Sunday, 23 January 2011


125ml milk
85ml corn or vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g self raising flour
100g caster sugar
12 tsp strawberry jam
100g unsalted butter
150g granulated sugar

This is a recipe from Nigellas How to be a Domestic Goddess. I've had this book for years and years and can't believe I have never made these muffins before. I think I assumed they'd be tricky. But trust me they are not!
These are the easiest cakes to make and very nice too. If you don't try anything else, please have a go at these.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. 
Mix together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla extract in a measuring jug.

In a bowl combine the flour and sugar.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. Don't worry about the lumps if you try to get them out you'll overmix the batter and it'll make the muffins tough.

Put a teaspoon full of the mixture into some silicone fairy cake cases.

Ontop of this add a small amout of jam. Then top the muffin with another teaspoon of the muffin mixture. 
Pop into the oven for 20mins. 
Meanwhile, melt the butter and put the sugar into a shallow dish. 
When the muffins come out of the oven, dip into the butter and then roll in the sugar.

These are best served warm but as you wont want more than one (well maybe two at a push!) in one go you can heat them in the microwave for 10 - 15 seconds.

Saturday, 22 January 2011


So as not to waste the oats bought for the oatcakes I made up a batch of oat and raisin cookies this morning. I used the recipe from Rachel Allen's book Bake.

110g butter, softened
110g caster sugar
110g soft light brown sugar
250g oats
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp salt
2tbsp water
110g self raising flour, sieved
110g raisins

First you need to cream together the butter and sugars until it is light and fluffy.

 Next add the egg, vanilla extract and water to the mixture and beat it in to the mixture.

Add the flour, oats and raisins and mix.

Roll a spoonful of the mixture into a small ball about the size of a walnut and pop onto a baking tray.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C for 15mins.
Leave them to cool for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack so they don't fall apart.

Rachel says in her book that these go really nicely with milk and indeed they do!

Friday, 21 January 2011


And on Burns Night what else could there be to go with the coffee other than shortbread!
This recipe is courtesy of Delia.

175g butter at room temperature
75g caster sugar
175g plain flour, sifted
75g fine semolina.

I put the butter in the microwave for 20seconds as I had forgotten to leave it out at room temperature but once the butter is soft you need to add the caster sugar and beat it in with a wooden spoon. 

Next add the sifted flour and semolina and beat this into the butter.

It's easier to use your hands at this point to bring the mixture together and form a dough.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to roughly the same size as your loose bottom tin (20cm) then place the shortbread in the tin.

 Using your fingers push it into the sides and make sure it's even all over, then a tip from Delia is to use a glass to roll the dough in the tin to make it smooth.

Prick the shortbread all over and place in the middle shelf of a preheated oven (150 degrees C) for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 mins.
When it's cooked use a palette knife to mark out the 12 slices and leave to cool inside the tin.

 Once it's cool you can remove the shortbread from the tin and cut into slices. Enjoy!


As it's Burns Night on the 25th January we usually have a family get together on the nearest weekend to this day.
I always like to serve oatcakes with cheese as part of the celebrations but I usually find them a bit dry. So this year I've decided to put a spin on tradition and have a go at a variation on them.

  • 100g (4oz) rolled oats
  • 100g (4oz) plain flour
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g (2oz) butter
  • 100g (4oz) Mature Cheddar, grated
  • 1tsp clear honey
  • 3tbsp milk
First you need to combine the oats, flour, rosemary, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Add the butter and rub with your fingertips until they resemble breadcrumbs. 
Next you add the grated cheese and mix in well. 
In a small bowl mix together the honey and milk. 
Add the milk and honey to the bowl of dry ingredients and use your fingers to form a dough. 

If you find the mixture a little dry before rolling it out yo can add a splash more milk to help it bind together.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to about 1cm thick and use a cutter to cut out small rounds.

Place these on a baking tray covered in greaseproof paper and cook for 15mins at 180degrees C. (although do check them at 10mins as mine took a bit less in the oven!)

Thursday, 13 January 2011


The new year has welcomed in a new baby for some friends of ours. The January diet has meant no cake making for me this month so what a perfect excuse to get out the scales and get baking.
The cake is a basic sponge recipe
200g butter
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour, sieved
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Make sure the butter is soft and cream together with the caster sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating each one in well. Once the eggs are incorporated you can start to add the flour. Make sure that it is mixed in well without overbeating the mixture. Add the vanilla extract and pour into a 20cm cake tin lined with baking parchment. Bake for approx 50mins (although mine took a little longer today) or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake is golden.
Another good tip is to wrap some brown paper around the tins and tie with string so the outside of the cake doesnt become too overcooked and crispy.

I cut the cake in half and put buttercream and strawberry jam inbetween the two layers. The cake was then covered with some seedless jam to help the icing stick.
The cake was then iced with fondant icing in white and decorated with a teddy bear using the template from Simply Party Cakes.

The buttons were made using a small round cutter, then a second cutter slightly smaller than the first was gently pushed in to leave a circle imprint. Two make the button holes I used a cocktail stick and then joined these up with royal icing and left to set.

I hope the new parents enjoy the cake!