Chocolate Drip Cake: Amazing Cakes #12

It was my daughter’s birthday back in October. It had been a strange couple of weeks for us and her birthday coincided with her last day of self isolation. I had originally planned her cake for her weeks ago and had bought ingredients and the decorations well in advance. Had I known, I wouldn’t have baked such an extravagant and massive cake!

I’ve seen lots of these fancy drip cakes around and although I bake lots of cakes it has been a while since I have made any celebration cakes. Making a drip cake is something I’d always wanted to have a go at but never had chance to do. So even though my daughter said “Don’t make me a massive cake, Mum!”, what did her mother do? Make a massive cake!

I looked at the recipe for the Chocolate Drip Cake in the Great British Bake Off book Amazing Cakes to help me for quantities, etc and I adapted it to suit the ingredients I had at home at the time. The original recipe has two layers each of chocolate sponge and also of a brown butter sponge! As the brown butter sponge used a whole packet of butter which I didn’t have enough of, I chose to make this one as a Vanilla sponge but bake both sponges using Stork instead. I had a whole tub of Stork which needed using up and only enough butter for the buttercream. Also I chose to adapt the decorations. My friend Amy had bought me a tub of Cake Decor Chocolate Mirror Glaze icing in a tub which I had not used before and I thought it would be perfect on the top of the cake for the drip. Instead of homemade chocolate shards, I used Lindt Dor Salted Caramel Truffles and some honeycomb pieces. For the buttercream icing, I had to use a mixture of plain Tate and Lyle Icing Sugar with a packet of Sugar and Crumbs’ Honeycomb flavour icing sugar as I didn’t have enough plain for all the buttercream. So the chocolate cake ended up being a chocolate, salted caramel and honeycomb flavour cake!

On Sunday morning, the morning of my daughter’s actual birthday I baked the sponges and made up the buttercream. This did not take long. It wasn’t until later when I had to assemble the cake that the panic started. I see so many perfect cakes on the internet where the buttercream is so smooth. I can never get mine like that. You can also bet your bottom dollar that the moment you start piping or something is the exact moment when Mr S comes in the kitchen and wants to get something out of that very cupboard right where you are working! This time he came in asking for a cup of tea! (fit eyeroll emoji in here!)

It was as I was assembling the cake that I realised how big it actually was and why I needed 500g butter and 1kg of icing sugar in the buttercream. It also contains 200g dark chocolate and double cream which was made into a ganache and then whipped into the butter and icing sugar. Assembling the cake was fine and I put it on my larger Cath Kidston cake stand. Once it was assembled, I gave the cake a crumb coat and put it to chill in the fridge for an hour. While it was chilling I made the cup of tea and tried to clean up as best as I could.

Another coat of buttercream went on and then I spent ages smoothing it with my cake smoother before melting the pot of chocolate glaze gently in the microwave. I have seen people use plastic bottles with nozzles on for piping on the chocolate drip but I chose to use a piping bag to help me. The chocolate glaze was slightly too thick really and some of the drips didn’t look as neat as others. Once the chocolate was on then I put on the Lindt balls and sprinkled the honeycomb pieces in the middle. The finishing touch was some gold Happy Birthday lettering.

I was very pleased and proud of the cake and my daughter loved it which was the main thing. Since she has gone back to work she has taken it to share with her work mates and they enjoyed it too.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Lemon Cupcakes

How are you all doing? As I write, I’m catching up on my day off after a busy first week back at work.  My workplace reopened last Monday and it’s just fantastic to be back. To mark the day of reopening, I just had to celebrate by taking in some baking to share with my workmates.  I hadn’t baked for a couple of weeks as I just haven’t had the interest or the motivation to do it.

I baked lemon cupcakes to begin with.  It’s been a while since I’ve baked lemon cupcakes even though they usually go down well.  I have struggled to find plain icing sugar recently but I had some packets of Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugar left from a big order I had back in April.  One of the packs was a lemon and blueberry flavour.  I can’t really remember if I have tried it before but I thought I’d get it out and make something with it. I know it looks like I’m always mentioning Sugar and Crumbs, but it’s genuinely because I love their icing sugars.  I’m not on commission from them or anything!

My lemon cupcake recipe is so simple because I use the all in one method.  I also don’t use baking powder because I want my cupcakes to have a level top for icing.  When I add baking powder to a cupcake recipe I always get a peaked top like a mountain!

LEMON CUPCAKES

Makes 12

You will need a 12 hole cupcake tin and some cupcake cases.

125g Stork or softened butter
125g caster sugar
125g self raising flour, sifted
2 large free range eggs
1 grated zest of a lemon

For the icing:
250g softened butter
500g icing sugar *
Juice of 1 lemon *
4- 6 tbsp milk to mix
Yellow food colouring (optional)

Sprinkles or jellied lemon decorations

*If using Sugar and Crumbs Lemon and Blueberry or Lemon Drizzle icing sugar then omit the lemon flavouring.  If you find the flavoured icing sugar too strong, you can use half ordinary icing sugar, half flavoured. I would also leave out the lemon juice.  Adding food colouring is also entirely up to you.

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180oC/ 160oC fan/ 350oF/ or Gas Mark 2.  Put the cupcake cases into the tin.
  2. Weigh out all your ingredients into one large mixing bowl and mix together until well combined, light and fluffy.
  3. Spoon into cake cases. I usually get two heaped tablespoonfuls in each case.
  4. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. When the cakes are done, they should spring back to the touch.
  5. Place on a wire rack to cool.
  6. Make the icing: beat the butter until light and fluffy.  This might take a few minutes to get it really creamy. Add the icing sugar and beat in bit by bit.  Don’t do what I do and end up with clouds of icing sugar all over the kitchen! Add in the milk and lemon juice until you get a great piping consistency.
  7. Prepare a large piping bag with a star or a plain nozzle and fill it with about a third of the mixture.  Pipe in swirls on top of the cupcake.  I normally get about 4 cupcakes iced, then add the decorations before the icing begins to set.
  8. Repeat until all the cupcakes are iced and decorated.

Let me know if you do try out this recipe. I’d love to see how you decorate your lemon cupcakes as well!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

 

Home-made Pizza

It’s been ages since I’ve made pizza. Last Sunday night I was planning out our shopping list when I was thinking about what we could have for our dinner. We all love pizza, although Mr S doesn’t really like shop bought ones. I like the thin and crispy ones but can’t stand anything deep pan or stuffed crust.

It’s easier to do things like this on a Monday while there’s the four of us still at home and when I’m not out at work. The dough can be got ready as and when you need it. Also, my two grown up kids enjoy making their own pizzas and sticking their favourite toppings on. Mr S asked if I could buy some prawns and anchovies for his pizza. Yuck to the anchovies but I got ham and pepperoni as well as lots of grated mozzerella and a carton of passata.

The pizza dough recipe I use is one by Annabel Karmel from her Children’s First Cookbook. I’ve had this cookbook years! It was bought when my kids were little and also got used when I ran an after school cookery club. Virtually most of the recipes had been adapted in one way or another. In fact I made pizzas loads of times throughout my time as a teacher but it was always Annabel’s recipe we used for the pizza dough.

Monday afternoon was not good dough making weather though. We up in North Yorkshire have not had the nasty storms and rain (yet) but the weather has been very muggy. My hands were hot as a furnace and no matter how much flour I dusted on the worktop and on my hands, the dough stuck to the worktop and to my hands. I got more and more flustered. Even having the windows open in my kitchen which gets the full sun in the afternoon wasn’t helping. I put my hands under a freezing cold tap but even that didn’t make a difference.

Eventually after 10 minutes of kneading I did get the dough into a bowl and left it proving. I didn’t need to find an especially warm place, it was warm everywhere! I was so fed up at that time that I wished I’d bought the pizzas and not made them from scratch.

For the tomato sauce I usually use a carton of passata. The only thing is it’s not full of sugar like some readymade pizza toppings are but we honestly didn’t miss it. I know you can make up a tomato sauce with tins of tomatoes, etc but I was seriously in a I can’t be bothered mood that day.

When it was time to get the pizza bases ready I got the dough out of the bowl, knocked it back and then cut it into four quarters. Now for the rolling bit. Once again the dough wasn’t in the mood for it and I found myself getting hotter and more anxious. No matter what flour I put on the rolling pin, my hands or the worktop, it just stuck. My hands were hotter than a raging inferno. In the end I had to get my daughter to roll out the bases. I was just expecting her to do that but she ended up doing the whole lot. In the meantime, I had gone for a cold shower! I came downstairs to find my delicious pizza waiting for me with its thin and crispy base. Just how I like it!

We each had different pizzas. Mr S didn’t get his anchovies for his pizza (haha) as I “forgot” to buy some! But he had garlic and prawns on his: reminiscent of a delicious pizza eaten on holiday in Menorca several years ago. I had ham on mine and the others had pepperoni ones.

I didn’t get a photo of everyone else’s pizza but here’s mine! It was delicious and we all said we definitely have to make it again. Maybe on not such a hot day and also if I can find yeast in the supermarket again. I’m down to my last sachet of my pre-lockdown yeast now.

Do you like making pizza? If so, what are your favourite toppings?

Stay Safe!

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

Chocolate Chip Muffins

It’s been ages since I’ve baked muffins. At the beginning of the lockdown when going off to the supermarket for our weekly shop, my son asked if I could buy some of those mini muffins you can buy in plastic tubs on the bakery counter. I never usually buy these as they taste horrible to me. I bought him a tub of them but when he asked again the following week, I said I would make him some homemade ones instead. After all, even though they come off the supermarket bakery counter, you still don’t know what they put in them. Would you believe, I couldn’t find any dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips. Luckily my local village shop had them in on a couple of visits.

I love making muffins as there’s not a lot of preparation goes into making them. They can be done in just about half an hour. But I do reckon they taste best on the day you make them. I love a muffin with a cup of my favourite coffee or a mug of tea and even have the odd one for breakfast if I’m in a rush on a working day morning.

My recipe for Chocolate Chip Muffins makes 12 generous size ones and they do fill over the tops of the muffin cases. I love those tulip muffin cases the best for baking in. They look pretty and give great results. I haven’t got any left at the moment so the red spotty ones I used here in the picture were from a tub from John Lewis mixed with yellow and orange spotty cases. They are still very pretty and good quality, though.

I also chose to add some vanilla yoghurt to the muffins to keep them moist and to add flavour. Use full fat yoghurt, though.

CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

Makes 12. You will need a 12 hole muffin tray and 12 muffin cases.

Ingredients:

350g plain flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 large, free range eggs

200ml full fat vanilla yoghurt

200g light brown soft sugar (preferably) but I ended up using Demerera as there wasn’t any other brown sugar in the shops

115g butter (melted before adding)

200g dark or milk chocolate chips

  1. Preheat your oven to 180oC/ Fan 160oC/ Gas 4 or 350oF. Prepare your muffin tin by putting the paper muffin cases in the holes.
  2. Weigh out all your “dry” ingredients into a large mixing bowl: the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and the chocolate chips. The only exception is the sugar. Mix these together with a wooden spoon.
  3. In another bowl, weigh out all your “wet” ingredients and the sugar. I find it easier to melt the butter beforehand in the microwave for about 30 seconds and to pre-beat the eggs in another bowl so you just tip them all into the bowl with the sugar and yoghurt. Mix together with a wooden spoon.
  4. Fold all the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over mix but just fold to combine. This is best done with a large metal spoon.
  5. Spoon the muffin batter into the cases. Try and fill to the top as much as you can.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the muffin tops spring back when you press them gently with your finger.
  7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then remove from the muffin tin. Put the muffins to cool down on a wire rack.

These muffins could be adapted to make chocolate orange ones if you substitute the vanilla yoghurt for natural yoghurt and add some grated zest of an orange to the mixture.

I couldn’t wait to tuck into a muffin. I made myself a cup of tea and sat with it out in the garden enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

Let me know if you try out this recipe and what it comes out like.

Stay safe!

Happy Baking

Love Sam xx

Marmalade Loaf Cake


It has been ages since I’ve baked using one of my precious Nordicware Bundt pans. I really miss using them but I haven’t had chance while we’ve been quarantined.  But last weekend I was happy to dig out my special fluted loaf pan and thought it would be great to test out a recipe in it. I’d also had a jar of St Dalfour Orange jam/ marmalade which I thought would be perfect to go in a loaf cake with a few nuts which needed using up.  This recipe is a bit of an inpromptu bake  which was hurriedly thought up on a Sunday afternoon.

So here we have Marmalade Loaf:

You will need a 2 lb loaf tin which you can line with either baking parchment or a special loaf tin liner which are available from most great cookery retailers. Or if you have a Nordicware Bundt Loaf pan you can use that.  I greased my pan carefully in the usual way with baking spray.

Ingredients:
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
175g soft light brown sugar (or demerera blitzed in a food processor)
100g chopped nuts (I used a mixture of walnuts and pecans as that’s what I had left)
175g softened, unsalted butter
3 medium free range eggs
150g of good quality marmalade or orange jam

  1. First, pre heat your oven to 180oC (fan 160o)/ 350oF or Gas 4.  Line or prepare your chosen baking tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and the ground cinnamon and mix it so it is evenly distributed.  Stir in the sugar and then add in the chopped nuts.
  3. Then add the softened butter to the bowl. 
  4. In a small bowl, lightly beat the three eggs together and then transfer them to the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix together until well combined.
  5. Finally, add in all but 25g of the marmalade.  The last 25g can be used later on to brush on the cake as a glaze.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the tin and put in the oven. 
  7. Bake for 1- 1 1/4 hours but check that the cake is cooked thoroughly in the middle by testing with a skewer inserted into the centre.  If you see the cake looks like it’s getting too brown on top, you could always cover it with some foil to prevent it burning too much.
  8. Remove from the oven and after 5 minutes put the loaf onto a wire rack to cool for a further 5 minutes. 
  9. Warm the rest of the marmalade through by putting it in the microwave for 10 seconds.  If you prefer, gently heat it in a pan on the hob instead.  Add a tablespoonful of water to the mixture, stir it and then brush it all over the loaf. 
  10. Leave the loaf to cool completely.

  • The loaf can be served with or without being spread with butter.  The choice is yours!




  • I can’t believe how rubbish the photos are.  It was night time by the time I’d had chance to take a photo of the cake.  It did justice to the beautiful design of the Bundt pan but the giant pieces of orange peel distract from it a bit.  My son has just looked over at the picture as I’m typing now and said “What the hell is on that cake, they look like worms!”

    I chose to cut the cake up into eight large pieces.  Half of the slices were boxed up in twos and put outside on Bank Holiday Monday morning with some other bakes for my neighbours and local friends to pick up while still social distancing from my gate.  The other slices I put into a plastic box and have been put into the freezer to take out as and when we fancy a piece of cake.  I also did this with some banana bread and some fruit loaf.


    Let me know if you have tried the recipe and what you think of it.

    Stay safe!
    Happy Baking.
    Love Sam xx

    Malteser Mint Button Crispie Slices

    We’re now on week eight, I think since the “lockdown” started.  I have still been able to bake but where there have been shortages I have managed to adapt or turn things around using what I have.  I have been baking regularly for friends in my small village as well as neighbours. On a few occasions Mr S and I have set up a stall outside my gateway so that they can come and get a few treats while socially distancing.  People have been kind and have only taken the right amount for their own household.  I was worried that there might be a few passers by helping themselves to the lot but so far I haven’t had that pleasure.  I think I won’t be able to do this again as there are more people out on the road and will take advantage of my good nature.

    I’ve found that crispie slices have really come into their own during the pandemic as flour can still be a struggle to get.  My local supermarket is back selling plain flour but I had to order some self raising on Amazon a couple of weeks ago.  It was a German brand and it came with baking powder to add to sponge cakes, etc.  It was very expensive and I can’t believe I bought it but I am using it sparingly.  Crispie slices not having flour or eggs are great as I am always running out of eggs!

    Anyone who knows me well will know I love anything mint flavoured. When I was doing my weekly shop I spotted some Malteser Mint Buttons.  Maltesers are another of my favourites and I can hoover them up like that Hungry Hippo game. I just had to get a bag of these and put them into some baking.  To go with it I found some mint flavoured dark chocolate bars and the idea for the Mint Malteser Buttons Crispies came about.  I originally was going to put them on the top of chocolate layer on the slice but I needed something to lace through the actual crispies as well/MINT MALTESER BUTTON CRISPIE SLICES

    Makes 16 squares* or smaller if preferred.

    Ingredients:
    75g butter
    150g sugar (I used granulated as I cant find caster sugar at the moment)
    1 tbsp golden syrup
    400g can condensed milk
    75g Rice Krispies or Coco Pops
    50g porridge oats
    100g bar dark chocolate with mint (not fondant centred, has to have flavour or bits in it)
    One pouch sized bag of Mint Malteser Buttons

    For the topping:
    200g dark mint chocolate (as before)

    Please note: this is very rich and I assure you it is hugely calorific.  You can always cut the slices into smaller pieces.  Or if you don’t like mint, you could make a plain chocolate version.

    You will also need a square cake tin with a loose bottom.  I used an 8″ (20cm) square one.  I line the base and sides of the tin with cling film before putting the mixture in so that it doesn’t stick to the sides. This makes it easier to get out of the tin after it is set.

    How to make the crispie slices:

  • Weigh out your butter, sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk into a thick based pan.  Heat this gently until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. 
  • Meanwhile, melt the 100g mint chocolate in your preferred way.  Break it up into chunks and either melt it in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water or do it in the microwave.  I prefer to do this in the microwave.  I put the chocolate on high for one minute, take it out, give it a stir and return it to the microwave for a further 10 seconds. Repeat again.  Usually after 1 minute, 20 seconds is fine and it naturally melts the rest of the chocolate from the heat of the bowl. Add the chocolate to the condensed milk mixture.
  • Weigh out your cereal.  I used a mixture of Rice Krispies and porridge oats but you can use any cereal you want so long as it adds up to 125g.  Cheerios would work. Put all the cereal into a large mixing bowl and then pour in the chocolate mixture.  Mix it so it is well coated.
  • Mix in the Malteser Mint Buttons ensuring they are evenly spread.
  • Put the mixture into your prepared tin. Use the back of a spoon or a potato masher to level it out.
  • Melt the remaining 200g of mint chocolate in the same way as before.  Pour this melted chocolate on top of the crispie layer.
  • Put in the fridge to set. 
  • When set, cut the crispie into the number of slices you want.


  • If you have a go at these slices, please let me know how you get on with them. 

    Here they are all bagged up in packets of two for my neighbours to help themselves to.  I also tried to include them in #TwitterBakeAlong which I keep forgetting to join in with.  But silly me, I missed the deadline this week completely forgetting it was Bank Holiday Monday and I usually do my baking for a Sunday morning. Never mind!

    Happy Baking
    Love Sam xx

    Yeast Free Naan Bread

    With a shortage of strong bread flour and yeast in the shops the other day, I’ve been making my own naan bread. I’ve always loved naan bread but the beauty with this recipe is that it doesn’t need yeast or strong bread flour to make it.

    This naan recipe contains self raising flour and full fat natural yoghurt. This helps to leaven the bread slightly. The dough does not rise but instead ferments and you have to allow for this. Instead of cooking the naan in a traditional tandoor oven, these naans are cooked under a very hot grill.

    Makes 8

    Ingredients:

    250g self raising flour

    1/2 tsp salt

    3 rounded tbsp full fat natural yoghurt

    115ml lukewarm water

    40g unsalted butter

    1 clove garlic

    2 tbsp any spices or herbs

    1. Mix the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl.
    2. Add the yoghurt and the warm water to the bowl. Do this a little at a time and work the dough together first with a knife and then using your hands.
    3. The dough will be a little bit sticky and rough but this is to be expected. Leave it to ferment for an hour in the mixing bowl. It should be covered with cling film or a damp tea towel.
    4. After an hour take the dough out of your bowl. Remember it won’t have risen because it doesn’t have any yeast in it.
    5. Flour your fingers and the work top and divide the dough into eight equal portions. Make each portion into a ball. Flatten, then stretch out the dough into an oval either with your hands or using a rolling pin.
    6. Preheat your grill to the highest setting. When it is hot enough, grill the naans for roughly 1 1/2 minutes each side. They should be puffed up. I cook mine in two batches of four as they won’t all fit under my grill at the same time.
    7. While your naans are grilling, melt the butter in a small saucepan on the hob. Add the chopped garlic and any herbs or spices you may want to add.
    8. When the naan bread is ready, brush them with the melted butter mixture and serve straightaway.

    Variation:

    In the baking aisle of my local supermarket, I found a sachet by Allinson’s called Baking Additions which had wild garlic and herbs in it. When I used it with the naan bread, I have had added half a sachet to for each batch of naan bread and it was really delicious.

    We have really enjoyed these naan breads again tonight with a curry and I’ll definitely be making some again next week.

    Stay safe everyone and happy baking.

    Sam xx