Category Archives: cake

Re-inventing the Lamington

2010 Winner

Sorry for the lack of posts again (sorry for sounding like a broken record) but I have been very busy again. I am writing this from my new London apartment which I finished moving into this afternoon. I have been living here for a month or so but in the spare room at a friends place but this week I moved into what is actually my first real flat of my own, fingers crossed the oven works.

My friend Mr P over at has asked me to help judge his annual Lamington reinvention competition and it was a bit of a tough choice. The entries were so inventive and creative, I mean there was even a volcano lamington!!

After a little deliberation I settled on my favourite three, all of which have retained the traditional shape which I thought was important. so for the three I chose

Apple Streusel Lamingtons

Katherine came up with something that sounds just up my alley. I adore cream cheese frosting and apple streusel is one of the best desserts around so combining them into a bitesize chunk is bound to get my attention.

Alfajore Lamingtons

I adore caramel, its possibly my favourite thing. Ever. And dulce de leche, the latin american milk caramel is a wonderful version. Alfajores are traditionally a sandwich cookie and I love the twist of using cake instead of cookie, and I can imagine the flavour is great.

Pumpkin Lamingtons

I was only recently converted to using pumpkin in baking and I love seeing it used in other ways besides pie. The addition of the cranberry sauce makes me think of autumn and thanksgiving and again I really want to taste these.



Carrot Cake

For a self proclaimed pastry geek I read some exciting news this week. Claire Clark the former pastry chef of the world renowned French Laundry is coming back to her home shores to do a pop up patisserie at Harvey Nichols in London (13th sept -18th Nov). You will be able to get afternoon tea (first two weeks) as well as individual purchases. The idea is to serve patisserie inspired by Claires childhood, so things like Jaffa cake macarons. Last year I heard she was coming to London to open her own place but in the end went to work in the Bahamas (told I was a geek). Hopefully the pop up is just a prequel to her opening her own patisserie but until then you could always look up her book Indulge. I bought it years ago and for some reason never baked from it and left it neglected. After I heard about the pop up it prompted me to delve back in and take another look. I’m not sure why I overlooked it because it really is a beautiful book and I actually found lots of things I wanted to make. I decided to try something simpler first, mainly because I wasn’t in the mood to try anything complicated but also because it was something I love, carrot cake. I don’t have a go to recipe and was hoping this might be it. The flavour is pretty good although I would up the spicing a bit as I found it fairly subtle. I was rushing a bit when I made It so didn’t make it perfectly and it was flatter than it was supposed to be be but it was still very good. Continue reading

Gevulde Speculaas – Dutch Spice Cake

So I seem to be on a bit of a continental kick at the moment. My last post used speculoos spread from Belgium, bought back from France and todays post is a recipe for Dutch spiced caked stuffed with almond paste, called Gevulde Speculaas. Yes Speculoos and Speculaas are basically the same thing but from different regions. Speculaas are from Holland and are spiced cookies, traditionally served on Nicholas’ Eve, but are now available year round. Speculoos are the belgian version and the difference just seems to be less spicing. Gevulde Speculaas translates as filled biscuit and that pretty much sums it up, the biscuit component is more cake like and has a wonderful mix of spices, this is then filled with a soft coarse almond paste. It is supposed to be the height of summer but currently it is pouring down with rain and is sweater worthy cold, so this recipe seemed perfect. Continue reading

Chocolate and Raspberry Cake

Yes yes I know I have been a terrible blogger over the last couple of months but trust me the reason will become apparent soon. I know I have promised before to get back in to the swing of blogging but this time I will actually do it. I have a batch of cookie dough resting in the fridge and am making homemade burgers and ketchup this weekend too so some good stuff coming up. I had planned on having a weekend of doing nothing, trying to relax and catch up on some sleep but this cake changed all that. My brother asked if I would make a birthday cake for his fiancé and of course I agreed and because I was making one thing why not something else, actually why not spend most of the weekend baking. Maybe my mind works differently to others but that’s way mine works. The only problem? The heat. I wasn’t the most comfortable making a chocolate cake on the hottest day of the year and in retrospect this was a poor choice for the weather. Even making the cake late a night was a little difficult and uncomfortable, so it’s not the best cake I’ve made but it should taste great. The cake can be kept for three days but in the heat would have to be kept in the fridge, meaning the frosting would firm up so try and give it plenty of time to soften again. Continue reading

Lemon Glazed Madeleines

Its time to say au revoir, I’m of to France, spending a week in the city of lights, old gay Paree. Yes im finally getting out of here for a bit of relaxation and more importantly food, specifically pastries. Im spending a week in Paris and its my plan to visit and sample as many patisseries as my stomach will humanly deem possible. By the time I come back I expect I will have put on countless pounds but I dont care, I plan to enjoy this trip to its fullest. I will hopefully have a post or two popping up whilst im away, if I ever get round to writing them, but I thought I would leave you with a little French treat, the Madeleine.  I have no Proustian (pretty sure thats not a word) connection to them, in fact before I made these I have never even tried one. I know its probably cliched but these would be perfect served with tea as they are not too sweet and just the right size, and if you find yourself eating more than one you can console yourself by pretending there small stature means the calories dont count. Continue reading

Coconut Cake

Can you guess who makes the birthday cakes around here? Yep you guessed right, me, and I love to make them. I really enjoy the challenge of a layer cake so always jump at the opportunity when asked. My older brother had his birthday this past weekend and so I obviously asked him what he wanted. He was very helpful and said anything but chocolate. That might seem easy and straight forwad but if you knew my brother you know he is actually a pretty picky eater. After finally establishing that he liked coconut I chose this cake, once again, from “Sky High Cakes” and thankfully it was another excellent cake from that book. The cake layers are made with the fat/flour method and include coconut milk giving them a mild coconut flavour and a really nice compact crumb (which made for easy cutting). The frosting was also quite different in method as its a cream cheese buttercream where a standard cream cheese frosting is mixed into an italian meringue. The frosting is so soft and silky yet isnt too sweet. The cake went down a treat but sadly I only got once slice before my brother rushed the rest home. Kind of coincidentally I woke up on sunday to frost the cake and woke to up to a thick blanket of snow so had a white scene to match the white snow like cake. Continue reading

Grasshopper Cake

Im writing this having just heard that this cake was enjoyed by its recipients, a message ive been waiting for all weekend because this is the first cake I have ever been paid to make. People in my office are obviously aware I would rather be baking then sat in front of a computer and so at the end of last year I was asked if I could bake a cake for an 18th birthday. After the cake was chosen and made I waited, slightly nervous, to hear that it was good. Thankfully it was apparently great and I was so pleased because it makes me feel that maybe I can do this for a living. The cake comes from my favourite baking book of 2009, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. Its a interesting recipe because it uses a frosting I had never heard of and hails from the depression era in America. You cook milk, cream, sugar and flour until thickened and then beat the butter into this (cooled down) mixture. It uses less sugar so isn’t as sweet but does use lots of butter. Its of course named after the Grasshoper cocktail but could just as easily be called the After Eight cake because its chocolate layers with a ganache filling and a peppermint buttercream. Because this wasnt baked for me or my family and friends I never got to try it but am reliably informed it went down a treat. Continue reading