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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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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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