Wednesday, 25 November 2015

What quantities of ingredients do I need for my cake tin?

How much mixture do I need for this tin, what recipe and quantities should I use?

These questions are regularly asked and it is very difficult to give a straight answer as there are so many variants, size, shape and height of tin for example, hopefully this chart will help?

As a general rule, measurement of ingredients for round tins are the same for petal, heart, hexagonal and octagonal. 
Square tins however need more mixture, so for a 6" square use the 7" measurements, 7" square tin the 8" and so on.

Madeira Cake Ingredients for different sized round cake tins all 3" deep

Here's what
to use;
Butter, softened
Caster Sugar
Vanilla Essence
1 tsp
1½ tsp
2 tsp
2½ tsp
3 tsp
3½ tsp
Medium Eggs (53g)
Plain Flour, sieved
Baking Powder
1½ tsp
2½ tsp
3 tsp
4 tsp
5 tsp
6 tsp
3 tbsp
4 tbsp
5 tbsp
7 tbsp
9 tbsp
11 tbsp
Approx Baking

Approximate baking times are based on;
Pre heated oven 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3

Here's how to make it;

Line your tin with greaseproof paper and sieve the flour and baking powder ready for later.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy before adding the eggs gradually, continue beating until it is all incorporated. This is best done in a mixer or with a hand blender.
Now you can add the vanilla essence, flour and baking powder.
The milk is added at the end, add enough to make the batter loose, so it will fall off a spoon.

Tip the batter into the cake tin and make sure that the top is smooth before baking.

Test that your cake is ready with a cake tester or skewer, insert in to the middle of your cake, if it comes out clean it is ready.
Baking times are only a rough guide as all ovens are different, so always keep an eye on your cake so as not to over or under bake it.

Leave the cake to cool for a while before removing it from the tin, peel off the paper and leave on a wire rack until completely cool.

It will keep for a few days in an air tight container or alternatively, wrap it in plastic and freeze, for up to a couple of weeks, celebration cakes are much more easily decorated from frozen.

I hope you find this information useful and it helps you achieve the perfect cake!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Who Doesn't Like Coconut Ice?

This pink and white coconut ice is delicious and needs no baking: what colour will you make yours?

Here's what I used:

  • 397g can condensed milk
  • 350g desiccated coconut
  • 350g icing sugar
  • few drops vanilla extract
  • pink food colour
  • 23cm x 20cm x 4cm deep tin

Here's how I made it:

Pour the condensed milk into a large bowl before adding the desiccated coconut, icing sugar and vanilla extract. Mix well with a wooden spoon, spatula or your hands as I do, a bit messy but quick and effective.

Half the mixture into a lined tin and press down flat, damp fingers work well for this task.

Line your tin with greaseproof or baking parchment, this prevents the mixture from sticking and eases the lifting of the coconut ice from the tin ready for cutting.

Add a few drops of your chosen colour to the bowl with the remaining mixture. I chose pink for this batch but it looks great in bright green too. You can use whatever you like and be creative.

Spoon the coloured mixture onto the the first layer and press down evenly smoothing the top.

Cover loosely with cling film and leave overnight in a cool place to dry out and set firm.

Lift from the tin and cut into about 40 pieces before storing in an airtight container. It will last for up to 3 weeks if kept cool. I don't think you will need to test this out cos it won't last that long!

I hope you like this recipe, I've tried a few different ones and this is undoubtedly the easiest and the best tasting yet! It makes a lovely gift that is always well received or of course you can just spoil yourself with a special treat.

Hands off it's mine!

Colour free coconut ice!

First layer in place!

Pink coloured coconut ice!

Top layer done!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

It's Only Fudge!

My Favourite: Creamy, salted caramel flavoured fudge. What's your favourite flavour?

Oh no, have to eat it now!

Here's what I used:

  • 100g butter
  • 550g demerara sugar
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 350ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes

Here's how I made it:

You must leave it to set!
Cut into small pieces, or not!
Melt the butter, sugar, syrup and cream in a medium sized high sided, heavy based pan.
It needs to be a high sided pan as the mixture will double in volume when simmering.

Stir until the sugar has dissolved then simmer over a medium to low heat until it reached 100°C, stirring occasionally.
Turn it down if it starts to stick, you don't want it to burn.

Now stir more regularly until the temperature reaches 116°C.
What ever you do, don't leave it!

Take off the heat and add the vanilla extract and sea salt.
The better the quality of the vanilla the better the flavour!

Give the mixture a  good beat with a wooden spoon or spatula for a couple of minutes until it thickens and loses it's shine.

Pour into a lined 23x23cm or if you prefer, 9" square tin.
Line your tin with greaseproof or baking parchment, to prevent the mixture from sticking and so the fudge is easy to lift out when cooled.

When it has started to firm up, after about an hour, cut into small squares and leave until completely cold.
Don't be tempted to remove it from the tin at this stage, it won't be set enough.

When set it is ready to test, but be warned, you may need a couple of pieces just to be sure it's up to standard!

It will have a longer shelf life if you keep it refrigerated. Not that it's going to last long enough to go off!

See how long you can resist?

It is possible to add other ingredients to this fudge to spice it up a bit, such as cherries, raisins, other dried fruit or even nuts.
What will you add to yours?

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Spooky Halloween Cake!

This three tier novelty cake is the perfect table centre piece for a Halloween party. Made from 10" and 8" round cakes and a 6" sphere for the pumpkin.

The base cake is covered in purple sugar paste and allowed to dry over night in order to ease the addition of the decoration. This is done with a black edible pen by copying haunted house pictures found on internet, first with an outline and then colouring in to achieve dark silhouettes.
The moon is a large circle of bright yellow sugar paste, attached with edible glue and painted round with orange food colour to give a more subtle but spooky appearance.
Grave stones, which are just crosses are added between the houses and a tree branches break up the moon along with a few bats in flight.
Grey food colour is painted in the sky for haunting clouds and finally twinkly lights add the finishing touch to the houses with bright yellow food colour painted on with a very fine brush.

The mummy tier is covered in white before adding strips of pale grey sugar paste cut randomly then attached with edible glue. Two eyes are made from bright green balls of paste with smaller black, red then yellow balls added to make scary eyes, these are stuck on with the glue and more strips are added around them to give the effect of them peeping through the bandages. A dusting of dark grey food colouring to finish makes it look old and dirty.

In order to cover a sphere you will need your orange sugar paste to be quite thick, this gives you more time for moulding and makes it less likely to crack. Place the paste over the cake and wrap around with your hands smoothing as you go, the base need not be covered as it will sit on top of the mummy. When covered mark on some grooves going from top to bottom with the back of a knife and
add a green stalk and with some leaves to the top.
The features are cut from black sugar paste, the eyes are triangles, the smiley mouth a zigzag line turned up at the ends, attached with glue.

After the cakes have been stacked, roll out a strip of red sugar paste about an inch wide with one straight edge, this sits against the cake and one wavy edge. Attach to the cake drum, you'll need to use one that is 14" round in order to take the decoration, then add some tear drop shaped balls of paste to look like blood dripping from the cake down the board.

That's about as frightening as I can do, what a wimp! It's not too terrifying for little tots either!
Hopefully it's given you some ideas for your own SPOOKY Halloween cake.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Yummy Raspberry Jam!

Why do raspberries always ripen at once? After picking two kilos in one day, I decided to make some jam and was not disappointed. How can something so simple taste so good?

Equal quantities of fruit and Granulated sugar are used for this jam, so if you have two cups of fruit, you will need two cups of sugar, two kilos of fruit, two kilos of sugar!

I prefer my jam a bit tart so I added some freshly squeezed lemon juice. If like yours sweet just leave it out.

My very large cooking pot contained two kilos of raspberries, squashed with a potato masher to release the juice but leaving a few whole so the finished jam has fruity chunks!

Choose a big saucepan because when the jam achieves a rolling boil it doubles in volume.

Put your raspberries on the heat and boil for a couple of minutes before adding two kilos of sugar and lemon juice if using. The juice of one lemon to about 500g of fruit works for me.

Stirring constantly, bring to the boil and keep it boiling, this is called a rolling boil, for how many minutes is going to depend on the amount you are making.
My two kilos took about 20 minutes, a smaller amount will get hotter quicker so will be ready in less time.

The setting point for jam is 220F or 105C, the best way to check for this is with a sugar thermometer, it can be clipped or rested on the side of your pan with the end in the mixture. When the correct temperature is reached your jam should set.

Pre heat your oven to 120C before washing your jars in hot soapy water and rinsing well, place in the oven on a baking sheet until they are completely dry. This sterilises the jars helping to preserve the jam and prevent it from going mouldy.

If like my son, you don't like seeds in your jam, it can be put through a metal sieve.
A sieve made of anything else is going to melt as the mixture is very hot so be very careful when potting up your yummy jam!

Leave to cool before sealing on the lids and store for later use, if you can't eat it all in one go!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

How Do You Colour Cake Batter?

 How to make bright eye catching cake batter and bake them into bright eye catching sponge cakes!

A basic sponge mix is best for this purpose as you will need to beat the colour into the batter, if you make a genoese for example, the beating action will disperse all the air and you will end up with a brightly coloured biscuit!

Basic Sponge Cake Recipe

225g (8oz) Self Raising Flour
225g (8oz) Butter, at room temperature
225g (8oz) Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Essence


Preheat oven 180C / gas mark 4 and line 2 x 8" round cake tins.
Mix all the ingredients together in one bowl then divide the batter into two.

Now you are ready to add your chosen colour, the brighter the better.

I've opted for orange and purple.

Add a teaspoon of colour before beating together until evenly distributed.

It is important to use bake stable food colour, this will ensure the colour you have chosen is the colour you will get.

Add the coloured batter to your prepared cake tins levelling with a spatula before baking for approximately 25 minutes.

Remove from the tins and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

You may think at this stage that the colour is not very bright, but don't be fooled, trim off the bake crust and "voila" fab intense colour, marvellous!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Watch out for that bumpy road!

This cake decoration is achieved with a simple car cutter and added detail to make this fun, bright & colourful birthday cake, perfect for your little back seat drivers!
This 10" round sponge cake and 13"cake drum have been covered with a bright ice blue sugar paste/fondant.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Red Velvet!

These Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting look and taste amazing, perfect for a special treat!

Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe

250g plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g soft unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
1 tablespoon red food colour paste
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
175ml buttermilk
1 teaspoon cider or white wine vinegar


500g icing sugar
125g cream cheese
125g soft unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cider or white wine vinegar


Pre heat oven 170 C/gas mark 3 and line 2 muffin tins with paper cases.

Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy before adding the food colour and vanilla extract. Add the eggs slowly along with spoonfuls of the dry ingredients to prevent the mixture from separating, keep mixing until everything is incorporated.

Finally mix in the buttermilk and vinegar before dividing into 24 cupcakes.
Bake for 20 minutes then leave to cool in the tin.

Meanwhile, blend all the frosting ingredients together starting with the butter, cream cheese and vinegar before gradually adding the icing sugar. Spread or pipe on top of the cooled cakes and enjoy!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Sunflowers, Hessian & Vintage Lace Cake

I designed this Vintage Sunflower cake for a friends 50th birthday, the brief was "up to you to feed 100 party goers!"

The invitations had a sunflower theme so I used that for my inspiration. I thought two deep cakes would be better than one huge one so opted for 6" deep 10" square with an 6" deep 8" round on the top.

I made the sunflowers using yellow flower paste for the petals and brown for the centres, when dried a good dusting with darker shades of yellow and some orange was added to the petals and darker brown to the centres before steaming to set the colour and achieve a more natural finish.

This flower choice does some what limit your colour options but I decided on a mink brown and sage green colour scheme to blend together rather than to clash.
White sugar paste had brown and a dash of pink food colour added to achieve the right shade of mink and spruce green was added to ivory sugar paste for the sage green colour.

A wood effect iced cake drum helps to draw the eye away from the dark flower centres making them less obvious and obtrusive. (there is a video on this blog showing how to achieve the wood effect)

Edible Hessian and Vintage lace was was achieved with "edible lace & moulds" after letting this dry over night the Hessian was dusted with shades of brown and beige for a realistic look.

I draped one piece over the top tier, the other around the base of the bottom tier.
For a more feminine look I added a double edged decorative lace and edible buttons to the bottom and a taller flat edged lace around the base of the top tier.

Bunting was made out from pieces of left over Hessian cut into triangles with letters added to spell out a birthday message, attached with piped string and more vintage edible buttons.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Yummy Pud!

Don't waste your left over bread, make a yummy pud instead! This bread pudding is a great way to use up left over bread, rolls and buns. Try it you'll love it!

Bread pudding recipe

500g left over bread
500ml milk
200g dried mixed fruit
2tsp mixed spice
2 medium sized eggs
100g melted butter
100g caster sugar
2 table spoons of brown sugar.

The darker the sugar you use the darker the pudding will be, I've used light brown sugar in this one cos that's what I had in the cupboard.

For the mixed fruit, sultanas, currants raisins and mixed peel work well and give lots of flavour and different textures.


Pre heat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4 and line an 8" square tin ready for the bread mixture.

Soak the bread in the milk for about 15 minutes until soft before adding all of the other ingredients and mixing well.
Put in your prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes in the middle of your oven.

Sprinkle with granulated sugar while still warm, then cut into small squares once cool and enjoy!