My sister’s friend Jo asked me to make her some cakes to take to a hen night with her for an Indian bride. She didn’t give me too many restrictions on what I could do so I decided to use the mehndi patterns found in henna designs as my inspiration. I do love a paisley pattern and had bought this background paper the other week. I actually think I bought it to give to my sister for a book paper but I think I might have to keep it! Sorry Sarah!
Anyway here are Jo’s cakes. Her friend is dairy and wheat free so I made the butternut squash lemon cakes from Harry Eastwood’s new book with some minor adaptations. I thought they were really tastey actually, nicer than courgette cakes which have a bit of an after taste. So the white flooded fondant cakes were the butternut squash lemon cakes and the red flooded buttercream cakes were just regular vanilla.
All were hand piped with royal icing and hand coloured with gold dust. I really enjoyed doing these, a lovely way to spend a friday evening.
Next week I’ll be testing out my teaching skills on a group of locals….should be fun, hope it’s not chaos in the kitchen!
I’ve been thinking for sometime now about what I want to bring to the Little Bird Bakery as the unique selling point, or something that is important to me and can become part of the brand. Immediately I started thinking about what is important, such as local fresh produce, home made, and that cake can be incredibly unhealthy! So I started thinking about the golden ‘5’ a day and wondered if I could incorporate this into my cakes in some way.
As I was in a supermarket this week I noticed a new book on the shelves called Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache. I picked it up and was, in minutes, convinced that I too should have written this book. Harry Eastwood, who did write it, and has also written ‘Eat yourself Thin’ has a philosophy that is very akin to my own. Cakes should be eaten and not seen as a once in a blue moon treat. Cakes, to that end, can and should be healthier versions than the cholesterol sandwiched, processed, nutritionally void, diabetics death wish on the supermarket shelves. Eastwood agrees that when you can’t taste the butter, why use it? Soft, bouncy, moist cakes can be made by whisking sugar and eggs, you don’t need the fat. Cakes can also, as she has proven in her book, be made out of a vast array of vegetables, from the ‘water’ veg including courgettes and marrow to the ‘woody’ veg including pumpkins, potatoes and carrots. We also know carrot cake has grated carrot in it, but a simple vanilla sponge can also be laced, gracefuly and subtly with courgettes. Red Velvet for instance should always have beetroot in it, why on earth wouldn’t it?
So, I have recently made a couple of gluten free cakes and although I haven’t had time to experiment with vegetables yet, I have definitely decided to try some out on some unsuspecting colleagues next week for National Cupcake Week!
Here’s a couple of images of the plum and almond and chocolate and almond cakes I made last week.