Clare’s Birthday cake – Coconut cake with vanilla bean frosting

My friend at work, Clare, was heading back home to New Zealand for her birthday, but requested a very specific cake for her return….

I googled ‘coconut cake with vanilla bean frosting’ and there was literally one recipe that matched!!

It happened to be vegan, but I don’t think anybody guessed it. You need to get some very specific ingredients before you make this, but it turned out great.

I used arrowroot instead of agar flakes in the icing, but you really do need the agar, otherwise it doesn’t  set right and is more of a custard consistency.

Here’s the recipe if you fancy doing a show-stopper cake and have a few hours on your hands:

The cakes looked a lovely golden colour when they came out of the oven, and rose every well with the spelt flour:

Here’s the decorated cake – it didn’t last long!


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White chocolate and pecan cookies

these are another recipe from the great Hummingbird bakery recipe book.

Let’s hope they taste as good as they smell!


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Jammy dodgers!

I’m always looking for recipes to use whatever leftovers I might have & this week I was wondering what to make with the leftover apricot jam from the Christmas cake.

When I found a recipe for jammy dodgers it was immediately requested by everyone at work.

I wanted to replicate the biscuit you can buy & most recipes just involved baking the biscuits, then adding jam to them, but I found one from the River Cottage that bakes the jam in the biscuits:

And the finished biscuits:


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It’s time to cut the Christmas cake!

My sister and I made the Christmas cake about 6 weeks ago.

I used my foolproof recipe from last year which is exactly what it is – foolproof!

Baking it in advance gave me a few weeks to feed it with Cointreau!!

Then this weekend I covered it in marzipan; first brushing a thin layer of boiled, sieved apricot jam over it and as ready rolled marzipan was on offer I cheated and used that! It’s white marzipan so not as visible when the cake is cut. Then today I made royal icing and covered the cake, to look like snow:

Then I decorated it with gold shimmer and the decorations from my Grandad’s old bakery business:

We cut the cake this afternoon at my Christmas drinks party & it went down very well!

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Let the Christmas baking commence!

Now that it’s time to open advent calendars I figured it’s okay to start baking Christmas treats, so made some German gingerbread style Lebkuchen.

They are pretty quick & easy to make & I decorated mine with chocolate…


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Banana loaf

I had a couple of bananas that were getting old so I thought what better than to make a banana loaf!

Regular readers will know I’m a fan of the Hummingbird Bakery’s recipe book so I followed their recipe and I hope it’s turned out well. As I often get told off at work if I don’t make something with chcolate in, I added dark chocolate chunks to this!



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Delicious chocolate chip cookies!

I’m always searching for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe that makes tasty, chewy cookies without them seeming underdone. I think this one that I found on another blog comes pretty close!

I made some with smarties in, and some with a mix of white and dark chocolate chips.

I took some to my sister’s to have with a cup of tea; they disappeared pretty quickly!



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Ginger crunch

This bake was a request from my friend Clare; and doubles as a celebration for the NZ rugby win over the weekend.

Here’s the recipe from her mum’s blog, if you want to give it a go – it tastes delicious!!


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Baileys Irish cream brownies

I had a request for Baileys brownies so knocked some up quickly tonight – they smell amazing!!

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Millionaire shortbread – a new recipe

This is one of the things that I bake that gets the most requests!

But I always have issues with the caramel being too soft, so I decided to use a new recipe. This one has a higher butter to sugar recipe & that seems to have done the trick. Though it did have about 50% less chocolate; so I added a lot more!

Here’s the recipe:  

And the finished article:  

Packaged up ready to take to work:


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