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Silver Anniversary

Today is a very special day. Today is my parent’s silver wedding anniversary.

After a jubilant weekend filled with gifts, laughter, fine dining and embarrassing stories, I thought what better way to end their day than with cake! (With a  varied style of decoration, I used the same cake recipe as I did for my sister’s 21st birthday.)

Mumsy. Daddy. I dedicate this post to you. Wishing you many, many more happy years together.

Love, Wedding cake & Marital bliss,

Tracey xoxo

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Forever 21

Greetings cake enthusiasts,

How many of you remember your 21st birthday? I know I do. Truth be told, a number of years later I’m still trying to tell people I’m 21! One of my sisters recently reached this milestone and I happily offered to bake her birthday cake.

Her choice, Lemon Drizzle cake. Her specification, ‘Make it BIG!’

My previous attempt at Lemon Drizzle cake was not fantastic, it took me more than one attempt to realise that my ridiculously stodgy lemon cake was a result of squeezing the lemon juice into the batter, instead of grating in the lemon zest! Alas! Once I had realised the error of my ways I began baking endless supplies of lemon drizzle, making it a new favourite amongst my sister’s cake palette.

I chose to use a Chantilly cream to layer the cakes as I wanted something that would compliment the sweetness of the lemon cake, without overpowering it. I also added strawberries inbetween each layer for a fresh, summer taste. I made the cake without the drizzle topping, supplementing it with the cream. I’m pleased to say that my sister was more than happy with the outcome :) She loved the cake so much that she offered to illustrate the cake for my blog post. You can find more of her illustrations on her blog; www.jessnash.tumblr.com .

Love & Birthday cake,

Tracey xoxo

21st Birthday cake

(Aunty Kay’s) Lemon Drizzle cake

225g Unsalted butter

225g Caster sugar

4 Eggs

225g Self-raising flour

Finely grated zest x1 Lemon 

Chantilly Cream

284ml (10fl oz) Whipping cream

1 Vanilla pod

Icing sugar (Confectioner’s suagr) to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 180° / Gas Mark 4 and grease a loaf tin.

Cream together the butter, sugar and add the eggs one at a time.

Sift the flour into the batter and mix well on a medium speed. Grate in the lemon zest and fold in with a wooden spoon.

Bake the cake for 45-50mins or until fully baked. {If making a small layer cake, separate the batter into two or three parts. However, if you choose to go BIG, make two batches of the recipe.}

For the Chantilly cream, use the electric hand whisk to beat the whipping cream at a high speed and whisk the cream until it thickens. Cut the vanilla pod length ways and add it to the cream, stirring in the pods with a spatular. Add enough icing sugar to give a light and sweet taste, N.B. The vanilla pod will already add a fragrant taste to the cream so don’ty be excessive with the sugar.

To decorate, spread the cream over one slice of cake (ensure that the cake is fully cooled down) and slice strawberries to place on top of the cream. Add the second (and third) layers, repeating the cream and strawberry process. Refridgerate the cake for an hour minimum in order for the cream to set, and voila!

Layer it up!

Sandwich it together

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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 :)