Chocolate Caramel Cake

This started out life as a Mint Chocolate Cake from the Jamie Oliver magazine. I had such a lot of complements for my version of that cake, that I wanted to adapt it for my friend’s birthday cake, by trying a different flavour combination.



175ml vegetable oil
425g caster sugar
3 large free range eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
375g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
500ml milk


300g caramel sauce from a jar or tin
250g butter, softened
500g icing sugar
At least 1 tbsp milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a line three 20cm round cake tins.

2. Mix together the oil and sugar using an electric mixer. Mix for at least one minute, until smooth.

3. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk for a further 3 minutes until the mixture is pale.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and Bicarbonate of soda. Mix the dry ingredients into the oil and sugar, along with the milk. Be careful as the mixture is quite sloppy – I’ve found it has a tendency to slosh out of the bowl!

5. Once the mixture is well combined, divide between the 3 cake tins. Bake in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes. Test to see if 5he Cake is ready by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake. If the skewer comes out clean, then it’s cooked. Allow the cakes to cool.

6. To make the icing, in an electric mixer thoroughly mix 200g caramel sauce and the butter until completely smooth. Add a splash of milk and half the icing sugar and mix together for 3 minutes. Continue to add the icing sugar as needed until you get the right spreadable consistency. If you add too much icing sugar, you can add a splash more milk.

7. Construct the cake by sandwiching the layers of cake together using a dollop of the remaining caramel and a generous amount of the icing. Use the remaining icing to cover the top and sides in your desired style. I also added some Caramac, cake crumbs and some crushed Werther’s Originals as extra decoration.


Here’s a picture of the mint chocolate version.


Coconut and lentil curry

My husband and I had a lovely day out at Kirkstall Abbey deli markets.  One of the food stalls there was Ryan’s Kitchen, selling lovely Jamaican food and I sampled their coconut and lentil curry.  I’ve been thinking about it ever since and decided to try and recreate it at home.  I served my version up with Jamie Oliver’s faux cauliflower ‘rice’, which actually worked really well with the curry.

Coconut and lentil curry

Coconut and lentil curry (Serves 4)

One onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 tsp tumeric
1 tbsp tomato paste
One tin of coconut milk
One tin of green lentils, drained
One red chilli, finely chopped

1. Finely chop one onion and cook in a large pan using a drizzle of oil.

2. Add 1 finely chopped red chilli, 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander and 1 tsp tumeric.  Add in one large tablespoon of tomato paste.  Stir thoroughly and cook for another minute.

3. Add a tin of coconut milk and a tine of green lentils, drained.  Cook the mixture through for 15 minutes.

Serve with faux cauliflower ‘rice’ – process one small head of cauliflower in a food processeor until it resembles rice.  Place in a bowl and cover with cling-film and microwave for 7 minutes.

This is a very delicately flavoured dish, but you always can add extra spices to your suit taste.

Tatton Park Foodies Festival

Ginger's comfort emporium Polenta chips Lemojito

Last weekend we had a lovely time at the Foodies Festival at Tatton Park.  The sun was shining and there were loads of stalls and events taking place.  My highlights were:

  • A delicious lunch from Vfresh
  • Lemojito from The Fresh Lemonade Company
  • Ice cream in a toasted broiche bun and champagne and rose sorbet from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium
  • Pinapple, guava and lime juice from The Cracker Drinks Co
  • Some fab freebies from Ecover
  • The Open Top Bus bar
  • Ginger Ale and Lemon Tonic from Fever Tree

We watched Zoe Salmon from Celebrity Masterchef make brownies with fudge bits in, which I am sure I will be attempting soon.