The sun is shining, the birds are singing and I'm still on a high from last week's Food Blogger Connect - I can't believe it's all over and a week has passed since then. The best part for me was meeting new people - I've definitely made some friends for life. Not surprising really as we didn't call it Food Bloggers 'Connect' for nothing.
Thank you to everyone that emailed with questions about lighting, photography and food styling, I've replied to everyone and I hope you find my tips and tricks useful. If anyone has any other questions (about anything), please feel free to email me.
It's finally cherry season here in London and I adore cherries. Cherries and strawberries - I really couldn't say which I like more (oh, such beautiful torture!). Stone fruit that's perfectly ripe and in season is one of the many simple pleasures in life.
I've been meaning to visit a Pick Your Own Farm to actually pick some cherries for this recipe (my basket never seems to fill up as one goes in my mouth and one goes in my basket, two in my mouth, one my basket... you get the picture), but because of our cold weather this year, everything is slightly delayed, so no joy there. And besides, most of it only really starts in July - the best month in England for picking your own fruit.
I was in Brighton last week and found some gorgeous textured pieces of wood that I thought I absolutely had to use as a background for my photos. I bought some little paint testers over the weekend and painted each side a different colour, so expect them to make an appearance soon in cream, blue and, of course, pink. Today's wood is natural, and I love it just the way it is - probably my favourite. Ah, the life of a food blogger and our obsession with props.
Speaking of which, have any of you been to The Lacquer Chest on Kensington Church Street? It is prop heaven: five floors of props arranged by type, colour and style. You'll find everything you ever needed for styling your food.
Unfortunately it's only on a rental basis and the prices are quite high. I do urge you to go anyway and have a look, even if you don't get anything, it's such a fun way of getting inspiration (and obviously torturing yourself at the same time).
Finally, to everyone on Facebook, I just wanted to highlight the fact that I've added the new Facebook 'Like' button at the end of each post, for those of you that said you'd sometimes rather click that than leave a comment. Personally, I think it's a great idea and hope more blogs start using it too.
Let me know what you think.
For this week's post, I baked one of my Oma's classics and her personal favourite - Dark Cherry Crumble Cake. It's gorgeous served hot, straight out of the oven, or cold, with hot custard, vanilla yoghurt, or ice cream. I added cinnamon to the crumble mixture for extra depth and sprinkled sugar on to the cherries to keep them moist. And unlike most crumbles that dry out quickly, this one stays perfectly moist for a week if stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge.
Dark Cherry Crumble Cake (Printable version)
For the cake:
200g butter, at room temperature
325g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or vanilla essence)
325g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup of milk (I used whole milk)
300g pitted dark cherries (any cherries will do)
Extra sugar for sprinkling
For the crumble:
100g cold butter
70g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
150g plain flour
1. Preheat the oven to 175˚C. Grease a 30cm(12") x 22cm(9") tray and line with baking paper.
2. Whisk the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and creamy.
3. Add the eggs, one by one, and mix well until fully incorporated.
4. Combine the flour and baking powder and gently fold into the mixture. Do not over-mix.
5. Add the milk and stir until just combined.
6. Pour into your tray, top with cherries and sprinkle with some sugar until evenly covered.
7. For the crumble, combine butter, sugar, cinnamon and flour in a bowl with your hands and sprinkle on top of the cherries.
8. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
9. Serve either hot or cold, topped with fresh cherries and/or custard, vanilla yoghurt or ice cream.