[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] First and foremost, Happy Easter to those of you that celebrate it! I’m crossing my fingers (and toes) that some Mini Eggs have made their way across the Channel with my family this weekend, but I digress. A few weeks back, I had some leftover eggs from Pancake Day. The obvious solution – since I don’t eat eggs in their natural state – was to add oodles of chocolate and lashings of sugar to the mix and bake a batch of brownies. I’ve made brownies with Terry’s Chocolate Orange before, but this time I wanted to use orange zest for a more natural flavour. Having seen a recipe for lemon cake on What Jessica Baked Next, which suggested rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar for a more intense flavour, I decided to incorporate this technique into the brownies – which resulted in orange zestiness in every mouthful!
[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] Alas, the time has come for me to make a confession: I’m not a Nutella fan. I don’t consume it by the spoonful directly from the jar nor do I spread lashings of it on toast every morning (the fact I don’t even have a toaster is beside the point). On the contrary, Laurence is a Nutella fiend – he drowns his toast in Nutella, adds it to his (delicious) banana bread and is visiting this weekend. So what better way to honour his visit than with a bake incorporating his favourite chocolate-hazelnut spread? I may not be a fan of Nutella in isolation, but in rich, decadent, fudgy brownie form . . . well, that’s a different story!
[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] With the mercury dropping and incessant rain dampening my commute (pun intended), Lyon is feeling an awful lot like home, albeit without the best autumnal celebration of them all: Bonfire Night. Since there were no sparklers, fireworks or toffee apples to be found, an autumnal inspired bake was in order. Enter, oranges, cinnamon and lashings of buttercream. Despite our malfunctioning fridge doing its utmost to prevent a cake from being produced (frozen butter, anyone?), this delicious, aromatic traybake was promptly devoured by my fellow cake-loving flatmates. As an added bonus, this recipe can be easily adapted – try adding a handful of sultanas or experimenting with different flavoured frostings if you fancy pushing the boat out!
[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!
In the aftermath of Brexit, it’s a good thing we Brits have one thing to fall back on in times of need: the classic, quintessentially British, cream tea. An oven-fresh scone, topped with lashings of homemade jam and clotted cream, is just the ticket – and if you get cracking, you could have a batch baked and ready to eat in time for the final of Wimbledon 2016 on the small screen.
[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] It’s finally summer and that means only one thing: strawberries, and lots of them! Strawberry tarts are the very essence of summer, and with their sweet pastry, soft crème pâtissière filling and oodles of strawberries piled on top what’s not to like? They’re embedded in memories of family holidays: munching them for breakfast in a pâtisserie in St Malo and as part of a picnic lunch in Narbonne. Besides my fear (which fortunately never materialised) of turning the crème pâtissière into vanilla-flavoured scrambled egg, it surprisingly turned out to be a rather simple recipe – and if for some unfortunate reason you don’t like/ can’t eat strawberries, switch them for other berries of your choosing! ‘Tis the season to eat tarts…
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.
Flapjacks are one of the easiest traybakes to make, and should be a staple of any student’s baking repertoire. Smothering them in chocolate is a sure-fire way to make them more addictive (and less healthy) . . . but when you’re drowning in revision for finals/ essay writing, something’s got to give, hasn’t it?