Tonka beans will blow your mind. As a long time fan of vanilla (So much so, if I was on Saturday Kitchen it would be my heaven ingredient), I would go as far to say tonka bean is like vanilla but better. Yes, better than vanilla! It has a similar natural sweetness but it also has more depth of flavour, almost a tobacco/smokeyness to it. A very interesting taste that marries perfectly to baking. I would say its an easy substitute for vanilla in most recipes. Tonka beans are really easy to get hold of online and not that expensive, they have a long shelf life and come looking like big black seeds which need finely grating before adding to your bake. In this recipe I have married them with coconut which taste really exotic and different, really unique.
Out with the old and in with new, welcome 2017! There is a wonderful newness in the air, the festive decorations are back in the loft and the Christmas tree casually tossed in the alley way down the side of the house (however, the left over Xmas treats continue to sit, never-ending, in the cupboard. Twiglets? Pretzels? Cheesy Footballs anyone?). So many new years resolutions made that will most likely be broken within the month (or in my case, within the day. I always promise this is the year I will cut down on sugar. Or I will stop picking on bits left in the fridge after work. Totally unrealistic expectations). I get a bit fed up with all the festive baking, it is all pretty repetitive so I bypassed Xmas this year on Hollylovescake and decided to hold out until the new year with some fresh baking to start getting a bit excited about Spring being around the corner (OK, maybe a little early seen as it is only January but gotta have something to look forward to).
I created this three-tier naked cake for Nick and Sophie’s wedding in October. Sophie is celiac so she wanted the whole cake gluten-free so she could enjoy each flavour! The bottom is carrot cake with plum liquor soaked currants, the middle is courgette and coconut filled with homemade raspberry jam with the final top-tier a rich chocolate and almond torte. It was all sandwiched together with Mexican vanilla buttercream and decorated with fresh flowers that matched Sophie’s bouquet and table decor. Please contact me for any enquiries or to book your own celebration cake with Hollylovescake!
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.
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…
It’s August. Apparently. But the weather is screaming Autumn already as I noticed from my window the apple trees heavy with fruit and the conker tree ready to drop spiky conkers all over the roof of my car. It has also been raining. A lot. I have had soggy feet all week and have used the weather as an excuse to curl up on the sofa and do very little at all except dream of cakes for my new venture… This week I had amazing news for Hollylovescake, I have been accepted by Thames Valley Farmers Market and I will be having my very own stall from October! Once a month on the third Sunday. I’ll be having a mix of gluten free, vegan and normal cakes so there’s something for everyone. Please pop down if you are in the area, mention this blog post and get 50% off a cake slice.
This weekend I had the honour of doing the cake of a friend of mine to her long term beau, Amber Waterfield and Nathan McAllister. They had an alternative wedding day that really suited them, the ceremony took place on a bandstand on Brighton beach with the food and drinks at a local restaurant, Silo, which prides itself on using local ingredients and creating no waste (I even had to take my cake boxes home!). The weather was amazing, not a cloud in the sky! You can see from the photos how achingly cool they looked with Nathan rocking a pink blazer and boat shoes, Amber in her charity shop dress (a girl after my own heart!)…
Hurrah this week saw the return of the eagerly anticipated Great British Bake Off! Every Wednesday for the next 10 weeks will be about having an early dinner and bath, snuggling up in your dressing gown with a cuppa and watching Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry casting their critical eyes over more baking disasters. For those of you out there who haven’t heard of this glorious programme, it involves two highly regarded bakers making sexual innuendo about soggy bottoms and huge buns as they test the baking skills of 12 amateur bakers. What’s not to like?! A few people have said I should apply but although I would smash week one (week one= cake week. Obvs.), I would epically fail at biscuit/ pastry/ probably bread week for I have no patience. Waiting for a loaf to prove? Pfffft. Messing with delicate ginger snaps? I’m far too heavy handed! Nah, I’d be out on my ear after week two. And anyway, I don’t need anyone else to tell me how good my cakes are 😉
Once again its been another super-crazy-ridiculous couple of weeks, I’ve struggled to find time to bake! For those out there who love to create, when you don’t get to do it as often as you like, you kinda get a bit fidgety and frustrated. I always have so many ideas in my head for cakes that the longer I go without baking, the longer the list of ‘must bakes’ gets. I had the BF’s 30th birthday the other weekend on a barge in Battersea (too cool for school) so of course, I had to whip up the cake of my career (results to be posted soon!). Then this weekend I got to join some old friends on their hag doo (stag+hen= Hag. Obvs.) in Berlin. This involved much partying and very little sightseeing so a return trip is a must do, if only to indulge in more apple strudel. This weekend I have kept it empty and pretty much fun free to indulge in sewing patterns and baking (in order to recuperate some precious brain cells, two weeks of partying in a row for this old gal is not big or clever).
Hey y’all! I’m baaaack! I’ve had a bit of a mental couple of weeks so unfortunately, the baking has had to take a back seat. Sad face. For my fourth year, I headed off for the wild green fields of Glastonbury. I spent almost a week washing using baby wipes, going to sleep with the bass vibrating the floor from a giant fire breathing mechanical spider from the field next door and waking up every morning to the sound of someone doing a sound check. It is such a magical place but also incredibly hard work, you need another week off when you get back just to recover! I watched Pharell, Lionel, Years and Years (AMAZING) and Paul Weller to name just a few. There is something there for everybody and would recommend it to almost anyone. I recently decided to move down south as well which coincided gloriously with Glasto as the day I returned from Somerset, I had to start packing my life into boxes! Eugh. So last weekend I trundled my stuff all the way to the bottom of the M40 to start again as a Southerner. The most exciting part of all is that my new pad has a brand spanking new double oven *swoon*.