Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2013

Classic Victoria Sponge with Rhubarb and Custard

I suppose that's a bit of a misnomer for a start. After all, a classic Victoria Sponge, as beloved by the Queen it's named after, is filled with raspberry jam and cream. But I had some rhubarb lurking in the fridge that I wanted to find a use for. I'd bought it at the weekend. An impulse buy. Partly initiated by the fact that I'd never actually prepared rhubarb myself before. I remember my mum cooking it when I was little. My granddad used to grow it on his allotment, and so at this time of year, some of the crop would find its way home on the back of his bike. Sometimes it would go into a crumble. More often than not, though, it would simply be stewed to an inch of its life alongside the Sunday roast. The rosiness of the rhubarb would glow against it's usual companion of pale golden custard.   As a child, I didn't really enjoy the taste. Now, though, I can appreciate its tartness, especially when tempered with a light sweetness of sugar. This

Lemon and Lime Poppyseed Loaf

Sometimes, the simplest things are the best. Nothing fancy. Just something fairly plain, made with love. Something that sometimes gives back to you in ways you least expect. But you're probably thinking, this is only a cake, after all. I should explain. I was surprised by how much Sam enjoyed this cake.   Given that he has now launched headfirst, it seems, into his toddler  days, getting him to sit in one place for longer than a minute or two is an achievement in itself. Yet he was very happy to clamber up and sit snuggled on the sofa with me, sharing a slice. A few precious moments stolen from an otherwise hurly-burly kind of day. And that made it really special.   Although I have made loaf cakes before, the results have been a bit hit and miss. I don't know why. The last one I tried (Primrose Bakery's Lemon Drizzle) I simply binned, as although I followed the recipe exactly, something happened and it just didn't turn out right. It sank di

Simple Focaccia with Rosemary and Flaked Sea Salt

In a fairly off hand way the other day, Mike commented to me that he loved bread and he didn't think he would ever want to give it up. It might've helped that at the time, he was chomping on several squares of this. But it made me think. Every so often, Mike and I indulge in one of our favourite little treats: a loaf of freshly baked bread.  Purely for convenience, and because we tend to fuel this urge as it strikes, we tend to rely on our local supermarket for this (it's a great ploy to have in-store bakeries and while there are a few artisan bakeries in and around Cardiff they're, sadly, not easily accessible for us).  Sometimes it's a simple Farmhouse loaf, sometimes it's one of those fancy flavoured breads the supermarkets have started to introduce.  One of my favourites is a Rosemary Focaccia. Freshly baked, it's heady aroma is irresistible.  It's on the days when I fancy something savoury, rather than sweet. Perhaps when it'

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Dark, fudgy icing on a chocolate sponge. Normally, that would be right up my street. Yes, I should've loved this cake. But something is wrong somewhere at the moment. I feel *gasp* as though I have gone off chocolate. Whether it was the effect of some bright sunshine for a change, whether I'm just a bit jaded at the moment, or the amount of chocolate that I've eaten over the last few months - just because it's an 'easy' snack and therefore all too easy to reach for, tsk, tsk - has taken its toll, it just didn't quite hit the spot. Instead, I've found myself craving sharpness and light. So much so, that I also baked another of the Limoncello Cakes I've posted recently. Now that really got my tastebuds going and it has kept Mike and I in coffee-time treats all week.   And yet, I had been really looking forward to making this cake last weekend, as Chocolate Fudge Cake was by popular request of the boys. I had found a new recipe to

Hazelnut, Lemon and Blueberry Layer Cake

Is it really June already? Has May been and gone? Oh, God. I feel a bit like John Lennon when he told Yoko that he was only going out for a packet of fags. It seems that time is getting the better of me at the moment. There just seems to be too much to do and not enough time to do it. Anyway, I hope you've all been having a great time - especially as we seem to have had a bit of summer at last. So after my impromptu break, I managed to get back into the kitchen today and tried my hand at some new recipes. This one is a gorgeously moreish layer cake. It uses spelt flour and toasted, ground hazelnuts to give a lovely, nutty taste to the sponge which is lifted by the tang of lemon zest. I used a cream cheese frosting to balance out some of the sugar, and as you can see, the top is loaded with fresh, juicy blueberries.   I really loved the combination of flavours. Very nice with an afternoon cuppa. Hazelnut, Lemon and Blueberry Layer Cake ( adapted from