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Stressed Is Desserts Spelt Backwards

Crêpes served with fresh Mango and Strawberries

Crêpes a la Tracey!

Every body copes with stress in different ways. Some become introvert, extrovert, some drink, some shop, and some attempt to take on odious tasks to mask the problems. But I clean and bake. Truth be told I clean and bake regardless, but my best work is done when I am stressed or upset. (I know, I know, I’m going to make someone a very happy wife one day.)

Over a week ago, on Mother’s Day in the UK, a friend of mine passed away suddenly and even today I’m not sure if I’ve grieved properly. (Is it possible to go through the 7 stages of grief in a week? Probably not, I admit I most likely need therapy.) It may sound strange, but cleaning and baking are two stress relief methods that keep me distracted.

After scrubbing the bacholerette pad from top to bottom all week I spent the weekend baking up a storm. I attempted to make crêpes for the first time- they tasted okay but I should have fried them a little thinner, I think I had the-pancake-mentality in my head! Practice-makes-perfect so I’ll be sure to keep making them. I also baked a classic Victoria Sponge cake and Chocolate cupcakes with a candy-cream frosting. 

Chocolate Cupcakes

175g/6oz Unsalted butter

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

Eggs x3

115g Self-Raising flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

6 teaspoons Cocoa Powder

80ml Double cream

Icing Sugar/Confectioners Sugar

Milk & White Chocolate sprinkles/candies- for decorating

Makes 15-20 cupcakes.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees/Gas Mark 3 or 4.
  2. Whisk the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth. (I usually use approx. 140g of sugar instead and the cakes taste just as sweet, but you can measure to your liking and taste.)
  3. Crack the eggs into the mixture one at a time and whisk for a few seconds, avoiding over heating the mixture.
  4. Measure the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into a bowl and sift it over the cake mixture. Sift half of the flour mixture and use a spatula to fold and mix the batter together. Repeat this process until all the flour and cocoa is mixed in and of a smooth consistency.
  5. Line a cupcake baking tray with cupcake cases, and using two teaspoons spoon the mixture into the cases half way full.
  6. Bake for 15-18mins and use a skewer/cocktail stick to check that the cake is fully baked. Leave to cool for 10-20mins.
  7. While the cakes cool, whisk the double cream until the consistency becomes thicker and sieve some icing sugar into the mixture for a sweet kick. Leave to cool in the fridge while the remainder of the cupcakes bake.
  8. Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled, spread the cream mixture over the tops of the cakes and sprinkle with the chocolate candies, or any topping of your choice.

Serve with a fresh pot of tea :)

Victoria Sponge cake & Chocolate cupcakes

Tea & Cake is the best medicine!

A little bit of everything on my plate ;)

Stressed is Desserts Spelt Backwards :)

R.I.P Christina. The world has lost a friend, but Heaven has gained a soul.

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo

How do you cope with stress? Drop me a comment. (Please note, I’m not a psychiatrist I’m just intrigued!)

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Afternoon Tea for Mummy and Me

Mmm Cupcakes

Mini-Victoria-Sponge Cupcakes

Mmm close-up!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing Mothers! You women are exceptional in every way: your sacrifices, love, dedication, wisdom, persistence, patience and provisions are never left unnoticed. There aren’t enough cards, gifts and cake in the world to measure your value, but know that you are loved!

I wasn’t able to physically spend the day with my Mum today, but we did have our usual Sunday afternoon phonecall and she caught me up on how she spent her day. (My littlest sister helped her cook lunch, that’s definitely something worth celebrating because it never happens!) We both sipped tea while I emailed Mum the pictures of the cutesy Mini-Victoria-Sponge Cupcakes I baked this weekend… Happy Mother’s Day!

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo

Me & Mumsy, circa Sep 2010.

Mini-Victoria-Sponge Cupcakes

225g/8oz Unsalted butter

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

4 Medium eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

225g/8oz Self-raising flour

Strawberry Jam

80ml Double Cream

Icing Sugar/Confectioners Sugar

Makes approx. 24 cupcakes.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Whisk the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, and whisk until the mixture is a smooth consistency.
  4. Sift the flour over the mixture and whisk until all lumps have dispersed.
  5. Fill a cupcake tray with cupcake cases, and using two teaspoons fill the cases half way.
  6. Place on the top shelf of the oven and bake for 15-17mins. You can use a skewer/cocktail stick to poke through the middle of the cupcake to check that it is fully baked. The skewer/cocktail stick should come out dry with crumbs on, and the tops of the cupcakes will be a light yellow/golden brown.
  7. Leave to cool for approx. 20-30mins.
  8. Whisk the double cream until the consistency starts to thicken, and sift Icing Sugar over the cream until the mixture is thick and no longer runny. (You can add as much or as little Icing Sugar as you wish.) Leave to chill in the fridge while the remainder of the cupcakes are baking.
  9. Once the cupcakes have cooled down remove them from the paper case and slice off the top of the cake. Use a knife to spread jam on one half and the cream mixture on the other.
  10. Sandwich the two halves together and dust with Icing Sugar for decoration.

 Serve with a fresh pot of tea :)

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I’m A Champion: Versatile Blogger Award!

Last month a fellow blog friend ThingsMyBellyLikes blessed me with one of the best gifts, a Versatile Blogger Award. There’s no refuting the fact that I was shocked, surprised, and excited all in one breath! As a relatively new blogger, with less than 20 followers (although I must say that I love and appreciate my faithful followers), I didn’t ever imagine receiving an award. Naturally I assumed that life-long bloggers with hundreds of followers received such honours, but lo’ and behold I am now among this elite category! (See post, Thursday Thoughts) Call it over-excited if you wish but I truly feel like a champion, hence this awesome song:

So the rules of this award state that I should thank the person who passed it on to me; nominate other bloggers that I admire and follow, and write 7 facts about myself. Here goes…

Huuuge thanks and a *virtual cupcake* goes to ThingsMyBellyLikes the awesome blogger who bestowed this medal on my blog. If I was allowed to pass the award straight back to you I would, because I love reading your blog posts and my belly genuinely rumbles at each post! Awesome writing, keep it up!

  1. Whiskey River BBQ {I recently discovered this blog and I immediately fell in love! It’s about a couple who have recently started their own catering company in the Whiskey soaked BBQ world!}
  2. Tiny Kitchen Stories {A rustic-style blog with mouth watering home-made recipes and desserts. It’s also a handy reference point for vegan and veggie meals.}
  3. Foodimentary {Known on the blogosphere as ‘A Food Lover’s Notebook’, with this blog you’ll never miss a national food day again. A blog full of interesting food facts and daily quotations.}
  4. The W Perspective {Breath taking photography from Penang, Malaysia. This photo-blog has the ability to make me say ‘wow’ each and every time.} 
  5. Without an H {Another favourite photo-blog: self-portrait photography from South East Asia, capturing the heart and soul of each community through a lens.} 
  6. The Middlest Sister {Have you ever laughed just by looking at a picture? Well then you’re in for a treat, this blog uses felt cut-outs to re-live the childhood of five sisters, through the eyes of the middlest sister. Classic and unique.}
  7. Garden Goat Quote {Another new blog that I presently follow, which I discovered through Freshly Pressed. This Super-Mom works a full-time job, blogs, and mothers nine children! Her style of writing is LOL funny and the truths of her daily life are somewhat enlightening on the joys and trials of Motherhood.}
  8. Good Humored {This blogger uses the type of humor that I thrive on, she’s sarcastic, blunt, and has the ability to turn an ordinary story into a masterpiece.}

Okay, so now 7 Interesting Things About Me (Is it ambitious for me to call these things ‘interesting’? *shrugs* You decide.)

  1. BIG SISTER I’m the eldest of three daughters. My sisters are my besties and I love my sisters more than ice-cream, sticky toffee pudding and chocolate fudge cake! That’s a lot of love.
  2. BLACK BRITISH I was born and raised in the UK but my cultural heritage is Ghanaian. The way I dress and speak is a reflection of the UK but my morals, cultural practices, and the way I cook stem from Ghana.
  3. FAITH My parents are Pastors so I’ve grown up in Church. I’ve been a Christian for 12yrs now and never looked back. My faith is more than a religion, it’s my life.
  4. CITY LIGHTS As a lover of food, fashion and all things sweet, it’s only right that I select my top 3 favourite Cities. In no particular order: Paris, London, NYC. Need I say more? (Umm seriously if you have to question this then drop me a comment, but I will be silently judging you from the other side of my laptop!)
  5. BRAINBOX Somehow I have a degree in English Literature and a Diploma in Law. People automatically ask if I’m smart. I don’t know, am I? I have a few certificates to say I’ve passed, but does that prove anything?
  6. LEGS 11 For the International readers among you, ‘legs 11’ is a British phrase for ladies who have long legs. I’m 6ft tall and this causes people to spew out word vomit such as, how are you so tall; why are you so tall; why wear heels if you’re already tall? My answers to the above consist of, Ask God, He made me this way; my Dad is tall (6″2) so I take after him; I paid for the shoes so why are you complaining/I’m not your wife or girlfriend so why are you trying to tell me what to wear!
  7. CAKE-A-HOLIC If you’ve read my Bio you’ll know that I have a slight obsession with cake. The store-bought kind doesn’t quite measure up to the fresh, warm, home-made delicacies that emerge out of my oven. They say ‘An apple a day keeps the Dentist away’, true true. But you should also remember that ‘A cake a day keeps emotions at bay’! Seriously, a well baked cake can turn any frown upside down :) I’m an addict and thats okay.

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo  

Afternoon tea and Scones in Costa Blanca, Espana :)

Afternoon Tea and Scones in Costa Blanca, Espana :)

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Celebrate Good Times!

At the end of last month I had the privilege of celebrating another year being added to my life (or as I like to call it, the Second Christmas- no blasphemy intended!) In my previous post Ooooh Lola! I paid homage to the amazing LOLA’s Kitchen who baked me one hella’va cake on my last birthday. Today I want to show my appreciation and love for my close friend and partner in crime J aka J-Bird!

As a good judge of cake I only wanted the very best for my tastebuds so I called on one of the best bakers I know, my former Uni housemate of two years, J. A month before my birthday I phoned J and asked if she would do me the honour of baking my cake. She willingly accepted and within minutes of being on the phone she had sketched numerous cake designs. (This is the point where I brag and say how blessed I am to have such a creative friend *Aaah* I love my life!) Just as last year I requested a fusion of chocolate and vanilla cake, but without being too restrictive and demanding on J’s artistic mind I left the design and frosting flavour to her discretion. In some instances the average person may have planned their cake down to the very plate it’s served on, but I wholly trsuted J to deliver the best. After our phone call I didn’t hear anything more about the cake until the day of my party…

It arrived in my kitchen in a rectangular-form, wrapped tightly in a protective bag. A few holes had been poked in the bag to allow the masterpiece to breathe, but there was no way I was allowed to peak. The aroma of the cake wafted through the kitchen and overtook the smell of baked wedges and spicy chicken wings. Every time I walked past the mystery cake I attempted to decipher its ingredients like a hound dog: ‘It’s got nuts in hasn’t in J? Almonds right?’ She shook her head and I remained puzzled. (Now at this point I imagine you want me to cut to the chase and reveal the cake in its full splendour, but I’m afraid I can’t do that. You need to experience the very same suspense I felt that day too).

As I looked around the kitchen I saw J hard at work crafting brightly coloured fondant Calla Lillies (one of my favourite flowers) …An hour or so later I found myself spying on the baker once again; by now she had joined forces with another close friend A, and together they were putting the finishing touches to my cake by mixing a thick, creamy, chocolate frosting. (There’s no deying that at this point I was tempting to dive face-first into the bowl of sugary goodness- but I resisted. I know that I’m a cake-a-holic but goodness me I have class!)

The time finally came to reveal the masterpiece and it’s safe to say that I was more than satisfied. I grinned from ear to ear as I feasted my eyes upon the biggest birthday cake that I’ve ever received. A large rectangular block of vanilla and chocolate sponge, smothered in a rich chocolatey frosting, and laden with the fondant Calla Lillies. The only word that I managed to muster was ‘WOW’. I cut into the cake to reveal three layers- chocolate on the bottom, vanilla sandwiched in the middle and another chocolate-lid on top. If ever there were a taste I could liken to Paradise, this would be it.

The cake was so soft and moist that it crumbled on my fork. The frosting so smooth and rich that I couldn’t help but close my eyes with every bite. The cocoa flavoured cake was smooth and rich, and the vanilla was light and buttery. As if I wasn’t already having heart palpitations, J suggested that I warm the cake in the microwave. Four words:Free.Running.Chocolate.River. The frosting melted under the heat of the microwave and glided along my plate, surrounding my slice of cake like a moat around a castle. Dare I say that I was in my cake element and a C.A.M. (Cake Addicts Meeting) would have done me a hella good that day!

I wish it was my birthday every week!

I make no exaggeration when I say that this was one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten. J-Bird, thank you once again :) You made my tastebuds dance, and set a mighty high standard for my next birthday cake! To say that you made me proud is an understatement, to say that you’re my baking-hero may be a starting point.

 

 

Love & Chocolate frosting,

Tracey xoxo

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