April 28, 2016


raspberry and pink fizz2

For our most recent meeting of Loire Valley CCC the theme was chosen by our host and was “What’s your tipple?”.  For this Nick had an urge to bake a champagne cake.  Then he remembered that as we were in the Loire Valley the best thing to use would be the local fizz.  Not far from where we live there are vineyards and wine growers that make the most delicious sparkling wines.  Very drinkable and a fraction of the price of real champagne.

raspberry and pink fizz3

Personally, I love champagne and believe you can tell the difference.  If anyone would like to challenge me to a blind tasting of a couple of champagnes and a couple of good sparkling wines, I would be happy to oblige.  As long as you buy!  Equally I love the Loire Valley sparkling wines and there are plenty of them around here to choose from.  If we have been drinking the local fizz for a week or two and then treat ourselves to opening a bottle of champagne, I always find myself saying, ah yes, champagne, it is different.

It’s also an excellent painkiller.  If you have back trouble a couple of glasses will make the pain and muscle spasm so much better – I know, I have researched it fully!

raspberry and pink fizz4

Nick adapted a recipe that he found on the internet to make his cake.  The only problem was that it stuck to the tin, in spite of a generous coating of cake release spray.  We think it was the raspberries that glued the cake to the tin where they were on the surface.  He carefully removed the pieces of cake that were left in the tin and placed them in the gaps in the cake.  With a strategic drizzling of pink fizz icing nobody could tell!

It tasted lovely.  The flavour of the raspberries was strong and you could definitely taste the fizz in the icing.


This month’s Love Cake Challenge from Jibber Jabber is “I’ll drink to that”.  You can see the details here.

teatime treats

This month’s Teatime Treats Challenge from Lavender and Lovage is “Regional and Local recipes and ingredients”.  You can see the details here.


For the cake

225g butter, softened, or Lurpak Spreadable

300g golden caster sugar

6 eggs

350g self raising flour

6 tblsp pink fizz

150g fresh raspberries (or frozen, thawed)

1 vanilla pod, seeds

For the drizzle

6 tblsp pink fizz

6 tblsp granulated sugar

For the icing

6 tblsp pink fizz

1 tblsp icing sugar


Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan / gas mk 4.  Grease a large Bundt tin with cake release spray or melted butter.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a little flour if the mixture begins to curdle.  Add the pink fizz.

Fold in the flour, followed by the vanilla seeds and raspberries.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and bake for 45-60 minutes until the cake looks browned, begins to pull away from the tin and passes the skewer test.

While the cake is cooking, prepare the drizzle by gentling heating the pink fizz and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.  Prick holes in the top of the cake using a skewer and pour the drizzle gently over the cake.  Leave to cool.

Mix the icing sugar with enough pink fizz to make a runny icing and drizzle over the cooled cake.  Add sprinkles and/or glitter if you like.

Cuts into 16-20 slices.

April 8, 2016


apple and coconut cake7apple and coconut cakeapple and coconut cake2

I recently bought the new Sainsbury’s baking book.  I did hesitate briefly and wonder whether I need any more baking books, but then remembered that this book costs about the same as a single copy of any popular monthly magazine, which I would read once then throw away, possibly after cutting out and saving a couple of recipes.  So I talked myself into the idea that it was money well spent…….and a girl can never have too many recipe books.

apple and coconut cake3

A few days later I spotted this cake stand in a local charity shop.  Once again I hesitated for a moment.  I already have several cake stands…...plenty in fact.  Then I remembered a conversation with someone in a shop recently.  Her friend had a handbag fund.  For birthdays and Christmas she asked for a contribution to her fund instead of a present and when the fund got up to £1,100 she bought herself a Mulberry handbag – a cheap one at that.  So then I felt less guilty about spending the grand total of £7.99 on a new recipe book and a cake stand. 

I have to say that if I had £1,100 with which to treat myself I would not spend it on a handbag for all the tea in China, but each to their own I suppose. 

apple and coconut cake4

apple and coconut cake5

The book has lots of tempting recipes in it but this apple and coconut cake caught my eye.  I had found a pack of dessicated coconut at the back of the cupboard and thought it was time I did something with it. 

The cake was quick to make and lovely to eat, an all in one mix with apples arranged on the top.

apple and coconut cake6apple and coconut cake8

It had a nice, even crumb and kept well for a few days in an airtight tin.  I think that next time I might add a spoonful of apple compote to make it even more moist and to add more apple flavour, but in fact it was perfectly alright without any deviation from the recipe.

Ingredients (as used by me)

For the cake

125g Flora Buttery.  Softened butter or any other baking spread would be fine.

175g golden caster sugar

200g self raising flour (gluten free flour also works well)

2 eggs

1 tblsp semi skimmed milk

50g dessicated coconut

½ tsp vanilla extract

For the topping

1 dessert apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

juice of ½ a lemon

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tblsp demerara sugar


Preheat the oven to 180° C / 160°fan / gas mk 4.  Grease a 20cm round springform tin and line the base with a circle of baking paper.

Put all of the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk until well combined.  Spoon into the prepared tin and level the top.

Put the topping ingredients into a bowl and carefully mix together until the apple slices are evenly coated.  Arrange them on top of the cake mixture.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until the the apple is brown and the cake passes the skewer test.  Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove and cool on a rack.  Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Cuts into 10-12 slices.