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Sweet Like Chocolate!

Happy Monday!

I realise that not everyone appreciates Monday, seeing as it’s the day that tears us away from our beloved weekends, so I thought what better way to cheer you up than with a new blog post :)

It’s about time  I ventured away from the ordinary cake life and started trying something a little more adventurous. Among the very talented bakers in my family I have an Aunt who loves to experiment with crazy ingredients! As family tradition has it, we spent part of the Christmas period dining in her home, and no one was looking forward to dessert as much as I was. We never have the option of one dessert, but at least two or three choices… My gut chose the Salted Caramel Torte. The other two dessert options don’t even deserve a mention, sorry. Hands down, the torte won over my heart from the first bite.

After almost slipping into sugar shock, I decided that I too needed to master this dessert. Warning: this dessert is not for the faint hearted. A crunchy biscuit base lays underneath a blanket of golden caramel, and smothered in a solid block of  sweet chocolate- this sinful dessert doesn’t even require a side of ice cream. Just like my favourite Red Velvet cake, this tasty treat is one of those once-in-a-while treats.

I admit it didn’t taste exactly like my Aunt’s version (I may have used a Milk chocolate instead of Plain as the recipe suggested), but for a first attempt I was pretty impressed with myself. It was a quick dessert to prepare and the only lengthy part was waiting for the chocolate to solidify in the fridge/freezer. (My recommendation, for best results prepare this dessert overnight and serve the next day) Keep an eye on the Recipe section of my blog for the how-to.

Enjoy!

Tracey xoxo

And here’s a little throwback tune for you too. This was one of my favourite songs as a kid, oh to be young again.

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Pastries in Paris

Bonsoir mon petit Croissants,

I come to you this evening with another belated blog update from my recent travels. One of the beautiful things about living in the UK is that we are just a few hours away from so many amazing European cities. You may have guessed from my greeting that the journey I am reminiscing about is France, Paris to be precise.

I took a casual day trip with two of my close girlfriends to the City of Love. We ventured out on the Metro and visited cafe’s, restaurants and Museums, including the famous Louvre where the Mona Lisa resides. We spent the evening enjoying some fine French cuisine in a restaurant near the Eiffel tower.

I always make it a priority to try street food in every country I visit, so I indulged in some freshly made churros after dinner… Close your eyes and imagine hot churros, straight from the oil, freshly rolled in a bed of sugar, and dipped into a side of chocolate-hazelnut spread. Heaven!

The day wouldn’t have been complete if we didn’t stop at an authentic Parisian bakery to pick up treats for the journey home. The sight of golden, buttery, flaky croissants smiling from behind the glass was a treat I couldn’t resist. (Quite frankly I’m grateful that there was glass between us, because if it hadn’t been for that restriction I would have gladly devoured everything in sight.) The plain croissant choice was easy, but then came the decision between almond croissants, baguettes, tarts, quiche and doughnuts- I must have let at least ten people pass in front of me before I was secure in my decision!  I eventually bought more pain au chocolat and danish pastries than I could carry. Tucking into those tantalizing delicacies on the train back to London was a beautiful end to an eventful day. And believe it or not I was even able to savour some until the next day! Pastries are one sweet treat I haven’t mastered yet, so I’ll be sure to add them to my list of bakes to conquer.

Au Revoir mon amies,

Tracey xoxo

Chocolat

Chocolat

Churros et Chocolat

Boulangerie

Patisseries

Quiche et Patisseries

Tour Eiffel

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25.

The end of February is nigh, and another birthday has passed. Another year wiser.

This month I celebrated my quarter of a century milestone, and what a celebration it was!  A weekend surrounded by friends, family and rich foods, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. The dessert-celebrations began three days before my actual birthday. An elegant dinner followed by a rich Red Velvet cake, smothered in a thick buttercream filling and decorated with royal icing and sugar paste… After three days of dancing, eating and *censored* I decided to spend my actual birthday at home, with Mama.

Red Velvet birthday cake

We started the day by making choc-chip-pancakes-with-a-twist. Okay, so really it was the regular American pancake recipe, with a teaspoon of vanilla extract, grated nutmeg and a handful of chocolate chips- but it was heavenly! Teamed with a  mug of freshly brewed Kenyan Masala tea, we were in brunch haven! Birthday gifts and pancakes, what more could I ask for?  It was like Christmas in February!

Birthday pancakes

I’m looking forward to what my 25th year will bring, hopefully it includes a heck of a lot more baking and blogging!

*Raises cupcake* To my 25th year!   

25.

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Gobble til you Wobble

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Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll!

I imagine you’ve all been salivating over your roasted turkey, silk smooth gravy; crispy, golden potatoes and mac’n’cheese (with your side of fresh vegetables I hope!) I thought what better dessert for this holiday than a warm, apple treat. There’s something beautiful about eating an apple-based dessert inside a cosy home, while the chilly Autumn season passes by…

I chose an apple-crumble-sponge-cake, otherwise known as the Apple Streusel Cake. The cake is built on a foundation of light and fluffy sponge cake. Topped with a thinly sliced layer of sweet n sour green apples, and a light n crunchy, golden crumble sprinkled on top. This dessert is the perfect end to any heavy meal; it’s not too sweet that you feel the guilt of gluttony, and you can count the apples as part of your 5-a-day! But if you’ve already crossed the line of ‘gobble til ya wobble’ then you may as well add a side of vanilla or toffee ice cream!

Apple Streusel Cake

Happy Turkey day to all my American friends and family all the way from chilly England :)

Have a beautiful day,

Tracey xoxo

 
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Fourth of July: Blueberry Pie

Blueberry PieHappy Independence day!

To all my American readers, friends and family: I hope you’ve had an amazing day of festivities, laughter and most of all food!

Seeing as today is an American holiday I thought I’d conquer my fear of pastries and give pies a try. Having avoided pastries for oh so long, I realized that I didn’t even own a rolling pin! My substitute: a glass tumbler. (Well, you gotta make do with what you have eh). 

The pastry dough only took me 10 minutes to prepare and the blueberry mixture took me just as quick. The most time consuming part was leaving the dough to rest before rolling out, and setting the pie aside for an hour before baking. Nevertheless, it was worth making patience my virtue…

Out of the oven emerged a thin, golden crust, encasing an abundance of deep, dark, sapphire-coloured blueberries. The berries were complimented by a slight hint of lemon, which gave the pie a fresh summery taste. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, this dessert is the perfect Fourth of July treat …So I think it’s safe to say that I’m going to continue practicing my pie-making skills. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you conquer your fears.

Love & Blueberry pie kisses,

Tracey xoxo

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The Only Way Is Silicone

For my British readers, fear not! This post is not a spin-off of the UK reality show TOWIE. (Nor am I surfacing my views on plastic surgery.) Seeing as it’s a new month I thought I should venture into something different and do a product review.

For the ardent bakers among you, you may already be aware of the life-changing invention of silicon baking moulds. Long gone are the days when you would have to knock the metal baking tin against the kitchen work surface to liberate your cake! And you can also wave goodbye to the days of scraping out half of your cake from the tin, because silicone moulds are the next best thing. Easy to clean. Easy to turn out the cakes. And if you’re brave enough, you won’t even need to grease the silicone beforehand.

I remember the first time I used a silicone mould in my parent’s gas oven and my Dad asked me if I was trying to burn the house down! Rest assured the silicone will not catch fire and nor will your cake, (well, the cake part isn’t guaranteed, that depends on your own baking skills!) Over the years I’ve upgraded all of my baking tins and I recommend you do so too.

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo

The Only Way Is Silicone

The Only Way Is Silicone

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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