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Happy Birthday Grandpa

These days I don’t need much excuse to don the apron, roll my sleeves up and get the baking gear out of the cupboard and last week to celebrate my Dad’s (Grandpa’s) birthday, provided the perfect excuse. Over the last few years, the children’s birthdays have given me ample opportunity to practice making Victoria sponge and Madeira cakes and I for one was ready to consume something different. Inspired by a Facebook photograph of a cake that my friend made for her husband’s birthday recently and my father’s love of chocolate, ok my love of chocolate, I decided that a chocolate sponge cake was in order. My mother reminded me that this was not in fact my first chocolate sponge cake offering. As a child, I had spent several hours throwing together a chocolate sponge cake in celebration of one of her birthdays. A recipe at the age of 8 or 9 was obviously considered a hindrance to the creative process. The fact that I refused to touch even a morsel of the finished article, speaks volumes about the success of that experiment. Anyway, this was Ava’s first chocolate sponge cake and definitely the first time that three generations of the Collins girls have baked together (for those of you who know my mother, you’ll know how rare this is!).

I have faithfully followed Delia Smith’s sponge cake recipe for some time now and naturally expected another Delia special, with a chocolate twist but when my Google search resulted in a chocolicious offering by none other than Mary Berry, of Great British Bake Off fame, I knew I was onto a winner, so here is the finished result:

Chocolate Sponge Cake Grandma & Ava

Later this month it is Grandma’s birthday and I’m reliably informed her favourite cake is a coffee walnut cake. That definitely would be a first for me. Does anyone have a recipe that they care to share?

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Mrs P stars in her own version of The Great British Bake Off

With Ava’s 4th birthday now only 2 sleeps away, I have competed in my annual version of The Great British Bake Off. Ok so Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are hardly likely to pay a visit to my kitchen but the pressure of having ‘the cake’ on show for the scrutiny of all my Mummy friends at Ava’s 4 th birthday party this Sunday is surely on par. For those of you attending said party, as I know quite a large proportion of my current readership will be there, I really don’t take cake making that seriously. As a Stay-at-home Mum, I personally don’t feel justified in buying a cake or paying for someone else to make one but I certainly don’t judge those that do. I’ll let you into a little secret though – I have bought the fairy cakes so I’ll let Ava loose on the decoration of these!

So here is the finished article and I think it’s my best one yet!

4th Birthday Cake

I must say a couple of thank yous for this effort…

1. Thank you to Andrea of Andrea’s Celebration Cakes for sending through the recipe for the Madeira cake. It was a little cheeky to ask for a recipe but a friend and I are doing a cake decorating course with Andrea in a few weeks time which I will no doubt report on here.

2. Thanks to my husband Andy for saving me from a cream and jam disaster. Benjamin’s 1st birthday cake lacked jam so I decided that I would spread jam over both halves, only to discover that I then couldn’t spread the cream! Jam scrapped off and a sliver taken off the end of the cake with a sharp knife rescued the situation.

3. Thank you to my mother-in-law Nadine for helping me to lay the royal icing on the cake and for suggesting the twisted trim around the bottom which I think really finishes off the cake nicely.

If you’re interested in the recipe for the cake and a few helpful hints for cake making that have been passed onto me, then please read on…

Madeira Sponge Cake (7inch square tin/8 inch round tin)
12 oz Self Raising Flour
10 oz Caster Sugar
10 oz Butter (I used Stork as recommended on my cupcake decorating class)
5 medium eggs
2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 150°C
Sift flour into bowl and add all other ingredients
Using a mixer, beat for 1 minute
Spoon mixture into a tin 3/4 full
Scoop some of the middle and place it round the edges

A couple of other useful hints I have picked up are:
Place a bowl of water at the bottom of the oven to make the cake more moist.
Add a 1/4 teaspoon of glycerine per egg, also to increase the moisture content.
Grease the baking tin before laying baking patchment in the tin.
Use a cocktail stick and dip in a small amount of paste to colour the royal icing. The more dips, the deeper the colour.

Baking time: 1hr 10mins

I filled the cake with strawberry jam and buttercream (4 oz butter and 8 oz icing sugar)

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS –

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