Munchkin picked this cake out to make for Mother’s Day last weekend. The plan was that he would decorate it himself but he got bored after placing a few blueberries 🙂 Still, he gave me the push to try something from Frances Quinn’s new book Quinntessential Baking and we all thank him for that 🙂
The presentation was entirely inspired by the photo in the book – at Munchkin’s insistence – but with a lot less skill…
I’m excited to say that I will be interviewing Frances herself at the Aye Write Book Festival in Glasgow next weekend! Fans of the Great British Bake-Off will remember her as the insanely brilliant winner in 2013; she of the secret squirrel cake and the ‘Strikingly Tasty’ chilli breadstick matchsticks (in their own giant match box).* She was a children’s clothes designer by day – she’s currently on a ‘baking sabbatical’ – and her eye for design came through in every single one of her bakes. I remember being really pleased that she won, both because her projects were so unique and also because she seemed like such a nice person!
Her book follows the same path of beautiful and creative bakes, full of funny little plays on words (the banana llama cake made me laugh, as did the projects inspired by knitting patterns and sandwiches!). Some are more complicated than I – a somewhat chaotic baker with little talent for detail – would take on without a good solid child-free afternoon, but the book is a joy to read, and none of the projects require anything too fussy, just a good eye for detail.
See the funny pattern on the inside of the rainbow? That’s because Frances cleverly recommends you use a regular round cake tin with a nonstick-parchment-covered smaller object in the centre. My parchment must have had some folds in it!
The Rainbow cake is from the lemon cake section and is essentially a lemon-infused sponge (I have become tedious with my fact about true sponges not containing fat, but in truth I’m not sure what else to call a sponge-y cake…). It is baked in a ring shape which is then cut in half to make a rainbow sandwich with plain whipped cream in the middle and on the top. The rainbow’s colours, as you can see, are made from rows of fruit (the original called for kiwi but we are green grape lovers in our house).
It was a dream to eat: the best cake I have had in a very long time. It was beautifully lemony and soft, and the choice of plain cream was inspired, giving a clean richness to each bite without more sugar. It wasn’t too big either which is a good thing on one hand for a small family – and also a disappointment as it was gobbled up so quickly!
The other project I have my eye on is also from the lemon cake section, but this time with an Easter-themed twist. Watch this space 🙂
*the recipe for the Secret Squirrel cake can be found on the bbc website here