March 4, 2015


sweetheart cakes
Some time ago Nick announced that he doesn’t really like cake all that much and the only cakes he does like are chocolate, ginger and fruit cake.  So for Valentine’s Day I decided I would treat him to some chocolate and ginger cakes, using my pretty new heart shaped tin.
Then things went pear shaped time wise – and baking was off the agenda.
sweetheart cakes6 Our kitchen in France used to look like this.  It looks pretty good from a distance but there are lots of things wrong with it so we decided to lash out on a new one.
The kitchen now looks like this.  Notice the nice big empty space under the beam where we found a humungous mouse nest.
Design 5
This is the artist’s impression of our new kitchen.  Nice and clean, no mouse nests, an oven whose door doesn’t fall off and nice tiles on the floor that don’t break up when you stand on them.  Plus a sink that drains properly and good lighting.
The new installation is about a month off but there is a lot of preparation work to do first, namely to remove the old kitchen, dig up the old kitchen floor and put down a new one.  The floor is being done by a professional builder and Nick had to dash across the channel to start the removal of the old kitchen before the said builder can start.  Hence the reason that I didn’t get my little cakes made.
Before I set off for France myself I picked up a packet of chocolate cake mix just in case.  I had no idea at that point whether I was going to have the facilities to bake anything so I thought I would make it easy for myself.  In fact we have managed to set up a reasonably functional temporary kitchen in the dining room.  Sadly the water supply is at the other end of the building but you can’t have everything.  It’s significantly better than camping at least.
sweetheart cakes2
Wright’s Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix was recommended in a blog I read as a handy item to have in the store cupboard so that’s the one I bought.  On the back of the pack there are instructions for using it for a loaf cake, muffins, cupcakes or a traybake so that inspired me with confidence. 
sweetheart cakes3
I added to the mix some ground ginger and chopped preserved ginger and used my new heart shaped bun tin.  There was a lot of mixture left over, enough to make four mini bundt cakes as well.
 sweetheart cakes4Unfortunately I couldn’t find my can of cake release spray so I buttered the tins well but the cakes still stuck, which was annoying.  Having had a few sticking bundt disasters in the past I find that the spray is the only way to more or less guarantee that the cake will come out.
Sadly this meant that all but one of the little cakes lost the nice pretty pattern on top that should have been imparted by the tin.  So I decorated them with a little ginger flavoured icing and they looked fine.  They tasted nice too.
sweetheart cakes5
I can’t say that they tasted as good as a real home made cake would have done but they were fine.  Better than no cake at all, which, under the circumstances, was the other option.  I will get another packet of the cake mix in for emergencies and even try some of the other flavours available.
Now I am really cheating and being rather cheeky in submitting these little cakes to the Aphabakes Challenge, organised by Ros of The more than occasional baker and Caroline of Caroline Makes, which this month is for the letter S. 
I fully intended to enter them last month when the letter was V – as chocolate and ginger Valentine’s cakes.  I blame mitigating circumstances for my cheek in changing the name to sweetheart cakes instead to comply with this month’s theme.  You can see the details here.
(If you’re interested you can read more about our new kitchen adventure here.)
Cheat’s Chocolate and Ginger Sweetheart Cakes
1 pack of Wright’s Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
200ml water and 60ml vegetable oil (as specified on the packet)
1tsp ground ginger
2 balls preserved ginger, chopped
2tblsp icing sugar
2 tsp syrup from the jar of ginger
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan.  Spray two bun tins with cake release spray (or butter well and cross your fingers).
Make up the cake mix according to the instructions on the packet, adding in the ginger.
Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.
Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes then ease out gently and cool on a wire rack.
Make up the icing using a little extra liquid (water or syrup) if necessary to make runny.  Drizzle over the cakes when completely cold.
Makes approx 24 small cakes or buns.


  1. If it helps, please feel free to come over and borrow our kitchen.

    Make sure the granite is transported and stored on its side or you risk it snapping in half while it isn't fully supported underneath.

  2. I'm sure the new kitchen will be worth it as it looks amazing. I would love to have a kitchen like that! I am very impressed that you managed to do any baking at all so thank you for your entry, it's much appreciated. I've also heard that Wright's cake mix is the one to have but I've not tried it myself. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes.

  3. I love the bottle of wine on the table in the artists impression! They know you so well. Love the pretty heart tins. Shame they didn't come out.

  4. Good to see that even the lack of kitchen doesn't put you off baking! My guilty secret is the odd box of Betty Crocker... ;0)

  5. Definitely much better than no cake at all and a tribute to your determination. When my kitchen was under construction I just hung around cake shops and restaurants.

    1. Phil, hanging around cake shops just makes me want to go home and bake something!

  6. I can vouch that the cakes tasted good!!
    And I can better appreciate the new kitchen design when it is up against the stripped out version...
    very nice.

  7. OMG! I love your new kitchen, we've just refreshed ours too, but with paint and no new units as the old ones were good quality! GREAT biscuits and I love your mould, Karen

    1. Karen, I wish we could have simply painted ours too!
      The real problem was the floor. It was impossible to repair and having a new floor meant digging the old one up, so the units had to come out. There seemed no point in putting old, wonky units back so we decided to "go for broke"!

  8. I remember when our kitchen was being renovated... it was such a challenge to cook :) Kudos to you for continuing to bake!