Parsnip, Hazelnut and Stem Ginger Loaf Cake

Every week, me and my friend/colleague are tasked with coming up with three different desserts to put onto the Du Jour menu at work. This is by far, the best part of my job. It’s something I’ve had to earn; no more monotonous cookie dough rolling, cutting and baking for me! My role is so much more creative now; my imagination is let loose like an artist on a blank untouched canvas. The kitchen is my playground.

Yes, at times its stressful and draining having to constantly be conjuring up diverse ideas whilst trying to choose dishes that motivate and inspire me. I don’t want to just keep repeating the same ideas with different flavours. I need to choose things that aren’t only appealing and delicious for the customer, but also choose tasks that enable me to learn new techniques.

Last week, my friend and I decided to put carrot cake on the menu – fruity carrot cake with creme fraiche, crisp sweet carrot chips, coconut sorbet and caramelised roasted pineapple. Bright, bouncy dishes are back in along with breezy spring evenings.

While discussing this specific dish, my friend told me she’d recently made a parsnip loaf. As soon as she said ‘parsnip’ and ‘cake’; I was instantly intrigued. I had made carrot, courgette and even beetroot cake; but parsnip had never landed in my mixing bowl.

As soon as my days off came around, I was in the supermarket spying out my parsnips.

Don’t think that this parsnip cake is going to be anything like carrot cake. It’s not. Carrot cake has a fruity sweetness that emits from the vegetable whereas parsnips, though still sweet, are slightly more savoury. This is what has made this cake so great to me.

A slice of this loaf cake is versatile in both texture and flavour. The soft moist crumb is occasionally interrupted by crunchy roasted hazelnuts and luscious cream cheese. The crumb isn’t obviously sweet, however the topping and little hidden morsels of stem ginger make up for this.

An easy, quick cake that you cake whip up in an hour when unexpected guests arrive, or just for a mid-week treat to get you through to the weekend.IMG_0965 IMG_0990 IMG_1024IMG_1012

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Lemon & Blueberry Drizzle Cake with Summer Berries

I made this cake about a month ago. I know, I should’ve shared it sooner. Especially since it was such a crowd pleaser with my family. However, work and life got in the way and before I knew it a month had passed. So has the beautiful summer weather it seems. If anyone feels like reminding England that its July and supposed to be sunny, that would be great.

As much as I love this cake; its simplicity, its humble inviting nature and its glorious taste. It didn’t come without its trial and tribulations. This photoed (and thankfully last) cake was actually attempt number three. After two attempts the previous day (my heart breaks at the amount of wasted lemons) I decided to give it one last shot on the morning of my sisters birthday meet up. THANK GOD it worked or I would’ve probably begun to question my ability as a pastry chef.

I have a big weak spot for a simple slice of cake. Add some fresh seasonal fruit and honestly, I’m yours. There’s something about a simple fresh sponge that just makes my heart sing. This beautiful loaf is light but packed with lemon flavour (three lemons worth!) In every slice you’ll find beautiful blueberry jewels, a generous amount of lemon syrup and sticky lemon icing.

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Raw Peanut Butter & Banana ‘Cheesecake’ (Raw/Vegan/GlutenFree)

IMG_6122I love the idea of raw food. The idea that I’m eating my food closest to its natural form as possible and taking in those nutrients with minimal processing. I have done a lot of blending here but I’d much rather eat bananas, peanuts, dates and coffee in ‘cheesecake’ form rather than eating them on their own. This is much more appealing.

I love eating raw but right now, it’s not an option for me to do full-time. I love my hot food too much. England being generally chilly most of the year, hot food is a comfort and warmth I crave and need. If I lived in a hotter climate with an abundance of ripe, seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, I think it would be a bigger possibility.

So I’ll stick with a few raw dishes here and there for now.

This recipe comes adapted from a book my mum gifted to me recently. Its called ‘Raw Cake’ by The Hardihood. It’s a great book full of smoothie/juice recipes, raw cheesecakes, tarts and desserts. A really interesting read in terms of ingredients, some I’ve never even heard of. Collagen powder? Camu Camu powder? This does put me off a few recipes as the ingredients would take more effort to source, but if I really like the look of something I’ll go searching for it.

I chose this recipe because, first of all, I’m obsessed with peanut butter and bananas. Second, it was one of the more simple recipes in the book and included ingredients I already have. As I was tinkering away in the kitchen I decided to add coffee into the base (because one can never have enough coffee) and played around with the liquid consistency in both the base and filling. The filling seemed quite stodgy so I added a good helping of nut milk to thin it out a little as well as adding in a layer of thick sliced banana to give a banoffee pie vibe. Because… BANANAS!

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Vegan Gooey Mocha Brownie Pudding

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When the days are growing darker and the sun seems to be retreating behind the clouds more everyday day, this is what I crave. I know for a lot of you summer is still in full swing. I mean, its August. But here in the UK however, it feels like October most of the days. The rain showers for hours on end although we still have those occasional summery moments but they are few and far between.

Who am I kidding anyway, it could be 30 degrees outside and I’d still want this. Its part of my DNA. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t reach for some chocolate. Lets be real.

So I bring you something that I loved to eat before becoming vegan and as always, anything can be made just as tasty vegan! I went a little crazy and added dark and white chocolate for added indulgence. I also popped in a hit of my favourite organic coffee because coffee always brings out the flavour in chocolate and seems to make it taste richer.

I love that all these ingredients are already in my cupboards and its so quick to make. Perfect when you’re in need of a quick chocolate fix. Just please don’t overbake this loveliness. Keep that centre gooey and a little underbaked. Keep that sponge dense and rich. Keep your belly, mind and taste buds chipper.

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A rich dark and gooey Chocolate Cake for Autumnal nights

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It’s approaching that time of year when the sun retreats into the sky earlier and earlier, leaving us in dusky overcast light before we’ve even sat down for dinner. It’s the time when all you want it to do is hide under your covers every morning and leave the responsibilities shut outside where they can’t get you. Its the time when food becomes more than fuel for your body, it fuels your soul. You yearn for those familiar flavours, smells, comforts that somehow got forgotten over the past summer of raw salads.

I’ve been searching for a cake like this for a long time. A cake that you can throw together without much effort. A cake that has that envious gooey, shiny interior that we all thrive for in a chocolate cake. But most importantly for me, that deep rich dark colour. Nothing makes me ache more for a sweet snack than an intense dark brown crumb.

I can wholeheartedly admit to you that all I want after pounding the harsh concrete pavements of London and slugging through the rain is this. This isn’t a pretty cake. It’s not about that. This loaf cake is about cutting out the manners and getting straight to what you came for.

Although however raw, unrefined or informal a cake like this is; there’s still something ever so charming about it. It’s not a slice of cake that’s ‘too beautiful to eat.’ It practically screams at you to devour it. That said, unashamed, that’s what we shall do.

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Simple Peach Upside Down Cake

IMG_5428After last weeks failed attempt at getting back in the blogging game, (lets just leave it at a humiliated pastry chef forgetting to add sugar into a carrot cake), I decided to return to the ever comforting and humble side of home baking.

6 months have flown by since I last baked at home; it was a strange nostalgic feeling spending time in my own kitchen again. I’m so used to the pressure and robotic nature that often occurs during work that I forget how serene my own calm kitchen can feel. 90% of my time at work is spent time managing myself and how long it takes me to knock out that batch of mousse I’ve made countless times. That, along with an endless mental repetition of what order I’m going to carry out my mise en place for the rest of the day. The other 10% is spent brainstorming and recipe testing which is a lot more intriguing, creative and fuelled by passionate pastry chefs.

My kitchen though, thats a whole different therapy in itself. Its just me and my space. No bravado, no judgement and most importantly of all, I’m surrounded by a sense of undisturbed tranquil. I adore the thirty minutes I get to sit with a coffee, a book and my music waiting for my little bake to finish transforming in the oven.

For this upside down cake, you really want to try and get some beautiful ripe juicy peaches. All the flavour in this cake comes from those sun burnt fruits. This cake is simple, so you need to make a killer sponge and use good quality ingredients.

Sometimes on my day off I just want a slice of cake and this definitely didn’t disappoint.

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Mocha Birthday Cake: Chocolate Chip Coffee Sponge, Dark Chocolate Ganache and Coffee Mascarpone Icing

IMG_3664I really believe that you should make the most of your birthday. Whether you’re 1 or 101, it should be a real celebration. I no longer do these one day birthdays, I need to eek it out for as long as possible. Preferably spanning a week; book a holiday, plan meals, research the birthday cake you’re going to bake for yourself months in advance…

It’s a day to eat whatever the hell you want, wear whatever the hell you want and say whatever you want because its your birthday.

Besides, you’ll only turn 22 once. This day only comes once a year so why not milk it for all its worth? You’ve waited 365 days for this.

I hope you’ve caught on by now and have realised, it was MY birthday. My celebrations consisted of a takeaway in my pyjamas, a massage, meals, a trip to the cinema and a four-day adventure to Iceland (more about that soon.)

It was only a week ago and I miss this cake already. I miss Iceland already. I spent a really long time debating what kind of route I wanted to take. I was torn between a simple apple cake or a really indulgent five layered chocolate cake. After what felt like days and days on Pinterest, I finally settled on this Mocha inspired number.

By putting chocolate chunks into a coffee sponge, I didn’t need to decide between a chocolate sponge or a vanilla one. I got the best of both worlds. A mascarpone icing is a great alternative to butter icing as it keeps the sweetness down. Layering the sponge with rich, silky, chocolate ganache was a no brainer and just needed to happen.

A voila! A twenty-two year old coffee addicts dream birthday cake.

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Chocolate Ale and Pear Cake with Chocolate Sauce (and a little coffee kick)

Chocolate SauceI feel like I’m loosing it a bit recently.

I’ve gone through this before with the blog, but this time its work. During the week just past, I made two batches of sponge that went wrong. Not completely horrendous but still not right. I made Blood Orange Marmalade that was too thick and syrupy that I had to let it down the next day with more water. I then wrapped up some beautiful Green Tea Chiffon Gateaux’s that I had made, only to find the next day that the paper had stuck to the white glaze like superglue and I lost half of them. Continue reading “Chocolate Ale and Pear Cake with Chocolate Sauce (and a little coffee kick)”