Month: May 2012

My Jubilee street party… in December!

The jubilee is nearly upon us and it’s time to say


to ‘Big Hungry Gnomes’ for winning the Lakeland Giveaway.

(I’ve emailed you!!)

The Jubilee street party

I started “celebrating” the Jubilee last year back in a freezing cold and wet December when I did a photo shoot for Talking Tables. I made a gazillion cupcakes for the shoot as they have so many gorgeous ranges and tons and tons of really cool cakestands – you know the one’s that are made of the ultra strong cardboard that slot together.

These are just the cream coloured cupcakes I made. I made the same amount in red and blue too!

I had to set up a street party scene outside with mis-matched chairs and their fab goodies like the bunting, tablecloth, crowns, cake thrones, flags and these Jubilee cake pop tops complete with Buck house, guards, Queenie and Prince Philip and of course the corgis. I completely love them! Aren’t they cute?

Talking Tables - Jubilee Street Party - Pop Tops

It was at this point that I re-fell in love with Victoria Sponge cakes. I made this one from my Mary Berry Baking Bible and it’s fantastic as it not only tastes amazing but it’s bigger than most recipes. A door step wedge of cake is what I like!

Here I am with the photographer’s assistant Henry on another of the shots. I can’t tell you how challenging it is to shoot summer in the middle of winter! This range is really summery and it was dark and gloomy all day and pitch black by 4pm! Tomorrow I am starting a week long shoot with Talking Tables again, only this time we will be shooting Christmas ranges- so roaring fires on the hottest day of the year!

Talking Tables - Jubilee Street Party

The main Street Party shot took a while to get set up. All of a sudden our lovely photographer Oliver Gordon got me to get everything in place really quickly as he said it was about to rain. ” No, it’ll be all right” I said. I always say this and guess what? 30 seconds after he took the final shot it tipped it down! We had to race to get everything inside really quickly. Rain drops on a dusted Victoria Sponge cake does not make for a nice shot!

Talking Tables - Jubilee Street Party

Looking at the end result you would never know that it rained so soon afterwards. It looks like a lovely bright summers day doesn’t it. Let’s hope it’s this summery for the big day next week!


Lakeland Jubilee giveaway!

Lakeland STREET PARTY COLLECTIONWhat are you doing for the Jubilee Weekend? We’ve got loads of plans for garden party gatherings and family BBQ’s (fingers crossed for good weather!)
If like me you’re planning on making some Jubilee cupcakes,cookies, trifle and a good old Victoria Sponge to make the celebrations go with a swing then this is the giveaway for you!

The Giveaway

The Giveaway!

Lakeland have kindly given me some fantastic Jubilee goodies to giveaway worth £23.73
The prize includes …
  • A two tier street party cake stand
  • 20 food flags- perfect for cupcakes and sarnies alike
  • 20 Street party paper napkins
  • 60 Street party cup cake cases
  • 30 Union Jack cup cake cases
  • 3 x crown cookie cutters
  • 1 x flag cookie cutter
All you’ll need is some bunting, a table and a load of mix and match chairs and you’ll be set to go!

How to win these Lakeland goodies

To win all you need to do is be a subscriber to and leave a comment below telling me why you should be the winner.

To subscribe pop your email address in the subscribe box on the top right of the home page. (Don’t worry, you won’t be bombarded with emails- you’ll just receive each blog post I write!)

The winner will be notified on Friday 25th May .

Good luck bakers!


Please note this giveaway has ended now! Thanks for stopping by! and Cakes Bakes & Cookies

I have been a fan of for ages, ever since Tim and I saw them at a trade show years and years ago. They always seem to be at the forefront of the latest trends. They were the first place to do the cupcake designs on cakestands, tea towels, mugs etc, that are everywhere now. They were also the first to do those giant cupcake cookie jars that every high street shop seemed to copy. They do tons of other things too, but for some reason the cupcakes stick in my mind. I can’t imagine why!

Since that first introduction to their fab collections I’ve become really familiar with their brand. I’ve featured them in many interior photo shoots and get their press releases so I can keep up to date with what they’re doing for the up and coming seasons. (Magazines always work months in advance. At the moment in my world it’s September and Christmas as well as being late Summer!)

So, you can imagine how excited I was last week to receive a message from telling me that I had been featured in their ‘Biscuit blogs we love‘ post and asking if I would like to be part of their blog network. Would I mind?!?!?!? What a compliment! They’ve even given me this little button to put on my blog! See?

Of course I jumped at the chance, so I’ll be testing some of their products (as seen here – in and around this post) from time to time. The choice of beautiful cake related items is endless. Just check out their website…


The Vintage Fair

On Saturday, Tim and I took the girls to a vintage fair at a local pub,The Bickley, in Chislehurst. It was the first one we had been to and it was brilliant. The whole garden was taken up with a huge marquee complete with pretty bunting and tables and chairs for you to relax and enjoy the singers and dancing .Cake stands at the Vintage Fair

‘What has this got to do with baking’ I hear you ask, well I’ll tell you. Cakestands!  I have a small addiction to cakestands. I may have mentioned that before. Tim thinks my collection stands a nine, but it’s actually 21 (Shhhh! don’t tell him) I use them for everything, all over the house – fruit bowls, soap dishes and my fav is a huge three tier etagere  with glass plates which has all my corsages, necklaces and some dangly earrings hanging from it.

But my favorite use is of course when we have a family gathering and I can pile them high with cakes, which takes me straight back to the Vintage fair!

Cake stands at the Vintage Fair
At the back of the marquee they were serving tea and cakes on beautiful mix and match vintage china. It looked really great all piled high. There were Victoria Sponges, Coffee and walnut cake, gluten free orange cake and brownies as well as chocolate and sugar mice (well, you have to keep the kids happy don’t you?)

Cake stands at the Vintage Fair

Amongst all these delicacies were beautiful cake stands with price tags on. I was chatting to the owner of the pub who told me about the company that hire out the china for events like the fair and weddings and parties. (It’s called Lilac and Willow you can email them at, but I have a feeling that they only deliver in the Bromley area)  But they also have a website where they sell the fabulous cakestands.

Cake stands at the Vintage Fair

Cake stands at the Vintage Fair

I got to see a great selection of their wares on one of the stalls.  Caketands are just a small selection of what they sell. There are also pretty plates and teacup and saucers filled with candles as well as vintage tins. Visit their website at

Cake stands at the Vintage Fair

I have to say that my favorites were the ones with the tea cups at the top – how great would they be for storing and displaying earrings? and the ones with the square cake plates at the bottom tier. I haven’t got any like that, but as Tim was with me I had to resist. Thanks goodness for the website. Now I can sneak one home without him noticing and when her mentions it I can say “What that old thing. I’ve had it for years!!!”


The Cartmel taste test- Part # 2

Last time I was asked to taste test some of Cartmel’s delicious puddings I suffered a serious backlash. “Why wasn’t I invited to help you out with the sticky toffee pudding” and ” Don’t you know that sticky toffee apple crumble is my favorite????” came the cries from family and friends.
So, this time I decided to share the wealth. Cartmel sent me a Summer fruit pudding with Belvoir elderflower cordial and a Tangy lemon drizzle pudding. They sounded divine!

tangy on the tongue

Now, although I could pretty much eat both of these myself, I decided to take them along to my sister Shelley’s house when the whole family all got together for lunch. There’s a lot of us so the two puddings would be perfect. I was assuming that the little people wouldn’t be trying any (because I wouldn’t let them!)

Straight out of the packaging & ready for the oven

We popped the lemon pud in the oven. Just the smell of it when you take it out of the packaging is enough to get your mouth watering, but the whole kitchen was filled with that lovely citrus scent when it was ready to be served after 20 minutes and the lemon drizzle topping was bubbling away.

Just look at the golden colour of that lemon drizzle!

There’s something really great about a pudding. I think it’s the way the lemon topping oozes onto the cakey part giving it that extra kick. I tried to share it out evenly, but kept a sneaky bit back for a second taste – you know, just to be sure I REALLY liked it! Of course I did! I loved it. It was sweet and tangy with just the right amount of goo. The pudding was also really light and fluffy. I’d love to know what their secret is?

Get ready for summer

The summer pudding was served cold but I think it would have tasted great warmed up too. Can you heat up summer pudding? I’m not sure, but I love a warm mix of berries with a dollop of creme fraiche.

One, two, three and lift off the plastic bowl!

Again I shared it out with my family. The moment I cut into the dome you could see all the berries bursting to get out. The cordial syrupiness was really lovely and made for a very moist pudding.

How good does that look?
Perfect with a dollop of creme fraiche

The taste test result

When I asked which one was everyone’s favorite the results were 50/50. But I think I would be swayed towards the lemon pudding. It just had the perfect amount of sweetness with that tangy kick you need with a lemon dessert. I’d definitely buy them both again. As you can imagine, there wasn’t any left and between you and me… I scraped all the lemoniness out of the foil container as I just couldn’t leave it alone!

 Which one would you have prefered? Or is it back the the sticky toffee pudding again?

Cartmel Summer fruit pudding with Belvoir elderflower cordial and a Tangy lemon drizzle puddings are available from Waitrose, Booths and fine independent food retailers. Why not visit or call them on  015395 58300 to find your nearest stockist.


Rhubarb & white chocolate cake recipe


Rhubarb cake

When my friend Sam asked if I wanted some of her Mum’s freshly grown/picked rhubarb I jumped at the chance. I had never baked with it before so I did what every cake obsessed blogger would do. I trawled through all my cook books looking for a nice juicy cake recipe to share with you all. EVERY ONE OF THEM! (I’ve got a lot!) Guess how many rhubarb recipes I found? Two. One was for rhubarb crumble and one was for rhubarb chutney! I mean come on you celeb chiefs. What’s wrong with good old rhubarb?

Luckily Sam sent me a link to a great blog where the author Nadia has a great rhubarb cake recipe. I tweaked it just a little (who doesn’t love white chocolate with their rhubarb?) I hope Nadia doesn’t mind!

The Ingredients

  • 160 g butter at room temperature
  • 180 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsb vanilla essence
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 2 tsb baking powder
  • 250 g rhubarb
  • 100g white chocolate – chopped up into little pieces
  • icing sugar to sprinkle

How to make Rhubarb and white chocolate cake

Heat your oven to 180°C, Fan 160°C,  Gas mark 4. Line a 9″ cake tin with grease proof paper. Or cheat like I did and use a silicon cake ‘tin’- no paper required.

Rhubarb cake recipe

Blend the butter and sugar together till smooth

Rhubarb cake recipe

Chop up the rhubarb into 2cm pieces

Rhubarb cake recipe

I didn’t have any chopped almonds so I decided to use my fab hand held blender attachment to chop them up

Rhubarb cake recipe

Et voila! It worked! Hooray for having equipment on hand…. and a packet of almonds!

Rhubarb cake recipe

Add the eggs one at a time with a little flour to prevent it from curdling. Mix in the remaining flour and baking powder along with the vanilla essence.

Rhubarb cake recipe

Add the chopped almonds and white chocolate

Rhubarb cake recipe

Scoop the cake batter into the cake tin

Rhubarb cake recipe

Put the rhubarb on top of the cake mix and push it in with your finger so it sinks in a bit.

Rhubarb cake recipeMy rhubarb didn’t squidge in that deep but it didn’t matter, it sinks in when it’s baked anyway. Sprinkle a couple of tea spoons of sugar over the top of the cake and pop it in the oven for 30-35 minutes. It’s baked to perfection when a skewer comes out clean and your house smells divine!!

Once it’s baked leave it to cool down on a rack for a short while. Sprinkle icing sugar over the whole cake and eat it before it cools down too much. It tastes sooooo good while it’s still warm.

You can add ice cream, custard or just plain cream but to be honest I had it on it’s own. In fact if I’m completely truthful I had to make this cake twice. I promised my dad a slice – as he loves rhubarb and I ate practically the whole first cake on my own. It’s my new favorite. I couldn’t leave it alone!

Rhubarb cake


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