Dairy-free birthday cake

Last week, I’ve been asked to make a dairy free birthday cake. I started to look around for recipes but soon realised that all of them were just a normal cake recipe only with dairy free margarine instead of butter.

It seems that in the uk, people are really used to using magarine in their baking, in France, it would just be shocking; it’s full fat butter or.. nothing.

So as a French lady, it’s how I bake. I only recently started to use half vegetable fat in some of my pastry recipes (as taught by my mother in law).It was really easy to find good dairy free margarine – so I was off!

I made a regular Madeira cake (you find the recipe anywhere, it’s practically always the same), using the contents of a vanilla pod for flavouring. The batter looked and smelled normal.

I was really scared as I took it out of the oven as the wait to cool down seemed soooo long but after cutting the top (to make it flat) and tasting it, I was relieved. It tasted just like a normal cake.

You might be thinking “well yeah, of course it worked, you French woman, I use magarine all the time in my cakes” but for me, it was something expected!!!

After some “marzipaning” and decorating, here is the final result.


A very busy September

I think this year’s month of September has been the busiest ever.
We’re so happy the business is working so well since we came back from France. We had very successful food fairs and festivals, a few wedding bookings….
I also made a tiny cake and some princess decorated biscuits for a very girly birthday party.

We basically had a lot of fun but not much sleep!

For this post, I’ll just put pictures to show you all the things we’ve been doing.


Galette des Rois

Like every early January, I’m going to make a Galette des Rois. It’s a tradition in France; it’s supposed to celebrate a religious moment (epiphany) but for most people, it’s just an old family tradition. It’s a pie filled up with frangipane (or something else) and covered with pastry.

The whole excitement about it is that there is a “fève”, a little character made of porcelain, hidden in it.  You cut the galette and ask the youngest child to go under the table (I know, it’s weird) and he’s going to choose who’s having what piece without seeing.

The one who’s got the fève is the king or the queen of the day and can choose his queen or her king.

In medieval time, the (real) king and nobles used to choose an 8 year old boy with no money to be the king for the day; the boy could eat what he wanted and had servants all day. Each person in the court gave money for the boy to be able to go to school.

Anyway, enough of the mythology, here’s the recipe.

You’ll need:

–  2 circles of puff pastry
–  150g of ground almonds
–  100g of sugar
–  2 eggs
–  100g of melted butter
–  1 egg yolk, for brushing

The almond mix – Mix the almonds, sugar, eggs and butter together (for mine I also added 1 tablespoon of pistachio paste).

Put one circle of puff pastry on a baking tray, brush the edges with water.

Spread the frangipane (almond mix) but stop at about 3cm from the edge.

Put the fève randomly on the frangipane and place the second circle of pastry on the first.

Stick the edges together as much as you can then brush the pastry with egg yolk.

Finish by drawing a nice pattern with the top of a knife. Put in the oven on 180°C for about 25 minutes or until golden.