Ombre icing

Today is the birthday of one of my colleagues. Without going into too much detail, she’s had a pretty rubbish 12 months so I wanted to help her celebrate in style.

Inspired by The Great British Bake Off, I wanted to up the stakes when it came to both the baking/cake and the icing.

Cake wise, I opted for a traditional Victoria sponge base – with some whole raspberries throughout for a bit of variety, but icing wise, I was inspired by the ombre fashion.

9 medium sized eggs
16oz butter
16oz caster sugar
16oz self raising flour
200g raspberries
1tsp baking powder
240g unsalted butter
750g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
75g full fat milk

Method Cake

1. Cream butter and sugar together until light, fluffy and pale
2. Add eggs one by one (adding a little of the flour if needed to prevent curdling
3. Add flour
4. Add vanilla essence
5. Beat until light and fluffy
6. Split between 3 prepared (greased/floured/lined) cake tins (c25cm diameter)
7. Bake in a preheated over (c. 180) for 25-35 mins – until golden and a skewer comes out clean
8. Allow to cool


1. Soften butter
2. Gradually add icing sugar and milk
3. Once incorporated, beat on high speed for around 5 mins, until light and mousse like

I also did three tiers (not something I do very often, and made more difficult by the fact I only have sets of 2 tins!!).

Cake turned out well – and i’ll try the ombre again as it looked pretty!IMG_2917 IMG_2918


the pudding stop

  A brief entry today and no recipe…

Last weekend was the local annual food festival – lots of pop up stalls and restaurants in the town de true showcasing their wares to encourage regular visitors I guess.

One that took my particular fancy was The Pudding Stop – a regular feature outside the station on my way me (yes, every evening I have to pit my will power against this little cart so that I don’t turn up at home with a dessert…)

And the item in question was a salted caramel and peanut butter brownie. I love salted caramel and I love brownies, but one thing I don’t normally like is peanut butter (that in itself is an oddity to me as a love butter and I love peanuts). Actually not strictly true, I don’t like peanut butter but I do like peanut butter flavoured things, such as Reece’s pieces or peanut butter cups.. Anyway I digress… 
So I bought said brownie and OMG it was amazing – it lasted me 4 sittings (I diligently cut it into 4 before I started otherwise it would have been gone in one and I would have felt very sick…) 

I am now just summoning up the audacity to ask him for the recipe so I can make it myself…


What do you do with unripe tomatoes….?

  For the first time this year I grew tomatoes – my mum gave me 6 plants and so I felt a little obliged to try and make them produce tomatoes…

They were a little (a lot) late going from pots to bags so unfortunately didn’t really benefit from the long hot summer (!!) we experienced, and whilst we did get a reasonable number of nice juicy red tomatoes we also had a lot of yellow/green and not ripe ones which I needed to harvest today as the plants are dying.

So, what to do with a load of unripe fruit? Add loads of sugar to it and turn it into something tasty – ,ugh as you can stew apples and make a lovely crumble, I decided to make chutney.

Using a recipe from ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly – preserves’ book that I was kindly given by my boyfriends father (more on that at another date) I gave chutney making my first try.


  • 8 medium tomatoes (or in my case, c. 1.5kg)
  • 3 medium white onions, finely diced
  • 300g brown sugar 
  • 375ml malt vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coarse cooking salt

I actually didn’t have a number of these ingredients (mustard powder and cooking salt – what is that anyway?) so used standard salt from my salt grinder and upped the cayenne in place of the mustard powder.


  1. Peel and coarsely chop the tomatoes (I didn’t peel them)
  2. Mix with all other ingredients and simmer (uncovered) for 1 1/4 hours or until mixture is thick – stirring occasionally
  3. Spoon hot chutney into hot sterilised jars and seal while hot



Worlds biggest coffee morning

Today offices around the UK forgot about their diets and stuffed themselves with cake all in aid of MacMillan Cancer support and their Worlds Biggest Coffee morning fundraising event.

Any excuse for a bit of baking and this was no exception – I wanted to do something different for my office so moved away from my fairly standard cupcakes and made Salted Caramel Millionaires Slices.

Or in other words, a heart attack in a slice! 

Recipe came courtesy of Simon Rimmer on BBC2s ‘Something for the Weekend’ (old programme I know) 



  • 175g butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod seeds
  • 225g plain flour


  • 200g butter
  • 1 x 397g can condensed milk
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 350g milk chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 180/350/Gas 4 and grease and line 20cm square cake tin
  2. Rub butter sugar flour and vanilla together to make rough dough and press into tin. Prick all over with a fork. 
  3. Bake for 5 mins then reduce temp to 150/300/Gas 2 and bake for further 35 mins.
  4. Leave to cool in tin
  5. Place caramel ingredients in saucepan, bring to boil then boil for 10 mins
  6. Spread over biscuit and allow to cool until just hard
  7. Melt chocolate in Bain Marie and pour over caramel
  8. Leave to set in fridge. Once thoroughly cooked, remove from tin and cut into squares 

Went down a treat!