Amazing Cakes #23: Vegan Lemon Drizzle Loaf

It’s been a busy week here, not had much chance for actual baking as I’m getting my website ready for my online cookie business! All will be revealed by next week. I’m waiting for some new packaging to arrive so I can send out cookie samples to my taste testers. I’m also rethinking a couple of recipes so that they will leave my kitchen looking perfect.

I’m also a supply teacher working in primary schools in my area and work has been a bit quieter this week what with home learning for some and the pandemic issues. I have been grateful for this week being a bit quieter though as it has given me time to focus on jobs at home, my new business and to have some wintry walks out with my dog. On Wednesday afternoon, though I was wanting to bake something other than cookies. This is where my Big Book Of Amazing Cakes Challenge has been enjoyable and it’s nice to bake something different.

Looking through the book I wanted to make something quick, easy and that needed to use up ingredients I had at home. It was a toss up between the Pecan and Banana Loaf to use up very ripe bananas or the Vegan Lemon Drizzle Loaf. My daughter came downstairs to put the kettle on between her online uni lectures and said “Urgh no, not banana cake with nuts in!”, although it wouldn’t have had pecans in anyway. I didn’t have any in, only walnuts! She was really keen on the idea of the lemon cake as she loves lemon drizzle and although she is not fully vegan, she does have lactose intolerance.

So, the Vegan Lemon Drizzle it was! I have never made a Vegan Lemon cake before and oh my it was so worth it. It was different to some of the loaf cakes I have made before in that it came out with a flat top and not a curved one. To substitute butter and eggs, the replacements are with soya milk, apple cider vinegar and non-dairy spread. We use oat milk in our house so I hoped that would work as well. It did in the other vegan cake I baked recently, the Vegan Marble Bundt Cake. I nicked some of my daughter’s non-dairy spread and we were ready! This recipe is versatile because not only did it give quantities for the small loaf I baked but also for other size bakes including a square tin and a traybake size.

To start with I measured out the oat milk into a jug and mixed in a tablespoonful of apple cider vinegar. This had to be left for a few minutes to curdle. It looked and smelled horribly sour!

In the meantime I creamed together some caster sugar ,the non dairy spread and the zest of a large lemon. I then added a spoonful of vanilla extract to it. Then the smelly oat milk mixture was added to the creamed mixture. This looked horrible and I was worried about the curdling effect. But as soon as I added self raising flour, baking powder and ground almonds to the mixture, this sorted the problem out. I kept the rest of the lemon aside as this was going to be used in the drizzle and the icing.

The loaf cake baked in the oven at about 160oC for just under an hour and came out after I poked a skewer in it. It came out clean so the cake came out and was put on a wire rack still in its tin to cool down. After a few minutes I made up a quick lemon sugar syrup which was poked into the cake with a cocktail stick. Usually when I make lemon drizzle cake that’s all I put on top of the cake and there’s more of it so it crystallises on the top. This was the case with the first recipe from my challenge the Lemon Drizzle Traybake. Instead, this recipe also has a fondant icing on top.

Later on, I mixed up some icing sugar and lemon juice and spread it carefully on top of the cake. As shown in the recipe picture it was designed to drip down the side and not to look perfect. If you wanted you could add some edible flowers and decorations. I had some jelly lemon slices but I’m not sure if they are vegan or not. I bought them from Lakeland in a little pot and it didn’t say not suitable for vegans on the ingredients.

My daughter and I couldn’t wait to have a piece and the icing was still runny when we cut the cake. But it was delicious and I can definitely recommend the recipe. Another one on my getting increasingly longer shortlist to bake again!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Amazing Cakes #22: Angel Cake Slices

As I mentioned before in my previous Cherry Cakes post, there are a couple of recipes I’ve already baked which I can tick off my Amazing Cakes recipe book challenge.

Angel Cake as from a British point of view is the traditional cake you buy in slabs which contains a triple layer of sponge in three different flavours. Not to be mixed up with another type of Angel Cake which is a light, pale cake baked with egg whites and made in a special ring like tin. This version was the former: using three genoise sponges and cut into dainty slices. It was a technical bake in the 2019 Great British Bake Off series from one of Prue Leith’s recipes. I must admit at that time I’d never baked a genoise sponge before and I couldn’t be one hundred percent sure what one tasted like. All I know is that the sponges came out flat and looked like rubber! In the end I decided to adapt the recipe and created three layers of a traditional creamed sponge, colourung and flavouring them accordingly with lemon and raspberry extract and gel colouring.

This worked out much better and I was much happier with the result! At the time I made the Angel Cake, I didn’t write a blog post as I was busy at work. The remains of the cake ended up being taken to work to share with my work colleagues. It was baked in three circular 20cm/ 8″ tins instead of a giant traybake tin split into three.

Looking back at the pictures on my phone, I must have deleted or not taken photos of the cake disaster but kept the ones of the new cake. I also entered it in #TwitterBakeAlong for that week, hence the handwritten note. Looking back at the cake from the outside you can’t really tell it’s a three coloured Angel Cake. But when you cut into the cake, it’s a different story altogether.

I must try and have a go at a génoise sponge again. I mastered one on my Patisserie Course evening class I did at college before the pandemic started and I feel confident to have another try.

Happy Baking!

Love Samxx

Amazing Cakes #21: Cherry Cake

I’m trying my hardest to do a baking challenge: baking all the recipes in the Great British Bake Off book “The Big Book Of Amazing Cakes”, which was published to tie in with 2019’s series. What I hadn’t realised was that because some of the recipes had come from previous series, I’d actually baked a couple of the cakes before.

This is what happened with the Cherry Cake from the Classic Cakes chapter. It originally was a Technical Bake from the 2014 series and one of Mary Berry’s recipes. The original post about this bake is here:

Mary Berry’s Cherry Cake- Great British Bake Off Technical Challenge.

I love glace cherries especially when they go together with ground almonds to give that “Bakewell” flavour and it was even better to bake the cake in one of my Nordicware bundt pans. I used my Elegant Heart for the recipe and also another time exactly five years ago when I was at a Clandestine Cake Club event at the beautiful Carleton Towers near Selby. Today, as I type its a Sunday afternoon and I could just do with baking the cherry sponge again. But we used the last of our eggs up this morning on our cooked breakfast. I’m not going out just to get eggs as it’s food shopping day tomorrow.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Amazing Cakes #20: Vegan Marble Cake

It’s been about three weeks since I baked this cake.  I wanted to try out another recipe from The Big Book of Amazing Cakes but not to make anything which would be time consuming and fiddly to do. I wanted something which would double up like a pudding with a scoop of ice cream.

Looking through the book, I found a perfect recipe for a Vegan Marble Cake in the Free From chapter.  This would work out perfectly for me as I had a lot of dairy free spread to use up and was very low on eggs before going to the supermarket.  Although I am not vegan, I try out lots of vegan recipes and both my children have lactose intolerance so we have oat milk in the house. To be honest I have been trying to cut down on dairy too recently and I now have oat milk in my porridge and coffee.  Just wish I could manage it in my tea. 

Baking the Vegan Marble Cake was a good excuse to get out one of my Nordicware bundt pans.  The accompanying illustration to the recipe shows the cake baked in the Jubilee pan which is pretty but I chose my Harlequin one instead to make a change. 

The cake was simple to make.  I had to put soya milk mixed together with a spoonful of apple cider vinegar in a jug and left for a few minutes to curdle or react.  But I chose to use oat milk instead as we didn’t have soya.  No idea whether this made a difference or not!

I then beat together some caster sugar, the dairy free spread and some vanilla extract with my hand held mixer.  The curdled oat milk got added to it followed by some sifted self raising flour and some baking powder. 



After this was all mixed together, I got another bowl out and put about one third of the mixture into it.  To this I added some cocoa powder. 

The recipe suggested using two separate piping bags and piping both the vanilla and chocolate mixtures into the tin carefully.  I didn’t want to waste two of my piping bags so I just spooned the mixture into the bundt tin instead.  I guess it didn’t look as neat but the marble effect was still there!

The cake went into the oven at 180oC fan but I was concerned at the baking time.  Most times when I bake using my bundt pans, the cakes tend to take about 45 minutes to an hour.  This recipe stated 25 minutes. I checked the cake after 25 minutes and it was still raw in places! I ended up keeping it in the oven for 45 minutes.  I wonder if anyone else has had this happen to them if they have baked the recipe?



We were far too full to eat cake after our Sunday roast so I cut the cake up and put it into a tin.  It got eaten over the next week and was a real pick me up with a cup of tea or coffee when I fancied the munchies getting in from work.

I’ll definitely bake this again.

Happy Baking!
Love Sam xx

Carrot Cake: Amazing Cakes #19


Hi everyone! I’ve realised I’ve not been on my blog and updated it for well over two months!  Happy New Year to you all for a start! Not only that but it hasn’t been a great start to 2021 has it? The pandemic and the latest lockdown aside, I always find January and February really difficult.  I know I’m not alone in struggling with SAD and the depressing, miserable rainy weather we have but this year it has been doubly hard.  There has been another reason for the lack of blogging: I am currently setting up a little business selling cookies and other treats online! So watch this space!  This is something I have wanted to do for years but I never had the time due to work commitments in the day job.  Leading up to Christmas I was working long 10 hour shifts in a day nursery with a 40 minute commute each way. I had no time for my family and I was relying on Mr S to cook dinner. It got to Christmas and when I realised that I had the first night’s decent sleep in ages, I realised something had to give.  So for now I am supply teaching in local primary schools part time and hopefully trying to achieve part of my dream of baking for a living. I feel like a different person!

Looking back in the drafts on the blog I found I had a post for Carrot Cake.  It was a shock to look back and realise I’d actually baked this cake on 30th November.  This Carrot Cake was another recipe from The Big Book Of Amazing Cakes and do you know I can’t even remember why I baked it. I think it ended up at work for the other staff to eat to keep them going! I don’t remember eating any of it. But I do remember it not lasting long.

This carrot cake recipe contains sultanas but I guess you could swap them for nuts, such as pecans or walnuts if you aren’t keen on dried fruit.  I left the sultanas in as I don’t like taking products with nuts into work for fear of allergies even though no one had a nut allergy at the time. Other flavour in the carrot cake was created with the zest of an orange and also with ground mixed spice.

The frosting is a traditional cream cheese frosting flavoured with orange and vanilla paste.  I “cheated” by buying the carrot decorations in my local supermarket as I didn’t want to go out and buy sugarpaste and colour it myself for just these decorations. The original recipe illustration in the Amazing Cakes book had three real, tiny carrots poking out of the cake and with added cocoa powder and chopped hazelnuts to look like soil on the top of the cake.  I didn’t want this effect as it would mean having to go out and buy some hazelnuts just for two tablespoonfuls. It looked like an effective decoration idea, but not for me this time!





Happy Baking!
Love Sam xx

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Brownies: Amazing Cakes #18

Whenever I take brownies to work they always go down really well. I get fed up of baking the same things over and over again and like to try new things, though.

When I was looking through Amazing Cakes From The Great British Bake Off and thinking what I’d like to make next, I found a brownie recipe in the Chocolate Chapter for Chocolate and Salted Caramel Brownies. I’ve made Salted Caramel Brownies before but have done it with a ready made jar of caramel sauce. I’ve never had the confidence to bake it myself. So I thought I’d have a go.

First, I had to make the salted caramel sauce. This was made by heating caster sugar and butter until it dissolved and melted then adding double cream to the pan. This was then brought to the boil and kept on a rolling boil until thickened. You had to stir the mixture constantly so that the caramel didn’t go grainy or stick to the bottom of the pan. It seemed to take absolutely ages to get to where I wanted it to be and then it looked more like fudge than caramel! When it was ready, I let it cool down while I made the main part of the brownies.

Compared to my regular brownie recipe, this recipe contains more chocolate. I used a mixture of dark and milk chocolate mainly because that was all I had in my cupboard. Lindt had had a special offer on their 100g bars in Morrisons so I bought two dark bars and two milk ones. Usually I only use one bar of one kind of chocolate and add in some little extras, such as chocolate chips or nuts. The rest of the ingredients were the same: brown sugar, eggs, plain flour, baking powder and butter. I didn’t use cocoa powder either.

As with all brownie recipes I always start by melting the chocolate and butter together. To the melted butter and chocolate I add the caster sugar and mix that in, followed by beaten eggs. I did not add any vanilla extract this time either. Finally, I folded in the flour and baking powder.

I spooned all the brownie mixture into a prepared loose bottomed square tin. The caramel was then spooned into the mixture and poked in so that it wasn’t just sitting on the top. It did look very pretty with its marble effect.

After half an hour’s baking the brownies were ready. I left them to cool down on the wire rack while I started making dinner.

Whenever I make brownies I find that I’m asked “Can I have one?” before I’ve even cut them up. This was no exception. I cut them up then made sure that I took four out for my family before boxing the rest up for work.

These were so yummy that I will make these again. I think I’ll cheat and use a ready made sauce if I’m short of time, though!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Amazing Cakes #17: Traditional Fruit Cake

I was far too disorganised to bake my Christmas Cake early, let alone on Stir Up Sunday! I got as far as buying and mixing the dried fruit up and soaking it in some port on that day. I did manage my Christmas pudding as that steamed away in my slow cooker while I did other things. I was even thinking of not making a Christmas cake at all this year. Things as you know are very different this year and it will just be my own household for Christmas: Mr S, myself and our two grown up children. Neither of my children like Christmas cake. Mr S and I like it but by the time we get round to eating it in the New Year I am always on my usual New Year Diet!

Last year’s Christmas Cake leftovers are still in the same tin I put them in back in January. We had one slice each I think on New Year’s Day after I had cut some off for my mum to have. I think I love making the Christmas Cake just to decorate it to be honest! Last year’s cake was decorated with Christmas roses and holly leaves but I just do not have the time this year. Mr S suggested buying a small cake from M&S. I was outraged! Telling a cake baker to buy a cake is not what you do and although I love M&S food and their cakes are lovely, there’s nothing like homemade.

In the end I decided on a compromise. I would like something like a Christmas cake but with smaller bitesize portions and less marzipan and icing. So I found a recipe in the Amazing Cakes book which would do just that. There is a recipe for a traditional fruit cake but there are adaptations to and ingredient quantities for baking the cake in various size tins. I was pleased to see one option was for a shallow traybake cake. This meant I could cut the cake into tiny amounts and only be able to ice the top as well.

Finally, my cake was baked last Monday morning when I had a day off work. I was at home catching up and so glad I could finally put all that dried fruit soaking into a cake instead of seeing it in a bowl covered in a clean tea towel on the worktop.

Now you may be wondering why I had soaked my dried fruit in port when usually it is traditional to soak it in brandy. Well that’s because I forgot to get some brandy and we had a bottle of port left over from Christmas last year. We ended up with two bottles of it given to us and it’s not something we really drink much of except at Christmas. I have a port with my Christmas pudding or with cheese and that’s about it! So the dried fruit was soaked in some port and it did smell lovely. I will feed the cake once a week until I get round to icing it nearer Christmas.

To start the cake itself I had to melt butter and dark brown sugar in a pan on the hob. The recipe asked for molasses sugar but I couldn’t find any so used dark brown muscovado sugar instead. Once this had melted I took it off the heat.

I then weighed out some plain flour and various spices, such as ginger, cinnamon and ground mixed spice. The mixed spice was in place of ground cloves and nutmeg as I wanted to use what I had in the cupboard. Then I added beaten eggs and the whole mixture was carefully folded in before spooning carefully into my prepared traybake tin.

As it was a traybake tin, the cake’s cooking time was a lot shorter had it been in a different and deeper tin. It only needed roughly about an hour but I checked with a skewer.

The cake doesn’t look all that attractive and looks very bumpy but I am sure it will look much better once it is decorated! I will update the post as soon as that’s done nearer Christmas.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Lime and Coconut Drizzle Bundt Cake: Amazing Cakes #16

Those of you who know me might remember that I have an addiction to collecting Nordicware Bundt pans. I haven’t got as many pans as some people but I have enough to drive Mr S to wish he could flog them all on Ebay! To me, they are pretty and stylish and make an ordinary cake even more exciting to look at. To me, a bundt pan is a thing of beauty.

Recently though, I have had a spate of bundt pan disasters. I know I’m not the only one as I discovered online but it still is heartbreaking when you spend ages and also lots of money on ingredients to find the blinking thing sticks in the tin or falls apart when you try to get it out of the pan. It got to the stage where I was getting so frustrated and it was happening with recipes I had used before!

I am currently having a go at different recipes in the 2019 Great British Bake Off book: Amazing Cakes From The Great British Bake Off. A couple of weeks ago we were at home on the Sunday afternoon and I wanted to bake something I could share at work. I looked through the book and also at what I had in the cupboards and the fridge. I noticed we had some limes which needed using up. Why I had bought three limes I don’t know. I might buy one to cut up in my weekend gin and tonic or to enhance a recipe but not three. So a recipe using limes was a good idea.

Phil who was one of the bakers from the 2019 GBBO series and made a Lime and Coconut Drizzle Bundt Cake on one of the programmes. His recipe is in the Amazing Cakes book and was pictured in the Nordicware Heritage Bundt pan. I love using my Heritage pan and it’s the first pan I bought when I started back full time teaching in 2015. Before that I only had a couple of pans and they had been presents as I couldn’t justify spending it out of my earnings.

Back to this particular Sunday afternoon and I got all the ingredients out of the cupboard. I then started to prep the limes by zesting them and then juicing them. My zester is actually a fine grater which works better than the zester I have. It comes out a lot finer.

To make the cake itself I creamed butter and sugar together until it became light and creamy. I then added in eggs one by one and carefully mixed them in followed by self raising flour and some desiccated coconut. After this I folded in the juice and zest of one of the limes, keeping the other two for the drizzle and decoration to follow.

The cake baked in the oven for 40 minutes approx. This seemed to be much less cooking time than an ordinary bundt cake recipe and even so it came out a little too well done in places. The oven was on at the right temperature: 160oC fan!

Meanwhile I made up a little bit of lime crunch to sprinkle on the top of the cake. This was done by spreading the zest of two limes and some caster sugar mixed up out flat on some baking paper to dry out. Then on with the drizzle which was made up of lime juice and sifted icing sugar. This was ready to be poured onto the cake when it was still warm from the oven. To get an even drizzle, I poke holes in the warm cake with a skewer so that the drizzle syrup soaks the sponge and keeps it moist.

I also made a runny icing glaze to go on the top of the cake and to pour down the sides. This was also with icing sugar mixed with lime juice but there was far more icing sugar to juice here. To pour it evenly I used a plastic bottle with a nozzle to help me. This was put onto the cake when it had cooled down or else it would have soaked into the cake. To finish off, I sprinkled on some of the lime zest crunch. I didn’t need it all in the end.

The cake tasted delicious and moist. A lovely zesty combination of the lime and the coconut which is a good all round bake which was a hit with everyone. I will definitely bake this again!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Amazing Cakes #15: Banana And Chocolate Chip Loaf



On the first Monday of the second “lockdown” (don’t even get me started on that term!) I had a day at home.  I wasn’t even sure what was going to happen for some of that week.  Some of my work involves working in a day nursery on a regular basis and the other time I am teaching on supply in various primary schools in my area.  I knew I already had Friday booked but nothing for the three remaining days of the week. Although I love teaching, I am really anxious at the moment with the Covid situation.  I am really careful with keeping safe but I have to do my job.

To me, baking is a massive help and distraction from the crazy world we live in.  Even before the pandemic came I found baking on my days off extremely calm and therapeutic. I’d put on some of my favourite music in the kitchen and get lost in my own little baking world. I think back to why I started baking in the first place and that was over 20 years ago as a new mum.  Obviously baking was the last thing on my mind when I had a newborn but I bought a couple of Annabel Karmel’s recipe books to help give me ideas for family meals. 

In Annabel’s book The Family Meal Planner, she had a recipe for banana bread. I used to make this so often as my kids loved it and so did Mr S.  I still make this recipe to this day! Funny how my kids (especially my son)  wouldn’t eat many of her baby purees at the time but they loved all the cake recipes!
On this Monday morning I had some bananas to use up and thought about baking some banana loaf.  Annabel’s recipe includes optional nuts like walnuts or pecans but I sometimes substitute in dark chocolate chips or raisins.  It’s also a great way of using up stuff you have at home.  I also decided to try a slightly different Banana Loaf recipe and went for the one in my Great British Bake Off Amazing Cakes book. It is similar in quantities but it is a plain banana loaf with no chocolate or nuts in.

As per usual, the butter and sugar was mixed together first using the creaming method. Then beaten eggs were added in carefully, followed by  some vanilla extract.

In another bowl I weighed out the dry ingredients: plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and my own addition: a teaspoonful of cinnamon.  After the dry ingredients were folded in, I added in three ripe mashed bananas and some sour cream.  The Annabel Karmel recipe uses natural yoghurt here but I had sour cream left over from making fajitas a couple of days before.  I also added in 75g of dark chocolate chips to my mixture.

The loaf was baked in a 900g or 2lb loaf tin and I used one of my pre made loaf tin liners which I think came from Lakeland originally.

I followed the baking time carefully (one hour) and had the oven temperature on at 160o fan as stated but I felt as if the top of the cake looked burnt and unappealing.  It definitely wasn’t burnt inside and it tasted fine when I had a piece with a cup of tea later on.

Sliced up into pieces, we ate the banana bread over the next week. It keeps well for a couple of days in the tin but I always freeze it and get out exactly what we need for the day. 

Happy Baking!
Love Sam xx