Week One Hundred & Twenty One – Mary Berry’s Quick Granary Rolls & Chocolate Rum Cake

Week 121 and yes I confess this post is long overdue. I will explain why a little later. I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible with my hubby’s birthday in mind. He wanted to have a b-b-q with some “exotic” meats such as buffalo and I found Mary Berry’s quick granary rolls for the burger buns and her chocolate rum cake for his birthday cake- perfect.

I began with the quick granary rolls. Mary asks you to  mix all the dry ingredients together and rub the butter in with your fingers. Mary then asks you to add the milk and water mixture in a “continuous ” stream while mixing the ingredients to a dough and she suggests using a machine with a dough hook. At this point I read and re-read the recipe, Mary definitely asks you to add 3/4 pint each of tepid milk AND water. I thought this was a lot of liquid but I thought “Mary has been doing this for years and knows what she is doing”.

Mary Berry's Quick Granary Rolls

I ended up with a gloopy mess that even with the dough hook didn’t resemble anything like a dough. I added more flour- I had been using a white spelt flour that I had been given and a granary flour and added more of both until the liquid became a dough.

Dove Spelt Flour Hovis Granary Flour

Kim's dough hook

This took a long time and an awful lot of flour to achieve this. When I had got it to the dough stage, I divided it into the roll shapes and covered them to rise. I then checked on the rising to the Berry blog to see if Anneliese had struggled with this and yes, she too had the liquid issue and had to add more flour so I am glad I was not alone in this. Once the dough had proved, I baked them and even though I had to use an awful lot more flour than the recipe said, I was pleased with how they came out and the buffalo burgers tasted very nice inside these rolls. Hubby was very cheeky though and took a photo of them and said he was pleased with his wife’s baps! This was after we were laughing at one of the search terms on the blog where someone had searched for “kim’s buns”!

Kim's quick granary rolls

The second recipe was Mary Berry’s chocolate rum cake. This was for hubby’s birthday and involved two of his favourite things- chocolate and rum!  I started by breaking up an awful lot of chocolate into a bowl. As usual, Mary asks you to use dark chocolate and I compromised with 3/4 dark chocolate and 1/4 galaxy milk chocolate.. When this has melted, let it cool and whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, then add the chocolate and rum then fold in the flour and almonds.

Mary Berry's Chocolate Rum Cake

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mix and pour into the cake tin and bake. When cooked, while it cools, make the filling/icing by breaking yet more chocolate into a bowl- same mix for me, add loads of butter and stir lots. Cut the sponge in half and use this chocolate icing to sandwich the two sponges together and ice the top.

Kim's chocolate rum cake

Once this was done and set, I then decorated it for hubby’s birthday.

Hubby's birthday cake

We had a lovely b-b-q using meat ordered from the alternative meat company and their buffalo burgers were delicious. Hubby, I hope you had a lovely birthday and this blog is dedicated to you for your birthday.

happy birthday hubby

The countdown continues and has now reached ……


Now finally the reason this blog is so late – not long after I baked these, I went down hard with flu/norovirus and was really knocked for six with both. I was literally in bed for five days with aching muscles, fever and upset stomach.  I lost a stone in a week and even though I went back to work probably before I should, I was not up to baking or blogging.


Week Thirty Four – Mary Berry’s Cupcakes

Week Thirty Four and I felt we were all a little “caked out ” so I wasn’t sure what to make.

I had been invited to a fund raising lunch for 2 friends at work who are bravely walking 20 miles around Leeds Castle soon in aid of a Breast Cancer Charity ( They did the Moon Walk last year) and so I decided to make and donate some cupcakes to help them with their fundraising.

Mary Berry's Cupcakes

Mary Berry‘s recipe was very straight forward, put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. I put some pretty cupcake cases in the tin, divided the mix between them. The only twist to this to make it my own was that I added 2 strawberry chocolate buttons in the centre of each cake and put the tin in the oven and set the timer.

Half an hour later, the pinger sounded and I checked the cakes. They were all evenly baked and risen so out they came while I made the butter icing topping.

Kim's cupcakes

Instead of adding a little vanilla essence to the butter icing, I added some strawberry essence. Once the cakes were cool, I spread some of this on the top of each cake and added a slice of fresh strawberry to complete the cake.

Kim's final cupcakes

The girls lunch fund raising seemed to be very successful and I will be thinking of them when they do their walk. Here is the link to read what they will be doing and when. There is a donate link within this if you would like to donate to this very worthwhile cause, even the smallest donation will help. I am sure they won’t mind me mentioning them- so good luck Fran & Clare ! xx


I would also like to take the opportunity to dedicate this page this week to a dearly loved friend and colleague who lost her battle to this disease, gone but not forgotten.

Lorraine Day, we will never forget you.

Week Twenty Nine – Mary Berry’s Divine Chocolate Birthday Cake

Greetings! Week twenty nine , just a little late in happening because hubby, the hairy hoolies and I managed to get away last week in our caravan for a long awaited chill out time and we stayed on a lovely site called Fairlight Woods. A beautiful small site with woods all around and doggy heaven! We were only 2 miles from the beach so I was happy too- I find the beach and the waves crashing onto the shore soooo relaxing and the dogs loved it too.

the hairy hoolies on Winchelsea Beach April 2013

Anyhow, back to the bake….as it was my other mum’s birthday, I chose the divine chocolate birthday cake recipe. I got all the ingredients and set off, thinking it would be just another twist on the usual sponge mix. How wrong I was. Mary asks for 5 eggs, 4 of them separated into yolk and white. You put the 4 yolks, a whole egg and the caster sugar in a bowl and whisk until thick and fluffy…..with me so far? Then melt the huge amounts of dark chocolate , add a spoon of hot water with a spoon of coffee granules, allow to cool slightly and add to the egg yolk mix with some ground almonds…..getting interesting isn’t it…….not a jot of flour in sight…..then whisk the egg whites until firm but not dry- an interesting phrase Mary! Then fold this into the mix and pour into the lined cake tin. Bake for 50 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean , allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out on to the rack to cool. I can honestly say this is the most peculiar recipe I have followed to date and wondered quite what would come out at the other end- I still had time to do a supermarket run to get a birthday cake if it was a disaster!

I must say, it didn’t look too bad when it came out and when I got it out of the tin, it retained it’s shape and had a lovely chocolatey aroma.

Kim's chocolate cake fresh out the oven

The icing was a breeze in comparison, oodles more dark chocolate ( not my favourite- so I resisted a nibble!) melted, with butter added, allow  to cool to get the consistancy and then cover the cake in it and allow to set. Decorate if you like. I had some pretty icing roses I added to it.

Kim's divine chocolate birthday cake

I took the cake to the birthday takeaway with some sparkler candles- I put five on the cake, and they were so difficult to light,then burned so quickly, we laughed so much just trying to get them done and “Happy Birthday” sung!

sparkler candlesHappy birthday!

Week Twenty One – Mary Berry’s Millionaire’s Shortbread

Although this blog is a little late in being published, I made Mary Berry’s Millionaire’s Shortbread on Sunday. This brings back lots of childhood memories, my mother used to make this a lot but it was known as Wellington Squares in our house. As my dad loved these so much I have dedicated this recipe to his memory and renamed it to Billionaire’s Shortbread as his name was Bill………..

Anyhow,  the recipe was very familiar to me and I made it in one of the infamous Lakeland tray bake disposable tins which come in very handy. I have been aware of not taking so many pictures of various stages recently to have taken a few more this week as there are three distinct stages to this scrummy cake.

Mary Berry's Millionaire's Shortbread

The shortbread base is first and fairly easy to do, it’s just getting the balance of golden rather than burnt!

 Kim's Billionaire's Shortbread base

Then there is the caramel middle, Mary Berry is not wrong when she says stir ALL the time, if you don’t, it will catch and burn and you end up with burnt bits in it. This didn’t catch but it has done for me in the past so be careful.

Kim's Billionaire's Shortbread caramel middle

The topping is then the melted chocolate. Mary recommends just a plain top or a mix of plain, milk and white chocolate in a marble pattern. Traditionally in our house, it’s a milk chocolate topping with white lines and then swirled so that’s what I did and love the look of it. So here you have, Kim‘s Billionaire’s Shortbread in memory of my lovely Dad who was taken too soon by illness.

Kim's Dad Bill Kim's Billionaire's Shortbread

Oh and don’t forget to support the Comic Relief Bake Off and make a donation here:



Week Twelve – Marbled Chocolate Ring Cake

Week twelve and I feel like I have settled into this challenge now and look forward to what to make next. This week was a special week for me as I passed my Social Care with Children & Families Diploma, and with a Distinction too! Woohooo! So I was looking for this week’s inspiration with the view of a celebration and this fitted the moment, and I could do it in my mixer, as my thumb is on the road to recovery but not up to any hand mixing yet.

Mary Berry’s recipe called for a ring mould tin and to line this. Not as easy as it sounds so I thought I would look online to see if there any any hints and tips. Unfortunately I found nothing, zip, nada…….so decided to give it a go myself. It didn’t look pretty but it did the job!

The mix was pretty straightforward, just throw pretty much everything in a bowl and mix- my kind of cooking! Then add half this mixture in various places in the tin, add the cocoa/water mix to the rest of the mix , and then add to the tin. This should give it it’s marbled effect. Then into the oven for 40 minutes or so.

40 minutes later and the buzzer pinged, I looked at it but it was a bit underdone so I added another 5 minutes to the timer. Then it was done , time for a little cooling and then to tip it out. The paper lining worked well and came off easily and then the cake was left to cool.

The topping is pretty much dark chocolate, mixed with some butter and melted, then poured on the top. Mine covered the whole cake but didn’t look as smooth as Mary’s photo in the bible. This topping then needed to cool before the final drizzle of milk chocolate to finish it off.

I am pleased with the final result and can’t wait to cut into it to see how well the marbled sponge came out. Oh, and my certificate is in the photo – to prove that I did it and I can now add the following letters after my name – S.A.C. Dip……. very posh so……


signing off for week twelve’s efforts

Kim, S.A.C. Dip.