Dark Chocolate & Morello Cherry Loaf Cake

Dark Chocolate & Morello Cherry Loaf Cake

  This is a decadent one… After a request from friends for something darker, I decided to adapt one of the lovely Nigella’s recipes, the original of which you can see here. This was meant to be cupcakes originally, but … Continue reading


Winter spice/ginger cupcakes with mulled wine buttercream

Oooooh, sparkly!

Oooooh, sparkly!

My love of baking originally started with cakes, and cupcakes in particular (oh, you little lumps of sugar/heaven, get in my face). At Christmas parties for the last few years, it’s been my unofficial job to supply the cakes. Last year was chocolate cakes with chocolate orange buttercream, and vanilla sponge with white chocolate buttercream adorned with little snowmen, and I thought they went pretty quickly. This years contribution broke all records though, with all of the cakes disappearing in about five minutes flat! After making the mulled wine jam, I decided to create something that would work with those flavours, and so the winter spice/ginger cupcakes with mulled wine frosting/buttercream came about.

Normally I use Hummingbird Bakery’s recipes for my cakes, but I decided to make my own. I still used their method (an  example of which can be found here:) starting with their standard vanilla cupcake recipe as a basis but then went from there. For this I used the mulled wine, plum and blackberry jam that you can see the recipe for here, but if you don’t have time for that you can omit it or replace with a different jam, or maybe even marmalade!

My first attempt at these saw me add wayyyyy too much ginger/nutmeg/cinnamon, to the extent it made me cough when I ate it. Oops! Don’t be afraid to experiment though, you can always make more! My main oven is also broken (disaster!) and my cupcake tray wouldn’t fit in my emergency mini oven, so I resorted to silicone cupcake cases on a baking tray, which worked surprisingly well.

You will need:

For the cakes:
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
40g butter
100ml orange juice (with bits)
20ml whole milk
One large egg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
One jar mulled wine/plum/blackberry jam (or any other jam you like)

For the frosting:
250g icing sugar
80g butter (room temperature)
20ml mulled wine
Teaspoon mulled wine jam/replacement jam.

1) Pre-heat oven to 170c/325f.


2)Sieve the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and sugar into a mixing bowl, with the butter.  Mix on a slow speed until everything is combined and is a sandy consistency.

3)Gradually pour in half of the orange juice/milk , and beat until it is just combined.


4)Whisk the egg and remaining orange juice and milk briefly. Pour it into the flour mixture and contunue beating until just incorporated, being sure to scrape in any unmixed ingredients! Keep mixing until smooth.


5) Divide the mixture between the cases, this normally makes 12 cupcakes, fill them two thirds of the way.


6) Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until they spring back when touched and have turned a light golden. These smell amazing due to the spices!

Golden! Sadly you can't smell the screen.

Golden! Sadly you can’t smell the screen.

7)Allow to cool, then using a sharp knife remove a small section of the cake. Keep in a bowl to one side. Spoon in a small amount of the jam, then replace the bit you cut out.


8) Make the frosting/buttercream! In a large bowl, sieve the icing sugar into the butter. I usually cover the bowl with a tea towel for this bit else the sugar goes *everywhere*. Mix on a slow speed until sandy. Slowly add the mulled wine a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the mulled wine has been incorporated, add the jam. Mix on high speed until light and fluffy. If the mixture is too runny, add a little extra icing sugar.


9) Ice the cakes! Don’t worry if you don’t have a piping bag, I used to spoon the icing on then swirl it around with a teaspoon. I then added red and green edible Magic Sparkles for a festive touch but feel free to decorate as you see fit! The cases had little snowmen on too.


Let me know what you think!

Chambord ganache filled white chocolates.


After the success of the Baileys chocolates (I’ve made several batches since!) I decided to try different options, and the other popular combination has been white chocolate with strawberry patterning, and a chambord and white chocolate ganache filling. I’ll be trying these with dark chocolate as well after a special request.

For the detailed instructions, please see the “Baileys ganache filled chocolates” guide, however this is a little different!  Instead of milk chocolate, use white, and use Chambord liqueur instead of Baileys.

For the pretty pink pattern I used Silver Spoon strawberry flavoured chocolate drops, however you can also use any pink candy melts from other companies. I melted them in the microwave for 10 second intervals as it wasn’t important for them to maintain a shine, it’s quicker than tempering, then using a spoon flicked the melted strawberry chocolate across the mould. It doesn’t have to be organised, in fact the more slapdash the better! (Maybe one for the kids to do?)


For the ganache heat the butter and cream until just boiling, remove from the heat, add the white chocolate and Chambord. Stir until the chocolate melts and the Chambord has combined.


After you have filled the chocolates, added the final layer of chocolate and allowed it to set, it should end up like this!




Baileys and banana self-saucing chocolate pudding

Some days you just need a sticky, stodgy pudding. What with the snow, I thought this was perfect timing for the Baileys and banana self saucing chocolate pudding.

Baileys & banana self-saucing chocolate pudding.

Baileys & banana self-saucing chocolate pudding.

The joy of this is that all of the ingredients are interchangeable, so if you just fancy Baileys and chocolate feel free to omit the banana, or make banana and chocolate sans Baileys for the little ones. Alternatively, the purists can go for chocolate alone, adding some milk or white chocolate chips would also work. Let me know how you get on! This pudding is lovely on it’s own with the sauce, or if you’re feeling decadent add cream or custard.

A warning in advance: yes, it will feel strange pouring liquid all over the cake but it’s worth it in the end!


For the batter:
60 g butter or margarine
2 bananas
1 egg
170g caster sugar
140g plain flour
35g cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder
150ml milk
50ml Baileys

50ml Baileys
200 ml water
200g light brown sugar
15g cocoa powder
1tsp vanilla essence

1)Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat the egg until light and fluffy, add to the mix. Preheat oven to 180.



2)Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa and baking powder.  Add alternately with milk/Baileys mixture to butter/sugar/egg mixture until combined.

Try to resist putting your face in it.

Try to resist putting your face in it.

3)Slice bananas, spread evenly on the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. Spoon cake mixture over the top.

If you don't like banana, feel free to leave them out. It works just as well with the Baileys and chocolate.

If you don’t like banana, feel free to leave them out. It works just as well with the Baileys and chocolate.

4)For the syrup, sift the sugar and cocoa powder. Mix all of the ingredients except the vanilla essence in a saucepan, heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved (coat the back of a wooden spoon to check for granules), continue until mixture starts to boil. Add essence.


5) Brace yourself! Pour the syrup over the cake batter (don’t worry if some of the banana floats to the top!)

Some of the bananas may float to the top, but it's OK.

Some of the bananas may float to the top, but it’s OK.

6)Bake in the oven at 180 for about 30 minutes. The sauce will sink to the bottom, and the cake layer will be on the top.



7)Ideally serve hot, however this keeps well for a few days in the fridge, but the sauce will thicken and the flavours can intensify.




Cakey Perry – Feast your eyes….

All photos by the supremely talented Miss Sammi Hills. You can find her on Twitter: here or on Flickr here!. Ms Hills is the blonde, I’m the ginger, and the lady in the blue is the superb Miss Cakehead, the brains behind the event.


Cakey Perry – Sugarcoma in 3, 2, 1…

As a lover of all things cake and confectionary I was delighted to be invited into the whimsical world of Cakey Perry,  an event described as ‘a high tea to melt your popsicle’,  by the creative mind of one Miss Cakehead. Joined by my photography partner in crime Ms Sammi Hills (whose pictures you will see hopefully next week), we arrived fashionably early – never late!- to Prangsta, a beautiful fancy dress shop in New Cross Gate.

Being greeted by a corseted lady on a trapeze is always a good start, before Miss Cakehead herself ushered us in with a glass of Todka, a smooth toffee flavoured vodka mixed with ginger beer. Resplendent in blue wig and some impressively glittery gold platforms with sweetie covered tights, the attention to detail is second to none.

Oh my…the cake. Everywhere. As far as the eye can see there is cake, scones, doughnuts, cake pops, macarons, and more. There’s even a table that has been painstakingly covered in love hearts. Vintage china sets off the theme, with gingerbread men raining from the ceiling alongside rainbow drop chandeliers.

This was no time for politeness, as we scuttled to a table and grabbed forks, poised at the ready to sample the baked delights. First up was a fabulous rainbow sponge by LESHIlovesCAKE. Unbelievably light and airy individual coloured layers, the sponge isn’t too sickly. Also by Leshie was a pink ‘doughnut’ sponge, also a victoria style sponge but with baby pink icing and miniature doughnuts around the edge. Next up was a Buttercream Bakery mini cupcake, complete with glittery blue Katy wig on top.

Now, I’ve heard many a person sing the praises of a light as air macaron, but I was yet to find one deserving of such praise. Until now that is. Wrapped in red tissue paper to resemble a quality street sweetie, this macaron was blood red, raspberry and chocolate flavoured. Soft but with the right amount of chewiness it wasn’t dry like some of the others I have tried.

A multi-coloured cakepop by Molly Bakes was last on the list of must-haves, again a success without being overly sweet, with the right amount of buttercream to cake and easy to eat (a god send if you’re messy like me). All of this was set to the soundtrack of a smartly dressed man playing keyboard versions of Katy Perry, and also Spice Girls at one point.

Definitely not an event for savoury lovers or dentists, but if you have a sweet tooth like me this was heaven.

Check back soon for some fabulous photos from Sammi Hills.