The cakes who can travel: standby brownies 

Today it was Mcmillan charity cake day at work and naturally I offered to bake something for it. 
The problem was that in my head I was going to bake a quick fruit cake and ice with a nice funny phrase. What actually happened was the day of the bake sale I had to work 50 miles away from my office at another site and the day before I had to do a 100 mile round trip for work! Dilemma. 

I wanted to bake but they had to be something sturdy, easy to transport and ok to sit in my car whilst I drove around and attended a meeting. In the end I settled for chocolate brownies, the wonderful sturdy baked goods. Not fancy but very tasty and most importantly able to withstand my driving. 

The recipe I used was from Donna Hay: http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/15140/standby-brownies

I saw her bake this recipe on TV one day and then my auntie bought me her cookbook as a present when I was visiting in Australia.  Since first seeing it on TV I’ve never used another brownie recipe since, honestly this never fails and chocolate doesn’t keep in my cupboards (yes. I mean I eat it!) so this is perfect. 

I was going to put the chocolate chips inside but I kinda forgot so they became a good sprinkling. 

Although I didn’t get to go to this bake sale, I did hear that the brownies sold quickly so I’m glad I got to make a small but chocolatey contribution. 

And the place I went for work today had their own cake sale so I had cake for breakfast and lunch… Shh. 

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A recipe for mess: White chocolate Rocky Road Cakes 

My daughter is an only child but luckily we do have a street full of other children to play with. 

The problem is me, I’m starting on the new adventure of parenting called entertaining other people’s children!  So on Saturday morning I ended up with 6 girls playing in my garden (sometimes happily, sometimes bickering) but only one was mine. 

I thought it would be a good idea to invite them in to come and make cakes which they were very excited to do. 

I told them all to ask their parents whilst I set up my kitchen for something I was hoping would be a fun task for them all… And it was! 

After diligently washing their hands each girl had their own little bowl and a teaspoon, and in the middle of the table I set up an array of things. There were lots of cupcake cases, rice crispies, glace cherries, marshmallows, raisins and my special case of cake decorations.  I did the job of melting white chocolate over a bain marie then gave each girl two tablespoons of white chocolate. I instructed them to add their own treats and stir all together. Once complete they each put them into two cupcake cases, decorated with random decorations like silver balls and voila! 6 happy girls and 12 awful looking (but lovingly crafted) rocky roads. 

It was a lot of fun and surprisingly easy to clean up. Bowls in the dishwasher, left over marshmallows in the bin and a quick hoover.

If you ever need ideas for a baking party then this is definitely it.  They were proud of their cakes and so were the parents. Next time it’s decorating cupcakes…


White chocolate rocky road cakes

  • Large bar of white chocolate
  • Little marshmallows
  • Dried fruit (glace cherries, raisins)
  • Anything for optional crunch (rice crispies, nuts) 

In a bain marie melt the chocolate slowly whilst stiring. A bain marie is a pot over hot water without the bottom of the pot touching the water. 

Take the bowl off the heat and stir in handfuls of the other ingredients till they stick together nicely without too much extra chocolate about but also not too dry they won’t hold their shape. 

Then either pat down gently into a tray or spoon into individual cupcake cases. Whilst the chocolate is still warm sprinkle any decorations you like. 

Chill in fridge for half hour till set.

Don’t worry, they are never going to be the cutest of cakes but kids and adults will love them! And they’re great for no baked cake emergency. 

Black Treacle Flapjack

To me black treacle is one of them things I keep in the kitchen cupboard for the sole purpose of making my Christmas cake as it always has that unappealing black, sticky look which really doesn’t scream “eat me”. I have a very sweet tooth but I also have an addiction to try something completely different that you wouldn’t think would work so I liked the idea of this.

I went ahead and read a little bit into black treacle flapjack and found out that it was originally created in the 1920’s by the women’s instititute, so wasn’t just an idea I had, but was actually a classic recipe.

The recipe I created may not be 100% classic but is easy to make, requires little ingredients and gives you a nice chewy flapjack. I have to say that the flapjacks obviously do taste very strong of bitter black treacle, which gives it strange almost liquorice taste so isn’t recommended for someone with a sweet tooth.

If you are like me and prefer your flapjack very sweet then substitute the treacle for golden syrup and it will still work perfectly. I do recommend using cheap porridge oats (supermarket own type ones) I don’t know why but they seem to create the best tasting flapjack.


Black Treacle Flapjack

250g cheap porridge oats
100g butter
40g light brown sugar
40g dark brown sugar
2 tbsp black treacle

Pre-heat the oven to 160c

1. In a large pan melt the butter, sugar and black treacle together.
2. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the porridge oats until all of the mixture has coated them.
5. Spread onto a small/medium baking try with sides and pat down until nice and squashed in. I think my flapjack were about 2″ thick.
6. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven, and score with a palate knife. I cut mine into 8 generous peices.
8. Leave till completely cool before attempting to get it out of the tray