Phew, that’s the festivities over for another year then. And what a year it’s been! Velvet Fig highlights from 2016 include our relaunch last Summer when we unveiled our new name and a new way of buying cake. We’re thrilled with the warm welcome our new brand received and we’re very proud to have produced some amazing bakes for a wide variety of clients. We also had a great time getting involved in lots of exciting freelance and home economic projects too, including a book launch, cake demonstrations and studio work. It was definitely a full-on, fun-packed year and we’re looking forward to lots of exciting commissions during 2017 too. Some great orders have already come in, so if you need cake for any special occasion this year - or you just need cake, full stop - get in touch here

We like a bit of tradition here at Velvet Fig, so we’ve made a few New Year’s Resolutions to kick-start 2017. The main one is getting back to healthy eating. I love to eat well with the occasional sweet treat thrown in for good measure (it’s hard to resist cake when you bake for a living!), but we’ve eaten a bit too well with a few too many treats during the festive period - Oh well, Christmas only comes once a year, right?

So now it’s back to my “feel good” and “good for you” recipes. It’s not a complete no-go as far as cake is concerned, it’s just “better for you” cake! It’s out with the Chocolate Yule Log and Figgy Pudding and in with the Fig Loaf (see my delicious and nutritious recipe below).

I always start a new year with a promise to make a bit of time for myself and this year is no exception. My go to “healthy body healthy mind” rules are:

Drink up to 2 litres of water a day

Dedicate some time to exercise twice a week (I love Boot Camp Fitness!)

Do some yoga every week

Make my own hummus and oatcakes for healthy lunches and snacks (easier than you think and much tastier than shop bought ones)

And I love this tasty loaf as a pick-me-up any time of the day – breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack (hard to resist when it's still warm too – yum!)

(Velvet)Fig Loaf

400ml strong tea (I use 3 tea-bags for mine)

125g dried fruit (figs/dates/apricots)

125g sultanas

50g oats

200g self-raising wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

100g mixed nuts

2 tbsp mixed seeds, such as pumpkin and sunflower

1 large free range egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat your fan oven to 150 degrees

Line a 1kg/2lbs loaf tin

Soak the fruit and oats in your strong black tea, while you prepare your dry ingredients (about 10-15 minutes will be fine)

Add the flour, baking powder, nuts and seeds to your tea and fruit mixture

Mix the egg in too and fold everything in together

Pour into your lined tin and bake for approximately 1 hour

Use a skewer to check your loaf is cooked all the way through (it should come out clean)

If your loaf needs longer, cover with foil and bake for a further 15 minutes

It’s delicious topped with cream cheese, ricotta or peanut butter. Or you can add fruit toppings too such as bananas or plums. A drizzle of honey works well if you fancy something a little bit sweeter. Try out a few combinations and see what you like best. Packed with nuts, fruits and seeds it’s a great little energy boosting loaf!

Talking of energy, we’re planning to use some of ours to create a cool new workspace here at Velvet Fig HQ (we’ll have more news and some pics to share soon hopefully!). Our list of resolutions also includes growing the freelance side of our business again this year (something we’re really excited about), plus sharing some fabulous new recipes in our monthly blogs.

So, watch this space.....and whatever you have planned for 2017 we hope you have a healthy and happy year ahead.

Love Emma x