#Recipe – Apple & Cranberry Traybake

So, who’s watching the new series of the Great British Bake Off then? Me, me, me! I admit, I miss Mary in particular but I’m not bothered who’s presenting it as long as it’s on the tele, ok the adverts are a pain but does anyone watch live tv anymore? That’s why we have recorders (or whatever they’re called).  Anyway, this week was fruity cake week and they were warned that they’re hard to get right.  And oh weren’t they right.

I was given a windfall of fruit this week, mostly apples and rhubarb so then went scouring the Weight Watchers site for a suitable recipe (because I’m still on that diet..sorry lifestyle change) or something that I could adapt and therein lay the problem – I thought I could adapt an established recipe and get away with it and so , I could have named this post several titles: Recipe for Disaster, When Things Don’t Go To Plan, How to Waste Time and Food or Disaster Baking to name but a few.

If you’re interested this is the recipe:

You need:
50g caster sugar
100g low fat spread (I used Flora light)
1 medium egg
250g apple sauce (chunky, from a jar)
150g white self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp level ground cinnamon
40g dried cranberries
2 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to gas 4 or fan 160°c.  Line a rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  • Keep back 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar for topping the cake later, beat the remainder with the low fat spread until creamy.
  • Add the egg and the apple sauce and beat again.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Stir in the cranberries, then turn into the prepared tin.
  • Arrange the apples on top in four rows.  Sprinkle on the reserved sugar.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes .
  • Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then turn out onto cooling rack and cut into 16 squares.

Now, I had so many apples and was looking for a way to reduce the calories so I thought hey I’ll make my own apple sauce! Good hey! I used about 8 apples of varying sizes and types, peeled, cored and sliced into chunks, put them in a saucepan with about 1/4 pint water and 50g caster sugar, boiled, then simmered until the apples were mushy.  This was a success! Yummy apple sauce.

The cake was a disaster!

I substituted the jarred apple sauce for my own, ensuring all excess water was drained off and swapped the cranberries for a bit of rhubarb.  Sounds ok doesn’t it? Nothing too dramatic going on here!

What I wanted

What I Got








My cake didn’t rise, it took over an hour to ‘bake’ (after I’d taken it out and then put it back in) and it looked vile.  I did try a bit and whilst it was edible I wasn’t prepared to serve it up to my work colleagues.

So what went wrong?

The oven probably needed to be at a higher temperature other than that I don’t know.

So let’s hope for something better next time….

Fatless Victoria Sponge #Recipe

Continuing my baking theme of trying to find healthier baking alternatives, here’s a fatless Victoria sponge recipe that I’ve tried and tested recently and served up for my book club.  It was touch and go whether or not the middle of the cake would be edible and I did make a quick trip to the shop for emergency cake just in case!

What you need:

150g self-raising flour
150g caster sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract*
No added sugar strawberry jam
1 tsp icing sugar to decorate
Frylight (or alternative low calorie cooking spray) for greasing

*optional extras

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 170°c.  Using Frylight grease and line 2 x 7″ baking tins with greaseproof paper.
  • Using the whisk attachment on a free-standing mixer whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture has tripled in size.  This does take a good 7-10 minutes – keep going, it does happen!
  • Carefully fold in the flour with a metal spoon – try to knock out as little air as possible to ensure a good rise.  However, be aware that although you think you’re mixing the flour in, it will also sink to the bottom so be sure to mix to the bottom of the bowl!  This happened to me and I had to mix in the flour in the baking tin – oops!
  • Divide the mixture between the 2 prepared tins.
  • Bake for approximately 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack.
  • Spread one sponge with the jam, add the strawberries if required.
  • Put the other sponge on top and sprinkle with icing sugar to decorate.


Fortunately there was only one pocket of flour discovered in the cake so that was better than I expected and I didn’t need the emergency cake supplies after all.  As the cake is so light it will take on the shape of whatever you put in so mine wasn’t a perfect circular shape due to the greaseproof paper folding in slightly.

If you’re following the Weight Watchers plan, as am I, then I managed to get 9 pieces from this cake and pointed it at 8 points per slice.  A shop bought slice of Victoria Sponge ranges between 6 and 30 SmartPoints depending on shop and portion size so I’m quite happy with this at 8 points as it was a good sized piece and no sacrifice made in terms of taste.

I’m struggling to find a fat and sugar free sponge recipe so if anyone has one please do let me know.

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Double Chocolate Muffins

I’d seen this recipe over at Claire’s blog some time ago and I’d wanted to have a go and now that I have my super duper silicone muffin tray I had a go.  I used half of the measurements below which comfortably made 6 muffins.

What you need:

375g self-raising flourimg_2620
1 tsp baking powder
25g cocoa powder
175g caster sugar
200g chocolate chips or chopped up regular chocolate
(I ended up using half chips and half chopped up Wispa bites)
175ml milk – semi skimmed works fine
175ml vegetable oil
2 eggs

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 190°c and line a muffin with paper case if you don’t have a silicone tray.
  • If you’re using regular chocolate, chop it up.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into a bowl.  Add your chocolate chunks and the sugar to the bowl. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk the eggs, milk and oil together.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix with a metal spoon until combined.double-chocolate-muffins
  • Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.double-chocolate-muffins

I did slightly over bake mine so were best eaten on the day of baking as they were a tadge dry but yummy on the same day 🙂


Until next time…Happy Baking!

Raspberry Ripple Sponge Cake

Here’s another recipe I’ve borrowed from Claire at Art & Soul, unfortunately for me I didn’t have quite the same successful results….boooo!  In order to save the icing from melting in the kitchen, I put the cake by the front door; it’s actually colder there than in the fridge! Consequently, the sponge ended up having a dense, chilled texture rather than the light soft one it had the day after….top tip don’t worry about melted icing and have a decent sponge 😉

What you need:untitled
For the sponges
250g self-raising flour
250g caster sugar
250g butter
175g fresh raspberries
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the buttercream
75g softened butter
150g icing sugar
2 tablespoons of reserved raspberry purée (from above)

What you do:

  • I made the raspberry purée first by using a hand blender and then straining through a sieve to remove the pips, once done this can be set aside for later.
  • Preheat your oven to 160°c and line two 8″ cake tins.
  • I prefer the all in one method so add all your ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix using a whisk or freestanding mixer for approx. 2 minutes until you have a smooth creamy mixture.
  • Divide your mixture between the tins.  Using a spoon or knife handle make some wells in each tin but try not to go to the bottom of the tin. This is actually harder than it looks because it’s quite a thick mixture.
  • Spoon your raspberry purée into these holes, keeping some purée back for your buttercream, if required.  Then swirl the purée and mixture together.  I wanted to use a cocktail stick and they’re smaller and more precise but I didn’t have any, consequently it looks messy.raspberry-ripple-sponge-cake
  • Bake the cakes for approx 30 minutes or until a cocktail stick (or knife etc) comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.raspberry-ripple-sponge-cake
  • Make your buttercream by creaming together the softened butter, icing sugar and your reserved raspberry purée and mix together until you have a smooth paste.  I was trying to be all fancy and pipe on the icing but it was a bit thick and I was going to run out, so just ended up spreading it over!raspberry-ripple-sponge-cake
  • Spread the buttercream over the bottom sandwich layer and top with the other – bish bash bosh – ta dah!raspberry-ripple-sponge-cake


Until next time….Happy Baking!


Mary Berry’s Whole Orange Spice Cake

A very similar recipe appears in the Great British Bake Off Everyday recipe book which uses mascarpone cheese for the filling and also divides the cake into 4 layers however I was looking for a simpler recipe as I was baking in the evening after work and I found this one on Mary Berry’s website.  This is a perfect alternative to a traditional Christmas cake and can be decorated to suit with a little adaptation.

What you need:

For the cakeimg_2526
1 small orange
4 eggs
275g self-raising flour
225g butter, softened
3 level tsp baking powder
275g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice

For the orange filling
50g butter, softened
2 level tbsp orange pulp, saved from the cake
175g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

What you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°c. Grease and line two deep 20cm tins with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the whole orange in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and simmer until soft, for about 20 minutes.  Leave to cool.
  3. When the orange is soft and cold, cut in half and remove any pips. Blitz the whole orange, including the skin in a blender until medium chunky.  Save 2 level tablespoons of the orange pulp for the icing.
  4. Add the remaining cake ingredients to the orange pulp and mix until smooth (I mixed for approx. 2 mins).  whole-orange-spice-cake
  5. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  Although mine took more than this so adjust to suit your oven but check at 25mins.whole-orange-spice-cake
  7. Leave to cool in the tins for a few moments, then turn out to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Make the orange filling by creaming the soft butter, adding the sieved icing sugar and the reserved orange pulp. Sandwich the cakes together with the icing.whole-orange-spice-cake
  9. Decorate by sieving icing sugar over the top of the cake.  I used a doily as a template!

This is a lovely moist cake that has the texture of carrot cake.


Until next time…Happy Baking!