[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!
My life in Lyon was punctuated by visits to the city’s many boulangeries. Had a terrible time battling the infamous Administration? Or a bad day at the office? Need a bite to eat for that interminably long bus journey? Boulangeries are, in my experience, the answer to many of life’s problems. There is, quite simply, nothing a pain au raisin/ chausson aux pommes/ torsade au chocolat (delete as applicable) can’t fix, or at least remedy somewhat. The boulangeries have gone head to head in the Battle of the Boulangeries, and the results (following months of dedicated sampling) are in. (Disclaimer: 80% of these are located in the 6th arrondissement, as that’s where I lived. If you’d like a broader range of top-notch bakeries, check out this post by CatherineRose.)
[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.