A Bonanza of Bakes
Well, I don’t think I’d ever baked quite so many cakes for one event – I was almost, but not quite, caked out! Friends were hosting an Open Weekend to celebrate 30 years of living in their beautiful moorland house and had asked me if I would bake cakes for the event.
With a small kitchen and not that much equipment, little storage and no room in the freezer, planning eight bakes was quite a feat. What would keep the longest, where could I store the finished bakes, what selection should I make and how many eggs and bags of flour did I need were some of the things that went into the equation. I did it over two and a half days so I could enjoy the experience, rather than being in a total stress and vowing never to do it again. And, although the process was not without its drama, I really did enjoy it. It was fun to make a load of cakes that didn’t have chocolate in them for a start – although I couldn’t resist entirely and it managed to creep into three of them. Transporting them to the venue also proved to be a bit of a challenge, but they arrived in more or less one piece, despite the hilly and winding nature of the roads.
The response was positively effusive and I came away glowing from all of the compliments I received. This together with all the other good food and excellent company, a good time was had by all.
Here are the finished bakes. The labels came courtesy of CT. Which one would you want to try?
Pam Corbin’s Orange & Earl Grey Cake from her excellent book Cakes. The orange cream cheese filling that I made with mascarpone was to die for. As you can see, I didn’t make the icing quite thick enough, so most of it dripped off and pooled around the bottom! I was particularly intrigued by this one, but as I didn’t get to try it, I might just have to make it again.
Sour Cherry Brownies adapted from Green & Black’s Unwrapped. These turned out amazingly well considering the poor start I gave them. More on this in a subsequent post.
I made the apple and thyme cake I made last month, only this time I whizzed up the thyme with the caster sugar before creaming to make the taste more pronounced and left out the chocolate.
Dan Lepard’s Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake from Short & Sweet – I managed to try a bit of this one and it was totally delicious light and lemony but with a bit of texture.
Lemon & Cardamom Shortbread Biscuits – the “home made” stamp worked a bit better this time, but I still have a way to go to perfect my technique!
The Apple & Choc Chip Rock Cakes that I’d made to such acclaim a few weeks back were specifically requested.
Nigella’s sticky ginger cake with lemon icing from How to be a domestic goddess.
The star of the show was the Chocolate Cake with apple lemon curd filling and treacle fudge icing. This was one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve yet made – recipe to follow.
PS – Our friends have tried several times to comment on this post, but blogger has been playing up and they have been unable to do so. I’m therefore posting their message here as they wanted it to appear somewhere.
We have tasted good cakes in the past. But this was something else. The surprising ingredients – poppy seeds, earl grey, cardamom, thyme – alongside delicious lemon curd, chocolate, cherry, ginger and the wonderful presentation made these cakes exceptional. They were in a totally different league and our guests were bowled over by them.”