Monthly Archives: March 2014

March meetup – For the love of Ireland

I can’t remember whose idea it was to have an Irish-themed meetup, but whoever it was deserves an extra piece of cake.

Thank you so much to Christine for hosting us. Poor Hobbs the cat was a little shocked at the onslaught of cake ladies descending on his domain.

HobbsSummerland Bakers Irish meetupWhat a grand selection! We had traditional Irish recipes like Irish Soda Bread, Irish Tea Cake, Bread and Butter Pudding, Currant Squares, a Curd Tart, and “Fadge,” a potato bread that Jan made into scone-like biscuits (#nomnom). Then there were fun recipes that included hints of Irishness (or in the case of Jennifer’s Baileys Trifle, a pool of Irishness). Adorable Heritage Cupcakes, Chocolate Guinness Cake, Irish Cream Bundt Cake, Cheesecake and even mint macarons.

Each meetup seems to include at least one hilarious tale of disaster or near disaster, and this time it was Jean who narrowly avoided the complete breakdown of her macaron experiment.

Everything was set. The meringues had been piped onto the circles that Jean had carefully traced onto the baking paper. “I banged the tray to get the air out, just like I was supposed to. Then I went to check the oven. Nothing. Dead oven.”

Jean would not be defeated. Living outside of town with limited neighbours on whom to call, she managed to find just the right neighbour to help her. “Thank goodness that women never leaves her kitchen. Her oven is always on.” Summerland averages just 13 inches of rain a year, but of course some of it was falling at the moment Jean needed to wrangle her macarons to her car and over to her neighbour’s.

Despite these great efforts, the first batch was not a success. Still determined to carry on, and armed with her neighbour’s advice on meringue consistency, Jean returned home in time to wave to the departing oven repair man. She marched into her kitchen and tried the macarons again, and after everything, won the day. They were delicious.

Irish NightWe ate too much cake, shared Irish jokes and sayings, visited and laughed and drank cups of tea. This time we even sipped our Rooibos tea (alas I hadn’t thought to track down some Irish Breakfast Tea) from Christine’s exquisite china collection brought from Russia by her parents. I noticed I wasn’t the only one taking great care whenever I went for a refill.

Following many of our past cake meetups I have suffered some serious sugar hangovers, so this time I put a new strategy into practice. When I got home I immediately went out and walked for an hour. It worked! The next morning did not bring the usual feeling of having been run over by a tractor.

I will post the recipes next time. I really think this was one of our best selections and there are several recipes I’m already hankering to try out.

Plans are under-way for the next meetup on April 24th at True Grain Bread! The theme is “Baking with Ancient Grains,” so get to thinking about what you’ll be making with spelt, emmer, quiona, kamut, millet, etc.

Thank you, Summerland Bakers, for your willingness to embrace the silliness.

Peace, love and buttercream,




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Sunday scone interlude

2014-03-09 14.06.09When was the last time you drank tea from a proper china cup? I’m usually a mug girl, so it was delightful to take some time to meet with a couple of fellow bakers for a short Sunday scone and tea interlude. We enjoyed several kinds of scones, including apricot and gouda, smoked cheese and herb, lemon yoghurt and the plain ones that I had made which had managed to be both overcooked and under-baked at the same time.

Our tea selection included darjeeling, mojito (lime and mint), and green tea. And no scone session is complete without a selection of jams, which included plum jam, cherry jam and freezer strawberry jam (my personal favourite).

When I arrived home with my leftovers in tow, the first thing my husband said to me was “Please tell me that after you had finished eating, you looked at your empty plate and said “It’s scone!” Of course I had not. None of us had, despite some other excellent puns, including Cheryl’s one about how baking with ancient grains often “spelt disaster.” Ha! But “It’s scone!” How could we miss it?

2014-03-09 14.06.34

How about you – any baking adventures this weekend?

Remember to mark you calendars for March’s 20th St. Patrick’s Day themed meetup. Let me know if you can attended by emailing me at

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Full Fat February Recipes

Goodness, it sure has taken me a long time to post these recipes. One thing after another, followed by the worst bout of the flu in 20 years. I’d rather eat cake, I tell ya!

Here are most of them in all their glory. I am missing a couple of recipes so I’ll just post the photos at the bottom and let you dream. We begin with Kim’s impressive (and delicious!) giant snowball cake.

  • Next event: March 20th
  • Theme: St. Patrick’s Day (It doesn’t have to be green, but it must be Irish-inspired)
  • Where: TBA

coconut lemon cream snowball

Kim’s Coconut Lemon Cream Snowball
12 to 16 servings
2 x 9” round metal cake pans

I made this cake over two days – day one the lemon cream and the cake. Day two the butter cream and the assembly. Because I know you have nothing better to do than spend two days making a cake! 

2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut (divided)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¾ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup coconut milk

Lemon Cream:
4 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cornstarch
1 ¾ cup milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter

Butter cream:
4 egg whites (from eggs used in lemon cream)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, cubed
½ tsp vanilla
Pinch salt

To make the lemon cream:
In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around the edge being careful not to scorch. In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice and cornstarch. Gradually whisk milk into egg mixture. Pour mixture back into saucepan and bring to a boil whisking constantly until mixture is nice and thick. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until cold.

To make cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast half of the coconut until golden about 2 minutes. Watch closely as coconut burns very easily. Grease cake pans and line with parchment paper.

In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter with sugar until light. Beat in eggs one at a time; add vanilla. In a second bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into butter mixture alternatively with coconut milk, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of coconut milk. Fold in toasted coconut

Scrape into prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pans for 15 minutes then remove and cool completely.

To make the Butter Cream:
Bring to a simmer a medium saucepan of water. In bowl of stand mixer, whisk egg whites with sugar until just mixed. Place bowl over simmering water and whisk until the sugar dissolves about 1 minute. Using whisk attachment on stand mixer beat on medium high speed until stiff peaks form, about 6 minutes. Beat in butter, 2 tbsp at a time. Don’t be alarmed (as I was) when the mixture breaks up and looks like it has curdled. Keep beating. It takes another 6 minutes or so for the mixture to come together. Add a pinch of salt and the vanilla.

To assemble:
Cut each cake in half horizontally. Cut 4 strips of parchment paper and place on edges of the cake plate so that after icing and adding the coconut to the cake, you can pull out the paper and have a nice, clean plate edge. Place one cake layer, cut side up, on cake plate. Spread with 1/3 of lemon cream; repeat layers twice. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down.

Spread 1/3 of butter cream over top and side of cake to mask in the crumbs; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Spread remaining icing over top and side. Press coconut onto cake. Pull out paper. Cut into 16 pieces or 12 if you are feeling greedy. Serve and enjoy!

DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING: Per each of sixteen servings: about 615 calories with 41 g total fat. (I TOLD YOU NOT TO READ IT!)

Jennifer’s Strawberry Cheesecake Cups

I added an extra 2 tbsp. of butter to graham crumbs mixture as recommended in a few of the reviews and used muffin tins instead of a square pan. And the picture that shows the finished bars on the website… yah, right. Fake I tell you, photoshopped indeed!

strawberry cheesecakes

Laura’s Caramel Pecan Ice Cream Cake

Mix: 1 ¾ c flour
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. rolled oats
1 c. melted margarine

Mix altogether, place on large cookie sheet. Bake in 400 oven until golden brown (about 15 min.) Take out while warm and crumble it.

Place ½ c. crumbles on bottom of 9 X 13” pan. Measure out 1 ½ c. caramel sauce and put aside. (Sheriff’s caramel sundae topping or other). Drizzle ½ of caramel sauce over. Spread 2 litres vanilla ice cream sliced on top. Place remainder of crumbs on top and drizzle rest of caramel sauce. Cover and freeze.

ice cream cake

Chantelle’s Sour Cream Lemon Cake with Pistachios (from the Company’s Company cookbook)

The kind of cake I wish I could “call up” with a double clap or a bit of fairy dust every time I needed a pick-me-up.

Butter (or hard margarine) (1/2 cup)
Milk (1/2 cup)
Large eggs, room temperature (3)
Finely grated lemon zest (1 1/2 tbsp.)
Vanilla (1 tsp.)
Granulated sugar (1 cup)
All-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)
Baking powder (2 tsp.)
Salt (1/4 tsp.)
Sour cream (1/2 cup)

LEMON ICING (I doubled this recipe for more icing)
Butter (or hard margarine), softened (1/2 cup)
Icing (confectioner’s) sugar (1 1/2 cups)
Lemon juice (2 tsp.)
Drop of yellow liquid food colouring (1-2)
Finely chopped pistachios, toasted (1 cup)

Heat and stir butter and milk in small saucepan on medium for about 3 minutes until butter is almost melted. Remove from heat. Stir until butter is melted. Cool.

Beat eggs, lemon zest and vanilla in large bowl for about 7 minutes until thick and pale.

Add sugar to egg mixture, 2 tbsp. at a time while beating, until sugar is dissolved.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl.

Add flour mixture to egg mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add cooled milk mixture. Stir until well combined. Line bottom of greased 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) pan with waxed paper. Pour batter into pan. Spread evenly. Bake in 350F (175C) oven for about 45 minutes until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Let stand in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run knife around inside edges of pan to loosen cake. Remove to wire rack to cool completely, discarding waxed paper from bottom of cake.

LEMON ICING: Beat butter in small bowl for 3 minutes until light and creamy.
Cut cake into 2 equal rectangles. Place 1 rectangle on serving plate. Spread with about 1/3 cup icing. Place second rectangle on top. Cover top and sides of cake with remaining icing.

Lightly press pistachios into icing around sides. Cuts into 10 slices.

Add next 3 ingredients. Beat until smooth. Makes 1 1/3 cups icing. Cut domed top from cake using serrated knife. Reserve for another use.

sour cream lemon cake

Belinda’s Red Velvet Cake

Anyone else think this cake went rather well with the Haywire Rose?

Makes 2 – 9 inch round cakes or 24 cup cakes

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. liquid red food coloring (28 ml)
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in centre of oven. Butter 2-9 inch round cake pans and line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 min). Add the sugar and beat until fluffy (2-3 min). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixture in 3 additions, beginning and ending with flour.

In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter. Working quickly divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans and smooth tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in a preheated oven for approx. 25 – 30 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 min. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert lifting the pan. Once completely cool, wrap in plastic and place cake layers in fridge at least for an hour or overnight (to make filling and frosting the cakes easier).

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 – 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 – 8 oz. tub of mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and icing sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to spread. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.

Assembly: With a serrated knife, cut each layer in half horizontally. You will have four cake layers. Place one of the cake layers(top of the cake facing down) on your serving platter. Spread the cake layer with a layer of frosting. Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost and stack the cake layers. Frost the top and side of the cake.

red velvet cake

Janice’s Nutella Swirl Brownies

These were SO rich and amazing. Truly decadent. The recipe comes from the Rock Recipes website:

nutella swirl brownies

Sophia’s Lemon Meringue Pie

Obviously my lemon pie did not look like the one on the website, but you can’t beat BBC Goodfood for good ideas. The lemon filling is wonderful and easy to make.

lemon meringue pie

I don’t have the recipes for Wendy’s Cinnamon Buns or Cheryl’s Black Forest Cupcakes, so you’ll just have to dream them up yourselves! Here’s one more photo to inspire you.

black forest cupcakes

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