Category: Cake


This needs to set in the fridge for five hours, or overnight, so make it ahead of time. Once assembled, it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Serves eight.

550g sweet potatoes (ie, 2 medium ones), cut in half lengthways
60g amaretti biscuits (the hard type, not the chewy ones)
60g Hobnob biscuits
60g roasted and salted almonds, roughly chopped
10g black sesame seeds, toasted (or white, if that’s all you have)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
70g unsalted butter, melted
300g full-fat cream cheese
250g mascarpone
90g icing sugar, sifted
3 tbsp lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)
2 tsp vanilla bean essence
140g fine-shred marmalade
3 tbsp maple syrup

Heat the oven to 210C/410F/gas mark 6½ and line a round 23cm spring-form cake tin with baking paper.

Lay the sweet potatoes cut side down on an oven tray lined with baking paper, and roast for 30-50 minutes (depending on size), until very soft. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a food processor – you should have 300g – and discard the skin and any hard or burnt bits. Blitz until very smooth, then refrigerate until cold.

While the potatoes are roasting, put the amaretti and Hobnobs in a clean plastic bag and bash them to a fine crumb with a rolling pin. Mix with the almonds, sesame seeds, spices and butter, then spoon into the base of the cake tin, pressing it down firmly to form an even layer. Refrigerate while you get on with preparing the cheesecake mixture.

In a free-standing mixer (or with a hand-held whisk), whisk the cooled sweet potato with the cream cheese, mascarpone, icing sugar, two tablespoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of vanilla until smooth, thick and well combined. Spread the cheese mix evenly over the biscuit base, then refrigerate for at least five hours, or overnight, until set.

An hour before you want to serve, put the marmalade, maple syrup and the remaining lemon juice and vanilla in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on a medium-high heat, then stir vigorously for two minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly. Take off the heat and leave to cool.

Release the cheesecake from its tin and discard the paper. Gently pour the cooled marmalade mix over the top of the cheesecake, and use the back of a spoon to level the surface. Refrigerate again for 10 minutes, then take to the table


Cherry Polenta Cake Recipes

Serves 8-10.

butter 220g
caster sugar 220g
cherries 200g
ground almonds 180g
fine polenta 220g
baking powder 1 tsp
lemon 1
eggs 3, large
For the syrup:
cherries 400g
honey 3 tbsp
elderflower cordial 160ml

Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Line the base of a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.


Dice the butter and put it in the bowl of a food mixer with the caster sugar and beat until light and creamy. Halve and stone the 200g of cherries.

Mix together the ground almonds, fine polenta and the baking powder. Grate the zest from the lemon and stir into the polenta. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a small bowl. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them lightly.

Add the beaten egg to the butter and sugar mixture, beating continuously, adding a little of the polenta mixture should it start to curdle. Fold in the remaining polenta mixture and the lemon juice.

Spoon half the batter into the lined cake tin, add the cherries, then the remaining batter and smooth the surface. Bake for 35 minutes, then lower the heat to 160C/gas mark 4 and bake for further 25 minutes until the cake is lightly firm to the touch.

While the cake bakes, make the syrup. Halve and stone the 400g of cherries. Warm the elderflower cordial and honey in a small pan, then add the cherries and let them simmer for 5-7 minutes until the fruit has given up some of its juice.

When the cake is ready, remove from the oven, then pierce all over with a skewer or knitting needle. Spoon some of the syrup from the cherries over the surface so it runs down through the holes into the crumb of the cake, then leave to cool.

Remove the cake from its tin; serve with the cherry compote and, if you like some cream or crème fraîche.

Makes 12
100g unsalted butter, plus extra
100g walnuts, fresh or dried
100g ground almonds
100g caster sugar
100g icing sugar
50g plain flour
A pinch of salt
4 egg whites
50g espresso or strong coffee

For the glaze
200g golden icing sugar
60g espresso or strong coffee

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4, and grease a financier mould with melted butter.

2 To make the brown butter, melt it in a pan and continue to heat until the milk solids have turned golden. Set aside to cool a little.

3 Grind the walnuts, almonds, caster sugar and icing sugar in a food processor. Add the flour and salt.

4 Add the egg whites and coffee to the dry ingredients, whisking until smooth. Mix in the warm brown butter. Pour evenly into the prepared tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

5 To make the glaze, whisk together the golden icing sugar and coffee. Pour over the financiers once they have cooled completely.

How to Bake Flat Cake Layers

I’m not sure there will ever come a day when baking isn’t magical to me. I still get giddy when I turn on the oven light, peek through the glass to see biscuits doubling in size. Or when a waif of baking banana bread skips through the house and under my little nose. Baking is my magic.

I love the trust and faith we must have in a recipe, in the ratio and in the ingredients. We trust that those ingredients will interact, react and transform into something so beautifully delicious.

Cake flat
Having just whispered all those sweet words of nothing, I’ll admit I’m not really a cake-maker-type girl. I’m not sure if a single layered-cake even lives on this blog. I’m pretty sure it has everything to do with me being an impatient person and thinking cake decorating is a little tedious. But when I want cake inspo, I turn to Sara from Matchbox Kitchen. She makes some insanely pretty cakes. One thing I LOVE about her cakes is how they’re all perfectly cylinder. The tops are completely flat. Flat cake tops are all the rage in the cake world.

Cake layers usually dome on us, rising right in the center and then cracking. I think doming on a quick bread is beautiful. I love it. My friend and baker, Hourie, wouldn’t think to serve a quick bread that didn’t dome. Cakes are different, though. But not to worry because baking flat cake layers couldn’t be easier!

Just like my last how-to, I’m a little insecure about this post. Do you know this already? Is this obvious?

You could take a serrated knife or this cake slicer thing (that looks like a gigantic cheese slicer) and lop off the top of the cake. I’ve done this before. But sort of annoying.

OR you could buy these even baking strips that go around your cake pans. But sort of a waste of money, especially since this method uses an old towel and a few safety pins.

To start, you want to cut strips that fit the sides of your cake pan.

Fun side note: Use an old CLEAN towel, not an old dirty towel. I almost ended up using one that I used to clean the bathroom with. I can’t imagine cleaning solutions on towel strips and in the oven with your cake is a good combo.

Next, you want to dampen the towel strips and wring out any excess water.

Wrap them around the cake pans and secure them tightly with a few safety pins.

Repeat that whole process with the second cake pan.

Oh and be sure to butter your cake pans, line the bottoms with a round of parchment and dust them with flour. So important.

Add the cake batter to the pans and smack them down on the counter a few times. This will eliminate any air bubbles.

Put it in the oven and bake away.

What’s happening here is that the moisture from towel is helping the cake bake more evenly, resulting in an even rise and a cake with a flat top.

When they come out, they’ll be perfectly flat. Ta-daaaaa!!