Freshly Baked Bits

Moist Carrot Cake with an Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Posted on by Yvette

If you’re like me then there’s nothing better than having a ‘melts in your mouth’ moment whilst eating a cake! I have taken this carrot cake recipe from one of my cake decorating books. However, the frosting was one I created myself and really complemented the cake! If you’re not a big fan of carrot cake, then I’d say this recipe may change you’re mind so why not give it a go! It’s just so fruity and sweet, with subtle flavours and aromas of mixed spices. My husband and I tried it both fresh from the oven and once it had time to set in the fridge overnight; I must say we both really enjoyed it once it had time to cool and set in the fridge……

Carrot Cake

Bake time: 2hrs


  • 440g (3 cups) all purpose flour
  • 300g (1 ½ cups) soft brown sugar
  • 300g (1 ½ cups) granulated sugar
  • 300ml ( 1 ¼ cups) canola oil
  • 100ml low fat sour cream (can use full fat sour cream)
  • 3 tsp Madagascan pure vanilla extract
  • 130g (1 ¾ cups) dessicated coconut
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 500g (4 large carrots) grated carrot
  • 2 large (or 3 small) orange zests
  • 5 eggs
  • 200g (1 ½ cups) currants (soaked in brandy if desired!)
  • 55ml brandy


  1. STEP 1 – Pre-heat oven to 315’F (160’C)
  2. STEP 2 – Line an 8” square or round cake tin, sides and base
  3. STEP 3 – Whisk the canola oil , sour cream, vanilla, eggs and orange zest together , then add both sugars and continue to mix until blended
  4. STEP 4 – In a separate bowl, sift the flour, spices, baking soda and salt together to ensure even distribution
  5. STEP 5 – Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and whisk
  6. STEP 6 – Add the grated carrot, dessicated coconut and raisins/currants and blend in using a wooden spoon
  7. STEP 7 – Pour mixture into the cake tin and place on middle shelf of the oven

For the frosting:


  • 200g low fat cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp Smart Balance canola spread (or low fat margarine)
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 4 tbsp juice from an orange
  • 190g ( 1 ½ cups) confectioners / icing sugar

Note: I have used a low fat spread rather than butter to create a thin pouring consistency. However, if you would like a thicker consistency (similar to a buttercream frosting) then use full fat cream cheese and butter.


  1. STEP 1 – Whisk the cream cheese, butter, orange zest and juice together until fluffy.
  2. STEP 2 – gradually add the sugar and whisk until smooth.
  3. STEP 3 – Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set.

Applying the cream cheese frosting for the filling:

  1. STEP 1 – Ensure the cake is cooled before cutting in half. Once sliced, refrigerate the bottom part of the cake to allow to set slightly. This will ensure when applying the frosting that it won’t melt into the cake.
  2. STEP 2 – Apply a thick layer of frosting over the bottom half of the cake and place the top half of the cake on top.
  3. STEP 3 -Pour the remaining frosting over the top of the cake, allowing it to run freely down the sides of th cake.

carrot cake

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

Posted on by Yvette

I love sticky toffee pudding, especially on a winter’s evening! The hot toffee sauce gives me great comfort when I’m in need of warming up! I made this a few weeks back when we were having a “cold spell” here in California! I took this recipe from the “Great British Bake Off” book. It’s delicious and I would love to share it with you…


Sticky Toffee Pudding

Bake Time: 20 minutes


  • 160g Chopped dates (preferably Medjool)
  • ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 300ml Boiling water
  • 175g Unsalted butter (softened)
  • 175g Dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 175g Self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder

For the sauce

  • 100g Unsalted butter
  • 100g Dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp Dark rum
  • 100ml Double cream


  1. STEP 1 – Preheat oven to 180’c 350’f/gas 4
  2. STEP 2 – Put the chopped dates and bicarbonate of soda into a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water. Stir well, then leave to cool to lukewarm – about 20 minutes.
  3. STEP 3 – Meanwhile, beat the soft butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, beating well after each addition.
  4. STEP 4 – Sift the flour with the baking powder, then gently fold into the mixture in 3 batches, using a large metal spoon.
  5. STEP 5 – Stir in the dates and their liquid to make a very thick batter-like mixture.
  6. STEP 6 – Pour the batter into ramekins, being no more than two thirds full or into a 9″ round cake pan and place on middle shelf in oven to bake.
  7. STEP 7 – Meanwhile, melt the butter with the sugar and rum over low heat, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream. Pour into a heatproof serving jug.
  8. STEP 8 – Leave the pudding to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before turning out to serve.
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Gluten Free Banana & Date Squares

Posted on by Yvette

I created this gluten free recipe by using up ingredients I had left over in the cupboards! I ran out of plain flour, but had some gluten free flour so decided to try out a gluten free cake. I also had some very ripe bananas that needed using up, some chopped dates and dried apricots.


This banana cake is very moist and very tasty! The natural sugar from the apricots and banana sweetens the cake and really enhances the fruity taste!

Here is the recipe:

Bake Time: 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 60ml Canola oil (sunflower or vegetable oil can be used instead)
  • 80g Dark brown sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 160g Gluten free flour
  • 1½ tsp Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Sea salt
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp All Spice
  • 3 tbsp Honey
  • 60g Chopped date & apricots (I did half and half)
  • 60ml Boiling water
  • ½ tsp Baking soda
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract


  1. STEP 1 – Pre heat oven to 175’c / 350’f and line a square 8 inch cake tin.
  2. STEP 2 – Place dried fruit and baking soda in a heatproof bowl and pour the measured boiling water over and mix well. Set aside.
  3. STEP 3 – In a separate bowl mash the bananas with the lemon juice and set aside.
  4. STEP 4 – In a separate bowl sift the flour,salt, baking powder and spices and mix together
  5. STEP 5 – In a separate bowl, mix the oil, sugar, honey, vanilla, and egg together until blended and no streaks.
  6. STEP 6 – Add the mashed bananas to the oil mix and mix well.
  7. STEP 6 – Add half of the sifted flour mix to the oil mix and fold in well.
  8. STEP 7 – Add all of the dried fruit with the remaining fluid and mix well.
  9. STEP 8 – Add the remaining flour and fold in well.
  10. STEP 9 – Pour into prepared cake tin and place on middle shelf of oven to bake.

You can enjoy it with your favourite fruit to make a healthy snack!

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Lemon Cranberry Scones

Posted on by Yvette

This is my first attempt at making scones, and I must say, I was really pleased with the outcome and they are so easy to make! These are light and fluffy on the inside with a little crunch on the outside.


When my husband and I lived in Canada, I used to love the lemon cranberry scones topped with a lemon glace icing that Starbucks sold….I’m a big fan of Starbucks, purely because you know what you’re going to get with a coffee. I’ve rarely been let down by a Starbucks Coffee! They only seem to do the lemon cranberry scones in Canada…so I decided to try and make them myself. They didn’t taste exactly like the scones in Starbucks, but they were still pretty tasty!


Here is the recipe:


  • 75g Dried cranberries
  • 300g All-purpose/plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 75g Caster sugar
  • 75g Cold margarine/unsalted butter
  • Zest of 3 lemons (I used Meyer Lemons due to their extra sweetness)
  • 140ml Semi-Skimmed/ 2% milk
  • 20ml Lemon juice
  • 1 beaten egg (for brushing on top)

For the Lemon Glace Icing:

  • 100g Icing / powdered sugar
  • 4tsp Lemon Juice (or when the desired consistency is achieved)


Bake Time: 15 minutes (or when outside of scones start to turn golden brown)

  1. STEP 1 – Pre-heat oven to 200’c / 425’f and grease baking tray or place parchment paper in the tray.
  2. STEP 2 – Measure the milk out into a jar and add the lemon juice, then set aside.
  3. STEP 3 – In a bowl mix together the flour,salt,sugar,lemon zest, baking powder, cream of tartar.
  4. STEP 4 – Add the cold margarine/butter to the dry mix and using your hands, crumble together well. (you can also use a food processor if you don’t want to get your hands dirty!)
  5. STEP 5 – Now add the dried cranberries and the milk. Using a blunt knife mix in until a sticky dough forms. Be careful not to over mix!
  6. STEP 6 – Using you hands coated in flour, take a fist full of the dough and gently press to form a round flat shape. Again be careful not to knead the dough, the less handling the better.
  7. Step 7 – Place each scone onto the prepared baking tray. Spread them out so they are not too close to each other
  8. STEP 8 – Brush the tops of each scone with the beaten egg, being careful not to let it drip down the sides.
  9. STEP 9 – Place tray on middle shelf of oven to bake.

Method for the Glace Icing:

  1. STEP 1 – Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.
  2. STEP 2 – add the lemon juice a teaspoon at a time and stir in until the desired consistency has been achieved. I used around 4 teaspoons.
  3. STEP 3 – Once the scones have cooled, drizzle the icing over them. I used a piping back to do this.
  4. STEP 4 – Store in an airtight container.
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Another Giant Burger Cake!

Posted on by Yvette

After seeing the Giant Burger Cake I made for my husband’s birthday back in September, I was asked by a friend if I could make this cake for a family member’s 70th birthday. She informed me that they loved burgers, so what better cake to make for a burger loving fan!

This cake is so much fun to make!

burger cake

The bun was a lemon madeira cake with a lemon glace icing and the burger was a chocolate fudge cake with dark chocolate ganache. YUM!

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