my blueberry birthday

blueberry birthday cake with a light cream cheese filling

This is my birthday cake.

I am absolutely, 100%, not ashamed to say that I baked my very own cake.

Mel’s been making fun of me since last week. He keeps telling me that a person absolutely should not be making their own cake. He might be right.

I on the other hand absolutely insist that it’s not a birthday unless there is cake. Which presents me with a problem. There are no gluten-free bakeries on the island, & other peoples ovens make me nervous. I want a reaction-free cake. Then there’s the problem that Mel’s no baker. Which leaves me with my one & only options of….. You guessed it… ME!

I had wanted a cherry & amaretto cake since I’m absolutely addicted to the combination at the moment…. but I’m a moron & forgot that cherries were out of season. Didn’t want chocolate. I feel like all I ever do it use chocolate. Carrot cake I’ve made countless times. So, what else? Banana? No, Eirini doesn’t like banana. Vanilla? Too boring. Fruity. But not peach.

Lucky for me, I love the colour purple & always have blueberries in my freezer. Problem solved. Blueberry cake for Lauren.

Don’t make fun. I put my age on it too. Yeah, I’m a bit of a strange one. Enjoy the recipe!!!

As for me, I special ordered the harvest moon tonight & it should be arriving here in an hour. How’s that for a birthday present!

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new & improved carrot cake

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-free

I used to have a carrot cake recipe that I would use to woo people with. It was delicious & perfect, and completely stolen from Ottolenghi…. Yes, I confessed to this a few years ago in this post.

If it had been up to me, I would have gone on for another decade using the same tried & tested recipe. Not everything in this life is within my control, however.

You know how they say that good things come from bad situations? I’d like to think my new recipe is one of those good things.

I had a failed attempt where I’d simply tried to convert the old Ottolenghi recipe to gluten-free… my cake literally fell apart. Pieces. There were pieces of cake just sliding off & landing in a pile of crumbs. Disaster doesn’t even begin to cut it. Once I scrapped the conversion of his recipe & decided to start afresh with my own, things started to come together nicely.

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-freePleased doesn’t even begin to explain just how thrilled I am with the results. So that’s the moral of this little story… a change in circumstance led me to write my very own carrot cake recipe & branch away from the theft of someone else’s. I guess I became a better person for it.

Make it. Love it. Thank me later.

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cream cheese, blackberry & rolled oat muffins

You know those moments where you’re sitting, looking at a recipe & thinking to yourself “my god that’s a lot of butter”.

You sit there scratching your head & wondering about whether or not you should reduce it, replace it with oil, or maybe find some other substitute for it.

Don’t. Just don’t to it.

Instead what you should do is take out a calculator & divide it by the number of portions the recipe says it’s going to make & just plane realize that realistically speaking, when it comes right down to it, it really isn’t all that much.

I tried to do that earlier in the week. I was looking at one of my old recipes thinking about how I could adapt it into something new & gluten-free, maybe even put a healthy spin on it by throwing in some whole oats, so I cut out almost half of the butter & sugar.

Big mistake. I should have taken my own advice.

Actually, I sat there looking at the by product & wondering “what in the world have I done?!”.

I can’t accept failures as failures though. They down-right irritate the living daylights out of me. So I worked myself up into a fluster, went out & topped up on all the ingredients I’d run out of, & today I finally got my butt back in the kitchen to make things right!

Oh, and did I ever make them right!!!! I even threw in some fresh blackberries… mmm mmm mmm.

……all gone! 

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single serving carrot cakes…. a.k.a. carrot cupcakes

The thing we all love most about single serving desserts, is the complete lack of mess. There aren’t any big knives or extra washing. There’s just the one, neatly packaged dessert in the perfect serving portion ready for us to devour…. at least that’s what we all tell ourselves.

….try reminding yourself of that once you’ve scoffed down the 5th or 6th one in the last hour!

Alas, no will power.

So I’m sure I’ve mentioned (but there’s never any harm of mentioning it again) that I’m in London. As of tomorrow afternoon at 16:50 I will have officially been here for a full week. That’s seven complete days, or 168 hours.

I was lucky enough that in my first few days back there was plenty of sunshine to be had… even if the forecast did say rain. Alas, today though the English weather has caught up with me & it’s been one of those typically cold, damp, humid summer days that one becomes so accustomed to when living here. I will say this though, London when the sun is out is just magical.

However, I digress. We aren’t hear to talk about the beauty of rays of sunshine highlighting the accents on gorgeous English architecture carved from limestone, but rather the way a little cinnamon can bring a hint of comfort & naughtiness on an otherwise gloomy looking day. A trace of coconut creeping up in the background & a wonderfully creamy frosting.

I hereby proclaim today a pajama & cupcake day. So it has been done! And the best part, it’s all gluten-free!

The down side to London is that there’s no Mel in London. I miss my beast of a man & our terror of a dog. Oh my little Sushi. London will bring good things though, I hope.

On to the recipe!

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brandy cheese cake with caramelized pecans – gluten-free

We’re back!

It feels like we’ve been gone a life time. I think in all honesty, we probably have been.

Ok ok ok ok fine, I exaggerate everything. I know this. Maybe I should just explain.

It was time for us to make a couple changes to the site. Now, whilst I know that currently you can’t see any of those changes, they are in fact working away behind the scenes. Silently taking effect.

There’s more though. Not only have changes been happening in the technical background, but life changes have been occurring too! Want to take a guess?

Actually, there’s no time for guessing. There’s far too much to catch up on. So here it is…

I moved to London!

I can’t believe I just said that out-loud, but it’s true. This bless-full event happened on Friday evening. As in the Friday that just passed. As in, three days ago.

Big change huh? I can barely believe it myself if we’re being truthful about it. Still, I’m a firm believer that change is a good thing. Or can be a good thing. Haven’t figured it all out yet. There are plans in the works though to try & attend ‘Le Cordon Bleu‘ cooking school though. I suppose I should really get a move on & see if I can make that happen since the course starts in two weeks. TWO WEEKS. Time to get a move on.

Whilst all these big, life changing things have been happening & all has been silent & still on the blog front… things have been happening in my kitchen. I’ve been working away like a mad woman obsessing over textures, flavors, colours & more. Don’t worry, you were never forgotten about. Never in a million years. So here we are. First day back & I’ve got magic up my sleeve.

Can I hear you say “brandy & caramelized pecan cheese cake“? Oh yes please. Aaaaand my pretties, it’s gluten free too. Oh how sweet life is.

So here it is. A treasure that I’ve been sitting on just waiting for the day I could bring it to your attention once again. And no, I didn’t actually sit on it, that would have been messy.

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