La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France at the time. We chose it while on the road, moving house the first time round, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like we did and like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, after yet another stint in Ireland, we're back in France @ Le Mas d'Ayen

Monday, May 02, 2016


I am not into baking cakes and making desserts as I am more of a savoury type of person. In fact,  it could be said that I 'hate' (yeah, I know, it's a strong word) baking cakes.
I'll give it a go if there is a special celebration for a very special (to me) person. It takes me forever and a lot of dedication from start to finish and I'm always relieved when it's done and the end product is half decent.

The first time I ever used fondant icing was maybe 18 years ago and I haven't learnt much since. Ha ha! I can still remember the cake though. We had been living here in Ireland (the first time round) for a year or maybe two, when two of my Belgian cousins visited. One of them had a birthday while here and I made her a cake in the shape of an Irish cottage. With way too much fondant icing, everywhere. Still, it looked cute and the cake underneath was very tasty indeed.
My go to cake is generally frangipane, but I make exceptions.

The second cake was a couple of years later when Belgian friends visited and one of their boys had his birthday. This cake was a Burger, with yet again, a lot of fondant icing. The tomato, cheese and lettuce where all made out of thick icing.

Some really strange contraptions have passed the revue over the years.

 If you can't manage a level 3 tier cake, try and go all wonky like above.

These cakes were for two volunteers who were with us at the time and had their birthdays on the same day.

Still hadn't mastered the fondant icing thing. But it is six years later now and I still have the sugar polar bears.

The cream cheese frosting of my first ever carrot cakes wouldn't have won a price for its excellence, but the homemade marzipan carrots probably would. Lol.

It is not grated carrot on top. It's orange zest !

I have made two cakes in the past of which I am proud, sort of.
The first one was Princess Sarah's christening cake.

There was red velvet cake and frangipane. The third one I am not so sure, but was probably coffee.

The other cake with good results was one for a friend who turned 50.
It didn't come without its problems. Big problems.

 I made a start on the flowers a couple of weeks beforehand. With only a few kitchen tools and my own fair hands I shaped the fondant icing into something that resembled primroses/primulas.
By the time I had finished with them, I came to the realisation that when you start molding and kneading the fondant it becomes more pliable and easier to handle. Finally !

The day came when I had to start on the cake. It was early February 2014. While I was making the cake batter, the wind was picking up and turned into a proper storm. One of the worst we've seen so far. I knew the power would soon go, but I put the cake tins into the oven anyway. Indeed, 15 minutes later there was a power cut. I left the cake in, thinking it'll come back on any minute now. A day later and the power was still off. 
Thank goodness for corner shops in villages where you can buy 12 madeira cakes at a time ! I was already pumping myself up for the chore of making buttercream by hand when the power came back on. That was approximately 48 hours after I had put my cake into the oven !
It was a sprint to the finishing line, but the madeira cakes were a success.

The most mahoosive cake ever was for our friends at Blueberry Hill Farm when they celebrated their 20th anniversary of living in Ireland.
The cake tells a little about their story.

I was lucky enough that the volunteer (Pat) we were hosting at that time was (is!) an amazing sculpture artiste. 
And didn't we have fun with this project, Pat ?

And then there was Nora's cake. The youngest of our crochet circle at the time. It was her 17th birthday and I made her this cake.

What made me write this post ?
Weellllllll. I only ever make a cake for someone I know and love or a very special occasion that I'm involved in. It is something that takes a lot of my energy and creativity. And I really hate making cakes.
Last week however, I made an exception. A friend asked if I was willing to make a cake for the 5 year old son of his friend. And I said okay, without thinking. What about a Thomas the Tank Engine ?
No, he likes Ironman.  Who ?

Two days I worked on this. I didn't know anything about this Ironman. He stumped my creativity and he made me lose the will to live. He gave me a cold sore and all.
I can only hope that the boy and his parents liked him more than I did. I told our friend not to ask me again, because I can't say no and I actually hate making cakes !
And don't get me started on cupcakes.
*Wink Wink*

Patricia xxx...x

PS  Any orders for cakes won't be accepted.
Capiche !?


  1. You're an artist!

  2. all your cakes look divine. I would devour everyone of them!!!! yum

  3. Well, the best thing about all of them is that they are hand-made an unique! Some of them were very special indeed, so I don't think you have anything to be ashamed of. And they are ALL much better than anything I could do...

  4. Well for someone who doesn't like making cake you have a remarkable talent! They are all wonderful that farm cake is amazing! It's my daughters birthday later this month..........

  5. I love your cakes ... all of them.

    The most my cakes get is a sprinkle of icing sugar!!


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