the year in review

So my dad asked me to see if I could do a round-up of all the posts I published this year, and not being one to back down from a challenge, let’s have a gander, shall we?

This year I actually took my camera outside and started my Favourite Places series, taking you round a few of my favourite haunts in Bristol: Anna Cake CoutureBoston Tea Party and Bar Chocolat.

I always like a good celebration cake, and I started the year with a knitting-themed carrot cake for my then-housemate Ellen and ended it with a salted caramel and chocolate cake for my now-housemate Alex. There was also a rich, chocolate Valentine’s Cake which featured my first go at Italian meringue buttercream, and a Katherine Sabbath-inspired watercolour drip layer cake which used it too alongside an array of food colouring and lollies from the sweet shop.

It was a good year for baking bread – particularly with enriched dough- with cardamom and chocolate chip brioche rollschai spiced cinnamon rolls and a fruit loaf studded with apricots and sultanas.

I was amazed when my version of the BBC Good Food strawberry, honey and mascarpone tart garnered me a mention in the magazine a couple of months later! Other fruity, summery bakes included a passionfruit and lemon syrup cake, a blueberry and lemon cake, a chocolate courgette cake and a lime and coconut loaf.

The new version of Bake Off – Crème de la Crème – inspired me to attempt some French pâtisserie classics such as tartelettes au citron and the bluest macarons you’ve ever seen.

I got into cupcakes in a big way too, with Molly Yeh’s tahini cupcakes, a take on a Brooklyn blackout and my favourite hot drink reincarnated.

The odd savoury baked good popped up now and again, like these sweet potato and spinach samosas and cheese and Vegemite scrolls, although it’s fair to say that they’re not my forte nor my first choice when it comes to baking 😛

As ever, citrus remained a favourite flavour, with lemon squareslemon and poppyseed muffins and cardamom and orange blondies all featuring on the blog in 2016.

It’s also been a year of big personal change, which saw me graduate from university: I made iced sugar cookies to celebrate!

Getting a graduate job wasn’t just about being able to pay off those student loans – oh no 😉 – I could suddenly afford a KitchenAid so bought one in the brightest, most beautiful shade of blue and used it to make a blackberry ice cream.

It wouldn’t be me without a mention of banana bread and this year I provided you with two new recipes for my favourite breakfast! Here’s ‘the ultimate’ and a delish alternative with cinnamon sugar.

In terms of the blog itself, 2016 was the first full year that Tolley Bakes has been hosted on WordPress – which I like much better than Blogger, in that it’s much more user friendly and has allowed me to try out a new look. It’s also made me feel much more ‘professional’ too as I switched to being tolleybakes.com rather than .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com. I’m still debating whether to splash out that little bit further and upgrade to get much more control over how the blog looks and is mapped out.

What a year, hey? Putting this post together has made me realise just how much I’ve baked, and it’s not even an exhaustive list 😛

Thanks for reading, and here’s to 2017!

Hannah

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