Tray bake week 2 of 4

So last week I started the battle of the tray bakes with a raspberry and almond tray bake. This week was the turn of the Dorset apple tray bake, and oh my was it nice! The apples were sweet but not overpowering, the mixture was light and fluffy and the timing of it was just right.

Anyway, the recipe. This one is also from the BBC Good Food website (actually all three of the tray bakes are from there).


450g cooking apples (make sure they are cooking apples eating apples are too sweet and go too fluffy)

juice of ½ a lemon

225g butter (margarine does work)

280g caster sugar

4 eggs

2tsp vanilla extract

350g self-raising flour

2tsp baking powder

Demerara sugar to sprinkle


Preheat the oven to 180 or 160 fan. Grease and line a baking tin (approximately 27cm x 20cm x 3 or 4cm)

Peel, core and slice the apples (get help if you need it as they are quite fiddly) then squeeze the lemon juice on top (this helps to stop the apples from going brown while you do the rest of the cake. Don’t worry it will not ruin the taste of the apples themselves). Set the apples to one side.

Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix until creamy. Then slowly add the eggs and vanilla. (At this point if you are using an electric mixer stop using it and do the rest with a spoon). Now add the baking powder and flour and mix until you see no white streaks anymore. Spread half the mixture (you don’t have to be exact) into the cake tin and then put half of the apple slices on top of that. Repeat the layers again, then sprinkle a little Demerara sugar on top before placing into the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and leave to cool for at least 15 minutes, then put onto a wire rack. Cut into squares.

Leave a comment on how you get on and I wish you good luck!


Tray bake week 1 of 4

RaspberryJust before I get started on this blog post I would again like to apologise for my absence recently. I’m hoping, with the summer holidays now here, I will be able to bake more cakes and so there’ll be more blog posts for you to enjoy reading!

Over the next few weeks I will be trying different tray bakes to find out which one, is the best – in my opinion. Think of it as a battle of the tray bakes!

This week, I am making, raspberry and almond, next week I will make a Dorset apple tray bake and the final week will be plum and almond.

Of course there are many other types of tray bake and many do include chocolate (which I’m sure is making you lick your lips!), however as you are aware I’m not a fan of chocolate so these are just the 3 that stood out for me. On the 4th week will be my evaluation on all 3 and the winning tray bake will be announced.

Now, onto the raspberry and almond tray bake. I’m not a big fan of coconut at all, but it is included in the recipe, and I must admit you can barely taste it. Mixed in with the other dry ingredients and it gives the perfect crumbly topping. If I was to do anything in the future to make it better, I would add more raspberries as I only used 350g and I would cook it for about 3 minutes less.

Anyway this is the bit your interested in – the cake itself. This recipe was found on the BBC Good Food website


250g self-raising flour

50g ground almonds

200g butter, diced

280g golden granulated sugar

50g desiccated coconut

2 medium eggs

350-450g/12oz-1lb fresh or frozen raspberries


Heat the oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4.

Butter an oblong cake tin (about 31 x 17 x 3cm).

Tip the flour, ground almonds, butter and sugar into a food processor and whizz just until the butter is evenly distributed – or rub together by hand.

Remove 85g/3oz of the mix, stir in the coconut and put to one side.

Add the eggs to the remaining mixture in the food processor and whizz quickly – or mix with a wooden spoon. It doesn’t need to be very smooth.

Spread this mixture over the base of the tin, then scatter half the raspberries over the top.

Sprinkle with the coconut mixture and bake for 45 minutes.

Dot the remaining fruit over the surface and cook for a further 15 minutes, until firm to the touch.

Cool in the tin and cut into slices, squares, whichever shape you want.

They will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge, or you can leave them out on your kitchen work top but be sure to put in an air tight container

Be sure to leave a comment on how you get on yourself

Lemon Drizzle cake- Gluten free, lactose free and sugar free

Lemon cakeNow I know that this doesn’t sound very exciting because a cake without gluten and a cake without sugar doesn’t really appeal to me either. But it went down a treat with Mum.

You might be wondering why I decided to do a “free everything” cake. I don’t mean to embarrass my Mum, but she’s on this very peculiar diet and it’s going well, however, she can’t have gluten, sugar or lactose. And I must admit, finding this recipe was not easy, but this shows there are ways around it.

The cake went well – you can still taste the lemon, and the sweetness was just to my Mum’s liking. The only problem for her was when she had her first slice (about 2 hours after being in the oven) the texture was slightly rubbery. Luckily though by the next day it tasted better, so my suggestion is don’t start eating it on the day you cook it.

Anyway, the recipe:


225g self-raising flour (gluten free)

½ tsp baking powder (gluten free)

225g xylitol (a replacement for sugar)

2 lemons, zest only

2 large eggs (preferably at room temperature)

125ml sunflower oil

1bsp milk (because this is a lactose free recipe, I have suggested lactose free milk, but use ordinary milk if lactose is not a problem for you)

200g 0% fat Greek yogurt (lactose free)


1 lemon, juice only

50g xylitol


Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line 2lb loaf tin (22cm x 13cm width, 7cm depth) with baking parchment. Mix together the flour, baking powder, xylitol and lemon zest in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sunflower oil, milk and yogurt. Mix well before adding to the flour mixture.

Spoon into the tin and smooth the surface. Transfer to the oven immediately, bake in the oven for 1 hour- 1 hour 10 minutes. Check after 50 minutes to make sure the top is not getting too dark/burnt (if it is, loosely put some foil on top)

Just before the end of cooking time, make the drizzle by heating the lemon juice and xylitol. Stir over a low heat until the xylitol has completely dissolved. Once the cake is cooked, take it out of the oven and immediately apply the drizzle to the top of the cake, giving it an even coating.

Leave a comment below on how you get on yourself.


Mother’s Day cupcakes

Mother's Day cupcakesNow I know what you’re all thinking. “Mothers day was three Sundays ago you numpty”. Yup – guilty as charged! But hopefully you will still enjoy making these, and they are suitable for anytime really…

Overall the cupcakes went very well, with a nice fluffy inside, but still moist. The icing I made didn’t go too badly and the decorations I bought in Sainsbury’s were a big hit with my Mum (and her Mum!).

Half the icing was done nicely with a good shaper to shape it (my Mum did those!). However, when I started icing the other 6 with pink food colouring, it all started to go rather downhill. The first thing that went wrong was the shaper thing I used was too fine so it came out really slowly. Then just to add to my misery, the bag split as I iced the first one so it went everywhere!

Anyway, onto the recipe. Now this was my first ever time using a Cupcake Heaven magazine, and I must admit, I’ll definitely be going back for more. This is the Spring 2015 edition.


For the cupcakes

175g unsalted butter

175g caster sugar

175g self-raising flour

3 large eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

225g unsalted butter

450g icing sugar

1tsp vanilla extract (or almond extract.) (TheBakerKid tip: don’t use anything else otherwise the food colouring will not produce the correct colour!)

pink food colouring gel


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12 muffin tin case with paper cupcakes.

Start making the cupcakes like any other ordinary cupcake, starting with the butter and caster sugar until creamy, followed by adding the eggs and vanilla extract. (TheBakerKid tip: If you have tried this recipe and are now doing it for a second time and didn’t particularly like this cupcake recipe, why not try making the Vanilla cupcake recipe that I’ve used before, but stick with the same buttercream icing!). Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until well risen and if you are to press lightly with your finger, will bounce back. Once done, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool down completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream. Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Sift the icing sugar (being careful not to spill it everywhere) in a separate bowl and slowly add to the creamy butter in two stages, alternating with the milk. Make sure you mix at a low speed. When fully incorporated, add the vanilla extract and beat for 3-5 minutes on a high speed.

Divide the buttercream icing equally into 2 separate bowls. Using a cocktail stick, add a little bit of pink food colouring and add to one of the bowls. Stir until the pink colouring is pink enough and there are no streaks of darker pink to be seen. Spoon the buttercream icing into a piping bag with a shaped nozzle that you decide using at the bottom. Pipe the plain white icing onto the first 6, then get a separate piping bag and using a different nozzle pipe the pink icing onto the other 6. Decorate with whatever edible decorations, et voila! You are done.

Please comment on how you get along (although you probably won’t bake them this year for Mothers Day, three weeks late!)

Raspberry Bakewell Loaf Cake

Rasberry Bakewell Loaf CakeNow I know I’ve done loads of blog posts already about bakewells, and using almonds, but I like them and I just couldn’t resist it.

Overall it was a nice cake, although me slightly undercooking it didn’t really help!

I undercooked it by about 5 minutes, which I only worked out when I got about half way through eating it.

I didn’t have to worry about the cake being too dry because the raspberries and ground almonds kept it moist.

I only have one extra suggestion to make in addition to what the recipe says, and that’s if the cake is looking quite dark on the top and likely to burn, but the middle of the cake is still raw, then put some tin foil over the top to stop it browning anymore. I’d also suggest turning the temperature down by around 10 degrees, so it cooks slower.

Anyway, to the recipe. Usually I would tell you where I found the recipe, but I’m sorry to say that I genuinely don’t know. I took it from my Mum’s magic recipe folder – she cuts out recipes she likes, and also has recipes that are eons old, probably handed down from my Grandma, and hers.


175g ground almonds

175g softened butter

175g golden caster sugar

175g Self raising flour

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

200g raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 180c/160 fan.
  2. Line a 2lb loaf tin.
  3. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix well until fully combined.
  4. Put half the mixture into the lined tin and level it out.
  5. Sprinkle the raspberries over the half you already put into the tin and then put the other half of the mixture on top.
  6. Place into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes (I suggest checking it after 45 minutes though!)
  7. If it’s ready, then take out and leave to cool in the tin. Remember to test in several places as piercing a raspberry with a skewer could give you a false impression it isn’t cooked.
  8. Once cool you could drizzle the top of the cake with a glace icing – I used Amaretto rather than water, which reinforced the loved almond flavour, but that’s optional.

Large Soft Pretzels

Large soft pretzels

When looking through all my blog posts, I noticed something horrific. Apart from when I made Pizza  where I had to make the dough from scratch, I’ve never done anything bread related. I decided this week that enough was enough though and quickly put an end to that.

Personally, I thought the pretzels were delicious and I couldn’t fault them. My parents slightly disagreed with me though as they thought the inside of the pretzel was a bit too chewy, which, after having a second one, I tend to agree with. I over kneaded it. I am pretty certain I did it for about 8 minutes, as opposed to the suggested 5.

I recommend eating them the day you make them, because they are way too chewy the next day. This recipe makes 8, so I suggest cutting the recipe in half (unless you have a family of 8 that is!) so you can eat them the same day.

On the upside, the topping was a hit. My Mum likes cinnamon pretzels from Auntie Annes (hyperlink to their website), and I decided to try and make my own version of these. I might need to put a touch more cinnamon in next time, but ½ teaspoon of it worked pretty well, and she enjoyed them.

Anyway, enough talking from me, because you guys want the recipe so that you can make it yourselves!

This recipe is from the Great British Bake Off – Learn to Bake book.


300g strong white bread flour (+ some extra for sprinkling the work surface when kneading)
2 teaspoons caster sugar
7g fast action dried yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
225ml lukewarm milk
1 large egg

Baking tray lined with baking paper

For the topping

2-3 tablespoons coarse sugar crystals or Demerara sugar
30g unsalted butter

(TheBakerKid tip: Apart from if suggested otherwise, always use unsalted butter, because too much salt can result to it being dry and tasting horrible)

Put the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into the mixing bowl. Mix well with your hands, and then pour in the lukewarm milk. Use your hands to gently press and squeeze everything together until thoroughly combined to make a smooth soft dough (TheBakerKid tip: If there are some dry crumbs at the bottom, keeping adding 10 ml of milk or water to pick it up. Make sure it’s no more than 10 though because doing it in stages is better than rushing in and then it being too wet. Also if the dough is too wet and is sticking to the bottom of the bowl, again add 10ml of the strong white bread flour at a time to slowly bring it all back together).

Lightly sprinkle the worktop with flour, then take the dough from the bowl and put onto worktop. Knead the dough thoroughly (In case you don’t know how to knead a dough, here is a YouTube clip of Paul Hollywood sharing his technique: Paul Hollywood kneading dough)

You will need to knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until it feels soft, elastic and smooth.

Put the dough into another bowl and cover it with clingfilm. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes so the dough can rise.

Turn out the dough onto the worktop again (this time without the sprinkle of flour). Divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape into each ball (don’t worry, they don’t have to be neat) then leave on the worktop, uncovered, for 5 minutes

With your hands, roll each ball of dough on the worktop (again not floured) and roll it out into a thin sausage shape, about 45cm long.

To shape each sausage into a pretzel, you need to first bend it into a U shape. Then get one of the ends of the U and put it on top of the base but on the other side (if you’re struggling with this explanation, then I recommend checking out the GBBO book – it has some great photos demonstrating how to do it).

Carefully lift the pretzels onto the lined baking sheets, making sure to set them well apart to allow for growth. Leave uncovered at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C. Add 1 tablespoon of cold water to the egg and beat with the fork for about 20 seconds. Carefully brush this mixture over the pretzel in a thin layer after the 15 minutes is up.

Sprinkle the pretzels with your chosen topping, or leave them plain, then place into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

While the pretzels are baking, gently melt the butter in the microwave or on the hob. Wash the pastry brush so that you can use it for when the pretzels are finished.

Remove the pretzels from the oven. Straight away, brush each pretzel with the butter. This will help keep the pretzels reasonably soft on the outside. Leave to cool and then they are ready to eat.

Leave a comment below on how you got on with making it yourself.


large soft pretzels

Newlyns cookery course- part 2- Peppers stuffed with Mediterranean rice

So, here we go with the second dish from day one of my course at Newlyns…

I will admit that I’m not usually a big fan of rice, so didn’t like the sound of this too much. But I really shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions because this was so easy to make, yet absolutely delicious!

Here’s the recipe…

Serves 2


1 red pepper
Olive oil

Ingredients for rice

150g long grain rice
Pinch of saffron (Optional: Saffron adds a subtle extra taste, but I know it’s quite pricey)
2tbsp olive oil
1tbsp red wine vinegar
½tsp caster sugar
*2 spring onions, finely sliced
*20g pistachio nuts, chopped
*1tbsp black olives, chopped
*20g sundried tomatoes, chopped
*1tbsp basil, chopped

(Any of the ingredients with a * in front of don’t have to go in if you do not fancy them. When making it at Newlyns I only put in the spring onion, sundried tomatoes and basil. Also you can add slightly more or less than suggested, but be careful, not too much!)



  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cut the red pepper in half and remove all the seeds and pith. Place on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil on top and roast for 25 minutes or until starting to soften.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling, place the rice into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the saffron, if adding.
  4. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until al dente (cooked to how you like it).
  5. To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar and sugar.
  6. Drain off the excess water from the rice and then whilst still hot, pour over the dressing.
  7. Allow to cool slightly.
  8. Prepare all the remaining flavourings and then add to the rice. (Make sure you stir through with a wooden spoon. This is important because if you have metal pans like my family do then metal and metal don’t work well together!).
  9. Remove the red pepper from the oven and then fill with the rice filling.
  10. Return to the oven for 15 minutes and then it’s ready to eat!