (sorry Chloe, I still think you’re wrong…). We also decided to make our own stripy multicoloured meringues.
When we finally finished the cake was a little bit crazy. It was ridiculously heavy as it had been made 3 times the size of a normal two layered sponge, it was slightly lopsided and the bottom layers had been squashed from the pure weight of the cake itself. (It’s on the cards to do this cake together again, it is still probably my favourite Chlophie bake.)
However it went down pretty well, it tasted really good, a waitress even came over to have a look inside as she had worked out that it was a rainbow cake and everyone at the table said they had enjoyed it.
Anyway, the point of the story was that this cake, the cake for Chloe’s 25th birthday couldn’t just be a bog standard sponge. It had to be something a little bit different. In the end I settled on a mojito cake and I think it went down pretty well!
Happy birthday Chloe, it’s really lovely to have you back in the country!
So I have a confession. It was my mum’s birthday on Good Friday this year and so I made a gin and tonic cake to celebrate (we love gin in our house!). It was similar to a lemon drizzle cake but with the addition of gin (score!) but… Here’s the rub. I didn’t take a photo.
So instead, for your eyes to view today I give you another cake I made for my mum’s birthday, viola!
This cake was a carrot cake – one of my favourites. This was round about the time I was practicing using the rose nozzle I have (and was mighty pleased about owning). It went down well, but I do have to admit I prefer the gin drizzle cake I made this year! (I’ll have to make it again and make sure I get a photo!)
There aren’t many joint bakes coming up in the next couple of months, however both of us are still (as always) baking, so we’ve decided to post what we’re individually baking too.
Recently at work we had a Christmas bake off, where lots of the staff brought in home baked Christmas goods. Chucking my festive hat on I made Christmassy (is that a word?) gingerbread cupcakes with a lemon buttercream on top. For an extra festive feel I dusted some icing sugar on top as well.