What do you know about Switzerland? Well, if nothing else, the Swiss bake amazing cakes!
Back in the summer, we won a 'start up' business competition run by BMI Regional. The prize? Tickets to a European destination! Could a prize get any better?!
We had to promise that it would be a business trip, but that wasn't a problem for Louise (the boss). She spent a festive four days before Christmas in northern Switzerland, taking in all the cakey delights she discovered, gathering inspiration and tips from bakers, and basking in the Christmas spirit. Take a look at what she found!
That Christmas tree cake is my favourite of the bunch. It's just beautiful, I could barely bring myself to take a slice if it was on my dining table. Luckily (sorry for me), it was just in a shop window. And wow, the shop windows - so festive, so delicious, all over Zurich - definitely a 'must-see' in the winter months!
You'll spot some favourites there - that's Red Velvet, two up from the bottom right, and if you've heard of Vermicelle, it's the 'wormy' looking treat, a couple of theme are here - they're everywhere in Switzerland! From Yule Logs, to cookies for the kids, there was everything you could imagine, and more you couldn't.
If you're off to the Christmas markets this year, you won't be able to escape the cake. Enjoy!
Fancy trying to bake your own? This website has a good few Swiss cake recipes.
We have the great pleasure of introducing our new baker, Emma. She's a graduate from Montpelier, and is ready to bake for you!
Hi Emma, thanks for joining the team! Tell us, how did you learn to bake?
I was just obsessed with cake as a kid, so I had to learn how to make it for myself so I could have cake on tap, all the live long day. Plus, my Nana used to make the best tasting chocolate cake, which I learnt how to make as soon as I could read, so I could have my own [Roald Dahl's 'Matilda'] Bruce Bogtrotter moments over and over.
Do you have a favourite celeb baker?
Selasi from the last Great British Bake Off was an unstoppable force and I loved every moment of his on-screen career.
Tell us about a fantastic cake you made or decorated.
When I was little, I remember I made my older brother a cake for a birthday party where all of his friends were coming over. I iced it with the logo of this brand of skate shoe that he wore, that I knew they all thought was really smart. They all saw it and thought it was the coolest cake ever and I sat there feeling very pleased with myself for gaining brownie points from the big boys.
Do you have a top tip for baking cake?
To quote the great Selasi ‘I don’t understand it, I’m just baking it.’ I’m not a very scientific baker so I’m usually winging it, which can go one of two ways – great discoveries/great disasters. So a tip I guess would be, be precise, follow recipes, or wing it and deal with the consequences.
What's your favourite cake?
The vegan gluten free chocolate cake that we do at 280 Bakes is an amazing cake. The lightest and fluffiest gluten free cake I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and the closest alternative bake to your mum’s best chocolate cake that you’re gonna get!
Thanks Emma, we look forward to seeing your cakes!
The Team @ 280 Bakes
February is fast approaching, which means one thing... No, we're not talking about our boss's birthday, but Valentines Day!
Traditionally, Valentines is the biggest day of the year for lovers around the world, and what better way to celebrate your relationship with an enormous piece of chocolate cake?!
We're offering two types cakes on our Valentines menu for 2017, but if you can't see what you want, or have another idea we can tailor to you, please get in touch.
And we haven't forgotten our customers with different diets: Vegan variations are available (we know Rolos aren't vegan!) and all cakes are available gluten free as well.
Order now - you'll be in trouble with your other half if you forget!
Call 07835 882817, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use our online contact form. We'd love to hear from you and will get back to you the same day. Prices include delivery to the Bristol and Portishead area.
Did you know you can follow the 280 Bakes Valentines chat and news at #280love on Twitter.
Who's your Valentine?
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Some of our customers need gluten free cakes, and we're always happy to help, but it's taken some trial and error over time to find good, consistent, reliable non-wheat flours. This weekend was one of our experimental days in the kitchen, and this time we were testing out coconut flour, a great flavoured flour, with not a grain in sight.
Benefits of coconut flour
It’s one of the healthiest flours available – grain flour such as wheat, barley and spelt contain gluten which can be difficult to digest. Even gluten free flours are often inflammatory due to the carbohydrate load.
This flour contains healthy fats from the fruit – coconut flour contains fats from coconut oil, which has shown to improve metabolism and are used for energy, not stored in fat tissue.
Coconut flour is high in fibre – This makes it a satisfying ingredient, helping you feel more full, and it's good for your gut.
It does not contain enzyme inhibitors – another benefit of coconut flour compared to other nut and seed flours is the low content of enzyme inhibitors, which can wreak havoc on digestion.
Have a look at our two delicious coconut flour bakes we created...
The cake on the left is a carrot cake, packed full of golden syrup, dates and carrots, with no refined sugar. The buns on the right are banana walnut cakes, really simple but great for a breakfast treat. Both, obviously, are baked with coconut flour - surprisingly little, a couple of tablespoons goes a long way when there's lots of other ingredients involved.
This experiment is all in aid of boosting our gluten free range, so let us know if you'd like to order some. You won't be disappointed!
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Many people see Mondays, taxes and old age the same way: you can’t avoid it, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it. In particular, the Monday of the last full week of January – called “Blue Monday” for short - is noted by some health related bodies as the most depressing day of the year. This is based on a number of factors such as weather, when the Christmas bills come in, a longer pay month, failed resolutions, and post-holiday blues.
However, we at 280 Bakes are working hard to make Blue Monday something positive. Blue monday, like a bright summer sky, not blue like a depressing cloud. So let's see how we go!
How can you combat Blue Monday?
Order a homemade cake for your office!
We offer a same day service for cakes ordered from our CakeOD menu, so there's no reason not to smile in the office today! Order by 12.30pm and we'll get one to you.
Listen to some new music and get your groove on!
Try a new radio station or YouTube some bands you've not listened to before. It'll get you shaking your booty on the way to work and releasing those awesome endorphins.
Go for a walk
Even a short 20 minute walk will do your mental well-being the world of good - and burn off around 80 calories of your cake slice, too!
Make some new resolutions
It's over a fortnight into the New Year and your resolutions from the 1st may not have been so realistic (alcohol fuelled?!). Perhaps it's time to re-think and refocus on what is realistic and and positive. Perhaps you'd like to eat a little healthier. We can help with that with our #280skinny range!
Reconnect with family and friends
Go for a meal, have a cuppa, go to the movies together... Whatever you fancy, just spend some time with loved ones. Which activity you choose doesn't matter - what matters is the company.
Bake a Cake
Fancy a bit of baking yourself? Think how productive you'll feel! Here's our top favourite recipe for a 'Blue Monday' Cake, from Recipe Goldmine: Blueberry Blue Monday Cake
Look for something beautiful
Does the Severn Bridge look magical in the fog this morning? Have you seen the starling murmuations over the M4? Did you witness a random act of kindness in the street?
Have a cosy night in
We're talking a take-away, a DVD, crank up the heating and get in your PJs before 8pm. And for pudding? It can only be a cake from our Winter Warmers selection - just heat the slices up in your microwave before enjoying.
Donate to charity
There's an altruistic happiness tip for you - you'll feel great, and potentially help someone having a worse Monday than you. We support Macmillan Cancer Support (who take financial donations) and Free Cakes for Kids - worth checking out if you fancy volunteering for a great cause.
Most of all, smile!
What's the worst that'll happen? Anyway, it's Tuesday tomorrow!
Have a great day,
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Everywhere I look, there seems to be a new 'fad' emerging: a short-lived craze encouraging new 'must-try' activities and ideas to improve your health and well-being, social life, or just to have more fun. Mindful colouring books. Magic Eight Balls. No carb diets. They're all fads (more here, just for fun!).
A friend of mine suggested that Veganuary, a relatively recent global challenge to emerge for January, which encourages people to try the vegan diet and lifestyle, may well be another one of these 'fads'., and shook her head dismissively at the idea. A little context: Her wife is a vegan and therefore vegan food dominates at home anyway.
What she right?! Was the campaign I'd chosen to centre 280 Bakes' January promotions around looked down upon and dismissed so easily? Do you, dear reader, roll your eyes even now? I don't think so, you've got this far through the blog post, but my friend made me think.
Is being a 'fad' such a bad thing? Fads can highlight a new, and possibly better, way of living your life, with a lesser impact on the climate, reduce your stress levels, can improve your BMI - all of which would be good! - depending on the topic at hand. Fads introduce new ideas, bring people together in a kind of 'club', and in the case of Veganuary, can broaden people's minds and encourage them to make a positive impact on the world. I remember a conversation I had in the summer with a Pokemon Go enthusiast, who said it really felt like a community, and made people get out more, talk to other 'Goers' in the street. It was more sociable than it initially sounded, as a silly mobile app!
'Faddy' diets are possibly the most common fads: Try this! Eat that! Ban that ingredient! There are so many different ways to lose weight (not all diet related either), and no one way will work for everyone. Fad diets are ever-evolving, and there seems to be another one promoted every day.
However, I believe that Veganuary (run by a not for profit organisation) is not a faddy diet, like the ones above. It's truly based on science and fact: Veganism is good for the environment, better for animal rights, and can improve your health and nutrition. The reason we specialise in baking vegan cakes at 280 Bakes is to provide goodies for those who choose not to consume milk, eggs, butter, dairy chocolate etc. Why should vegans miss out on great cake?!
I've been reading some blogs about how trying Veganuary has stuck with many participants. They've continued the vegan way way after January ends, so the campaign is not a short-lived craze for them. Being vegan is also a lifestyle choice, something that has been around along time as a concept, therefore it's not a fad in my eyes.
Veganuary, for sure, is a little 'flash in the pan', perhaps, as it's a campaign which is only prominent for one month of the year - and indeed, has only been around for a few years, at that. However, an annual campaign can make a big impact and I believe it'll be back for 2018. Think Movember (November). Think Macmillan Coffee Mornings (September).
If it encourages more people to be a little more mindful of the world and their lifestyle impacts, Veganuary is alright by us!
Want to know more?
Sign up to Veganuary - it's not too late! Take the pledge here.
Check out the hot topics in the vegan world on Veganuary's blog.
Follow Veganuary on Facebook and Twitter.
Try a vegan cake from our home bakery! We have every cake you could possibly desire available for vegans, and some are gluten free vegan, if that's what you need. Contact us today!
Let us know how you get on!
We'll be hosting tea and cake at a 'nearly new' sale in Bristol this weekend - come along and find us, take something nice home for tea!
National, award winning, top quality nearly new sales
Christ The King Church
Mautravers Close, Bradley Stoke, Bristol BS32 8ED
Cakes (by us!), tea coffee, clothes, toys etc.
Admission £2, children are free
More information is on our event page on Facebook.
Baker Debbie will be there, and she'll be bringing freshly baked cakes, including gluten free, low fat specials and vegan bakes (Victoria Sponge, Carrot Cake, Skinny Banana Chai Loaf, and Salted Caramel Brownies, among others).
Hope to see you there!
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Hands up – who’s on a diet this month?
January sees the start of healthy new year’s resolutions for many of us, and you’d think it wasn’t the kind of thing we’d encourage, being cake makers… However, we have a new selection of cakes which are low fat, so there’s no need to cut cake out completely. Hooray!
Our NEW low fat cakes:
Skinny Banana Chai Loaf
Low fat Chocolate Cake
Both are available for vegans and gluten free customers, and are available all month.
Don’t forget, we also have our regular ‘healthier’ range on offer all year round:
Fairtrade Banana Loaf – low fat
Lemon poppy Seed Cake – low in sugar
There's been a lot of press coverage about the statement from the Royal College of Surgeons, talking about how cake is detrimental for our weight and health of our teeth. However, with our low sugar and low fat cakes, there's no reason why you can't enjoy a little more in moderation.
To enjoy healthier treats, give us a call on 07835 882817 or drop us an email. We’ll fix that craving!
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Welcome to the 280 Bakes blog! Most posts are by myself, Louise, but if you fancy guest blogging, give me a shout!