Summer Berry & Cream Cheese Ring Cake

Summer Berry & Cream Cheese Ring Cake
This cake is rather large, but don't worry, it won't last long if you invite the family over. This is a really easy, really delicious and tasty cake made with a moist cream cheese sponge, and iced with cream cheese icing. It's not too sickly sweet; the Summer berries inside and on top balance the cake beautifully with a bit of tartness; they of course make it look extra special and rustically appealing to any cake lover. Ooooh please try this one - you won't regret it and your family will love you forever (they didn't even give me time to photograph the inside of the cake which is laced with pockets of gooey berries).

Speckled Egg Easter Cake

Speckled Egg Easter Cake
How's this for an alternative Easter Cake. No fondant was used during the making of this cake! Have a break from the traditional Simnel cake and chocolate nests and try a "Speckled Egg Cake". It's just a simple 4-layer Victoria sponge cake with vanilla buttercream & apricot jam in between the layers. You can just use your favourite sponge cake recipe, I like to use Mary Berry's.

To a get a smooth finish on the buttercream, you'll want to make it quite thick in consistency but still spreadable. After spreading it evenly over the cake, use a hot palette knife (dipped in hot water then cleaned on a dry cloth) to smooth over the cake as best you can, scraping the excess icing off the palette knife as you go. Using a turntable really helps. Then after leaving the icing to form a crust for 30mins, gently smooth out any imperfections using a piece of parchment paper and your fingertips, or a fondant smoothing tool. To get the speckled effect, mix cocoa powder with a little hot water, then flick it at the cake with a pastry brush. Finally, decorate with mini eggs (or mini-mini eggs for an extra cute finish!).

Rhubarb & Custard Cookies

Rhubarb and Custard Cookies
I searched all over the internet for Rhubarb and Custard cookies but it seems that nobody has made them! So after much testing I have invented my own recipe, and it is good. You'll need to think ahead a little though as the Rhubarb needs an hour of slow roasting in a low oven before it's ready to be baked. I tried using raw rhubarb but the cookies were too wet. This recipe makes for a lovely vanillary custardy cookie with sweet chewy rhubarb pieces.

Praline Cookies

Praline Cookies
I keep saying this about each cookie recipe that I bring out, but this really is the best cookie I have ever eaten. I am a huge fan of those crunchy sugary caramalised praline nuts that you find in European markets. They are often very expensive, but I've finally worked out how to make my own. So what do I do? Put them in a cookie. Yes. This is good. Very good. The nuttiest cookie ever.

Carrot & Sunflower Cake

Carrot & Sunflower Cake
Just because you're trying to eat healthily doesn't mean that you can't have cake. Yeeaah so you can't really get away from sugar when it comes to cake, but you know what they say: half the slice = half the calories, so you can eat twice as much! This carrot cake is packed full of carrots, pineapple, pecans & sunflower seeds, and is made using sunflower oil, wholemeal flour and brown sugar. I've done my best to make it wholesome so you don't feel so guilty about eating something sweet. This makes a large batch so be sure to share it with your friends.

Cups to Grams Converter for Baking Ingredients

Convert Cups to Grams
Here in the UK, we like to use our weighing scales, and we like grams. It may be easier to just "scoop and go" using the cup measuring method like they do in America, but we just don't "do" that. We English prefer accuracy. So, for your convenience, here are some common baking ingredients converted from cups to grams. Due to the inaccurate nature of cups, it's impossible to get an exact conversion as it totally depends on how compacted the ingredients are into the cups, but here are the averages.

Amaretto Cassata Cake

Rosie's Amaretto Cassata Cake
Cassata cake is Sicilian sweet which consists of chiffon sponge cake moistened with liqueur and layered with a filling of ricotta cheese, candied peel, chocolate & vanilla. Traditionally, it is covered with marzipan, green icing and candied citrus fruits, however in this "Cleveland Cassata" inspired recipe I have used whipped cream, cherries, almonds & chocolate to make it more gateau-like. In this recipe I have use plenty of amaretto to give this gateau a marzipan taste. This is an excellent choice for a Sunday-afternoon desert!

UK Alternatives to US Baking Ingredients

UK Alternatives to American Cake Ingredients
It can be really annoying when you find an awesome looking cake that you desperately want to bake, but you can't find any of the ingredients here in the UK, or you have no idea what the alternatives are. I've done some research, and here are the closest and best readily available-in-the-UK alternative ingredients to some common American recipe ingredients.

Most US ingredients easily translate into UK ingredients, they just have different names, however some ingredients are special to the US so for those I have suggested the best equivalents, or ways to make your own substitutes. There are a few things you can pick up in places like Selfridges or Tesco's American Grocery Isle, but why go out of your way to buy them, when you probably have something just as good in your cupboard already.

See also: Cups to Grams Converter for Baking

Orange & Honey Upside-down Cake

Orange and Honey Cake Recipe
Here is my deliciously wholesome and "healthy" Orange and Honey Cake recipe; made with fresh oranges, honey, olive oil, ground almonds & pinenuts. The yummy oranges on top are caramelized in honey and vanilla for an aromatic marmalade-like taste. The sponge is so fluffy & moist, with toasted pinenuts and orange zest for extra texture and taste. I was surprised at how good this cake turned out, but using olive oil instead of butter really works and makes for a lovely soft and tasty dairy-free sponge.

Lemon Blueberry Gingernut Cheesecake Slices

Lemon Blueberry Gingernut Cheesecake Slices
I think that lemon and ginger work so well together, and the addition of blueberries make these cheesecake slices taste extra fresh and fruity. This yummy recipe uses ginger nuts to make the crunchy biscuit base. This is a really simple recipe that you can whip up in 10 minutes or so, just make sure it's nice and cold before you serve it. And like a proper cheesecake, it's nice served with cream. It helps to have your cream cheese at room temperature before you start.

Mint Chocolate Cookies

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peppermint fans get ready, for my new Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies. Imagine the taste of an Aftereight mint in a ooey-gooey-crunchy cookie. The texture of these cookies is just perfect; the fresh minty taste is something that many people will not have had in a cookie before. Everybody I've tested these on loves them, and they are so easy to make - you can whip them up in less then half an hour. If you can't find dark mint chocolate (I found it in Aldi), try using after eight mints for an even more interesting texture.

Christmas Chocolate Bark

Christmas Chocolate Bark
You've seen it, in the likes of Hotel Chocolat and in the "posh section" of your local Supermarket. But why buy it, when you can make your own Chocolate Bark all by yourself and put whatever you blimmin' like on it. Bag it up in little treat bags with ribbon and give it out to your friends and family as gifts. It's so easy and you can make it in minutes.

Mince Pie Christmas Fudge

Christmas Mince Pie Fudge
Deliciously sweet melt in your mouth fudge laced with little moorish crumbled up pieces of mince pies. I've never tasted such Christmassy fudge before! Crumbly, perfectly spiced, with a dreamy texture (yes I said dreamy). These are perfect bagged up and given as gifts to any mince pie lover. Perhaps you bought too many mince pies, you're fed up of eating them already and you don't know what to do with them. This fudge recipe will transform them into a sweet tooth's delight.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie
"Oh all right then Mr Chocolate Pecan Pie, as you offered so politely, I will have another slice" ...I wouldn't want to hurt his feelings, I couldn't possibly live with myself if I did that....

Try out my spin on a pecan pie with a bourbon biscuit base and hidden chocolate chunks under a smooth layer of caramel. This makes for a deliciously decadent pecan pie.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Layer Cake

Raspberry and White Chocolate Layer Cake
This is some serious cake! The sponge is beautifully moist, made with cream cheese and laced with raspberries. The white chocolate ganache-like icing is deliciously creamy and sweet with vanilla beans. I've topped this cake with fresh raspberries, white chocolate curls and dried raspberry flakes for what I think is a very sophisticated finish. White chocolate and raspberries, what an awesome combo.