I’m back! Some of you more regular readers may have noticed my 2 month absense (and if you didn’t, just humour me and just pretend you noticed I was gone). Things went a bit…. well…. cray-cray. Upside down. Stuff happened. All at once. I can tell you think I am being a right drama queen. First off, I changed jobs as you know. Hurrah! I am now officially at Lily Vanilli Bakery, spending my days making tasty pastries and delectable morsels of cake, #livingthedream. At the same time I moved house, and cities, into London. I’m crashing with some lovely friends of mine who have allowed me to rock up with my entire kitchen contents (and there is a lot… Working for Le Creuset def had its benefits) for a few months whilst I find my feet. And all of this happened as me and the BF broke up. Hmm. I spent most of December holed up listening to Adele (jokes!). Breaking up during Xmas is just the suckiest time (is there ever a good time?) but I must have been the only person to lose weight over Christmas (I wouldn’t recommend the heartbreak diet to anyone but its very effective. I’m now wearing jeans I haven’t worn since I was 22!). I didn’t really want to do much of anything including blogging and baking. Now though, I feel its time to get my identity back a little and get into the kitchen. There are good days and bad days, but if there is cake around, it makes those bad days a little brighter.
After a few weeks of struggling to keep my mouth shut I can finally reveal to you lovely readers that I have been offered a job as a baker at the wonderful Lily Vanilli bakery! Lily has been a great source of inspiration for me for the past couple of years and to have the opportunity to work with her is going to be shamazing. The bakery is in Shoreditch, on Columbia Road where they hold the famous flower market every Sunday. The bakery is open only on Sundays for homemade sausage rolls, fresh coffee and of course, delicious cakes. For the rest of the week, there are commissions to be baked and wedding cakes to make. Lily’s style is very natural, she uses lots of seasonal fruit and veg, edible flowers and darling decoration. There is currently just Lily and another wonderful baker, Erin, so it will be amazing to work with a small team plus I have so much to learn.
I tend to find a new favourite decorating technique and use it again and again until I get bored. I was really digging using brittle to top my cakes with until someone offered me a flying saucer the other week. Its brightly coloured, edible and your can mould it into any shape you like, WIN. So when I had a commission the other week, I knew I had a chance to experiment with it (so long brittle!). I tried a few different shapes but triangles really worked well on top of this rose and white chocolate cake, I love the angular shapes against the wild flowers, I hope you do too.
Every third Sunday of the month I have my Hollylovescake market stall at Ascot Farmers Market and yesterday was my second appearance. I had been busy in the kitchen all day Saturday, I had baked gluten free mud cake, gluten free pistachio and carrot buns, peanut butter and jam cupcakes, carrot cake, rye and honey hobnobs, white chocolate and coconut cookies and my special of the month, sticky ginger cake. The weather had been windy and rainy all day Saturday, perfect for creating chaos in the kitchen but not so great for a market stall so my fingers were crossed the rain would disappear! The rain did subside over night, however, the wind was still gusty (which broke my gazebo resulting in me throwing a bit of a strop). Thankfully it didn’t stop the shoppers coming out, it was another successful market day chatting to lots of lovely locals and plenty of cake nibbling. I took a look around and there are lots of other great stalls offering great produce, its a perfect way to start your Sunday morning and support your local producers. I will be there on the 20th December for a super special festive market!
There is something I want to write about at the moment but just CAN’T. Because they are super top secret! Not just secret, totally utterly if-I-told-you-I-would-have-to-kill-you kinda secret. I know, it makes a pretty rubbish blog post me writing about something that I can’t tell you but I am unable to think about much else right now so all I can offer you right now is a rather delightful cake recipe and the promise that in the coming weeks hopefully I can divulge further information… Why is it that every time you have something you can’t speak about you just want to shout it from the roof tops?!
This weekend is the return of Hollylovescake to Ascot farmers market! I will be there from 9am-1pm on Sunday 15th selling my best selling gluten free mud cake, honey and rye chocolate hob nobs amongst others. This months seasonal special will be this weeks recipe, sticky ginger cake (I am loving the stall but I def need to fit in a bit better, buy a bum bag for my change, some fingerless gloves, a flat cap, develop a Cockney accent…?)
October is the best month, it always has been! When I was younger it was because it was my birthday month but these days I just love the crisp Autumnal mornings, falling crunchy leaves and enjoying the extra hour in bed after turning the clocks back. October this year has been particularly ace due to my market stall launching (the next one will be 15th November, Ascot farmers market, be there or be square). Due to the madness of planning, setting up and baking for the stall I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to blogging (Seriously, where does the time disappear to?!) so to make up for my slack behaviour, I thought I’d share with you my favourite cake OF ALL TIME! It needs no technique, its pretty much fool proof and perfect for chilly afternoons with a cuppa.
Sunday saw the launch of my market stall at Ascot Farmers Market! I was feeling a whole lot of emotions, excitement, anticipation, nervousness… Would anyone buy my cakes?! I had a mega bake-a-thon all day Saturday, I started at 8am and didn’t finish until 10pm. I was like a stroppy toddler by the time I finished, tiered and covered in icing sugar. I had a couple of mishaps along the way (adding salt instead of sugar…) and ended up in a self-induced sugar coma thanks to the gratuitous amounts of cake mix hanging around. The alarm went off bright and early on Sunday morning and I bounced out of bed to pack up the car. The lovely BF was with me all through the weekend to lend a helping hand, he also designed some amazing flyers and banners for the stall which gave it a really professional look…
Just ONE week to go until Hollylovescake launches at Ascot Farmers Market! Could I BE anymore excited?! I have spent this weekend baking and creating a photo shoot for my business cards and flyers. This involved 36 hours of baking and buttercreaming 3 cakes and 6 cupcakes (plus one huge jam based disaster), three hours rearranging the front room to put the set together and an evening (plus the next morning) spent by the BF on Photoshop optimizing the pictures and getting the flyers ordered. Phew! The 18th October is the grand launch day and the 17th is my birthday so I will be chained to the kitchen (although I am now of an age where I don’t do celebrating, I will eternally be 30) on my special day(to be honest, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my day than being surrounded by cake. Plus no one ever brings me cake on my birthday on the assumption that I will bake my own. I won’t. BRING ME CAKE.) Dedication. I will be baking everything from a seasonal Victoria sponge (this will change monthly depending on what fruit is in season) to gluten free courgette and coconut cupcakes and homemade Hobnobs. Its been great fun finally putting together something which you have dreamed of for so long and so many people have been so supportive. If you are in the area it would be amazing to see you!
I took a trip to meet my BF in NYC a couple of weeks back as he was coming to the end of an epic USA month long adventure. He spent time in LA, lost a week of his life (plus a few brain cells) at Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, hopped on a train to Colorado and finally met me off the plan in New York. The second he asked if I would like to join him my one track mind thought of all the amazing bakeries that have been on my bucket list for ages. New York always seems to do everything bigger, bader and better than everyone else, new flavours, new ideas, an exciting place for cake lovers!
Dominique Ansel was my absolute priority. If you didn’t hear of Cronuts yet, where have you been?! Even Greggs now have a copycat of this live changing doughnut/croissant hybrid. For those of you who don’t know, the Cronut has the shape and circular appearance of a traditional doughnut but with the flaky, buttery layers of a croissant, covered in sugar and filled with delicious fillings. Dominique changes her filling every month and this months flavour was bergamot with Earl Grey . Due to the amazingness of the Cronuts, it has been elevated to legendary status thus ensuring a queue of over-hyped people every morning to make sure they snaffle one (two at the most according to the bakery rules). Not one to miss the hype, I set my alarm for 6.30am (yes I was very popular with the BF that day) and joined the queue of around 20 people just after 7. I know what you are thinking, what kind of crazy woman does that?! Queuing as the sun rises just to eat a posh doughnut? Well my friend, I questioned myself as bemused local New Yorkers stared at the queue as they rushed off to work. But it was TOTALLY worth it. Finally we sat at a table with espressos and lattes to wake up plus two of the fabled Cronuts. Fresh from the oven, they were buttery, crisp and flaky and the creamy Bergamot crème patisserie inside was a dream. This is a big claim but it was the best bake I ever ate.
Bonjour! This week my bake has been inspired by my trip to Paris last week. Me and a couple of girlfriends hopped on a plane to the other side of the ocean for a shimmy round one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. Feeling super savvy, we travelled across the city using the Metro to visit the obvious tourist hot spots whilst sampling some fine French patisseries (although not as many as I would have liked. Croissant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, oui?). I had the opportunity to use my GCSE French to enquire about the cost of baguettes and how to find my way to the train station which made me feel like perhaps I missed my true calling in life to work as a translator. I spent a morning exploring a (rather disappointing) vintage flea market (re: overpriced), a wonderful afternoon lazily strolling round the Pompidou art gallery and an evening eating real French onion soup. Tres bien!