Posts Tagged cake

Random Bakes of Kindness – Lemon Loaf

Vanessa Kimbell of the wonderful  Prepped had a lovely idea to spread a little happiness! Her suggestion is that when you are next baking something why not bake double and give one away to someone you think deserves a little kindness.  Read more here I think this is such a great idea, also so easy to do!  No excuses for those of us who bake regularly!

My 1st bake of kindness (yes 1st, there will be more, it’s too good of an idea to only do once!) goes to a lady at work who recently lost her mother. She definitely needs a little cheer in her life, I hope my cake will bring a smile to her face. I actually gave my 2nd cake away too, much to my husbands disappointment! A friend bought me something (really good stove top cleaner, impossible to get in London) but refused payment so as a thank you my other cake went to her!

I made a lemon loaf cake adapted slightly from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. The Lemon Syrup loaf cake from that book is one of my regular bakes and never lets me down. If in a hurry I’ve left out the syrup part and the cake is still good. I also changed the sugar for the syrup to caster sugar as I like the way the sugar forms a little crisp crust on top of the cake.  I only have 1 (2 lb) loaf tin so did not bake my cakes together but one after the other.

Lemon Loaf cake

ingredients for 2 cakes, easily halved if you only want to make one

  • 250 g (9 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 350 g  (12 oz) unrefined caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • zest of 3 small lemons
  • 350 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 80 ml  (2.5 oz) milk
  • For the syrup
  • juice of 3 small lemons
  • 200 g ( 8 oz) unrefined caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180 C,  350 F, Gas 4.

2. Grease and line your loaf tin.

I do not like lining cake tins, so much so it can almost put me off baking a cake depending on the tin and difficulty in lining! With a loaf tin though I have a little lining trick that makes using a loaf tin my favorite! Just grease the tin and cut a strip of baking paper the width of the base of your tin. Keep the length and use to line the base and up the sides of your tin. When the cake is baked and cooled a little you can use the overhanging paper to lift the loaf out! Easy!

3. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.

4. Add  eggs, 1 at a time, beating between each egg.

5. Add the lemon zest.

6. Add the flour and baking powder.

7. Add the milk.

8. Put into prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes to  1 hour depending on your oven.

9. To make the syrup put the sugars and lemon juice into saucepan, heat slowly until sugar is mostly dissolved.

10. When the cake is done and still warm, leave in tin and make lots of small holes over the top with a toothpick or cake tester.

11. Pour the syrup slowly all over the surface.

12. Do not remove the cake from the tin until its cold.

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Chocolate Easter Cake

I’ve been making this cake for years, for a long time it was my “go to” chocolate cake recipe. It was originally  a recipe cut out of a magazine, long before I ever knew about computers, never mind blogs! It was an Easter recipe and the cake was meant to be more like a nest but I have made a few changes over the years. I hadn’t made it for a long time but when I saw Julia’s (from A Slice of Cherry PieEaster Cake Bake I knew this was the cake I would enter.

Chocolate Easter Cake

For the cake

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g light soft brown sugar
  •  1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 70g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp espresso coffee powder
  • 150ml warm water
  • 150ml natural yoghurt
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

For the filling and icing

  • 175g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 75g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 70ml double cream

For the decoration

  • 200g milk chocolate, chilled
  • 100g plain chocolate, chilled
  • 50g white chocolate,chilled
  • mini eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 150C ( 300F, Gas 2)
  2. Grease and line a 23cm, 9 in round cake tin.
  3. Cream butter and sugar
  4. Add golden syrup,mix.
  5. Add eggs to mixture one at a time, beating well between each addition
  6. Blend the cocoa powder and water to a paste, stir in the yoghurt and fold into rest of mixture.
  7. Sift flour and baking powder together and gently fold into mix about a third at a time.
  8. Spoon mix into prepared cake tin, level the top, make a little hollow in the middle.
  9. Bake for 1 1/4 hours or unti la skewer inserted into middle comes out clean.
  10. Leave to cool in tin for 20 mins then turn onto a cooling rack to cool.

For the filling and icing

  1. Put the broken chocolate into a bowl and melt over a pan of lightly simmering water.
  2. Remove from heat, add the butter stirring until melting.
  3. Add the cream, stirring until incorporated and chill until its firm enough to spread.
  4. Cut the cake into 2 layers, spread bottom layer with a 3rd of the chilled chocolate cream and sandwich layers together.
  5. Spread rest of chocolate cream over top and sides of cake.
  6. Using a potato peeler run along the sides of the milk, plain and white chocolate bars to make curls, arrange on top and sides of cake.
  7. Decorate with mini eggs.

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Pearl’s Lemon Olive Oil Cake

This recipe came from my friend Pearl who spends her summers in Italy. She got the recipe from an Italian friend who got it from someone in New Zealand.  Pearl makes great cakes,  she always gets a high rise! She is very relaxed in her baking, whatever tin you have will do she says.

I bake this cake  in a lined 8 inch springform tin. Pearl uses her local (Italian) extra virgin olive oil, which sometimes I’m also lucky enough to have!  Otherwise I use whatever extra virgin olive oil I have at the time.  I have made this cake so many times and it always turns out well. It is the easiest cake to make and quite a large one so it works well  for a dinner party dessert, served with some vanilla ice cream. Once I even forgot the syrup stage at the end and the cake was still good!

It is in cup measurements, I use my US cup measures. Pearl in her relaxed way says as long as you use the same cup for measuring everything it will be fine, I’ve seen her use a regular coffee cup.


  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • Zest from 3 lemons
  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice


  1. Grease and base line an 8 inch cake tin (I use springform)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F 180 C.
  3. Whisk together the sugar and eggs.
  4. Mix in the yoghurt.
  5. Add the olive oil and lemon zest.
  6. Fold in the flour.
  7. Pour mixture into cake tin.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean when inserted into middle of cake.
  9. While cake is baking mix together the 1/4 cup of sugar & 1/2 cup of lemon juice to make a syrup.
  10. When the cake is baked, take from the oven and while still hot prick cake surface with a toothpick and pour the lemon syrup over the cake. Leave to cool in the tin

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Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

Old fashioned chocolate cake madebyjayne

There is a blogging event called Forever Nigella organised by Sarah on Maison Cupcake. The idea is to make a recipe by Nigella Lawson following a theme that changes each month. This months  theme is “Seduced by Chocolate”  With such a delightfully titled theme I couldn’t resist!

While doing maths at school a wonderful little girl I know calculated that she would be 100 months old on February 10th this year. Well that seemed to me the perfect excuse to bake a cake and to be “Seduced by Chocolate” at the same time!

Nigella Lawson, like myself, seems to be a fan of chocolate and as a fan of Nigella’s  I have over the years made a few of her chocolate recipes. This time I wanted to make something I hadn’t tried before so I chose Nigella’s Old Fashioned Chocolate cake from her Feast book.

I am often disappointed by chocolate cake recipes, they often sound so promising but once baked do not live up to my expectations. I’m always on the hunt for a chocolate cake that tastes like chocolate cake tasted when I was a kid.  Well I grew up  in America and I remember my mother baking lots of cakes. The fact that all these cakes came from a Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines box did not seem strange at all to me!  So when I read that Nigella describes the Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake “as a sort of idealised chocolate cake out of a packet”  I felt hopeful!

Well this time I was not disappointed. It such an easy recipe to follow, literally an all in one mix (like one out of a box!)  It was such a satisfying cake to make, it rose well and tasted as I wanted it to of chocolate! It’s a lovely light cake with rich, decadent frosting, I loved it. But most importantly so did the 100 month old!

For the Recipe see Page 269 in FEAST by Nigella Lawson

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Thanksgiving / Pumpkin bread

Having lived in the UK for so long Thanksgiving was but a memory for me. 
As a child in the US with an English mother we did celebrate Thanksgiving, she embraced the American cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes- no marshmallows in sight though!  I remember Thanksgiving through Christmas as one long, exciting period beginning and ending with the same turkey meal!
It was sad circumstances that bought me to the UK, my mother had died and when I came here to live with my Aunt, among so many other things, Thanksgiving was lost to me. It is not celebrated here and I always had to go to school or work, in fact I always  found it quite a sad day. I tried to recreate it one year in my early 20s and had one of my saddest moments when my one baked sweet potato fell & smashed on the floor. I was devastated!
Last year I discovered Twitter and as I followed in many others Thanksgiving preparations I had a revelation- I was going to celebrate Thanksgiving again! My husband and I went to an American restaurant in London for Thanksgiving dinner- I loved it!
This year we aren’t going out but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed following all the Thanksgiving talk and preparations on twitter. I will raise my glass on Thursday (when I get home from work!)
to join in the celebrations.
I tried making pumpkin pie a while ago but my oh too European husband couldn’t bring himself to try it so instead I will make this Pumpkin bread (which for some reason my husband finds more palatable!)  to enjoy over the weekend. Its a combination of 2 recipes cut from magazines a long time ago.
The mix of white and brown sugars and flours is me trying to be healthier and using as little processed food as possible. The measurement conversions are as accurate as I could get, I constantly struggle trying to convert US to UK. I use the UK measurements when making this.


Pumpkin Bread




225 gram pumpkin puree ( 8 oz )
2 large eggs
115 ml vegetable oil  (1/2 cup)
80 ml water  (1/3 cup)
200 gram brown sugar  (7oz)
100 gram white sugar  (3.5 oz)
200 gram wholemeal flour  (7oz)  
70 gram white flour  (2.5 oz )
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon


1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves


Preheat oven to 175 degrees C,  350 degrees F


Grease and base line one 2lb loaf tin


In a large bowl mix the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugars.
In a separate bowl whisk the rest of the dry ingredients (flours and spices).
Fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mix.
Pour into prepared loaf tin
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour (my oven takes an hour) until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool in tin for 15 minutes or so before turning out onto cooling rack.


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