Thou shall not bake with eggs

My experience with eggless cake hasn’t been a rip roaring success, something always goes wrong;

  • The cake doesn’t rise
  • There is the bitter aftertaste of the bicarbonate that some of the recipes use
  • Just tastes awful, no accompaniment of icing, ice cream can save it

I’ve tried this eggless vanilla cake recipe from Sharmis Passions with some success, I remember it wasn’t very tall but looked like a sponge cake, needed a bit more sugar if you didn’t add any icing.

I’ve have tried this teen tiny eggless chocolate cake recipe from Cake Merchant before and the first time I made it the cake turned out perfect, it used to be my go to recipe.

Lately I’ve not been having much success with it.

It either comes out with the bicarbonate aftertaste or the cake is stodgy that it glues itself to your mouth. Am I using too much liquid, not mixing enough? Answers on a post card.

Why you are asking am I going to all this trouble to find a successful eggless cake recipe when I can knock up a decent cake with eggs? These days not everyone eats eggs due to allergies, religion become a vegan. Some of you know I have a regular biscuit stall at Kingswood Primary school fete, to be on the safe side I avoid baking anything that contains nuts and have a mixture of biscuits that both contain egg and are eggless. No parents have ever asked my if the biscuits contain egg but I just like to have a mixture just in case.

Back to my perfect eggless cake recipe quest

Eggless CakeI had some ripe banana’s and no eggs, found this vegan banana cake recipe from the Viveka Gardens which was adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe, I was pleasantly surprised.  Even people who don’t usually like banana cake liked this one.
This recipe gave me hope that I could produce something that not only is eggless but also edible!

 

Eggless Chocolate CakeFollowing my success with this the banana cake I had renewed faith that I was getting closer to finding a go to recipe. I have discovered this chocolate cake recipe from BBC Good Food. I forgot to add the 3 tablespoon of water to the glaze and it was a disaster. I then made a normal thin chocolate icing and that worked out fine. I made some holes in the cake so the icing drizzled through. This recipe was more like a brownie cake, and tasted nice with ice cream. My only criticism would be that it needed more sugar. With some tweaking this could become my go to eggless chocolate recipe.

Below is the recipe if you want to have a go, let me know what you thought of it.

Ingredients

  • 85g Butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 300g Self Raising Flour
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 25g Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Chocolate glaze

  • 100g Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 3 tbsp Golden Syrup

Method

  1. Heat oven to 160C/ fan 140C/ gas 3 and grease a 20cm round cake tin
  2. Tip the butter, syrup and vanilla into a heatproof jug, add 300 ml boiling water and briefly whisk with a fork to combine
  3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl, then in tip in the butter mixture. Stir until you have a smooth batter, then scrape into prepared tin. bake for 50 – 55 mins until the cake is well risen and springy to touch. Cool in tin for around 15 mins before turning out to cool on a wire rack.
  4. To make glaze, put chocolate and syrup into a small glass bowl with 3 tbsp of water, and microwave for 30secs on high until melted and smooth. leave to cool, then pour over the cake before serving.

We reached our #BHF target!

26 March my youngest two siblings and I took park in 5k run at run in Stratford London at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park‎ supporting the British Heart Foundation, our aim was to raise £300 for the charity. From donations received through our just giving online page and the money raised from the biscuits I baked and sold each week up until the run I’m pleased to say we managed to raise £320.

I wouldn’t say that my siblings and I have the running bug but we have become more active. Unfortunately my family and I are in the group that are at high risk for heart disease and diabetes. A combination of exercise and watching our diet is important especially as we lost both our dad and uncle to the disease.

  • We go to the gym.
  • My sister and I have started going to a Zumba class, the moves may look simple but you get an all body workout!
  • Wednesday’s are usually reserved for a body balance class whilst my brother goes for a workout in the same gym.

20170305_201129Don’t think I’ll give up on the unhealthy foods but everything in moderation. I have begun making my own instant oat packets for breakfast, one to save money but the other was to be able to have a variety of flavours that I like. Day one today and have to admit I do like my oats a bit sweeter but before I reach for the sugar bowl I’ll try alternatives like honey and fruit to sweeten it up. 20170424_081830[1]

I’m still making my own flapjack / oat squares things. These ones I added raspberries which blended in with the oat mixture and some mixed chopped nuts I found in the cupboard. I’m not too sure about how these have turned out just yet, think I may have used too many nuts! Managed to take a picture of them before I rushed out the door for work.

Fundraising

I know it wasn’t the most healthy but baking biscuits to raise money appealed to the masses. Each week I would try and bake a different type of biscuit for a bit of variety though I have to admit my shortbread biscuits are pretty good. The final week’s biscuit offerings were a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and shortbread with a bit of orange extract thrown it. I wasn’t sure what kind ofBake the best response these biscuits would receive so you can imagine my surprise when I sold out within two days. They had a crumbly kind of texture and the orange flavour came through nicely.

Courtesy of my cookbook ‘Bake like the Best’ below is the recipe if you would like to make some of your own.

Make about 30

Ingredients

225g Butter, softened
140g Castor Sugar
1 egg Yolk lightly beaten
2 tsp Orange extract
280g Plain flour
100g plain chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate chips)
Pinch of salt

Cinnamon Sugar

1.5 tbsp Castor sugar
1.2 tbsp cinnamon

Method

Preheat the oven to 190C / gas mark 5, line a baking sheet with baking paper

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix well, you can use a wooden spoon I used an electric mixer. Then beat in the egg yolk and orange extract.

Sift together the flour and salt and add to the butter / sugar mixture. Add the chocolate chips and stir until thoroughly combined.

For the cinnamon sugar coating mix the castor sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow dish. If you don’t like cinnamon you can just use sugar or any other flavouring you like.

Roll about a tablespoon amount of dough into a ball and roll in the cinnamon sugar before placing on the baking tray.

Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. They’ll be soft when the come out of the oven so leave them to cool on the baking tray for about 5-10 minutes then using a palette knife or anything flat remove the biscuits from the tray onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make your own oat bars / flapjacks

I’m not as healthy as I could but I do like to try and find a balance. I like oat bars but thought I would try and make some of my own, I would know what goes into them and would be cheaper to make a batch at home.

All I wanted was a straightforward simple recipe that I could adapt to suit me, not too much to ask for really. Google search later and a number of recipes pop up from those including protein powder to chia seeds none of which I would have laying around in my kitchen cupboards. I found I could go super healthy and have all the internal cleansing, gut busting ingredients that would that would probably cost me a small fortune or I could start by using a few ingredients that I know I have.

Oat BarsThis recipe from www.inspiredtaste.net probably isn’t considered healthy with the honey, butter and sugar but at least I know what is going into them and cost me pennies to make. I didn’t have any almonds so skipped this step, mine did turn out looking more like flapjacks but tasted nice all the same.

The recipe is versatile that you can add any additional ingredients; berries, raisins, flax seeds etc, I stuck with cranberries and may have gone a bit overboard with the chocolate chips. The only thing I may play around with is the honey and sugar quantities as it was a bit sweet for me, that is just a personal taste. Overall this is a good recipe to start with when making your own oat bars / squares. So what are you waiting for, below is the recipe from Inspired Taste.

Makes 12 bars

Ingredient

2 1/2 cups (230 grams) old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup (80 grams) whole almonds, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup (113 grams) honey

1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup (50 grams) packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (60 grams) dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 grams) mini chocolate chips

Method

Toast Oats and Nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees F / gas mark 4. Line bottom and sides of a 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminium foil. Then lightly oil or spray with cooking spray.

Add oats and almonds to a small baking sheet then bake 5 minutes, stir and bake another 3 to 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.

Combine butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves.

Pour butter mixture in to bowl with toasted oats and almonds. Mix well.

Let cool about 5 minutes then add cranberries and a 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine. (The chocolate chips will most likely melt a little. This is fine, they turn into glue and help to hold the bars together). I should have waited a bit longer as the chocolate melted quite a lot.

Transfer oat mixture to lined pan then use a rubber spatula or damp finger tips to firmly press the mixture into the pan. (Press hard here, this way the bars will stay together once cooled and cut — We press for about one minute to be extra safe).

Scatter remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips over pressed granola mixture then use a rubber spatula to gently press them into the top. Cover then refrigerate at least 2 hours. Remove block of granola mixture from pan then peel away aluminium foil. Cut into 12 bars.

Store bars in an airtight container for up to one week. For the softest bars, keep at room temperature. For slightly harder bars, store in the fridge.

Crumbs away: Shortbread Recipe

20170207_0817211I can’t remember which blog I found this recipe from, but if you recognize it then let me know so I can give you the credit you deserve.
This recipe is simple, straightforward and completely fool proof. This recipe has not ever failed me. Naturally with recipes there is always room to make adjustments but in the case if it’s not broke then don’t fix it!

The original recipe uses a mixture of plain flour and gluten free flour, I rarely have gluten free flour in my cupboards so use all plain flour.

Ingredients

300g Unsalted butter at room temperature
200g Caster sugar
360g Plain Flour
110g Gluten free flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
a pinch of salt
100g Chocolate chips
Caster sugar for sprinkling

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C / Gas mark 3.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. You could use a wooden spoon but I usually use a hand mixer.

Sift flour(s), baking powder and salt and mix well. The longer you mix it the better mixture you will get. I start of using a hand mixture then use my hands to make sure all the creamed mixture blends in with the dry ingredients.

Split the dough evenly and add the chocolate chips to one of the doughs. Again mix it well.

The mixture will start to come together. I don’t always use the dough straight away so tend to have it in the fridge until I’m ready to use it. When I want to use the dough I leave the dough out for about an hour to warm up. 

When you roll out the dough, make them approx. 1 cm thick. With the help of cookie cutters cut out your desired shapes. I usually find it easier to roll out the dough between two sheets of baking / greaseproof paper.

Put the biscuits on a parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake towards the bottom of the oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Sprinkle caster sugar on the plain shortbread biscuits,  but not on the chocolate ones.

Leave the biscuits to cool. I leave them on the tray until they have firmed up a bit before transferring to a cooling rack.

Once cut out, if you don’t want to cook the biscuits straight away you can freeze them and cook when you next feel like some freshly baked shortbread cookies.

Glitz & glam, fundraising with candle making thrown in

Kicked the week off with a bit fundraising baking for British Heart Foundation, had another go at making candles, smack bang in the middle of the week we had an awards ceremony at work that the Communications Team I’m part of had to organise, setup and host. If that wasn’t enough I managed to squeeze in a few minutes to have a look at one of the DIY makeup books my sister got me for Christmas and attempt a homemade facial bronzer.

The basic homemade bronzer recipe I used the end result colour was more for someone with a fairer skin tone, I’ve been playing around with the measurements to suit my Asian skin tone and feel I’m at a point where I’m happy with it I just can’t remember the adjusted measurements. Next time I think I will either leave out of reduce the amount of corn flour / icing sugar and possibly the ginger powder as I’m not sure what was it’s purpose. I’ll put the recipe in another post for those who are interested. If the bronzer doesn’t work for you it does look like something you could make a nice hot chocolate with!

Fundraising

In a previous post Go Rocking Raccoons I talked about taking part in the British Heart 20170130_1018101Foundation 5k charity run. I started my bit of fundraising by bringing in lemon drizzle cakes. At the moment it’s a bit difficult to encourage people to buy a delicious sweet treat that probably has more calories in than the New Year diet allows. I haven’t given up as there are still many people who will not be able to ignore the lure of a shortbread biscuit to go with their afternoon tea. I’m thinking when I next make a batch of muffins a few mini ones in little bags might be a good idea, the dieters may feel less guilty about eating them if they are the size of a mouthful or two.

Candle Making

20170131_0833271I’m really enjoying the whole candle making experience at the moment every time I make a candle I come across a new pitfall, this time there was a crack in one of them. I am a newbie to the candle making scene.

On a more positive note I do think I’m getting the hang of mixing up oils to make scented candles, In my opinion I think the little testers that I made have a stronger scent than the ones I have bought from the shops. The only difficulty I had was trying to get them out of the plastic moulds. With a lot of banging and teasing round the edges they finally popped out!

SEPT Star Awards

pixlr_201702011328259481Our last SEPT Star Awards was in 2015, the health trust I work for will be merging this year with another health trust so this awards night was a little more special as it will be the final one under the name.

The communications team that I am now a part of were responsible for organising and hosting this event. The day was spent decorating the hall and tables, blowing up and arranging the 30 sets of balloons. Myself and a colleague were on balloon arranging duty, by the time we got to set 20 we were losing the will to live, so we moved onto the pull bow ribbons which weren’t as soul destroying.

20170201_1828511By the evening stress & tension levels were high, not going to lie there were a few hiccups but fortunately there was no blood shed so that was a bonus.

The evening itself went well, the guests of the event were none the wiser that blood, sweat and tears from the members of the Communications and Patient Experience Teams had gone into putting on this event as they bounced up onto the stage to collect their awards.

In case you’re wondering why I’m wearing all black, not only because it’s slimming but also because all staff members hosting on the night had to wear this colour.

I’m glad it went well in the end but going on how I was feeling the following day and still the day after that I’m in no hurry to go through the whole experience again, next year we’ll be a bigger trust as well; I don’t even want to think about!

This weekend think I will sleep as I am definitely starting to feel my age!

Do you know the muffin woman?

Weekends go so quickly, one minute it’s Saturday next thing you know you’re getting ready to go to work that’s including the day off I had Friday! The day off was to go see a friend who had her first child in November, I had already sent presents for the new born but didn’t want to go empty handed so of course I baked something. I would have made a candle but my I’m not confident in my candle making skills just yet.

Crumble topped raspberry muffin

cupcakes_muffinsLooking through my cookbooks; Cupcakes & Muffins,  I found a crumble topped raspberry muffin recipe that I hadn’t made before. I thought it would be nice to try something new, the crumble topping isn’t difficult to make but I know from making apple crumbles that the topping can sometimes be a bit too sweet. These turned out better than I expected. as you can see from the picture I put a bit too much mixture in a few of the cases resulting in some of the muffins spreading and trying to escape the tray!20170120_092256

Below is the recipe if you want to make these soft delicious muffins. Experiment with different berries, I haven’t tried it myself yet but fruit flavoured yogurt could work.

Ingredients
Makes 12 Muffins

6 tbsp sunflower oil or 85g / 3 oz butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing.

280g / 10 oz plain flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

pinch of salt

115g / 4 oz caster sugar

2 eggs (I had large eggs so used them)

250 ml / 9 fl oz natural yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g / 5 1/2 oz frozen raspberries

Crumble Topping

50g / 1 1/4 oz plain flower

35 g / 1 1/4 oz butter, cut into pieces

2 tbsp. caster sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F/ Gas Mark 6. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin. (I used muffin cases)

For the crumble topping, place the flower into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and set aside.

To make the muffins, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar.

Place the eggs in a large jug or bowl and beat lightly, then beat in the yogurt, oil and vanilla extract.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the beaten liquid ingredients and add the raspberries.

Stir gently until just combined, don’t over mix. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin. Scatter the crumble topping over each muffin and then press down lightly.

Bake in the reheated oven for 20 minutes, or until well risen, golden brown and firm to the touch.

leave to cool in the tin for five minutes then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

20170121_160748Chocolate chip muffins

I was on a bit of a baking roll also making a few chocolate chip muffins. I have a go to fool proof chocolate chip muffin recipe courtesy of Allrecipes.co.uk that always comes out soft and perfect each time, even when a few chocolate chip get a bit burnt on top!

If you can’t be bothered to click on the link, below is the recipe.

Ingredients
Makes 12 Muffins

250g plain flour

200g caster sugar

125g chocolate chips

45g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

235ml plain yogurt

120ml milk

120ml vegetable oil

40g chocolate chips

Method

Preheat oven to 200 C/ Gas 6. Line a muffin tray with paper cases.

Combine flour, caster sugar, 125g chocolate chips, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl.

Whisk egg, yogurt, milk and vegetable oil in another bowl until smooth; pour into chocolate mixture and stir until mixture is just blended.

Fill paper muffin cases 3/4 full and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. (Sometimes I sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, sometimes I add them all in with the flour)

Bake in preheated oven until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Cool in the tray for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

Healthy = Grumpy

It’s amazing how quickly the weekend goes, come Sunday evening you realise that you haven’t actually done a great deal.

Saturday, the heavens opened up and rained constantly. Heading to the town centre was out of the question, in my mind Christmas is still a while away yet members of the public are already in a frenzy trying to find that ‘Christmas bargain’ whilst in the process forgetting all manners and etiquette. You know the type of people I mean; they come out en masse sometimes in packs to make the rest of us shopper’s lives a misery. Hence no weekend shopping at any shopping centre/complex. I did temporarily entertain the idea that I may brave a shopping centre one evening then woke up from that nightmare. Online shopping it is, shopping online isn’t necessarily cheaper but it is much safer and better for my health and wellbeing!

Slimming World

A few people at work have joined slimming world, one of them being the lady I sit next to. I have tried to be supportive and eat healthier, the fruit got eaten but the rest of the healthy eating and no crisps just made me grumpy. Dieting of any kind isn’t for me, think I’ll stick to trying to find a balance. I need to do something until I can motivate myself to get back into exercise which hasn’t happened yet. If anyone is curious the Fitbit is still in its box.

Some of the meals that are suggested by Slimming world don’t look too bad but then there are some that look like the person needs to paralyse their taste buds before tasting as the picture alone is enough to put you off trying it. I’m being unfair as many people have successfully lost weight through Slimming World and look great for it. To me it looks like it’s not only helping people to lose weight in a structured way but to also learn to cook more from scratch and forego relying on ready made sauces.

pixlr_201611141123386101Most of my meals are already cooked from scratch just not always by me. Sometimes the ingredients used can be considered a bit rich/fattening depending on which way you look at it. I had a very nice slow cooked lamb dinner over the weekend that was marinated in double cream and yoghurt, the marinate was also used to create the sauce and had a strawberry trifle for dessert; this was shop bought. Neither the lamb or the trifle would be considered healthy and would count as a lot of sins in slimming world but tasted really good!

While I’m coming clean I also baked these oat biscuits and drizzled some dark chocolate over a few of them, I did share them at work.img_05701

I am trying to get the lamb recipe down on paper but I mostly assisted. The oat biscuits I can help with, this was the recipe I used from Allrecipes, the biscuits are quick, easy and only uses four ingredients!

 Christmas Bazaar

Guess who has a biscuit stall next month?

Meee!

These is a local school where since last year I have had a biscuit stall at their summer fete & Christmas bazaar, I must be doing something right as each time a member of the PTA has contacted me to ask me if I’d be interested in coming back each time. The baking does usually take me a day and it is a bit of hard work as I want the biscuits to look visually appealing and then creating the decorate your own gingerbread person kits but I do also have a lot of fun on the actual day, I get to dose up kids with sugar, send them home with their parents who at times are equally dosed up on sugar and caffeine, and I make a bit of pocket money.

Speak soon!

Me and 2016 so far…

Only yesterday it was the beginning of January 2016 and now here we are in November, another year almost over and another birthday of mine not too far around the corner. Though this year has been like no other and one that will always be remembered for both it’s wonderful highs and heart breaking lows.

I have a new job working in the Communications team on secondment. I’m learning lots of new things and further developing pre-existing skills, on the whole I think this is a good move and hopefully will create new opportunities in the future. I still work with my old team with the events but do more from a Communications perspective.

Downside is sadly my dad passed away in August. It wasn’t something we were expecting and I was really hoping that he would have been here to see me get married but it wasn’t meant to be. Since then I have been going through a range of emotions, and dealing with things the best I can. I’m on hiatus from exercising at the moment, once dad went into hospital there wasn’t really any time for it. Since then my heart has not been in it, I’ve been to the gym a few times but no kickboxing. It has helped that prior to my dad going into hospital I had met someone who has been supportive and caring throughout. He isn’t the person my parents would have chosen for me but he has all the qualities of a being a decent person and we look good together!

For some time, it felt like when I eventually slept my heart would heal only for it break all over again once I woke up. My heart still isn’t healed and those who experience a loss like this will know that you don’t ever get over it you just learn to live with the ache. I’m coming out of the dark place where my head was cloudy, heavy and I was angry a lot. As tragic as this experience has been sadly it has also revealed those people who are fake and selfish, people who don’t add value to my life. Life is too short to be upset by the actions and behaviour of those type of people. In turn this experience has also revealed the handful of people who are there in the distance in case I need them.

Work have been brilliant, If I have needed extra time I have been given it, in all honesty I needed to be kept busy and starting the new position helped to do just that. People have been sensitive and understanding if I haven’t wanted to talk about things or if I have a mini breakdown, to just let me get on with it until I feel better.

I’m not back into kickboxing but I am back into baking. At first it did look like I had lost my baking mojo as everything I seemed to make tasted awful and was only good for the bin, that’s right they weren’t even good enough to feed to the foxes!

img-20161101-wa00011Step by step I have begun to have little success with chocolate cake and muffins, even venturing into the world of bread, making milk buns and naan. I think my naans looked and felt more like fluffy chapatti’s but still tasted good. I didn’t really follow a recipe for these, winged it and threw in some flour, yeast sometimes a bit of baking powder, pinch of salt and enough warm water to make a basic dough.

The milk buns were new to me; I stumbled across them whilst browsing on the social 20161023_1233011media site Pinterest. I don’t have the patience to wait hours for the dough to rise so set about finding a slightly simpler and quicker recipe, eventually finding this one on YouTube. I was pleasantly surprised with how these buns turned out, light, fluffy and smelled great. Next time I make these I’m going to add some chocolate chips or maybe some sultana’s.

Since being together my nicer other half has discovered his own passion for cooking, even a lasagne is no longer as straightforward as it sounds; he plays with flavours, different spices tweaking the taste every time he adds a seasoning before deciding if the mince is ready to be layered with the pasta and sauces. For many reasons I’m pleased he is like this, one I like food with plenty of flavour and has a bit of a kick, I can cook but he is better. It has also encouraged me to try cooking and baking more by attempting new things with him as guinea pig, such as the naans. Cooking together is a lot more enjoyable and we bounce ideas off each other. We’ve experimented with different types from making curry to cooking a lasagne, with spices thrown in of course. Our next culinary experiment is going to be chicken biryani. I’ll update you about the success of this in my next post.

In between all of this was my youngest brothers graduation. We were all very proud of him, it was a long but good day and the photos turned out nice. It was a happy moment we needed in the midst of everything that had been going on. 14908226_1416492285031120_6444585488202007710_nEarlier this month it was my youngest sister’s birthday, of course we signed the card also from dad which set of the tears but then we were fine once we got them our of our system. I did make a cake, not my best work but it wasn’t completely bad either.

That’s all I can think of for now, anything else I remember will have to go in my next post as this one is already starting to look like an essay! 🙂

Charity and baking!

It has been a busy few weeks. I took part in Race for Life in Basildon, have started raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society and have a few birthday cakes to also bake!

Race for Life

Race for life numberYoungest sister, her friends and I took part in the Basildon Race for life. Out team name was ‘The Flying Squirrels’ and we managed to raise £470 through our Just Giving page.

Fortunately, apart from a few drops of rain the weather improved Race for life tagswith the sun showing its support! I have been one of the lucky ones who have not been touched    by the big C, but seeing all the other runners and their families supporting them you can’t not help but feel some kind of empowerment.  We’ve decided we will take part in next year’s Race For Life but will try and run a bit more of the 5km.

London Memory Walk

One of the girls who I walked the Race For Life course with, her nan sadly has Alzheimer’s. To support the Alzheimer’s Society we’re all going to be taking part in the London Memory Walk, 3rd September 2016. At work I had tried to take part in this charity’s cupcake day but things got in the way, that hasn’t stopped me starting the fund raising efforts though! A.S CakesI started 4th July by putting 12 cupcakes in the reception area at work, 50p each to see how they would sell. Within 40 minutes all cupcakes had been bought!

I don’t want people to get baked treats overloaded so have decided to make it a weekly thing, have something in reception at the beginning of the week and once it’s gone, it’s gone until the following Monday or Tuesday depending on when I have time to bake.

I had a biscuit stall over the weekend, with some of the left over biscuits I put together some biscuit bags with a mixture of gingerbread and shortbread biscuits. Cakes_BiscuitsA friend brought in a selection of muffins, all of which we put in the reception area for this week. So far they have done well with all biscuit bags sold out and only one muffin left! I will see what ingredients I have in the cupboard and decide what to make next week.

School Fete

Cookie stallAs I mentioned I had a biscuit stall over the weekend at a school fete. Kingswood Primary Schools is the only school I do anything like this with, last year I had a stall at their Summer and Christmas fetes, with biscuits selling out on both occasions. They must have liked me and had good feedback as a member of the PTA contacted me asking if I wanted to have a biscuit stall again this year. My friend Christine has always helped me with the stalls in exchange for a selection of biscuits. For a pair of short people it is always an experience putting up the gazebo, though it didn’t rain the wind definitely made things that little bit more challenging! One of the things I really like about this school and the stall holders they offer spots to is how friendly and polite they all are. We didn’t have enough pegs to secure the gazebo and another stall holder selling homemade jams and cakes loaned us some. Without those extra pegs I definitely don’t think our gazebo would have survived!

Even though I didn’t sell out of everything this time it was still enjoyable and a few people remembered me from last year and bought from me again, plus I had some biscuits to sell at work.

I have been asked to make a few birthday cakes for people I know. I’ve decided that baking as a business isn’t for me, even though it didn’t ever really take off, the few cakes for strangers that I did make, it was too stressful for me alongside a full time job. I like to bake for fun and to make the odd cake for someone here and there. It won’t ever make me a millionaire because I don’t charge the earth for the things I bake but I somehow manage to make people happy enough that they’ll come back and ask me for a cake or bunch of biscuits again or raise money for a good cause which in turn makes me happy, that’s good enough for me. 🙂

Basildon Baking!

This job and the different extra curricular activities of mine have definitely been keeping me busy!

My main role is reporting but of late I have been getting involved in some of the events the Patient Experience Coordinators arrange or are a part of. The most recent one was Time to Talk where it was all hands on deck and all members of the team were at various locations representing SEPT and showing our support for this excellent cause.20160203_212151[1] I was based in Basildon where the Basildon Disability Equality Forum held a bake off style event in support. I was asked to donate a cake and I could hardly refuse! My cake didn’t win but it was for a good cause so I can’t complain really. Also this baking has created some more opportunities for me.

A lady I work with asked me about making a birthday cake for her husbands 60th, nothingFB_IMG_1455440572355[1] overly fancy but nice all the same. I know not everyone likes fondant icing and buttercream icing is nice but I wanted to do something a little bit more memorable than just a simple victoria sandwich. The birthday boy’s favourite chocolates are Maltesars, he was pleased with the cake.

20160213_193510[1]I sometimes on a whim make a cake for one of SEPT’s volunteers, he out of the blue asked about a birthday cake for his niece, they had been let done by the original cake baker. I said yes as it would be a good opportunity to get back into working with fondant and creating fondant toppers. I’m not going to lie, I did panic a little bit over this cake as I really wanted to do a good job and still wanted the cake to taste good. Overall I think the cake turned out well.

For now my cake baking for others has gone a bit quiet but baking for friends and family still continues, no harm in trying out new recipes when I have ready and willing guinea pigs at work!