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April 1st

Here I am in Seattle, Washington State (not to be confused with Washington D.C, this is the entirely opposite side of the country!). In complete contrast to the altitude of Santa Fe I am now at sea level, in a city surrounded by water. Sandwiched between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, Seattle has 150 bridges and is in the most amazing convergence of inlets, protected from the Pacific Ocean by the Olympic Mountains.

Seattle is a world centre for coffee roasting and people here consume more coffee than in any other American city. Oddly, even though this is known as the rainy city, they also buy more sunglasses per person than anywhere else in the USA! There are estimated to be 35 coffee shops here per 100,000 residents and the very first Starbucks opened here in 1971.

It didn’t take long for me to find inspiration. Macrina Bakery’s Whisper Cake is a delicious creation of white chocolate cake, lemon curd and fresh raspberries with white chocolate cream cheese frosting – Yum! Borraccini’s Italian Bakery boasts no less than 19 shapes or finishes of donut, and at Piroshky Piroshky in Pike Place Market they make nothing but – you got it – Piroshky, a versatile yeast raised pastry dough that can be wrapped around or combined with pretty much anything – savoury or sweet, then baked, fried or steamed for a range of finished textures. Sweet options here include fresh Rhubarb – a fruit that is making a long overdue comeback – and Cinnamon Cardamon Braid. I am fascinated by the use of spices that is a growing trend in sweet bakery now – the results are superb.

But these little treats caught my attention in a downtown café – Chocolate Fudge Mug Cakes. They’re cakes. In coffee mugs. Simple to make and fun to serve.

Click here to try the Chocolate Fudge Mug Cake recipe

You can’t visit Seattle without a trip up the Space Needle Observation Tower. At 605 feet high it is built to withstand 200 mph winds and earthquakes, thankfully, as Seattle sits right on the Seattle fault (Yikes!)

I will explore this fascinating city more and report in again soon.

Meanwhile, I am keeping my energy levels up with these Chocolate Espresso Bites.

Click here to download the Chocolate Espresso Bites recipe