Archive for Retro Cakes

Dan Lepard’s almond layer cake with crushed raspberries

Posted in Baking, Cakes, English food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 30/08/2011 by libbyplummer

Dan Lepard's Almond and raspberry layer cakeIt was my birthday over the bank holiday weekend and I was hosting the celebrations as usual, so it was up to me to make my own birthday cake. Sad, but true. Obviously I could’ve opted for a novelty cake like the ones my mum used to make, but instead I stuck to a very grown-up concoction, in the form of Dan Lepard’s almond layer cake with crushed raspberries, as featured in The Guardian magazine a few weeks ago. I’m a big fan of Dan’s recipes although I could’ve done with a bit more help on the rather vague instructions and lack of measurements for the filling and topping….

Dan Lepard's Almond and raspberry layer cake

Thankfully, it turned out ok, although the topping was something of a bodge job. I’d definitely recommend giving it a crack if you’re looking for a summery cake.

While I’m at it, here are some coconut cupcakes that I made for my birthday last year, using an excellent recipe from the Primrose Bakery book.  I realise they look a tad girly, but I only coloured the icing pink to match the whole ‘coconut ice’ pink/white colour scheme. Honest.

Coconut cupcakes

The previous year I made this red velvet cake with cream cheese icing (as you can tell from the picture, my icing skills were clearly still ‘in the post’ at this point). I made the icing from scratch but cheated and used a Duncan Hines mix for the cake, procured from Americansweets.co.uk. It was only recently that I found out that although Duncan Hines was a genuine food critic, Betty Crocker was an entirely made-up character and never existed at all! I’m still reeling from the shock.

Red velvet cake

Retro Cakes: South African Prinsevlag

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Retro Cakes, South African food with tags , , , , , on 19/05/2011 by libbyplummer

Prinsevlag cakeI haven’t posted anything under the Retro Cakes banner for a while, so I thought it was about time I sorted it out. Making my Rooibos tea cupcakes last week reminded me of a cake that my mum made in the 80s when the relatives came over to visit from South Africa. It features the Prinsevlag (Afrikaans for ‘Prince’s Flag’) – coloured in orange, white and blue (I know it looks a little green in the photo, but that’s just the result of pesky analogue photography and dodgy lighting). If you know your history, then you’ll be aware that this flag was replaced in 1994 when Nelson Mandela was voted in as president and the legal system of racial segregation, known as apartheid, was abolished.

Prinsevlag
Understandably, the Prinsevlag is somewhat controversial nowadays as many see it as an emblem of apartheid (although it actually pre-dates the regime by 20 years). However, in the mid-eighties in leafy Surrey, it was simply the flag of our visiting rellies. In tasty cake form. Frankly, I think the most shocking thing about the picture above is the bright purple wallpaper with which my parents chose to decorate the dining room. What the hell were they thinking?

Retro Cakes: Jem and the Holograms

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Retro Cakes with tags , , , , , on 17/02/2011 by libbyplummer

The Retro Cakes section is where I get all nostalgic and start leafing through photos of cakes from ‘the olden days’ (mostly the 1980s).

Jem and the Holograms was one of my favourite cartoons and I also had a sizeable collection of Jem dolls (in fact, I still have them, craftily stashed at my parents’ house). Jem was always much cooler than Barbie or Sindy (Barbie’s British equivalent) because she was the singer in a rock and roll band, she had loads of 80s-style stage outfits AND she had pink hair.

Jem

While Barbie was poncing around trying to decide whether to be a ballerina, a princess or simply some vacuous bimbo in a swimsuit, Jem and the Holograms were rocking out with sparkly guitars and foiling the evil plans of their rival band – The Misfits.

And that’s why I wanted a Jem cake for my birthday – I’m not sure of the year, but I think it was either 1987 or 1988. As you can probably tell from the slightly blurry analogue picture, it was a chocolate cake with pink glace icing and the Jem logo painted on to fondant icing with food colouring by dear mumsy. As Jem would put it, perhaps somewhat over-enthusiastically: “Truly outrageous!”.

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Retro cakes: Shark attack!

Posted in Cakes, Retro Cakes with tags , , , , , , on 30/01/2011 by libbyplummer

Shark Attack cake
The Retro Cakes section is where I’ll be taking a rose-tinted glance back through the coolest cakes from my childhood, mainly courtesy of my mum, her gargantuan photo collection and a scanner.

This is one that I had for my 12th birthday. Most girls of that age may well have asked for a pony-shaped cake, or perhaps a likeness of Strawberry Shortcake or Barbie. Me? Being a big fan of Jaws, I asked for a gruesome shark attack scene. Some parents might have put their child straight into therapy at such a request, but mum delivered on the somewhat off-kilter cake request. As well as a bloody-jawed shark head poking out of the waves, the cake also had brown sugar for sand, green icing for seaweed and those prawn-shaped penny sweets decorating the shore.

I believe the cake was based on one in Jane Ashers’s Party Cakes book. Sick mind, that Jane Asher has.

Jane Asher's Party Cakes

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Retro Cakes: A Batman birthday

Posted in Cakes, Retro Cakes with tags , , , , on 05/11/2010 by libbyplummer

In the Retro Cakes section I’ll be taking a nostalgic walk down memory lane and posting pics of the best cakes from back in the day, largely courtesy of my mum.

For my brother’s 12th birthday, my mum knocked up this Batman cake as it was around the time that Tim Burton’s Batman film was on at the cinema (this was the first film in the UK with a 12 certificate, fact fans).

I’m reliably informed that the cake was a victoria sandwich topped with buttercream icing with an an oval of fondant icing forming the logo. The caped crusader’s trademark was painted on with black food colouring paste and yellow food colouring. I’m sure that Bruce Wayne would approve.