Halloween baking 

A couple of weeks ago, on the 29th October to be precise, I did a lot of baking for my families Halloween party but unfortunately due to work commitments eating through my time I don’t seem to have gotten round to posting my pictures!

So here they are, my final Halloween offerings for the year. 

Between me and my little monkey we made: 

  • Butterscotch chocolate monster cakes with chocolate ganache topping (and some great eyes that I bought ages ago!)
  • A bleeding cake which was a chocolate and vanilla sponge with an extra surprise of being full of smarties which fell out when the cake was cut 
  • Vanilla and raspberry bad teeth cupcakes 
  • And finally, my monkeys offering of green fairy cakes which were actually strawberry flavoured. A great idea and confusion for the brain all at once 

My sister was fascinated how made the piñata cake with the smarties inside. She asked how they didn’t melt when baked – hehe. I politely explained in all of my big sisterly kindness how I cut out a hole and filled the cake after it was baked. 

The cake actually was iced this way due to an accident from me. Because I forgot to put jam down the sides before icing so the icing slipped down and tore.

I was determined not to be stressed out by it so I filled the ‘cut’ with strawberry jam which left it looking like some gruesome surgery. Phew! 

Onto Christmas next and this time it’ll be properly iced. 

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! 

Baking bread in Italy – Rosemary bread roll recipe

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been on holiday in Italy visiting family, eating ice cream and spending a lot of time at the beach running in and out of the sea. 
I love Italy, I love the food, people and atmosphere, I feel very at home there which is good as this will probably be my 26th time I’ve been there to the same place. A few years ago my dad inherited a family house, a very old house which is stuck in the 1950s with no boiler or hot water. We cook on a gas stove but I think it’s great.

This year I decided that I wanted to make the bread for our lunch times (as the crusty dry loaves we eat every day hurt my teeth). I bought the yeast with me from the UK but everything else I got when I was there. 

I made 3 different types of bread with varying degrees of success, though I was pleased with any success since I had no scales to measure my ingredients with!*

The recipe and pictures today are from my bread rolls. They are so very simple but I managed to make them work and we ate them all up very fast.

*How I measured the flour without scales was to buy 1kg bags of flour and guess that it’s half of it. Simples.


Rosemary bread rolls

  • 500g bread flour
  • 2 tsp dry fast acting yeast 
  • 2 tsp sugar 
  • 1 tbsp salt 
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • Chopped up rosemary (or you could substitute for any dry herb, I used fresh rosemary) 

In a bowl add all of your dry ingredients, except the rosemary,making sure that the salt is on the otherside to your yeast. 

Make a well in the middle and pour most of the water and the oil into the centre.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture till it starts to come together then add in the last bit of water and mix. 

Tip onto a clean work surface and start to knead the bread. At first it will be very sticky and you’ll want to add extra flour…don’t!  Trust me, it will start to come together into a dough.

Keep kneading till it looks like dough and doesn’t stick to everything like glue. This will take at least 10 mins by hand. 

Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave till the dough has risen well (in Italy this was about an hour as it was so hot, in UK temperatures it’s probably closer to 2 hours) 

Once risen put back onto the work surface and ‘knock back’ which is to knead the dough a bit more. Now add your herbs at this point. 

Cut the dough into 8 pieces and roll into ball shapes.  Put them close but not touching on your baking tray. I’d line a baking tray with non-stick paper and flour generously.  Cover very loosely. 

Heat the oven to 220c and let the dough rise for another hour. 

Bake for 15 minutes until lovely, golden and happy to see you.