Classic Lemon and Almond Loaf cake

What makes this loaf a winner for me is the texture – light, moist and springy, combined with the perfect balance of sweetness, sour lemon and nutty almonds.

By adding lemon zest to the sponge mix and pouring lemon juice over the cake whilst warm, lemon lovers will be in all their glory.

Oh and did I mention the glaze? A simple icing glaze reminds me of baking with my Grandma, spreading the retro stuff over fairy cakes and biscuits and decorating them with sprinkles. This time I’ve mixed the icing sugar with fresh lemon juice to add extra tang!

You will need…

200g golden caster sugar
200g unsalted butter (I would recommend using Stork)
3 large / 4 small eggs, at room temperature
50g self-raising flour
150g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon

8 tbsp icing sugar
Pretty edible decorations (gold stars, sprinkles, glitter)

Let’s get baking…

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F. Line a 2lb loaf tin with grease proof paper – I use a single sheet a parchment, exactly the same length as the tin, so that it covers the bottom and the two longest sides.

Cream together the butter and sugar light, fluffy and almost white in colour. Mix in the eggs one at a time, along with a little flour each time to stop the mixture from curdling.

Add in the remaining flour, ground almonds, baking powder, vanilla extract and the zest from the lemon (reserve the juice for later!) and fold together until fully mixed.

Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the top of the cake begins to brown too quickly, cover the tin with a sheet of tinfoil.

Remove the cake from the oven and poke about 8 holes all over the top. Squeeze over the juice from half the lemon and leave the cake to cool in its tin.

Once the cake is cool, mix together the icing sugar and juice from the other half of the lemon until you have a thick but pourable consistency – you may need to add 1-2 teaspoons of water.

Pour the icing over the cake and sprinkle over with your favourite decorations.

Dark Chocolate Rolo Cupcakes

These cupcakes are the ultimate sweet treat!

Tuck into a rich dark chocolate sponge with a caramel surprise center, topped with fluffy butter cream, melted dark chocolate and a delicious chocolate caramel. Now doesn’t that sound good!?

Please don’t be put off by the amount of steps for this recipe, it is in fact super easy and quick to make. Plus isn’t dark chocolate meant to be healthy? Who am I kidding, but hey.. we all need a little indulgence now and then!

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Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

For the base
115g Stork tub, cold from the fridge
115g caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
115g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks 70% cocoa)
80g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
12 Rolo’s / ½ sharing bag of Rolos (126g), I bought mine here

For the frosting
160g unsalted butter, at room temp
300g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For decoration
12 Rolo’s / ½ sharing bag of Rolos (126g), I bought mine here
40g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with cases.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.

Crack one of the eggs into the butter and sugar mixture, add a tbsp of the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa and baking powder) and mix together. Crack in the other eggs and add another tbsp of the dry ingredients and mix together until combined.

Melt the dark chocolate in 10 seconds blasts in the microwave. Once fully melted add this to the mixture along with the remaining dry ingredients and fold the mixture together, being careful not to over mix.

Half fill each of your cupcake cases and then place a Rolo in the middle of all of the cases. Now cover the Rolo’s with the remaining cake mixture until completely concealed and lightly tap your cupcake tin on the side to remove any air bubbles.

Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Now make the frosting by creaming the butter until pale in colour and fluffy. Add half the icing sugar in and mix until creamy and combined. Add the remaining icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat together for approx. 5 mins until frosting is soft, smooth and fluffy.

Once your cakes are cooled, either use a piping bag to pipe your frosting onto your cakes or simply spread it on with a spoon. To decorate your cupcakes, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in 10 second blasts and use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over in all directions. Finally, place a Rolo on top of each cupcake. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Calling all peanut butter lovers, I have a must try bake for you…chewy, buttery, soft baked cookies studded with milk chocolate chunks. These cookies are super easy to make and even easier to eat! Serve with a glass of milk or a cup of tea for a delicious afternoon treat – enjoy. 

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Ingredients (makes 18 cookies)
115g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
75g light brown sugar
100g granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g smooth/crunch peanut butter
195g self-raising flour
150g baking milk chocolate, cut into small chunks

Method

In a large bowl cream your butter and two sugars together using a wooden spoon. Add the egg and mix. Now add the vanilla extract and peanut butter and mix until combined. Finally add the flour and 100g of the chocolate chunks and fold everything together, the mixture will be very thick and sticky. Cover the bowl and chill for at least 3 hours in the fridge (I chilled mine overnight). Although it is highly tempting, please do not skip chilling your cooking dough as this is result in flat, thin and crunchy cookies.

Once your cookie dough has been chilled, preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper or use silicone mats. Take large tbsps of the cookie dough, roll into a ball and place about 2 inches apart from each other. Press a few chocolate chunks into the tops of the cookies.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges but the centre still looks soft and undone. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before serving.

Triple Chocolate Munchie Brownies

It was my house mates 21st this weekend and we decided to throw an alcoholic tea party… cocktails in teapots, bunting, cucumber sandwiches and of course, an excessive amount of baked goods!
One of my bakes included these deliciously indulgent triple chocolate Munchie brownies. If you’ve never heard of Munchies before, the best way to describe them is as little squares of dark chocolate filled with caramel and biscuit – what’s not to like?
I whipped up my tried and tested brownie mixture and added white chocolate chunks, milk chocolate chunks and of course..Munchies.
These brownies will satisfy any chocoholics craving and are the perfect bake for any occasion. Enjoy!

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Ingredients (makes 12 brownies)
150g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
170g good quality dark chocolate
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
225g caster sugar
180g self-raising flour
50g white chocolate, cut into small chunks
50g milk chocolate, cut into small chunks
1 sharing bag of Munchies (126g)- I bought mine here

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and line a 23cm square tin with grease proof paper or use a silicone baking tin.

Gently melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of water on a low heat. Once melted leave on the side to cool.

In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs until frothy. Pour in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture and add the flour. Fold together until you  have a thick chocolate mixture.

Add the milk and white chocolate chunks and the Munchies and fold together until incorporated into the mixture. Now spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, pushing it into all the corners, and smooth it out with a knife.

Bake for approx. 25 minutes until the top is starting to crack. (Depending on your oven they may take a bit longer, test the brownies by inserting a knife into the middle and if it comes out covered in chocolate put them back in. If the knife comes out almost clear and the top of the brownies are cracking then remove from the oven and leave to cool- brownies will continue to cook a little as they cool).

Cool completely before cutting into 12 squares and serving. Brownies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Marbled Millionaire’s Shortbread

Crumbly shortbread, sticky caramel and smooth chocolate… three layers of pure indulgence. Buying caramel from the shop will make this recipe super easy, however I decided to make my own and see what all the fuss was about. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t particularly difficult but it was pretty time-consuming and stirring for 20 minutes continuously can be a bit tiring, but I would definitely recommend giving it a go as it tasted absolutely amazing! For the chocolate topping I used a combination of milk and white and created a delightful swirly pattern (very easy to do), however you could try different types of chocolate; fruity, dark or even salted.

This classic bake is a real crowd-pleaser; it’s rich, hence the name Millionaire’s, super sweet and the different textures are a superb combination. Whoever you decide to make these for you will be loved!

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Ingredients (makes 12 large/16 small bars)

For the shortbread base:
250g plain flour
75g caster sugar
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into chunks

For the caramel layer:
100g unsalted butter
100g light muscavado sugar
2 x 397g cans condensed milk

For the chocolate layer:
200g milk chocolate, broken into chunks
100g white chocolate, broken into chunks

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 23x23cm baking tin.

Start by making the shortbread base by mixing together the sugar and flour in a bowl. Now add the butter and using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles breadcrumbs. Knead the butter until it forms a rough dough and transfer it to your baking tin, pressing it down into the tin to form an even layer.

Prick the shortbread all over with a fork and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Leave to cool completely in the tin (approx. 1 hour).

Once the shortbread is cooled, begin making your caramel by measuring the butter, muscavado sugar and condensed milk in a medium sized saucepan. On a low heat melt the ingredients gently until smooth and the sugar has dissolved (make sure there are not only lumps of sugar, if there is then removing them with a fork).

Now turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring all the time. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture, stirring continuously, for approx. 15 minutes until it has thickened slightly. Turn off the heat and leave the caramel to sit for 5 minutes to thicken up. Now pour the caramel on top of the shortbread and leave to completely cool (approx. 30 minutes).

Once the caramel is firm and cooled, melt the milk chocolate either in the microwave in 10 second blasts or, in a bowl set over simmering water. Spread half of the melted chocolate on top of the caramel and leave the remaining half in the bowl.

Now melt the white chocolate and dollop this on top of the milk chocolate, do the same with the remaining milk chocolate. Using a skewer, gently swirl the chocolates into each other (taking care not to touch the caramel underneath) to create a marbled pattern.

Finally, cover the baking tin with foil and put in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours before cutting into 12/16 bars. Store in the fridge and remove for 10 minutes to soften before eating.

Rolo-stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

So this may not be a Christmas related bake but…. it is a blooming delicious one!

I have wanted to make caramel stuffed cookies for ages, but always thought the whole caramel stirring business would defeat the point of cookies being quick and easy to make. That got me thinking about caramel chocolates and in particular Rolo’s! I haven’t eaten them in years but they couldn’t have been more ideal for this recipe.
What doesn’t sound good about a gooey melted Rolo encased by soft-baked chocolate chip cookie dough!?

Chilling the dough is essential as it gives you that delicious chewy texture in the middle with a slightly crunchy edge. Also, don’t be tempted to flatten your cookies before baking, roll them into balls and bake them as they are for thick soft cookies.
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Ingredients (makes 20 cookies)

125g unsalted butter (at room temp)
75g light brown sugar
50g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium egg (cold from the fridge)
200g milk chocolate chips
20 Rolo’s (I bought a sharing bag)

Method 

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line three baking trays with greaseproof paper.

In a bowl cream the butter and two sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, crack in the egg and mix.

Add the flour and chocolate chunks and fold together until the mixture is combined and has formed a sticky dough. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least three hours (you can leave it over night if you wish).

Once your cookie dough has chilled, take a teaspoon of the cookie dough and roll it into a ball. Now use your thumb to make an indent into the ball and put a Rolo inside it*. Take another teaspoon of dough and use this to cover up the Rolo, now place it onto the baking tray (do not flatten it out as it will expand in the oven). Repeat this for all 20 cookies leaving roughly 3 inches between each one on the tray.

Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the edges are a pale brown but the middle still looks slightly uncooked. Remove from the oven and leave to completely cool (the cookies will continue to cook and harden a little as they cool).

*see photos above 

Lightened Up Banana Blueberry Cinnamon Muffins

These muffins are naturally sweet, fluffy and did I mention guilt free!
This recipe uses wholegrain Spelt flour, mashed bananas instead of sugar, olive oil instead of butter and are packed full of juicy blueberries. I also added cinnamon for a little Christmas spice. Who’s says healthy can’t be delicious!?

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Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)
2 medium very ripe bananas
1 medium egg
125ml water
125ml extra virgin olive oil
250g whole grain spelt flour
1 ½ tsps baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tsps ground cinnamon
200g fresh or frozen blueberries

Method 

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.

In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and set aside. In another large bowl mash the bananas until all lumps are removed. Now add the water, egg and oil and mix together.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just combined. Finally, fold in the blueberries until completely coated in the mixture (be careful not to overmix as this will make the muffins tough.)

Divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases and bake in the oven for 16 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean.

Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge

If you’re looking for an easy peasy recipe which will give you the most amazing tasting fudge ever, this is it!

This recipe will take you no more than 10 minutes, simply throw all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir. The fudge tastes rich and velvety, and the sprinkle of sweet mini marshmallows on top really makes this a delicious treat.

Wrap your fudge up in treat bags like mine* or place them in cute boxes for the perfect gift for your friends and family this Christmas.!

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*as a side note, I must tell you that I bought these from Poundland! They are adorable and well, you may of guessed, only a pound for a pack of 20. 

Ingredients (makes 38 fudge pieces) 

500g milk chocolate, roughly cut into small chunks
14oz/397g (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
30g mini marshmallows

Method

Line a 9x9inch/22x22cm baking tin with aluminum foil.

Over a medium low heat, pour the condensed milk into a small saucepan. Now whisk in the cocoa powder.

Add 1/2 the chocolate chunks and stir consistently until well combined. Add the remaining chocolate and stir again until combined. Now stir in the vanilla extract – the mixture will be very thick!

Pour into the pan and spread out into one even layer, scatter the marshmallows on top and gently press them down into the mixture.

Refrigerate for at least four hours before removing from the tin, peeling  off the foil an cutting into …. squares.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature, or in the fridge, for up to two weeks.

Mince Pies with Cinnamon Pastry

I have something to tell you… These are the quickest mince pies you will ever make.
I also have a confession…the reason for this is mainly due to the fact I didn’t make my own mincemeat!
Next year I promise to be more prepared and will make delicious mincemeat well in advance, but for now let’s cheat a little an if you don’t tell anyone they will never know!

Personally, I like my mince pies on the smaller size so they can be popped in the mouth in one go. Plus, because of the size you can have 2 and technically still be having 1, now doesn’t that sound good!?

This Christmas classic is a staple in the festive season; so follow my simple recipe and bake your own delicious mince pies this year.

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Ingredients (makes 12 large/18 small pies) 

110g slightly salted block butter, cubed
175g plain flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp cold water
250g good quality mincemeat
1 egg, beaten

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a 12 holed muffin tray (or two trays if you are making 18) – I used cooking spray.

In a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add the cinnamon. Slowly add the mixture and work the pastry into a ball.

Lightly dust a clean worktop surface and a rolling-pin with flour. Roll the pastry out to 1/2cm thick and cut out 12 circular disks with a large round pastry cutter (use a medium-sized cutter if you are making 18). Place the disks into the tin cups and push down lightly. Now divide the mincemeat evenly between the pies.

With the remaining pastry, cut out 12 (or 18) stars to top the mice pies and lightly brush with the beaten egg. Bake your pies in the oven for approx 12-15 minutes until golden brown, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Best served warm with a splash of double cream!

Healthy Chocolate Covered Snowballs

I’ve always found this time of year incredibly difficult to eat healthy. Christmas chocolates, sweets, cake, biscuits (the list is endless) are sat in every shop window, waiting patiently to be gobbled up. Now believe me when I say that this recipe will help you resist temptation and stick to your pre-Christmas diet!

This delicious sweet treat is truly guilt free and will help curb those stubborn sugar cravings. The ‘snowballs’ themselves are made of desiccate coconut, vanilla extract, agave syrup and coconut oil. Desiccate coconut is high in fiber, iron and copper, which helps support brain function. Coconut oil is extremely good for you as it can help promote fat loss, improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce hunger.

They are then coated in a dark chocolate and hardened in the fridge. Dark chocolate is incredibly nutritious, not only is it a powerful source of antioxidants but it can help lower blood pressure and is loaded with soluble fiber.

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Ingredients (makes 18 balls)

4 tbsp agave or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 tbsp coconut oil
200g desiccated coconut
100g good quality dark chocolate, broken up (I used 70% Green & Black’s)

Method

In a bowl combine together the syrup, vanilla, desiccated coconut and coconut oil*. Put the mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes so that it can harden a little.

Remove from the fridge. Take a tsp of the mixture, roll it into a ball and place it on a plate. Repeat this process until you have 18 balls. Put the snowballs back in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10 second blasts until smooth. After 30 minutes, remove the snowballs out of the fridge and one by one, using two forks, roll the ball in the melted chocolate until fully coated. Repeat this process until all snowballs are coated.

Finally, put them back in the fridge to harden. Store in the fridge.

*if the coconut oil is solid then melt it first in the microwave before adding the other ingredients