Monthly Archives: June 2010

Not just celebrations

I love baking. I love cake. I love experimenting & trying new recipes. Whilst most of the cakes I make are for celebrations – birthdays, weddings and special occasions – I do also make cakes for fun.

This weekend I made a ‘Fraisier’. It’s a French cake, comprised of a genoise sponge soaked in creme de framboise, creme mousselline, strawberries, another layer of soaked sponge and topped with a layer of marzipan.

I should have said above, when declaring my love, that I adore French patisserie. In a recent trip to Toulouse, I went to a cake equipment store twice and I went to look in every window of every patisserie I walked past. When I went to Paris 2 years ago for a hen weekend, I went to a store where I bought two pallette knives. They changed my life. (Incidentally, a friend bought some Christian Louboutin shoes at exactly the same time. I still don’t know who was more excited!) It is my dream to go to patisserie school in France, though I suspect I’ll have to make do with ordering Pierre Hermé’s book on desserts.

Imagine my delight when an email fell into my inbox inviting me to a birthday / anniversary BBQ. ‘I can bake!’ I exclaimed, rather too excitedly to myself. I’ve been trying to think of an excuse to bake a Fraisier for months. (Not that an excuse for baking is ever needed. Certainly not where my friends are concerned.)

The genoise sponge was quite straightforward. It only requires three ingredients – eggs, sugar and flour. Next came the creme mousselline. It’s basically creme patisserie with some butter. Easy, right?

Perhaps it’s a good thing that no photographic evidence exists of my first attempt at creme mousseline. I was doing so well until I added the butter, which split the creme. No amount of beating and whisking helped & I ended up throwing it away.

Well, sad as I was, there was no point crying over spilt creme mousselline, so I changed recipes (google is wonderful), tried again and thankfully this worked. Assembling it only caused a worry that it wouldn’t come away from the ring, but it did (after sitting in the fridge for about an hour) and I placed it onto a board, into a box and went to the BBQ.

A Fraisier isn’t something I would make every day, or even every week. It’s not hard to make, but does require time and patience. It is definitely worth it, if my friends are anything to go by and I will be making it again, along with variations such as the framboisier. And from there I can experiment by adding nuts and mixing flavours.

Cakes are fun. Once you have a recipe you are happy with, start experimenting. I had a fraisier with pears in Toulouse (research purposes, you understand). The world is your oyster, or cake stand. And cakes aren’t just for celebrations, but if you’re having one, what better excuse?

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Coconut and Lime Cupcakes for a special birthday girl

Hello! This is a quiet week at Cake Towers, just one cake and one birthday girl. It’s a very important birthday girl though – it’s me! I decided against making a big fuss, when I have a ‘0’ in my age there will be a fantastic cake (which hopefully I won’t be making!). This year, just some cupcakes and an excuse to try out a new recipe. As it is now my birthday (it has been for the last 35 minutes), I’m fighting the call of the cupcakes. They smell fantastic. The icing tastes divine. I added some Malibu to it (it is my birthday, after all) and they’re calling. They’re saying ‘eat me’.

I won’t though. I’ll save them. At least until morning. At least until I’ve photographed them. I like to have photos of everything I do. It means I have a portfolio of my work. It also reminds me what I’ve done and what I would do differently if I were ever to recreate a cake.

This, my first blog, is going to be short. I’m going to come back soon, I promise, and post a picture of the birthday cupcakes and also rate them. (They are extremely yummy. Very, very tasty indeed. I am a very happy birthday girl!) I’m likely to be quite biased; you have been warned. I’ll also come back with the next installment of life at Cake Towers. Sometimes it’s very busy and I don’t know if I’m coming or going. Sometimes it’s a bit quieter and I can catch up with paperwork, see friends and even have a life!

I’m looking forward to sharing my cake journey and if you have any comments, questions, or ideas of what you would like to see here, let me know and we can go on this cake journey together. Everyone loves cake. Everyone needs cake. If they say they don’t, they’re either lying or mad, probably both!

Bye for now and remember, if in doubt, just eat cake!