Category Archives: Cakes

Muesli Flapjack


Now this is a trip down memory lane to my childhood. My mum, bless her, used to make these frequently, although she didn’t make them after my brother and I left home to make our way in the world.

I now make them for my children and grandchildren when they come to visit or when we visit them. I don’t always make them to this recipe either, as this is one of those recipes where you can mix and match to suit your mood or what is available in the cupboard. Normally I would use porridge oats instead of muesli, but I wanted to try it and see how it turned out. It was just fine.

This recipe comes with a health warning though. It is very sensitive to temperature and time. Cook the flapjack for too long or at too high a temperature, and you could use them to fill holes in the road-be warned. My mum always made bullet hard flapjack and I can recall visitors breaking teeth on at least two separate occasions.



200 g/7 oz/1 scant cup butter

200 g/7 oz/1 cup demerara sugar

75 g/3 oz/ 1/3rd cup golden syrup/black treacle/molasses

375 g/13 oz/4 cups muesli/oats

1 dessertspoon powdered ginger



In a suitable saucepan, weigh in the butter, sugar and golden syrup. Stir over a low heat to ensure an homogeneous mix.

Remove from the heat, and add the muesli or oats and stir well.


Pour into a greased baking tin about 30 x 23 cm/12 x 9 inch and using a palette knife spread the mixture evenly, working into the edges and corners.


Now the tray needs to go into a pre-warmed oven set at 170 c/325 F/Gas 3/moderately slow for 25 to 30 minutes and no more. I always use an oven thermometer to ensure that I cook at the correct temperature. The photo above shows my oven set at 150 C/300 F/Gas 2/slow, but was actually cooking at 170 C/325 F/Gas 3/moderately slow.


When the time expires remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes and no more. If you leave it until it is cold to cut the flapjack into squares, you will really struggle.


Using a sharp knife cut the flapjack into squares paying particular attention at the edges.


After another 10 minutes separate the pieces and carefully place them on a cooling rack.



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Filed under All Year, Cakes, Student Food

Sweetheart Jammy Dodgers


I don’t make many sweet foods, but every now and again, the occasion arises that compels me to get baking. February 14th is a good enough occasion for me and also my wife likes them. They are easy to make and take little time anyway.


250 gm butter, softened

150 gm caster sugar

1 medium egg separated

½ tsp vanilla extract

300 g plain flour

6 tbsp  raspberry jam


Cube the softened  butter. I microwave a whole 250 gm stick of butter fresh from the fridge for about 40 seconds.


In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar.

Stir in the egg yoke, the vanilla extract and then the flour. Bring together everything, using your hands and needing for about 5 minutes. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.


Roughly divide the dough  into  two pieces. Taking one piece, roll out the dough to about 5 mm/ 1/4 inch thick.


Cut out the bottom shapes, placing them on a baking sheet with baking paper on it.

Cut out the top shapes, placing them on top of the bottom shapes with egg white brushed on the bottom shape.

Continue with the remaining piece of dough.

Carefully place a teaspoon of raspberry jam in the centre of each biscuit.

Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes in a pre heated oven set to 180 C/350 F/ Gas 4/ Moderate. or until they take on a golden colour.

Cool on a wire rack


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Carrot Cake

DSCN4291This is a favourite cake in our family and of all the recipes I have tried, this is the one that I return to. It is an easy recipe and more importantly the most reliable.

Ingredients for the cake

125g/4 1/2oz/ 2/3cup self raising flour

a pinch of salt

1 tspn baking powder

1 tspn ground cinnamon

125g/4 1/2oz/ 2/3cup soft brown sugar

2 eggs

100ml/3 1/2floz/ 1/2cup vegetable oil

125g/4 1/2oz/ 1cup carrots, peeled and finely grated

25g/1oz/ cup walnuts chopped

Ingredients for the topping

250g/8 1/2oz/ 2cups mascarpone or similar cream cheese

1 tbspn soft brown sugar

1 – 2 tbspn milk

14 walnut halves


Sieve the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, and stir in the sugar.

Add the eggs and oil, then mix well.

Stir in the carrot and chopped walnuts.

Grease a 20cm/8 inch square tin and line the bottom. Pour the mixture in, smoothing the mixture into the corners.

Place in a pre-heated oven set at 180C/350F/Gas4/moderate oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Allow to cool in the tin, and then transfer to a serving plate.

To make the topping, put the cheese, sugar and half the milk in a small bowl and mix thoroughly, until it is fluffy and creamy, adding a little more milk if desired.

Using a spatula, transfer the topping to the cooled cake, spreading it evenly over all the cake.

Decorate with the walnut halves

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Filed under ALL Recipes, All Year, Cakes, Recipes

Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake

This recipe makes a fine tasting cake that will do you justice at christmas when your guests taste it, and comes courtesy of my wife Joy, who traditionally makes the christmas cake every year. In Italy there is no cake that comes close to ‘our’ christmas cake, the nearest they have is Panetone, which is a chewy yeast based confection, which in its own way is very pleasant, and is most like the british glazed teacake in texture. Most Italians cannot grasp the concept of a cake that can be kept for months and even years (in the case of christening cakes traditionly being the top tier of a wedding cake). It is seemingly beyond their comprehension that a cake that old can be edible let alone delicious. We have given up trying to convince them. Still it is their loss not ours.

This recipe gives about 24 slices, takes about 30 minutes to prepare and about 3 hours to cook.


800kg/1 1/2lbs/ 3 1/2 cups mixed sultanas, raisins and currants

100gm/3 1/2oz/ 1/2 cup glaciated mixed fruits

100gm/3 1/2oz/ 1/2 cup glaciated cherries chopped

100gm/3 1/2oz/ 1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped

100gm/3 1/2oz/ 1/2 cupdried figs, roughly chopped

80gm/3oz/ 1/3 cup flaked almonds

1 orange, zest and juice

150ml/ 5floz/ 1/2 cup/ sherry or masarla

250gm/8oz/ 1cup unsalted butter at room temperature

175gm/5 1/2oz/ 1 cup soft brown sugar

15ml/ 1/2 floz/ 3 teaspoons golden syrup

5ml/ – / 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

5 mediem eggs, lightly beaten

300gm/10 oz/ 1 cup plain flour

75gm/2 1/2 oz/ 1/4 cup self raising flour

5ml/ – 1 teaspoon ground ginger

5ml/ – /1 teaspoon ground mace

5ml/ – /1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

5ml/ – / 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice

15ml/ 1/2 floz/ 3 teaspoons orange marmalade


You will need a 20 x 9 cm deep spring form cake tin for this recipe

  1. Mix together the dried fuit,almonds, orange zest and juice and sherry in a large mixing bowl. Cover and allow to soak overnight.
  2. Grease and double line the cake tin with baking parchment.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the golden syrup.
  5. Stir the vanilla essence into the eggs and then stir into the butter and sugar mixture.
  6. Sieve the flours and spices into the mixture gently folding in.
  7. Fold in the marmalade and add the nuts and dried fruit, stirring gently to achieve a uniform mixture.
  8. Spoon into your prepared cake tin, smoothing the top and forming a small depression in the centre.
  9. Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven set at 150C/300F/Gas 2/Slow for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until a skewer comes out clean from the middle of the cake.
  10. After about 2 hours you may need to cover the top with foil to stop it burning for the remainder of the cooking time.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for at least an hour before removing it from the tin. Leave it to cool completely on a wire rack.
  12. When completely cool, wrap in baking parchment and foil and then in an airtight tin. Store in a cool place,
  13. Every 4 weeks you can ‘feed’ it by making holes across the top with a skewer and pouring on 20ml/ 3/4floz/1 tablespoon of sherry or port.

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Filed under ALL Recipes, Autumn/Winter, Cakes, Christmas, Drying Fruit, Recipes