Category Archives: Cakes

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Sometimes you need cake. Chocolate Cake. Special Cake. And sometimes you need two Very Special Mini Chocolate Cakes! 

One for you, one for a friend… Or something! Mini cake is always a good idea, right? 

Basic Cake Mix:

180g self raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 pinch salt

40g cocoa powder

125g caster sugar

2 eggs

150ml olive oil

150ml milk

2 tbsp golden syrup

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and line your chosen cake tins. 

– Sift the flour, bicarbonate, salt and cocoa into a large mixing bowl. 

– Mix the sugar and wet ingredients together in a large jug. 

– Stir the wet I to the dry and mix well until thoroughly combined. 

– Divide between your chosen cake tins. 

– Bake! 4″ tins should take around 25-30 minutes, 8″ sandwich tins around 30-40 minutes and if you want to bake it all as one huge cake (23cm springform) then you’re looking at about an hour. Check regularly and test to ale sure a skewer comes out clean before removing from the oven. 

Chocolate Fudge Icing: 

50g butter

200g icing sugar

45g cocoa powder

4 tablespoons milk

– Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. 

– Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa powder. 

– Add the milk and mix well until smooth. 

– Leave to cool and thicken before spreading on the cakes or pour over as a glaze. 

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Cinnamon Scone Cake

This Cinnamon Scone Cake was actually the first of the Giant Scone Cakes. I had the idea of a cinnamon flavoured scone smothered in clotted cream and honey and I couldn’t rest until it had been created!



450g self raising flour

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

100g butter, softened

1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Just under 300ml milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice added* (or 300ml buttermilk)

2 tbsp brown sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon

50g icing sugar + cold water

– Heat the oven to gas mark 5 /180C and line a baking tray. 

– In a large mixing bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder. 

– Rub the butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. 

– Add the sugar and cinnamon and stir lightly. 

-Mix in the milk quickly and thoroughly but be careful not to over mix the dough. 

– Trn the dough out onto the baking tray and use floured hands to shape into a round. 

– Slice though the dough to to the number of sections you want. 

– Brush the top with a little milk and a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon. 

– Bake for ~30 minutes until the sugar on top is caramelised and the scone cooked through. 

– Mix the icing sugar with just a little water then drizzle over the top. 

– Serve with clotted cream and honey. Plain butter is also delicious! 

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Giant Victoria Scone Cake

I love sitting in the garden in the summer surrounded by flowers with a big pot of tea and scones for tea! So what could be better than a Giant Victoria Scone Cake. One giant scone, sliced in half and filled with freshly whipped cream, homemade jam and berries from the garden. Yum! 

Makes 1x 9″ or 2x 7″ scone cakes

450g self raising flour

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

100g butter, softened

2 tbsp caster sugar

Just under 300ml milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice added or 300ml buttermilk

– Heat the oven to gas mark 7 and line a large baking tray. 

– If using milk and lemon juice, combine in a jug now and let it sit for a bit. 

– Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and give a quick stir to combine. 

– Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

– Add the milk and mix until all the flour is incorporated. Try not to mix too much, a light hand gives a better scone. 

– Tuen out the dough directly on to your lined baking tray. Scrape down the sides for any spare dough as this mix should be quite sticky. 

– Flour your hands well and lightly pat the dough into a round cake. 

– Brush the top with milk. 

– Bake for 25 minutes until firm and just browned. 

– Leave to cool almost completely before splitting in half and spreading with jam. Fill with whipped cream and fresh berries. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy! 

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Lemon and Raspberry Mini Loaf French Yogurt Cakes

I can’t remember where I first came across the recipe for French Yogurt Cake.  It’s always just been there. But I never once felt the need to try it.  There were always more exciting, more challenging cakes to try.  Why go back to basics with a cake intended to be made with the help of toddlers?

French Yogurt Cake

This is why, my friends!
Beautiful, light, fluffy cakes that are the perfect teatime pick me up… or breakfast, coz it’s got fruit and yogurt in and that’s a breakfast food, right?

French Yogurt Cake

And, even though I possess no toddlers of my own (Darcy isn’t too good at baking, even though he loves the tasting part!) I can say with my limited knowledge of the species that this would be an absolutely brilliant recipe to bake with kids.  No faffy weighing, just measure everything out using a yogurt tub and mix it up.  Simple!

French Yogurt Cake

And so quick.  The thing that takes the most time about this recipe is waiting for the oven to heat up!  (Or sometimes it’s the pressing need to pop to the Co-op as you realise you’ve run out of eggs half way through!) We all know there are some days when you just want to get something in the oven without any hassle, these can be whipped together and out of the oven in less than half an hour (although I assume if you do choose to involve kids it will take longer…)
Don’t delay, give them a go today!

French Yogurt Cake
Makes 6

1 x 125g tub natural yogurt
2 tubs self raising flour
1 tub golden caster sugar
1/2 tub rapeseed oil
3 eggs
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon, grated*
~ 1 tub frozen raspberries

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C.
– Prepare a tray with 6 mini loaf cases. Alternatively you can make this as a large loaf and just increase the cooking time.
–  Put all of the ingredients except the raspberries in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Use the yogurt tub to measure out each of the ingredients.
– Divide equally between the mini loaf tins. (Space them well as this mixture rises!)
– Scatter the top of each cake with frozen raspberries.
– Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. (If cooking as a large loaf 45 minutes to an hour)
– Allow to cool until just warm them devour! Also excellent when you allow them to fully cool before consuming!

*
RECIPE VARIATION:
Instead of Lemon and Raspberry these can be adapted to any flavour you like.  I have also had great success with Chocolate Orange, just replace the lemon zest with orange zest and add 2 tbsp cocoa powder and a tub of chocolate chips instead of raspberries.

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Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake

It’s a familiar refrain at this time of year among those who like to grow their own veg… “Would you like some courgettes?” I have been lucky this year and I too can join this ritual with a bumper crop!  So what to do with this glut of courgettes?  Well, courgettes are one of my favourite vegetables.  So it was only natural that eventually I would put them in a cake!  This Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake is deliciously, deeply chocolaty and ever so moist!

Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake

The spices add a different dimension to this chocolate cake.  They’re not overpowering but instead add a warmth and depth to this rich chocolate cake.  I was inspired by Green & Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate, one of my favourites as the spices are just so good there!

Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake

The icing is beautifully smooth and silky and the hint of orange complements with spiced wonderfully.  I cut back on the amount of sugar in this recipe too as I just don’t think you need as much sugar as we’re used to putting in cakes.  Overall I feel happy calling this cake almost healthy!  It’s probably one of your five a day anyway!

Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake

While you can definitely see the courgette in the uncooked mixture by the time it is cooked it has vanished like magic!  I honestly don’t think that anyone would know it was there if you didn’t tell them.  The crumb isn’t too dense either even though the cake is gloriously moist but without ever approaching brownie territory.

Spiced Chocolate Courgette Cake

Makes 1 x 23cm cake

2 medium sized courgettes, grated (500ml in a jug is what you need YMMV on the courgettes required!)
175ml sunflower oil
300g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
350g self raising flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp mixed spice

250g dark chocolate (I used a mixture of 50-80% as that’s what I had in the cupboard!)
25g butter
125ml orange juice

  • Heat the oven to gas mark 4/180C  and grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin.
  • Grate your courgettes (if you have a food processor attachment then use this, its much easier and quicker!)
  • Put your courgettes in a sieve or colander and gently press to squeeze out some excess moisture.
  • Place the courgettes in a large jug, you need to have about 500ml of them.
  • If your jug is big enough (I use a 1l pyrex jug) then add the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla straight to this.  Give it all a good mix.
  • In a large mixing bowl add your flour, cocoa powder and mixed spice and mix it all together.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir thoroughly until all the pockets of flour have disappeared.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 45-60 minutes.  This cooking time will depend very much on the moisture content of your courgettes.  Check it at intervals, it’s done when there is no wobble left and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin.
  • To make the icing melt your chocolate and butter together in a bowl.  I use a microwave but you could do it in a bowl over a pan of boiling water if you prefer.
  • Add the orange juice and give it all a really good beating to combine everything together into a smooth icing.
  •  When the cake is cool remove it from the tin and unpeel the paper.
  • Spread the icing evenly over the surface of your cake and enjoy!

 

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Ombré Birthday Cake

For my Birthday BBQ I made a 3 Layer Pink Ombre Cake and a dozen cupcakes as favours too!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

I’m really happy with how it turned out!  I’ve never tried anything like it before but I was pleased to see how my technique worked out!  I wanted to minimise waste and washing up so I came up with my own way of creating this cake effect.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

Everyone seemed to enjoy it anyway, there was barely any left by the end of the evening!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

I made a huge batch of cake mixture…

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

…And about 2kg of buttercream!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

The colours worked wonderfully!  Nice and vibrant!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

I tried to keep things nice and tidy, having assembled the layers I then piped round to fill in the gaps.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

Which meant that I had a smooth surface to spread the rest of the icing over.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

So here’s how I did it:

Makes 1 x 3 layer 7″ Layer Cake and 12 Cupcakes

500g unsalted butter, softened
500g golden caster sugar
8 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
500g self raising flour
3 tbsp milk
pink gel good colouring*  (I have that awful salmon pink one so you need to add violet to make it a nicer colour!)
grape violet gel food colouring*

500g unsalted butter, softened
1 kg icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk

1 jar seedless raspberry jam

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4.  Prepare 3 7″ sandwich tins (I use silicone as they come out flatter and are easier to turn out.) Line 12 muffin holes with paper cases.
– Cream together the butter and sugar in a LARGE mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
– Add one egg at a time, mixing well between additions.
– Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
– Fold in the flour until all combined with the wet ingredients.
– Add the 3 tbsp milk and mix well.
– Fill each cupcake case to halfway with cake batter.
– Put 1/3 of the remaining white batter in the first greased cake tin.
– Add a bit of the pink colouring about the size of a sweetcorn kernel along with a slightly smaller amount of the grape violet and mix thoroughly into the batter to achieve a light pink colour.  * If using nicer food colouring then use your judgement on the blend you want.
– Put 1/2 this mixture in the second cake tin.
– Add more pink colouring and more violet colouring and mix well to get a really deep colour.
– Put this remaining cake batter in the final tin.
– Put everything in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
– Turn out your cakes upside down onto cooling racks and take the cupcakes out of the tin to cool.

– Put the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and milk in a LARGE mixing bowl and beat until thoroughly combined, light and airy.

To assemble the cakes:

– Trim any domes from your cake layers to give you flat cakes.
– Put a smear of buttercream on the base of the cake stand or plate.
– Place the darkest layer flat bottom up on the cake stand or plate.
– Spread with an even layer of buttercream.
– Spread raspberry jam on the top of the lighter layer.
– Place the jam side on top of the buttercream.
– Spread another layer of buttercream over the flat bottom of the lighter layer.
– Spread raspberry jam over the top of the white layer.
– Place the jam side on top of the buttercream.
– Fill a piping bag with white buttercream and make a 1/2″ hole to pipe from.
– Pipe around the cake between the layers to fill in any dips or gaps between the cakes layers.
– Smooth round this with a palette knife to make a smooth sided cake.
– Spread a good amount of white buttercream over the top of the cake and down over the edges using a palette knife to spread a smooth even layer of white buttercream over the whole cake.
– Now take about a cup of buttercream from the main mixture and put it in a separate bowl.
– Add pink and grape violet food colouring to acheive a nice deep raspberry pink colour.
– Put it in a piping bag with a 1/2″ hole.
– Pipe a ring of pink buttercream around the base of the cake.
– Now take a pallette knife and spread the pink buttercream up the side of the cake in small swirling circles so the dark pink melds with the white to give that faded ombre effect.  Don’t swirl all the way to the top, only go about 2/3 up and leave a nice band of clean white buttercream at the top.

– Take some raspberry jam and put it in a squeezy bottle with a cone tip.
– Inject jam into the centre of each cupcake.
– Take the remaining buttercream and put it in a piping bag with a large star tip.
– Ice each cupcake with a swirl of buttercream covering the jam hole in the centre.
– Add sprinkles white the buttercream is wet.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

 

 

 

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Darcy’s 1st Birthday Cake

Darcy's 1st Birthday

This awesome Birthday Cake was so good even the humans were eating it!  And Darcy’s doggy friends all wolfed it down, no time for table manners here!  It’s a sweet potato sponge with oats and a little bit of maple syrup to sweeten it for Darcy’s insane sweet tooth.  My dog must be the only dog in the world who hates peanut butter so all of the popular recipes for doggy birthday cake were right out!

Darcy's 1st Birthday

This recipe made enough for a small 4″ 2 layer Birthday Cake and 24 mini Pupcakes too.  The icing is simply cream cheese and greek yogurt, no sugar here so make sure you refrigerate it!

Darcy's 1st Birthday

Makes 1 x 4″ 2 layer cake and 24 mini Pupcakes (You could probably just use 2 normal Victoria sponge tins for a bigger dog’s cake)

2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup porridge oats
1 small sweet potato, grated
75g butter, melted
3 medium eggs, beaten
3 tbsp maple syrup (or you can use the stuff mixed with carob syrup)
~100ml milk
400g cream cheese
125g greek yogurt
Dog treats to decorate

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C.  Grease and line your cake tins and place paper liners in tins for cupcakes.
– Mix the flour, oats and sweet potato in a large mixing bowl.
– Melt the butter in a jug and leave to cool a little.
– Add the eggs and maple syrup to the melted butter and beat together.
– Mix in the egg mixture to the flour mixture.
– Add the milk a little at a time to loosen the batter, you want a soft spongy dropping consistency.
– Divide the mixture between your chosen baking tins.
– Mini Pupcakes bake in 15 minutes, the 4″ mini layer cakes in about 30 minutes.  Test to see if a skewer comes out clean to check the bake.
– Allow to cool completely before icing.
– Trim the domes off the layer cakes to give you two flat, even layers.
– Mix the cream cheese and greek yogurt together in a mixing bowl.
– Spread evenly over your cake and pup cakes.  You can be generous here, don’t worry!
– Add whatever treats your dog likes to decorate it!

Darcy's 1st Birthday

Darcy's 1st Birthday

 

 

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Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

November’s Clandestine Cake Club challenge for the York group was enough to tempt me back into the fold.  The challenge was to produce a vegan AND gluten free cake.  Well, I couldn’t pass up on that kind of fun, could I?

I chose to go for a chocolate cherry cake… because YUM!  But you could really take this cake in any number for directions for a scrumptious, vegan, gluten free, packed full of flavour, moist and delicious cake!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

It is equally at home being a loaf or a layer cake.  Whether you are after something for a celebration or just a little something to serve with tea.

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

So often I find the texture of gluten free cakes to be lacking.  There’s something just not right about them.  However, this cake proves that not only does it not have to be that way but that you can make a quick, easy, fuss free gluten free AND vegan cake without making any sacrifices at all!  What’s not to like about that?!?!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

Makes 1 cake (Large loaf or 2×7″ victoria sponge tins)

1 cup gluten free flour mix (I like Asda’s own brand one.  It’s mainly rice, potato starch and tapioca flour and works well in a variety of recipes.)
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (Make sure no milk has been snuck in, you are after cocoa powder, never ever drinking chocolate!)
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder (Most are but always best to check!)
1 cup soya or almond milk
1 tbsp Trex solid vegetable fat
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g plain chocolate (Check for milk!)
100ml soya or almond milk
cherry jam
glace cherries to decorate
plain chocolate sprinkles

– Heat the oven to gas mark 3/170C and prepare your chosen tins by greasing and lining them.  (If you use silicone tins then no need to line, this recipe won’t stick.)
– In a large mixing bowl combine the flour mix, the almonds, the sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder.
– In a small saucepan heat together the milk, fat and syrup until all melted.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well to combine into a smooth batter.
– Pour the batter into your prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes.  (Loaf tin may well take a little longer to cook in the centre.)
– Test with a skewer to check if it is done in the middle.  If the skewer comes out clean then place it on a wore rack to cool, otherwise pop it back in for another 5-10 minutes.
– To make the icing melt the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl.  30 seconds, stir it, then another 20 seconds work for my microwave but they are all different so go slowly in short bursts, checking and stirring regularly.  Alternatively you can place the bowl over a pan of boiling water until the chocolate melts.
– Pour in the milk and mix vigorously to combine into a smooth ganache.
– When your cakes are cool spread jam in the centre if using, then ice the top with the ganache and decorate with cherries and sprinkles!

 

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Vegan Surprise Inside Cake

This delicious cake with a “surprise inside” wasn’t actually meant to be vegan.  I was playing around with different ideas and it was only when I came to write down the recipe that I realised that it was actually vegan!  Which was another happy surprise!

I decided to go for a simple bone shape hidden inside this cake as Halloween is so nearly upon us.  I contemplated doing a bat but unfortunately the cutter was too wide for the loaf tin!  This cake has a lovely springy, dense texture and is a brilliant option for kids as the cake doesn’t crumble when subjected to rough toddler handling.  This cake is really robust and travels well, even through the post!

Vegan Surprise Inside Cake

Makes 1 large loaf (plus a whole bunch of chocolate offcuts!)

Chocolate Cake:
2 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup of soft brown sugar
1 large tablespoon of Trex (or another solid vegetable fat, coconut oil might work well here!) 
2 tablespoons of golden syrup (I just go for one hulking great dollop!)
1 cup of soya milk

Orange Cake:
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup of golden caster sugar
1 large tablespoon of Trex (or another solid vegetable fat, coconut oil might work well here!) 
2 tablespoons of golden syrup (Again, one hulking great dollop!)
1 cup of soya milk
zest and juice of one orange

– Heat the oven to gas mark 3 / 170C. Line a large loaf tin with baking parchment or similar.
– Measure out the flour, cocoa, bicarb and sugar into a large mixing bowl.
– Place the soya milk, golden syrup and Trex in a small saucepan.
– Gently heat until the Trex and golden syrup are melted.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mix well to combine completely.
– Scrape out the mixture into the loaf tin.
– Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
– Remove the cake from the oven, lift out of the tin by the paper and allow to cool.
– Slice your cake into thick slices the depth of your chosen cutter.
– Cut out one shape from each slice and place to one side.
Now for the orange cake!
– Heat the oven to gas mark 3 / 170C. Line the same large loaf tin with baking parchment or similar.
– Measure out the flour, bicarb and sugar into a large mixing bowl.
– Place the soya milk, golden syrup and Trex in a small saucepan.
– Gently heat until the Trex and golden syrup are melted.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, add the zest and juice of the orange and mix well to combine completely.
– Scrape 1/3 of the mixture into the loaf tin, level it out.
– Place your cut out shapes in a neat row along the centre loaf tin, pressing down gently into the cake mixture below.
– Carefully scrape the rest of the cake batter out on top of the chocolate cake shapes.
– Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
– Remove the cake from the oven, lift out of the tin by the paper and allow to cool.
– Peel off the paper and serve!

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Nutella Braided Ring

NUTELLA!  Is there anything finer? Nutella smothered over sweet bread?  Got you covered here!  Nutella is one of the finer things in life and I thought it deserved something fun so this Nutella Braided Ring was born! Just look at it! (I kinda want to lick the screen!)

IMG_5341.JPG

 

This recipe uses about half a jar of Nutella.  You may want to push the envelope further and use a whole jar, but don’t!  Bad things will happen!  (Oozing and burning things!)

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It’s a tricky, sticky thing to get right but it tastes amazing, with each fold of bread hugging a ribbon of Nutella to it.  It is the perfect breakfast/afternoon snack type bread, just sweet enough but still nice and filling!

Nutella Braid

Serves 12

250g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
7g instant yeast
50g unsalted butter
135ml warm milk
1 egg
1/2 jar Nutella (or own brand, who can really tell these days?)

– Take a large mixing bowl and add the flour, then add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other.
– Mix it all together.
– Chop your butter up into little bits and add this along with the milk and egg.
– Get in there with one hand and mix everything together.
– Keep mixing by hand in the bowl.  It will be sticky but keep going and after not too long it will start to come together into a cohesive dough.
– Once you have almost everything as one ball of dough you can turn it out onto a floured worksurface and really start kneading! (There will still be some sticky bits, you can take a small bit of dough and clean round the bowl to mop up stragglers.)
– Keep working it, the trick with a wetter dough is time!
– After about 10 minutes you should have a smooth, elastic dough.
– Place in a clean, oiled bowl, cover and place somewhere sheltered to rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.  I found 2 hours about perfect.
– Prepare your apples.
– Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured worksurface.  Do NOT knock it down.
– Simply start to roll it out with a rolling pin.  You want it to be about 25cm deep and 45cm long.  Try to keep it rectangular.
– Spread the Nutella in a thin layer across the dough, leaving a strip nearest you to seal it together at the end.
– Carefully roll the long end of the dough towards you, keeping the roll quite tight.
– When you have a long roll gently press to seal the dough back to itself.
– Starting about 1″ in from the end cut straight through the dough all the way along to the other end.
– Now for the messy bit!  Twist each half around the other, one over the top, followed by the next, arranging the cut side so it faces uppermost.
– Gently manoeuver onto a baking tray covered in baking parchment and bring each end round to form a circle.  Press the ends together gently to secure.
– Place in a plastic bag (bin bags work well here) and leave in a sheltered spot to rise for another hour.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Bake for 25 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.
– Enjoy!

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