Chocolate Orange Cake


Yo Joe,

You said on the phone the other day that you’ve discovered marmalade. A couple days before we had this convo, I’d been working on this recipe for a chocolate orange cake using marmalade. So I think what happened there is some telepathic communication from me that told you to look for a jar of marmalade in Henry’s cupboard and eat it.

Like a big old jaffa cake mmm

I made this cake 4 times in 3 days. Hmmm oh dear haha. I wanted to get it right though. It is also a very fast cake to make, you pretty much just stir everything together in a saucepan and tip it into a cake tin.

It’s based on a Nigella recipe but my version is pretty different (after the 4 attempts). It’s really really good. Like someone made a cake out off jaffa cakes. Just one thing – this cake, and any chocolate cake, can dry out quite quickly if its baked for too long. So just keep an eye on it. But if it is a bit dry, it’s still cake and will still taste really good, like a cake made out of jaffa cakes.



  • 125g butter
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100g fine cut marmalade
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (a splash)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Chocolate Ganache

The cake tastes good without this. Warm out the oven, I like eating it straight out of the cake tin.

  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon caster sugar


Preheat the oven to 180. Grease a round cake tin with butter (mine is 20cm). Shake some flour in the tin to coat the base and sides, get rid of any excess flour out over the sink.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to stop the chocolate from catching and burning. One melted remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly.

Stir in the marmalade to the melted chocolate making sure there are no big lumps.

Add the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, orange zest and salt into the saucepan. Beat with your wooden sppon to combine everything fully.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the saucepan and fold in. When you can’t see any more dry flour, stop mixing and pour into your cake tin.

Bake for 50-55 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning it out.

If you want to make the ganache brake up the chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl, set aside.

I’m going to start numbering my Visual Art. This one can be called ‘Visual Art No.1’

Combine the cream and sugar in a heavy based saucepan. Put on a low heat until it begins to simmer gently around the sides of the pan. You will need to swirl the pan occasionally so the cream does not catch and cook on the sides of the pan.

As soon as you see the cream simmering slightly, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.

Use a spoon to stir the cream and chocolate together, the chocolate will melt into the cream and you will have ganache.

Hope you enjoy the cake, send me a pic when you make it. Keep eating that marmalade.

Caitlin xoxo



Hey Joe,

Last week I wanted to be a French Pastry Chef – I still would like to be a French Pastry Chef – so I made Profiteroles! I’ve never been profiteroles’ number one fan, but I am now. I think I have seen profiterole light and I’m not looking back. I told Celestine that this post would be up a week ago (sorry Cel, hope you can make these as a post exam celebration pastry).

PURE joy.

Joe I’ve decided that you need to get a set of weighing scales. French Pastry Chefs don’t measure things in mugs. If you wanna make these get some scales plz because we are making PASTRY and you have to be precise with PASTRY. I found you some on Argos. They are £6. Bargain.

There are three components to a profiterole and to be honest they are all pretty easy. It just needs patience. First thing is making choux pastry. It’s the only pastry that is cooked off on the hob before it goes in the oven, pretty cool. The way it puffs up when it bakes is magic. It’s the result of steam from the water that you’ve cooked into the pastry dough when it was on the hob – very cool. The second component is chantilly cream. Lol. That is French Pastry Chef words for whipped cream and vanilla. Last bit is the chocolate ganache on the top, which you can make in under 5 mins.

oh my god look at this lil guy. Lil Buddha.

(Can’t take credit for this, it’s Paul Hollywood’s recipe, just in my words)

You will need a piping bag and a 2cm round plain round tip nozzle for this. A bit annoying, but worth it.


Choux Pastry

  • 65g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs

Chantilly Cream Filling

You can mess with the measurements with this. It depends how sweet you want the cream and how much cream you want in each choux bun.

  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or the paste from one vanilla pod, that’s what I used to get the specs of vanilla in the cream. Pods are really expensive though)

Chocolate Ganache

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar


Pre heat the oven to 200, line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper. Rub a bit of butter in the corners of the trays to stick the paper down.

Sift the flour onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and set aside.

Add the cubed butter and 120ml water to a heavy based saucepan. Melt the butter gently over a medium heat – don’t let the mixture come to a boil and start evaporating. Once the butter is completely melted, increase the heat to full and bring quickly to the boil. Once boiling, tip all the flour into the saucepan in one go. Remove from the heat and beat rapidly (RAPID, like, go for it) with a wooden spoon. The mixture will begin to ball together and come away from the sides of the saucepan.

Put the pan back on the hob, with a low heat. You want to keep beating the dough (not as rapidly, you can calm down now) for about 2-3 minutes. You are trying to cook the dough off a bit. You will see a sort of brownish skin start to form over the bottom of the pan – that’s good, you’re cooking off some of the moisture. After 2-3 mins of beating, tip the dough out into a clean bowl and leave to cool until tepid (not boiling hot).

Once the dough is cooled a bit, beat the eggs in a separate bowl until combined. Gradually add the beaten egg to the dough, bit by bit, beating well after each addition (use a wooden spoon or electric whizers). You might not need all the egg, because too much egg will spoil the dough and they wont puff…v sad. The dough has had enough egg when it is shiny, paste-like and falls from a spoon when shaken gently. You can use this test to see if you have added enough egg:

Get a bit of dough between two fingers…
…pull apart slowly…
…you want the lil peak of dough on your bottom finger to fall to a hook when your fingers are separated. If the lil peak stands upright it needs a bit more egg.

Spoon the pastry dough into a piping bag, fitted with a plain round tip that is about 2cm wide. Pipe disks about 4 cm apart on your baking trays. You can do this by keeping your piping bag in a fixed place for each choux bun, and just squeezing until you have the width you want. I made mine quite big, about 5cm wide. Keep in mind the smaller they are the less time they need in the oven.

Using a damp finger, gently flatten the little spike of dough from the piping bag on each disk of dough. Sprinkle a bit of water with your fingers on the tray – not the dough – and put in the oven for 15 mins. After 15 mins, without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 170 and bake for a further 10 mins, or until golden-brown and crisp.

Take out the oven and carefully make a steam hole in the side of each choux bun with a skewer. This will allow them to dry out inside. Return to the oven for another 5 mins or until the pastry is completely crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Once the pastry is cool make the filling and topping. For the Chantilly cream, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla (paste or essence) until just stiff.

Visual Art of the day.

For the ganache, break up the chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl, set aside. Heat the cream and sugar in a heavy based saucepan until it begins to simmer, you can swirl it every now and then so it doesn’t catch on the sides too much. As soon as it reaches a simmer, remove the cream from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Whisk the cream and chocolate together, you will see the chocolate melt into the cream and a smooth ganache magically appear!

Cut the top of each choux bun. If there are bits of soft dough inside the bun when you cut the top off just remove them. Use a piping bag or a spoon to fill the hollow choux buns with cream. Put the lil choux tops on and spoon a generous amount of chocolate ganache on top.

Now…!!!!!!! And see the choux light.


Enjoy the profiteroles. Love Caitlin xxx

Chocolate and Hazelnut Viennese Whirls


Hey Joe

Last time we spoke on the phone, you said you wanted something ‘chocolatey, shortbreadey, ganachey’. I won’t lie to you, I don’t think ‘ganachey’ is a word. But I came up with a recipe that is all three of those things, including ‘ganachey’. This is my take on a Viennese Whirl. It’s two chocolate, shortbread like biscuits, sandwiched together with a chocolate ganache… they are SO peng. I’ve given you your mug measurements again, they’re in brackets next to the normal people measurements.

I’ll give you a couple of reviews so you know how good they are, ‘my second favourite bake, after the apple and blackcurrant bakewell tart‘ (Kanhai), ‘the business’ (dad), mum didn’t say anything. She just ate them, so I have no review from her. I’ll make one up from her – ‘very good’ (mum).

Aww the lil odd guy out


Chocolate Viennese Biscuits

  • 160g unsalted butter, very soft (just over half a pack of butter)
  • 65g icing sugar, sifted (half a mug of unsifted icing sugar, or just under half a mug if sifted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract optional
  • 170g plain flour (just under a full mug)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • A splash of milk

Chocolate Ganache

You will have a bit of left over ganache with this recipe

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar (golden or white)
  • A handful of chopped hazelnuts optional
This is the mug I used for you measurements. The mug of choice. It’s 10cm tall, 8cm wide. Try and find one roughly this size…..or GET A SET OF SCALES you mug.


Start by making your ganache. Break the chocolate into small chunks. Set the chocolate aside in a mixing bowl. To make ganache, you heat cream and sugar until it boils and then pour over chocolate, I’ll explain it properly below.

Add the cream and the sugar into a heavy base saucepan. Heat this on a medium heat bringing the cream to a simmer, stirring continuously. Once the mixture is simmering and all the sugar has dissolved completely, bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling remove from the heat and straight away, pour over the chocolate, whisking as you pour.

Hahah I mean it now when I say Visual Art

Cover the ganache with cling film, making sure the cling film is touching the ganache in the bowl and set it aside to cool.

Next make the biscuits. Pre heat your oven to 170 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Please ignore these pics…
…If you are…
…not Joe

Beat together the butter and sifted icing sugar until light and fluffy (this will take about 2 mins). Beat in the vanilla extract now, if you are using it, and a small pinch of salt.

Mix in your sifted flour, cocoa powder and generous splash of milk. Try not to over mix this, just until you can’t see any more dry flour.

Get the dough into biscuit shapes on your tray. There are two ways you can do this. A traditional Viennese Whirl is made by piping the dough into circles or rosettes with a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. This is the way I used. You can also use a teaspoon. Scoop a heaped teaspoon of dough, roughly roll it into a ball with your fingers and place it on the tray. Use the tips of your fingers to flatten it slightly.

Whatever way you do it, they should be roughly 6cm in diameter – a bit smaller than a digestive biscuit – and spaced well apart on the trays. You should get about 16-18 biscuits. Bake for 15 mins or until firm to touch. It’s hard to tell if it’s done because of the chocolate colour – but have faith, they’ll taste good either way.

Once out the oven leave the biscuits to cool completely. When they are cool, pair up the biscuits. Give the ganache a stir and spread it generously on one biscuit per pair and sandwich the other biscuit on top.

You can sprinkle some chopped hazelnuts on top of the ganache to make a kind of baci kiss biscuit. You’ll need to spread a bit of ganache on the biscuit that you sandwich on top if you do this, so it sticks to the hazelnuts.

Have a good Chocolatey, shortbready, ganachey biscuit. Love Caitlin xxx

Victoria Sponge


Hey Joe

Got a bit of an issue… you don’t have any weighing scales. Hahah. Hmmmm we managed to get a month into a baking blog without either of us seeing that this is an issue. You must have found ‘ingredients’ a thrilling read. I’ve put mug measurements for this recipe so you can make it without guessing. Use a regular size mug as the measuring cup. There’s also the proper measurements for our readers (mum, dad – that’s you).

There’s a lot to celebrate this week. It was Dad’s birthday, Sue’s birthday AND you announced the publication of your second poetry collection (!!!!!). All things to celebrate with cake. So I made a Victoria Sponge. I was going to write something really profound about the victoria sponge, about how it’s a classic and an absolute banger and how putting all the ingredients for this cake in a bowl and whizzing it up doesn’t do the cake justice, but I’m not going to lie, I’m not feeling the writing thing today. I’ll let the pics do the talking.

Ingredients – Joe’s Fav Part

The Sponge

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened (use the measurements on the packet)
  • 160g caster sugar (1/3 of a mug)
  • 175g plain flour (1 level mug)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50ml milk (2 tablespoons)

The Filling

  • 180ml double cream (use as much as you want)
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam

Variations: you can sandwich the two layers with vanilla buttercream instead of whipped cream. Use 100g softened butter, 160g icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Beat together until light and fluffy.

Variations: you can bake the sponge in two halves, divide the mixture between two tins and bake for 20-25 mins at 180.


Pre-heat the oven to 180. Line your tin with greaseproof paper or butter and a light dusting of flour.

Cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture becomes lighter in colour and fluffy. An electric mixer/hand mixer is easier but you can use a wooden spoon. Add your vanilla extract and salt and cream for a further minute. The more you cream the butter at this stage, the better.

This is what creamed butter and sugar looks like

Measure out your flour and set aside. One by one add your eggs and a tablespoon of flour to stop the mixture curdling, which stops the cake rising. Beat in the egg really well between each addition – it will give you a lighter texture of cake. You want the mixture to look smooth and glossy.

Add in the rest of the flour, baking powder and milk. Use a spatula or metal spoon to fold the mixture together until everything is incorporated. The less mixing you do here the better, you don’t want to knock out all the air you put into the cake batter so far.

Visual At ‘Before You Fold’. Very poetic.
Visual Art ‘After You Fold’. Very poetic again!

Pour the cake batter into your tin and bake for 45 mins or until light golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake won’t spring back if you press it when out the oven, this is just because it’s an airy batter and because of the addition of milk – it’s a good sign!

(You don’t have to bake the cake in two tins)

Leave the cake to cool completely. Whip up the cream and icing sugar until it can be scooped onto a spoon and hold its shape. Cut the cake in two, spread jam and cream all over one half, bringing it right to the edges of the cake. Place the top on the cake and then eat it!

Vanilla buttercream
Whipped cream
Vanilla buttercream ft. my finger
Whipped cream

Hope you enjoy looking at the peng cake pics. Love Caitlin x

Cinnamon Banana Pancakes


Yo Joe,

I think you’ll like this one. Kanhai found this recipe last week and has had them for breakfast 5 times already. He found them on this Olympic climbers YouTube channel. I think he thinks that if he eats enough of them, he will become an Olympic climber. Sound logic if you ask me. I made them the other day and have perfected the recipe (if you can call this a recipe)… not that the Olympic climbers recipe wasn’t great already, I think I made it a bit more great. If you make theses, you have to listen to the song, ‘Banana Pancakes’ by Jack Johnson. Original, I know. Every time Kanhai makes these he has to play this song, feel like you should get the full experience. Plus the pancakes stick without it.

My lil stack

Because there’s no flour in these pancakes, its best to put in some linseed or chia seeds into the batter to help it bind together. Both these seeds swell and act a bit like glue when they come into contact with liquid. If you can’t get either that’s all good, they work just fine without.


For one person, a stack of 4 pancakes

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 and a half tablespoons muesli
  • half a teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons linseed or chia seeds (only put this in if your muesli doesn’t have either of theses in it)
  • Butter to fry the pancakes

Measurements: you can be pretty relaxed with the measurements on this one. As long as you have a loose batter that can be spooned onto a frying pan your all good.

Variations: You can use plain oats or muesli. I like using muesli cus of the raisins in muesli. You can also mess around with the spices in the batter; ginger, turmeric, cardamom and nutmeg would all work.

I call this one ‘Three Bananas and Three Eggs’


Mash your banana in a bowl and whisk in the 2 eggs. Mix in the muesli, cinnamon and linseed.

Whisk, I learnt how to spell this 5 mins ago. Great!
…Whisk…great word.

Let a nob of butter melt in a frying pan on a low heat. Once the pan is hot, drop about a 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of batter into the pan for each pancake depending on how big you want them.

And now I will tell you how to fry a pancake…. what has become of me. Lol.

Turn the heat to medium and fry the pancakes for about 3 mins before flipping them over or until the outer edge of the pancake looks firm and little holes form in the pancakes.

Once flipped the pancakes need about 2 mins on the other side.

If you’re doing lots of batches top up the butter every other frying batch. While you’re frying, keep an eye on the pan, you don’t want the pan to get too hot. If it does, the butter will burn which will make slightly bitter pancakes (end of the world). If you smell burning butter just take the pan off the heat for a couple seconds and lower the heat of the pan.

A frying action shot

Top the pancakes however you want!!! Peanut butter and honey. Together. Is peng.

Have a good pancake Caitlin xxxx

Apple and Blackcurrent Bakewell Tart


Hey Joe,

It’s been a little while hasn’t it, sorry about that. But I’ve created my own take on a Bakewell tart and it’s really good. The flavor combination is inspired by Mum. We have one jar left of the blackcurrant jam she made a while ago – and it is beautiful. Sweet and sour. But not like the sweet and sour chicken Grandad gets in every buffet he has ever been to… it’s fruity, sharp and sweet. Tastes really peng with the sweet almost frangipane. Funny word, I know, frangipane. Pretty much, frangipane is a sweet almond cake paste that you bake into tarts, it comes out of the oven really soft. The apple element in the tart comes from the draw in the freezer that mum has filled with apples. Mum is an apple hoarder. A hoarder of apples. Not from Sainsbury’s though. From apples that have fallen off apple trees. I don’t think she actually likes apples that much. I think she just gets excited at the idea of free food or she feels sad that no one is eating all theses apples. So. She takes them all.

This recipe took me two tries, mainly because of my relationship with pastry. In some sweet pastry you can bind the flour, butter and sugar with an egg. It makes a more glossy, firmer pastry case. I’m not a fan. The pastry case that I like is light, flaky and barely there. This is the kind of pastry that goes so well with the soft, chewy frangipane. (WOW food column in the Guardian – come get me).

For this recipe you will need pastry and an apple. Great! Put the apple in a pastry case and bake!….I am JOKING.

Variations: you can fill this tart with any kind of jam and any kind of fruit. Raspberries and raspberry jam, apricots and damson jam, rhubarb and marmalade…? The tart is your oyster.

This recipe can be used for a 18 – 20cm tart dish, flan tin or removable base round cake tin.


Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

  • 90g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cold water plus one teaspoon

Frangipane and Filling

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g plain flour
  • 80g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100g apples, pealed, cored and sliced
  • 1 heaped tablespoon blackcurrant jam
  • 2 tablespoons of flaked almonds


Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter. Using your finger tips, rub into the flour and sugar mix. You want to create a bread crumb consistency.

Once the flour, sugar, salt and butter have been crumbed add in the tablespoon of cold water. Use a knife (the kind you use to eat your dinner with) to ‘cut’ into the mixture. Literally use cutting, crossing motions with the knife pointing down, to allow the mixture to start clumping together. Don’t worry if it looks like nothing is changing, it is, just subtly. If it looks like there is still some dry flour in the bowl, add the teaspoon of water (and no more!)

Once the water has been added and I have used a knife to cut through the mixture

Once the water is incorporated and some clumps have formed bring the mixture together with your hands. Handle the dough as little as possible here. Once you have a ball of dough, wrap it in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 mins.

look at this lil g

While the pastry is chilling lightly butter your tin and sprinkle with some flour. Shake and pat the tin over the sink, covering it with a very light dusting of flour.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly flour surface, your aiming for no thicker than 5mm. Please don’t measure it. This is sad. Just roll it out until you feel and then roll it a bit more. Then it will be ready. Line your tin with the pastry, making sure there is about an inch of pastry hanging over the edge of the tin (pastry shrinks when you bake it). This is how I do it:

…gently fold in…
…gently fold in…
…gently fold out…
…make some Visual Art…
…Used a ball of pastry to gently push into the corners and sides of the case…Done!

Chill the pastry case in the fridge for another 30 mins and pre-heat your oven to 180.

Once the pastry is chilled you need to ‘blind’ bake the pastry case before you add the filling. This just means your partly cooking the pastry. Cover the chilled pastry case with a sheet of greaseproof paper. Weigh the greaseproof paper down with uncooked lentils or rice (I’m using dried mung beans, Anna gave me them a year ago and they’ve been used as baking beans ever since). Bake this for 12-15 mins until the pastry appears dry, under the greaseproof paper. Remove the greaseproof paper and lentils/rice and let the case bake for another 5 minuets, until lightly golden.

Once the pastry case is out of the oven and cooled slightly, use a knife to trim the excess pastry hanging over the edge of the tin.

Leaving your oven on, make the frangipane filling. Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.

Before adding your eggs, measure out your flour and ground almonds. Beat in your eggs one at a time to the butter mixture, adding a tablespoon of the flour and ground almonds with each egg addition to stop the mixture curdling.

Fold in the remaining flour and ground almonds.

Now assemble the tart. Layer jam, then half the frangipane, then the apples, the the rest of the frangipane.

Bake for 10 mins then sprinkle over the flaked almonds. Return the tart to the oven for another 15 – 20 mins or until golden brown. This doesn’t behave the same way as a cooked cake, so don’t press it to see if it springs back! You will have a finger print tart….mmm delicious.

Enjoy the bakewell! Caitlin xxx

I started eating the off cuts of the pastry with jam while the tart was cooking… would recommend

Dollar Dollar Millionaire’s Shortbread


Yo Joe,

This one will be your fav I think. These are BANGING. They are so good. I’ve eaten so many that I think I might turn into a millionaire’s shortbread. Caitlin, the millionaire (shortbread). Honestly just make these, you won’t turn into a millionaire, but you will be as happy as one, maybe even happier ?

Joe, as you read this, and even if you are not Joe, I want you to say ‘buttery biscuit base’ out loud. Go on, say it now. Ok now, repeat ‘buttery biscuit base’ out loud three times. ‘Buttery biscuit base. Buttery biscuit base. Buttery biscuit base’. Cool. Now repeat that three times again but drop the ‘tt’ in ‘buttery’. Now repeat that, but quickly. Great, and now you are a rapper!

so beautiful.


Buttery Biscuit Base

  • 225g plain flour
  • 175g butter, cubed and cold
  • 75g caster sugar


  • 150g butter
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 1 x 379g can evaporated milk or condensed milk (they do the same thing, evaporated milk is condensed milk without the sugar)

Chocolate Top

  • 350g chocolate, a mix of dark and milk (I think I used closer to 400g chocolate, but that sounds like a lot)


Pre heat the oven to 180. Line a square tin with greaseproof paper. I used a 23cm square tin, but a smaller one would work.

For the shortbread, rub together the flour, sugar and cubed butter in a bowl until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Once there are no more large lumps of butter scrunch the mixture together so it forms a dough. Try not to kneed the dough, just bring the crumbs together.

Put the dough into the lined tin and squash it down with your knuckles to cover the base of the tin. Use the back of a metal spoon to smooth and level out the dough. Prick the dough all over with a fork, making lots of little holes.

Bake in the oven for 30 mins or until the top is lightly golden brown. Set it aside to cool.

Me looking at my newborn

Once the shortbread base is cool, make the caramel. Put all your caramel ingredients into a saucepan and heat on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Increase the heat so the mixture comes to a boil. Keep stirring the mixture as it starts to thicken and become golden brown. This may take about 10 mins, don’t worry if it feels like it isn’t thickening, it will get there just keep heating and stirring. Once the mixture has thickened, and looks a golden brown colour, take off the heat.

I call this one – Action Shot

Allow the caramel to cool for 2 mins before pouring over the shortbread base. Smooth the caramel out with the back of a metal spoon and place in the fridge to cool and set.

today’s Visual Art

Once the caramel is cooled and set, melt your chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate over the set caramel, pushing the melted chocolate to the corners of the tin. Shake the tin to smooth out and level the chocolate. Put it back in the fridge to set.

Lol. It’s a lake of chocolate

Once the chocolate is set, take it out of the fridge and cut it into squares (or MASSIVE slabs).

Caitlin xoxox

Rhubarb and Cardamon Polenta Cake


Hey Joe

It’s rhubarb season!! I made a new recipe. This one took a couple tries but I got there in the end. I was pretty sad that my rhubarb didn’t come out of the oven bright pink – I thought it would dye the cake batter a pink/red colour. So I found out that the reason it didn’t come out bright pink is because there are two types of rhubarb. The first is called Forced rhubarb and it’s grown indoors. Forced rhubarb comes out at the end of Jan and is bright pink. But the stuff that you can get now (the stuff I’m working with) is grown outdoors and has less of a pink colour, it’s more green and comes out sort of transparent when you cook it… some rhubarb facts for you. Bet you feel enlightened.

This is a flourless cake and has a lot of fruit in it so it’s very moist and needs quite a long bake. It’s got a really nice sweet/sour thing going on – I’m proud of this one.

lil bit of Visual Art


  • 400g rhubarb
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 100g polenta
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar, plus 1/2 a tablespoon for a topper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (don’t forget to put this in, like I did)

I made a cardamon sugar syrup that I topped the cake with. I’ll give you the ingredients for it but the cake is perfect without if. I just wanted to play with sugar and cardamon.

Cardamon Sugar Syrup

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 cardamon pods, crushed
  • 5 tablespoons water
Wow I am a Visial Artist
This is what sugar and cardamon looks like


Pre heat the oven to 180 and line your fav cake tin with greaseproof paper (I used a 20cm round tin). Rip a big square of greaseproof paper and scrunch it up, it will be much easier to squash into your tin.

Roughly chop the rhubarb into thumb sized chunks (from the top of your thumb to under the knuckle). Set this aside. Measure out your ground almonds and polenta and set this aside.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and ground cardamon and give it another mix.

One by one add the eggs, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beating the mixture in between each addition. Add a tablespoon of the almonds/polenta with each egg to stop the mixture curdling.

A pictoral diagram of one of the eggs being added
mmmmm smoooth

Fold in the rest of the amonds and polenta, the baking powder and 250g of the chopped rhubarb (the other 150g is to top the cake with). The less mixing you do here the better, you put in loads of air when you beat the eggs so you don’t wanna loose it here.

Spread the cake batter into the cake tin and top with the rhubarb you kept back. Sprinkle about half a tablespoon of sugar over the top of the cake before putting it in the oven.

Bake for an hour and 20 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with no wet batter on it. I know, it’s a really long bake. Keep an eye on it at the hour mark, but this is a really hard cake to overbake so don’t worry if you think it’s taking a while.

For the sugar syrup glaze, if you want to make it – put the sugar, water and crushed cardamon pods in a pan and bring to the boil on a medium heat. Swirl the pan, but don’t put a spoon in it (it can do strange things to the syrup). Once boiling, let it boil for a min before turning the heat down so the mixture is at a simmer. Let this simmer for 5/6 mins, or until the syrup has reduced and become very slightly golden (you want about a tablespoon and a half of liquid). Spoon this over the cake while it it still warm, it can be done when the cake is on its plate or while it’s still in the tin.

Enjoy the cake boii, miss you! Caitlin X

Making Buns, Hun – Hot Cross Buns


Happy Easter Joe!!

I made hot cross buns. I won’t lie to you they take a long time to make haha but it’s worth it. These are my one and only buns. Mum gave me an old baking book yesterday (the inside page – ‘To Daddy, looking forward to some parties, love Joe’ in mum’s hand writing). In the book it said before the Reformation all dough was sliced with a cross before it went in the oven to ward off any evil spirits that might stop the dough rising… fact of the day for you.



  • 300ml full-fat or semi skimmed milk
  • 50g butter
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 75g sultanas
  • 50g raisins
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

The Cross

  • 75g plain flour
  • 5 tablespoons water

The Glaze

The glaze is normally made from warmed apricot jam but there was none in the cupboard so I made a new glaze

  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 3/4 tablespoons boiling water


Bring the milk to the boil then take off the heat and add the butter, swirl the pan to let the butter melt. Leave it to cool down to a comfortable warm temp (so you can put your finger in the mixture).

Visual art
some more Visual Art

Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour the milk/butter mixture into the well, mix with a wooden spoon. Then bring everything together with your hands.

flour and butter: about 30 mins entertainment…

Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and have at it for 8 mins until the dough is smooth and elastic. It’s a sweet dough so you need to work it quite well because the sugar and milk and butter make it hard for the yeast to do it’s ting – ward off those evil spirits with your kneading! Once you’ve kneaded it put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl with oiled cling film. Leave the bowl in a warm place for the dough to prove for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

hello lil dough of egg

Once the dough has had its first prove add the sultanas, raisins, orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Knead these into the dough. Leave the dough to prove again for an hour or until doubled in size (with more oiled cling film over the bowl).

After the second prove divide the dough into 15 even pieces (you can eye ball this – I ended up with some lil buns and some big buns – variety in your life is they way to go). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Put the buns on baking trays that have been lined with greaseproof paper. Make sure you leave enough space between the buns to let them rise. Cover (but don’t wrap) the trays with olied cling film or with a tea towel. Set the buns aside for an hour for the final prove (almost there lol).

About 20 mins before the buns have finished their third and final prove, preheat the oven to 220. Mix the flour with the water to make the paste for the cross. Add one tablespoon of water at a time, you might not use all of the water. You want a flour paste that you can pipe, not flour water. Spoon the paste into a piping bag with a small nozzle (or sandwich bag, cut the tip off the bag once it has been filled with the paste and you will have a piping bag). Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to make the crosses.

Bake the buns for 20 mins.

lil Top gs out the oven

When the buns are out the oven mix together the boiling water (again one table spoon at a time to get the right consistency), icing sugar and golden syrup. Brush this over the buns while they are still warm, or you can use your fingers as a pastry bush.

That’s it!! Enjoy your peng peng buns, Caitlin XXX

Black Treacle Ginger Cake


Yo Joe

The ginger cake that I make was found by fifteen year old me in a baking book by Sainsbury’s. Sainsbury’s is a blessed place without the addition of a baking book but I think this book took Sainsbury’s to new heights. This is the only ginger cake I will ever make because it is the best ginger cake. I know you know how good it is, but our readers may want to hear some reviwes – ‘Outstanding’ (dad), ‘Top cake’ (dad), ‘Really good’ (mum), ‘Leng’ (You (Joe)). Anna and Kanhai are fans too. I think its safe to say this is a cake that I will pass onto my kids, grandchildren, cats. I reckon I could make this cake with my eyes closed, a good thing because the pages of the recipe are stuck together with 6 years worth of cake batter splatter, drips of black treacle and smears of butter. A sign of a good recipe.

Yep. I am a photographer


  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g unsalted butter, from the fridge
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 100g black treacle. For the syrups 100g is about 3 and a half tablespoons
  • 100g light brown soft sugar
  • 50g diced stem ginger plus 2 tablespoons of ginger syrup from the jar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 100g icing sugar


Preheat your oven to 180. Grease your cake tin with butter (I used a 22cm ring tin. This cake also works in a 20cm squar tin or a 20 x 10cm loaf tin). This is a sticky cake so shake a light coating of flour around the inside of your tin to help the cake come out.

Using the tips of your fingers rub together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and butter until it resembles bread crumbes. You can also do this by putting theses ingredients in a food processor. Set this mixture aside.

In a saucepan, put the black treacle, golden syrup, sugar and diced stem ginger. Heat gently until all the sugar has disolved (the mixture isnt grainy anymore), then cook for a further minuet on high heat and remove. The syrup will bubble up, don’t worry about this, it takes a long time to burn this mixture so no risk of that. Set the pan aside.

Beat together the eggs and milk then pour into the flour mixture. Give this a little stir before adding the syrup mixture that has had time to cool a bit. Combine all the mixtures together quite quickly to avoid the syrup mixture hardening too much (I always get a bit of hard caramel on the bottom of my bowl). This batter does well with as little mixing as possible to avoid it sinking in the oven so once everything is combine get it in the tin.

Bake for 45 mins.

Once out of the oven allow the cake to cool for 10 mins in the tin while you make the syrup. Sive the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the ginger syrup and 2 tablespoons of boiling water.

Take the cake out of the tin and put on a wier rack or plate. Peirce the cake all over with a skewer and pour over the syrup…mmmm nice.

have a sweet sweet cake, Caitlin xxxx