Sunday, 29 September 2013


Upon hearing the news of having four very hungry boys coming to stay with me last week, I knew that they would be expecting cake. As my sole cake tasters throughout university, I knew I would need to wow them with something new, so I had a dig through the cupboards to see what I could conjure up.

I decided to go on a mix of my coconut and raspberry loaf cake with my fruity bakewell sponge. The result turned out to be a delightfully moist and fluffy coconut, almond and jam sponge!


225g Butter (or Soft Margarine)
225g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
200g Self-Raising Flour
50g Dessicated Coconut
1 1/2tsp Baking Powder
2-4tbsps Milk (Only if needed to loosen the dough)
6-8tsbs of Jam (Whichever you fancy)
3-4tbsps of Flaked Almonds

1.  Heat your oven to 180ºC and line a loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper.

2.  Cream together the butter and the sugar until creamy and fluffy and light in colour - I recommend doing this with an electric hand whisk.

3.  Add the vanilla essence and eggs and whisk or beat until combined,

4.  Add the desiccated coconut, self raising flour and baking powder to the wet mixture and beat until combined. If you're mixture feels to heavy then add 2-4 tbps of milk to the mixture to loosen the batter.

5. Place half your batter in the lined cake tin and then dot your jam all around this layer. Follow by covering this with the left of the cake batter and then sprinkle with flaked almonds

6. Place on the middle shelf of your pre-heated oven for 45-55 minutes (use a skewer or something similar to test). Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the tin and then dust with icing sugar to serve.

Thursday, 5 September 2013


One of the most exciting things to stumble across in my veg box from Whiteley's Farm in Pudsey (courtesy of the lovely Millies! - see previous post HERE) was a bulb of delightfully potent smoked garlic. I had never come across the stuff before and was extremely excited to experiment with it. What better than to incorporate it into one of my favourite bread recipes? The trusty soda bread...

(See HERE and HERE for previous Soda Bread recipes).

Ladened with an abundance of beautifully green and fresh flat-leaf parsley, I used this as the complimenting herb in my soda bread. It's flavour really pays homage to the smoky taste of the garlic and adds a nice clean seasonal kick to the bread. Ideally though you can use a handful or two of any fresh herbs in this recipe, depending on what you have to hand or as to your preference of taste.

Smoked Garlic Soda Bread

150g Plain Flour
150g Wholemeal Flour
1 1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
Pinch of Salt
250ml Buttermilk
4-6 Cloves of Smoked Garlic (Depending on how intense you want the flavour!)
1-2 handfuls of Freshly Chopped Herbs


1.  Heat your oven to 200ºC and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2.  Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and the salt.

3.  Crush the cloves of smoked garlic and chop the herbs and add this to the mixture.

4.  Add the buttermilk to the dry ingredients to form a dough and knead gently, forming the dough into a ball.

5.  Place the ball of dough onto the baking paper and then with a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of the dough about an inch deep. Sprinkle with flour and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

Monday, 2 September 2013


It's September! Yes. For me that means Autumn is officially on it's way.
Even though we're only into day two there is definitely a cooler wind breezing about in Leeds and I love it.

On Saturday I was lucky enough to be given a veg box from the lovely local Whiteley's Farm in Pudsey. Thank you to Millies in town for providing me with the box and asking me to test out some wonderful local produce to experiment with in the kitchen. Amongst my box of wonders, including smoked garlic, romanesco broccoli, kale and flat-leaf parsley were three magnificent sticks of rhubarb.

I jumped at the chance to try out a crumble cake. A three layer wonder... something I see quite often on blogs and has always caught my eye. It's perfect for this overlap period between the last Summer days and early Autumn. In a month or so it will be proper crumbles all the way but for now in cake form it does the trick!

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

175g Butter
175g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Essence
175g Self-Raising Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
1-2tbsps Milk (Only if needed to loosen the batter)

2 large sticks of Rhubarb
4tbsp Granulated Sugar

130g Butter
100g Plain Flour
30g Oatbran
3tbsp Demerera Sugar
1tsp Mixed Spice
1tsp Cinnamon
1tsp Baking Powder


1. Preheat your oven to 180 and line a 24" loose bottomed cake tin with butter and baking parchment.

2. Chop the rhubarb into inch thick slices and coat in the granulated sugar and leave to one side.

3. Now for the sponge. Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light, fluffy and pale in colour. Add the eggs and vanilla essence and continue to mix together. Fold in the flour and baking powder until all ingredients are combined into a smooth batter. If your batter is too thick then you can add some milk to loosen the mixture.

4. Spoon the cake batter into the cake tin making a nice even layer. Assemble the sugar coated rhubarb in another layer on top.

5. For the crumble topping, place all ingredients in a bowl and rub together the dry ingredients with the butter until you have a mixture that resembles bread crumbs. Place this mixture on top of the cake.

6. Bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 40-50 minutes or until baked (you can test this by inserting a skewer into the cake - if it comes out clean then the cake is baked).

7.  Lovely served warm with lashings of custard, or just on it's own cold with a good cup of Yorkshire tea!