Baking the Best Birthday Feast During Lockdown

Your birthday is a special occasion and this year, thanks to Lockdown, you or one of your family member’s may be celebrating your birthday at home. Why not create a delicious birthday menu that will have your family celebrating in style?

Grace Stevens – master baker, cake maker, and mother of four – recently celebrated her birthday during lockdown and was determined to make her birthday one to remember. The mastermind behind Grace Stevens everyday baking and decorating – has successfully taken her two passions, baking and teaching, and seamlessly combined them into insightful and entertaining culinary classes.

Now Grace shared her menu with us, starting with a delicious warm savoury breakfast, easy home-made pizza for lunch and a delicious sponge cake to top the celebrations off.

To start she made wonderful savoury sweetcorn fritters which pair perfectly with in-season avocados or a gorgeous soft poached egg. Sweetcorn fritters are a delicious warm alternative to pancakes and are especially good as the weather turns chilly.

Sweetcorn Fritters:

  • 1 can cream style sweet corn
  • 1 egg
  • 5ml baking powder
  • 250ml flour
  • Chopped parsley
  • 3ml salt
  • 250ml cheese
  • Oil for frying

Method:

  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and drop tablespoons of batter into the frying pan.
  4. Fry on each side until golden.
  5. Serve warm

These are great served as a side to soup or as a quick lunch. They are easy to make with kids.

Next up is a treat of home-made pizza. Everyone the world over is missing take-out and the whole family is sure to love this birthday treat. Apart from this recipe tasting just like your much-loved local pizza restaurant, rolling pizza is loads of fun for both parents and kids. Top with your favourite pizza toppings and this lockdown party is one for the books.

Quick Homemade Pizza:

  • 750ml flour
  • 300ml water
  • 15g fresh yeast (10 ml instant yeast)
  • 5ml salt
  • 30ml oil (olive if you have)

Toppings:

  • Tin of tomato and onion
  • 2 finely grated courgette
  • 5ml Basil pesto
  • Mozzarella cheese or cheese of your choice, grated
  • Favourite toppings

 Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 260ºC
  2. Combine the yeast, oil and water and mix well.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.
  4. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix well.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth dough is formed. Set aside.
  6. Combine tomato and onion, pesto and grated courgette.
  7. Divide dough into six balls.
  8. Roll each ball out with a rolling pin as thin as you like your crust.
  9. Place dough onto a prepared baking sheet
  10. Spread tomato mix onto the base and top with mozzarella cheese.
  11. Add toppings of your choice.
  12. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until cheese is bubbling and golden.
  13. Serve hot.

No birthday would be complete without a birthday cake and Grace spoiled herself and her family with her irresistibly delicate, light and fluffy vanilla bean sponge cake. Nothing says I love you like a beautifully decorated cake and you can give your cake a touch of simple splendour with some buttercream icing and any sweets and treats that you have in the house. Most importantly do not forget to get creative with the candles!

Vanilla Bean Sponge Cake and Cupcakes:

  • 3 jumbo eggs
  • 250ml castor sugar
  • 250 ml milk
  • 125 g butter, at room temperature
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 260g cake flour
  • 15 ml baking powder

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 ⁰C. Line two 20 cm round cake tins with baking paper (or 24 muffin tins with cupcake wrappers)
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer on high for at least 10 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Heat the milk, butter and vanilla extract in a saucepan until the butter melts. Do not boil the milk.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl at least three times.
  5. Turn mixer to low. Beginning and ending with the flour, pour the milk mixture slowly into the bowl while spooning the flour in one tablespoon at a time. Do this part as quickly as possible to avoid over-mixing your batter.
  6. Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean.

Turn the cakes out of the tins and cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before wrapping in cling film.

Double this recipe to bake 3 20cm round tins or 5 15cm round tins. Cupcakes: bake for 12 minutes

With these recipes, a fantastic playlist, some homemade birthday cards, a glass of something glorious and virtually ’Zoomed in’ loved ones, you will be all set for a fabulous birthday feast.

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