Sticky toffee banana bread

Transform a classic banana bread into a showstopper bake with this delicious sticky toffee banana bread recipe!

Sticky toffee banana bread

How to make sticky toffee banana bread

  1. You’ll start by making the banana loaf cake
    The sponge mixture replaces white caster sugar with light brown sugar to lock in moisture and give a lovely caramel undertone to the cake. Mashed bananas are folded into the mixture before transferring to a loaf tin and baking in the oven.
  1. As the cake cools, you’ll move on to the sticky toffee sauce
    Butter, sugar and cream are all that’s needed to make the sauce. Just be careful when heating the mixture as it will get really hot! Once the mixture has boiled for a few minutes, you’ll pop the sauce in the fridge to set and firm up. The result is a smooth but thick texture that you can spread on top of the cake.
  1. Then it’s the final touches
    I used butterscotch pieces and banana chips to decorate the cake, but you could also use fudge pieces or even white chocolate chips would be delicious!
Sticky toffee banana bread

How to line a loaf tin

Unlike square baking tins, loaf tins can be a little tricky to prep. I’ve found that the best way is to first lightly grease the tin all over with a little butter. Then cut a piece of greaseproof paper that is long enough to line the base and long sides of the tin, with enough paper hanging over the edges to help lift the cake out. This way the loaf cake will have straight, neat edges and bake more evenly.


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Sticky toffee banana bread recipe (makes 10-12 slices)

Ingredients

For the banana bread:
150g unsalted butter
120g light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
220g self-raising flour
2 ripe medium-sized bananas, roughly 120g each

For the toffee sauce:
50g light brown sugar
35g unsalted butter
50ml double cream

For the decoration:
Mini butterscotch or fudge pieces
Dried banana chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350 F. Line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Start by making the loaf cake. 
  1. In a bowl mash the bananas together with a whisk or fork until the mixture is lump-free. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.
  3. Now mix in the eggs, one at a time, adding two tablespoons of flour with each egg to stop the mixture from curdling.
  4. Add the remaining flour and mashed bananas, and fold the mixture together until fully combined.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and spread it out into an even layer.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the cake has risen, is golden on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the baking tin before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Now make the sticky toffee topping.
  1. Place the sugar and butter in a small-sized saucepan. Gently heat, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until both have fully melted and there are no lumps.
  2. Pour in half of the cream and stir the mixture together until combined. Repeat with the remaining cream.
  3. Now turn up the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Let the mixture boil for roughly 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t burn. The toffee should thicken and turn a lovely golden colour.
  4. Turn off the heat and pour the toffee into a jar or bowl (be careful as it will be really hot!).
  5. Leave at room temperature for 15 minutes, and then place in the fridge for an hour to firm up.
Now it’s time to decorate!
  1. Take the toffee out of the fridge and give it a good stir to loosen it up. You may need to let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften up.
  2. Spoon the toffee on top of the banana bread and use a palette knife to spread it out and create a swirly pattern.
  3. Scatter the butterscotch pieces on top and finish by dotting the banana chips down the middle of the cake.

Your sticky toffee banana bread will keep in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

Mini Double Chocolate Fudge Cakes

These mini double chocolate fudge cakes are rich, indulgent and very cute. Who doesn’t LOVE chocolate fudge cake!?

Each mini cake has three layers of chocolate fudge sponge and is decorated with milk chocolate and white chocolate buttercream. They’re finished with a scattering of cuteeeee Zillionaire sprinkles from Cake Angels. I made these cakes for my husband’s birthday this year, so decided to add a candle in each as well!

Mini double chocolate fudge cakes

Chocolate fudge cake ingredients

There are a few surprising ingredients in the cake mixture. You might read them at first and think surely not that can’t be right! Well, let me explain…

Using sunflower oil instead of butter – chocolate fudge cakes are meant to be super moist and well…fudgy! The oil will help to keep the cake moist, which is particularly important as the cake uses quite a bit of cocoa powder, which can dry cakes out.

Adding espresso powder – will not taste the coffee, promise! Adding a bit of espresso powder which enhance the chocolate flavour, making the cake more rich and intense.

Adding boiling water – the boiling water will help dissolve the cocoa powder and technically talking this will help it “bloom”. Blooming helps to bring out as much flavour as possible from the cocoa.

chocolate fudge cake mixture

How to make chocolate fudge cake

Making a chocolate fudge cake has never been easier! You’ll just need one large bowl, an electric mixer and a measuring jug.

  1. First, stir the dry ingredients together.
  2. Then add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix.
  3. Pour in the boiling water, and continue to mix.
  4. Then mix on high speed for about a minute until all ingredients are combined and the mixture is smooth.

Don’t panic if the mixture is very runny and thin. It’s meant to be this way! Check out the photo below.

chocolate fudge cake mixture

Baking the cakes

You’ll need two 12-hole baking tins for these mini-cakes. I used Lakeland’s loose-based baking tin, it’s non-stick and works like a dream.

Divide the mixture equally between the baking tins. You’ll need to do this quickly, as the mixture is so thin that it might leak out the bottom! To be safe, place the baking tins on a piece of greaseproof paper to protect your worktop.

Then pop the cakes in the oven for roughly 30-35 minutes. They most likely will dome and rise a little unevenly, but that’s okay. Once they’re cool just slice the tops off so that you have nice flat top cakes. Plus you get to eat the leftovers!

cake mixture in baking tin
baked chocolate cakes

How to decorate the cakes and create a “two-tone” effect

These mini chocolate fudge cakes sandwiched together with milk chocolate buttercream AND white chocolate buttercream. These dream combo!

The cakes are layered with alternative buttercream flavours. On the top, I decided to pipe “two-tone” buttercream dots around the edge. You don’t need any fancy divided piping bags to create a “two-tone” buttercream effect. I would suggest using the largest piping bag you can find to make it a little easier though.

Easy steps to create the “two-tone” effect

  1. Fill one side of the piping bag with one buttercream, being careful not to touch the other side.
  2. Fill the other side with the other buttercream
  3. Push the buttercream down the piping bag using your hands, so that you remove all the air bubbles and the buttercream has started to come through the nozzle.
  4. Test the buttercream on a piece of greaseproof first. You may need to pipe a few dots until both buttercream types start to show through.
Decorating chocolate cakes
two-tone chocolate buttercream

Mini Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe (makes 8 mini cakes)

Ingredients

For the sponge cakes:

250g self-raising flour
300g golden caster sugar
80g cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
250ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
100ml sunflower oil
250ml boiling water

For the chocolate buttercream:

200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g icing sugar
50g milk chocolate
20g cocoa powder
50g white chocolate

For the decoration:

Cute chocolate sprinkles – I used Cake Angels Zillionaire Sprinkles, they’re super cute and also have salted fudge pieces in them… YUM!
Birthday candles

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC, and lightly grease two 12 hole mini cake baking tins. I used Lakeland’s loose-based baking tin, it’s non-stick and works like a dream!

Start by making the cakes.

  1. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and espresso powder. Use a whisk or fork to stir the ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Now add the wet ingredients into the bowl: vanilla extract, milk, eggs and sunflower oil. Use an electric mixer set to medium speed to beat all ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Reduce the speed and carefully pour in the boiling water bit by bit. Don’t worry if the mixture looks very runny, once baked the cake will be super fudgy and moist.
  4. Once all the boiling water has been added, turn the speed up to high and beat for 1 minute to add air to the mixture (little bubbles should start to form on top!).
  5. Spoon the mixture evenly between the baking tins. You’ll need to do this quickly, as the mixture is so thin that it might leak out the bottom! To be safe, place the baking tins on a piece of greaseproof paper to protect your worktop.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the cakes have risen and are no longer shiny on top. Leave the cakes to cool.

Once the cakes are cool, make the buttercream.

  1. Melt the white chocolate and milk chocolate in separate bowls in the microwave until smooth. Set aside and leave to cool.
  2. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until soft, pale and free of any lumps. Sieve the icing sugar into the bowl and beat again until you have a smooth plain buttercream.
  3. Spoon half of the plain buttercream into the bowl with the cooled, melted milk chocolate. Now add the cocoa powder and beat together until you have smooth milk chocolate buttercream.
  4. Spoon the remaining plain buttercream into the bowl with the cooled, melted white chocolate and beat together until smooth.

Now it’s time to decorate!

  1. If the cakes have domed or risen unevenly, use a sharp knife to slice off the tops so that you have flat cakes to stack and decorate.
  2. Take one of the cakes and spread a layer of milk chocolate buttercream on top. Place a second cake on top and spread a layer of white chocolate buttercream on top. Now place a third cake on top and spread a thin layer of milk chocolate buttercream on top.
  3. Repeat for the remaining 7 cakes. You should have 8 mini three-layer cakes in total.
  4. Fit a piping bag with a star nozzle. Carefully spoon the leftover milk chocolate buttercream into one side of the piping bag. Now spoon the leftover white chocolate buttercream into the other side of the piping bag. Use your hands to push the buttercream down the piping bag.
  5. Holding the piping bag upright, pipe dots of buttercream on top of the cakes. The buttercream should be “two-tone” meaning both buttercream flavours and colours show through.
  6. Finish the cakes with a scattering of chocolate sprinkles, and if you’re celebrating a special occasion, push a candle into the middle of each cake. Enjoy!

Store the cakes at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


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Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake
This easy lemon drizzle loaf cake is light, buttery and refreshing, it’s …

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

This easy lemon drizzle loaf cake is light, buttery and refreshing, it’s an all-time classic that looks and tastes absolutely delicious. If you love lemon, this is the recipe for you!

Lemon drizzle loaf cake

How to make a lemon drizzle loaf cake

There are 3 parts to this recipe, the sponge, the lemon drizzle and the lemon icing. Each is super easy to make and only requires a few ingredients.

Start by making a simple sponge mixture

You’ll start by making a simple sponge mixture. I always use Stork (margarine) for cakes and add a couple of tablespoons of milk, it helps give the cake a lovely light and fluffy texture. Lemon zest is also added to the sponge mixture to add flavour.

Drizzle over the lemon syrup

Whilst the cake is still warm, you’ll drizzle a lemon syrup on top and let it soak into the sponge. This is what makes this cake SO delicious! The sponge will pack a zesty punch and the texture is moist and light.

Decorate with lemon icing

You can enjoy this cake as it is, but I think it’s even better with a layer of sweet and sticky icing on top. Plus the icing is so easy to make, just mix together white icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a thick but spreadable consistency. Then you’ll spoon it on top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.

Drizzling lemon syrup on lemon loaf cake

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake Recipe (makes 8-10 slices)

Ingredients

For the loaf cake:

175g Stork tub (margarine) or unsalted butter
175g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
175g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
1 lemon, zest only

For the lemon syrup:

1 lemon, juice only
50g golden caster sugar

For the lemon icing:

200g icing sugar
1 lemon, juice only

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350 F. Line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Start by making the loaf cake. 
  1. Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, along with a tablespoon of the flour each time to stop the mixture from curdling.
  3. Now add the remaining flour, milk and lemon zest and fold together until fully combined.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and spread it out into an even layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cake has browned on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Whilst the cake is baking, make the lemon syrup.
  1. In a small bowl stir together the sugar and lemon juice.
  2. Once the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and use a skewer or toothpick to poke holes all over the top. Spoon the syrup all over the cake and let it sink into the sponge.
  3. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the baking tin before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Once the cake is cool, make the lemon icing.
  1. Mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a thick but spreadable consistency.
  2. Spread the icing all over the top of the cake, letting it drop down the side of the cake.
  3. Finish by grating fresh lemon zest on top and decorating with lemon wedges.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Honey and Walnut Loaf Cake

Honey and walnut loaf cake topped with cream cheese frosting, decorated with homemade honeycomb and finished with a drizzle of honey. What a beauty!

Before we get into the recipe I have to mention that this cake is made using fresher than fresh honey, harvested by my niece and nephew (with the help of their parents of course!). I was so pleased when they gifted me a jar of the honey, I immediately started harvesting a whole load of baking ideas, with this cake being the top of the list.

Honeycomb walnut loaf cake

How to make honeycomb

Making honeycomb is so much easier than I thought it would be! I followed BBC Good Food’s Video Tutorial which was super helpful to see how it was meant to look at each stage. I definitely recommend giving that a watch, and here are a few of my own top tips to help you out:

Tip #1 – Be REALLY patient
It can take a while for the sugar to dissolve and turn to liquid. I had to patiently wait a good 10 minutes for this to happen. Just don’t be tempted to turn the heat up, it won’t speed it up and instead you’ll probably end up burning the sugar.

Tip #2 – Look for a deep golden colour
Before you add the bicarbonate of soda, you want the sugar to be a really deep golden colour and reaching a rolling boil in the saucepan. Think the colour of maple syrup. If you add the bicarb too early when the sugar isn’t hot enough, the honeycomb will end up chewy rather than crunchy.

Tip #3 – Only stir the bicarb in for a couple of seconds
As soon as you add the bicarb the honeycomb with froth and bubble up, you only want to stir the mixture for a couple of seconds before pouring it onto the greaseproof paper. Over-stirring will deflate the honeycomb and it won’t have those lovely air pockets throughout.

Honeycomb walnut loaf cake

How to decorate your honey and walnut loaf cake

I chose to decorate my cake with cream cheese frosting. It’s not as sweet as traditional buttercream and the tangy flavour of cream cheese pairs so well with honey. This recipe makes enough for a nice thick layer of cream cheese frosting. Use a spoon or a spatula to swirl the frosting on top.

Spreading cream cheese frosting on honeycomb walnut loaf cake

The final touch

A drizzle of honey is the finishing touch for this cake. Do this just before you’re ready to serve the cake, otherwise, the honey will soften the honeycomb.

Drizzling honey on loaf cake

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Honey and Walnut Loaf Cake Recipe (makes 8-10 slices)

Ingredients

For the loaf cake:

200g Stork tub (margarine) or unsalted butter
170g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons milk
100g chopped walnuts

For the cream cheese frosting:

70g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
150g icing sugar
70g full-fat cream cheese, cold from the fridge

For the honeycomb:

100g caster sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350 F. Line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Start by making the loaf cake. 

Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until pale and creamy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, along with a tablespoon of the flour each time to stop the mixture from curdling.

Now add the remaining flour, milk and honey and mix together until fully combined. Add the chopped walnuts and fold everything together one last time.

Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and spread it out into an even layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cake has browned on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the baking tin before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Whilst the cake cools make the honeycomb.

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

In a large saucepan add the caster sugar and honey. Heat gently on a low temperature, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and a clear liquid has formed. You’ll need to be patient as this can take 10 minutes or so.

Now turn the heat up to medium and heat the liquid until it is bubbling up and has turned a golden amber colour. Stir occasionally to prevent the sugar from burning. Again be patient as this can take another 10 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the bicarbonate of soda and immediately stir into the mixture until the powder has dissolved. This will happen very quickly and the mixture will foam and bubble up. Pour the honeycomb onto the greaseproof paper and leave to set.

Now make the cream cheese frosting.

Beat the butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the cream cheese (cold from the fridge) and fold into the mixture until just combined. Be careful not to overdo it, as it can quickly become runny.

Time to decorate!

Spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the cake. Use your hands to break up the honeycomb into shards and scatter them on top of the frosting. Finish with a drizzle of honey.

Store your honey and walnut loaf cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.




Cream Cheese Frosting

Problems making cream cheese frosting? Does it always turn into a lumpy, runny disaster? Trust me, I’ve been there! Finding a U.K recipe that actually works can be tricky, but believe me when I say that this one will not let you down.

It’s taken me years of failed attempts to finally develop a recipe for cream cheese frosting that is spreadable, pipe-able and silky smooth. I actually jumped for joy when it worked!

cream cheese frosting

Success tips for cream cheese frosting

  1. Use Full-fat Philadephia Cream Cheese
    In the U.K our cream cheese is more like a spread and thin in texture. I’ve found that low-fat versions or any other brand of cream cheese isn’t thick enough and results in a runny frosting.
  2. Beat the butter on its own for 1-2 minutes first.
    This will break down any lumps and make sure the frosting is completely smooth. You also want to beat the butter until it is really pale so that the frosting comes out a lovely bright white colour.
  3. Sieve the icing sugar.
    Making sure the icing sugar is really fine in texture will keep the frosting smooth and lump-free.
  4. Keep the cream cheese in the fridge.
    This is THE most important tip. You want the cream cheese to be as thick as possible, if it’s kept at room temperature it will start to loosen and become soft. Therefore only take the cream cheese out of the fridge when you are ready to use it in the recipe.
  5. Gently fold the cream cheese into the mixture
    At this step swap the electric mixer for a wooden spoon or spatula. Very gently fold the cream cheese into the mixture until it has JUST combined. Be really careful not to over-mix as the frosting can very easily turn to liquid.
cream cheese frosting

Recipe ideas for how to use cream cheese frosting

There’s plenty of ways you can use cream cheese frosting, it’s really versatile and pairs particularly well with vegetable or fruit cakes. Want some recipe inspiration? Check these out:


Ingredients

Makes enough cream cheese frosting to decorate 12 cupcakes or the top and sides of a two-layer 8inch cake.

  • 150g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 150g full-fat cream cheese frosting (cold from the fridge)

Method

Step 1

Cut the unsalted butter into chunks and put it in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric whisk or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on a medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until super soft, fluffy and pale in colour.

step 1, beat the butter

Step 2

Sift half of the icing sugar into the bowl. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently mix the butter and icing sugar together first for 30 seconds (this will help stop the icing sugar from going everywhere when using the electric mixer). Now turn the electric mixer on a medium-high speed and beat together until smooth and fluffy.

step 2, sieve the icing sugar

Step 3

Sift the remaining icing sugar into the bowl. Repeat the same step as above, using a wooden spoon or spatular to first mix the butter and icing sugar together, then the electric mixer to beat together until you have a smooth mixture.

step 3, beat together

Step 4

Take the cream cheese out of the fridge and add it to the bowl. Use a wooden spoon or spatula (not the electric mixer), to gently fold the cream cheese into the mixture until smooth and just combined. Be careful not to over mix at this stage.

step 4, fold in the cream cheese frosting

Step 5

Use straightaway to decorate your bakes, or cover with clingfilm and store the cream cheese frosting in the fridge for up to 3 days. I used it to decorate these gorgeous Strawberry Cheese Cupcakes

strawberry cheesecake cupcakes