Baking gifts few and far between this Christmas - I must be close to having everything! My mum and El Husbandio did come through for me though...
Both baby and I love my new silicone baking sheets! I have been too tight to buy them myself so I was dead chuffed to receive these - even though I spotted them come through the post, oops!
And my mum knows I love a silicone spatula. This one is a super cute stocking filler with a robin design. Plastic isn't always bad, these presents will get a lot of use!
I'm so thankful we managed to have a (different, quieter but) lovely Christmas this year, with all that's going on. We are very lucky to have my brother in Bristol too, and him and his girlfriend cooked up a feast for us. Thank you E & K!
I hope your Christmas Day was just as lovely and my customers enjoyed their cakes!
My family have never bought a Christmas cake from a supermarket, and here's why.
The downsides to store-bought cake are many; I avoid the standard cakes bought from a supermarket when they appear at work, preferring a home baked delight. They just don't taste like real food to me; sugary chemically mess. Yuck. Call me a cake snob, but there are reasons I feel this way...
The problems with store-bought cakes are even more numerous when it's Christmas cake we're talking about.
Growing up, my mum always, without fail, made a Christmas cake for us from scratch. We were very lucky kids, and I've carried on the tradition with my little family. I know my sister does the same, and my brother will probably have one from his baking-crazy girlfriend. What lucky tummies and tummies of significant others!
Here are just a few reasons why I prefer home baked Christmas cake and would NEVER buy one from a store. Obviously I want to encourage you to buy home baked - from me! - but not just for Christmas, for all occasions in the year.
WHY I NEVER BUY A STORE'S CHRISTMAS CAKE
1. One of my closest friends is vegan and vegan Christmas cakes are nigh on impossible to find in a supermarket, even though general vegan food ranges are expanding. The star cake above is actually vegan, and you'd never know...
2. Supermarket cakes often contain white sugar. Christmas cake should always be made with soft, brown sugar! The flavour and texture is totally different, and shouldn't be compromised!
3. You never know what's gone into a cake which has been mass produced; E numbers (colours and flavours), preservatives, dates (ick!), whole nuts (choking hazard for my baby)… At least with mine I know exactly what ingredients were used - including a good splosh of booze! - and that it's been made hygienically!
4. When it's home made, a Christmas (or any other) cake can be tailored to your preferences or needs. You know now I hate dates, but you could say to me, for example, you'd like a holly design, or a star featuring on your festive bake. Don't like marzipan? I can leave out the marzipan, no problem. Perhaps you'd like it gluten free? I'd be only too happy to help.
5. A home baked cake is a much better gift than something you just grabbed off the shelves. It's made with love, with a specific person in mind, and if you buy from 280 Bakes, you're supporting a small business.
What could be better???
Order your Christmas cake today - orders close in a week (20th December)!
Christmas may look a little different to normal this year, but that won't stop the festive baking!
Christmas cake is my favourite cake, Yule Logs are scrummy, Christmas cookies are so varied and fun... I just love festive baking! And this year I am going to make a pledge...
I'm ONLY going to bake festive bakes for my family friends from now until Christmas!
I've made family and friends many, many mince pies, mince pie brownies, and Christmas cakes for years during December, but this year I'm going to make an effort to only bake new recipes. I hope I can discover some unknown gem of a Christmas bake, making a change from what we normally enjoy at home (often carrot cakes, Tres Leches, Victoria Sponge...) and I hope to be able to bake and deliver for you next Christmas!
So what am I planning to bake?
I have some amazing new recipes to try, what do you think to these?! Photos added as I wade through my baking wishlist...
- Peppermint Chocolate Slices- sugar hiiiiiiiigh! DONE
- My first ever baked cheesecake, 'Snowed in' Vanilla Cheesecake DONE
- Cranberry Red Velvet Cake - a nice change DONE
- Giant chewy amaretti Christmas cookies - lovely and gooey! DONE
- Cranberry and walnut muffins
- Mince pie cookies
- Stollen - I was nervous about this one but it was AMAZING! I made it vegan so I can share it with my lockdown bubble buddy, but I could eat it all myself!! Try it yourself - the recipe is on Seitan Beats Your Meat. DONE
- Cinnamon swirl bread
- Christmas pudding cookies - with crumbled pudding in the mix, mmm! Super easy to make, just combine everything, bake at 180 degrees for about 15 mins on a lined baking sheet. I added white chocolate and holly to make them look kinda like little pudds. (Doesn't make 18!!) DONE
- Christmas monkey bread - for my 18 month old daughter, who we've just discovered knows the word 'monkey'! DONE
- A large, single Christmas Tree gingerbread cookie DONE
That's a lot of new recipes, and I can only bake Christmas things until New Year, so I'd better get baking!
Fab Fudge are probably my favourite Bristol business of mine, and not just because they gave me their Christmas fudge to review!
Imaginative. Delicious. Dairy-free.
Those are the three words I would use to describe what comes out of the kitchens of Fab Fudge. You can find out more about Fab Fudge on a blog I wrote back in 2017, but what you need to know is right here: Their (plastic-free!) fudge is UNBEATABLE.
The company's founder, Jill, started her business in 2016, two months or so behind me, and we met at a local networking event. Since then, we've been working together every so often to help each other out, and keeping each other in sweet treats!
Jill and her team have released their Christmas selection for 2020, and I was lucky enough to taste the first batches off the shelf.
At the time of writing, Gingerbread fudge wasn't available on Fab Fudge's online store, but it's coming - and you'll be glad it did! I am a late convert to ginger flavoured things, but I'm really into it now. My firey gingerbread is YUMMY! So when Jill said she had a ginger delight up her sleeve, I jumped on it! Smooth, melt-in-the-mouth, and (like all Fab Fudge) 100% vegan. The ginger kick is subtle, but the creamy taste really won me over.
Christmas cake fudge
Christmas cake may be my favourite cake, and the fudge version didn't disappoint. I love the triple layer fudge design - new for 2020. Rich, fully-festive, and it looks just like a mini slice with actual marzipan and icing! Christmas Cake fudge is my new favourite (sorry apricot fudge!).
If you're looking for the perfect gift, I can only say, GO FAB FUDGE!! Even Theo Paphitis is a fan - you simple have to try something new with Fab Fudge's dairy-free fudge.
Thanks Jill, and I hope it's not too early to wish you and yours a very merry and profitable Christmas.
It's my favourite time of year - time to get my Christmas bake on!
Here are some of the Christmas bakes from Christmas past - candy cane cake, Ho Ho Ho cupcakes, starry and snowy Christmas cakes, and a Yule Log. I love Christmas baking, and can't wait to get started!
Vegan and gluten free options are available for cupcakes and Christmas cakes, but not for Yule Logs, sorry. Prices start at £15, and delivery is always included (BS9, 10, 11 only, but collection is available too, if it suits you better). Orders close on 20th December, so don't miss out!
Food is very evocative - a simple taste or scent of a certain type of food can bring back very specific memories; Cake is no different.
For me, the first cake that springs to memory's mind is lemon drizzle. Those two words will forever be associated with my Grandma Pat, who passed away over ten years ago now.
My memories of her are laden with baking - cherry buns, runny water icing, fruit cake, apple pie - but mainly lemon drizzle. It was never fancy, just a sponge, but she had a name for making a brilliant bake of it. Sure, it's a relatively simple bake, but none can compare to my grandma's! I like to think she'd be very proud of me and my lil' cake business.
The second memory blast I have when thinking about cake is a very festive one. Every year since I've been on this planet my mum has made a showstopping Christmas cake. Sometimes more than one, if a school raffle or church fete needed one. She's even been known to make it for someone's birthday, as it's their favourite. It's all about the cake here, even though the decoration is always perfect; the dark sponge is always absolutely packed with dried fruit and booze. Mum is a complete foodie, and loves a decent fruit cake, and Christmas wouldn't be the same without a big slice of her boozy Christmas cake.
Christmas is one thing, but birthdays are even more about cake in my memory. Christmas dominates with so many other foods, activities, traditions over a longer period of time, whereas a birthday is just one day (or two, if you;'re the Queen and you're reading this). So, in terms of percentage of importance, I would argue birthday cakes are even more important that Christmas cakes, being a central feature to one's big day. After all, 'a party without a cake is just a meeting', or so the famous saying goes. I've been lucky enough to have many cakes baked for me on past birthdays - here was this years! Thank you Max, very much!
And while we're talking birthdays, banana cake may always remind me of my little one's first birthday. Cake was an important part to the celebrations as a nationwide lockdown hugely restricted what we could do. I made Rox two vegan - she had an egg allergy at the time - banana cakes, one for a cake smash (see here) and one for a sandwich tea in the garden with a handful of family members. Even though I say so myself, it was a bit of a corker - fabulous memories.
What kind of cakes bring memories to your mind?
Christmas has come to 280 Bakes!
It's the first week of December: Mince Pies have become the choice for elevenses, festive ideas for decorating are blooming, and the Christmas music is on while we bake. Here's some of the delicious baked goods our team has been producing for events and customer deliveries in the Bristol and Stroud area.
Christmas cupcakes... Mini and full-size Christmas cakes... Mince pies... Reindeer cookies...
Which would you choose for your Christmas table?
Call us on 07835 882817 or email firstname.lastname@example.org before 10th December to book your order in!
Merry Christmas from the team at 280 Bakes, and thanks so much for your support this year. Here's to another successful year of baking!
Owner, 280 Bakes
Our team will be at various Christmas markets and fairs this winter - don't miss us!
UPDATE: We will no longer be attending Badminton School's event.
Find out more on the event website itself, or check out our Facebook page. We have a section with of all our forthcoming events there.
We'll also be announcing a teaser menu just before each event, so keep your eyes peeled to see if your favourite cake will be featuring. We will always have a selection of vegan and gluten free cakes too, even if it's not a 'free-from' event.
See you soon!
The Team at 280 Bakes
Today we launched our Christmas discount - don't miss out!
Vegan and gluten free available, all delivered to Stroud, Bristol and Portishead.
Contact us today!
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Our Destiny and Louise went to the Bristol Viva Vegan Christmas Market this weekend, and did they nail it? Yes they did!
Take a look at the amazing cakes the ladies took with them... and consequently sold to many, many hungry vegans! Everything from stewed plum cupcakes to gluten free gin and lemon cake, mince pie shortbread to a boozy Christmas cake - we had it all.
If you see anything you like here, we'd be happy to bake anything for you again if you couldn't make the event - just contact us!
That was our final event for 2018, but we are starting to book on events for next year, so stay tuned for more information!
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!