Monday, August 31

saying gOodbye to sUmmer .

sO . i seem to have been a little absent over aUgust . i wish i could say i've been far too busy enjOying the wonderful weather . but . well . that would be a bit of a wishful thinking . in truth i have been enjoying a bit { ok . a lot } of baking . cookies & cheesecakes . & . birthday cakes with an abundance of frosting and sprinkles . i'd love to say it's a hard life . but . i've lOved each cake & cookie i've baked . 

i can still see a lot more baking on the way in sEptember . the Great British Bake Off is now in full stride & so far i seem to be keeping up with all the baking . lets see if i can do as well in the coming month . & . just maybe feel a little more confident about actually filling in that application form for next years Bake Off . we'll see ?

but enough about baking . as today is the last day of aUgust i have sEptember's calendar for you . a version for your desktop . & . as last month . a slimline version for your phone . or to print . or . to do with whatever you wish . 

. have a happy day .

Sunday, August 16

. a very lAdylike afternoon at lAdy Bettys .

did you know that this week has been afternoon tea week ? { oops ! perhaps i should have given you a little bit of warning ahead of time } . i still think that a proper afternoon tea is a really lovely treat . i've been lucky enough to have afternoon tea at The Peninsula in hOng kOng . { such a lovely way to spend a sUnday in hOng kOng } . & . at Fawsley Hall . both of which were lovely .

but . there was one afternoon tea that i was particularly looking forward to . the Lady Betty afternoon tea at the iconic Bettys in Harrogate . afternoon tea at Bettys had been on the cards ever since i booked the tickets for the cAke & bAke show . { and possibly one of the main attractions of going to the show at it's hArrogate venue } . so when Bettys announced the introduction of their new Lady Betty afternoon tea just in time for our visit to hArrogate it seemed too serendipitous to let it pass by . so the reservation was made . a lovely ladylike dress was packed . & . a little 10mile run was ran . { just to build up an appetite } .

and then we went to Bettys .

isn't it just sO lovely ?

the whole occasion just makes you feel so special . there's the wonderfully courteous, aproned waiters & waitresses . the tinkle of the piano being played . the hushed conversations . the chink of cups on saucers .

& what lovely cups & saucers they are too . made by Royal Crown Derby specially for Bettys . using an archive pattern of tea leaves dating from 1919 . which just so happens to be the year Bettys began . as they say themselves . perfect serendipity .

tea blends are selected from a concise menu . arriving in beautiful teapots in a soft gold hue . & . then the food . delightfully miniature in size . a delicately spiced prawn cocktail . gala pie and salmon roulade . & . then the tea stand arrives . with sandwiches . scones . & . the sweetest cake selection . 

a wonderful experience . 

oh . if you would like to find out how those beautiful miniature cakes are made take a look here & also on Bettys facebook page . 

. have a very sweet day .

Friday, August 14

. rainbOw sprinkles . & . mini bAkers .

so weekTwo of the bAke Off saw the departure of marie, who was stAr bAker in weekOne . it just shows what a fickle business this baking lark is . one week you can't put a whisk wrong & the next week it's biscuits . { well, it literally was biscuits as it happens, but you know what i mean ? } .

i'm still loving baking along & even excited about bread week next week . bread isn't something of a strong point for me . but as it's quick breads for the signature bake i'm quite looking forward to looking for new flavour combinations . i have a lovely recipe for a spinach & feta bread which is just perfect for adapting & trying something different with . so stay posted !

in the meantime i've been looking at some lovely things for all those aspiring mInI Great British Bakers out there . baking is something i've done since i was a little One . & . i loved baking alongside my mum . starting out with those simple . but super cute . classics of jam tarts . fairy cakes . with the obligatory pastel icing & rainbow bright sprinkles . 

there is so much inspiration out there now to inspire your little Ones to get involved in baking . although some things remain the same . 

i think that's the cUe for the sprInkles !

 . rainbow . sprinkles . cupcakes . layer cakes . a-z . cookies .
{ 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 }
 . are you ever too old for fairy bread .
. neon . bubblegum pink . hearts . spots . sunshine yellow . stars . stripes .
{ 8 . 9 . 10 . 11 . 12 . 13 }
 . a cupcake fondue party .
{ yAy }
. jam tarts . star baker . mini kitchens . mini aprons . rolling pins .bear buns .
{ 15 . 16 . 17 . 18 . 19 . 20 }

with bread week next week i think those uber cute bear buns would be perfect for baking with your little Ones . or . take a look at these little pIggy rolls ! sAndee who writes LRF has a wonderful selection of recipes for children . well worth taking a look for some baking inspiration .

oh, & just a thought . am i too old for a cupcake fondue party for my next birthday ? maybe i am . oh well, i'll just have to make do with fairy bread pancakes instead !

take a look over on my pInterest board . { the . mini british bake off . 2015 } for lOts lOts more ideas & bAking inspiration . 

. have a very sweet dAy .

Tuesday, August 11

. tAngerine mAdeira cAke .

and so the cAke fest which is aUgust continues . 

i was a little unsure what to expect when i knew that the signature bake for the Great British Bake Off was a madeira cake . something that is so traditional . & . not something i think of as having lots of variations put on it . & . as it turns out the cAkes that earned the highest praise were the best baked cakes which were closest at heart to the recipe . 

which is why i was a little pleased that the recipe i'd chosen to bake wasn't too far away from a traditional madeira either . when i was pinning my finds this recipe caught my attention & just wouldn't let go . traditional enough to be recognisable as a madeira . but with a lovely tangerine twist . 

except for one teeny tiny problem . the cAke was being made for my sister . & . she had a longing for something a little bit more tunis cake like . do you remember the McVitie's Tunis Cake ? this is the cake my nan used to buy for christmAs day teatime . a madeira cake . topped with a wonderfully thick ganache type chocolate { although somehow not ganache . & . we still can't quite work out what it was . or a recipe for it . or how on earth to recreate it } . with lurid pink & yellow icing & marzipan fruits in the centre . it was discontinued sometime in the 80's . much to my sister's disgust . & . she's been on the hunt for one exactly like it ever since . 

& so i swapped the { all be it very lovely looking } caramelised tangerine's on the top of eat in my kitchen's recipe for a chocolate orange ganache topping . still nothing like the original tunis cake . but a little bit closer . & . winning a lOt of praise from my little sis !

. tAngerine mAdeira cAke .
{ with chocolate orange ganache topping }

. adapted from a recipe by Eat in my Kitchen .

and so onto Episode2 of the Bake Off . biscuits ! so far i'm torn between making these chocolate cherry almond biscotti . or . being a bit of a caffeine addict . these cappuccino biscotti

or maybe i should just make both ?

. have a sweet dAy .

Friday, August 7

. the cAke & bAke show . aKa . cAke . cupcAkes . & . a little bit more cAke .

after the excitement of the start of the new series of the Great British Bake Off you'd have thought i'd have had my fill of cAke . { although i'm not sure there is such as thing as too much cAke ? } . i settled down to watch the first episode with a little miniature version of the showstopper . a perfectly-portioned-for-one black forest cupcAke . a lovely light chocolate genoise sponge . with a light cream cheese frosting . & . a chocolate dipped cherry on top . tomorrow i am tackling the signature bake . this wonderfully delicious looking madeira cake with caramelised tangerines from eat in my kitchen . which will be lovingly handed over to my sister . { well out of temptations way ! } .

but back to the subject of this post . many many weeks ago i took a little roadtrip up to hArrogate in search of cAke . lots & lots of cAke . & . the first stop on this cAke hunt was the cAke & bAke show . a little haven of baking heaven for bakers & eaters alike . after first being { almost } seduced into buying a beautiful Smeg mixer . { yes, i am certain i would be a much better baker with one of these . or a KitchenAid . or to be fair even the lovely KenwoodChef mixer that seems to be the subject of much Bake Off controversy } . we wondered through to a wonderland of cake . & . chocolate . & . more cake . & . a few cupcakes . & . well, yes, a bit more cake . even for a cake lover like myself it was a little overwhelming . so in answer to my question above, yes, perhaps there is such a thing as too much cAke !  but, we did our very best, we walked, looked, chatted to the lovely cake sellers, tasted a few things, bought a few things, & here are my favourites from the shOw .

one of the sweetest stands at the show with a wonderfully vintage vibe . gorgeous mis-matched china hosted the most whimsical { princess castle } & { snow white } cupcAkes . { dreaming of a chocolate } brownies . { you're the road to my treasure } rocky road . all named in the loveliest of ways .

one of the friendliest stands at the show with a very tempting array of sweet treats . beautiful bags of pillowy soft marshmallows . & . lovely little layer cakes perfect for one . & . i loved the meringue slabs . as did a lot of other people too judging by how few were left in the tray ! 

possibly the stand that made me smile the most . wonderfully kitsch with gingham & polka dots . over-sized . over-the-top . & . all in instantly recognisably classic favourites . just looking at those jammy dodgers makes me smile { & then slip into a sugar induced coma ! } . & . if you struggle to choose between cake & cookies then choose the jammy dodger cupcake & have the best of both .

i'm now off to pin lots of biscotti & cookie inspiration ahead of next weeks biscuit week on the Bake Off . 

. have a very sweet dAy .

Tuesday, August 4

. tOm hOvey . cake illustrator to the stars .

do you recognise this gorgeous drawing ?

if you're a fan of the Great British Bake Off { & if you're not i really don't think we can be friends ! } then you'll recognise the drawings of the bakers bakes . & . i have a sneaky admission to make . i look forward to seeing these almost as much as i do the final bakes . 

so whilst looking for baking inspiration ahead of tomorrow's new series i was delighted to come across these illustrations . & . a link to the lovely talented tOm hOvey, whose hand is responsible for these delicious drawings . reading more about this welsh born, bristol dwelling artist, whilst he has worked on a lot of varied projects, it's obvious that food & food illustration holds a special place in his heart . 

looking through tOm's tumblr was a lovely nostalgic wander through the past years of the Bake Off . & . also makes you realise how much more sophisticated the bakes { & bakers } are in more recent years . but no matter how much the bakers may have changed i think the charm of the Bake Off is that it does remain more or less the same each year . there's a comfortable familiarity in the signature bake, followed by the technical challenge, followed by the showstopper . the familiar faces of Paul and Mary, Mel & Sue . & . of course those wonderful drawings of tOms . let the bAking bEgin !

. have a sweet dAy .

Saturday, August 1

. hEllo aUgust .

jUly went by in a flurry of pink { & mud ! } . lots of tea & coffee was sipped { & a few cookies and cakes were baked . & . ate } . pretty things were purchased at the sUmmer mArket . & . summery things were spotted at bUbble lOndon .

so we wave gOodbye to jUly & say hEllo to aUgust .

aUgust { for me } is a month of birthday celebrations .
that { of course } means cake

. lots of cake .

i'm ridiculously excited about the return of the GreatBritishBakeOff
so much so that i've even had to start a Pinterest board just to save all the GBBO baking inspiration

i'll be spoiling my dAd with this { wonderfully bOozy } cake
then my mUm gets treated to a ferrero rocher inspired { indulgently chocolatey & delightfully nutty } cake
complete with homemade ferrero rocher truffles

in between all the cake making i think i'll be running
. lots .

. have a hAppy day .