Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Splendid Strawberry, Cream and Meringue Cake!

Hello my baking friends! Another beautiful cake recipe for you today! This cake was an addition to family dinner at the weekend, and what a yummy addition it was. Baking this cake was somewhat therapeutic as it distracted me from the pain of getting my nose pierced (I'm so proud of myself, I feel all rebellious!). And on the plus side I got to eat it as comfort food after we were finished. This cake has a lot going on, two raspberry cake layers, cream, jam, strawberries and meringue! The cake lacked somewhat in the appearance department ( it was slightly wonky and cracked,I maintain it had understated glamour!). What it lacked in beauty, it made up for in taste and texture.It was so sweet and delicious, and perfectly moist and soft. This recipe is from the BBC good food website, it was originally for blackberry and almonds but I deviated from this recipe quite a bit... Here's mine!

Strawberry, Cream and Meringue Cake

For the Cake:
200g butter softened
200g golden caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
2 eggs and 2 egg yolks, beaten
2-4tbsp milk
150g punnet raspberries
2tsp vanilla extract

For the meringue:
2 egg whites
100g golden caster sugar, plus an extra sprinkle
2tbsp flaked almonds

Filling and topping:
200ml double cream, whipped
4 tbsp raspberry jam
strawberries sliced

1.Line two 20cm non-stick sandwich tins with parchment. Preheat oven to fan 140C.
2.Put all the cake ingredients (except the raspberries and using just half the milk) in a bowl, then beat until creamy and well mixed. 
3.Stir in 100g raspberries, along with the extra milk if you need it (I didn't use the extra milk, just to let you know). Divide between the tins and level tops.
4.Whisk the egg whites in a bowl, adding the 100g sugar, a spoonful at a time, until thick and glossy (I recommend using an electric beater or you arms will be dead!). Lightly spread onto one of the cakes, then sprinkle with the almonds and extra sprinkle of sugar.
5.Bake both cakes for 40 mins, then take the cake without the meringue out of the oven and set aside. Bake the remaining cake for 30 mins more until done. Cool cakes.
6.Spread sliced strawberries, jam and whipped cream between the two cake layers! Layer the top of the meringue with more cream and strawberries, I also added a final flourish with white chocolate curls.

 Ta da... your beautiful cake is done and ready to be enjoyed by friends, family and loves! This cake is slightly more laborious than previous cakes I have tried on this blog but it was well worth the extra effort! I wonder what I will try next...hmm any ideas? And now I have to go and attempt to make some fabric bunting for my upcoming wedding...aaah!! Hope you are all having a lovely week filled yummy baked treats! Happy Baking!

Rachael xx.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Big Blueberry and White Chocolate Cookies!

Hey People :)Amidst this Olympic madness, I have another cookie recipe for you today of equal gravity! This time they are huuuge blueberry and white chocolate chewy yummy cookies. These treats were made for no particular event or reason, I just felt like baking something I could eat straight out of the oven (I am quite impatient when it comes to baking, I just always find myself getting excited about the next stage!). These cookies were a perfect bake as I had a load of blueberries looking sad and lonely in my fridge, so I put them with their old friend white chocolate..hehe! This recipe was adapted from a recipe on the ALL RECIPES iphone app.I will give you my version, hope you like them as much as I did.

Blueberry and White Chocolate Cookies 

250g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
170g unsalted butter, melted
200g soft light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1tbsp vanilla extract
50g white chocolate drinking powder ( an amazing ingredient!)
a punnet of blueberries
1 egg
1 egg yolk
200g white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Line baking trays with greaseproof paper.
2. Sift together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and white chocolate drinking powder.
3. In a bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, caster sugar. Beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk and till light, fluffy and creamy.
4. Stir in the sifted ingredients into the creamed mixture. Stir in the blueberries and white chocolate chips.
5. Drop large tablespoons of the mixture, evenly spaced unto the trays.(Place them quite far apart because mine grew quite a bit in the oven and stuck together, not good unless you want ONE giant cookie!).
6. Bake for 10-15mins or until they look ready.
7. Cool on trays briefly then transfer to wire racks to cool further. (If you can wait that long, but I think these guys are best eaten warm out of the oven).

Go on, give these cookies a try, I don't think you will be disappointed. I had a bit of drama last week with my car breaking down when I needed it but it was nice to know I could whip up a batch of cookies and have something sweet and comforting to come back to. A fail safe recipe :). Until next time...Happy Baking!

Rachael xx.

P.s. Is there any baked treat that makes you feel all warm inside? The kind of treat that even if you are having the worst day it will instantly make it feel a little better, I would love to know!!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Brilliant Banana and Chocolate Muffins

Hey guys, a slightly healthy recipe for you today (there's 3 bananas in these little muffins, would you believe!). This recipe is an adapted recipe for banana muffins from the All Recipes Iphone App. Can I just begin by saying that this app is amazing for picking recipes on the go, or making something out of leftovers in your kitchen! I highly recommend downloading this app if you find yourself in a rut of confusion of what to cook for dinner, this app is so easy to use! Yesterday morning I woke with a craving to bake but I couldn't be bothered to trudge all the way to the local supermarket in the rain (yucky northern Irish weather!). I knew I had to make something using only ingredients from my cupboards,so, I had a wee nosey on the app (in bed might I add, I was feeling very lazy and this app is so handy). Banana muffins sounded perfect and I had the added bonus of being able to eat one for breakfast (oh yes!). Of course I added chocolate and some caramel syrup to mine, I have a major sweet tooth.The muffins have the perfect moist and spongey texture and are just lovely! Here's my recipe...

Banana and Chocolate Muffins

200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large bananas, mashed
150g caster sugar
1 egg
75g softened butter
2 tbsp caramel syrup
50g cocoa powder


1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cocoa powder into a bowl.
3. Combine bananas, sugar, egg, butter and syrup in a separate bowl.
4. Fold in flour and mix till smooth.
5. Line a muffin tray with baking cases and fill with mixture until half full.
6. Bake in oven for 15-20mins. Remove from the oven and if they are around long enough dust with icing sugar.

There are so many things you could change with this recipe. I was contemplating changing this to make a Banoffee Muffin recipe which I think would be to die for! You could also make these little guys much healthier by using wholemeal flour and adding oats to the top, and maybe using honey instead of sugar, the possibilities are endless and the choice is entirely down to your cravings that day. Hope you give these a try and let me know how they go!Hope everyone is having a lovely week.
 Happy Baking!

Rachael xx.

P.s. If there are any other baking/cooking related Iphone apps out there, I would love to hear your suggestions? Please feel free to drop me a wee comment!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Voluptuous Victoria Sponge!

It's classic bake time now! This Victoria sponge was a craving of my little sister's until we decided to get a plan together and make a yummy red and white Victoria sponge cake! Ally was my well equipped and up-for-anything helper in the kitchen and this is what all our hard work produced. I had never even had Victoria sponge before we made this lovely lady (with looks like that she would have to be a lady cake hehe). What a perfect saturday afternoon treat (and frankly we deserved a treat with the depressing rain the weather has been throwing at us)! This beauty came from a my go-to recipe lady, the wonderful Mary Berry and her book The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake. Her's was really the only recipe to use when baking a classic such as this. Here's how Ally and I made it...


225g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tbsp milk, room temperature

Filling-6 tbsps good raspberry jam
(whipped cream)

Two 20.5cm sandwich tins, greased and base lined with baking parchment.

1. Preheat oven 180°C. Put butter in a mixing bowl and beat until very smooth and creamy.
2. Gradually beat in sugar. Then beat mixture until it turns pale and fluffy.
3. Break eggs into small bowl and add vanilla and beat lightly with a fork. Slowly add this to creamed mixture whilst beating. If the mixture looks like it will curdle add a tablespoon of the flour.
4. Sift flour unto the mixture and add milk. Gently fold in the flour.
5. Spoon the mixture into the cake tins so they are equally filled. Spread the mixture evenly into the tins.
6. Bake for 20-25mins until a good golden brown. They should almost double in size in baking.
7.Remove from tins and cool. Then layer one half with raspberry jam and the other with the whipped cream and sandwich together. Dust with icing sugar and away you go!!
8. Plate up and chomp it down, yum yum yum!!

(P.s. I also added some whole raspberries to the jam, to give it a bit more fruity kick, woohoo :)!)

So there you have it, the wonderful Mary Berry strikes again ( I met her once, did I mention that, the word starstruck would be an understatement!). Anyway, I recommend that you try this cake, it is such a delicious classic that everyone loves. It would definitely be a winner with everyone you baked it for. Go on, you know you want to. Happy baking!

Rachael xx.

P.s. Does anyone else have baking idols? Or am I the only one with an unhealthy amount of respect and admiration for Mary Berry. It would be interesting to know who you admire :)!

Obscene Orange Slices!

Why are these cakes obscene, I hear you ask?? Well... they aren't really slices at all, they are more like great big paving slabs of orangey cakey goodness! The bigger the better, it's the only way to go with cakes! These cakes were another creation for a Sunday lunch with my fiancée's family! These cakes have a soft moist sponge with a delicate orange flavour and are perfect for afternoon tea's or summer desserts! The recipe is adapted from a lemon cake slice recipe from the May issue of BBC Good Food (yet again, I do love this magazine! I have a new issue now, you will be glad to know!). Such a simple recipe too, and I'm sure with a little ingenuity, you could adapt these cake slabs to suit other fruity flavours as well (I'm thinking maybe blueberry and white chocolate...oooh yum!). Here's how I made them...

Orange Slices

175g butter, softened
140g caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
1/2tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
juice 3 oranges, zest of 2
200g granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven 160°C. Line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment.
2. Beat the butter, caster sugar, flour, almonds, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and the orange zest and half the juice, with an electric whisk until smooth.
3. Scrape into tin and bake for 25mins, until an inserted skewer comes out clean.Then cool.
4. Turn out onto a wire rack, trim edges then slice into squares.
5. Dip cakes quickly in remaining orange juice and then cover in granulated sugar. Then leave to crisp up and then munch away to your heart's content.

This is a very simple but equally delicious recipe with a subtle flavour. I think it's perfect for quite sophisticated soirées such as afternoon tea(a bit of change for me eh?). Also when I was baking this I didn't have any ground almonds so I substituted the same amount of rice flour and it worked well (just a wee pointer, ya know!). Well enjoy baking this delight guys. I always ask myself at this stage, what delights will I bake next? Any ideas? Happy baking!

Rachael xx.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Chocca Chocca Cake!!

Hello friends!! This is a chocca chocca cake( double chocolate cake, yes I did decide it needed a more exciting name). I baked this cake as a celebratory cake for my housemate and friend Kirsty who passed an assessment yesterday to become a fully fledged mental health nurse, woo hoo, congrats mate!! This bad boy was waiting for her when she came home! A deliciously moist and scrumptious cake with double the chocolate punch! A white chocolate layer and a dark chocolate layer. The top has two of Kirsty's favourite foods, raspberries and magic stars, on a bed of shiny thick chocolate ganache. The exact recipe can be found in BBC Good Food- 500 triple tested recipes recipe book. Here it is...

White and Dark Chocolate Cake

75g softened butter
100g white chocolate (preferably with vanilla flecks)
100g dark chocolate
3 eggs
100ml milk
175g caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
200g self-raising flour
2 tbsp strong coffee
1tsp vanilla extract

for the Ganache
284ml double cream
200g dark chocolate pieces
50g white chocolate melted

1. Preheat oven to fan 160°C. Butter and line two 20cm sandwich cake tins.
2. Break chocolates into two separate bowls. Melt over simmering water. Put everything else apart from coffee and vanilla, into a bowl and beat until creamy.
3. Divide cake mix into two separate bowls, add coffee and dark chocolate two one and vanilla and white chocolate to the other. Mix each bowl. Spoon into the cake tins and bake for 25mins, then cool.
4. for the ganache, bring the cream to a boil and then pour over the chocolate and leave for 5mins. Stir until smooth then leave to cool and thicken.
5. Sandwich the cakes together with the ganache as a filling. Ice with the ganache and drizzle with the melted white chocolate. Then decorate as you wish and scoff away!

What an easy tasty cake. Perfect for celebrations and parties, everyone loves chocolate after all and this cake has double the chocolate. I hope you give this cake a go, and enjoy it as much as we did!! Happy Baking!

Rachael xx.

Rad Raspberry Spice Cake!!

Hey guys! Get a pen, quick, this recipe is a keeper! This cake I made for my friend Debbie's 21st Birthday ( we also made pink lemonade, it was delicious too).I had a sous chef as well in my friend Patrick, although the less said about that the better ;P only joking he was quite helpful! It was such a fun night, we went out for Chinese food,we played games and it was topped off by this delicious cake! The recipe (as well as the pink lemonade recipe) can be found in the May issue of BBC Good Food! I only changed the recipe slightly by adding lemon zest to the icing, I thought raspberries and lemons are a wonderful summery combination. We also made our cake with two layers instead of six. Here goes with the recipe... are you ready?


250g softened butter
450g plain flour
140g golden caster sugar
140g light soft brown sugar
5 large eggs
4 tbsp honey
2tsp baking powder
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp mixed spice
 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp buttermilk

Filling & Icing
200g raspberry jam
200g raspberries
250g butter softened
200g soft cheese
200g icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to fan 140°C. Grease and line 3 20cm cake tins with baking parchment.
2. tip all cake ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth.
3. Divide cake mix between tins and bake for 25mins until done and then cool on wire rack.
4. Split cakes in half. Mash jam and raspberries together and spread over 5 cake halves, leaving one free. Sandwich the cake halves together with the plain cake on top. Leave overnight with a weight spread on top.
5. beat butter, cheese and icing sugar (&lemon if you want, it's good, I promise) then spread over the cake and decorate as you wish.
6. Invite your friends round, have a cup of tea and munch away :).

There you go, one delicious and quite different cake! I hope you give this a try and enjoy it as much as my friends and I did! Happy Baking!!

Rachael xx.

P.s. Is there any cake recipe you have tried recently and absolutely loved? I would love to know! Oh and if you have any questions about the recipe, let me know :).

Odd Oreo (Cake??)

Greetings bakers! A strange cake for you now! I'm not sure if cake is the correct word to use to describe this unusual dessert. I can't say that this was a great success. It was another dessert I made for a family gathering, it did disappear quickly, but I'm not sure if I enjoyed it. A big disappointment indeed as it has all the ingredients for a truly wonderful dessert experience. Oreos, cream and chocolate, should be yum I thought. I have no recipe for this as I found it on a website I picked at random and have lost it, oops sorry! But I will explain the basics about it! 

The cake has a crushed oreo crust and has two layers inside, the bottom is a chocolate pudding type thing the second layer a vanilla pudding type thing, covered in cream and further crushed oreos. I think the problem was that I left it in the freezer too long, and it became a rock solid ice cream cake. You needed an axe to hack into it. Amusing as it was, I just don't think the flavour was worth the hacking. My fellow excavators( In an attempt to not offend me, no doubt) said they felt they could savour it more having worked hard for it. This isn't really something one hopes for in a dessert. All in all this dessert was a bit of a flop but an experience I can learn from and hopefully not repeat in the future. Lessons I learnt from this- Take cakes out of freezer in advance of serving to friends and family, if you want to save their teeth that is!

Thanks for reading, check in soon for a more successful recipe :)

Rachael xx.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Blooming Marvellous Blueberry and Raspberry Mini Cakes

Hey, hi, hello baking community! A fruity treat for you guys this time. These mini cakes are from the Meg Rivers Home Baking book. And they are delish, so fruity and comforting. Of course i changed the recipe slightly by adding hint of the very popular white chocolate, which added a new depth of yummyness to these cakes. With the blueberry and raspberry flavours there is also a hint of orange, a real taste explosion in your mouth. These cakes are about the size of muffins and need a panettone case or something similar to hold them. I didn't have any to hand and I'm a poor student so I just used the muffin cases I had. The cakes have such a moist texture. I made these for a Sunday lunch with my fiancée's family, they went down like a house on fire, definitely a crowd pleaser!

Blueberry and raspberry mini cakes (Makes 12 cakes)

320g salted butter, soft
320g caster sugar
grated zest of 2 large oranges
4 eggs
320g plain flour
80g ground almonds
200g raspberries
200g blueberries
(I also added white chocolate chips and vanilla extract,this works a treat).


1.Preheat oven to 170°C.
2.Cream butter, sugar, orange zest and vanilla together until pale and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
4. Fold in flour, almonds and white chocolate chips.
5. Using 2 spoons, divide mixture into cases, filling to half full.
6. Arrange fruit on surface of cake, making 6 blueberry and 6 raspberry.
7. Bake for 45mins in the oven until done.
8. Remove, cool then devour (if you can wait that long).

I hope you enjoy baking these scrummy cakes. To end this post, I have question, does anyone out there know where to get pretty bun cases of all shapes and sizes that wouldn't break the bank?? Thanks for reading guys, happy baking.

Rachael xx.

Ridiculously Raspberry Brownies

Hey baking fans, it's brownie time again. As you can probably tell by now, I have a deep rooted love affair with brownies, these are probably the best I have ever tasted, it would be rude not to share them with you lovely people. This recipe was the cover recipe in May's Issue of BBC Good Food (I highly recommend this magazine, every month it is full of inspirational and drool-worthy recipes and ideas). They are very aptly named the 'Best Ever Chocolate Raspberry Brownies' and boy do they live up to this reputation. They are so moist and squidgy, everything a brownie should be, it does require a lot of self-restraint and will power not to eat the whole batch.One more couldn't hurt..could it?


200g dark chocolate, in chunks
100g milk chocolate, in chunks
250g salted butter
400g soft light brown sugar
4 large eggs
140g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
200g raspberries
( optional extras, a smidge of vanilla extract, I also added a dollop of raspberry jam to increase the raspberry hit)


1.Preheat oven to fan 160°C
2. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
3. Put chocolate, butter and sugar in pan and melt gently. stirring occasionally. Then remove from heat.
4. Stir in eggs to pan one by one.
5. Sieve over the cocoa powder and flour and stir in.
6. stir in half the raspberries, then scrape mixture into the tray and scatter with remaining raspberries.
7. Bake in oven for roughly 30mins, adjust timing depending on how firm you like your brownies.
8. Cool before slicing, then eat away, stop if you can :). 

So there you go, one amazingly delicious brownie recipe that is fail safe. You are going to love them. Happy baking!

Rachel xx

P.s. I hope you are enjoying the recipes. Also if you have any recommendations of recipes or bakery books to try, I'm all ears and would love to hear from you!!

Mega Chocolate Muffins

hiya readers! Sorry again for the massive break from the blog, I have been quite busy and have had a brief trip to the lovely and sunny Portugal! But I am back again now with some yummy treats I have been busy slaving over in the kitchen ( not really slaving, more like having fun on sugary highs!). Let's kick things off with these chocolate boys....

These muffins are perfectly chocolately and not too dry. I sometimes find with shop bought muffins that they can be quite dry and not a pleasant experience to munch on. Not the story with these guys. The recipe is from a new recipe book I was gifted as an engagement present from my aunt and uncle! Thank you guys, what an amazing book, it's 'Meg Rivers Home Baking'. With amazing foodie photography and beautiful homely artisan bakes, this book is well worth a peak! These muffins were the first cake I tried from the book, I changed the recipe slightly, so here is the recipe with my adjustments should you wish to use them! Good luck!

Chocolate Muffins (serves 12)

260g Plain Flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

a pinch of salt

60g cocoa powder

180g caster sugar

150g dark chocolate chips

180ml corn oil

2 eggs

210ml milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 190°C. 
2. Put flour,baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, sugar and chocolate chips in a big bowl. Separately whisk corn oil, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, the pour this mixture into the dry ingredients bowl. 
3. Beat together until combined and smooth.
4. Spoon mixture into muffin cases filling so they are 3/4 full. 
5. Bake for 25mins, then remove and cool! (Or scoff right away because they are irresistible).
(6. I also but a dollop of white chocolate and a magic star on top of mine, just to make them look a little prettier).

There are many changes you could make to this recipe to tailor it  more to your tastes. White chocolate chips would work well. You could experiment with different nuts in the mixture such as pecans or walnuts. This is a great basic recipe that could be made different each time by using a different icing each time or including coffee in the mix to make them mocha muffins. The possibilities are endless. Go on give them a wee try! Happy baking,

Rachael xx.

P.s. I have started to include the recipes for my baked treats, let me know if you like this better, also chat to me if you have any questions regarding the recipes, I will try to help as best I can. Or maybe you can give me some advice on what I could do with changing. Thanks for reading!!