Christmas Morning Scones

Filled with cranberries, and flavoured with orange zest and almond extract, these easy-to-make scones capture the flavour and aroma of Christmas Morning. Serve them warm, straight from the oven, with clotted cream, champagne jam and a side of pressies!

Christmas morning scones

How to make perfectly light and crumbly scones

Scones are so simple to make, but there are a few tips and tricks that will guarantee you light and crumbly scones every time.

  1. Use cold butter. This is the secret to getting those lovely flaky layers. Use it straight from the fridge, and then rub it into the flour.
  2. Don’t careful not to overwork the dough. Mix the ingredients together until the dough has just come together. The less you work the dough the more crumbly and light the scones will be.
  3. Scones like to snuggle. Once you’ve stamped out your scones, place them on a baking tray right next to each other so they are just about touching. This will help them rise more evenly and higher.
Christmas morning scones

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Christmas Morning Scones (makes 8-10)

Ingredients


450g self-raising flour
150g unsalted butter, cold from the fridge
80g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
2 medium eggs, cold from the fridge
Splash of milk
150g cranberries
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon almond extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. ⠀
  2. In a jug, whisk together the eggs, milk and almond extract. Set aside for now.
  3. Chop the cold butter up into cubes and add to a large bowl along with the flour. Use your hands to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Now stir in the caster sugar, salt and orange zest.
  5. Pour in half of the egg mixture and use your hands to work the mixture into a dough. The dough should come together and leave the bowl clean. If you find that the dough is too crumbly and isn’t coming together just pour a little bit more of the egg mixture in.⠀
  6. Now add the cranberries and press them into the dough.
  7. Lightly flour a surface. Use your hands to press out the dough until it’s about 1.5 inches thick.
  8. Use a 2-3 inch cookie cutter to stamp out the scones. You will need to bring the leftover dough together again to get 8-10 in total.⠀
  9. Place the scones on the baking tray right next to each other so that they are just touching. Brush the tops with the leftover egg mixture.⠀
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and golden brown. ⠀
  11. Best served warm with clotted cream and jam!

Your Christmas Morning Scones will keep at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 2 days.

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.

Nutella Mocha Cupcakes

Coffee cupcakes filled with melted Nutella, topped with coffee hazelnut buttercream and decorated with crushed hazelnuts and a drizzle of Nutella. These Nutella Mocha Cupcakes are a coffee lovers dream!

Nutella Mocha Cupcakes

Nutella Mocha Cupcakes with nutella filling

Success tips for baking Nutella mocha cupcakes

Choosing the correct cupcake cases.
Cupcakes come in three sizes; fairy cake, standard and muffin. The baking time will vary depending on the case size you use. This recipe will give you 12 muffin-sized cupcakes. The cases I used were from Sainsbury’s and measured 2″ base and 1.5″ deep.

Removing the middle of the cupcakes.
Let them cool completely before you try to core the cupcakes. To do this, you can use a cupcake corer (like in the photo below), a knife or a piping nozzle. Be careful not to go all the way to the bottom, as you want to leave the bottom intact so the filling doesn’t spill out.

Piping the buttercream.
Piping can be really tricky but the more you practice the easier it will become. Here are a few of my top tips to help you:

  1. Only fill your piping bag ¾ full and use your hands to push the buttercream down to the end, squeezing out the air.
  2. Twist the top of the bag to keep the buttercream in place and to give you more control.
  3. Hold the piping bag upright in the middle of the cupcake. Apply pressure to the piping bag and pipe in a circular motion spiralling outwards and lifting upwards at the same time.
  4. To finish the swirl, release pressure and gently lift the piping bag up.
Coring the cupcake
Filling the cupcake with Nutella

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Nutella mocha cupcake recipe (makes 12)

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:
180g Stork (margarine) or unsalted butter
180g caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
180g self-raising flour
2 tablespoons freshly ground coffee – I used 200 Degrees’ Brazilian Love Affair coffee, it’s my absolute favourite!
1 tablespoon water

For the filling:
1 jar Nutella – you’ll use roughly a teaspoon to fill each cupcake

For the hazelnut coffee buttercream:
250g salted butter
500g icing sugar
3 tablespoons freshly brewed coffee
2 teaspoons hazelnut coffee syrup – I used Monin syrup

For the decoration:
Crushed hazelnuts, to sprinkle on top
Nutella, to drizzle on top

Method

Start by making the cupcakes.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
  2. In a small bowl mix the ground coffee or espresso powder with the water. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and pale in colour.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one by one, adding 2 tablespoons of the 180g flour at the same time.
  5. Now add the remaining flour, and the coffee mixture, and fold together until fully combined.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases, filling them roughly ¾ full.
  7. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until the cupcakes have risen and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Fill the cupcakes.

  1. Once the cupcakes are cool, scoop out the middle of each using a cupcake corer (like in the photos) or a teaspoon.
  2. Melt roughly 3-4 tablespoons of Nutella in a bowl in the microwave.
  3. Fill each cupcake with a heaped teaspoon of melted Nutella.
  4. Press the cake middles back into the holes to cap off the top (you may have to trim them down).

Now make the buttercream.

  1. Make a fresh cup of coffee and put it in the fridge until needed.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy, light and pale in colour.
  3. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat again until smooth.
  4. Now sift in the remaining icing sugar, add the hazelnut syrup and add 3 tablespoons of the fresh coffee.
  5. Beat together until the buttercream is smooth and fully combined.

Time to decorate!

  1. Spoon the buttercream into a large piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle.
  2. Starting from the middle of the cupcakes, hold the piping bag upright and pipe in a circular motion moving outwards. To finish the swirl, gently lift the piping bag upwards.
  3. Drizzle a little Nutella on top of each cupcake and sprinkle over the crushed hazelnuts.

Your Nutella mocha cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature 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 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.