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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Vango turns 40!

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

Haaaaaaaave you met Vango?

No?

Vangelis happens to be the Co-Head of the happy little catering company known as Chili Catering. The very same company I’ve been working for, for the last 2+ weeks. With him, I also work with Eirini, you know, that wonderful girl I made the strawberry & mint macarons with & also did a series of trials before arriving at the idea of a roulade with.

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

It’s a fabulous team. There’s also Costas, he can come across as a little grumpy & be hard to know, but once you crack through, he’s pretty fantastic too.

Back to Vangelis….

Did you know he’s turning 40 today? That’s quite impressive if you ask me. He’s been persistent that he wants nothing to do with a birthday cake…

Eirini & I don’t care one little bit what he wants. We’re going against his wishes & whipping him up one any way. Why should he get to deny us the joy of making a cake just because he’s said so?

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

Since he’s quite the Chef & very imaginative with flavors, I’ve decided to do a cake that will be layered…. • hazelnut • hazelnut & milk chocolate • hazelnut & dark chocolate •
Then, in between each of these delicious layers, there will be a wonderfully light, basil whipped cream.

layers of hazelnut & chocolate sponge cake filled with a purple basil whipped cream... gluten free

It’s heaven.

Even more heavenly, the design.

More often than not, I finish a cake & I’m sorely disappointed with it. Not that it isn’t good, it’s just, I always tell myself “I can do so much better”. Not to brag or anything, but I am so ridiculously pleased with myself over this cake that there is no bringing me down. Not today. Can’t wait to show him what Eirini & I did!!!

Did I mention that I lovingly crystalized each & every basil leaf myself? From purple basil plants growing in my garden which I actually grew all by myself from seed?!?! Oh yea, every single part of the process.

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browned butter cornbread

browned butter cornbread - gluten-free

Cornbread… how deliciously southern.

The very idea of cornbread always makes me think of eating hushpuppies & fried catfish with my dad.

My daddy was one of those extra special people who could put a smile on anyone’s face. The man had a sense of humor that knew no bounds… and for the little time I had with him, he was my super hero.

The point I’m getting at here is that I saw a picture of cornbread pop up on one of my feeds the other day, & immediately I was transported back to a time where every second I spent with my dad was bliss.

I don’t need much more convincing than that. If the idea of food gives me a happy memory, I’m going to make that dish.

I’m not a complicated person, I’m just absolutely, irrefutably ruled by my emotions.

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lemon layer cake, dressed to impress

There are cakes… & then there are CAKES.

gluten free lemon layer cake with a strawberry cream cloud filling & white chocolate ganache exterior. Ruffle cake.

Unfortunately, it would seem that any time I invest a large amount of time in decorating a cake, I become completely uninspired to photograph it properly.

There’s a correlation here. The more time & effort something takes, the worse the photograph.

I don’t know how I manage to do this to myself every time, but it may be time to just accept it as a fact & move on.

I will say this though, there were four layers of delicious gluten-free lemon cake. Each layer was filled with a smooth, light, strawberry cream cloud filling. Then the whole cake was encased in a creamy white chocolate ganache.

Yea, talk about your layer cakes!

I love layer cakes. They always look so impressive when sliced up & served. Like, seriously impressive.

My photos don’t do this justice.

gluten free lemon layer cake with a strawberry cream cloud filling & white chocolate ganache exterior. Ruffle cake.

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champagne & strawberry cupcakes

I’m ashamed so say someone asked me to put up a recipe for strawberry & champagne cupcakes months ago….. and I’ve been procrastinating.

It would seem every time I got even close to making them, I had a craving for something else. Something different.

Then, by chance, I found a whole bunch of frozen strawberries at my local grocers & finally I found the inspiration. It first took the form of a strawberry puree, you know, the one I went on & on & on about a week ago. I don’t know why but that alone made me happy. After that, well, let’s just say I made more cupcakes than we could eat.

Let’s see, the first batch didn’t rise correctly because someone (me) forgot to put in the rising agent.

The second batch, I found mauled & decapitated by a stray cat that we’ve affectionately named Ninja… she’s decided that we belong to her on a part time basis & now insists on teasing Loki, our 2 month old German Shepherd. Yea, can’t say I was pleased when I found her on the kitchen counter with pink cake stuck to her fur & claws.

…..and then finally we made it to the third batch. The rose, I managed to save them from Ninja, and Mel didn’t manage to eat them all before I could snap a shot. Not bad huh?

They were so moist. So deliciously moist. & flavorful. I think I may need to make a cake variation. Not now though.

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