[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.
This loaf cake is devilishly chocolatey: a light and fluffy chocolate sponge, smothered in rich chocolate buttercream and studded with Maltesers. It’s the ideal celebration cake for chocoholics, and it’s a hassle-free bake that’s perfect for when you don’t have much time to spare.
Citrus-y bakes are some of my absolute favourites; this lemon poppyseed loaf takes the flavours of the original lemon drizzle, and gives it a bake-over (perhaps I shouldn’t attempt puns) with poppyseeds and tangy lemon-flavoured glacé icing.
Until I ate a wedge of lemon poppyseed cake in a café in Norwich last summer, it was a recipe I had never considered attempting. Somehow, the whole concept of adding poppyseeds (or any seeds, for that matter) to a cake had completely passed me by. Until that particular heavenly cake experience, that is. A few tweaks to my basic cake recipe later and I had a deliciously moist lemon poppyseed loaf!