Monthly Archives: August 2011

Honeycomb Layer Cake

I am a self-confessed cookbook collector. I love waiting for books I’ve ordered online and receiving them as gifts is a joy. One thing though – they must have pictures. Call me a child for my love of picture books but I struggle to envisage something I’ve never made before just from a list of instructions. After browsing through one of my cookbooks, Baked Explorations by Lewis and Poliafito, I had the urge to make an American-style layer cake. The many layers create a look of decadence and a simple decoration is literally the cherry on top! I find it hard to believe many people have three identical cake tins so I’ve suggested baking the cakes individually, or if you have two tins (like me) you can do two at the same time. Click here for the recipe


GBBO Episode 1

I think it’s only right that I post a picture of my tiered celebration cake that was not shown on episode one of the Great British Bake Off. It was a two-tiered ginger sponge with vanilla buttercream frosting and marzipan roses on the side. And believe it or not, I made it all myself. OK not the cake board…

The judges liked it overall, good flavour and nice presentation, if I remember correctly. It didn’t blow them away but it surely didn’t disappoint =D

And here’s what the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes shoulda, woulda, coulda looked like had time been on my side…

Apple & Cinnamon Cupcakes

This the (new & improved) recipe for the Apple & Cinnamon Cupcakes I made on Series 1 of GBBO. The idea behind them was an apple-based dessert served with custard, hence the apple and cinnamon in the cupcake base and the custard powder in the frosting. Adding fruit to cake recipes is always a bit tricky because too much fruit will produce extra moisture while the cake cooks (preventing it from cooking completely and even causing it to collapse) whilst too little makes you wonder if it was worth adding any at all. The balance is usually rectified by adding more flour to a basic recipe and practising until they’re perfect. Or you could just use a wonderfully crafted recipe already tried & tested… (need I say more?) Click here for the recipe


Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake A1

Whenever people ask me if I can make carrot cake it’s never a passing question, I’ve found that people who like carrot cake love carrot cake. Believe it or not for many years I struggled to make carrot cake successfully (let me just say that doesn’t mean I practised for years, but the failure came a few years ago and I never attempted it again – until now). There are so many ways to put your own spin on a simple carrot cake recipe, adding extra spices, fruit or flavourings to suit your tastes. 

Carrot Cake

Serves 12

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for the cake

  • 220g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1½ teaspoons mixed spice, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger, sifted
  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • 220g dark brown soft sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 220ml (200g) sunflower oil
  • 220g grated carrot
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 70g sultanas

for the frosting

  • 80g full-fat cream cheese
  • 30g butter, very soft
  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • strips of orange zest


Make the cake: preheat the oven to 180°C (170°C fan)/350°F/gas mark 4, grease a 20cm square tin and line with non-stick baking paper (you can also use a 900g loaf tin, the base should be about 20x10cm).

Combine the flour, spices and coconut in a bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat the sugar and eggs with a balloon whisk until smooth, then mix in the oil. Stir in the carrot, orange zest and sultanas (still using the whisk), then mix in the dry ingredients until they are evenly mixed in.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes (1 hour and 20 minutes in the loaf tin) until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: place the cheese and butter in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Carefully mix in the icing sugar until incorporated, then beat the mixture using an electric hand mixer, until the mixture increases in volume and holds its shape – be sure not to overbeat as the cheese will lose its consistency and the frosting will be runny. Spread evenly over the top of the cooled cake and decorate with the strips of orange zest.


The Great British Bake Off

So yes, it’s true, I am one of the 12 lucky bakers who will be on this year’s series of The Great British Bake Off. I shan’t say much more as I don’t want to give anything away but here’s a picture of us contestants (and Mary & Paul the judges!). It will air on BBC2 at 8pm on Tuesday 16th August (and each Tuesday thereafter) – put the date in your diaries, set your Sky+ to record, catch up on iPlayer, do whatever you have to do to see series 2 of The Great British Bake Off!

Here’s a link for the book and here’s a link to the official website.