Tag Archives: cake

edinburgh patisserie: lovecrumbs

6 Jun

This. This, this, this.

(That’s internet-speak for “you took the words right out of my head and shaped my thoughts more skilfully than I can express.”)

Lovecrumbs is everything I would like for myself: an open light cafe filled with brick-a-brack. An old drum for a table. Mismatched silver coffee spoons. Big cushions in the window seat so customers can curl up with tea as a live window display.

A wardrobe full of layer-cakes: classics like the Victoria (Vicky) Sponge, twists on favourites like Chocolate and Pink Peppercorn. Cheerful chef-owners who offer you strawberries and bring over extra hot water for the fresh and interesting teas (lemongrass and marigold, anyone? delicious) without being asked.

This, I want this. I want my own cake shop to look like this. Probably a good thing it is in Edinburgh so I can’t pillage all their beautiful ideas.

Lovecrumbs 155 West Port, Edinburgh EH39DP – open Monday to Saturday

mama’s nutmeg cake

29 Nov

Did you forget to water the plant? Is it now weeping leaves? (Aren’t you glad at least that it’s not a neglected cat, half-bald?)

Did you forget to do the washing up? Are you too lazy? Maybe paper plates are a better idea?

Did you step on someone’s foot and, in apologising, accidentally grab their boob?

Did you miss the bus and all of your new found intentions to be on time? Did you jump and down and curse? Did you maybe curse again later, a little too loudly in class, realise that fuck is easily translatable in most languages?

This cake is the answer to all your problems. No lies. Only one bowl, no washing up. Have a slice in bed for breakfast, hand out more slices as thank-yous and sorrys.

Be impressed by the contrast in texture – a layer of biscuit crunch and a layer of mahogany cake – all wrapped up in persistent nutmeg. Be amazed again at how easy it is, and yet how successful it makes you look.

Nutmeg cake

(A favourite recipe from my darling mama, in her words.)

 125g (4oz) plain flour

125g (4oz) self-raising flour

125g (4oz) butter

200g  (7oz) soft brown sugar

1 tsp bi-carbonate of soda

250ml (9floz) milk

1 egg

½ a nutmeg,  grated

optional 50g (2oz) walnuts, chopped

Put the 2 flours and butter in a bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor for this. Then stir in the sugar.

Butter a 20cm (8″) cake tin and tip in half the mixture. Press it flat to form a base.

To the remaining mixture stir in the bi-carb and  the nutmeg followed by the egg and milk. Pour the batter onto the cake base and sprinkle with walnuts.

Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 40 for about 40 minutes.

Note – if you don’t have self raising flour add 1 tsp of baking powder to a total of flour (250g).

cinnamon buckwheat muffins

14 Apr

The ugly duckling. Rough around the edges. As I understand it, cupcakes are pink and frilly, a sweet vehicle for the cream and butterflies on top. Not breakfast food. Muffins are homely, undressed. Like Anne of Green Gables. Plain, with a good imagination.

Unlike for cake or their diminuitive offspring, the method for making muffins is simple : a bowl of dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, spices) and a bowl of liquid ingredients (oil, milk, yoghurt, egg). Mix them together lazily, to a craggy consistency. Scoop into cupcake cases haphazardly and sprinkle over a shower of cinnamon sugar.

Buckwheat flour, or blé noir, is the magic ingredient in those crisp dark Breton crepes – filled with ham and adorned with a shiny fried egg. Here it adds a sandy texure and a interesting savoury quality to these lopsided creatures. Delicate cinnamon and sturdy buckwheat. A barely sweet crumb with a cap of sugar crystals and more cinnamon.

The innocent beige colour and vague healthfulness (wholegrain flour! no butter! no icing!) will beguile you into the inspired addition of a smear of homemade nutella. For breakfast. For lunch. (None left for dinner.) They are best eaten on the first day anyway, or warmed up again for afternoon tea. Also delicious spread with fresh raspberry jam.

Cinnamon buckwheat muffins

(inspired by Orangette’s nutmeg muffins – and her addictive podcast on the subject at Spilled Milk)

makes 18 small or 12 large muffins

125g plain flour

125g buckwheat flour*

1 tbsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

160g caster sugar

1 egg

125ml yoghurt

250ml milk

70ml olive oil

For the topping

50g caster/granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180c.

Mix the dry ingredients in one big bowl and the liquids plus egg in another. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the liquid, stirring very gently. Stir until just combined – don’t worry about lumps. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar. Fill your cupcakes cases about 3/4 full and top with a sprinkle cinnamon-sugar topping.

Bake for about 15 minutes. They will be puffy and golden, just firm to the touch. Leave to cool for barely 10 minutes before attacking.

*Experiment with wholewheat flour – or any other flours with an interesting texture – if you can’t find buckwheat.

happy birthday babydoll

10 Sep

Nectarine and lemon cake

Madein the traditional French style, with a yoghurt pot. Serves one hungry birthday girl.

125ml pot of plain yoghurt

3 eggs

(use the pot to measure): 1 pot of oil (olive or vegetable)

2 pots of sugar

3 pots of flour

1 sachet of levure, or 3 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

zest of 1 lemon

2 nectarine, sliced thinly

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a large round caketin.

In a big bowl, mix the yoghurt eggs and oil until smooth. Add the sugar, flour and baking powder, the salt and the lemon zest.

Tip half of the mixture into the tin, then arrange thin slices of one nectarine on top. Pour on the rest of the mixture, then arrange the other nectarine in a neat circle.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until golden and a skewer comes out clean. (If you like you can make a lemon drizzle glaze with the juice of half a lemon and 3 tablespoons sugar. Tip onto the hot cake when it comes out of the oven.)

Leave to cool. Celebrate.

housewarming cake

7 Sep

A fork, a bowl and some battered fruit from the market. A new boss and new flatmates to impress.

I spent the morning traipsing around banks, waiting in line at the phone shop, proudly buying my Navigo card for the metro, with its satisfying cling as you pass the gate. I came home laden with shopping, useful things like chickpeas, as well as a bar of chocolat bio (organic chocolate). In fact, all the bureaucratic details just made me gloriously happy to have properly arrived, to be an adult. (Whatever that means.) Even the planned transport strikes for Tuesday morning are just an exciting part of the French experience.

Once back in the apartment, I needed  a cake to christen my new home. This banana cake can be thrown together in five minutes with just a few ingredients and utensils, and will not suffer from a few substitutions or a dodgy oven. We only had two bananas, so I threw in an overripe nectarine as well. The toaster oven only had settings for 150 and 200 degrees, so I guessed. But it rose beautifully, spiked with patches of bitter chocolate.

“Are you hungry?” I asked my boss. “I brought cake for moral support.” We had time for a few bites before the first children traipsed through the door for their English lesson. We had the leftovers afterwards, a little sweetness to replenish our energy.

The rest was devoured that night with cheap rose, used to broker a deal with the proprietaires, and again over breakfast with more nectarines.

Good cake. Welcome to Paris.

Welcome banana cake

2 bananas and 1 nectarine/peach (or 3 bananas), very ripe

2 eggs

200g sugar

350g flour

1 teaspoon baking soda, or one sachet levure

2 teaspoons cinnamon

pinch of salt

100g dark chocolate, chopped (save some for topping)


2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

leftover chopped chocolate

Preheat oven to 170C.

Roughly mash the fruit with a fork, then stir in the eggs. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and stir until smooth. Mix in most of the chocolate pieces, saving a little for the topping. Tip the mixture into a large greased cake tin (or loaf tin if you prefer).

Mix the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on top, along with the rest of the chocolate.

Bake for 35-40, until the cake is risen and golden. The edges should have come away from the sides of the tin, and a skewer stuck in the middle should come away clean. Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from the tin.

Best eaten the same day – the chocolate will still be molten. The next day you could warm it in the oven and serve with a generous amount of icecream or creme fraiche.


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