home made cakes for special days and elevenses

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

West Six Garden Centre Cafe

I have baked a lot of gingerbread cookies over the last few weeks, and many of them have gone to the gorgeous new cafe at West Six Garden Centre in Hammersmith. This is the second of two lovely venues that I now supply cakes and biscuits to. The garden centre is situated on the edge of Ravenscourt Park, just off King Street, and the cafe is located in one of the railway arches, just at the back of the garden centre. It is a beautiful space, with bare brick walls, lots of greenery and a large wooden bar area in the centre. The furniture and little bits of garden ornamentation give the cafe an appropriate outdoors feel. 

The menu at West Six is locally sourced, with meat coming from Chiswick butchers, Macken Brothers, bread, pastries and cakes from Sally Clarke's Bakery in Kensington, and other cakes and biscuits from little old me in Hanwell. The menu looks delicious, and I can vouch for the pastries and coffee. There is a warm winter vegetable salad that I have my eye on for another time.

The garden centre often holds events, such as window box and wreath making. It also plays host to children's outdoor theatre shows, with performances of The Snow Queen scheduled for this weekend. More details are available on the West Six web site and Facebook page.

The cafe has only been open for a few weeks, but seems to be thriving. Do pop along if you are local, it's just lovely!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Drink Me Eat Me

Over the last few weeks I have started supplying cakes to a couple of lovely cafes in Hammersmith. The first of these is a gorgeous place called Drink Me Eat Me, where your coffee comes served in beautiful vintage style crockery, and they do a delicious hot chocolate! 

Drink Me Eat Me has a large room next to the cafe area where classes are held for adults and children, and there is often a pop up shop to be found, The space is also available to hire for children's parties, baby showers, hen parties etc., and the cafe hosts its own events there on a regular basis as well. More details are available on their website
Drink Me Eat Me is a lovely spot for lunch, or a slice of cake, including my Curly Wurly layer cake!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Gingerbread Christmas Cookies

This gingerbread recipe couldn't be simpler, and is perfect for making festive cookies to decorate the tree or to give as gifts to friends. It's also great for all those school Christmas fairs that are coming up.

Last week I recieved a gorgeous gift of candy cane rocky road from the fabulous Katie of Feeding Boys and a Firefighter, as part of the Waitrose #bakeitforward campaign. To continue sharing the baking love, I made these cookies for my lovely friend Jane and her boys. Jane lives over the road from me and hers is always the first door that I knock on when I have run out of eggs, washing up liquid or any number of emergency supplies. She is also a very talented lady, and has a fantastic sewing blog that is well worth a look. You will find her at Handmade Jane

Gingerbread Cookies

Makes: 10 large cookies

125g butter
50g light brown sugar
50g dark brown muscovado sugar
2 tbs golden syrup
1 tbsp treacle
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g plain flour
Royal icing to decorate

1. Sieve the ginger, bicarbonate of soda and flour into a large bowl.
2. Melt the butter, sugars, syrup and treacle in a saucepan, then stir into the dry ingredients.
3. When the mixture has come together, roll out between two sheets of baking parchment, to about 5mm thick.  Place on a baking tray and leave in the fridge to chill for approximately 20 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Use a large cookie cutter to cut your chosen shapes. Place the cookies on a lined baking tray and bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to darken.
5. When the cookies are cool, decorate with royal icing. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Minions Birthday Cakes

I have a new birthday cake to show you, featuring one of the Despicable Me Minions. The Minion is made from lemon cake, filled with lemon curd and buttercream. He sits on top of a chocolate cake, filled with chocolate buttercream. I also made some cookies and cake pops to match, all for Edessa's second birthday party. Happy birthday Edessa, hope you had a fun filled day!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Lime, Almond and Polenta Cake

This gluten free lime, almond and polenta cake is full of flavour, with a lovely citrus tang. It is moist but has the kind of crumbly texture that you only find in polenta cakes. It is also very easy to make.

Lime, Almond and Polenta Cake

Serves: approx. 10 slices 


For the cake:
200g ground almonds
125g fine polenta
1½ tsp baking powder
225g softened butter
225g golden caster sugar
zest of 2 limes
3 eggs, beaten

For the drizzle:
150g icing sugar
juice of 3 limes

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Grease a 23cm diameter loose bottomed tin, and line the base with baking parchment.
2. Place the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder into a bowl and stir. Set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the lime zest.
4. Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the eggs, and beat to combine. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
5. Spoon the mixture into the tin, and level with the back of the spoon. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes.
6. Gently heat the icing sugar and lime juice in a saucepan, until the sugar is dissolved.
7. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, prick the top all over with a thin metal skewer or cake tester, and drizzle the sugar and lime syrup evenly over the top. Leave to cool in the tin. When cool, remove carefully as the cake has a crumbly texture.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Mini coffee, almond and blackcurrant cakes

I have a fabulous new cake tin from Lakeland, and a new favourite cake to go with it. To make these mini coffee, almond and blackcurrant cakes I adapted the quantities of a recipe I developed for the Good Food Channel web site last year. I haven't managed to find the perfect quantity to make the 12 mini cakes that this tin will hold, but this recipe makes 9-10 deliciously moist and flavoursome little treats.

Coffee, Almond and Blackcurrant Mini Cakes
Makes: 9

For the cakes:
1 tsp instant coffee granules (for a subtle coffee flavour)
2 tsp boiling water
110g unsalted butter, softened
110g golden caster sugar
100g self raising flour
20g ground almonds
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp milk

For the buttercream:
½ tsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp boiling water
100g icing sugar
30g butter, softened
1 tsp milk

To fill:
Blackcurrant jam

1. For the cakes: Preheat oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4. Grease ten of the mini sandwich tins.

2. Dissolve the coffee granules in the boiling water and leave to cool a little.

3. Cream together the softened butter and sugar, until pale and fluffy.  Add the sifted flour and almonds, and the beaten eggs, to the butter and sugar. Beat to combine.

4. Add the milk and dissolved coffee granules, being careful not to over beat the mixture.

5. Divide the mixture between 9 of the tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the cakes begin to come away from the sides of the tins. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin.

6. For the buttercream: Dissolve the coffee granules in the boiling water and set aside. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl.

7. Rub the softened butter into the icing sugar using the back of a wooden spoon, and add the coffee and milk. Whisk with an electric mixer for a few minutes, until light and fluffy.

8. To decorate: Once the cakes have cooled, split each one in half with a knife.  Spread a layer of blackcurrant jam onto the underside of one, and buttercream onto the other. Sandwich together and dust the tops with icing sugar.

The cakes can be a little fiddly to remove from the tins, but I find that the best way is to place a cooling rack on top and turn the whole tin over. As the tins are loose bottomed, a gentle push from underneath should pop the cakes out onto the rack. Any stubborn ones should come out with the help of a sharp knife around the side of the tin. I greased my tin with butter, but I see from the online reviews that some people prefer to use cake release.

The tin is available on the Lakeland website*. It's not especially cheap but it is a good quality product and pretty versatile. I'm thinking of trying individual cheesecakes or even tiny Christmas cakes in mine soon. I love that there are a couple of spare bases provided with the tin as well, as I am bound to lose one before too long!

* this is not a sponsored post, my tin was a birthday present from a thoughtful brother! 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A kids' birthday cake catch up

Thought I would share some children's birthday cakes that I made over the last few weeks, featuring the Ninja Turtles, a cinema theme, Peep and the Big Wide World, and superheroes. These are all first attempts at these particular designs, so still a bit of room for improvement.