Checkerboard 30th Birthday Cake

My niece Phoebe hit 30 this weekend. 30 ! When on earth did that happen?  To celebrate she had a big party with 80 people coming so it definitely called for a big celebration cake. When I was planning this I realised I don’t do cakes that often, and certainly not big celebration cakes.  The…

Italian Meringue Butter Cream – The Story of a Rescue Mission

This weekend was my niece’s 30th Birthday party and I made her cake which will feature on the blog soon. Always wanting to do something new I decided to try my hand at Italian Meringue Buttercream. It seemed to have a number of advantages over the standard (and for me overly sweet) standard buttercream the…

Layered Mousse Cake 2 Ways – with lots of trouble

There are times in baking when trying something new, that you are stretched that little bit too much. For New Year’s Eve I decided to make another of Maren Lubbe’s (of Malus Köstlichkeiten) fabulous wonders, a Whisky and Chocolate mousse cake encased in stripy joconde sponge topped off with chocolate mirror glaze.   The stripy…

Bûche de Noël – a Chocolate and Marzipan Christmas Repast

Every Christmas I hunt for an alternative to the traditional British Christmas pudding which as I get older I find I like less and less after the big Christmas day meal.  Usually it is something involving meringue, but this year under the influence of Maren Lubbe’s blog MaLu’s Koestlichkeiten and the awfully produced Netflix  Bake Off…

Confiture de Noel (Quince Mincemeat)

This year our 3 year old quince tree delivered a respectable 12 quinces which is a vast improvement on the 2 that I had last year.  Their ripening however coincided with the great archaeological dig starting on our house so they were picked and flung into the fridge in our temporary digs.  They keep very…

Of Damp Houses, Bellies and the Bake Off

It has been way too long since I wrote and baked.  The summer is never a big baking season because the garden takes up more of our time.  This year though, the baking gods lost their prominence to other ones playing with my fate. Late summer heralded a sudden and alarming spread of damp across…

Gooseberry Soufflé – a Risen Tangy Delight

The annual minuscule crop of Gooseberries was harvested a month ago and it is never enough to make jam with.   I have 2 gooseberry bushes and this year one of them decided not to fruit at all (or the birds had them all) so I was left with about 700g of red gooseberries ripening at…

Levantine Carrot Cake

Gardening and baking are quixotic hobbies.  Both involve set ingredients with multiple variables that mean things can go horribly wrong.  The gardener’s refrain is “You should have seen it last week”, usually to a visitor who has just missed the best show the roses have ever given before they go over.  The baker’s refrain is…

It Has Been Too Long

I find it hard to believe it was Easter when I last posted. Yet again other elements of my life conspired to get in between me, baking and the blog.  We have, until the last week,  had a glorious spring and summer  in the UK which had the beloved and me in the garden much…

Of Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies

Easter is upon us again  and under normal circumstances I would be baking up a storm.  Unfortunately 3 weeks ago my doctor gave me a very firm talking to about my weight and a diet has to be started.  Result? The baking of beautiful Easter treats has had to be severely curtailed.  I can’t say…