Sunday, 8 April 2018

Easter Lamb - a Week Late

He is risen!

A week ago, that is. But we live in a small flat that doesn't lend itself well to guests, and on Easter Sunday itself my brother and his family were in town, so we ate out. There were so many of us we had to pre-order our meals in the gastropub, and I was disappointed when I scanned the menu and found no mention of lamb. I ordered a vegetarian meal, and briefly sulked when I arrived to see the day's special was indeed, lamb. I envied my fellow diners and their ability to spontaneously order the special of the day.

Here in the UK, the schools are on holiday for two weeks at Easter, which means no Saturday sports, and therefore a chance to visit the Farmers' Market by the Castle mid-holiday. I stocked up on various things, then eyed up a sizeable, bone-in leg of lamb and decided I could have my Easter feast this year on the date of Orthodox Easter: 8 April (see here). The lamb was marinated in garlic, olive oil, black olives, anchovies, and rosemary before being roasted, potatoes were parboiled then frozen before meeting hot goose fat, cauliflower doused in cheese sauce and baked, and broccoli steamed. Mint sauce was plopped down beside it, and we ate with an Easter bouquet blocking our view of one another.

And the only photo I got of it all was the one taken above, of the marinating lamb.

And now I'm trying to figure out what recipe I used for the lamb, only Michael threw together the marinade from memory, and I just cooked the lamb at 200C, with foil on for the first half hour, until the internal temperature was 140C, which took another hour or so after the foil came off. Is that a recipe?

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Raspberry Brownies

Once a month, I attend a leadership team meeting for my company. It is a day-long affair, and being finance I usually get to go first, while everyone still is paying attention and before their brains have turned to mush.

But this month, before looking at footfall, at profit analysis, at department expenditure, we had another pressing matter to attend to.

"Right," said my boss, "T is running late thanks to Scotrail, so we should probably talk about her imminent birthday."

Turns out T was about to hit a landmark number. Balloons were required (which requires serious planning when you have motion sensors linked to alarms in your office) and cake was needed. My German colleague and I eyed each other across the table, her being the more frequent office baker.

"I can make a cake." I declared. "Unless you want to?"

She gave a shrug. "Nah, you go for it."

But what kind??? With furrowed brows, we tried to recall any allergies, any flavour aversions, any exclamations of favourites on previous baking occasions, but we drew a blank. Moments later, T arrived and the conversation was cut short.

So numbers were discussed, charts were analysed, and then later, as conversation drifted over tea and biscuits (the bourbons always disappearing first) my boss turned the conversation towards confections, eyed T and asked "so, T, if you had to choose one perfect cake, what would it be?"

She looked down, running through her mental list of cakes, and said "ooh, something chocolate. With raspberries. And coconut. I don't know, something like that!"

To the internet I went, looking for something that would travel well (ideally, by bicycle) and that ticked at least 2 of those three boxes. Raspberry brownies came up as the most likely option to please, and while I could have experimented by adding a bit of coconut, I wasn't willing to risk it since I hadn't tried this recipe before. As it was, I feared I had overdone them, so sent them in with instructions to give constructive feedback (I wouldn't be in work that day), and was told the following:

"Was lovely. Looked overbaked on outside, but was all gooey on inside, and great taste. So yeah, def do them again. Raspberry flavour came through, everyone loved it. A winner." (this person was given strict instructions to tell me if they had been overcooked so I would know if to adjust baking times, they were not being overly critical)

"Fabulous brownies, I've just inhaled one."

"Although gingerless, it was OUTSTANDING." (someone who likes ginger. A lot.)

"Even I loved it." (a person who doesn't generally eat sugar)

"Brownies are heaven."

"Brownies are yummity moo moo. You need to make again."

So I will try to make these again sometime, and maybe then I'll get more photos than just the one taken above.


  • 200g dark chocolate , broken into chunks
  • 100g milk chocolate , broken into chunks
  • 250g pack salted butter
  • 400g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 140g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 200g raspberries


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a 20 x 30cm baking tray tin with baking parchment. Put the chocolate, butter and sugar in a pan and gently melt, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.
  2. Stir the eggs, one by one, into the melted chocolate mixture. Sieve over the flour and cocoa, and stir in. Stir in half the raspberries, scrape into the tray, then scatter over the remaining raspberries. Bake on the middle shelf for 30 mins or, if you prefer a firmer texture, for 5 mins more. Cool before slicing into squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Cullen Skink and Bagels

What your food photo looks like if your first photo didn't take and you have to use the bit of congealed soup that your daughter didn't want (she mostly sipped the broth)

Winter is still here. We woke this morning to several inches of accumulated snow (ok, 2 inches) and gales still blowing, so my husband took this as an excuse to sleep in and I attacked the kitchen in between chapters of reading a novel on my kindle (turns out reading about South African apartheid makes you want to pause between sections and distract yourself in order to recover from the trauma of those tales). I made hot cross buns this morning, Christopher made muffins this afternoon, Robert and I scooted/plowed a mile to swimming and then back again, and finally Michael took the younger two off to our local germ colony of soft play while I figured out dinner. 

A friend introduced us to Bross Bagels a few months back, and having stocked my freezer with their Everything bagels last weekend (and foolishly telling my husband about this supply) I now found myself running low on stock. Having had an, er, incident last year with my bike in slippery conditions, I was not keen to cycle in snow the three miles to the bagel shop, so decided it was probably about time I made my own. No, I wouldn't have the delightful mix of seeds, garlic, and salt that adorns their bagels, but I would be able to make ones taster than the supermarkets provide, and ones that my kids would happily eat.

So I began working the dough. A tight crumb is what you want with bagels, so that meant actually kneading the dough for the full 10 minutes all bread recipes ask. More kneading = smaller holes.
This wrist was broken, but now it is whole. And able to knead.

Some slightly overpoached fish. Oops.
That set aside, I started on a delightful soup of Scottish origin: Cullen Skink. It's a great name, and an even better wintry, creamy concoction of potatoes and smoked fish. Leeks would have made it better, but not so much better that it was worth dragging a child along to the aisles mostly full of colourful sugar in order to gain one allium.

Rise, my child.

Nothing terribly complicated - onions, fish, poaching liquid all cooked up together to soften the potatoes, then a ladle full taken away while you puree the rest with milk.

My husband recently said to our kids that every dinner we ate from now on would have a green vegetable. That's two nights now we have managed this goal. Tonight was possible because I found these green beans which would have died in the vegetable drawer otherwise. If you have any green vegetable ideas, please send them to my husband. 

I also found chives. Woot woot.

That all done, I looked to my bagel dough, which was now bigger. Yay, yeast.

So I shaped it, poorly, into rings and let them rise a bit. I then prepared a cauldron of water with a tablespoon of baking soda/sodium bicarbonate thrown in to make the bread more bagel-like. For the first one I dropped in, I slipped it off the square so as to minimise the crushing of yeast bubbles, but I didn't really bother to do that with the rest, as it didn't seem necessary. I was using a massive pot, so managed 4 at a time in the end, but most normal pots can only fit 2. They swell up a LOT while cooking, so just because you can fit 4 in raw, doesn't mean they'll fit nicely together once they are ready to come out.

A minute on each side, with a fish slice to flip them over, then out onto the baking tray they went.

This is a step that lots of sites will tell you kids love to help with and watch. But we had hit the hour of screen time in our house, so frankly I was enjoying the peace and tranquillity of this period too much to invite the little people to take part. Next time, perhaps.

A final egg white wash and they were ready to go in. Some were lucky enough to be sprinkled with coarse salt, but not the kids' ones. Not because I am an anti-salt overbearing mother, but because they just like things plain.

Then into the oven for 20 minutes, and you are now your own bagel shop. Half a dozen, please.

Our final, rustic meal

Cullen Skink

500g undyed smoked haddock, skin on
A bay leaf
Knob of butter
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 leek, washed and cut into chunks
2 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into chunks
500ml whole milk
Chives, chopped, to serve

1. Put the fish into a pan large enough to hold it comfortably, and cover with about 300ml cold water. Add the bay leaf, and bring gently to the boil. By the time it comes to the boil, the fish should be just cooked – if it's not, then give it another minute or so. Remove from the pan, and set aside to cool. Take the pan off the heat.
2. Melt the butter in another pan on a medium-low heat, and add the onion and the leek. Cover and allow to sweat, without colouring, for about 10 minutes until softened. Season with black pepper.
3. Add the potato and stir to coat with butter. Pour in the haddock cooking liquor and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the potato is tender.
4. Meanwhile, remove the skin, and any bones from the haddock, and break into flakes.
5. Lift out a generous slotted spoonful of potatoes and leeks, and set aside. Discard the bay leaf. Add the milk, and half the haddock to the pan, and either mash roughly or blend until smoothish.
6. Season to taste, and serve with a generous spoonful of the potato, leek and haddock mixture in each bowl, and a sprinkling of chives.


  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 500g strong white flour, plus a little extra for shaping
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • a little oil, for greasing
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg white, to glaze


  1. Mix the yeast with 300ml lukewarm water. Put the flour, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl and mix together. Pour over the yeasty liquid and mix into a rough dough.
  2. Tip out onto the work surface and knead together until smooth and elastic – this should take around 10 mins.
  3. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a piece of oiled cling film. Place in a warm area and leave until doubled in size, about 1 hr, then uncover and tip onto your work surface.
  4. Divide the dough into 10 portions and form into balls – I like to weigh them to make sure that they’re all the same size. Line up on 2 parchment-lined baking trays and cover lightly with cling film.
  5. Leave for around 30 mins or until risen and puffy, then remove the cling film.
  6. Use a floured finger to make a hole in the centre of each bagel, swirling it around to stretch the dough a little, but being careful not to knock out too much air. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  7. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the bicarbonate of soda to alkalise the water (see tip, below left). Place 1-2 of the bagels in the water at a time and boil for 1 min (2 mins if you want a chewier bagel), turning over halfway through. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the bagels, drain well and place back on the baking tray.
  8. Brush the bagels with the egg white and sprinkle with your chosen seeds. Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before eating. They will keep for 3-4 days, or freeze for 2 months (see How to freeze, below left).

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Chocolate chip cookies, Er, I mean, flapjacks

This weekend marks Mothering Sunday, a day to celebrate all mums with a name that helps avoid the whole apostrophe debate that plagues me on the second Sunday in May.

And it also hopefully underlines something else - the end of my exams. On Thursday, I sat what was what I greatly wish to be my last ACCA exam, a test that consisted of three and a quarter hours scribbling about advanced taxation. It was basically a test of how many financial loopholes you can discover for rich people that are completely legal, with only 5 points out of 100 dealing with the ethics of such scenarios. In the revision kit the marker states many students miss out on these ethics points entirely, simply skipping that section of the long question - doesn't exactly fill me with confidence about the profession.

With all that behind me, I now have hopefully a bit more time to devote to other pursuits, such as blogging and baking (Michael has kind of taken over the cooking lately). With us in charge of cakes after mass this week, I thought I'd put out a wee note to the mums to say that they'd get a free sweet treat if they came along on Sunday, and then I set to work.

Last night I made a lemon drizzle cake, which sank in the middle. Not quite so much so as to be reclassified as lemon pudding, but that was certainly its intent.

So then I made a carrot cake, only in the middle of measuring the flour, I had to go deal with a certain child who wouldn't wear their trainers (they were soaked from hockey practice), who didn't want to wear school shoes (it was still raining and girls' school shoes are terribly impractical in that respect for Scotland), who refused to wear wellies (she would look stupid, apparently), and who was having trouble squeezing her foot into a silver converse, as it was pinching her pinkie toe.

That problem dealt with, I added more flour and was pretty sure, but not entirely sure, that I put in a cup too much flour. So the carrot cake is substandard. Cream cheese icing will make it all better. Lots of it.

After those two mishaps I thought: I know - choc oat chip cookies! They always turn out perfectly, and it's so easy to just throw all the things into the food processor!

So I was weighing out the oats and was fairly sure that there was more in the bowl than the scales were telling me, but there was another child crying about the fact that he didn't get as much jam as his sister so I didn't double check the measurement. The work surface wasn't exactly immaculate, so I believe some particle had wedged itself under one of the feet of my digital scales, throwing all accuracy to the wind. And then I put all the ingredients in the food processor, to which the machine said: "No. Get this s*** out of me" in its special loud way.

Sure enough, the mixture was crumbly and not at all cookie dough-like. Not quite sure how to fix it to get it back to what it should be, but also not willing to waste these ingredients that still tasted fairly good together, I put it into a big tray and pressed it down, in the hopes of making some cookie bars of sorts. After 20 or so minutes in the oven, my experiment emerged looking like this:

The tray came out smelling good, and the kids came into the room shouting - "oooh!!! Flapjacks!!!"

Flapjacks, American readers, mean chewy oat bars here, usually bound with golden syrup. They do not mean pancakes.

So yeah, I guess I made flapjacks for tomorrow. When in doubt, drizzle over more chocolate.

I had planned to make hot cross buns, too, but I don't think I could handle those failing on me.

In summary, baking this weekend has been much like motherhood - I knew exactly what I had to do as a mum until I had kids. Plans change, and the result is nothing like what you thought it would be, but you learn to improvise and make the best of it. Now I just need that written on a soft focus photo of a mother looking adoringly at her children...

Happy Mothering Sunday.

Don't ask me for the recipes. 

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Snow Day Cheese Scones

Having grown up in the American Midwest, I became accustomed to experiencing seasons. Summer was hot, spring flowery and changeable, autumn crisp, winter cold and snowy. You had separate wardrobes for each time of year, and both central heating and cool air conditioning were standard in most nearby houses.

So when I emigrated to Scotland, the biggest shock was that while the amount of daylight you get varies dramatically through the year, the weather barely changes. There is no summer wardrobe, nor are snow boots required.

Well, normally that is.

But if there is one thing that Napoleon and Hitler taught us, is was never to underestimate Russia. They have attacked our political processes, and now they have sent us their snow. Edinburgh is roughly the same latitude as Moscow, but normally we are spared harsh winters due to warm gulf weather swirling up to protect us. Don't ask me to explain it further, please.

But this year we are being invaded the "Beast from the East" which has given Scotland our first ever RED WARNING from the Met office, warning us that we may DIE if we choose to travel.

Banished from the schools, the kids now have their first ever snow days. Plural. Yesterday I had to go in and left my husband to man the fort, as I had to go into work with the other managers who commute by foot so that we all could learn about risk awareness. Oh the irony.

But today, the schools are off again so I must stay home with the children to ensure their well-being. The reality may be somewhat more like this.

So as I try and attack my work emails without access to the one bit of software that I really need, while also playing Carcasonne with the littles (the eldest is NOT taking his loss very well) I also am coping by consuming these:

Our new office building has a cafe at ground level that sells cheese scones much prettier than mine, so if I just close my eyes, and block out the sound of the kids, I can pretend I am in the 16th century constructed surroundings of my calm, quiet workplace, just getting on with my regular, non-snow-day, paid employment.


Wait, what's that noise?

Well, they are cute. And for some reason they want to be around me, poor things. I shall keep calm and carry on.

And the snow keeps falling.
Yes, I know this is a pathetically small amount of snow that has caused us to shut down. I DID live in Minnesota for 4 years, you know.

Snow Day Cheese Scones 
450g plain flour (or if using self-raising flour omit the baking powder)
6 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp English mustard powder (optional)
100g cold butter
250g strong hard cheese like mature red leicester or cheddar
2 tbsp finely chopped chives (optional)
120ml cold milk
120ml cold water
1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk
Heat the oven to 220C. Put the flour, baking powder, salt and mustard powder into a large mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth and well combined.
Grate in the butter, then rub it in with your fingertips until it looks like wet sand.
Finely grate in 225g cheese, add the chives, and then stir to combine. Mix in the milk and water until the dough just comes away from the edge of the bowl; don’t handle it any more than is necessary. Tip on to a very lightly floured surface and flatten into a rectangle about 2.5cm high. Cut out with a fluted cutter (about 6cm wide for 12 scones), reshaping as necessary while handling the dough as little as possible.
Put on a baking tray and brush the egg and milk mixture. Grate the remaining cheese over the top and bake for about 12 minutes until golden. Allow to cool slightly on a rack before splitting open.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Christmas Fruit Cake

Fruitcakes were a running joke in the comic strips of my American youth. They were portrayed as the unwanted gift, the oddly imperishable foodstuff that unpopular relatives offered when they came to visit. Once received, it would go deep to the back of the cupboard where the strange, dense block would remain buried until the following year, when the recipient could gift it upon some new enemy

It looks like a ceiling fixture as I forgot to flip it before uploading. Blogger hasn't updated its app, so this process is taking a bit longer these days.

My family, being of Australian origin, took some offence at these portrayals of this sacred celebratory food. My grandmother was proud of her fruitcake, making it for special occasions such as birthdays and weddings, decorating it with skill I could never possess (largely because the piping bag is my nemesis, and also because life is too short to draw lace onto a cake.) No slice was wasted; in fact, she once baked a birthday cake for her daughter-in-law's mother, but only if my mother would promise that a large portion of the cake would be taken back to America for her own son to eat. This was not requested as a favour, but instead given as an instruction not to be questioned, so after the party, under the critical eye of her family my mother dutifully wrapped the remaining cake in foil and clingfilm, packing the parcel in her bags to travel back across the Pacific Ocean where the cake was scoffed down in a matter of seconds. 

Now I live in the UK, where Christmas Cake usually means fruitcake, and traditional wedding cakes are studded with currants. Times are changing; most families prefer a chocolate yule log to a Christmas pudding, and a sponge to a fruitcake for their matrimonial vows. At our own wedding some 12 years ago, I made two separate cakes: a fruit cake for the Baby Boomers and beyond, a lemon sponge for the younger ones. While everyone still seems to enjoy a mince pie at Christmas, fewer insist on a slice of fruitcake, so it was mostly out of a sense of nostalgia that I decided to tackle one this year. 

According to tradition, one must begin the process in November at the latest, soaking your fruit in booze for days, weeks, even months before mixing it into your eggy batter. That just doesn't happen in my house. I don't really get in the mood to even being prepping things until mid-December, and by then it seems like a lost hope to attempt a cake according to these stern rules from years gone by.

But then recently I was speaking to a fellow baker who revealed her secret - she never makes her cake in advance! She may soak the fruit for a while, but overnight has served fine on many an occasion, and her cakes always go down a treat with guests and family alike. Right, I thought, this I can do.

So she passed me the recipe and I looked at the recipe versus what I had in my cupboards. I should add that it was New Year's Eve and I wasn't in the mood for going to the shops unnecessarily. So I made a few modifications: 

To soak
200g prunes apricots chopped
300g currants
100g glace cherries, chopped
150g dried figs dates, chopped
175ml stout the better part of a bottle of rank mass produced ale that someone brought over as a joke a couple months ago

For the cake
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g soft light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 tbsp black treacle molasses

Zest of 1 orange
125g dark rye flour
50g plain flour  50g + 125g = 175g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice pumpkin spice
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
75g blanched hazelnuts, finely chopped   Brazil nuts, chopped. Kind of. 
So yes, I changed about half of the ingredients. But the spirit of the recipe was still the same, surely?
Boozy fruit. I had to remove a dinosaur egg from this vessel before use. It's ok, the dinosaur has hatched.
After assembling the fruit and soaking it overnight, it was time to start the great mix-up. Butter is never "room temperature" at our place, as our flat is rarely warm enough to bring anything to a soft temperature. I could have played a dangerous dance with the microwave, but instead decided to attack the brown sugar and butter with the pastry blender, then the wooden spoon.

After than, in went 4 eggs. There are always lots of warnings about how to prevent your mixture curdling at this point, but I never find them even remotely successful. I just let it curdle, knowing it will be just fine, as Mary Berry looks at me with disappointment and disapproval

One of my favourite "hacks" is greasing a spoon before putting in a sticky syrup like molasses or treacle. You just pour in a spoonful of oil into the spoon, then pour it back into the oil, then use the spoon for your choice of tar-like substance. Look how it just plops out of the spoon into the batter! Very satisfying, I tell you.

Then went in some zest, some dry ingredients, mix-y mix-y, choppy nutsy.

Then, the finale: the boozy fruit.

Dear God, sweet Jesus that is a lot of fruit.
At this point you lovingly gather your family round, making sure each family member takes the spoon and gives one stir to the mixture before pouring it into the tin.

Well, you think of it, but then you realise the children are being awfully quiet and good with their electronic babysitters, so you just ignore that step and bash it all together yourself. The tin for this, unlike most of my other tins, is silver rather than black in colour so as to conduct less heat, and this cake is treated to a double lining in an attempt to prevent any scorching. Why? Because this baby goes in the oven for no less than three and a half hours at a low heat, that's why. This ain't no rush job. I literally climbed up a mountain and returned back while this was in the oven and had time to spare.

It was a small mountain.

Now, halfway through, I did take it out of the oven and cover the top to prevent burning, but it seems that the fan in my oven decided to be particularly vicious, and my protective foil was ripped off and tossed around the oven. Naturally I didn't discover this until the damage had been done.

It didn't look too bad at first, but then it continued to cook outside the oven and I decided further measures needed to be taken.

If you look carefully, you'll see a knife slicing the top off the cake on the right. The thing was, even the scorched bit didn't actually taste burnt, AND I got to sample the cake pre-decoration. A win-win. So yes, always a good idea to trim cakes.

I then carefully whipped up a batch of marzipan.
Trust me, I made it once myself and it was not worth it in the slightest.

Then it was a simple matter of heating apricot jam, eating the heated jam, then heating more apricot jam and spreading it on the cake to help the marzipan stick.

Then it was time to roll out marzipan and pretend I knew how to decorate a cake

Just doing the ironing.

It's a ghost!!

I then sort of tried trimming it and decorating it

And this was the end result. I don't see any point in fondant or royal icing - they taste of nothing but sugar, so in the words of Prue Leith they simply aren't worth the calories.

My children keep looking at it, confused. "Why is there dough on the outside?" "When are you going to bake it?" "What IS that?" 

Obviously another great success. 

Ruby Tandoh’s easy fig and ale Christmas cake (yes, I know)

This is a last-minute affair compared with many Christmas cakes – but you should still soak the fruit overnight or at least for a few hours. It is still moist, dark and rich, and made in a fraction of the time it might usually take.

To soak
200g prunes, chopped
300g currants
100g glace cherries, chopped
150g dried figs, chopped
175ml stout
For the cake
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g soft light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 tbsp black treacle
Zest of 1 orange
125g dark rye flour
50g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
75g blanched hazelnuts, finely chopped
1 The day before you make the cake, combine the fruit in a bowl and douse with the stout (a good porter or, at a push, brown ale will suffice, but the mellow, chocolatey depth of stout is best). Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave overnight – or at least for a good few hours – until the fruit has absorbed most of the liquid.
2 The next day, when you’re ready to make the cake batter, preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2, line a deep, 20cm round cake tin with baking parchment and wrap the outside in a couple of layers of foil to prevent the cake’s edge from drying during the long baking time.
3 Cream the butter and sugar together until completely smooth then, one by one, add the eggs. The mixture is likely to curdle a little at this point, but don’t panic: just add 2 tbsp or so of plain flour to smooth the mix. Stir in the treacle and zest. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, mixed spice, baking powder and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until roughly combined.
4 Add the hazelnuts to the batter along with the soaked fruit mixture (including any stout left unabsorbed). Combine thoroughly. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 3½-4 hours, or until a small knife inserted into the centre of the cake emerges clean. If the top of the cake begins to darken too deeply during the baking time, just cover with foil.
5 Once baked, let the cake cool completely in its tin before decorating. It could take overnight to cool, but it’s crucial to wait until it’s stone cold before slicing. It will continue to firm, set and mellow as it approaches room temperature. Decorate it (or not) however you please.