London is the most over whelming but exciting place to be. Home is currently Muswell Hill which is north London, filled with yummy mummies and huge Victorian houses. For work I am in Shoreditch which has an extensive array of coffee shops and people who are too cool for school (eg Me). I love how each area has its own personality and style. If I want vintage, I go to Brick Lane, if I want inspiring food, Borough Market. There is always something going on. Back home I would wake up on a Sunday morning and the only thing to do was to walk to the corner shop to get the paper. In London I can do brunch, go to the museum, see some art, learn swing dancing (tried and failed miserably. I have no rhythm. Trod on everyone’s toe’s and no-one wanted to be my partner). Basically, whatever I want to do, I can. There are free things and expensive things. My favourite things are, surprisingly, those which are free. I have started running again after a while out of the game due to injury. Yes, I know you can do this anywhere but running to the top of Alexandra Palace and looking out across the whole of the London skyline at night is pretty lush. Birmingham at night doesn’t have quite the same appeal. As I look out the window now, it is 5pm and the sun is still shining and it is light. Spring is around the corner! Meaning soon evenings will be filled with pub gardens (drink soda water and sneak in your own vodka) and walks in Hyde park. Once you get off the crowded high streets and tourist traps, London is a bloomin lovely place to be where one can never be bored.
My bake this week has been inspired by my job at Lily Vanilli bakery. We use black sesame seeds in the amazing blood orange and black sesame friands and the other day they were used to completely cover a cake which I loved. So I borrowed the idea to decorate my vanilla cake! My current housemates Jona and Eilis went to India a couple of months back and brought me a bumper pack of vanilla pods back from Kerala (I can’t believe it is almost an entire year since I went to India, I would love to go back one day). This is a very dense and creamy cake where the vanilla is star of the show. I know pods are expensive so if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, vanilla bean paste will also do the job. The yogurt icing was a complete accident, I forgot to pick up cream at the supermarket and in my panic thought I would try yogurt instead! And it tastes amazing. A bit like cream cheese icing but with much more flavour, I think it may be my new favourite.
Vanilla cake with yogurt buttercream and black sesame
- 375g butter, softened
- 375g caster sugar
- 7 eggs
- 3 vanilla pods/1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
- 125g plain flour
- 375g self raising flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
- 150g full fat Greek yogurt
- 7 tablespoons of full fat milk
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 300g icing sugar
- 4 tablespoons full fat Greek yogurt
- Pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla pod/1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 150g black sesame seeds
- Start by greasing and lining 2x 20cm cake tins. Put your oven on to 170 degrees.
- Beat your butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, around 4-5 minutes in a mixer.
- Add your vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating after each addition until smooth.
- Sift together in a seperate bowl, your flours and bicarb. Add this to your mix along with the yogurt and milk. Fold in until fully incorperated.
- Split between the two tins evenly and pop into the oven for around 30-35 minutes until just cooked. A skewer should come out clean and the top should be golden brown.
- As your cakes are cooling in their tins, make your icing. Beat the butter alone for 4 minutes until pale. Add the yogurt and vanilla and beat again. Gradually add your icing sugar until desired sweetness is achieved, you may need a little less or more than stated on the list.
- Once your cakes are cool, level them off with a serrated knife to make them flat. Cover with buttercream and stack. Once covered, use the black sesame and gentle press it all over the cake until covered.