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!)…
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).
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*.
Eeeeeekkkkkk I’ve been bouncing off the walls all day and I hardly slept last night due to the Glastonbury butterflies! Yes it is that giddy time of the year again when I pack up my wellies and an inflatable mattress (always flat as a pancake within 24 hours) and head to the green fields. The Glastonbury butterflies are similar to that excitable feeling of going on holiday except times it by ten and add a bit more. There’s me and 25 of my pals all driving down through the night so we are one of the first in the queue ready for when the gates open at 8am. Then we spend half a day trying to erect tents (which probably haven’t seen the light of day since last year, still covered in mud and smelling… questionable) whilst half asleep then head off to the nearest cider bus. I’m really looking forward to seeing Lionel Ritchie this year on Sunday afternoon, perfect to sing along to whilst nursing a hang over from an epic Saturday night. I’ve just checked out the weather forecast and it looks like a real mix but thankfully no heavy rain at any point (the weather man never gets it wrong…). I’ve already had two showers today, it’ll be another week before I can have a wash that doesn’t involve baby wipes…
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.
I remember when I started baking and being told that baking is a science, its not like cooking where you can throw a little bit of this or that and it will probably be a taste sensation. You have to stick to the recipe or it will be a disaster! I’ve come to learn (often the hard way) that actually, you can go against the rules and shake things up if you understand how your ingredients work. So I’m going to tell you what I have learnt about different kinds of sugar when baking and how you can confidently change them around in a recipe.
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.