Saturday 13 August 2011

Holidays & Quiet Times...

The summer holiday period is a strange one....the town feels very quiet (we are not in a tourist area)...parking is easy, the streets relatively queues in the shops...I love being at home during August. The Coffee Tree, though, is very busy right now...lots of children around, of course, and it is very close to the County Museum & attached Roald Dahl Gallery which makes it a prime spot for a lovely cup of coffee & a slice of something sweet...which, of course, is where I come in! I try and make a few more child-friendly cakes during this this cake, for instance! I call it 'Proper Chocolate Cake' because that's what it really is ...a dense, moist confection filled with my special whipped buttercream and topped with milk chocolate glaze...

The pastel M & M's are from my tin of decorating treats...if any 'special edition' sweets come into view, I buy them and squirrel them away in this tin! It's proved so useful on many occasions. This cake didn't last very long this week!
Another really popular delivery were these Treacle Tart Bars...recipe will be in the book but they contain lots of sour cream which, along with the sugarless shortbread base & the lemon, seems to counteract the tooth-aching sweetness of the golden syrup...
When I made this Vanilla Cake I thought of my friend Nancy who lives over in LA...I knew this would be her pick from this post as she loves anything vanilla! Often when I bake I imagine it's for someone special...friend or helps to add a little love to a recipe!

I hope you enjoy your virtual cake, day for real, I promise!

Last week I baked vanilla cupcakes (and a big cake) for a wedding party. I always find baking for weddings particularly nervewracking as it's such a momentous occasion and everything has to be absolutely perfect! The bride had had some beautiful purple sugar butterflies made for all I had to do was provide the background! I think I did ok...:-)
And that brings us to this well as 3 Cheese Scones (cheddar, gruyere & parmesan) and Date/Coconut Bars I also walked through the mizzly rain towards the Coffee Tree with...
Harvest Cake, which is basically a light fruit cake (I also added dried sour cherries for some contrast) with cinnamon & a crunchy demerara sugar keeps very well and is perfect on a rainy day such as this with a steaming cup of tea. Also, inspired by the blogpost of my good friend Hummus Boy in which he described the wonderful Orange Polenta Cake his wife made recently (which, I suspect was from a recipe in the first Ottolenghi cookbook!) I made one myself..

It really is a beautiful cake...caramelised orange slices on top and a rich almond/polenta sponge below. A delicious way to start the weekend! I hope yours is filled with good things too xo


  1. Wow, they all look so brilliant Rachel. I can't choose I don't think, but if pushed I'd have the date/coconut bars. Anything with dates and coconuts! You are a wonderful baker xxxxxxx

  2. Mmmh, orange polenta cake! And chocolate cake!
    Divine. :)
    Thinking of you dear!

  3. I am going to be ridiculously repetitive: this looks delicious! Interesting idea the polenta/sponge cake.

  4. Ahhhhh I'm so touched to be your inspiration for anything. And everything looks so wonderful. The cupcakes do make my heart go pitta-pat more than that sweet sweet cake tho. And I want the cheese scones right now since I'm just waking up. You always make me hungrier, admittedly not hard to do, but in the best way possible! ♥

  5. Dear Rachel,
    If I had to pick just one to sample, it would have to be the orange polenta cake. It looks gorgeous and is very uncommon, at least,where I'm from. I also love the name of your chocolate cake...Proper Chocolate fitting! I am sure the children (and adults) couldn't resist! Enjoy the rest of your summer sweetie! xoxo

  6. I shouldn't be looking at all these wonderful confections but I can't help myself. You are a master baker Rachel. They all look so wonderful how could I choose. Must have a nibble of each one.
    Your Proper Chocolate Cake is so pretty and tall. Is it three layers. Hmmm, I can imagine how divine it would be with a cup of coffee. Or I'll have one of those cheese scones with a cup of tea. I'm sure I am going to dream about sweets tonight sweetie!
    Wonderful and usual ♥♥♥

  7. Dearest Rachel,
    This is just such an amazing collection of goodies and treats!! I LOVE the names of all of the things and I also adore how the 'seasons' change and needs change and how you anticipate the needs and changes and bake for each......I simply just LOVE that!!
    As always, I am humbled by all of the beautiful things you create and await your cookbook.....

    Love from Colorado,


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