The subtle art of Mini Jammy cakes

Right I am going to whizz through some of the cakes/bakes I have done in the last few months. I have been baking – honest guv – just no time to blog.

First off all Mini jammy cakes. Now let me just say, if you have kids this is the perfect recipe for you, ie. it is messy, quick and easy.

I have a 5 and a 3 year old and they loved baking these. They loved rubbing the butter into the flour (tickling the flour). ie lots of mess.

Mixing Mary Berry's Jam cakes

Mixing the Jam cakes

They loved mixing the milk in and squelching the mixture into a dough. They loved rolling the mixture into a ball and making a hole with a wooden spoon.

The subtle art of Jam cakes.

The subtle art of Jam cakes.

Most of all they loved plopping a dollop of jam to finish it off. They used blackcurrant jam (as its much nicer than strawberry!)

It also only took 10 mins to cook, so once the molten like jam had cooled down it was ready to eat.

Mary Berry's Jam cakes

Mary Berry’s Jam cakes

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Very simple and tasty they were too. Smashing – get cooking with your kids this weekend.


Triceratops cake

Ok, I have been rather neglectful of the Berry but I have been busy. Christmas & New Year is a rather hectic time for me. I have cooked a lot of Ms Berry’s bakes – honest guv  -and will report back on them soon.

As I reported last time my son wanted a Triceratops cake for his birthday. Not just any Triceratops cake –  but one with Dr Who riding it. Yes for a Two (now Three) year old he is very specific and he knows exactly what he wants.

So to start with, I used a 2 litre pyrex bowl to mold the body. I used Nigella Lawsons buttermilk sponge which is a really nice moist cake & cuts well.

Crumb coated Triceratops body

Crumb coated Triceratops body

I carved the cake at the front either side to make a body shape, crumb coated in butter icing &  then covered this in Blue sugarpaste – I used” ice blue” Sugarflair colour.

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I made two horns and a tusk out of white sugarpaste mixed with some CMC and left them to dry for a day. I also covered a large rectangle cake board with green icing. (I used Sugarflair Mint green with a bit of Christmas green).

Then I made the head out of Rice Krispies squares. The squares are squished together to make a head shape. I found it easier to do this by putting the squares in the microwave for  about 20 sec. The head was covered in butter icing.  I covered the head in sugarpaste but I used a piece much larger so that I could add a frill to the neck . This was then trimmed and detail was added to the frill using a cake tool. You could use the back of a knife.

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To make the legs I moulded 4 pieces of sugarpaste into sausage “leg” shape and then attached them (with water)  to the body – smoothing them down at the point of contact with the body as much as possible. Feet shapes were added to the bottom of the legs.

I made the claws out of mini triangle s which were added to the bottom of the feet with water. Triceratops feet!

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Triceratops cake

More details was added -Eyes, (White round plus smaller black round made from icing),tail (large sausage shape – icing) and spots (left over green icing cut into rounds). The horns and the tusk was the finishing touch. These were just pressed into the head with some water – they held very well. 2013-12-22 13.17.30

Triceratops cake with Dr Who riding it.....

Triceratops cake with Dr Who riding it…..

So that’s it. I cheated and bought a Dr Who figure Matt Smith but I was pleased with the finished result. It’s a simple one to do and didn’t take that long. Looking forward to my next 3D cake challenge.

How to make a Woolly and Tig Cake

Last year for my son’s 2nd birthday I made a Woolly cake from the Cbeebies programme Woolly & Tig.

To be honest its a fairly straightforward cake to make. I used a 2 litre pyrex bowl to make a lemon Madeira cake. I used a muffin sized cake for the head. I placed the cakes on a large 12 inch board and crumb coated with butter icing. The colours were a mixture of Sugar Flairs’ ice blue with a few drops of Christmas green to give a darker blue hue.

Wooly base - crumb coated

Woolly base – crumb coated

I then covered the cake with butter icing using a Wilton 233 nozzle to give the “fur” effect.

The legs were made with fondant icing which were in three parts. Blue squares at the top, red sausages in the middle and yellow”hands” at the bottom.  – I used toothpicks to join the sausages and squares together. These were left to dry.  They were then stuck onto the icing in the position below.

ooly and Tig cake with legs!

Woolly and Tig cake with legs!

Details were added with the eyes and nose made from yellow and black fondant. I could have done a bow but didn’t have the time!

How to make a Woolly and Tig Cake Woolly and Tig Cake

How to make a Woolly and Tig Cake – Its only a toy spider!

It went down very well with my two year old at the time.

This year he want specifically wants a Triceratops cake – not only that but he wants a Dr Who riding the Triceratops  –  so I  have my work cut out!

Happy baking!

…..and other lesser bakes

Its been a busy old month so I haven’t had much time to blog or bake but I have managed to do three MB bakes – Chocolate brownies, chocolate tray bake and banana bread. And its been a  Its been a long time coming but I have faced my nemesis in the last few weeks. The Tardis cake. More of that later.

Chocolate brownies were the most fun. I made them with my two boys anmd not only did they like making the brownies but they enjoyed eating bthem as well – which is a rareity – they usually like licking the bowl covering themselves in chocolate mixture and then turning their noses up at the finished product. Mary Berry's Chocolate brownies

This time the brownies were a winner though. I was actually afraid that they wouldn’t be chocolatey enough but they were delicious. I have made these about three times this month as they are terrifically versatile.  Don’t overcook them!

Banana bread was made due to excess ripe babanans. Itw as the easiest ting in the worls to make. Mary does love her all in one recipes! Its was simple yet delicious and lovely with butter.

beautifully simple and tasty!

beautifully simple and tasty!

The last bake was a chocolate tray bake that I made for my son’s party as I was afraid that

1) I wouldn’t have enough cake and

2) The TARDIS cake would be too much of a hassle to dismantle and cut.

I am glad I did it as it was far easier to cut up this quickly than a complicated cake. I covered it in Chocolate ganache left over from the TARDIS cake. I  made some fondant Doctor Who toppers (Daleks, Cybermen, TARDIS and K9) & used star sprinkles to add to the theme!  It was very simple to make and well worth doing if you are having a party. I

Tray Bake for a Dr Who Party!

Tray Bake for a Dr Who Party!

The great crested TARDIS Cake

Yes I have faced my nemesis – the TARDIS cake. I don’t do many 3D cakes in fact I was going to wimp out and do a 2D one but a friend told me off and told me to have faith! So I have spend the last few months trawling the internet to see which is the best way to make the masterpiece that is my nemesis.

I used two main sources. Aritsan cake tutorial which is a fantastic step by step blog. And Cute sweet things which was also a brilliant resource.

I started off by making the board – inspired by Artisan cakes. Which was supposed to be a Galaxy type of affair.  I just splatted some food colouring and made a passing resemblance to a galaxy. Thank goodness I was going to put a cake on it and hide most of it!

Cake Board Galaxy
Cake Board Galaxy

Cake Board Galaxy

Then came the cake. I made a chocolate mud cake from Cute Sweet things in a 9 square tin. I then cut it into 4 squares and stacked. The picture below is me testing the height of the cake.

Chocolate mud TARDIS cake

Chocolate mud TARDIS cake

I then made an obscene amount of chocolate  ganache to cover the cake. Again I got the amount from Cute Sweet things – but to be honest its a ridiculous amount. You can easily half the mixture. Ganache gives a good base as it can produce quite straight sides which for a TARDIS cake is pretty essential.

So I cut the 4 squares in half in eight  & filled with ganache and placed it on a 5 inch cake board. Then I used dowels to support the next section of the cake – below is a picture of the cake once made and cut to give you an idea of what it looked like. Dowels in TARDIS cakeThe dowels give a good support to the cake and helps the structure. If you didn’t dowel it would collapse. Then on the top of the cake I placed the other 4 ganached pieces.

Then came the process of ganaching (is that a word!) the cake and trying to get straight sides. Any holes in the cake were plugged with fondant.

ganached cakeThe above photo was taken before I straightened the sides. It was best to do this with a hot palette knife.

Then I covered the cake with 4 blue recatangles (I used colour flair navy and ice blue to get the TARDIS blue colour).

The rectangle were covered with strips to make the details of the sides, windows and doors. The roof was made of fondant as well – just a large rectangle and a smaller raised dome. I added  4  pieces of fondant to neaten up the roof.TARDIS CAKEWindows were added by using white fondant and detail added with edible pen.

The TARDIS iconic signage came from Eat your words  which gave fantastic detail to the cake. The handle was made of fondant painted with silver dust.

TARDIS CAKE SIGNAGEI used a floral light obtained from ebay to give the final touch. I made a hole in the top of the cake and made a cage around the light & added a round top and a ball for final detail.

TARDIS LIGHT2013-09-22 13.51.17The light was added at the last minute as the battery only lasted a short time but it looked really impressive. I was very pleased with the final result as I only make about two 3d cakes a year I thought it was a good effort.

My son was very impressed – especially with the firework candles!


The cake inside wasn’t too bad either!


Even the marshmallow adipose seemed happy.

Marshmallow adiposeHappy baking!


Coffee and (not) carrot cake

Making the cakes is the easy part – its the blogging that I find difficult. I don’t have the time. I want to say something interesting, witty and original but work, birthday party organising, starting school, meal planning and general stuff just gets in the way.

I made this coffee cake a couple of weekends ago. Another all in one recipe (Mary’s isn’t that challenging in the technique stake yet) and it was lovely. The Camp coffee essence was a blast from the past and the icing tasted like Angel Delight. I was transported back to the 70s. The flavours are classic and lovely.

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I also made Marys American carrot cake. Now reading the recipe – this was as far removed from any carrot cake that I have made in the past. Where’s the spice? raisins? why so little carrot?

Mary Berry's Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Topping

Mary Berry’s Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Topping

Anyway the cake turned out very well – the topping  -a mascarpone vanilla frosting was a revelation. It was like eating ice cream and it made the cake. The cake however, although it was nice was NOT a carrot cake. It was a nice banana, walnut cake with carrot just sneaking a peek in.

This is a better carrot cake recipe. I tinkered with it a little and used around 75 ml of oil and about 70g of melted butter which gives it a better texture. Try it, its lovely.

Lemon drizzle cake & Drop Scones

My mum made this when I was on holiday. & I liked it so much I made it when I returned home. It’s a delicious, lemony soft and fluffy sponge. It is also very moist and lasts really well.

Doing this blog is forcing me to practice simple techniques in cake making. I keep noticing mistakes that I make when I go through the recipes.

For example I didn’t level the tray bake enough so it came out looking lopsided.

Lopsided lemon Sponge

Lopsided lemon Sponge

Its a very simple mistake but does make a lot of diffference to the bake. I could kick myself for missing stuff like this but when you are multi tasking then little key stages can be easily omitted.

That’s the problem when you bake at home with children.  Cooking with children is like juggling act. Take the drop scones for example. I wish I could say that this was a blissful serene moment between a mother and her children. That the boys were very patient and helped their Mother with the mixing whilst we all laughed and merrily put little dustings of flour on each others noses.  The reality was that my two lovelies were asking screaming for breakfast, argued over who was going to turn on the mixer, who was going to sit next to the mixer, who was going to break the eggs. In the midst of this I was trying to make breakfast -stop the kids from killing each other – balencing them both precariously on the kitchen top & putting away an online shop.  The Great British bake Off  seems a breeze compared do my weekly experiences of baking.

Oh and the drop scones were delicious. They are similar to the Scotch pancakes that I made the other week. The boys like them with Chocolate spread, lemon and sugar but I prefer them with Greek Yogurt, blueberries and maple syrup.


Till the next time.