lend me a tenor

Lend Me A Tenor – ELOC – Epsom Playhouse 28th Oct – 1st Nov 2014

As many of you know I take part in amateur dramatics and have performed with a company called Epsom Light Opera Company in Surrey for several years now. October is always a show month and this year we really do have a fantastic show that we are putting on! The show is called ‘Lend Me a Tenor‘ and tells the story of when world famous tenor Tito Merelli is set to perform for the Cleveland Grand Opera Company but things don’t quite go to plan. The show is funny, full of great songs, plenty of dancing and has an absolutely fabulous cast – it will make the perfect night out for those of you in Surrey! Have a look at the ELOC website for more details and information on how to buy tickets, tickets can also be bought from the Epsom Playhouse website.

Here is a taster of what you can expect with some photos I have taken during recent rehearsals!








And here is our promo video filmed in rehearsals to give you another little taster!


Get your tickets now – Lend Me a Tenor will be on at the Epsom Playhouse, Surrey from 28th October – 1st November! You don’t want to miss it!

Lottie xx

Butternut Squash, Almond and Apricot Cake

I’m a big fan of vegetable cakes and nothing beats a good carrot cake on a Sunday afternoon. I have ventured into the world of vegetable cakes a few times, with these sweet potato scones, this lemon and mashed potato cake and I actually had my chocolate and beetroot cake recipe published in the Macmillan Recipe Book that was sold in Marks and Spencer Cafes. Recently my love of vegetables in cakes has been reignited by the absolute beauty of a book that is Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache. The book is full of absolutely gorgeous look and sounding cakes, made with everything from butternut squash to swede to aubergine. You wouldn’t believe the cakes you can make from vegetables. The good news is they are actually healthier too, often the vegetable is used to replace the butter or oil in a cake, healthier baking! Perfect!

This is a recipe from the book, it is a sunken apricot and almond cake made with butternut squash and it really is truly delicious. Grating the butternut squash is a bit laborious and tedious but you soon forget about that when you take a beautiful looking cake out of the oven. If you are thinking of treating yourself to a new recipe book, then may I recommend this book.

Apricot and almond cake


To make this cake you will need:

3 eggs
180g caster sugar
200g butternut squash (peeled and finely grated)
1tsp almond extract
60g rice flour
200g ground almonds
2tsp mixed spice
2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
240 g tinned apricot halves

Butternut squash


Preheat the oven to 180C to start and then grease and line a large tart tin or cake tin. Alternatively you could make individual cakes with mini tart tins. If you are greasing a fluted tin make sure you throughly grease the flutes.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar until fluffy and then stir in the butternut squash and almond extract. Next add the flour, ground almonds, mixed spice, baking powder and salt and stir well. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and place the apricot halves onto the cake mixture. Bake the cake for approx 45 minutes.

After baking leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and dusting with icing sugar.

apricot cake


Slice of cake


Happy Baking!

Lottie xx

Lavender wasp

Mayfield Lavender – Banstead

If you missed out on visiting the absolutely gorgeous Mayfield Lavender Fields in Banstead this year then this is something you need to put on your to-do list for 2015 immediately! Mayfield Lavender is a 25 acre lavender field in Banstead, just around the corner from where I grew up and really is just stunning. At it’s peak it is a field of glorious purple with rows and rows of gorgeous lavender, and just driving past the field you are hit by the fabulous lavender scent. It is also the most perfect place to practice your photography skills providing you with something absolutely beautiful to photograph! Here are some of my favourite Lavender Field shots that I have taken:

Lavender sunset


Lavender field


Lavender bee


Lavender wasp


Sara in Lavender


Scott in lavender


me and russ lavender


Love Lottie xx








My Week in Photos

Here is my week summed up in pictures (it’s quite short as I was working nights or asleep for most of the week!):


1. Wedding Scrapbooking – I covered our little flat in bits of paper this week as I made a wedding scrapbook. A Pinterest board that I can actually hold in my hands and flick through!

Lucky Duck

2. My sister brought me back this lovely little Whitby Lucky Duck bride from her trip up north. It sits on the shelf next to my blue March duck! If you are going to Whitby then this lovely little shop is definitely worth a look to pick up a lucky duck for your birth month.

Feastival with Scott

3. Enjoying Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival with my not-so-little-little brother where he played on the bandstand stage – more to come soon!

Love, Lottie xx

Lemon and Blackcurrant

Lemon and Blackcurrant Cupcakes

Hello everybody!

I’m sorry it has been a few months since I have posted a blog but now I am back! I have been super busy recently getting engaged, starting wedding planning and starting a new job! However that doesn’t mean I haven’t had time to bake so after a short break to regenerate my baking and blogging batteries I am back with lots of lovely treats for you. And it is GBBO season, so what better time to get posting about baking! And not just that I’ve got ideas for lots of posts including lifestyle and travel, so keep your eyes peeled!

Today we have Lemon and Blackcurrant Cupcakes! These gorgeous little cupcakes are simple to make and decorate, look pretty and taste lovely, lemony and summery!

Lemon and Blackcurrant

To make these cupcakes you will need:

6oz butter or margarine
6oz golden caster sugar
6oz self raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest 1 lemon

2tbsp caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon

500g icing sugar
250g unsalted butter
3 tbsp blackcurrant jam
ready to roll icing in yellow and violet


Preheat the oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with muffin/cupcake cases. Beat together the butter/margarine with the golden caster sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs to this mix one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold the flour into the cake mix, mixing gently until well combined. Finish the mixture by adding 1tsp vanilla extract and the zest of 1 lemon. Spoon the mix into the prepared cases until 2/3rds full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

Heat the juice of 1 lemon with 2 tbsp sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Use a skewer to make half a dozen small holes in the top of each cupcake and spoon the lemon syrup over each cake. Leave the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Blackcurrant icing

To make the icing start with the jam. Gently heat a couple of tablespoons of blackcurrant jam in a saucepan, you don’t want it hot, just a bit more liquid. Pour the liquid jam through a seive so you are left with a smooth jam. Set to one side. Now beat together softened (room temperature) unsalted butter with seived icing sugar. If you are using a stand alone mixture try covering it with a tea towel when you do this to avoid icing sugar flying everywhere. Add 1-2 tbsp milk if necessary to loosen up the mixture. Add the jam a little at a time and mix well until you have acheived your desired colour.

Use a piping bag and nozzle to ice the cupcakes and finish with little flowers made from ready to roll icing. Tada, beautiful summery cupcakes!

Finished cupcakes

eat the cupcakes

With love, Lottie xx



Easter cake

Chocolate Fudge Marble Cake

I had a bit of a baking fest weekend with my sister this year for Easter, our creations were some pretty huge and tasty hot cross buns and this giant of an Easter Cake. Rather than an Easter cake in the traditional sense it is a chocolate fudge cake but we gave it some Easter-style decorations to suit the occassion! It is a 2 layer cake, made with pink and chocolate marble cake, filled with raspberry jam and chocolate buttercream. It is then covered in chocolate buttercream using a petal technique and finished off with some fondant icing flowers and butterflies and some chocolate mini eggs. I think it is rather pretty!

Easter cake

If you would like to recreate this cake then here is how you do so. We made this in a 6 inch cake tin as I wanted height for the cake but equally it would work in an 8 inch cake tin, it would just be a bit shorter.

For the sponge you will need:

12oz butter or margarine
12oz caster sugar
6 eggs
12 oz self raising flour
cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
pink food colouring

Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl and add the eggs one at a time beating well after each one. Fold in the flour, 4 tbsp milk and the vanilla to the mixture. Now halve the mixture into 2 separate bowls. To one half add pink food colouring until you reach your desired colour. The other half will be the chocolate cake, I like to add the cocoa powder as I go rather than add a set amount, when I reach a chocolate colour I am happy with I stop, so play it by eye when adding the cocoa.

Pour the mixture into two 6 inch cake tins that are greased and lined. I used this tiger stripe technique for the cake marbling, it gives an effective stripy effect and I have posted instructions on how to do it here. You will need a wetter cake mixture than usual, so add more milk to the cake mix until you get a pourable consistency but not too runny. Another option is just to dollop the mixture in alternating pink and chocolate and give it a quick whirl with a skewer to marble it.

Bake the cakes at 180C for about 1 hour, they are done when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool completely before trimming the tops so they are nice and flat.

Marble cakes

Cover the top of one cake with raspberry jam (or other jam of your liking).


To make the chocolate fudge icing you will need:

500g unsalted butter (room temp)
1kg icing sugar (seived)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp milk
cocoa powder (seived)

Beat together the butter and icing sugar until well combined. Ad the vanilla and milk and cocoa powder, again just add as much cocoa powder as you need to get the chocolatey-ness that you want, adding a little at a time. Beat well.

Cover the top of the other cake with chocolate icing and sandwich the two together.

two layers

Then cover the whole cake in a thin layer of chocolate icing.

Iced cake

Now time to cover the cake in chocolate petals. This is a really easy technique and very effective. Fill a piping bag with icing and snip off the end. Pipe blobs of icing onto the cake  and use a spatula to spread it out to create a petal style. Just push the spatula onto the icing blob and spread in one direction. Repeat until the cake is covered!

Petal technique

Petal icing

Finish off the cake with some chocolate eggs and some fondant flowers and butterflies to make it look pretty!

Chocolate easter cake

Lottie xx

I am linking this post to the We Should Cocoa challenge for this month – Easter. It is hosted by Chocolate Log Blog and Rachel Cotterill.

we should cocoa

Easter nests

Easter Baking Ideas

If you are stuck for something to bake or make this Easter weekend then maybe this will help give you an idea, here are some Easter bakes and makes I have previously blogged!

Yellow chick cupcakes – made by colouring desiccated coconut with yellow food dye and using sweets for the eyes and nose. Simple!

Chick cupcakes

Or classic chocolate nest cupcakes filled with mini eggs!

Easter nests

Or if you are more adventurous and want to make your own chocolate easter eggs, then how about trying these colourful chocolate eggs. Dyed egg shells filled with chocolate! Time consuming and quite fiddly but very effective!

Easter eggs

Optimized-DSC_0510 (2)

If you want to steer away from the chocolate and do some real baking then why not try making this lovely German Easter Bread – Osterzopf – a bit like brioche and flavoured with lemon.


Or traditional Hot Crossed Buns:

Hot Cross Buns

Or how about this quick and easy version of a hot cross bun – the Hot Crossed Scone!

Hot Cross Scones

Happy Easter Baking!

Lottie xx

Cardamom cake

White Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Cake

Hello bakers! I’m back with a blog for you all! After a busy couple of months I haven’t posted since this mega Coconut and Lime Meringue Cake in February but I have still been very busy baking and have some lovely new recipes to share with you! Today’s recipe is a White Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Bundt Cake. It is light, sweet and zesty and the addition of cardamom gives it a subtle spicy grown up flavour. I made it in a bundt tin as the cake itself is simple and using a bundt tin makes it still look special and is very effective. I glazed the cake with a white chocolate ganache and topped with pistachios and orange zest.

Cardamom cake


To make this cake you will need:

250g white chocolate (melted)
250g butter
260g caster sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange
15 cardamom pods (or 1tsp ground cardamom)
300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
160ml natural yogurt

Start by preheating the oven to 160C and grease and flour a bundt tin.  Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the eggs one at a time and mix in the orange zest. Crush the cardamom pods open and use a pestle and mortar to crush the seeds inside so that you have approx 1tsp ground cardamom. Add the flour, cardamom and baking powder and fold into the batter. Now add the juice of an orange and the yogurt and fold in.

Cake mix

Finally add the melted white chocolate and fold into the batter. Pour the mixture into the greased cake tin and bake for approx 50 minutes or until a skew inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Bundt cake


Leave the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely. While the cake is cooling in the pan make an orange syrup to flavour the cake. You will need 100ml orange juice and 2tbsp sugar. Heat the orange juice and sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Use a skewer to make holes in the top of the cake and spoon the syrup over the cake.

Leave the cake to cool


Now to make the white chocolate ganache glaze. You will need 100ml double cream and 100g white chocolate, as well as pistachios and orange zest to finish.

Heat the cream gently in a pan, once almost boiling take off the heat and stir in the white chocolate until completely melted. Spoon the ganache over the top of  the cake and leave to drip over the sides. Sprinkle with pistachios and orange zest.

White chocolate orange and cardamom cake

Sliced cake


Enjoy and happy baking!

Lottie xx