Arsenal Minion Cake

Probably the most challenging birthday cake request to date from the (not so) small one but we had hours of fun making it together. Happy birthday my little gunner – No. 10 today. Love you Boo…


spiced apple and pear cake

Well we’re coming to the end of another year and whilst my blog is unusually devoid of Christmas flavour, it’s not from a lack of baking. Last week saw a baking bomb hit my kitchen. I have been kept so busy over the past while, that the baking has been happening late at night. Due to that, I haven’t been able to photograph the four Christmas cakes (family gifts) or the gazillion candycane marshmallows and the basket-load of chocolate cake pops for the small ones school fair, due to the darkness and associated lightning.

Spiced apple and pear cake

Instead I’m sharing a recipe for spiced apple and pear cake that I made a while back, which might just come in handy during the festive season when you’ve all had your fill of mince pies and pudding. But fear not… if you do want a taste of Christmas you can always link back to some of my previous bakes, such as my spiced apple swirls – a simple crowd pleaser or my Gingerbread recipe – a must at Christmas time or you could pop over to my post on Smartie cookies and read all about my near disaster with santa’s letter or about the small ones encounters with Santa in my post for Hot chocolate muffins. I hope there is something there for you to enjoy and all’s that left is for Bonibakes to wish you and yours a very Happy and peaceful Christmas.

Spiced apple and pear cake


Spiced apple and pear cake

Serves: Approx 10 slices • Baking time: Approx 45-50 minutes

For the fruit mixture
1 pear
3 apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon castor sugar
For the cake mixture
75g castor sugar
150g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
150g self-raising flour sieved
150g ground almonds
2 tablespoons milk


1. Preheat the oven to 200c/Gas 6/180c(fan). Grease and line a 20cm spring form tin.
2. Peel and chop the fruit into slices and place in a saucepan along with the sugar, water and cinnamon. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla extract.
4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Gently fold in the flour and ground almonds.
5. Pour half the mixture into the cake tin. Layer with the fruit mixture and finally cover with the remaining cake mixture.
6. Bake for 20 minutes at 180c, then turn down the oven to 160c and bake for a further 30 minutes. Leave to sit in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Best enjoyed luke warm with custard.

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Halloween night, the small one got invited to go trick or treating with his school friend. We live in the countryside so from his very first Halloween at three months old, we have buckled his little dressed up self, safely into the car and spent the evening driving from Nanny to grandad and Uncle to Aunt in a quest to fill his little pumpkin shaped bucket.

Unlike me, he had never experienced the thrill of running up a garden path… ringing a doorbell… standing back to wait eagerly for it to be opened… the trick or treat chorus… or the end treasure… a handful of monkey nuts, an apple or a few pennies. How all that’s changed… Now behind those closed doors lie boxes filled with party bags, filled with candy, ready to be handed out to little dressed up ghouls and ghosts. By the third house the small one had got the hang of it and was gone like a bat out of hell, up and down the driveways of the estates, eyes and smile growing madly wider behind his zombie painted face, as his overflowing pumpkin bucket (yes we still use it) had to be replaced by a larger festive bag. Click here for Recipe


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Growing up my mum nearly always allowed me to play forward my birthday party to Halloween. I would invite my friends over who would arrive in fancy dress and we’d bob for apples and play lots of enchanting games while my mum prepared the party food. Once it turned dusk and we had devoured all of those goodies, it was time to grab a bag each and set off trick-or-treating for more.

This is how traditions are born… these past few years I find myself doing the same… only now I’m the one throwing the Halloween party for my small one. In turn, I teach him and his little friends all the old-time games which I played and bake lots of ghoulish food for them to feast on, which is all worth the effort when you see their freshly painted faces light up when I produce my newest spooky edibleness. Continue reading on


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Halloween pumpkin pinata

Midterm is nearly upon us again and we’ll soon be looking for ideas to keep our small ones busy during their Halloween break. So I’ve got just the thing and even though there’s no baking involved… there is still flour… and there is definitely messiness, which lets face it, our kids love. Here’s what you’ll need to make this Halloween pumpkin piñata. Continue reading “pumpkin pinata”