Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Happy Hallowe'en! Here is my brack recipe. The brandy really makes this cake - gives it a lovely richness. You could use whiskey or just use 210ml of tea if you don't want alcohol in the cake.

I had no ring to add to the cake this year so I wrapped a one cent coin in greaseproof paper and popped it in the centre of the brack. Traditionally, the person who finds the coin in their slice of brack will enjoy good fortune.

Eat plain or buttered with a cup of tea.


180ml tea
30ml brandy
250g raisins
75g brown sugar
1 beaten egg
25g melted marg
255g wholegrain spelt flour
1tsp bread soda
1 tsp mixed spice


- Soak the fruit, sugar, brandy and tea in a bowl - leave until cold
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Grease and line the bottom of an 8" round tin
- Add the melted marg to the fruit mix. Stir through.
- Add the beaten egg. Stir through.
- Sieve then fold in the flour, bread soda and spice
- Pour into the lined tin (insert wrapped coin or ring at this point, if using)
- Bake for 55 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
- Cool in the tin for 10 mins then turn onto a wire rack.

Hallowe'en breakfast with bat zogabongs

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Emily Dickinson by Nicole DeClerck

I have a poem coming out in the spring in the American journal Prairie Schooner. It's called 'Miss Emily Dickinson's Coconut Cake' and is based on Dickinson's recipe and a little on her life. I've been a fan since I was very young. When I workshopped the poem at my writing group, I made the cake for our tea break. I've made it again today, so here is the recipe.

Emily Dickinson's Coconut Cake

This makes a lovely, simple, light cake. The recipe was adapted by some ED fans to suit modern weights/measures etc. I decided to use the American measurements as I own a set of measuring cups and am leaving them that way here. If you don't have measuring cups, be careful with the weights/volume. There's a conversion chart here.

1 cup dessicated coconut
2 cups flour (I used half self-raising, half wholemeal spelt)
1 cup sugar (I used light brown muscovado)
½ cup butter (I used Pure marg)
½ cup milk
2 eggs
½ tsp bread soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 180C
Line an 8" square cake tin on the bottom, grease the sides
Mix butter and sugar
Add beaten eggs and milk
Sieve the flour, bread soda and cream of tartar and mix
Add the coconut and mix
Bake for 30 minutes
Cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out

I have also made this cake with raspberries. If you want to do this add in 150g of frozen raspberries with the coconut.

Coconut Cake with Raspberries

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I am madly excited to discover that Brendan Lynch from the Great British Bake Off has his own site chockers with recipes. Coffee and Walnut Cake anyone? Chocolate and Vanilla Bagels?!?

I'm not just rooting for Brendan because he is clearly the best baker there, he is also Irish :) His gingerbread birdhouse was masterful never mind what stuffy old Paul said.