[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] A few weeks ago, I had a weekend that was filled with baking, for a number of reasons. One was simply that I fancied making shortbread. (Success! Now to experiment with a few other flavours . . .) Another was because my contestant in the office sweepstake crashed out of the Great British Bake Off in the second week, meaning I had to bake for the office. (At least he went out while I still had access to a multitude of kitchen utensils.) And finally, I had a few eggs that needed using up and we all know that cake is the way to go when faced with that situation. I didn’t want to overcomplicate things, so opted for a plain loaf cake with chocolate chips: perfect for my packed lunch, and also a treat that travelled well when I went down to visit my grandma that week.
[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] Lemon drizzle cake is a classic teatime treat, and one that can hold its own against Victoria sponges and Battenbergs at afternoon teas up and down the country. It’s tangy and tasty, and the icing on the cake – quite literally – is the crunchy lemon drizzle topping. I hadn’t made one for a while, but as it’s a firm favourite of Laurence’s, I decided to bake one a couple of weeks ago for us to enjoy over the weekend. Starbucks’ Lemon Loaf has been shown the door; I’m pretty sure he’s been converted to the (arguably much tastier) homemade equivalent. Whether you’re having friends round for coffee or need a no-faff bake for the office bake-off, this cake’s got your back. (On a side note, who else feels that GBBO just isn’t the same without Mel and Sue?)
[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] After a blissfully sunny weekend, the heavens opened just in time for my birthday and I’ve been experiencing a classic (aka rainy) British summer ever since. Fortunately, the drizzle eventually dried up and our plan to hike up Moel Famau and enjoy a slice of cake at the summit wasn’t rained off. Back in the UK, I have ready access to a wider (and crucially, cheaper) range of ingredients, so the lime and coconut cake that had spent the best part of a year on my to-bake list was now well and truly overdue. Although I’m partial to a slice of cake any day of the year, a birthday needs a cake – an ideal opportunity to trial a new cake, if ever I needed one. While my parents and I enjoyed every crumb, my sister branded me a freak for my choice of cake. (She wasn’t actually around to sample it, so she doesn’t know what she’s missed out on – which is a lot, if my levels of cake satisfaction are anything to go by.) If you’re in need of a cheap getaway to the tropics, pick up a bag of desiccated coconut and some limes and have a tropical afternoon tea with this recipe!
[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] After a balmy February, gales are now blowing ferociously in Lyon and it feels like the clock’s turned back a season or two. A couple of weeks ago, I was in desperate need of some creature comforts. (I miss England. Life abroad isn’t always a piece of gâteau.) Apple crumble was a staple dessert of my childhood; its cousin apple pie made a guest appearance every now and again, but my loyalty to the trusty apple crumble never wavered. Since kitchen supplies are – ahem – limited, I decided to combine the crusty crumble topping with a classic sponge. A light sponge topped with a (hefty) sprinkle of cinnamon crumble and a couple of layers of sliced apples were all it took to transport me back to the vast dining table of my childhood, devouring spoonful after spoonful of sugary apple-y goodness.
[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] Although the conkers in the park indicate autumn is well and truly on its way, here in Lyon temperatures are still in the low-mid twenties most days – so as far as I was concerned, it wasn’t too late for a last summery bake. A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to a colleague’s for a goûter – which translates literally as a snack, but would be interpreted as an informal afternoon tea by Brits. It was the ideal opportunity to test-drive the oven in my new flat and I decided to combine two of my favourite desserts – cake and crumble – into one delicious traybake. Say bonjour to one of my new cakey staples: a moist, fluffy sponge with fresh berries and a crunchy crumble topping.
Last weekend it was my sister’s 18th birthday, so a seriously chocolatey cake was in order. Enter: a fluffy chocolate sponge, smothered in 70% dark chocolate ganache and edged with milk and white chocolate fingers. I completed the mud bath with five little fondant piggies on top – but you could have more or less, or choose a different animal altogether!
Carrot cake is one of my all-time favourite desserts and this traybake is no exception: bursting with juicy sultanas, tangy pineapple and, of course, the mighty carrot. When I was younger, the bakery at the top of my road used to keep a slice of carrot cake aside for me on Saturdays – nowadays my carrot cake affection is still going strong, though admittedly I don’t eat it quite so often! With finals well under way (and oh-so-nearly over), this is another bake to motivate me through to the end – the carrot cake recipe is adapted from one in The Farmyard Cookbook, and the frosting is adapted from this recipe by Delia.