Caramel Cappuccino Cake

It may be Summer here in England, but looking out my window right now – it sure as heck doesn’t look like it. The rain is coming down a treat, and I all want to do it curl up in an armchair with a good old fashioned book. Unfortunately, that’s not an option as my cat, Barnabus, occupies the only chair in the house – and he refuses to let me to read anything on paper. He’s really not into physical mediums anywhere, calls them a complete waste of our natural resources – especially considering the proliferation of digital media and downloadable content. I’d really like to agree with him, except I’m one of ‘those freaks’ (Barnabus’ words, not mine) that really enjoys the smell and feel of a good book. My favourite kind of book to feel is one with rough pages and ridged leather back, with those gold stripes along the spine that wear and fade over time. When I buy these books, I hide them in under the floors where he can’t reach them with his claws. Anyway, once more I’ve drifted off the topic of Desserts. Where was I? Rainy days! Ideally, if Barnabus isn’t occupying the armchair and spitting out pithy one-liners (meant to weaken my self-esteem), I’d be reading with a good old fashioned book – and a slice of Caramel Cappuccino Cake.

 There we go, got there in the end.

Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Tessa Huff, from, I’ve made a few tweaks to suit my personal taste, but feel free to reference back to the original recipe – if you’d like to do it Tess’ way.



For the Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, room temperature
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup strong, hot coffee

Preparation Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch pans and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and espresso powder.   Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and brown sugar and increase the speed to medium-high. Continue mixing until the butter and sugars are creamed together. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
  4. With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla followed by the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  5. In alternating batches, add in half of the dry ingredients, followed by the whole milk, then the remaining dry – mixing on low in between. Mix until the batter is just combined then scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, stream in the hot coffee and mix until smooth.
  6. Evenly distribute the batter between the three pans. Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 24 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
  7. Then simply whip up a coffee soak and basic caramel buttercream, without letting your psychotic cat’s taunts and jibes completely destroy the fragile sense of self-worth that you’ve been trying to build up since that douche-bag Ryan left without even saying goodbye. Not even a note to say where he was off to, just up and left, after 6 months living together and plans to marry.
  8. Finally, layer the cake as shown in the pictures or, alternatively, throw it all on the floor – along with any glassware you can find – (ceramic mugs can be used if you’d rather keep the glasses for special occasions) lie down in the creamy-shard filled mess and have yourself a good bloody roll around.

Go ahead, enjoy your rainy days – you deserve it.…

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Courgette, Carrot & Banana Cake

I’ve got to give credit here to Ciara over at ‘My Fussy Eater’ for the inspiration for this gem here. Courgette AND Carrot AND Banana Cake. Boom! This is all very inspiring. The kitchen is coming along really well, fans are installed and we’ve decided on DIY kitchen carcasses from these Finsa people so that we can really shape the kitchen in the exactly the way we want. That’s what we want: to have full control and never be at the whims of some design or another that doesn’t quite fit the space. So with the control we have, we’re trying to decide on the shape of the kitchen: Hexagon? Triangle? Circle? Good old Square? It’s a tough one, and an important decision. Anyone got any particularly exciting suggestions? Send them in bellow. But until then…

Courgette, Carrot & Banana Cake 



120g butter

150g light brown sugar

1 large egg

170g greek yoghurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 small bananas, mashed

1 small carrot, grated

1 small courgette, grated

125g plain flour, sieved

¾ tsp baking powder

50g icing sugar

1½ tsp orange juice

Preparation Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Line a 10×10 inch (or similar) dish with foil and spray with cooking spray.
    2. Melt the butter and add the sugar, egg, yoghurt and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
    3. Add the bananas, carrot and courgette and stir until they have all incorporated into the mixture.
    4. Add the flour and baking powder and stir until just combined. Be sure not to overmix at this point.
    5. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake for approximately 40 minutes until the top is beginning to brown and the cake is set in the middle. Because this cake is so moist the usual ‘stick in the middle comes out clean’ test will not work here. Cooking time will depend on the moisture in your courgettes and bananas so I would suggest checking it from 35 minutes and allow longer to bake if necessary.
    6. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the baking dish for a few minutes. Once the foil is cool enough to touch, lift the foil from the dish and transfer the cake to a rack to cool further.
    7. Make the glaze by adding a little of the orange juice at a time to the icing sugar until it reaches your desired consistency. Once the cake has fully cooled drizzle the glaze on top and cut into 12 pieces.
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Kitchen Redesign Part 1 + Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie

So I’m finally redoing my kitchen. My cooking and baking has really taken a step up recently and it’s reminding me of my old life as a professional Chef in terms of the work load and the crazy mass of washing up! So I need the kitchen to reach new heights to go with the new heights I’m reaching with my cooking. I’m really not messing around any more, I’m getting serious! My first step has been considering ventilation, the level of cooking I do i find that my normal domestic extractor fans are just not up to the job, they are clapping out quick because of the sheer weight of work they have to do. So I’ve been looking at Beatson’s Industrial Fans to bring the full force of mother natures wind into the kitchen to clear out the smells I’m constantly making. It’s between Beatson and Vent-Axia. Does anyone have any recommendations either way? We need to get this sorted as we’ll have to install them early on and build around them. So exciting!

In other more delicious news I’ve been getting all Americana recently, and looking at some new twists on some old classics. This is my favourite so far:

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie



1 pie crust (from scratch or from a pack of two)
1 3/4 cups (or 1-15 ounce can) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups whole milk
3 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Cloves
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Allspice
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preparation Method:


Preheat oven to 375°F.
Place your pie crust in a 9-10” pie plate. Please note: this pie gets very full. It’s pictured made in a standard 9” pie plate. If you have a 9.5” – 10” or 9” deep dish pie plate, you can use those as well. Just don’t use anything smaller than 9”. (Also – you can make this as two 7” pies, using two pie crusts.) Place pie plate on a cookie sheet for baking.
Place pumpkin, salt, milk, eggs, both sugars, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into pie plate.
It’s best if you cover the edges of the pie crust with foil before you start baking. Remove the foil after 50-60 minutes of bake time. You can also use a pie crust guard, if you have one. If you’re using a pie crust guard, you can also add it later on in the baking process, if you wish. It’s in the oven for a long time and the crust will get too brown without being covered at some point.
Carefully transfer pie to oven and bake for 60-75 minutes. I’m giving a large range in time because it depends on what size pie plate you’re using and your oven. My 9” pie plate took 70 minutes. It’s done when the center looks solid. Cool completely, then wrap tightly and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve with whipped cream. Store in refrigerator. “



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Lemon Cream Cheese Bars!

Lemons are like the salt of desserts, they bring out all other flavours. But they forever an assistant and rarely get to be the main attraction. Such a strong flavour is a challenge, but it is a challenge well worth taking on because the results can be fantastic. We all know the delights of Lemon Drizzle Cake but there are many other options out there, and this is one of my personal favourites.


1 (18.25 ounce) package of yellow or lemon cake mix
2 large eggs
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
⅓ cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
zest of ½ lemon

Preparation Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside a 9×13 baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cake mix, 1 egg, and the vegetable oil with a plastic spatula. Reserve 1 and ¼ cups of mixture, set aside. Add the rest of the mixture into the 9×13 baking dish and pat down, making sure it’s even all-the-way around. Bake for 15 minutes.
While the crust is baking, beat together the cream cheese, 1 egg, and granulated sugar using a mixer with the paddle attachment. It should be whipped and creamy. With the mixer on medium-to-low speed mix in the fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.
Pour the batter onto the baked crust. Crumble the reserved mixture you previously set aside on top of the cream cheese batter. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow the bars to completely cool before slicing. 

This is a beautiful dessert to have after a meal or with tea or sneakily in the pantry at any point of the day! Enjoy!…

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Lemon and thyme cake!

So here’s a new one, quite a crazy idea really that I got from BBC Food. A fantastic little cake this. I’m a big fan of cakes that are just fantastical well made sponges really, sponge is the beginning of everything and you can eat average sponge for so long that you forget just how great it can be. A proper sponge is soft and sweet and succulent. It’s beautiful.



Lemon and thyme cake Ingredients

200g/7oz butter

200g/7oz golden caster sugar

100g/3½oz plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

100g/3½oz ground almonds

4 free-range eggs

1 lemon, zest only

1 tsp thyme leaves

For the topping

4 tbsp sugar

2 large lemons, juice only

½ tsp thyme leaves

Preparation method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.

2. Cream the butter with the sugar in a food mixer until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl sift together the flour and baking powder then mix with the almonds.

3. Lightly beat the eggs then fold them into the butter mixture in two or three sessions, beating them in thoroughly each time. If the mixture looks as if it is about to curdle, stir in some of the flour.

4. Grate the zest from the lemon and mix it with the thyme leaves. Pound the two together with a pestle, or some other heavy weight, and stir into the cake mixture.

5. Gradually mix in the flour, baking powder and almonds.

6. Spoon the cake mixture into the lined tin and bake for 45 minutes (if dividing the mixture into smaller tins reduce the time accordingly).

7. For the topping, dissolve the sugar in the juice of the lemons over a moderate heat and stir in the thyme leaves (a few flowers would be good here too). As the cake comes from the oven, spike the surface with a skewer and spoon over the syrup. 8. Leave to cool and serve in slices with thick yoghurt.”

The key to a cake like this is the simple beauty of the sponge. Make it right and the whole dessert is carried to a higher plane. So do it!


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What Desserts In My Kitchen Is Really About…

I love to bake I do. It’s just a glorious thing to be doing. Sometimes it can be frustrating and maddening, sometimes it can drive you full crazy. Some times you just want to pick up the pots and the pans and the mix that didn’t work and the cake that didn’t rise and smash them together in your hands and throw them at the ceiling and stand up tall as they crash back down around you. Sometimes you just want to pull the oven open so hard that you know you’re going to break it, have one of those little bursts of rage where you catch yourself just before you do the damage, just a little moment, you catch yourself for a second and know what you’re doing, and you know why your doing, and you know you are going to do it. It’s not pure uncontrolled impulse really, it is contrived. Everything is contrived.

So what shall we contrive here? We shall contrive a seemingly honest and real list of recipes that I have tried and liked. But what will be the truth? As always, that is impossible to say.

You’ll have to wait and find out.…

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