Monday, 27 May 2013

Oreo cupcakes

Our 10 year old son recently went away on a school residential, and as a coming home treat I decided to make him some Oreo cupcakes. He rather adores these creamy, chocolatey biscuits and always manages to sneak a packet into the shopping trolley whenever he comes to the supermarket with me. I'd not made these particular cupcakes before and had no idea how they would turn out; would the surprise Oreo at the bottom of each cake be a melty, soggy mess, or even worse, a burnt offering? But, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and the results were just as I hoped. These are incredibly easy to make and, if you decide to make them, will be a huge hit.



100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1.5 tsps baking powder
40g unsalted butter
120ml whole milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
12 Oreo biscuits


180g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter, softened
1tbsp milk

12 hole muffin tin, lined with cases

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees/gas 3.

2. Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and butter in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on a slow speed until you have a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

3. Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla together in a jug and add to the flour mixture, beat to combine and then turn the mixer up to high speed to get rid of any lumps.

4. Twist each Oreo biscuit in half and place each half with cream on in the bottom of the muffin cases (cream side up). Place the remaining halves in a freezer bag and, with a rolling pin, beat to a rubble.

5. Spoon the cake mixture on top of each Oreo and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Meanwhile, make the buttercream by whizzing together the icing sugar, butter and milk until it's smooth and soft in consistency. Gently stir in the rubbly Oreos before spooning the cream on top of each cupcake. I decorated each cake with a mini Oreo placed at a jaunty angle, but you can decorate yours however you wish.

7. Enjoy!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Rich, squidgy chocolate cake

As well as being really simple to make, this cake, for me, has all the essential elements that a wicked chocolate cake should have: melting, luscious and mood-enhancingly good. I would normally make a cake like this on special occasions, or when family/friends are coming to tea, but, on the way to school one morning I mentioned to my son that I would be doing some baking and asked him what sort of cake he would like me to make. "I'd love a big, gooey chocolate cake", he replied. So voilĂ , this is what he (and the rest of us) ended up with.



230g butter, softened
230g soft, light brown sugar
4 large eggs
170 self-raising flour
60g good quality cocoa powder
2 tbsps milk


170g icing sugar
60g good quality cocoa powder
115g butter, softened
1 tbsp milk

Grease and line two 20cm round cake tins

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degs/170 degs fan/gas mark 4

2. Cream the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer, or with a hand-held whisk, until light and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, with a spoonful of the flour/cocoa to prevent the mixture from curdling.

4. Fold in the remaining flour/cocoa with a metal spoon, and add the milk.

5. Divide the mixture equally between the two cake tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the sponge, comes out clean.

6. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.

7. To make the buttercream, simply mix the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter together in an electric mixer, or with a hand-held whisk until smooth. Add the milk to give a softer consistency.

8. Once the sponges are cold, divide the buttercream in half. Use one half to sandwich them together, and the other half to spread over the top. Adorn with whatever decorations you like; in this case, I used some grated white chocolate.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Sticky ginger cake

This is one of those cakes that's quick and dead easy to make. It's also one of those cakes that gets better and better after three or four days in the tin, as the pungent ginger flavour and moistness of the sponge intensify beautifully. It's dark, rich and sticky and adds a welcome hint of warmth on a cold winter's day.


225g self-raising flour
115g soft, dark brown sugar
4 tsps ground ginger (you can add more for extra zing if you like)
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
55g butter
115g golden syrup
1 egg
200ml milk

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degs C/gas mark 2 and line a 20cm (8inch) cake tin with baking paper.

2. Sieve the flour, sugar, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.

3. In a small pan, gently heat the butter and syrup until melted. Beat the egg into the milk.

4. Gradually pour the butter and syrup into the flour mixture and stir well. Pour in the egg and milk mixture and combine until smooth.

5. Pour into the lined tin and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


I've used lots of different flapjack recipes over the years but have never been totally satisfied with the results. Some are too sticky, others are too crumbly and a few are too sweet. This recipe, therefore, is an adaptation of all those I've used before but which, I think, gives the perfect result.

These are delicious plain, but I often add a few extras like seeds (pumpkin and sesame are great) and/or chopped dried fruit (dates or apricots work especially well). And for chocolate lovers, why not drizzle a little bit of melted chocolate over the top once the flapjack has been baked and is cold.


360g oats
240g butter
4/5 generous tbsps honey or golden syrup
100g soft, brown sugar (optional for those who like a little extra sweetness)

 20cm x 25cm baking tin, greased and lined.

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degs C/gas mark 4

2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat

3. Stir in the oats, honey and fruit/seeds (if using) and mix well

4. Tip the mixture into the baking tin and spread evenly

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden on top

6. Leave to cool in the tin and then cut into squares of whatever size you like.