Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Black Cake - with a chunk taken out :)
This cake features in my forthcoming novel Miss Emily (out July in USA and Canada, August in UK and Ireland) so it was about time I actually made it. In the book Emily makes it for her December birthday and shares it with her Irish maid Ada.

Juno beating the eggs and sugar
Emily's version of this calls for 19 eggs and 5 lbs of currants!! I made a quarter sized version. The finished cake certainly looks black and it tastes more like a plum pudding than cake to me. It's rich and very fruity. I have no clue how Emily baked hers at 120°C in three hours. My much-reduced cake took three hours and forty minutes and still looked a bit moist around the middle.

Treacle marbling the batter - Emily used molasses in her version
I had a lump of it hot from the oven last night - I am looking forward to having a piece today with soya custard or that lovely Alpro Lemon and Lime 'yogurt'.

•           225g self-raising flour
•           225g butter
•           225g sugar
•           half teaspoon baking soda (bread soda in Ireland)
•           quarter teaspoon ground nutmeg
•           1.25 teaspoons total: cloves, mace, cinnamon (or mixed spice)
•           5 eggs
•           550g raisins
•           150g citron (candied peel)
•           150g currants
•           60ml brandy (or whiskey)
•           60ml treacle

•           Preheat oven to 120°C
•           Grease and line the bottom of a round baking tin (8”)
•           Sift together flour, bread soda and spices
•           In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar
•           Add eggs one at a time and beating after each one
•           Add brandy (or whiskey), mix well
•           Add flour mixture, mix well.
•           Add treacle and sprinkle in fruit as you stir
•           Pour into greased tin
•           Bake for 2 hours at 120°C
•           Bake for a further 1 hour 30 mins at 160°C then remove cake from tin to cool
•           Store in an air-tight container. Douse with whiskey/brandy once a week.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Juno mixing the dry ingredients
I was dying for some seeded brown bread yesterday but as it was Mother's Day I was too busy lolling about eating chocolates. So, today I got around to it. I adapted a recipe from the Natural Fuel blog. I swapped in a beaten egg for some water, for the nutritional value. I also used more seeds as I wanted a fairly crunchy bread.

I toasted fresh slices to have with soup. Ended up having one with jam - yum!

  • 320g wholegrain spelt flour
  • 80g porridge oats
  • 35g mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin and sesame)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300 ml tepid water
  • 1 medium free-range egg, beaten

  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Grease a 2lb loaf tin with veg oil (use a piece of kitchen roll)
  • Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Sieve the baking powder and mix through
  • Mix in the water, then the egg, until the dough is evenly wet - it's a fairly heavy dough
  • Plop the mixture into the loaf tin, smooth down with a wooden spoon and cut a deep line down the centre
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • Bake for 1 hour or so (until the bottom sounds hollow when knocked)
  • Cool before slicing