February 26, 2021



Internet shopping for groceries is a trial.  Some websites are easier to navigate than others but we usually get some surprises!  A recent one was an extra punnet of blueberries that we weren't expecting.

As well as the erroneous ordering there is also the phenomenon of strange substitutions.  Early in the lockdown last year I ordered a bag of caster sugar and was given this stuff instead.  It's granulated sugar with some sweetener added.  I was unsure about baking with it as most recipes specify caster sugar because dissolves more easily in baking, but have been using it to sweeten fruit in pies and crumbles.

When I was looking for a cake recipe using blueberries I turned up this one on the Baking Mad website and was intrigued that it used Half Spoon as the sugar ingredient.  I decided to give it a go, if only to use up some of the sugar!

It was dead easy to make, nothing complicated, and although I used my recently acquired Kenwood KMix, a bowl, a wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease would be just as good.  It was quick to bake too.

The cake was lovely (although I was slightly miffed that most of the blueberries sank to the bottom).  I marked out the cream cheese topping in a pattern that would make the cutting of regular slices easy whether in oblongs, squares or triangles.  I was very pleased with it.

I did however make a mistake in placing the blueberries for decoration.

Something else I was very pleased with is this food cover.  I had seen one in use at cake club and eventually spotted them for sale on Amazon (the dreaded).  It comes in a set of three different sizes and will cover anything more effectively than the square tent shaped ones I normally use, which are often plenty wide enough but not tall enough to cover a cake on a cake stand.  This one easily fitted over the cake on its stand, keeping it safe from the attention of insects and pets.  Highly recommended.


For the cake

300g self raising flour (or ⅔ SR and ⅓ sponge flour)

1½ tsp baking powder

300g soft margarine (I used Stork)

125g Half Spoon sugar alternative*

5 medium eggs

zest and juice of 1 lemon

100g blueberries

a splash of milk if needed

For the topping

180g cream cheese

25g softened butter

2 heaped tblsp icing sugar

A handful of blueberries


Grease and line the base of a 22 or 23 cm square tin.  Preheat the oven to 190°C / 170° fan / gas mk 5.  

Put all the cake ingredients except for the blueberries into a large bowl and beat well until combined. Beat in a splash (about a tablespoon) of milk if the mixture seems quite stiff (mine was but I now wonder if adding the milk is why the blueberries sank.  I might omit it and go with a stiffer mixture next time).   Fold in the blueberries until evenly distributed.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the top.  Tap the tin on the worktop a few times to settle the mixture and dispel any air bubbles.

Bake for 25-35 minutes until done.  Cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.

To make the topping, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Sift in the icing sugar and beat in.  When the cake is completely cool, spread the topping over and swirl it or use a fork to create a pattern.  Distribute the extra blueberries over the top.  Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Cuts into 12-16 portions.

*If you want to make the recipe with caster sugar instead of Half Spoon, follow the advice in the link.  Essentially it implies that you would use twice as much sugar and less baking powder.  I haven't tried it!


  1. You are right to be miffed. VR, my wife, said glacé cherries always followed the same trajectory. I promised to scour the internet to find a solution. Solutions I found - by the kilogram - but they were outweighed by associated arguments. For every person who said that X did the job, there were half a dozen who maintained - with mounting anger - that it didn't. I copy/pasted some of the more likely recommendations and took them down to the kitchen. A three-second scrutiny and the paper was handed back: "Tried'em all. None worked."

    1. Roderick, I wholeheartedly agree with Mrs R. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't and I live with it!