Baking again …

Apple Walnut cake, from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible (see here for recipe).


This is an interesting cake and first time using this baked-in filling technique: half the batter is poured, then a layer of shredded apple (I used Granny Smith) with cinnamon layered on, and finally topped with the other half of the batter. It took a bit of finessing to spread that top layer evenly.

I excluded the sultanas, and when I ran out of light muscavado sugar I substituted brown sugar in the topping, then baked for about 55 minutes at 350.

This was attempt #2 – I tried yesterday and woefully underbaked so the whole thing was ruined and ended up in the compost bin.

Thankfully today’s bake was a success, it tastes terrific, and the recipe is a keeper.

A glimpse of the apple layer

Palette-frosting Cake: cake #6

Interested in approaching the canvas differently, I decided to try an off-center approach. And, this time I practiced patience, working for a bit then chilling the cake so that I could layer colors differently.

I’m pleased with the result, and especially proud of myself for the leaves! Using 3 different batches of green, I mixed and layered this time for a more palette-painterly (and less finger-painterly) look.

Still, once I took a photo and looked it over, I have some improvements for the next time I try this type of layout.


  • Patience paid off with the layering of branch and leaf
  • Using 3 different shades of green for the leaves


  • Commit: Either go subtle with a bit of floral to the side, or go all out and arch across at least 3/4
  • Add lavender shades – not all deep purple

Palette-frosting Cake: cake #5

A friend and I spent an afternoon palette-frosting. My cake turned out … okay. The background was almost right, but I noticed I missed an opportunity to do something really dramatic to the right of the butterfly. (Oh yes – and that smudgy thing above the flowers is supposed to be a butterfly.)

Once again, had a lot of fun. I enjoyed mixing up colors and getting some amusing contrast wit the purples.

However, this attempt also underscored that a little bit of rose gel coloring goes a LONG way, so in the future I want to use it rather more sparingly. And leaves – agh! Practice is most certainly called for.

Palette-frosting Cake: cake #4

I had some fun with color and the concept of filling the canvas on this cake.

I enjoyed mixing in various shades of purple across the streaky-blue background, and the gold effect of the brown centers with white candies.

What I didn’t love was my leaves – again! Leaves seem to be my Achilles heel. I need more practice.

Palette-frosting Cake: cake #3

For this attempt I wanted to introduce perspective. My idea was a wood in the distance, from which a stream winds into a pool, around which are some flowering plants.

I did enjoy the making, but the result was not close to my vision. Still, I liked one thing: the effect of the distant wood was emphasized by laying on the colors, chilling for a very few minutes, then gently dragging a pastry scraper across that area to blur the image. This is a technique I’ll use again.

The next time I try perspective, I’ll use these learnings:

  • Do emphasize distance by dragging a pastry scraper across parts of the painted cake
  • Do use bold and cheery colors in the foreground, and darker in the background
  • Add a bit of blue to the base to reference sky
  • Change by painting in the green meadows first, rather than adding later as an afterthought
  • Change streams, paths, etc, to wind more dramatically for better perspective and effect