Tag Archives: Cake Recipes

Lemon Drizzle Squares

I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like lemon drizzle cake, and these Lemon Drizzle Squares are a perfect way to feed the masses. You know I’m a fan of always having some home baking in the tin when possible, and this one keeps fresh and moist for a few days.

Soft buttery cake, with a sharp lemon zing and a crisp sugar topping – it’s delicious and you don’t have to go to as much effort as you would with a layered, iced cake. Just put the batter into a traybake tray, bake, allow to cool a little and then mix the sugar and lemon juice together to make your glaze, drizzle it over and you’re done. No need to faff around with a palette knife or anything. The squares are also a lovely size for a bake sale, and it’s quick and easy to whip up a couple of batches.

I made these recently for family coming to visit, and they were so simple to whip together between finishing work and them turning up, with so few steps to get to get to the finished article. And what’s more, you only need two lemons, so chances are you’ll be  able to make them with what you have in your cupboards and fridge.

Lemon Drizzle Squares

Lemon Drizzle Squares

Ingredients

  • 225g soft, salted butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 lemons, oersted and juiced separately
  • 275g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp double cream (or milk if you don't have cream)
  • 175g granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Line a large traybake tin or deep baking tray with butter and greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 160c.
  2. Cream the butter in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer if you have one. If you don't a wooden spoon and then a whisk and some elbow grease will do the trick (although this recipe will become less easy very quickly!)
  3. Add the caster sugar and mix together for a few minutes until very light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and mix them in for a good few minutes, until the mixture is pale and mousse. This is a great opportunity to bring in the air that will make your cake light and fluffy.
  5. Add the zest of the two lemons, and mix together.
  6. Finally, add the flour and the double cream and mix until just combined, then stop.
  7. Scrape the mixture into the tray and level out a little, making sure it reaches all the edges.
  8. Slide into the middle of the oven and bake for around 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and springy to the touch.
  9. Leave to cool for a few minutes while you mix up the topping, by putting the granulated sugar into a smallish bowl and adding the juice from the two lemons. Mix together well and leave to stand for a moment.
  10. Prick the sponge all over with a cocktail stick or similar and then spoon the glaze over the sponge, making sure you cover the whole of the cake's surface. Leave to cool completely then cut into squares or fingers.
  11. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea!
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If you like lemony puddings, why not try our Honey and Lemon Madeleines, Luscious Lemon Cake or Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes?

 

Banana Bread

This banana bread will not only take care of those extra bananas you have in the fruit bowl that are too far brown to eat, but it will also give you a delicious, moist cake that can be eaten alone or with a cup of tea. It doesn’t even need any butter or icing.

With bananas, there are three types of people in the world: those who like them a bit too ripe, those who’ll only eat them when they’re still a little green on the outside but firm and slightly sour on the inside, and those who don’t like bananas at all. Whichever type you are (I’m in the first camp), most people like banana bread, so it’s a great bake to have in the tin in case someone pops round for a cup of tea. It’s best eaten fresh on the first day, but will keep well for a few days before it starts to go stale.

This banana loaf is has a slightly caramel top, which is my favourite part, and it can be slightly gooey or firm in the middle, depending how long you cook it. It does contain eggs, so I’d errr on the side of more well baked if you’re feeding the elderly, young or pregnant. Baking anything in a loaf tin can be a bit tricky if you’re not used to your oven, so you’re at less risk of underbaking it if you leave it in the oven closer to the full hour and a quarter than the minimum hour suggested in the recipe.

Anything with bananas in it can give a false reading if you use the old skewer test* to check if it’s done, as the mashed banana can look very like raw cake batter and vice versa. I’ve always been more of a fan of the ‘prod test’ where you gently poke the cake with your fingertip at its deepest point – if it’s slightly firm and springy it should be ready, and if you leave it in the tin until completely cool the residual heat will keep it cooking a little.

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 100g salted butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanila bean paste
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 bananas (or 4 if they're particularly small)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 250g self-raising flour

Instructions

  1. Grab a loaf tin, butter it and line with greaseproof paper. If you don't have a loaf tin, you can use a couple of cake tins, but it should only need 20 minutes or so in the oven if you use shallower tins. Preheat the oven to 160c fan or 170c conventional.
  2. Weigh out the butter, which should ideally be at room temperature so it will combine better with the other ingredients. To the same bowl, add the caster sugar.
  3. Using an electric hand mixer if you have one or a good wooden spoon if you don't, mix the butter and sugar together for at least a few minutes, until they are well combined, soft and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and whisk up again, but keep going until the mixture is very airy, pale and mousse. It's the best way of getting lots of air in to give you a nice light cake.
  5. Mash up the bananas and add them to the mixture along with the vanilla and salt.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Finally, add the flour and mis this in, but this time you only want to mix for as long as it takes for the ingredients to be just combined.
  8. If you over mix, the cake will come out heavy and stodgy as you'll start to develop the gluten in the flour.
  9. Using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, scoop the mixture into the prepared tin or tins. Make sure there is a relatively even amount of cake batter across the tin, but don't worry about levelling it - the oven will sort that out.
  10. Now slide the filled tin into the middle of the oven and leave to bake for at least an hour, to an hour and a quarter until rise, brown and cooked through.
  11. When it's cool, slice up and enjoy!
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If you like baking with bananas, why not try our Chocolate Banana Muffins, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread or Flourless Banana Pancakes?

*The skewer test is where you use a skewer or cake tester (or very thin, sharp knife) to test if a cake is baked all the way through by pushing said skewer into the deepest part of the cake, all the way to the bottom of the tin, then pulling it out again. If there’s batter on the skewer when you pull it out, it needs more time in the oven,but if it comes out clean it should be ok. With banana bread, the banana pulp can look like cake batter on the skewer even when the cake is ready.

 

Honey and Lemon Madeleines

I’ve been making madeleines for a while now and think they’re a very much underappreciated bakery item so it’s about time I shared these honey and lemon madeleines with you. Madeleines, for those of you who don’t know, are essentially buttery, light, fluffy little sponge cakes, usually shell-shaped, offering a little morsel of sweetness to enjoy along with a cup of coffee. Originating in France (like all the best patisserie), madeleines are seemingly very plain and simple, but served up fresh and warm they are a pure buttery expression of love.  They can be flavoured or filled in all sorts of ways, and are pretty quick to whip up.  In fact, you can make up the batter the night before, settle them in the fridge for a few hours and quickly bake them off in the morning for a quick, delicious and downright impressive petit dejeuner or morning snack.  In fact, I think there’s a pretty strong case for the madeleine being the new cupcake.  Or macaron.

Although madeleines are traditionally baked in a shell-shaped tin (which have recently become fairly readily available in the UK), they would taste just as good baked in a shallow muffin tin or similar – essentially anything that will let you bake little cakes in a uniform shape. Whilst they are pretty easy to make, it is essential to chill the batter for around an hour and then bake it at a high heat, so prepare ahead!

This honey and lemon madeleine recipe is the one I return to most frequently, as it gives you that classic moreish hit of lemon as well as a sticky madeira cake-esque coating which raises these seemingly one-dimensional little pillows into something so much more complex.

Honey and Lemon Madeleines

Honey and Lemon Madeleines

Ingredients

  • 150g salted butter
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter and honey together gently in a saucepan then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until the combination is light and moussey in texture. Get lots of air in!
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and lemon zest and gently fold together. Finally, add the butter and honey mixture (when cool) and fold this in.
  4. Put the batter in the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 210c. Prepare your madeleine tin by buttering and lightly flouring each little shell shape.
  6. Put a tablespoon of mixture into each shell-shaped hollow and slide the tin into the middle of the oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 200c.
  7. Bake for around 10 minutes, until the centres have risen and the sponges are springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and remove from the tin - this should be achievable after only a couple of minutes of cooling with a gentle push sideways with your finger or a knife. Leave to cool and then dust with icing sugar. Repeat until all the batter has been used - you should get around 30 little cakes, depending how full you fill the tin each time.
  8. Enjoy warm, or cold for a couple of days, although they start to turn stale after the first day, so you may wish to keep some of the batter unbaked in the fridge to enjoy again.
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If you love lemon but would prefer something a little more complex or impressive, why not try putting together our Luscious Lemon Cake or Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes?

Luscious Lemon Cake

We celebrated Charles’ 29th birthday at the beginning of this month, so I made him this luscious lemon cake.  Of course, it was pretty difficult to keep it as a surprise with him popping in and out of the kitchen every now and then, and he had already spotted the homemade lemon curd in the fridge, even although I took a jar to his Mum to disguise the true reason for whipping up a batch a couple of days previously.  Not to worry – he knew there would be a cake of sorts so the fact that he knew it was a lemon cake was neither here nor there.  Besides, he had asked for a ‘healthy’ cake after we had spent the previous week working our way through his Dad’s ridiculously chocolatey birthday cake.

Anyway, it was a success all round after a few hairy moments during the decoration stage when the hot, muggy day combined with the heat of the dishwasher drying caused the icing to become a bit too slidey on occasion!  I decided to decorate it with loads of pick’n’mix jelly sweets and Haribo because jelly sweets are just about the only treat Charles has been allowing himself (apart from birthday cake, of course) since we both started eating a bit more healthily in preparation for our wedding (and in preparation for being super old).  I thought his Dad would think it was all a bit childish, but it raised a few laughs and smiles, after all, you can’t have a sweetie birthday cake once you’re in your thirties now can you?  This cake would still be great for general eating, and doesn’t really need any decoration, so you could leave off the sweeties and instead get creative with piping, texturising your icing or perhaps adding some candied lemon peel or edible flowers to make it a little prettier.  It’s effectively a moist lemon drizzle cake sandwiched with lemon curd and lemon curd buttercream, and decorated with the same lemon buttercream.  Delicious.  And perfect for summer.

Luscious Lemon Cake

Luscious Lemon Cake

Ingredients

    For the sponge:
  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp double cream or milk, or 2 tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • zest of two lemons
  • For the syrup:
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • juice of 2 lemons (so two whole lemons for the whole recipe in addition to the lemon curd!)
  • For the lemon curd buttercream:
  • 150g salted butter at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp double cream or half as much of your substitute
  • 300g icing sugar
  • Around half a jar of fresh lemon curd, although it's easy to get carried away!

Instructions

  1. Start off by preheating an oven to 160c fan or 170c non-fan assisted, and line yourself a couple of sandwich tins. Grab a large mixing bowl and a digital scale and that's you ready to go.
  2. Weigh out the butter and give it a good mix for a couple of minutes with an electric hand mixer to start it off on the road to becoming creamy and fluffy.
  3. Add the sugar and repeat the mixing process, continuing for a good 3-5 minutes on high power until the mixture is really creamy and fluffy and full of air. This is such an important step if you want a light and fluffy cake.
  4. Next, add the eggs, and repeat the process with the hand mixer. The introduction of the eggs should give you another chance to introduce some serious air, and you should only stop once it's pale coloured and almost frothy in texture.
  5. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, and quickly whisk in.
  6. The last stage in making your sponge batter is to weigh in the flour and measure out the cream or crème fraîche and add these to the mixture.
  7. This time, however, you want to introduce your electric whisk relatively gently and for as little time as possible, as this stage is just to combine the flour and moisture - overworking the batter will develop the gluten in the flour and give you a tough, heavy sponge, undoing all the good work you did with the butter, sugar and eggs. Whisk until just combined (although don't stop before it is combined or you might end up with pockets of flour in the finished cake).
  8. Your cake batter is ready for the oven! Divide it as evenly as possible between your greased and lined cake pans - I find a silicone spatula to be really helpful to scrape out the batter relatively efficiently making sure you don't waste too much to the washing up bowl. Even out the surfaces, but don't move it around too much or you could overwork the batter.
  9. Slide the cake pans into the oven and cook for around 20 minutes or until golden on the outside, starting to shrink from the sides of the pans and just springy when lightly pressed on top. Try not to open the oven until they look done as you could risk the sponges collapsing if the middles are still quite liquid.
  10. While your sponges are baking, you can get the syrup ready, as this needs to be poured over the sponges while they're still warm.
  11. Cut the lemons in half and thoroughly juice them, discarding any seeds.
  12. Grab a small saucepan and weigh out the sugar and water then add the lemon juice and stir it all together over a low heat on the hob. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and allow the mixture to boil and reduce down for a few minutes. You want a syrupy consistency, so don't be scared to keep it simmering if you think it's too thin - it's going to be poured over the sponge so you want it to catch and seep through, not soak immediately through the cake.
  13. When the syrup and sponges are both ready, leaving the sponges in the cake pans, carefully divide the syrup between the two sponges, pouring it slowly over the surface of both sponges, being careful not to over-saturate any one are of the sponge. Now leave them alone until completely cool.
  14. In a clean bowl, weigh out the butter for the lemon curd buttercream and give it a whizz up with the whisk. Add the cream and whisk again. The wetter and creamier you can get it the easier (and less messy!) it will be to add in the icing sugar.
  15. Now add the icing sugar and beat this in well, trying not to cover everything in a cloud of icing sugar dust!
  16. Add the lemon curd and mix again, and that's the buttercream ready for the cake.
  17. When the sponges are nice and cold, turn them out onto a plate or cake board, turning the first sponge upside down and centring it on whatever you're serving the finished cake up on. Peel off the greaseproof paper circle and check it's fully cool underneath before proceeding.
  18. Spread a layer of buttercream onto the bottom sponge, a few mm thick.
  19. Then add a layer of lemon curd, bearing in mind that if this is too thick the weight of the top sponge might squeeze it out.
  20. Now repeat the turning out process with the other sponge, placing it upside down on top of the first sponge. Using a pallette knife, ice the cake all over, as evenly as you can manage.
  21. And that's you ready to decorate!
  22. As I mentioned earlier, I decorated Charles' cake with lots of jelly sweets....
  23. ...and some birthday candles.
  24. But it will be delicious either way!
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Lemon Drizzle Baby Shower Cupcakes

Last Friday night after work we had a bit of a ‘do for a girl who is leaving in a couple of weeks, as well as a baby shower for another who is heading off on maternity leave.  as I have done for baby showers in years past, I agreed to make a batch of baby themed cupcakes for the occasion.  I actually had to make them on Wednesday night as I had my first wedding dress fitting on the Thursday so I had to choose a cake that would stay relatively moist (sorry) by the time Friday night rolled around.  Due to the baby boy cupcake cases I had being white and pale blue, I thought the obvious chocolatey choice would be too dark and hence would show through the cases so I settled on a much more baby-friendly lemon drizzle – a family favourite with a lemony syrup to keep the sponge tasting fresher for longer.

You will need:

250g salted butter, at room temperature

250g golden caster sugar for the cakes plus 150g for the drizzle

3 large eggs

250g self-raising flour

2 tablespoons double cream

3 unwaxed lemons

For the buttercream:

200g salted butter, at room temperature

400g icing sugar

zest of one unwaxed lemon

4 tbsp double cream

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

blue food colouring (optional)

appropriate sprinkles

additional decorations or cupcake picks

 

baby shower cupcakes

1. Preheat the oven to 160c fan, with the shelves nice and low so that you can slide your pan into the centre of the oven.  Weigh out the butter and give it a good old whisk up with an electric whisk (or a wooden spoon if necessary).  It helps if the butter is at room temperature but you don’t want it to be melting.

baking recipes  2. Add the sugar…
how to make cupcakes  3. …and whisk it up again.  Give it a few minutes to allow the ingredients to combine and become really soft and fluffy.  Next, crack in and combine the eggs one at a time.cupcake recipe  4.Whisk again for a good 5 minutes or so until the batter is really light and fluffy.  This is your best chance of achieving an aerated batter.  how to make cupcake batter  5. Carefully fold in the flour until everything is just combined (too much mixing and you’ll end up with hard, dry cakes). Then add the zest and juice of one lemon, plus 2 tablespoons of the double cream.  Mix until just combined.

lemony cupcake recipe6. Set out 12 cupcake cases into a 12 hole muffin tray and fill each case about 2/3 full.  This is quite a generous recipe so I actually had enough batter left for another 2 full-sized cakes and a half-sized chef’s perk morsel, although you may wish to divide the extra batter between the 12 cases for extra large cakes.  Some people like to use an ice cream scoop to get their portion sizes nice and even but I generally just freestyle it and risk my eye judgement being a little off.

how to make cupcakes. Slide the tray into the oven for around 20 minutes, or until risen, slightly golden and springy to the touch.

These are the cases I used, by the way – I bought them a couple of years ago at a local cake shop, but you can find them all sorts of places, including the good old interweb, or just use plain blue if you can’t find baby themed ones.  Of course, you can make these cakes for any occasion, just change up the decoration.  They’d be lovely for Easter actually.

baby boy cupcakes
8. Meanwhile, add the juice of 1 lemon and the zest of 2 lemons to the rest of the caster sugar and mix well. This is your drizzle. lemon drizzle recipe

lemon cupcake recipe

9. When the cakes have cooled to being just warm to the touch, pierce holes into the top of each cake with a cocktail stick then gentle drizzle a few teaspoons of the drizzle mixture onto each cake, giving it time to soak in. If you go too quickly it might slide right off again.

lemon drizzle cupcakes

10. Whilst you’re allowing the cakes to cool to room temperature, you can prepare the butter icing.

cupcake icing recipe

11. Weigh out the butter and whisk it up until soft then add the icing sugar, zest of one lemon and 4 tablespoons of double cream along with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or extract. To avoid the sugar clouding up too much, you might want to start mixing everything together with a spoon, or grab a clean tea towel to drape over the mixer and bowl. Whisk until light and fluffy.

easy buttercream recipe

12. Add a few drops of food colouring if desired

blue buttercream recipe

Then spoon into a piping bag (or you can freestyle with a spoon or knife and get spreading).

how to decorate cupcakes

13. Pipe even swirls onto each cake starting from the outside, working inward to a peak.

cupcake recipes

14. Sprinkle on your chosen sprinkles – I used pale blue, green, white and yellow sugar coated chocolate beans (like mini smarties) from the supermarket.    baby shower cupcake recipes

If you’re feeling extra creative (or flush) top with homemade cupcake picks or fondant decorations, or buy some sugar decorations form a local cake shop.  There’s a DIY instructional on my blog as to how I made the cupcake picks.

baby shower cakes

Now you’re all set for your shower or party!

Child-Friendly Chocolate Cake

We’ve given you a chocolate cake recipe before – a very dark, decadent adult chocolate cake – so here’s an old favourite I made for 9 year old twins’ birthday party. It’s still as moist as that deeply chocolatey cake, but it has less of a chocolatey hit and a much lighter icing, more suitable for kiddies’ palates. It can be eaten bare, as below, or iced with a slightly fudgier icing, but I dressed mine up in fondant to be a Minions birthday cake as requested. 

 child-friendly chocolate cake
You will need:

For the sponge: 

125g butter a room temperature 

225g dark brown sugar (I used muscovado)

2 eggs 

142ml sour cream

175g plain flour 

5ml baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 

50g cocoa powder 

For the chocolate buttercream:

100g butter

200g icing sugar 

50g Cocoa powder

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 tbsp sour cream

Optional chocolate fudge icing: 

200g Bourneville or supermarket brand chocolate (low in cocoa solids – or use 100g milk chocolate and 100g decent dark chocolate)

2 tbsp cocoa powder

142 ml double cream

You’ll also need two regular sandwich tins, lined and greased. If you don’t know how to do that, we’ve prepared a handy guide for you! Preheat the oven to 160c fan or 170c non-fan.

how to bake a cake 
  1. Weigh out the butter, then whisk it up with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. cake recipes using muscovado sugar 
 2. Add the dark brown sugar and whisk up again until even lighter and fluffier. chocolate cake recipes 
  Or as light and fluffy as something this fudgey will get….how to bake a birthday cake 
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking in one at a time.cake baking tips 
  4. Whisk for a good few minutes until the mixture is really light and airy. cake recipes using sour cream 
  5. Add the sour cream and whisk in.recipes using cocoa powder 
  6. Measure out the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.how to bake a cake using cocoa powder 
  7. Fold gently into the wet ingredients until just combined so you keep as much air and lightness in as you can manage – don’t panic about how sense the batter is – that’s what will make it moist and fudgey.how to bake a chocolate cake 
 8. Divide equally between the cake pans and bake in the centre of the oven for around 15 to 20 minutes, or until just springey get when touched and starting to come away from the sides of the tins. Leave for 10 minutes or so to cool a little before turning out (the sponges will shrink a little and be easier to turn out) then remove the greaseproof paper to help the cooling along. easy chocolate cake recipe 
 Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the butter icing together and whisk up until light and fluffy. If you give it a cursory mix first, it will help to stop the icing sugar pillowing up and covering your kitchen. 

  
Spread evenly over the lower sponge and put the other sponge on top. 

   
Now you have options! You can either cover the cake with the chocolate fudgey icing by warming the cream, melting the chocolate into it and adding the cocoa powder) and it’s good to go (it can be decorated with maltesers, chocolate buttons or whatever you fancy. Or you can leave it un-iced if it’s just for general eating rather than a celebration. 

  
I iced it instead with orangey buttercream and fondant to make it into a minions birthday cake.   

 

The Chocolatiest Chocolate Cake

It’s my Mum’s birthday today and it’s become a bit of a tradition that I make everyone a cake for their birthday. Usually, I plump for the traditional birthday cake with a lemony sponge and a jam and buttercream filling. However, being in the midst of exam fever, I didn’t really have 2 evenings to dedicate to crafting sugar decorations, so I figured she’d be happy with a chocolate cake. It’s not very birthday cakeish, but I think they all forgot to care about that when they tasted it. It is certainly not for the faint hearted. Imagine a brownie, layered on top of another brownie and covered with ganache. And you’re just about there.

  
You will need:

For the cake:

200g dark chocolate, 60%+ cocoa solids

200g salted butter

125ml brewed coffee

3 eggs

75ml buttermilk

200g light muscovado sugar 

200g golden caster sugar

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda 

25g cocoa powder 

85g plain flour

85g self-raising flour

For the filling:

25g soft butter

50g icing sugar

75ml double cream

75g white chocolate

1 orange (zest of whole orange and juice of 1/4)

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste 

6 tbsp jam, I used cherry

For the ganache:

200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

300ml double cream

2 tbsp golden syrup 

Pinch salt   

1. Preheat the oven to 140C fan and prepare 2 sandwich tins by buttering then and lining with circles of grease proof paper. Work out which of your glass bowls fits best with which of your saucepans so that it can be suspended over a small amount of water in the saucepan to create a bain marie. Boil a little water and pour it into the saucepan on a hob which is set to a low heat. You want the water to summer but you don’t want it to bubble to the point that it touches the bottom of the bowl, as that would burn the chocolate. Break the chocolate up and add it to the bowl, then add the weighed butter. Leave it on the heat, stirring occasionally until it starts to melt. 

  
2. Brew up some coffee. I measured out 125ml of freshly brewed espresso but you could mix 1tbsp of instant coffee granules with 125ml cold water. Add this carefully, little by little, to the melting mixture. If you add it too quickly it could cause the chocolate to seize. Once everything has melted and been mixed well, remove from the heat and allow to cool. 

  
  
3. In a separate bowl, whisk up the eggs. Add the buttermilk and whisk again, then add the two sugars, mixing well, incorporating as much air as you can. 

 
4. Add in the cooling chocolate and combine well. 

  
5. Add the bicarb, cocoa powder and 2 types of flour and fold together until just combined. Divide between the sandwich tins and put in the middle of the oven. 

  
This cake takes much longer to bake than your average cake. It’s a lower, longer bake, but,unlike a brownie, you want it to be evenly cooked all the way through. I tend to bake by eye so I didn’t time this, but keep having a look at the sponges through the oven door. I think this took about 40 mins – the edges will rise and set, while the middle remains droopy but bubbly, eventually, the middle will start to rise, cracking as it does so, but it will still need set all the way through. Once it looks like it had fully risen and possibly set you can tentatively open the oven door and give it a gentle prod or test with a skewer. When the skewer is clean it can come out. 

  
As the cake cools, the middle will sink back again. It’s nothing to worry about as long as it sinks to flat, and doesn’t collapse!

  
6. Make the white chocolate ganache filling by combining the softened butter and icing sugar. Warm the cream in a saucepan on the hob, but don’t let it boil. Break the white chocolate into the cream (off the heat) and grate in the orange zest. Stru until it had melted together and allow to cool to room temperature. 

  
7. Once cook enough, add the white chokers mixture to the butter and sugar and combine well. 

8. Remove the cakes from their tins and allow to cool.

  
 9. Make the chocolate ganache by heating up the cream, as before, and breaking the dark chocolate into it. Add a pinch of salt and stir together until melted. Set aside to cool, stirring every now and then, until you have a glossy, smooth paste. 

19. Sandwich together the soknges, spreading the bottom layer with jam then adding the white chocolate filling. 

  
20. Spread the ganache all over the cake, starting from the top and working down. If everything’s cool enough it shouldn’t spill over the board…in theory! Decorate however you like, with chocolate shavings or curls. I tempered done white chocolate to make some squiggly designs to add to the top abs sides, then added some copper honeycomb sprinkles around the circumference. 

  
This guy will keep for at least a week, if kept in an airtight container.

  

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

 I’ve loved banana bread for a long time. And not because it makes me feel pleased with myself for eating a fruity cake. It’s a great one to have in the cake tin, as it’s simple, delicious and keeps moister for longer than your average Victoria sponge. Ironically, you have to bake it for longer!

The chocolate added to this isn’t necessary, but it adds a bit of another dimension, making it altogether much more luxurious. 
 

You will need:

125g butter, at room temperature 

150g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

2 large, ripe bananas

1 egg

190g self-raising flour

60ml milk

75g chocolate chunks or chips 
  
  1. Grease and line a loaf tin and preheat the oven to 160C fan. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Crack in the eggs and whip them into the mixture until airy and moussey.

 
  2. Break the bananas in, mushing a little with your thumb. 

 3. Add the vanilla. Mix in well  

4.  Add the flour and fold in gently. Being careful not to overwork the mixture. Overworking will make the cake dry and heavy. Mix in the milk. 

5. Add the chocolate and mix gently.  
 
  6. Pour evenly into the loaf tin and put it into the middle shelf of the oven. 
  7. Bake for an hour, then check if the loaf is cooked by inserting a skewer or narrow knife into the centre. It can be hard to check, as sometimes traces of banana will cling to the skewer which might look like raw cake batter. If in doubt, bake for an extra 5 minutes. If this user cooked enough, it’ll collapse in the middle. 

 
  8. Slice and serve. It is especially delicious still warm from the oven. (Particularly if the chocolate is still slightly melty!). 

This loaf, if well covered, will keep for around a week.