Happy New Year!
Some how we're already two weeks into 2015 and I have realised that I haven't blogged for a good few months (I'm putting this down to school work and Christmas holidays as opposed to a lack of baking!).
Another thing that I suddenly realised is that my blog has now being going for a year. My New Year's resolution for 2014 was to start a baking blog (and continue with it) and I think I can tick that off my list of things I achieved last year. My 2015 New Year's resolutions included drinking more water, teaching everybody I encounter the difference between macrons and macaroons, continuing my blog and learning how to bake some super cool new things.
Last week I spent a little while reading over my previous posts to reflect on the cakes I've baked over the past 12 months - there are *quite* a few more than written about here - and I've realised that I definitely want to pursue my cake baking further over the next year.
I decided that I was going to dedicate this post - the first of 2015 - to my favourite bakes of 2014 and give you an insight into why I loved baking them so much. (These have all been written about in previous blog posts and I will leave the links below) .
First up we have my coco pop chocolate monkey cake. I never actually got round to writing a blog post about this cake but the recipes can be found in my other posts and the decoration is pretty self explanatory so I thought I'd include it anyway.
This cake was made in January 2014 for a close friends birthday. I had absolutely no idea what cake to make him and decided - after searching the internet for hours - that despite it being his 16th birthday, who doesn't love a monkey vaguely resembling Curious George.
My favourite thing about this cake - putting aside the unbelievable cuteness - was its flavour and how easy it was to assemble. It was a three layer chocolate cake sandwiched together with a coffee buttercream, iced with my favourite chocolate icing and decorated with the remainder of the coffee icing.
Although the cake wasn't actually for me, coffee and chocolate are my two favourite flavours and I made sure that I was given a slice.
My only criticism about this cake is that the coco pops start to go slightly soggy even the day after it's being made so you might just have to eat it all before that happens. What a shame.
To sum up, this cake is a really fun, cute cake that is perfect for children's (and 16 year olds) birthdays or simply any 'I fancy some cake' occasion.
Next up in my 'favourite bakes of 2014' we have the tennis ball birthday cake that I made for my friend Imogen's birthday.
I have to admit that this was probably the cake that caused the highest stress levels of 2014 but equally it was worth it. This was made on a day in March when we had two mock exams, Imogen had her dance exam the next day, it was another friends birthday AND was when we realised that it was our last birthday all together at the same school. Quite a jam packed day. Our priorities were set straight however and in between hours sat in the sports hall, we managed to squeeze this cake in at lunch time and it went down a treat.
The first thing that caused some immense stress in the kitchen was that the cake you see pictured above, was actually attempt number two as the first one had sunk, burnt on top yet remained raw in the middle and spilled all over the oven. Not a great start. Finally I managed to get a cake that I could use.
Next was the challenge of the correct colour of icing. Imogen is an avid tennis player and I had been given strict instructions on the fact that tennis balls are green and not yellow. Or are they yellow and not green? I'm not too sure but I do recall getting the seal of approval from both Imogen and her tennis coach on the colour of the cake so I must have done something right.
Although this cake is arguably quite specific to people who are tennis loving, it has made it into my 2014 favourites simply because of the happiness and the memory of the lunch time that we all spent eating it together.
My final 2014 favourite is going to go to the chocolate cake that I made for my brother's 18th birthday.
This cake albeit very simple, is so easy to make and still looks very impressive. It was a simple chocolate cake sandwiched together with a chocolate buttercream, iced with my favourite chocolate icing, drizzled with white chocolate and then decorated with alternating milk and white chocolate fingers.
As it was Joe's 18th, I knew I had to follow the directions he had given me as to what kind of cake he wanted (I also had to make cupcakes for him to take to work) and I knew this cake was the one when my brief consisted of "Something chocolatey." - this one takes the biscuit.
If you're planning on using this cake for somebody's birthday, then I strongly advise you to invest in a couple of cake sparklers as they really give it something special.
So, there we go. A few of my 2014 baking favourites. I'm really hoping that alongside completing my As Levels, 2015 can be the year that I bake something new every week and that I manage to keep this blog as a record.
Here's to 2015.