Bready, steady, go

31 May


I think I may have mentioned the Hoxton Bakery before. They do fan-ruddy-tastic Brownies. They also do bread pudding. It’s pretty fine too. Dense, squidgy, rich, packed full of dried fruit & candied peel, tooth-achingly sweet (this is a good thing people), and eco friendly (because its recycling yesterday’s leftover bread, yeah?)

Bread pudding is not to be confused with bread & butter pudding. It’s more of a tray-bakey-cakey type of thing, to be served sliced and cold with a big cup of tea. You could try Nigel Slater’s bread pudding recipe.

I did some baking this week, a semolina lemon drizzle mash-up, but this bread pudding was far superior so you get a picture of it instead*, and a plea to seek out the Hoxton Street Bakery to try some.

*photo taken from the Hoxton Bakery’s twitter feed


Slate and Soya

23 May


First triathlon of the year for the boys, first spectator event for me. It was the Snowdonia Slateman in and around Llanberis last weekend. A quick dip in the icy Llyn Padarn, an undulating cycle round and about, followed by a sunny sprint up and down the local slate quarry. It did look fun, but I had to settle for ringing my chain reaction cycles cow-bell for all I was worth to cheer on the athletes. Well done one and all!


Seeing as I was in a support role I provided baked goods for the weekend, a pear & chocolate upside down pudding to fortify the troops the evening before, and the delectable Dan Lepard’s soya and linseed loaf for breakfast. Mr Bakes and I have been big fan of Vogel’s soya and linseed bread for many a moon, until we discovered we could make our own, with Dan’s recipe. Seriously, if you like Vogel, you’ll love this. Try it!

Blondies have more fun

16 May


We’ve all eaten Brownies, right? Dark, bitter, squidgy, rich and very chocolatey. Head to the new Hoxton Bakery on Hoxton street and you can buy yourself one of the finest examples of brownie-ness ever.

But what happens when you want that squidge, but without the chocolate? Blondies happen! Just like a Brownie, but minus the chocolate (unless you decide to stir in some chocolate chips, that’s totally okay). Violet do some rockin’ Butterscotch Blondies, but these here are Malted Banana goodies.

Malted Banana Blondies

125g butter
150g dark muscovado sugar
75g caster sugar
1 large egg
Pinch salt
125g plain flour
75g horlicks powder
1 large banana, mashed

Butter and line an 8 inch square cake tin. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas mark

Melt the butter and whisk in both sugars, then beat in the egg. Fold in the salt, flour and horlicks powder and finally mix in the mashed banana.

Pour the cake batter into the lined tin and bake for 20 minutes until just done. You want the cake to still be a bit squidgy, just like a brownie…

Leave cake to cool on a wire rack until cool, then cut into squares, rectangles, whatever shape you fancy really. I went for 16 squares!

buıppnd ɹɐǝd & uoɯɐuuıɔ ‘ǝʇɐןoɔoɥɔ

7 May


Upside down pudding, one of Granny’s favourites. It’s also one of my favourites when Granny cooks it. This was going to be the classic pineapple upside down pudding, using tinned pineapple*, seeing as how I can’t stuff enough of the totally tropical fruit down my gob these days. However, we had 3 ripe pears in the fruit bowl that desperately needed using up this weekend – so pear, chocolate & cinnamon it is. Pineapple, your time will come!


Chocolate, Pear & Cinnamon Upside Down Pudding

3 ripe pears
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
150g butter
50g dark muscovado sugar
100g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
150g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder

First, poach your pears. Peel, half and core them and place in a pan with the granulated sugar and the cinnamon stick. Cover with water and simmer for 30 minutes or so until soft but not falling apart.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line 20cm round cake tin.

Cream together 50g of the butter with the muscovado sugar before spreading it over the bottom of the tin. Lay the pear halves on the layer of butter and sugar in any pattern you see fit!

Cream the rest of the butter with the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat well. Fold in the flour & cocoa powder, and then add 2-3 tbsp of the cooking liquid from the pears. You want the batter to have a dropping consistency. Spread the cake batter on top of the pears.

Bake for around 35 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean from the centre of the cake. Turn out the cake onto a plate with the pear side upwards. This is delicious as a pudding with custard or ice cream, or served cool as a cake with your coffee.


Stew You

24 Apr


So me & Mr. Cakes have started getting our groceries delivered from the most amazing Hubbub. If you live in Shoreditch and are too lazy don’t have enough hours in the day to take the trip over the Victoria Park Ginger Pig, or Bottle Apostle, just tell Hubbub what you want and they’ll go to the shops and buy it for you. And deliver it to your door. Like I said, a-mazing. Mrs Lovell’s Greengrocer will do you an £8 fruit surprise, and if you happen to find yourself overwhelmed with the sheer volume of fruit you get for your money, why not at the end of the week stew up any older looking bits for this squidgy, cupcake-like cake.

Stewed Fruit Cake
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
120g butter
120g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
350g stewed and puréed fruit. I used plums & apples, use whatever you have handy.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4, butter and line a 9 inch square cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs and vanilla, and then the stewed fruit.

Mix together the dry ingredients, them fold into the whisked butter, egg and fruit mix. Put the mix in the cake tin and level out. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool slightly in the tin, then transfer to a cooling rack. When completely cool you can top with icing. Cream cheese frosting would be pretty good, but I went with a scant drizzle of glacé icing, made with 2tbsp lemon juice and 50g icing sugar. I was feeling frugal!

Hello Chicken

26 Mar


So, supposedly it’s Spring. I reckon someone didn’t get the memo, though, as it keeps snowing and according to the Met Office the “feels like” temperature is hovering around minus 5. Brrr! But, Spring it is, so how about these Bakerella style Spring Chicken cake pops? I went for a tangy lemon cake for a tweet & sour spring hit. Oh yes!


Cake Building

19 Mar

lego cake

What a lucky little man my nephew is. Not only was it just his birthday, but big sis Cakes made him this amazeballs Lego Cake. Look at it, what a beauty! Decorated with edible lego blocks and lego men. How cool is that?

fondant lego pieces

Of course, you’d have to be pretty good at sculpture to craft all this without a *little* help. You might want to invest in one of these ice cube trays. Very clever big sis. Can’t wait til my next birthday…

lego men mould

Rhubarb & Rosemary

12 Mar

Rhubarb and Rosemary Cake

A loaf cake. Again. Oh dear, I am sorry but they are terribly good. And convenient. Mr Cakes is ramping up the tri-training, and demands plenty of calories every day to keep his strength up. So, weekend loaf cake baking it is.

This one is adapted from Nigella’s recipe for a Rosemary Remembrance Cake. Nigella’s is a simple madeira cake, subtly flavoured with aromatic rosemary and stewed apple. I prefer the tang of rhubarb though, especially at this time of year. Whatever you do, don’t use a 450g/1lb loaf tin to bake the cake as Nigella suggests. It doesn’t work…

Rhubarb & Rosemary Cake

200g rhubarb
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tsp caster sugar
½ lemon, juiced and zested
1 tsp butter
225 grams butter
150 grams caster sugar
3 medium eggs
300 grams plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

Chop the rhubarb and put into a saucepan with a sprig of rosemary, teaspoon of sugar, lemon zest and juice, and a teaspoon of butter. Cover and cook on a low heat until the rhubarb has broken down to a mush. Allow to cool and remove the rosemary sprig.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3. Line a 2lb loaf tin greaseproof paper, or a loaf liner if you have one (much handier)

Put the rhubarb, butter, 150g sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder into a food processor and whizz to a smooth batter. Spoon and scrape into the loaf tin and smooth the top. Sprinkle the surface with the a little more sugar and then lay other sprig of rosemary along the centre of the cake.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean, allow to cool for a few minutes. Then remove the cake from the tin and leave to fully cool on a wire rack.

More Jam?

5 Mar

Apricot Almond Jam Cake

What to do with that apricot jam sitting in the cupboard, forgotten and overlooked since Christmas? Purchased to help stick the marzipan to your Christmas cake, and neglected while the sexier raspberry and tangy-er marmalade make their way to the breakfast table instead. Well, how about a jam cake? I can think of no finer a destiny for such a helpful jam.

Apricot Jam Cake

175g butter
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
125g apricot jam
175g wholemeal self-raising flour
25g almond flakes

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan/gas mark 4. Line a 2lb loaf tin with butter and greaseproof paper, or a handy liner if you have one.

Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fully mixed. Then beat in the eggs, followed by the jam. Fold in the flour gently, and when completely combined spoon into the lined cake tin and level the top. Sprinkle the almond flakes over the cake.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, to check the cake is done insert a skewer into the cake. It will come out clean when the cake is done. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monkey Bees Knees

12 Feb


There must be about a million recipes for banana bread on the internet, probably because it’s so flippin tasty! This is one of Nigella’s, with a couple of amendments. The basic recipe can be found on Nigella’s website. Instead of raisins and walnuts, my version is studded with crunchy honeycomb chips. Just substitute the walnuts with 100g honeycomb chips, leave out the raisins, and reduce the amount of rum to 45ml. The honeycomb melts into the batter as the cake bakes, leaving an almost burnt caramel swirl throughout the sponge. Yum!