Monday, 24 December 2012

The most ridiculously easy egg-free chocolate cake recipe, EVER!!

So, it's Christmas Eve, the children are so excited they've had their giant Santa stockings ready for days, and I still have a couple of cakes to bake before I can get ready for the jolly man's visit this evening!!

Having just popped a chocolate cake in the oven it dawned on me just how simple this recipe was to put together and thought, being the 'season of goodwill' I should share it with you. Not only is it just a 2 step method but no special equipment is needed... just a bowl and a hand whisk! And maybe a spatula if, like me, you like to make sure there isn't a drop left in the bowl!!

I discovered this recipe many years ago... one of my best friend's son's has an egg allergy and used to miss out on delicious cakes. Being the baker that I am, my visits usually included a box of cupcakes in my hands (much to the children's delight) and to ensure H got his sweet treat I tweaked this recipe for him and have been using ever since...

Ridiculously easy egg-free Chocolate cake (makes 2 8" cakes to be sandwiched together with filling of your choice)

375g plain flour
400g caster sugar
45g good quality cocoa (I use G&B)
9g baking soda
6g salt
160ml sunflower oil
30ml clear distilled vinegar
10ml vanilla extract
375ml water

Method (the ridiculously easy bit)
Whisk all dry ingredients together until mix is of an even colour
Add wet ingredients and whisk until no lumps remain
Pour into prepared pans and bake at about 170 (fan)

I hope you have a very Happy and healthy Christmas and may you be granted your every wish.

Happy baking
Julie xx

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Clandestine Cake Club "Season of Goodwill" event

Lastnight we had a very special Clandestine Cake Club meeting held at Cynthia Spencer Hospice in Northampton.  The centre provides hospice and palliative care services for south Northamptonshire. While the Hospice is mainly funded by the NHS, this year however, to maintain their exceptional quality of care, they have to raise an extra £704,000 through charitable donations and fund raising activities. Money raised this way is used to employ staff for the benefit of patients and to provide equipment and comforts to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

The theme, given Christmas is just days away, was "Season of Goodwill" so many of us not only brought cakes to share on the night, but gifts to leave for the hospice to sell or raffle.

This week I decided to make an Apple Bavarian Torte. I found the recipe on t'interweb, made no adjustments as I thought it sounded scummy just as it was...

Fresh from the oven!

Some of the cakes brought along for us to sample...

My final plate..... eyes bigger than my belly, I just couldn't finish!!

If you'd like to have a go at making the Apple Bavarian Torte, here's the recipe;

Happy baking

Julie xx

makes 12 servings

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
cup all-purpose flour
Cheese Mixture:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Apple Mixture:
6 apples - peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F(230 degrees C).
Cream together butter, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla, and flour. Press crust mixture into the flat bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Pour cheese mixture over crust.
Combine 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss the sliced apples with the sugar mixture and spread over the cheese filling.
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and continue baking for 25 minutes. Sprinkle almonds over top of torte. Continue baking until almonds are lightly browned and apples are tender. Cool before removing from pan.

Most importantly.... Enjoy!!

"Let's make Christmas" gift swap at Rococo Chocolate's

Like kids in a sweet shop!!

When Vanessa Kimbell asked if I'd like to take part in the December gift swap and it was to be at Rococo chocolates in London I felt for a moment I had won THAT golden ticket!!!
I was sent an e-copy of the book and then began the task of shortlisting a recipe or two to gift. The book is filled with the most beautiful photographs and recipes, it was hard to choose just one. 

My copy of Mastering the art of Chocolate personally signed by Chantal Coady

I'm a sucker for a good brownie so when I saw this recipe I just had to try... As an alternative to adding plain chopped pecans or almonds the recipe suggests caramelising them to make a praline, so I did! 

Another recipe that caught my eye was the Chocolate Salami. I thought this would be great turned into a Yule log (given the Christmas theme) so added a handful of dried cranberries and a little Christmas spice.

After we had registered our gifts and enjoyed a lovely rich hot chocolate we were treated to a bit of a masterclass with Rococo's Principal Chocolatier, Barry.

First up, and a recipe from the new book, goat's cheese ganache. The flavour of the cheese was subtle and the creamy texture of the ganache was to die for... served on salted chocolate wafers we went back for seconds!

Next up, Barry gave us a tempering demonstration. I've always found excuses not to try this at home... let's face it, who would want it to go wrong and end up wasting all that lovely chocolate!? Doesn't he make it look so easy...
With the tempered chocolate a few of us had a go at dipping Hazelnut Praline Rochers...

Here's some they made earlier... and we got to scoff!!

The gift table laden with lovely chocolate lushness! Those judges sure have a hard job...

While the judges made their final decisions we were treated to some Creme Anglaise Chocolate Mousse and mini mince pies with mulled wine. 

I just wanted to share these last pictures of the Rococo Advent Calendar, filled with 24 gorgeous chocolates, I certainly would love to find it in my Christmas stocking!

Thank you to Vanessa  & Chantal for organising such a wonderful event; Barry for his expertise on chocolate; Judges Lucas Hollweg, Sophie Conran and Richard for making Let’s Make Christmas 2012 a day to remember.

Happy  baking

Julie xx

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Chuffed to bits - my little ol' blog makes Woman and Home Magazine's top 100

To say I was a little excited when I found out is probably an understatement!!

My little 'ol blog here makes the list of 100 Best Food Blogs according to Woman and Home magazine. It's quite overwhelming as I sit along side some amazing food bloggers that I have followed for some time and been fortunate to meet, also some less familiar to me which I shall now be checking out.

I don't blog as much as I'd like to but I do love sharing my work and ideas with others, which is why I have decided to share my knowledge by running small cupcake workshops beginning in January 2013. I'm still putting together dates for the diary but will be posting details here, on Facebook and Twitter.

If you're interested in attending a class, please email your initial interest to and I will add you to my list.

Thanks and happy baking

Julie xx

Friday, 9 November 2012

Kenwood KMix event at Waitrose Cookery School

A little late writing up about this event as I was busy sunning myself in glorious Spain... well, I'm (reluctantly) back into the work/life routine so thought it was time to share this fab afternoon.

Date: Tuesday 23rd October  (A.K.A. My birthday)

What better way to spend your birthday than making beautiful Macarons under the expert tuition of the chef's at Waitrose Cookery School. The event was to promote the new gorgeous range from Kenwood, the Kmix Boutique which is available in an array of brilliant colours;

So, on to the Macarons... we used the Italian meringue method which was so much quicker than the French, no waiting for the shells to dry out, just pipe onto the tray and into the oven they go.

Once baked and after a little while cooling we sandwiched them together with a selection of different flavour buttercream fillings, including pistachio, liquorice, apricot, lemon, strawberry and blackcurrant.

 On the green (Pistachio) team were me, Rosie, Carmela and Vanessa, these were the finished beauties!

The beautifully coloured delicious macaron's we were able to take home.

After all our hard work (not that it seemed like work it was so much fun!!) we were treated to a selection of nibbles and cocktails from the Waitrose team... 
Pea soup: Goats cheese on beetroot: Thai smoked salmon

HUGE thanks go to the team at Waitrose Cookery School, Clarion Communications for organising the event and obviously to Kenwood for generously offering us an item from their new Boutique range.

Oops!! Guess who's been eating the liquorice macaron's??

Happy baking as ever

Julie xx

Monday, 8 October 2012

**NEWS** Cupcake delivery is now here!!

Hi folks

So pleased to announce that I am now offering delivery of my yummy cupcakes to mainland UK.

After a few fraught months of packaging trials and failed deliveries, I finally found a solution to posting frosted cupcakes, and for them arriving in one piece!!


Safe and secure in their postal pods

Wrapped up with twine to make it easier to remove from the box, looks pretty too!

Packaged and ready to go


Arrived the very next day in perfect condition.

Details of flavours available and delivery prices can be found on my website here.

Thanks to thecriticalcouple for being guinea pigs for me and agreeing to receive free cupcakes!!

Happy baking

Julie xx

Fairtrade ndali vanilla gift swap at Fortnum and Mason

It's been a couple of weeks now since my trip down to Fortnum and Mason for the vanilla gift swap organised by Vanessa Kimbell, I thought I'd better share with you some photos and tales from the day.

I had arranged to meet and travel down with the lovely Rosie of Freycob. My first encounter of her was this crazy woman carrying a huge blue polystyrene box (I have photographic evidence to prove it) hollering my name over the barrier..... Who? Me? 

Oh how that big blue box brought us some giggles on the underground...!?! 

If it wasn't enough that we would each be returning home with somebody else's vanilla gift, the lovely people at Fortnum's had prepared a few nibbles for us.....

On to the tables filled with cookies, cakes, cupcakes, jams and preserves, sweets and toffees...

Cakes that I would have been happy to judge.... where's my fork??

Beautifully wrapped biscuits and cookies 

Now I have the urge to make my very own Scottish Tablet... didn't get to taste but the smell was amazing!

A few words from Vanessa and a photo opp for the judges, Lucas Hollweg, Chantal Coady of Rococo, the Fairtrade Foundation and the ladies from Fortnum's.

The lovely Urvashi got to take home my Vanilla cupcakes while I received a box of home made fig rolls.... yummy! Well, at least I think they were. Before I had a chance to photograph or even taste them the scavengers in my house had devoured the lot!

As if we weren't quite satisfied with the quantities of sugar we had consumed, Rosie and I first stopped off at Fortnum's truffle counters (I forgot to take pics, sorry! Too intent on eating them) before a dash over the road to the gorgeously gold and glistening LadurĂ©e!

How can anyone not be drawn into this shop?

(from L to R: Pistachio, Salted Caramel (my personal fave), Rose, Liquorice, Sour Apple, Coffee, Vanilla and Violet)

My little treat that I kept all to myself!!

Thanks again to Vanessa, Ndali Vanilla, the Fairtrade Foundation, Kenwood and Fortnum & Mason for organizing and hosting the event.

Oh, and to the crazy lady with the big blue box.......... 

Happy baking

Julie xx