Friday, 28 November 2014

Easy Chocolate & Banana Cake for Plan UK Night

I had to dust off my baking skills this week, as the Brownies had a charity Fundraiser for Plan UK - where they sold their "no sew" scarves - which were a favourite with the parents!!! And home baked goods were made by the girls for sale.

So I decided to make an easy recipe - Chocolate Marble and Banana Cake (inspired by Rachel Allen), and it went down a storm! Even Foxy (our honorary Brownie) wanted a piece...As Plan UK are such a brilliant charity and do so many great things for children all over the world, the Brownies went all out as the pictures below demonstrate.


Here's the recipe for my Chocolate Marble & Banana Cake (It's a winner with kids!):

  • 200 g butter, at room temperature
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 50 g cocoa powder, sifted


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Butter and flour the sides of a 20cm cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
  • 2. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • 3. Whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Gradually add the eggs to the butter mixture, beating all the time. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in gently to mix. Fold in the mashed bananas
  • 4. Tip half of the cake mixture into another large bowl and, into this bowl, fold in the sifted cocoa powder.
  • 5. Place the cake mixtures into the prepared tin by alternating spoonfuls of the vanilla batter with the chocolate batter, then with a skewer or similar implement, gently draw swirls through the cake mixture to ‘marblise’ it. Don’t overmix or you won’t have that wonderful marble effect. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • 6. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and allow to cool before serving.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Sandwiched at Bill's!

I was treated to the ultimate "Fluffy Sandwich" this week, when dining at Bill's...A part of their specials menu, was a Brioche sandwich filled with fluffy marshmallows and nutella, topped with pistachio ice cream and a drizzle of strawberry coulis. Yes this delight was all on one plate, and after a tapas style meal, this was the perfect and unforgettable masterpiece!!!

Having been to Bill's a few times, I have to say the food and staff on this occasion were a lovely combination -I would highly recommend it (especially if you can get your hands on this fluffy sandwich!) 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Birthday Cake Extravaganza!!!

I always refer to October as being the best month of the year, normally because it's my Birthday month and so it's generally a happy time. But this October has been super special!!! Why, you ask?! Because the cake choices were beyond what I had anticipated...I enjoyed so much cake / desserts (see picture above), I can't wait for my birthday to roll around again, so I have another excuse to consume so much, and pass it off as being my birthday month! 

(Okay imagine me whispering to you now!) I even had evenings out where I ate 2 desserts at one meal seating - naughty me!!! But it was so worth it...first I went to the Manor House in Wanstead where I literally couldn't decide which dessert to have, and since my friends were having coffee with their desserts, and I'm not a coffee drinker I thought why not have what I really want - more cake! So treacle tart and chocolate brownies it was :-)

There was also a night of bowling...where although the food wasn't amazing at the Volti Noti restaurant, having 2 desserts (a mistake on their part!) And birthday cake more than made it alright. I can't even mention all the other "extra" cakes I have eaten this month, although I must say that my Hubby did satisfy my new "Red Velvet" obsession with a cupcake from the Buttercup Cake Shop too. I had a great month of catching up with my "lady friends" and eating my age (sorry I'm not relieving!) in cake/dessert/chocolate/pastries.....

Friday, 10 October 2014

Cake-tastic Time At The Cake & Bake Show!!

I cannot describe to you the excitement I felt at arriving at the annual Cake & Bake Show! It was like all my cake dreams had come true...the displays and range were incredible, and had me oooing and ahhing!

The vast array of stalls, made choosing all the the more harder and we couldn't help stopping to take in the beautiful layouts. It would have also been rude not to sample the goods on offer! The exhibits that really drew our attention were places like; The Little Round Cake Company  who had so much choice, I physically struggled to decide on the flavours, but opted for the White Chocolate & Raspberry, Apple Crumble, Sticky Toffee and Blackforest. Another stall I couldn't resist was Eat N Mess Cakes, their danity cupcakes and pie slices looked too cute! We also bumped into the odd celebrity or two at the show's cooking classes (namely Eric Lanlard!) 

I didn't want to leave Hubby and Baby Boy out of my cake adventure, and I didn't have to look for we came upon a local Jamaican-inspired bakery who had Mango and Chilli cupcakes - right up Hubby's street! Then there was the stall called Sponge who had adorable 7" cakes, a chocolate cake for Baby Boy was in order (he loves chocolate already!!)  

That wasn't all on offer - there were non-cake stalls (yes at a cake show!) But they were serving some great treats, especially Supreme Sausages and The Flour Station. My friend fell in love with the delights of both of these stalls, and carried home many indulgences from both! So all in all we have a fabulous time - roll on next year!!!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Happy National Cupcake Week!

I was profoundly glad to hear that this week is "National Cupcake Week". Who wouldn't want to pay homage to the dainty pleasure of a cupcake...! Sometimes they can make the world seem like a better place - yes I said it, I have that reassurance in the frosted delight!

On a more sensible note, cupcakes have become a huge trend and business in many countries, with everyone trying to out-do each other in flavours, colours and sizes. As my previous post demonstrated there's not many ingredients or prices that won't be spent when coming up with the ultimate cupcake. 

I think of the cupcake as being a staple requirement to any worthy dessert buffet, as was the case when I got married a few years ago. I even went to the lengths of having our monogram put onto cupcake toppers for the occasion (see below).

I know that there's many people who do not care for or eat cakes or cupcakes (what is wrong with you?!) But cupcakes cannot go unnoticed when laid out...

In salutation of the humble cupcake, I will strive to consume a cupcake delight this week, because how can you not love a cupcake - see 33 reasons why you should here - haha! I will leave you with this wow of a cupcake....have a burger (cupcake) on me! :-)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

World's Most Expensive Cupcake!

Okay so there are not many cakes that make me go "Wow", but when a friend sent this little beauty to me...I was beyond "Wowsers!!" Not because I thought it was exceptionally beautiful (although it is striking), but because of the eye-watering price attached to it...£540! Yes you read right, this birthday cake masterpiece cost more than many people's monthly shopping bill.

As you know I adore cake like no other, but even I would struggle to part with hundreds for something that could be consumed in less than 10 mouthfuls!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Not Cake Related: Brownies Leader of The Pack!

So this is in no way cake related!! But I couldn't help myself - I have had the privilege this week of having an article written about little ol' me in the weekly Voice newspaper. The article focuses on the diversity of Girlguiding Leaders and Brownies turning 100 years old this year!

It was such a flattering and positive article, that I couldn't NOT mention it and the lovely journalist - Dionne Grant that wrote it. So although it isn't directly linked to cake - it's definitely worth celebrating with cake!!! :-)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Hummingbird Of A Birthday!

As it was Hubby's birthday recently, it was only right that he had a special cake for the occasion. Yes I should have probably dusted off my (retired) baking skills for my lovely Hubby, but instead we decided a treat was in order, in the form of the Hummingbird Bakery! And what a treat it was...I would have quite enjoyed a sleepover with the cakes!!!

With so much choice, it was difficult to decide on just a couple of cakes, but I must say the choices were very right. I opted to try the Red Velvet Cupcake for starters, I have literally fallen in love with a cupcake!!! I have eaten other red velvet cupcakes before, but none of them have tasted as delectable as this...I wanted more! Hubby had the Frosted Brownie to begin with, but it was the Chocolate Malt Cake that he ooohhh and ahhhhh over.

We also sampled the Brownie Cheesecake and Rainbow Cake (yes we went all out for his birthday!!!) But our minds kept drifting back to the Red Velvet and Chocolate Malt....Even though it wasn't my birthday, it definitely felt like I was indulging like it was my birthday! ;-)

I think another visit is definitely a must....!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

For The Love Of Cake!

I had the pleasure of enjoying the ultimate in cakes this weekend... A slice of strawberry gateau (see above), from the highly favoured Patisserie Valerie. A quick stop at a service station whilst on a road trip, brought me into contact with this beautiful delight of a cake (what a lovely surprise!) In all honesty I don't think the photo does it justice, but I wanted to tuck into it so much, I couldn't be bothered to improve the lighting etc..!

I find it very rare these days to find a place that make / provide cakes that honestly take my breath away, but I was definitely all smiles when I laid my eyes on their selection! :-)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Cosmotion At The Gala!

When I was invited to a local worldwide food buffet for some friends' birthdays at the local Cosmos, I got slightly excited at the thought of the vast dessert buffet range this place homes. I'm not a big fan of all you can eat buffet places, but normally think this one is okay because it offers a range of dessert options, other than the usual gateau and ice cream options, that many other buffet places offer. HOWEVER to my disappointment, I quickly learned that dessert buffets like these and all you can eat establishments of this kind should not be entertained at peak times (weekends). Whilst there were some options, many things had run out (namely the Creme Brulee, that wasn't replenished for at least an hour!) And the cakes that were laid out had seen better times, as no one was really managing the section. As the restaurant has a strict dining time limit during busy times, I only had time to peruse the dessert buffet once, whilst bumping into many other diners a long the way. Overall it was an experience I won't be in a hurry to repeat!

Bad food experiences haven't stopped there! I was recently also invited to night of bingo with friends, though I was HUGELY hesitant, we had vouchers that promised a free meal and dessert from Gala Bingo. Never one to turn down free cake, I went along and was pleasantly surprised when my fish and chips arrived. It was all of good size and potion, and didn't taste too bad at all. HOWEVER I then ordered the chocolate brownie for dessert, and I cannot tell you my disappointment once again when it arrived!

The fact that the brownie was the size of a tablespoon, and there were berries and ice cream on the plate that were bigger than the brownie, just plain shocked me. I wasn't expecting a mammoth piece, but being just slightly bigger than "bite-size", didn't cut it either. Needless to say, the bingo dining experience won't be seeing me again in a hurry. 

Bring on the restaurants that are true cake / dessert connoisseurs!!!!

Friday, 9 May 2014

A Ruby Of A Cake & Blackforest Retro!!

It got to lunch time the other day, and I got that familiar urge for cake! But not a "Let's eat lunch, then have cake urge." Just a "Let's forget lunch and go straight for the cake!" As I was having lunch with a friend, I thought it probably wouldn't be appropriate to have lunch at a cake parlour, so we went to a local cafè in Hoxton called Ruby, so she could have something of the savoury kind too! Once I laid eyes on their Banoffee Pie - I was in love!!!!!! That was lunch was one of the best Banoffee Pies I have ever tasted (and I've sampled a few in my time of cake!) Can you also believe that the slice you see taken in the picture was actually my ENTIRE slice (no sharing thank you very much!)

My cake escapades didn't stop there this week...I also went to the local Beefeater restaurant with a friend, and being that our last meal there was such a disappointment, this time we were eating there on Beefeater (as a goodwill gesture - thanks!) As well there being an improved service, the food was tasty, and when I saw Blackforest Gateau was on the menu, I couldn't turn down a classic favourite. Though in appearance it wasn't quite the defrosted masterpiece I remember from childhood, it definitely hit the spot in taste, and took me right back to the nostalgia of christmas treats - well done Beefeater!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Chocolate Festival - Choctastic!!!

Stopping off at the Chocolate Festival this weekend was a must for any chocoholics or anyone with a unhealthy obsession for sweet treats. Whilst there was plenty to learn and see at the various workshops and tasting sessions, there was also plenty to sample and purchase to curb any chocolate or sweet craving.

I made it my mission of the day to take part in "The Best Brownie Ever Trail", which included sampling various brownies from different vendors and then rating my favourite (hard I know!) There was a clear winner for me at Batch Bakery, who served up 'The Elvis Brownie', which included some of my sweet favourites, bananas and peanuts (heaven in a bowl).

As a VIP guest, I also had the pleasure of spending some time at the Chocolate Spa (yes I thought this could get messy!) But in fact it was actually the opportunity to have some chocolate eye make-up applied (no I didn't want to eat my eyes afterwards!) And my Mum (my partner in crime for the day), had a chocolate hand massage, which smelt divine!

The amount of chocolate at each stall was unimaginable, I didn't know chocolate could come in so many forms, and we were helped to take it all in with a free glass of presecco and cheeky shots of chocolate baileys! With so much on offer, it was difficult to limit your choices and purchases!!! But it definitely was a worthwhile trip for any chocolate or sweet lovers in search of something slightly different! Well done Hubby for thinking of me on this little adventure! 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Cupcake Flowers - Look Good Enough To Eat!!

Whilst I haven't been blogging, cake has never been far from my thoughts or mouth!!!

I just celebrated my first Mother's Day which turned out to be a perfect day! And what made it even more special, was I got to celebrate it with my own Mum, so after years of buying her the complimentary flowers etc..I came across this little beauty!

Cupcake flowers!!! :-) Being a fan of all things cake, I couldn't resist this little beauty!