But do you know what? I absolutely loved being back in the kitchen and doing what I love - baking! September was a month for decorated cakes, which is fun, but I'm a baker at heart and I love love love trying out different recipes. And a Macmillan coffee morning means I can bake to my heart's content.
The big issue lies in what to bake as I have literally 100s of recipes I want to bake. After several weeks (yes weeks!) I whittled it down to 12 bakes.
So here's my 2014 selection:
1. Chocolate caramel shortbread. Amazing! I love this recipe. I struggle with the caramel in these recipes and it always ends up oozing out but this one holds brilliantly (and tastes lush too). The recipe is by former GBBO contestant Ruth Clemens and I will 100% be making this again
2. Chilli chocolate cookies. I have to fess I did overcook the first batch. I wasn't sure going on colour so did end up trying a bite (yes they were overcooked so went in the bin and a fresh batch was made), but they had a lovely warmth to them. I think people were hesitant to try, or because of their position on the table but they were the last to go. The recipe is by Jo Wheatley
3. Dulce and banana cake. Not being a fan of bananas, I had to still include a fruity cake and this one sounded nice if you like bananas. Some of my bananas slipped about but it looks fairly pretty don't you think lol?! Recipe by Lorraine Pascale
4. Lemon and lime Poppy seed loaf. You may know I'm a huge fan of loaf cakes. They're so easy!!! Another Lorraine Pascale recipe, apparently this was a hit with both my parents
5. Blueberry crumble loaf. In this situation one loaf is never enough! So more fruitiness was required and I baked this little lovely by Joanne Wheatley
6. Carrot cake. So I totally messed up the frosting (cream cheese frosting is a bugger anyway) so I served it at the side lol. But this cake turned out super super moist. Yet another Jo Wheatley recipe.
7. Chocolate and salted caramel bundt cake. Shhh but I have a chunk of this stashed in my freezer to try post diet. Can't wait to try it. Note to self: when Ruth Clemens says sift the icing sugar for the frosting, sift the bloody icing sugar. Woops, anyway, this one went down well!
8. Peanut butter squares. Oh I wish wish wish I could have had a piece or ten of these. Mmmmmm I love peanut butter. These will definitely be made again. Another Lorraine Pascale recipe.
9. Cinnamon roll cake. Not actually a cake, it's just a giant cinnamon roll which you slice like a cake. From an American website I use called Sally Loves Baking. Loved making this, so much fun
Ready to prove
10. Mint cupcakes. 11. Mocha cupcakes
My own recipes. And I used baking cups for the first time which I love and will def use again. Oh and I made my own chocolate buttons for the mocha cupcakes
Erm, I have no photo. And no one saw it. And no one tried it! Because numpty here forgot to take it out of the freezer where I had placed it to cool for 5 minutes while I answered the door. Oops!!! It had a home the next day though so didn't get wasted. Just gutted I'd made it fresh that morning and it was my most impressive looking cake.
So after all this baking, I was so pleased so many people came round to support me. And I raised a grand total of £310.
I'm super super pleased with that and looking forward to 2015. If only someone could come and tidy up afterwards!!!!