Good Food blog
Rachel Allen's Cake Diaries
Love baking? Or can never get it right? Rachel Allen reveals what making cakes means to her and shares her dos and don’ts ahead of her new series, Rachel Allen’s Cake Diaries
Ever wanted to go on a cake-making course? Well, now you can (kind of) as Rachel Allen is about to take us through all the cakes you’ll ever need to make in her new series, Rachel Allen’s Cake Diaries.
In the show, Rachel sifts, creams and beats her way through more than 50 brand new recipes, from cakes to impress to foolproof favourites and show-stopping birthday cakes.
It’s a bowl-lickin’ treat based on the idea that there is always something in your diary that gives the perfect excuse to bake a cake.
In fact, Rachel has loved to bake since she started cooking with her mother and sister as a child and she has carried on the tradition with her three children, two boys and a girl.
“My earliest cake memory is making fairy cakes or butterflied buns, with the tops sliced off and cut in two to make butterfly wings,” she says. “I was always a bit obsessed with chocolate cakes and I still am. My sister and I used to experiment a lot and she’s still an amazing cook.
“I always cooked with my mum and my sister and even though my mum worked, when I think of it now I see that she juggled it all so well. Making a cake can be just half an hour a week, and you can make something really delicious together – it’s really important to do something like this with your children.
“I bake a bit at home, especially making buns with my daughter, who’s three – she’d make them every day if she could. We have a big box full of cake decorations and sprinkles, the gawdier the better.
“My two boys like chocolate cake as well as coffee cake, and one always goes for a classic sponge with strawberries and cream.
“My children are little so I often get together with my girlfriends over tea and cake. It’s a lovely way to have people over when you don’t have the motivation or the budget for a dinner party.”
How to get it right
But everyone has their share of baking disasters, don’t they? I know I have. And Rachel has too, it seems.
“Testing the recipes for this series, I have had more disasters than any other,” she admits. “Baking is a science and you have to stick to sugar, butter and egg ratios, but once you master those then you can start to experiment with flavours.
“Always cream the butter really, really well,” she adds, as her top tip. “If you’re not using a mixer, use a big bowl to get lots of air in. Make sure the butter is soft to start with by leaving it outside the fridge overnight.”
Bake to impress
Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to try out a show stopper. Rachel picks out her hazelnut praline layer cake as a cake to impress – “it takes a little bit of time, but it’s worth it,” she says.
And for a dinner party? “I make my coconut and lemongrass cake, it’s one of my favourites,” says Rachel. “It is the fastest, easiest cake because everything is put together in a food processor.
“Baking has always been the thing I absolutely love, even when I was younger – not just cakes, but bread as well,” she continues. “There’s something really magic about it, that you can mix ingredients together and the magic happens behind the oven door. I love the smell it fills the kitchen with, and you can always have one small slice…”
See the recipes from Rachel Allen’s Cake Diaries