Sticky Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake – Dan Lepard

I wasn’t happy with yesterday’s Lemon Cakeprobably because I altered Delia Smith’s recipe from Cakes. So today I baked a Sticky Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake from Dan Lepard’s Short & Sweet. (There is also a recipe on the internet, where the quantities are different.) I followed the recipe in the book with the small alteration of separating the eggs and folding in the stiffly beaten whites.

Chocolate Guinness & Lemon Cakes, and Cape Dutch Brandy Pudding

There is a Cratfield Concert on Sunday and I am baking! The Mucky Duck beer was not on tap in the pub and so this chocolate cake is made with Guinness and additionally flavoured with dried ginger, cinnamon, and dark brown sugar. I wanted the glaze to glide over the cake, in an even, shiny coating – this isn’t smooth enough (i.e. too thick), although it tastes good. I don’t think Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would be impressed!

A Friend & a Rainbow

I spoke to a friend, it rained, and the rainbow appeared – a wonderful end to a gloomy day.

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A double rainbow

Meze & Mixed Grain Bread

When I planned this menu it was hot, the perfect excuse for making meze with fresh bread: aubergines with tahina, sweet and sour leeks, red peppers, celery with peppery feta, and tabbouleh. (All the recipes are in Claudia Roden’s A New Book of Middle Eastern Food.) Not authentic Middle Eastern bread, but tasty!

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Mixed grain bread with soya milk, egg, and walnuts

Japanese Anemones

‘I thought anenomes were spring flowers’, said my friend. ‘Yes and No,’ I started, but my friend deserves a considered response, although he probably didn’t expect the following!

Anenome 'Hadspen Abundance', mid-August 2013
Anemone ‘Hadspen Abundance’, mid-August 2013

Japanese Anemones

I planted Three Anemone ‘Hadspens Abundance’ in March 2011 and I have been learning how to look after them. Last year the anemones grew very tall, and then fell over. So, this spring, my third year with the plants, I surrounded them with bamboo canes, with string circles at two different levels, and waited. And I was rewarded with tall, upright Anemone ‘Hadspens Abundance’! Success! I have learned how to care for this perennial.

Anenome 'Hadspens Abundance', July 2011
Anemone ‘Hadspens Abundance’, July 2011

Lemon Drizzle Cake Dilemma!

For the fifth Concert at Cratfield I planned a new Carrot Cake recipe, only the concert goers were not keen on my moist Carrot Cake, bursting with carrots, raisins and walnuts, the lemon glaze cutting through the sweetness of the cake … So, I need to try something else. Lemon Drizzle Cake is often mentioned so I consulted Food Blog Search and found 1,900,000 entries! Tastespotting has only 34 entries – I’ll start there. There are several decisions for this cake: shape, appearance (decoration), and recipe (poppy seeds?polenta?almonds?) I will need more than one cake – help, Friends?!

Lemon Drizzle Cake
Lemon Drizzle Cake

Carrot Cake and Shapes

OK, I think I am becoming obsessional about the shape of cakes! Maybe there are several solutions to the ‘problem’ of the ideal shape for a Carrot Cake! Delia Smith makes round cakes, cupcakes, and loaf cakes with the same recipe, depending on the occasion, so why am I fussing?

Lemon Drizzle Cake from BBC Good Food
Lemon Drizzle Cake from BBC Good Food

Carrot Cake

The second cake for the concert on Sunday is Carrot Cake. The recipe is tried and tested, from Delia Smith’s Book of Cakesand also published on the internet. I have made some small changes:

The Mucky Duck Chocolate Cake

This weekend is the third Concert at Cratfield in the 2013 season and I am baking – starting with a Chocolate Beer Cake, based on Delia Smith’s recipe. I am adding spices, and I am experimenting with quantities because my tin is so big! The beer is Mucky Duck, made by Buffy’s Brewery and recommended by Roger, who owns The Poacher next door. (Fantastic beers in this pub, and the beers change all the time – well worth travelling to taste!)

Mucky Duck Chocolate Cake
Mucky Duck Chocolate Cake