The Big Cake Show, Exeter


I’m very excited to have been invited to a number of events over the next month, which I will be telling you about before I go, then posting about anything interesting I find there afterwards.

The first of these is The Big Cake Show, which is being held at the Westpoint Exhibition Centre between 28th-30th March. It’s the biggest baking and cake show to ever have been held in South West England and features demonstrations from stars such as Phil Vickery, Mich Turner, Paul Hollywood and… MARY BERRY! *screams*

There are classroom style demonstrations where you can learn to perfect lots of varied skills such as scone and jam making, macaroons, cupcake and cake icing and much more. There are even special classes for kids!

To top it off, there are interactive competitions, stalls to buy some treats from, and an author’s corner where you can meet the stars and get your book signed.

Tickets are still available, and at only £12 for an adult day ticket they’re a complete bargain! Why not treat your mum for Mother’s Day?

You can visit the website here.

I can’t wait to go and hopefully will come back with lots of ideas for new and exciting bakes.

Are you going to this show or any of the others coming up?


Recipe – Apple Crumble Cake


Some people are chocolate cake people. Some people are prefer fruitier cakes. Me? I’m firmly in the chocolate camp.

Ok, a lemon drizzle (MB style) is nice every now and then, but give me a big fat slice of chocolate cake any day.

Every now and then, the occasion arises for something different, and I’m never quite sure what to make. Case in point, it was my Daddy-O’s birthday this week and I wanted to make him a birthday cake. I asked his wife for advice and she suggested an apple crumble. But that’s not special enough for a birthday cake is it?!

So I did my usual and scoured my recipe books and t’internet for some inspiration, and found a great recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery, which I have tweaked a little. Standard.

This is a cake. It is apple. And it’s crumble. It’s an Apple Crumble Cake!

For the cake
60g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
80ml milk

2 large eating apples

For the crumble topping
70g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
40g butter
70g light brown sugar

— Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin. Dust it with flour to prevent the cake from sticking.
— Make the crumble topping. Add all the crumble ingredients to a bowl, and using your hands, rub them together until they resemble breadcrumbs. You could also do this in a food processor, but be careful not to over-mix it otherwise it will be too fine. A few lumps here and there is a good thing. Set the crumble mixture aside for later.
— Now, make the cake batter. In a bowl, or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla essence and keep mixing until combined.
— Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, then add the milk. Mix again until the batter is smooth and creamy. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin.
— Peel, core and quarter the apples, then slice each quarter into thin slices. Starting at the outside of the tin, place the apples on top of the batter in a single layer, in circles.
— Lastly, spoon over the prepared crumble topping so that all the apple slices are covered. Sprinkle over a little extra sugar if you like.
— Bake for around 40 minutes, depending on your oven. The cake will be ready when the top is lovely and golden, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

This cake is fantastic served warm, with a dollop of cream or a scoop of ice cream. It’s also great cold with a nice cup of tea. If you’re going to have it cold, make sure it’s fully cooled before taking it out of the tin, and serve it at room temperature.







That Was The Week That Was #15

Happy Sunday readers! What a lovely day it is 🙂 I’ve been a busy bee this week with an appearance on BBC Radio Bristol to talk about baking, updating my site and work. I had a lovely night out last night for my friend’s birthday, and today Mike and I are planning a walk with the pups and Sunday lunch somewhere nice.

Don’t forget, entries are still open for my giveaway for Cake International at the London Excel, so if you would like to be in with a chance of winning a free pair of tickets, just comment on this post with which day you’d like to go and your email address – it’s that easy!

I will soon be transferring to a self hosted site – it needs a little more work on it but it’s getting there. You can visit the site at . You can also subscribe to receive updates from this site by email.

Have a great day!!

Chocolate layer cake with cheesecake layers, yum!


Apple crumble cake, recipe coming soon!


Sherlock and Lola can’t wait to try this Rapeseed oil!


Lovely ladies


Pistachio pesto – recipe coming soon


This made me smile




How To Make Chocolate Curls


If you know me in real life, you’ll know this: I’m not great at decorating cakes. Yes, I’m ok at baking (although I do make mistakes sometimes!), but decorating is not my forte.

I think it comes down to patience, or my lack of. I do WANT them to look professional… But then I get excited about eating them and think, ah, it doesn’t matter!

So this is a nifty trick for professional looking decoration which is REALLY easy to do and takes no time at all.

I used dark chocolate to make these curls, which go best on a chocolate cake, like the one in this picture. But if you wanted to, you could use white chocolate and pop that on top of a fruity cake, for example a lemon drizzle, and it’d look and taste just as good.



75g dark chocolate

1 tsp vegetable oil



— Take a large, clean, flat baking tray and put it in the freezer for around 20 minutes.

— Melt the chocolate, either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave (be careful! Be sure to keep an eye on it if you do it in the microwave as it can burn easily – heat it for 20 seconds at a time, checking and stirring in between).

— Add the vegetable oil to the chocolate and mix well. This will help the chocolate to curl better later. Remove the baking tray from the freezer and pour the chocolate directly onto the tray. Don’t use any greaseproof paper.

— Spread the chocolate over the tray as thinly as possible, but so that you can’t see the tray through the chocolate. If you have a pallette knife, use it, as it will give the best result. The thinner the chocolate layer is, the better.  

— Place the tray, chocolate side up, back into the freezer, for around half an hour, or until the chocolate is set.

— When you’re ready to make your curls, remove the tray from the freezer, and leave it for a few minutes to come to room temperature. You want it just to soften SLIGHTLY but not too much. You can tell when it’s ready by pressing your finger on the chocolate; it should leave a fingerprint but not an indent.

— Holding the tray against your body, take a sharp knife and place the blade on the chocolate at a 45 deegree angle towards you. Then firmly press down and pull the blade towards your body. The chocolate should curl up into long strands. Depending on how soft your chocolate is, it may fracture and you can end up with both long and short bits. I like the different lengths as it gives a bit of variety.

— Once you’ve curled all the chocolate, leave them on the baking tray and put it back in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.

— Then decorate the top of your cake however you see fit! I like to put pieces of different sizes on top of each other in an abstract fashion – it’s easy and very effective.

And that’s it! You will probably have more than you need, so pop them in a freezer bag and keep them frozen until you next need to use them. Just be careful as they’re very fragile!






3 Layer Chocolate Cake with Cheesecake Filling


Today I’m on BBC Radio Bristol talking about this blog and baking, and they asked me to bring in a cake that means something to me.

I found it really difficult to decide what to choose, as all of my cakes seem to conjure up some kind of memory for me. I finally narrowed it down though, and decided on a chocolate cake. Everybody loves chocolate cakes don’t they?! The recipe for this chocolate sponge is one I have used for many a birthday cake, from my friends, to children, and for work colleagues.

I wanted to spruce it up a bit though… I couldn’t just take in a standard chocolate sponge cake, even if it is a great recipe! So I took inspiration from Mary Berry (have you all been watching her new program?! AMAZING!).

Instead of two layers, this became a three layer cake. Instead of buttercream in between the layers, we now have cheesecake. YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT. And instead of nothing covering it… We now have a ganache.

Don’t even think about how many calories are in this baby. Just don’t.

THIS is a showstopper.

For the cakes
260g self-raising flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g caster sugar
3 large eggs
225ml sunflower oil
225ml milk
3 tbsp honey

For the cheesecake filling
200g soft cheese (eg Philidelphia). Use full fat!
50g butter, softened
200g icing sugar
100g dark chocolate, melted and cooled

For the ganache frosting
300ml double cream
200g dark chocolate

For the chocolate curls decorations
50g dark chocolate
50g white chocolate
2 tsp sunflower oil

— Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line 3 sandwich tins (if you only have two tins, split the recipe to make two cakes, then one).
— Sift the flour, bicarb and cocoa into a bowl and add the sugar. In a jug, measure out the milk, honey and oil, the add the eggs to the liquids and whisk to break up the yolks. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix on a medium speed (or by hand) for a minute until everything is fully combined. The batter will be quite runny.
— Pour into the prepared tins and bake for around 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. The cakes should be springy and light, and coming away from the sides slightly. Leave the cakes to cool slightly for a minute or two, then run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen them, and remove them from the tins. Leave to cool on a cooling rack. They must be completely cool before you begin to decorate them.
— Next, make the ganache. Chop (or bash with a rolling pin) the dark chocolate. You don’t need to be too precious and chop it finely, just give it a good bash and it’ll be fine. The pieces should be smaller than normal squares of chocolate though. Place in a medium sized bowl.
— Warm the double cream on a low heat, stirring it to make sure it doesn’t form a skin. Just before it’s about to boil, pour the cream over the chocolate. Stir vigorously until it’s completely combined, all of the chocolate is melted and the ganache is starting to thicken. There will come a point where it looks like it’s gone horribly wrong, is splitting and curdling. Don’t worry! Keep stirring, and it will all come together, I promise.
— Once all the chocolate is melted, set it aside to firm up. I like to put mine in the fridge for half an hour (but no longer!). You want it soft enough that it can be spread easily but not so soft that it will fall down the sides.
— Now make the cheesecake layer. Melt the chocolate, either over a pan of boiling water or in a microwave. Set aside to cool. In a stand mixer (or by hand if you don’t have one), beat together the cream cheese and butter. Using full fat is important, as the lower fat version tends to go a bit runny.
— Sift in the icing sugar and mix until it’s all combined. When the chocolate is cooled, but not hard, add into the cheesecake mixture and mix well.
— Now it’s time to assemble the cake! Split the cheesecake mixture into two, and spread half on top of two of the sponges. Place one on top of the other, then the final sponge on top of the two.
— Spoon the ganache on top of the cake and use a palette knife to spread it all over the top. Ease it down the side of the cake and smooth it around so the whole cake has a layer of ganache covering it. The good thing about this cake is that it’s going to look and taste amazing – and the ganache is supposed to be a bit rough around the edges so don’t worry if it’s not completely perfect!

And that’s it! You can leave it as it is, or add decoration to it if you like. I have stated the ingredients above for the chocolate curls, but I will post a separate post on how to make these tomorrow.
I had a bit of gold shimmer spray in the cupboard so I gave it a little spray with that and it looked fab (you can pick those up in the home baking aisles of most supermarkets for a couple of pounds).








Recipe – Caramelised Onion, Mustard and Veggie Sausage Pasta

I have been asked recently whether I’m a “pro” blogger, or just a hobbyist.

I can tell you, 100%, for those of you who don’t know me, that I am definitely NOT a pro blogger. This is a hobby for me at the moment. I very much have a full time, normal job and fit blogging and baking in around my every day life.

As I’m not a professional, I occasionally get a bit wrapped up or excited about what I’m baking or cooking and forget to take photos, so I apologise for the occasions I where I publish posts without any or many photos. I guess if I’ve made something REALLY yummy, I scoff it down quick. And it’s only after I’ve eaten it, I may think – Ooops! That would have been a great recipe to share!

This is a Nigel Slater recipe, taken by me and tweaked. I’ve had this dish… Oooh… About ten times now, and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I had some friends over for dinner last week and this is what I made for them. It’s sometimes difficult as a veggie to cook for meat eaters, as you’re always feeling like you’re doing them out of what they would consider a “proper” meal.

This is no such dish. This is a caramelised onion-y, strong tasting mustardy dish of fabulousness. A grating of cheese and a hunk of fresh, crusty bread is all it needs to complete it.

Here it is – there are only “before” pictures of the ingredients I’m afraid – one of the times I unfortunately got a bit over-excited about tucking in!

Incidentally, I tweeted Nigel Slater that I’d made this and it was delicious, and he replied with a lovely tweet – what a nice bloke!

This will serve 3 greedy people or 4 normal. There were only 3 of us 😀



1 pack (6) Linda McCartney veggie sausages

3 tbsp olive oil

2 1/2 large onions

300g wholewheat spaghetti

150ml vegetable stock

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp whole grain mustard



— Slice the onions into thin rings, and chop the sausages into chunks, about 2cm wide each. Heat the oil, then add the onions and sausages and fry until the onions start to soften.

— At this point, bring a pan of water to the boil and put the pasta in to start cooking. I won’t tell you how to cook pasta; I’m sure you know and if you don’t then you can google it elsewhere!

— Keep going with the sausages and onions for a good 15-20 minutes. After this amount of time, the onions should be golden and starting to caramelise, sticking slightly to the bottom, and, dare I say it, burning a little. It’s fine, go with it. Add the stock, mustard and parsley and give it a stir, scraping up all the caramelised bits from the bottom of the pan.

— Add the cooked, drained pasta, mix everything in, and serve into bowls. Grate over some cheddar, parmesean, or whatever cheese you like (I know Parmesean isn’t vegetarian, so use whatever cheese you prefer!).






Pet Pawtraits Competition

There’s a competition at the moment to find the best picture of a blogger with their pets and the winner wins a £200 voucher for their pet! The competition is called Pet Pawtraits and is on behalf of Animal Friends Pet Insurance.

I just HAD to enter a picture of Lola and Sherlock (unfortunately I have to be in it too but never mind!).

So here is my entry – I love this picture of the three of us! Fingers crossed…