Tuesday, 1 May 2012

April showers of a baking kind.

For me, April hasn't showered rain so much as flour and icing sugar.  I've been a busy ol' bee with birthdays and things and when I look at my Instagram feed (I'm jammypudding on there by the way) there is an abundance of bakes.
Back at the beginning of April I turned 39 and had a lovely, lovely day which was made all the lovelier for having this...

 Lemon cake decorated with handmade daisies.  It tasted so so so good.  I'd take lemon cake over all others (maybe?...might have to think about that claim) and it was kind of nice making myself a cake for my birthday.  Eldest Biscuit was outraged by the idea!
My father-in-law's birthday quickly followed mine so I made him his favourite coffee and walnut cake but this time I used my cool tin from Lakeland.  It has straight sides for individual cakes so you can make small versions of large cakes.  I was very pleased with how they turned out and will have to make mini Victoria sponges soon.

 The lead up to the end of the Easter hols meant I had to re stock the freezer with some bakes for my boys' lunch boxes.

Banana bread and

marble cake cut up into ickle pieces.  Sponge freezes really well and even though baking ingredients can be expensive by the time they are cut up small and used up, they work out quite cheap and although not exactly health food, better than processed and I do think cake makes people happy.  In my head my Biscuits are able to get through an afternoon of school with the help of their little cakes of happiness made with love by me.
I also made chocolate cheesecake for a friend as part of his Christmas gift of bakes throughout 2012.  I couldn't encourage a heart bypass so he didn't get a whole cheesecake, a few pieces were leftover for us.

 Oh my this cheesecake from Nigella's 'Feast' book is simply heaven in every mouthful and whenever I have it I feel I am in one of those old Flake adverts, having a special moment in a field of wild flowers. So good!

Last week I made madeleines for the menfolk as an after school and work snack (and of course a few for me too).  If you have never made them or let alone eaten one, please do.  Apart from the specialised tin (Lakeland sell one for under a tenner) they are very very easy wee cakes to make and quick too.  You can pretend, if you have a need to, to be refined and delicate whilst nibbling on one. I find it essential to drink tea from a china cup and saucer whenever I have one. Look at them, *sigh*!

 And finally, Eldest biscuit turned eleven yesterday.  All you parents out there will understand when I say I do not know how that happened so soon after him arriving but eleven he is.  I managed to convince him not to have his usual novelty sugarpaste clad birthday cake ( a 3DS this year) in favour of a chocolate cake made with chocolate from Hotel Chocolat. It's surprisingly cheaper weight for weight than Green & Blacks.  The self sacrificing mother that I am had to go into their shop in Edinburgh, forcing myself to take their free samples whilst shopping for his cake.  The things we do.
I didn't want to use my everyday, all-in-one cake (again from 'Feast') so opted for a luxury buttermilk one from 'Tea with Bea'.  This book is really lovely with seriously decadent bakes. It isn't a book for beginners I think but if you are a confident baker it's worth a looksee.  Here's how it turned out...

 I layered it with vanilla buttercream (which to be fair didn't compliment the sponge I feel, you live and learn) and covered it with chocolate buttercream.  I sprinkled over fudge pieces, Minstrels, smarties and gemstone drops from Hotel Chocolat.  I also made the bunting to decorate and little flags for these...

...mini vanilla cupcakes.  Eldest Biscuit likes to share his cake with family and friends so these were for those not so keen on a rich chocolate cake.  Too cute!
And of course there were the obligatory and traditional number biscuits.

For Christmas 2000, whilst pregnant with EB, I got Nigella's Domestic Goddess book from Mr Biscuit (he wrote inside "who's to say you're not already" sweet or what?) and knew when I saw these biscuits that I wanted to make them [for our cooking baby + any more] every year for birthdays and so far I have.  We joke that as grown men, my boys will still expect them. I followed the 'Biscuiteers' way for the icing and am getting to grips with icing bags and plastic bottles.
Here's a photo of my boy making a wish.

Oh my what a calorific month!  Just as well it wasn't all for me.  Yet I am dreaming of more.  I got a new book yesterday to sigh over and consider "What to bake?".

Indeed "What to bake?" .



  1. Everything looks so delicious! I especially love the chocolate layer birthday cake. I also have a chocolate cake recipe that calls for buttermilk - it makes such a difference. I will have to try madeleines - yours look wonderful!

    1. Thanks Kim!
      You must try madeleines, you'll love them.
      Ali x

  2. Your baking looks fantastic! I love cheesecake but have never tried a chocolate (i love chocolate too so i don't know why i haven't) Have a lovely week xx

    1. You must try it! m&s do a lovely chocolate cheesecake if you don't want to make it.

  3. It all looks so good. I think we've had this conversation before, but I'd take coffee cake over any other kind. And my children get small pieces of homemade cake or flapjack in their packed lunches too - I too think it makes them happy! Well, it'd make me happy anyway and I don't see why they should be any different!

    1. I remember Victoria, i love it now too but only for the last year or so!
      Re lunch boxes, great minds think alike! X

  4. Wow, I love to cook also I would love to try some of the things that you have baked. What a great idea of the number biscuits, I'm going to them when my boy turns 11 in Oct.

    1. I plan on extending the biscuit thing for all birthdays this year, making sharks today!

  5. This post should come with a warning, I'm drooling now and have NO cake in the house!

  6. Oh my word - I think I'm actually salivating.

    Just gorgeous......all of it.

    Nina x

  7. I love lemon cake too but yours looks much tastier than mine! :-) My soon-to-be daughter in law made us a delicious vanilla cheesecake last time she was over, from a recipe on the BBC website. I'm off to search for the chocolate one now, for next time she's over! lol Never thought I'd eat cheesecake because I can't normally eat cheese but cream cheese, fortunately, doesn't seem to be a problem, Weird or what?
    Anyway! I have a weekend off work, so guess what I'm going to be doing..... :-)

    1. mmmmn cheesecake!
      Nice to have it made for you too, sounds like you are getting a special daughter-in-law Jude! x

  8. Amazing.... a truely sweet and yummy feast of a post... gosh I wish I wasn't ona diet right now... *sigh*

    Hope you had a super birthday back in April and that your eldest enjoyed his day too?.... My eldest turns 11 this October.... madness how time flies eh?

    Happy baking xx

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes Louise. You are so right about time flying! x

  9. Righto, 2nd or 3rd time I've popped by to *drool* over you lovely baking and now must simply STOP looking and get baking!...trouble is what to start with!?

  10. Oh my goodness Ali I cannot believe the baking you have done!
    A belated Happy Birthdya to you too - your cake looks wonderful!
    It all looks perfect and mouthwateringly good, and I particualrly like those tall mini cakes - must look for that Lakeland tin i think, they look so impressive.
    Thanks for sharing all this yummy delishousness!
    I have been looking out for a madeleine tin ever since a baking book I bought had loads in and it made me want to make them,but no joy then (was a few years ago). Maybe I'll try again now.
    Gill xx


I love to hear from all you interesting folks out there so don't be shy.
Had to put the annoying word verification back on as the spam was getting silly. Forgive me! Ali


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