Looking at cakes, baking cakes, decorating cakes... almost as good as tasting cakes.

Since Christmas 2009 I have become quite consumed by cakes, all types of cakes - as my ever growing belly will vouch for. After being asked by my boyfriends Nanny Mary "If Santa could bring you one thing for Christmas, what would it be?" I didn't hesitate to answer... "A kenwood food mixer of course!" Before I could even begin to explain my life long dream of owning my very own Kenwood she had hot-footed it out of the living room. Within a matter of seconds she returned with a whole lot of huffing and puffing... lugging, yep, you guessed it - a Kenwood. Being almost double my age there was nothing this Kenwood couldn't handle. It was love at first site, and I knew her age and wisdom would make me the cake baker I've always dreamed of becoming. "Goodbye" to the early onset of tennis elbow from my cheapo, handheld mixer and "hello" to the singsong whirrs of my k-beater.

Admittedly, I may have underestimated the true skill that is needed to make the perfect cakes- fine tools are all well and good but without a decent recipe, quality ingriedients, determination, patience, time, passion... yep, there is way more to this baking malarky than I first thought.

This blog will follow my many trials and, no doubt, many tribulations, with a little weight gain to boot, as I test out as many cake recipes as I can muster.

And it doesn't end there... I will also chase cakes around the country, even the world, and review and determine what really makes the perfect cake.

Will the 'famous' bakerys and cook books give me my moneys worth and be all they're cracked up to be? The proof is in the pudding, ahem, cake.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Carluccio's, Upper Street, Islington

I had my first Carluccio's experience yesterday, having never stepped in the 'chain' Italian food restaurant before, I was pleasantly surprised. Admittedly, I was only popping in for a take away cup cake or two so I can't comment on the eat-in experience. The restaurant was light and airy with a clean and neat window display where you can choose from a great selection of cupcakes and pastries. Reasonably priced, spaced (I can't bare cluttered cakes) and generous portions. I chose two vanilla cupcakes with a beautiful funner-than-baby pink butter cream icing simply stacked high into a tall peak, with a sprinkling of teeny glitter flakes. At £2.25 a cupcake, it was money well spent.

I encountered one main flaw, this cupcake is not ideal for a take away, a fork is definitely needed, unless you don't mind icing all round your face and hands. My friend and I threw caution to the wind and tucked in. There was so much icing stacked so high that you had to strategically take a bite of the sponge then a big lick of the icing so you could get the taste of both parts in your mouth at once. I have to have both icing and sponge in one bite, I don't want a mouthful of just sponge or just icing- this defeats the object.

The sponge was just about moist enough and very pleasant, the icing had a beautiful creamy consistency but in my opinion was not tasty enough - it wasn't quite sweet enough -very nearly, but not quite, and more vanilla was needed.

However, on the whole for the price it was very nice and a lovely treat, just remember to grab a fork!

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