All posts filed under: birthday

White Forest Gateau

This is a cake that I adapted from a recipe that I found in delicious. magazine. I made the original a couple of months ago but didn’t care for the icing at all. I decided I wanted to nail a cake with cherry and almond flavours, that featured white chocolate, but it couldn’t be cloying or heavy. I also had various visions of how the final cake would be decorated. But I think I made it too fussy and old fashioned on this occasion and would definitely scale back a bit next time. But I thought it would be helpful to include the process to show that it usually takes a few attempts to get to where you want to be. Ingredients 150g of Plain Flour 50g of Ground Almonds 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder 300g of Caster Sugar 5 Medium Eggs, separated 1/2 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Almond Extract 115g of Vegetable Oil 250g of good Cherry Jam   Syrup ( if you don’t want …

Elderflower and Strawberry Summer Celebration

This cake is a combination of tweaked recipes from elsewhere and my own imagination. It came about because of my recent obsession with elderflower. I have always loved the flavour of elderflower and knew that people gathered the flowers and made their own cordial and wine, but for some reason I assumed it didn’t grow in Scotland. But since getting our puppy, then moving to our new house and village, I have become much more aware of the passing seasons and the flowers, trees and plants around me. I had a rough idea of what elderflower looked like but wasn’t sure. Then I saw some flowers that I thought might be it whilst out on a walk with the dog. I photographed it and had it confirmed by my friends on a Facebook group, who are keen cooks and bakers. I researched more about collecting and making cordial and decided to give it a try. I decided to use The River Cottage recipe which was very straight forward and easy. During the process I did doubt how …

Mocha Coffee Cake

I came up with this recipe for my old school friend who was coming over for coffee. I asked her what her favourite cake flavours were and she said: coffee, coconut, fruit and dark chocolate. I decided coffee and chocolate was a good way to go. I’ve long been a fan of Annie Bell’s Coffee and Walnut cake. Her coffee and mascarpone cream is so very delicious: it’s creamy but not clawing; and it feels luxurious and decadent, but is incredibly simple to make. The topping is almost identical to Annie Bell’s, so I can’t take credit for how delicious it is. But I decided I wanted to make more of a coffee sponge, incorporating chocolate, and leaving out the nuts on this occasion (though you could always sprinkle chopped walnuts on the top if you fancy). I also wanted to add more flavour and moisture by using a sugar syrup on the cake itself. Ingredients For the Cake: 150g of Butter at room temperature 150g of Golden Caster Sugar 150g of Self Raising Flour 3 …

Bonfire Roulade

If you are entertaining tomorrow night, with or without fireworks for Bonfire Night, and haven’t settled on what to serve for dessert, then I have the very recipe for you. I made a version of this last Hogmanay, and it was a dream dessert. It was Tiramisu Swiss Roll Cake by Izy Hossack at Top With Cinnamon. When I heard that Baileys were bringing out a Pumpkin Spice edition, I knew I had to incorporate it into this dessert, instead of the regular Marsala. I take no credit whatsoever for coming up with the roulade idea, and my recipe is simply a tweaked version of Izy’s. I don’t feel too bad, however, because I know Izy adapted the sponge element from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum (Rose’s website), so all is good. Bonfire Roulade Sponge 5 Large Eggs 100g of Golden Caster Sugar 1 Teaspoon of Gingerbread Syrup (If you don’t have any, use Vanilla extract) 75g Butter, melted and cooled 100g of Plain Flour 25g Cornflour 2-3 Tablespoons of Icing Sugar mixed with 1 …

Cookies and Cream for my boy

Some people call this Hump Day; others, Wednesday. But for me, it’s like Friday. It’s my last paid working day of the week working as a teacher. But I figured that some of you who work all the way through to Friday could do with a little cheer, so I thought I’d write up the recipe for this Cookies and Cream cake quickly. I made it for my son’s 9th birthday on Monday. He asked for a Cookies and Cream Cake (I think because he loves that flavour of ice-cream), so I googled a few recipes, but, in the end, I went with our family favourite: Nigella Lawson’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake as the cake base and decided to come up with the icing myself. (I used half of her chocolate icing to sandwich the two cakes together, but you could easily make more of the cookies and cream icing and use that if you prefer). Cookies and Cream Buttercream Icing 300g of Soft Butter 300g of Icing Sugar 80g of White Chocolate, melted 2 Tablespoons of …

Pistachio and Chocolate Cake

I have a confession to make. Well, not so  much a confession but a disclaimer. This recipe isn’t entirely original and mine. To be honest, I am fed up of seeing people posting their alleged “new recipes” when they have clearly been reworked from someone else’s and have not given them credit. So, I want to be clear, that this cake is a re-working and scaling of other people’s recipes, with a minor element being mine. The sponges that make up this cake are a scaling up of Annie Bell’s Chocolate and Pistachio cake in her Baking Bible.  I have long been a fan of hers since I picked up a very reduced copy of her Gorgeous Cakes in a discount book shop. To this day I have no idea why she isn’t a household name: the woman knows her stuff and her recipes are great. I opted to make my own filling of Pistachio Buttercream, mainly because I had some leftover. But I think it really works and adds to the pistachio flavour. The chocolate …

Fresh Summer Berry Cake

Now that I am back in the blog writing saddle, as it were, it feels good to write this post and share the recipe that I created for this summery cake. It is a Blueberry and Lime cake, flavoured with a Lime and Mint sugar syrup, and I created it for the birthday of my partner’s youngest daughter. I have been musing over a blueberry and lemon cake for a while. I have seen several recipes online but they all seem overly complicated. I also really wanted to use lime instead of lemon. And then I remembered the lime and mint sugar syrup that I made for my friends’ naked wedding cake two years ago. It’s such a wonderful and refreshing combination: the mint makes the berries zing. I just needed an excuse to experiment. I usually make a cake for my partner’s children’s birthdays. We try to get together for a big blended family dinner with cake and candles. His youngest didn’t have a preference for what kind of cake she wanted, so I …

Raspberry and Rose Celebration

Well hello there. It feels like years since I last wrote a blog post. The last few months have been very busy in our house but I’ve been baking away just the same, only not writing quite so much about it. If you follow my Instagram feed you’ll see plenty of baking, cooking and the odd bottle or two of wine (francesbakes). My friend asked me to make a cake for her mum’s special birthday and I just knew you guys would want to see more of the process, so I documented its production to share with you today. My brief was “she likes Turkish Delight and best to avoid chocolate”…immediately I thought to ask if she likes raspberries: they go so well with rose. Thankfully, she does, and so I started planning what I’d make. Straight away I decided to use The Pink Whisk’s Raspberry Ripple cake as the basis for the celebration cake. I have used this recipe a lot and it is simply delicious. So many people that I know love it too, so …

A Coffee Cake with a kick

Good morning and a Happy Easter to you. This isn’t an Easter cake, though it does contain chocolate, nor was it made recently. But I was asked for the recipe from someone over on Instagram, so I felt I should cobble together a blog post with details of how I made this cake (which was in the Autumn of last year). The cake itself is a simple coffee Victoria Sponge, but it is soaked in a Tia Maria sugar syrup, then filled with an Espresso and Mascarpone cream, then covered completely in a good old fashioned chocolate buttercream. It is finished off with a chocolate glaze drizzle, chocolate bark and various other decorative edibles. You should start by making the chocolate bark the day before you need it to ensure it is firm enough to handle, especially if it is warm. Chocolate Bark 150G of Dark Chocolate A handful of Coffee Beans Gold Sugar, sprinkles, bronze honeycomb chunks (Marks and Spencer) or any other pretty gold or bronze decorations you can find that will tone …

Carrot Gold

This isn’t a post in which I share a new recipe; but one in which I share an idea of how to decorate a Carrot Cake for a special occasion. As I was saying to my friend earlier, Carrot Cake *is* beautiful with swirls of Cream Cheese Frosting and some sprinkled nuts on top, but sometimes you want one of your favourite, everyday cakes to be a bit more celebratory. I wanted to show that it is possible to do that without training to be a pastry chef first. Firstly, let me explain that I don’t use walnuts in my carrot cake, but prefer pecans. I immediately thought about how I could use the pecans on the top of the finished cake by dusting them with gold and bronze lustre and adding small pieces of edible gold leaf to others. The cake also contains desiccated coconut, so I felt that using larger shavings of coconut on top would hint at the ingredients inside and add a different texture. After that, it was a case of …