Apricot Olive Oil Cake


Hey Joe,

Here is the first cake I made in Glasgow. I was working on this recipe a couple of months ago and wanted to test it out again – can confirm, it worked.

Apricots and olive oil might sound like a strange pair but the flavours work really well together. There’s no butter in this cake, the olive oil is used as the fat. But, you want the olive oil for its flavour rather than to make the cake dairy free. Tiger (my flatmates name is tiger. She’s not a real tiger) can’t eat dairy so this is a cake that she can have! Woo! I think she liked it. I presented it to her on a plate, she growled a bit, picked the cake up with her mouth, dropped it on the floor and started eating it. I have never seen someone eat a cake so well – that’s my Tiger!


For the Apricot Compote

  • 250g pitted apricots
  • 50ml water
  • 75g apricot jam

For the Cake Mix

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 100ml milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 180g sugar

If you can’t get hold of apricot jam, which is quite expensive, substitute it with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of sugar. If your apricots are very ripe, add less sugar and honey.

LOL. I have a confession. I’ve just realised that there’s milk in this recipe. In case you didn’t know, milk is a form of DAIRY. I’m pretty pleased with my lil story about tiger, My dairy free friend, so I’m not editing the introduction to this post. Tiger, I am sorry that I made you eat dairy without you knowing it and I hope this dairy didn’t give you the shits.


Pre heat your over to 180. Butter a round cake tin (mine is 20cm) with the most dairyist butter you can find.

In a small saucepan, heat your water, pitted apricots and jam (or sugar and honey) over a medium heat. Let it cook for about 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated and the mixture is a loose consistency. Turn off the heat and set aside. If you want some whole apricot pieces topping your cake, like in the picture above, set some apricot halves aside for you to place on top of the cake before it goes in the oven!

Lightly whisk together the olive oil, milk, vanilla extract and eggs.

In a separate bowl mix the rest of the ingredients together – ground almonds, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

Combine the wet mix with the dry mix, stirring until you have your cake batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Spoon the apricot compote over the batter in blobs. Using a skewer or knife draw a couple of figure of 8 patterns in the cake batter. What your doing here is marbling the compote into the batter. The less figure of 8s you do in the batter the clearer the marble pattern will be in the final cake.

Bake for about 35-40 mins or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out with not wet batter.

Have a good bake and a good cake,

Caitlin xxx

Irish Wholemeal Soda Bread


Yo Joe,

There’s a blue, rectangle button in the top right hand corner of my screen on the dashboard for this site. It has the word ‘Write’ on it. I’ve just pressed it and now I’m filling up this empty screen with words and, hopefully, a recipe. I haven’t pressed that button for a long time. But I’m back!

Let’s give our readers a lil update (I reckon we have a solid 18 now). I’ve moved back to Glasgow for uni and you’ve moved into a new house in London, released a new poetry pamphlet (find it here) and got your contract extended at work for another year. Big. And… Cake On My Face is now on Instagram (find it here), come and say hello!

My cute lil loaf

WOW too much writing. I want soda bread. Joe, this is the bread I was telling you to make the other day. The reason this recipe is magic is because, from start to finish, you get fresh bread in under an hour. Soda bread uses bicarbonate of soda to rise, instead of yeast. So, once all the ingredients are mixed it can go straight in the oven, rather than having to wait for the yeast in the dough to ferment.

This bread is quick, easy, makes your house smell like a bakery and is MMMM so good. Once I make a loaf of soda bread, I eat the whole thing in about an hour. I hope you do the same too.


  • 170g Wholemeal flour
  • 170g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 90g yoghurt
  • 200ml milk
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Traditionally this bread is made with buttermilk. I always have milk and yoghurt in the fridge and this does the same thing as buttermilk but if you want to use the real deal you can find it in most supermarkets. Replace the yoghurt and milk with 290ml buttermilk.

I normally use brown sugar in this recipe, it gives a really nice colour to the loaf and a note of caramel (lol). You can just use standard granulated sugar though, and you wouldn’t be missing out on any ‘notes’.


Pre heat the oven to 200 and flour a baking tray, ready for your lil loaf.

Mix together your milk and yoghurt, set this aside.

In a large bowl, mix together all your dry ingredients. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in your yoghurt and milk mixture.

Stir it all together, you might need to get your hands involved to form it into a shaggy lump of dough.

Form the dough into the shape you want to bake it in and whack it on the baking tray.

Sprinkle flour over the top of your loaf and using a large knife, cut the loaf into quarters. This will help the loaf rise in the oven and make it ready to be ripped apart into perfect bread rolls once its baked.

Put it in the oven and bake for about 30 mins, if you want a darker colour leave it in for a bit longer.

Once you’ve taken it out of the oven wrap the loaf in a clean tea towel and allow to cool before eating. Wrapping the loaf in a tea towel will give you a moist, soft bread.


Love, Caitlin xx

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

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

Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Botany and Hello!


Dear Joe

Wheeeyy Cake On My Face is published!! This is a lil bit of an experiment, I’ve never written a blog before so lets see how this goes. Thought I would write it to you, Joe, because it feels very strange not knowing who you’re writing to, could be one person or could be 100…wow.

Yesterday I made Focaccia.

My focaccia garden boii

I love Mum’s fascination with weeds growing out of cracks in pavements, walls and at the side of ring roads. It’s also pretty amazing that she seems to know the name of all the weeds she finds. Yesterday we were on a walk together, I was ahead, I heard ‘Caito. Come try this’, mum handed me a small green leaf she had just picked, ‘what is it?’, ‘Garlic Mustard’. We walked on, eating some leaves that really did taste of garlic and mustard. She still uses that flower encyclopedia we got her for Christmas a couple years ago when she doesn’t know the name of a plant she finds. I’m not great at matching up names of plants with what they look like but I still love looking at weeds and flowers, their colour, smell and texture.

In tribute to mum’s impressive knowladge of flowers and my impressive ability to eat bread I decided to make a focaccia garden. I’d never made focaccia before but it’s my new fav bread, it’s one of the fastest breads to make and has been hailed ‘the most delicious bread’ by Celestine. You can top it with any flavour and any design so you can use this recipe to make your own focaccia creation…garden…allotment…jungle?



  • 400 g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g wholemeal bread flour, fine ground semolina or strong white bread flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 7 g dried yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon golden caster sugar
  • 300 ml lukewarm water
  • olive oil (as much as you want to put on your bread)


You can use whatever veg and herbs you have in your kitchen, but you need garlic. Here is what I used:

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 peppers, one red, one yellow
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 spring onions
  • handful of parsley
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • black sesame seeds


Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle like you are about to make pancakes. In a seperate bowl add the yeast and sugar into the lukewarm water and mix with a fork. Leave the yeast and water for a few mins until it sarts to foam. When you can see some foam on top of the water slowly pour it into the well you made in the flour mixture. Mix this with a fork.

Once the mixture comes together tip it onto a worksurface and get your hands involved. Knead vigorously for about 8 mins. You might want to add a little bit of flour onto the worksurface so the dough doesn’t stick, but try to use as little as possible. You want to end up with a smooth, springy dough.

Lightly oil a large bowl and pop the dough in it. Dust the top of the dough with flour and cover with a tea towel. Leave the bowl in a warm place (like in the 25 degree sun were having at the min) to prove for about half a hour. You want your dough to have doubled in size.

I’m loving my dough
With a lil bit of work…
Your dough can look like a boiled egg too

While the dough proves preheat the oven to 220 and prep your toppings.

Once the dough has risen, punch it to deflate the dough then spread it out onto a baking tray. Press your fingers down in the dough like your playing the piano to make lots of dips and wells in the dough. Arrange your toppings on the dough. Scatter some chopped garlic and rosemary, sprinkle some salt and drizzle a good amount of olive oil on the dough to finish.

Lay a tea towel over the dough and prove for another 20 mins. Then, bake for 20 mins or until golden on top and soft in the middle. If you can’t tell if the bread is done, tap it, if it sounds hollow its ready to come out.

Enjoy your focaccia and the sun, Caitlin xxxxxx