Thursday, 30 May 2013

Raspberry & Amaretti Crunch Cake

I handed my dissertation in today and figured I deserved a day off. I also feel hungover, even though I haven't touched alcohol all week! So the only thing I could think to do was bake and eat sweets all day. I still have a presentation and oral exam until I'm completely free from university but this will definitely get me through the next week.

This is definitely a cake for you if you like almonds or marzipan. Just the smell of the crushed amaretti biscuits made me automatically think of a Bakewell tart!

It's quite a summer-y cake as well, so if the weather is looking a bit miserable then this should perk you up a bit with the fresh raspberries. Just serve it with some more raspberries and cream and you can pretend it's warm and sunny outside!


175g soft butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
140g self-raising flour
85g ground almonds
140g amaretti biscuits, roughly broken
250g raspberries


1) Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas mark 3 and butter a line a 20cm round cake tin.
2) Put the butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour and almonds into a large bowl and beat until all ingredients are well mixed.
3) Spread half of the cake mixture into the lined tin then scatter half of the amaretti biscuits and a third of the raspberries.
4) Very lightly press into the cake mixture then dollop tablespoons of the remaining mixture carefully over the amaretti and raspberries.
5) Scatter the remaining amaretti and another third of the raspberries over the top.
6) Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
7) Cool for 15 minutes in the tin then allow to cool on a wire rack.
8) Serve with the remaining raspberries.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Caterpillar Cake

Yes, I have made a caterpillar cake. It's a bit more of an adult themed one though because it's really rich with the ganache in the middle instead of just cream. I'm happy with the way the roll worked though; it was my first attempt at a Swiss roll and I thank Mary Berry for her recipe and helpful tips for it being successful!

If I make another one, I'll definitely make the face different and do the same thing as supermarkets do by making a flat chocolate face then attaching to the cake. As you can see, my method didn't look too great!

I really enjoyed making this cake. I officially finish all of my university work in two weeks and so this is a symbol of my denial at having to grow up and enter the big wide world! It's also really fun to make just to work out what to use to make it look like a caterpillar. Obviously I used strawberry pencils for the legs and antennae because I figured they were the closest I could get to caterpillar legs!

I had a lot of white chocolate buttons left after I did the eyes as well so I thought I'd give it some unique spots along it's back; I personally think it gives it a bit more of a caterpillar feel! 

The presentation obviously leaves a lot to be desired but for my first attempt I'm pretty pleased with it!


4 large eggs
100g caster sugar
65g self-raising flour
40g cocoa powder
150ml double cream
150g dark chocolate
To decorate:-
Milk chocolate
Strawberry pencils


1) Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas mark 6 and lightly grease and line a 33cmx23cm Swiss roll tin.
2) Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until the mixture is pale, light and frothy.
3) Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and carefully fold into the mixture, being careful not to beat any of the air out of the mixture.
4) Pour the mixture into the lined tin and spread evenly into the corners.
5) Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes or until well risen and firm to the touch.
6) Place a piece of baking parchment bigger than the tin on a work surface and carefully invert the cake onto the paper and remove the lining piece of paper.
7) Score a mark 2.5cm in along one of the longer edges.
8) Starting with this edge, begin to tightly roll up the sponge, making sure the paper underneath is inside the roll then allow to cool.
9) To make the ganache, heat the cream in a pan until warm but not boiling.
10) Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
11) Uncurl the Swiss roll and remove the paper, then spread the ganache on top and reroll tightly.
12) Melt the milk chocolate and smother the roll in chocolate then decorate with caterpillar themed toppings!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Quiche Lorraine

I first made this last summer but I hadn't gotten around to making it again until I thought it would be a good thing to make for tea this week. I'm definitely glad I did as well! The recipe seems a bit long but you can buy ready-made pastry or even make it the night before to save a bit of time. I really love the tomatoes in this recipe as well, they bring an extra sweetness to the quiche which gives it a bit of an edge over other quiches. 

I used mature cheese in mine which meant it is extremely cheesy, so if you aren't as much of a fan of cheese as I am, then I'd suggest using a milder cheese. I also sprinkled a bit of extra cheese on top but this isn't a necessity, just personal choice! 

This is perfect hot or cold; I had some for tea then had leftovers for lunch the next day and it was just as good. I also managed to make 2 small versions with the leftover pastry and filling! 

To make the smaller ones, I just used the left-over pastry with some 10cm tart tins then placed a tomato on top instead of in the pastry case. This is definitely something you can enjoy hot for your tea or cold for a lunch snack.


175g plain flour
75g butter
Pinch of salt
Cold water
250g cheddar cheese
2 tomatoes
200g bacon
5 eggs
150ml milk
150ml double cream


1) Sift the flour with the salt in a large bowl, then rub in the butter to produce a breadcrumb texture.
2) Add enough cold water to bring the mixture together into a firm dough then allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3) Roll out the pastry on a floured surface then place in a 22cm buttered flan dish.
4) Chill the pastry again and preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5.
5) Remove the pastry from the fridge and line with baking parchment and baking beans.
6) Bake blind for 20 minutes then remove the beads and parchment and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
7) Sprinkle most of the cheese into the pastry base then add the sliced tomatoes.
8) Fry the bacon pieces until crispy then sprinkle onto the tomatoes.
9) Combine the eggs, milk and cream in a bowl and season well.
10) Add the remaining cheese into the mixture then pour over the bacon and cheese.
11) Bake for 40 minutes then remove and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Iced Vanilla Cupcakes

I decided to have a bit of a fun night off from the dreaded dissertation at the weekend and make some childish cupcakes! I realised I have a lot of sprinkles in my baking cupboard and thought this was a pretty good way of getting rid of a few of them. Everyone loves an iced cupcake as well!

Some of the decorations were done by my other half, so this is a really fun activity to do with friends/partners/kids as something a little bit different. Just be wary because the sprinkles do end up everywhere! The yellow cakes have lemon extract in the icing and some of the red ones have strawberry flavouring to give whoever gets one a bit of a surprise when they bite in.


180g butter
180g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
3 medium eggs
210g self-raising flour
220g icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons water
Food colouring


1) Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and line two 12-hole cupcakes tins. I managed to make 18 cakes out of this mix.
2) Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
3) Add the vanilla essence, eggs and 1 tablespoon of flour.
4) Beat until combined then gradually add the flour, making sure to keep mixing.
5) Spoon the mixture in the cupcake cases then bake for 20-25 minutes.
6) Leave to cool in the tin slightly then remove and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
7) Once fully cool, place the icing sugar in a bowl then add a tablespoon of water at a time until the icing is the right consistency. If you're using flavourings/colourings then make sure it is quite thick as the flavours/colours will thin it a bit more.
8) Divide into separate bowls for each colour of icing you need.
9) Decorate to your heart's content!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Honey Muffins with Lemon Syrup

These are perfect if you don't have a very sweet tooth; using set honey instead of the clear kind means that it isn't as sweet so you just get quite a nice background sweetness when you eat them. 

I made these a while ago and just drizzled a lemon icing over the top of them but this time I thought I'd go a bit further and make a syrup to go on top, hence the slight shine to them. Obviously honey and lemon is a winning combination and the syrup gives these a bit of an edge over plain muffins!

There was a slight issue though, in that I managed to make one which looked a bit like a manatee! I think it gives them an endearing quality though and doesn't detract from the taste!


280g plain flour
70g caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
240ml milk
35g melted butter
50g set honey
Lemon drizzle syrup topping:-
1 lemon
25g granulated sugar


1) Preheat the oven to 220C/400F/gas mark 7 and thoroughly grease a 12-hole muffin tray.
2) Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
3) In a separate bowl mix the egg, milk, butter and honey.
4) Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing as little as possible.
5) Spoon the mixture into muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes.
6) Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tray for 5 minutes before making the syrup.
7) Place the juice of the lemon in a pan with the granulated sugar and heat until bubbling.
8) Drizzle the syrup onto the muffins whilst in the tray then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Rocky Road Bars

These are definitely a once in a while bake and not something to make regularly! They are really easy to make though and perfect for kids or bake sales. Using ginger nuts as well as digestive biscuits gives them a bit more of a grown up feel and reduces the richness a little bit; normally I find rocky road a bit too sickly, but I think I've found a winning recipe here!

The original recipe is from "The Ultimate Cookie Book" but I modified it a little bit with the chocolate topping! Drizzling the white chocolate on top reduces the bitterness of the bar so they're more manageable. 

They are most definitely the ultimate studying/library snack for people who have revision or essays to write. They're also really good for when you don't have much time to bake anything; just mix all of the ingredients together then chill in the fridge, and voilĂ  rocky road bars are all yours!


Rocky road:-
225g butter
115g dark chocolate
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp cocoa powder (I used Bournville)
350g mixed digestive biscuits and ginger nuts
50g mini marshmallows
75g mixed white and milk chocolate drops
75g milk chocolate
75g white chocolate


1) Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking parchment.
2) Place the butter, dark chocolate, sugar, syrup and cocoa powder in a pan and heat gently until completely melted.
3) Put the biscuits into a large plastic bag and crush to coarse chunks with a rolling pin then add to the chocolate mixture.
4) Add the marshmallows and chocolate chips and mix well.
5) Spoon the mixture into the square tin but don't press down too much.
6) Melt the white chocolate and milk chocolate in two separate bowls over a pan of boiling water then drizzle over the top of the rocky road.
7) Leave to chill for an hour or more in the fridge.
8) When set, cut into bars.