home made cakes for special days and elevenses

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Strawberry and White Chocolate Cake - Simple and in Season

What glorious weather we have been enjoying over the last week or so.It seems that summer has arrived, and with it comes the start of the British strawberry season. The strawberries in the supermarkets are now starting to actually taste of strawberries (as opposed to nothing very much), and we have had some really good ones this week during picnics in the park and dinners in the garden.

I thought I would join in with Ren Behan's Simple and in Season blogging event this month by baking something with strawberries. When my brother-in-law called and asked me to make a birthday cake for his wife, it seemed the perfect opportunity to make a strawberry and white chocolate cake, from the Great British Bake Off book. This seemed particularly suitable as this month's event is being hosted by Urvashi Roe from the Botanical Baker, who was a contestant on the series.

This cake has a lovely flavour, with orange zest toning down the sweetness of the white chocolate in the sponge. The strawberries in the middle are also soaked in orange juice with some sugar and more zest, giving them a little extra something. The only change I made to the recipe was to coat the sides of the cake in a thin layer of cream as well, and cover this with toasted coconut shavings. This is a lovely, moist cake with some delicious flavours and I hope to make it again while the strawberries are still good.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Bunting Birthday Cake

We love a bit of bunting around here. My daughter Evie asks for it at the slightest whiff of a get together. We had bunting in abundance for our recent tea party, including Mum's Cornish flag bunting which left the West Londoners a little perplexed. Thus I was very pleased when Evie's friend Eden asked for bunting on her birthday cake a couple of weeks ago. Her original request had been for a Strictly Come Dancing cake complete with Harry and Aliona strutting their stuff. I managed to persuade her to set her sights a little lower and we sat down together to design an alternative. This is what we came up with.

I am making a Jubilee version of this in a couple of weeks, which I am very excited about. Maybe I should get out more! Happy birthday lovely Eden x

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Waybuloo Cupcakes

Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Waybuloo, a CBeebies programme for young children. It follows four characters, known as Piplings, around the land of Nara. Here they practice Yogo, a form of exercise similar to yoga. Toddlers around the country imitate their moves in their living rooms, although as far as I am aware none of them have yet managed to achieve 'Buloo', which would see them floating into the air.

I made these cupcakes for a little Waybuloo fan who turned one last weekend. Happy birthday Sofia!


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A Number One Cake

It will be no surprise to hear that I spent most of my Bank Holiday weekend baking. One of the birthday cakes I made was for a little boy turning one. His mum asked for a cake in the shape of a number one, decorated with cars. I decided to make two rectangular cakes and carve the number myself instead of sourcing a number one shaped tin. This meant I could make it the size I needed. It did also mean investing an awful lot of time in shaving bits off here and sticking bits on there in order to get it completely flat, with no visible joins. I got there in the end and was pleased with the result (if not the photograph).

I also did quite a bit of baking for a tea party that my daughter had organised in my honour. She invited lots of my friends (and plenty of hers too), made a lovely poster for the front door and then just hoped that someone would make all the food. Luckily I was aware of the plans as she is not particularly good at keeping secrets, and my mum was here to help too. Mum brought more vintage china with her, and her special Cornish flag bunting, which is apparently what every good tea party needs.

I baked some of Edd Kimber's beautifully green pistachio and raspberry financiers, but unfortunately did not take any pictures. These were moist with a lovely flavour, and I am now waiting to be given an excuse to make them again. I need to take pictures for the blog, and maybe that is reason enough to make more.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Forever Nigella #14 - The Round Up

When I wrote my announcement post for April's Forever Nigella we were bathed in glorious sunshine and all set to welcome spring with picnics and afternoon tea in the garden. I baked some lovely mini Victoria sponges filled with Nigella's passion fruit curd in anticipation of a beautiful warm Easter. The weather has taken a dramatic turn for the worse since then and I have barely set foot in the garden, never mind sitting down in it to eat cake.

Nonetheless, lots of you did produce some wonderful spring and Easter themed goodies for Forever Nigella, and here they all are:

First to arrive were these delicious chocolate Mini Egg brownies from Nelly's Cupcakes. These look perfectly gooey in the middle with the all important crispy brownie top.

The next entry came from Sarah of Maison Cupcake, home to Forever Nigella. Sarah also had some spare Mini Eggs and turned to her copy of Feast for Nigella's chocolate Easter cake. What a beautiful photograph of a very scrummy looking cake.

Jolene from Yummy Inspirations sent us her version of Nigella's 'Sunshine Soup' to welcome in spring. There may not be much sunshine around at the moment, but the lovely colour of this soup should brighten things up a little.

 Returning to Easter chocolate, Ren from Fabulicious Food also used her leftover Mini Eggs in some 'Everyday Brownies', making them even more special and chocolately than Nigella's. This is another lovely photo, and some very pretty crockery too!

Kate from What Kate Baked whipped up some lovely flower shaped custard creams to celebrate spring. These look so much more inviting than the shop bought variety. I am certainly going to add these to my list of 'things to bake'.

Ren went to town this month and really proved her Forever Nigella mettle by taking a copy of Nigella Kitchen on holiday to Wales with her, and sending over a second entry. She bought a shoulder of local Welsh lamb and produced a lovely spring meal for her family.  

Yummy Chunklet loves to eat fresh fruit and salads in the spring and celebrated its arrival with these delicious marsala honey pears with blue cheese.


Also welcoming spring with some fruit flavours was Fleur from Homemade by Fleur, who cooked up this amazing red prawn and mango curry. In her post she gives a very thorough review of the recipe by breaking it down into set criteria and marking each one out of ten.

With her first Forever Nigella entry, Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes sent us some dainty lavender madeleines, which she had adapted from Nigella's rosebud madeleine recipe. These look lovely Jen.

Hannah from Parkinson's Pantry turned to her copy of Nigella Express for her first Forever Nigella entry, and cooked up Pollo Cacciatora, a dish that makes her think of warmer weather and outdoor dining albeit with a fleece on.

Our final entry for April comes from Nazima from Working London Mummy, with her very tempting ricotta hotcakes with poached rhubarb. These look absoloutely gorgeous and I fully intend to make them myself.

Thank you very much to everyone who sent me their lovely spring and Easter themed goodies. What a scrumptious array it was. Thanks also to Sarah at Maison Cupcake for allowing me to host. It has been fun! Next month's Forever Nigella will be hosted by the lovely Nelly of Nelly's Cupcakes, who has invited everyone to send her their Jubilee themed creations.