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 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.


Inspired by a delicious meal I had out the other week, I decided to have a go at making gnocchi for the first time.  An hour and a half later, we ended up with an edible meal but it was nowhere near as yummy as the one I had at the restaurant.  The sauce worked well though, so here are the key ingredients.


  • frozen peas
  • asparagus
  • courgette
  • garlic clove
  • feta cheese
  • butter
  • sage leaves – I have the benefit of a mini herb garden so can get it as fresh as it comes. sage
  • if you are making gnocchi –  1 large potato, plain flour and 1 egg is enough for 2 people.  I advise checking out this recipe for how to make gnocchi properly, rather than following my not too successful gnocchi-making experience! Or if you have any tips please let me know.  I added the sage to the gnocchi mix for a bit of extra flavour.


Cut asparagus in half length ways, thinly slice the courgette and take peas out of the freezer.  Mince or chop the garlic.  Gently melt the butter in a frying pan and add all the vegetables and garlic, and fry them lightly.  If you are using shop bought gnocchi, add the sage to the vegetable mix too.  gnocchi and vegetablesAbout 3 minutes before you want to serve, add the cooked gnocchi to this mix to give it some colour.  Just before you finish cooking, crumble the feta cheese over the top.