Tag Archives: birthday

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!



Peanut Butter Cupcakes


There’s something really nice about how peanut butter cupcakes sounds as it rolls off the tongue. I think it might be the combination of Nuh-Buh-Cuh, if you get what I mean? No…well, I don’t blame you.

I made these a while ago and unfortunately, as tends to happen, life got in the way of me uploading the recipe. They were for my housemate’s birthday and I had to make them, wash up and tidy away in under an hour to keep them a surprise! I ended up icing them in my bedroom just in case she came into the kitchen…

They are relatively “mild” on the peanut butter front. Or at least I think so. Feel free to use substitute more of the butter for peanut butter. God knows I would, but not everyone likes peanut butter as much as I do…

Makes approx 12-14


75g butter
110g peanut butter
200g brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
260g plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
180ml milk


75g butter
165g icing sugar
3 tsp water
1 tsp cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/gas mark 4 and line a muffin tray with muffin cases.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. It helps if your butter is soft to begin with, so either take it out the fridge and stick it in your warming oven for a few minutes. Careful not to let it melt though. Once “fluffy and light” or once your arms get too achey to cream anymore, beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarb and spices. Add about a quarter to the butter/sugar/egg mix, stir in, add a quarter of the milk, stir in and then repeat until you have no flour or milk left. Fill the cupcake cases ¾ full and stick in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.

While they’re baking, cream all the icing ingredients together in a bowl. Again, soft butter helps here (though I wouldn’t put it in the oven this time). Try not to “over” cream it as it will start to separate, for reasons unbeknownst to me!

Check the cakes in the usual manner by inserting a knife or skewer into the middle of one of the cakes to see if it comes out clean – if not put back in for a couple of minutes and check again/repeat until done.

Leave to cool before icing, otherwise the butter will melt and you’ll have some fairly disgusting looking cupcakes. I topped mine with a dollop of peanut butter and various nuts to make them as birthday-tastic as I could.


Pink Marshmallow Cupcakes


It’s ironic that when I typed in ‘Hummingbird Bakery Marshmallow Cupcakes’ into Google, I got flooded with adverts for diet websites, slimming pills and that one secret for a flat tummy shared by thousands of women all over the world. If you’re still wondering what that secret is, apparently it’s a shed load of spam and a computer virus. My message is: don’t feel guilty for indulging in these once in a while, but when you’re unhappy because you look like a marshmallow, that’s probably the time to to eat a salad. Or sign up to the diet website. Up to you.

Also please note that due to the recent appearance of measuring cups in my kitchen (source: unknown) that measure out real American cups, my repertoire of recipes has reached previously impossible (ok, a tad trickier than usual) horizons. I will try and include conversions wherever the recipe has them, or even post a nice little bit about converting cups to weights. Who knows.

Makes 12.

Recipe courtesy of Hummingbird Bakery, etc etc. Now eat.


120g (1 cup) plain flour
140g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
45g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120ml (1/2 cup) whole milk
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
12 medium pink marshmallows
200g mini marshmallows (equivalent to 12 medium sized marshmallows)

250g (2 cups) icing sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons softened butter
2 tbsp whole milk
few drops vanilla or raspberry (or both) flavouring
200g marshmallows, preferably pink (equivalent to 12 medium sized marshmallows, chopped)
dash of pink food colouring (optional)


Preheat the oven to 170°C. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a large bowl using an electric mixer or whisk. Do not worry if the mixture looks a little dry and crumbly: this is normal. Gradually add half of the milk and beat until just incorporated.

Mix the remaining milk, egg and vanilla together and add to the dry mixture in batches, beating gently as you do. Be careful not to over-mix and cause the mixture to separate. Stop mixing if you feel this is happening – it begins to look like a very watery, scrambled egg. Spoon the mixture into cases in a deep muffin tray. Bake for 20-25 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Standard rules apply. Leave to cool slightly before starting the icing.

Melt one batch of marshmallows in a bowl over simmering water. Hollow out a small section of the centre of each cupcake and fill with a dollop of melted marshmallow.

To make the frosting, beat sugar and butter together in a bowl with an electric whisk. Add the flavourings to the milk and add the mixture to the mix whilst gently whisking. Once incorporated, whisk vigorously for five minutes until light and fluffy. Stir in the marshmallows.

When the cupcakes are cooled, spoon the frosting on top and enjoy*!