These days I don’t need much excuse to don the apron, roll my sleeves up and get the baking gear out of the cupboard and last week to celebrate my Dad’s (Grandpa’s) birthday, provided the perfect excuse. Over the last few years, the children’s birthdays have given me ample opportunity to practice making Victoria sponge and Madeira cakes and I for one was ready to consume something different. Inspired by a Facebook photograph of a cake that my friend made for her husband’s birthday recently and my father’s love of chocolate, ok my love of chocolate, I decided that a chocolate sponge cake was in order. My mother reminded me that this was not in fact my first chocolate sponge cake offering. As a child, I had spent several hours throwing together a chocolate sponge cake in celebration of one of her birthdays. A recipe at the age of 8 or 9 was obviously considered a hindrance to the creative process. The fact that I refused to touch even a morsel of the finished article, speaks volumes about the success of that experiment. Anyway, this was Ava’s first chocolate sponge cake and definitely the first time that three generations of the Collins girls have baked together (for those of you who know my mother, you’ll know how rare this is!).
I have faithfully followed Delia Smith’s sponge cake recipe for some time now and naturally expected another Delia special, with a chocolate twist but when my Google search resulted in a chocolicious offering by none other than Mary Berry, of Great British Bake Off fame, I knew I was onto a winner, so here is the finished result:
Later this month it is Grandma’s birthday and I’m reliably informed her favourite cake is a coffee walnut cake. That definitely would be a first for me. Does anyone have a recipe that they care to share?
‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy
This year I wanted to put my mark on Christmas and make as many homemade things as I could think of with the able assistance of the little lady. I left out fudge and didn’t leave myself sufficient time to make a Christmas cake this year so I have something to post about next year!
My homemade Christmas started with chutney and where best to start the search for a recipe than Netmums
Chutney – this sweet chutney in my opinion was the perfect accompaniment to our first course pâté dish on Christmas Day. The husband did not agree as it contained raisins but more for the rest of us!
Gingerbread biscuits – I had intended to make reindeer Gingerbread biscuits as I had seen in a post on Wokingham Gossip Girls but I could not find a gingerbread man cutter (you turn a gingerbread man upside down for the desired effect) for love or money and so resorted to star and heart cutouts with decorative icing. We made the biscuits a couple of weeks in advance and froze them but had I known that they were quite so easy to make, I suspect they would have tasted better fresh.
Peppermint creams – again we made these in advance (no requirement for freezing, just to be left in a sealed bag) and given their simplicity, I would definitely only make them a day or two early in future.
Christmas cupcakes – these were made using a simple fairy cake recipe and the icing was simply buttercream mixed with red/green food colouring for that extra festive feel.
Pavlova & Trifle – I was determined that we, or more to the point I, was going to make a Christmas dessert or two from scratch so I turned to the most reliable source Delia Smith for my pavlova. The pavlova was absolutely scrumptious and surprisingly easy to make. The trifle looked good, however it completely lacked flavour so I have uploaded a piccie but have omitted the recipe for this one. I was quick to admit the blandness of the flavour so as to avoid any awkward and less than truthful exclamations of how ‘delicious’ it was!
If you have any festive recipes that I could try for next year, please feel free to post your recipe/link below!
‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for Babies in Buscot Support – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy