Mary Berry’s Whole Lemon Cake

You all know by now that I am a sucker for lemon cake. It is my favourite and I would always choose it over anything else in a tea room. I was watching Mary Berry last week and she made a lemon cake which just looked amazing. The recipe is here if you fancy trying it out.

These lemons have been boiled for 30 mins. While that was going on I sliced off the skin of the third lemon and sliced it finely ready for the decoration.

The cake batter nearly filled the biggest bowl of my food processor! Shows that the cake was going to be mammoth! You save some of the lemon pulp for the filling (that is the pale stuff in the bowl). I used the quick tip of putting the zest in the oven.

The lemony smell was just so lovely and fresh too. Now the challenge after this was to cut the cakes in half. Not something I am good at- I can’t even slice evenly!

Then I made the cheesecake filling- marscapone, butter, icing sugar and the rest of the lemon pulp. This smelled amazing.

The slicing was not too even, which meant I had to stack them carefully to avoid a Pisa-esque cake.

Then I made the final part (this was truly a long project)- lemon and icing sugar to drizzle over- it was meant to drip down the sides a bit but I ended up with a cascade.

We took it around to Andy’s parents for Sunday tea- there were 6 of us but there was loads left- this was a mammoth cake!

If I made this again I would not slice the cakes in half, and just have 2 layers. I think I would also just have the cheesecake filling and use some as a topping instead of having the extra lemon icing on the top. The lemon taste was so strong, which I loved, so it would be something I would try again at some point.

Do you like kitchen projects like this? I love them once in a while- it is great to keep revisiting something and try a new recipe for a change.

Jantastic week 10

Double figures! Amazing!

I do love challenges like this as they really show how far you have come- at the start 3 months seemed a long time but it really is flying by.

So, how did this week go? I am having trouble remembering!

Monday- Went for a sports massage after work- a lot of work on my shoulder which really helped.

Tuesday- Short run after work around the little fields near me and up and down a little lane. I found it really tough, my calves were so tight but I did remind myself that after a hard race it takes one day per mile to recover, so in theory I would need 13 days after Bath before being back to normal again.

Wednesday- The Hill with Sweatshop, plus an extra sprint when someone took a wrong turning! I was pleased that I found it much better than the day before, and managed over 5 miles which is not bad for an evening after work.

Thursday- Pump. Why do the lunges never get any easier? I ended up with a sore shoulder that evening, which I think was from lifting a table at work (not recommended) and not pump at all.

I was sent some of these patches to try so on Friday I wore one of the heat ones (they are unscented which is good)- it did help and my shoulder was loads better. I will do a more detailed review at some point.

Friday- Went to see my Nan after work, then just chilled out all evening.

Saturday- I had decided to go to parkrun as I had not been in weeks, but I also knew I had pledged 6 miles. Neither my Dad or brother were going which made my decision easier; I went and did the off road route which was great. There is a little hill (and you repeat the loop 3 times) and there was the most enthusiastic marshal at the top of the hill EVER! I love her! She was cheering everyone up, shouting out motivating words, and generally being a beacon of cheerfulness at the top of the hill.

Then I got my chip scanned (in super quick time), got my mp3 player from the car and went to do the normal route. I had heard that a bit of the path was still under water, which was why we were using the off-road route, but both ends of the lake was underwater, the public toilets were still flooded, and even some of the paths at the sides were covered. So my route ended up being all over the grass. I topped it up to just over 6 miles, and then headed home via the post office.

Mornflake have sent me some lovely porridge and breakfast goodies- this will keep me going for months!

Then after some baking (more on that another day), cleaning and tidying, I walked around town to pick up some bits, and then went to the allotment and did about an hour of weeding. A pretty active day.

Sunday- We went out for breakfast (we tried Carluccio’s but I think there are much nicer places), wandered around town, went to see my parents and then came home and did some work while Andy watched the Grand Prix, then went to his parents. I was going to do yoga but we got home rather late and more work was in order.

Anyway, another good week. 3 runs ticked off, and the distance ticked off too. Although I was planning on doing parkrun as my timed 5k, but it looks to be the off road course for a good few weeks so I might have to adjust my predicted time. I had a go at guessing (having only done that course once before)- my guess was 29.29, and in the end my official time was 29.41 so not bad (but a lot slower than the normal flat course).

I also signed up to do 6 miles for Sports Relief on Sunday. I am meant to be running 8 miles, but it is about 2 miles away so I am thinking that Andy can drop me off and then I can run home- perfect! I do feel a bit antsy when I don’t have any races in my diary, and now the Oslo one is cancelled I have nothing else to plan for, so it is great to have something on.

Sprinting with Sweatshop

Hey folks

So on Wednesday I was off to Sweatshop, and when I got there they had decided on the dreaded “Hill” route. It is not actually that bad, but the hill in the first mile is pretty steep and just that bit too long. Normally when we do this route the front runners head back after each roundabout and join at the back again, which is good as then when we get to the underpass in the town centre no-one is on their own (I hate the underpass). But although we said we would do this, the faster people must have decided against it while they were running. I got to the top of the hill and realised that the girl ahead of me (who was a bit unsure of the route having only done it once before) had gone straight ahead instead of turning left, and no-one had turned back. I decided that I really should go after her, as there was only one person behind me, and I would not want her being lost on my conscience. So even though I was out of breath after the hill I had to pick up the pace and was shouting “hey, come back, it’s this way”. My poor legs could not go any faster! The trouble was she was wearing headphones, and I didn’t know her name. Luckily when I had nearly caught up with her she stopped to cross a road and saw me. Phew. She said she would have just turned at the next road but I am not sure where that would have ended up anyway. We ran the rest of the way together, chatting at times and gasping for breath at others, and even added on the optional loop at the end. That route ended up being about 4 miles so including running there and back I was over 5 miles for the evening which I was pretty pleased with.

We bought some amazing coconut dark chocolate in France at Christmas, and I enjoyed a couple of piece with some tea after dinner.

Thursday was pump- my back was a bit sore last weekend so I didn’t go too high on the back track. I am going to have a moan also about people who are members so don’t book on. There were not enough steps for everyone, hardly any weights. Non-members have to pay and get a receipt to get through the barrier, but if you are a peak member then all classes are included, so loads of people just turn up without booking on. Grrrr. Anyway, why do the lunges never get any easier???? I find that generally after a while I can add to my squats weight (although I am nearly at my limit of lifting the bar off my shoulders at the end), but the lunges just burn my legs. I stood on a mat this week which really helped as the floor is quite slippery and often I worry I will slide over during that track.

Friday I went to see my Nan after work, and then we watched a film (Behind the Candelabra- weird) and then Gogglebox which I just love.

This morning after my run I tried out a recipe similar to this one, from memory as I think I saw it on Ffion’s blog a while back.

Basically after my run I had to pick up a parcel and just wanted to jump in the shower and not stand by the oven and cook pancakes, so I made a batter with some melted coconut oil, an egg, some soya milk, ground almonds, coconut flour and baking powder, and poured it into a greased dish and baked for 25 mins. When I looked on-line later I was pretty pleased that I had got it mostly right! I had it with some cherries (defrosted in a pan with a little coconut sugar) and lovely teapigs chocolate tea.

Tasted better than it looked! Although I prefer buckwheat flour to coconut flour- the coconut flour just seems really dry in things.

Well it is a gorgeous day here- I have some baking going on at the moment, then a trip to the shops, some work and hopefully some weeding at the allotment too- it’s going to be a busy Saturday!

Jantastic week 9

I had to check that I got the week number right!

So, how did this week go following on from the Bath half?

Monday- total rest day! I was having a bit of trouble walking. I was going to do some yoga in the evening but was pretty sore so opted for a bath with some salts in there instead.

Tuesday- Went for a little run after work- was going to go for about 3 miles and felt fine at the start, but after 2 miles I suddenly felt tired and my legs were very sore, so I went home and did a bit of yoga and some foam rolling.

Wednesday- Went to Sweatshop. I nearly turned around and ran by myself, but I had texted my brother so knew he was going. We ran together at the back but it was great to catch up and the miles sped by. When I got home I realised I had run 4.5 miles, so ran to the end of the road and back to top it up to 5.

Thursday- Pump. Ouch! I had missed 3 weeks so I was expecting it to be tough.

Friday- Rest. I was going to do yoga, and then some cleaning and bits when I got home, but I had a headache so just had a cup of tea and lay on the sofa with the TV on.

Saturday- Had a lovely walk to and from the shops in the sunshine.

Capris! No running tights! This was at about 8 in the morning and it was already gorgeous and sunny.

Sunday- 6ish mile run in the morning (spent a lot of it mucking about on the fields looking at maps and birds and things), then around a 3 mile walk around the lakes in the afternoon. Loved the sunshine!

Muddy trainers are also very happy (I was taking photos of the fields and things and so took a picture of my shoes too, as you do).

At one point there was a red kite swooping so low, it’s markings were so clear, but of course in the photo it looks like a tiny dot.

I found a new bit of field too, although the new path further on was far too boggy so I retraced my steps. A lot of stopping and starting of my Garmin (when I remembered). It was so fun to just be out wandering about, not worrying about time or pace or anything else, just being outside. That is what I love most about running.

After my run I was pretty thirsty and so had a drink and an apple, as we were going to go to breakfast. We showered and headed out but when we got to the Waffle House the car park was full and the queue was out the door, so we came home again and had pancakes.

Later on I got my car washed (what a treat) and while we were waiting for that we went for a cold drink in a fairly new coffee shop as we had been walking around the lakes in the sunshine. Well, we weren’t that impressed- several things were not right including the barista asking me how to make the drink as she had not had training yet! (I don’t blame her but I do think they should have training! Or at least a sheet that tells them how to make all the drinks). Anyway I have emailed them because I was charged for the wrong size (but didn’t realised until we were leaving) and a few other things- it has been open for at least a month so it is not as if it was their first weekend.

Anyway, I have got sidetracked. Jantastic week 9 done- 3 runs complete, distance target complete, no attempt at my time trial yet.

How did you enjoy the sunshine this weekend?

Fellow Jantasticans- we are on to double figures! The end of the challenge is in sight! Give yourself a pat on the back and tell me what you have been proud of achieving over these past two months.

Red Velvet Cake

Hey folks, I hope your weekends are going well and you have been enjoying this gorgeous weather.

So this weekend I had decided to make a red velvet cake. I have never eaten one before, or made one, but I saw one in the window of a bakery last weekend in Bath, and it looked pretty. Andy had some red velvet fro-yo one holiday and loved it, so I thought I would give it a go.

I had a lot of recipes in various books, but in the end I went for this recipe, mainly because I was doing the shopping online and it was easier to check ingredients online also.

I think the original point of red velvet is that you make a chocolate cake with buttermilk, and somehow the chemical reaction between the cocoa and buttermilk turns it slightly red. But that may be an urban myth. All the recipes now call for plenty of red food colouring.

This one you mixed the food colouring with greek yoghurt and then add it to the cake mix.

I cooked it in two pans instead of one, as I can’t cut straight to save my life. Plus it meant the cooking time was much reduced. I also made an additional cake to take to work.

It doesn’t look too red here, but that is just the light.

Then I made the cream cheese icing- this recipe made loads! I suppose it is meant to be 3 tiers but I had a thick filling, a thick topping and then a thick topping for the cake for work too.

The icing has a little lemon juice in there which I really love- I think the lemon flavour lifts the cake and makes it more interesting somehow.

I might add some chocolate curls or something. I can’t decide.

After baking I gave the house a major spring clean before heading out. I parked away from town, walked in, picked some bits up and walked out. When I got home I had a slice of the cake for work (can’t really take the other cake around tomorrow for tea with a slice taken out!)- I think it is quite nice, but I don’t think I would make it again. I am not a massive fan of chocolate cake and when I make it I usually use recipes that contain melted chocolate. The cream cheese icing was really good though and I would use that again for different cakes.

Are you a fan of red velvet cake?