Monday, 13 August 2012

Cherry Traybake

Sea breeze carrying smells from the restaurants nearby; the racket of seagulls and children all day; sunlight pouring over the wooden floors. This is my new flat and I love it. It's bigger and brighter than my previous living spaces, which makes up for the fact that it's also the noisiest place I've lived (but in a comforting, bustling kind of way).

After 3 years of tiny, dark kitchens, this one feels enormous by comparison (and has windows!) and I'm still learning my way around it. I couldn't wait long to pull out my baking stuff and christen the kitchen with sugar and butter, in the form of a sponge cake studded with cherry pieces and drizzled in icing.

The cake cuts into thin slices, with just a smidge of icing to ensure that sweet tooth is satisfied, but is light enough for almost guilt-free second helpings (or so I'm telling myself).

Cherry Traybake 

Adapted from a Mary Berry recipe.

A light cake dotted with cherry pieces, perfect for a summer afternoon tea. 

cherry cake

Cuts into 12 - 16 


  • 100g glacé cherries
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g icing sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 160C/Fan 140C/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line a deep 20cm x 30cm baking tray.
  2. Put 25g of the cherries aside. Chop the remaining 75g glacé cherries into quarters. Rinse under cold water to remove syrup and dry on kitchen paper.
  3. Sift flour, almonds and baking powder into a large bowl. Add in the butter, caster sugar and eggs and beat with an electric whisk until combined.
  4. Gently fold in the chopped and rinsed cherries. 
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking tray and smooth over the top using the back of a spoon. Bake for 40-50 minutes (keeping an eye on it after half an hour) in the centre of the oven, until a skewer comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
  6. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for ten minutes, then turn out and leave to cool completely.
  7. For the topping, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add cold water, a spoon at a time, until a pourable consistency is reached. Drizzle over the cake. 
  8. Chop the remaining glacé cherries into small pieces and scatter over the cake. Leave to set, then cut into pieces and serve. 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Bye Bye Southampton...

After spending the year in Southampton on work placement as part of my uni course, I'm now back in Plymouth ready (just about) for my final year. Our last night in Southampton was spent at our favourite place to eat, The Cowherds, located just minutes from where we were living at the edge of the Common. After a long day spent packing and cleaning, a delicious meal enjoyed outdoors was necessary.

We were accompanied by my mum and dad, who were down to help us with the move (it's scary how much stuff we've managed to accumulate and we're only 21!).

After sharing starters of fried calamari with spicy mayonnaise, chicken liver, pork and mushroom paté, and goat's cheese crostini, we indulged in mains from the wide selection offered by the country pub/restaurant.

Spanish chicken with chorizo and potatoes
Wild boar and chorizo burger
Lamb shoulder with dauphinoise potatoes
Handmade salmon and broccoli fishcakes with mixed salad

As usual, all the food was stunning and full of flavour - we've eaten here a few times while in Southampton and have always been impressed. With both incredible food and a gorgeous location, the Cowherds is perfect for a summer's evening meal. It'll definitely be a place I'll miss!

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