Summer Lovin’

‘Summer Lovin’ had me a blast, Summer Lovin’ happened so faaaassst…’ Well yes, summer does seem to have been and gone already. Torrential rain and freak hail storms are not exactly what I had in mind for post-exam summer fun, but then again a lot of unexpected and unfortunate occurrences have taken place recently!

Amongst all the graduation whirlwind this week I haven’t had a chance to think about turning on the oven and whipping out my wooden spoon. Therefore, when I arrived home from Cambridge this weekend I couldn’t wait to fire up the magic mixer! With my trip to Aus a mere 24 hours away this weekend has been my only chance to catch up with all the girls before hopping off again. Annie’s summer BBQ was the perfect excuse to get everyone together, and to bake of course! 🙂

Summer for me inspires fruity and citrusy flavours, ones that are meant to be refreshing and light on the palate. Whilst I am a huge chocoholic, turning up to a summer BBQ with a heavy and rich chocolate cake just won’t cut it. Having said that, with the grim weather that we have experienced this weekend, we cannot really say we are in summer, the heavens have opened and it seems like we are being flooded into an apocalyptic world. Remember Noah’s Ark and the flood that wiped out the sinful population? Just saying! I thought I was a goner on the way back from Cambridge on the M25, thank goodness I graduated before the journey home.

Nonetheless, rain or shine we have got to get that BBQ going. The last time my group of secondary school friends were all together in the same room must have been about 2 years ago so it was such a treat to meet up for a catch up. Annie, ever the hostess, put on a lovely spread with the men in charge of the barbee. But I have to say I don’t think a mini portable BBQ and vegetable skewers shout testosterone! Especially when you shout act natural and this is what you get…such posers!

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Our chatter and natter certainly made up for the lack of heat from the sun since the hot topic of the evening was of course the recent EU referendum result. With a split among the group our eyes sharply turned to tea and cake to keep things under control. Thank goodness the girls had the treats on the ready!

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As I have mentioned in one of my first ever posts, lemon-infused desserts are a tradition among the Millers and they scream summertime. I have various different lemony recipes, from the thick lemon curd iced sandwich cake to the simplistic lemon drizzle loaf. This weekend I opted for the latter with a sprinkling of poppy seeds (as homage to my car whose name is Poppy! I missed her whilst I was away at Uni 😉 ).

Whilst I am a sucker for lemon cake, I’m all about the icing and nothing beats a spongy sandwich cake with thick creamy frosting. Annie is the DON at making a Lime and Blueberry cake so I wanted to mix things up this week and try Lime cake with a fresh Strawberry Buttercream, it was yum! Strawberries are the epitome of British Summertime and they are found everywhere within the summer months from Wimbledon, to summer school fêtes galore! They are traditionally served with cream and make a simple yet scrummy dessert even for the youngsters. I do remember one particular summer fête where one to many strawberries got the better of me…

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To full on strawberries to walk …and even open my eyes!

I unfortunately cannot take credit for the Pavlova that Annie made – it was delicious! I do apologise for picking off the strawberries on the top though 😉 Whoops – I don’t think I will ever learn!

Check out the recipes below and bring some sunshine to your week!

Have a beau-TEA-ful day.

nat

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients

Cake

175g self-raising flour

150g caster sugar

150g butter

3 eggs

zest of two lemons

2 heaped tbsps of poppy seeds plus extra to sprinkle on top

Icing 

juice of one lemon

approx. 200g icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line a loaf tin.
  2. Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add in the eggs and the flour, alternating until all has been added and well combined.
  4. Stir in the lemon zest and the poppy seeds.
  5. Place in the oven for 20-25mins or until it is golden brown.
  6. Once removed allow to cool completely and in the meantime make the icing by mixing together the lemon juice and icing sugar. For a thicker icing add more icing sugar, for a thin glacé add more lemon juice.
  7. Cover the cake with the icing and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  8. Enjoy with a cuppa!

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Strawberry and Lime Cake

Ingredients 

Cake

350g self-raising flour

2 1/2 tsps baking powder

115g butter

zest of 3 limes

335g caster sugar

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

120ml whole milk

120ml lime juice

green food colouring

Buttercream

5 large strawberries

225g butter

approx. 500g icing sugar

Toppings 

Green sugar

Strawberries

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins.
  2. Beat together the sugar, butter and lime zest until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and the egg yolks one at a time, mixing continuously and then add the lime juice mixing until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the flour and baking powder, add this gradually to the previous wet mixture alternating between the four mixture and the milk until all is well combined.
  5. Add the green food colouring, mix well and then pour into the two prepared tins.
  6. Place in the oven for about 25mins or until the cake is golden brown and springy to touch.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to one side to allow to cool completely. In the meantime prepare the frosting by blending approximately 5 large strawberries into a purée.
  8. Using a mixer, beat together the icing sugar, butter and strawberry purée, adding more icing sugar if needed to gain a thicker consistency.
  9. Once the cakes have completely cooled, spread half of the buttercream onto one of the cakes, place the other on top and cover the top cake with the remaining buttercream.
  10. Decorate the top with green sugar and strawberries and enjoy with a cuppa!

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