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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
It’s all getting very exciting down at Hollylovescake HQ, I have just popped in an application form to my local farmers market! If all goes well, I should be up and running by October. I can obviously rely on all you loyal fans to come down and support me every week, right (What do you mean you live in Tijuana and you only stumbled on my blog by accident?!)? It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but never really had the guts or the facilities to do it. I’ve had lots of encouragement from my ever supportive BF (at least one person I can rely on to buy some cake…) and my new kitchen in Ascot has been given the all clear by the council, 5 out of 5 hygiene stars no less! Therefore I have been experimenting with lots of different recipes so my cakes can be enjoyed by as many different people as possible. I always thought vegan baking would be pretty joyless experience but this cake has been a revelation.
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).