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!
Happy Easter everybody! I am currently sat in the kitchen working my way through a pile of hot cross buns and a slab of butter (cue Homer Simpson style drooling). I obviously had extensive high activity plans for today but sadly, its raining which has forced me inside with said plate of buns. What else is a girl to do?! Plus being Easter limited edition specialities, I must eat as many as I can before they disappear from the shelves for another year. Gotta make the most of them, y’know? By next week I will be back on the kale and lentils, promise (I sometimes wish I could use emojis in my writing, I would insert that little dude with the rolling eyes right about here). My favourite treat is slightly stale left over buns, slather in butter, then golden syrup and lay them into a deep baking dish with them slightly over lapping, pour over a tin of Ambrosia custard and bake in the oven on 180 degrees until the edges of the bread are golden and the custard is bubbling. Actually life changing.
Some days I love to spend the whole day in the kitchen working towards a sugary sweet beast of a cake. Some days I just want something there and then, without sacrificing my day (Not that my days revolve around much anyway, looking at dogs in silly outfits on Instagram, reading Daily Mail online gossip column in secret… whoops!). These little treats are the perfect throw-together-in-10-minute yummies. I have to admit I have worked my way through quite a few coconut macaroon recipes trying to find baking bohemia, the crispy outside and the slightly soggy sugary innards. Hurrah! I have achieved it here! The top tip is condensed milk. Any excuse to use condensed milk is a winner with me (I licked the lid clean and now have a cut tongue to prove it. It is like crack in a tin.). A mix of coconut flakes and desiccated coconut gives the best texture too. If you don’t have limes, you can leave them out. Feel free to swap white chocolate for dark or milk too, go crazy. They are also a great option for the gluten free of you out there.
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!
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!
Sometimes, I have oodles of ideas spinning around in my mind for cakes. And then other days, meh, not so much. I was struggling a bit this week after spending the past couple of weeks lost in a blur of market stall planning. What shall I bake? What price should I charge? Will anyone buy my cakes? What font should I use on my banners? (For new readers, I will be launching my first market stall in Ascot on 18th October!) I think I have a good list of cakes I am going to bake, a nice selection of vegan and gluten free with one or two ‘normal’ cakes, perhaps a couple of cookie options too. Whilst making the shortlist of possible bakes, I revisited some old recipes from this blog and rediscovered these delightful gluten free pistachio and carrot cupcakes! I posted them over a year ago and since then my photography skills have come on in leaps and bounds. Since I was lacking in ideas, I though I would try them again but with way better photographs and wow, they did not disappoint! So much so, they made it onto my final list for market day!
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 😉
These little lovelies I made for a garden party I went to today, my brothers girlfriends parents threw a Summer (the sun made a brief appearance..) BBQ and I obviously couldn’t turn up empty handed. I spent hours making a brown sugar custard tart with roasted strawberries. Being a smart arse I didn’t bother to read the recipe and rather too late realised the pastry had to rest for 4 hours, then roll, then rest again for 2 hours, then blind bake for 40 minutes (at this point I went to bed, I needed resting as well as the pastry), allow to cool completely, make the custard, back in the oven for 40 minutes…. Phew! It tasted ahmazing but anything which involved 13 egg yolks and 700ml of double cream would do I guess. I also whipped up a simple white chocolate and raspberry sponge and these gluten free courgette and coconut cupcakes.
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!