Sunday, 26 February 2012

Marmalade cake for National Marmalade Week

In honour of the first  "National Marmalade Week" , this weekends bake is a Marmalade cake using my homemade marmalade. I made the marmalade a few weeks ago using lovely seasonal seville oranges purchased at my local Booths supermarket, it was a devil to set on this occasion but I got there in the end. My cake is based on the classic sponge recipe with the addition of marmalade to give it an extra orangey zing, in the past I have also used ginger marmalade in a similar recipe for a ginger variant. Make sure that you incorporate plenty of air when creaming your fat and sugar so you don't end up with a dense cake.

Marmalade is such a versatile ingredient to have in your store cupboard as you can use it as it is, on toast, in cakes and desserts and in savoury marinades and roasts.
Give Paddington Bear a shout as I am sure he would love this cake.


  • 175g Margarine or butter
  • 175g  caster sugar
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 3 eggs - free range please
  • 75g marmalade
  • Grated orange zest
  • Preheat your oven to 160c fan / 180c normal
  • Grease you cake tin, I used a loose bottomed one about 9 inches across or a 2 lb loaf tin
  • Cream you fat and sugar until fluffy
  • Ad your marmalade and orange zest, mix and then carefully add your eggs, you may need an addition of flour to stop the mixture curdling.
  • Add the rest of the flour and mix well
  • Spoon into your prepared tin, level
  • Bake for approx 30 -35 mins in your preheated oven until well risen and golden on top.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Apple & chocolate Torte

I have been rummaging through my recipe archive and a came across a recipe for this delicious dessert / cake. It features the deliciously delicate flake chocolate, as far as I know only Cadbury's makes flakes. So apologies if you can't get hold of this chocolate if you aren't in the UK. 
The resulting bake is a tender apple scented delight, you can serve when cold with cream or ice cream or unadorned.

  • 350g plain flour
  • 125g butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • Vanilla sugar for sprinkling
  • Large chocolate flake
  • 2 or 3 cooking apples
  • Preheat your oven to 180c fan / 200c non fan
  • Rub the butter into the flour and then stir in the caster sugar
  • Butter a loose bottomed or spring formed cake tin ( roughly 22cm)
  • Press down 1/3 of the crumble mixture into your tin
  • Crumble over the flake and cover the base
  • Slice your apples finely and arrange evenly over the chocolate layer
  • Sprinkle with your vanilla sugar
  • Pour on the rest of the crumble on top of the apples
  • Pat down gently
  • Bake for 25 -35 mins until lightly golden
  • Leave to cool in the tin and then carefully remove the tin sides.

Low Fat Oaty blueberry loaf cake

I try wherever possible to make my baking healthy, I am great believer in the positive benefits of a piece of cake and if it healthy too then great. This recipe features low fat or no fat yogurt, something I normally have in my fridge, the fabulous anti oxidant rich blueberry , but you could use blackberry if that works for you and the cholesterol reducing oat. Cinnamon is also featured ( one of my favourite spices ) which supposedly has the properties to help regulate blood sugar levels.
What I do know is it tastes good, so hopefully its doing you good too. Based on an american recipe for mufffins,I have pimped its health content by adding the oats and spices.

  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 3/4 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup low fat / no fat plain yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup skimmed milk
  • 2 eggs - free range
  • 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon - to make cinnamon sugar
  • Pre heat your oven to 180C
  • Spray a 2lb loaf tin with oil spray
  • Mix your first 7 ingredients in a bowl
  • Whisk up in a second bowl, your eggs, yoghurt, milk, and lemon juice
  • Add the wet mixture to your dry mixture and stir until well mixed
  • Pour / scoop into your prepared tin
  • Sprinkle the top with your cinnamon sugar
  • Bake for approx 35-45 mins until well risen, golden and when tested with a coktail stick cooked through
  • Cool in tin, serve in chunky slices.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Vinegar Cake

This month Country Living has a campaign for you to try a new cake recipe - Vinegar Cake, the recipe can be downloaded from the Country Living website , and ideally they would like you to tweet your photo to them for them to retweet their favourites.

I haven't made Vinegar Cake before , so I thought I would give it a try , as I like to put my own slant on  a recipe, I used Raspberry Vinegar and Amaretto. Initially the cake is a little crusty, so it benefits from storing for a couple of days in an airtight tin but it develops into a delicious moist fruity cake with no hint of the vinegar at all.

Vinegar cakes were apparently popular in the days when eggs weren't easily available as the hens had gone off lay , fortunately this isn't something my hens suffer from and they lay pretty consistently all year round. 

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Goosnargh Cakes

For my Mum's 80th Birthday tea I was requested to bake amongst other things a batch of  Goosnargh Cakes by my eldest sister, these local cake / biscuits were also know as spell cakes in my childhood household. I can't recall baking them before but my Mum insists she used to bake them regularly as they were a favourite of my Father. 
Goosnargh by the way is a Lancashire village,  pretty much now subsumed by the Greater Preston but which is the home to other famous culinary delights as well as the cakes,  Goosnargh Duck, Goosnargh Chicken to name but two.
Caraway is an acquired taste a metholly aniseed taste, so go carefully with the quantity added to the mixture.


  • 3 oz butter
  • 2 oz caster sugar
  • 6 oz Plain Flour
  • 1 dessertspoon caraway seeds
  • Sieve your flour and sugar into a bowl, rub in your butter
  • Add the caraway seeds and mix well
  • Lightly flour a board and press out your mixture to about a 1/4 of an inch thick
  • Use a cutter to cut out round to your desired size.
  • Place on a greased baking sheet
  • Bake in a moderate oven about 160c ish, do not allow to brown
  • They are cooked when just firm
  • Dust with caster sugar and allow to cool fully before removing from tray.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Lancashire Hot Pot - the ultimate comfort food

Most children who grow up in Lancashire have fond memories of this special dish and debate rages as to whether it should contain carrots or not. I am firmly on the side of carrots as this is a peasant dish and would think that hungry mill workers , farmers and the like would make their lamb stretch as far as they possible could.
The same goes for my dish, I am using some wonderful local lamb from Spout House Farm up the road in Wheelton, but a frugal cut - hotpot chops, these are great value and yes they do contain bone but also a good chunk of meat too. Slow cooked they will provide a wonderful lamby flavour to the whole dish.Slow cooking means you can use a cheaper cook of meat but still come home to a soft yielding casserole, slow cooking is also very frugal too energy wise.

Once cooked it is traditional to serve your Hotpot with lightly pickled beetroot or red cabbage, delicious.

  • Lamb Hot pot chops
  • Onions - chunky chopped
  • Potatoes- peeled and chunky chopped
  • Carrots  peeled and chunky chopped
  • Thyme - fresh or dried - pinch
  • Lamb stock

  • Pre warm your slow cooker
  • Gently sear your lamb chops in a frying pan, add to your slow cooker
  • Fry off your onions, carrots and potatoes in the frying pan, scraping up any dark lamby bits
  • Add to your slow cooker
  • Rinse off your frying pan with lamb stock, bring to a simmer and add to slow cooker, add your thyme at this stage.
  • Cook for a minimum of 6 hours, thicken the stock is you want a thicker result using cornflour.
  • Enjoy

Sunday, 5 February 2012

CCC No 4 - Bean cake - yes really !!

The theme of the latest Clandestine Cake club is "Full of Beans" in tribute to the name of the venue that the club held its meeting at "Bean Drinking". Now I am not one for the obvious so I quickly discounted the cocoa bean, coffee bean and vanilla bean as the basis of my cake, some deep researching on the internet turned up a couple of interesting possibilities. The recipe called for pinto beans which I didn't have so I substituted a can of haricot beans instead, you could use cannellini as well.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter - softened or margarine
  • 1 egg - free range 
  • 1 can of drained and rinsed haricot beans - mashed ( I used my food processor)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 1 cup of dried fruit
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 cups of diced apple without peel - eating apples
  • Preheat your oven to 190 C, grease a round cake tin or bundt pan - 9-10 inch size
  • Cream your butter / marg with the sugar, then add your egg and mix, now add the mashed beans and vanilla.
  • Sift the flour, spices and bicarb in a bowl and then mix the apples and dried fruit, mix well to coat the fruit. 
  • Add to the wet mixture and pour into your prepared tin.
  • Bake for approx 45 mins - 1 hour, until cooked. 
  • Allow to cool and then ice if desired.

Hake with parmesan and parsley crust

I love fish and had recently picked a fabulous piece of Hake at my favourite fish stall on Chorley Market, this recipe is for a quick and easy topping which ensures that you fish stays nice and moist. Its also great as in most cases you will have the required ingredients in the cupboard and fridge.
Hubby declared this yum so next time you are cooking fish give it a go.


  • Fresh breadcrumbs, I used stale sourdough blitzed in the foodprocessor
  • Fresh lemon zest
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Grind of pepper
  • Parsley - fresh or dried
  • Little olive oil
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • Fish fillet - I used hake but you could use cod, salmon, etc just make sure its sustainable
  • Blitz your bread crumbs in food processor or blender
  • Grate in you parmesan, lemon zest
  • Add parsley , pepper and blitz a little more
  • Add enough oil to just moisten
  • Lightly oil spray your tray
  • Place your fish fillets on the tray and press the crumb topping on to them
  • Lightly spritz with oil spray
  • Bake in 180c oven for approx 15 mins, but vary this depending on the thickness of your fillets.
Delicious, easy recipe

Gluten Free chocolate cake

I do like to experiment and my deliberations on recipes for the next clandestine cake club meeting have taken me in the direction of this unusual recipe which contains no flour. So hence its gluten free, the cake doesn't rise much and is homely looking but can be spruced up by a liberal sprinkling of icing sugar or cocoa powder. It is also ideal to serve with ice cream, cream, creme fraiche or yoghurt. This is a high protein cake and has no added fats, so all in all its pretty healthy too.


  • 1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate
  • 1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed ( garbanzo beans)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Preheat oven to 180C , grease and base line a 9" inch springform cake tin.
  • Melt your chocolate chips either using a bain marie or microwave.
  • Pulse your chick peas in a food processor, now add your eggs and combine.
  • Add you sugar and baking powder and blend, ensuring you scrape down the sides to mix well.
  • Pour into your prepared cake tin
  • Bake for approx 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean, cool on wire rack.

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