What? You say. Are you actually posting a cake recipe in the middle of August? The answer is quite obviously a resounding “Yes!” Don’t worry, there’s a perfectly plausible explanation for this. It’s #TeaandCakeTuesday – weekly blogging event where anyone can post their favourite cake or dessert recipes and/or photos. One of the things that stuck with me during Blogging 101 (now completed by the way, with a few design tasks still to tackle) is how important it is to talk to other bloggers and readers alike. Years of experience have already helped me understand this, but once in a while it’s good to remember that even if you feel you’re in a bubble, working and writing alone, there are many other people with whom you can connect. So here’s one of my favourite cakes which deserves to be written about and celebrated here, and in turn celebrates all those hard-working folks brave enough to blog and/or vlog. It’s not as easy as it seems people.
A few weeks ago I was invited to a friend’s house. It was already sweltering hot but the day before, as a result of my Facebook status at the time, and a special request for it, I baked some chocolate chip cookies. I never ever regret baking, especially for others and it’s only good manners to take something with you when someone welcomes you to their home. And you know the drill, for good friends I would do that and more. Another friend of ours made the most delicious rice salad I’ve ever had, with the freshest mozzarella and seafood. Bringing dessert was the least I could do.
Writing about some of my favourite cake recipes at the end of every April has become a sort of tradition here on C&T. It’s my birthday later on in the week so it’s kind of themed, at least for me! It started a few month after the birth of this blog, when people started asking me about the cake or cakes (because yes, there were times when I made more than one) I usually make for the day. I try to vary as much as possible, but I can happily say that more often than not there’s always a copious amount of chocolate involved.
It’s been a while since I posted a recipe for chocolate cake. Now I can tell you that I have another one for you coming soon, apart from this one of course. I don’t know about you but there are times when only chocolate will do and for me there’s no better way than a good homemade sweet. I have said before and will say it again that I am one of those few who still resists adding salt to chocolate. True: salt enhances the taste of everything. However I believe that if you use good quality strong dark chocolate you don’t need anything else. I also find it drying. And contrary to what many in the industry say, I don’t find chocolate without salt to be flat in taste. Also, I have found adding coffee to be totally unnecessary. These sound like fads to me. And if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.
Since the countdown to Christmas is now in full swing, I thought that a recipe for shortbread is now in order. This is one of my go-to things to bake when I am invited at someone’s home. Reasons being: I definitely don’t need to spend a fortune for gifts, I can make it easily up to two days before the event (it will keep wonderfully well if stored properly), it can be easily transported anywhere without becoming a mess when travelling, and the recipe can be varied according to any flavour you want. I have once tried it with lavender and lemon zest. It was the nicest thing I have ever had. It’s a win-win situation all round.
This week is turning out to be a good one, which considering the circumstances of the previous weeks and days, this in my eyes is quite an achievement. One of the highlights is that I managed some baking. Big whoop you say. Well for me it is. The real kind of baking – the one where I creamed sugar and butter, and mixed in eggs and flour. Not all baking has to be like that mind you, and I sure am a massive advocate for simple bakes. (I have such a great recipe coming your way in the coming weeks which is the personification of simplicity. Watch out for that. Hint: you’ll get so many brownie points if you make it for your friends, you wouldn’t believe.) Baking makes me feel cozy and makes the environment more familiar. I need that in my life right now. It’s as though I’m making friends with my old kitchen again. Not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.
One of the things I get asked for most by friends and family are good recipes for muffins. Now this is quite tricky for me because I’ve had my issues when it comes to baking the little beauties. I’m not referring to this recipe in particular – these have been a total success. I blame my inability to get used to different ovens quickly and efficiently. The oven in our flat in Woking was very powerful and loads of muffins were burnt! The one in Guildford had a smaller wattage (or whatever you call it) so things took longer to bake. Now I’ve returned to a gas oven and to test it I’m finding myself making loads of pizzas. Some have come out with black bottoms, whilst others have been spared, and ended up in our bellies.