Cupcake design

I love Sundays.

Sundays are for Coffee and for sharing.

Writing a baking blog and sharing my cakey adventures has become such a joyous past time, but I am not originally a blogger. I am home baker and dessert developer baking for both private celebrations and press events.

This time round I thought I’d share with you not a recipe but some of my most recent commissions.

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I was asked by the lovely folk at Tampax to design 50 bespoke cupcakes to celebrate the new Tampax Pearl edition (which you may have seen in the shops recently). After many ideas on colour, style, feel and message we went for piped roses with gorgeous sugar pearls, the Tampax Logo and the Tampax pearl hash tag #PerfectFit

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When designing a dessert it’s important for me to know about the occasion, the feel of the event, how it’s going to be eaten, when it’s going to be eaten as well as the person who’s receiving it or if it’s for a press event the type of person the product is aimed at. In this case, I wanted to know about the type of gal that buys Tampax Pearl, her lifestyle and her style. With all this info I make a kind of mood board of this person or persons that I’ve never met in my head and instinctively I create straight away. If I over think it it doesn’t seem to work as well.

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After being displayed at the event each one of these cheeky little fellas went home with a loving journalist.

This commission was brilliant fun for me as I love to decorate cakes. There I was at 3am in the morning hand designing each cupcake armed with a knife, a brush, food colouring, a piping bag and coffee!!

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In the coming months I shall be putting up cake decorating tutorials on how to pipe buttercream roses with my personal baking tips. Taking your cupcakes and layer cakes from nice to razzle dazzle.

Short and sweet! I have really enjoyed sharing some of my recent work with you and have some great Easter Commissions coming up. Next commission is for an order of my Magic Muffins but the recipe is top secret. They are gooey chocolaty goodness and whenever I’m asked to make them I always make an extra batch to give to friends or eat myself. The best thing about them is they are super healthy but feel incredibly sinful! What could be better?

Keep baking, keep designing and ”treat‘ yourself well!

Yours Truly,

The Cake Diaries xoxo

Stress busting Banana & Rasberry Bread

Healthy Banana Bread, shot through with Raspberries.

If I was to place a personal ad in a newspaper at the moment my name would be ‘Stressed in London’. Yep!

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For the last 3 weeks my days started a little like this –

Up early (I’ve even beaten the sun), I waddle to the tube with too many handbags, a large cake box in hand and my scarf trailing on the pavement behind me as I hop-foot-it through the streets,10 minutes late with a piece of toast hanging out my mouth. Then I’m on a packed tube usually nestled under a sweaty mans armpit in the middle of the scrum. With nowhere to hang on I am desperately trying to clutch the floor with my toes through my shoes to keep me from toppling over. Not a good start to the day and it goes on pretty much like that until I fall into bed at 1am!

IMG_4457I live and work in London and though I love it with all my heart sometimes it can get stressful! There’s a lot going on and oodles of opportunities banging on my door, queuing to get the best seat in my life right now. Now, I’m not taking any of this for granted, it’s  fantastic and I am so grateful. But the only problem is – I haven’t factored in eating or sleeping, eek! If only there was more than 24 hours in a day.

I am one of thousands of stressed out Londoners. The streets of central London are a feast for the senses. Working in the centre of town is a daily emotional Roller-coaster. There is so much to stimulate you in London even if you’re not actively taking part in its angst, joy, frustrations or delights.

Feeling stressed and not sleeping enough means bad decisions get made and we make ourselves feel 10 times more stressed out and anxious. If you are anything like me when stressed out –  you run around like a headless chicken. You forget to eat which eneviably alters your mood and you end up having that that ‘dip’ we know so well.To perk myself up I grab high sugar, high fat foods or caffeine loaded drinks to make myself feel more alive. For 30 glorious minutes I am soaring on a candy covered rainbow sugar high, feeling like I can take on the world. One hour later you will find me shrivelled in a corner rocking back and forth as my blood sugar drops and insulin level rockets. It is never more apparent to me that we ‘are what we eat’ at times like these.

If you are feeling stressed or anxious Caffeine and Refined Sugar feed your anxiety. They are not your friend, they are a double crossing, too faced bully and should be blocked from your Facebook, have their number deleted from your phone and ignored where possible. These are short lived stimulants and when they’ve done their job they will leave you feeling lethargic, depleted and can even make you feel a bit sad 😦

So, I got in the kitchen and decided to design a healthy treat to support you mentally and physically. I can think of nothing more comforting than thick, moist Banana bread.

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In this recipe I have looked at foods that sooth you, lift your mood and that are digested slowly, releasing a steady stream of energy. In my recipe I use Wholemeal Spelt flour (you can use regular whole wheat flour if you prefer), oats, almonds, banana and raspberries for the ultimate mood lifting, stress busting treat.

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Banana bread, shot  through with Raspberries –

Ingredients –

120g Wholemeal Spelt

120g Almond flour

1 egg

3 bananas

2 handfuls of Oat

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp cinnamon ( I love Cinnamon and usually go big)

1 tsp Ginger

60ml Maple syrup

60ml Almond milk

Half tsp Stevia

As many Raspberries as you feel.

Pumpkin Seeds for the top.

Method – Pre heat Oven 150.c/ 300f

This couldn’t be easier.

Grease a medium loaf tin (I use coconut oil)

1-  In a large bowl mash 3 ripe bananas. ( The riper your Banana the sweeter and more ‘bananaerie’ the flavour.

2 – In a jug – whisk one egg and add it to your Bananas

3 – Sift in your flours x2, your Cinnamon, Ginger and baking powder

4 – After you’ve mixed in your flour, fold in your oats.

5 – Add your Maple syrup and Stevia.  (I am using Stevia which is a planted based sugar and doesn’t effect your blood sugar levels which keeps you balanced. This is not an artificial sweetener. Stevia is from a plant, so not a scary ‘sugar pretender’ but a very sweet leaf which has been used in cooking for 1500 years!!  If you don’t have stevia you can use 60ml again of Maple syrup).

6 – Fold in the Raspberries. I love to see the bright, sharp colour of the Raspberries smeared through the mixture. (Now I may be getting a head of myself here, dreaming of the seasons to come. It’s not quite Raspberry season. I personally love that sharpness of the Rasberry in contrast to the banana but if it’s too sharp for you add dates instead which are sweet, gooey and just delish!!

7 – Add the mixture to your Medium loaf tin ( Make sure that whatever sized tin you own that you don’t over fill it. We are aiming for using 3/4 of a tin). Sprinkle on your Pumpkin seeds

8 – Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 Mins. As you must be aware by now that using a tooth pick or shape knife inserted into the loaf is the best way to check if the dessert is cooked through. But with this dessert I like to see just a couple of crumbs clinging to my knife as I want it as moist as possible. But this is up to you and how you like your Banana bread.

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Now comes the dreaded bit. Waiting. Before you dig into this bag boy give it 10 mins to chill out in it’s tin. Then with a knife feel your way round the edges to free it from the sides and turn out!

Now dig in!! Cut a big wedge and serve warm with a huge mug of something hot or eaten for breakfast the next morning.  This Banana bread is not a light, fluffy cloud like delight but a thick, moist, filling and healthy pick me up which will keep you going between meals and elevate your mood.

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Beat stress with clean eating recipes, keep happy and treat yourself well!

Yours truly,

The Cake Diaries xoxo