Carrot, Apricot and Walnut Cake

Sometimes a picture just doesn’t do a cake justice and this is one of those times. I found this cake so moreish I couldn’t stop to take a photo so it was very rushed!

If you like carrot cake this is a very moist one with loads of flavour….

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Carrot, Apricot and Walnut Cake


75g Soft Brown Sugar

30ml Vegetable Oil

45g Melted Butter

1 Tablespoon Golden Syrup

1 Medium Egg

125g Self-Raising Flour

125g Grated Carrot

75g Chopped Dried Apricots

75g Chopped Walnuts


Pre heat the oven to 160c

Grease and line a small loaf tin.

Beat the sugar, oil melted butter and golden syrup together well.

Add the egg to the mixture and beat well.

Stir in the flour followed by the carrot, apricots and walnuts.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check that the top is cooked and golden brown and that a clean skewer comes out still clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

Recipe is adapted from a Carrot Cake recipe in Riverford Farm Cook Book by Guy Watson and Jane Baxter.



Easter Biscuits

My grandmother always made Easter Biscuits at this time of year and they were truly scrumptious. Now I’m a grandmother I bake them and always think of her as I do. I’ve no idea where she got the recipe from originally but she was an early member of the WI so possibly from there and I’ve  adapted the recipe only slightly. The biscuits are incredibly light and are always popular.


Easter Biscuits

Easter Biscuits


225g Plain Flour

55g Custard Powder

225g Butter

110g Caster Sugar

75g Mixed Fruit (or can be one fruit e.g. sultanas)

15g Ground Almonds

Zest of 1 Lemon plus 1 teaspoon of the juice

½ Teaspoon Cinnamon or Mixed Spice

1 + ½ Egg Yolks


Pre heat the oven to 175c and line a baking sheet.

Cream the butter and sugar together well then beat in the egg yolks.

Whisk the flour, custard powder and spice together and then stir in the fruit. Add this to the beaten egg, butter and sugar mix and also add the lemon juice and zest. Mix together. If it seems sticky, wrap it in cling-film and put into the fridge to firm up before rolling out. This should take about 30 minutes but it can be left overnight.

Roll out and cut out circles to the size you like – mine were quite small and I got 32 biscuits from the mixture.

Bake for about ten minutes. They should look light golden brown and need to be still fairly soft as they will firm up once cooled.

Rachel x

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Rosewater Cupcakes

Rosewater Cupcakes for Mother’s Day

Rosewater gives a lovely delicate taste to cakes and is perfect for a cupcake. The recipe will give 10 – 12 cupcakes which are lovely for an afternoon tea – just right for mum on Mother’s Day. Alternatively, serve them in vintage bone china tea cups or put them in lacy wrappers and pretty boxes tied with ribbon for a scrumptious gift.

Rosewater Cupcakes


100g Butter, softened

110g Caster Sugar

2 Teaspoons Rosewater (I used Neilsen-Massey)

120g Self-Raising Flour

2 Tablespoons Cornflour

2 Medium Eggs, beaten

3 Tablespoons Milk


Heat the oven to 160c and place cupcake cases in a 12 hole muffin tin.

Beat the butter and caster sugar together well until soft and creamy. Add all the other ingredients and beat to combine but for no more than one minute. Divide between the cake cases ( you can make between 10 – 12 depending how much mixture you put in each.)

I decorated my cupcakes with buttercream with half a teaspoon of rosewater added. Then I added fondant toppers and flowers for Mother’s Day but these cupcakes would be equally lovely at any spring or summer tea party.

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Marmalade Madeira Cake

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Marmalade Madeira Cake

I love marmalade at this time of year and make my own when I can. I’ve recently had a craving for a really moist marmalade cake but I’ve had to make this three times to get exactly what I wanted! It’s basically a madeira cake recipe with marmalade, orange zest and orange juice added which gives a lovely flavour. This version has chopped dried apricots added which gave me the rather moist and almost sticky cake I wanted.

Marmalade Madeira Cake


150g Softened Butter

150g Caster Sugar

3 Eggs

150g Self-Raising Flour

75g Plain Flour

Zest of 1 Orange

1 Tablespoon Orange Juice

2 Tablespoons Orange Marmalade

100g Chopped Dried Apricots


Pre heat the oven to 160c. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin or a 7”/ 18cm round cake tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light in colour and soft.

Add the eggs one by one and beat in well.

Fold in the flour carefully.

Fold in all the other ingredients and pour into the prepared tin.

Bake for approximately 1 to 1 ¼ hours until light golden brown in colour, firm to the touch and inserting a clean skewer comes out clean.

Turn the cake out onto a rack to cool.

I used some more orange juice (1 tablespoon) and added 2 tablespoons of icing sugar to make a drizzle for the top of the cake when it had cooled.

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Marmalade Madeira Cake

I have to admit I couldn’t wait to eat this so started on it straight from the oven drizzled with double cream! However, it is a cake which keeps really well and the flavour improves if you can bear to wait.



Raspberry and Rose Cake

This cake is made with two 6″ sponges infused with rose water, drizzled with rose syrup and filled with raspberry conserve and raspberry flavoured buttercream. The cake was layered and decorated for a birthday but would be equally delicious and pretty served simply as a filled sponge.

Raspberry and Rose Cake

For the two 6″ sponges:-

225g Butter (softened)

225g Caster Sugar

4 Large Eggs, beaten

225g Self Raising Flour

1 Teaspoon Rose Water

Drop(s) of pink food colouring

Pre heat the oven to 160c and line two 6″ round cake tins.

Beat the sugar and butter together well, slowly add the beaten eggs then fold in the flour. Finally, stir in the rose water and colour. Divide between the two cake tins and bake for between 20-30 minutes.

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Raspberry and Rose layered sponges

To make a rose syrup I used 1 tablespoon of rose petal sugar with 1 tablespoon of water and boiled it for a few minutes. This was then drizzled over the cakes as they were taken from the oven and still warm. The cakes were then left to cool completely before slicing each one in half horizontally. The four layers were then placed on top of each other with raspberry conserve or raspberry buttercream between each layer.

For Raspberry Buttercream:-

150g Butter, softened

250g Icing Sugar

2 Tablespoons Raspberry Conserve

Beat all the ingredients together well for a few minutes.

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I used some of the buttercream to fill the cakes then used some to cover the whole cake. The cake was put in the fridge for about twenty minutes to firm the buttercream.

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Raspberry and Rose Cake

Finally, I added more raspberry conserve and a drop of pink food colour to the remaining buttercream and used it to decorate the outside of the cake. I added pink sugar sprinkles and some sugar roses to finish it off…

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Raspberry and Rose Cake

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My Favourite Recipe Blog Posts of 2015

2015 Favourites
The end of the year is always a good time for review and to make plans for the new year ahead. 2015 has been an incredibly busy one for me as I set up my cake business in a new area. I’ve been amazed and inspired by the lovely people I’ve met and support I’ve received, it’s been an exciting as well as challenging year.
My year of baking has been one of using mainly tried and tested recipes and improving on these where possible to give my clients the best possible tasting cake. However, experimenting has been minimal and my blog has been a little neglected. Plans to bake my way along with The Great British Bake Off were side-lined as wedding cake orders became priority. I’ve learnt a lot more about baking but still want to try new recipes. So one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2016 is definitely more baking (yes, I am obsessive) and more blogging.
What I love about baking and blogging is the creativity and sharing. Baking something delicious and sharing it is one of the most rewarding things for me and blogging and sharing recipes is the same. The following are my favourite recipe posts from 2015 from lovely bloggers who have inspired me to bake more…..
1. Gluten Free Copycat Chocolate Hobnobs by The Culinary Jumble
I love this blog as it features a mix of English and Swedish recipes and so many scrummy bakes, some traditional, some new and many gluten free. It’s difficult to choose from all the mouth-watering pictures but these cookies just look divine and I can’t wait to eat some!
2. Healthier Brownies with Cashew Nut Butter by Tin and Thyme
Another of my favourite blogs with recipes and writing from a Cornish kitchen. There are loads of chocolate recipes but these stood out for me as they sound really healthy and yet look so scrumptious!
3. No Bake Caramel Rolo Cheesecake by Jane’s Patisserie
‘Caramel creamy cheesecake filling on top of a delicious buttery biscuit base drizzled with an extra bit of caramel and packed full of Rolo’s’ Yum. I just don’t know what else to say. No baking I know, so a bit of a cheat but the gorgeous pictures make this look totally irresistible!
4. Plum Limoncello Tart by Kat The Baking Explorer
Kat is an incredible baker who did what I failed to do – bake along with The Great British Bake Off. Her stunning bakes would wow Paul and Mary and this was one which caught my eye. The posts also include a roundup of each week’s bakes in the Bake Off tent during August / September.
5. Crostata di frutta profumata: The Venetian-Mediterranean spring dream cake by La Venessiana
Such a pretty cake, perfect for a summer tea party, and the blog is beautiful, full of gorgeous pictures of Venice and Venetian recipes.
6. Banana Cupcakes by The Botanical Kitchen
I love this blog because there are lots of bakes using seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. These cupcakes are banana with cinnamon which work so well together. The frosting sounds deliciously complementary to the bananas with lemon juice and cream cheese. Yum.
7. Best Ever Gingerbread Biscuits by Charlotte’s Kitchen Diary
Charlotte is a trained chef and food writer and I was lucky to meet her several times when she ran our local Clandestine Cake Club. Her bakes are always delicious and as I love ginger these are definitely on my ‘to bake’ list.
And finally this is one of my own favourite bakes from the year – Blueberry, Lemon and White Chocolate Cake 
Here’s to 2016 and lots more baking, blogging and sharing!

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Cranberry and Orange Cake

This is a moist sponge made with oranges, filled with cranberry and orange curd and covered with cranberry and orange curd buttercream. Its a fruity alternative to Christmas cake and packed with vitamin C!

Cranberry and Orange Curd


225g Cranberries

2 Oranges

225g Caster Sugar

50g Butter

2 Eggs, beaten


Remove the skin and pips from the oranges and place the fruit and juice into a saucepan. Add the cranberries and cook the fruits gently until very soft. Blend or mash well so that the mixture is completely smooth. Pour the mixture into a double pan with water in the bottom pan, or a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the sugar butter and heat, stirring well until everything is well dissolved. Add the beaten eggs slowly, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Leave to cool completely before using. It will need to be stored in the fridge if not using straight away.

Spicy Orange Cake


50g Orange Juice

100g Golden Syrup

250g Caster sugar

250g Butter

4 Medium Eggs

250ml Milk

400g Plain Flour

2 Teaspoons Bicarbonate of Soda

2 Teaspoons Mixed Spice

Zest of 2 Oranges


Preheat the oven to 170c and grease and line 2 x 8” (20cm) cake tins.

Place the orange juice, golden syrup, sugar and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir well till everything is melted and dissolved. Leave to cool.

Whisk the eggs and milk together.

Stir the flour, bicarbonate of soda, orange zest and mixed spice together, then add to the eggs and milk and beat well. Add the orange, juice, syrup, sugar and butter mixture and combine everything but don’t overbeat.

Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for about 25 minutes until cooked.

I made orange syrup to drizzle over the cakes as they came out of the oven by heating 50g orange juice and 50g caster sugar in a small pan. Stir well and bring to the boil until it becomes thick and syrupy.

Cranberry and Orange Curd Buttercream

I made buttercream by beating 250g softened butter and 250 icing sugar together well for a few minutes. Add about 4 tablespoons of the cranberry and orange buttercream curd. More can be added if needed.

Fill the cake centre with a layer of the cranberry and orange curd and a layer of the buttercream. Then thinly spread some of the buttercream around the top and sides of the cake, leaving some of the cake showing through giving a ‘naked’ effect.

I decorated the top of the cake with some fresh cranberries which had been covered for several hours in a layer of caster sugar to sweeten them a little.

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes


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Chocolate Orange Cupcake


There’s still time for some last minute Christmas baking! Along with the last of the mince pies I baked today, I’ve made some chocolate orange cupcakes. Chocolate is always popular at Christmas and these have a rich chocolate, almost truffle flavour. These can be frozen, fully decorated so are perfect to pop in the freezer for any unexpected guests over the festive season.

Ingredients for Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

100g Butter (softened)
110g Caster Sugar
3 Medium eggs
2 Tablespoons Milk
120g Self Raising Flour
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Zest of 1 large Orange
25g Dark Chocolate (chopped into small pieces)

Ingredients for Rich Chocolate Orange Frosting

150g Dark Chocolate
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
250g Icing Sugar
200g Butter (softened)
50g Vegetable Shortening (Trex)
1 Tablespoon Orange Juice
Plus 25g Dark Chocolate zested and sprinkled over the top of the completed cupcakes.

To make the cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 160c and place cupcake cases in a 12 hole cupcake or muffin pan.
Beat the softened butter and caster sugar together well.
Whisk the eggs together lightly with the milk.
Whisk the flour, cocoa and baking powder together.
Mix all these ingredients together with the orange zest and beat for one minute, making sure everything is combined.
Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases and add a tiny piece of chopped chocolate to each one.
Bake for about 20 minutes until ready. Leave to cool.

To make the frosting

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Leave to cool a little.
Beat the other ingredients together well; then add the cooled, melted chocolate. If the frosting is a little thick, more orange juice can be added.
Pipe or spread the frosting onto the top of the cupcakes.
Finish by sprinkling zested dark chocolate over the top.

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes