How to Bake - Triple Chocolate Layer Cake with Walnuts

A couple of weeks ago I finally got to catch up with my good friend Nat who recently got married to her English fiance back home in Australia. As I was unable to attend I wanted to hear all about it and see the wedding photos, so I invited a few of the girls around for tea and cake. I was not very organised for this and only a few hours before they were due to arrive did I frantically look through my cookbooks for something to bake. The plan was to make something I haven't made before as its easy sticking to what we know - lemon drizzle anyone?

I thought it best I try bake something from one of the numerous baking books I have received/bought and never used, and the most recent book I have got my hands on is Paul Hollywood's How To Bake. For anyone that hasn't watched the Great British Bake Off (as if you haven't), Paul is one of the judges and his book if full of so many exciting recipes to try along with lots of pictures and instructions which for me is very handy.

This cake is amazing. Its a lovely (not to rich) chocolate cake with walnuts  and brandy soaked sultanas added to the mix. And then the icing is like a chocolate ganache, which then has mixed in more walnuts and brandy sultanas.

Between the 4 of us we managed to finish of a fair amount in one sitting... and the rest didn't have a chance of making till Monday.

Happy Baking x

Dance London Dance at LIGHTBOX

The other weekend, Dance London Dance returned with an amazing line-up at the Lightbox bar in South London. The venue is incredible and is exactly as the name would suggest, many lights... in a box. It was pretty amazing, though I might be biased due to my love of lights... I even got my night flying licence just because I got excited about being able to turn on all the runway lights from the air. Its pretty amazing flying around in darkness and with the touch of a radio button being able to light up 1.5km of runway... how can that not be exciting.

Anyway back to the cakes.

As per usual I was asked to bake each of the DJs a disco cupcake and thanks to Luke Dyson for his amazing photographs.


And as it was the birthday party for the guys from Psychemagik, they got a entire box of disco cakes... complete with sparklers.

Happy Baking x

Charlotte's 1st Birthday

Just over a year ago Pete's goddaughter Charlotte was brought into this world, however from the day she was born she has had a number of challenges; many more than some of us with go through in a lifetime.

Earlier this year it was decided she would need a liver transplant and since her operation she is like a new person and celebrating her 1st birthday last month felt like we were celebrating so much more, including her amazing parents who have been through so much.

Happy Birthday Charlotte!!

For the party I offered to bake the birthday cake and I was very excited to use this an excuse to bake the Number 1 cake from the Women's Weekly Kids Birthday Book, including as well some lemon cupcakes for the adults.

I was quite pleased how this cake turned out and I thought for sure my smarties would not look straight like in the picture; I've never had a good eye for getting things straight. I have confession though, and I don't think anymore noticed, but when you put 2 packets of smarties into bowls, you tend to eat them, so I was a few smarties short on the side of the cake - oops!

Looks just like the picture...

And the cupcakes...

Sam handing out the cakes...

...with his best smile!

The birthday girl...

Happy Baking x

Cake Pops - my at home attempt

I finally got a chance to try out some more cakes pops at home after my evening at The Make Lounge and the thing about making them here was we got to start at the easy bit - the decorating!

I have to say, I do like cake pops as they taste delish and ridiculously cute however they are not as easy or quick as baking a batch of cupcakes or even a layer cake.

As I was doing this after work, I dragged the process out over 3 nights starting the first night with baking the cake.

The next night I destroyed the cake and then squished in the icing (so much fun) and then rolled the 'dough' into individual balls weighing exactly 30 grams each which was then refrigerated. 

The next evening they then need to have the lollipop stick added with a small amount of the melted candy melts so they are set which another time consuming process.

They are now ready to be dipped and decorated and I have to say that I'm generally not THAT creative when it comes to things like this and I like to keep things simple, however I wanted to try making a cat cake pop for my friend who recently got the cutest little kitten, Bubbles...

Isn't she adorable.

I researched the Internet for some idea on make cat cake pops and thought I would have a go at making the ears out of just some sugar paste which I stuck on first before dipping in the candy melts. They didn't look to bad, but then I didn't really know what to do to make them look more like cats and so I dipped the back of the head in some chocolate sprinkles, however I think this just made them look like cat with bad mullets.

Anyway I tried out a few of the cutters and make some flowers, but to my honest my favourite cake pops to eat at the ones fully immersed in the 100's & 1000's; the crunch when you bite in is amazing! 

Happy Baking x

Buttoned Down Disco 10th Birthday

Last month one of my favourite club nights Buttoned Down Disco hit a massive milestone - its 10th birthday!!!

This club night for me has many memories; the first memory and one of the best would be after heading to BDD alone as I was suffering terrible homesickness. I had just got back to London after spending the Christmas period with family and friends in Australia and was missing them terribly... ever spent a 24 hour flight crying and pretending you are watching a sad film...?

Anyway so my dad told me to suck it up and go and do things in London that will remind me while I am here. One of those things was dancing, however no one wanted to come out dancing and so I headed down to Koko on my own and met up with Pete who was DJ that night. After chatting for a few hours the intention was to go home, but instead I found myself alone dancing to the whole 3.5 hours of Pete's set and at certain parts of the night he let me throw out the MASSIVE balloons to the 1000+ crowd. How did he know I'd be won over with massive balloons? And now nearly 18 months later Pete is now my boyfriend and I'm still there dancing and occasionally throwing out the balloons, I even have some friends to dance with now... go me!

Over the past 18 months I have some other BDD memories, one of which was my ladywife Monica returning to London from Aus just in time for the F**K NYE party. It was a great night, however I bet one of her not so great memories from the night was this moment...

Why was it her worst? Well being the terrible ladywife I am I forgot she has a FEAR OF BALLOONS! She was lovely enough to tell me the day after... sorry Mon.
Another recent memory was my old housemates Ebs & Cam who now live in NYC came to visit... I think the look on Cam's face here tell us he has definitely been won over by the balloons.

To mark the occasion, it thought it was fitting that I make some disco cupcakes to take along. I thought I'd throw some 100's & 1000's in there to represent the balloons... I'm sure that definitely what people thought as they were eating them...!

Happy Dancing & Baking x

Photos by Mark Box