Ancho Chilli and Smoky Cheddar Soda Bread

Soft, fluffy soda bread, with fiery ancho chilli, and gooey chunks of smoky cheddar cheese. 


This is my episode three Bake Off themed post. Episode three was bread week, and I have decided to try out soda bread, as I have never made it before! I used this Jamie Oliver Simple Soda bread recipe, but added the chilli and cheese to make it more interesting!

I wasn’t sure how soda bread would taste as i have never tried it before, but I really liked it. I think it tastes a lot like a savoury scone, so very soft and crumbly. I found this really easy to make as well, its literally just mixing all the ingredients together and then baking it, not much effort required!

I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#82  this week, hosted by Angie! Happy Friday!!


Ingredients: Makes 1 Large Loaf

  • 350g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp tomato and chilli pesto
  • 150g smoked cheddar cheese
  • 1 ancho chilli


 To Make:

Preheat the oven to 190¬įC/375¬įF/gas 5.

Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix together.

In a separate bowl, use a balloon whisk to beat the egg and buttermilk, and pesto together.

Cut 2/3 of the cheese into small 1cm cubes and finely chop the soaked ancho chilli. Mix into the flour mixture.
Use a fork to stir the egg mixture into the flour, then as it starts to come together, use your hands to pat and bring the dough together.

Shape the dough into a ball and place onto a lightly floured baking tray.  Use a knife to cut a deep cross in the top, then grate over the rest of the cheddar cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until golden brown. (The loaf should sound hollow when tapped!)
Serve warm with a good covering of butter, enjoy!


Orange, Ginger & Dark Chocolate Biscotti

Crisp almond biscotti flavoured with fragrant orange zest, fiery stem ginger, and dipped in bittersweet dark chocolate.


This is my second Bake-Off themed bake! The signature bake in the second episode was Biscotti. I have only ever made biscotti once before, and I stuck to the classic almond flavour, so I was really keen to try making them again with some more adventurous flavours!

This recipe was from my Delia Cakes recipe book, which has a recipe for almond biscotti, But I have added orange zest and stem ginger into the biscuits, and dipped them in dark chocolate.


I really enjoyed making biscotti, I thought it was surprisingly quick and easy, so I will definitely try them again with some different flavour combinations.

These would be a great treat to bring round to a friends house, so I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#82, hosted by Angie, and cohosted by Kaila @ GF Life 24/7 and Sarah @ Sarah’s Little Kitchen. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: The possibilities with biscotti are almost endless! I think I might try an almond biscotti, flavoured with lemon, and dipped in white chocolate.


Ingredients: Makes 10-12 Biscuits

  • 110g self raising flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50g whole almonds
  • 1 egg
  • 3 pieces of stem ginger
  • 1 orange
  • 150g dark chocolate


To Make:

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Combine the flour, ground and whole almonds, sugar, orange zest and finely chopped stem ginger in a large bowl and give it a good mix. Then add the egg and the vanilla extract and mix it together first with a wooden spoon and then using your hands to bring the mixture together to form a smooth dough.

Now place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using your hands, roll it into a log about 28cm long. Put it on the lined baking sheet and bake it near the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven to 150C.

Cut the log into 10-12 slices, around 1cm thick, on the diagonal. Then place back onto the baking tray, and bake in the oven for a further 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

Leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled dip the biscotti in melted dark chocolate and leave to set.

Serve and enjoy!


Lemon Mousse Cake

Layer of genoise sponge topped with a zesty, tangy lemon mousse and a layer of limoncello jelly. Finished with some slices of candied lemon.


I love lemony desserts, and this is definitely one of the most deliciously sharp and sweet lemon desserts I have ever made!

I made this cake when I visited my family at the weekend and I was asked to provide dessert. I wanted to make something light and summery, and not too rich, so I thought a light lemon mousse would be perfect. To make this a bit more sophisticated I also added a layer of limoncello jelly to the top of my mousse.


Everyone loved this dessert and it was surprisingly easy to make (it just needs a lot of time to set!), so if your looking for a simple but impressive dessert,then this one is for you!

I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#80 this week, hosted by the wonderful Angie. And very excitingly, my Raspberry and Mint Jam Tarts have been featured this week! Hope everyone has a fantastic Friday!


Ingredients: serves 10-12

The Sponge:

  • 3 eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar

The Lemon Mousse:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 300ml double cream
  • 8 gelatine leaves
  • 4 lemons
  • 150g caster sugar

The Limoncello Jelly:

  • 100ml limoncello
  • 2 lemons
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 leaves of gelatine

The Candied Lemons:

  • 200g water
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 lemon



To Make:

The Sponge:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 25cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then add 80g caster sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.

Whisk together the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until pale and fluffy. Pour into the egg whites and fold in. Then fold in the flour.

Spoon into the prepared cake tin, and level off. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown and springy.

Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

The Lemon Mousse:

Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form, then whisk in the sugar until smooth and glossy.

In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon juice, zest and egg yolks. Finally, in a third bowl whisk the double cream until stiff peaks form.

Soak the gelatine in water, and then transfer to a small pan with a few tbsp of water, and heat until the gelatine completely melts.

Fold the yolk mixture, gelatine and cream into the egg whites, until the mixture is completely homogenised.

Return the sponge to the bottom of the springform cake tin, and pour the mousse over the top. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

The Limoncello Jelly:

Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes.

Combine the sugar, limoncello, lemon juice and gelatine in a small pan and heat until the gelatine completely dissolves, pour over the set mousse and leave to chill in the fridge for a further 2 hours.

The Candied Lemons

Cut the lemons into around 8-10 circular slices.

Combine the sugar and water in a saute pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Place the lemons into the sugar syrup and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the syrup has reduced by about 2/3 and the lemon has turned translucent.

Transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and leave to cool.


Carefully remove the cake from the springform tin, and decorate with the candied lemons.

Cut into 10-12 slices and serve. Delicious with a generous glass of limoncello on the side!


Black Forest Cupcakes

Rich, chocolate cupcakes filled with a sweet cherry compote, topped with light, whipped cream, chocolate shavings and a fresh cherrythumb_DSC05624_1024 I love the combination of chocolate, cherries and cream, so as it’s cherry season I couldn’t resist making some black forest cupcakes.

These are a lot easier than making a full-on gateau, but they are still super decedant, and make a wonderful dessert. thumb_DSC05619_1024 This was a really lovely way to use the cherries, so if your looking for a cherry themed dessert then I definitely recommend these.

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday this week, hosted by Angie, Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Petra @ Food Eat Love. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: To minimize the effort for these cupcakes, you could use a jar of shop-bought jam rather than making the compote. I also think that drizzling the cupcakes in melted dark chocolate would make them even more delicious!

thumb_DSC05616_1024 Ingredients: Makes 12 Cupcakes

The Sponge:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 50ml milk

The Cherry Compote:

  • 150g cherries, pitted
  • 1tbsp sugar

The Topping:

  • 400ml whipped cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • chocolate curls
  • 12 cherries

thumb_DSC05615_1024 To Make:

The Sponge:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 12 hole tray with muffin cakes.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then fold in the eggs one at a time, followed by the cocoa powder. Finally add the flour and milk, mix to combine.

Spoon the mixture into the cases, until they are 2/3 full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until cooked though.

Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. thumb_IMAG0612_1024


The Cherry Compote:

In a small pan combine the cherries and sugar and cook over a high heat for 5-10 minutes, until the cherries begin to break down. Then transfer to a small food processor and blend to form a smooth mixture. Set aside to cool.

The Cream:

Whisk the double cream until it forms stiff peaks, then mix in the icing sugar. Spoon the cream into a piping bag with a circular nozzle.


Cut a hole into the top of each cupcake, a few cm wide and deep. Fill with a heaped tsp of the cherry compote.

thumb_IMAG0614_1024 thumb_IMAG0615_1024 Pipe a swirl of the whipped cream onto the top of each cupcake, finish with the chocolate curls and a fresh cherry.

thumb_DSC05625_1024 Serve (with a fork!) and enjoy! thumb_DSC05629_1024

Lemon and Elderflower Madelines

Sweet, lemony madelines, dipped in a fragrant elderflower icing.


This was my first attempt at incorporating my elderflower cordial into some baking and I think it has worked really well!

I decided that the saftest combination for elderflower was lemon, so I’ve made some lemony madelines and used elderflower in the icing, so give it a subtle flowery flavour!


These are a perfect summery treat, and I brought mine along to a picnic at rose hill in London at the weekend. The cakes were very much appreciated by my friends and they were the perfect snack for sitting in the sunshine! (Unfortunately I am now VERY sunburned!)

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday this week hosted by Angie, hope everyone has a lovely Friday!


Variations:  There are endless possibilities with madelines! A friend of mine made orange madelines and dipped them in dark chocolate, which was delicious. You could also use lavender to flavour the sponge for an alternative floral taste.

Ingredients: Makes 24 Madelines

The Sponge:

  • 3 eggs
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 lemon
  • 4tbsp milk
  • 200g butter, melted

The Elderflower icing:

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 4-5 tbsp elderflower cordial


To Make:

The Madelines:

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 12 hole madeline tray

Beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and frothy. Fold in the flour, butter, milk and lemon zest. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Spoon the mixture into  the prepared tray, until each hole is about 3/4 full.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and cooked though. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before icing.

The Icing:

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in the elderflower cordial one tbsp at a time, to form a thick paste.

Dip each madeline into the icing, and leave to set on the wire rack.

Serve once the icing has dried and enjoy!


German Strawberry Cake

Light ladyfinger sponges, sandwiched together with sweet, vanillary creme patisserie, topped with fresh strawberries and jelly, coated in freshly whipped cream and toasted almonds.


Strawberry cake is one of my must have desserts when I’m holiday in Germany. It’s such a lovely summery cake to have after a long walk!

I’ve been trying to recreate it at home for a few years now, but I never felt like I had quite got it right. But now I am a bit more experienced in different techniques, I thought I’d try again. And this time I think I’ve finally nailled it!


I think the key to this dessert is making the sponge really light, so the cake is not stodgy or dense under all the cream and fruit.

I found the jelly topping the most difficult part of this dessert. First time round I had a bit of a disaster when I took it out of the fridge to early and it collapsed! So I would recommend making up the jelly with more gelatine or less water so that it sets very firmly. I used half the amount of water suggested on the packaging the second time round, and it came out really well.

As my family enjoyed this cake so much I thought I would bring it along to Fiesta Friday #75 hosted by  and co-hosted by Josette @ thebrookcook and Julie @ Hostess at Heart. Happy Friday everyone!


Variations: You could use a different summer fruit for the top of the cake, raspberries or cherries would be really good. You could also exchange the creme patisserie for whipped cream and strawberry jam, to make this a bit simpler to make!


Ingredients: Serves 8-10

The Ladyfinger Sponge:

  • 4 eggs
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g plain flour

Creme Patisserie:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp plain flour
  • 1tbsp cornflour
  • 220ml full fat milk

Strawberry topping:

  • 12 strawberries, sliced lengthways
  • 1 sachet of strawberry quick jel or strawberry jelly.


  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 100g toasted flaked almonds


  • spring form or loose bottomed cake tin
  • piping bag with star shaped nozzle


To Make:

The Ladyfinger Sponges:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line three baking trays with greaseproof paper. Draw three circles on the grease proof paper, the same size as your loose bottomed or spring form cake tin.

Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add 80g caster sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.

Whisk together the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until pale and fluffy. Pour into the egg whites  and fold in. Then fold in the flour.

Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a circular nozzle. Pipe 3 large circles of batter ono the baking trays, within the lines of the drawn on circles.


Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown, leave to cool on a wire rack before assembling.

The Creme Patisserie:

Heat the milk over a medium heat until almost boiling. Meanwhile whisk together the eggs, sugar and flours in a large bowl until it forms a smooth paste.

Pour the hot milk over the paste bit at a time, whisking continuously, until completely combined. Return the mixture to the pan, and cook over a medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken.

Remove from the heat and pour back into the bowl. Stir in 1tbsp of butter until melted and combined.

Cover the top of the mixture with clingfilm and chill completely in the fridge before using.

The Strawberry Topping:

Place one of the sponges back into the cake tin, and arrange a layer of strawberries on top, in an overlapping radial pattern.

Make up the jelly according to the packet instructions (Try to use less water/more gelatine to make sure it sets firmly – I used half the amount of suggested water), and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then pour over the strawberries. Leave to set completely in the fridge.




Place one of the sponges on a cake stand and spread over half the creme patisserie, then place on the second sponge, and spread over the rest of the creme patisserie. take the strawberry layer out of the fridge, and carefully slide this on top of the sponges.

Whip the double cream until stiff peaks form, then use a pallet knife to spread a layer around the sides of the cake. Then coat the outside of the cake with a layer of toasted almonds.



Spoon the rest of the double cream into a clean piping bag with a star shaped nozzle, and pipe a ring of stars around the top and bottom of the cake.


Cut into 8-10 slices and serve!


Peach & Pecan Crumble Pie Bars

Buttery, shortbread base, topped with slices of sweet peaches, covered in a nutty, oaty, pecan crumble.


Peaches are finally in season, so I couldn’t resist buying a few punnets for some baking!

I loved the idea of making a peach pie, but I wanted to do something a bit less complex, and that could be sliced up and given away more easily, so I decided to make peach pie bars.


To add a bit more flavour to my bake,I decided to add a pecan crumble topping, which gives a lovely nutty flavour and crunchy texture to the pie bars.

These were a delicious hot dessert, and even good just sliced up cold! If your looking for the flavour of a pie without the effort then I recommend these!


I will be bringing my peach pie bars to Fiesta Friday#74 this week, hosted by , Loretta @ Safari Of The Mind and Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking.

Happy Friday!

Variations: You could use any fruit in these bars, apple or pear would be good, and you could add some berries!


Ingredients: Makes 15 slices


  • 250g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 350g plain flour


  • 4-5 peaches, peeled, stoned and sliced

Pecan crumble:

  • 150g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 300g flour
  • 1 handful of porridge oats
  • 50g crushed pecans


To Make:

The Shortbread:

Preheat the oven to 170C and grease and line a rectangular brownie dish.

Rub together the butter, flour and sugar to form a breadcrumb-like consistency.

Press the mixture into the baking dish, covering the entire area.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

The Peach Filling:

Lay the sliced peaches over the top of the shortbread, until completely covered, return to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.

The Crumble Topping:

Rub together the butter, sugar and flour to form a breadcrumb like consistency. Then stir through the oats and pecans.

Pour the crumble mixture over the peaches and make sure they are completely covered.

Return to the oven for another 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Leave to cool slightly, then remove from the tin and slice into 12-15 squares.

Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.