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Will’s 40th Birthday Cake

Will’s ‘birthday week’ is coming to an end (yes, Will has designated this whole week his birthday week!), so I thought it about time to write up my post about creating his 40th birthday cake. I decided to bake a chocolate cake with buttercream icing, with a fondant covering for decorative purposes. I had never worked with fondant before, so this cake took a lot of hard work and research. I used Mary Berry’s Mary’s Chocolate Cake recipe for the cake and Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen Chocolate Buttercream recipe for the filling and coating.

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Classic Wholemeal Loaf

Those of you who follow my blog might recall that back in June I had a go at making bread for the first time. That was a Challah bread, and whilst certainly not perfect, it went down a treat with Will. So much so, that the next day he came back from the supermarket with some ‘Very Strong Wholemeal Flour’. I think this was a fairly unsubtle hint that he wanted me to bake him some wholemeal bread! So with the use-by date looming on the flour, I decided to have a go.

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Orange French Madeleines

About three weeks ago, I made French madeleines for the second time. Due to lockdowns and the Covid-19 situation, I hadn’t seen my family for 7 months, so I was really looking forward to our trip to Surrey to see them again. Living in Wales, I don’t get to see my family very often at the best of times, so I wanted to bake something nice to take with me. I really enjoyed making French madeleines the first time I tried, so I decided to change the recipe slightly and make orange French madeleines. I followed Mary Berry’s recipe on page 151 of her book 100 Cakes and Bakes, but instead of lemon zest, I added orange zest.

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Lemon Macarons

And so my macaron adventures continue! Last weekend I decided to have a go at baking lemon macarons. I followed the BBC Good Food macarons recipe for making the shells, and the BBC Food lemon curd recipe for the filling. It’s funny, because whilst this is the fourth time I’ve made macarons, the more I make them, the less confident I get! There is always some new issue to contend with! This time, I had a bit of an issue with air in my piping bag and bumpy tops. On the plus side, the shells were nice and full and they had lovely smooth bottoms! I’m not very keen on the shade of yellow I achieved, so I will need to work on that.

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Chocolate Macarons

Last weekend I made chocolate macarons! I followed Edd Kimber’s macaron recipe on the BBC Good Food website again, as I had good results with this recipe the first time I made macarons. However, this recipe is for plain shells and as I wanted to make chocolate shells, I made some adjustments. I decided to add some cocoa powder on top of the existing quantities of ground almonds and icing sugar to see what would happen. Well, whilst still being yummy, they turned out to be very hard, dry and chewy! Next time, I will remove some of the icing sugar and replace this with the cocoa powder to see if that works better. These were filled with a dark chocolate ganache which works really nicely with the chocolate shells. If you love chocolate, you will love these little beauties!

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