Jolly Jubilee!

As with most things in life I like to take my time, hence why this post is three weeks late!

Earlier this month the UK celebrated the Queen’s 60th Diamond Jubilee. The UK took patriotism (real word?) to a whole new level with Union Jack flags draped over cars; clothes and accessories were adorned with the faces of the Royal family, and we were lucky enough to have a four-day-weekend of fun-filled festivities!


It rained for the most part of the weekend but this did not stop the nation from gathering to watch the Thames water Pageant and the Jubilee concert, which featured the likes of Dame Shirley Bassey, a rather raunchy Grace Jones, the legend that is Stevie Wonder, Kylie Minogue and Ed Sheeran to name a few.

Face painting at the Jubilee party

Jubilee baking

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that I was most excited about the food! The nation had planned to have street parties and barbeques but the bad disgusting weather meant the fun got moved indoors. My Mother had the food aspect covered and so I was delegated with the dessert- I spent eight hours baking traditional British Scones, Victoria Sponge cakes and Carrot cakes (Recipes to follow in due course) for our Jubilee Party. Scones and Victoria Sponge in particularly, are widely associated with British tea parties and I thought they would be perfect for this jubilant occasion. Other guests brought muffins, cupcakes, sandwich cakes and cookies; it was the perfect fix for my sweet tooth. I’ll let the photos speak for them self. God Save the Queen.

Love & Angel cake,

Tracey xoxo


All I See is Red!

Happy Thursday Followers!

In today’s post I’d like to conclude my baking discoveries of NYC by talking about Red Velvet cake *drool*

Aunty's RedV

FACTS: Red Velvet cake derives from the same group as the Devil’s Food Cake; the dark colouring and richness of the cocoa flavours are much like its cousin cake, originating in the United States in the early 1900’s. Previous recipes included ingredients such as cocoa, baking powder and whipped egg whites, whereas modern adaptations of the recipe omitted the whipped egg whites and required squares of chocolate to be dissolved in boiling water and soda, before being added to a mixture of sour milk and eggs. (At this point it was known as the ‘Philadelphia Red Cake’) By the late 1960’s the red coloured cake (then called the ‘Red Carpet Cake’) soared to popularity with feature articles in the Washington Post and Spokesman-Review newspapers. The red food colouring, buttermilk, cocoa powder and vinegar were now staple ingredients in the devilishly rich cake, whereas beetroot was previously used to give the cake a natural red colour. As the recipe progressed and was adapted, the red food colouring replaced the beetroot to give the cake a brighter appearance! The southern part of the United States were renown for making the traditional Red Velvet cake, and its reputation plummeted when it made an appearance as an armadillo-shaped groom’s cake, in the 1989 movie Steel Magnolias.

Having watched countless episodes of Cupcake Wars I had seen the bakers turn out racks upon racks of traditional Southern Red Velvet cupcakes before I decided to turn my whisk to this recipe too. The deep red colouring of the cake, its spongy appearance, and the thick, white cream cheese frosting was enough to have me clawing at the television screen!

One of the things I love about Red Velvet cake is the cream cheese frosting; there have been countless times when I’ve described the cake to people and they wrinkle up their nose at the thought of cheese spread over a cake. Let me reassure you that when made the right way this frosting will send you into a food coma! Striking the perfect balance between the cream cheese and icing/confectioner’s sugar is a matter of trial and error, but when that balance is found, Aaaah Heaven! For many people the red appearance of the cake is another turn-off, but having grown up in a household where it was perfectly acceptable to eat pink and green coloured cakes I had no fears whatsoever!

Initially I was slightly apprehensive about the ingredients that went into the cake, e.g. buttermilk, white vinegar- it seemed a little kooky to me, but the image of the cake was ingrained on my mind and I was determined to give it a shot. Lo’ and behold the cake was a big hit and I’ve been addicted ever since. Here’s a shot of the first Red Velvet cake I made, circa July 2011.

The first of many!

During my time in NYC I was overjoyed to be surrounded by Red Velvet cake at every street corner (okay, slight exaggeration but it definitely felt that way!)

Red Velvet cake

I spotted four tiered Red Velvet cakes in a restaurant window, I ate Red Velvet macaroons at a Bridal Shower; I devoured the latest creation of Red Velvet pancakes from iHop, and was even lucky enough to sneak a slab of freshly baked cake from my Aunt’s restaurant.

iHop's RedV pancakes

If this is a glimpse of what Heaven will be like- Lord take me now!

{Keep an eye on my Recipes page for the sacred how-to…}

Love & Cream Cheese Frosting,

Tracey xoxo


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!)


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!