Pear cake…

Pears are another jewel in Autumn’s bumper harvest of goodness. Perfect poached with spices and red wine or served in a grown up salad with blue cheese and toasted pecans or as the mini taster and I have discovered they work wonderfully well baked in a cake and served warm. Ideal for your 11 o’clock cuppa. But be quick, because big and little hands will move very swiftly to get in on the action. Another easy peasy winner for mini bakers to help with in the kitchen.

1. Begin by greasing a round loose base tin with butter and preheat the oven to 180c. Then peel and remove the seeds of two large pears.

2. Using a food mixer, mix 150g of soft unsalted butter with 1 cup of soft brown sugar, add in 2 cups of rye and spelt flour and 1tsp. of baking powder and mix everything together.

3. Next beat in four eggs, one at a time and then add 2tsp. of cinnamon, 2 pieces of stem ginger chopped and 2tsp. of the ginger syrup. Finally stir through the chopped pieces of pear and Transfer the cake mixture into the tin and top with slices of a third pear and sprinkle with brown sugar.

4. Bake in the oven at 180c for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.


Lemon Curd Cheesecake…

When life gives you lemons, which is very apt given how events this week are quickly unraveling, make lemon curd cheesecake. Top with strawberries and you’ve got a delicious distraction from the madness unfolding.

Not only does it taste heavenly, but it is also embrassingly easy to make and a great pudding to get mini cooks involved in too. Definitely one for the weekend.

1. Begin by greasing an 8 inch round loose based cake tin with butter.

2. Using a food mixer, I use a MagiMixer, mix 200g of digestive biscuits with 100g of unsalted butter and 4tsp. of ground ginger. You could get little ones to create a crumb mixture by placing the biscuits into a plastic bag and allow them to batter the biscuits with a rolling pin! You might also find this to be a good stress buster exercise.

3. Spoon the biscuit mixture into the cake tin and smooth out to create the base of the cheesecake, using the back of a spoon.

4. Again using your mixer blend 200g of full fat soft cheese and 300g (one jar roughly) of lemon curd together, until you have a smooth consistency. Spoon the cheese mixture on top of the biscuit base and even out again using the back of a spoon. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least four hours.

5. To serve top with strawberries and a dusting of icing sugar. It’s as easy as that!

Rosemary, Lemon &  Honey Drizzle Cake…

One of our favourite childrenswear brands Jack & Jillaroo, has recently launched its new summer collection, featuring a gorgeous collection of organic cotton swaddle muslins, cotton baby blankets as well as a range of new single and reversible dribble bib designs, guaranteed to make little dribble monsters look instantly stylish.

Our favourite has to be the honey bee reversible bib, perfect for the summer months and ideal for either boys and girls. To celebrate Jack & Jillaroo’s new range and given that the honey bee bib has proven a hit with Otto (and me) we’ve come up with a new cake recipe, any excuse for cake really!

Packed full of floral honey, zesty lemon and fresh rosemary from the garden, we’ve tarted up the humble lemon drizzle cake and given it a bit of a makeover, perfect for any summer tea break – come rain or shine, but most likely rain!

1. Begin by preheating the oven to 180c and grease an 8 inch round loose based tin.

2. In a food mixer, I use a Magimix but feel free to use a good old fashioned bowl, a wooden spoon and some elbow grease, whisk together 1 cup of caster sugar with 220g of unsalted butter. Add in three eggs, one at a time and mix everything together.

3.  Next sift in three cups of plain flour and 2 tsp. of baking powder and fold all the ingredients together again using your mixer.

4. Finally fold in 2tsp. of vanilla extract, 2 generous tsp. of fresh chopped rosemary  and the zest of one lemon and one cup of full fat milk.

5. Transfer the cake mixture into the cake tin and bake at 180C for 50 – 60 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown.

6. While the cake is baking, make the lemon honey drizzle by adding the juice of one lemon and 6 tsp. of strong floral honey to a pan and on a low heat gently mix together for no more than thirty seconds.

7. When the cake is ready remove from the oven and while still warm and in the cake tin prick the top of the cake with a fork and pour the lemon honey drizzle over the top and garnish with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Best eaten warm.


Decadent Upside Down Banana Cake…

Banana cake is one of those treats you can almost convince yourself is actually not that bad for you and in fact it’s pretty healthy for you. Some may even stretch as far as saying that it counts towards part of your five a day.

Let me be upfront with you from the beginning. This recipe certainly does not fall into that category. It’s decadent, rich and very naughty. And after a week of flying solo with a snotty poorly baby who would only sleep beside me, this cake was very much what the doctor ordered. 

Adapted from Waitrose Kitchen this recipe for upside down banana cake is the ideal Sunday lunch dessert and a winner for using up old bananas lurking in the fruit bowl at the end of the week.

1. Begin by preheating the oven to 170c and grease a deep round 20cm cake tin with butter and measure out 1tbsp. of cardamom pods. Remove the seeds by splitting open the pods. Discard the pods.

2. Gently melt 25g of unsalted butter and 125g of golden syrup over a gentle heat. Add in the cardamom seeds and spread over the base of the cake tin. Peel three bananas and slice into rounds. Place each piece onto the mixture in the cake tin.

3. Into a food mixture cream together 100g of dark soft brown sugar, 125g of unsalted butter and 25g of golden syrup. Add in 75g. of plain flour, 75g. ground almonds, 1tsp. baking powder, 2tsp. ground ginger and fold everything together. Finally add in three eggs, beating one egg at a time into the rest of the cake mixture.

4. Drop spoonfuls of the the cake mixture on top of the banana syrup in the cake tin and smooth over. Bake in the oven for 50minutes. Leave to cool before serving with natural yoghurt.




One-Bowl Chocolate Cake…

Occasionally you discover a recipe you just know after one attempt you will want to try time and time again and Kate Doran’s one bowl chocolate cake with yoghurt ganache is one of these discoveries.

Taken from the bloggers beautiful debut book Homemade Memories, this is a chocolate cake to challenge all other chocolate cakes. Decadent, rich and moreish it’s everything a chocolate cake should be and makes for the perfect birthday cake – just ask the Chief Taster! The yoghurt ganache also helps to balance the richness by adding a subtle tangniness taste to each slice.

This is just one recipe from a book which will take your tastebuds down a nostalgic memory lane. Author of the Little Loaf blog, Kate’s new book gives our favourite childhood treats a modern and imaginative twist.

On every page you’ll find a classic, which you’ll remember your own mum baking or buying from the biscuit aisle in the supermarket. From baked Alaska, caterpillar cake, to Battenberg cake, jammy dodgers and much much more, this is an enchanting cook book, which is not only full of delicious recipes but it will also evoke wonderful memories and make you smile as you turn every page. 

I think I’ve found a chocolate cake we’ll be repeating for every birthday celebration!

One – Bowl Chocolate Cake with Yogurt Ganache

1. Preheat the oven to 190 c  and grease a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin with butter.

2. Into a food mixer, sift 3tbsp. Cocoa powder and 3tbsp. Of warm water and whisk until smooth. Then sift 125g of plain flour and 2tsp. Baking powder into the mixer along with 150g unsalted butter, 150g caster sugar, 25g light muscovado sugar, 3 eggs, 1tsp vanilla extract and mix everything together until you have a smooth mixture.

3. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before slicing in half horizontally.

4. To make the ganache melt 200g of dark chocolate and 1tbsp. Golden syrup in a heat proof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool for 6 -8 minutes and fold in 125g natural yoghurt. Quickly spread one third over the bottom half of the sponge. Place the second half on top and spread the remaining ganache over the top of the cake. Allow to set at room temperature.


A Lot on Her Plate

I have one to many cook books. Some are decorative coffee table books. Others make for great bed time reading. There are some which remain on my bookshelf unused and then there are those in storage.

I do however have a few favourites, those that are dog eared, stained and splattered. And if there is a cookbook that fits this description, it’s Rosie Birkett’s delicious debut book, A Lot on her Plate, which has been my book of choice this year.

Imaginative, seasonal recipes that are also practical whether your cooking for two or for friends, this book is a must. What’s more there is not a spirilised corgette or sweet potato brownie in sight. This is good food, that tastes sublime.

It’s been my go too book for so many occasions I can vouch for so many of the recipes.The parsley, bacon and broad bean risotto is great for dinner parties and I can’t tire of Rosie’s fig and gorgonzola salad as well as her warm salad of roasted aubergine and broccoli -in fact we had this tonight with grilled chicken!

But one recipe which caught my attention and I just had to try was the blueberry, basil and almond pudding pie. A bizarre combination of ingredients you might think. I thought so too. However it really does work.


Blueberry, Basil & Almond Pudding Pie…

1. Preheat the oven to 180c and grease a 20cm cake tin with butter. Place 5 basil leaves on the bottom of the tin aswell as 380g of blueberries.

2. Combine 20g of plain all purpose flour sifted, with 1/2 tsp. of baking powder, 90g of ground almond and 90g of whole almonds blitzed in the food mixer. 

3. In a different bowl whisk 60g of caster sugar and 4 eggs until frothy and then fold in the flour and almonds, ensuring you keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

4. Pour the mixture on top of the blueberries, leave to settle for a few minutes and then cook for 35-45 minutes.

5. Using a palette knife around the edge of the tin, loosen the pudding. Leave to stand for a few minutes, put a wire rack on top of it and then flip it upside down to cool. 


Rhubarb & Almond Loaf Cake


So I’ve reached the 40 week mark. Today is officially D day but I have a feeling we could be waiting a little longer for Baby Cross, who is evidently far too cosy currently and has no plans to make an appearance any time soon. Sigh! In the meantime to prevent me from going stir crazy {I’m extremely impatient} the nesting instinct has continued and this has included baking cake. It’s just as well one can never enjoy too much cake.

In the last few weeks I’ve had cravings for rhubarb. A bit late in the day to be expericing cravings but cravings nonetheless. I just can’t get enough of it. Just as well as Aldi {other supermarkets are available} have started stocking frozen rhubarb in their freezer department, which is so convenient.

My latest experiment is this delicious recipe for Rhubarb and Almond loaf cake. It’s light and not too sweet and I’ve used olive oil instead of butter. Give it a whirl and in the meantime if all goes quiet on the blogging front you know I’m otherwise engaged. Fingers and toes crossed.

The Baking Bit…

1. Begin by sprinkling 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon and 2 tsp. of caster sugar on top of 250g of chopped rhubarb. In a shallow pot on the hob gently heat the rhubarb until it’s soft and tender. This should take between 4 – 5 minutes on a low heat.

2. Next pour 130ml of olive oil into a bowl along with 110g of caster sugar and mix together before folding in 150g of sieved self raising flour.

3. Add 3 eggs into the mixture and again fold everything together. Next fold in 100g of ground almonds and 2 tsp. of cinnamon. Finally gently stir in the rhubarb.

4. Pour the cake mixture into a 2lb greased loaf tin and sprinkle 30g of fLaked almonds on top.

5. Place the loaf tin in a pre heated oven set at 180c for 55 minutes. Leave to cool before slicing.