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My Golden Pear

Saturday, 10 August 2013


I woke up yesterday to the news that there was a family wedding taking place that very afternoon.  Now this wasn't your normal kind of wedding that takes 12 months to organise.  No this one had to be done in a day!  The bride, aka Puzzy and the groom, aka Fuzzy are bears that live with us and no they are not real bears - that's right - we were hosting a wedding for two stuffed bears.  My six year old son loves detail so I knew this would be a well thought out wedding.  I was right.  He made a red carpet out of cardboard which was the length of the living room floor.  All the other soft toys were laid out as guests.  A small lavender sachet became the ring cushion upon which lay a jewel any girl would be proud of.  The bride had a gorgeous fuchsia pink veil attached to her ears with clothes pegs.  The fact that she wore nothing else did not seem to concern neither my son nor my daughter.  The groom had a paper kilt made for him with a sgian-dubh attached to the front.  This was worn in typical Simon Cowell fashion - up round the armpits and again with no other clothes.  Super Monkey was brought in as the priest wearing only red briefs and a red cape.  Music was by Coldplay. 
My job in all this was Head of Catering.  The Groom requested chocolate cake and the bride wanted raspberries.  I thought I would go the extra mile and made some chocolate cupcases which once the cake was baked I placed into the chocolate cases and then decorated with cream and raspberries.
I also thought long and hard about a gift for the couple and so while all the preparations were taking place I made up this cute little cupcake holder in the shape of an oven.
I can't imagine many brides who wouldn't want a brand new pink oven to start off her new life of married bliss. 
This also leads me nicely into the fab competition which is being run by Rangecookers.co.uk.  All you have to do is make and blog about a cupcake to win a Select 90 dual fuel range cooker in stainless steel.  Now I may pretend to care what two stuffed bears would like for their wedding but in reality I'm thinking of a gorgeous new oven for myself.  Selfish, I know.
Anyway, back to the wedding.  The day was a great success - the bears are off on honeymoon to the Isle of Toyland, the kids had great fun, and I enjoyed watching the creativity that every 6 and 4 year old should be allowed to express.
If you would like to make these gorgeous, deliciously moist, fresh chocolate cupcakes served in their own edible chocolate cupcases and drizzled with tangy raspberry sauce (yes I really do want to win that oven) then here is the recipe ...

Chocolate & Raspberry Cream Cupcakes

For the printable version - click here

  • 65g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 70g raspberry jam
  • 25g self raising flour
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 80 ml buttermilk
  • 250 ml whipping cream
  • 2 tsps icing sugar
  • raspberries for decoration
  • raspberry sauce for decoration
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C, (350F).
  2. Beat together the butter, caster sugar and vanilla essence until light and creamy.
  3. Add the egg and beat well.
  4. Add the jam and beat until smooth.
  5. Fold in sifted flours, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa alternately with the buttermilk until nice and smooth.
  6. Spoon mixture into cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre.
  7. Leave cakes to cool completely before decorating.
  8. Whip cream and icing sugar together until thick.
  9. Pipe cream onto cakes and decorate with fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce.
  Notes : I served these cupcakes in edible chocolate cases which I made by melting chocolate and coating silicone moulds before placing in the freezer to set.  Once set, peel off the moulds and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
I made the raspberry sauce by blitzing fresh raspberries with a touch of lemon juice and icing sugar to taste and then passing through a sieve to remove any seeds.

 Written by: Angela Darroch



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Tuesday, 16 July 2013


The latest Bake Along challenge is for these lovely baked doughnut muffins from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith DayI can't remember ever making traditional fried doughnuts and to be honest they would never be top of my list for a tea time treat.  I would probably have given this challenge a miss had it not been for my complete failure at making the last challenge which was a Japanese cheesecake.  I'm so glad I did try these as they are much nicer (in my opinion) than the heavy, fried version which seems to be so popular these days. 
 I made large muffins but I think next time I would opt for the smaller version as they would probably be easier to handle.  My favourite version so far has been Bake For Happy Kids which were done in a cake pop tin.  They look like the perfect size.


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 large or 12 small muffins
  • 335g plain flour
  • tsp baking soda
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 tblsp plain yogurt
  • 70g butter
  • 85g sugar
  • 1 egg
For the coating:
  • 70g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • ½ tblsp ground cinnamon
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Lightly grease a muffin tray for 6 large or 12 small muffins.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine the milk and yogurt in a small jug and set aside.
  5. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the egg and beat until just combined.
  7. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk mixture and mix until just combined - do not over mix.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, filling approximately full.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch.
  10. For the coating - melt the butter and place in a bowl.
  11. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  12. Once the muffins have cooled completely, dunk first in the melted butter and then coat with the cinnamon sugar.                         
Best eaten fresh.
I will be submitting to Bake Along #43 hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours
Written by : Angela Darroch

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Sunday, 16 June 2013


In the build up to Fathers Day I asked my hubby if he had any preference as to how he would like to spend it.  "How about you do the barbecue this week" was the reply.  "Uh, ok if that's really what you want" was my less than enthusiastic response "but what if it rains?"  "Ok, then I would like a big juicy steak with mushroom sauce and roasted butternut."  Now that is more like it but I still wanted something a bit more extravagant.  "How about a dessert?" I tried.  "Nah, no thanks" and that was that.  No fun for me in the kitchen on Fathers Day.  Well, that is until I saw the theme for The Sunday Baking Club which is Summer Sunshine Week. 
Now I don't think I've seen the sun all week but summer to me is fresh strawberries and lashings of cream. I had bought this chocolate transfer sheet from Squires Kitchen a while ago and was desperate to try it out so what more of an excuse does a girl need.
  Into the kitchen I went and whipped up a four layer sponge cake but later decided that would just be completely over the top so only used three of the layers.
 I then blended some of the less than perfect strawberries together with some icing sugar and a dash of lemon juice to make a lovely, tangy strawberry sauce.
  I then whipped up some fresh cream and chopped up some fresh strawberries. I layered all this together and then moved on to the fun part.
  I melted some dark chocolate and spread this over the transfer sheet and placed it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so until it set.
I then removed it from the fridge and peeled the transfer sheet off and revealed the most beautiful piece of chocolate with strawberries on it.
  I broke this up into shards and placed them round my cake.
I added some whole strawberries on the top and drizzled with some more strawberry sauce and hey presto - a cake full of British Summer goodness.
So for all the special Dads out there but especially for my Dad and my hubby
I used the sponge mixture from here but only because I like a dense sponge.  Any good Victoria sponge recipe will do.
 Tea Time Treats which is hosted by What Kate Baked  and Lavender and Lovage has a theme of layer cakes this month so here we go ....

I'm also submitting this to A Mummy Too's weekly blog hop


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Monday, 6 May 2013


The latest theme for the Bake Along challenge is Celebration Cupcakes. 
 The girls have been baking together for two years now and I wish them well for the next year and look forward to joining in many more bake along events.
I wanted to make something that was a little bit indulgent as that is what I associate with a celebration.  The cupcakes themselves are standard vanilla cupcakes so feel free to use your own tried and tested recipe if you have one.  The toffee cream is super indulgent and once you add a bit of caramel sauce over the top you have something worthy of any celebration.
We had nothing in particular to celebrate but it didn't stop us from enjoying every little morsel.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 large or 12 small cupcakes
  • 225 g plain flour
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 150 ml milk
  • 50 ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  •  For the toffee cream
  • 110 g sugar
  • 2 tblsp water
  • 400 ml cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas 6.
  2. Arrange 8 - 12 paper cases in baking tin.
  3. Sift the flour, sugar and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
  4. Whisk together the egg, milk, oil and vanilla.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients until combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes.
  8. To make the toffee cream, heat the sugar and water in a pan over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. You should not need to stir.
  9. Continue cooking, and again do not stir, until the sugar turns a golden amber.
  10. Remove from the heat.
  11. Slowly pour the cream into the pan. It will bubble up but not enough to spill over the edge of the pan.
  12. Stir until well combined.
  13. Chill well, stirring occasionally.
  14. Whisk the toffee cream until soft peaks form.
  15. Arrange the toffee cream over the top of the cupcakes.
  16. Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve.
    A happy 2nd birthday to the Bake Along girls,
    Written by : Angela Darroch

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Monday, 29 April 2013


If I had to name my top guilty pleasure it would have to be dairy products.  From a simple cheese sandwich accompanied with a cold glass of milk to a fresh scone topped with jam and clotted cream and then of course there is hot toast dripping with salted butter.  I could go on and on...  I'm very much aware that these all have to be eaten in moderation but that is what a guilty pleasure is all about - you know it's bad for you but you just can't help yourself.  Well you can imagine my delight when I saw that the latest theme for Bake Along is Tres Leches cake. 
I had never heard of it before and on further reading discovered it to be a light sponge cake soaked in not one, not two but three different kinds of milk. I am not a fan of soggy desserts and couldn't imagine that this cake would not have a 'soggy bottom' and was intrigued enough to give it a go. You definitely have to leave it soaking overnight to avoid the soggy texture and even after that the ends were still a little wet BUT it was delicious. The final result is more sticky than wet and you will find yourself seeking out the wet bits because they are so moreish. As a family we very seldom finish off a whole cake but this one disappeared in a flash. I even discovered my hubby had had a sneaky slice and that is very unusual as he does not have a sweet tooth. Most of the recipes I had seen suggested serving with cream and fresh fruit and it was good this way but I think I preferred it just on its own.
A very delicious, sticky and surprisingly light Latin American treat.


Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes plus resting time
Total time: 1 hour plus resting time

Yield: 6 - 12 depending on size of slices

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g (½ standard tin) sweetened condensed milk
  • 200g (½ standard tin) evaporated milk
  • 200ml single cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
  2. Grease and line a 23cm/9in square cake tin.
  3. Beat the egg yolks with 2/3 of the sugar on high speed until the yolks are pale and creamy.
  4. Add the milk and vanilla extract and combine well.
  5. Add the flour and baking powder to your mixture and stir very gently until combined.
  6. Beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff.
  7. Fold the egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined.
  8. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 35 - 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.        
  9. While the cake is baking - combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cream in a small bowl.
  10. As soon as the cake comes out the oven, prick all over with a skewer and slowly pour over your milk mixture. (I left my cake in the tin).
  11. Leave the cake overnight (in the fridge) to absorb all the liquid. (I turned my cake over once during this time so that any excess liquid drained back down into the cake).
  12. Decorate with whipped cream and fresh fruit or just serve as is.      

Adapted from BBC Food

I am very happy to finally be able to submit a post to Bake Along which is hosted by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Joyce of My Kitchen Flavours and Lena of Frozen Wings.

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Sunday, 3 February 2013


No time to make a pudding? – 14 minutes from start to finish is all you need …..

It was while I was reading through the list of requirements for the Credit Crunch Munch Challenge that I remembered this super quick pudding that I used to make many (many) years ago.  It was back when microwaves were still quite fashionable and we used to cook a whole meal in about 12 minutes, unlike nowadays where we tend to use them more for reheating and defrosting food.  I had just started out on my own and only had a microwave and an electric frying pan with which to do all my cooking.  This lemon ‘ping’ pudding was a firm favourite both because it was so quick and it could be used so many different ways.  I don’t think you’d win any prizes for the best sponge pudding if you were to enter a competition but once you add a sauce over the top and serve with custard, cream or ice cream – well who cares about perfection. I’ve even cooked some apples with sugar and lemon juice, put them in the dish with the sponge mixture on top and cooked for 4 minutes to give me a super quick Eves Pudding.  Add some cocoa powder and chocolate and you have a quick chocolate pudding which is great with a bit of chocolate sauce over the top. It is also a really easy pudding for kids to make because they don’t have to use the oven and it’s ready before you’ve even had a chance to tidy up their mess. 

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 minutes
Total time: 14 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6

  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tblsp lemon curd
Cooking Directions
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, vinegar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
  3. Spoon into a microwave-proof baking dish.
  4. Microwave on High for 3 - 4 minutes until set and a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Leave to rest for 1 minute.
  6. Turn out onto a serving plate.
  7. Meanwhile, heat the lemon curd in the microwave for 30 seconds..
  8. Pour over the top of the sponge pudding and serve with vanilla ice cream.
As this pudding only takes 4 minutes to cook in the microwave I am going to enter it into the Credit Crunch Munch Challenge which is hosted by the lovely Camilla over at Fab food 4 All and Helen over at Fuss Free Flavours.

I have also used up some left over lemon curd (I had to check with Mrs Beeton to find out if this was a preserve) so I can enter the same pudding into the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Kate over at Turquoise Lemons
As this is also a perfect pudding albeit not a very glamorous one I can enter it into the Tea Time Treats Challenge which is being hosted this month by Kate over at What Kate Baked and Karen over at Lavender and Lovage on alternate months.
Written by : Angela Darroch 

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Friday, 25 January 2013


I can hardly contain my excitement whilst writing this post. Why? you may ask. It looks like just any other muffin topped with the usual artery clogging butter and sugar frosting. Well guess what - there is no butter, no refined sugar and it is grain free. I have most definitely not turned over a new leaf and gone super-duper healthy but I have been following the progress of a lady over in New Zealand who is trying to alleviate some of her health issues by changing her diet. Suzanne's blog is over at Strands of My Life and is full of interesting information about using alternative products to change the way we eat. Suzanne is adamant that going gluten, dairy and refined sugar free should not mean that she cannot have her sweet treats and this gorgeous treat below and many others are as a result of her hard work to achieve this.

The muffin itself is made with coconut oil, coconut flour, honey, carrots, raisins, shredded coconut, eggs, bicarb and cinnamon. I found the first two products at Holland & Barrett and they are not cheap. £14.00 for the two products is a lot to pay but if you are plagued with food intolerances then you may have these items already. I was just curious and wanted to try them out for myself. The baked muffin is quite heavy and dense but not unpleasant. It is sweet and tasty and very moist. But the piece de resistance is the fabulous chocolate frosting. This is made from avocado, cocoa and honey. It is unbelievably thick and creamy and has absolutely no taste of avocado. Suzanne explains about the benefits of avocados so I will not repeat it here. If like me, you have children then you will know that it is usually the frosting on a cupcake that they go for, leaving the cupcake for someone else to finish off (me). Every time I watch my children devour all this butter and sugar I feel guilty but this would be so different. Yes, avocados contain fat but it is good fat and honey is so much better for you than all that refined sugar that makes up icing sugar.

I have just returned from picking my 6 y/o up from school and couldn't wait for him to try one of these muffins. I had placed the muffin so that he would see it as soon as he came into the kitchen and of course he begged to have it there and then. I was trying to act as normal as possible so as not to alert him to the fact that is was different. He took his first lick of icing, looked at me and said "did you make this?" Oh here we go, he's sussed me out, I thought. "Yes," I said, "why?" He walked over to me and gave me a big hug and said "this is so yummy, thanks." He didn't eat the muffin but that is not unusual.

The next time I make chocolate cupcakes for the kids I will definitely use this frosting.  It is just so much healthier than the buttercream frosting I normally use.

For this fabulous recipe and more information on going grain, dairy and refined sugar free pop over to

Because these muffins are sugar free I am going to submit them to the We Should Cocoa challenge which is hosted by
and to the Calendar Cakes challenge which is hosted by
Written by : Angela Darroch

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Thursday, 24 January 2013


For my next January challenge I decided to enter Random Recipes over at Belleau Kitchen. Dom, who is the guy behind Belleau Kitchen, asked if we could choose a recipe from someone else's kitchen for this challenge. My initial thought was to ask my Mum but as most of our cook books are the same I knew I was unlikely to get something new. My second thought was to ask my friend Sam. I have known Sam for a few years and we meet up once or twice a month for coffee and a catch up. We have many similar interests but one thing we don't share is my love for food and cooking. Sam eats to live, I live to eat. For this reason I have never told her that I have a food blog, conscious of not wanting to be a food bore and to witness the slight glazing over of eyes that I see from my husband when I start to talk about food. I sent her an email along the lines of "Hi Sam, would you mind choosing a recipe from one of your books and sending it over to me. It can be anything you want. Tks." Now Sam has been in my kitchen and knows I have 100's of books so I kind of anticipated her answer. The replay back was "What do you mean? Why are you asking me when you have so many recipe books?” I knew this was going to be hard to explain but I went with it anyway. I replied back, "I know it sounds weird but I am cooking something random for a guy called Dom.” The reply back was quick, "Who is Dom?” I was now having fun and decided to go with the flow. "Well he is a guy on the Internet.” Another quick reply, "You're talking to a guy on the Internet and cooking for him? What's going on?”  "Don't worry about it," I said. "Nothing untoward is going on. Just send me a recipe and I'll tell you all about it next time I see you.”  Not long after I received an email back with a recipe from The Fairtrade Everyday Cookbook for a Chocolate Apple Cake. She closed the email with "Can we meet for coffee this week?”

  I feel slightly mean for keeping her in suspense and I know she won't fully understand why I'm cooking something completely random for a guy I've never met but that's blogging for you.

 I made the cake a couple of days ago and loved it. I still had a couple of apples from our apple tree lurking in the back of my fridge and so made my own apple puree. There is something oddly satisfying about using home grown produce. I even had Fairtrade cocoa and Fairtrade chocolate so felt I was doing the recipe justice. The raw cake mixture was thick and fudgy and quite different to any other chocolate cake mixtures I've made before. Once cooked, the cake was beautifully moist and had the slightest hint of apple to taste. I was running out of time to finish it off, so wrapped it up in tinfoil and only took it out to ice today (2 days later). It was still moist and fudgy. I topped it off with the chocolate topping which I have to say set really quickly and had a nice crispness to it. If anything the topping slightly overpowered the taste of apple in the cake but it is still good. This is not a showstopper of a cake but more a family favourite and so much better for having some fresh apple in it. 

Now I really must get back to Sam about that coffee date.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hr 5 minutes
Yield: 16 squares
  • 120 ml vegetable oil
  • 225g Fairtrade sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 175 g plain flour
  • 40g Fairtrade cocoa
  • 1.5 tsp Fairtrade ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 225g apple puree (from 2 med apples and 125 ml apple juice or water)
  • 75g Fairtrade plain chocolate
  • 25g butter, softened
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F). Grease and flour a 20 cm square baking tin.
  2. Peel, core and chop the apple up into small chunks.
  3. Place the apple juice and apple in a saucepan and simmer gently until the apple breaks up easily.
  4. Puree the apples, measure out 225g and set aside to cool.
  5. Beat the oil, sugar and egg in a large bowl until pale in colour and fluffy and set aside.
  6. Sift the flour with the cocoa powder, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda in another bowl.
  7. Stir alternate spoonfuls of the flour mixture and the apple puree into the egg mixture.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place in the oven.
  9. Bake for 35 mintutes, or until a fine skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  10. Turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
  11. Melt the chocolate for the icing in a bowl set above hot water in a saucepan over a low heat. Remove it from the heat and stir in the butter making sure there are no lumps left.
  12. Spread over the top of the cake to decorate.
Written by : Angela Darroch

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Monday, 14 January 2013


I had a tiny bit of lemon curd left over from whoopie pies which I had made last week.  Normally I would treat myself to some hot buttery toast with the lemon curd but as I have decided to try and enter some challenges this year I decided to be a bit more creative.   As I didn't have very much lemon curd I only baked half the quantity and ended up with 3 gorgeous little cupcakes for today's treat. 
I used a meringue cuite mixture only because the kids would eat one and I wanted to make sure the eggs were cooked.  It is a little more work than normal because you have to whisk over a hot stove for 10 minutes but if you ever need meringues to hold their shape whilst cooking then this is the perfect solution. 
 You can also keep this meringue mixture in the fridge for up to a week and it will still pipe beautifully.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Yield: 6 large cupcakes
  • 110 g butter
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 110 g self raising flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp custard powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 50 ml lemon curd
  • 2 egg whites
  • 115 g icing sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C (160 for fan oven). Place 6 large paper cases in a cupcake tin.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Sift in the flour, salt and custard powder and lightly fold into the mixture alternately with the eggs until well blended.
  4. Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch.
  5. When the cakes have completely cooled, cut out a hole the size of a 2p coin from the centre of each cake. Fill with lemon curd.
         To make the meringue cuite           
  1. Sieve the icing sugar into a heat resistant bowl with the egg white.
  2. Place your bowl over a half-full pan of simmering - not boiling - water, whisk with an electric mixer until the mixture is thick and glossy, approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Place the meringue mixture into a piping bag and pipe on top of the cupcakes.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 230 deg C and bake the cupcakes for a further 5 minutes or use a cooks blowtorch to brown the tops.
I am submitting this for Tea Time Treats hosted by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked     
Written by : Angela Darroch

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Sunday, 25 November 2012


We all have recipes that we turn to time and time again.  The ones that never let us down, the guaranteed crowd pleasers, the ones that just make us feel good.  These banana muffins are one such recipe.  I hate to think how many I have made over the years.  They freeze beautifully so there is no excuse to not have some freshly made muffins on hand when those unexpected visitors pop in.  I normally let my bananas ripen until the skin is black and really soft.  They look terrible but have so much more flavour than their yellow and slightly under ripe partners.  If I am not ready to make the muffins I'll peel and mash them up and freeze the pulp until such time as I am ready to bake. 
 Today was such a grey, miserable day with the rain lashing down from early morning that I could think of nothing nicer than putting a fresh pot of coffee on to brew and having some fresh home cooked banana muffins to cheer us up.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 (large)
  • 240g plain flour
  • 125g butter
  • 250ml (1 cup) soft brown sugar
  • 4 very ripe bananas (peeled and mashed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tblsp water
  • 7ml (1.5 tsp) baking powder
Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy.
  3. Stir in the mashed bananas and beat to combine thoroughly.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending well.
  5. Sift flour and salt onto mixture and stir well.
  6. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in water and stir into mixture.
  7. Add baking powder and stir well.
  8. Pour batter into muffin moulds and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
  9. Cool in tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Written by : Angela Darroch       

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Saturday, 3 November 2012


I can't believe it has been three months since I last posted on my blog.  The beginning of August was when the kids broke up for their summer holiday and it has just been one thing after another since then.  I had almost decided to not carry on with my blog because of the amount of time it takes up but I have really missed it and so for my own 'me time' I'm back.
The kids are now on their half term break and had asked me to bake them a cake.  Their preference is always for a chocolate cake and when they saw this one on the front cover of the latest Olive magazine it was a done deal.  I was really pleased with the way it turned out.  It was really moist and lasted for at least a week which I think is quite unusual for a chocolate cake.  I did have a little disaster when I was taking the photos.  My backing board (which is a heavy piece of wood) fell over and of course it fell on the cake - completely ruining my nice glossy glaze.  Still tasted good though!!

  • 225g unsalted butter, diced
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 175g self raising flour, sifted
  • 50g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 100ml full cream milk
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • 100g milk chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 15g butter
  • 30g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 50ml water
  • 1 tblsp golden syrup
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C and butter and baseline 2 x 20cm sponge tins with removable bases.
  2. Put all the cake ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and cream together.
  3. Divide the mixture into the cake tins, smoothing the surface.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Run a knife around the collar of the cakes and leave to cool completely.
    To make the buttercream
  1. Blend the butter, icing sugar and cocoa in a bowl and then mix with an electric whisk on high speed for 2 minutes until really pale and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg yolk and whisk for another minute.
  3. Spread the buttercream over the bottom sponge and sandwich together with the top sponge.
    To make the icing
  1. Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl set over a pan with a little simmering water in it, stirring until smooth.
  2. At the same time, combine the cocoa, water and golden syrup in a small saucepan and heat almost to boiling point, stirring until smooth.
  3. Add this to the melted chocolate and blend to a thick icing.
  4. Working quickly, smooth over the top of the cake using enough so that it drips down the side.
  5. The glaze needs to be prepared and used straightaway.  If it starts to appear oily, simply whisk in 1tsp of water until it returns to being glossy.
  6. The cake will keep well in a covered container for up to a week.
Written by : Angela Darroch

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Monday, 16 July 2012


There is nothing light and airy about this butter cake.  It is rich, dense and buttery giving it a beautiful moist texture.  I can't imagine them ever drying out but to be honest they are never around long enough to find out.  I usually bake mine as small individual cakes so that I can freeze them but you could use a loaf tin or a normal cake tin.  You would just need to increase the cooking time to about 55 - 60 minutes.

I was in two minds about whether to blog this recipe - not because it doesn't taste good but because I couldn't think how to make them look good in the pictures.  For me this is the hardest part of blogging as I am neither a photographer nor a food stylist.  Anyway - I decided that that wasn't a good enough reason to not share this recipe - so here are my very unglamourous but tasty clementine and almond cakes.


For the printable version - click here

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes

Yield: 8 large muffins

  • 2 clementines
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 3 tblsp ground almonds
  • 3 tblsp single cream
      Glaze and topping
  • juice from 2 clementines
  • 2 tblsp caster sugar

Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F).
  2. Prepare muffin tin or if using a cake tin, grease and line the base with baking parchment. An 18cm/7 inch round tin is about right.
  3. Using a fine grater, grate the rind from the two clementines and add to the caster sugar.
  4. If you want to intensify the orange flavour a bit more - you can whizz the sugar and zest a couple of times in a food processor to release the oils but no harm done if you miss this step.
  5. In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and clementine rind until pale and fluffy.
  6. Gradually add the beaten eggs to the mixture, beating well after each addition.
  7. Gently fold in the self-raising flour, followed by the ground almonds and the cream.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases or prepared tin.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes (muffin size) or 55 - 60 minutes for a large cake, or until a fine skewer comes out clean.
  10. Leave to cool slightly.
  11. Meanwhile, make the glaze.
  12. Put the clementine juice into a small saucepan with the caster sugar.
  13. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  14. Brush the glaze over the cakes until it has been fully absorbed.
Written by : Angela Darroch

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