Friday, 27 January 2017

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Recipe from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak.

Ingredients - 
250g carrots, grated
100g unsweetened desiccated coconut
100g pecans, lightly toasted and finely chopped
400g vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
400g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks and 4 egg whites
320g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
200g unsalted butter, softened
250g cream cheese
750g icing sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method - 

Preheat your oven to 170°C/150°C fan and then butter and line two 23cm tins with baking parchment. 
In a large mixing bowl, combine the carrot, coconut and pecans. Set aside.

In another bowl (preferably the bowl of an electric mixer), whisk the vegetable oil, vanilla, 200g of caster sugar, two whole eggs and two egg yolks until it is foamy. Add this to the carrot mixture and fold in well.

In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together. Mix into the egg and carrot mixture.
In the bowl of an electric mixture, whisk together the egg whites, salt and the remainder of the caster sugar until stiff meringue peaks. Fold this into the carrot mixture until just combined. Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins.
Bake the cakes for about 1 hour or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave in the tins to cool for about 30 minutes and then remove and leave to cool completely. 
To make the icing, add the butter to a bowl and whip until it is light and creamy. Add the cream cheese and then beat well. Slowly and gradually add the icing sugar and beat on a low speed for three minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for 5 more minutes. Ice the cake and enjoy!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Gingerbread House

Merry Christmas Eve!

Last year, my sister and I made a gingerbread house and it was an interesting experience to say the least. It kept collapsing and icing went everywhere however by the end of the three days it took to make, it was standing. This year, we decided to make one again however instead of making one big one, we made individual ones.

We used a different recipe to last year because the one we used last year wasn't too great. This year we used this one. We made it and then halved the dough and cut out the pieces using a template I made.

The dimensions of the house are;

Roof - 9cm by 14cm
Sides - 10cm by 14cm
Front and Back - 10cm by 11cm with the slanted bits as 9cm meeting in the middle.

We made the gingerbread and then let them cool for a few hours before putting together the sides and front and back. We then left it for a while and then put the roof on and let it set, using glasses to hold it up. The next day we decorated it using sprinkles and icing.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Rainbow Cake

Hello! I'm back. Sorry I've been gone for a few weeks - I went to London at the end of the summer holidays, then I got ill and then I went back to school and have been busy since then which means that I have been spending my time doing my homework instead of baking.

I've wanted to make a rainbow cake for the longest time and this summer I finally made one. I took hours and I had to do the washing up at least 4 times but it was pretty successful (and very tasty!)

I used a recipe I found online and then used a different recipe for the buttercream icing. Cake Recipe and Icing Recipe.

Tip: Crumb coat the entire cake so you don't get crumbs in the icing. I did crumb coat the cake but I obviously didn't cover it enough because I ended up with crumbs in the icing.

Tip 2: Don't try and cut the caramelization from the sides of the cake because your cake will end up lopsided and hexagon shaped (not round). And try and make the cake straight on top because as you can see from the photos, mine wasn't.

To decorate the sides of the cake I made an assortment of fondant flowers in the colours I used for the cakes. You can find the recipe I made in one of my previous blog posts (here).

Wednesday, 12 October 2016


This year my family and I went to London for a long weekend at the end of August for our holiday. We were there for 4 whole days (one of them was my birthday!) and we did loads of things.

I wrote down some of the places that we ate in my notes on my phone however by the end of the four days I kept forgetting. 

We went to the British Museum, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, and the Tate, just to name a few places. 

When we first arrived it was so hot and we went on the tube to when we were staying. It was so busy because we were on a line which goes through Kings Cross and it was 5pm on a Thursday. Once we got of the tube we stopped in a little cafe called Stop Fix and got donuts which were incredible. I didn't take a photo because we were walking and I ate it straight away.

We went out for dinner on the Thursday in a nearby Pho restuarant called Song Que. You can't get Pho in Wales so when we go to big cities we usually make it our mission to eat some Pho.

Later on in the day we stopped and had gelato in a gelato shop called Snowflake. I had coffee gelato and it was very good.

The next day (Friday) we went and had breakfast in a local cafe called Towpath which was located on the canal. I had some granola and apple juice and it was delicious.

We then went into central London to go shopping. We stopped in a cafe called Curator Coffee Gallery and had lunch. I had a bowl of different salads and it was really tasty. 

On the Sunday we went to a bakery called Lily Vanilli which is located right next to Columbia Road Flower Market. I had a latte and a lemon tart. We then later on went to a different bakery which was on the other side of the street. I'm not sure what it's called so if you want to get a cinnamon bun go to a bakery which is on the street which the Flower Market is located on.

We did eat more than what I just mentioned but I've forgotten what and where because 1. it has been over a month and 2. I never wrote the name of the places down.

Saturday, 27 August 2016


Last year on the day before school started again I made eclairs for the first time ever. They were actually successful unlike the time when I tried to make macaron and epically failed.

This time I made profiteroles which are basically eclairs that are in a round shape. I used the same recipe except I piped them into little round things. It made way more that I remembered and since you are meant to eat them the day you make them, I froze quite a few of them. They last in the freezer for about 3 weeks. Last time I froze the eclairs and then forgot about them so we ended up putting them in the bin but this time I have set reminders so that we actually eat them.

To make the chocolate glaze you heat the cream and pour it over the chocolate and syrup, leave it a few minutes and then mix it together. The recipe says to fill them with pastry cream however I just used whipped cream to keep it simple.

You can find the recipe here.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Butterscotch Blondies


I've mentioned the Violet Bakery Cookbook multiple times and have posted recipes from it multiple times because it is one of our favourite cookbooks. When I went to the Abergavenny Food Festival I saw Claire Ptak do a demonstration (I've told this story before) and she showed us how to make these blondies and some Coconut Macaroons.

I actually made these for a tea party we went to because we brought along my grandparents as well as the rest of my family.

These are actually pretty easy to make and you can make them without having to wait for your butter to soften because you melt it. The caramel shards take a while and you have to just stand there and watch but not stir the pan. I might have slightly overdone my caramel because it tasted a bit bitter but I used it anyway and it didn't really give it a bitter taste in the overall blondie.

My blondies took ages to cook (like double the time it said in the recipe) and I don't know why - it might be because of my oven. The top of them also looked a little bit rubbery but once they were fully cooked the rubbery look had gone.

This recipe is from the Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak. 


250g unsalted butter
2 eggs
300g light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
240g plain flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
125g milk chocolate
75g caramel shards (recipe below)


Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 3. Butter a 30x20cm (I used a 20x20 tin because we dont have a 30x20 one) and then line with baking paper.

Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until it is frothy. Whisk in the melted butter.

In a different bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and sea salt. Add it into the egg and butter mixture. Mix and then add in the chocolate. Fold until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the tin and smooth over with a spatula. Sprinkle with the caramel shards. Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool completely in the tin, then cut into 12 pieces. They keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Caramel Shards-


2 tbsp water
150g caster sugar


Place a sheet of greaseproof paper with the smooth side up on a baking tray and then place the tray on a heatproof surface. In a small pan place the water and the sugar. Place it on a medium-low heat and heat until the sugar starts to dissolve. Do not stir it because this can cause crystallisation. One the sugar has started to dissolve, turn up the heat to medium-high and heat until the sugar is a dark golden brown.

Pour the caramel onto the prepared sheet in a thin layer and leave to cool. Cut it into shards or use your hands to break it into pieces. This caramel should be used straight away or stored in a plastic bag in the freezer.