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Celebration cake

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SUMMER WEDDING CAKE

Summer wedding cake

This is the cake I did for my friend Donna Aplin who’s mum was getting married today! Although this morning was pretty murky, thankfully the sun came out for them this afternoon. There wasn’t much of a brief to work to except that she wanted lemon and orange featured in the colours and this is what I came up with. A Summery treat with the top layer being coconut caramel and the bottom layer is strawberry and white chocolate.

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Baking Cake Celebration cake Chocolate

Chocolate brownie cake with salted caramel

Salted caramel brownie cake

Nobody wants to read a depressing blog but everyone has rubbish weeks. And I have had one of them. I’ll spare you the gory deets but it has been pretty grim. I’ve been rolling around in my own self pity and snaffling comfort food. I know I have it bad because when I was buying lunch the other day, I ordered a slice of cake. I never order other peoples cake (unless it is a highly worthy reason). I’m always certain my own cakes are better than everyone else’s and I would only be disappointed and waste the calories. Sometimes though, there is a space that only a slice of rhubarb crumble cake will fill. I was just too critical though as per and ended up doing a full critique which was good in a way, it gave me something else to think about for 10 minutes.

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Baking Cake Celebration cake wedding

A vintage wedding cake

Wild flower vintage wedding cake

Today I had the VERY stressful job of delivering this beautiful vintage style wedding cake to a quaint village hall in Warwick. I held the cake, Mum drove. My mum seemed to completely forget how to use the brake pedal correctly resulting in A LOT OF RAISED VOICES. But after what seemed like the longest journey ever, I happily placed the cake on its special table. The room had been decorated with wild flowers and homemade bunting, it was so creative and dreamy! The top cake is salted caramel and the bottom cake is raspberry, strawberry and vanilla bean. A massive congratulations to Jess!

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Baking Cake Celebration cake Fruit

Pomegranate molasses bundt cake

Pomegranate molasses bundt cake

Today I was driving round for work with my windows down, basslines pounding out the speakers and my shades on. I know, I know, it was only 13 degrees but after a cold, long winter, 13 degrees feels practically tropical (well, I had my windows down for about 5 minutes. Still a little bit on the nippy side…). I’m normally a real Winter girl, the dark colours and snuggly knits suit me more but I am super duper tres excited for this Summer as my collection of vintage summer dresses has grown exponentially over the winter, to the point where I am struggling to shut my wardrobe. I am blessed with a job that means I travel an awful lot, and spend many a lunchtime in a little village hunting out the best charity shops and making best friends with the OAP volunteers (I think I probably am an old woman in a young body, my love of baking, sewing and collecting home furnishings that wouldn’t look out of place in Del Boys flat). If you make friends with the shop staff then you are onto a winner, they will nip out to get you stuff kept out the back intended to be sold on to vintage shops. The best ones are independant charity shops in little towns, sometimes they don’t realise the value of their own stock and as I pay at the till, I feel a little flicker of guilt that I have just got my hands on a 1960’s unworn bottle green wool coat with mink trimmed collar for £20. £20! 5 meters of 1980’s limited edition Liberty print fabric for £6. 1950’s gingham A line dress for £2. And thats my weakness, cute cotton dresses in amazing prints, I almost have enough to wear a different one every day of Summer. Every time I make a successful purchase, I let out an inner squeel of delight and strut down the street, run home to try it on and stride round the house feeling like I have won the lottery (Oh my, can you imagine if i won the lottery on the same day as having a triumphant charity shop find?! Off the scale). Obviously, finding the winners means sifting through a LOT of rubbish. Piles of Primark cast offs, floral chintzy curtains and wonky eyed teddy bears need to be pushed to one side and finding treasure is getting harder and harder. But once you get an eye for it, you can spot a 70’s maxi dress on a rail from 100 yards. So if your nan needs her wardrobe clearing out, you know where to find me!

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Baking Cake Celebration cake Fruit Gluten free

Gluten free almond and cinnamon spice cake

Gluten free almond and spice cake

So as if I wasn’t busy enough already what with the baking, blog, sewing, job that keeps me away from home 4 nights a week plus the long distance relationship, I now also have yoga to keep me occupied. Over the last two or three weeks, I have been doing an hour of yoga 6 days a week and already, I can’t imagine life without it! Around a year ago, I slipped a disc in my lower back and had to have a week off work. Ever since then, if I picked up too much weight or did certain exercises I would agitate it and the pain would return. This was very frustrating as I have always been into keeping fit and was a regular runner, boxer and regularly attended a boot camp, but if I did a squat too fast or threw a punch too hard, I would be in agony. Lifting cast iron pots at Le Creuset for a job didn’t help! I eventually went to see a chiropractor who said my spine was now also out of line and the back muscles are super tight. He advised most of the activity I was used to doing probably wasn’t doing me any favours, I kept trying for a couple of weeks to do exercises that were more back-friendly such as spin class and using a cross trainer. But still the pain persisted (sad face). So I did some research, spoke to a few people and the advise always seemed to be yoga. I kinda just ignored it at first, my perception of it was that it was just slow and boring, how could it possibly give me the workout I was used to? In the end, I reluctantly gave it a go. I started off with a beginners YouTube video. I could hardly hold the moves or even get into position!

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Baking Cake Celebration cake Fruit Recipes Tarts

Gateaux Breton

Apple Gateaux Breton

What a superb week of double celebrations! Valentines day AND pancake day! Celebrating love and eating in one week, what could be better. I actually think pancake day should be a weekly, if not daily event. Why confine them to one day of the year? I’m not talking about silly skinny crepes, which I find wholly unfulfilling as a pancake (lemon and granulated sugar? What kind of topping is that?!). I’m talking about huge, pillow like American pancakes. Every Sunday should be enjoyed by the nation by having a pancake brunch, a proper weekend indulgence. If you find the perfect recipe giving you the desired fluffy cloud-like texture, they are perfect for soaking up ridiculous amounts of maple syrup. Throw in some blueberries, maybe some chocolate chips, swop the flour for spelt and even use some honey. Perhaps even go savoury? You could have starter, main and dessert all using pancakes. What else need you ever eat! So versatile, there is a pancake for everyone. My current favourite ones are spelt and coconut ones from Eva In The Kitchen:
http://evainthekitchen.com/blog/blueberry-spelt-coconut-pancakes/

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Baking Bread Cake Celebration cake Chocolate Fruit Gluten free Pastry Recipes Review Tarts

My baking day with Eric Lanlard

Eric Lanlard and me

They say you should never meet your idols, you will only be disappointed. So understandably, I was feeling apprehensive yet super excited about meeting my favourite French sugar god, Eric Lanlard. I have been swooning over his books for a few years and had visited his shamazing café, Cake Boy, in Battersea so when I had to choose what I wanted for my 25th (ok, ok, 30th) birthday present, there was no doubt in my mind what to ask for. A baking tutorial day at Cake Boy with Eric. A whole day with Eric! A whole day! Me! And Eric! ERIC! He does a variety of different baking days and I plumped for the French Baking day complete with breakfast patisseries, lunch with wine and you get to take home everything you bake. The cakes we were going to make were almond and lavender provencal cake (gluten free), a gateaux Breton (even I had to google that one, a buttery crumbly flakey gorgeousness apparently) and a pear and juniper tart tatin. Major yummo.

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Baking Cake Celebration cake Chocolate

A super special birthday cake

Vanilla and peanut brittle cake

This fabulous little number was a special order for a special birthday boy. It was the BF’s uncles birthday on Saturday, he and his wife popped down from their home in the Lake District to London for a weekend of celebrations which, of course, had to include a Hollylovescake creation! We went for a fantastic meal at La Famiglia, an Italian restaurant in Chelsea (I had the whitebait starter and tuna steak main if you are wondering) where it was presented for dessert.

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Baking Celebration cake Chocolate Fruit

Blood orange, bitter chocolate and honey cupcakes

Blood orange, dark chocolate and honey cupcakes

So I was chatting with the BF (Someone asked why I call him BF. Boyfriend makes me sound about 16. Partner makes me sound well old. And quite frankly I totes love abbreviations) and having a good old moan that I didn’t have a clue what to do for this weeks bake. I needed some inspiration, I knew I wanted to use some gorgeous seasonal produce. The BF lives on the door step of Borough market in London so on Saturday morning we took a stroll down to see what I could use. I always prefer getting my produce from markets, if I’m at home in the Midlands, Bridgenorth in Shropshire has the most wonderful Saturday market full of stalls selling vibrant, fresh and still dirty from the ground veggies. The eggs are always tastier and bigger too than usual supermarket fare. Plus you get the added smugness of knowing your money is supporting someone local than lining the pockets of Tesco.

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