Rosie Makes: Best Bakes of 2021

Blood Orange drizzle loaf

For my last Rosie Makes of the year, I thought I would share a round-up of my favourite bakes of 2021. I’ve chosen a highlight from each month here but if you click on the month you can see all the recipes for that month too! Once again, my kitchen has been a great solace for me this year and I’m extra proud that almost every recipe this year has been of my my own invention. Do let me know if you have any baking requests for the new year. Happy Hogmanay when it comes!

January

Blood Orange drizzle loaf

There are few cakes more satisfying than a traditional drizzle cake – essentially a cake soaked in syrup. The lemon drizzle cake is up there in my favourite bakes, and so, with a few blood oranges in the fruit bowl, I thought I’d try my hand at converting a classic with seasonal blood orange. This blood orange drizzle loaf is a cross between an upside down cake and a drizzle cake; a moist, orange flecked sponge topped with fresh, slightly caramelised fruit, and covered with a zesty blood orange drizzle.

February

Rhubarb Bostock

First invented by French bakers to use up stale brioche, bostocks are brioche pastries soaked in syrup, covered in almond frangipane and baked. I first tried them from my favourite Bostock Bakery in East Lothian, but seeing as we couldn’t go back in February, I tried making them myself again (these apple and almond ones were tasty too). I was inspired to see Edd Kimber sharing rhubarb bostocks, and had some poached rhubarb so experimented with these rhubarb bostocks with blood orange poached rhubarb – and was very pleased with the results.

March

Sourdough hot cross buns

Sensing the national mood and many a neglected sourdough starter, for Easter I shared a recipe for sourdough hot cross buns. The sourdough tang perfectly balances the sweetness of the dried fruit and spices. I put pecan nuts and dried apple in mine, but you could add whatever dried fruit and nuts (or even chocolate!) you have in the cupboard. A very therapeutic and satisfying bake to make!

April

Lemon and Honey Drizzle Cake

My lemon and honey drizzle cake balanced sweet and sour flavours, first a lemon hit followed by the aromatic floral notes of honey perfect for Spring. The lemon sponges are drizzled with a honey and lemon mixture that makes them extra flavourful, then the cake is filled and topped with a lemon and honey buttercream that is light and airy, before being decorated with lemon zest and honeycomb. I made this for my partner Al’s birthday and it was a definite hit – a lovely Spring showstopper.

May

Rhubarb & Elderflower Cake

By May, the pink, forced rhubarb is replaced with its traditional, slightly bitter cousin as Spring produce gives way to early Summer’s arrivals. Tangy rhubarb pairs perfectly with sweet, aromatic elderflower in my rhubarb & elderflower cake – a hit with many of you on Instagram. In May we were still a little way off elderflower season but while we waited, homemade cordial brought the flavour – in my case, last Summer’s brew!

June

Peach, Amaretti and Vanilla Cake

Stone fruits started to arrive in June, so to celebrate the start of Summer and peach season I made a peach, amaretti and vanilla cake: a soft, vanilla-rich sponge filled with chunks of fresh peach and flecked with almond from the amaretti biscuits and finished with a caramelised fruit topping and toasted almonds. It was delicious served alongside fresh yoghurt with vanilla folded through it too.

July

Cherry and mascarpone cake

Cherry season is short but sweet, so before July was over I wanted to bake with the seasonal stone fruit. This cherry and mascarpone cake is rich and puddingy: the mascarpone makes for a tighter, sweeter crumb that balances the fruit’s sharpness. The cake is served with a cloud-like vanilla mascarpone cream that takes this cake to the next level. I think this was one of my favourite bakes of the whole year, if not ever! I hope you try it.

August

Blackberry Cardamom Buns

Late August sees the arrival of blackberry season, and I couldn’t wait to go foraging! I made the most of the juicy Scottish-grown berries from our local farm shop to top my porridge and bake with. These blackberry and cardamom buns combine my two favourite ingredients: seasonal brambles and aromatic cardamom, which together are a match made in heaven in baking.

September

Toffee Apple Cookies

September heralded the start of so much seasonal goodness to come. Blackberries, apples, pears and plums – my favourite Autumn produce. These toffee apple cookies are pure comfort: a brown butter cookie, scented with vanilla and filled with chunks of apple and fudge that melts in the oven. I made them in my Instagram Live and they were a hit with many of you – thanks to all who tuned in and made them.

October

Salted Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

It’s an Everything Looks Rosie tradition to share a pumpkin showstopper recipe for Halloween. Inspired by a Gill Meller recipe, but minus the faff of pastry and because I had no cream in the house, I made up this salted chocolate pumpkin tart. A rich, chocolatey pumpkin ganache is tempered by the sea salt tang and sits atop a quick buttery biscuit base.

November

Pear and Marzipan Cake

On ‘Stir up Sunday’, the day festive culinary preparation traditionally begins in the kitchen with the making of the Christmas cake, pudding, mincemeat – or all three, I shared my first trans-seasonal recipe to transition from Autumn into Winter. This pear and marzipan cake is the perfect late Autumn/ first festive bake as it combines orchard fruit with rich almonds, the marzipan turning gooey and caramelised in the oven.

December

Chestnut and Vanilla Snowflake Bread

After seeing pictures online of snowflake or star-shaped bread (especially by @violaminerva, whose Nordic Winter Cookbook is out soon!) I wanted to give it a go myself – it looks really complicated, but is surprisingly simple once you get the knack! I picked up the method here and made a sweet chestnut and vanilla filling inspired by the most delicious Bonne Maman spread I got from Elliott’s Edinburgh last Christmas.

I hope you enjoyed my bakes this year and this baking round-up! If you’re interested, I’ve also highlighted my best bakes of 2020, 2019 and 2018 – if you click on each year you can see my archive.

 

3 comments

  1. Maureen Irvine says:

    I have really enjoyed all your recipes Rosie. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    • Rosie says:

      Maureen, thank you so much for your lovely comments and all your support on Instagram and here! That is so kind of you to say, I’m really glad you’ve enjoyed them 🙂 🙂 Lots of love xx

  2. […] New Year, everyone! When I shared my best bakes of 2021, many of you loved the rhubarb bostocks and so, with a little stale brioche left in the larder […]

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