Sticky Toffee Pudding- #100bakes

My first bake of 2022: a Sticky Toffee Pudding baked in my Nordicware Anniversary 6 cup Bundt Pan.

Happy New Year to all my followers. Sorry for the lack of blogging on here but that’s down to being busy at work in the day job, as well as all my baking commitments.

I really hope that 2022 is a better year for everyone. This time last year I didn’t feel at all positive and I actually cried when Big Ben struck midnight. Mr S thought I was being so negative. But I tend not to get over excited about things because if I do, I get really disappointed and on a downer when things go wrong or get cancelled. This year, however we had a more enjoyable Christmas and even though both Mr S and I had Covid at the beginning of December, we are so thankful we got it mildly and have made a good recovery in time for the Christmas celebrations.

I haven’t made any New Year’s Resolutions apart from that it’s my 50th birthday this year and I intend to live every day to the full and be thankful for what I’ve got. I lost two beloved family members last year and it’s made me realise how precious life is. So I’m trying to spend time doing things which make me happy and one of those is writing my blog.

My friend bought me a brilliant poster at Christmas which is from https://www.crumbsbycollette.co.uk/ Crumbs By Collette makes gifts for the home baker as well as having three different Baking Challenges which can be shared on Social Media with a hashtag. I got the #100bakes poster. The idea is that you choose one of the bakes on the poster, make it, post a photo on SM with the #100bakes hashtag and also scratch off the square above the bake, revealing a picture of that bake. There is also a Little Bakes Challenge, as well as a bread one. I thought this was a super idea as I’m always up for a new challenge.

Here is my #100bakes poster in situ on the back of my office door. I’d love to have it up in my kitchen but there’s no room!

The first challenge of 2022 just had to be a Sticky Toffee Pudding. We always have a roast dinner on New Year’s Day and I make a Sticky Toffee Pudding. It’s definitely one of my go-to desserts if we ever go out for Sunday lunch in the Winter.

A perfect dessert for a Winter’s day. Thanks to my sister in law for taking the photo of me pouring the toffee sauce all over the pudding!

My Sticky Toffee Pudding does not contain dates as my children don’t like them. I put raisins in, instead. I also bake it in my 6 Cup Nordicware Anniversary Bundt Pan to make it look extra special.

STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING BUNDT

If you do not have a bundt pan, you can bake your Sticky Toffee Pudding like a cake in a 20cm round, loose bottomed cake tin. Grease this before use.

Serves 8

You will need:

  • 225g raisins
  • 100ml milk
  • 100ml water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 115g butter or baking margarine, softened
  • 175g light brown Muscovado sugar
  • 2 large Free Range eggs, beaten
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Toffee Sauce:

  • 100ml double cream
  • 90g light brown Muscovado sugar
  • 30g butter

How to make your Sticky Toffee Pudding Bundt:

  • Preheat your oven to 180oC/160oC fan/ or Gas 4. I use a fan oven so I baked mine at 160oC.
  • Put the raisins into a pan along with the milk and the water. This needs to be brought to a simmer on a low heat until most of the liquid has soaked up the raisins. Take off the heat and add the spoonful of bicarbonate of soda to the pan. Great fun to watch it fizz up! When this is done, put the raisin pan to one side and let it cool down completely.
  • Now for the main part of the cake: Beat the butter or margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. I used Stork in my recipe today as I had some leftover from baking cupcakes. Gradually add the eggs. If it looks like the eggs are going to curdle the mixture, add a tablespoonful of flour to the mixture.
  • Beat in the raisin mixture as well as the spoonful of vanilla extract. Then you will need to add the remainder of the flour by carefully folding it into the mixture.
  • Spoon the mixture into your preferred cake tin, ensuring it is spread out evenly.
  • Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. I actually took mine out at 42 minutes as my oven gets on the hot side so maybe check it at 40 minutes. I tested it with a skewer and it came out clean then.
  • While your cake is cooling down, make the toffee sauce. This is just made by simply heating the double cream, brown sugar and butter together in a small pan on the stove. The sauce will thicken slightly.
  • The cake can be taken out of the tin about 10 minutes after you have taken it out of the oven. Let it cool down completely or serve it straightaway, depending on your preferences. You could also serve the sauce separately in a jug. I chose to pour mine all over the cake and we ate ours about an hour after making it as I was busy getting the roast dinner ready.

This cake is perfect served hot, cold or with custard, ice cream or double cream. I have frozen the main part of the cake before (without the toffee sauce) and made that fresh when needed. Although leftovers are never around when I have made this cake. At the time of typing (Sunday 2nd in the afternoon), I am thinking I haven’t eaten lunch and knowing there’s half of the pudding cake left in the fridge. Oh dear!

1/100 of the #100bakes challenge completed. What shall I bake next?

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Amazing Cakes #28: Mint Chocolate Roulade

Baking roulades and Swiss Rolls always fills me with dread. They look fiddly and messy whenever I make them and the filling never looks neat when I roll them up. Or the actual sponge cracks so much.

Roulades are usually made without flour and fat and are whisked sponges baked in a flat rectangular cake tin. I have a new Swiss Roll tin but it gets used for all manner of things including roast potatoes. Before using it for cakes, I make sure it has been cleaned carefully and I always line it with baking parchment. With this cake being flour free, it is also gluten free.

Last Sunday I had my mum visiting for a few days and planned a roast chicken dinner followed by a dessert. Now it’s usually just Mr S and I at home on a Sunday (our daughter is at work and our son is at uni), we don’t usually do roasts for ourselves. I thought having my mum to stay was the perfect excuse to have a roast as well as a pudding after!

The Chocolate Roulade as featured in The Great British Bake Off Book Of Amazing Cakes looked stunning, yet fairly quick to bake. However, looking in my baking cupboard I didn’t have any plain/ dark chocolate left. I did have two bars of mint chocolate which I love. Whenever we go up to the Isle of Arran on holiday I buy bars of Mackies chocolate in the Co-op there. Where I live in North Yorkshire, you can get Mackies icet cream but not the chocolate. Mint is just one of the best flavours out there, I love it! So a Chocolate Mint Roulade it had to be, then!

First things first was to prepare the Swiss Roll tin for baking. As I said before, it was cleaned carefully as I didn’t want residues of olive oil on it from the last time I used it. Then I lined it with some baking paper. At the same time I also cut out another sheet of baking paper to use to help me roll up the roulade later.

I then melted the mint chocolate in the microwave carefully. The recipe said to do this on the stove in a bowl over simmering water, but I find it easier to do in a microwave if I do it in small stages. Then, in my KitchenAid I whisked egg yolks and caster sugar together until the mixture had turned into a thick type mousse.

As the eggs had had to be separated, in another bowl I whisked up the egg whites. They had to be whisked up until they were stiff peaks. These egg whites were then folded into the whisked yolks and sugar mixture. Finally I folded in some cocoa powder.

When the roulade was ready, I put it on a wire rack to cool down but left it in the tin until it was completely cool to move it. I still managed to make it crack as I got it out of the tin. Using the spare piece of baking parchment sprinkled with a little icing sugar, I turned the roulade out onto it upside down. I then filled it with whipped cream. As I kept doing this, the roulade started cracking. The instructions said that it was normal for it to crack. But the recipe book photo didn’t have the massive cracks that mine did! Upon looking at the roulade from above, it resembled a giant long poo! Tasted amazing though, and I sneaked a couple of off cuts!

The complete mixture was then poured into the tin and spread carefully so that it touched each corner of the tin. I then baked it in my fan oven at 160oC for roughly just over 20 minutes.

A recipe I think I will bake again as it was quite quick to make. I just need to work on the good old presentation.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

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

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

Amazing Cakes #9: Coffee and Salted Caramel Cake


While we’re self isolating and Mr S is working from home sometimes he likes to have something with a cuppa to keep him going on an afternoon.  Last week’s Victoria Sponge had been eaten and he doesn’t really like gingerbread like the gingerbread loaf I made the day before.  So on Sunday morning I planned on making Mr S a coffee and walnut cake.  There is a recipe for Coffee and Walnut Cake in Amazing Cakes and comes under the Classic Cakwes chapter.  I know that this is one of my husband’s favourites. 

I got all the ingredients out but then realised the half finished packet of walnuts I needed to use was past its best before date.  I wasn’t going to risk it and put it in the cake but I had chocolate coated coffee beans to decorate the top of the cake instead of walnut halves.The sponge itself is a standard coffee sponge made using the creaming method. Although I use Camp Coffee Essence when making my coffee cakes, this one was made with strong, fresh espresso coffee.

When it came to icing the cake, I had to change the flavour slightly as I didn’t have enough plain icing sugar.  I had to do half Silver Spoon and half Sugar and Crumbs’ Salted Caramel flavour icing sugar.  This was the nearest flavour icing sugar I thought would complement the coffee flavour.

The layers were sandwiched together with half of the buttercream. I spread another thin layer of buttercream on top of the cake and then piped the rest as a swirl decorative effecet around the rest of the cake as well as in the middle with my star shaped nozzle.

Mr S had a slice with his cup of tea on Sunday afternoon while we were watching a film.


Happy Baking!
Love Sam xx

Amazing Cakes #7: Victoria Sponge

I know I’ve published a blog post somewhere about a good old Vicky Sponge but I wanted to try out the Amazing Cakes’ version last Monday.

It was my day off work and I walked down to my local post office to post a few parcels of some hand crocheted and knitted baby blankets I sell. This walk took me twice as long as my local post office is 1 1/2 miles away and I was trying to walk the dog and carry parcels at the same time. On the way back my shopping bag contained some Stork and some fresh Longley Farm thick Jersey double cream. I kept thinking ooh that would go nicely in the middle of a Victoria sponge. We walked back and I sat eating some lunch quickly so I could get on with my jobs and then the all important baking!

In the Amazing Cakes book the quantities for butter/ margarine, caster sugar and flour are the same as they are in all Victoria sponge recipes. This version asked for 4 eggs but when I weighed them only 3 eggs weighed the total as the separate quantities of 200g. As I always weigh the eggs to match the weight of the other ingredients, I only used three eggs. This worked well and I also used the creaming method.

I had invested in some new 20cm or 8″ diameter cake tins a few weeks ago as my previous ones had got very scratched. They had been used a lot though and I worked out I had had them since about 2002! My new ones are Mary Berry endorsed ones from Lakeland and I can’t recommend them enough. I also treated myself to her traybake tin and square tin at the same time and they are fantastic. This was the first time I had got round to using the sandwich tins and I was impressed with the result.

Usually you think of Victoria Sponges as being filled with strawberry or raspberry jam but I thought I’d give mine a seasonal twist and used some gorgeous Bramble and Apple jam I buy when we go on holiday to the Isle of Arran. I know I’m always banging on about going to the Isle of Arran but that’s where we have been for our last two holidays (last October half term and this September) and there is a wonderful selection of food produce I buy each time we go there. The Bramble And Apple Jam being one of them made by Arran Fine Foods though they also make other wonderful preserves and chutneys.

When Mr S got in from work he said “More baking!” as I also managed to bake some Coconut Macaroons on the same afternoon. He didn’t complain when he got a piece of cake with his cup of tea before I started getting our dinner ready.

The remains of the Victoria Sponge got eaten throughout the rest of last week as on Wednesday night we found out we had to self isolate for two weeks.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Amazing Cakes #1: Lemon Drizzle Traybake


Recipe Challenge #1: Lemon Drizzle Traybake
Lemon Drizzle Traybake is a classic recipe and one I’ve made lots over the years.  Recently I have made Mary Berry’s version and this always goes down well.  I was keen to see how this version from The Big Book Of Amazing Cakes measured up to Mary’s version.  At first glance of the recipe I actually wondered if it was Mary’s recipe seeing as she used to judge on GBBO.  But any other recipes apart from the ones submitted by the baking contestants, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are created by Juliet Sear, Becca Watson and Mitzie Wilson.

To try and get my baking mojo and confidence back I thought it would be good to start with something simple that I couldn’t muck up.  Going back to basics and going through everything carefully would help me get it right. 



I first got all the ingredients out to hand.  I didn’t have whole milk, only semi skimmed so I had to use that instead.
All the ingredients were weighed out and put in my big mixing bowl ready to mix together using the all in one method. I also chose to use Stork instead of butter as the butter I had was in the fridge and not soft enough.

I was pleased this lemon drizzle recipe uses three large lemons. I grated the zest of three lemons into the sponge itself, reserving the juice for later.

I don’t tend to line my cake tins unless I am making a fruit cake. I do grease them though.  I want to know, does it make a difference to the taste and texture of the cake? It doesn’t stop it sticking to the pan for me.  The pan I use is a Mary Berry traybake one which I bought from Lakeland a couple of months back. I love it as it has the indentations on the side which can help you mark out the portion sizes.  This recipe is meant to be cut into 24 squares but I only did 16 squares!

Although the recipe stated to bake the cake at 150oC (in a fan oven) for 35-40 minutes, I felt that my cake was cooked after 25 minutes and was beginning to pull away from the sides of the tin. Our oven was definitely on at 150 degrees so whether it was down to the Stork or the tin itself. It was the smell of it cooking made me think was it burning and should I check it? Good job I did!

While the traybake was cooling, I made the drizzle which is a simple lemon juice and sugar syrup to pour over the cake.  I had to fish out several lemon pips though! I poked the traybake with holes from a cocktail stick so as the syrup was poured onto it, some would pour through the holes. To finish, I also sprinkled on some granulated sugar.


I felt happy with my latest attempt at a lemon drizzle traybake. A great start to the challenge and made me feel more confident.  I put 12 of the 16 slices into a box to take into work to leave for my work mates to enjoy.  My daughter ate one of the slices for pudding and said it was delicious. I would love to indulge but at the moment even looking at a cake makes me put on a stone!

Happy Baking!
Love Sam xx

A New Challenge!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about my SmartCookieSam blog. Recently I’ve been so sporadic in uploading posts and when I do, I struggle to fit in blogging as well as everything else going on in these crazy times. Part of me has even thought about packing in this blog. I don’t have much time for baking at the moment. Every time I bake something it seems to go wrong. I just sit looking at other people’s perfect creations on social media and feel so fed up/ I guess I’ve lost my baking mojo. This is sad as I always used to love baking as a form of relaxation and therapy. But now it makes me feel anxious as I can’t get it right. I don’t want to give up baking but at the same time I am really struggling with my weight since going through the menopause. I even thought about changing my blog to healthy recipes but I still think baking is a huge part of who I am. I guess I just need something to motivate me and to be given a bit of encouragement.

I love the idea of baking through a book and thought of this as an idea to base my blog on going forward. I have lots of books I would love to do this with but it has to have recipes that I actually have time to bake. It also had to contain recipes that I can share with family and friends and not containing obscure ingredients which would be offputting.

So which book would I go for to start my challenge? I know that the Mary Berry Baking Bible has been done by a few people! I would have loved to have done this myself but I didn’t want to be seen as copying! I thought about the lady who fanned my obsession with baking back in the early noughties, the one and only Nigella herself with her Domestic Goddess book. But after lots of thought, I was thinking about all the Great British Bake Off books I had, including ones from former contestants and winners and decided on the latest one to come from last year’s series. “The Big Book Of Amazing Cakes” which came out at the beginning of last October.

Although I bought the book when it came out, I’m shocked I haven’t tried any of the recipes in the book. They range from a mixture of classic and modern, from easy to more challenging and contain recipes from previous series as well as offerings from the last series’ contestants. I feel this might help me get my teeth back into something after all the upheaval we have had over the previous months.

I’m not sure how long it will take me to bake the seventy plus recipes in “The Big Book Of Amazing Cakes” but I reckon I can manage a couple a week if time allows. I can fit some in around various times of the year, such as Parkin at Hallowe’en or on Bonfire Night or to be attached to various occasions such as a birthday. Lets see how I get on! Whether I get the blog updated as well is another job entirely!

Watch this space!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Chocolate Mocha Latte Cake

As I mentioned in my previous post Lemon Cupcakes, I was baking a couple of treats to take back into work for our first day of re-opening after lockdown.  To go along with the lemon cupcakes, I wanted to make a whole cake in a contrasting flavour.

I thought about a nice, classic Coffee and Walnut Cake but being as my workplace is a nursery I didn’t want to take anything with nuts in. Instead I found half a packet of Sugar and Crumbs Toffee Mocha icing sugar left over from when I made ice cream with it back in May.  This, I thought would go perfectly with a coffee flavoured sponge.

I also had some chocolate sprinkles which would make a perfect alternative decoration to either walnuts or coffee cocoa beans.

CHOCOLATE MOCHA LATTE CAKE

You will need two 18cm/ 7″ diameter loose bottom sandwich tins which are greased and lined.

Ingredients;
1 tbsp espresso coffee powder dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water and mixed to a paste
175g Stork or softened, unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
175g self raising flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
3 large, free range eggs

For the icing:
100g softened butter
250g Sugar and Crumbs Toffee Mocha Icing sugar
4 tbsp hot water

Chocolate decorations or sprinkles

  • Grease and line the two sandwich tins.  I use pre-cut baking parchment circles bought from Lakeland as a shortcut!
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/ 160oC fan/ 350oF / Gas Mark 4.
  • Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
  • Spoon carefully into the tins ensuring you have an equal quantity of mixture in each tin.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  The cake is done if it springs back when touched.
  • Let the cakes cool in the tins for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • While the cake is cooling, make up the icing.
  • Whisk the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the icing sugar bit by bit, then add in the water. You should get a spreading consistency.
  • Spread half the mixture on top of one of the cakes. Put the other cake on top of it, then spread the remaining icing on the top of that. Decorate the top with the chocolate sprinkles.


Happy Baking!
Love Sam xx