Week One Hundred & Five – Mary Berry’s Pineapple & Cherry Cake

Week 105 and this blog is a little late- nothing new as this time of year brings other pressures! I delved with pleasure into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and came up with this lovely tea loaf type bake. The recipe was one of Mary’s throw all the ingredients together and mix. The only tricky bit was washing the syrup off the cherries, cutting them into quarters and drying them. The pineapple came out of a tin. I  mixed it all together, lined a loaf tin with a liner from the 99p shop and put it in the oven and set the timer.

Mary Berry's Pineapple & Cherry Loaf

When the timer pinged, I checked the loaf and the skewer test came out clean. I left it to cool in the tin. I took my photo then cut it in half and sent half to the chief testers. Mary does tell you to keep it in the fridge as it will go moldy in a tin in a warm kitchen.

Kim's pineapple & cherry loaf

I can now reveal my finished Christmas cakes as those who are getting them should have received them by now so here are some photos of the mini victorian christmas cakes in the boxes I found in the £ shop and the tiny christmas cakes I made in the silicone moulds and then sandwiched together with marzipan and iced. I didn’t get these boxes from the £ shop but on ebay. I had such fun printing our labels too but my kitchen up until this weekend looked like an Elf factory!

Christmas cake gift Kim's victorian christmas cake


Kim's packaging Kim's mini christmas cakes

Well hubby and I will do a seasonal blog shortly but from kimsideas, I would like to wish you all season’s greetings for this time of year.

seasons greetings

I hope for all those of you who celebrate that you don’t end up spending pretty much all of one day wrapping as I did this year- I can’t help it- I love wrapping the presents and making them look pretty but is it exhausting!

stressy wrapping!

Week One Hundred & Four- Mary Berry’s Tiny Fruit Cakes & Victorian Christmas Cake

Week 104 and this week was a feat of organisation -for my annual Christmas cake bake fest! I dipped into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and found the final two christmas type cake recipes and I started on Friday night weighing out all the fruit and soaking it in various alcohols including brandy and port!

On Saturday morning, I took the two hairy hoolies to the park while the ground was still frosty so I didn’t bring them back too wet and  muddy and then rolled up my sleeves and set off. In the kitchen I have an old CD player and my Cd of choice for baking for the last few months has been Robbie Wiliams “swing both ways” and this week was no exception. I just love this CD and find myself dancing and singing while baking, much to the amusement of the hairy hoolies and my hubby! Any how, back to the bake. I started with Mary Berry’s tiny fruit cakes, and made 4 x the amount Mary states in her recipe as each year I make christmas cakes as gifts. Once the fruit had been soaked, Mary asks you to put all the rest of the ingredients in and mix it all together.

Mary Berry's tiny fruit cakes

Mary suggests you use small cake tins or used baked bean tins but as I already had something in mind, I used two silicone moulds to put the cake mix in …but can’t tell you much more at the moment as they will become presents but I will take pictures and reveal all after Christmas.

Kim's tiny fruit cakes

The second recipe I used was Mary Berry’s Victorian Christmas Cake which again was an all in one recipe and I used 2 small spring form cake tins instead of the one larger one that Mary suggests. The difference with this recipe is that it involves pineapple in the cake which is unusual. This recipe made four small cakes …and again, sorry but photos to follow after christmas!

Mary Berry's Victorian Christmas Cake

We had to phone the chief tester to inform him that there was no bake this week for testing, the reaction was hilarious!


I have watched this year’s “I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here” avidly. It’s my guilty pleasure and great fun to watch. I must say that I was pleased that Jake and Foggy were the final two and I didn’t mind who won  as I was pleased for them both! I don’t  watch the X Factor so I didn’t know who Jake was but he came across as a lovely guy who was very thoughtful. I had heard of Carl Fogerty and he was more patient than I imagined.

I also had time this weekend between batches of cake making to put up  my christmas decorations. Our tree is always decorated with ornaments that we have collected over the time hubby and I have been together and we always buy a new one each year. This year it was a mini rolling pin to celebrate my ongoing baking challenge! On my mantelpiece I always have a little nativity scene which is a little set given to me one christmas by my mum and dad and it came from Woolworths way before it closed when you could get some amazing things all under one roof! For a while now, I had wanted a stable for my nativity figures but every one I found was either way too big or way too expensive so I decided to make one myself….. I don’t think I did too bad a job!

Kim's stableinterior stable viewbasic stable viewside stable viewStable viewKim's stable

Week One Hundred & Three- Mary Berry’s American Spiced Carrot Traybake

Week 103 here already, it only seems like 2 minutes of so since my last blog (in fact it was only that long as I have been behind in blogs and so am trying to catch up!)

As I had some of the Borrowdale Teabread left from last week, I decided to only do one bake this week and next week’s bakes will be shh -christmas cakes (!) so I delved into Mary Berry
‘s Baking Bible and found this delightful sounding recipe for American Spiced Carrot Traybake.

Mary Berry's American Spiced Carrot Traybake

Mary asks you to weigh out all the dry ingredients first which I did and then add each of the wet ingredients one at a time and mix well in between. I used my trusty food processor for this and it did a great job.

The hairy hoolies were most attentive while I was grating the carrots as carrots are one of their most favourite treats – and yes, they got the end bits that i didn’t grate ! I mixed the wet ingredients one at a time and then poured the mix into a tray bake tin ( Lakeland- my favourite shop- don’t think I have mentioned that before?!) I then popped this in the oven and left it to bake for an hour.

When the pinger went I got the traybake out and it smelled lovely. I left it to cool for a short while then transferred it to a cooling rack.

The topping was soft cheese, honey and lemon juice with chopped nuts on the top. I must admit that carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes and Mary’s twist on americanising this is lovely.

Kim's American Spiced Carrot Traybake

It will be all hands to deck next week as I have big plans to cook all my christmas cakes and put up the decorations so it will be very festive in our house next week!

christmas stress

Week One Hundred & Two – Mary Berry’s Muesli Cookies & Borrowdale Tea Bread

Week 102 and I am still delving into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and still having lots of choice with 67 recipes left to choose from…..this week I chose some more savoury recipes with the tea bread and the muesli cookies.

Mary’s Borrowdale tea bread began the night before with all the dried fruit soaking in strong tea overnight. the next day all I had to do was mix the soaked fruit with the dry ingredients and spread between 2 loaf tins which I had lined with the liners from the 99p shop!

Mary Berry's Borrowdale Teabread

Once baked, all I had to do was turn them out and leave them to cool. They are rather scrummy with a bit of butter and a cuppa!

Kim's Borrowdale Teabread

The second recipe was the muesli cookies which were quite easy to do. The only headache was trying to find a muesli that didn’t have pieces of banana in it as I didn’t want to kill my hubby! The recipe again was one of Mary’s straight forward mix every thing together and then put spoonfuls on a baking tray and bake.

Mary Berry's Muesli cookies

My cookies were larger that Mary suggests as I didn’t get as many out of my recipe as she suggested but they had the biscuit crunch and were lovely. Hubby didn’t think too much of them- all that healthy muesli nuts and fruits!

Kim's muesli cookies

So with these two recipes tucked under my challenge belt, I am down to 65 recipes to go..

And with Christmas hurtling towards us at a rate of knots,  I think you can probably guess it won’t be too long until I am doing christmas cakes again which won’t have any photos as they will as usual be gifts!


Week One Hundred & One – Mary Berry’s Chocolate & Vanilla Pinwheel Biscuits & Welsh Cakes

Wow, it’s weird typing in that it’s now my 101’st blog – but here we are, and I will attempt at the end to tally how many recipes there are left to go. I delved as usual into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and picked the welsh cakes and chocolate & vanilla pinwheel biscuits.

Mary Berry's Chocolate & Vanillla Pinwheel Biscuits

I began with the pinwheel biscuits as I needed to make 2 doughs, one vanilla and one chocolate and put them in the fridge for half an hour or so, then roll them out into rectangles, and place one on top of the other and then roll together. Finally put this into the fridge for another half an hour or so and then slice thinly and bake.

Kim's mini pinwheel biscuits

I rolled my dough the “wrong way” and my biscuits were mini pinwheels or bite size. Nothing wrong with them but not quite as pretty or the size of the ones in Mary’s book.

The second recipe was welsh cakes ( This brings back memories of my Auntie Shirley and Uncle Bill ) and I made this dough in between the resting stages of my biscuit dough. It’s one of Mary’s one bowl mixes and needs just a firm mix. Mary then asks you to roll it out and cut into small circles. Mary then asks you to heat a griddle. I don’t have a griddle but I have a trusty ceramic frying pan which works well so I put that on to heat.

Mary Berry's Welsh Cakes

Mary suggests that you have a medium heat as these welsh cakes take 2-3 minutes each side and if your heat is too high, you cook the outside but the inside is raw. I cooked mine in batches of 3-4 . They are delicious served warm with a little butter. My only complaint was the amount of sugar that goes into them, they were very sweet and if/when I make them again, I would cut down on the amount of sugar that goes into them.

Kim's Welsh Cakes

This week has been quite an emotional week and I am posting this candle of remembrance for my friend Caron whose funeral was this week.


It’s also in remembrance of my dad and my first hairy hoolie Rosie. You have both been in my thoughts this week x

Kim as a baby with Dad my beautiful girl

Week ONE HUNDRED! – Mary Berry’s Ginger Cream Roll & Madeira Cake

Welcome to my one hundredth blog of my Mary Berry challenge to bake every recipe in her Baking Bible. It’s been a long road and sometimes hard to motivate myself each weekend but I am doing well and from over 200 recipes, I am now down to double figures instead.

100 blogs!

I delved into Mary’s baking bible and found this week’s recipes and set off. Mary’s ginger cream roll sounded easy enough, the first step involved a pack of ginger biscuits, some brandy and some whipped cream!.

Mary Berry's Ginger Cream Roll


Mary asks you to quickly (!) dip each ginger biscuit in the brandy and then spread cream on one end and sandwich them together on a serving plate to form a roll. Place this in the fridge to set.

part one - Kim's ginger cream roll

Once the roll has set, whip the other half of the cream and pipe swirls all over and then allow to set again. This was a no cook pudding and easy to do. The brandy soaks into the ginger biscuits and they go all soft and gooey with the cream. It makes a very indulgent pudding that is rich and boozy!

part twop Kim's ginger cream roll

The second recipe was Mary’s madeira cake. I thought this fairly plain cake would balance the richness of the cream roll.

Mary Berry's Madeira Cake

This is one of Mary’s all in once recipes and so I weighed everything into a bowl and mixed it together and poured into a tin, smoothed the surface and put it in the oven.This cake is quite a dense cake but provided a nice balance to the other one.


The clocks have now changed which means dark evenings which I don’t like. This means the hairy hoolies only get street walks until the weekend when we can get to the park and then they get really muddy!

This time of year also brings around “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here” and I am quite partial to this. i have now seen the list of celebrities and it will make for an interesting mix. Bring on Sunday to see what they are made of and whether I will be watching the whole journey or not.

I also am posting a “joke” that my chief taster sent to me- I had had need of his trolley pushing duties for supermarket trips when I was recovering from my operations and I think he is trying to tell me something! I only go up and down the aisles twice-up one side and down the other!

shopping patterns

Week Ninety Nine – Mary Berry’s Orange Drop Scones & American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

Week 99 – wow it’s almost 100 blogs for this Mary Berry challenge and I am still a way to go yet- I take my hat off to Anneliese who completed her “Rising to the Berry” challenge that inspired me in just 18 months! When I begin to flag or get a bit despondent, I read the original article about her and I remember what inspired me to start this path.

Any how, on this week’s dip into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, I found the orange drop scones and the American chocolate ripple cheesecake. I started at the weekend with the orange drop scones which were a breeze to make. Mary’s recipe for these is easy to follow and mix and I halved the recipe as this was just going to be brunch for hubby and I.

Mary Berry's Orange Drop Scones


I heated my ceramic frying pan and poured spoons of the mixture in, about three at a time. I gave each one a few minutes and flipped them over. You could smell the orange in them as they were cooking. Soon enough, Hubby and I had 5 or 6 each in the middle of a plate and we enjoyed them with some butter and maple syrup- yum!

Kim's orange drop scones

The second recipe I chose was the American chocolate ripple cheesecake which is a baked cheesecake. The recipe is a staged recipe in that you begin by putting some dark chocolate digestives in a bag and crush them, melt some butter, add the crushed digestives, mix well and press into the base of a loose bottomed tin. I always think Mary skimps on this part so as usual I topped up the base with some more crushed biscuit and butter mix. I then put this in the fridge to set.

Mary Berry's American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

Mary then asks you to beat the cheese mix until soft and melt the chocolate. Put half of the cheesecake mix in blobs on the cheesecake base and add the chocolate to the other half and mix well. Add this to the base in between the white mix and then use a spoon to swirl it around so it has a rippled effect. Bake as per the recipe and don’t worry that the cheese cake cracks when it cools , Mary warns you about this. Keep the cheesecake in the fridge . It is very rich and you will only want a small slice but it is best eaten as fresh as possible.

Kim's American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake


Week Ninety Eight- Mary Berry’s Carrot & Orange Loaf & Dark Indulgent Chocolate & Walnut Brownies

Week ninety eight here already and I delved with a little more enthusiasm into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and found these two recipes which inspired me. I chose Mary’s carrot & orange loaf and dark indulgent chocolate & walnut brownies. I began with the brownies with a little twist- hubby who doesn’t like walnuts asked if i could either leave out the walnuts or substitute them for pistachios and I chose to substitute the walnuts for pistachios! Mary asks you to melt a huge amount of dark chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water. While that is melting, add the other ingredients to a bowl and mix.

Mary Berry's dark indulgent chocolate & walnut brownies

When the chocolate and butter have melted, pour this into the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into a lined tray bake tin and bake for about 45 minutes then test with a skewer. When cooked, allow to cool in the tin and then cut into squares. The brownies smelled mouthwateringly delicious and the substituted pistachios were a lovely addition.

Kim's dark indulgent chocolate brownies

The second recipe was an all in one recipe and easy to do. The only issue I had was that Mary says to add carrots to this mix but doesn’t actually say grate them but I figured how else would they be added?!

Mary Berry's carrot & orange loaf

I poured the mix into a liner in a loaf tin and into the oven it went for about an hour. After an hour, removed it briefly, decorate the top with thinly sliced oranges and brush liberally with clear honey and return to the oven for the final 15 minutes. Allow to cool then remove from the tin. Mary suggests keeping this loaf in the fridge wrapped in foil and it is lovely with a small amount of butter and a cuppa!

Kim's carrot & orange loaf

I have been  missing the great British Bake Off and have been watching the master classes where I can fit them in . With the nights drawing in and the clocks changing this weekend, my evenings of coming home and taking the hairy hoolies for a run in the park will be restricted to the weekends and my exercise of street walking with them steps up a gear! There are some new series that look quite interesting and I have seen an advert for “I’m a Celebrity, Get me out of here” which is something I love to watch each year- I am hoping that I will know at least some of the celebrities unlike Celebrity Big Brother where I didn’t know anyone! If that’s the case, I guess for the first year in a long time, I won’t be tuning in!

Week Ninety Seven – Mary Berry’s Sultana & Orange Tray Bake

Welcome to week ninety seven- almost at the hundredth blog for our site- that’s quite an achievement and an awful lot of blogs!  Thank you to all who stop by to have a look at our blog, our stats show that we have now had over 60,000 visitors – so welcome, feel free to stop and look around for a while!

60000 visitors

I delved with less enthusiasm than usual into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible this week, I don’t know why, perhaps it was because The Great British Bake Off has finished? I must say before I continue with my blog that I was pleased that Nancy won and thought the standard generally of the baking skills this year was exceptional and enjoyed watching every episode- I have now downloaded the Masterclass episodes to ease the pang of no more Bake Off for another year…..

Mary Berry's sultana & orange tray bake

Any how, back to my bake, I only chose one recipe this week, as was my woe and I chose Mary’s sultana and orange tray bake. The recipe was simply one of Mary’s throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Pour into a tray bake tin ( Thank you Lakeland for my trusty foil tins!) I set my timer and into the oven it went. About 40 minutes later it was ready to come out and sit on my cooling rack. Mary suggests either putting some demerara sugar on the top about 10 minutes before the end of the bake so it caramelises or to use some fresh orange juice and icing sugar to make an orange icing for the topping. I opted for the orange icing. I then cut it into squares and sent some in a tin to my chief tasters and put mine on my stand.

Kim's sultana & orange tray bake

I would like to dedicate this week’s post to my friend Caron, a former colleague and a friend who sadly passed away today , taken too soon. Rest in peace my friend, your smile and energy will be sorely missed. I know you read my blog when you could and am proud to dedicate this week in your memory xx

my friend Caron

Week Ninety Six – Mary Berry’s Doughnuts & Austrian Apricot & Almond Tart

Week 96 and only a little late in being published! I delved with relish into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible having been inspired by The Great British Bake Off‘s doughnut episode. In the children’s section of the bible, there is a recipe for Mary’s basic doughnuts which I was happy to begin with and found the Austrian tart recipe as my second bake.

Mary Berry's Doughnuts

I set off by making the dough for the doughnuts, as it contains yeast, I had to then leave it to prove for quite a long while. Luckily my kitchen was warm and it rose as it should. Mary then asks you to knock it back and knead it again. Then divide the dough into approximately 16 balls and – this was the weird part- add a spoon of strawberry jam to the centre of each ball and fold in and then leave to prove again. Finally after the last prove, you are asked to deep fry them- this had posed a question, I do not own a deep fat fryer and didn’t want to buy one just to complete this challenge so I bought a basket and used one of my saucepans. this worked well but you can’t control the temperature of the fat as accurately as a fryer. I fried my doughnuts two at a time and then rolled them in the sugar/cinnamon mix and left them to cool.  I then sent a food parcel to my chief tasters and we delved into the rest!

Kim's Doughnuts

For my first foray into doughnuts, I didn’t think they were too bad!

The second recipe, the Austrian apricot and almond tart involved making Mary’s pastry first and then rolling it out to fit in my flan tin. I grated the marzipan and put this in the pastry case first followed by halved apricots. Mary doesn’t really tell you how to lay these in but I made circles of them. Finally you have to roll out a circle of pastry for the top and press it down and it creates a landscape of rolling hills with the apricots. the last step was to put it in the oven.

Mary Berry's Austrian Apricot & Almond Tart

I had to bake the tart for a little longer than Mary suggested but it was definitely worth it, I had a tart that was very tasty – the apricots and melted marzipan flavours definitely complimented each other and there wasn’t a soggy bottom in sight!

Kim's Austrian apricot & almond tart

Austrian apricot & almond tart

The Bake Off has nearly reached it’s conclusion now- the final is this week- I would now like Richard to win but am looking forward to the episode with bated breath!