We’ve been celebrating our daughter’s 4th birthday today so just a quick blog update as I’m all partied out!
I’ve had a very sociable week while the kids have been on half term. My best mate is a teacher so we get to see more of him and his family in the holidays. They came to stay with us for a few days this week, giving me an excuse to experiment with a few new bakes like the one pictured above. I’m trialling a new oven at the moment – I’ll be able to reveal more soon – but it’s meant I’ve had a very busy kitchen so it’s always great to have willing guinea pigs to test on!
I judged the Barnet Libraries ‘Edible Books’ competition at Osidge Library yesterday. One of the entries was the fantastic ‘Charlotte’s Web’ cake pictured above by a great guy called John Holland. I really love judging baking competitions and take the job quite seriously – it’s tough at the coalface, having to eat so much cake! I judged each entry on appearance, interpretation of the book, and flavour. There was a good turnout for the competition and my daughters really enjoyed helping me judge (playing the ‘Mel and Sue’ to my Paul Hollywood!)
The winning entry in the Adult category was the luggage from (my favourite author) Terry Pratchett’s ‘Discworld’, pictured above. It was a delicious pear and chocolate cake with all of the feet hand-crafted. Pear can be a bit tricky to bake with but it was so well-executed. My pear pain au chocolat recipe is on the BBC Food website – it’s one of my favourite combinations.
The winning entry in the Children’s category was the ‘Matilda’ cake pictured above. I’m a fan of Roald Dahl as I’ve mentioned before, and this was a real favourite, particularly as the young baker had done all of the piping herself. I get to judge quite a few children’s baking competitions and I love seeing their ideas and experimentations.
Today was daughter number two’s 4th birthday party. We had a pottery painting party at Fired Treasures – a brilliant place just down the road from us. Our daughters usually start planning their birthday cakes and party themes about six months in advance. Ever since our summer holidays where we played My Little Pony Top Trumps about 1,000 times, our middle daughter has been asking for a ‘Rainbow Dash’ birthday cake. My eldest daughter and I have photographic memories for Top Trumps – I can tell you the magical score for any My Little Pony – a very useful skill I’m sure you’ll agree. So today’s cake was six rainbow layers covered in sprinkles on the top tier, and my thick chocolate cake on the bottom tier for all the grown-ups. The chocolate cake recipe is in my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, and it’s really easy but contains a frightening amount of chocolate – not one for the dieters! I also made rainbow funfetti cupcakes. Funfetti basically means adding colourful sprinkles to a batter and my daughters request it in everything. They’ve not asked for funfetti toad-in-the-hole yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do this week!
Baking birthday cakes for my kids is pretty much the reason I applied for the Great British Bake Off. Even though it always involves staying up until 2am the night before a party, it’s worth it as the kids appreciate it so much. I’ve baked far more since becoming a dad and it was after our eldest daughter’s 4th birthday that so many of our friends encouraged me to apply for the show. My application form was full of the girls’ birthday cakes as I didn’t really have pictures of many other things I’d baked at that time. These days I Instagram (@richardpburr) nearly everything that comes out of my kitchen! If you’re reading this from across the pond (and according to my blog stats, you probably are!) then they’re currently casting for The Great American Baking Show. You can apply here – you won’t regret it! Anyway, it’s been a long week and I need an early night after today’s party, mainly due to the sugar-coma I’m gently slipping into, so I’ll catch you next week. Happy Baking!