Category Cakes

Chocolate and orange surprise cake!

Ok, the surprise might not be up there with the denoument of a great murder mystery story, but this cake always evokes “oohs” and “ahhs” when cut into. When you cut into it you get vertical layers rather than the horizontal layers you normally get with a cake. Granted, you might not have fallen off […]

Pina colada fondant fancies

These miniature cakes are my homage to the classic pina colada – my favourite cocktail; seriously, I never tire of this cocktail! A fondant fancy is a thing of great joy, and always trasnpirt me back to childhood – albeit without the rum in this case! Every time I have made these fondant fancies they have gone very quickly: […]

The effect of different oven temperatures in baking

While baking is one of the most rewarding aspects of cookery, it can, nonetheless, be frustrating – especially when things do not work. Now things not working can occur when trying out a new recipe for the first time, error with the techniques or even when baking a reliable favourite that has never yet failed……..and […]

Orange and passionfruit fondant fancies

A shop-bought fondant fancy is very much a guilty pleasure of mine, but they are fun to make. And of course when making them you can go for whatever flavour you want, going for flavours that are not sold in the shops! Fruity, tangy and fragrant, these fondant fancies have a light orange sponge and a tangy […]

Crispy gingerbread cake bites

If you ever have left-over cake (“why would I?”, you might ask!), or have cake that is starting to go stale, these very easy bites will use up the cake for a delicious sweet treat. These are essentially cakey croutons, made by simply drying them at a low temperature in the oven very gently for […]

Rhubarb & ginger Battenberg cake

The power of baking in evoking happy memories of childhood is one of the many reasons baking is such an addiction for me; a Battenberg cake never fails to transport me back to being a child again, when slices of Battenberg were handed out as a real teatime treat. I adore Battenberg, and while a coffee and […]

Spiced lime & poppy seed bundt drizzle cake

This very easy cake has bags of flavour. In my view, a bundt cake, as indeed any cake, should not be at all apathetic – no matter how ornate it looks: it absolutely needs to have the “wow” factor in the flavour, too. Using my first “proper” bundt tin, this is my bundt version of […]

Cake of Christmas Present!

While I sometimes love going “all out” when it comes to decorating cakes, when it comes to Christmas cakes, I tend to go for the simplest of approaches. This is my spiced fruit cake, an ajusted-over-the-decades recipe, but instead of the almonds on top, this year I have gone for a layer of marzipan and […]

No-fuss sticky gingerbread cake

This is an incredibly simple gingerbread cake: it is very moist, with jewels of stem ginger throughout and the underlying heat of spice from the ground ginger. The icing has a ginger kick with a nice lime zing to it – two flavours that are made for each other. The cake takes literally moments to […]

Christmas cake bites

This is just a simple variation on a Christmas cake, going for individual bites of cake rather than making a large cake. Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s puddinis (such a fabulous name!), which use left-over Christmas pudding, these instead use some of the Christmas cake mixture I made for this year’s Christmas cake: I simply increased […]

Ginger & tamarind sticky toffee pudding

Arguably the ultimate in comfort puddings, this is my take on a sticky toffee pudding: it has the warming kick of spice from ginger and cinnamon, and what I think is a delightfully sour undertone from tamarind that is a subtle counter-balance to the sweetness of the pudding. I like to have an even stickier, […]

Lemon, strawberry & Prosecco cake

Although I made this particular cake for a colleague’s wedding, I have made smaller one-tier versions of this cake, without much in the way of elaborate decorations, on many an occasion. A case of when simplicity absolutely reigns! The sponge is a standard Victoria Sandwich, with the addition of finely grated lemon zest. The buttercream is […]

Spiced chocolate and orange bundt cake

Deeply chocolatey, with the sharp citrus kick of candied orange and a warming hint of spice work together very well in this easy, no fuss cake. Sticky bundts! This is my first ever bundt, so I feel I am coming very late to the bundt party that has been something of a craze for the past […]

Lemon & thyme drizzle layer cake

This is a very refreshing cake, pushing into dessert territory. the filling and icing can be spooned over and swirled for ease, or piped: it is purely personal choice! Essentially it is a layered lemon drizzle cake, filled and topped with a mixture of cream and lemon curd. I have added fresh lemon thyme to the […]

Pimms cocktail jaffa cakes

Very much an adult jaffa cake, this version of jaffa cakes uses Pimms as the base for the jelly, along with fresh orange juice, a hint of mint, a touch of lemon and just enough sugar to sweeten it without taking away from the flavour of the Pimms and the fruit. A real taste of […]

Gluten-free orange & blackberry polenta cake: Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

This is a recipe given to me by Macmillan to try out, ahead of this year’s Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. It is a very moist, light cake and it tastes wonderful. It is also very easy to bake. I would recommend making several of these orange polenta cakes for the Coffee Morning as they […]

Coloured Mirror glazes: as simple or as elaborate as you want…..

NB: while some of these attempts are practices done on a flat surface, the spiced orange & rum cake, the Purple Rain coffee and rum cake, the blood orange & raspberry cake and the planet cake are real cakes. I will post recipes for these in due course, but feel free to contact me in the meantime about […]

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Cake: chocolate cake with Earl Grey tea buttercream

Sections in this post Tea with the Mad Hatter Layers of cake Shaping the hat Hiding cracks & blemishes on a fondant-iced cake Assembling the cake Recipes for the cake and the Earl Grey tea buttercream Other recipe links Clandestine Cake Club This post gives the recipe for the cake, the buttercream as well as how to […]

Roasted coffee bean butter: a great ingredient for coffee lovers

I am so excited to share this post for roasted coffee bean butter. Coffee is one of my favourite flavours, almost beating chocolate for me. This butter, which is basically freshly ground coffee beans infused with hot butter, has a very rich, deep coffee flavour that you simply cannot get close to when using either instant coffee […]

Strawberry & lemon dacquoise: with a cheat’s version!

A dacquoise is a wonderful dessert in its own right. I made this one for my partner’s birthday cake as a more dessert-type feel was wanted. It is essentially pavlova with more bite to it: meringue with toasted nuts in the mixture. A real melt-in-the-mouth dessert with a deep nutty flavour. This version, with the nutty meringue being […]

Earl Grey Tea cupcakes: cupcakes with attitude!

Cupcakes need two key things to work, in my opinion: a light and nicely flavoured sponge and a very well-flavoured, not-too-sweet icing that melts in the mouth. Those dry sponge affairs with a mass of sickly icing that tastes of nothing other than sugar and cheap fat (mass-produced cupcakes: j’accuse!) are best only for the […]

Cocoa brownies with browned butter & walnuts

  For my second assignment with the Secret Recipe Club, I was allocated Erin’s wonderful The Spiffy Cookie blog from which to choose a recipe. Erin has a magnificent blog; it is a great source of foodie inspiration and is packed with recipes you just want to make. And the name The Spiffy Cookie is wonderful. Erin also […]

Simple raspberry chocolates

I love making use of left-overs and these simple chocolates hit the spot perfectly! Quick to make, they use the remains of some raspberry buttercream and some chocolate from a recent cake I had made (below). Filling I would normally make a ganache for filling chocolates (or use fruit curd, salted caramel sauce etc….), but here the buttercream is […]

Orange & vanilla rum babas

Surely it is time for a full-on revival of these fabulous 1970s dessert trolley staples? Rum babas should have a beautifully light texture, a rich buttery flavour and a real adult kick of indulgence from the rum. They are, I think, a winning end to any meal, a great sweet treat as part of an Afternoon Tea […]

quick and easy galangal & lime cake (gluten-free)

This is a very simple and quite speedy cake that can made and iced within an hour. The sponge is flavoured with galangal, which gives a lovely subtle spicy flavour, although you can use ground ginger for a more potent kick. I have gone for a very simple and quick rich cream cheese icing, flavoured […]

Absolute Spice: product review & recipe ideas

I love focusing on flavour in my bakes; flavour is by far the key consideration when I am baking, whether I am recreating a favourite bake or working on a new idea. And excellent quality ingredients are always my priority. I was very fortunate to have received some spices from Absolute Spice and I cannot stop using them! In fact […]

Salted mocha & walnut battenberg cake

Updated: April 2016 (new photos) This is a return to the classic Battenberg, a cake that is right up there in my list of top 5 cakes. While I love to ring the changes with Battenberg cake, time and time again I get drawn back to coffee & walnut; for coffee & walnut cake is right at […]

Oscars-themed drip cake: “death by Chocolat”

My first real “drip cake”, this was made for recent Clandestine Cake Club meeting, with the theme being a cake with a take on Oscar-winning films……. Clandestine Cake Club If you like cake – making, eating and talking about cake – you must join   CCC; most towns in the UK and many areas of the […]

Raspberry cascade cake

With baking I am a firm believer that simplicity, done well, can often give the best results. And while I occasionally go for over-the-top-looking creation with cakes, for me it really is flavour that is has to be at the heart of the cake: after all, once a cake has been cut into and has lost some of […]

Lemon drizzle cake

While it is always a joy to making more elaborate cakes for friends and family, I love the total simplicity of a drizzle cake: no fuss, tangy, very moreish and so perfect with a cup of tea!  And a slice of it eaten on a dreary day instantly evokes summer days for me! Truth be told, […]

Apple & cinnamon kouign-Amann pastries

This is a variation on the Kouign-Amann (roughly pronounced “queen ah-marn”) I posted ages ago. This time I went for apple and cinnamon flavour which works so well with the caramelised sugar, giving a kind of tarte tatin – but a touch more indulgent! I have made the apple and cinnamon Kouign-Amann before, using a little bit […]

Glazed Fruit & nut vegan Christmas cake

A vegan fruit cake for a recent Clandestine Cake Club event, with the theme “A vegan Christmas”: and what an exciting theme it was and a great way to research an area of baking that is not often in my repertoire. I will freely admit that I haven’t made a vegan cake before but I […]

Black forest gateau with caramel glazed cherries

Another version of my favourite over-the-top dessert cake; although I am well aware I have blogged about a few Black Forest Gateaux I have made, with little tweaks to the recipes here and there! I still argue, though, that a good Black Forest Gateau is a joy to eat in all of its retro kitsch-ness! I used Callebaut […]

A very special Rich Fruit cake

This is an easy fruit cake to make, taking minutes to mix together once the fruits have been soaked. It has bags of flavour, with a nice level of spice and little bursts of moist fruit inside. This fruit cake is suitable for any time of the year, not just at Christmas. Whilst I adore marzipan and Royal icing, […]

Stem Ginger & lime cake

This cake always gives me a great sense of comfort each time I make it. The sweet heat of the ginger and the zingy lime work together effortlessly. The sponge is sticky (which is absolutely what you want in a ginger cake) but it is not too dense. There is a real punch flavour-wise with the spices, […]

New Sainsbury’s “Bake Magazine”

A new, inspiring magazine: Recently launched, Sainsbury’s have created their new Bake Magazine: an exciting collection of recipes, tips and treats. This issue is packed with mouth-watering recipes from several of the Great British Bake Off favourites including Jo Wheatley, Frances Quinn and Howard Middleton, as well as stunning bakes from industry legends that include […]

Spiced pear & ginger cake

A wonderfully moist and rustic cake, the gentle heat of the ginger and the juicy sweetness of the pears, all set in a lightly spiced cake, work so well together. This cake is perfect sliced and eaten along with a cup of coffee, but wonderful served warm as a dessert with either cream, ice cream […]

Raspberry & dark chocolate cake

This is one of the cakes I made for decorating at a demonstration I gave recently. The cake is a Victoria Sandwich, flavoured with a little orange zest and filled with a very light, tangy raspberry buttercream. The recipe for the cake, with general tips on cake making and decoration is on my post here: Making, flavouring & decorating cakes Buttercream […]

Elmbridge Food Festival & my first cake decorating demo!

Wow! My 2nd visit to the annual Elmbridge Food Festival, held at the glorious Painshill Park, Surrey. This time, however, on top of enjoying the many delights of the Festival, I had two additional thrills: I was able to assist on the Clandestine Cake Club stall I gave a cake demonstration session on the Sunday. […]

Dark chocolate & orange gateau

Made for the Macmillan Coffee Morning, this cake is a chocolate Victoria Sandwich cake that had been flavoured with grated orange zest. The layers are filled and thinly coated with an intense, but light, orange buttercream, with the cake surrounded by a chocolate drizzle wrap – one of my signature cake decorating flourishes! I topped the […]

Mocha & salted caramel Angel food cake

This is my take on the divine Angel food cake, a cake that is like eating sweet bites of airy cloud! I went for a sponge that was speckled with chocolate, coated in a dark chocolate and coffee ganache and finished with salted caramel and caramelised hazelnuts. I actually made two cakes: one for a Clandestine Cake […]

Raspberry & dark chocolate mousse domes

Post updated April 2016: recipe tweaked, domes re-made and re-photographed One of the great joys for me when having Afternoon Tea, in addition to eating the most delectable sweet and savoury treats, is the inspiration I get. I shared one of these entremets as part of an Afternoon Tea a while ago and was blown […]

Carrot & walnut muffins

Updated April 2016: re-baked and re-photographed These muffins, flirting shamelessly into cupcake territory (no bad thing!), are a very moist and delicious, with subtle cinnamon tones adding a comforting spice note . Essentially they are a muffin-take on the classic carrot cake. They are also very simple to make. I have taken a recipe given to me by […]

A summer wedding cake

  A wedding cake I made for two of my former colleagues and dear friends from earlier this summer. It was such an honour to have been asked to make the wedding cake for this very special day. The pictures in this post were taken were by their photographer, and also former colleague, David, who has his […]

Very easy cherry & smoked chocolate brownies (gluten-free)

Brownies have to be quick and simple to make, and they are such a versatile mixture that you can add all manner of goodies or replace some of the ingredients eg) replace the nuts with dried fruit or crushed biscuits…….. I use a recipe that I have had for decades, although I do tweak it from […]

Gluten-free Victoria Sandwich Cake

This is very much a quick, no-frills affair: utter simplicity and great flavour; what more is needed? The cake takes literally a couple of minutes to mix together, about 20 minutes baking and a few minutes to assemble the cooled sponges. Using xanthan gum or not This cake is softer than a cake made with traditional flour and crumbles […]

Floating maltesers Cake with salted caramel ganache

, I made this cake for my 6th formers at school. Maltesers have always been my favourite sweets: honeycomb and chocolate – a perfect match. And with salted caramel being a thing of such beauty, why not use these for a cake? The flavours: This “floating sweets look” is certainly nothing new, but it is fun!  But […]

Black Forest Gateau with chocolate cherry mirror glaze (Gluten-free)

My current version of Black Forest Gateau, or “cake in drag” as Victoria Wood so deliciously put it, is way over-the-top for sure in terms of the adult flavours…..but I make no apologies for that, as it is an adult dessert cake! I have made and posted about Black Forest Gateau before, and each time I make […]

Coffee Dacquoise with caramelised hazelnuts

I ate a stunning Dacquoise in a pâtisserie in France very recently and I couldn’t wait to put my spin on it when recreating it back home. The crisp toasted hazelnut meringue layers are sandwiched together with a truly melt-in-the-mouth coffee buttercream, and it is topped with a very simple shiny chocolate glaze. About the recipe I took a standard […]

Mini Gluten-free Pistachio Fraisiers using left-overs!

  Further to posting my version of a large Fraisier a few weeks ago, I decided to make another large one for this month’s Clandestine Cake Club – this time going for a gluten-free version. And with left over elements, I also went for mini Fraisiers. A gluten-free treat! As I do with several of my bakes […]

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