Category Archives: Technique


Earlier in the blog I featured one of the many pavlova’s I’ve made. A couple of people have been asking me for the recipe so I thought I’d write it up here for all to share in the perfect, gooey, crunchy, sticky pavlova.

3 egg whites
6oz caster sugar
1 level tsp cornflour
1 tsp raspberry/cider/wine vinegar
300ml whipping cream
fruit of your choice

Draw a 23cm or 9 inch circle on a sheet of non stick baking parchment and place on a baking tray.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff in a large bowl then add 2oz sugar at a time, whisking in between each addition to stiff again. Finally fold in the cornflour and vinegar.
‘Dollop’ or pipe the pavlova into the circle marked on the baking sheet. Make a dip in the middle to hold the filling.
Bake in the oven at 180C 350F mark 4 for 5 minutes then at 130C 250F mark 1/2 for a further 45-50 minutes until set but soft in the middle.
Leave to cool slightly then carefully peel off the paper. Don’t worry if it cracks.
When completely cold, whip the cream until it just holds its shape and then pile on top of the pavlova. Add fruit on top.

I often make two batches and make a pavlova ‘sandwich’ as in the picture, especially for large gathering. I try and make the dollops look like a flower…


I’ve just looked back at my blog and realised that I’d already posted the recipe…my memory is as bad as my mums…tut tut.


Ultra simple cup cake recipe

The wonderful lady at Fair Cakes shared her perfect cup cake and buttercream icing recipes on her facebook and websites so I thought I would add this to my webpages as well as it truly is the easiest and most reliable recipe I’ve ever tried.
Note of caution, if you double up, don’t double up the baking powder or you get that slightly soapy flavour.

Simple vanilla cupcakes
100g unsalted very soft butter
110g caster sugar
120g self raising flour
2tbsp cornflour
1tsp baking powder
3 small eggs or 2 large eggs
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract

Preheat over to fan 150C or 300F gas mark 2.
Ensure that the butter is very soft and just put all the ingredients in a mixer and mix for a minute or so, not too much. The consitency should be like heavy custard and should plop from the spoon. Fill cases to half way or three quarters full and use a muffin tin to keep the shape of the cup cakes.
Bake for 15 minutes and check that a cocktail stick or skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then turn out on wire rack.

Perfect butter icing
250g or 1 block of very soft unsalted butter
500g of icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put the butter in the mixer first and beat for 2 minutes until pale. Then add the sifted icing sugar in three stages, mixing between each addition. Add the vanilla extract. If you need to loosen the buttercream any further add a tablespoon of milk. Colour with gel or paste colours for perfection.

Fruit tealoaf recipe

Here’s the recipe I tried out for my fruit tealoaf

9oz mixed fruit – I used 3oz each of sultanas, raisins and apricots
8fl oz rooibos tea
5oz butter
6oz sugar
7oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
zest and juice of half lemon
2 eggs, beaten

Leave the fruit to soak in the tea overnight (minimum 4 hours) in a saucepan.
Grease, line and regrease a 1lb loaf tin. Melt the butter and sugar in with the fruit over a low heat, stirring gently. Remove from heat and add all the dry ingredients, sifted. Mix and add the lemon. Finally add the beaten eggs. Pour mix into loaf tin and cook for 1 hour – 1 1/4 hours at 170C 325F Gas 3. Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack. Alternatively, eat straight away! If possible save some for the next day when it will be less crumbly and have with butter, jam and a nice mug of tea.

Cup cakes – practise makes perfect

I’ve always wanted to learn how to ice cakes properly, from the plain but perfectly finished hard icings to faultless buttercream swirls. I’ve been following a few websites from cup cake experts, in particular Fair Cakes through facebook run by Shikhita who just makes the buttercream swirls look so amazingly easy but aren’t!

I haven’t worked out how to make these perfect swirls yet but I’m going on a course run by Shikhita in May to learn more about baking the perfect cup cake and making buttercream and fondant decorations. I can’t wait!

January 2009

As part of ‘Bampa’s 60th birthday celebrations we went out for a meal in a local restaurant. We decided to make a bit of a fuss for this family meal and turned up with balloons to make him smile.
I made a coffee and walnut sponge which was really nice, very light and crumbly. Here’s a picture of three of his grandchildren helping him blow out the candles.
In addition to cakes I’ve also made quite a few pavlovas in the last year or two. They’re a brilliant invention and deserve a posting of their own really. Unfortunately I’ve only got one photo to show here but I’m sure there will be lots more to come.
Pavlovas are indeed named after Anna Pavlova the russian ballet dancer in 1926. For this pavlova opposite I used a smaller circle or oval to have enough left over for a lid. I’ve also doubled up the mixture to make a really big pavlova with a big lid for family parties.

Here’s my recipe for perfect, gooey pavlova:
Serves 8
3 egg whites
190g 61/2 oz caster sugar
1 level tsp cornflour
1 tsp raspberry vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
Large tub of whipped/double cream
Any fruit you like I normally use a berry mix including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries but whatever is in season. Equally an exotic fruit pavlova is lovely with pineapple, passion and kiwi fruits.
Draw a 23 cm (9inch) oval on a piece of baking parchment and place on a baking sheet.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff then gradually add the sugar, 2oz at a time whisking after each addition until the whites are stiff again. Then fold in the cornflour and vinegar.
Pipe, or dollop the meringue into the oval marked on the baking sheet making a dip in the middle to hold the filling. Bake in the oven at 180C 350F mark 4 for 5 minutes then lower to 130C 250F mark 1/2 for a further 45-50 minutes until set but soft in the middle.
Leave to cool slightly then carefully peel off the paper. When completely cold, add the whipped cream and remaining 1/2 oz of sugar (if you want to) with the fruit and pile on top!
You could also make a coulis from some of the fruit to drizzle over.

A history of cakes/puddings/tarts I’ve made

I decided to write a blog about all the tarts, cakes, puddings, biscuits and muffins I make. This is for a number of reasons, in no particular order:

  • I seem to make a lot for friends and family
  • I wanted to keep a record of when things worked out well, what was liked/disliked
  • I wanted to keep a special record of cakes for occasions
  • I wanted to share recipes and use this online resource for discussion, information and knowledge
  • My husband has a nice camera and he takes lovely pictures of my cakes!

So, there’s some reasons why I’m doing this.

In order to start I think I’ll post a few of the cakes (I’ll use the word cakes to describe everything from biscuits to muffins, from pavlovas to bakewell tarts) that have been made in the last year or so and hopefully, once this is done, I’ll be able to update this site regularly.

September 2006 Millie’s first birthday.

Millie's 1st Party

My daughter Millie’s first birthday was marked with a small family party and I made cupcakes in a red and white theme. The recipe was my usual:
6oz butter and sugar, creamed until pale
5 oz SR Flour, sifted
1 oz coca powder mixed with a little hot water into a paste
1 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs, whisked to a froth

It’s pretty much a fail safe recipe which I tend to rely on for most cake bases. It’s very much the family heirloom cake mixture.

I also made the scones to my mum’s recipe although they never come out as big and fluffy as my mum’s. She is the best scone maker in the world. My mother in law kindly donated the chocolate cake at the back. It was a really simple party, and Millie had a muffin sized cake all of her own which she devoured rather too quickly. Her first taste of chocolate and cake was the start of a slippery slope…