mary berry

Mary Berry’s Ultimate Victoria Sponge 60th Birthday Cake Extravaganza!


I love a Victoria Sponge. Who doesn’t? Memories of Aunty Joan’s Victoria Sponge on a Sunday after the roast dinner filled my childhood. However, after trying to make one and burning it slightly, I got a cob on and haven’t dared try again! Until my Dad’s 60th. He’s gone fussy in his old age (he will tell you otherwise) and doesn’t like chocolate cake (although loves Dairy Milk), pasta in a creamy sauce or, God forbid – coffee in a glass. But he still loves a Victoria Sponge.

In the hunt for a recipe I returned to my Mary Berry’s Baking Bible after the Bread and Butter Pudding went down so well. Mum and I sneakily baked this Mary Berry delight in hiding in my flat, and snuck it back home for the full surprise effect! It was so bloody easy as well! Once cooled we sandwiched it together with strawberry jam and a ridiculous amount of cream that made the cake resemble a spaceship, and sifted icing sugar over my arts and crafts style 6 and 0 templates, and ta-dah! The perfect, humongous 60th birthday cake. I’m just left craving the next one – lucky for me, it’s Mum’s birthday soon..


For the cake

225g (8oz) softened butter

225g (8oz) caster sugar

4 large eggs

225g (8oz) self-raising flour

2 level teaspoons baking powder

For the filling and topping

4 tablespoon strawberry jam or raspberry jam

Icing sugar for sprinkling

(We added double cream whipped up, and fresh strawberries!)


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas4. Grease two 20cm (8inch) sandwich tins then line the base of each tin with baking parchment.

2. Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder into a large bowl and beat until thoroughly blended. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and level out.

3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

4. When completely cold, sandwich the cakes together with the jam. Whisk the double cream until it holds stiff peaks and layer on (there will be a lot!). Try and spread it so it is in a thicker layer around the edge to make it flat for the second layer. Slice up fresh strawberries and push them into the cream. Sandwich the second cake on top and sprinkle icing sugar over the top to serve!



– Add fresh strawberries and double cream whisked!

– Get creative and cut out a stencil for your celebration, and include something to pick it up with easily!

– Enjoy!


My Dad’s Fave Bread & Butter Pudding


As promised, I ordered Mary Berry’s – ultimate OAP style icon – Baking Bible. And it truly is that – a bible of ultimate home making baking. With all that choice I didn’t know what to do first – but her Bread and Butter Pudding looked like exactly what I fancied in this rubbish weather – warm and comforting. And I knew how much my dad loved it so it was a no brainer.

I made it on my day off – didn’t need anything too fancy or any posh tools. It says it’s best if left for at least an hour in the fridge, but I made it about 2pm, and took it round to my mum’s about 5ish, and cooked it there – it was delicious.

Here’s the recipe – easy to follow and bloody delicious..

– 12 thin slices of bread, crusts removed
– 100g of butter, melted (although I ended up needing double this somehow..)
– 250g mixed dried sultanas and currants (although I found raisins which was fine too)
– 75 g caster sugar
– grated rind of a lemon
– 1/2 level teaspoon of ground mixed spice
– 3 large eggs
– 600ml (1 pint) full fat milk (or can use semi, which I did just to attempt to make it slightly healthier – tasted delicious all the same!)
– 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar to sprinkle

– Grease an 18 x 23 cm (7 x 9 in) deep ovenproof dish with a little of the melted butter. Measure the dried fruit, sugar, lemon rind and spice into a bowl and mix well. Cut each bread slice into 3 strips.
– Take enough bread strips to cover the base of the dish and dip one side of each strip into the melted butter. Lay them in the prepared dish, buttered side down. Sprinkle with half the dried fruit mixture. Repeat the layering, laying the bread strips buttered side up, and sprinkle with the remaining dried fruit mixture. Lay the third and final layer of bread strips on top, buttered side up.
– Beat together the eggs and milk and pour over the pudding. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar, then leave to stand for about 1 hour if time allows. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas 4.
– Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crisp and the pudding is slightly puffed up. Serve hot.

TIP You can prepare the pudding ahead of time and keep it covered in the fridge for up to 6 hours before baking. Don’t sprinkle the Demerara sugar over until 1 hour before you are ready to bake.

The Great British Bake Off Semi-Final

I am ashamed to say I only discovered The Great British Bake Off last week – the quarter finals biscuit fiasco. I immediately watched the rest of series 3 on trusty BBC iPlayer this week, and to say I was excited to see the semi-final was an understatement.

I have always loved baking but this takes it to a whole other level. Brownies are my favourite, not so fussed on cupcakes (too much messing about), cookies are always a fave, and I made my first apple pie the other day!! But the amount of times I’ve had to google what they were on about is beyond me – I had no idea about most of it! So I’ve decided on buying Mary Berry’s Baking Bible I think it’s called – looks like it has every single baking recipe under the sun in – and if her flowery jackets are enough to go by, the book will be a winner.

I’ll be updating with progress, amongst all the other things I make again and again and anything new I try that works, or fails!! I talk about food enough with almost everyone, and my instagram is getting a bit ridiculous (jessgrace) so I thought I should find a place for my ramblings.