January 28, 2023


Looking back over old posts has served to remind me of a number of really good cakes that I used to make regularly, in one form or another.  I'm very fond of recipes that are not only straightforward and not too fiddly, but can also be adapted to use ingredients that I have in stock, rather than having to make a special trip to the shops for them.

This is one of those recipes.  It comes from the book "The Popina Book of Baking", which I have used a lot over the years.  The original recipe is described as a tart and uses plums but it's really a cake and virtually any fruit will work.  You can read what I wrote about it and see the recipe here.

January 20, 2023


My round-up of favourite cakes would not be complete without including my all time favourite, the chocolate Guinness cake by Nigella Lawson from her book "Feast", first published in 2004.

It always goes down well at special occasions and I have made it dozens of times over the decades.  I have adapted it slightly since the first time and, because recipes on websites have a nasty habit of disappearing, (or linking to something else) here is the recipe that I now use.  At the time of writing, the original can be seen on Nigella's website here.  

It's a very "grown up" kind of chocolate cake, not the sort of children's birthday parties and, because the topping is quite sweet, I now make about half the quantity of the amount in Nigella's original recipe.


For the cake

250ml Guinness (original)

250g butter, cubed

75g cocoa powder

400g golden caster sugar (or white caster sugar)

142 ml pot of soured cream (or 150ml full fat crème fraîche)

2 large eggs

1 tblsp vanilla extract

275g plain flour

2½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the topping

150g full fat cream cheese

75g icing sugar

60ml double or whipping cream


Preheat the oven to 180°C /160° fan /gas mk 4.  Butter and line the base of a 23 cm round springform cake tin.

Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan and add the butter.  Heat gently until the butter has melted then remove from the heat, add the sugar and cocoa powder and whisk in.

In a small bowl, beat the soured cream,vanilla and eggs together and pour into the pan.  Add the flour and bicarb and whisk in until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45-60 minutes until done.  The centre will still seem damp and it may dip in the middle.  Cool in the tin.

To make the topping, lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth and sift in the icing sugar.  Beat together then add the cream and beat again until you get a spreadable consistency.

(Alternatively use a food processor, blitzing the icing sugar and cream cheese first to remove any lumps, then adding the cream.)

When the cake is completely cool, place it on your serving plate and swirl the topping over the top.

Cuts into 12-15 slices.
Leftover cake should be kept in the fridge.  The cake also freezes well, with or without the topping.

January 14, 2023


Looking back for favourite cakes and bakes to re-post I found this one which I remember being delicious and always intended to make again, but I never did.

You can see the recipe by clicking here.

January 10, 2023


There are still no cakes being made chez nous.  It's now nine weeks since I had cake, bread, biscuits or puddings of any kind and my weight is steadily falling.  I remember the wonderful Terry Wogan and his slogan "fight the flab" and I have to say that I am winning the battle and feeling much better for it.

I haven't felt hungry at all over the last nine weeks, not ever.  Filling up on fruit, veg and lean meat definitely seems to work and I have felt no desire to dive into the biscuit tin or raid the fridge for slabs of cheese.  (Although I have hankered after the occasional slap-up roast dinner.)  Nick and I are eating the same meals and his weight remains steady because he fills up on buttered toast with marmalade or cheese and patés. Watching him devour all the extras while I enjoy a nice, juicy orange has turned out to be easier than I thought!  I've even been making apple crumbles, just for him.  He's not much of a fan of cake so the temptation to have just one slice (it's impossible to have just the one) has been avoided.

At the back of my mind is my huge collection of cook books, cake tins and cake stands, all gathering dust from lack of use, and the worry that I might never get to need of them again - for fear of putting the weight back on.  

We'll have to wait and see but in the meantime I shall re-post some of my favourite recipes, some from years ago.

You can see this coconut and lemon cake if you click here.