Delicious Banoffee loaf cake.

Another week, another delicious bake to add too my not-so little recipe section. This weeks recipe, is rather special. A Banoffee loaf cake. It absolutely is everything you could hope for it to be. lovely moist banana cake, chunks of fudge and banana slices scattered within. Topped with a slather of rich and utterly luxurious salted caramel and finished with, yet more fudge chunks. It is the ultimate for any banoffee lover. I’m just going to stop right there and jump straight into telling you how I did it.

 

Here’ what you’ll need:

  • 3 bananas. 1 sliced and two mashed.
  • 60g butter.
  • 290g plain flour.
  • 2 eggs.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • 100g fudge pieces (I picked these ones from asda)
  • Caramel sauce. (I didn’t have time to make caramel, so I bought this ready made jar from Asda.)
  • 100g soft Brown sugar
  • 225g sour cream.
  • 175g caster sugar.

 

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And here’s what you’ll need to do.

 

Firstly, put your butter and both sugars into a bowl, give it all a good beating, until you’ve made a creamy paste. I find it best to use an electric mixer.

 

Next, pour in your sour cream and eggs. Followed by the mashed bananas (don’t add the sliced ones just yet.) and the vanilla. Again, give it all a good whisk up.

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Now add your dry ingredients – Flour, baking powder, salt. Before making sure its all properly combined. If like me you’re using a freestanding mixer, you can use this time, to butter and line your loaf tin. As well as preheating the oven on to 180 dg.

 

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So, now your cake batter is made up, you can add the finishing touches, your sliced banana and roughly 70g of your fudge chunks.

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Give it all a gentle but thorough mix up and pop into your loaf tin. Before placing in the oven, middle shelf at 180 dg, for around 45 minutes.

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Once your cake is cooked (use a skewer through the centre method to check.) and still hot, stab the surface a few times, making up some little pockets and slather in caramel sauce. I made the pockets to hold some of the caramel, that way it’ll be seeping into the warm cake creating some delicious little surprise bites.

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Now, using your leftover fudge pieces, sprinkle all over the top of your loaf cake.

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Slice….

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And, serve.

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I got a resounding thumbs up for this one, particularly from my dad, who popped round and ending up scoffing a good third of it. Saved me from all the calories I suppose. If you do give this one a go, pop by and tell me how it goes. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Yet, another craft room update.

Out of the rooms in our home, I think the craft room has been given the most blog space so far. Rightly so I suppose, seen as this is where I work, its my room for creating, and I suppose what I create is a reflection of in here . If you can remember way back when this room was first turned into my craft room from being Izzy’s nursery, it looked like this…

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Very… um.. Pink.

Well, I mentioned on Instagram last week that the time had come for me to seriously consider allowing Sam to share my workspace (along with a shared office inspo photo by Young house love. This photo actually got a like and comment from the blogging celebs that are young, house, love. *GAAAAHHHHH*)

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Anyway, so I decided after weighing up all the pro’s and cons, that I would grant Sam a corner of my room. BUT he would have to help me build a new desk (just like the one in the inspo photo). So. he agreed, I drew up a plan of action into my dairy and well here we are. First up, I needed to clear that room out, it has been a storage room for the past few months, so naturally it became filled with all sorts. Also, because of having the new desk built, the old one had to go. Here are a couple of befores.

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What started out as quite a simple, lets build a new desk project. quickly turned into a  ‘lets-redecorate-thewhole-room’ project. Because, y’know. I’m an all or nothing gal. So, first stop. I FINALLY got rid of that bloody awful pink carpet!!! Now, before the professionals start. I know your not supposed to lay laminate over carpet. But. There’s no underlay under this carpet, nor did I fancy spending more money on some. The carpet, besides being a very bright shade of pink is in perfect condition. So we used it as an underlay. Here’s how that process went.

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Then came the painting. I am also completely aware that I should have painted before I laid the new floor – but, like the flooring, I actually had no idea I was doing it until I was stood at the till buying wilko’s colour matt in English sage. I chose this colour because I thought it could be both fresh and in fitting with what was already in the room. The black wall is staying, as are most of my trinkets and frames.

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The third and final part of the room makeover, was building the desk. The thing we actually set out to do in the first place. This part was left soley up to Sam. We made a visit to Savoy timber, and ended up with a 3mt x 75cm slab of 1″ thick MDF for the desk top and the middle shelf, was built out of leftovers from the TV unit build – we really are using up every last bit!- an hour or so and a whole lot of sawdust later. The wall to wall monster desk was built!

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Back out came the Homebase white eggshell (its a firm favourite of mine!) and I gave the entire thing three coats.

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Once it was dry, I could finally get on with my favourite part of any room makeover… dressing. I could put all my little bits back, as well as some lovely new additions. I made up an new curtain for the craft cupboard, bought a giant frame to hang over what is now sam’s part of the desk, injected a little natural life into the room with a fern and bought some pretty little desk organiser bits.

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So thats it! Yet another craft room update – though technically it is now a shared office. I’m thinking this is going to be the last major update in here for quite a while, but there are still some things that need doing for it to be fully finished – Que… my room checklist:

  • Fill the giant frame. Now that Sam’s using this room too, he kind of has a say in what goes up too… so we’re still discussing what should be blown up that big and framed, i’m sure it’ll be decided on soon.
  • Buy matching desk chairs. I’m having a real hard time with this one. I know what I want, I know what sam wants. They aren’t remotely alike, and if I’m being frank, his choice is a hideous generic swivelling office chair. which ain’t gunna’ happen. So… yeah, we’ll see how this one goes.
  • Replace skirting boards.
  • Replace door frame.
  • Replace light fitting. I do love my bird cage light shade, BUT Its not very practical having something hang so low from the ceiling when there’s a 6’3″ guy walking in and out all day. I don’t think I cope having to say “walk around it.” anymore than I already have!

 

We’re one day into office sharing, it seems to be going well. I understand that his electrical bits need wires. As will the new three screen computer system he’ll be building over the coming weeks *waaahhhhh*. He understands that I like things to look pretty, it’ll be interesting to see how these next few weeks turn out. Either way, the craft room is looking amazing!

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

*Cost of the room update:

Oak effect laminate floor – Wickes (on sale £4.99 psqm) £45

Paint (English sage)- Wilkos £10

MDF: Savoy timber £20

Fern plant: Homebase £5

Large frame: Amazon £14.95

Smaller black frame: Wilko £6

Artificial desk plant: TKMAXX £5.99

List notepad: TKMAXX £4.99

Bamboo pen pot: Wilkos £2.99

Total cost: £114.92

 

 

 

Jam & coconut sponge – a slice of nostalgia.

I first made this Jam & coconut sponge cake back in 2012 when I was pregnant with Izzy. With a serious cake craving I suddenly remembered the simple sponge cake topped with sweet jam and sprinkled coconut I used to eat it in primary school. It was always my favourite day when it was jam and coconut sponge cake day and its been a firm favourite ever since.

So, massively pregnant and fuelled by memories of deliciousness I clattered around my kitchen until I finally had a slice in front of me, all it took was one bite to take me back to being seven, sat in a bustling school hall, tables lined with classmates, dinner ladies doing their rounds to check we we’re all finishing our meals nicely, this cake was the perfect fuel for the 30 mins of running round the playground like a maniac that would follow.

I’m sure everyone has that one thing, that one dessert or meal that just instantly takes them back to being small, (though in my case I’ve not grown that much from those days.) That one thing which would be able to lure them in from the excitement of playing kerby, or manhunt with the other kids from your neighbourhood. Jam and coconut sponge cake is mine.

Anyway, if like me,  you love this little slice of nostalgia, i’ve spent the years since that afternoon craving, tweaking my recipe to perfection.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

135g plain flour

135g caster sugar

135g  butter

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

50g desiccated coconut (roughly, you might want more, you might want less)

1/2 Jar raspberry jam. (I prefer seedless.)

Baking tray. You can use a cake tin, but this cake is traditionally served in bars, so I use a baking tray, no bigger than 9″ x 12″.

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And here’s what you need to do:

 

First, combine butter, vanilla extract and caster sugar in a bowl. Give it a good whisk up whilst adding your eggs one by one.

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Next add your dry ingredients- Plain flour, baking powder, salt and again give it all a good whisk. If like me you’re using a freestanding mixer, use this time to butter your tray, making sure to line it with a sheet of baking parchment.

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One your cake batter is smooth, pour it into your cake tin (or in my case baking tray) and place on the middle shelf of your oven, at 180 (I use a fan assisted oven) for around 20/25 minutes or until firm and set in the middle.

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Once your cake has cooled a little, you can add the delicious topping. Jam and of course sprinkles of desiccated coconut.

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And thats really all there is to it. Its such a simple cake to make, making it pretty good for using when wanting to bake something up with the kids – Also kind of ideal as a rainy afternoon project now that the Summer holidays are so close.

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Now all this left to do, is slice…

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And serve….

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Perfect.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

DIY: Outdoor Chalkboard art.

I mentioned way back in the Decking post about how I wanted to add some chalkboard art out there, I also said keep an eye out on a post about in a few weeks – well here we are with that post. There’s a big blank brick wall out there, and I figured chalk board art would be perfect, cheap, and completely customisable way to stop it looking so absolutely boring.

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This isn’t a tutorial – necessarily, turns out, there are quite a few ways to make a chalk board, most of which you can find over on Pinterest. So this post is just about what I did.

Here’s what I used:

Rustins Quick dry blackboard paint. (£5.52)

Giant piece of MDF left over from the TV unit build (I’m really putting those scraps to use!)

Graphite pencil. (£2.50 for 6)

Printouts (more on them a little further down.)

Chalk la chalk pens. (10.95 for pack of 8)

 

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What I did was actually very simple, obviously the first thing I needed to do is paint my MDF board. Its really important at this step to do the whole thing, every millimetre of the board needs covering in chalk paint, back and front. MDF is very absorbable, being outside, with the rain WILL destroy all your hard work unless its protected properly. Also, bonus is you have a reversible chalk board. Two in one and all that.

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So thats the boring bit over. By this point I had a giant chalk board an I was ready to get creative. I had been sketching out a few ideas, I wanted something quite simple, but still very colourful. And using Picmonkey I had something like this planned out.

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Now, I discovered a little hack that makes Chalkboard drawing incredibly easy. You’ve probably seen those gorgeous murals, well… odds are most of ’em are done the way I’m going to show you. There will be some drawn freehand by people that are just actually incredible artists. I am not one of those people. So what I did was print out the above. I had to have a play around with sizings, but after a little while I ended up with this layout.

 

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Now heres the cool bit. Once you’ve decided where you want each letter to be placed, simply turn her your sheet, grab your graphite pencil and scribble away. You want the entire back of your letter/object ect covered in pencil.

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Now flip your paper back over, placing it exactly where you want it and trace over the outline of your letter/object ect with a pen.

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When you lift your paper…. voila. An exact outline of what you want to be chalked. Easy as that!

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After the initial glee of seeing that chalk board art hack really does work, I cracked on and got the outline of the rest of the board drawn out.

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Then i was finally ready to get started with the chalk pens. I decided on the chalk- La pens, because they had really good reviews, they also aren’t completely permanent. I can wash off with a wet sponge, but just a spray of water (or rain) would leave it all perfectly in tact. Ideal for something thats going to be outside really.

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Once I’d finished the writing and the festoon lights, it was time to start on the biggest job, the flowers! I won’t lie, this part took me about two days to complete – although I was having to stop for school runs, cleaning, making dinner, bedtime stories ect. Around half way though I was close to giving up, but…. I did really want to see it finished and up outside, so I carried on chalking out those little flowers until eventually I had a half border of multicoloured flowers.

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Then finally it was time to hang. What I was hoping to have finished in a day, took three. But, I actually really enjoyed the process, knowing I would get the writing almost perfect because of the hack was so satisfying, no trying and struggling to get it perfect freehand.

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A lovely little bit of Summer added to the decking. Which is nice, considering we aren’t getting an actual Summer. I managed to take two photos of it finished before the heavens opened and I got drenched. It has since not stopped raining. Hopefully once Summer comes back, I’ll be able to take a much sunnier photo of it out there.

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I’ve still got a few bits to get done out there before I’ll say Ive done for this Summer. all of which require at least one day of sunshine, something we aren’t really getting at the minute. I thought i’d put together another one of my little still to-do lists for the decking area:

– Re-paint the shed door. (I’ve something really cool planned!)

– Get rid of all the wood down the side of the decking.

– Re-stain the deck.

– Fit hanging wall garden (very excited about this project!)

– Hang tea-light holders above the chalkboard art.

– Rehome lavender plants in the planters to somewhere else in the garden. (They are mutant plants, I’ve never seen lavender grow so crazily.)

 

Thats all that I really want to get done out here this year (the front of the house is a whole different story, but we’ll get to that in a few weeks.) I’ll have a full update post up at some point before the end of Summer.

So thats it, my chalk board art is complete. I really did enjoy the process and It is definitely something I will be doing more of now I know how to get it perfect every time.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

Peach pudding. – A Summer essential.

I absolutely gobsmacked at how long it has been since I put a dessert recipe up. I’m about to put a stop to that with an amazing recipe for Peach pudding. If you want to be technical about it, its essentially a peach upside down cake. BUT similar to the banana & butterscotch pudding I love so much, there’s a beautiful, sweet and summery sauce to drown your slice of peach topped sponge with. Delicious!

Okay, so i’m gunna’ jump straight in and tell you what you’ll need:

– 5 ripe Peaches

– 135g plain flour

– Tsp baking powder

– Tsp salt

– Tsp vanilla extract

– 185g butter

– 135g caster sugar

– 4 eggs

– 100g brown sugar

– sprinkle of ground nutmeg

 

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And here’s what you’ll need to do:

 

First, slice up your peaches and grease up your cake tray. Nice simple step.

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Secondly, lay out your sliced pieces in the bottom of your cake tin how you want them to sit on the top of your cake. I’ve gone for a fairly simple fanned layout.

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Then, sprinkle over your brown sugar, nutmeg. Melt down 50g of your butter and pour that over too.

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Place your tin in on the top shelf of a pre-heated oven at 200 degree (I use a fan assisted oven) for around fifteen minutes. You can give it a slight shake  half way through, but be careful of your peach layout.

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Whilst  your peaches are baking, combine the rest of your butter and caster sugar in a bowl, cream together before adding your eggs and vanilla.

Now add your flour, giving it all a good stir.

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Once your peaches have softened a little, take your tray out of the oven. Pour over your sponge cake mixture and put back in the oven – middle shelf this time- on 180 for around 30 mins, or until the cake is firm and cooked through.

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When your cake is cooked, you need to take it out of the oven and set aside for five minutes to cool a little.

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Once your ready to turn out, do just that. I find it easier for these saucy cakes to lay the cake stand on top of the cake tin, and flip with both hands.

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Serve up a slice, with a good quality vanilla ice cream and an extra serving of sweet sauce for the ultimate Peaches and cream dessert.

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A luxurious serving of summer on a plate.

 

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.