Thursday, 8 August 2013

Why baking is not a fad and Almond, White Chocolate and Blueberry Cake

The other day I was loitering in the baking aisle of the supermarket, as indeed I do most weeks, when I overheard this conversation:

'Thing is with baking, it's such a fad. It's in fashion now, I know. But who really likes those sickly sweet creations? And who really wants to spend hours in the kitchen when Patisserie Valerie is just round the corner?'

I turned, aghast. 'Well, excuse me' I wanted to say 'Excuse me! Have you not heard of the popularity of The Great British Bake Off?* The baking boom that has led to sales of butter soaring according to newspaper headlines last week? Do you not know that Bake Sales are the best and most delicious way to raise money for charity? It's certainly not a fad! A fad, my friend, is the shellsuit, the cabbage soup diet and the tamagotchi'

I'd then pause for breath before heatedly continuing: 'In any case, sure you can get sickly sweet cakes but you can also take the most amount of pleasure from hours in the kitchen perfecting a flavoursome, tasty, tempting bake that brings delight to your friends and family'

In reality, I harrumphed in their general direction before doing a three-point-trolley turn and heading for the tills.

And as I baked this Almond, White Chocolate and Blueberry Cake later that day I was still somewhat personally affronted and determined to bake them wrong. 

Almond, White Chocolate and Blueberry Cake

For the cake:

200g self raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
200g softened butter
200g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp natural almond extract

To assemble and decorate: 

100g white chocolate
150g softened butter
150g icing sugar
1 punnet blueberries 

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Lightly grease and line two 8inch/20cm round cake tins
2. Combine all the cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electronic whisk until well combined and smooth, this should take a few minutes. If the mixture is a little stiff add a splash or two of milk
3. Divide between the prepared cake tins and bake for 30-35 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven 
4. Remove from the oven, cool in the tins for five minutes before turning out onto a wire baking rack to cool completely
5. To make the icing: Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl suspended over a pan of gently simmering water. Leave to cool. Beat the butter and icing sugar in a large bowl until creamy then beat in the chocolate. Use half the icing to sandwich together the two layers of cake. Spread the remainder of the icing on the top of the cake and decorate with the blueberries 

Baker's notes...

  • You can freeze the cakes, well wrapped and uniced, for up to three months. The icing will also last up to a month when stored in the fridge
  • The sweet almond and Britain's fastest growing fruit, the blueberry make perfect partners in this cake

  • PS: Baking Rules!

* Due to return to our screens on 20th August 2013. Hurrah!


  1. My goodness - how did you manage to hold your tongue. This blueberry topped cake surely made you feel so much better. Bet it tasted better than any fad!

  2. It's always best to keep quiet, you can never win an argument with bigots !!
    Mind you, you could always have said "at least my cakes don't have palm oil in them"!

    The cake looks wonderful.

  3. Not sure if I would have been able to stop myself. A fad???
    P.S. Delicious looking cake!! :)

  4. beautiful cake... baking has been a trend since oven's were invented... and prior to that i'm sure... these people are daft and if they think Pat Val's is quality then they've clearly never baked anything themselves as stunning and simple as your blueberry cake... what's an hour in the kitchen when this is the result... 'poor them' I say!

  5. Hmph, I would 100% have joined you in your harrumphing!! Baking is here to stay! Gorgeous looking cake btw :-)

  6. In my experience, it's the shop-bought cakes etc. that are over sweet compared with the home-baked variety. With the exception of a few disasters, homemade tastes better, and you have the enjoyment of making it.

  7. That looks like a totally awesome cake :D And although I think it's fair to say there is a baking 'fad' at the moment (i.e. it's in fashion), those of us with a hardcore addiction aren't going to stop when it goes out of style. The fad is handy, though, because there's a much better range of stuff in the supermarkets than there used to be!

  8. Don't think I could have held my tongue - a fad? But I agree with Rachel that because of this so-called fad, there's a much wider range of baking goods in the supermarkets.
    Lovely looking cake, but anything with blueberries is fine with me.

  9. Ooh, anything with blueberry is an easy sell as far as I'm concerned

  10. A gorgeous looking cake! And I don't see baking as a fad. Yes, it's super popular at the minute but when has it ever disappeared like fads do? Supermarkets have always stocked the basics, it's just with the extra popularity, the range has expanded. I'll alway appreciate homebaked treats and enjoy the process of baking itself! Ooop, sorry for the rant too!

  11. Baking may be 'in fashion' right now, but I agree that it's certainly not a fad. It's always been there and I am happy and proud to be a home baker. Whenever I think about buying something ready baked from the supermarket, I just look at the long list of ingredients and it puts me right off! Great cake too by the way :)

  12. Baking may be in fashion at the moment, but hardcore bakers are here to stay! The cake looks gorgeous :-)

  13. Great looking cake Kate. Don't worry about the mood hoovers, negativity like that is a waste of energy (though I do admit I would have been appalled also ;)).


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