Category Archives: Cakes

Blood Orange Drizzle Cake

With blood orange juice in both the cake and drizzle, this Blood Orange Drizzle Cake makes the most of the beautiful blood orange.  

 I had never tried a blood orange before making this cake. Every year I remembered seeing them and hearing people rave about them so this year I decided it was definitely time I saw what all the fuss was about. 

I looked for them in a couple of supermarkets with no luck. I then realised that I could order them to come with my organic vegetable box which was quite exciting! As soon as they came I knew I wanted to tweak the Double Orange Cake already on my blog. This recipe is one of Mary Berry’s which is really delicious. I wanted to tweak this recipe to create this Blood Orange Drizzle Cake. 

I must admit when I cut into the blood oranges for the first time I was expecting them to be a deeper red. I’ve since realised that there are three different blood orange varieties and they can vary in their redness.  The blood oranges I used had a lovely mottled red colour that had a beautifully vibrant pink juice. 

The flavour of the blood oranges will also vary depending on which you use. They are all known for having a stronger taste and aroma than normal oranges with a slightly sweeter taste. If you haven’t tried them before I would definitely recommend it if you can get your hands on one!

The blood orange season isn’t particularly long. Depending on the variety you can find them between December and May. Unlike some other fruit, I believe you will struggle to find these outside of their season which is a good thing in my opinion. So make sure you get them while you can!

I decided to decorate the Blood Orange Drizzle Cake very simply with the drizzle and some dehydrated blood orange slices. The vibrant colour of the juice created such a vivid pink drizzle that you may think that food colouring has been used. The dehydrated blood orange slices are very simple to make and add a lovely and natural decoration. However you can decorate the cake with some finely grated blood orange zest. 

5 from 13 votes
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Blood Orange Drizzle Cake

With blood orange juice in both the cake and drizzle, this Blood Orange Drizzle Cake makes the most of the beautiful blood orange.

Course Cake
Cuisine British
Keyword Cake, Blood Orange
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 271 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 175 g margarine
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175 g self raising flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • 70 ml blood orange juice (1 orange)
  • 1 blood orange zested

For the drizzle

  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp blood orange juice
  • Finely shredded rind or dehydrated orange slices to decorate

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan assisted, 180°C non fan) . Line a 20 cm (8 inch) deep round cake tin with baking parchment

  2. Measure all of the ingredients into a bowl and beat until thoroughly mixed

  3. Pour into the cake tin, level the surface and bake for 30-35 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean

  4. Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out of the tin. Allow to cool on a wire rack

  5. When the cake has cooled, make the drizzle by gradually adding the blood orange juice to the icing sugar. Add enough juice until you have a thick but drizzle-able consistency

  6. For dehydrated blood orange slices preheat the oven to it's lowest temperature. Finely slice blood oranges and dab away excess juice with a paper towel. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the oranges. Put them in the oven for 6-8 hours until they are hard

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information is given as a guide only.

Nutrition Facts
Blood Orange Drizzle Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 271 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 20%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 52mg 17%
Sodium 158mg 7%
Potassium 120mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 35g 12%
Sugars 23g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 12.3%
Vitamin C 6%
Calcium 4.2%
Iron 2.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Orange & Cranberry Loaf Cake

This Orange & Cranberry Loaf Cake has the delicious flavours of Winter in the form of a moist cake topped with a tasty drizzle. It is perfect for any gathering, especially over the Christmas period. 
 

I love a loaf cake. They’re so simple to make and don’t need a lot of fiddling with once they have been baked to make them look pretty. My love of loaf cakes could also have something to do with my lack of affection towards buttercream. Yes, I said it. I’m not a fan of buttercream! 

Moving on from that bombshell…Loaf cakes are underrated and need to be celebrated more! This Orange & Cranberry Loaf Cake came about by wanting to make a cake with wintery/Christmas flavours. I say Christmas flavours, but this Orange & Cranberry Loaf cake should not only be made during the build up to Christmas! Although the flavours of orange and cranberry are often associated with Christmas, to me they remind me of Winter as a whole. 

I was telling my Mum about my plan to make this Orange & Cranberry Loaf Cake and it was her that gave me the idea to soak the cranberries. This step helps plump up the cranberries and make them juicier than in their original dried state. Soaking them also gives you the opportunity to use the soaking liquid in the drizzle which helps add even more flavour. 

As with a lot of my new recipes, I took this Orange & Cranberry Loaf Cake into work for the taste test. I got a resounding yes from everyone that this was definitely a recipe they liked. I know I can count on them to tell me the truth as a while ago I took in a cake which I already knew was a failed recipe. They all had no problem telling me that it tasted of flour, so their honesty means they’re still hired as my testers! 

5 from 7 votes
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Orange & Cranberry Loaf Cake

This Orange & Cranberry Loaf Cake has the delicious flavours of Winter in the form of a moist cake topped with a tasty drizzle. It is perfect for any gathering, especially over the Christmas period. 

Course Cake
Cuisine British
Keyword Cranberry, Orange, Loaf Cake, Drizzle
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 359 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 85 g dried cranberries
  • 70 ml orange juice approx 1 orange
  • 225 g margarine
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 g plain flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon ground
  • 1 orange zest
  • 120 g fat free yogurt

For the drizzle

  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice from the soaked cranberries
  • 1 tbsp orange juice

Instructions

  1. Add the cranberries to a bowl with the juice of one orange (approx 70ml). Cover and allow to soak for one hour 

  2. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (fan assisted 190ºC non fan) and line a 2lb loaf tin 

  3. Cream the margarine and sugar together for a couple of minutes until pale and fluffy

  4. Add in the eggs one at a time mixing after each addition 

  5. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and orange zest and mix until completed combined

  6. Add in the yogurt and cranberries reserving the juice they have been soaking in. Mix until just combined 

  7. Pour the cake mix into the lined tin and level. Bake in the oven for 55-60 minutes until golden brown and a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely 

  8. Once the cake is completely cool, make the drizzle by mixing the orange juice that the cranberries were soaked in with the additional orange juice and icing sugar. Drizzle across the cake and serve 

Recipe Notes

You want the drizzle to be thin enough to actually drizzle but not too thin so it runs off the cake. Add more juice to thin it or a touch more icing sugar to thicken if needed. 

Nutritional information is given as a guide only.

Nutrition Facts
Orange & Cranberry Loaf Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 359 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 25%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 41mg 14%
Sodium 201mg 8%
Potassium 165mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 50g 17%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 31g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 15.3%
Vitamin C 11.5%
Calcium 6.6%
Iron 6.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake

This Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake not only tastes great but is really easy to make. The raspberry jam and vanilla go really well together in this deliciously moist cake. 

After I made my Blueberry & Lemon Swirl Loaf Cake, I knew it wouldn’t be my last cake with a jam swirl! Raspberries are one of my favourite fruits and they go so well with lots of flavours; vanilla being one of them. I don’t know if it’s just me, but raspberries do seem to have quite a short shelf life. They can also be a little pricey compared to other fruit. 

These reasons, plus the fact you probably have some raspberry jam in you cupboard; mean using jam is a great option. The jam also helps provide extra moisture to the cake which fresh raspberries wouldn’t always. 

As with a lot of my favourite cakes, this Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake is really easy to make. It doesn’t take much time at all to make and then you can forget about it while it’s in the oven. You then just need to allow it to cool without the need for any further effort. These are my favourite sort of cakes to make during the week when you don’t have hours after work to make a fancy cake. My Peanut Butter & Chocolate Banana Bread is another one of these recipes. 

This is such a delicious cake. The yogurt helps keep the cake really moist and give it such a lovely texture. If you don’t fancy using raspberry jam, strawberry would work really well too. 

5 from 3 votes
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Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake

This Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake not only tastes great but is really easy to make. The raspberry jam and vanilla go really well together in this deliciously moist cake. 

Cuisine British
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 9
Calories 593 kcal
Author Curly

Ingredients

  • 300 g margarine
  • 265 g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 330 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 160 g yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 200 g raspberry jam

Instructions

  1. Line a 20x20cm tin and preheat the oven to 170ºC(fan assisted or 190ºC non fan)

  2. Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy 

  3. Add the eggs and mix before adding the remaining ingredients apart from the jam. Mix until completely combined

  4. Pour half of the cake mix into the prepared tin and smooth out

  5. Using half of the jam, add dollops on top of the cake and then run a knife or skewer through the jam to create a swirl pattern

  6. Add the rest of the cake mix before smoothing out and repeating the same process as before with the rest of the jam 

  7. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean 

  8. Leave to cool slightly in the tin before allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled cut into 9 equal squares 

Recipe Notes

Stir the jam in a bowl to make it a runnier consistency before adding to the cake 

Nutrition Facts
Raspberry & Vanilla Swirl Sheet Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 593 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 45%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 75mg 25%
Sodium 359mg 15%
Potassium 237mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 75g 25%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 41g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 26.3%
Vitamin C 2.4%
Calcium 10.1%
Iron 12.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Blueberry & Lemon Swirl Loaf Cake

Incredibly fluffy lemon flavoured sponge swirled with tasty blueberry jam. My Blueberry & Lemon Swirl Loaf Cake is so light and fresh, the perfect flavours for summer. 

I can spend hours looking at Pinterest looking for tasty recipes that grab my eye. I was looking for a recipe to use jam in and came across one by Marsha’s Baking Addition that looked delicious. Her recipe didn’t actually use jam and had different flavours, so I tweaked it to make my Blueberry & Lemon Swirl Loaf Cake. 

I love using jam in cakes because it provides a delicious fruity flavour without needing fresh or frozen fruit. Don’t get me wrong, fresh fruit is amazing, but fruit out of season isn’t as tasty. I also don’t want to be limited to when I can make cakes, but I’d rather not use fresh fruit that is less than perfect. 

This is why jam is so great to use. It is something a lot of us have in our cupboard and fridges which makes it a readily available ingredient for when you get the cake cravings. I know this sounds incredibly lazy, but opening a jar of jam is fr easier than washing fruit!

I used blueberry jam for this recipe because it is a fantastic paring for lemon. My favourite brand of jam is Bonne Maman and their blueberry jam has whole blueberries in it which I think is a nice touch. I’m sure there are other brands of blueberry jam available so find you favourite. 

Loaf cakes are my favourite week night bakes. I know it sounds odd to have a favourite type of cake to bake on a week night, but there is logic to my madness! Although they tend to take slightly longer than some other cakes to make, they are easy to whip up and once they have baked you just need to let them cool. No frosting or other time consuming steps which makes them perfect for a busy week night. 

The flavours of this cake are enhanced further by the yogurt which makes it deliciously moist and fluffy. 

225g margarine
200g sugar
3 eggs
250g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 lemon, zested
120g fat free yogurt
100g blueberry jam

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (fan assisted or 190ºC non fan) and line a 2lb loaf tin
  2. Cream the margarine and sugar together until pale and fluffy, usually around 5 minutes
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and mix after each addition 
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until completely combined
  5. Spoon in the yogurt and lemon zest and mix until just combined

  1. Pour half of the cake mix into the loaf tin and spread out. Add half of the jam on top of the cake and drag a knife through the jam to create a ripple effect

  1. Pour over the rest of the cake mix and even out before adding the rest of the jam and creating the ripple effect again

  1. Bake in the oven for 55-60 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean
  2. Allow to cool for 10 or so minutes in the tin before turning out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack 

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Gluten Free Carrot Sheet Cake

My Gluten Free Carrot Sheet Cake is tried and tested by my chief coeliac taste tester. This is a gluten free version of my most popular cakes. 
Since before I started my blog, my carrot cake has been my most popular cake. I get asked to make it time and time again and I am yet to find someone who doesn’t like it. I have wanted to make a gluten free version of my carrot cake for quite a while now. 

My first attempt at adapting my recipe to being gluten free naively involved switching the plain flour to gluten free flour. Although the taste was there, the texture was not. It was too crumbly which isn’t ideal in a cake. 

It was the wonderful Zoe that suggested using xanthan gum; something I hadn’t heard of before. Xanthan gum helps act as a binding agent which gluten free flour lacks. So the next time I saw Zoe, we made gluten free carrot cake take two with much more success resulting in my Gluten Free Carrot Sheet Cake. 

The texture was much better and too dissimilar to my usual recipe including gluten. Zoe who has coeliac disease was very happy with the finished cake and it didn’t take too much to convince her to take most of the cake home with her. That’s a trick of mine – giving cake to people; having it in the house is too dangerous!

One tip I have for all of my carrot cake variations is to try and break up the sugar the best you can before adding the rest of the wet ingredients. My brown sugars always seen to get lumps in them and while small lumps will melt into the cake, it is easier to try and break up the larger lumps before the other ingredients are added. 

This recipe doesn’t have to be used for a sheet cake, it can easily be made into cupcakes too. Depending on the size o the cupcake cases you use, they should take around 20 minutes to bake. These quantities should make between 10-12 cupcakes. 

Although this recipe is intended to be gluten free, if you do not follow a gluten free diet you can use standard plain flour and omit the xanthan gum. 

Serves 9

For the cake
100g light brown sugar
100g dark brown sugar
2 eggs
200ml sunflower oil
¼ tsp xanthan gum

200g gluten free plain flour
¼ tsp salt

¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon

¾ tsp gluten free baking powder
¼ tsp vanilla extract
200g carrot, grated

For the frosting
35g unsalted butter, softened 
225g icing sugar
100g cream cheese 

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (fan assisted 190ºC non fan) and line a 20cm² cake tin
  2. Grate the carrots using the attachment on your food processor if you have one, or by hand and set aside
  3. Add the sugars to a jug and break up as many lumps as possible. Add in the eggs, oil and vanilla extract and whisk together
  4. In a large bowl, mix the flour, xanthan gum, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together

  1. Gradually add the wet mix to the dry mix stirring as you go

  1. Add the carrots and keep stirring until thoroughly mixed
  2. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and spread out

  1. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean 
  2. Allow to cool slightly in the tin before turning out and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack

  1. Add the softened butter to your bowl and beat for a minute or so before adding the icing sugar and cream cheese. Beat until smooth

  1. Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled cake 
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Raspberry & Mascarpone Layer Cake

Sometimes you want a cake to be that little bit special; my Raspberry & Mascarpone Layer Cake is the perfect cake for any celebration.

I realised recently that I tend to make my family’s favourite cake for their birthday. Clearly this isn’t a bad thing, but it does mean I get stuck in a rut and they don’t get to try something new. I did this for my Mum’s birthday this year making her my Pistachio Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing because she loves it. But then she tagged me in a post on Facebook from last year when I made it for her birthday. This is why I decided to make something completely new for my sister’s birthday – my Raspberry & Mascarpone Layer Cake. 

My sister, Ally’s birthday was just after the Easter weekend this year. My parent’s were away with my Nan and our husbands were away on a stag do so I invited my Ally over for a tasty meal and to give her the cake I had made for her. However, as Mr Curly was away, I got a bit carried away in the kitchen and therefore was slightly behind with Ally’s cake. 

Slightly behind is a bit of an understatement and when she arrived, all I had managed to do was actually bake the cake. So in between cooking a roast, I was also trying to decorate this cake. Ally was also reminding me that she was quite hungry so I tried to do it all as quickly as possible which is why there aren’t as many photos of the process as I would have liked.  

Ally took the cake home with her and unfortunately it didn’t fair well on the short journey back to their house. Because I had put the cake on a cake board, it slipped in the cake carrier I gave them and got a little squashed. I’m pleased Ally had seen the cake how it was meant to look before it had it’s car journey! Learn from my mistake and use some of the frosting to stick the cake board to cake box or carrier you are using! 

I had a vision of what I wanted the final cake to look like and played around until I was happy with it. I came up with the flavours of raspberry, vanilla and mascarpone as I knew my sister would love them. My favourite element is the mascarpone frosting which is rich, creamy and absolutely delicious. After some research I realised there were lots of different ways to make mascarpone frosting, but all involved mascarpone cheese and double cream. With those ingredients I knew it was going to be a winner. 

I love using vanilla bean paste not only for the flavour, but I like the flecks it brings to the final cake because it makes it look a little bit posh. Obviously you can use vanilla extract if you would prefer and the cake would still taste delicious. 

If you would prefer to have more of the raspberry mascarpone frosting, mix more of it with the crushed raspberries. You could even cover the whole cake with this if you would prefer – but you would obviously need a few more raspberries!

You can also decorate the cake however you would like. I chose to keep it fairly simple with raspberries and meringue kisses but you can go as far as you would like. It really would make a lovely cake for a special occasion as it serves quite a few people and looks that little bit special. I think a cake topper would really finish this cake off. 

Due to the cream, this Raspberry & Mascarpone Layer Cake does need to be kept in the fridge but it will keep for at least 4-5 days. It is a little bit time consuming to make this cake – definitely more effort than just a Victoria sandwich, but it is so tasty. You will definitely be seeing more recipes using mascarpone frosting from me soon!

Serves 12 – 14

For the cake
335g margarine
335g caster sugar
6 eggs
335g self raising flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp vanilla bean paste

For the frosting
345g mascarpone 
375g icing sugar
375 double cream
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
100g raspberries

To decorate
Meringue kisses
25g raspberries 

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC fan assisted (190ºC non fan assisted and line three 20cm loose bottomed sandwich tins. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together for at least 5 minutes until it is pale and fluffy

  1. Add one egg at a time, mixing before adding the next
  2. Add the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract and mix until everything is full incorporated

  1. Divide evenly between the three tins and smooth the top using a spatula. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean when inserted into the cake

  1. Allow to cool slightly in the tins before cooling completely on a wire rack
  2. Once the cakes are cooled, make the frosting. Using a whisk attachment add the mascarpone and icing sugar to the bowl and whisk until combined
  3. Add the double cream and vanilla bean paste and whisk for 1-2 minutes until the frosting has thickened and become fluffy. Do not overwhisk

  1. In a separate bowl, crush the raspberries with a fork. Add two large spoonfuls of the mascarpone frosting (approximately 150g) and mix together 

  1. Level each of the cakes with either a cake wire or a bread knife so that the top of each is completely flat
  2. Add a small amount of the frosting to the centre of the serving plate/cake board
  3. Take the first cake and turn it over so what was the bottom is facing up. Place it on the plate/cake board 

  1. Spoon the mascarpone frosting into a large piping bag and the raspberry mascarpone into another
  2. Cut a hole in the bottom of the piping bag at least 1cm wide. Starting from the outside of the cake, pipe around the outside of cake creating two circles of frosting
  3. Do the same with the raspberry mascarpone icing to fill in the centre of the cake and then spread to flatten with a small pallet knife 

  1. Add the next cake layer on top and repeat the same process with the icing
  2. Add the final layer of cake on top of the others and crumb coat the cake. This is covering the whole cake in a thin layer of frosting which locks in the crumbs. Make sure you scrape off your pallet knife in the bowl with the remaining frosting in. You will still see the cake through the crumb coat

  1. Put the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes to set 
  2. Remove the cake from the fridge and using the remaining frosting, cover the cake and smooth using a pallet knife
  3. You should have some raspberry mascarpone remaining, using your pallet knife, dot this around the cake and smooth again using your pallet knife 

  1. Decorate the cake with meringue kisses and raspberries – or however you prefer

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Hot Cross Bun Baked Doughnuts

The tasty flavours of a hot cross bun in doughnut form. My Hot Cross Bun Baked Doughnuts are a light and fluffy way to enjoy the flavours we all know and love. 

Hot cross buns are something we all associate about Easter. These days there are so many different flavours of hot cross buns there really is something for everyone. 

I have made hot cross buns before and they were very tasty, but not a quick process. Therefore I wanted to use some of the flavours you would find in a traditional hot cross bun in a doughnut. I decided to leave out the dried fruit typically found in hot cross buns because I wanted to keep these doughnuts light and fluffy. This also keeps people who aren’t fans of raisins and peel happy – my Mum will be pleased!

These Hot Cross Bun Baked Doughnuts are easy enough to make…once you get past one hurdle. The only critical step in this recipe, is making sure you don’t put too much batter into each doughnut hole. Now you may think this sounds simple enough, but take it from someone who knows; you need less batter than you may think!

For example when making cupcakes, you are usually recommended to fill the cases three quarters of the way. With these baked doughnuts, just under half full is plenty. Don’t get me wrong, if you over fill them it is by no means the end of the world. The only difference will be that instead of having the hole in the middle that a doughnut should have, this will fill in and they will come out of the oven looking more like a muffin. 

Once you have got over this very small hurdle, everything else is a doddle. These Hot Cross Bun Baked Doughnuts are very quick to bake which makes them great to whip up over a busy Easter. Having said that, these doughnuts aren’t just for Easter! Just leave the cross off and they are a tasty year round doughnut! 

As with most doughnuts these are best eaten the day you bake them or the next day. They will still be ok for a couple of days longer but not as fluffy. 

Makes 12 

For the doughnuts
190g plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¹⁄8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 orange, zested 

30g butter, melted
95g caster sugar
1 egg
125ml milk
Spray oil 

For the glaze
200g icing sugar
45g butter, melted & cooled slightly
3 tbsp milk
Pinch of cinnamon 

For the cross
30g icing sugar
1 tsp milk 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and spray the doughnut trays with oil
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest
  3. In a separate large bowl, mix together the melted butter, vegetable oil and sugar. Once this is combined, mix the egg and the milk

  1. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing until only just combined before adding more liquid
  2. Once all combined, spoon the doughnut batter into a piping bag and pipe into the prepared tin. You only need one layer of batter in each doughnut ring 

This is an example of over filling the tin with doughnut batter!

  1. Bake in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack

  1. When the doughnuts are cool, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar in a bowl with the melted butter and milk. Add in a pinch of cinnamon 

  1. Dunk each doughnut into the glaze and turn it around making sure the top of each doughnut is completely covered
  2. Leave the glaze to set for 10 minutes or so before making the cross. Mix the icing sugar and milk together and spoon it into a piping bag. Cut a very small hole in the end and pipe a cross on each cupcake
  3. Leave to set for a few minutes before tucking in

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Blueberry & Lemon Bakewell Cake

Light and fluffy cake with a tasty blueberry layer and lemon. My Blueberry & Lemon Bakewell Cake is perfect to enjoy as the weather makes you crave fresh, zesty flavours. 

 A while ago I was talking to Mr Curly’s cousin Katharine about my favourite jam – Bonne Maman’s raspberry jam. She mentioned that their blueberry jam was her favourite so I knew I had to try it! Being me, I didn’t want to just eat it on toast, I wanted to use it in a cake. 

I love blueberries and lemon together and I also think blueberries go really well with almonds. This is why my Raspberry Bakewell Cake came to mind so I tweaked it to come up with my Blueberry & Lemon Bakewell Cake. 

As we get closer to Spring, I always find myself fancying light and fresh cakes that include fruit such as my Double Orange Cake. Cakes like this are also great at this time of year to break up all of the chocolate people tend to eat around Easter. 

An added extra for this recipe was the drizzle. This helps provide even more of a fresh lemon flavour to the cake.

140g margarine
140g caster sugar
2 eggs
140g ground almonds
140g plain flour

2 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon, zest 
150g blueberries
3 tbsp blueberry jam
2 tbsp flaked almonds

For the drizzle
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
50g icing sugar

  1. Heat the oven to 180ºC and line a loose bottomed 8″ cake tin
  2. Mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – at least 5 minutes
  3. Add the eggs, ground almonds, flour and vanilla extract and mix together until combined

  1. Spread half the mix into the tin and then add the jam and spread out. Scatter the blueberries over the top

  1. Spread the rest of the cake mix on top of the blueberries and scatter with flaked almonds. Bake for 50 minutes and then check it’s cooked by inserting a cocktail stick, if it comes out clean, the cake it cooked

  1. Allow to cool slightly in the tin before turning out and cooling completely on a wire rack 
  2. Once cooled, mix together the lemon juice and icing sugar and drizzle over the cake 

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Vegan Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake

Super light, fluffy and deliciously moist, no one will believe you that this Vegan Chocolate Orange Loaf cake is actually vegan!

This is the first vegan cake I have made and probably first vegan dish I have ever made. Like a lot of people I know, I was a little skeptical about vegan baking. I thought it would use weird and wonderful ingredients as substitutes for the more usual baking ingredients which I would need to go to some specialist or heath food shop to buy. I also thought that vegan cakes wouldn’t taste as nice as the cake I was used to because they were lacking integral cake ingredients. I was wrong. 

The decision to make a vegan cake wasn’t because I am vegan or thinking about becoming vegan, but I did have a few reasons for making a vegan cake. The initial reason was that my friend has decided to be vegan for a month to see if it makes a difference to her health. Another reason was because November is World Vegan month so what better time to try out a vegan recipe? My last reason was that I didn’t like the idea that I didn’t have a recipe to cater for everyone. And hey presto, the idea for this recipe was born. 

Obviously I needed some help and that came in the form of Kate from Veggie Desserts. If anyone refers to a cake as The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake, you know it has to be great. So I took this as my base recipe and gave it a few tweaks to make it into my version which is Vegan Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake. I went through my list of flavours that I like to pair with chocolate and I wasn’t confident that they would be vegan so I decided on orange. Plus orange is one of my favourite flavours to pair with chocolate and is obviously vegan! 

I needn’t have worried about having to buy weird ingredients because the only things I needed to buy specifically different was soy milk and non dairy margarine. These items are widely found in the vast majority of supermarkets so this wasn’t an issue at all.

I was dubious about the texture of the cake and whether it would be different with it being vegan, but I was pleasantly surprised. I really don’t think anyone would be able to tell this cake is vegan unless you tell them. It is so light, fluffy and moist with a delicious chocolate flavour which is enhanced by the coffee that’s added. Don’t panic, your cake will not taste like coffee but instead it helps to bring out the flavour of the chocolate and make it more chocolatey. 

One of my least favourite baking tasks is sifting ingredients. I don’t really know why because it isn’t hard and doesn’t take very long, but for some reason it really isn’t for me. Because of this, I do try to avoid sieving as much as possible but please do make sure you sieve the flour and cocoa powder for this cake. If you don’t you do run the risk of little lumps of the ingredients finding their way into your finished cake. While this isn’t a disaster, it doesn’t look the best in the finished cake. So bite the bullet and get your sieve out! 

Initially I was planning to frost the cake, but after tasting it and realising how moist it was, the cake really didn’t need any frosting. I quite liked the crack in the top of the cake because it made it look homemade which is quite nice so it seemed like a shame to cover it up. Obviously please feel free to add your own frosting if you want to! 

280ml soy milk (or any non-dairy milk such as almond)
4 tbsp orange juice
150g non-dairy margarine
3 tbsp golden syrup 
1 tsp instant coffee granules
275g self raising flour
175g caster sugar
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 160ºC fan assisted and line a 2lb loaf tin
  2. Zest the orange before juicing it . Whisk the orange juice and soy milk together and set aside 

  1. In a pan over a medium heat, gently melt the margarine, coffee and golden syrup. Once melted take off the heat and allow to cool slightly

  1. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl before adding the milk and margarine mixtures. Stir well until the batter is smooth 

  1. Add the mixture to the loaf tin and level it out. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean when poked into the cake

  1. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely 

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Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Deliciously moist cake with the subtle flavour of pumpkin and spices covered in soft cream cheese frosting – this Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting will become a new favourite. 

Pumpkin based food seems to have gone crazy this year or is it just me? I’ve always associated pumpkin with November and the run up to Thanksgiving, but the pumpkin craze started earlier this year. It has been really great to see so many people using the flesh from their pumpkins that they have carved for Halloween in dishes instead of just throwing them away as it makes some very tasty things – especially cake!

Pumpkin has always been popular in America for Thanksgiving which is how I first came across it in baking. An American friend I used to work with brought in her Pumpkin Cake Bars that she always makes for Thanksgiving. I needed quite a bit of persuading to try them because pumpkin in cake seemed a little strange to me back then. They were delicious and she kindly shared the recipe with me which I have made every year since. 

As I have mentioned before, the Pumpkin Cake Bars are Mr Curly’s all time favourite. Instead of just making them again this year, I decided to spice things up a bit – literally! I’ve added lovely spices which really compliment the pumpkin but don’t overpower it’s subtle flavour. 

For the first time I attempted making my own pumpkin puree using a recipe from Jo’s Kitchen Larder.I hadn’t previously realised that it was something that could quite easily be made yourself. Although I was impressed with the simplicity of making the puree, I’m not convinced I would rush to do it again. This is partly due to it being slightly time consuming and partly due to laziness. The advantages of making the puree yourself are that it is a great way of using up pumpkin at Halloween instead of there being waste. It is also far cheaper to make it yourself. The pumpkin I bought was 45p for a medium sized pumpkin around 2kg and it made approximately 600g worth of puree. This compared to a 425g tin of puree which can start at £2 is a huge difference in price which can’t be ignored.  

I cannot deny making the pumpkin puree yourself is cheaper and can help combat waste, but quicker it was not. I don’t buy pumpkins to carve at Halloween so waste isn’t an issue for me, but this is when it comes down to my laziness. Can you get much easier than opening a can? The tinned puree in my experience is a more vibrant orange colour which gives the final cake a lovely colour and it has a thicker texture. The texture especially worried me when I made it myself because I didn’t want it to be too wet, but didn’t want to remove all of the moisture. 

Please do try making the puree yourself and make your own decision. Jo has great instructions and it really is quite simple to do.  

If you haven’t tried pumpkin cake before, do not be put off by the idea of it like I initially was.  Vegetables in cake are delicious! The chances are you like carrot cake so there is nothing about this you wouldn’t like. It has the same moistness of a carrot cake with a warming flavour from the tasty spices. 

The first time I make a new cake, I’m always a little nervous to see how it turns out – not every recipe trial is a success you know! I selected my lucky taste testers and awaited their opinions. I’m pleased to say they all loved it – success! You can really tell the difference if people like something or if they really like it. I am pleased to say that this was the latter. Mr Curly had one comment for improvement – more frosting; but he would eat it straight from the bowl if he got the chance!

If you don’t want to bake the mix in three tins, you can use two and monitor the baking time. I would check after 25 minutes but I would suspect it would take at least 30. 

The spices create such a warming and comforting flavour to the cake which is perfect for Autumn, but something you could enjoy at anytime of the year. This is definitely a cake you should try!

For the cake 
385g caster sugar
300g plain flour
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground all spice
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
240ml sunflower oil
425g pumpkin puree
4 eggs 

For the frosting
75g unsalted butter
450g icing sugar

200g full fat cream cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC and line three 8 inch sandwich tins 
  2. Add all of the ingredients to your bowl or mixer and beat until completely combined

  1. Divide the mixture equally between the three tins. I did this by roughly weighing the amount of mix I added to each tin but you can do it by eye

  1. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a cocktail stick poked into the cake comes out clean

  1. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 20 minutes or so before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely 
  2. Once the cakes are completely cooled, make the frosting
  3. Beat the butter until smooth and softened
  4. Add the cream cheese and icing sugar and beat until it is completely smooth and there are no lumps 
  5. Take the first layer of cake and turn it over onto the plate or stand you are using. Add a generous layer of the frosting and spread out evenly. Repeat with the second layer

  1. With the final layer, place it on top of the other layers but the right way round. Cover the cake completely with the rest of the frosting – you’re going for a semi naked look so don’t worry if you can see the cake through the frosting 

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