Cherry Buttermilk Cake


I saw this lovely crate of cherries in the supermarket today and had to have them. They are my daughter’s favourite fruit although my two kids will easily clear a large bowl each in a single sitting – their hands look like a bloodbath afterwards. I had other plans for these little bursts of sunshine though.

It was fate as I scrolled through and saw the Smitten Kitchen recipe for Raspberry Buttermilk Cake appearing and I thought I would try it with the cherries and it was yummy – done in no time at all and just the perfect everyday or rainy Thursday kinda cake. Feel free to use the raspberries though, as in the original. Deb Perelman is one of my food heroes and she can do no wrong as far as I am concerned!

Ingredients to make one 8.5 to 9inch cake

1 cup (130g) of plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

56g butter (Deb used unsalted and added salt; I just used salted)

2/3 cup golden caster sugar (146g) plus 1.5 tblsp (22g), divided

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp lemon zest (Deb notes it’s optional – I used it and it was lovely)

1 large egg

1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk

1 cup cherries, pitted and halved.


Preheat oven to 200c and prep a 9inch (mine was 8.5!) round loose bottomed tin. Beat the 2/3 cup sugar and the butter in a stand mixer until it is nice and fluffy. Add the vanilla, zest, egg and beat well making sure to scrape the sides down so that the batter is well mixed.

Mix the flour and baking powder and baking soda together and add to the mixer bowl in three lots, alternating with the buttermilk and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined. Spoon the batter carefully into the cake pan and smooth the top. Scatter the cherries or dot them over the top of the batter – I put them gently into the top of the batter and the baking sank them ever so slightly into the cake.

Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester pierced in the centre comes out batter free. Mine was done after 22 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes in the tin on a cooling rack and them turn on to a plate – serve with warm with whipped or pouring cream.

Lime Curd Crunch Cake

This was a little experimental. It happened when I saw a jar of lime curd in the supermarket and couldn’t stop thinking about it. This happens me sometimes with ingredients, which I realise sounds odd, but I had to try it out and it turned out to be seriously tasty.

My parents came over and were willing guinea pigs – we obliterated almost half the cake; I don’t expect the other half to last much longer. This turned out to be a lovely fluffy kind of cake with zingy little pockets of lime curd and a crunchy top. Just perfect with a cup of coffee and some cream on the side. Don’t volunteer to make the second pot of coffee because when your back is turned this happens …

130g butter, room temperature

170g golden caster sugar, plus 2 tblsp for sprinkling

150g plain flour plus 1 tblsp for coating the tin

1 tsp baking powder

3 large eggs

25g ground almonds

2-3 tblsp flaked almonds

1 jar lime curd (you will use about 200g of the curd)

zest of 1 lime


Preheat your oven to 170c. Butter and flour a deep round springform baking tin.

Mix the curd and lime zest together and set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter together in a stand mixer until pale, fluffy and creamy – a few minutes. Now mix in the flour and baking powder followed by the eggs and ground almonds. Don’t overmix.


Spread evenly in the tin and then with the back of a teaspoon, make little indentations in the batter. Put a spoon of curd in each hollow. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of golden caster sugar over the top, followed by the flaked almonds.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden on top and a tester comes out clean of batter (but not of curd – that’s allowed!)

Cool in the tin for ten minutes then remove the sides and cool further. Serve with whipped cream.


Strawberry Muffins

These muffins are just the thing for a rainy Wednesday afternoon. I had a punnet of Irish strawberries, so recently lovely that had all of a sudden become a little tired looking and were in need of a little extra attention in the form of butter, sugar and flour. Muffins are just the thing, only taking 20 or 25 minutes in the oven and (mostly!) only needing a bowl. The crumbly streusel topping added a little crunch, because well, WEDNESDAY!

I like to melt the butter slowly in a small saucepan, letting it brown, foam and become slightly nutty. Brown butter is a wonder! Watch it doesn’t burn though. Don’t worry though – this is not a necessary step if you don’t have the time or inclination for it.

A note: I like to use US cup measurements – I’ve tried to include equivalents where I can.

Ingredients to yield 16-18 muffins:-

250g or 2 cups strawberries, finely diced.

445g  or 3 cups plain flour

1 tblsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

300g or 1 1/2 cups caster sugar

225g or 1 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled.

3 large eggs

300ml or 1 1/4 cups milk

Streusel topping:

50g butter, cold

4 tblsp plain flour

4 tblsp brown sugar


Preheat your oven to 180C and line your muffin tins with liners.  Make the streusel topping. I like to grate the cold butter into the mix of the flour and brown sugar and bring it all together with a fork and or fingers until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Set aside for later.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb of soda to a large bowl and mix. In a large jug/bowl, mix the milk, eggs and melted cooled butter together.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients in, folding them efficiently. Make sure they are all well incorporated, but don’t over mix. Now fold in the chopped strawberries.

Divide equally in the cases, filling 3/4 way. Spoon a generous tablespoon of streusel topping on top of each muffin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Check after 20 – mine were done at around 21 minutes – golden and springy to the touch.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes in the tin, before removing to cool on a rack.

Put the kettle on and enjoy!


A Spin on the Bakewell.


Blueberry Coconut cake

A spin on the bakewell.

There’s nothing like a slice of cake with a cuppa is there? This one I came up with, adapting a recipe that I have almost worn out from baking (if that’s possible!) from BBC Good Food. It’s a cake version which takes the pressure off performing any kind of pastry miracle. This is almost always a good thing! It never fails. I chose to change it around a little, swapping the raspberries for blueberries and adding a little coconut for a change. I’ve also used strawberries and mixed berries in the original, which is a winner.



100g ground almonds

150g butter, softened to room temperature

140g caster sugar

140g self-raising flour

50g dessicated coconut

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g blueberries (fresh or frozen are fine)

2 tblsp flaked almonds


Preheat your oven to 180C or fan 160C. Butter and line the base of a 26cm loose bottom tin with baking parchment. Place the butter, ground almonds, sugar, flour, coconut, eggs, and vanilla into a food processor and blitz until smooth and well mixed. Smooth half the mix into the base of the tin. Place the berries on top of the mix, scattering fairly evenly. Smooth the rest of the mix over the berries and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top. Bake for 50 minutes until golden. Cool in the tin then remove carefully to plate. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of cream.