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Porter Cake

I have a friend who loves cake and ale. There was only one cake that came to mind for her birthday; a Porter Cake. Yum.

Porter Cake


  • 175g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 450g raisins
  • Grated zest (on the large setting) of 2 medium oranges and juice 1.5 oranges
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 200ml Sainsbury’s London Porter
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 beaten medium eggs
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger

For the topping

  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp Demerara sugar


  1. Heat oven to 150C/fan 130C. Butter and line the base and sides of two tin loafs. Put the butter, raisins, orange zest and juice, sugar and porter in a large pan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the boil, stirring until the butter has dissolved, then simmer for 10 mins.
  2. Cool for 10 mins, then stir in the bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will foam up.
  3. Stir the eggs into the pan, then sift in the flour and spice and mix well. Pour into the prepared tins, smooth the top with the back of a spoon and sprinkle with the flaked almonds and demerara sugar. Bake for 1 hour and cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.



Inspired by the BBC good food recipe:


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Brandy & Port Fruit Cake (Mincemeat) with Brandy Icing

It was again my turn to deliver the goods for Bake Club at work. Seeing as it is getting cold and the shops are already starting to get festive I decided to create a comforting fruit cake with a mincemeat twist! I found some lovely mincemeat cake recipes online. Here is my take on a festive fruit cake – it fed 12 hungry faces.

slice of cake



  • 140g butter (room temperature)
  • 140g light soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 225g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 85g Cranberries
  • 411g mincemeat (whole jar)
  • Splash of brandy
  • Pecans to decorate


  • 50g butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • ~2 teaspoons brandy (need to judge by eye)



  1. Preheat the oven to 140C/fan. Grease and line 2 x 20cm (8 in) round tins.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a bowl (except for the pecans) and mix thoroughly until thoroughly blended. Turn into prepared tins and place almonds on the top of one of the layers.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 mins or until the cakes are golden brown, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then loosen the sides with a small palette knife, turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.
  5. Mix the butter and the icing sugar. Add brandy in very small amounts until you have a smooth stiff icing. Lay over the plain layer and stack the pecan layer on top.

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Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Update: 14th April 2014

The recipe below is great if you want to cook cupcakes with a flat top for cake toppers. If you would like your cupcakes to rise then add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder with the flour. I like to sprinkle some icing sugar on the cupcakes as they really do taste sensational! A winner every time.


These are the best vanilla cupcakes ever! My friend gave me the recipe after she attending a cake baking course (she also has a blog: The secret is the ratio between the butter, sugar and flour (which you increase to a measure of 150g) and the eggs (two medium). Fluffy, firm, tasty, golden brown… yum! The cupcake toppers were bought online from who I would recommended.



  • 150g butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Cream butter and sugar until white and fluffy
  2. Add eggs one at a time and mix until combined
  3. Slowly add flour mixing continually
  4. Add vanilla extract
  5. Divide between 12 cake cups
  6. Cook in the overn at 160/180 for 30 minutes

Enjoy and let me know your thoughts – Katie S&H

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Happy Birthday Marco!

Today one of Sober and Hungry’s founding members turns 30! We did what any group of good friends should do and ensured that he was rather well lubricated last night. Amongst the cards and bottles there is a small tupaware box  full of crumbs that once stood tall in the bar in the form of a very delicious two tiered cake.

Cake Film Strip

We stuck to our trusted BBC recipe and referred back to Pat for the perfect  butter icing and the smoothest fondant icing application technique

As a film lover and The Who fan we  invested in some edible icing from (who we would strongly recommend for the best price and fantastic customer service!) and went a bit Blue Peter making a handmade cake topper from card, pipe cleaners and lolly pops stuck into oasis bought from the local garden centre – clever eh? Top Tip: The bottom layer is a sweet tin with printed paper wrapped around it to add height!

I think you will agree – it looks pretty good!

Happy Birthday Marco – we love you lots!

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S&H Suprise Checker Cake

For two whole days the S&H Team have been waiting with baited breath to see if their “Surprise Cake” was going to hit the mark. The plan (if it went to plan) was to create a checkered cake; something Katie had become obsessed with after seeing a YouTube video. When cutting into such a dessert, the ‘slicee’ is amazed by the checkered affect inside the cake…determined to succeed and impress our friends who we had not seen for two years, we threw ourselves into the challenge…
10 - The Suprise For a checker cake you need to create three single layers of cake that differ in colour. We chose a chocolate layer, a standard Victoria sponge layer and a Victoria sponge layer with food colouring to create a variation. In previous blogs we have shared our favorite chocolate cake recipe* and our fluffiest Victoria sponge recipe**. We baked them the night before in 8inch cake tins and constructed the cake in the morning.

How to make a checker cake (the pictures and video below will help!)

  1. Use a 10cm and 5 cm pastry cutter to cut each layer into two doughnuts and a circle
  2. Trim the smaller circle and larger doughnut by a few mm to make space for the butter icing
  3. Put butter icing the around each layer (ensuring that you get it into every crevice)
  4. Carefully place one inside the other reconstructing each layer from the three sponges
  5. Cover the whole cake in more butter icing
  6. Put fondant icing on the cake – we have watched many videos on YouTube this lady is the best:
  7. Decorate as you like…
  8. Then slice! It is magical…
  1. *Chocolate layer ref: November 6, 2012 we used half of the mix for a single layer
  2. **Victoria sponge layer ref: October 23, 2012 and increase the measure to 110g for a single layer, omitting the lemon

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A really Chocolatey Malteasers cake

This is simply the easiest, tastiest chocolate cake ever! It is a BBC Good Food recipe (copy and pasted below). For the cake below I baked the sponge and rather than the icing; I wrapped the warm cake in baking paper and melted Malteasers into place. I left the middle empty to write my friend’s name – but for a more dramatic look you can cover the whole of the cake in Malteasers.


For the cake
For the chocolate icing

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins.
  2. For the cake, place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, or electric whisk, beat the mixture until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add the boiling water to the mixture, a little at a time, until smooth. (The cake mixture will now be very liquid.)
  4. Divide the cake batter between the sandwich tins and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely, still in their tins, before icing.
  6. For the chocolate icing, heat the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over a low heat until the chocolate melts. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the mixture until smooth, glossy and thickened. Set aside to cool for 1-2 hours, or until thick enough to spread over the cake.
  7. To assemble the cake, run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the cake tins to loosen the cakes. Carefully remove the cakes from the tins.
  8. Spread a little chocolate icing over the top of one of the chocolate cakes, then carefully top with the other cake.
  9. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and ice the cake all over with the chocolate icing, using a palette knife.

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Katie’s Mini Lemony Victoria Sponge (batch of 12)

These mini Victoria Sponge cakes are absolutely delicious. Everyone who has tried them loves them! I swap the vanilla extract for some lemon, which compliments the sponge superbly and creates a delicious butter icing. Rather than a layer of jam in the middle I use strawberries, fresh or dried for a different spin on an old classic!


  • 100g margarine (plus some for greasing)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • 100g self-raising flour

I also use: 2 x mini silicon-baking trays with 12 holes 4.5cm


  • 3 cups icing sugar (plus some to decorate)
  • 1/2 cups margarine
  • Some milk
  • Lemon rind
  • Slices of strawberries

 Preparation method


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Grease silicon trays with margarine
  3. Cream the butter and the sugar together in a bowl until pale
  4. Beat the eggs into the mixture a little at a time
  5. Once mixed add the juice of 1 lemon and some grated rind (to taste)
  6. Sift the flour into the mixture and fold in using a large metal spoon
  7. Spoon into silicon trays
  8. Bake for 22 minutes
  9. Allow the cakes to cool (very important)


  1. Slice the strawberries into slithers and place on kitchen towel to absorb excess water (or use dried strawberries)
  2. Mix the butter and the icing sugar and add some lemon rind (to taste). Add some milk if required


  1. Take two of the sponges. Put a dollop of icing onto the first sponge and top with strawberries. Sparingly ice the bottom of the second sponge and place onto the first to create your Victoria sandwich. Repeat 12 times.
  2. Sift icing over the top & decorate with strawberry chunk!

Any hints and tips? Some help from our readers…

I find that butter icing is difficult to get right. After a few hours if it is a warm day it becomes runny and can make the sponge soggy. Please let me know if you have the perfect icing formula and I will try it out and update the recipe!