Chocolate Carrot Cupcakes

Choc carrot cupcakes 10I really like carrot cake and I like chocolate so to combine the two has to be a win win!

I made these in cupcake cases then remembered I had the little silicon plant pots which suit them perfectly!

My lovely daughter made the carrots and actually didn’t scoff all the marzipan for a change!

The mix is more muffin then cupcake and is moist and delicious.

Print recipe

Chocolate Carrot Cupcakes

Cake bit

175g soft brown sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

175g sunflower or vegetable oil

125g self raising flour

50g cocoa

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste

Grating of nutmeg

175g grated carrot

Finely grated zest of ½ orange

Choc carrot cupcakes 4 Choc carrot cupcakes 3






Icing bit

265g icing sugar

35g cocoa

15g soft butter

100g cream cheese (full fat)

1 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste

50-100g marzipan or sugar paste to make the carrots

Orange food colour gel

Parsley sprigs or green lace jelly sweets to make the carrot tops

Makes 12

Preheat oven to 170°C 150°C Fan GM3

Line a muffin tray with baking cases

Cake bitChoc carrot cupcakes 5

  1. Place soft brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla together in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Sieve in baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa and flour. Add the zest, nutmeg and grated carrot. Fold through, quickly and firmly until mixed. It’s important not to overmix as the texture will become dense.
  3. Divide between cases and bake for 20-25 until firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clear when inserted in the centre. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tray then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

CarrotsChoc carrot cupcakes 6

  1. Colour the marzipan or icing with a little orange/peach colour food gel. Roll a little in to a ball then a cone shape. Make a hole in the large end to thread the green top in to. Use a knife to make marks around to make it look more carrot like. Repeat.

Icing bit

  1. Beat the butter until really soft. Sieve in the icing sugar and add the vanilla and slowly beat to combine. Sieve in the cocoa and add the cream cheese. Beat until creamy and smooth.
    Choc carrot cupcakes 7
  2. Once the cakes are cool scoop out some of the middle (set this aside). Use a small spatula or knife to spread icing across the top of each cake. The great thing about this cake is that it doesn’t have to be perfectly iced, in fact it looks better not! Add some to the hole in the middle too and then place a carrot in so some is still sticking proud (you may need to cut some off the bottom and eat that to make it fit properly!)
  3. Take the reserved cake ‘holes’ and either crumble with your fingers or blitz in a processor. This will be the ‘dirt’ and can be sprinkled on the icing. Add your carrot top green sprigs and you’re done. ♥


Choc carrot cupcakes 8Choc carrot cupcakes 2






Choc carrot cupcakes 10Choc carrot cupcakes 1

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Food Photography Workshop

Great food deserves some great photos and that’s what you’ll be taking on this food photography workshop. If you’re a home baker, food blogger or just like to share your best bakes on social media then this workshop is for you. High quality photography is also the backbone of any business and if that sounds like you, you’ll be right at home on this workshop.

Of course it’s not as simple as pointing your camera at good looking food and as you’ll discover during the workshop, props, backgrounds and camera settings all play their part in creating a photo that looks amazing. The role of post processing or editing your photos is vital too and you’ll learn some simple tricks to improve your images using Photoshop Elements software.


This is a “hands on” workshop with lots of learning by doing rather then watching. We’ll be photographing various baked goods during the day, all of which will be provided by us. All you need to do is bring your camera and get involved.

Saturday 9th May 2015

£99.00 per person

This workshop is subject to our Terms and Conditions

The workshop will cover…

  • What camera settings will work to get the best out of your camera
  • How light plays a vital part in good pictures
  • What makes a good photo and what doesn’t
  • How to create easy backgrounds out of things you have at home
  • Styling tips and tricks to make the best of your baked goods
  • Post processing to enhance your images ready for social media and websites

Places Available – There will be a maximum of 9 spaces available
Location – Copthorne, West Sussex
Duration – Approximately 5 Hours including a lunch break (10:30 am Start Time)
More information - please Contact us stating your interested in the Food Photography Workshop
Other Information –  You’ll need a DSLR style camera to get the most from this workshop. A mobile phone or basic compact camera is NOT suitable.

This workshop is subject to our Terms and Conditions

F.A.Q.’s about this workshop.
Before you decide to book take a look at the questions and answers below to help give you a little bit more of an insight into what to expect.

Who will be running the workshop?
Sam Hoey ( and Gavin Hoey ( will be leading the workshops.

Who is the workshop aimed at?
This workshop is suitable for anyone who takes photos for their food blog, baking business, Facebook or social media and wants their photos to stand out from the crowd. We’ll be working with baking and bread items which will all be provided for you.

Where is the workshop located?
This workshop will in Copthorne, West Sussex. The hall is located a few minutes from the M23 motorway and has plenty of free parking.

What time does the workshop start?
We suggest arriving at around 10.15 for a 10.30 start.

Are refreshments included?
Tea or coffee will be available. You’ll need to bring you’re own lunch as there are no shops or restaurants in the near vicinity.

What will I need to bring?
For this workshop a Digital SLR style camera and a standard zoom lens (e.g 18-70mm) is ideal. If you are unsure if your camera is suitable please contact
We are unable to loan out cameras and lenses.

Can I just use my mobile phone?
iPhones and the like have great cameras but when it comes to food photography they’re not up to the job. DSLR style camera have interchangeable lenses and large sensors which all help to achieve those lovely blurry backgrounds you see in food photos.

Can I contact you?
If you would like to speak to Sam to book or ask a question then you are welcome to call 01342 717428. If no one is available to take your call please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Alternatively you can send Sam an email

Can you recommend somewhere to stay?
We have many people who travel long distances to be with us. The nearest large town is Crawley but the venue is also fairly close to Gatwick airport, which means there’s no shortage of places to stay and a wide variety of prices to choose from. If you would like to include an overnight stay with your visit please take a look at the excellent information provided by Trip Advisor. London: Gatwick Hotels

Do you have any tips to get the most from the workshop?
Tip 1: Make sure you bring plenty of spare memory cards and batteries (or charger)
Tip 2: Don’t buy a new piece of equipment just to attend the course, you may not need it.
Tip 3: Don’t panic if you get held up. Just give a call and let us know.
Tip 4: Don’t expect every shot to be perfect. The workshop is all about learning and that means making mistakes
Tip 5: Do have an open mind, everyone’s taste in photography is different.


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Healthy Fruit & Seed Muffins

With lots of people trying to lesson the sugar intake in their diet I thought I’d try and come up with something tasty and healthy in the form of a muffin.Fruit and seed muffins2This took a couple of attempts but the final result is tasty and would be great as a breakfast muffin (perfect on the go!). You can easily change the ingredients to your preference or what’s in the cupboard, which I do often and this was no exception.


Printable recipe Fruit and Seed Muffins

Healthy Fruit & Seed Muffins



150g plain flour

150g stoneground wholemeal flour

1 tbsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

2-3 tsp of mixed spice (depends how spiced you like things)

50g oats

50g mixed seeds (pumpkin, pine nuts, sunflower work well) plus a little extra to sprinkle on top before baking

100g dried fruit, chopped (I used apricots and prunes)

65g sultanas or raisins


225 ml sunflower or vegetable oil

65 ml milk

2 eggs

3 tbsp maple syrup

Zest and juice of one medium sized orange

Fruit & Seed muffin open

Makes 12 muffins

Oven preheat 190°C 170°C fan GM5

Fruit and seed muffins1

  1. Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Place all the wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk until all creamy and combined.
  3. Tip the wet bowl ingredients in to the dry and fold through until just combined, don’t over mix or the muffins will be stodgy in texture.
  4. Divide between muffin cases, sprinkle a few seeds on top, and bake for 18-22 minutes until starting to turn golden and just firm to the touch. Allow to cool or enjoy warm. ♥

Fruit and seed muffins above


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Lemon and White Chocolate ‘Brownies’

lemon white choc brownieWe are a brownie loving household, something we all enjoy. I thought I’d try something along the same lines, you know, rich and squidgy, but use lemon and white chocolate instead of plain or milk chocolate.

The result was lovely, rather sweet and indulgent and perfect with a cup of tea!

Print the recipe Lemon and White Chocolate Brownies

Lemon and White Chocolate ‘Brownies’


275g caster sugar

250g soft butter/spread

200g melted white chocolate, cooled slightly

3 eggs, lightly beaten

125g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Grated zest of 2 lemons

Juice of 1 lemon

LemonsIcing glaze

150g icing sugar

3-4 tbsp lemon juice

Zest of ½-1 lemon

white choc

Preheat oven to  180°C 160°C Fan GM4

Line base and grease sides of a brownie tin approximately 30 cm x 23 cm

Beat butter and caster sugar together until soft and fluffy. Beat in the eggs until combined. Beat in the melted white chocolate and lemon juice and zest.
Lemon Brownies mixer
Fold through the flour and baking powder with a large metal spoon.

Pour the cake batter in to your prepared baking tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until starting to colour golden on the top but the centre still has a slight wobble. Allow to cool completely in the tin.

Sieve the icing sugar in to a small bowl and add enough lemon juice to make a drizzling consistency and spoon this on the top of the cooked lemon brownie , use a knife to carefully spread across.

Lemon brownie tray

Allow to set slightly. These are lovely straight from the fridge. Sticky, sweet and lemony ♥

Lemon brownie stack


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Snowy Pie

I recently made a Mississippi Mud Pie for a magazine commission, it was total heaven on a plate (if a little calorific!!!) I decided a white chocolate version would be worth a try, let’s just say it was!

Snowy Pie slicePrint recipe Snowy Pie

Biscuit base

150g digestive biscuits, crushed (Grahams crackers)

150g custard creams biscuits, crushed

125g melted butter


75g white chocolate

75g butter

2 eggs

65g caster sugar

100ml double cream

Chocolate Sauce

125g white chocolate

50ml double cream

25ml milk

25g butter

1 tbsp. golden syrup

Cream top

150 ml double cream

½ tbsp. icing sugar

25g white chocolate, grated


20” round (8”) deep cake tin with a loose bottom, greased

Oven preheat 180°C,  160°C Fan,  GM4Snowy pie base

Biscuit base

  1. Place the crushed biscuits in a large bowl, add the melted butter and mix to combine. Tip into the prepared cake tin and press in to the base and up the sides (about 2.5 cm/1” up) use a metal spoon to help do this. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.Snowy pie filling


  1. Gently melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan. Once melted remove from the heat. Don’t worry if the mixture is separated and doesn’t look very appealing!
  2. Whisk the eggs and caster sugar together in your mixer for about 5 minutes, after that time the volume would have doubled and the mixture will be creamy. Leave the mixer running on low and slowly pour in the melted chocolate mixture, then pour in the cream. Whisk to combine, then pour onto the chilled biscuit base and bake for 25-30 minutes. It’s cooked when the mix is set and doesn’t wobble any more. Ideally check on it at about 20 minutes, if there is still a wobble and the top is starting to darken in colour, cover lightly with a piece of foil and continue to bake.
  3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin on a cooling rack. Then carefully remove the tin and cool completely.

Chocolate Sauce

  1. Place all of the sauce ingredients in to a small saucepan and heat on medium until all melted, stir to combine as it heats. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for a few minutes, then pour over the top of the cooled filling. Cool completely, then chill in the fridge.Snowy Pie

Cream top

  1. Place the double cream and icing sugar in your mixer and whisk until it forms stiff peaks that hold their shape, spoon on top of the sauce and sprinkle with grated chocolate. Chill for at least an hour before serving

Snowy pie1Snowypie slice2

Categories: Cakes, Christmas, Pudding, Sweet, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amaretto and Dark Chocolate Baked Cheesecake

I love cheesecake, baked or no bake, all flavours, whether it’s fruity or sweet and spicy!Amaretto cheesecake above

I reckoned an Amaretto flavour  (a sweet, almond-flavoured, Italian liqueur) would work well, so decided to pair it with dark chocolate too. With amaretti biscuits in the base and a sticky toffee sauce this was lush! The filling was so light and delicious, rather like a mousse in texture. Definitely on my all time fav’s list.

Amaretto and dark choc1

Print recipe Amaretto and Dark Chocolate Baked Cheesecake 

Amaretto and Dark Chocolate Baked Cheesecake



275g crushed biscuits, I used a mix of amaretti and digestives

140g melted butter



300g cream cheese (full fat)

250g mascarpone (full fat)

100g dark chocolate, melted but slightly cooled

100g soft brown sugar

2 tbsp Amaretto

3 eggs, beaten

25g plain flour


AmarettoToffee Sauce

50g soft brown sugar

50g butter

3 tbsp double cream

3 tbsp Amaretto


18cm/7″ round, deep (mine is 8cm deep) loose bottom pan lightly greased

Preheat oven 150°C (Fan 130°C) GM 3

Amaretto cheesecake biscuits


  1. Place the crushed biscuits in a mixing bowl, add the melted butter and mix well. Tip the mix into the prepared tin, press down and even out using the back of a metal spoon, take the mixture carefully up the sides of the pan as well as across the base.
  1. Place this in the fridge to firm up for at least 30 minutes.

Amaretto cheesecake base



  1. In the bowl of your mixer or a mixing bowl, place the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, sieved flour, & Amaretto. Mix until everything has combined well. Add the eggs in 3 additions, mixing between each. The mixture can look a bit lumpy at this stage, don’t worry just keep beating and it will go lovely and smooth and creamy.
    Amaretto cheesecake filling
  2.  Fold in the melted dark chocolate with a large metal spoon. It will have a speckly appearance. Spoon this mixture on top of the biscuit base and spread it out evenly, it almost completely filled my cake tin. Place the tin onto a baking tray and bake for 1 hour -1 hour 20 minutes. It’s cooked when the top is firm but there’s still a slight “wobble” in the middle.


  1. Remove from the oven when it’s cooked and allow it to cool completely in the tin. Place the cheesecake (still in the tin) in the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours. It will shrink away slightly from the sides, this makes it easier to remove from the tin.

Amaretto and dark choc



  1. While the cheesecake is chilling you can make the sauce. In a small saucepan place the butter and sugar, heat it gently. Stir it constantly until it’s all melted and the sugar is no longer grainy, a small balloon whisk is very handy for this. Turn up the heat to bring the sauce to a gentle boil for about 2 minutes, it will start to thicken slightly.


  1. Remove it from the heat and keep stirring, add the cream and Amaretto then stir it through. Set the sauce aside to cool, it will thicken as it cools and can be used warm or cold with the cheesecake.




  1. When you are ready to serve, carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin. Drizzle with some of the sauce and put the rest of the sauce in a jug to be added later if you want more. Add grated chocolate or amaretti biscuits to decorate. ♥

Amaretto & Dark Choc


The sauce is also fabulous with ice cream and waffles and over cake, so making double the quantity is always a good idea! It will keep for a week or so in the fridge.

Amaretto cheesecake sauce jug

Categories: Cakes, Christmas, I ♥ Italy, Pudding, Sweet | Leave a comment

Lamington Biscuits

I’ve made lamingtons in the past, I’m a big fan, I really love coconut and with the chocolate it’s a win win!

I thought a biscuit version would be nice, incorporating vanilla, coconut and chocolate flavours. The biscuit is buttery and light, Viennese style. I used coconut, toasted coconut and crushed amaretti biscuits for toppings, we had a few of each. Great if you have a non-coconut fan as I have here.

Lamington coconut and cup

Download printable recipe here Lamington style biscuits

Lamington style biscuits

Biscuit bit

125g soft butter

25g icing sugar

½ tsp baking powder

115g plain flour

½ tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate coating bit

125g icing sugar

15g cocoa

Small knob of butter (about a tsp)

35 ml milkLamington biscuits toasted

To decorate

25g dessicated coconut (or crushed amaretti biscuits)
I like the coconut toasted, I just spread some on a baking tray and bake for a few minutes on a moderate heat. Keep a check on it and give it a shake mid cooking so it gets an even golden brown colour.

Preheat oven 170°C 150°C Fan GM3 Line/grease 2 baking trays

Biscuit bit

  1. Beat the butter until very soft. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and beat again until light and fluffy. Sieve in the flour and baking powder. Beat again to bring everything together.
  2. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice. I used a star one. Pipe 2 lines of mixture to form a rough square, I wanted a square shape to make it a likeness to the classic Lamington shape in my mind. Make sure you leave space around for them to expand in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes until starting to turn golden. Allow to cool on the trays.

Lamington piped

Lamington Cooling

Chocolate coating bit

  1. Place all the coating ingredients in a small saucepan over a low/medium heat. Use a whisk to stir through and make sure the mix is smooth and combined. Heat for a few minutes until warmed through but not to boiling. Remove from the heat.

Lamington sprinkledLamington choc








4. As the mixture starts to cool it will harden, so working fairly quickly drizzle over the top of the cooled biscuits and sprinkle with your choice of topping. Allow to set. For extra indulgence you could sandwich 2 together with jam and cream or buttercream. ♥

Lamington amaretti Lamington above


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Vanilla, chocolate and Peanut Butter Marble Cake

Marble close board

I love marble cake, so easy to make and even easier to eat! I haven’t made it for ages though and thought I’d have a go making one with an extra flavour element to it.

Vanilla, chocolate and peanut butter go so well together, not one flavour over powers the other and this is the perfect accompaniment to a large cuppa for an afternoon perk up, enjoy ♥

Marble cake above




Marble plate slices

Printable recipe here Marble cake

Vanilla, chocolate and Peanut Butter Marble Cake


150g soft butter/spread

175g caster sugar

175g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 eggs, lightly beaten

½ tsp vanilla extract

50g peanut butter

50g melted dark chocolate, slightly cooled


Preheat oven 180°C 160°C fan GM4

I used a loaf tin measuring 20 cm x 11 cm x 6.5 cm high. Lined the bottom and greased the sides

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, sieve in the flour and baking powder, add the eggs and beat until well combined and smooth.

Split the cake batter equally into 3 separate bowls. In one add the vanilla extract and stir through. In another stir through the melted chocolate, in the last bowl beat in the peanut butter.

Marble batter

Drop large spoonfuls of each flavoured cake batter into the prepared loaf tin. Making sure you make them slightly random throughout. Then give a swirl with a knife or skewer, or as I did, with the handle of a fork!

Marble swirl

Bake for 40-45 minutes until just firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clear. Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes then turn out and cool completely on a cooling rack.

Marble slice large

Marble cake cooling

Categories: Cakes, Sweet | 2 Comments

Lemon Meringue Flapjacks

Lemon Meringue Flapjack 2I love lemony things and thought a lemon flapjack would be something worth trying out, I decided to add some meringue and also a drizzle of icing, these went down a treat!

My family are not over keen on lemon flavour but Gav is always a willing volunteer and actually really liked them, I didn’t make the flavour too over powering, of course if you’re a total lemon nut you could add more curd and some lemon zest too!

I had some homemade lemon curd amazingly, as I eat the stuff straight from the jar, I’m hardcore! I also made some meringues too but I’m sure shop brought would be grand :)

Print  Lemon Meringue Flapjacks

Lemon Meringue Flapjacks

Flapjack bit

85g butter

45g granulated sugar

1 ½ tbsp. golden syrup

 175g porridge oats

3 tbsp. lemon curd

1-2 meringue nests or homemade meringues broken up into pieces

Drizzle bit

50g icing sugar

1/2 -1 tbsp lemon juice

Lemon curdLemon Meringue Flapjack close

Preheat oven to 190°C 170°C fan GM5

Grease a round 7”/18cm cake/sponge tin a loose bottomed one is handy.

Place the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan. Heat gently until melted, stirring to mix as it melts.

Remove from the heat and add in oats and lemon curd and mix well. Gently stir through some of the broken up meringue, as much as you wish,  I saved some to pop on top to decorate too.

Pour/spoon into the prepared tin and smooth over until fairly even. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Lemon Meringue Flapjack 3

Leave in the tin but make sure you cut through with a knife to mark the pieces while still warm. Then allow to cool completely in the tin.

Once cool mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together to make a smooth runny icing and drizzle over the top of the flapjack, dot with meringue if you wish. Enjoy ♥

Lemon Meringue Flapjack above2

Categories: Biscuits, Cakes, Sweet | 12 Comments

Neapolitan Sandwich Biscuits

Neapolitan biscuitsNeapolitan ice cream (well any ice cream) always reminds me of summer.

Sometimes I think it’s fun to make something in a slightly different way, so here are some Neapolitan Biscuits!

The flavours of the ice cream chocolate, vanilla and strawberry in a biscuit.



print here

Neapolitan Sandwich Biscuits

Chocolate biscuit bit

125g soft butter/spread

55g soft brown sugar

155g plain flour

25g cocoa

Vanilla biscuit bit

125g butter

55g caster sugar

180g plain flour

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Strawberry buttercream

100g soft butter

200g icing sugar

100g strawberries (hulled and chopped)

15g caster sugar

1/2 tsp lemon juice

Makes about 30-35 complete biscuits (I used a rectangle cutter 5cm x 3cm)

Vanilla biscuit bit

Cream the butter and sugar together until light & fluffy. Sieve in the flour and vanilla, mix well, bring together to form a ball of dough. Place in a bag and in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill.

Roll out the dough (allowing it to warm slightly if it’s hard from the fridge rest) on a lightly floured work surface to about ¼ “ ( ½ cm) in thickness. Press out the shapes you would like and place on a greased/lined baking tray.

Place them on greased or lined baking sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked through & starting to turn a golden colour. Remove from the oven allow to cool for a few minutes so they firm, then transfer to a cooling rack

Chocolate biscuit bit

Cream the butter & sugar until light & fluffy, sieve in the flour & cocoa and mix well until you form a ball of dough. Place the dough in a bag in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to shape the biscuits preheat your oven 190°C (fan 170°C) GM 5

Roll out the dough (allowing it to warm slightly if it’s hard from the fridge rest) on a lightly floured work surface to about ¼ “ ( ½ cm) in thickness. Press out the shapes you would like and place on a greased/lined baking tray.

Bake for about 8-10 minutes so they are evenly baked top & bottom, keep a close eye on them as they can burn easily. Remove from the oven allow to cool for a few minutes so they firm up, then transfer to a cooling rack.

biscuits cut out

Strawberry buttercream bit

Mix together the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer for about 5-10 minutes until all soft and mushy and starting to thicken slightly. Remove from heat, mash with a fork or blend to a puree and allow to cool completely.

Beat the softened butter until light and fluffy. Add about half of the sieved icing sugar and beat slowly until combined. Add in the rest of the icing sugar and beat until soft and smooth. Add in 2 tbsp of the cooled strawberry puree and beat really well until mixed. Load into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice. You could spread on with a knife if you prefer.

Neapolitan line

Pipe on to one biscuit and top with the other. If the buttercream is a little soft pop in the fridge to firm up. Enjoy with a cuppa.

I also reckon that adding a dollop of strawberry (or raspberry) ice cream as a filling instead of the buttercream would be delicious too! ♥

Neapolitan stack

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