Monday 14 February 2022

Jammie Dodger Heart Cake

This cake is inspired by Jammie Dodger biscuits, which have two layers sandwiched together with jam, and a heart shape cut out from the top biscuit layer to show the jam underneath. It’s very easy to make and fun for Valentine’s Day or someone who loves a Jammie Dodger biscuit!

I used a giant cookie silicon cake pan, which has two parts and lets you bake a cake where the sponges have fluted edging and flowers and also the word ‘cookie’ on the top so they look like giant biscuits.

I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out a piece from the top layer to show the jam underneath.

The recipe itself is a pretty simple one:

175g butter, softened

175g caster sugar

3 eggs

175g self-raising flour

1 tsp vanilla flavouring

50ml milk

For the filling

150g butter, softened

300g icing sugar

Strawberry jam


Preheat oven to 180C.

Cream together the butter and the sugar then mix in the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of the flour each time. Fold in the remainder of the flour. Finally mix in the vanilla flavouring and the milk.

Spoon into two greased cake pans and bake for 20 minutes.

When cool, use a heart shaped cookie cutter or cut around a heart template to make a heart shaped hole in the top layer of your cake.

Cream together the butter and icing sugar to make buttercream and spread over the bottom part of the cake. Spread a layer of jam on top, making sure the jam is thick enough in the centre of the cake (where your heart shaped hole will go) that the buttercream can’t be seen. Place the top layer on top of your cake and enjoy.

Sunday 13 February 2022

Valentine's Chocolate Bark

Chocolate bark is a flat slab of chocolate covered with things like nuts, dried fruit, sweets or with a different colour chocolate swirled through it. I decided to make some chocolate bark with my daughter for Valentine’s Day and made up a recipe as I went along (with a nod to Marks & Spencer’s Percy Pig Choc Corn which I had at Christmas). This makes plenty for a family to enjoy or to give to three or four people in little gift bags.

You need:

300g white chocolate

Pink food colouring

Handful of gummy sweets - I used Haribo Heart Throbs which are usually part of their star mix but you can buy them separately especially at this time of year - I got a box in Poundland Handful of Smarties or M&Ms. I was going to just pick out the pink smarties from a sharing bag I had but my daughter ate most of them!

Handful of popcorn

Handful of marshmallows - I used heart shaped marshmallows that I got from Flying Tiger

Line a small square baking pan with greaseproof paper. Melt the chocolate in a Bain Marie or in the microwave and stir in a couple of drops of pink food colouring.

Pour the melted chocolate into your prepared tin and sprinkle liberally with sweets, marshmallows and popcorn. Put in the fridge until set.

When the chocolate has set hard, remove from the pan and peel off the greaseproof paper. Carefully cut into chunks - I found the easiest way was inserting the point of a dinner knife and pressing down and the chocolate broke itself into random shaped chunks. We ended up giving these as a gift to my daughter’s nursery teachers!

Friday 4 February 2022

Making your own wooden story spoons

If you have children in your life and are a little bit artistic, these story spoons are a great idea. They are wooden spoons, featuring characters from whatever story you like - you can draw or paint or even cut out pictures and glue them on.
I drew these freehand using coloured marker pens (Promarkers) and then Mod Podge, which is a craft sealant, over the top. I bought a set of five wooden spoons on Amazon for just a few pounds and did the Three Little Pigs story and Red Riding Hood. I drew the three pigs on the first three spoons, and then on the back drew the house that each one built, so when you tell the story and hold up the spoon you can flip it over to show the other side.

The wolf spoon plays a role in both stories- so I drew a plain wolf on one side and the wolf in grandmother’s clothing from Red Riding Hood on the other, so again the spoon can be flipped around during the story. I then drew Red Riding Hood herself on the final spoon and the woodcutter on the other side.
I used these spoons with my daughter who had just turned three at the time (I actually made these nearly a year ago!) and she loved holding up the spoons and telling me the story. They act as prompts but also as characters and can help make storytelling easier for younger children and even more fun!

Tuesday 1 February 2022

Unicorn Birthday Cake - Cakes for Children


Last year my daughter had a ‘lockdown birthday’; COVID-19 restrictions meant that we couldn’t have a party, couldn’t have family to visit and couldn’t do anything much at all really. We still had a nice day, as we got Sophie a balance bike for her birthday, and were able to go to a local park to try it out. Of course I was still going to make her a birthday cake, and this year she asked (repeatedly) for a unicorn cake.

I’ve made a unicorn cake before, but thought this style was a bit grown-up for a three year old and possibly not even as instantly recognisable, so instead I invested in a unicorn cake mould to make it easier for myself. I bought a silicon mould from Ebay for around £7 which I thought wasn’t too bad; I’m sure I will end up using the mould again and if not I can pass it on to someone else. 

I wasn’t entirely sure of the quantity of cake mixture I would need to fill the mould, but luckily the scale of this BBC GoodFood recipe for an easy chocolate cake was just right. My daughter had requested a chocolate cake and I thought this recipe didn’t look too rich, compared to some others I have made in the past.

The cake was really easy to make and un-mould (I use PMW Cake Release spray to grease all my cake tins), and decorating was fairly straightforward too. I’m sure a more artistic person – or more professional cake decorator – could make a more beautiful unicorn, but my daughter loved this! 

The cake was covered in a chocolate buttercream and then rolled out white fondant. I coloured some buttercream in various colours and used a piping bag to pipe each section of the mane – after all, everyone knows that unicorns have rainbow hair! 

This photo has come out a little darker than the real thing – you can’t quite see the purple in with the blue and pink, but my daughter thought it was great. She also had a unicorn helium balloon and a few unicorn-related gifts, so referred to this birthday – and continues to do so several months later – as “my unicorn birthday”. 

The year before was “my dinosaur birthday” – when she had a dinosaur cake and several dinosaur-related gifts – and she has already told me that her next birthday, even though it is nearly six months away, is going to be “my Sofia birthday”. So I’m already squirreling away Sofia the First gifts and thinking about how to make a Princess Sofia cake!