It’s nice to make little treats but as a master pâtissier recently said it’s easier to create a strong visual impact with BIG cakes so it’s good to bake those too. Another thing I discovered was the huge difference icing can make to appearance and taste! For example, the Jamaican ginger cupcakes were perfectly happy unadorned and went on a trip to the rock with me. Everyone loved them. They were relatively healthy with unrefined light muscovado cane sugar and coconut oil instead of butter. And that lovely taste of ginger.
But I couldn’t resist dressing some of them up back home. So they were turned into striking Jamaican ginger cupcakes with lemon swiss meringue buttercream frosting. As I bit into that lovely fluffy topping and sponge my guilt over the sugar and butter was quickly swept under the carpet, or cake stand. Yum.
Then along came a healthier coffee and walnut cake, a big layer cake I also enjoyed contemplating. Things were going quite well on the healthy front reinventing this British classic using my two new best friends, coconut oil and more unrefined light muscovado sugar. Plus honey of course. I was momentarily alarmed at the dark sponge but trusted to the cake gods and prepared to assemble the cake. Which is when the Great Healthy Icing Disaster occurred: two bowls of yukky stuff that separated, tasted funny and was clearly incapable of covering anything. After banishing the zero calorie fresh cheese, maple syrup, light cream cheese and xylitol, I welcomed back my dear old friends: icing sugar and butter. Easy and delicious. Oh well, I tried. Partially-healthy recipe up on the blog soon! 🙂
I wasn’t sure the cake would survive a climbing trip without becoming a sludge of melted butter, but a friend on Instagram suggested taking it along for breakfast. Excellent idea! As it happens it wasn’t too hot and after a few climbs my friends were delighted to partake. They loved it! I think the fact it looks so frivolous (not your typical ‘climbing cake’) added to the excitement! 🙂
Finally I realised a few lighter snacks were required!!! Yes, a healthy interlude my friends. So I adapted an old recipe to make sugar-free Lime cocoa chocolate cups filled with raspberry purée or date caramel. Easy and no-bake. Tada! A guilt-free Monday morning chocolate treat… yay! 🙂
So there went another week, another roundup of sweet treats. And here’s another week-long festival in Barcelona with events leading up to September 24th, the main day. The festival celebrates Barcelona’s patron saint la Mercé who conjured up a few miracles here. I ended up celebrating it on Sunday morning totally by accident. It was all happening next to my outdoors martial arts class in the park by the Arc de Triumf. My friend didn’t make it to the class but we met up afterwards and strolled around the festival. There was the usual wine-tasting event – a glass of cava after taichi and kungfu is always good! lol. You can see our two glasses there in the photo.
There was also entertainment for kids with a mini fantasy amusement park by Antigua i Barbuda, a company using metals and other recycled materials to create some amazing contraptions. I’d not come across them before and enjoyed the quirky charm and music. As well as the food trucks nearby. The hot dog one was classic but we actually bought delicious typical croquetas (white sauce croquettes) to eat.
Anyway, one minute you’re doing a martial arts class in the park on a peaceful Sunday morning and then suddenly you find yourself in the middle of another festival! 🙂 Definitely not complaining. Sorry I didn’t take many photos but I wasn’t all that awake and alert. Just happy. The rest of the week there’ll be big papier maché ‘giants’ walking the streets in processions and also the correfoc (running with fire), where people dressed like devils set off firecrackers and run through the smoke! There’s an element of danger and many spectators retreat to a ‘safer’ distance. But it’s a week of culture so there are also many events such as exhibitions, music, theatre and workshops. Yay!
Time to bid you farewell again sweet reader. May you have a lovely week ahead with some pleasant surprises to brighten up your days and soul! Till next time, happy baking and eating! 🙂 x