Sweet Potato & Marshmallow Cake

A few days ago I shared my review of Grow Your Own Cake, published by Frances Lincoln. Click through to read more and to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of the book.

This intriguing cookbook features 46 recipes for savoury and sweet cakes and bakes featuring vegetables and fruits you can grow yourself. The author Holly Farrell, an experienced gardening writer, shares invaluable tips on how to grow and harvest each crop, before putting it to use in the recipe provided. Photography is by Jason Ingram, who illustrates both gardening tips and recipes throughout the book.

growyourowncake grown your own cake sweet potato
Book jacket; sweet potato image by Jason Ingram

Pete and I have thus far made two recipes from the book, an Upside-down Pear Cake and this Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake, published below with permission from Frances Lincoln. I love the idea of taking a combination associated with American Thanksgiving menus and turning it into a cake.

We weren’t sure what to expect from this cake – in taste, in texture, in appearance. To our surprise the crumb is actually fairly light and not overly sweet, in fact it’s a lovely gently flavoured sponge which would work very well on it’s own, without the ganache filling or marshmallow fluff topping. We over-baked by just a few minutes, which gave the outside a slightly darker colour, but it didn’t affect the taste at all.

I am not sure adding mini marshmallows into the batter serves much purpose – as the cake cooks they seem to melt away leaving odd pockets in the sponge, lined with a crunchy sugar glaze – so I might skip those next time. The sweet potato cake is the real winner in this recipe, and you could lose the marshmallow elements if you wanted to and serve it as a simple unadorned sponge.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (2)

Sweet Potato & Marshmallow Cake

If sweet potato & marshmallow casserole, the traditional Thanksgiving dish, is too sweet for your turkey dinner, use this great pairing in cake form instead. It is perfect after a long winter’s walk.

Makes a two-layer cake


Mashed sweet potatoes
800–900g/1lb 12oz–2lb sweet potatoes

400g/14oz plain flour
11⁄2 tbsp baking powder
3⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp black pepper
1⁄2 nutmeg, finely grated, or 1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
165g/51⁄2oz unsalted butter
250g/8oz light muscovado sugar
4 eggs
450g/1lb mashed sweet potatoes
90g/3oz mini-marshmallows

45ml/11⁄2fl oz double cream
100g/3oz white chocolate

1⁄2 jar of marshmallow fluff (about 100g/31⁄2oz)
100g/31⁄2oz marshmallows

2 × deep, round cake tins, 20cm/8in diameter, greased and base-lined


  • For the mashed sweet potatoes, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Roast the sweet potatoes for around 45 minutes until they are soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, then pop them out of their skins. Mash well (use a potato ricer if you have one).
  • For the cake, preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

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  • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl and mix well; leave to one side. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate after each egg. Mix in the mashed sweet potato, then the flour and spice mix. Quickly stir in the mini-marshmallows and divide the cake mixture between the two tins. Make sure that all the marshmallows on the surface are coated with mixture to prevent them burning. Bake for 50–60 minutes. To check if it is ready insert a skewer into the cake; if it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Remove from the oven and leave for 10 minutes in the tins, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

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  • For the ganache, heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat until just under boiling point. Pour over the chocolate and stir until it has melted and is smooth. Leave to cool until the mixture is thick enough to spread without running.

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  • To assemble, sandwich the two cake layers together with the ganache, spread marshmallow fluff on the top and sprinkle with whole marshmallows.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (1)

Kavey Eats received a review copy of Grow Your Own Cake from Frances Lincoln, part of Quarto Publishing Group UK. Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell, photographs by Jason Ingram is currently available from Amazon for £14.88 (RRP £16.99).

Grow Your Own Cake | Book Review + Giveaway

The premise of using vegetables in cakes is nothing new – carrot cake has been a well known favourite as long as I can remember, chocolate and beetroot cakes and brownies have gained popularity in the last decade and more recently courgette cakes are stretching peoples’ definitions of what a cake can be made with.

For me, it goes much further than that, as I’ve long been a huge fan of fellow blogger Kate Hackworthy who writes the much-loved and respected blog Veggie Desserts. As the blog name and tagline suggest, the recipes Kate develops and shares are all about using vegetables in ‘cakes, bakes, breakfasts and meals’ and Kate has won much recognition for the innovation of her recipes, and the stunning photographs with which she illustrates them. You’ll find everything from cookies featuring romanesco cauliflower, cupcakes featuring cucumber, peas or spinach, and cakes full of celeriac, kale and swede! So when I first heard about a cookery book focusing on vegetable- and fruit-based cakes I was already primed for these kind of recipes!


However, publisher Frances Lincoln have taken a different slant for this new title and teamed up with established gardening author Holly Farrell (who has written multiple books on kitchen gardening and contributed to a range of gardening magazines) and Jason Ingram (a garden and food photographer). Holly is also a keen baker, and in Grow Your Own Cake, she treats the garden as a larder for her baking, providing not only recipes but advice on how to grow the main crop featured in each one.

The recipes range from savoury to sweet, using both fruit and vegetables from the plot, with detailed and well-illustrated guidance for the novice gardener looking to grow some of their own produce in their garden or allotment.

There are fifty recipes in the book; some are already classics, such as the carrot cake and beetroot brownies I mention above. Others such as fennel cake and pea cheesecake are more unusual. Recipes are organised somewhat seasonally, with the first chapter covering spring and summer cakes and the second autumn and winter ones. Next come afternoon tea ideas, puddings and savoury bakes.

Many of the recipes are appealing and I’m waiting eagerly for the main ingredients to come into season in our allotment, rather than buying from the supermarket out of season. I’d like to try the rose cake (featuring home made rose water), the parsnip winter cake (ours didn’t survive the slugs so none for us this winter) and the tomato cupcakes, to name a few.

Photography is lovely – pretty and practical without being overly fussy in the styling, a little old school but comfortingly so. My only complaint on this front is that while there are plenty of photographs of the gardening element of the book, there aren’t as many food images as I’d like to see – it’s frustrating not to have a picture of the finished dish for many of the recipes, especially when they are unfamiliar – what kind of colour do the tomato cupcakes have, for example and how should the icing for the sweet potato and marshmallow cake look? A few more images on the food side would be a huge help.

Thus far, Pete and I have made two recipes from the book, the Upside-down Pear Cake and the Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake; both have worked well, though the lack of photographs has made it feel a little more of a shot in the dark, even with Holly’s fairly clear instructions. Most importantly, both were delicious, and I’d happily make and eat both again.

I have permission to share the Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake recipe with you, so keep your eyes peeled for that in an upcoming post.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Cake on Kavey Eats (1)

In the meantime, here’s an opportunity for you to win your own copy of this lovely book:


Frances Lincoln are offering two copies of Grow Your Own Cake for a Kavey Eats reader giveaway. Each prize includes delivery to UK addresses.


You can enter the giveaway in 2 ways – entering both ways increases your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
What kind of fruit or vegetable have your tried in cakes and what did you think?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow both @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win Grow Your Own Cake published by @Frances_Lincoln from Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsGYOC #KaveyEatsGYOC
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle to the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid.
Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)


  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 6th May 2016.
  • The two winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • Each prize is a copy of Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell and Jason Ingram, published by Frances Lincoln. Delivery to UK addresses is included.
  • The prizes are offered by Frances Lincoln and cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, entrants must be following @Kavey at the time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a review copy of Grow Your Own Cake from Frances Lincoln, part of Quarto Publishing Group UK.
Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell, photographs by Jason Ingram is currently available from Amazon for £14.88 (RRP £16.99).

The two winners of the giveaway are Patricia Whittaker and Emily Knight.

Tokyo Cult Recipes | Matcha & White Chocolate Cake

On the weekend I shared my review of Maori Murota’s Tokyo Cult Recipes, published by Murdoch Books. Click through to read more and to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of the book.

This beautiful hard back cookery book features over 100 recipes loved by Tokyoites, covering breakfast, lunch, sweet snacks and dinner, both foods that are typically cooked at home as well as those most often eaten out in cafes, restaurants and izakaya (pubs).

When it comes to sweets, the Japanese embrace both wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) and yougashi (Western-inspired cakes and pastries, often with a Japanese twist such as the addition of matcha or sesame). Pete and I visited many wonderful tea and coffee shops during our previous visits to Japan, often treating ourselves to a slice of beautiful freshly-baked cake alongside.

Tokyo Cult Recipes Matcha and White Chocolate Cake

Matcha & White Chocolate Cake

Recipe extracted with permission from Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota

Makes 1 loaf cake
15 mins preparation time
40 mins cooking time

3 eggs
softened butter – the same weight as the eggs
caster (superfine) sugar – the same weight as the eggs
plain (all-purpose) flour – the same weight as the eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon matcha (green tea powder)
70 g (2½ oz) white chocolate chips


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F), and butter and flour a 19 x 19 x 8 cm (7½ x 7½ x 3¼ in) loaf tin.
  • Weigh the eggs, then weigh out the same amount of butter, sugar and flour.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter together for 5 minutes, or until light and creamy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each one in well before adding the next. Sift in the flour, baking powder and matcha.
  • Combine using a spatula. Stir through the white chocolate chips, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes.
  • The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.


Kavey Eats received a review copy from Murdoch Books. Published by Murdoch Books, photography by Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle. Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota is currently available on Amazon for £13.60 (RRP £20).

Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake

This cake is a very famous cake. I reckon nearly everyone who likes baking knows of the recipe, and a good many who simply like eating cake too. I have heard and read people singing its praises for many, many years and yet, we’d never got round to making it at home.

Given that clementines are one of my very favourite fruits, this is an outrageous oversight that needed to be put right. A gift of a box of organic clementines, when the fruit bowl was already overflowing with them, gave us the perfect excuse.

Nigellas Clementine Cake on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle (title overlay)

Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake

Original recipe

400 grams clementines (approximately 3 medium-sized ones)
6 large eggs
225 grams white sugar
250 grams ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder


  • Put the whole clementines in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours. We used a small pan so the water was reasonably deep.
  • Drain and allow to cool, then cut each clementine open and remove the pips.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
  • Butter the rim of a 21 cm diameter spring form tin and cover the base with greaseproof paper.
  • In a food processor or power blender, blitz the clementines (skins, pith and fruit). Then add eggs, sugar, ground almonds and baking powder and blend again until smooth.
  • Pour the cake batter into the tin and bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. In Nigella’s recipe she suggests covering the surface with foil or greaseproof paper after the first 40 minutes to stop the top browning; we didn’t put our foil on soon enough so the surface browned more than Nigella’s. I think it looks pretty though!

Nigellas Clementine Cake on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7864

  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin, on a wire rack.
  • When cold, remove from the tin.

Serve as it is or with some yuzu ice cream. My friend recommends lemon curd mixed into fresh cream.

This cake lasts very well in a sealed container for several days, indeed it’s even better a day or two after it’s made.

 Nigellas Clementine Cake on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7888

Carob Molasses & Tahini Chocolate Brownies

I developed this recipe when writing a piece about Carob Molasses recently for Good Things magazine. (You can read it by following the link). The inspiration for the combination is entirely thanks to the wonderful Beiruti blogger, Joumana Accad, author of  tasteofbeirut.com.

The malty caramel flavour of carob molasses and the delicious sesame of the tahini work wonderfully with chocolate and make for a delicious, unusual chocolate brownie.

If you’ve never tried the combination before, its well worth seeking out carob molasses from your nearest Lebanese, Turkish or Greek specialist store to make it.

Carob Molasses and Tahini Chocolate Brownies - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - text

Carob Molasses & Tahini Chocolate Brownies

Combining the classical flavours of debs bi tahini (carob molasses mixed with tahini) with chocolate in a rich, fudgy brownie.

Makes 36 squares

2 large eggs
120 grams Demerara or light brown sugar
120 grams carob molasses
60 grams unsalted butter, melted
40 grams tahini
200 grams plain flour
30 grams cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp salt

Tip: For the sugar, carob molasses and tahini I suggest weighing these directly into the mixing bowl as you reach the steps where they are added. Other ingredients are best weighed out ahead.

Equipment: I use a stand mixer to make the batter but you can use an electric whisk or beat by hand, if you prefer. This recipe is for an 8 inch / 20 cm square baking tin.


  • Preheat oven to 180 °C (fan).
  • Line a 8 inch / 20 cm square baking pan or dish with parchment paper (or grease with butter), and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until well combined and a little frothy.
  • Add the carob molasses and beat again to combine, then add the melted butter and tahini and mix until smooth.
  • Combine dry ingredients (flour,  cocoa powder, baking powder and salt) and add to the mixing bowl. Beat until dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated; if using a stand mixer or electric whisk, start at the lowest speed and increase once most of the flour mix is folded in. This stops the dry ingredients flying out of the mixing bowl!
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Use a spatula to spread it evenly into the corners and create a reasonably smooth surface.
  • Bake for 20 minutes for a fudgy texture or 25 minutes for a more cake-like finish.
  • Remove from oven, leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then lift out onto a wire rack. Baking parchment makes this task easier, as you can grab the paper at the sides and lift the entire cake up and out.
  • Once cool, transfer to a chopping board and cut into squares. An 8 inch / 20 cm square tin divides nicely into 6 x 6 brownies.

Carob Molasses and Tahini Chocolate Brownies - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle-7533

LoveCakelinklogoThese brownies will last for up to a week in an airtight plastic box.

I’m entering this bake into Jibber Jabber’s cakes from around the world challenge.

Little Orange & Lime Cakes from Brazil | Bolinhos de Laranja e Limão

It’s rare for us to make cakes the traditional way any more; creaming together butter and sugar, beating in the eggs and folding in the dry ingredients by hand is not only time-consuming but tiring on the arms too. Instead, for the last several years we’ve mixed most cake batters directly in our food processor, which has a permanent home on the kitchen work surface.

Brazilian-Orange-Lime-Cakes-KaveyEats-KFavelle-6090-text1000 Magimix 4200xl satin

The ingredients are tipped into the bowl, sometimes all together as in my favourite banana cake recipe, sometimes in two or three batches. The blade is very sharp so a few seconds blending is usually all it takes to bring everything together into a batter. Sometimes we need to remove the lid and scrape the sides down once, before a final quick pulse to finish.

The batter is then poured or spooned straight into the cake tin(s) and baked.

Easy peasy and very quick!

Challenged to create a few Brazilian recipes that make good use of my new Magimix 4200 XL, Pete and I made these tasty individual orange and lime cakes, more commonly made as a single larger cake. My previous post was an equally easy recipe for Brazilian Brigadeiro Chocolate Bonbons. For the basic cake batter recipe, we used a recipe by Marian Blazes, an American who has lived and travelled extensively in South America. As it was such a success for the Marzipan Cakes we made over Easter, we made individual cakes rather than one big one, and skipped the glaze altogether.

These are delightful little cakes with a refreshing and vibrant hit of citrus and, as Marian has found, very versatile – you could serve them for breakfast, elevenses, as a packed lunch treat or for afternoon tea.

Usually known as bolo de laranja, orange cake is apparently a popular cake in Brazil. I really like Marian’s combination of orange and lime, and wanted to reflect the use of two citrus fruits in the name. My friend Rosana helped me with translations.


Little Orange & Lime Cakes from Brazil | Bolinhos de Laranja e Limão

Makes 10 to 15 individual cakes, depending on size

2 oranges
1 lime
3 eggs (we used large eggs)
60 ml vegetable oil
125 grams butter, melted
300 grams plain white flour
100 grams ground almonds
350 grams sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
0.5 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C (fan).
  • Liberally butter your muffin tins and then sprinkle a little flour over the buttered surfaces.
  • Zest the lime and the oranges.
  • Peel and section the orange, discarding the skin, pitch and membranes between segments. (You could candy the peel if you wish).
  • Juice the lime.
  • Place zest, orange flesh and lime juice into the food processor bowl and blend briefly until smooth.
  • Add the eggs, vegetable oil and melted butter to the processor and blend again until well mixed.
  • Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and ground almonds to the processor and blend until the batter is smooth. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend again briefly, if necessary.


  • Spoon or pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your muffin tins. The smaller cakes took 25 minutes, the larger ones needed another 5 minutes.
  • Test using a skewer (it should come out clean) or press the surface lightly (it should spring back).

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  • When nicely risen, golden brown on top and cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to cool for several minutes in the tins.

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  • Remove from the tins and allow to cool fully on a wire rack.

Whatever time of day you choose to eat these bright little cakes, I hope you enjoy them!

Our new Magimix 4200 XL is very similar to our older 5200 – the key differences for us are the XL, which denotes the extra wide feed tube, and a slightly smaller footprint. The 4200 XL also comes with a BlenderMix attachment for smoothies and batters, which we’ve yet to try. Like the 5200, it comes with large, medium and mini bowls, a very sharp blade, an egg whisk attachment, a dough hook attachment and a couple of slicing and grating discs.

Other Brazilian recipes which make use of a food processor:

Pão o de Queijo (cheese bread) and Churrasco steak with salsa and rice
Cucumber Caipirinha Cocktail

Kavey Eats received a Magimix 4200 XL from Magimix.

Individual Marzipan Cakes | All About the Almond

During the long Easter weekend, my friend Lisa made almond cake, using a Nigella Lawson recipe featuring marzipan as a key ingredient. How fabulous does that sound? She cunningly poured the batter into a muffin mould to make individual cakes instead of one large cake.

I loved both the sound of the recipe and Lisa’s idea for miniature cakes, so on Easter Sunday, Pete and I followed suit.

We decided to halve the amounts. I also took note of Lisa’s feedback that the recipe produces a really wet and sloppy batter and we reduced the eggs by a third. The batter was perfect.

The resulting cakes were utterly delicious, with a beautiful even texture. They were also very easy to make, since all the ingredients are simply combined using a food processor. They stored well in an airtight box for a few days so they would be a great choice when you need a quick make-ahead recipe for sweet treats.

IMG_20140420_121428 Individual Marzipan Cakes
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Individual Marzipan Cakes

Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe
Makes 4-6 depending on your moulds

125 grams unsalted butter
125 grams marzipan (almond paste)
75 grams caster sugar
2-3 drops teaspoon almond extract
2-3 drops of vanilla extract
2 large eggs
75 grams self-raising flour


  • Preheat oven to 160°C (fan).
  • Liberally butter and flour the muffin mould and set to one side.
  • Cube the butter and marzipan, and either leave out of fridge for an hour or use the microwave to soften a little.
  • Place butter, marzipan and caster sugar into a food processor (with the blade attachment) and process until smooth.
  • Add the almond extract and vanilla bean paste and blitz again, briefly.
  • Add the eggs and process until properly combined.
  • Add the flour and process again until you have a smooth cake batter.
  • Pour batter into muffin mould. We have a bendy rubber spatula that is perfect for making sure no batter is wasted.
  • Bake for half an hour, but start checking after 25 minutes. When the cake looks golden and cooked, check using a fine skewer. If it comes out cleanish, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before turning out and cooling further on a wire rack.

The cakes are tasty served straight away, but develop an added moistness after a day and store well for up to a week.

Nigella suggests serving with raspberries, pureed or stewed apples or creme fraiche and toasted flaked almonds but we thought they were wonderful just as they were.


Also, please join me in wishing my lovely Pete and the gorgeous Lisa a very happy birthday, today!

The Inaugural Cake & Bake Show

Last month I attended the very first Cake & Bake Show, held in Earl’s Court Brompton Hall over a September weekend.

Thanks in large part to The Great British Bake Off, there’s a renewed interest in baking throughout the UK, and indeed both Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood were the star names at the show. Alongside them were many other celebrities of the baking world including Tom Herbert, Richard Bertinet, Paul A Young, Peggy Porschen and many GBBO contestants, past and present.

Tickets sold out weeks before the show and the show was expanded too, taking on extra space and putting on extra talks and classes. Visitors browsed and shopped from a large number of stalls selling equipment and (mostly) sweet treats and attended talks, demonstrations and classes.


It wasn’t all plain sailing, however, and I’m sure the feedback already received will be put to good use improving next year’s show.

The vast majority of exhibitors were in the cake decorating and sugar craft category, with very few selling items of interest to those of us who love baking (bread and sweet treats) but aren’t into decorating. And there weren’t as many stalls selling cakes and bread to buy and take home as I had expected.

Crowds were enormous and, at busy times of the day, it was virtually impossible to approach many of the stalls without waiting several minutes to creep gradually closer to each one.

Queues for toilets and on-site refreshments were enormous and slow moving, and I heard that supplies ran out too. These services are both provided by the venue rather than the show organisers, but need to be taken into account when planning for next year.

Classroom events, for which visitors purchased additional tickets, were held in open theatres, and there were discontented rumblings from those who paid money for a bench seat within the roped area, only to realise that other show visitors were able to afford just as good, if not better views, from outside the ropes.

All that said, it was a pleasure to see how strong the interest is in a show on cakes and baking, and I’m hopeful that next year’s event will be bigger and better, with much more attention paid to the baking side of the equation.

Kavey Eats attended the The Cake & Bake Show as a guest of the organisers.

Petra’s Honey Bread from Leon’s Baking & Puddings

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The design of the Leon cookery books isn’t for everyone; I’ve seen some comments from those who don’t take to the look of the books at all. But I love the vibrant, light-hearted, quirky, personal and fun-loving approach that is epitomised in the styling and flicking through any of the Leon books always makes me smile.

Book 3, Leon: Baking & Puddings, full of sweet and baked treats, is more of a step away from what the restaurant is best known for. As is always the way with the Leon team, the book turns to friends and family members for inspiration and recipes.

The one we chose to make was Petra’s Honey Bread, a recipe from Leon founder Henry Dimbleby’s mother-in-law. Described as a “tea bread”, it’s basically a loaf cake that is perfect for anytime snacking.

I was really surprised by how the honey and lemon zest combined to create a flavour that was reminiscent of ginger bread, though we’d added no spices at all to the mix.

Henry suggests serving the cake thinly sliced and buttered. We had it plain, which was excellent, and with thickly spread salted Isigny butter – heaven!


We learned during and after making the recipe that there are two errors in it. The first is simply that one of the ingredients is not mentioned in the instructions, though we easily decided where to insert it. The second is that the volume of water should be 150 ml rather than the 250 ml stated. We used all 250 ml and, although the cake batter was quite a runny one, the cake came out very well. However a friend mentioned that she’s made the recipe three times without success, and this may well be why.

I was worried that our experience might suggest a lack of accuracy in other recipes in the book, but have been assured by the lovely Henry Dimbleby that, as far as they are aware, this recipe is the only one with mistakes in it. If you have discovered any others please let me know, and drop a note to the folks at Leon too.


Petra’s Honey Bread

225 grams plain flour
115 grams caster sugar
115 grams honey
150 ml hot water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
zest of 1 lemon


  • Preheat the oven to 160 C.
  • Butter a 450 gram/ 1 lb loaf tin and line with baking paper.
  • Mix together the flour and sugar in a large bowl.


  • In a small pan melt together the honey and the water. Remove from the heat.
  • Add the lemon zest and bicarbonate of soda to the honey water mixture and stir.

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  • Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

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  • Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes.
  • Remove from the tin and allow to cool.

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This was an absolutely delicious recipe, and one we’ll make again.

Gooey Delicious Banana Cake (Revisited)

Charles Campion‘s Banana Cake is a recipe I copied across to my blog from a post that originally appeared on a food chat board, or in my general online diary, or was sent via email… or in one of the many places I shared my food experiences before I finally realised I was “stealth-blogging” and set up Kavey Eats!

It’s such a good recipe I always intended to go back and add photos the next time I made it… but, although I’ve enjoyed making and eating it so many times since, I never have.

My talented-photographer-friend Matt Gibson made it recently and showed me his gorgeous photos. My brain started to tick tock tick tock and I discarded the plan to simply slot his photos into that old post, and asked him to guest blog it afresh instead.

Sharing the same recipe on a blog twice might be odd but Matt’s lack of food processor means he’s brought some new advice to the recipe, not to mention his confirmation that it’s a doddle even for novice or nervous bakers.

Over to Matt:

One evening, a week before Christmas, I peered into my fruit bowl. My three remaining bananas stared forlornly back at me. Over-ripe and — based on evidence from the two I’d already eaten — also rather bruised underneath. What to do?

Twitter to the rescue. “Got a banana bread recipe” I asked. “Only this one I’ve found is American, and I have no idea how many bananas there are in two-and-one-third cups.”

Auntie Kavey responded instantly, pointing me at her Charles Campion’s Banana Cake page. Not only did it sound easy — always a bonus for an inexperienced baker like me — but it called for three medium-sized bananas, exactly what I needed to make use of.

So, I dived in, stymied briefly by the local Co-Operative supermarket having run out of both eggs *and* caster sugar (hint, Co-Op: more people than normal are probably baking stuff in the week before Christmas.)


Another minor speed-bump in my road was the first instruction in the recipe, “Measure all ingredients straight into your food processor and whizz into smooth batter,” which rather assumes you own something as fancy as a food processor. Still, at least I’ve got an electric whisk. Instead of boshing it all together I cubed the butter, which I figured would be the difficult-to-mix bit, and rubbed it into the sifted flour and sugar until I had a breadcrumb-like consistency. Then I added everything else, roughly mixing as I went. Finally I took up my electric whisk and zizzed the mixture to a nice smooth batter.

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And that was the hard work done, really. I poured the mix into my greased, floured loaf-tin. Pausing only briefly to check I was neither very young, very old, nor pregnant, I took my life in my hands and tasted a wooden spoon’s scraping’s-worth of the cake mix that had clung on in the bowl. Niiiice. So, all the signs were good.


I popped the loaf tin straight into my pre-heated oven, did the washing-up, and went to post some “before” photos on Twitter. This is the 21st century, after all; if you’ve not tweeted about it, it hasn’t happened.


About forty-five minutes later I was walking past my kitchen door and had to stop and stick my head in and inhale the lovely banana-ey bready smell that was coming from the oven. Another fifteen minutes and I was pulling open the oven, crossing my fingers, and manhandling the loaf tin onto the kitchen worktop with two strategically-positioned tea towels (I know, I know. “Oven gloves” has been just above “food processor” on my kitchen equipment shopping list for about eight years now.)


It looked good. Dark-to-golden brown, with a nice light sponginess showing through the split that had formed on the top. After a few minutes, I gently tried to slide the loaf out, but it felt a bit too wobbly and was clinging to the sides, so I tried to practise some patience and left it to cool in its tin for a while. Once it wasn’t so hot, it slid out more easily, and kept its nice loaf shape as I rolled it onto the cooling rack, though the gooey bottom did sink a millimetre or so into the rack as it settled densely down.


After my disaster with Nigella’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake, which stayed entirely liquid in the middle when I made it, I was a little scared to finally start slicing into my banana cake, but my fears were unfounded. It was a little gooey at the bottom, but pleasantly so, and the rest was a lovely moist cake with a delicious light crust on top and at the edges (the end parts were my personal favourite.) The banana flavour was good, and I hadn’t overdone the vanilla, despite my worries.


All in all, this was a fantastic recipe, easy for the baking beginner, even if you’re only armed with a £4.99 electric whisk from Argos that smells a bit like a Scalextric car when it’s running. You’ll never let over-ripe bananas go to waste again.


My beginner’s tips:

* “a few drops” of vanilla essence is just under a quarter of a teaspoonful.
* Wait until the loaf’s cooled a bit before you try to de-tin it.
* Don’t shop for cake ingredients in the Co-Op just before Christmas.

Here’s the recipe again with my original notes below. ~ Kavey

Gooey Delicious Banana Cake

175 grams caster sugar
225 grams white self-raising flour
100 grams unsalted butter (I always use lightly salted actually)
3 tablespoons fresh milk (I used fully skimmed as that’s what we buy)
2 large fresh eggs
3 medium sized, very ripe bananas
A few drops vanilla essence


  • Preheat oven to 185 C (adjust down for fan ovens).
  • Measure all ingredients straight into your food processor and whizz into smooth batter.
  • Butter a large loaf tin well, then throw in some flour, tap and turn the tin to coat the flour over all surfaces and then tap out any excess into the bin/ sink.
  • Pour the batter into the tin.
  • Bake for an hour.

Note: Campion says “Because we are looking for a soggy end product, the old-faithful test of sticking in a skewer and withdrawing it clean is not appropriate. With practice you’ll simply need to glance at it to tell. In the meantime, because of the style of cake we’re trying to achieve, there’s a wide margin of error to make things easier.”

Note: If it helps, I find the cake rises delightfully and the top turns a lovely rich chocolatey brown (darker than golden brown) and also usually splits, like a lemon drizzle cake.



All images by Matt Gibson.