One wedding. One hundred and forty cheering guests. Three handsome best men. Two patriotic Welsh hymns. Three beautiful bridesmaids. Six Church bells ringing. One packed dance floor. Five great speeches. Several (hundred) 'happy-tears' episodes. One unexpected but exciting helicopter ride. One scrumptious evening souvlaki BBQ. One hundred midnight sparklers. Two Hundred and Thirty home baked individual pieces of delicious celebratory cake. Two delighted newlyweds.
Thirty glorious days on our honeymonth. Six thousand two hundred and thirty six miles from home. Ten flights. Three countries. Approximately eighteen sea turtles swum with on the Galápagos Islands. Two hours cycling in thirty five degrees Miami south beach heat. Thirty minutes sniggering at the name of a local bird: the 'Blue Footed Booby'. A Delicious Seventeen course (!) tasting menu sampled at Peru's best restaurant. One of which: guinea pig (sampled with slight horror). Two days trekking to Machu Picchu. Six hour Peruvian cooking class devoured. Two glorious sunsets over Lake Titicaca. Ten hour luxurious train journey on the Andean Orient Express. Fourteen mosquito bites. Ninety minutes of daily thunderstorms in the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest. Numerous Pisco Sour Cocktails drunken. Over two thousand photographs. Forty minutes waiting with US Homeland Security because of dodgy fingerprints.
And that's pretty much what I've been up to over the last five weeks or so! It's been utterly joyful. While I promise there won't be any recipes for 'Guinea Pig Five Ways' appearing on What Kate Baked any time soon, as the summer rolls on, I'll write a little more about our adventure.
In the meantime I've got two suitcases containing four weeks of washing to be getting on with. To put off this unenviable task and with only a few days of the month left I wanted to share my entry for this month's Tea Time Treats blogging challenge. My lovely fellow host Karen from Lavender and Lovage picked a fruity theme this month and my entry is this decadent Chocolate and Summer Fruit Birthday Cake. In the middle of all the wedding planning, it was Mums sixtieth birthday last month. We all headed home for the weekend and had a great time celebrating.
Decadent Summer Fruit Chocolate Cake
For the cake:100g chocolate, chopped
120ml boiling water
300g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
175g unsalted softened butter
225g light muscovado sugar
3 large eggs lightly beaten
For the ganache and decoration:
200g dark chocolate220ml double cream
3 tbsps strawberry jam
chocolate cigarellos and a selection of summer fruit to decorate
1. Grease and line 2 x 20cm round sandwich tins and preheat the oven to 180C/fan 170C/350F/Gas Mark 4
3. In a bowl sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla pod seeds together and set aside
4. Beat the butter and sugar together for 5-7 minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, adding a tablespoon of the flour mixture if it begins to curdle. Add in the chocolate and buttermilk
5. Gently fold in the flour mixture and divide the mixture between the two prepared tins, smoothing the tops
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until firm on touch. Leave for 5 minutes to cool in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely
7. To make the ganache: Pop the chopped chocolate into a bowl. Place the cream in a small pan and heat until simmering point, stirring throughout. Remove the pan from the heat and pour over the chocolate, whisking the mixture until the chocolate has melted and it is smooth, glossy and thickened. Set aside to cool for 1-2 hours, or until thick enough to spread over the cake.
8. Use half the ganache and jam to sandwich the two layers together and smooth the remainder of the ganache over the top and sides. Decorate with the cigarellos and fruit
- Cigarellos can be bought online or from any good cookshop. Otherwise use chocolate biscuit fingers or Cadbury's Flake Bar to decorate
- If you would like a recipe for Guinea Pig, well, the internet can of course come to the rescue