Florence’s Food: Raspberry and Amaretti Crunch Cake

Becky is here today with a fab cake recipe I asked her to share after she brought it round to me when Bea arrived. Along with being delicious it’s also quite sophisticated, yet she reliably informs me, easy to make. Perfect to impress friends when time is short and seasonal for these last days of summer…

Florence Finds, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams

I bookmarked this recipe for raspberry amaretti crunch cake just before I became a Mum after enjoying a slice in a cafe on one of my many maternity leave cake dates. I searched online for a recipe and this BBC Good Food one popped up first. What I love the most about using any Good Food recipe is how heavily they are rated. As time is so precious, I’m no longer prepared to waste it cooking or baking something that could turn out to be a flop. I love the fact that you can search only for 5 star rated recipes and I find the comments section underneath each recipe is a great help for tips and suggestions.

With this recipe, for example, there were a lot of comments suggesting that an extra egg was needed, as well as a lot longer in the oven. So, first attempt, I added an extra egg and just patiently kept checking the cake until my skewer came out clean. It’s a very simple, all in one mix which takes very little effort to prepare but tastes great.

A week after baking this for Rebecca to celebrate Bea’s arrival, we collected some wild raspberries on a family dog walk so made the cake again using half the quantities and baked it in a loaf tin. It turned out just as good.


PS Read more from Becky here

Monday Must Have: Cronuts

If you’re an avid internet browser like me you might have already heard about these little rings of deliciousness. As you already know, I’m on a diet and when you’re on a diet it only takes so long before you start obsessing over food you shouldn’t eat. (Some might say that’s why diets don’t work, but that’s a whole other post.) This time around for me it has been doughnuts. I love all the simple ones, jam filled sugar crusted ones or icing glazed rings, no Krispy Kreme custard filled nonsense for me, but these cronuts look delicious.

Image via DominiqueAnsel.com of the original Cronut

Apparently they are very new news. Invented at the beginning of May by Dominique Ansel at his eponymous New York bakery, once word got out there were queues lining the street within days. I can see a ‘Magnolia Bakery starts the Cupcake trend’ scenario happening all over again here. The Cronut is essentially a ring doughnut made from croissant dough then with the associated icing, sugar and a creme patisserie filling. If you’re not of the sweet toothed brigade like me that might sound a bit much. For me, it sounds pretty much like heaven. Unbelievably they only make 200 a day and the Cronuts are selling at $50 on Craigslist as a result!

Image via DominiqueAnsel.com of the original Cronut

Now, I have never made croissant dough (some things life is too short for,) and nor do I have a deep fat fryer (why would you do that to yourself?!) but for these I am seriously considering both. What I’m wondering is can I modify them to make at home?

Image via The Boy Who Bakes

Now Edd Kimber (of GBBO fame) has a quick 20 minute Croissant dough – Real croissant Dough normally takes 24h + to make but this is a modified version in a rough pastry style, which he then used to make a modified version of Cronuts. I wonder if you could make them with pre-made Croissant Dough? And I wonder if you can bake them? Well, the answer is I’m just gonna have to try and I’ll get back to you. Just not this week before my diet midpoint goal!

Image via The Boy Who Bakes

If you’re thinking of recreating them, then watch this video of the originals being made for a little more insight and if not, just feel smug today that you know what the latest trend is sweeping the baking industry. (At least you’ll be able to sleep at night.) 😉

World, meet Cronut video:


PS. Think it’s all a lot of fuss for a doughnut? You’ll love this article ‘Sweet baby Jesus, Don’t let the Cronut become the new Cupcake.’

My Month: August

Last month, I decided to share just my outfits and I quite liked that format so it’s back this month too, but in a bumper edition. I realised I missed out on sharing one of my favourite things in life, food! And also where I had been. I know that half the fun of these posts is the being nosey so get yourself a cuppa (or something stronger if you’re reading this later on,) and step into my world for a little while…

  • Pancakes for breakfast (recipe here)
  • Cocktails with my sister at my favourite bar in Manchester, The Alchemist
  • All ready for my burger at a BBQ in Southport
  • Asparagus and Gruyere tart – so simple and so delicious.
  • My first bakewell tart.
  • Trying the new no-bread Pret duck and hoi sin sauce sandwich
  • Drinking too much wine. Just too much. All month.

  • Brit Mil Fit clothes…
  • Rocking the brogues, love them with my pink trousers rolled up 🙂
  • Printed pants.
  • Maxing out the patterns in the warm weather in my tribal skirt and old favourite Zara dress
  • Peach Fizz for my nails, wearing Chanel Orange Fizz under Deborah Lippmann‘s ‘Glitter in the Air’.
  • Yellow and navy for work.
  • Weekend casual for a trip to Dunham Massey with our niece and family. (And the x100!)
  • Polka dots and patent pumps for work.
  • Braving out the pink trousers and red Hunters clash for a weekend walk in the rain.
  • Loving the Olympics and being very sad when the closing ceremony brought things to a close.
  • Enjoying the light nights and warm weather mid-month.
  • Get a hair cut!
  • Fabric shopping for craft projects
  • Obsessing over the gorgeous moody shades in these hydrangeas
  • Starting the London Fashion Week planning.
  • Visiting the Southport Flower Show
  • A long walk in one of my favourite places – Kirby Lonsdale (Devils bridge and the River Lune shown here)
  • And a cute message from my husband… proving that sometimes all you need is an ‘Olive you’. 🙂

My Month

It’s only the 29th but it’s time to share a bit of behind the scenes action with you from my month, captured on Instagrid.me. I’ve been working so much this month that I haven’t had as much to share with you, but I hope you enjoy them all the same.

(Don’t forget, you’ve already seen lots of my Instagram pics in my Nottinghill, Shoreditch and Hoxton Hotel reviews…)

  • How I spend my Saturday mornings… Yes, I’m still going to Brit Mil Fit. Yes, it’s still great 🙂 No, I haven’t lost any weight. Hmph.
  • My lap cat (not the one who pees on the carpet.)
  • Planning our trip to London on the back of a kitchen mag on the train down.
  • Nail trends a la Florence: Paint your ring finger a contrasting (or toning) colour and last weekend’s lilac tips.
  • Summer sunshine brings salad in our house. This one was BBQ-ed chinese marinated chicken, with orange pieces and lemon creme fraiche. I think it needed some pine or walnuts…
  • My new sex-pert status as Laura Lawson said on Twitter
  • Have you had a creme egg yet?
  • Cupcakes for Mother’s day on Beech Road, Chorlton. Possibly the prettiest I’ve ever seen and easy to DIY I reckon!
  • Tulips, with pink popping against my grey walls.
  • The Red trousers are out again…

How has your month been?


Festive Food: Rachel’s Spiced Apple Muffins

This afternoon, we have a slight break from the usual schedule and we’re bringing what is normally Friday Food to you a little early, (under the cunning guise of festive food – clever no?!) There are a few reasons for this, firstly, I have something to fit in tomorrow, but secondly, I was so excited to receive this from my lovely sister-in-law that I just had to post it! Despite her protestations, Rachel has been amazingly supportive of me starting Florence Finds and I’m so thrilled to include her on these pages. Please give Rachel a big Florence Finds welcome… 🙂

I’d like to introduce myself to all you lovely readers out there! I’m Rachel, Rebecca’s sister-in-law (Pete’s sister) and I have a confession to make. I’ve not been very supportive of Rebecca in her new venture. Being a big of a blog-reading-virgin, it has taken me a while to become used to checking out FF every day, so I am writing this by way of an apology to Rebecca (and because these buns are so damned delicious, I couldn’t not share!)

Every week, my daughter and I attend a toddler group, where one of the activities is baking. We made these not long before Christmas and I can honestly say they are the most baked thing in my kitchen at the moment.

Image credit: Eat Make Read.

Now, I’m no master baker – so for me to be able to share something with you that’s successful is really saying something! I remember (and probably so does Pete) in my younger days, trying to bake at home and it often (always) going wrong – whether I’d left out the sugar, forgotten to line the tin or just not read the instructions properly! For me, being on the Great British Bake Off will only ever be a dream – but I really do enjoy baking!
So, here we go……

Apple Spiced Muffins!
(makes 12 large muffins or 24 small buns)
125g butter, diced
75g caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice
75ml milk
3 eating apples of choice tossed in a little lemon juice to stop them browning (I used cooking apples once and they were great!)
30g sultanas

1. Pre-heat an oven to 190°c. Place butter and sugars in a bowl and beat together until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time mixing until well combined.
2. Sift the flour and cinnamon/spice together. Gradually beat in the flour and milk, alternating between the two until well combined with the butter mixture.
3. Fold in the grated apple and sultanas and combine well with the batter (I use a whisk for this part!).
4. Spoon the batter into greased muffin tins so they are just below ¾ full. Bake for 20 minutes.

TOP TIP: Don’t be tempted to do what I did once and put in extra apple (because I was feeling healthy). The extra weight made the batter too heavy and they didn’t rise. Saying that, a visiting friend enjoyed them so much, she left with half the batch I’d made that day, so they couldn’t have been too bad!

Seriously, these are so easy to make! If I can do it… and all that! Happy baking! Now I must go and check that carrot cake that’s in the oven. Whoop Whoop!

Rachel xx

PS: My New Year’s Resolution: To read Florence Finds EVERY day. Oh – and to be more organised with the food shopping (but don’t tell my husband!)

PPS: I’m making a spinach and chick pea curry on Saturday night for friends – if it’s any good, Rebecca may let me post it! Watch this space!

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