Cadbury creme egg cupcakes

I’ve updated my creme egg cupcake recipe for you all…just in time for Easter weekend! Don’t go saying I ain’t good to ya all now…😉

I first posted a creme egg cupcake recipe back in 2012 – it was actually my very first post! Have I really been blogging that long?? 😳 As good as those ones are, I actually prefer the updated recipe I’m sharing with you today. If you look back on the old post, I hope you’ll agree that my photography has improved a little! I was so tempted to delete it, but I thought I would leave it there to serve as a reminder of how much I’ve learned and will continue to learn about blogging!

So what about these cupcakes?

Well, the cupcake recipe is a rich Devil’s chocolate sponge which is complemented perfectly by a simple vanilla buttercream. Each cupcake has a surprise inside – a whole mini Creme egg!

There are quite a few changes to the new recipe – the cupcake recipe itself is different, I’ve done away with the yellow fondant which I now feel is too sickly sweet against the richness of the chocolate cake, and this time I didn’t bake the creme eggs in the cupcakes, placing them in the cakes after they were baked instead. You can absolutely choose to bake them inside the cakes if you prefer, but if you do I would recommend you freeze your creme eggs first.

And if you aren’t a coffee fan, fear not. These cupcakes will NOT taste of coffee! The coffee merely enhances the chocolate flavour. But you can leave it out if you really want too.

I love these cupcakes – they cheer me up just looking at them!

Cadbury Creme egg cupcakes

Makes 12

40g cocoa powder

1/2 tsp coffee granules

180ml boiling water

130g plain flour

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

85g butter, soft

150g soft light brown sugar

1 large egg And one large egg yolk, beaten

1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180C/160Fan/350F. Line a 12 hole cupcake pan with liners.

Place the cocoa powder and coffee in a medium bowl. Pour over the boiling water and whisk until smooth.

Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a small bowl and stir together. Place the butter in a large bowl, add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is very light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add the cocoa mixture and mix until smooth. Using a metal spoon, fold in the flour. The mixture will be pretty runny so don’t be alarmed. Pour this chocolate batter evenly into the liners (I pour the batter into a large jug – it’s much easier with runny mixtures) I pour 60ml of batter into each one. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the cakes are risen and they spring back when lightly pressed. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and leave to cool.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream.

Vanilla buttercream

300g icing sugar

150g soft unsalted butter

1/2 vanilla extract

One tablespoon milk

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar together on high speed for several minutes until very light and airy. Beat in the vanilla extract and milk and continue to beat for a few minutes until very smooth and aerated.

Divide the buttercream equally between two bowls. Place yellow or orange (for the “yolk”) food gel colouring in one half and stir well to mix. I used Wilton golden yellow. Place the buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle – one colour on either side – and start piping onto a plate until the colours have swirled together. You’re now ready to decorate your cupcakes!

Take your cooled cupcakes and using an apple corer or cupcake tool, remove a piece of cake from the middle of each cupcake. Then insert a whole mini creme egg inside. I’ll leave it entirely in your hands what you do with the cake you just removed – if you don’t want to eat it all like I did and clearly have more willpower than me, you can always keep it for making cake truffles! 😉

Decorate your cupcakes with the buttercream and top each one with a halved Creme egg, letting the yolk spill out for an “EAT ME NOW” effect!

I really hope you love them! If you give these cupcakes a try this Easter weekend, let me know by leaving a comment!

Wishing you a very Happy Easter!

Only Crumbs Remain

Casa Costello


Pink grapefruit drizzle cake

Pink grapefruit drizzle cake – the perfect balance between sharp and sweet!

The dreaded lurgy came into our lives last week.

We have all been affected in one way or another, but for some reason it has attached itself to me and will not let go. The sniffly cold I’ve had since New Year seemed to turn into a God awful flu like virus which left me unable to move from my bed for 3 days. Luckily I’m on holiday this week, so I have the option of hibernating from the outside world. I’ve not done that much apart from drinking lots of honey lemon and ginger tea, reading (by which I mean questionable hours scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest) and cuddling my little boy. He’s had a snuffly cold for weeks now, poor baby. I’m really starting to tire of Winter now. I never thought I’d say that. I usually embrace the Winter months – I’ve never really been a Summer person – but this one seems to have gone on forever.

Maybe my subconscious need for a little sunshine was the reason behind my decision to bake with citrus. I usually reach for lemons or oranges, but when I was out shopping a couple of weeks ago I spotted some pretty pink grapefruits. 50p for 4. At that bargain price, I couldn’t resist them.

I was dreaming of either a pink grapefruit curd filled, fluffy meringue topped tart or a zesty, syrup drenched drizzle cake. The drizzle won this time only because it was the easier option. But that tart is so on my bake list…

Back to the drizzle though. This cake is delicious. Light, fluffy and sticky with syrup. A little semolina lightens up the texture a little and brings a slight yellow sunshine colour. It’s a nice addition but by no means essential, so if you don’t have any semolina in your cupboard you could just add another 50g of flour.

It’s crucial that the syrup is cool when your pour it over the cake. If it’s hot, it will pour right through your cake and make it soggy. Not a huge disaster, but you won’t get that gorgeous sticky, sugary top that is so desirable.

pink grapefruit drizzle cake

You will need a 20cm round springform cake tin

200g caster sugar

Finely grated zest of 2 pink grapefruits

200g soft butter

4 medium eggs, beaten

150g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g fine semolina

For the syrup:

80g granulated sugar

Juice of one pink grapefruit

Preheat the oven to 180C/160F. Grease and line the base of your tin with parchment.

Place the sugar and grapefruit zest in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is damp and fragrant from the zest oils. Add the butter and cream the mixture until very light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Sieve the flour, baking powder and fine semolina together and fold into the mixture. Pour into your tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cake is golden and springs back when the top is lightly pressed.* A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack with a plate underneath to catch any drips.

*While the cake is in the oven you need to make the syrup. The syrup should be cold when you pour it over the warm cake. Place the granulated sugar and grapefruit juice in a small pan and heat gently. Let it bubble gently for a few minutes until it reduces slightly and looks syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside for now.

When the cake has been out of the oven for about 10 minutes, it’s time to pour the syrup over. Using a skewer or piece of spaghetti, poke holes all over the surface of the cake. Then evenly pour the syrup over the top, letting the cake absorb all that sticky sweetness.

For the glaze, I simply mixed icing sugar and pink grapefruit juice together until I had a runny icing that coats the back of a spoon. Pour over the top of the cake and using a spoon, gently coax it over the sides.

You could of course omit the glaze and serve the cake as it is. I got a little fancy here and decorated it with a dusting of icing sugar and candied grapefruit slices. Absolutely non-essential, but pretty to look at.

I shared this cake with #CookBlogShare, the weekly link party for bloggers hosted this week by everyday healthy recipes

Hijacked By Twins
Recipe of the week, hosted by Emily A Mummy too

Bake of the week, hosted by Helen of Casa Costello and Jenny of Mummy mishaps

Gooey chocolate raspberry brownie cake

If you’re looking for a low effort, easy dessert for Valentine’s Day then I have just the thing.

It’s a very gooey chocolate brownie cake stuffed with fresh raspberries.

The top of the cake has a slightly crisp, cracked top and when you delve a spoon underneath you find a rich, gooey chocolate goo inside. This is not a chocolate sponge. It’s like the gooiest brownie you’ve ever had. When you crack through the shiny top with a spoon, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s raw. It’s not. Just like those gorgeous molten chocolate cakes, it’s supposed to be that way. It’s glorious.

It’s just perfect for sharing straight out of the baking tin. Don’t make extra dishes for yourself!

I thought it would only be right to bake it in my very underused heart tin , but you can use an 18cm or a 20cm cake tin if you don’t own a ridiculous amount of novelty cake tins.

Bake this and share it with the one(s) you love! ❤️

Gooey chocolate brownie raspberry cake

100g butter

200g dark chocolate , chopped into small pieces

2 medium eggs

140g Caster Sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

85g Plain flour

1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

50g fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180C/160F.

Grease an 18cm cake tin

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Once melted and smooth, remove from the heat and set aside for a few minutes. Whisk the eggs and sugar together well and pour into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract, flour and espresso powder until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Pour into the tin and scatter the raspberries on top in a random fashion. Lightly press the raspberries into the batter, taking care not to crush them. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the top and sides look set. The middle should wobble slightly. If you want it a little less gooey, I would go for the 30 minutes. Leave to cool for about 15-20 minutes before diving in!

This melting chocolate brownie cake is really, really good with ice cream – and if you happen to have any leftover, I highly recommend you pop it in the fridge for the next day. It has an amazing fudgy texture when chilled. It’s so good with double cream when cold – a really indulgent treat!

Hijacked By Twins

I’m linking this recipe to #CookBlogShare, the weekly blogging link up hosted by Hijacked by twins.

Dundee Cake

This Scottish cake is a true classic that has stood the test of time!

As the story goes, the Dundee cake was created in the late 1700s by the Dundee based company Keiller, as a sideline to their very successful marmalade making business. The original recipe contained only sultanas and naturally, lots of orange peel.

I’m not a big fan of peel but I love citrus, so my version of this timeless fruit cake has orange and lemon zest, plus a few spoonfuls of orange marmalade.

The original recipe didn’t include cherries, but I just love them in fruit cake so I include them. If you would rather stick to tradition, just omit them and add another 50g sultanas.

Dundee cake isn’t as rich as a Christmas fruit cake – think buttery, light sponge studded with juicy, whisky soaked dried fruits and topped with crunchy almonds. No wonder it’s still going strong – it’s a fabulous cake.

Dundee Cake

You will need:

Deep 20cm round cake tin, buttered and the bottom and sides lined with baking paper

For soaking the fruits: (optional)

75ml whisky or orange juice

175g sultanas

175g raisins

50g cherries, rinsed and halved

Place the dried fruit in a medium sized bowl and pour over the whisky or orange juice. Cover and leave to soak for a couple of hours.

150g soft butter

150g caster sugar

3 large eggs

250g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Zest of one lemon

Zest of one orange

3 tbsp orange marmalade

50g ground almonds

50g whole blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 180C/150C fan.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder and fold into the creamed mixture. Fold in the soaked dried fruits, lemon and orange zest, orange marmalade and ground almonds. Pour the mixture into your lined cake tin and decorate the top with the blanched almonds.

Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes2 hours (start checking the cake after 1 hour 30 – mine was ready after 1 hour 40) or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

Gingerbread loaf with orange cream cheese icing/lemon icing


I really do love a nice, simple ginger loaf and this is a really good one! Like most gingerbread, this is best made in advance – keep it wrapped up for 2-3 days and you’ll be rewarded with a beautifully sticky, moist cake. The orange cream cheese icing/lemon icing is optional but lovely.

ginger loaf with orange cream cheese icing/lemon icing

250g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
120g butter
110g treacle
110g golden syrup
110g dark muscavado sugar
250ml milk
1 egg, beaten
50g Crystallised or stem ginger, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.Grease and line a 900g loaf tin.

Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and lemon zest together in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the lemon zest, sugar and chopped crystallised ginger.

In a small pan over a low heat, melt the treacle, syrup and milk. Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature before stirring in the egg. Pour into the flour mixture, whisking thoroughly until no lumps remain and you have a smooth batter. Pour this batter into the lined tin and bake for 60-75 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the gingerbread cool completely in the tin.


125g full fat cream cheese
275g icing sugar, sifted
Finely grated zest of one small orange
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Lemon icing:
100g icing sugar
Juice of half or one lemon
Chopped crystallised ginger to decorate, optional

Sift the icing sugar into a medium sized bowl. Add enough lemon juice to make a thick but pourable icing. Pour over the cold cake and top with the remaining crystallised ginger, if using.

A look back at 2014…

While we’re all waiting for the clock to strike midnight and welcome in a brand new year, I thought it would be fun to look back on some of my favourite posts of 2014 and also sneak in a few pictures that didn’t make it on the blog…

In January I made this gorgeous blood orange drizzle cake.
This is definitely a recipe to make again when beautiful blood oranges come into season.
imageIn February I met James Morton at the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness. He is a lovely guy and was kind enough to give me some of his 9 year old sourdough!

imageAnd here is James (well what else could I have called him?) still alive and kicking…

imageJames was fairly busy day throughout the year….

Sourdough English muffins
imageSourdough Pizza
imageSourdough Loaves

imageIn March I was very excited to interview Ruth Clemens, finalist on The Great British Bake off series one. I also got to review her new Éclairs book and made her delicious white chocolate and raspberry éclairs!

imageIn April I found an amazing white chocolate, cranberry and orange hot cross bun recipe. I think I might be a little obsessed with orange…

imageIn May Sugar and Crumbs sent me some baking goodies to test out. Their cherry bakewell icing sugar and coconut cocoa powder was awesome.

This coconut chocolate loaf cake went down a storm at work.

imageThese mini Malteser Cheesecakes were very popular on the blog in June.

imageI spent July and August making loads of bread…

Cherry tomato and thyme focaccia
imageIn August I met the lovely Victor and Carina Contini at the Nairn food festival…and I was very lucky to win a copy of their kitchen garden book and a voucher for lunch at their Scottish cafe and restaurant which is located in the Scottish National Gallery. I haven’t had the chance to visit yet,but soon!!

imageIn September I went to the first Inverness Let’s Bake meeting at the cafe and bicycle shop Velocity. I met some lovely lassies including Susan of Mess in the Ness and Kirsty of Ever so Sweet. We had a lovely evening chatting and eating all the lovely baking everyone had brought along!

imageimageIn October I mostly baked from Ruby Tandoh’s gorgeous book “Crumb” – my favourite baking book of the year.

Apple and fig upside down cake

imageOrange Bourbons

imageNovember was chilli month. I ate a lot of smoky chipotle chilli.

imageIn December there was a lot of cookie making in my kitchen…

imageimageWishing all my readers a very happy New Year, I hope 2015 brings you happiness, health and good times!

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog, leave a comment, or try my recipes. I appreciate each and every one of you.

See you in the New Year and happy cooking in 2015!


Victoria Sponge with fresh raspberries and cream

image Is there anything more homely and inviting than the classic Victoria sponge? It’s one of the classics that has truely stood the test of time. Traditionally the Victoria sponge is filled with raspberry jam and sprinkled with caster sugar, but it can easily be adapted to suit your favourite flavours.

I love a lemon Victoria sponge, filled with lemon curd and whipped cream (drooling just thinking about it!)

Or how about a rhubarb and custard version, with custard powder in the sponge and softly whipped cream rippled with roasted rhubarb?

Today I went for something a little more simple. I had less than two hours before I was due to go to my friend’s house for lunch and I pretty much always turn up at her door armed with some kind of cake and I didn’t want to disappoint!

I went for the simple all in one method, where you beat all the sponge ingredients together at once. Baking powder is added for extra lift. I’m going to come clean here – I use stork in my sponges. I know some people balk at the idea, but I just love the fluffy soft texture you achieve when baking with stork and I cannot get the same results with butter. Believe me I’ve tried. I absolutely always use butter for all other baking, but I always turn to Stork when baking a sponge cake. Mary Berry uses it, so if it’s good enough for her it sure as heck is good enough for me!

I also lighten up the cream by mixing it with some greek yoghurt. It seems to cut the richness and heaviness of the cream and I love the very slight tang the yoghurt gives. A pot of tea, a good catch up with a cherished friend and a slice of this cake. What could be better? image

Raspberry Victoria Sponge Adapted from a recipe by Jo Wheatley
200g Self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g soft butter
200g caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line two 20cm round sandwich tins. Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl and beat for two minutes until you have a smooth batter. Don’t overbeat the mixture. Spoon into your cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until well risen, golden and the sponges spring back when pressed lightly. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

For the filling:
150ml double cream
125ml greek yoghurt
3 tbsp caster sugar
Finely grated zest of half a lemon About 5 tbsp raspberry jam
Fresh raspberries

Whip the double cream and greek yoghurt together until soft peaks. Stir in the caster sugar and lemon zest. Place one on your sponges on a plate. Spread with the raspberry jam. Pile the cream mixture on top and gently spread out towards the edges. Scatter the cream with raspberries and place the other sponge on top.


I linked this post to Recipe of the week over at A Mummy Too  and the brand new link party cook blog share over at
Supergolden Bakes

 photo 9af5d0df-b279-4c3c-92ad-fc98f562a39a_zpsaca21226.jpg

Peanut Butter Cake


Sometimes you see a recipe that makes you think, I need to make that asap! This cake was one of those recipes. My lovely friend Anna of Anna’s Kitchen Table made this gorgeous peanut butter cake and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I was doing pretty well this week, not eating chocolate, eating fruit every day, drinking more water.

But I just cannot turn down anything that involves peanut butter. I can’t do it. You know Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter cup ice cream? It’s in my top ten favourite things in the whole world.

So I just had to make it to get it out of my head.

So I did and it did not disappoint. This is one luscious cake! But with peanut butter, dulce de leche (tinned caramel), milk chocolate, caramel peanuts and Reeces pieces how could it be anything but amazing?

Resistance is futile.


Get the recipe here

Sour Cream Banana Bundt cake


It suddenly dawned on me this morning that I hadn’t done any proper baking this week. Which is so not like me when I’m on holiday! But what I have done is spend some much needed quality time with my lovely hubby. It’s been a wonderful week and I’ll be quite sad when we have to go back to the daily grind next week. But then again, those bills won’t pay themselves so we will just have to get on with it!

So while I was having my coffee this morning I noticed the four brown speckled bananas sitting on the counter beside my bread bin. Good excuse to make a banana loaf, I thought to myself. But what I’ve really fancied making for a while now is a Bundt cake, so I pulled my trusty Bundt tin out of the cupboard and began making Dorie Greenspan’s classic banana Bundt cake.

This cake is pretty plain, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. When I make banana cake I usually add a whole array of other ingredients, such as nuts, chocolate chips or spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. This cake has none of those, although there’s nothing to stop you doing so if you so desired.

The high sour cream content ends up giving the cake a beautifully tender crumb. Absolutely lovely to eat.

The lemon icing glaze sets this cake off.perfectly, but you could add a pretty dusting of icing sugar instead.

Sour Cream Banana Bundt Cake Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking from my home to yours”

450g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
200g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 very ripe Brown bananas, mashed
240ml sour cream or plain yogurt

Icing Glaze

100g icing sugar
juice of about 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 180C.

Butter your Bundt tin very well, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of the tin. Or you could use cake release spray (I love the stuff!)

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Slowly add the beaten eggs, beating very well until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and the mashed bananas. Fold in half the flour and all the sour cream/yoghurt. Add the remaining flour and stir lightly until the mixture is smooth. Pour into your tin and bake for 55-70 minutes or until the cake is golden brown, well risen and springs back when lightly pressed. A skewer inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean.

Leave in the tin for five minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool.

When the cake is cool, mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a smooth runny-ish icing. Spoon over the top of the cake and let it fall over the curves of the Bundt 🙂


Saturday night treat meal – Steak with mushroom & Stilton sauce/Sticky Toffee Cake


Hello! I promised you some more dinner ideas so I’m starting off with a simple one…this is a super quick and easy steak sauce recipe to have in your repertoire, it’s really delicious and me and hubby love it! So this is what you need for two people….

25g Garlic butter
One Shallot, finely chopped
A handful of mushrooms thinly sliced
A small tub sour cream (Around 150ml)
Around 75-100g Stilton or any other blue cheese – how much you add very much depends on your personal taste

After cooking your steaks (using the same pan) melt the garlic butter. Add the chopped shallots and gently fry for five minutes until soft. Drop in the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Pour in any juices from the resting steaks. Give everything a good stir and add the sour cream, stir again and crumble in the stilton. Give the sauce a taste, season then add some more stilton if you like. You can add as little or as much as you like. Give the sauce a final stir then pour over your rested steaks 🙂


If you have room for something sweet, may I suggest this beautiful sticky toffee cake? Unlike some sticky toffee puds, it’s quite light so it doesn’t sit too heavily on your tummy. I served this with my favourite Mackies vanilla ice cream and it was perfect 🙂



Sticky Toffee Cake Adapted from The Clandestine Cake Club Book

225g dates
100ml milk
100ml water
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
120g soft butter
170g light brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1tsp vanilla extract
170g self raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 20cm round tin.

Place the dates in a saucepan and add the milk and water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until all the liquid is absorbed by the dates. Remove from the heat, leave to cool for a minute then stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Leave to cool.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs gradually. Add the vanilla and cooled date mixture. Sift in the flour and fold in gently until the mixture is combined well.

Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45-55 mins or until well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Toffee Sauce

50g butter
100g light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
75ml double cream

Simply place all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until you have a gorgeous shiny sauce. Pour over the cake and serve with cream or ice cream 🙂



I’m sharing these recipes over at A Mummy Too for recipe of the week.

Orange marmalade cake


I have to confess something..I ate two slices of this cake for breakfast this morning.

I did go on a two hour power walk afterwards – I’m trying to sneak some exercise back into my daily routine!

After all the festive feasting, a zesty citrus cake is a nice change. As I get older I’ve noticed my tastes are changing – I have to be in a certain type of mood (usually PMT related!) to eat a rich chocolate cake, but put a lemon drizzle or tangy orange cake in front of me and I’ll devour the lot.

This cake can be made with any type of marmalade from shredless to a dark thick kind with lots of peel. I’m keeping an eye out for Seville oranges coming into season – I want to try and make marmalade this year! So hopefully there will be a post on that in the future 🙂

But until then I give you orange marmalade cake – I haven’t tried this but I dare say you could forgo the icing drizzle and serve with a dollop of thick, cold Greek yoghurt. That doesn’t sound like a bad idea!

This lovely cake is adapted from a recipe by one of my favourite books, The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater.

Orange marmalade cake

200g sugar
Zest of one orange (I used a Clementine since I still have loads in the fruit bowl)
175g butter
3 eggs
175g self raising flour
3 tbsp Orange marmalade, any kind you like

Orange icing

50g icing sugar
Juice of half a small orange

Simply mix the icing sugar and juice together – if it’s too runny add more icing sugar and vice versa.

Grease and line the base of a 20cm cake tin.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Rub the orange zest into the sugar until the sugar is dampish and the fragrance of the zest is strong. This is such a great way to get good flavour in your cake! Trust me 🙂  Cream the orange butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour and marmalade.

Bake for 50-55 mins or until risen, golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

When the cake is cold, drizzle over the orange icing. Eat!


Goodbye 2013 – Happy New Year!


Glitzy chocolate cake. I’ll be posting the recipe very soon!

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2014! It seems crazy to me that it’s time to offer these sentiments already, it doesn’t seem like five minutes since last New Year. I know everyone says this, but time really does seem to be whizzing
by at an alarming rate.

My son asked me earlier today if I have any New Years resolutions. I replied no, I don’t believe in them. I thought why do we need a special day in year if we want to change something about ourselves? But I thought about it some more and I’ve decided I do have some resolutions for the year ahead and they are as follows:

Laugh more. It’s good for the soul!

Don’t keep putting things off. If you keep saying “I’ll do it tomorrow” you”ll never get it done.

Worry less about things that may never happen, what will be will be.

Make time for family members/good friends – you never know what’s around the corner.

Concentrate on the positive, not the negative.

Don’t hold grudges – they never do anyone any good.

They may be simple, but those are my resolutions for 2014.

So I will bid you goodnight, I’m going to pour myself a glass of wine and take myself up to bed. I’m going to leave you with a few of my favourite pictures I didn’t share on the blog in 2013. See you in the New Year! Thank you to you all for supporting my little blog over the past couple of years xxx

Hope all your dreams come true in 2014!


My son with the cake he made for his school project back in May. I was so proud!


My youngest son making Coca-Cola cupcakes



Pretty rose meringues


Tom & Jerry cake, vanilla sponge inside


Christening cake I made for my gorgeous nephew last month


Scuba Steve cake I made for my brother a few weeks ago. This was such good fun to make!

Wedding Cake & some swirly raspberry ripple cupcakes

Hello! Last week was very busy. My sister-in-law got married and I got to make her cake! I was thrilled to be bestowed with such an important job.


I forgot to take a pic of the cake before it was cut! I nearly died for a split second before I realised they had cut it for the pictures! Silly me!

The bottom tier was a rich boozy fruit cake – the fruit was soaked in brandy overnight to plump it up. This was a huge fruit cake so I needed a vast amount of fruit – almost 3kg!! The recipe came from Juliet Sear’s new book The cake decorating bible. I had a slice of the cake at the wedding and it lived up to its name – it was indeed very rich, boozy and fruity! I had a lot of people asking me for the recipe, always a good sign!

The middle tier was my go to vanilla cake recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I’ve used this recipe several times in the past few months – it holds up very well to sugarpasting/carving and is very moist. The top tier was a special treat especially for the bride and groom – raspberry ripple cake. It’s a fluffy vanilla sponge sandwiched together with Italian meringue buttercream swirled with raspberry jam. I’ve blogged about this recipe before, it’s a very special cake that everyone seems to love! It’s a bit of a labour of love making it but it’s so worth it! I just made the cake exactly the same way I usually do – using three 20cm round cake tins – then just cut the square I needed for the top tier. So there a few offcuts going spare, much to the delight of my boys 😉

I had quite a bit of the Italian meringue buttercream leftover so I took the opportunity to make some raspberry ripple cupcakes 🙂


I just used my normal vanilla cupcake recipe here. The middle has a hidden raspberry jam centre, yum!

I haven’t had such a fabulous weekend in a very long time – the wedding was a real family affair and it all went so smoothly. I wish the new Mr & Mrs Murphy a lifetime of love and happiness ❤

October Holidays

I had intended to post a spiced apple cake recipe today, but it’s been one thing after another today and I ran out of time. One of those days when time just runs away from you. So since we are now at the end of the October holidays in Scotland (at least for most of us who live in the highlands) I thought I would share a few pictures of what we got up to during the last couple of weeks and some other bakes I’ve made lately 🙂


Rock climbing wall at Landmark


Messing around in the Illusion room at Landmark


The boys made chocolate swiss roll & gingerbread biscuits from Mary Berry’s baking bible


I made Holly Bell’s toffee apple meringue tart for a friend’s party – it was divine! Recipe is here – you need it. Trust me on this one. It’s a keeper.


I finally found the elusive Lotus spread – and it is as good as everyone says. Dangerously addictive.


We went for a few walks on the gorgeous Nairn beach.


I made another couronne – this time I went with the apricot version. It was lovely! 

Coconut & Lime Drizzle Loaf Cake


Happy Friday folks! How can it be the end of another week already?? Time is going so quickly right now. It only just feels like the kids went back to school and in two weeks they will be on hoiday again. Madness.

Anyway I had all good intentions of posting a GBBO themed bake each week, but I have just not had the time to do it. I’m sorry. But I do plan to make it up to you by posting a traybake recipe this weekend – I’ve not been able to get traybakes off my mind since watching the latest episode. Next week is sweet dough which is a particular weakness of mine, so you can bet your bottom dollar I won’t be missing an excuse to bake along with that theme!

This morning I went for a riverside walk with Sam’s class. When I got home I made this very lovely coconut and lime drizzle cake. Who doesn’t love a bit of  drizzle cake? So simple but so good!

Coconut & Lime Drizzle Cake

175g butter
175g caster sugar
Zest of one lime
3 eggs
50g dessicated coconut
175g self raising flour

For the lime drizzle
Juice of one lime
100g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180c. Grease & line a 2lb loaf tin.

Place the butter, sugar and lime zest together in a large bowl and beat until very light and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs, mixing well after each addition.
Stir in the coconut. Sift in the flour and fold into the mixture.
Pour into tin and bake for 45-50 mins or until risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Just before the cake is due out of the oven, mix together the juice of your lime and 100g sugar.
Leave the cake in tin for five minutes then pierce cake all over with a skewer, going down to the bottom. Slowly pour over the sugary drizzle. Leave to cool completely in tin.


The Cake gallery

This kept me busy over the last couple of days..I made a cake for my friends wedding!


It was a simple vanilla sponge cake with vanilla buttercream icing. I was honored to be asked to make such a special cake! 🙂

Here is a few more cakes I’ve made for family recently…


My son with his 9th Birthday cake, he told me exactly what he wanted so I did as I was told! The bottom cake is chocolate mint, the top cake vanilla madeira with vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam.



Lightning Mcqueen cake for my nephew’s little boy. First car cake I’ve ever attempted. The Birthday boy seemed pleased!


Not a decorated cake but I had to include it – Cappuccino cake from Mary Berry’s baking bible – this is a gorgeous cake! You’ll find the recipe here on the lovely Claire’s yummy bakes blog.

Raspberry Bakewell Loaf Cake

Hello! I’ve been trying to blog this cake for over a week.  The school holidays are flying by a an alarming rate and I’ve never felt so unorganised.  I honestly don’t know where the time is going.  I have a wedding cake to make next month and it doesn’t seem that long ago I was thinking to myself I had loads of time, it was like eight months away! Eeeek! I am really looking forward to making the cake and will of course share it with you when the time comes!

I was very disciplined with myself last night.  I finally tackled the huge ironing pile that has been sitting in the corner of my living room threatening to topple over.  I feel so much better now it’s done!  Why is it that the thought of doing a much dreaded chore is so much worse than actually getting on with it?  I really am the queen of procrastination.  When it comes to getting on with boring household chores or baking, well I don’t need to tell you what comes first!


If you’re like me and enjoy putting off household chores to bake, why not try this delicious Raspberry Bakewell loaf cake? If you like Bakewell tart then you will love this cake.  Bursting with fresh raspberries and a thin layer of raspberry jam baked through the middle of the cake adds a lovely jammy surprise.  The almond flavour is quite subtle, less is definitely more when using almond extract – too much and it will overpower the whole bake.

Raspberry Bakewell Loaf Cake Adapted from Rachel Allen “Cake”

150g soft butter
150g caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g ground almonds
1/4 tsp almond extract
50ml milk
150g self raising flour
150g fresh raspberries
About 3 tablespoons raspberry jam
75g icing sugar
25g flaked almonds

Preheat the oven 180C. Butter and line a 1lb loaf tin or line with a loaf tin liner.
Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Whisk the eggs and almond extract in a jug and slowly add to the creamed mixture. Add the milk, still beating then gently fold in the flour and ground almonds with a metal spoon. Finally stir in the raspberries, very carefully so you don’t crush them all. Spoon half of the mixture into the prepared tin then spoon over the raspberry jam. Spread the jam over the batter evenly with a butter knife. Spoon over the rest of the cake mixture. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes before carefully turning out onto a wire rack. Cool completely. To ice the cake, place the icing sugar in a bowl and stir in a few drops of water until the icing thickly coats the back of a spoon. Spoon over the cold cake and sprinkle with flaked almonds. If you don’t want to bother with the icing, you could always sprinkle the cake with the flaked almonds before baking and when the cake is cold finish off with a dusting of icing sugar 🙂

raspberrybakewell loaf cake

Jo Wheatley “Home Baking” Book Review and giveaway

I was very excited to receive a copy of Jo Wheatley’s new book “Home Baking” in the post last week (makes a nice change from bills and junk mail!) I’m a rather big fan of Jo, she is such a lovely lady and a wonderful home cook and baker.  She  posts regularly on both her Facebook and Twitter pages and is always so gracious and friendly.


I love Jo’s first book Passion for Baking and this new one doesn’t disappoint at all.  I find Jo’s recipes and tips very inspiring.  You won’t find recipes demanding obscure, impossible to find in supermarkets ingredients here which I love.  The recipes look stunning but most importantly achievable.  The book is divided into the following chapters:

Biscuits, bars and cookies

Bread and scones


Baking with children

Crumbles, tarts and pithiviers

Quiches, pasties, pies and savoury puddings

Quick and simple

Special occasions

Supper Bakes

Teatime treats

My copy is butter splattered and flour dusted already but I think (I hope!) Jo would be quite happy to hear that.  Here is what I’ve made so far…..

Honeycomb bars – totally addictive.  I could eat far to many of these, it’s just as well I hardly get a look in with my boys around.  A family favourite.


Chilli chocolate cookies – I was so intrigued by these because I have never tried chocolate and chilli together. They really are so good – love the warmth you get from the chilli! Gorgeous. 


 Banana, pecan  & butterscotch cake – delicious! Love the combination of banana and butterscotch. 


Anzac cookies – my boys gobbled these up in no time! Yummy.


Oat, raisin and pecan cookies – love these.  So moreish!


Oaty fruit squares – my favourite recipe from the book so far.  They are very yummy. I used up the dried fruits I had in my cupboard – dates, apricots and strawberries. Probably the nicest oat/flapjack bars I have ever tried. I will bake these all the time!  Perfect for lunchboxes 🙂


Lemon and white chocolate muffins – love the flavours in here.  I had half a punnet of raspberries that needed using up so I threw them in to the batter. Lovely.


So that’s it for now. but there are loads more recipes I want to try, including peanut butter blondie pie, honey madeleines, lemon, white chocolate & macadamia bombs, crispy minty macarons and many more.

My friends and colleagues all loved these recipes and the comments ranged from “Yum!” to “I need that recipe!”  Another winning book Jo, we thank you! 🙂 And I’d also like to say a big thank you to Gina for sending me a copy, much appreciated 🙂

 The book is available is Sainsbury’s at the bargain price of only £8….but…..I HAVE A COPY TO GIVEAWAY!!!!  Sorry, I just got excited there…my first blog giveaway and all! 😉  Unknown to me, my lovely husband had already bought a copy for me so I ended up with I decided to do a little giveaway.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and confirm you would like your name to be entered into the draw and I will select the winner at random.  This applies to UK  residents only, I’m so sorry but posting the book overseas would cost triple what the book is worth…sucks, I know! 😦

Competition closes midnight on Friday 31st May 2013. One winner will be selected at random (UK only)

Good luck!

Raspberry Ripple Cake


I have not one but two posts for you today…I’ve been baking like a trooper all weekend!

It was my hubby’s Birthday yesterday and I wanted to make him a really special cake.  He injured his ankle last week and has been in a lot of pain.  He has also been pretty ill over the last couple of weeks so he’s been pretty down in the dumps.  I asked him what cake he would like me to make him for his Birthday and he requested this gorgeous raspberry ripple cake. I made it last year for my Birthday and it was SO good I was waiting for an excuse to make it again.   So I didn’t need to be asked twice!

The recipe comes from Edd Kimber’s book “The boy who Bakes.”  Ed won the first series of the Great British Bake off and with creations like this its no wonder.  There are some other stunning bakes in the book including a drool worthy cinnamon and caramel cake, apple pie cake, cranberry & macadamia shortbread and orange & passion fruit loaf cake to name a few.  If you bake then you need this book in your life!

So what else can I tell you about this cake?  It’s basically raspberry ripple ice cream in cake form.  The sponge is vanilla scented and amazingly light and fluffy.  The Italian meringue frosting is so light and melts on your tongue.  It’s truly amazing stuff.

Now I’ll be honest and say that this not a straightforward cake to make but it is totally worth the effort.  If you make this be prepared to spend a few hours in your kitchen!  It’s not difficult to make but there are a few fiddly steps.  You do need a sugar thermometer and a good mixer  (unless you are actually The Rock or have his muscles!) for the Italian meringue, but that’s the only specialist equipment you’ll need.

Raspberry Ripple Cake by Edd Kimber

335g butter
335g Plain flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
400g Caster Sugar
6 eggs, Separated
3 tsp vanilla extract
185ml whole milk
80-100g seedless raspberry jam for coating the layers

White Chocolate Frosting

100g good quality White Chocolate
250g Granulated sugar
160ml Water
5 Large Egg Whites
425g Unsalted Butter
100g seedless raspberry jam (I used my favourite Tiptree seedless raspberry jam)

Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan oven/gas mark 4. Lightly grease 3 20cm tins and line the bases with baking parchment.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. Set aside. Cream the butter and 300g of the sugar together until very light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes.) Beat in the egg yolks one at a time while still mixing, then add the flour mixture and milk alternately, mixing on low until the mixture is smooth and combined well.

Place the egg whites into a clean bowl (this is when having another KA bowl would come in very handy!) and whisk on medium until the mixture holds soft peaks. Increase speed to high then gradually and slowly add the 100g sugar until the mixture is very firm and glossy. You should have stiff peaks. Gently and gradually fold into the cake mixture until the mixture is smooth and well combined, then spoon into the prepared cake tins. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cakes are well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

For the frosting, melt the chocolate slowly over a pan of simmering water. When melted and smooth take off the heat. Place the sugar and 160ml water in a medium pan. Place a sugar thermometer in the pan. Slowly bring to the boil (don’t have the heat on full throttle – you’ll end up with a blackened mess!) It’s better to have the heat on medium, it will slowly start to boil. Make sure you keep an eye on it. Meanwhile place the egg whites in a clean bowl. Whisk on medium. Once the sugar thermometer reaches 115C, start whisking the egg whites on high. Once the thermometer reaches 121C, remove it from the heat and with the mixer still running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl without touching the beaters. Continue whisking on high (My treasured KA certainly got a work out) until the meringue has cooled to room temperature. Basically when your mixer bowl no longer feels hot to the touch. This takes roughly around 10 minutes.

With the mixer still on high, gradually and slowly add the soft butter. Now I must warn you, at this stage it may look like scrambled eggs. Don’t worry. It’s not a disaster. Keep that mixer going! It will smooth out. I promise.  When the frosting is (eventually) very soft and fluffy (dream like!) divide the mixture into two bowls. Stir the melted white chocolate into one and the raspberry jam in the other. You don’t want to stir the raspberry jam in too much – you want to see those beautiful ripples!

To assemble, place one sponge on a plate. Spread generously with some of the raspberry jam. Top with a generous amount of the white chocolate frosting. Repeat with the second cake layer the place the third layer on top. Spread the raspberry jam frosting all over the top and sides of the cake. The beauty of this cake is that your frosting doesn’t have to be perfect – it actually looks better rustic. Alternating swirls of the white and raspberry frosting are a gorgeous thing here. If you have a little bit of jam leftover you can “artistically” *ahem!* place random blobs here and there, swirling them with the white frosting.

Sit down. Have a cup of tea. And bask in the sheer beauty of the epic cake you have just made.


A Summery cake to chase away the rainy day blues

Hi, just wanted to let you know I’m still around! I’ve been neglecting my blog something terrible lately.  It’s not intentional, I have  just been out making the most of the gorgeous sunny weather with the kids.  It’s just as well I did considering it’s now pouring with rain and there is a definite chill in the air.  It’s getting darker a lot earlier in the evening now too – I’m missing the long, bright until 11pm evenings already.

When we were enjoying the glorious sunshine a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t feel like cooking or baking much of anything at all.  The house was too hot to even contemplate switching on the oven, we would have melted!  You see, in Scotland we are not used to hot weather! So we were eating a lot of salads! Not exactly exciting blogging material!

The last couple of weeks I have:

  • Had a great time with my kids at the Highland Games
  • Spent time with my cousins visiting from England
  • Celebrated my son’s eighth Birthday
  • Made an Aero bubble chocolate cake for the Birthday (I didn’t get a good picture for the blog I’m afraid!)
  • Got the kids ready for back to school
  • Tried and failed to get into that 50 shades book that seems to have gripped the entire nation (but certainly not me)
  • Got hooked on watching classic Dallas on CBS Drama – it takes me back to when I was little!

And that’s about it.  I’ve had a lovely couple of weeks but I’m now really glad to get back into a routine of sorts and I’m feeling more like getting back into the kitchen.  Today I made this gorgeous strawberry and white chocolate cake.  It may have been a rotten day outside but this cake definitely helped to cheer us up. Isn’t cake great for doing that? 😉

Strawberry and White Chocolate Cake Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets by Linda Collister


  • 150g good-quality white chocolate, broken up
  • 200g unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Finely grated zest of ½ unwaxed orange
  • 200g self-raising flour


  • 400g ripe strawberries
  • Finely grated zest and juice of ½ unwaxed orange
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar (or to taste)
  • 200ml double or whipping cream, well chilled (I used a mixture of double cream and greek yoghurt)
  • 50g good-quality white chocolate, to decorate
  • 2 x 20.5cm sandwich tins, greased and the base lined with baking paper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of steaming hot but not boiling water (don’t let the base of the bowl touch the hot water) and melt very gently, stirring frequently. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Add the butter, a little at a time and stir until it has melted.

Put the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until
frothy. Add the sugar and orange zest and whisk on high speed until the
mixture is very thick and mousse-like, and the whisk leaves a ribbon-like
trail when lifted from the bowl. This will take about 4-5 minutes.

Give the chocolate and butter mixture a stir, then add to the egg mixture
and stir briefly – it should be just combined. Sift the flour into the bowl
and gently fold in using a large metal spoon.

Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and spread evenly.Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the sponges are light golden brown and springy to the touch. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tins to loosen the sponges, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

When ready to assemble the cake, wipe the strawberries with kitchen
paper and hull. Save one-third (the good-looking ones) for decoration;
thinly slice the rest into a bowl. Add the orange zest and juice and the
sugar and mix gently. Leave for 10 to 30 minutes to allow the flavours to
develop. Meanwhile, whip the cream until thick.

Set one sponge, browned top down, on a serving plate. Spoon the sliced
strawberries and juice onto the sponge to cover evenly. Spread half the
whipped cream on top. Set the second sponge, browned top up, on the
cream. Carefully spread the rest of the cream over the top, then decorate
with the reserved strawberries, cut into halves.

Keep the cake chilled, in an airtight container, until ready to serve (up
to 12 hours). Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving and
decorate the top with curls or gratings of white chocolate.