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Ooooh Lola!

So it’s officially my birthday and I’m extremely excited, but also slightly nauseous, no seriously I’m nauseous; I’ve been sick for the past two weeks and in the wee hours of my birthday-eve morning I made a turn for the worse. (If you follow me on Twitter @trace_cupcake89 you would have read my rants for the day. But now is not the time, nor place.) As I prepare for my birthday festivities I’ve been fondly looking back on last year’s photos. I thought this would be a good place to pause and show some appreciation for last year’s birthday cake.

The creative genius who baked my birthday cake was none other than the London-based perfectionists, LOLA’s Kitchen. LOLA’s is a well known bakery based in Mayfair, London and run by business partners Victoria and Romy. Victoria and Romy joined forces in 2007 to run one of London’s most successful bakeries, with concessions in top high street and department stores such as Topshop, Selfridges and Harrods. LOLA’s have made a name for themselves by creating beautifully hand-crafted cupcakes, moulded to perfection and topped with mounds of creamy frosting. Their flavours range from Vanilla milk chocolate to Carrot cake, and even Vanilla coconut. Believe me when I say there is nothing LOLA’s can’t do!

What a beauty! The cake I'll never forget!

Prior to purchasing my birthday cake from LOLA’s I hadn’t even tasted a crumb of their delectable bakes; it was not until two weeks before my birthday that I began the mad panic to find a high-end baker. (Yes, in my mind two weeks is last minute for party planning) A fellow cake lovin’ friend recommended LOLA’s and although I had heard of the bakery before, and walked past it a number of times I couldn’t justify treating myself to so much frosting. However, my birthday was more than a great excuse.

So without further a-do let me introduce to you my very special birthday cake (February 2011): Buttery vanilla sponge cake, smothered with chocolate butter cream frosting, and topped with mini vanilla, chocolate and coconut cupcakes. Oooh Lola you make me melt! Thank you once again *raises virtual cupcake* and here’s to many more cupcakingly delicious birthdays ahead!

Love & Birthday cake,

Tracey xoxo

P.S. Check out LOLA’s online to see just how genius they are:

http://lolas-kitchen.co.uk/

Last year's festivities... Looking forward to this weekend!

 I highly recommend you try LOLA’s, I mean look at the pics, why wouldn’t you?

The remains of a beautiful treat <3

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Leaning Tower of Pancakes!

It turns out that we had another exciting Tuesday in the month of February, last week V-Day and yesterday Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day. (If you ask me February is turning out to be a baker’s haven!) All day on Twitter and Facebook people were updating their status about what they were going to drown their pancakes in, what trimmings they would have, and how excited they were to leave work and re-ignite their love with that sacred frying pan.

Flip it. Fold it. Roll it.

Now correct me if I’m wrong but surely eggs, flour, sugar and butter are available to purchase all year round? There are a handful of nations that truly appreciate the beauty of a pancake: A well known delicacy from France, famously known as the Crepe is eaten often, dusted lightly with sugar and spread with a thin layer of chocolate spread. Another famous pancake is the wafer thin Chinese pancake, wrapped around a spoonful of Peking duck, a sprinkling of cucumber and spring onion, and a few droplets of Hoi Sin sauce. Both of these delicacies are regularly devoured in their respective cultures. In fact, even places such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Korea have their own sweet and savoury adaptations of the pancake. (Note to self, learn how to make at least two of these pancakes in time for next year!)

During my last two years of University pancakes were a regular ‘necessity’ in the staple diet for my housemates and I. It is certainly no exaggeration to say that we had freshly made pancakes for breakfast or as a snack at least once a week. Our pancakes were nearly always smothered in ‘Aunt Jemima’s Maple Syrup’, chocolate sauce and a side of strawberries for the healthy kick! Even in my fragile-detoxing-state I’m dreaming ahead to the end of the week when I can treat myself to a well deserved birthday-breakfast, full of treats that soothe and massage my sweet tooth.

Behold, the leaning tower of pancakes!

Despite my week of discipline I still managed to rustle up a stack of ‘leaning pancakes’ for my friends (and I’m proud to say that I didn’t eat a single one!) I delivered them to a friend’s house yesterday evening only to find even more temptation surrounding me, (B’s famous ginger and nut cookies, not pictured). Again, I resisted the urge (I think an applause can be inserted here) and happily watched my friends inhale the pancakes!

Some six years ago on my first visit to NYC I got hooked on the American style pancakes, and I’ve haven’t looked back since. So I guess this wouldn’t be a post worthy of uploading if I didn’t supply the recipe. Bon Appétit.

Love & Pancakes,

Tracey xoxo

 

American Style Pancakes

140g/5oz plain flour

2tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2tbsp caster sugar

3tbsp butter melted

225ml/8fl oz buttermilk/semi-skimmed milk

1 large egg

Optional: sunflower oil for oiling pan

Instructions: Pour the sugar and crack the egg into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Meanwhile, melt the butter on a low heat and add to the pancake batter once melted. Place the flour, baking powder and salt into one bowl and sieve half of it over the batter. Whisk the entire batter and gradually add the milk and remaining flour in parts. If the batter appears too runny, then sieve in a little extra flour until it is a thicker consistency.

Grease the frying pan with a small drop of sunflower oil or butter, and use a ladle to pour a small amount of batter into the centre of the frying pan. Flip over the pancake when it begins to brown, or to your liking.

Serve with crispy bacon and scrambled eggs for the All-American feel; with a side a ripe and juicy berries for a healthy twist, or you can opt for the sugar-holics menu and serve with chocolate chips and maple syrup.

The foundations of the 'leaning masterpiece'

My work is done!

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The Birthday Detox

I recently read an article somewhere that said something along the lines of ‘February is the most boring and dreary month…’ with face in palm and mouth wide open I quickly turned over that page! Come on, boring? Dreary? I can’t speak for the author of that article but February is one of the months when all my best baking happens; Valentine’s Day (see my previous post, ), Pancake day and at the end of this fine month I celebrate my birthday. What could possibly be boring about that? Before the month of January even ends I’m already thinking ahead to what I’m going to drown my pancakes in (obviously the top choice is maple syrup, but I like to dream about the trimmings too), as well as what type of birthday cake I’ll be treating myself to. It’s almost too much excitement to contain. But before I start reeling off various mouth-watering descriptions of my birthday-cake-buffet I feel like this is an opportune moment to grind to a halt and introduce a little something I call ‘The Birthday Detox’.

Some three or four years ago when I was at University I forced myself into a yearly ritual known as The Birthday Detox. If you look towards the top of my blog page you’ll see that my tagline reads ‘I love cake. I dream cake, I bake cake, I eat cake, and now I blog cake!’ excessive amounts of cake, and that excludes all the snacking I do between meals! Now cast your minds back a few weeks to Christmas time and all the unnecessary eating that happens within that season, well my birthday is like another Christmas! I seriously let myself run wild and it’s not a pretty sight. I digress… I came up with a temporary solution to my birthday gluttony, a 7-10day detox and abstinence from cake and other snacks. (If I had real will power I would detox for a month!) This sacred tradition entails purchasing an endless supply of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and other healthy produce. There’s no denying that trading in a slab of carrot cake for a bowl of strawberries or a raw carrot seems absolutely ludicrous, but it’s all in the name of clear skin and a birthday glow!

Stocking up on my antioxidants and the like.

A word to the wise, if attempting The Birthday Detox please recognise that you will come up against opposition and ridicule. Exhibit A, I bought a supply of candies for my piano teacher this week- he offered the bag to me but I kindly rejected saying I was starting a detox. He then told me to get out! Exhibit B, I went to the movies with a friend last night and she offered to buy the popcorn- I explained I was starting a detox and she laughed saying she didn’t believe me. It wasn’t until we were in the movie theatre and I reached into my bag and pulled out a box o’ grapes and a packet of salted peanuts that she took me seriously. Well, she laughed first then acknowledged my seriousness. It’s not going to be an easy week when Pancake day arrives in the UK, just days before my birthday, but I sure as heck will try.

 So fellow cake lovers, please show me your deepest empathies this week when I endeavour to continue blogging about my love of cake while shovelling down handfuls of raspberries, or glugging down endless cups of green tea. I can only muster up the courage to persevere through this challenge with the knowledge that they’ll be a sickly sweet birthday breakfast waiting for me on the other side! 

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo

It's gonna be one heck of a fruity week ;) ...Spot the heart-shaped box of raspberries!