Sunday, 20 December 2015

Gingerbread houses

It isn’t Christmas without gingerbread and, much as I always love classic gingerbread men...

... I wanted to make something different to anything I’d made before.  I found this shop on Etsy selling cutters to make the cutest little gingerbread houses and I fell in love!  (Etsy is an incredible site; I know it gets some stick for some of the weird stuff you can find on it but I challenge anyone to spend 20 minutes or so browsing the site without finding something they want!)

The houses are a bit of work but can be made in stages, as gingerbread keeps very well for days and days in an airtight tin.  I always prefer piping on a flat surface so decorate all the panels and let the icing set, before assembling the houses.  As these are small they don’t require much icing to hold them together.

To provide a bit of scale, here’s a house next to my favourite mug (I dread to think how many cups of tea this cup has held!):

I’m not much of a decorator and – weak and pathetic as it sounds – get hand cramps if I do too much piping, so my houses are minimalist, but, if you’re better at that sort of thing you could really go to town.

The gingerbread was lovely – it was somewhere between ginger biscuit and the softer, more cakey, gingerbread.  It puffed up while cooking giving a nice smooth finish and the taste had just enough fire to it.  I don’t think it’s been a very exciting year for cookery books but this recipe came from one book that did capture my interest – Gingerbread Wonderland by Mima Sinclair.

This is likely to be my last post before Christmas so I shall sign off hoping that you all have a lovely day – doing whatever it is you have chosen to do! Happy Christmas everyone!


140g golden syrup
200g soft light brown sugar
200g unsalted butter
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
500g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg

To decorate: tubes of icing, and anything else you wish!


Place the golden syrup, sugar, butter and spices in a saucepan larger than you need and melt together over a gentle heat stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved – you can tell when this has happened by looking at the back of your spoon: if you can still see tiny grains it needs a bit longer.

Increase the heat and bring to the boil (don’t stir during this process).

Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the bicarbonate of soda – it will froth up, hence using a larger saucepan.

Stir only until the bicarbonate of soda is incorporated and put to one side to cool – about 15 minutes should be enough.

Fold the flour and salt into the cooled mixture.

Beat in the egg – take care not to overbeat the mixture; as soon as the egg is incorporated stop mixing.

Tip the dough out onto a work surface or – and this is my preference – a sheet of non stick foil.

Knead until it is smooth.  Initially the dough will be very sticky and it will be tempting to add flour but DON’T!  This will make the biscuit tough.

Cut the dough in half and shape into fat discs before wrapping separately in clingfilm and refrigerating for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 160C/fan oven 140C/325F/gas mark 3.

Roll the chilled dough out between two sheets of clingfilm and use the cutters of your choice.

Place on a baking sheet lined with either baking paper or non stick foil.

Bake for about 6-7 minutes, if making a small biscuit, or until just starting to feel firm to the touch.  It will puff up during cooking and if it feels almost marshmallow soft, it needs a couple of minutes longer.

Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate as you wish.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Chocolate Christmas pudding cupcakes

As much as I love daydreaming about having a Nigella-style existence where I can spend days in my perfect kitchen crafting masterpieces the reality is that, if you work full time, and factor in all the other stuff you have to do,  time is short – particularly at Christmas.  I am planning on some projects for Christmas that will be more involved but, for now, I wanted something cute and quick.

I have always loved the look of a traditional Christmas pudding but hate the taste.  Therefore, the concept of these little puds was to achieve the look I covet but made from chocolate chip cupcakes, with the inclusion of almond to ensure that they will keep well for a few days for entertaining over the festive period.  I decorated them with sugar holly leaves but you can let your imagination run wild.

In all honesty, they don’t look like puddings.  There, I’ve said it.  The design in my head didn’t quite manifest itself in the finished item.  Mostly because I went overboard with the ganache – I put on an amount that created the pudding effect, but then had lots left so was faced with the dilemma of not using it all, or adding too much to the cakes.  As Thom Yorke (never) sang: gluttony always wins.

The ganache firmed up a lot quicker than I expected – often ganache can be runny and you have to refrigerate it, but not this one.  It is extremely rich and sweet…but it’s also Christmas so do not feel any guilt!  I read an article stating that the average person consumes an additional 30,000 calories over the Christmas period.  I’m not sure whether I was meant to take that as a target to aim towards, like the 10,000 steps a day goal, but……


For the sponge:
175g unsalted butter, melted and left to cool
150g natural yoghurt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g golden caster sugar
140g self raising flour
35g cocoa powder
100g ground almonds
100g chocolate chips

For the ganache:
300g white chocolate
120ml double cream

To decorate: sugar holly leaves


Preheat the oven to 190C/ fan oven 170C/ 375F/ gas mark 5.

Grease 1 cupcake trays i.e. 12 holes.  You don’t want paper cases as this will stop the cupcakes having a smooth pudding like finish.

Melt the butter for the sponges and put to one side to cool.

In a jug whisk together the yoghurt, eggs and vanilla.

Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl i.e. the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, ground almonds and chocolate chips.

Pour the yoghurt mix and the melted cooled butter into the dry ingredients and fold together just enough to combine.

Spoon into the greased cupcake pans and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the sponges comes out clean.

Turn the cakes (inverted – so that the domed top is now the bottom) out onto a wire rack straightaway – I find this helps flatten the domed top as the sponges cool.

Leave to cool completely.

Now make the ganache: melt the cream and chocolate together.  There are various ways you can do this – short bursts in the microwave and stirring between each one; melting in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water; or my preferred method: in a saucepan using a gas diffuser ring.

Leave the ganache to cool and set a little.  It might require refrigeration (mine didn’t) to set up enough to spoon over the cakes but don’t forget about it as you want it to stay a bit runny.

Spoon over the top of each cake and let run down the side.

Decorate as required.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 6 December 2015

Ginger and parsnip cake



If I were to say to Mr CC I was making a carrot cake his response would be favourable.  However, when I made courgette cakes he prejudged them negatively even though he ended up eating them and liking them.  The Brussel sprout cake was admittedly ‘interesting’ (interesting in this context = bleughhhhhh! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) but I made that before I met him so, other than hearing scare stories from survivors, he escaped it unscathed. 


Parsnips are basically carrots that have used higher SPF sunscreen (this view might not stand up to biological scrutiny) so I was torn whether to ‘fess up to their inclusion in this cake prior to serving it.  I decided not to and instead turned it into a game of ‘this cake has an unusual ingredient – can you guess what it is?’  He didn’t.


Parsnips, like carrots, have a natural sweetness but, unlike carrots, have an earthiness that added to the depth of flavour in the cake.  I’m not sure my palate would’ve detected that it wasn’t carrot but, once you know, the taste is subtly different.  The sponge was light and soft with tiny flecks of creamy coloured parsnip visible.  It was a lovely combination with the ginger. 


I attended the BBC Good Food show at the NEC last week and bought a bottle of ginger juice.  I used some in the buttercream; ending up with 2 tablespoons of ginger juice and 2 of syrup from the jar of stem ginger.  It added an extra bit of zing and heat – I do like my ginger to leave a lasting impression on my tongue!


I have never said, thought and written the word ‘parsnip’ as much as I have whilst baking this cake.  When you think about it, it’s a pretty odd word...and gets sillier the more you say it.  Parsnip.  Paaaaarsniiiipppp.  It’s a funny word – and I like it!


For the sponges:
250g self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
250g golden caster sugar
3 balls of stem ginger, very finely chopped
3 eggs
200g grated parsnip – this equates to two average sized parsnips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter – melted but not hot (leave to cool for about 5-10 minutes)
Splash of milk, if needed

For the icing:
400g icing sugar
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons stem ginger syrup from the jar


Pat the oven to 180C/fan oven 160C/350F/gas mark 4.

Line two 20cm loose bottomed sandwich tins with baking paper.

Place the flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt, ground ginger and sugar in a bowl and stir together.

Add the stem ginger and stir so that it is coated with dry ingredients and not clumping together.

In a separate bowl – a large jug is easier if you have one - beat together the eggs, grated parsnip, vanilla and melted butter.

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mix and fold together, taking care not to over mix.

If the mixture is not firm, and doesn’t drop from the spoon easily, add a splash of milk.

Spoon into the prepared tins and level the surface.

Bake for approximate 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean.  Mine took a bit longer – nearer 40 minutes, but it’s worth checking after 25 minutes as ovens vary.

Leave to cool in the tins for at least 20 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

Now make the buttercream: Beat together all the ingredients until smooth and whippy.

Place one sponge on the serving plate and use a stingy 1/3 of the buttercream to spread over the top.

Place the other sponge on top.

Use the remaining buttercream to cover the top and sides of the cake.

Place your decorated gingerbread on the cake.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Sunday, 22 November 2015

Jam steamed sponge pudding

Today is my birthday but, as I’ve been really busy the last few days (lunches, cocktails, even the opera daaaaaaahling), I find myself in the position of having precisely zero birthday cakes. I know!!! I will rectify this shameful situation when I have time (an interesting ginger concoction has caught my eye) but for now all I really fancied was a steamed sponge pudding.

Whenever I post a steamed sponge I get requests for a step by step in pictures.  My method is considered old fashioned now, in that I place a steamer above a pan of simmering water; the modern method seems to be to place an upturned bowl or saucer in the bottom of the pan containing the water to elevate the pudding.  This is not the way I do it but, if you’re interested, the BBC Goodfood website has two tutorials:

I have metal pudding bowls with clip on lids.  I bought them from Amazon almost 10 years ago and find them so much less faff than glass pyrex dishes where you have to make a pleated lid out of baking paper and foil, and then tie it up with string making a handle at the same time.  I have never been dextrous with knots.  The second tutorial link above covers the paper and string method. (NB.  Amazon don’t seem to stock them anymore but they do have a different range of lidded pudding basins if you search the site)

Compared to making a sponge mix, spooning it into a cake tin and baking in the oven for 30 minutes or so steaming could look like a lot of time and effort but please, please, please give it a try.  Firstly, it’s no more time to prep the pudding for steaming than it is a cake for the oven, and while the cooking time is a lot longer you don’t really need to do anything during that time.  Nothing that comes out of the oven will ever match a steamed sponge in terms of lightness.  It’s like eating spongey air.

I grease my pudding bowl and place the jam in the bottom:

Spoon in the batter:

Clip on the lid.  Place in the steamer, over a pan of simmering water:

Leave for 1.5 – 2 hours.  It’s not precise like a baking time and the pudding won’t suffer for being left to steam longer than actually needed to cook it so don’t feel pressured by the cooking time or guess when it’s ready.  I always give it two hours.

Turn out and enjoy!

NB. Do not adjust your monitor – I did serve rather large portions.  In my defence it was my birthday and freezing cold; I feel either of these facts alone would excuse me but - together - form a rock solid argument.  A pudding this size will serve 6 people easily....just because I cut it into quarters doesn’t mean you have to!


4 tablespoons jam – whichever flavour you prefer
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
115g caster sugar
2 eggs
115g self raising flour
1-2 tablespoons milk

To serve: custard


Place a large saucepan on the hob and fill 3/4s with water – test that the steamer basket will not touch the water.  Bring the water to a gentle simmer while you are making the pudding.

Grease, with butter, an 850ml pudding bowl (either metal, ceramic or heatproof glass).  If it has a lid, grease that too.

Spoon the jam into the bottom of the pudding bowl.

Now make the sponge: beat together the butter and sugar until light and whippy.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Stir in the flour.

Beat in enough milk to ensure a light dropping consistency.

Spoon into the pudding bowl and level the surface.

Clip on the lid or, if your bowl doesn’t have a lid, cover the bowl with a piece of baking paper and a piece of foil, pleated across the middle to allow for expansion.  If you are using the paper/foil option tie string around the bowl to keep it in place and then loop the string over the top to make a handle, which will help you lift the pudding out of the steamer.

Place the steamer basket over the pan of simmering water.

Place the pudding bowl in the steamer basket and place the lid on top to ensure the pudding is enclosed in it’s own personal sauna!

Leave to steam for anywhere between 1.5-2 hours; I always leave it for two hours.

The water level may need topping up after the first hour – it depends on the size of the saucepan.  Simply boil a kettle of water and then lift the steamer basket off of the pan, top up the water lever, and replace the steamer basket – this will not hurt your pudding at all.

Run a knife around the edge of the pudding and turn out onto a plate.

Serve with custard.

Wrap any left over pudding in foil and enjoy the next day – it reheats like a dream in either the oven or the microwave.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Florentine biscuit bars


This recipe is adapted from the one in the BBC Good Food 25th birthday edition.  As soon as I saw the combination of florentines and shortbread I was sold!  I always associate florentines with Christmas as that’s the only time of year we ever used to have them; I don’t know whether they have any particular association with Christmas but, growing up, I remember they always used to form part of M&S’s confection/biscuit range.  M&S used to make a mixed box i.e. milk, dark and white chocolate.  Tactically I would always eat the milk first as I was the only one in my family to like white chocolate so I didn’t have to rush with those!

This is a good recipe to use up all the odds and ends of nuts a baker always seems to have in their cupboard; I buy a bag of nuts for a particular recipe and then don’t use them all.  I seem to have endless bags with about 20-30g of nuts left in them – this is where they get to step into the spotlight!

The cherries and pistachios look so pretty in amongst the nuts and chocolate.  You could make it look extremely festive by using red and green cherries…although I try not to think too hard about what they do to turn those poor cherries such a vivid green.  Some questions are best left unanswered.

For the base:
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g golden caster sugar
200g plain flour
100g ground rice flour

For the topping:
25g unsalted butter
75g golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon plain flour
75ml double cream
50g flaked almonds
25g whole blanched almonds
75g chopped nuts of your choice – I used a mix of pistachios and chopped hazelnuts
75g glace cherries, halved
100g chocolate chips

Line a 20cm square tin with baking papermaking sure the paper comes up high enough that you can use it to lift the finished bake up out of the tin.

Use a food processor to blitz together the butter and sugar.

Add the flour and rice flour and pulse until it starts to come together – don’t overwork it or your biscuit will be tough rather than crumbly.

Press into the base of the tin taking care to distribute the mix evenly.

Prick all over with a fork, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Bake the biscuit base for 25 minutes.

While the base is cooking start work on the topping: place the butter, sugar and flour in a pan large enough to take all the other topping ingredients and gently melt together stirring all the time.

When all the sugar crystals have dissolved add the cream and stir until smooth.

Stir in all the nuts and cherries.

Stir in the chocolate chips.   If you prefer, you can omit the chocolate chips and instead melt the chocolate and drizzle over the baked bars.

Spoon the hot nut mixture over the just-baked base and ensure it is well spread out.  Be gentle – a spatula or the back of a spoon works well.

Return to the oven and bake until the top is firm but retains a little squidge; this will take anywhere between 10-20 minutes but it can catch quickly so check every 5 minutes.

Leave to cool, in the tin, on a wire rack.

Cut into fingers.

If you didn’t add chocolate chips, decorate by melting 100g chocolate by your preferred method i.e. microwave or hob, and drizzle over the cold bake. (I like to do this after I’ve cut the fingers as then the chocolate isn’t disturbed with cutting)

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Oat and pear traybake with pecan crumble topping

I’m such a clichĂ© but the first whiff of winter and I’m cracking open the spice jars like nobody’s business!  I found the recipe for the oat sponge and crumble topping on a recipe sharing website and decided that it needed an extra element.  Oats, spice and pecans led me to the very easy decision to add some pear to the mix.  Pear is one of my absolute favourite fruits to bake with.

The pear is fruity and juicy and stops the sponge being too dry or heavy.  The nutty crumble topping adds texture and richness; the dark sugar seeps into the cak almost like a sauce.  I served the cake at room temperature with a cup of tea but it would work so well warm with ice cream or custard.  You could even bake it in individual pudding moulds for a fancy dessert (but reduce the cooking time accordingly).

Adding fruit to a batter always increases the wetness during baking so it’s worth draining the tinned fruit and patting it dry with kitchen paper.  I think that without the addition of the fruit the sponge may have been a bit dry; the juice was absorbed by the oats making an almost fragrant sponge – imagine an oaty bread pudding and you’re pretty close.  Have I mentioned how much I love baking with pears?

I suspect it won’t be an issue, but the cake keeps really well for several days.  The pear keeps the cake soft, and the nuts in the crumble topping improve with age (unlike the baker!).

I took a photo of a slice and went for my obligatory ‘fork shot’.  Then I went for another...and another....and it ended up like this:

NB.  The crumbs were left on the plate for artistic purposes and were polished off the moment I put the camera down!  Waste not, want not etc.......


For the cake:
100g porridge oats
330ml boiling water
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
220g dark brown soft sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
215g plain flour
1 tin diced pears – the tin was 410g with a drained weight of 225g

For the crumble:
100g dark brown soft sugar
10g plain flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
40g unsalted butter – cold
100g pecan nuts – roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 190C/ fan oven 170C/ 375F/ gas mark 5.

Grease a 30cm x 20cm traybake tin.

Cover the oats with the boiling water and put to one side.

Now make the crumble topping: Mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Rub in the butter until you have lumpy crumbs.
Stir in the chopped pecans.

Place in the fridge until needed; a cold crumble is always easier to scatter over the top as your hands won’t melt the butter as much.

Now return to making the cake: Beat the butter and sugar until soft and well combined – it will never go fluffy and whippy when you’re using dark sugar.

Beat in the eggs, vanilla and cinnamon.

Fold in the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and plain flower.

If there is any, drain any unabsorbed liquid away from the oats and fold them into the mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin. 

Drain the pears and pat them dry with some kitchen paper.

Scatter the diced pears over the batter and gently press down into the batter.

Sprinkle the chilled crumble over the top of the batter.

Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin before de-tinning and storing in an airtight container.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Chocolate orange carrot cake

I’ve never baked (or indeed seen, or eaten) a chocolate carrot cake before.  It seemed the perfect cake given the increasingly autumnal feel in the air – soft sponge with chocolate and spice; it would be a good Bonfire Night cake too.  Funny how we associate flavours with seasons/events.

Being a carrot cake this is a very light sponge.  The brown sugar adds a caramel sweetness which always works well with spice.  The cocoa adds a chocolately depth.  The sultanas are entirely optional but, in my world, always make everything better so I added some!  I ‘ummed and aaaaahed’ over whether to make this as a single sponge or to make as a sandwich style cake.  In truth, I think it would work as either, but I was in the mood for a little cream cheese frosting so whipped up an orange one to compliment the zest in the cake.

I like it when bakes evolve like this, with a series of little decisions being made along the way to create the finished item.  This was a very popular cake and something a little bit different which, 8 years into my blog, feels increasingly difficult to achieve!

The flavours of this cake work well together but all remain identifiable because they hit your palate at different times.  The initial hit is the chocolate sweetness; this is cleaned away by the sharp cream cheese frosting and you are left with a fruit orange spice flavour.  It comes in three distinct waves.  Once I spotted this I took my time over each mouthful (unlike me) and ticked the stages of flavour off each time...this is how I entertain myself!

Mr CC was very sceptical about this cake initially.  When I said to him I was making a chocolate orange carrot cake he gave me a look which I can only describe as a ‘what you talking bout Willis?’ look (a reference that you will need to be a certain age to get!) but, when he tasted it, he really liked it!


For the sponge:
280g soft light brown sugar
200g self raising flour
80g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Optional: 50g sultanas
zest of 1 orange (save the rest of the orange for the buttercream)
4 eggs
200ml sunflower oil – or any flavourless oil, I used light olive oil suitable for baking
100ml milk
200g carrots, grated – this equates to approx 3 medium carrots

For the buttercream:
350g cream cheese – I used Philadelphia
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
160g icing sugar
1 -2 tablespoons orange juice

To decorate: chocolate sprinkles


Preheat the oven to 180C/fan oven 160C/350F/gas mark 4.

Line two 20cm loose bottomed round sandwich tins with baking paper.

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together e.g. light brown sugar, self raising flour, cocoa, bicarb, mixed spice, cinnamon and – if using - sultanas.

Place all the wet ingredients in a large jug e.g. orange zest, eggs, oil, milk and carrots and beat together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together.

Divide equally between the cake pans.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes (start checking after 30 minutes) or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tins, on a wire rack, for about 30 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely.

Now make the filling: Beat the cream cheese and butter until soft, light and whippy.

Add the icing sugar and beat well.

Add the orange juice – start with just one tablespoon – and beat until you have a light, spreadable buttercream.  Add more orange juice if required.

Place one sponge on the serving plate and spread about 1/3 of the buttercream over the top.

Place the remaining sponge on top.

Cover the top and sides with the frosting.

Cover the top with chocolate sprinkles.

Refrigerate until about 20 minutes before serving.

Serve in generous slices with a cup of tea.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Banana and sour cream cake

Normally, when I decide to make a banana cake, I never have time to let the bananas fully ripen and I’m left with the Herculean labour of trying to mash rock-hard fruit.  Not this time!  For once I actually managed to mash the bananas without breaking my wrist.

What attracted me to this recipe was the addition of sour cream as it cuts through the richness of the banana.  Often banana cake can be dense and heavy in texture but, like yoghurt, sour cream produces a lovely moist soft sponge. The thin layer of buttercream added a rich, sweetness which was just enough.

The smell of the raw cake mix, and while baking was divine – it was so intensely banana.  The addition of the chocolate chips adds little naughty pockets of sweetness; I used milk chocolate as my palate always favours sweet over bitter.


For the cake:
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
180g caster sugar
3 eggs
4 medium size very ripe bananas, mashed
120ml sour cream
350g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g chocolate chips

For the buttercream:
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g icing sugar
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon golden syrup – you could use maple syrup or honey if you prefer


Preheat the oven to 180C/ fan oven 160C/ 350F/ gas mark 4.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – don’t skimp on this stage.  The mix will turn pale and look almost like whipped cream.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Mix in the mashed bananas and sour cream.

Fold in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and chocolate chips.

Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Bake for approximately an hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out cleanly.  

It is worth checking the cake after 40 minutes as ovens vary greatly.  Mine actually took over an hour and after an hour I covered the top loosely with foil to stop it over-browning.

Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before de-tinning and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

Now make the buttercream: beat the butter until it is pale, light and whippy looking.

Add the icing sugar, sour cream and golden syrup and beat until well incorporated – if it looks too thin add an extra tablespoon of icing sugar.

Spread the buttercream over the top of the cooled cake.

Cut into thick slices.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.