Monday, 25 June 2012

Marble Loaf Cake - The Weekly Bake Off

Last weeks bake was Mary's marble loaf cake. I haven't taken part in the weekly bake off for a while mainly due to moving and losing my baking mojo.

However when the football came on the TV on Sunday I decided to spend my time baking instead.

Anyway back to the cake. A fairly easy one to make the mixture is one of those where you just slap bang all the ingredients in the bowl together and whisk it up. Mary Berry's cake in the picture is very elegant and has a particular pattern to it, however she doesn't seem to want to share how to make this pattern.

Once in the oven you're told it will take 50-60 mins and mine pushed the top end of that. My cake tin I fear was a little too small as it rose quite a lot (I had to move a shelf half way through baking) and struggled to get it out when it was finished.

I didn't heat my butter in a pan to melt it as it had been sat in a hot kitchen all day and was very soft so I just gave it a bit of a whisk with a fork and blended the cocoa icing sugar and milk with the fork still in the bowl.

I popped my cake in the fridge for a while and then melted some white chocolate. I used more than recommended as 25g seemed a little stingy and I went for pretty much most of the large bar.

So here is my bake!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Bakewell Slices

I was surprised at how easy this is to make. And subsequently I made them again a week later.

Here are my Bakewells...

They are so good that I have even been eating them for breakfast. I took them to work along with some lemon drizzle cake and chocolate brownies for my last day, and a bit of thank you, and they didn't last until 12pm. It was really nice to take my baking in to work for people to try out as lots of people gave me so many compliments! Real boost of confidence. One person suggested that I stuff the new job and become a professional baker... I don't think I'm quite there yet!

You can find this recipe in Mary Berrys 100 cakes and bakes.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Happy Birthday Mum

It's my mums birthday today and one of her requests for her special birthday was a cake. She doesn't ask for much my mum, so I thought this would be a really good opportunity to spoil her.

I had seen this cake on another bloggers page, Jo Wheatley,  she is also the winner of the Great British Bake Off so you know it's going to be a good cake. This cake grabs you as soon as you set your eyes on it, and as soon as I saw it I knew that was the cake I was going to make for my mum.

There were a few alterations to my own cake mainly in regards to the decoration. My collar was slightly taller, but in the end I preferred this as it looked a little more Art Nouveau and the '50' on Jo's cake was replaced by a '60' for my mums cake.

You can find the original post and recipe here.

Looks impressive right? Looks incredibly hard and complicated to make yes? Well maybe.. but if I can do so can anyone! It just takes a lot of patience and good timing.

So here's how my construction of this epic cake went.

This cake requires four 7 inch sponge layers. I only have two 7 inch sandwich tins, so patience comes in to play already whilst I wait for the first pair to bake and then put the second pair in to the oven. (Lots of tea was consumed in the making of this cake).

I measured out the strawberries on one of the cakes to make sure I had enough to fit around the top before I diced the rest of them for the strawberry cream and strawberry layers.

Then once the cakes were cooled I made the cream and sandwiched them altogether.


I thought that the cake might actually collapse as I transported it to the fridge but it was, despite it's weight, rather sturdy.

So whilst the cake was chilling in the fridge I set out to make that chocolate collar, the bit I was dreading the most. I melted the chocolate in a pan (for some reason I can't do the chocolate over a pan of boiling water so I just stick it in a pan over a low heat and let it melt, it always works out okay) then attempted to put it in my icing tube... melted chocolate is a lot thinner than icing and so it started squirting out all over the place, managing eventually to get it under control, and covering myself in chocolate I started to drip it over my pre-placed baking parchment. Because of the weight in the bottom of the tubing if you hold it at the top and gently rock it, it moves in a pendulum fashion.

I arranged 4 pieces of parchment on my table, the centre piece of parchment which would hold my collar, and pieces at the bottom and the ends so I could peel these away later and get an absolutely straight edge for the bottom of my cake.

Here timing is essential, you have to judge it just right. Too early and the chocolate will just run down the paper when you lift it, too late and the chocolate wont stick to the cake and the chocolate might crack too.

I had to rearrange the whole of my fridge and take two shelves out to put it in there and let the chocolate cool.

Once cold hard and set I took it out of the fridge and peeled away the paper.


Ta Da!

Here are some more pictures of this very special cake.


Friday, 6 April 2012

Mini Creme Egg Brownies

I wanted to make an Easter treat that I could take in to work for my co-workers (sorry for spoiling the surprise if you're reading this before I spring them on you!) and I thought about making mini egg brownies but then one of my co-workers said how much she loved creme eggs...

So I decided to make mini creme egg brownies!

They actually turned out incredibly well! I was a little nervous that they would just explode in the brownie mixture and all the goo would seep out of the bottom. I let them cool down for about an hour after I had baked them in the hope that the eggs would harden a little before I cut in to the brownie square.

The eggs made the brownie even more gooey and chewy than they normally are. They are incredibly chocolaty! Definitely one for the chocoholics out there. Some of the eggs which I stirred in to the mixture burst and sunk to the bottom, but I also popped some on top of the mixture right before putting them in to the oven and these ones managed to contain their goo.

I used a simple brownie recipe and substituted the broken chocolate for the same amount of mini creme eggs, with a few extra dotted in the top.


150g of unsalted butter
300g light brown muscovado sugar
75g cocoa powder
1tsp of bicarbonate of soda
150g plain flour
pinch of salt
4 eggs
1tsp of vanilla extract
2 packets of mini creme eggs


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan assisted).

2. Melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan that need to big enough to fill with brownie mixture. Once the butter has melted stir in the sugar until completely bonded and a little glossy.

3. Sift in the cocoa powder, bicarb, pinch of salt and flour in to the pan keeping it on the heat and mix it all together.

4. Whisk your eggs and vanilla extract together until a little fluffy. Take the pan off the heat and fold in to your eggs until completely absorbed and starting to look like a brownie mixture.

5. Then add 150g of the creme eggs to the mixture quickly stir them in, trying not to let them melt and then tip into the tin. Then dot the remaining eggs in to the mixture.

6. Put your brownies in the oven for 25 minutes, when you poke a stick/skewer in to the mixture it should still be gooey in the middle.

7. Let your brownies cool for about an hour on a cooling rack before dividing them up.

Then enjoy! After about an hour mine were still fairly warm in the middle, which added to the gooey chocolateness was absolute heaven.

*Chicks are optional.

This little guy looks a bit sad...

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

As a thank you to people for helping out with my move in to my very own flat, or simply donating me furniture or other essential items I have vowed to make everyone cake. My eldest brother so kindly offered to pick me up in his van from Ikea with a lot of flat pack furniture. To say thank you I asked him to name his cake, he chose pineapple upside down cake. I wasn't sure if he was joking at first... but decided what the hell I've never made it before so he's going to get one joking or not.

I found a Nigella recipe for Pineapple upside down cake in my copy of Nigella Express. This recipe is also available online. My quantities varied from Nigellas, so really it's however many pineapple rings and cherries your tin can hold to make this cake!

I had to buy another new pan for this recipe.. 23cm cake tin, unfortunately I couldn't find a copper one that Nigella recommended but the one I got was a TKMaxx bargain and is grease proof.


  • Butter to grease your tin
  • 2 tbsps sugar
  • 7 pineapple slices from a 425g tin of pineapple 
  • 3 tbsps of the pineapple juice from the tin
  • 13 Glace cherries
  • 100g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g soft butter
  • 2 eggs

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and butter your tin. 
  2. Sprinkle the two tablespoons of sugar over the buttered tin, and then arrange your pineapple slices as shown below. 

3. Pop a cherry in each pineapple rings hole, and also in between them around the edge.

4. Mix your flour, baking powder, bicarb, butter, caster sugar and eggs in a bowl with an electric whisk for about 3-4 minutes or how ever long until its nice and smooth. Then pour in your pineapple juice and mix it in to make the batter thinner.

5. Now you need to get this mixture on top of your pineapple and cherries without ruining it completely. So what I did was tablespoon at a time begin to drop the mixture around the tin. When most of it was out of the bowl and into the tin I carefully spread the mixture with the back of the spoon, and tipped (scraped) any remaining mixture on top or into any gaps. The mixture only just covers it.

6. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

7. Once done take it out of the oven and carefully run a spatula along the sides. This is where my grease proof tin came in very handy as it had made the cake quite loose in the tin. Leave it to cool a little while as it will be hot to touch.

8. Once cooled but still warm put a tea towel over the top and flip the cake upside down! Then leave it to cool on a wire rack.

My cake is on a paper plate so apologies for presentation! However my only mode of transporting this cake was to sandwich it between paper plates and wrap with cling film.

The final result is very satisfying as it is such a symmetrical and good looking cake. It's so simple and quick to make too!

I didn't get to try any as I gave it all to my brother for him to take away.

(Please ignore the naughty cat paw prints on my table! I hadn't notice them until I had taken the pictures!)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Lemon Yoghurt Cake - The Weekly Bake Off

It's been a couple of weeks since I took part in the Weekly Bake Off, I have still been baking but I haven't really fancied the bakes, and know they would probably go to waste in my household also.

I made the Lemon Yoghurt Cake quite early in the week this time, rather than leaving it until the weekend as I usually do. This is because I'm going away this weekend.

The only thing I needed to buy to make this cake was Greek yoghurt as I had everything else in. Simple enough and made it relatively cheap to make too! Plus I had a few lemons that really needed using too so that was handy.

This cake calls for 300g of sugar! That's a lot of sugar best brush my teeth after every piece.

This cake takes an hour to bake, I got a little caught up in the TV whilst baking so I forgot to turn it around, and for some reason despite my oven being fairly new and an electric fan heated one it's hotter on one side than the other. So this left me with a bit of a step on my cake. I didn't need to bake it any longer than an hour, the recipe suggests it may take an extra 15 minutes.

This is the first attempt at icing the cake. It all just ran off or soaked in to the cake (the cake was cold like recommended). 

So I decided to try something different and put the cake back in the tin whipped up some more icing (a little thicker this time) and poured it on to the cake and then put the cake back in the fridge.

This seemed to work a lot better it still dribbled down the side but that kind of looks good.

My mum and stepdad, my boss at work and her boyfriend all really like this cake. It was definitely a success. It brought back memories for me of the cake the old ladies used to give me when I was little, they always used to have this cake and marble cake for me to eat (my mum was a residential warden so that meant I grew up around about 100+ old people up to the age of 18).

We ate this with a cup of tea on the train up to Scotland, with the lowland views out of the window it was just perfect.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Mealspiration - Things I've made this week

A few bloggers do round ups of the food they have eaten over the last week, some bloggers even post every single day what they have eaten.. I don't have enough time to do that and I'm sure it would get quite repetitive and boring if I did. I have my favourites that I eat quite a bit and I also have lazy days too where I buy something simple that can just be shoved in the oven.

What I do like about these round ups is the inspiration it gives to others. I've had a few good meals this week, rather than write up about all of them individually and publish each recipe I've decided to group them all in just one post. Plus they are all pretty simple meals.

So what have I eaten this week?

Those of you who follow me on twitter or instagram may already know but those of you who don't here is the run down of the meals I've eaten this week.


Cottage Pie Potatoes.

Basically you pop your jacket potatoes in the oven get them nice and crispy, cut them in half and scrape out the potato. Make the scraped out potato in to mash and pack the skins with cottage pie mix and top with the potato and cheese too if you like it that way. If you don't already have your favourite cottage pie (or even shepherds pie recipe) just google the recipe they are all pretty similar and easy to do!

Here's a picture of one chopped in half.


Chicken kebabs with roast veg pasta.

Roast your veg in the oven, we had butternut squash, courgette, and peppers cover in olive oil and pesto. When done mix together with your pasta. Keep it in a pan and put it at the bottom of the oven to keep warm. In the meantime put lemon juice and pesto in a dish and rub it in to your chicken. Put the chicken and tomatoes on skewers and grill. Really cheap and really tasty.


Spanish Chicken Bake

All you have here is chicken thighs, chorizo, baby potatoes cut in half, red onion. Drizzle olive oil on the chicken and potatoes grate orange zest over the top and sprinkle on some oregano. Then bake in the oven for an hour. Amazingly tasty a bit of a treat.

For the rest of the week I have indulged. Wednesday I went out for a curry and the rest of the weekend is being spent with family where they will be treating me to all sorts of waist band stretching delights.

Hope this gave some people inspiration for their future meals!