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40th Birthday Cake from Miette

So I turned 40 this month. Cake was needed! I baked myself the Lemon Debutante Cake from the Miette cookbook. It was a hot milk sponge layered with home made lemon curd, lemon syrup and European buttercream. I was really pleased with the outcome as the sponge was a new recipe to me as was the buttercream. I went with a yellow theme and also made baked cheesecakes with a salted caramel sauce in yellow cupcake wrappers, Swig sugar cookies with yellow sour cream icing, yellow glazed baby doughnuts from Sprinkle Bakes and a non-yellow chocolate tray bake from the Pink Whisk. The day was a slight sugar rush for all involved, however the baking was a real joy for me. Happy Birthday me!

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Chocolate Guiness Birthday Cake

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The other birthday cake I made was simpler, but for my buddy who would walk a mile for cream cheese frosting, a girl after my own heart! My Dad found a recipe for jelly shots made with cocoa and Guiness with an Irish Cream layer on top and turned up with the appropriate beverages for us to have a crack at it. It sounds great, however trust us, it’s not! Wow, what a dud! That left me with five cans of Guiness to use up. Two were passed on to my Aunt for her famed Guiness pies and the other two were left on my pantry floor.

Nigella to the rescue! Her Chocolate Guiness Cake features in her Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame chapter in “Feast.” It is an absolute winner in terms of texture, taste, simplicity and longevity! She likens it to unspiced gingerbread and I think this is a great description. It stores brilliantly if you can get people to keep their mitts off it of course! Everyone who has tasted it has fallen in love with it. One tip – you need to use full-fat cream cheese in the icing to get the best effect… I am sure Nigella would approve!


Ombre hombres!

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I have made a few birthday cakes this year for friends. One inspired by another blogger and one by Nigella Lawson along with my Dad who happened to leave me with a six-pack of Guiness in a failed jelly shot experiment! The first cake was inspired by the Apartment 2B blog which will give you excellent decorating instructions for the pink ombre buttercream – ombre seems to be all the rage at the moment!

I used a favourite marble cake recipe from which has yoghurt in it to keep it moist despite the firm consistency. I was pleased with the icing effect as a first attempt and my friend was happy to have a special birthday cake for her 60th, win-win.


Classic German Marble Cake

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250g softened butter

250g caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

4 eggs

500g self raising flour

100ml milk

30g cocoa


Cream the butter and sugar add the vanilla essence. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the sifted flour alternately with the milk. Preheat the oven to 180°. Grease a large loaf tin or a Gugelhupf mold. Pour in half the mixture. Mix the cocoa powder with the remaining mixture. Pour in on top of the vanilla mixture. Swirl together lightly with a fork. Bake for one hour.

This translated from the traditional German recipe and is a lovely buttery cake that needs no icing. The top will become very brown while cooking, however it does not burn.

Nigella’s Maple Pecan Bundt Cake

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Today’s therapeutic baking effort was Nigella’s Maple Pecan Bundt cake from her book “Kitchen”. I made it with creme fraiche and the crumb is beautifully moist. I have rather a lot of bundt pans and I love being able to bake cakes in them. My German Marble Cake is usually baked in a bundt or Gugelhupf pan (I usually use the German word rather than bundt). The maple pecan filling is very clever, in that it is held together with a small amount of flour and therefore doesn’t just melt into the mixture. An excellent afternoon tea cake, perfect with a cuppa. Photos are included and the recipe for my German Marble Cake will go in the recipes category. Nigella Lawson – is there nothing that woman can’t do?


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