Recipe for Jaffa cake inspired sponge cake

I had the urge to bake on Sunday. I really fancied making a Victoria sponge, but came up with some additions which have made it AMAZING! A little bit of marmalade and dark chocolate make it very Jaffa cake-like.keep calm and eat jaffa cakesIngredients

For the cake

  • Weigh 3 eggs – use this weight to measure out equivalent amounts of the following
  • Self raising flour
  • Margarine
  • Caster sugar
  • Vanilla extract

For the topping

  • Orange marmalade
  • One bar of good dark chocolate


  1. Cream margarine and caster sugar.
  2. Add in the beaten eggs slowly (one tablespoon at a time) and mix.
  3. Add in half a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  4. Sieve in the flour and stir in gently using the “round the world and down the middle” method to make it nice and fluffy.
  5. Add your mix to a lined round tin and bake at around 180 deg c for 18 mins and then keen an eye on it until a skewer comes out clean. My original recipe for this cake says 18 minutes, but it took way more than that this time round, so keep an eye on it.
  6. Take the cake out of the tin and while still warm, use about 2 tablespoons of marmalade to completely cover the top of the cake.
  7. Once cooled, melt the dark chocolate and drizzle all over. If you’re patient, wait until it’s cool to eat!

Recipe for Bara Brith

Since I spent St David’s Day slogging my way around the Eastbourne Half Marathon course, I didn’t have time to make Welsh cakes to take into work. Yes, it was a real slog, especially the final few miles! However, I did make some Bara Brith (speckled bread) as it is MUCH less time consuming, and no less yummy.

My mum got her recipe from one of her patients years ago, when she was working as an Occupational Therapist in West Wales. However, when she wrote it out for me and I made it, I totally messed up! This is because it is along the lines of “use some tea to soak the fruit,” “cook for a bit” etc. I like and need some specifics to work towards. Anyway, I now use my grans recipe. I would like to say there is a nice family story behind it, but she got it from This Morning a few years ago, when Bonnie Tyler cooked it 🙂

Ingredients (enough to make 2 1lb/ 450g loaves)

  • 6oz (175g) currants/raisins
  • 6oz (175g) sultanas
  • 8oz (225g) dark soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 pint (300ml) hot black tea
  • 10oz (275g) self-raising flour
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Optional – 1 tsp of mixed spice (Bonnie and my mum don’t use mixed spice)


  1. Measure the fruit and sugar into a bowl and pour over the hot tea. Stir well, cover and leave to stand overnight or for a few hours at least.
  2. Grease and line your loaf tins. I have some fancy loaf tin paper cases which make this step much simpler.
  3. Stir the flour and egg into the fruit mixture, mix and split between the tins.
  4. Bake at Gas Mark 4 / 180 deg C for about 1 hour. If the tops are catching towards the end, cover with some greaseproof paper. They are done when a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Turn out and leave to cool.
  6. Serve plain or with butter. I quite like it on its own.

and here is Bonnie Tyler with “Total Eclipse of the Heart” for you to sing along to. I forgot how terrifying(ly bad) the video is!

Recipe for chocolate Baileys cake

For some reason I have some serious baking mojo at the minute.  This recipe is really good, so I felt I had to share it.  I was intending to make some bara brith (aka speckled bread) which is a Welsh fruit tea bread, but I didn’t have enough fruit.  So I raided the cupboard and made this chocolate baileys cake instead (I will make bara brith soon!).chocolate baileys cakeI found the basic recipe here but made some tweaks to make it super-decadent (and to use up what I have lurking in the cupboards).


  • 100g/4oz margarine
  • 192g/7oz dark muscovado sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp powdered instant coffee
  • 165g/6oz plain flour
  • 80g/3oz cocoa powder
  • 180ml/6fl oz Baileys Irish Cream (or half milk/half Baileys)
  • Optional – chocolate chips or chunks


  1. Preheat oven to around 180 deg C and line your loaf tin.
  2. Cream the margarine and sugar together until as smooth and fluffy as possible.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time to the creamed mix, beating the mix well each time.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder and instant coffee to the egg mix, and mix until all combined.
  5. Then add your cocoa powder, and continue mixing.
  6. Finally, add your Baileys (or Baileys/milk mix), and stir until the mix is smooth.  Pour the mix into the lined loaf tin.
  7. Bake your cake for around 50 minutes (check it from about 45 minutes).  When a skewer comes out clean, it is done.

The Baileys taste really comes through – definitely not one for the kiddies!

Recipe for chocolate chai banana bread

As sometimes happens, I have started a collection of manky bananas, which have been lurking in my lunch bag and in the fruit bowl.  They went all motley and smelly, and there was nothing for it but to bake banana bread.  There really is no other use for them! banana bread

So I had a nose around to see what sort of recipe took my fancy, and ended up making something up.  The basic recipe is from this one at River Cottage and I added some other spices and a squeeze of honey to liven it up even more.  It smelled lovely while it is baking, with all the chai inspired spices.  It cuts really nicely and has a quite fresh taste to it which surprised me.  I think it may be the cardomom.  Definitely a bit more exciting than plain banana bread though, and I will be making it again.


  • 5 cardamom pods (peel off the skin and grind up the seeds using a pestle and mortar)
  • quarter teaspoon of ground ginger
  • quarter teaspoon of nutmeg
  • quarter teaspoon of cinnamon
  • quarter teaspoon of all spice
  • 250g self-raising flour (I ended up using some wholemeal flour and baking powder as a substitute)
  • 100g margarine
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 2 ripe bananas (about 250g, peeled weight)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • quarter teaspoon or there abouts of honey


  1. Line your loaf baking tin (my mum gave me some paper loaf tin liners which cut banana breadsave a huge amount of faff and preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Mix the flour, all of the spices and margarine in a large mixing bowl, until the mixture resembles medium breadcrumbs.  Add the sugar and chocolate chips and mix. Make a well in the centre.
  3. Mash the bananas and add the egg and blend together, then pour into the well in the dry ingredients.  Mix together and then beat until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. 
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes until well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  6. Take the cake out of the tin and leave to cool on a rack.

Mince pie recipe

This is my mums famous mince pie pastry recipe, and it turns out it was originally my nannie’s.  Apparently when my mum was small, my nannie used to go to a sewing group and one Christmas someone brought some mince pies, and everyone wanted the recipe.  The lady was a bit reluctant but then gave it to them in the end.  Her son was a chef at the Dorchester Hotel in London, and this was their mince pie pastry recipe.  It is a very short pastry, but you can roll it out and play with it as much as you want to without it getting spoilt.  It is also pretty much fool-proof!finished mince pies


Makes around 30 mince pies

  • 4 oz margarine
  • 4 oz trex (vegetable fat)
  • 6 oz self raising flour
  • 6 oz plain flour
  • 1 oz sugar
  • pinch of baking powder
  • mincemeat (we made ours a bit more luxurious by adding a slug of amaretto)
  • have some cold water handy, just in case
  • You will also need some small cake cases and bun tins


  1. Preheat oven to 200-220 deg c and put the cake cases in the tins ready.
  2. Cream the margarine, trex and sugar together in a big bowl.
  3. Measure out and then sieve the flours into the creamed mix.
  4. Bring together the mix, kneading it gently.  If needed, add a drop of cold water but our mix was fine without.  My mum says she very rarely adds the water. rolling pastry
  5. Roll out the mix on a lightly floured board, and cut out 68 mm rounds for the bottoms and 58 mm for the tops.
  6. Put the pastry bottoms in the cases, add a teaspoon of mincemeat and put the smaller pastry round on top. filling mince pies
  7. Bake for 10 minutes and then check to see how the are getting on.  They should be cooked after 15 minutes and be ever so slightly golden.

Millionaire shortbread recipe

I have been watching the Bake Off, and feel inspired to bake!  It has taken a few weeks as I have been so busy, but I am off work this week and have time to spare 🙂  This is my fool/fail proof recipe for making millionaire shortbread.  Whenever I have made standard caramel millionaire shortbread, before I had this recipe, the caramel bit oozed everywhere and was too separate from the chocolate and biscuit layers.  This  recipe holds together and cuts really well, and tastes amazing!  millionaire shortbread


For the base

  • 10 oz (280g) plain flour
  • 6 oz (175g) brown sugar
  • 4 oz (115g) butter

For the topping

  • 4 oz (115g) butter
  • 3 1/2 oz (100g) brown sugar
  • 7 oz (200g) milk choc chips (you need to use choc chips, I have tried a bar of chocolate before and it didn’t work!)


  • Preheat oven to 180 deg.
  • Using your hands, rub together the flour, sugar and butter together to make a breadcrumb-style mix.
  • Press the mix into a baking tin.  The original recipe recommends 12″ x 8″ but mine is smaller than that.

biscuit base

  • You then need to make caramel!  Slowly heat up the butter and sugar on the hob – stirring all the time.  Once it reaches boiling-point, boil constantly for around 1 minute – still stirring.  To be honest, I wing it during this stage and it has never failed, even if I don’t stir all the time, or the timing runs over.  I would fail so badly on the Bake Off!

making caramel

  • Pour the caramel all over your base and then put into the over for around 20 minutes.  The topping should be bubbling at this stage.  Switch off the oven when you take your baking tin out.
  • Sprinkle the choc chips all over the caramel and biscuit mix, and pop back in the switched-off oven for about 1 minute.  Take the baking tin out again, and use a spatula to spread the melted chocolate all over.  Don’t worry if you mix caramel and chocolate.
  • Leave to cool in the tin, then cut into squares.

Recipe for Welsh Cakes

Welsh cakes are something my family obsess about.  When I was little, my sister and I used to make them with my gran, taking it in turns to do the rolling out and sitting on a stool to cook them on the stove.   At the start of each university term, I went with a huge box of welsh cakes which I shared with my friends, who then also got addicted to them.  My husband is obsessed with them, as are his work colleagues.  I have just started a new job and I’m planning to take this stash of welsh cakes into work on St Davids day to make a meeting more exciting.

I have never cooked welsh cakes on anything other than a cast iron bake stone.  A bake stone is essential in my humble opinion – it took a while for us to find something to work on our induction hob but we now have a small cast iron pan from IKEA and a big one my gran gave me.  I suppose at a push a normal frying pan could be used though.  So without further ado, here is the ultimate welsh cake recipe.


  • 8 oz self raising flour
  • 3 oz margarine
  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • 3 oz currants
  • 1/2 tea spoon mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1 large egg or 2 small eggs (mix the egg and syrup in a jug or bowl)
  • bakestone on a low heat


  1. Mix and combine all ingredients by kneading them together. welsh cake mix
  2. Flour a board and rolling pin, roll the mix out to about 1cm thickness and cut welsh cakes with a round cutter.
  3. Cook the welsh cakes until slightly browned and firm.  See the picture below to give you an idea of what they should look like. welsh cakes cooking
  4. Leave to cool, but you can eat them straight away with a cup of tea. welsh cakes

In the interest of fairness to my other (English) gran, I will also be posting a recipe for her Scotch shortbread, which is delicious and also a lifelong staple in our family.

Button Biscuits

I had the urge to bake today, and made these button shaped biscuits using a basic recipe and the stuff lurking in my cupboards.  We had a kitchen clear out on the weekend, and I found at least 5 half-used bags of sugar of various different colours.  I used a basic recipe from this months ASDA magazine (I’m a sucker for picking up free magazines, especially ones with recipes in them).


  • 115g butter (I used Stork as I always have some in the fridge)
  • 65g caster sugar (I used brown sugar as that was already open)
  • vanilla essence (a couple of glugs)
  • 150g plain flour
  • 25g cornflour


Mix butter, sugar and vanilla essence until evenly mixed, then add sifted plain and corn flour.  Wrap in cling film and chill for about half an hour (I think mine was more like 15-20 minutes as I got bored!)

I then rolled my dough out between some cling film to stop it sticking to the rolling pin.

rolled dough

Using a normal round cutter, I cut out rounds and then added the button hole details using a round piping nozzle.

cutting button holes

They then go into a preheated oven for 10 minutes of 180 deg c.  As I only have one baking sheet they went in two batches.  Once cooked, they need to go on a wire rack to cool.

buttons cooling

Et voila, easy peasy and they look really nice.  They seem to taste better this evening now they have firmed up a bit and they are a good texture for dunking.  The plan was to dip them in melted chocolate but I forgot to buy some….  The basic recipe could be funked up a bit with some coco powder, ground ginger or other flavouring.