So this just happened in the #brightmansions kitchen… Gincake (with recipe) #365

So this just happened in the #brightmansions kitchen... #gincake #365 @estriel @pollygcs

Gin is good. Cake is good. Friends are good. So what better way to christen the Bright Mansions kitchen than by combining the three? The original recipe came from here, but we tweaked slightly.

Ingredients – for the cake

  • 385g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 230g unsalted butter
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly zested lime rind
  • Juice of one lime
  • 60ml gin
  • 60ml tonic water

Ingredients – for the glaze

  • 225g icing sugar
  • 5 tablespoons gin
  • Juice of 1 lime

Ingredients – for the icing

  • 320g icing sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons gin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest of a lime or two


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F / Gas Mark 5 / 170-190 C
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until soft, light and pale.
  4. Add one egg at a time, beating each one until fully combined before adding the next.
  5. Add in the lime zest and vanilla.
  6. Add in half of the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
  7. Mix in the gin, tonic and lime juice, followed by the rest of the dry ingredients.
  8. Pour into your greased/lined tins/cases.
  9. Bake for about 40 minutes until golden and until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.
  10. While the cake is baking, mix up the glaze. Mix up the icing sugar with about half the gin and the lime juice. Add more gin until the glaze is very runny. If you need more liquid, add in a bit of tonic water.
  11. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick it all over and pour the glaze over the top, allowing it to soak in the cake.
  12. Cool completely.
  13. Mix up your icing, aiming for a very thick consistency. Spread across the top of the cake and cupcakes.
  14. Decorate with a sprinkle of lime zest

Things we learnt

  • The recipe made 1 x loaf cake and 18 x muffin-sized cup cakes.
  • Depending on your oven, and what size cakes you decide to make, the cooking time does vary. The cup cakes were ready at about 30 minutes, the loaf cake took a good 15-20 minutes more as it was much deeper.
  • Sift your icing sugar. No one likes lumpy icing.
  • If you need slightly runnier icing, add a squeeze of lime juice. Do this REALLY cautiously, because it only takes a drop to turn perfect icing into runny goo.
  • This is a really simple recipe, but it does take time. And make sure the cakes are fully cool before icing.

Gloriously Gorgeous Gingerbread

This one is another one for Michelle, and also for Lee (though I am sorry it is not the sticky kind).

You will need

  • 100g butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 1-2 tsp ground ginger
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten)

How to make them

  1. Melt the butter and syrup together over a low heat
  2. Mix the flour, ginger and sugar together in a bowl
  3. Add the butter/syrup mix – stir slightly
  4. Add the beaten egg – stir gently
  5. Knead until smooth
  6. Leave for 15 minutes to cool
  7. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to approx. 1/2 cm thick
  8. Cut into the desired shapes and place on lightly greased baking tray
  9. GAS MARK 4 / 180 0c for 8 minutes until golden
  10. Allow to cool on the tray, then eat!


  • Divide the ball of dough into smaller sections before you roll it out – this recipe makes a LOT of gingerbread!

Stupidly Simple Shortbread

This one is for Michelle. Not because she needs simple recipes (ask her for her Christmas Pudding recipe. Yum!) but because the conversation got around to baking in bookbinding the other night and she didn’t quite believe how easy these were!

You will need

  • 125g / 4oz unsalted butter
  • 55g / 2oz caster sugar
  • 175g / 6oz plain flour

How to make them

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together till pale
  2. Stir in the flour till it becomes a smooth ball
  3. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to approx. 1cm thick
  4. Cut into the desired shapes and place on a baking tray
  5. Sprinkle with some extra sugar
  6. Chill for 20 minutes
  7. GAS MARK 5 / 1900C for 15-20 minutes until golden
  8. Allow to cool on the tray, then eat!


  • Use GOOD butter – it’s the butter that gives these most of their taste, so cheap butter will lead to very blah and cheap tasting shortbread. Your tastebuds will thank you, (though your waistline might have a few grumbles).
  • If you are one of those heathens who keeps their butter in the fridge, take it out half an hour before you start so it has time to soften. You will be beating forever otherwise!
  • Line the baking tray with greaseproof paper – it just makes everything so much easier.
  • Take care they don’t go too brown. The ideal is a creamy golden off-white.

Flapjacks, aka MMMMMMM sugar

(ooh, this one-a-day thing is harder than I thought it would be!)

I’m feeling monumentally crappy right now and the only thing that’s keeping me from annihilating the world and it’s dog is a tasty flapjack from the local bakery. MMmmm sugar. So I thought I would do the neighbourly thing and post a trusty recipe for flapjacks. Men, take note – make a batch of these for the hormonal woman in your life, and you’ll be safe.

For a while 😉

You will need

  • 250 gms margarine
  • 8 tbs golden syrup
  • 500 gms porridge oats
  • or
    250 gms porridge oats & 250 gms rolled oats

How to make them

  1. Melt margarine in large saucepan
  2. Add syrup and keep heating slowly till all dissolved and mixed in
  3. Add to oats and stir
  4. Press into greased and floured baking tin
  5. GAS MARK 4 for 20-25 mins till golden brown
  6. Cut immediately into size desired
  7. Leave in tin till cool


  • Don’t let the butter/sugar mixture boil as you don’t want caramel/toffee! Well, you might, but that’s a different recipe…
  • Don’t use a non-stick tin. You cut the flapjacks when they are still in the pan, so you’re just gonna bugger up that fancy tin with knife cuts
  • Do leave the flapjacks to cool totally before you take them from the tin. It might be tempting, but they have little-to-no structural integrity when warm, so you’ll just end up with a sticky-oaty-mess. Tasty yes, but not very nice to look at!

Sunday Roast: make this cake and leave me alone

Originally posted by dive-angel on flickr
Originally posted by dive-angel on Flickr

I have spent this weekend fighting off the dreaded lurgy, which is not surprising considering I have moved to a new city full of new germs and students, and that 90% of the people at work are going down with suspiciously flu-like symptoms.

My poor, battered immune system is doing its best, bolstered by thumping doses of echinacea and endless cups of tea, and so far I have escaped the worst. But this weekend I have slept LOTS and spent the rest of the time sniffing in a haze, feeling like I am hungover without the joy of a great night out the evening before!

Which is why I am not roasting this week either – my bed and more tea is beckoning. So I shall leave you with this awesome recipe I found on Flickr:

3 minute chocolate mug cake

  • 1 mug
  • 4 tablespoons flour (that’s plain flour, not self-rising)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • optional: 3 tablespoons chocolate chips mini chips would be the best
  • optional: 2 tablespoons walnuts (cut into small pieces)
  • small splash of vanilla


  1. Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well
  2. Add the egg and mix thoroughly
  3. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well
  4. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again
  5. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed!
  6. Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired
  7. serve it with custard or vanilla ice cream – yummy 🙂

Just the thing for when you’re feeling not on top of the world.

Mini Chocolate Ginger Cakes

Mini Chocolate Ginger Cakes

I have made a bit of a rod for my back at work by starting a tradition where I bake cakes for the team when it is someone’s birthday – well, I like to bake and if I bake for the team then it is not just me and Moose who are responsible for scarfing the lot. I then enlarged the rod some by taking requests. Last time it was lemon cakes with lime icing, this time chocolate ginger cakes. The recipe I usually use for ginger cakes is rather expensive and time consuming, so I decided to see if I could work out a recipe of my own. I really enjoyed the process and have this sneaking suspicion that I might have caught the baking bug. I am seriously contemplating asking for a food mixer for Christmas…

Anyway, the recipe turned out rather well. As always with baking, there is an element of guesswork and intuition involved, so have fun with it. It is a variation on a basic fairy cake recipe. The following amount makes about 15 standard fairy cakes.


  • 100g margarine
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 25g dark muscavado sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 75g self raising flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 medium eggs


  1. Cream the margarine, caster sugar and muscavado sugar
  2. Mix the flour, cocoa powder and ground ginger together in a separate bowl
  3. Beat the eggs into the creamed sugar/margarine, one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour/cocoa/ginger mix with each egg
  4. Gently stir in the golden syrup
  5. Gently fold in the remaining flour and stir until smooth
  6. Pour into paper cases (about halfway full as the mix will rise)
  7. 1900C / GM5 oven for 15 minutes until firmly spongy to the touch
  8. Leave the cakes to cool
  9. Eat
  10. Go for a five mile run to burn off the calories


  • Taste the mix before you pour it into the cases. Depending on personal preference, you might want to add more ginger/sugar/cocoa – the recipe is a bit guess work still on the ratios
  • It is the dark muscavado sugar that brings some of the extra moistness to the cake. If you don’t have any, try brown demerara or just 75g of caster sugar and 3 dollups of golden syrup
  • These cakes taste better once they are cooled as they all lovely and moist

Inspiration hasn’t struck yet on the best way to ice/frost these. In my head I am leaning toward serving them with a hot chocolate sauce, but that’s not really practical for taking into the office! Other ideas in the comments please 😀

(P.S. The lemon cakes were just the basic fairy cake recipe, with the zest of one lemon grated into the mix. For the lime icing, mix icing sugar with lime juice et voila)

Bright Meadow in the Guardian Pie

Bright Meadow in the Guardian Pie We were watching the film Waitress the other week and both had an overwhelming urge to make pie. And to keep saying the word “pie”. Go on, say it. “Pie”. It is just such a lovely, round, tasty sounding word.

While Cas is busy saying the word “pie” over and over with a dreamy look on her face, I shall take over and tell you how I made the pie (this is Moose talking in case you’re worried Cas has suddenly developed a split personality along with everything else). The pie was made in celebration of Bright Meadow getting in the Guardian, hence the name of the pie. *


  • 3/4 pack chocolate Hob Nobs
  • a generous tbsp of soya spread
  • a tsp of golden syrup
  • 40g 70% cocoa chocolate
  • 75g frozen raspberries
  • 75g frozen blackberries
  • a generous tsp ground ginger
  • a tbsp sugar
  • a tbsp cornflour
  • enough custard to cover the top of the pie


  1. Crush the chocolate Hob Nobs
  2. Melt the soya spread, golden syrup and chocolate over a low heat and mix into the crushed Hob Nobs
  3. Pour into a round pie tin and press firmly to form a base and sides
  4. Leave in the fridge to cool and set
  5. Put the raspberries, blackberries, ginger, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan and heat gently until the fruit has softened
  6. Strain the fruit into a separate dish and return the juice back to the pan
  7. Add a little more sugar and reduce over a high heat until you have a thick sauce
  8. Put the fruit into the prepared crust and pour the sauce over
  9. Top with custard
  10. Place in a preheated over at 190C/375F/Gas 5 for approx 20 minutes or until it looks and smells cooked

Tips & Notes

  • Hob Nobs are an oaty biscuit – I can’t think of a direct comparison for our American readers, but a firm, crunchy, oaty cookie with a chocolate coating or chips would work just as well
  • This isn’t a British “pie” – don’t get either of us started on the stupidity of some of the things referred to as “pie” in the film. It’s just tasty, let’s leave it at that
  • You could use something other than soya spread if you so desired, like normal margarine
  • This is delicious hot or cold. The custard doesn’t really set when it’s cooked, so if you do eat it straight from the oven as we did, be prepared for the top of your pie to run away. Once it is chilled, the custard does set

* OK, so you caught me. I made the pie because I wanted to make pie. Cas getting mentioned in the Guardian was just a good excuse.