Mint Chocolate Chip Tray Bake

mint chocolate chip traybake recipe easy dessert tea party cake recipe make ahead

An easy-but-wicked summer dessert – easy to make ahead and enjoyed by everyone!

The dark chocolate is wonderfully rich, interspersed with the crunch of the chocolate chips, and finished with a cool, smooth and creamy mint icing. Keep in the fridge until serving for an extra burst of freshness.

Ingredients (cake layer)
100g dark chocolate
125g butter
100g sugar
50g cream cheese
3 eggs
185g plain flour
100g dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Method
- Melt the chocolate via your preferred method – be that microwave, over a pan of hot water, etc. Set aside to cool
- Beat together the butter, sugar, and cream cheese
- Beat in the eggs and milk , with a tablespoon of flour
- Once the chocolate is cool enough – it should only feel lukewarm to touch, quickly but carefully add to the mixture and quickly beat in. Too hot and you’ll cook the eggs, too cold or too slow to beat and the chocolate will solidify in before it’s mixed! It’s not as tricky as it sounds but make sure your wooden spoon is at the ready
- Add the flour, baking powder, and chocolate chips. By putting the chocolate chips in last, they’ll get a thin coating of flour, which should stop them sinking during cooking- Beat together until all combined, but don’t over-mix
- Pour into a well-greased tin, 20 cm / 8 inches square is ideal
- Bake at 180 degrees for 25 – 35 minutes. Test with a skewer, but be wary of mistaking melted chocolate chips for uncooked cake batter! It should also start to pull away from the side of the tin when ready.
- Leave to cool in the tin, so the chocolate chips have time to set

mixing dark chocolate chips into cocoa batter with flour to prevent sinking dark chocolate chip traybake sticky batter ready to bake

tray bake fresh from the oven chocolate crispy crunch brownie top

I find it better to ice within the tin as well – you can ensure an even coating right up to side, and you can even refrigerate in the tin until you’re ready to slice and serve.

Mint icing
75g butter
Few drops peppermint essence
Couple drops lemon juice
200g icing sugar
Green food colouring
50g dark chocolate chips, to decorate

- Beat together all the ingredients bar the chocolate chips. The food colouring is entirely optional but I think adds to the effect
- Spoon the icing onto the cake, and spread evenly with a small palette knife or the back of a spoon, making sure you have even coverage at the sides and the corners
- Sprinkle generously with the dark chocolate chips
- Wrap in cling-film and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve – I’d recommend a minimum of an hour in the fridge, maximum of 2 days
- Cut into squares as large as you please – mine were big and chunky and didn’t last long at all!

mound of mint colour and flavour icing on dark chocolate chip traybake recipe mint chocolate chip traybake icing setting inside tin

mint chocolate chip tray bake ready to be cut into squares easy dessert recipe

mint chocolate chip traybake recipe easy summer dessert

corner section of tray bake mint icing dark chocolate chips brownie cake base

mint chocolate chip traybake big dessert squares easy party summer cooking

Fat-Free Banana, Date & Maple Syrup Loaf

banana date and maple syrup loaf cake high fibre low fat and low sugar recipe

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a bunch of blackening bananas in the supermarket, reduced to just 10p. Knowing I had a free evening ahead – I hastily picked them up and started dreaming of banana recipes! (Thanks to my Dad for ingraining in me an inability to walk past a reduced section without stopping – unfortunately this does also extend to clothes, shoes, bakeware…!)

Back home I quickly found some banana bread recipes, and thought the maple syrup I’d brought back from a recent trip to the US would be a perfect complement. A quick rummage in the cupboard and I ended up with dates as well – to come up with a super-healthy loaf, with no added sugar or fat. (Maple syrup is a natural product, so that’s good for you too, right?) Definitely a good couple of your five a day! You can add more or less spices depending on your taste buds.

Ingredients
300g ripe / blackening bananas
100g chopped dates
50 ml maple syrup
250g plain flour – use wholemeal if you are being extra healthy, although it will make for a heavier loaf
75ml milk
4 medium eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon water

Method
- Put the chopped dates, maple syrup and water into a saucepan, heat slowly until gently bubbling. Allow to bubble for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat, and stir well. You should fine the dates have started to break down into a paste – if not heat for another minute or two. Set aside to cool. tur
- Mash the bananas, they don’t need to be too smooth (small lumps are fine), as they will melt down during cooking
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add the date mixture, bananas, milk and eggs. Mix together well, but don’t over beat.
- Pour into a greased, lined loaf tin. It is quite a liquid mixture so will level out easily by itself.
- Bake at 150 degrees for 1 hour. In my fan oven this was the perfect time – an inserted skewer came out clean first time – but for other oven types it’ll take longer. Give it extra time in increments, testing with a skewer each time that oven beeps!
- Leave to cool in the tin, wait until you’re ready to serve before slicing

banana date and maple syrup fat free loaf cake recipe healthy baking batter mix ready to bake

banana date and maple syrup fat free low sugar cake recipe easy loaf tin bake

It’s best eaten quickly, or keep in the fridge in tupperware and work through it over a few days. It won’t be difficult!

Enjoy in big slices. It definitely doesn’t taste healthy, but makes a brilliant guilt free snack! If you’re after something a little naughtier, it works just as well with a good smother of butter, a la malt loaf.

sliced banana date and maple syrup loaf cake from home recipe

banana date and maple syrup loaf sliced with butter healthy treat recipe

 

 

 

Lemon and Lavender Cake

lemon and lavender cake recipe british summertime treat fresh

What to get the baker who has everything – well a cake calendar of course! This one hangs pride of place in our kitchen, and proved a great inspiration for this cake, which I made for my Dad for Father’s Day a couple of weeks back (we celebrated early this year due to various trips away).

lavender bundt cake calendar inspiration

For some reason, a quirky disconnect in my blonde brain, I didn’t choose to follow this recipe, but instead borrowed from this wonderful National Trust recipe. As a lifetime NT member, I’m sure my Dad will approve! Scaling down the recipe to fit my size of tin, and replacing the ground almonds with some essence, I adapted the recipe as follows. The lemon, almond and lavender are a great compliment to each, making a floral, fruity and balanced cake. Finish with a lavender syrup and a crunchy lemon icing for a super spring and summer treat!

Ingredients
125g butter
125g plain flour
125g sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of almond essence
1 lemon, grated rind and juice
1 heaped teaspoon of fresh lavender

Lavender syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lavender
1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons water

Lemon icing
100g icing sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Lavender sprigs and/or lemon rind to decorate

Although you can buy cooking lavender, I used some fresh from my garden, pulling the flowers off the stalks, and crushing gently to get more flavour. You can use any fresh lavender plants, as long as you’re sure they’re chemical free (so homegrown is best).

Method
- My favourite kind of method – put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well!
- Spoon into a well-greased tin, I used the smaller size of my Ikea Sockerkaka round silicone bundt moulds, which holds around 500ml
- Bake at 150 degrees C, until baked through (test with a skewer, when it comes out clean it’s done). Time will depend on the size and shape of your mould, anywhere from 45 – 75 minutes. Mine took around an hour, in a fan oven.
- Once the time is nearly up, place the syrup ingredients in a heavy bottomed / non-stick saucepan. Heat gently and allow to bubble for a minute or so. The sugar should start to thicken into a sticky syrup. Remove any large pieces of lavender
- When the cake is cooked, removed from the oven, and quickly (but gently!) prick small holes all over with a fork or skewer, so the syrup will absorb in
- Put the cake on a cooling rack, with a drip tray underneath, and spoon or pour the syrup all over the cake
- Set aside and allow to cool completely
- Mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice to form a thick paste, that will slowly drip off the back of a spoon. Spoon or drizzle over the cake, finishing with lavender or lemon decorations

ikea sockerkaka silicon cake moulds review usage

lavender sugar syrup cake recipe

dousing cake with lavender sugar syrup lemon and almond flavourings summer treat

lemon icing drizzling over lavender cake for fathers day

lemon and lavender cake recipe decorative topping with sprigs and citrus rind

I had great plans to take some beautiful photos in front of my lavender plants – but sadly the great British weather put paid to that. Soggy cake is not a good look!

british summer rain blossoming lavender plant cake recipe

Nevertheless I still managed to snap a couple of shots through the patio windows – and the rest safely in the dry of my own kitchen.

lemon and lavender cake with flower sprigs decoration icing drizzle

IMG_0541 lemon and lavender sponge cake recipe with hints of almond fresh garden summer

The Pudding Pantry, Nottingham

They say word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to get noticed – and who am I to contest. This lovely new little bakery/coffee shop was recommended by a friend, and now here I am doing the same for you!

Situated in Trinity Square, just a minutes’ walk each from the Victoria Centre and Cornerhouse, The Pudding Pantry opened up about 2 months ago, and is an oasis of calm amid all the shops, bustling restaurants and busy streets.

the pudding pantry nottingham review trinty square new tea room coffee shop

Inside the decor is bright and fresh – it reminds me of being at the seaside, with soft blues and greys, and lots of white painted wood.

the puddng pantry nottingham tea room coffee shop bakery review trinity square

There are also plenty of quirky touches – as any good tea room should have!
Vintage tea pots on display under the unique lighting:

tea room decor teapot cups chic lighting

Hand-bound wooden fronted menus:

wooden hand bound menu the pudding pantry nottingham tea room coffee shop

And a hand-written specials board of the days sweet treats:

hand written blackboard menu personal touch tea room nottingham the pudding pantry

And what an array of sweet treats there were – on display in the windows; in and around the main glass-fronted counter, we were absolutely spoilt for choice! From pastries to muffins to sliced cakes to scones… they really do have the whole lot.

viennese whirls food porn glass counter tea room coffee shop fresh pastries raspberry and custard twist banoffee danish the pudding pantry nottingham blackberry and mint cake whole purple and green swirl icing summer tea room nottingham array of cakes and stands cupcakes muffins at the pudding pantry nottingham

My cake camarade opted for a scone with jam and cream – but was asked did she mind that it would be about 10 minutes as they were freshly baked to order? What a treat!

freshly baked scone homemade jam clotted cream nottingham coffee house afternoon tea pudding pantry

And the warm summer weather tempted me into something fresh and fruity – the amazing looking, sounding, and definitely tasting blackberry and mint cake. It was divine!

blackberry and mint cake purple icing swirl vintage tea plate

So consider my word well and truly spread – definitely a tea room to try next time you are in the area!

Gluten Free Chocolate Birthday Cake

gluten free chocolate birthday cake white chocolate stars recipe

A couple of weeks back we had a big birthday to celebrate in our office, for which it was deemed I should make a cake (no hardship really!). As there are only 6 of us, I wanted to make sure everyone could have a piece, especially our newest GF-colleague.

Google led me to no end of gluten free recipes – where to start! I’ve made gluten free brownies before, which turned out rather well, if I do say so myself, so sticking with something chocolatey seemed a safe better. With some ground almonds lurking in the back of the cupboard, and a very well-reputed Nigella recipe to boot, how could I go wrong?

I downscaled the recipe by a third, not only so it would fit in the best tin I could find, but also because it only had to feed 6 – and we were still eating cake all week!

Recipe (adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake)

Ingredients
100 ml olive oil (I used extra virgin as that was what we had in the house)
35 grams cocoa powder
85 ml hot water
1 generous teaspoon vanilla
100 grams ground almonds
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
170 grams sugar (Nigella uses caster, but I used a light brown for an extra fudgy texture)
2 eggs

Method
- Beat together the cocoa powder and hot water to a smooth paste (like melted chocolate)
- In a large bowl (a stand mixer if you have one), whisk the eggs, sugar and olive oil until they are light and aerated – lots of fine bubbles and quite thick. It should take 3-5 minutes if using a stand mixer, a little longer by hand
- Pour in the chocolate mixture, vanilla, and add the almonds and bicarbonate of soda. Mix on a slow speed until all combined
- Spoon or pour the mixture into a lined and well greased tin (I used a 7 inch round sponge tin)
- Bake for around 30 minutes at 180 degrees. Use a skewer / cake tester to check if it’s done, it should come out clean with no batter visible, maybe just a few crumbs
- Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, before turning out and cooling on a wire rack

downsized gluten free chocolate olive oil cake adapted from nigella recipe birthday with fudge icing

Whilst the cake is cooling the icing can be made – I started off making a ganache, with milk instead of cream, but quickly decided a thick chocolate fudge icing would be better!

Chocolate fudge icing
200g dark chocolate
65g butter
120ml milk
75g light brown sugar

Method
- Put the chocolate, butter and milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and heat on low until everything is melted together and smooth
- Add the sugar, stir well, and turn the heat up so the mixture starts to boil
- Allow it to boil for around a minute, stirring gently, then remove from the heat
- Stir and leave to cool until it reaches your desired consistency
- Spoon, drizzle, and generally adorn all over your cake, allowing to drip down the sides

dark chocolate fudge ganache icing recipe gluten free chocolate birthday cake

chocolate fudge icing ganache on gluten free olive oil birthday cake

I topped my icing with a mass of white chocolate stars – sprinkled liberally doesn’t even come close!

white chocolate stars liberally sprinkled onto dark chocolate fudge icing birthday cake food porn

And to finish, a homemade ‘happy birthday’ bunting banner. There are plenty of templates online which you simply print off, cut out the triangles, and loop over a piece of string – a lovely hand-made touch that takes no time at all (especially if you do it whilst watching the tv…)

homemade happy birthday bunting banner cake gluten free chocolate nigella olive oil recipe with fudge icing

gluten free chocolate cake happy birthday homemade bunting banner recipe and method

The birthday girl was delighted, as were we all on tucking in. Although I was a little dubious about the olive oil in the recipe, it makes for a dense, fudgy, chocolatey cake, only too well complimented by a dense, fudgy, chocolatey icing!

moist chocolate olive oil cake gluten free with chocolate fudge ganache icing

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

pink lemonade cupcakes using sugar and crumbs flavoured icing sugar easy recipe edible straws and fizzy sprinkles
A beautiful summers day and perfect excuse to use some more of my treats from Sugar and Crumbs.

A quick taste test and I was instantly smitten with their Pink Lemonade Natural Flavoured Icing Sugar. You know those Refresher sweets, with the fizzy lemon centre? It tastes exactly like that fizzy sherbet!
And despite the name, the sugar is white in colour… so you could easily confuse any taste testers… mwah haha ;-)

sugar and crumbs pink lemonade icing sugar review and recipe

To keep on the theme I wanted to top these lemonades with a little straw – but no ordinary paper or plastic version. Instead I rolled together thing lengths of red and white fondant, twisting and intertwining to give the effect of a striped paper straw.

red and white drinking straws made from fondant twisting red and white

Once cut into lengths, I left them to air-dry and harden overnight.

red and white fondant icing edible drinking straws swirl striped effect

The cupcakes were a simple vanilla base – with more than enough flavour punch in the icing.To ice 12 cupcakes I used 350g pink lemonade icing sugar, 185g soft butter, a couple of drops of pink food colouring, and a splash of milk to get to piping consistency.

I used a star nozzle to get that perfect swirl, before creating a hole for the ‘straws’ with the back of a paint brush (the fondant would break if you tried to push it straight into the cake).

how to make pink lemonade cupcakes making hole for straw using paintbrush

A final topping of pink shimmer sugar for that little extra ‘fizz’ – et voila!

pink lemonade cupcakes sugar and crumbs flavoured icing sugar sugar sprinkles and straw

Definitely cuter than the real thing – and surprisingly refreshing to boot. A big things up to Sugar and Crumbs on this one! pink lemonade cupcake swirl icing with red and white edible straw

Despicable Me Minion Birthday Cake

despicable me minion birthday cake homemade silver goggles blue fabric effect overalls

Another year, another birthday for Rob, complete with epic cake!

This year he requested a minion – and of course I was only too happy to oblige. We are big Despicable Me fans and I’d been wanting to create one of these yellow cuties for a while.

For a bit of a change, I wanted to use a flavoured Madeira cake for the centre. I cannot rave enough about Paul Hollywood’s Coconut Madeira cake. Not only was it super easy to make (who doesn’t love a one-bowl recipe), but it came out so moist and light. Absolutely delicious!

madeira coconut cake paul hollywood recipe easy moist

I combined it with a lime buttercream, made using Sugar and Crumbs key lime icing sugar. More on this to come as it was a perfect combination between sweet and tangy, and a perfect compliment to the coconut cake.

On to the decoration – once the cake was shaped the fondant work was relatively easy. I covered the top half in a bright yellow, and the bottom in a rich blue. There was only a small overlap between the two as I didn’t want the fondant to be too thick for people to eat! The hands and feet were covered in some chocolate fondant dyed black, and pressed into shape.

minion birthday cake step by step yellow and denim blue fondant overalls

To finish the overalls, I created a mottled effect, using gel food colouring and a painbrush, to give a more realistic denim / fabric appearance. And of course the all important ‘Gru’ logo – painted on with some black food colouring.

minion birthday cake fabric effect overalls painted fondant icing gru logo in black

And the key feature – those all important goggles. I used white fondant for both the goggle rim and eyes, painting the rim with silver edible shimmer before adding to the cake.

despicable me birthday cake minion face goggles eyes silver edible paint

Of course – what minion would be complete without that cheeky smile! Did someone say ‘bottom’?!

minion from despicable me birthday cake face and cheeky smile silver

The finished cake – I was really pleased and especially so as it was all made in one night.

minion two eyed birthday cake from despicable me silver goggles blue overalls gru logo

No birthday cake is complete without candles…

minion birthday cake with candles

… and Rob was of course delighted!

happy rob with minion birthday cake

Creme Egg Cookie Pizza

creme egg minis cookie pizza white and milk chocolate recipe for easter

Ah Easter. That one time of the year when excessive chocolate consumption is not only allowed, but positively encouraged. A four day weekend with little else to do but gorge on milk, white and dark goodness. Perfect!

My Cadbury Creme Egg Cheesecakes – Two Ways are incredibly popular at this time of year, being the most popular post on the whole blog for at least the past couple of months. This year I wanted to use those gooey orange and white filled shells for something equally as amazing, combined with an early with an early birthday treat for Rob.

As soon as I saw this fantastic cookie pie recipe from Averie Cooks, my mouth started watering and brain whirring. I loved the way she sliced it into pizza-style slices, and with Rob’s love of everything biscuits and cookies, I was onto a sure-fire winner.

Jazzing up the recipe with extra chocolate, and of course those mini creme eggs was as easy as converting to UK measurements. The ultimate Easter indulgence!

Ingredients
110g butter
130g light brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g plain flour
1 egg
100g chocolate chips

To top
1 pack mini Cadbury Creme Eggs
2 squares each milk and white chocolate

Method
- Melt together the butter and golden syrup, try not to over-heat
- Stir in the sugar and vanilla essence, add the egg and mix well
- Add the flour and chocolate chips (reserve a small handful for the topping), and mix until just-combined – this is some seriously good cookie dough that’s rather moreish eaten raw!
- Spoon into a greased, lined tin, I used a large pie dish with silicon lining for easy removal, flatten evenly
- Grate over the white and milk chocolate squares, sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips
- Lightly press in the Crème Eggs – either whole or halved, I used a mixture of the two. They are easy to cut in half if slightly warm
- Place the cookie pizza in the oven at 180 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes. Check it’s done by inserting a cocktail stick / small skewer in the middle and seeing if it comes out clean
- Allow to cool in the tin / pie dish before removing and slicing into pizza segments

pie tin greased and lined for cookie pizza dough recipe

 

cookie pizza dough chocolate chip recipe uk

 

chocolate cookie pizza grated white and milk chocolate topping

 

creme egg chocolate cookie pizza topping ready to bake recipe

creme egg cookie pizza chocolate toppings milk and white chocolate chips

freshly baked chocolate creme egg pizza cookie

creme egg cookie pizza chopping board easter baking easy ideas recipe

creme egg cookie chocolate pizza cutter easter

chocolate pizza slice creme egg cookie giant

 

creme egg cookie pizza slice recipe

As easy as (pizza) pie – pure Easter indulgence in every bite. How do you eat yours? Very quickly in this case!

mini creme egg giant cookie chocolate pizza easter baking recipe ideas

Hen Party Cupcakes

hen party cupcakes ideas l plates flower bouqets mr and mrs shoes underwear sets champagne

This weekend I was part of a great hen party and delighted to make cupcakes for our afternoon of fun and games (before descending into evening chaos!)

The wedding in 6 weeks time is to be safari themed, at the fantastic Chester Zoo. So anything animal went as a theme – and I bought these fantastic zebra and leopard print cupcake cases from Scrumptious last weekend at the Cake and Bake Show.

scrumptious cupcake cases animal print leopard and zebra

The cupcakes were a rich chocolate, topped with a salted caramel butter cream (thanks again Sugar and Crumbs!)

To top – I made 18 different toppers out of fondant, sprinkles, edible glitter and edible ink, time consuming but creatively great fun! Anything hen party themed went -

Moet and Veuve champagne bottles

moet and veuve champagne bottle cupcake toppers hen party

Sparkly learner ‘L’ plates

L plate learner hen party cupcakes glittery red

Bingo balls & cards – as we were heading for a few inebriated games that evening

bingo hen party cupcakes cards and number balls wedding

The bingo balls I made into the two dates – one for the hen party, and the other for the wedding:

bingo balls hen party cupcakes wedding date black edible ink

Beautiful bridal bouquets (centred with edible gold soft pearls)

red pink blue white flower bouquets fondant cupcake topper gold soft pearl centres hen party wedding

Sparkly, SPARKLY shoes

fondant sparkly shoes on chocolate cupcakes hen party celebration

And one of my favourites to make – pretty underwear sets and sexy basques

hen party cupcakes basques and underwear sets glitter and sprinkles decoration black pink and nude

Can someone please have an underwear and shoes party – I want to make more of these!!

They were the perfect centrepiece to the afternoon and quickly devoured by some hungry hens.

hen party cupcakes l learner plates flower bouquet bingo balls shoes and underwear hen party cupcakes learner plate bingo balls underwear set sparkly shoes

And amid champagne, wine and presents – one very happy hen!

hen party cupcakes champagne and presents

CCC at The Cake & Bake Show, Manchester 2014

Yesterday I was privileged to be a part of the Clandestine Cake Club stall at Cake and Bake Manchester 2014. CCC founder Lynn Hill had wanted us organisers to be a part, spending the day explaining to fellow cake-fans our simple concept of baking, sharing and eating cakes. Simple and very social, needless to say we had a lot of interest!

After a gruelling 6am start, Julia, organiser of CCC Derby and I, soon perked up once we were on the stall!

clandestine cake club stand cake and bake 2014 manchester central derby organiser julia

And it wasn’t long before the crowds started to arrive.

clandestine cake club stall at cake and bake show 2014 crowds gathering for taste on the table judging

Each day CCC was hosting a ‘Taste on the Table’ competition, for members of near and far clubs to enter their best bakes, to win fab baking prizes from Renshaw and Nordicware. And they did not disappoint – before long we had a fantastic array of cakes adorning the stall.

clandestine cake club taste on the table competition at cake and bake manchester central 2014

And the icing on the cake as you may put it… I was kindly volunteered by the rest of the team to judge the competition with none other than Peter Sidwell from Britain’s Best Bakery. Nerve-wracking doesn’t even describe it – tasting 10 cakes sounds like a lot of fun, but surround by crowds of eager bakers was a little over-whelming! Thankfully the girls were on hand to snap me at my most flattering…

clandestine cake club taste on the table competition judging with peter sidwell britains best bakery

Peter was a real pro, and between us (conferring with me hidden behind the banner!) we chose a Chocolate Porter Cake with Baileys icing as the winner – baked by Heidi from N. Yorkshire & Tees Valley CCC. She too was rather overwhelmed but a very worthy winner, for a great combination of flavours and lovely light texture.

Judging duties out the way, I had plenty of time to wander round, sample and shop!

Of course I had to try this fantastic cupcake dress, made of 800 cupcakes and over 5000 sugar flowers – simply stunning.

cake and bake show 2014 purple cupcake dress

And some fantastic things to see at the other stalls – Nielsen-Massey were making cocktails with their extracts…

giant nielsen massey vanilla extract cake and bake show

… and Billingtons had created a brilliant Sugar Market, with lots of fudge made from their different varieties. Handily placed very close to our CCC stand, we stopped by there more than a few times!

billingtons sugar stall cake and bake show

Around the show there were some absolutely fantastic display cakes, of Disney, Pixar, and other famous ‘faces’:

cake and bake show cloudy with a chance of meatballs display cake cake and bake show 2014 frozen reindeer and snowman cake disney monsters university cake sully mike wazowski sugar art cake and bake show 2014

I just loved this tray of ‘savouries’ – how great an idea to have the scotch eggs with creme eggs inside!

edible art cake scotch creme eggs pork pies all as cakes

At the heart of the show was a giant jungle-themed installation, with the show’s main competition inviting bakers to create everything animalistic and evergreen. Some more absolutely outstanding cakes – they must have taken days if not weeks!

cake and bake show manchester 2014 jungle peacock and monkey cakes edible art cake and bake show 2014 jungle art cakes lions head cake and bake show crocodile cake life size all edible

Back at the CCC stall we were thrilled to have some familiar faces drop by. Glenn, Christine and Kimberley from 2013′s Great British Bake-Off – all of whom were absolutely lovely and only too happy to chat everything cake.

clandestine cake club team with glenn cosby and christine wallace gbbo 2013 cake and bake show 2014 clandestine cake club ccc at cake and bake show 2014 with kimberley GBBO 2013 finalist

And the delightful GBBO Series 4 winner Frances Quinn. She was such a sweetie, genuinely a lovely person, although seeming a little rushed off her feet!

clandestine cake lynn hill and team with francis quinn gbbo series 4 winner

Over by the Bakery we bumped into (ok stalked a little), Eric Lanlard of Cake Boy fame. He is a huge CCC supporter and so enthusiastic about everything baking related.

cake and bake show 2014 ccc clandestine cake club with eric landlard

After a hard days cake-chatting I made it home a little after 9 – rather weary after a 14 hour day but delighted to have met so many fantastic people on the stall. Here’s to spreading the Clandestine Cake word!

And of course I didn’t come back empty handed – a combination of shopping with free samples from Dr. Oetker, Rainbow Dust and Sugar & Crumbs – plenty to keep me in the kitchen trying new things over the next few weeks.

cake and bake show manchester 2014 goodies new covent garden cookbook billingtons sugar tin colours sugar and crumbs icing