Let the cakes begin

Wedding cake, pre baking

A crate load of unhealthy stuff

Tonight MrFoxyBakes and I went to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for our wedding cake. As you can see, it’s a crate full and this doesn’t include some of the icing I already have and I realised I also need lemons and raspberry jam. That will have to be bought next week then.

In the crate is 2kg of white chocolate, 3 kg of flour, 1.5 kg of sugar and 800 gr of dark chocolate, amongst other things. Oh, and almost 2kg of butter. Basically, a heart attack in a crate.

This crate of bad goodies means two things: 1) our wedding is approaching fast, 2) I really now have to make this cake. So, Sunday will see the start of the hydrangea petals being made and then next weekend I will start the actual baking and decorating. I will post photos of my progress and I might give you a sneak peek of the end result before the wedding…


The Great British Bake Off – Week 3

So yes, no Bake Off post last week. My week got slightly side-tracked by wedding planning stuff and a weekend away to see friends. Also, I don’t know much about bread and was just simply in awe of the 8 plat bread!

Anyway, it’s tart week this week, something I’m looking forward to. This post is written during the show, because otherwise I fear I won’t get round to it this week.

Before we start, some good puns from Sue. I do like the puns…

So, tarte tatins. I don’t think I ever made one. Although I have made rough puff pastry many a time. I usually make it the cheat’s way by using Nigella Lawson’s Processor Rough Puff Pastry, which works well for me. Now, I do think MrFoxyBakes will like the caramelised banana tarte tatin, so I will pay attention to Sarah-Jane’s tarte… But the marzipan layer on the almond and pear tarte tatin just sounds vile to me, but then I’m not a fan of marzipan. And also, did I just see someone whisking the water and sugar as it was heating up? Oh dear, that’s never going to go well…

Well, some nice tarte tartins there, now let’s see if I can hunt down a recipe for the caramelised banana one.

And now on to the technical challenge, mmmm, treacle tart. I have this recipe, I think. Some clever ways of making the lattice, I will have to remember that…

And I’m sorry to say it, but why is Stuart still in there? Didn’t he make the awful tomato upside-down cake in episode 1? He should’ve gone then… But hey, go James, I like him!

Oh, fruit tarts for the showstopper. Let’s see what they come up with!

Oh, James, macarons, you brave brave man! And liking the sound of Sarah-Jane’s tart with cassis jam. Yum! Seeing all these tarts makes me want to have tart. I’m off to Paris in a few weeks, and I may just eat my bodyweight in tarts. And that’s a helluvalot of tarts!

Stuart’s tart looks amazing though… something I would’ve made, probably. Maybe he deserves to be still in after all… He’s just not consistently good.

Now, who will be star baker? My bet is on James. And I think Victoria will go.

And I was right.

So, next week? Oooh, desserts. A nice distraction from what undoubtedly will be a week of making sugar hydrangeas for my wedding cake…

The Great British Bake Off – Week 1

So, tonight was the first week of series 3 of The Great British Bake Off on BBC 2. This is the highlight of my summer and I always find it inspiring. I applied this year, but I soon realised I’d be way way way out of my depth.

Anyway, I took a few things from this week’s challenges:

  1. I really fancy some apple-toffee upside down cake
  2. Tomato cake is just plain wrong
  3. Blue sponge should be forbidden
  4. A cupcake shape within a cake is genius
  5. I hate cream and fruit together
  6. I really must expand my baking repertoire

I don’t have a favourite just yet, but there are some talented bakers in this series. Bring on next week!



The Great British Bake off is back!

It’s the moment I think most home bakers are waiting for: BBC’s Great British Bake Off. And it’s back. It starts tonight. This programme fills my soul with joy and eventhough I am slightly bitter I didn’t get in this year, I am so looking forward watching it.

Apparently, they have more challenges than ever before and I can’t wait! I will try and blog about it every week. It will keep me from being too occupied about my upcoming nuptials next month and the wedding cake I shall be making.

So, tune in tonight, 8pm, BBC Two.

In search of the perfect macaron – Part II

Chocolate macarons

Chocolate and salted caramels macarons

Not an easy journey really, the search for the perfect macaron. A tasty one? Most certainly, but filled with frustration at cracked domes, no feet, not holding the colour, not rising, too dry, undercooked, you name it!

So, last weekend I decided to have another go. I googled various chocolate macaron recipes and stumbled upon a little tutorial by Paris-based pastry chef David Lebovitz. I have been reading his website a lot as I’m planning a short trip to Paris next month and he has amazing knowledge on where to get the good stuff, i.e. patisseries.

So, I followed his instructions, although I let them sit for half an hour or before I put them in the oven. And ‘lo and behold, they came out looking beautiful!!!

I made a lovely salted caramel buttercream to fill them with and one of my friends stated they were ‘just like the ones from the posh shop’. She means Pierre Hermé. Well, probably not *that* good, but they were pretty tasty.

I will use this recipe again and see if I can adjust it for non-chocolate macarons. I just need to find a way to keep any colours looking vibrant as so far all my coloured macarons have gone all pale, despite them looking bordering on neon in the mixer…

So, I’m overall pretty pleased with the result and I found that piping the filling makes them look even prettier!