Gallery

Herman the German Friendship Cake

Hello my cake angels,

Today is a very special day (besides being two days til Christmas) because it’s my 1st Bloggerversary. Exactly one year ago today I began this blogging hobby of mine, and I’m sure you can all relate when I say that I had planned to use every waking hour to blog! Sadly my more taxing commitments in life prevented me from doing so, but nevertheless I have loved blogging and discovering other blogs. So thank you to those of you who have either read one, two or all of my blogs posts. Watching my Stats grow over the past year has really made me smile :)

In today’s post I want to focus on one particularly interesting gift a friend gave to me- Herman the German Friendship cake. I thought this would be an appropriate blog post for all the new blogger-friends I’ve made over the past year. [WARNING: If you lack patience then this recipe is not for you!] …When I was handed the bag I was told that the cake hadn’t been baked yet; it was in the form of a Sourdough yeast and it had to be looked after for a number of days before I could bake it. Without a moments hesitation I took Herman home and got myself acquainted with the instructions…

The first stages...

The first stages…

I soon discovered that this recipe was much more like a Science project than anything else- it would be 9 days before I could even bake the cake, and in the meanwhile all I had to do was keep the yeast alive. Simple, right? The instructions read as follows:

Day 1: Put me in a large mixing bowl and cover loosely with a tea towel.

Day 2:  Stir well.

Day 3: Stir well.

Day 4: Herman is hungry. Add one cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well. 

Day 5: Stir well. 

Day 6: Stir well. 

Day 7: Stir well. 

Day 8: Stir well. 

Day 9: Add the same as Day 4 and stir well. Divide into 4 equal portions and give away to friends with a copy of these instructions. Keep the fourth portion. (It was on this day that I found out my friends were not as enthusiastic about Herman as I was!)

Day 10: Now you’re ready to make the cake.

Yep, it’s not until day 10 that you can really begin to get to work on Herman, but by this time it will occur to you that you’ve kept Herman alive, and all you want to do is bake him! Yes, somewhat sadistic, but cake is cake.

The recipe required me to add apple chunks, melted butter, spices and oil, to name a few. After watching Herman bubble up and grow inside the bowl for the past week I was not surprised to see that the cake batter was not so attractive. And so I waited patiently for the cake to bake, ready to expect the unexpected in terms of taste and appearance… Herman came out of the oven like a heavy weight champ, round and firm on the outside and soft as a cushion when cut open. The apple chunks covered the entire surface and sides of the cake, bobbing their heads amidst the golden brown edges of the cake. Some of the brown sugar had crystallized on the cake top, which gave Herman that little extra crunch.  Having used oil instead of butter, the inside of the cake was extremely moist to touch, unlike most ‘common cake’ recipes that use butter and can either dry out or crumble if not baked well. Now, while some may say that this cake is an acquired taste, I shared my cake with a number of people and they all seemed to love it :)   

Meet Herman :)

Meet Herman :)

Though long-winded and tricky for some, Herman the German Friendship cake is a fun and different way to bake. Check my Recipes page for the full recipe, as well as the Starter Mix (if you want to be the first one to start the chain.) Good luck!

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo

Herman the German Friendship cake.

Herman the German Friendship cake.

Advertisements
Gallery

For a Good Cause

Hello cake lovers,

Apologies for another late start to the month, my cake-infused life is getting busier by the day! Today’s post is dedicated to my late ‘Grampa’, Anthony A. Beeko and an amazing charity, Cancer Research UK.

Two and a half weeks ago I took part in a 4K sponsored run to raise money for Cancer Research UK. (I ran the race on 1.07.2012 in 22min 15sec.) and 2.07.2012 was the 5yr. anniversary of my Grampa’s death. He passed away from Cancer of the colon, so this charity is the best one for me to support. I had been trying to persuade myself for the past 3yrs. that I would run this race and it wasn’t until a few months ago that my friend, S, signed up and encouraged me to join her.

I’ve spent the past few weeks encouraging my friends and family to sponsor me and so far I’ve raised £200, £100 more than my target :) Even though the 4K run was an achievement in itself I decided to set myself an extra goal- for every friend/family member that sponsored me £10 or more I would bake them a cake of their choice. (No one can resist cake, so I knew this would be a good bribe!) So far I’ve baked five cakes and I have another eight or so to bake! With every cake I’ve baked the money has come from my own pocket, and every penny donated has gone to charity.

The actual day of the race was so much fun- there was a Zumba instructor who helped us warm up; the Mayor of the City came to encourage us, and everyone who participated was in such good spirits. After the race, myself and S indulged in a little post-workout treat of McD’s and Red Velvet cupcakes at the Fallen Angel bakery :) …Don’t judge us, I can feel you judging us! You gotta live a little!

My donation page is still open for sponsorship so feel free to drop some pennies my way. It’s for a good cause.

http://raceforlifesponsorme.org/traceytrace

Love cupcakes & a cure for Cancer,

Tracey xoxo

Gallery

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 :)

Gallery

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gallery

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!

Gallery

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!