Back from blog break: June so far

As you may be aware, I have been absent for a few months from the blog. I have to apologise and know there are no excuses. Life is busy but you get on with it and if you’re a blogger, then you get on with it and blog!

Anyways, a recent foray into Twitter (@zoetcm) has introduced me to a whole other social media world, in some ways different to Instagram (@zoetcm) and Facebook (Chow At Home). A big “Hello” to new bloggers/followers I’ve met on Twitter and “Welcome” if this is your first time here. You have invigorated me to get back on track with my blogging, so thank you for that!

End of May/June has been and is a particularly busy month for me. It is now mid-June and I’ve already been on two Hen weekends (both in York). I’m going to my cousin’s wedding in the Lake District this weekend followed by a week away staying in a cottage in York with my cousins. In fact, York is the place to be this year! I will have to devote a post all about it.


First Hen do was my friend Debs who I've known since 2006 and met at Newcastle Uni. We stayed at Pavilion Cottage in Clifton, which is a ten minute drive from York city centre. Click here for more more photos and detail on Facebook.

I wanted to make a surprise cake for Debs. I previously made her a Cath Kidson inspired 30th birthday cake of her requested flavours of blueberry and lemon.

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Debs' 30th Cath Kidson inspired birthday cake, February 2015

This went down so well that I knew I had to make it again. I used my Blueberry muffin recipe (doubled) and made Lemon frosting. The cake was so big and needed a lot more cooking that I was a bit concerned it might turn out stodgy/undercooked. So glad, the whole cake turned out well. Light, moist and soft cake with a juicy blueberry layer. I haven’t had much experience covering cakes with roll fondant but was pleased with this attempt. I know Debs likes the colour red, leopard print and vintage details so incorporated all these in the decoration. The paint, flower and pearls were all edible. Chuffed to say the Bride-to-be loved it and all the Hens enjoyed eating it.

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Debs' Hen do cake, May 2015

I also made some Fruit scones using Doughworks recipe. This recipe usually turns out well but I am always a bit nervous to try them. This batch was spot on (phew!) and really good with clotted cream and strawberries/jam.

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Fruit scones for Debs' Hen do, May 2015

The second Hen do was my friend Gemma who I’ve known for as long as I have known my husband Leigh. We’ve been together for 9 years and married for 3 of them. We went glamping for Gemma’s Hen do with Jollydays at Buttermere Wood by York. More photos and details from the weekend on my Facebook page here.

Before the Hen do, I found out what Gemma’s favourite flavour of cake was from her bridesmaid/sister-in-law. Gemma likes Victoria sponge with cream & strawberries and Coffee cake.

After some mulling, I decided to make cupcakes instead of a cake as it would be easier to eat at the glamp site. And instead of one cake, I wanted to make cupcakes capturing both favourite flavours of cake.

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Gemma's Strawberry & vanilla cupcakes, June 2015

I thought I would try something a bit different but still keep in tradition with a Victoria sponge cake. I used my Blueberry muffin recipe and substituted the blueberry with fresh strawberries. This was a bit of a risk, as wasn’t sure if the chopped strawberries would produce too wet of a cupcake. Luckily, they turned out fine. Instead of using traditional freshly whipped cream, I decided on a vanilla buttercream, as it would keep better. I was happy with the end result. If I made them again, I would add some strawberry jam to the middle of the cupcake (after cooking) to give it more flavour.

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Gemma's Coffee & walnut cupcakes, June 2015

I’m happy when a coffee cake is requested as it’s a little different and not many people ask for it. I use the Be-Ro recipe for Coffee & walnut cake with coffee buttercream. Simple but always good!