Right! This post was going to be all 'it was my birthday!' where I'd tell you about how I had a pretty good birthday (not quite getting stood up by Stephen Fry, but still), and then offer 29 things I've learned in my 29 years, or something. But the reality is I'm eating toast and beer for dinner at my desk frantically trying to finish overdue columns and drowning in piles of to-lists and inspirational mind-map brainstorms. I'm telling myself that I'm holding it together, even though I have no clean clothes and haven't really properly unpacked from Singapore yet, let alone blogged fully about it, and since then I've been to Wellington twice, and also I have dinner parties to plan and exercise to do and the new and amazing Orphans Kitchen to write about, as well as telling you about the tasty salads I've been whipping up. And that's without even offering you my latest rant on dating, and texting, and the entire beauty industry!
But instead of all that, I can simply offer you cake. Cake, and cream cheese icing, and caramel sauce. And a giveaway! A chocolate related giveaway. A Fairtrade NZ giveaway! A giveaway!
The lovely people at Fairtrade New Zealand are currently hosting the Big Fair Bake. It started yesterday, and goes until 10 September and it is encouraging everyone to bake with Fairtrade ingredients. And why wouldn't you want to do that, right? If you're interested, you can win some sweet stuff: read all about it here.
And, to encourage you to get involved, I have a baking kit for one of you, my dear, deprived, wonderful readers [NZ only sorry!]. It's a kit with all the Fairtrade ingredients you need to make a lusciously dark chocolate cake. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Just a comment. That's all! Just say hi! Then I'll pick a winner. It will either be the best comment as chosen by me (a funny story? some words of encouragement? your favourite baked good? your favourite heartbreak pie recipe?), or I'll put everyone's name in a hat and pick one out. You can then use your dark chocolate baking kit to bake something, share it on the Big Fair Bake website, and you could further win a KitchenAid mixer which you can then give to me to say thanks for letting you win the chocolate kit. Everybody wins!
Competition will close this Sunday 1 September at Midday.
I was the lucky recipient of one of the banana baking kits; I got it on my birthday after I arrived back from Wellington, grateful that I'd had a beautiful breakfast at Nikau before jumping on the plane and missing the earthquake. I didn't get around to making the cake until this week though, so a belated birthday cake it ended up being. Although my birthday day itself was a bit of a nightmare for a number of reasons, I ended up drinking champagne and dancing to Abba until 4am, so pretty great in the end.
The banana caramel cake I made is a recipe from Little and Friday (I am a fan of their pies and their doughnuts in particular). It's a solid and dependable banana cake recipe and is available here on the All Good Bananas website. A couple of tips: use really ripe bananas (I freeze mine with the skin off if my bananas are rotting but baking isn't imminent) and make sure the sugar is amber before adding the cream when you're making the caramel. I can highly recommend cream cheese icing for afternoon tea, too.
So get commenting to win from me, but also head over to Big Fair Bake to win stuff off them too. Happy birthday to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, here's to a very exciting year ahead! Filled with cake.