Baking round-up: coffee and walnut cake + chocolate flapjacks + upside down blueberry cake + snake pie!

I can’t believe it’s been over 5 weeks since I last posted! Did you miss me?! I haven’t been away or anything – just lazy about updating the blog, and I also seem to keep losing time to playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild (it’s seriously, seriously great).

I have, however, been baking…

Coffee and walnut traybake


This is a Mary Berry recipe (of course) that is very similar to the coffee and walnut cake recipe used on Bake Off a while ago. The only difference is that this is a single layer traybake as opposed to a two-layer round cake.
The recipe calls for coffee essence, which I’d never heard of and couldn’t find in the supermarket, so I made up a small quantity of very very strong coffee instead, and stirred that in.

The coffee flavour ended up being somewhat subtle, but it didn’t seem to matter because the sponge was just beautiful – exceedingly light and fluffy and very more-ish. It didn’t last long, I can tell you!

Double chocolate flapjacks

I had a strangely specific urge for exceedingly chocolatey flapjacks a couple of weeks ago, so I dug around the internet until I found this recipe.

I tinkered with the recipe a little by pouring the melted chocolate on top of the flapjacks instead of dipping each one into it. I also (rather randomly) chopped up a couple of Penguin bars and threw them into the flapjack mix for extra crunch and chocolateyness.

The flapjacks ended up slightly overbaked, but they were still delicious! I can’t say I particularly noticed the Penguin bits in there, but I’m sure they didn’t hurt.

Upside down blueberry cake

Confession: I made this so long ago that I have no idea where I got the recipe from – sorry! However, it was pretty straightforward and very similar to pretty much any other upside down cake. The cake itself contained ground almonds, which added a nice summery flavour to the proceedings.
It was a delicious cake; I only wish I could remember the recipe so I can make it again…!

Moroccan snake pie

My husband and I (mainly my husband!) made this for a Moroccan-themed meal at his mum’s house recently. Also known as m’hanncha, snake pie is basically a lot of filo stuffed with a sugary, buttery, almondy mix that is then rolled up and coiled around to form a ‘snake’, before baking.
It was a little labour-intensive and there was a panic when the pie started leaking in the oven, but it turned out really well and was warmly received by all! The recipe is a Jamie Oliver one and can be found here.

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Bakewell slices + an epic afternoon tea

Bakewell slices
A few weeks ago, my fiancé and I hosted a celebratory afternoon tea for some friends to belatedly mark our engagement. If you know us, you’ll know that we do love to throw a bit of a do, and this was definitely a do and a half! One of the many things we made was these Bakewell slices.

Before I go on, I do apologise for the quality of the photos – I’ve never been great at taking pictures, but in my defence, we did happen to have a magnum of prosecco on the go at the time!

Anyway, the Bakewell slices were the one thing I hadn’t made before, so I suppose it was a bit of a gamble. However, I used a Mary Berry recipe for these, and she rarely puts a foot wrong, so I was pretty confident that they’d turn out well. And turn out well they did!

It basically just involved making some pastry, lining a tin with it and topping it with a layer of raspberry jam, some almond sponge mix (flavoured with almond extract rather than ground almonds, which surprised me a bit) and flaked almonds. Then the whole thing went in the oven. And that was it!

They were truly scrumptious, and got thumbs up from the guests. They’re great to make if you want to impress with something easy to make, and are easily made in advance (I made mine the day before and they kept well in the tin).

Afternoon tea
So, what else did we make? We also had the following on the menu…

  • Finger sandwiches (savoury cheese and beetroot; egg mayo and cress; cucumber, dill and cream cheese)
  • Plain and fruit scones (recipe from BBC Good Food; I made two batches and put sultanas in one of them)
  • Viennese whirls (recipe from the Hairy Bikers and previously blogged here)
  • Victoria sponge (recipe from BBC Good Food and previously blogged here)
  • Lemon tart (recipe from The Best-Ever Mediterranean Cookbook)
  • Dark and white chocolate eclairs (recipe from Raymond Blanc)
  • Assorted afternoon cocktails (hic!)
Viennese whirls, scones and finger sandwiches

Viennese whirls, scones and finger sandwiches

Victoria sponge

Victoria sponge

Lemon tart

Lemon tart

All in all, it was a great do and all of the food was lovely (even if I do say so myself). We made far too much as usual, but it’s always better to make too much than too little. Especially when it means you can basically have afternoon tea for breakfast AND lunch the next day…

First bake: chocolate orange cake with cream cheese icing

Chocolate orange cake with cream cheese icingI was recently alerted to the launch of something amazing by Asda – chocolate orange cream cheese. Being a fan of the wonderful Philadelphia-Cadbury lovechild that is chocolate cream cheese, I couldn’t wait to get this wonderful concoction and do something baking-related with it.

Chocolate orange cream cheeseI briefly considered a chocolate orange cheesecake, but I don’t have a great track record with cheesecake in general, so I settled on a decadent chocolate orange layer cake with chocolate orange cream cheese icing instead. You can already feel the calories piling on just by reading that, can’t you?

I used a Mary Berry recipe for the sponges. Strangely enough, this was my first attempt at a Mary Berry recipe, despite being a huge GBBO fan. Suffice to say, the cakes turned out wonderfully!

Chocolate orange cake mix

Chocolate orange cake mix

I let the cakes cool overnight then made a simple icing by beating together the chocolate orange cream cheese, icing sugar and butter. I sandwiched the cakes together with half of the icing then spread the rest on top, and decorated it with some segments of a dark chocolate orange to finish it off.

Chocolate orange cake with cream cheese icingI couldn’t wait to try the finished cake! I have to say, it was absolutely amazing – the sponge was moist and flavoursome, while the icing was simply wonderful. I wouldn’t say the chocolate orange flavour of the cream cheese was particularly strong, but it was definitely there, and the richness of the cheese provided a wonderful contrast to all the sugar and cocoa.

I would most certainly make this again without changing anything – I just hope Asda keep this cream cheese in production for a good while longer!

Chocolate orange cake with cream cheese icingThe recipe

For the sponges, follow Mary Berry’s recipe for chocolate orange cake. You can either use her filling or my own, below:

  • 200g pack of chocolate orange cream cheese, available from Asda (or make your own with normal cream cheese, cocoa and orange zest or flavouring)
  • 40g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  1. Beat together the sugar and butter until smooth, then stir in the cream cheese and mix well.