I was devastated to see what the fire ripped through next to our bakery on Platts Eyot. I was expecting it to be terrible, but seeing it with my own eyes was so much worse.
There was some damage to our premises, and we lost a fair bit of equipment in storage. And as widely reported, a lot of history was lost - including the Lady Gay, a boat that was used for rescuing WW2 soldiers during the evacuation of Dunkirk.
The cause of the fire? It's actually an unbelievable story. A lady who lived on a boat on the Island decided to burn some rubbish lying around (not even her own rubbish!) on the windiest day possible. You literally couldn't even light a cigarette in those weather conditions that May bank holiday Monday. But somehow she managed to start a bonfire. She then allegedly had a "funny bowel movement" and left the fire unattended to go to the loo for twenty minutes. She came back, and saw the fire spread to two Grade 2 listed buildings, gas canisters causing explosions and destroying boats and businesses. Apparently she feels bad. No cake for her.
I was able to go back to work on Friday after inspections, which was a relief, because cancelling orders was stinging. The uncertainty of last week took its toll in terms of stress and anxiety but we are back in and baking.
I walked into the bakery with a heavy heart and very low morale, and started my day deep cleaning and clearing out all the lost prep and stock. And then, with every cake I made, I felt my spirit lift. It sounds woo-woo and almost trivial, but it really did take my mind off the destruction surrounding me, and helped me re-focus on the future. Baking really does help bust stress.
This two-tiered chocolate birthday cake delivered to Surrey was for Louisa's 40th birthday. Two layers of our delicious Belgian chocolate sponge on each tier. Filled and finished with our salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream, salted caramel ganache drip. And then decorated with chocolate and vanilla macarons, caramel popcorn, and Rolos!
The Macdreamy chocolate cake is one of our original birthday cake designs that is forever popular. Whenever we get requests for "not too sweet" (which still makes me chuckle - cake maker humour) or "reduced sugar", I always suggest this cake. We're Anges de SUCRE, so there is always sugar, and I can't just reduce it from recipes because that's not how recipes work. Also, what's "too sweet" for one could very well be "not sweet enough!" for another. It's actually impossible to gage personal sweet-preferences, which is why this cake is such a crowd pleaser!
Swiss meringue buttercream is my favourite because it calls for less sugar in its sugar to butter ratio, far less than the commonplace icing sugar frosting. It also NEVER crusts, meaning it'll always have a melt-in-mouth texture. It really is the most superior of all the buttercream recipes. Sure, it's more expensive to produce and takes a lot more time and skill, but it is SO WORTH IT.
The salted caramel adds a lovely sweet-savoury balance to the flavours, and you will find it very hard to believe anyone that doesn't agree with this. Almost as hard to believe that where the Germans failed to destroy the Lady Gay and the Island in WW2, a silly lass with a little bonfire succeeded.
Lots of love,