Fabulous Focaccia Recipe

While this is not technically cake, it was sooooo good that I just had to share the recipe. There’s nothing like fresh bread straight out of the oven. Inspired by the BBC’s Great British Bake Off Masterclass this was the first time I had attempted Focaccia. Turned out well!

So here’s the recipe:

This is an amazingly wet dough so don’t get scared – here’s a link to a useful demonstration on kneading with oil by Paul Hollywood. However, your dough will be much wetter than the one in the video.

Serves: 4 Preparation time: 2+ hours Cooking time: 30 mins – 1 hour


500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 x 7g sachets dried easy blend yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
400ml/14fl oz cold water
good olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt


1. Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300ml of the water into a large bowl. Gently stir form a dough.
2. Knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes, gradually adding the remaining water. It will get very wet. Don’t panic, this is correct.
3. Stretch the dough by hand in the bowl, tuck the sides into the centre, turning the bowl. Knead this way for five minutes.
4. Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for five more minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size.
5.Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Your tray will need a little height in the sides to it, don’t use a completely flat one.
6. Take the dough and tip it onto the baking sheet, firmly encouraging it to the corners.
7. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
7. Wait. Until the dough proves – which will be about an hour. Here’s a picture. You can see all those lovely air bubbles from the yeast doing its thing, which gives the Focaccia its distinctive texture.

focaccia proving
8. Make finger marks in the dough, top with salt, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, slivers of garlic etc. Douse liberally with olive oil.
9. Bake for about 35 – 45 mins until done. Drizzle with more olive oil and serve while still warm.

Raspberry Cupcakes Recipe

I first made raspberry cupcakes last year, with a basic vanilla cupcake recipe and fresh raspberries juiced into a fondant icing. This was, if I recall, my first attempt at dipping cupcakes using a pouring fondant, or dipping fondant. The fresh raspberry juice gave a beautiful taste and colour to the icing, and turned out to be surprisingly easy. Once your icing is at the right consistency, pour into a bowl and dip the cupcakes in, a little further than you would think to cover the entire top.

Not too shabby! A fresh raspberry on top with fondant flower and leaf – both made with a cutter.

Although they were good, all the raspberry taste came from the frosting. Baking fresh raspberries into cupcakes isn’t so successful – they loose their beautiful colour, the taste isn’t as good and  baked fruit can make small cupcakes very soggy. So the last raspberry cupcakes I made I used freeze dried raspberries.

Freeze dried berries and fruits are amazing to bake with – it keeps its colour and the taste is very intense. I topped the cupcakes with butter cream icing, to which I added a good handful of freeze dried raspberries that had be ground to a rough powder with a mortar and pestle. Then I piped them to look (kinda) like raspberries.

The ones behind were lavender with a butter cream. I halved the cake mix and instead of adding the broken up rasberries, I added some food grade lavender, and some lavender syrup. The frosting was half the plain butter cream, again substituting the raspberry for lavender.

Here’s the recipe:

Raspberry Victoria Sponge Cupcakes

A raspberry twist on the classic Victoria sponge, which also makes great cupcakes.

Serves: 6 in cake or 12 cupcakes Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 15 to 20 mins


115g/4 oz butter
115g/4 oz caster sugar
115g/4 oz self raising flour
2 eggs, beaten and at room temperature
1-2 tablespoons tepid water
splash of good vanilla extract
generous handful (or two) of very roughly ground/chopped freeze dried raspberries


1. Preheat oven to 180F/350C and prepare 2 x 6 inch sandwich tins, with baking parchment or 12 -15 cupcake cases.
2. Cream the butter and sugar well, until pale and fluffy.
3. Add beaten egg, a little at a time, and if mixture threatens to curdle, add a little of the flour (1-2 tablespoons), and add the vanilla.
4. Fold in the remaining flour, and add enough of the water so that the mix is of a slow dropping consistency.
5. Divide mixture between tins, or half fill cupcake cases.
6. Bake sandwich tins for 20 mins, cupcakes for 15-18 until well risen and a skewer comes away clean.
7. When cool, decorate with raspberry butter cream frosting, and try the cake with fresh raspberries and cream in the middle.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

This is the cream cheese frosting that goes particularly well with the carrot cake recipe of my last post. This does make quite a lot, but it can be frozen (make sure its airtight) and will be good for 1-2 months. Bring to room temperature slowly, and re-whip before use. It can also be stored in a refrigerator for a couple of days – again, bring to room temperature and re-whip before using.


450 g cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
225g butter
1 kg sifted icing sugar


1. Beat cream cheese and vanilla on medium speed until creamy. gradually add butter until fully incorporated.
2. Reduce spped and add icing sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth