Apples and more apples – toffee apple bundt

Yes, it’s that time of year again – apple time! I love the seasonal flavours that create a warm, cosy feeling and are definitely comfort foods.

I’ve made several versions of apple cake over the last few weeks, thanks in no small part to the lovely people from Incredible Edible and the apples I was given to use. I said I’d bake for Apple Day in Phillips Park and they generously gave me a big crate of local apples.

Here’s the basic recipe I used with a couple of variations – tweak as you wish!

Easy apple cake


  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 115g light brown sugar
  • 115g unsalted butter (chilled) plus extra for greasing
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg (large), beaten
  • 100ml milk (you may need a splash more)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g cooking apple – peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar (optional)


  • Preheat oven – 180C/160C fan
  • Grease and line your tin – I used an 8″ round tin but use what you’ve got and adjust the baking time accordingly. I’ve also done this in bundt tins and as a loaf!
  • Put the butter and flour in a bowl and add cinnamon. Rub them together using your fingertips (like making scones!) until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Don’t worry too much if there are a few larger lumps, as long as it’s mostly mixed and crumby it’ll be fine. This is a good step to do with the kids, although potentially messy!
  • Next, stir in the sugar
  • Add the egg, milk and vanilla and mix. You’re aiming for a thick batter, not too soft.
  • Put in your apples and stir gently. If you like, you can also add sultanas or raisins at this stage – about 75g should be enough.
  • Dollop the batter into your tin and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar if you’re not decorating the cake later.
  • Bake for around 30-40 minutes -this will be a similar length of time for most size tins, just keep an eye on it after 30.
  • It’s baked when it’s golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. You may need to test in a couple of places because you can be easily misled if you stick your skewer in a  bit of apple instead of a cakey bit!
  • Allow to cool in the tin for a bit, if you can wait. I often serve it almost immediately with vanilla ice cream or custard!

Custard buttercream

img_8593Easy as (apple) pie this one! I topped this cake with custard buttercream for an ‘apple pie and custard cake’ that I baked twice in the same week!

  • 100g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp custard powder
  • splash of milk to soften the mix, as required

Simply beat them all together until light and fluffy. This will make enough to top the cake above. I then sprinkled it with some fudge pieces.


Toffee Apple Variation

This is an easy recipe to adapt and is pretty robust. I’ve used it a lot recently! Here is how I did the toffee apple bundt version of the cake. I’ve been asked for this one a LOT!

Ingredients as above plus caramel – home made or shop bought is fine!

  • Make double the mixture from the recipe above
  • Prepare a bundt tin (spray with cake release and dust with flour)
  • Add half the mix to the tin, followed by a thin layer of caramel around the middle, without touching the sides of the tin. You don’t want to add too much at this point, because you don’t want to risk the cake splitting along the caramel line. Cover the caramel with the remaining cake mix.
  • At this stage, I stuck in a skewer and just gave the caramel layer a little swirl within the pan, to slightly mix it with the batter around it…like a marbling motion.
  • Put in the oven at 150C for around an hour – check it after 45 mins.
  • Cool in the tin as above then turn out onto a wire rack.
  • You can either serve it warm, or allow it to cool and drizzle the remaining caramel over the top.

Toffee Apple Bundt in the NordicWare Anniversary tin


Tickle my Toblerone

Ok, let’s be honest about this. When it comes to Easter, pretty much all most of us can think about is chocolate. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Egg-shaped, bunny shaped, wrapped in gold foil, or purple, filled with fondant or covered in a crunchy shell-coating.

It seems fitting that I do a chocolatey cake recipe for today’s blog post. Even if you’ve had so much of the stuff over the bank holiday weekend that you’re sick the sight of it, I think you’re going to want to add this little bundt to your repertoire of quick and easy cakes. Chocolate is my go-to flavour because it’s usually a hit with everyone. You’ll be able to whip up when you’re in the mood for something tasty.

This cake isn’t based on an egg-shaped chocolate – it features another funkily-shaped bar…Toblerone. This pyramid-shaped bar of pointy yumminess, a favourite of airport travellers everywhere, is flavoured with honey and nougat. I decided to take those flavours and turn them into a bundt: as usual I have used the basic bundt recipe from DollyBakes as my starting point and tweaked it into my own creation. If you haven’t checked our her site yet, please do so, as there isn’t anything about bundt cakes that woman doesn’t know!

Here’s the recipe for my Toblerone Bundt, with chocolate, honey and almond…

Ingredients for a 12-cup bundt

  • 225g butter or margarine
  • 400g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 300g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 250ml natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 toblerone bar (I used a 200g bar)
  • flaked almonds (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 160 degrees
  • Prepare your bundt tin with cake release spray
  • Cream butter and sugar in the mixer (or by hand) until pale and fluffy
  • Slowly add the eggs one at a time and mix gently
  • Mix the flour, salt, bicarb, cocoa and ground almonds together in one bowl, and the yoghurt, honey and vanilla in another.
  • Gradually add the flour mix, alternated with the yoghurt mix, mixing very slowly
  • Fold in the flaked almonds if using
  • Add the batter to your prepared tin, reserving a small amount
  • poke triangles of toblerone into your cake batter, point side down, in a circle around the tin (see pic) then cover the top with the remaining batter
  • Put in the centre of your oven and bake for around an hour and 15 minutes (I always check mine at around 50 minutes and see how it’s getting on.
  • Leave in the tin to cool for at least 30 minutes, but you can allow to go cold before turning out.
  • Decorate however you like…I chose to drizzle it with melted chocolate and crumble some toblerone pieces on top.

A half-sized version of this went with me on the train to Newcastle for a team meeting, and was a hit with my colleagues, who were tasting my baking for the first time! Four of us demolished the whole thing over two days…quite impressive cake consumption.

Carrot cake. I’m back with a bundt…

Hello. Remember me? I’m the woman who occasionally blogs about cakes, rarely blogs about singing and is rather fond of gin. I’ve had a bit of a leave of absence for a few reasons, but kick-started by the theft of my MacBook. I lostimage my blogging mojo and to some extent, my baking mojo too. I’ve had a run of bad luck with cakes, bundts particularly, and so I just didn’t feel it was right to post about my disasters on the world wide web. Hey, I know it’s okay to have disasters, but I was just a bit glum about the quantity of them!

It’s been a cakey couple of weeks for me. The Clandestine Cake Club has launched its second recipe book, A Year of Cake. The Manchester groups held a joint book launch party at Waterstones on
Deansgate (featured in the Manchester Evening News) that was attended by our founder, Lynn Hill, who also created a lot of recipes for the book. We also had a party in Leeds (it’s the wrong side off the Pennines,
but it’s where she’s from so I forgive her. Also don’t tell anyone as it really ruins my Lancashire cred, but I really love Yorkshire!) for the book contributors and club organisers. For the event I baked one of Lynn’s recipes from the new book. An olive oil, rosemary and lime bundt. This one worked. It’s the first one that’s worked in about 3 months! So it gave me my bundt mojo back. Hurrah!

I had a cake to bake for work, for a team meeting. I always like to bake for an appreciative crowd and the lovely folk at my work do seem to enjoy it. One colleague put in a request for me to bake, and as it was her birthday at the weekend, I couldn’t really say no. She requested either a lemon drizzle or carrot cake. I decided carrot would be lovely and seasonal. There are literally millions of carrot cake recipes out there, each with their own tweaks and variations, so I decided to have a bit of a play with recipes and ingredients and this is what I came up with.

Sweet carrots, warm spices and a simple cream cheese icing, this bundt was made in a 6-cup tin. For you non-bundt strange folk, you should be able to make it in a springform cake tin – 8″ should do. Just adjust the cooking times so that a skewer in the centre comes out clean. Should take around an hour depending on your oven.

Here’s the recipe…


  • caster sugar – 100g
  • self raising flour – 200g
  • vegetable oil – 85ml
  • carrots (grated) – 75g
  • eggs – 2
  • yoghurt – 75ml (I used lemon flavour, full fat)
  • salt ¼ teaspoon
  • cinnamon – 1tsp
  • mixed spice – 1tsp
  • raisins – 50g
  • walnuts (chopped) – 50g
  • zest of one lemon
  • vanilla – 1tsp

For the icing

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 75g full fat cream cheese (cold)


  • Preheat the oven to 180/160 fan
  • Spray your chosen bundt tin with cake release spray
  • Combine the flour, spices, salt, lemon zest, carrots, raisins and half the walnuts in a bowl and give it a good stir so everything is mixed and coated.
  • Using a mixer or electric hand whisk, beat together the sugar and eggs until they’re full of air, light in colour and the consistency of thick, double cream. Should take about 5 minutes.
  • With the mixer running, slowly pour in the oil, followed by the yoghurt and vanilla.
  • Next, add the flour and carrots mixture, either on the slowest mixer speed or by hand. Don’t over-mix at this point. You just want everything to be lightly combined.
  • Pop it into your prepared tin and into the oven.
  • Bake for around 45 minutes, depending on your oven. Test it after 40 mins with a skewer. If it comes out clean, you’re done.
  • Allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes or so, then turn out ont a rack and cool.
  • Make the cream cheese icing by mixing together the icing sugar and butter, then adding the chilled cream cheese and beating with an electric mixer for a few minutes until thick and pale and fluffy.
  • Slather on top of the cake (and the sides if you like) and sprinkle with the remaining walnuts.

image image image image image

Chocolate and Cherry Cake

Sometimes simplicity is best. There’s a temptation to create cakes with loads of layers, lots of flavours and toppings galore, and there’s no doubt that experimenting with baking like that can be exciting and challenging, but sometimes it’s good to get back to basics, classic flavours and just make a great, plain cake.

imageI decided to do just that with this chocolate and cherry cake. I had been sent some samples to review from the lovely people at Sugar and Crumbs. I’ve used their products before, having found out about them at the Cake and Bake show in Manchester last year. I was on the Clandestine Cake Club stand, and Sugar and Crumbs were just opposite us – I ended up buying loads of packets of their flavoured icing sugars. They suggested something chocolatey for Mothering Sunday, and with my mum coming over to visit, I saw a perfect opportunity to come up with a decadent chocolate cake for her to enjoy.

So, this cake uses their cherry-flavoured cocoa powder and I wanted to keep it simple to really test out the flavour of the cocoa powder. The cake itself is an indulgent and moist sponge filled with a cherry conserve. It’s a great base mixture that you can flavour as you wish. It’s also really easy and takes no time to mix together!


  • 225 g self raising flour
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder (cherry flavour)
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • Cherry jam or conserve (I used Frank Cooper’s Red Cherry Oxford Conserve)
    For the icing (optional)
  • 100g soft butter
  • 200g icing sugar (I used sugar and crumbs Black Forest flavour icing sugar)
  • Splash of milk
  • Fresh cherries to decorate


  • Preheat oven to 150 (140 fan oven) and prepare two 8 or 9″ sandwich tins with paper and sides greased
  • Weigh out the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together
  • Using a mixer, whisk the eggs until they’re pale. Add the buttermilk, syrup and oil and give a quick whizz
  • Divide the mixture between the two tins and pop in the centre of the preheated oven.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean and the sponge springs back to the touch.
  • Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn the cakes out onto a rack to cool.
  • Slather one of the sponges with cherry jam – I used about half a jar. Top with the other sponge
  • For the buttercream, beat the butter until it starts to soften then add the icing sugar gradually, with a splash of milk. Keep beating until it’s light and fluffy.
    Make sure you taste it lots along the way to make sure it’s the right amount of sweet!
  • On top of the cold cake, whack the buttercream in whatever style you choose. I went for a bit of piping, just for a laugh (my piping is abysmal!) but swirled on with a palette knife looks just as good. Then top with some fresh cherries if you like. Take the stones out or leave them in…just warn people if you’re not pitting them. Ouch!image

And that, my lovely people, is it!

imageSo what’s the verdict. Well, the whole cake disappeared in one day, so that tells you something. The opinion of my tasters (mother, sister, four children, friends) was that the cherry flavouring in the sponge was subtle but definitely there. Sugar and Crumbs pride themselves on their flavours being natural, and we all agreed that the cherry flavour wasn’t synthetic tasting at all, and not too strong. It definitely added to the cake and we all liked it. Thumbs up. The black forest icing sugar in the buttercream was also really, really good! I used it with half normal icing sugar so the flavour wouldn’t be as intense, and that balanced nicely.

I’ve used several of the Sugar and Crumbs icing sugar flavours, and also the orange cocoa powder before (all bought by moi) and enjoyed the results of all of them, so I’d definitely suggest giving them a go. There are lots of flavours to choose from and they are a good way of adding an extra layer of flavour into your baking. I have a friend who made some lovely meringues (you can read her blog about them here) using raspberry ripple flavour icing sugar.

Disclaimer: I was sent these products to review by Sugar and Crumbs, but I have not been paid to write about them. All opinions are my own (and that of my cake testers!)image

Ginger and Chocolate Bundt

Welcome to the first recipe of my 101 ways with fresh ginger series.

With piles and piles of ginger root burning a hole in my freezer, I wanted to create a tasty cake for the second Gin Club gathering, which I was hosting this weekend. Gin Club is nothing more than a few friends getting together to try a few different gins with a variety of mixers and garnishes…and a few snacks, but it’s really taken a hold on us and we love it!

Without wanting to get too experimental, I decided on a classic ginger and chocolate combination, and of course, a bundt. As there were only five of us, I kept it small using my 6-cup Anniversary tin from Nordic Ware. Feel free to adapt the amount of ginger to suit your tastes. I wanted it to taste gingery, but not overwhelmingly so.

If you don’t have a 6-cup, simply double the quantities for a full size bundt tin.


  • 225g soft dark brown sugar
  • 115g margarine or butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks)
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 125ml natural greek yoghurt
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • Fresh ginger root, peeled and grated. I used a thumb-sized piece

For the topping

  • 50 g dark chocolate
  • double cream
  • crystallised ginger to garnish


  • Start by preheating the oven to 160 (fan) and preparing the tin. I use cake release spray to thoroughly coat the inside.
  • Cream the butter/marge with the dark brown sugar. It will get paler and fluffy in texture – should take a few minutes on high speed.
  • Next it’s egg time. Turn your mixer down to its slowest speed and them one at a time, until they’re mixed in but don’t mix too much at this stage. It might look a bit curdled, but fret ye not. It’ll come together.
  • Stop. Flour time. Mix it with the cocoa powder, bicarb and salt. Add some to the mixture, with half of the yoghurt. Mix slowly, add a bit more flour, the rest of the yoghurt, finishing with the flour. Don’t mix too much just yet.
  • Melt the chocolate using your preferred method – I do mine in a metal bowl, over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. It won’t take long and don’t over-heat it or it’ll go grainy. With the mixer on slow, pour in the chocolate. Give it a whiz for a few seconds so everything is mixed in.
  • And now it’s the ginger. Mine was frozen, which I found made it so much easier to peel and grate. It breaks up the fibres of the ginger, meaning it gets evenly distributed in the cake. So that’s my little tip! Stir it through the batter with a spatula.
  • Pop it into the tin, and onto the middle shelf of the oven.
  • Bake for around 50 minutes, check it with a skewer to see if it’s cooked. Probably give it another 10 minutes. That should be it done. You can still leave it in a little longer if you want a bit more a of a crunchy crust on the outside. Don’t worry about over-baking it – bundts are tough little cookies. Well, cakes, not cookies but you know what I mean. they’re pretty resilient!
  • Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes, longer if you like. Then turn out onto a rack to cool.
  • Whilst the cake is cooling (and making the kitchen smell amazing) make the topping. Melt the other 50g dark chocolate in the bowl over the simmering water again. When it’s melted, take it off the heat and drizzle in the cream, stirring constantly. Keep going until it reaches the consistency you want for your topping. When the cake is cold, pour the topping over. I wanted it quite thick but runny enough to slide down the side of the cake. This also meant I could lick the remaining dribbles from the plate underneath!
  • Finally garnish with little pieces of crystallised ginger over the top.

Dark chocolate and fresh ginger bundt

And how did it go down with the Gin Club girls? Really well! And I don’t think it was just the gin talking.
I was really pleased with the texture, the softness, the chocolatey goodness…and most of all the warm gingery flavour.


Satsuma and Pomegranate Bundt

Why is it so hard to think of something different? It’s nigh on impossible to be original when it comes to baking, I find. Almost everything I can think of has been done before. Other people have experimented and discovered flavours that work together, textures that are right for certain tins and bakes, what happens when you add a bit of this or swap a bit of that…and if something hasn’t been done before, it could well be for a good reason.

That’s what happened when I started researching this cake. After being given some bargain pomegranates (after my friend Emma had an incident in the Morrisons reduced veg section, not dissimilar to my ginger incident) I wanted to bake a cake that had pomegranate seeds in it. The thing is, there aren’t many cakes on the internet that have the seeds actually baked in the cake. They’re usually used as a garnish or made into a syrup and drizzled over the top.

I wanted little speckles of bright red in the cake itself. Little bursts of pomegranetty excitement. But, I did think that baking them could make the seeds disappear and just be small dots of disappoinment instead. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided that nothing was to be gained by being cautious and I was going to chuck them in anyway. I also wanted a citrus flavour with it…keeping it seasonal I decided to go with satsuma, for something a bit different to the usual orange.

satsuma2This recipe is for a 10-12 cup bundt tin. I used the NordicWare star tin, which is one of my favourites, but this should work well with most shapes except really intricate ones. For a 6-cup bundt tin simply halve the quantities!

Use the brightest, pinkest pomegranate you can find. They can be a bit of a bugger to get the seeds out and it can take ages. I don’t find the cheffy tip of bashing works, I just quarter it and gently peel off the thin, papery skins and pop seeds out. If you want to cheat and buy the pre-packed seeds because you can’t be bothered faffing with de-seeding your own, I won’t tell anyone.

Thanks as ever to Dollybakes for her basic bundt recipe, which can be found on her smashing blog. If you’re new to bundt baking, I strongly suggest you read her starter tips and get stuck in. Everyone I know who’s caught the bundt bug follows her recipes with success.


  • 225g butter or margarine (I used Stork)
  • 450g caster sugar
  • 350g plain flour
  • 250ml full fat greek yoghurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon satsuma juice
  • zest of 4 satsumas (use more or less depending on your preference, but I like strong flavours)
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds (about half a fruit)
    For the icing
  • 100g Icing sugar
  • Satsuma juice
  • Pomegranate seeds and satsuma zest (to decorate – optional)


  • Preheat oven to 160°C(fan) (320°F) and prepare your chosen tin by greasing or using cake release spray.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until it’s pale and fluffy. In a mixer, with a hand mixer, or with a spoon if you’re bonkers. This will take a good few minutes – if you’re not sure it’s ready, beat a bit longer.
  • Gradually add the eggs, whilst mixing slowly. SLOWLY. If the mixture is starting to curdle a bit, add a sprinkle of the flour.
  • Mix together the flour, bicarb and salt, and add half to the mixture. Keep it slow.
  • Mix together yoghurt, zest, satsuma juice and orange extract. Add this to the mixture. Keep mixing slowly.
  • Now add the rest of the flour. Sloooowly mix until it’s all incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure it’s all mixed in. You should now have an orangey, voluminous bowl of luscious cake mixture. Be patient, you can lick the bowl in a minute.
  • By hand, fold in the pomegranate seeds.

    Fold in the seeds gently.

    Fold in the seeds gently.

  • Now dollop the mixture into your prepared tin. Make sure you’ve got it into all the crooks and nannies…give a little wiggle if necessary. Fill the tin about 3/4 full, not all the way to the top.
  • Pop into the oven (middle shelf) and bake for around an hour and 15 minutes, might be a bit less or a bit longer depending on your oven. Check after an hour, but don’t open the door before then .
  • Now you may lick the bowl. And the beaters/spoons.
  • When done (no mix on a skewer, and the cake should be coming away from the sides of the tin), take out the cake and leave it in the tin to cool for as long as your patience will let you – at least 20 minutes though. If you turn it out too soon you’ll risk a tin-sticking incident.
  • Once the cake is cold you can decorate it as you choose. Sprinkle with sifted icing sugar for the most simple effect. I chose to make a satsuma icing, by mixing juice into the icing sugar until it’s thick and drizzling over the top. Garnish with seeds and zest.

satsuma3How was it? Well, my pomegranate wasn’t as pink as I’d have liked, but there were definitely little jewels of colour in the cake, which was what I was after. Did it taste very pomegranattey? No. Satsumay? Yes! Yummy? Definitely. Would I bake it again? Oooh yes. And I’ve come to realise that it’s ok not to be totally original. It isn’t the be all and end all. But just because something hasn’t been done by lots of people, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea, and giving things a whirl can pay off. Be brave…with cake anyway.

This cake was created for the Manchester North Clandestine Cake Club event – Telly Addicts. You can read all about our event on the Clandestine Cake Club website. I organise the Manchester North group and if you’d like to find out more and join us, please get in touch. It’s a fabulous way to share cake, meet people and experiment with your baking. And it’s free!

101 Ways With Fresh Ginger

If there’s one thing I can’t resist, it’s the reduced sections at the supermarket. I also can’t resist gin, but let’s stick to the story! The other day I was stocking up on veg for the obligatory January health kick – I’d got a recipe for a carrot and cabbage asian style salad (from a friend, but I think it’s a River Cottage recipe) and what do I spy in the cheap section…fresh ginger! Not just one root. Not a couple of roots. No. It was over half a kilo. For 35p. I needed a ‘thumb size piece’ for my recipe but the bargain-grabber in me just couldn’t resist this huge bag of gingery fabulousness. There were actually TWO bags of the stuff, but I thought buying both would be ridiculous (bah!!). I also got 6 red peppers for 45p! So off I trot to the till, chuffed to bits with my bargains, but not a flipping clue what to do with it all.

ginger-rootTruth be told, I’m not a massive ginger lover. A hint, yes. In cakes, definitely. Ginger beer….urgh no! So quite what possessed me, I’m not really sure.

So, what does someone who doesn’t really like ginger do with all that fresh ginger root? Freeze it, for starters. Give some away to some ginger-loving friends. And then do what I do best…research. A quick search of tinternet gave me a few ideas. Obviously cake would be a good option – dark chocolate and ginger is a taste sensation. Biscuits – citrus and ginger would be lovely. Soup – classic carrot and ginger. Stir fry and asian style salads.

If you’ve got any ideas about what I can do with all my ginger, please do let me know! But as I experiment with it all, I will write up my recipes, and if you ever find a huge bag of ginger with a yellow sticker on at your local supermarket and want to know what to do with it, perhaps I’ll be able to give you a bit of inspiration!

And maybe, just maybe, at the end of all that ginger I might start to like the stuff. I wonder if I can put it in gin….