A very quick bake: Chocolate orange muffins 


Tonight is Great British Bake off night and for any aspiring baker from the UK it’s the program to watch. 

I love it which is why I had a dilemma – watch bake off or bake? 

In the end I managed to do both because I made a very quick batch of chocolate muffins and flavoured them using Sugar and Crumbs Jaffa Twist icing sugars.

I haven’t actually tried one of the muffins yet so I’m hoping they are ok. Its the first time I’ve swapped normal sugar for icing sugar but I thought I’d give it a go. 

This recipe literally only makes 6 average sized muffins so its good for just a few cakes around the house. They look right so let’s hope they taste good too. 


Chocolate orange muffins 

I used this recipe from the BBC good food: Chocolate muffins

I adapted the recipe slightly by adding in chocolate chips and using the same weight of flavoured icing sugar instead of normal sugar. 

They took exactly 20 mins in the oven.

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Naked wedding cake

The last three days have involved some planning and baking as I was asked by my sister if I could make her friends wedding cake. 

My initial reaction (inside my head) was “no way in hell can I do this!”  but the story of her cake maker dropping out and her plan to go to Costco and buy a random cake was enough to get me straight into the kitchen.

As Sophie the bride had absolutely zero ideas on likes, colour schemes, flowers… Well, anything at all!  I sent her a couple of ideas. She liked them but said they were too fancy as she was having a rustic wedding in her parents back garden. 
Ah, rustic made me think of a style of cake I’d recently seen. A naked cake. She loved it and so the idea took off.

A naked cake is basically a layered sponge with no traditional icing around it so you can clearly see the cake and the layers. 

For the wedding cake I’ve kept it very simple, just a light vanilla sponge with buttercream and strawberry jam. 
I had an idea how I wanted it to look but it wasn’t until it was coming together that it finally took on its own style.  My mom isn’t convinced it’s very “wedding cake” but I like it. It’s different and fun and hopefully will taste bloody amazing! 

Good luck tomorrow Sophie and Joe xx


Naked Wedding Cake

For the cake:
18oz Caster sugar
18oz Margarine
20oz Self raising flour
9 eggs
2tsp vanilla extract

For the buttercream:
750g butter
1kg icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

Plus:
1 1/2 jars of jam
Icing sugar to dust
Edible glitter

This recipe will look daunting when you look at the amount of ingredients, just remember, it’s very simple, just two big cakes! 

I made this in two cakes over two nights. The first I made as a 10oz cake and the second as an 8oz cake. 

Preheat the oven to 180c and line a cake tin. 

In a large bowl or mixer (I used my Kenwood mixer with a K beater) put the margarine and sugar. Beat until light and pale. Mix in the vanilla. 

Add in an egg and some flour. Keep doing this till all the eggs and flour are incorporated. 

Pour into a cake tin and bake until the top springs back. For the 8oz cake it took me 1 hour and for the 10oz it took 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Once cooked, remove from oven and let it cool. When cool cut the cake into layers. 

When the cake is very cool then make the the buttercream by mixing all the butter and icing sugar together with the vanilla. 

Keep mixing till the butter is lighter.

Pipe circles of buttercream onto each layers and fill in the circles with jam (as on the picture) 

Finally finish the cake with flowers, glitter, signs or whatever you need to make the cake your own! 

Nutella stuffed chocolate chip cookies 


Have you ever been thinking about what to bake but you don’t really know what you fancy so you start Googling and then suddenly you see a recipe which stops you! It says “BAKE ME NOW!” 

How could I resist? 

The recipe that grabbed me was Nutella stuffed chocolate chip cookies

I just didn’t realise how big these would be once baked, they’re HUGE but they also look and taste fantastic. They were easy to make and with a good dusting of flour on my hands and work surface I started to make them looking uniform by the end. 

The only difference is that I added a bit of my favourite flavour – Moka Varnelli. 

Hopefully they’ll enjoy these at work tomorrow. 

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

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Most people don’t like the same things, like Marmite or marzipan they divide opinions; but there is one flavour you always seem to be able to rely on as a crowd pleaser and that is chocolate orange.

Just the smell of it makes me think of Christmas although this year was the first one in a while that I didn’t end up with an over abundance of Terry’s chocolate oranges that I had to devour before I took the Christmas tree down.

I wanted to make some cakes for my cousin and thought instead of the standard vanilla I would make chocolate orange ones. It’s a really easy recipe to do but looks and tastes really good, especially if you swirl the icing using a flower nozzle.
I decided to use some Nutella in the buttercream icing to make it more chocolatey and it worked very well.


Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

4oz Margarine
4oz Caster Sugar
4oz Self Raising Flour
1oz Cocoa Powder
2 Eggs
1tsp Orange Essence
Handful chocolate chips

For the icing – a very large tablespoon of margarine mixed with 3-4 tablespoons of icing sugar and 1 level tablespoon of cocoa powder. Once this has been mixed together till it is very light add a tablespoon of Nutella and a teaspoon of orange essence.

Pre heat the oven to 180c Gas 4

In a large mixing bowl, beat the margarine and sugar together till it becomes pale.

In a separate bowl combine the flour and cocoa powder.

Add one egg and a third of the flour and cocoa powder then mix in till just combined.
Do the same with the 2nd egg and flour and cocoa powder.

Stir in the remaining flour along with the orange essence and chocolate chips. You want the consistency to be a little thick but easy to stir. If it looks a little dry add a small drop of milk.

Separate into cake cases and bake in the oven for at least 20 minutes, or until you can press the top of the cakes and they spring back up.

Once cool, top with the chocolate buttercream and decorate how you like. I used gold glitter and a jelly orange slice.