I can't quite believe it has been a full year since I set up my little bakery in Belfast. I can't begin to describe the satisfaction it has given me, how proud every risk I have taken has worked out (so far, call it luck!) and how good it feels to be my own boss. How nice it feels that I sold out today of nearly 500 cupcakes at our birthday party. Most of all, I appreciate all of the smiles and the joy people get from my little cakes. Thanks so much for my best friend Sarah Kane for taking these wonderful photos. Sometimes it takes me to see myself through another person's lens to step back and realise how happy I am with my work.
The title of this post makes me giggle, my old username on everything used to be lovecat, I can imagine how much teenage woe is buried under that name! Ali and I had a very rare day off together yesterday so we decided to make the most of it. He works weekdays and I work most weekdays and all weekend so we never have a full stretch of a day off. I have Easter Sunday off though, can't wait for that!
Ali drove to the shop and got us pastries for breakfast, yum! We had planned to get up and take the dogs (we're dogsitting our lovely pals puppy) to the beach so even though it was pouring we put on our coats and off we went. My sisters came with their dogs as well, so we had 4 of the nutters running around. I didn't take my camera because of the rain, and it was insanely windy as this photo demonstates! Ali made this on his phone, check out those ears!
Helen's Bay, N.Ireland.
We got back, had some lunch and lounged around for a bit, I baked a cake and then we got ready and took ourselves out to La Bastille, a French restaurant on the Lisburn Road in Belfast. We'd been a few times before and completely loved it, and there was a 2 for 1 deal on so we decided to treat ourselves (Treat yo self!). I wore my new cat dress from topshop. I basically love it, it's been hastagged as #catboobs since I first put it in, meow! It's actually sleeveless but I wore a thin black tshirt underneath.
Dress - Topshop
Boots - Topshop
It looks like I have some weird collar on, I don't - it's my hair haha.
Dinner at La Bastille, Onion Soup, Fillet Steak, Chocolate Tart - divine!
This is a simple (but indulgent) cake so I will keep this post simple! It's probably the easiest cake I have ever posted on here, so you really cannot go wrong. It's wonderfully moist, the frosting I was very dubious about due to the lack of butter but it is delicious and so light. A really nice contrast to the sponge. If you are put off by the guinness, don't be. It's not a strong taste, but it brings out the depth of the chocolate flavour. There's no need for torting or for fancy buttercream techniques - just good, tasty cake! A day late for St Patrick, I know! But hopefully it's worth it :)
For the cake
250 ml guinness
250 gram(s) unsalted butter
75 gram(s) cocoa powder
400 gram(s) caster sugar
142 ml sour cream
2 medium egg(s)
1 tablespoon(s) vanilla extract
275 gram(s) plain flour
2.5 teaspoon(s) bicarbonate of soda
For the topping
300 gram(s) cream cheese
150 gram(s) icing sugar
125 ml double cream (or whipping cream)
1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C, and butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
3. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
4. When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsieved icing sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
5. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.
I came up with this very special cake for my most special person, Ali and I had some celebrating to do last week and it warranted some of his favourite things in a cake! I kind of made this up as I went along, and it really worked! It was delicious. Be warned that the Marshmallow Fluff will ooze out a bit when you slice it, so you could make a frosting with it in to make it more stable but I love it as it is. I'll eat it of a spoon from the jar if you'll let me. Anyway! This is a peanut butter sponge, with Marshmallow Fluff, salted caramel and chocolate buttercream between each layer - topped with more chocolate buttercream, chopped salted peanuts, salted caramel drizzle and chopped Snickers bits. It's deliciously moist.
- 150g butter at room temperature
- 260g smooth peanut butter
- 380g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 240g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 120ml whole milk
- 750g icing sugar
- 180g butter at room temperature
- 90ml milk
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- Marshmallow Fluff
- Salted Peanuts
- 1 Snickers bar
1. Preheat oven to 160c (fan)/180c/350F/gas mark 4. Grease and line 3 20cm tins.
2. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.
4. Stir in the vanilla extract.
5. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour one third of the milk in and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk has been added.
6. Divide the mixture evenly between your 3 tins.
7. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 mins, or until a cake skewer comes out clean.
8. Make your salted caramel sauce, method here.
10. To make your buttercream, mix the butter, sugar and cocoa powder together adding the milk gradually on a slow speed. When the ingredients are mixed, turn the speed to high and mix for around 4 minutes to get it really fluffy.
11. Spread the marshmallow fluff and the chocolate buttercream between each layer of cake and drizzle with your caramel sauce. On the top layer, cover with chopped salted peanuts and chopped Snickers.
12. Serve with a big cup of tea!
Top - Primark
Skirt - Topshop
Shoes - TK Maxx
Necklace - Topshop
I'm totally in love with this Topshop skirt, it was £16 and I think I will have to go back and buy 11 of them because it's so comfortable and this has become my standard outfit lately.
I was very kindly sent these skyscraper platforms (so high and beautiful!) by TK Maxx. I used to shop in TK Maxx a lot as a teenager, digging out unknown brands that were a little bit different (I distinctly remember wearing really bright pink combat trousers that had glow in the dark bits on them - oh dear!). I still love going in for homewares (they sell really good baking stuff!) but rarely get the time to look through all the clothes. I am growing impatient as I get a bit older. Luckily their website is pretty great - I hadn't used it before and it seriously makes the brand bargain hunting a lot easier! There were a few things I would have happily nabbed, but I settled on these platforms in the end. I never thought I'd find these in TK Maxx, so i'll definitely be checking back!
p.s. I haven't forgotten about yesterday's cake Monday, uh it'll just be more like a cake Tuesday night.
p.p.s. check out the inside of the shoebox!
And as usual, here's a song I have been playing lately! Niki and the Dove Y U NO on Spotify?!
Brownies are something I don't make that often, if I'm honest they're never quite how I want them to be! Also, they're less fun to decorate than cakes. These were really yummy. I was exhausted last Monday after staying up on Sunday night to watch the Oscars so I wanted something quick and easy (no jokes you lot!).
I found these on Katie's lovely blog. It's always a good go to for heavenly recipies that turn out yummy stuff every time without fair! Although I love Bailey's, I didn't have any so I used Kahlua instead. It's a total favourite of mine! So Cake Mondays 001 was pretty tough, 002 was medium and listen folks - no excuses this week because 003 is dead easy! Bake and enjoy!
Kahlua Cheesecake Brownies
- 110g butter
- 110g dark chocolate
- 120g caster sugar
- 60g plain flour
- 2 free range eggs
- glug of Kahlua
- 225g cream cheese
- 40g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- another glug of Kahlua
1. Preheat the oven to 150c, grease and line a brownie tray, mine was a 25cm long tray. Melt the butter and chocolate in a ban marie. Remove from heat, add the sugar and stir then leave to cool slightly.
2. Beat the eggs one at a time into the brownie mixture, beating until glossy. Stir in the Kahlua and fold in the flour. Pour the mixture into the tin.
3. For the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese and the sugar together. Add the egg then stir in the Kahlua. Once the mixture is all well combined, pour on top of the brownie mixture.
4. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes (longer if you used a smaller tin/deeper mixture), leave for 15-20 minutes before cutting into slabs.