Loaded Fruit Yogurt Cake



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Loaded Fruit Yogurt Cake

Loaded fruit yogurt cake

This cake has come from an Italian recipe, with the addition of fresh fruit. It’s probably nothing like the true Italian cake in which families have passed down decades. Or possibly it is? However this particular version is the result of a load of partly legible handwritten notes in a book from a recipe found years previous.

I have made two of these cakes in the last week, what with two cartons of yogurt going off, plus the tempting fresh summer fruits in our local greengrocers… it just had to be done!

Don’t worry we didn’t eat them all ourselves although I must admit it was tempting! It all disappeared between a spontaneous fleeting visit to friends, some taken to work, etc…

Quick note on the recipe before I start. Don’t be afraid to use flavoured yogurt, just make sure you like the yogurt and that it smells nice! Trust me you don’t want a foul smelling yogurt baking for 30 minutes in your kitchen!! Tried and tested that one so you don’t have to…yuk!

Afternoon tea with the girls. (Square tin)

Loaded Fruit Yogurt Cake

  • 3 Eggs
  • 240ml yogurt
  • 120ml oil
  • 150g white sugar, (golden or soft brown all work well too)
  • 210g self raising flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder (not essential)
  • Blueberries, a good size handful
  • Preheat your oven to 180c and grab your tin. If using a square tin I personally line it with baking parchment (literally grab a piece much larger than the tin and press it in, it gives lovely rustic edge). Alternatively the Bundt tin works beautifully. Do grease properly to ensure smooth removal of sponge as it has a tendency to stick. My favourite method is using your hands rub Trex into the inside surface of the tin – works a treat!
  • Either using an electric mixer, or mixing with a spoon by hand, combine the eggs, yogurt, oil and sugar together until smooth.
  • Next, sieve the flour on top of the mixture along with the baking powder. Gently mix until just combined. Don’t worry about a few fine lumps it’s best not to over mix!
  • Pour into the tin, then gently tap the side to level out the mixture.
  • Drop the blueberries on top of the mixture. Don’t push these down some of them will gradually fall further into the sponge.
  • Bake for 30 mins then test with a skewer. Should be golden and springy to the touch.
  • Remove and leave in the tin to cool if square etc. If it’s a Bundt tin leave for 10-15 mins, then run a fine spatula around the edge gently both on the inside and out. Then pop the wire rack face down over the top turning the whole lot over and hey presto you should have a whole cake! If not either blame a passing dinosaur who obviously ate a portion of the top or just grab a fork and tuck in!
  • Optional Icing – Whizz together a hand full of soft fruit plus 200g of icing sugar and pour over. Adding more sugar if too thin. Enjoy!

Homemade Caramelised White Chocolate



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Homemade Caramelised White Chocolate

Caramelised Chocolate Easter eggs

Hello! I hope you are enjoying the easing of lock down restrictions this month. It certainly feels like we are heading in a positive direction, with us both having been vaccinated. This week in England we saw the opening of unessential shops, hairdressers and opening of outdoor eating at pubs. As someone who has shielded for a year after getting a severe bout of covid and long covid, I’m not feeling quite ready to be heading out to the pub just yet. However it’s wonderful to see them getting so much support after such a tough year. The recent lock down has easily been one of the hardest for us personally, with my own mums health significantly deteriorating, so she’s now in a nursing home. Due to lockdowns and weighing up risks I haven’t seen her since October, although I am hopeful they will ease restrictions and I can visit in the coming months. (So long as we remain on the positive trajectory) Finger crossed I miss her dearly!

Lots of positive changes going on in and around us too! The kids start a new school on Monday and we are finalising our exciting plans moving forward! So on that note I’m going to fill your head with my newly discovered caramelised chocolate. (New to me anyway)

I have a soft spot for, well, anything caramelised; caramelised biscuits, gold bars, caramac.. the list goes on. However that’s where my sweet tooth ends. I am not a fan of eating solid sweet white chocolate or bars of milk chocolate, (unlike my kids who absolutely adore it)I will do my upmost to avoid it. For me it’s either dark or caramelised as it’s a richer, nuttier, deeper flavour.

I admit I am no chocolatier and have never considered making my own until a video online caught my eye of someone much more experienced in this line just swirling this golden chocolate straight from the oven. I am happy melting, shaping and covering but I am not confident on full tempering.

It’s getting it’s colour..

This video, along with promising the girls we would have a go at making our own Easter eggs seemed the perfect opportunity to have a go. It’s a lengthy process of popping the chocolate over 30% cocoa solids is best. (mine was 22% so I thought that’s sort of near enough!!!) Pop the baking tray in the oven at 120c and wait 15 minutes. Then take it out and stir with a spatula until the chocolate is smooth and glossy. Repeat this process for the next 50 minutes and over that time you’ll see the colour change significantly in to a beautiful caramelised golden sheen.

Here you can see the colour difference between the original white chocolate and it starting to caramelise.

Sounds easy huh? Well 30 minutes in I pretty much gave up as my chocolate looked like it had dehydrated and was lumpy and possibly burnt. However after much googling I saw someone had posted this was pretty normal and to just keep stirring and stirring. Low and behold after a good few minutes (seemed like forever) the consistency changed back to the gorgeous glossy melted chocolate. So I continued in and out of the oven stirring until I reached this beautiful colour. The taste says it all…

Took all my will power not to just eat it with a spoon!

Although we ate most of it pretty rapidly we left one of the eggs for a few days. (believe it or not we often have eggs still uneaten at Christmas especially if they are milk!) This one started to bloom (little white spots) it’s not harmful it just the cocoa butter coming out (or something like that!) but it doesn’t look appetising. This was my impatience at cooling the chocolate too quickly and not tempering the chocolate to the right temperature first. So this left over chocolate will go into cookies.

Caramelised chocolate Easter eggs

If you can spare the time give it a go and see if you can resist just inhaling the chocolate straight from the baking tray with the gorgeous aroma and golden gloss!

Or just pour into a jar and use as chocolate spread; add marshmallows, biscuits and cherries for an amazing tray bake; or use to top a delicious brownie; dip strawberries and eat warm or let cool; or just leave to cool and break into shards and eat! Delicious… if indeed you don’t have the time or would just prefer to eat rather than make I hear you can buy variations of the internet. In the meantime I’m going to be working on some delicious rich chocolate, hazelnut, and caramelised white chocolate cakes…

2021 – A whole lot of catching up!


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It’s 2021 and I am finally re-starting my blog, its been long overdue, only taking six+ years, but here we are! Much has happened in six years including; 2 babies, finally buying our first house (a project) various jobs along with my main one. Oh and a huge pandemic -all of which (mostly my babies lack of sleeping) seem to have taken take a surprising amount of my brain capacity! However this hasn’t stopped me from baking, just blogging. I am now in the midst of planning to have my own business selling my baking wares along with my illustrations. This can only happen once I have finally got the extension built, including a new kitchen! Thanks to Covid that was all put on hold for some considerable amount of time, but now we are finally in talks with the architects, bringing exciting plans to reality. Fingers crossed…

Below are just a few photos of some recent cakes which I have had the pleasure of making for friends recently;

This cake was a dream to make as its one of my favourite recipes – the humble carrot cake topped with a light cream cheese frosting surrounded by toasted walnuts, topped with fresh flowers. Demerara Apple Cake – perfect for posting! Red velvet Cake topped with a toasted meringue frosting – can’t beat playing with a blow torch! A very chocolatey chocolate Cake! A carrot shaped carrot cake – designed by her kids of course!

Visiting a small but beautiful Island..


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Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

Last week we undertook an adventure! Well a road trip to be more precise, but it felt like more of an adventure!! We travelled up to the Isle of Skye on Friday after work (timed so we would miss all of the rush hour traffic) roughly taking around six and a half hours. I was quite amused when friends asked “Are you not bothered about traveling on friday the thirteenth?’ the answer was always a resounding no! Truth be told I’m not superstitious at all – as far as I’m concerned if something’s going to go wrong it will and there’s nothing we can do about it! We just have to get on and move on! Well that was all fine, ready and packed just waiting for our friends (Alison and Ian) to join us. Shortly after settling down to a cup of tea (lemsip for Ben as he had come down with man-flu!) the phone rang – they were pulling over as they had a flat tyre on the M6  enroute to us….great start to the holiday! It was just a red herring having checked the pressures all four tyres were fine we think the fella who had recently fitted the tyres must not have attached the sensors properly…phew!

It took us around 8 hours in total to reach Skye – plus about fifteen minutes to find the house after taking some dodgy wrong turns and ending up in a farm. Much easier to find the house in daylight! As we arrived in the house we were surprised to find that at -2 the outside was warmer than the house – (I don’t think anybody had stayed there in a while) so we manically rushed round turning on, and up, every heater and fan heater, heated blankets you name it in the house and huddled around the fire before exhaustedly turning in for bed.IMG_3840

That morning looking out of the window of the quirky and quaint cottage you realised quite where you were! No wonder the cottage was so cold the ground was white with a very hard frost and the views – well they were just spectacular!! Our cottage was located on the furthest point on the Minginish Peninsula, meaning that you were looking right over cliffs into the sea perfect for capturing amazing sunsets…DSC_0066

Anyway I’ll stop boring you with all the travelling and on to some photos..

We visited the beautiful Fairy pools…mesmerizing with its turquoise waters that are so clean you can drink them! The walk takes up most of the day with it being an eight or nine mile walk if you carry on right to the top – definitely worth it.Fairy Pools Skye Fairy Pools Skye

And the food..well what can I say!IMG_4871

The Quiraing..beautiful and unusual natural rock formations with the bonus of having (if you enjoy driving) most fantastic windy steep road to get there..The Quiraing, Skye

Old Man of Storr – we only made it so far up to the top but were battled back with the gale force winds, rain, hail and snow. The views looking out were fantastic across rugged fells, lakes and then out to sea. Old Man of Storr Old Man of Storr

Seals at Dunvegan Castle – this photograph was taken by Ian who has a longer lens than mine – fantastic isn’t it? All my camera would pick up were black dots in the water! They are fantastically curious animals getting gradually closer the more you called /waved at them then swimming off if you dared look away!15622_10155310103485595_5315263641149030708_n  IMG_3838

I cant wait to return to Skye – I would perhaps pick a warmer and slightly more modern house to stay in next time but keep everything else the same. It was lovely to properly see the island when it is not full of tourists and not to be queuing everywhere. But alas I have missed the best bits of Skye for me out – coming up on the next post…





Salted Caramel and Mocha Profiteroles Recipe


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Salted Caramel and Mocha Profiteroles

Salted Caramel ProfiterolesI have never attempted choux pastry before as it always seemed fairly daunting, having seen many a disaster on ‘The Great British Bake off’ or ‘Master Chef’. But actually its surprisingly easy and value for money. The only major things I have found to watch out for is piping out the right size of pastry and patience when adding the egg ‘a little at a time’ and don’t just pour all of the last bit in the jug at once!

I decided to be creative with my fillings by choosing two different types, one mocha and one salted caramel. There is no question as to which one was the favourite – can you guess? Yes you guessed it – salted caramel all round!

I used a ‘four egg recipe’ for my pastry which makes around 60 rolls but I have listed a ‘two egg recipe’ which makes approximately 30 which is plenty. Continue reading

Spring and summer have Sprung with new Vigour


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Hello Wildlife!

Finally thought I might finally sit down and update my blog – as I have the evening to myself! I should really be baking for friday and saturdays charity event or perhaps sort out the mountain of paperwork / invoicing thats looking longing at me…But No! That can wait for once, they’re not exactly going anywhere are they?!

I hope you are all enjoying spring? Once again my garden has sprung up and last years plants are HUGE! I should really read a gardening book and plant them a little further apart so they are not all battling against each other in the strive for sunlight- but that would just take the fun away! Anyway I like the higgledy piggledy cottage garden style- especially as it attracts soo many bees, birds and various other insects! Unfortunately our birds are particularly camera shy most of the time (or I am a little too noisy!)- Nutthatch, finch, green finch, gold finch, chaffinch, great tit, blue tit, wood pecker, blackbird..and our new swallows nest…

Dragon fly Continue reading

Pecan and Toffee Roulade


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Great Recipe for Entertaining

Pecan and Toffee Roulade

Well I have already broken one of my new years resolutions this year haven’t I? – to blog more frequently!! Having said that I have kept to my challenge and have lost nearly 6 pounds of my stone to loose by april taking me to half way! So I am bang on track there! Wahoo! 😀 Continue reading

Caramel Shortbread


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Sunday Baking caramel shortbread

I am well on track with my February challenge having lost two pounds this week! 🙂 As it’s the weekend (Sunday being my cheat day!) I thought I would bake an ever so slightly lighter and not too sickly version of millionaires shortbread. The recipe is using a traditional shortbread recipe and the caramel has less golden syrup and a touch of ginger syrup and light carnation condensed milk. As for the chocolate it’s 300g plain chocolate and 50g of milk which sets off nicely against the sweetness of the caramel. If you prefer a milkier taste then go ahead and use 200g milk and 150g of dark instead. The ginger syrup is optional, but for me although there is not quite enough ginger syrup to actually taste it does remove the very sickly aftertaste you can some times get if the caramel is overly sweet. If preferred replace with golden syrup! (or corn syrup in America!)caramel shortbread Continue reading

Wholegrain Mustard, Ham and Broccoli Filo Tart


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A lighter but flavoursome filo tart

Wholegrain Mustard, Ham and Broccoli Filo Tart

I am a massive fan of quiches and tarts – but unfortunately for me, most pastry doesn’t agree with me and find it too rich. Having discovered the world of filo pastry all of my woes have been fixed! Filo has that delicious satisfying buttery texture with that crunchy melt in your mouth feeling of a rich pastry. I know some of you will be skeptical and although it will never replace shortcrust pastry but its just delicious in its own right, some are gluten free (check) and lower in fat! Win win win!

Continue reading