Monday, 26 October 2009

Beauty and the Beast

I had my gorgeous goddaughter Lilah's christening yesterday which I spent most of Saturday making a ladybird cake (pink because she's obsessed with it).

Looked a bit more like a turtle (on acid apparently) as her dad was quick to point out but went down a treat. I used a chocolate cake recipe ala hedgehog cake style (baked in the oven in a pyrex bowl) and then pink frosting, giant chocolate buttons and matchsticks for tentacles!

Check out the pink monster version I also made for my friends' CJ and Nicky's birthdays!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Raw is More!

Fantastic meal out with the lovely ladies last night. Saf on Curtain Road, the mainly raw, vegan restaurant. Who knew that healthy food could be this good. A literal taste sensation and a visual feast - every dish looked and tasted fantastic.
The unanimous favourite being the Raw Pad Thai, although my raw lasagne was a close second. The accompanying cocktails really were the icing on the cake, so fresh, so delicious, so beautifully decorated, so strong! Still not entirely comfortable with the nut cheese however!

So it got us to thinking, maybe it is time to make some of our own raw cakes, this recipe looks delicious, We will, of course be supplementing the goji berrys with fresh cherrys!

Raw Purple Iced Fruit Cake
200g almonds
150g dates
100g dried apricots
150g raisins
150g sultanas
2 teaspoons mixed spice
75g purple corn flour
75g lucuma powder
75g coconut butter
75g coconut butter
40g lucuma powder

4 level teaspoons purple corn extract
handful goji berries to decorate
1.Put almonds, dates and apricots into a food processor with the S-blade and process until all of the ingredients are broken down and start to form a dough that holds together.
2.Rinse the raisins and sultanas (it will help them stick to the dough), drain and put into a large bowl with the processed almonds, dates and apricots. Mix together until they are spread evenly throughout the dough.
3.Melt the coconut butter in a porringer or bowl over a pan on hot water.
4.Sieve the lucuma powder and mix with the purple corn flour and melted coconut butter, mix together to form a paste.
5.Add the paste to the large bowl of dried fruit/almond mixture and continue mixing until it is all a uniform colour.
6.Press the mixture into little silicon muffin trays - this will make 22-24 little cakes. Alternatively, you could make one or two large cakes in a large silicon cake mould, or even a glass or ceramic one, although you might need to keep it in there and cut slices from it.
7.You can either ice them straight away and refrigerate, or you could dehydrate them for a few hours and then ice and refrigerate. These are great eaten cold from the fridge, at room temperature or even warm without icing straight from the dehydrator!
8.To ice, lightly soften the coconut butter until it is soft but not completely liquid, by gently warming and then beating. Add sieved lucuma powder and purple corn extract (7:1) and mix together.
9.Ice cakes and decorate with goji berries before the icing sets.
10.Once they have set you can remove the cakes from the silicon trays - they pop out easily. It you have used a glass or ceramic dish just keep the cake in there.
11. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.

Check out this and more at

Sunday, 18 October 2009

We heart the 80s

and  it ain't just the return of 80s fashion we're loving...remember these? (and no lies we know you'd love to be chomping your way through any of these right now)

Chocolate Mousse
Raspberry Pavlova
Missippi Mud Pie
Flourless Chocolate Cake (I actually had this at Acorn House on Wednesday and it was stunning)
Creme Brulee
Chocolate Fondue

and our favorite of course -
anything with a glace cherry on top!

Art attack

Its been a week of culture (well by some standards). Started with the launch private view of the Beatles to Bowie 60s icons, National Portrait Gallery where I spent my way round this brilliant exhibition singing my own chronological soundtrack to the exhibition (why didn't they do that? - that really would've been the cherry on top of the icing on the cake). Got chatting to Mike Joseph the photographer who took the shot for the front cover of Beggar's Banquet, him and his wife had travelled round Iraq in 1964 so seem to take a shine to me, and it seems that shoot really was as debauched as it looked. 

Next night a visit to the Rio Cinema for the new Shane Meadows Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee. Everyone please please go see this! its absolutely hilarious and Paddy Consadine takes comedy to another level. Kebab from Mangal (fav of Gilbert & George it seems as was sat next to them last time I was there) Green&Black's choccie (good thinking pals at Rio) and crying laughter = top night out.

From there to the Frieze Art Fair private view next night which if you haven't been is worth just for the people watching. Fat ugly Russian business men with young skinny blonde models, Chanel-suited plastic-surgery-gone-wrong talon nailed European dames, Grayson Perry and our new favorite drink, Bourbon with Appletise, made it a night out to remember. The art however was redolent of a phrase I once heard someone mention on a bus in Hackney - 'My art has gotten loads better since I stopped making it'...riiiiiiiighhhhht...

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Couture cakes

Cherry On Top made its inaugural appearance this Saturday at our favourite vintage shop - Shock and Soul, recently moved to its grand new home on Essex Road Islington (next to the Old Queens Head). Fantastic frocks and yummy cakes in one hit - what could be finer!!

Join us there on Saturday afternoons

Hot favourite this week - lemon cupcakes with cream cheese lemon icing.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Seinfeld: Uncurbed!

Wooooohooooo! If anything was gonna cheer up the onslaught of winter blues its was surely only to be news of a last ever ever Seinfeld reunion - on Curb! All four of them AND Larry in some vain attempt to win back the amazing Cheryl - I can only imagine what banale brilliance might take place but it really doesn't get better than this in my book - thanks Larry... 

Series 7 started cross the water already but watch this space for any sneak previews as they happen and check out this spoof Seinfeld reunion I found on the dailytube - kinda genius... 

This news calls for celebration so if you come down to our cake stall on Essex road N1 on Saturday for a joint wax lyrical we'll do the opposite of the soup nazi and give you one of our delicious blueberry victoria sponge cupcakes for free!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

I'm new here

Three words...Gil. Scott. Heron.

January 2010

Check out the preview of the new album here:

I'll be making these Lady Grey (and John Coltrane) madelienes for that one.

Cake recipe by Sarah Leahey Benjamin: Lady grey tea and honey madeleines


70g (2¾oz) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp loose Lady Grey tea, or contents of 2 tea bags
100g (3½oz) plain flour,
plus extra for dusting
½ tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
2 large eggs
70g (2¾oz) sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp grated orange zest

Line a small sieve with two layers of damp cheesecloth and set over a small bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat.

Mix in the tea leaves. Swirl the pan to disperse them, leave to stand for 10 minutes, then pour through the sieve. Twist the cheesecloth tightly to release the tea-flavoured butter into the bowl.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Using an electric mixer beat the eggs and sugar together until thick, light and fluffy – about four minutes. Add the honey, vanilla and orange zest and beat for a further minute. Gently fold in the dry ingredients by hand, followed by the tea-flavoured butter. Press clingfilm directly on to the surface of the batter and chill for at least three hours or up to a day. This is essential to allow the flavours to develop.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Thoroughly grease a madeleine tin that has 12 indentations, each measuring 7 x 5cm (3 x 2in). Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Place the tin on a baking-sheet. Drop a scant tablespoon of batter into each mould. (Don’t worry about smoothing it, as it will spread during baking.) Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake until the madeleines are golden – about 10 minutes.

A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. Quickly tap the madeleine tin on the work surface to loosen the cakes before turning them on to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Two Wheel Trauma

I decided it is time to face my fear of the traffic and learn to cycle in London!
This, I predict, will require perseverance courage and patience (mainly for my teacher).

Lesson number one saw me cycling from the Essex Road home via Shoreditch, through the busy streets of Bethnal Green and back along the canal. Sure it was a wobbly start - numerous apologies to fellow two cyclists Boldfor my sudden, warning free halts, a couple of near misses through inability to co-ordinate head turning and balance and the odd screech at pedestrians who made the fatal error of assuming I would give them right of way. Still, I made it home, unscathed and without swallowing any canal water - this, I deem a resounding success!

Along the way stopped in at SCP and ogled the many design pieces I covet:
Items I covet:
number 1:
Marcel Wanders Skygarden Light
number 2:
Bent wood chairs by Michael Thonet
number 3:
Drysdale modular Sofa system

All of which will be perfect in either of my dream homes in Provence on London!

Sunday Funday

A Sunday with no plans, the perfect opportunity to potter!

Woke up with a breakfast craving for muffins so whipped up a batch of Delia's finest banana and cinnamon, accompanied by fresh berries, a large pot of tea and the Sunday paper - perfect!

A big fan of red velvet cupcakes, but slightly put off by the alarming quantities of food colouring required, I decided to go down the more natural route of beetroot puree as dye. Granted, there was as much beetroot over the kitchen as in the cake but the results over all - pretty good! Slightly more earthy flavour and a much more dense and moist texture (not dissimilar to carrot). Topped with the two tone chocolate and vanilla cream cheese icing, they were happily wolfed with a cuppa at Aida's.