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Rhubarb & Rosewater upside down cake

So I owed my colleagues a little thank you for volunteering their time at an event I had organised.

I decided to finally use the authentic rose water I had purchased and the seasonal rhubarb in the fridge.

Anyway – inspiration struck in the form of this Cuisine magazine recipe for this cake.

Photo by Arron McLean

It’s in three stages, but reasonably simple, and best served warm (but equally nice cold with warm syrup).

Stage 1: Base

25g Butter

25g Caster Sugar

3-4 Rhubarb stalks

1 tblsp Rosewater

Line 20cm cake tin with paper and grease with butter. Heat butter and sugar until caramelized. Pour into tin.

Arrange chopped rhubarb on top. Sprinkle over rose water. Set aside.

Stage 2: Cake

100g Butter

150g Caster Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla extract

2 eggs separated

150 g Flour + 1.5 tsp Baking Powder (mixed)

125ml Milk

Preheat oven to 180C. Beat butter and sugar till fluffy. Add egg yolk one at a time and beat in well. Add vanilla. Add sieved flour/baking powder mixture alongside milk in two batches. Mix in well.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites till soft peaks and then stir into batter mixture.

Spoon on top of the rhubarb and smooth down. Bake for approx 50mins – or until firm. Rest for 5 mins while making syrup.

Stage 3: Syrup

150 g Caster Sugar

150 ml Water

1 Rhubarb stem chopped

1 tblsp Rosewater

Juice 1/2 lemon.

Heat water and sugar until dissolved. Add rhubarb, cook for 5 mins to infuse. Remove rhubarb, add rosewater and lemon to taste.

Pour over cake.

Perfumed deliciousness.


Mini Herb & Garlic pull-a-part loaves.

It’s been getting a little cool, and so with soup on the stove it was apparent that bread was soon to be in high demand. I wanted an excuse to use some of the fresh herbs I had growing in the garden, and so these little rolls were perfect. It’s not often I make bread as it can be a little time consuming with all the rising and knocking back and so on… but I have to say these are worth it!



3 cups of flour

1 cup of warm water

2 1/4 tsp of dried yeast

⅓ cup of sugar

¾ tsp salt

2 tbsp butter, melted


1 bulb of roasted garlic

¾ cup of fresh herbs (I used chives, thyme, parsley & oregano)

2 tbsp butter, melted (to brush on dough before adding the filling)

Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and set aside for a few minutes (until foamy). Add butter and salt to the yeast mixture, and then sift in flour 1 cup at a time, until dough forms. Turn out on a floured surface and knead for 8–10 minutes, until dough is smooth. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and place in a warm area for about an hour, or until doubled.

While dough is rising, roast your garlic. Preheat the oven to 200C. Chop the top of the bulb off (to expose all of the cloves). Rub with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until garlic is soft. Remove from the oven and let cool, then squeeze out all of the cloves.

Punch down dough and turn out on a well-floured surface. Knead a few times, and then let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile chop herbs and garlic together and melt the butter. Roll dough out into a large rectangle, about 0.5cm thick approx. Brush butter over the entire surface of the dough, then cover evenly with the filling.

Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into strips first and then layer (turning the last strip face down, so un-herbed side on outside) and cut to size. (Use your best judgment for this, it will depend on the type of muffin or loaf tin you are using). Place in a greased tin/pan. Cover and let rise for another 40 minutes. (I used a regular muffin tin – making 12 mini loafs)

Preheat oven to 180C. Bake: muffin tin loaves for 15–18 minutes / 1 full loaf for 30–35 minutes (or until tops begin to turn golden brown). Remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan for half an hour, or till you can’t resist them any longer.

Guinness Choc Cake

Ok, so I borrowed this recipe from Nigella, but I thought it was worth sharing simply because it is a) super easy to make, and b) totally delicious! I have made it a few times – for a retirement party, a baby shower (as cupcakes) and a couple of birthdays. Without fail it gets compliments and it gets eaten… the whole thing. This is quite simply a cake to impress, and the best thing is, you don’t need to get out the mixer – it’s all done in a pot on the stove!

The Cake:

250ml Guinness

250g unsalted butter

75g cocoa

400g caster sugar

140ml  sour cream

2 eggs

1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

275g plain flour

2 1/2teaspoons bicarb soda


300g  cream cheese

150g icing sugar

125ml whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C, and butter and line a 23cm springform tin.

Pour the Guinness into a large deep and wide pot, add the butter – in chunks and heat until the butter’s melted. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar.

Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the pot, and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.

Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely (In the tin).

Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat together. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency.

Ice the top of the black cake (or double icing recipe and cover the whole cake with it).

Be Right Back

So, the posts have dried up. Long story, but I’m nearly back on track… a new job, then an international house move, no job, new uni study, a wedding and house-hunting have all waylaid best intentions to update the blog.

But never fear, in about 4 weeks, I will be in a new kitchen with all my things unpacked, and be able to bake up a storm – so watch this space. 🙂


Red Fruit Macarons

So, I have never made these before  – and everyone says they are tricky beasts. They would be right… what a lot of palaver for such a small treat. Anyway, after all the blending of almonds and sugar, the egg white whipping and colouring, I realised I didnt have the right nozzle attachment for my piping bag – so I did it with a decorative one… and well, aside from the fact they were a bit swirly – they were near perfect! Yay me! I would however recommend special silicon baking sheet instead of paper, as they can stick a bit.


 3 egg whites

75 gm caster sugar

125 ground almonds

175gm icing sugar

Blend almonds and icing sugar. Let it blend while you whip the egg whites. Preheat oven to 140C.

Whip egg whites to soft peaks, gradually add caster sugar.

Add any food colouring you like at this point – to eggs.

Turn off blender and sift the almond/sugar mixture into the eggs. Stir through. (throw away any big clumps out of the sieve).

Pipe onto baking tray. Let rest 30mins.

Bake 13mins. Cool. Fill with frosting or jam or both.

Good luck.

Not so Red Velvet Cupcakes

A dear friend knew I had a bit of a thing for baking, so asked me to whip up a couple of dozen cupcakes for her little girls 1st birthday party. These cupcakes are American and are supposed to be bright red, but as I have a slight dislike for E numbers, I kept the food colouring to a minimum  (the kids don’t really need it either). So these dark browny/red little cupcakes got iced with a simple cream cheese icing and topped with a little choc decoration. They were a hit… mostly with the adults who tried to limit their intake to just half… but they would always go back for more.

Red Velvet Cupcakes.

(American measurements)

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cups white sugar (I reduced to 1 cup)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (in NL – Karnemelk)
1 fluid ounce red food coloring (I used 1/4tsp paste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to  175 degrees C. Line cupcake tin with 12-20 paper baking cups. (depends how big you want them)

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. (It may look curdled, but that is ok)

Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, approx 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, smother the tops with cream cheese frosting. Totally decadent!

Sticky Ginger Loaf

So, a group of friends and I took a short trip into the Belgium Ardennes to chill out, drink wine and get away from technology.  I decided it would be a nice retreat treat to have a scrummy home-baked loaf on standby for cups of tea in the spring sunshine…and it did the job superbly.

Sticky Ginger Loaf

3 tblsp Golden Sryup

1.5 tsp Ginger powder

50gm Butter, soft.

1 Egg

100gm White sSgar

Grated orange rind (of one small orange). Optional.

120 ml Boiling Water

100gm Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Heat oven to 160C and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Mix butter, syrup, rind and hot water till butter melts.

Add egg and whisk quickly.

Add flour, ginger, baking powder and soda.

Mix all together. Pour into loaf tin. (Dont worry, it can look quite runny – this is fine).

Bake in oven for approx. 30min minutes.

Test with wooden skewer to check inside cooked. When it comes out clean, it is done.

Allow to cool a bit before tipping out. Serve warm or cold with fresh butter.