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 have found myself with an awful lot of unexpected extra time on my hands recently. You move to London and think to yourself PARTY TIME! I’m going to be a socialite, out for post work drinkies every evening, shimmying from the latest cool rooftop bar to the next uber cool cocktail bar in Dalston. It will be amazing. I will be rubbing shoulders with Alexa Chung and Nick Grimshaw no doubt! I quickly realised this would not be the case. Not when buying two drinks will set you back over a tenner (or in one particular public house which will remain nameless, I was charged £16 for two vodka sodas. £16!!!!!!!!!! That was my entire food budget for the week gone). And everyone works crazy hours. And so my unexpected extra time has been spent being creative, I’ve thrown myself back into this blogging lark, I’ve had the sewing machine out (I made my housemate Eilis a laundry bag out of some unused 1970’s pillowcases for her birthday. I know, I know, just too cool…) and took my camera out and about. I love to have a feeling of purpose with my spare time, it doesn’t feel like a wasted afternoon when I have some amazing photos or a patchwork quilt to show for it. So actually, Alexa and Nick, you can keep your latest pop up bar, I’ve got a hot date with the sewing machine.
London is the most over whelming but exciting place to be. Home is currently Muswell Hill which is north London, filled with yummy mummies and huge Victorian houses. For work I am in Shoreditch which has an extensive array of coffee shops and people who are too cool for school (eg Me). I love how each area has its own personality and style. If I want vintage, I go to Brick Lane, if I want inspiring food, Borough Market. There is always something going on. Back home I would wake up on a Sunday morning and the only thing to do was to walk to the corner shop to get the paper. In London I can do brunch, go to the museum, see some art, learn swing dancing (tried and failed miserably. I have no rhythm. Trod on everyone’s toe’s and no-one wanted to be my partner). Basically, whatever I want to do, I can. There are free things and expensive things. My favourite things are, surprisingly, those which are free. I have started running again after a while out of the game due to injury. Yes, I know you can do this anywhere but running to the top of Alexandra Palace and looking out across the whole of the London skyline at night is pretty lush. Birmingham at night doesn’t have quite the same appeal. As I look out the window now, it is 5pm and the sun is still shining and it is light. Spring is around the corner! Meaning soon evenings will be filled with pub gardens (drink soda water and sneak in your own vodka) and walks in Hyde park. Once you get off the crowded high streets and tourist traps, London is a bloomin lovely place to be where one can never be bored.
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.
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).
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:
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.
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.
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.