Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Cakes for a Book Swap

Liskeard, amazingly, has an annual arts festival, the Vital Spark. The driving force behind this festival is Lois Taylor, a very talented local dance artist. I say it is an annual festival, but 2012 was only it’s 2nd year and a very successful one it proved to be. One of the many events was an afternoon book swap organised by our excellent local bookshop. To make it even more convivial, I was asked to provide cake. Cake and books combined? It doesn’t get much better than that and I was easily persuaded.

Of course the big questions were what to make and how much to make? I had no idea how many people might turn up to this event – might be two (my wonderful mother and lovely friend who very kindly came along to make tea) or twenty or a lot more?

After much dithering, I went for six bakes, trying to get a good contrast in flavour, size, colour and texture as well as a gluten free offering just in case.

Jean had a good tip on her blog Baking in Franglais; in her experience, Coffee & Walnut was always the most popular cake for this type of thing. So, I made a large coffee & walnut cake using my go to recipe from Gaia’s Kitchen by Julia Ponsonby. Jean was absolutely right, this was the first one that people went for and the first one to disappear. I was told by a reputed coffee & walnut cake aficionado that it was a very “good” one.

Next in popularity were the Matcha & White Chocolate Cupcakes that I’ve already posted about. I wanted something unusual that might become a talking point. I managed it with these: what is matcha? What is the green colour? Green tea in a cake? Luckily, people were not only intrigued enough to try them but thought they were delicious too – phew!

The gluten free contribution was a chocolate & raspberry polenta cake and I shall be posting about this at a later date. I am so glad I made it as there was indeed someone there who was gluten intolerant and she was absolutely thrilled to be catered for, stating that she normally just had to watch others eat cake and there was never anything for her.

French honey & marmalade cakes also made an appearance. I’ve become a real fan of  these Nonnettes, since I first made them at the end of last year. They are egg free and totally delicious. This time I omitted the white chocolate, as I did feel some sort of chocolate balance was in order! And they were still delicious.

Brownies just had to make an appearance. As my all time chocolate cake favourite, no cake event is complete without them. This time it was peanut butter brownies and I shall be posting about them at a later date.

Lastly, but by no means least, were lemon and poppy seed cake slices – the same ones that I had made back in October last year for the very same friend who runs the bookshop.

The turn out was somewhere between thirty and forty people in the end. It was a hugely enjoyable experience and most of the cake disappeared which was highly gratifying. In fact I was beginning to worry that CT wasn’t going to benefit at all, but with five pieces left, my pride was in tact and CTs belly assuaged. It was lovely to get such good feedback from the participants who all seemed to have a very enjoyable time of it.

39 Comments

  1. hungryhinny

    29th March 2012 at 3:54 pm

    That looks like an awesome spread of cakes! I’m surprised about the coffee and walnut cake being the favourite, not that I doubt it was delicious but I think I must have a picky bunch of friends as coffee and nuts are probably the top two things people tell me they don’t like!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      29th March 2012 at 4:26 pm

      I’m with your friends and am not a fan of coffee. Weirdly CT doesn’t like coffee but does love coffee & walnut cake, so I often make it for him as a birthday treat.

      Reply
  2. Susan's blog

    29th March 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Lucky Liskeard folk for benefitting from your imagination and baking prowess…it all looks very good indeed! x

    Reply
    • Choclette

      29th March 2012 at 4:29 pm

      Susan thank you, you do say the nicest things. Not feeling as though Liskeard folk are particularly lucky at the moment, just found out today two more shops have closed down AND they are the ones where I buy my baking supplies such as local eggs, flour, salt & milk amongst many other things.

      Reply
  3. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    29th March 2012 at 4:56 pm

    this is just like cake porn… and the next one is a sexy chocolate number… isn’t she just marvellous!… I love all the cakes!… coffee cake is a big seller at Gunby Hall so I can imagine it being popular over your way too… luckily I like it… carrot cake is the next big one too (I think people think it’s slightly healthy!)… nice work C!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      29th March 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Dom, you don’t think I can convince people that chocolate cake is good for them?

      Reply
  4. Green Dragonette

    29th March 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Have to say I do like a good coffee and walnut cake…

    Well done you on the event-all the cakes sound absolutely fab!!!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      30th March 2012 at 7:56 pm

      Thank you GD, it’s just as well really that we don’t all like the same thing, life might get terribly dull!

      Reply
  5. A Trifle Rushed

    29th March 2012 at 7:57 pm

    What a fantastic treat for all the people attending, (and a great event!) your amazing to have baked all those fabulous cakes. I’m very impressed. Jude x

    Reply
    • Choclette

      30th March 2012 at 8:00 pm

      Thank you Jude. Ridiculously, I felt rather nervous to begin with, but those wore off as soon as I started to get feedback!

      Reply
  6. cakeboule

    29th March 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Wow 6 bakes! Impressive all of them and I am glad it went well for you. The gluten free one caught my eye do you have a recipe for that?

    Reply
  7. tea with hazel

    29th March 2012 at 9:46 pm

    all of your cakes look amazing and so well thought out to cater for all tastes and proclivities..if i could only try one piece i would have a slice of the chocolate and raspberry cake because i love the texture of a good gluten free cake..

    Reply
    • Choclette

      30th March 2012 at 8:17 pm

      Thank you Hazel. The chocoalte polenta cake is one of my favourites – it’s quite dense which I like and also has a lot of texture.

      Reply
  8. Lucy, Vanilla Frost

    29th March 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Liskeard has an arts festival? I had no idea. The cakes look fab, especially the brownies, although the gluten free option looks very tempting too. Not good news re the shops though. I found all the empty shops a bit depressing when I was there in February.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      31st March 2012 at 6:19 pm

      I know Lucy – it’s amazing what goes on here really. Today we did a Cash Mob Liskeard which was fun AND we had a turn out of 40 people – our small attempt to counteract the empty shops. Although the two I use for most of my shopping, Taste Cornwall & the Organic shop closed last weekend and I am devestated. A Mary Portas bid has gone in though.

      Reply
  9. Jennifer

    29th March 2012 at 11:45 pm

    What a mammoth task making all those cakes and what a fabulous selection you provided – wish I had been there for a piece of one of those cakes!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      31st March 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Thank you Jennifer – now that would have been just lovely.

      Reply
  10. thelittleloaf

    30th March 2012 at 6:32 am

    Ooh can’t wait for the brownie and polenta cake recipes – they look incredible! Congratulations on such a feat of baking 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      31st March 2012 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you Little Loaf. The polenta recipe is already on my blog, once of the first things I put up back in Feb 09. The only difference being this time that I used dark chocolate with raspberries. I will be posting about it again though.

      Reply
  11. Jean

    30th March 2012 at 6:59 am

    What a gorgeous selection of cakes. I am looking forward to the chocolate and raspberry polenta cake recipe.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      31st March 2012 at 6:24 pm

      Thank you Jean and thanks for your contribution to the proceedings 🙂

      Reply
  12. Mozart's Girl

    30th March 2012 at 8:37 am

    Well, I wouild definitely have had one of YOUR brownies (even though, as a rule, I don’t touch them due to baking so many!) they look absolutely yum! So does everything else. So funny isn’t it, about coffee & walnut cake? In all the years I’ve been supplying cake shops & cafes, the one thing people always say is that they hate coffee flavour most. And so many people are anti-nuts (always amazes me – people not liking them I mean. Every sympathy with true allergy sufferers. But how can someone just not like ANY nut?? they are so different!) However, as in your case, coffee & walnut cake is ALWAYS the bestseller when it’s there. Bizarre! Happy weekend & lovely post x

    Reply
    • Choclette

      31st March 2012 at 6:29 pm

      You are so right, nuts are brilliant and where would we be without ground almonds for baking? Maybe it’s texture rather than taste that people object too. I’ve heard this about coffee and walnut from several sources now, truly bizarre.

      Reply
  13. Javelin Warrior

    30th March 2012 at 6:23 pm

    This is a fantastic lineup, Choclette! Those peanut butter brownies (and of course the matcha cupcakes) caught my eye immediately and I’m sure you had some very happy folks…

    Reply
    • Choclette

      31st March 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks JW. It was the first time I’ve made peanut butter brownies and they were really good – not quite as good as the matcha cupcakes though 😉

      Reply
  14. cityhippyfarmgirl

    31st March 2012 at 9:03 am

    oh yay! That would have been fun Choc! And doing all the cakes too. Good on you. I’ll bet everyone loved it 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      31st March 2012 at 6:32 pm

      Brydie, it was great fun – having people ooh and ahh over what you’ve made is such a pleasure.

      Reply
  15. Caroline

    31st March 2012 at 5:27 pm

    They all look delicious – everyone was spoilt for choice! My mum often made cakes for cake sales and coffee walnut was always the first to sell out. I have no idea why – I can’t eat walnuts and can’t abide coffee, but it is obviously a universal truth 😉

    Reply
  16. Choclette

    31st March 2012 at 6:34 pm

    C – I just got very confused by Caroline and was wondering who on earth she was? This coffee and walnut thing is a very strange phenomenon.

    Reply
  17. Phil in the Kitchen

    31st March 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Great selection of cakes – I admire your dedication. I’m so pleased that there are now two of us making nonnettes in GB. By the way, raspberry nonnettes work well, too.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      1st April 2012 at 2:40 pm

      Phil, we obviously need to do more to spread the word. I so wish I could find a good book of these types of cakes. When you say raspberry, do you mean adding raspberries or raspberry jam?

      Reply
  18. Johanna GGG

    31st March 2012 at 11:25 pm

    books and cakes sounds like a perfect weekend activity – love all your cakes (except the coffee one because I don’t like coffee – but it seems like there really was something for everyone). Did you pick up any interesting books?

    Reply
    • Choclette

      1st April 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Thank you Johanna. I’m with you on the coffee. Stupidly I didn’t really get a chance to get a look at the books; people were either talking about books to everyone or chatting amongst themselves and when they were chatting they were wanting cake!

      Reply
  19. celia

    1st April 2012 at 6:24 am

    Six treats!! Choc, you’ve been working hard! And it all looks as delicious as it must have tasted, if there were only five pieces left.. 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      1st April 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Yes Celia, CT only just got a look in 😉

      Reply
  20. Anonymous

    1st April 2012 at 11:08 am

    Hi Choclette! I love your blog and recipes! Thank you for testing and baking all these lovely eats so we get foolproof recipes!! I absolutely adore Lemon Poppy Seed Cake, would there be a recipe for that one perhaps?? 🙂 Susan

    Reply
  21. Choclette

    1st April 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Susan, thanks for saying such nice things about my blog – always appreciated. The lemon and poppy seed recipe comes from Dan Lepard’s Short & Sweet – you can also find it on the Guardian website – http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/jul/28/foodanddrink.recipes1

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      4th April 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you so much!!! 😀

      Reply

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