As a surprise for my birthday next week, my brother dropped off a sweet treat outside my door to set-off the socially distanced celebrations to come. Matthew had lovingly baked me a Summer Fruits cake, decorated with fresh blackberries, strawberries, and delicately piped white-chocolate musical notations including multiple quavers 🎵 and a treble clef 🎼 .

A decadent treat for both the tastebuds and the eyes. I was so impressed with the detail and I couldn’t wait to try it. However, my mind was blown when I cut into it revealing vertical alternating layers of pale lemon sponge and tickled pink buttercream.

The surprise lifted my spirits and it tasted even better than it looked. The berry flavours kept the cake fresh and sweet and took me back to the warm, sun soaked days of August. I was so impressed and excited to learn about how it was constructed.

The recipe was inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi‘s Lemon and Blackcurrant Stripe Cake. You can find the recipe in his book

If you just want to try out this recipe, I found a breakdown on this website

My brother, Matt, said that the tip, that he thought made the biggest difference was “training the cake” before assembly. This involved rolling the cake in a Swiss roll like manner and leaving it to rest in this shape, before cutting or adding any icing. The book advises to let the sponge cool for five minutes and then roll the cake whilst it is still warm using a kitchen towel to aid the rotations. A Super tip!

Matt also explained that it was best to be gentle with the egg whites, there’s not much rise so make it as flat and even as possible in the baking tin before baking.

Matt also used a pizza cutter to divide the sponge into three equal rectangles. This technique left no harsh lines and allowed for precise shapes.

I am in awe of this cake and I’m over the moon he made it for me. I’m not sure if there will be any slices left though for Wednesday as it’s just too tasty to wait.

Matt, Me, and Thomas. I will miss my brothers this year due to the lock down.

If you would like a musical treat next week. On Tuesday 10th November at 16:00 GMT you can tune into George’s online concert held at St Mary’s Perivale. It will be available to watch on either Vimeo or YouTube via this link.

George will present a program of music by Chopin, Enescu, and Rachmaninoff. Watch as his fingers dance over the keys and provoke thoughtful moments.

99 thoughts on “Pretty in Pink

  1. Happy Birthday in advance. What a lovely cake, Charlotte. Thanks for the helpful advice on baking it but….well it is better left to the people who know what they are doing with baked goods. 😁

    1. Thank you John, we’ll be having takeout to celebrate I think :). Matthew is working his way through cook books we got him for his birthday in August, he’s making all sorts from croissants for the first time to bread and now a cake.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. It was sweet, he is working from his home through the week so he’s fortunate his job can carry on.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thanks Cheryl, he’s been experimenting I think the Great British Bake Off is inspiring him.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. I was quite impressed he managed to roll the cake up like that, he’s been enjoying the Bake Off so I think that is encouraging him to branch out. When his workplace was open they would have a bake off and he used to love entering it and coming up with crazy cakes. I think it would have been nice as a chocolate cake too.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you, Karen, Matt’s inspired by the British Bake Off that is on tv at the moment.

      Best wishes to you both,
      Charlotte

    1. I’m glad I took a photograph of it now. It was a really nice tasting sponge not too sweet but far too much cake for me and George I’ll have to up my exercise for a couple of weeks. George got us a takeaway sushi because we’re still in lockdown for a special it was treat delicious.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thanks Deb I had a nice day, I thought the cake would be too sweet but it was really nice.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you, Don. Both brothers have always been very supportive, Tom used to come to all the festival competitions to cheer me on and he was like a mini Simon Cowell giving me feedback 😊.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Any excuse to make a birthday into a birth week-long celebration 😊. I am very grateful for my lovely brothers. Tom sent me some beautiful clothes he and his fiance had ordered online and luckily, after eating all that Cake, Matt & Alex had wrapped some exercise equipment I’d wanted for my home pilates class.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  2. Fantastic, Charlotte! Happy Birthday!!! Beautiful cake, handsome brothers, handsome George, and beautiful and talented birthday girl! Cheers!!!

  3. I bet you had treble not slicing into that cake of note early! You were most likely quavering with anticipation… or is that semi-quaver? lol – We call them eighth notes and sixteenth notes here, but never mind, the cake looks delicious! An early happy birthday!

    1. It was taken by our booked wedding photographer Lloyd Dobbie. I kept the practice session booked because I felt terrible just cancelling and whether we practice now or a month before the actual wedding we get the same result, seeing what we liked and didn’t.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  4. Looks delicious! How talented is your brother! It’s a great feeling when beloved people taking care of us especially when it comes from our family. The three of you are looking wonderful!!!

    1. Then men in my family are all excellent chefs, my great grandfather was head cook in a hospital, my grandfather was head chef in the merchant navy and then ran his own kitchens, my Dad is a super cook, and he has passed that on to my brothers.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. I wish I could have saved you both a slice, if we get out of lockdown for Christmas we’ll have to have another practice, perhaps chocolate flavoured sponge this time.

      Best wishes always
      Charlotte x

  5. Happy Birthday, dear Charlotte! Wow, what a cake! Worthy of the British Bake-off. I hope it was as wonderful to taste as to look at – and that I could have a slice!

    1. Matt is really inspired by the British Bake Off he loves the show. It was delicious.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you Hilary, I had a lovely birthday George ordered a takeaway sushi to do something different very tasty. Matt did a good job I keep trying to persuade him to apply for the British Bake Off.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  6. From one November birthday to another, Happy Birthday, Charlotte!.

    Andrea, my former wife, has Nov 17 as her birthday. Laurie, my current wife, hers is Nov 21. And, mine is Nov 26. We celebrate all three birthdays as the “Day of Days.” This year, the celebration date is Nov 17.

    So, who’s in charge? You or one of your brothers? My guess is you’re the ringleader. 🙂 🙂

    1. I’m 11/11. Clever to all celebrate together in friendship. I like to come up with crazy ideas but my older brother is definitely the planner and organiser, my younger brother usually falls in with us both but he’s stubborn if he doesn’t want to do something he won’t hehe. I miss him now he’s up in Scotland.

  7. Just watched/listened to George’s spellbinding concert! Lovely programme and Enescu’s Carillion was magical and so moving. George’s introductory remarks gave an extra dimension to the playing and we loved the way he picked his words so carefully and so descriptively.

    1. It was a lovely concert, the Enescu is one of his favourite pieces. I will pass your message on to him, he will be pleased his English is so good now but public speaking is nerve wracking in any language.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  8. Looks delicious. I wonder with the treble clef reigning supreme this could have had the double entendres of a Halloween cake.

    Later, Ms. Treble Clef

    1. Hehe. I loved it that Matt had gone to the trouble of piping musical notes 😊.

      My best wishes to you
      Charlotte x

    1. Well he learnt from a cream cake specialist Gill, can you remember when we got carried away that summer and baked so many we hadn’t thought of who was going to eat them all.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. I didn’t realise my birthday was a bank holiday in France. Super! That is true the poppy is my favourite and is the nickname my Dad gave me. I even put peach silk poppies in my bridal bouquet.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. It is “Memorial Day” for us. The end of WWI. The day my grandafther and his only two surviving brothers must have said: “It’s over!”
        Best to you, “Coquelicot”. 😉

  9. That is such a gorgeous cake and looks absolutely delicious. Too pretty to eat, but I would! Happy belated Birthday dear Charlotte! Wishing you so much success and of course hoping we will soon be able to get back out there in the world. Meanwhile, thank you for making life a bit more fun and bearable! <3

    1. Thank you, my lovely Holly, is it nearly your birthday? I am chomping on the bit to get out but I’m keeping busy learning songs that I have never had the free time to do before.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you, Andrea, it was a delicious cake and I had a lovely birthday in the circumstances, George ordered takeaway sushi a tasty treat.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you Derrick it wasn’t too sweet, just right. Far too much of course I will have to jog some more 😊.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. Happy belated birthday, Charlotte! And WHAT A TREAT this cake – was it as tasty as it looked too? I guess it was. Hope you are having a great week and wishing you a lovely weekend.

    1. Thank you Leya, I had a lovely day and I enjoyed the cake not too sweet saying it had so much buttercream.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  11. Oh my, my, my!
    Wow! I’ve never known anyone who can make a cake like that. I’ve bought such gorgeous cakes, but as for someone making me one, not.
    Matt is amazing! Your brothers are wonderful, and I’m sure you miss them.
    I’ll have to design an Art Gown for Lala, based on this gorgeous cake inspiration!
    Happy Birthday to you, and happy every day to you!
    Resa x 🎂 o

    1. Thomas called me Lala when he was a baby 😊 it makes me smile whenever you write it. Matt couldn’t get any blackberries so he was disappointed at first but I prefer strawberries and pink anyway 😊. Thank you for your lovely birthday wishes.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. Ahh!
        It’s a beautiful thing! 😀 X
        Okay, I’ve done my commitments, and I am on our post full time.
        I’m putting the watermarks on my sketches & will send you a message via T, tomorrow.

  12. Have a Happy and safe birthday 🎂 😘 🤗 This year most of birthdays felt different, but at least we had them, while others can’t count them anymore. This is not a sad comment, don’t judge me, this is a grateful one that we made it so far eventhough the circumstances ♥️
    And yes, the cake looks amazingly delicious 😋 😍

    1. No, I agree, we must be grateful we are getting through this extremely unusual period. Touch wood I haven’t lost anyone to it but I worry for my grandparents and them being isolated.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  13. A Happy belated Birthday, Charlotte! And what loving siblings you have. Sorry I missed the actual date, but I trust one’s birthday actually last for one year until the next. So, have a wonderful year, despite all that’s happening in our world today. I just read online that your balcony concerts have more than a million views. That’s just marvellous!

  14. O I might not be late, I thought it was on the day of your post. So much the better. Happy Birthday Charlotte! And that cake looks heavenly, I’m sure it tastes just the same. 🙂

    1. I don’t mind celebrating a birthday all week Arti 😊. Thank you for your lovely messages.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. You are too kind my friend Fabio. All my best to you I will pass on your hello.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte x

    1. Thank you Clare 😊. Matt has always loved cooking and being adventurous with his ingredients and construction. Me, I tend to stick with fish and chicken and plain food.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you, give my best wishes to your daughter, what is her name and what style does she like to sing?
      Charlotte 🙂

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