My Best Bakes of 2021

Last year my “retrospective of 2020” was very popular, so I’ve repeated the idea for 2021 and here it is. I’ve had to be selective and have limited myself to only two or three bakes per month.

As well as being popular with many people, these are definitely some on my personal favourites. Hopefully, they’re representative too. Having said that, chocolate does seem to appear quite often, but no big surprise there.

From January I’ve chosen my White Chocolate Smartie Cake. It’s a fun creation that I made after the original milk chocolate version was so popular. In the same month my Chocolate Butter Cake appeared. It’s one of those simple looking cakes, almost plain, but it packs a massive flavour punch and is so very rich.

Chocolate featured again in February with my Chocolate and Orange Marbled Ring Cake, which was something of a showstopper. The Hazelnut Torte with Mascarpone Cream – a gluten free bake – was also very tasty and very lush.

In March I indulged my love of two things – cheesecake and marzipan – when I made several versions of Simnel Cheesecakes. Here’s the Simnel Cherry Cheesecake version. My Quick and Crunchy Chocolate Chip Biscuits are quite straight forward and very moreish, therefore very popular.

In April a friend asked for a birthday cake for her daughter so I used my Golden Chocolate Cake recipe and went to town with the decoration, to give it a wow factor. A little less dramatic, but no less tasty were my Blueberry and White Chocolate Buttermilk Scones. If, like me, you’re a sconoholic, you’ll love these.

I make lots of brownies, but these Almond Brownies in May were especially good. In the same month I put together another super gluten free bake: a luscious Lemon & Lime Tart that was sweet and wonderfully tangy.

In June I was again creating gorgeous brownies; my Mint-choc Brownies were something rather special. Another favourite bake that month was my Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake: definitely a cake with style and substance.

July was a great month of baking – or a month of great baking. So much so that I must mention three bakes, rather than just two. First was my Rolo Caramel Cheesecake. Other than decadent, scrummy and glorious, words fail me. My Banana Millionaire’s Shortbread were a wonderful adaption of the great classic bake. The extra bake I’ve sneaked in for July is my Rowsley Tart. Check out the recipe, not only for the great taste, but to discover the story behind the name.  

In August I made a series of enriched fruity or nutty loaves that were as lovely as brioche, but a lot easier to produce. One was my Blueberry Orange and Walnut Bread. In the same month I promised a bake for a friend who liked chocolate and mint, so I made him a Minty White Chocolate Tart.

In September I paid homage to a local delicacy and created my Bakewell Millionaire’s Shortbread. Another bake I was especially pleased with (almost surprisingly, I must admit) was something I had to call my Ridiculously easy No-knead Bread. Honestly, it does what the title says. You just chuck it together, leave it to its own devices to build flavour, bung in a hot oven and hey presto – brilliant bread.

In October I was asked to make a birthday cake for a friend’s six year old son. He’d actually presented me with a jar of “dinosaur sprinkles” a few days earlier, so I took the hint and made him a White Chocolate Dinosaur Sprinkle Cake. Next was a Strawberry Sponge Cake, which just shows how a basic cake can be made into something very special. Also in October, I continued the no knead bread theme with something sweet – my No-knead Spelt and Fig Bread.

November began with a return to chocolate. This time it was these rather “sophisticated” Raspberry & Coconut Brownies. Shortly after this I baked a very unusual, very tasty and very healthy gluten free loaf. My Flourless Fruity Seed & Nut Loaf went down a treat.

In December I made most of my usual Christmas bakes, all of which can be found on this site. One new item was another easy brioche-like bread. I produced several festive Enriched Christmas Loaves, which made excellent presents.

I hope this has been of interest and that you’ll give lots of these bakes a try at home yourselves.