Coffee Gateau Distinction


Just before Christmas we had another assessment in which we had to make a coffee gateaux with chocolate garnishes and marzipan coffee beans. It’s a delicious genoese sponge layered with coffee buttercream, all of which, might I add, was made entirely by hand, no kitchen aid allowed! Cue burning arm muscles. Well in any case the sweat makes it all taste nicer don’t you think? :p


I was very happy and surprised to learn that my efforts, by some fluke,  had earned me a distinction (one of only two so far on the course).

Forgive me now whilst I quote what our lecturer wrote on the marking sheet as this will probably be the only distinction I get!

“Excellent presentation, layering very good. Chocolate garnishing excellent and texture and flavour also good. Bit more buttercream needed on the sides, but otherwise great job!”

Purple Bread?


We were introduced to a very interesting bread in bakery this week- Cabernet grape bread. It gets its distinctive purple colour from the Cabernet grape powder which is added to the dough.


Cabernet grape powder is a by-product of the wine making process where the grape skins are dehydrated and powdered. The powder then can be mixed with flour and used to make breads and pastas. It is said that the it has a same antioxidant properties of red wine, just without the alcohol!


The grape powder  gives the bread a distinctive purple hue, and a lovely wine-y taste which goes well with a good lump of cheese. Personally I’m not a wine drinker so this isn’t my favourite kind of bread, but doesn’t  it look so pretty against the regular coloured loaves? :)

Pizza, Grissini and Pine Nut Slices


I was so excited for Italian week in our bakery class, most of all because our class is from 2pm-8pm so that night we had freshly baked pizza for dinner!

The pizza bases were made from a basic olive oil dough (500g flour, 15g fresh yeast, 20g semolina, 50g olive oil, 325g water and 10g salt), rolled out and stretched into mini pizza bases and then topped with the usual tomato sauce and mozzarella. We also added basil and olives.


We also made grissini (thin twisted breadsticks), which were absolutely delicious. They have parmesan in them which gives a lovely taste and a very slight chewy texture when they first come out of the oven.

375g flour
25g parmesan
10g fresh yeast
10g salt
200ml warm milk
50g butter

Simply blend the yeast and salt with the flour (the method can be found in Dough by Richard Bertinet).

Next mix in the parmesan and milk. Work in the bowl until the mixture is uniform in texture, then work on the table top until no longer sticking (again, the method can be found in Bertinet’s book).

Finally, rest for about 30 minutes, mould and bake.


The grissini are perfect for serving at dinner parties. They are so quick and easy to whip up (especially as they only need 30 minutes resting time) and they are absolutely delicious.

The recipes for the pizza dough an pine nut slices can also be found in Bertinet’s book, which I can thoroughly recommend if you are looking for a new bread book. I think I mentioned previously that we are learning his method of bread baking (one which does not involve pummelling and flaying the poor dough to within an inch of its life!) and it really does take the mystery and guess work out of the process. Try it, you’ll be surprised to learn that dough does not need to be beaten into submission!


Molten Sugar and Burns

Molten Sugar and Burns

Over a painful three week period we were introduced to sugar work. I’m not going to pretend I enjoyed it (or was good at it for that matter); for our virgin hands it was a rather unpleasant experience which left … Continue reading

Christmas at Westking


In the run up to Christmas we were also hard at work putting together our Christmas chocolates. After a couple of weeks of deliberation and testing the flavours we settled on were mince pie, lemongrass & white chocolate, Speculoos & marshmallow, gingerbread, salted caramel and chilli chocolate. We ordered the boxes, ribbons, box dividers and recruited my brother to help with the art work.

It was a really fun process, deciding on the flavours, testing out the recipes and figuring out which moulds to use. We made up about 70 boxes in the end, a total of 840 individual chocolates. The flavours were initially supposed to be Christmas inspired, but there were so many flavours we wanted to include that we ended up just putting together a box of our favourites.




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And then of course in our other classes we also made Christmas related goodies:


Clockwise: Christmas cake, Yule log, mince pies and stollen

It’s Not Easter But…

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas and New Year. I have fallen hopelessly behind with blogging so here’s making a start at catching up.

Ages ago we made Easter eggs! :)

We used coloured cocoa butter in a spray can on the inside of the mould before lining them with tempered dark chocolate. Then they went into the fridge to set. Meanwhile we used cocoa butter transfer sheets to decorate some chocolate ribbons and swirls to embellish the final egg.



The colours from the cocoa butter spray and the shine of the chocolate really are amazing aren’t they? Then we heated a baking tray and held one side of the egg onto it for a few seconds to melt the edge so that we could stick the two sides together.



My egg :)