Category Archives: Celebration Cakes

Tiramisu Cake


So George’s sister introduced us to our local Clandestine Cake Club. Each month they hold themed cake making/scoffing extravaganzas based on three simple principles:

1. You make a cake big enough to share
2. You get together and eat and share your cakes (and attempt conversations between mouthfuls of yumminess)
3. You take all sorts of cake home and get fat for the next week

This month’s theme was cakes based on other puddings or in other words, puddings masquerading as cakes. There’s no judging or egotism, just friendly people filling their faces as bemused members of then general public mosey on by. This tiramisu cake is based on the Smitten Kitchen tiramisu cake recipe, whose marsala cream is to die for. In fact, even if you don’t make the cake just make the cream and let spoon meet mouth.


For the coffee cake:

150g butter
120g sugar
150g self raising flour
3 eggs
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp coffee essence such as camp coffee or very strong instant coffee

For the chocolate cake:

130g plain flour
40g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
100g butter
2 eggs
120g sugar
120ml buttermilk (made simply by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to milk and leaving for 10-15 minutes)
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the coffee syrup:

3 tbsp coffee essence (as above)
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp icing sugar

For the marsala cream:

250g marscapone
50g icing sugar
200ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp marsala wine


Preheat the oven to 160oC/320oF/gas mark 3  as you prepare the cakes and grease two 23cm (or thereabouts) cake tins.

For each of the two types of cakes, mix the dry ingredients together in separate bowls (sieved flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cocoa). Add the butter and mix with an electric whisk until each turns to a sandy consistency. Add the respective flavourings.

In a separate bowl or mug, gently beat the eggs for one cake and add to the mixture a bit at a time, whisking until incorporated. Repeat with the eggs for the other cake. The coffee cake mixture is now ready to be poured into the cake tin and baked for 20-30 minutes. To the chocolate cake mixture, add the buttermilk and continue whisking until it becomes smooth. Pour into the second tin and bake for 20-30 minutes.

When baked, take the cakes out of the oven and mix up the coffee syrup in a small bowl. Drizzle evenly over the cakes and leave the cakes to cool fully.

To make the marsala cream, (which by the way, is extremely versatile and I challenge you not to eat any before it sees your cake) begin by beating the marscapone with the sieved icing sugar. In a second bowl, whisk the double cream until it forms stiff peaks. Add around a quarter of the cream to the marscapone mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the rest of the cream to the marscapone and fold very gently, so as not to lose the air from the mixture. When evenly mixed, store in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your cake…if you can manage to not eat it all first.

To assemble the cake, place the chocolate cake on a plate or tray (the chocolate cake is slightly more structurally sound thus it makes sense for it to go on the bottom). Cover with a thick layer of marsala cream. Place the coffee cake on top. Spread the remaining marsala cream over the top. Dust with cocoa powder in some kind of pretty pattern. And go and join your local CCC!



How to shufty buttercream icing.


After the recent success of our post ‘Is cumin safe for cats?’ (for the answer, see here) I thought I would spend ten minutes of my newly discovered ‘free time’ to explain some other commonly searched terms that have landed people on our blog. I can’t help but feel people might be disappointed having searched for ‘cheese adventure’ and been delivered this pile of random recipes. They wanted to see some real hardcore cheese.

So here you go, cheese adventurers:

Here is a link to the website I found this on, just in case this isn’t enough cheese for you. It’s all about cheese eateries in Wisconsin and famous cheeseheads. Cool story.

I realise that we use a rather select vocabulary on our blog, which when writing to us sounds perfectly normal. However it has been made apparent that perhaps some of the more obscure words may need to be included in a short glossary.

jujjzzh, juzhj, zjujjzh, zhuzzh [jschu-jjzh] v:

1. to blend or chop with a hand blender or food processer eg. He jujjzhed up the soup to a smoother consistency.

syn: to whizz, to blend

shufty [shuff-tee] n:

1. the act of shuffling or jiggling items within a confined space eg. He gave the roast potatoes a shufty to spread them out.

mush [muh-sh] v:

1. to mash or squash an object eg. He mushed up the tomatoes.

whack [wa-ck] v:

1. to put something in a specific location, not necessarily with aggression eg. He whacked the pan in the oven.

Finally one of the other questions I feel we are truly lacking on is explaining to people how to make standard buttercream icing with only a limited amount of icing sugar. So, here goes.

Buttercream icing


icing sugar
soft, unsalted butter or margarine (eg. Stork)
vanilla extract
milk (optional)

Butter or margarine Icing sugar Vanilla Milk
10g 20g ¼ tsp ¼ tsp
20g 40g ¼ tsp ¼ tsp
30g 60g ¼ tsp ½ tsp
40g 80g ¼ tsp ½ tsp
50g 100g ½ tsp 1 tsp
60g 120g ½ tsp 1 tsp
70g 140g ¾ tsp 1 ½ tsp
80g 160g ¾ tsp 1 ¾ tsp
90g 180g ¾ tsp 1 ¾ tsp
100g 200g 1 tsp 2 tsp


Soften the butter or margarine by beating it thoroughly in a bowl. Sieve in the icing sugar a quarter at a time and beat thoroughly between each addition. Mix in the vanilla before adding half the milk (roughly). If that makes it into a spreadable consistency leave it at that, if it still looks a bit firm, add the rest of the milk and even a bit more if you so wish.

Note: you’ll need the 100g butter and 200g icing sugar amounts to ice a standard sized cake of around 15cm diameter or 12 cupcakes. Though honestly, if I was icing cupcakes, I’m a huge fan of the Hummingbird Bakery Vanilla Frosting which is much lighter and tastier on cupcakes than this type of icing. Add colourings and sprinkles until your heart’s content.

So that concludes our cheese adventure and buttercream shuftying for one day. I hope you will now realise that buttercream is not a suitable consistency to shufty and therefore the title of this post is ridiculous – but maybe it was useful or at least made you drool over the sheer amount of cheese visible on one computer screen.


Red Velvet Cake


Recipe adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery recipe for red velvet cake, by Kerry, winner of our Bake-Off in aid of Arthritis Research!


60g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
1 egg
20g cocoa powder
40ml red gel food colouring
½ tsp vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp white vinegar

300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese


Preheat the oven to 170°C. Mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated.

In another bowl, mix the cocoa, red food colouring and vanilla to make a dark paste. Add to the other mixture and mix thoroughly until combined. Be sure to scrape the bowl to evenly mix the colouring through. Add half of the buttermilk to the mixture and stir before sieving half the flour. Beat again. Repeat to add the rest of the buttermilk and flour. Beat until you have a smooth, even mixture.

Add the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat for a couple more minutes.

Spoon into a lined, greased tin and bake for around 25 minutes. Alternatively, spoon into individual cases and bake as individual cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. As with standard cakes, a skewer should come out clean and the cake should be soft to the touch.

To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter together until well mixed. Add the cream cheese and beat again until incorporated. Continue until light and fluffy but be very careful not to overmix as it may separate and become runny. Spread over the top of the cake. Note you may need 1 1/2 – 2 times the frosting recipe to cover the entire cake.


Great Arthritis Bake Off


So what’s a better excuse to get together with friends, eat a tonne of cake and have a few drinks than to raise money for charity? Not much. Arthritis Research were offering me this very opportunity when I was perusing their website the other day – so I decided to go for it!

With a bit of planning, a few fairy lights and some help from my friends, we put on an awesome BBQ (with all the trimmings) and some tunes. I encouraged everyone to bring along their most impressive baked creation for the chance to win a small prize! See the pics below for some ideas of what was on offer. I will post the recipe for the winning cake in due course!