Mincemeat & Marzipan Teabread

200g/8oz self-raising flour
100g/4oz cold butter, cut into pieces
85g/3oz light muscovado sugar
85g/3oz marzipan, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
2 eggs
300g/10oz mincemeat
2tbsp flaked almonds
icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

Takes 1 hr 20 minutes – Serves 12

  1. Preheat the over to 180°C/Gas 4/160°C Fan. Butter a 1kg loaf tin and line the base with greaseproof paper. Tip the flour into a bowl, add the cold butter and rub in until the mixture forms fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar and marzipan cubes.
  2. In another bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, then stir in the mincemeat. Stir this into the flour mixture until evenly combined. Spoon into the prepared loaf tin, smooth, and sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top. Bake for 1 hour until the tea bread is risen and golden brown, or a skewer inserted comes out clean.  Lightly dust the tea bread with icing sugar while it is still hot.
  3. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then tip onto a wire rack to cool completely. Peel off the lining paper and cut into slices – it’s also very good spread with butter.
  • Per serving: 265 calories, protein 4g, carbohydrate 41g, fat 11g, saturated fat 5g, fibre 1g, added sugar 15g, salt 0.44g.


Whole Clementine Cake

2 clementines
140g/5oz caster sugar
3 eggs
85g/3oz self-raising flour
100g/4oz ground almonds
50g/2oz butter

For the Icing
85g/3oz icing sugar
juice of 2 small clementines (or enough to make a smooth pouring icing)
crème fraîche, to serve (optional)

Takes 1 hour 45 minutes – Serves 8-10

  1. Put the clementines in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove the clementines and cool.
  2. Preheat the over to 180°C/Gas 4/Fan 160°C.  Butter and line the base of a 20cm/8in round, deep cake tin.  Roughly chop the cooked clementines, discarding the pips. Whizz in a food processor until smooth. Whisk the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift the flour and ground almonds on to the egg mixture. Using a large metal spoon, fold gently, then add the clementine purée and melted butter. Fold in gently until just mixed. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the cake is brown and springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Mix the icing sugar and juice together, drizzle, and serve with crème fraîche.
  • Per serving (for eight): 307 kcalories, protein 6g, carbohydrate 41g, fat 14g, saturated fat 4g, fibre 2g, added sugar 30g, salt 0.29g.


Rhubarb and Orange Cake

350g/12oz prepared rhubarb, cut into 4cm/1½in lengths
200g/8oz golden caster sugar
finely grated zest and juice of ½ small orange
140g/5oz butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp baking powder
85g/3oz self-raising flour
100g/4oz ground almonds

For the Topping
25g/1oz butter, melted
25g/1oz light muscovado sugar
finely grated zest of ½ small orange
50g/2oz slivered almonds
icing sugar, for dusting

Takes 1 hour 25 minutes, plus 1 hour standing – Serves 6-8

    1. Mix the rhubarb with 50g/2oz of the caster sugar and the orange zest. Set aside for 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
    2. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5/Fan 170°C. Butter and line the base of a deep 23cm/9in round cake tin. Cream the butter and remaining caster sugar. Add the eggs, baking powder, flour and ground almonds. Beat gently, but do not overmix. Stir in the orange juice, spoon into the tin, and level. Drain the rhubarb and spoon over the mixture. Bake for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the butter, sugar, zest and almonds.
    3. Reduce the oven to 180°C/Gas 4/Fan 160°C. Sprinkle the topping over the cake and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm. Cool in the tin, then transfer to a rack. Dust with icing sugar.
  • Per serving (for six): 548 calories, protein 9g, carbohydrate 44g, fat 39g, saturated fat 16g, fibre 3g, added sugar 41g, salt 0.74g.


Honey Cake

140g/5oz butter
170g/6oz strong-flavoured honey, such as heather honey
100g/4oz light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp water
190g/7oz self-raising flour
2 large eggs

For the Filling
85g/3oz soft butter
170g/6oz sieved icing sugar
1 tbsp strong-flavoured honey

  1. Place butter, honey, sugar and water into a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted, stirring all the time.
  2. Remove pan from the heat and allow contents to cool to blood temperature. Gradually beat the eggs into the mixture. Add the sieved flour and mix until smooth.
  3. Pour into a 18cm/7″ greased and lined cake tin and bake for 40 minutes at 180°C/Gas 4/Fan 160°C.
  4. When cooked, cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from the tin and cool further.
  5. Meanwhile, make the filling by beating the butter and sieved icing sugar together. When smooth, add the honey and beat to combine.  Cut the cold cake in half and spread on the filling.


Carol’s Victoria Sandwich

This is a slightly different way of making the classic Victoria Sandwich, I hope it works for you as well as it does for me. I am always fascinated how the same ingredients and method produce such different results depending on who made the cake!

3 eggs at room temperature
Softened butter (not margarine)
Caster sugar
Self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4/Fan 160°C.  Grease and line an 18cm/7″ cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Weigh the eggs and measure the same weight each in butter, caster sugar and self-raising flour.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and changed to a lighter colour.
  4. Gradually add the beaten eggs into the mixture, adding a tablespoon of flour in between each addition of egg. This is to prevent the mixture from curdling.
  5. When the eggs are all incorporated add the vanilla extract, then sift the rest of the flour into the mixture and fold in gently and thoroughly with a metal spoon. The mixture needs to be of a dropping consistency; if it is too thick add a few drops of milk and mix gently.
  6. Place in the prepared tin and level the mixture. Bake in the middle of the oven for approximately 40 minutes. The cake is done when the sides of the cake are coming away from the tin and the top of
    the cake springs back when a finger is lightly pressed on the middle of the cake.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and leave in the tin for 5 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a wire cooling rack and leave until cold. Slice in half horizontally and fill with a jam of your choice (I used homemade blackcurrant jam) and buttercream or cream.


Stem Ginger Brownies

50g 70% dark chocolate
110g butter
2 eggs, beaten
225g caster sugar
50g plain flour
1 level tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
100g stem ginger, chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4/Fan 160°C.  Grease and line an 18cm x 28cm oblong tin with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a pan over a very low heat, stirring to avoid overheating.  When melted beat until smooth.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Spread the mixture into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes. The centre should still be soft.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then portion up with a knife, to the size of your choosing.


Tayberry & Lemon Friands

100g unsalted butter
125g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
25g plain flour
85g ground almonds
3 egg whites
grated rind of one unwaxed lemon
85g tayberries, or other soft fruit

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6/Fan 180°C. Generously butter six non-stick muffin tins.
  2. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
  3. Sift the icing sugar and flour into a bowl and add the almonds, mix together with your fingers.
  4. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form a soft fluffy foam.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and tip in the egg whites, lemon rind and, finally, the cooled butter.
  6. Lightly stir everything together to make a soft batter.
  7. Divide the batter amongst the muffin tins with a large spoon. Sprinkle over the fruit.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until just firm to the touch and golden brown.
  9. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack.  When cold, lightly dust with icing sugar.


Monica’s Flapjacks

This is a very old recipe given to Carol by her sister Monica, a professional cook and maker of exceedingly good cakes.

170g/6oz butter
140g/5oz soft brown sugar
50g/2oz golden syrup
85g/3oz self-raising flour
140g/5oz porridge oats
50g/2oz muesli
100g/4oz dried fruit of your choice (I like a combination of sultanas and crystallised ginger)

  1. Grease and line a Brownie tin measuring 7″ x 11″. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4/Fan 160°C.
  2. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over a gentle heat and stir well until combined.
  3. Add the flour, porridge oats, muesli and dried fruit. Mix well and pour into the tin.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden on top, but still molten. It will firm up when it cools.
  5. Break 1oz of dark chocolate and scatter across the hot flapjack.
  6. Leave in the tin and cut into 8 finger slices while it is still warm. Remove from the tin when cold.


Coffee Cake

4 eggs, beaten
2 heaped teaspoons Nescafé Espresso instant coffee powder
225g soft butter
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4/Fan 160°C.
  2. Grease and base line 2 x 20 cm sandwich tins.
  3. Dissolve the Espresso instant coffee powder into the beaten eggs, add the remaining ingredients and beat well until thoroughly blended.
  4. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and level.
  5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes until well risen and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger.
  6. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the greaseproof paper.

Coffee Buttercream

50g softened butter
175g sifted icing sugar
1 heaped teaspoon Nescafé Espresso instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water

  1. Beat together all the buttercream ingredients until smooth.
  2. Use half for the filling and half on top of the cake.