Tuesday 4 October 2011

A cake mountain....!

 It's been too long since my last post...a combination of being really busy & having my sister and her children visiting from Australia....but I've been taking photos along the way, so it's time for a bit of a catch up! These Blackberry & Apple Crumble Slices were on the menu at The Coffee Tree in mid-September...while the weather was autumnal (it's been in the 80's for the past week....although cooler today)
and then I devised some Caramel Walnut Shortbread Bars...

I halved the sugar in the shortbread part, to offset the gooey sweetness of the caramel...yum!

Another old favourite was on the cake stand last weekend - my most requested cake, Mango & Coconut...

it's the one that everyone remembers....I think maybe because the cake is white & soft & very coconutty...and it contrasts so beautifully with the vivid orange of the mango puree. Whatever it is, it's always greeted with 'oohs' & 'aahs'....which is the sound you grow to love when delivering cakes!

At the end of September, our local council holds a Breast Cancer Awareness day in the town....and for the past two years, I've supplied 100+ pink-iced cupcakes which are given away in the street during the morning. Luckily, my beloved sister Esther was around this year and took over the decorating duties - anything goes, as long as it's pink!

Thanks Est!
Some of the muffins I've made recently were the Plum & Almond delights that I've posted many times before, taken from Ottolenghi's first cookbook (always gorgeous, especially at this time when the plums are at their peak) I also baked these...

Peach & Raspberry Muffins, to use up the last of the late summer fruits. Ripe peaches bake beautifully, I think...

and so I also use them in this Blueberry Peach Bakewell Pudding, which I make as a dessert for a local pub, The Crown

it's gluten-free,too, which I find is becoming an essential option on menus and the market stall these days...so many people have a gluten or wheat allergy or intolerance. This dessert is delicate & delicious...so no one will feel they've missed out!

I was sorely tempted by this Hazelnut Chocolate Shortbread...made with ground hazelnuts and topped with a dark chocolate ganache. (Almost) irresistible - it's lucky that it was for an order. A hole in the middle of the tray is a big giveaway...!

While my sister was busy decorating the pink cupcakes, I was fully occupied too...wrapping 200 Double Chocolate Brownies in cellophane and tying with silver & pale blue ribbons. These were a special order for a wedding...our friends, Olly & Claire were married on September 25th...and these were to be take home gifts for their guests...

they glittered with silver & pastel blue too (it doesn't photograph well, for some reason) Paul & I delivered them in London, in two enormous boxes...200 brownies are incredibly heavy! But the wedding went beautifully, I'm very happy to say...and Claire told me that the brownies helped to make it a wonderful day!

Banana Cake is always a favourite. My niece & nephews adore bananas, which are currently incredibly expensive in Australia (they are grown there in the Northern Territory & the crop has been badly affected by weather this year) So while they were here, they ate as many as they could! I was left with some overripe ones in the fruitbowl...and this was the result...

frosted with cream cheese. Lovely.
Chocolate & orange is such a classic combination (although one of the customers on my market stall was eager to tell me that 'they don't go together, love'!!) and I put them together again for this gorgeous cake...

that didn't last long at The Coffee Tree!

Last Tuesday was Farmer's Market day...I had two fabulous helpers in the shape of my niece, Scout & my oldest nephew, Kip...they did brilliantly, taking the money & sending everyone off with a cheery 'enjoy your cake!' My brownie of the month for September was...

Toasted Pecan & Caramel. It was VERY popular! I even tried a little myself (almost unprecedented!)

I adore pecans (actually all nuts) but one of my other very favourite cake flavours is lemon....

and this was a lemon & poppyseed layer cake, filled with fresh lemon curd...

and finished with a lemon glace frosting. Oh. My. Goodness.!

Almost the end now!! This was a fabulous creation (though I say so myself....ahem)
Coffee Caramel Cake. Coffee sponge, with espresso buttercream and a homemade caramel spread that dripped artistically...

and looked, I think, very enticing!
So that's it - a potted history of the past month. Of course, I baked lots more...but mostly trays & trays of brownies, flapjacks & carmelita bars...not very interesting to post. Let's call these the highlights!
I'll finish with a tribute to my beautiful 9 year old niece, Scout. She was so helpful during the time she was here...usually awake first and always eager to lend a hand with deliveries. She also illustrated some of the labels to go with the Coffee Tree cakes for me...

I created Australia Slice for her, and for her brothers. Delightful children. I miss them so very much now that they are, once again, 12,000 miles and 24 hours away.
But life goes on...and so does the baking!

Happy week to everyone...it's great to be back xx


  1. Yay! You're back! I was so happy to see your post. Look how busy you've been! Everything looks fabulous, as usual! It was lovely to see Esther and Scout helping with the baking. Makes everything seem even more special. I love the breast cancer awareness cupcakes that Esther decorated and the label Scout designed. So sweet of you to name the Australia slice after the children. I'm sure they love their aunt Rachel and can't wait to visit with you again. Happy Tuesday, sweetheart. It's great to have you back! xoxo

  2. What alot of juggling you have been doing! I could never choose among the offerings. I'm afraid even able bakers around here lackyour flair for flavor pairings. Looking forward to buying the cookbook! Which you are going to write in all yr spare time! :)

  3. Wow, Rachel... Did you ever leave the kitchen??
    Dear Rachel, I hope you had the time of your life with Esther and the kids. I hope to hear all about it over a cup of tea in Barnes:) xxx

  4. What can I say other than that I'm drooling! You have been busy and everything looks fabulous. I can see why the coconut and mango would be a particularly popular one, but I wouldn't say no to any of it.

  5. There's a folk song called the sweet rock candy mountain. Think I'd rather move to your cake mountain. Doesn't that all look sublime. The chocolate hazelnut shortbread is my big temptation today. I love nuts too. So does Dolly. Recently I read that raisins can be fatal to cats and macadamia nuts also bad. Love the pink cupcakes and also Scout's darling label. Mostly tho I'm sitting her puzzling just how much 200 individually (wow) wrapped brownies weighs. Probably the same as I do. And now we know where my avoirdupois comes from!

  6. OH doing the math. I must weigh more. This is a dark dark day.

  7. Are the cupcakes supposed to look like...?

    Oh, I want to try EVERYTHING! I cannot wait to see what's in store for this month on this blog and what you are going to bake for Halloween.

  8. I have hopes that my posting problem is solved and you can know how much I love your posts, Rachel!! You are such an expert baker...and dear sister...and sweet auntie!! I forgot to mention how much you do for charities and what a big heart you have!!! Lots of love and hugs, Sherry xxxx

  9. oh! you make me want to get in the kitchen and bake, Rachel :) but, alas, it's 10:30 here on PEI :) Tomorrow might be great
    everything looks delicious,
    love the breast cancer cupcakes too :)
    thanks for posting for us,
    Denise of Ingleside

  10. Rachel, Oh how I've missed you....what an unbelievable collection of sweet treats....I was thinking the same thoughts, I believe about the pink cupcakes....pretty cute there Esther!!!

    Favorite dessert for me? Well, of course I'd LOVE to try the gluten free one you've created. That just sounds perfect....but if I could, I would indulge in the poppyseed lemon....the combination is utterly enticing and I love both!!!! I know you had such a delightful time of it all....what a wonderful visit!!!! So sweet to have dear Scout be an auntie's helper in the kitchen department....her sweet label is a winner!!!! I know that the routines of everyday baking will have you back into the swing of things soon, but the memories, dear Rachel, remain forever! Thank you for sharing!

  11. I can vouch for everything being delicious! I don't really like brownies, but the pecan caramel were divine, and a favourite of Rachel's eldest nephew, along with everything else! A wonderful joyous time xxxxxxxxxx


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