Pecan & Almond Baklava

Pecan Almond Baklava

Its only been recently that I’ve discovered how versatile and easy to make Baklava is. For some reason the thought of that honey syrup and fill pastry made me think it would all go terribly wrong. Whenever I see any form of Baklava I have to remind myself that it doesn’t taste like it looks. AM I the only person to think it looks like a mince beef pie?

I have been baking Baklava as part of my involvement with Expedia Uk’s World On A Plate challenge. Search the hashtag #ExpediaWorldOnAPlate for more examples. Last month, cooks from all over covered Spanish dishes on their blogs. This month is all about Turkey.

This sweet treat was the most obvious for me to make – Sadly, I have never taken to Turkish Delight even though I have really tried!

My Pecan & Almond Baklava is quite a traditional version of Baklava but I urge you to have a go at playing around with other alternatives:

    • Shredded Sweetened Coconut
    • Finely chopped Apricots
    • Finely Chopped Glace Cherries
    • Pistachio nuts
    • Raisins/Sultanas
    • Even a thin layer of Nutella
    • Different types of flavoured honey – I use runny honey, try the Orange Blossom version. Yum!

Turkish Tea & Baklava


Pecan & Almond Baklava

Serves 10+
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 40 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Region Turkish
Traditional Turkish Sweet Treat, Baklava made with Pecan and Almonds with a sticky honey syrup


  • 1 packet Filo Pastry (Chilled)
  • 220g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Runny Honey (I used Orange Blossom on this occasion)
  • 1 Lemon - Juice & Zest of
  • 1 Orange - Zest
  • 200g Pecan Nuts (Chopped into tiny chunks but not blitzed in a food processor)
  • 100g Sliced Almonds
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 125g Melted Butter


Preheat the oven to 170C and brush a silicone dish with melted butter - Including up the sides. I use a 9" square
In a mixing bowl, combine the nuts, vanilla and cinnamon
Remove half of the filo pastry from the fridge and cover the other half with a dampened clean tea towel. You need to work quickly with filo or it will start to dry up and go crispy. If you think you might work too slow take less pastry out at a time.
Lay one layer of filo pastry in the base of the silicone - You can chop off around the edges but I leave it and fold it in later. Brush on top of this later with more melted butter, making sure it is all well covered.
Add another layer of pastry and repeat. At this point you can start folding in the extra bits of pastry from around the edges. Repeat until you have 6 layers of pastry.
Sprinkle half of the nut mixture evenly on top of the layers of pastry - You will start to think that there will be too much to fill the height of the dish but don't worry, the weight will flatten it down.
Brush another layer of pastry and place buttered side down on top of the nuts. Brush on top of this layer with more melted butter and keep adding more layers until you have another 6 layers of pastry
Use the rest of the nut mixture to spread on top of these pastry layers and finish with a last 6 layers of pastry.
Place in the fridge to set for 20-30 minutes
Once removed from the fridge, cut into 2cm squares - I do it on the diagonal as it seems to keep neater but its up to you.
Bake for 30 minutes then increase the heat to 180C and heat for another 5-10 minutes until it is the shade of golden that you are looking for
Honey Syrup
While the Baklava is cooking, make a start on the syrup - In a small pan heat the sugar, honey and lemon juice and zests. Bring to the boil for 1-2 minutes then reduce the heat to simmer for another 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat - it will thicken by itself. When the Baklava comes out of the oven, spoon the syrup over it evenly - If the syrup has thickened a little too much then just heat again slightly.
Leave to cool at room temperature - Best eaten same day or at least by the next day

Turkish Pecan Almond Baklava

It has been some years since Mr C & myself went to Turkey – A little town called Gumbet, near Bodrum – At least 13 as we were child free! I have really enjoyed reminiscing about one of our most favourite holidays – we were treated to the works if I remember, rose petals on the bed, turkish massages (for Derm) and I finished tons of books! For more Turkish food suggestions visit the Expedia website, Turkish page


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post – I was given free reign which recipe to make and how to prepare it. All opinions are my own.

First Communion Cake – #Bakeoftheweek

First Holy Communion Cake

I’m so delighted with this First Holy Communion Cake – Yes, it has flaws, the perfectionist in me is trying not to point them out but its pretty amazing that it got made in the first place. It would have been much easier to tell Violet that there just simply wasn’t enough time to get everything ready, clean the house, make a buffet AND make her a cake but I just couldn’t do it. She went to bed on Friday night with a severely unfinished cake, a house that still needed cleaning for her party the next day and a buffet still to be made. She was so sweet when she woke up on the Saturday and told me she loved her cake (which had miraculously been finished over night) and gave me a big hug. It was totally the right thing to do and I will never go for the easy option ever again!

We’ve still not cut into it but will probably do so tonight – The top is vanilla sponge and the bottom a rich fruit cake (with no mixed peel!) The little Violet is made from a mixture of flower paste and fondant with a marzipan head. I had to include her freckles (dots of brown food colouring with a cocktail stick) and her veil is made from a piece of lace ribbon.

We had a lovely day – You made have already seen Vi’s picture on my Silent Sunday post. The church service was lovely – her special friends all made their own First Holy Communions and Confirmations at the same time. My sister, Rachel was Violet’s sponsor and did a brilliant job of keeping her calm just before it was her turn to go up to the priest.

We had plenty of photo opportunities afterwards – even us mums got involved! Tara and her special friends had a great play – we will be doing it all over again in 5 years with these little guys!

First Holy Communion

As usual, thanks so much to everyone who got involved with last week’s #Bakeoftheweek. Great to see some new members too – A warm welcome to you!


I couldn’t ignore Kirsty’s Bailey’s Cheesecake – Aside from being one of the best culinary inventions ever, this recipe comes from Sunrise Senior Living in aid of supporting people with dementia. I’ve written before about how dementia has affected my family. Particularly apt as this weekend we missed Dad being at Violet’s communion.

Baileys Cheesecake

I also have to choose this amazing Happy Rainbow Cake from TrulyMadlyKids – This cake just makes me happy looking at it. And there’s no calories involved with looking is there?!

Bake of the week

1. Making Peanut Butter cool again with these perfectly formed Peanut Butter Spelt Scones – The Lass in the Apron
2. Snap Happy Bakes has made a much better job of her Sweet Potato Fries than I did a couple of weeks ago – I’ll definitely be following her technique than my own soggy, burnt mess technique!
3. Eileen from ET Speaks From Home describes her Cinnamon Waffle Dippers as the ‘Perfect Party Treat’ – I think she may be correct!
4. Warm welcome to Kidgredients with her fantastic Apple Pie Yogurt Dough Scrolls
5. Hannah from Domestic Gothess with her incredibly pretty Lemon Shortbread served with Camomile Tea
6. I have to award a special mention to The Green Gourmet Giraffe for being so unusual and dramatic with these Kale Cheesecake Surprise Chocolate Mint Cupcakes – Don’t they look amazing? That colour green is stunning.
7. Julie’s Family Kitchen Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes – These look so tasty!
8. Cardamom Almond Cinnamon Buns from Domestic Gothess – Catering for my love of all things almond!
9. Kirsty from Hijacked by Twins has the genius idea of using up leftover chocolates (Yep, I know, its not a concept we are familiar with in this house either!) with her Chocolate Cupcakes – and very pretty they are too!
10. Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen Quick Muffin Pizzas – Perfect for an after school snack!

Bake of the week

Our other bakes are all ones that we can help ourselves to a generous portion or slice of – There’s even a couple of warm dishes in there too!

11. The ability to make a summer crumble look gorgeous can not be sniffed at! Truly Madly Kids has definitely achieved this with her Rhubarb & Strawberry Crumble
12. Hoping that these Oatie Choc Nut Breakfast Bars have helped to make the Gluten Free Alchemist feel a bit better this week.
13. Making the most of a well yearned for long weekend with an utterly beautiful Cream Cheese & Raspberry Puff Pastry Tart is Petite Raisin.
14. Mummy Mishaps’ Sugar Ice on her Frozen cake is so striking – Perfect for any Frozen loving birthday parties.
15. Chewy and Juicy Banana & Date Flapjacks from the FreeFrom Fairy
16. Ultra seasonal and some great tips for getting the ultimate Rhubarb & Custard Self Saucing Pudding from Tales from the Kitchen Shed
17. Calling time on the amount of refined sugar her son consumes and a lesson for us all to consider is Sneaky Veg with her Courgette & Lemon cake – complete with green bits!

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Same linky as usual for this week – I have left the link open until the 2nd June just in case I don’t get back from Aldershot in time to open a new linky. Feel free to add up to 3 bakes per blog – No theme, savoury, sweet, hot, cold, fruity, slow cooked – they all count! I’d love it if you could pay a visit to another entrant and share the #Bakeoftheweek love.
I’m finally catching up on all the commenting and should be completely up to date by next week – Phew!

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Joining in with Patisserie Makes Perfect as she hosts CookBlogShare


Share the Joy linky at

Cherry Bakewell Tart #Bakeoftheweek

Bakewell Tart

Wow! Isn’t the sun incredible today? Or at least I hope it is where you are too. Its not often that the camera shouts that the subject is too bright!

This is no ordinary dry Bakewell Tart – It contains a whole jar of black cherries that I brought back from France last year. They have been taunting me in the cupboard ever since. I actually think the frangipane could do with slightly longer in the oven – Use your judgement – It is a really hot, sticky day here and the icing is oozingly melting.

Cherry Bakewell Tart

Serves 8+
Prep time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 15 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
Juicy Cherry Bakewell Tart containing real black cherries and moist frangipane


  • 250 + 35g Plain Flour
  • 75 + 100g Ground Almonds
  • 150 + 110g Super cold butter
  • 60g Icing Sugar
  • 2 Eggs + 2 Egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons Iced Cold Water
  • 1 jar Cherries (I used black cherries)
  • 110g Caster sugar
  • 1 Lemon Zest
  • 1 teaspoon Almond Extract


If your cherries are very runny, remove some of the juice and crush with a fork before adding on top of the pastry


Almond Pastry
Mix together the first lot of plain flour & Icing Sugar with a knife in a medium bowl
Cut the 150g butter into tiny chunks and rub into the flour/icing sugar until just combined. The key to good pastry is to handle it as little as possible. Add in the 75g of ground almonds
Mix the egg yolks and the 2 tbsp water in a small cup and gradually add to the rest of the pastry mixture
You will think it is too dry but all of a sudden it will come together as a pastry. Stop kneading and roll in double cling film.
Keep in the fridge for 30 mins to an hour
Grease a 9" tart tin and preheat the oven to 170C. Take the pastry out of the fridge - it will be really quite stiff
Roll out to about 1/2 cm thickness and spread evenly in the tin. Leave hanging over the sides by about 1 cm - you can always trim this later.
Cover with tinned foil and press down evenly on the pastry, cover with baking beans or lentils and bake for 12-15 mins until golden
Allow to cool and start to prepare the frangipane - Place the remaining butter in a small pan and melt. Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes
Mix together the remaining sugar, lemon zest and add the 2 whole eggs, whisking until light and fluffy
When the butter has cooled - add to the rest of the frangipane mix.
Stir in the remaining flour and ground almonds and almond extract
Spread the cherries evenly on top of the cooled pastry and pour the frangipane mixture on top
Bake at 180C for 30-40 minutes - If it starts to catch on the edges but is still very wobbly, loosely cover with tinned foil for the remaining cooking time
Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully - Cover in a layer of icing and sprinkle lightly toasted almonds on top

 An utterly stupendous week last week for Bake of the Week – I am in awe of the baking talent out there. It is getting harder and harder to choose a featured bake each week. There was one recipe that stood out though as I’ve got to make that! The More Than Occasional Baker with her magnificent Mini Pork Pies with Quails Eggs – I really think my taste buds are changing. This is miles away from the recipe I would have yearned for a couple of years ago but I have such an urge to bake it now. I haven’t attempted hot water pastry in ages so relish the thought of giving it a go.

Mini Pork Pies with Quails Eggs

I’ve separated this week’s bakes into a wealth of fruitiness – Let me present to you ‘Feeling Fruity!’

Bake of the Week fruit

1. Beautifully presented and a classic taste combination from Hijacked by Twins – White Chocolate & Raspberry Cake
2. After my disaster last week with fudge, I’m admiring Foodie Quine’s stunning Baileys fudge with pistachio & cranberries
3. Apparently Domesetic Gothess wasn’t all that happy with the appearance of her Red Wine & Poached Pear Chocolate Frangipane Tarts – I think they look luscious and so inviting!
4. Jen’s Raspberry, Rose & Pomegranate Cake definitely has the WOW factor – Perfect for any centre piece!
6. Nic is using up her cupboard food this week in preparation for a holiday – She has produced some lovely Lemon Blueberry Greek Yogurt Muffins – Have a great holiday!
7. An incredibly beautiful, flour less, tasty, appealing and HEALTHY cake from the Gluten Free Alchemist with her Gluten Free Flourless Orange Cake complete with Honeyed Raspberry Coulis
8. Such an impressive looking cake from ET Speaks From Home this week with her Blueberry Chocolate Roulade
9. Making a fantastic job of pro ducting Choux Pastry for the first time with her Lemon Choux Buns this week is Baking Queen 74 – Well done!
10. Bringing new life to a classic Victoria Sponge turning it into Plum Cake is Hijacked by Twins
11. I adore triple layer cakes and this Strawberry, Elderflower, & Almond Layer Cake from Domestic Gothess may just be one of the prettiest and striking ones around
12. For the super healthy amongst us, Sarah from Tales From The Kitchen Shed has produced some Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins
13. A warm welcome to the Front Porch Gourmet with this wonderful Russian Apple Cake

Bake of the week

14. Just look at the shine on these Sausage Hotdog Buns from The Dream Baker – WoW!
15. Wonderfully creative Rainbow Ice-Cream Cupcakes from Mummy Mishaps – She makes it seem so easy!
16. A true favourite and perfect for picnics Ginger and Treacle Loaf Cake from the lovely blog at Alice Megan
17. Another firm favourite and so well executed from Eat Your Heart Out (A warm welcome to another new blog) Coffee & Walnut Cake
18. Who says Quinoa has to be dull? An amazing Quinoa Chocolate Cake from Winnie’s blog
19. Melting Moments Vegan style in honour of the Free From Farmhouse’s Mum with her Easy Vegan Biscuits
20. Ebracing the joys of weekend baking with a toddler is Petite Raisin with some lovely Chocolate Caramel and Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Squares
21. I will always remember the first time I baked a New York Cheesecake – It will forever be one of those magical moments of science when unbelievable everything comes together to taste like pure heaven. Baking Queen 74’s Nielsen Massey Baked Vanilla Cheesecake looks no less magical.
22. Last but not least, These Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies from Winnie’s blog would go down a storm after school in this house

We are now open for next week’s Bake of the Week – slightly later than usual – It is Holy Communion Week and its all systems go! I’ve got a clean front door but that’s about all the cleaning I’ve managed to do so far – Eek!

There’s no theme as usual for Bake of the Week. Please add the badge and it would be great if you would visit a couple of other bakers. All bakes welcome Savoury, sweet, slow cooked. Feel free to add up to 3 bakes per blog.

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Brilliant blog posts on

Thyme Mini Crackers #Bakeoftheweek

Thyme Mini Crackers

Ah my love for anything miniature is making a re-appearance this week. How cute are these mini crackers? Perfect for popping in your mouth whole. Once again they are super easy to make – I’m going to be experimenting with different flavours too – I’m thinking Oregano would go perfectly with tomato toppings and Chilli ones would be great with cream cheese too.

Thyme Mini Crackers

Thyme Mini Crackers

Serves 10+
Prep time 1 hour, 20 minutes
Cook time 17 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 37 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Bite sized savoury herb thyme crackers - Perfect for nibbles when entertaining


  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 90g Wholemeal Flour
  • 120ml Warm Water
  • 40ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dried Herbs - Thyme
  • pinch Salt


Using an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment, add both of the flours & salt.
Mix the water and oil together in a jug and add approx 1/4 to the flour mixture - Turn the mixer on to a slow setting
Continue adding the rest of the oil/water mixture and increase the speed to medium - Mix for 7 minutes. The dough should come together in a ball.
When finished mixing, cover your hands with more Olive Oil (eew!) and wipe all over the surface of the dough ball.
Leave at room temperature for 1-1.5 hours to rest - Cover with a clean tea towel or cling film
Preheat the oven to 180C and split the dough ball into 2-3 smaller balls
For each small dough ball - sprinkle over 1 tsp of dried thyme (or whatever dried herb you are trying) Knead for 1 minute until the herbs are spread evenly
Roll out on a floured surface to a 5mm thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out small neat squares
Bake for 15 minutes then increase the oven temp to 190C for another 2-3 minutes if you want your crackers to be a little more browned - be careful, they may start to burn!

My featured post this week comes from a beautiful blog that I always head to when I want a little escapism – Elizabeth describes herself as possibly Britain’s most northerly blogger – Her post about travelling to BritMums always stays with me. Makes my little trek from St Helens to London seem like a stroll in the park. Anyway, this week Elizabeth has shared a Mediterranean delight also using Olive Oil (flavoured olive oils like the one use in Elizabeth’s recipe would also work with the Mini Crackers), Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Bundt Cake

There are still plenty of chocolate entries around if you are in the mood for chocolate – Let me present to you THE CHOCOLATE COLLECTION …

Bake of the Week Chocolate Entries

1. I have never been tempted to bake with Aubergine before but The More Than Occasional Baker has presented such a rich looking Chocolate Aubergine Cake that I think I could give it a try
2. These Chocolate, Cherry & Vanilla Cupcakes from Modern Family Baking are super pretty and all for a good cause too
3. I still stand by my belief that there is no better taste in the world than good marzipan – The Lass in The Apron has made her own delicious Chocolate Covered Homemade Marzipan this week
4. Milo brings back memories of when my sisters loved it when we were young, ET Speaks From Home has been very creative with Milo & baked a fabulous Milo Tirimisu
5. The Gluten Free Alchemist’s daughter has talked her into making Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Brownies with a cute Whipped Peanut Butter Mousse for decoration – Well done that girl!
6. I’d Much Rather Bake Than is super early and organised for next Easter with her Malted Chocolate Easter Naked Cake 😉
7. You can’t beat having a Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in your collection, ET Speaks From Home has been testing out a new recipe this week, with good results.

I can’t tell you how much I look forward to your entries throughout the week – I love the variety of baking ideas that bloggers have, how flavours are married together and how you present your bakes so beautifully – Here is the VARIOUS COLLECTION …

Bake of the Week various

8. Making the most of rhubarb season with a pretty Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake is Baking Queen
9. More Olive Oil baking with a striking Apple & Olive Oil cake from the lovely Alida at My Little Italian Kitchen
10. Creating a beautiful partnership of Apple, Strawberries and Balsamic with her crumble is Mummy Mishaps this week.
11. A powerful post creating awareness of Coeliac Disease and also sharing colourful Raspberry & Blueberry Muffins – The Gluten Free Alchemist
12. A warm welcome to a new comer to the Bake of the Week gang, Sneaky Veg (Love the blog name!) Mandy joins us with her Carrot & Banana Cupcakes
13. Another herby bake from My Little Italian Kitchen with Rosemary Parmesan Biscuits

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We are now open for your next entries to Bake of the Week. Please add the badge somewhere in your post to spread the Bake of the Week word. I will be back with a round up next Tues/Wed – Who will be the featured Bake of the Week? As usual, I will be commenting, pinning, Google+ing and Tweeting all your entries. Feel free to invite your other baking blogging friends to join us – the more, the merrier! Up to 3 posts are allowed per week – Please try to visit a couple of other Bake of the Week entrants too.

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Baileys Chococcino Cheesecake Cake

Baileys Chococcino Cheesecake Cake

It’s been Nanna Val’s birthday this weekend – A pretty significant 65 on the 1st May. Now Nanna Val is rather partial to a tipple of Baileys – She rarely drinks it neat but a cup of coffee just isn’t the same without some. In honour of the birthday girl, I decided to make a substantial cake – We are off out for the day tomorrow, so this is joining us.

A triple Chococcino Cake (Coffee & Chocolate) with luxurious Bailey’s cheesecake sandwiched between – Topped with a soft Bailey’s frosting, made into pretty roses. Definitely not one for the kids – although they’ve been hinting about a slice of the cake all day!

Piped Roses on Baileys Cheesecake Cake


Baileys Chococcino Cheesecake Cake

Serves 8+
Prep time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 3 hours, 30 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Serve Cold
If you like a really strong Baileys taste, feel free to substitute one of the teaspoons of milk for Baileys in the Rose frosting


  • 8 + 3oz Butter
  • 8oz Caster Sugar
  • 2 + 1 + 1 teaspoons Cocoa Powder
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 3 tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • 10oz Self Raising Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baileys Irish Cream
  • 100ml Double Cream
  • 250g Soft Cream Cheese (Full Fat)
  • 150g Melted Chocolate (I used half white/half milk chocolate)
  • 2 TBSP + 10oz Icing Sugar
  • 2oz Milk


Preheat the oven to 160C and line an 8" Cake Tin with Baking Parchment
Using an electric mixer, whisk the 8 oz of butter and the caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract
Reduce the mixer to a slow speed and add the flour and cocoa powder, one spoon at a time
Pour into the cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes until a skewer comes out clean - remove from the oven and allow to cool fully
Baileys Cheesecake
Using an electric mixer on a medium speed, whisk together the cream cheese and the double cream until they start to thicken
Add the Baileys and 1 of the remaining teaspoons of cocoa powder and the 2 TBSP of icing sugar and mix through thoroughly. Stir in the melted chocolate which should be cool by now.
To Assemble
Cut the cake into 3 even layers - this can be quite tricky to do so just do 2 if you are not confident
Re-line the cake tin with fresh baking parchment and place the bottom cake layer at the base of the tin
Scoop half of the Baileys Cheesecake on top of the first cake layer and smooth out evenly
Add the middle cake layer and repeat with the remaining cheesecake
Top with the top cake layer and place in the fridge for 2 hours
To Decorate
Using an electric mixer, whisk the remaining butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract until well combined
Add the milk a splash at a time - if the frosting is getting too runny, then add a couple more tbsp of icing sugar
Scoop into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe roses on top of the cake (I use a Wilton 2D nozzle for mine)

Making a Chococcino Cake

If you fancy having a go at piping your own roses, its a lot easier than you think – I’ve produced a super short video showing you how (Its only 8 seconds long!)

If this recipe has whetted your appetite for more Baileys recipes then why not try some of the recipes over at the Bailey’s website

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. This recipe uses just under 2 units of alcohol in this recipe. The NHS recommends that you do not regularly exceed 3-4 units for men and 2-3 units for women a day.

Bailey Chocolate Coffee Cake

The Gang at Nanna’s Birthday Meal

We're going on an adventure

Glazed Maple Oat Pecan Scones – Secret Recipe Club May

glazed maple oat pecan scones

I cannot believe its my 3rd instalment of the Secret Recipe Club – These months are flying past. My partner for this month was Baking and Creating with Avril – This is just me sort of blog. I had a multitude of recipes that I could have easily devoured. From her blog, it looks like Avril loves baking as much as I do – Avril comes from New Hampshire – Her recipes and photos look so sunny!

I have had a mega busy week (You may have noticed that #Bakeoftheweek and #weekendcreations had to be rolled over for another week). Yesterday I was attending the brilliant BlogOn conference in Manchester, when plenty of prosecco was sampled. I didn’t exactly over indulge but I was certainly looking for a simple, homely recipe for today. Avril’s Glazed Maple Oat Pecan Scones were just perfect.

I didn’t expect that they would smell quite so divine as they did – Even Millie was demolishing them. I didn’t use as much glaze as Avril suggested – Just a drizzle over each one – We’ve kept the rest of the glaze for tomorrow, when another batch of scones may just be created.

Glazed Maple Oat Pecan Scones

Ingredients: (adapted slightly from Avril’s original)

1 cup oats (I used traditional as I was a chunky texture)
1.5 Cups Plain Flour
2 Tbsp Caster Sugar
Grind of salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
3 Tbsp Maple Syrup
2oz Very cold butter
1 Egg
0.5 Cup Double Cream
0.75 Cup Pecans, broken into small segments with my hands

* Preheat the oven to 180C – Line an oven tray with a circle of baking parchment
* Mix together the flour, oats, sugar, first lot of maple syrup, salt & baking powder in a medium bowl
* Add the butter and rub in gently with finger tips
* Pour in the pecans
* In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, cream and remaining maple syrup – Add to the flour & nut mixture and just bring together to form a large ball
* Empty out onto the baking parchment and flatten into a 8″ round, flat shape – Mark out 8 segments with a blunt knife
* Bake for 12 minutes then increase the heat to 190c and continue to heat for another 5-6 minutes

To make the glaze:
* Mix together 2 cups icing sugar, 1 tbsp maple syrup and 3 tbsp water – whisk with a hand whisk to get rid of any lumps and leave to one side until the scones are cooled. Drizzle over each scone when ready to eat.

Pecan Maple Scones

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Walnut & Honey Granola – Bake of the Week

Walnut Honey Cranberries Crunchy Granola

I’ve always had to practically force myself to eat breakfast – I fallen into the typical Mum trap of surviving on strong coffee until about 11am. I would go berserk at my girls if they didn’t eat breakfast though. Time to lead by example?

I do have a few breakfast dishes that I really enjoy actually – when I was working in an office I used to take some crunchy cereal with some fruit and low fat yogurt and happily devour at my desk. I have stopped buying the crunchy clusters of cereal now though – I get tired of there being so few actual clusters and the remainder being dust at the bottom of the packet.

I never thought I’d hear myself say it but I prefer making my own Granola. Now before you think I’ve gone all healthy on you – give it a go. It is really crunchy but filling too. You definitely don’t feel like you are being made to eat dust!

Homemade Breakfast Cereal Walnut Honey Granola



Walnut & Honey Granola

Serves 10+
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
Misc Serve Cold
Crunchy clusters of nutty granola with a sweet vanilla and cinnamon taste


  • 100g Porridge Oats
  • 120g Walnut Pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 3 tablespoons Runny Honey
  • 60g Dried Cranberries


Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking parchment
In a arge bowl, add all the ingredients apart from the cranberries
Mix together with 2 metal spoons - or you can get really stuck in and mix together by hand. You will have some clumps that are larger than other - split them if they are significantly larger than the rest of the mix
Spread out on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes - Mix together and fold over the mixture at least 3 times during the bake to make sure it is baked evenly and the nuts don't catch. if you think it may catch slightly, turn the oven down to 170C
Turn off the oven and leave the mixture inside until the oven has cooled or for 30 minutes
When the mixture is cool, mix in the cranberries - Serve with chilled yogurt and chopped grapes. Gorgeous!
Will keep in a glass jar for 2 weeks

Walnut Honey Cranberries Crunchy Homemade Granola

My featured Bake this week is Wonderful Cardamom & Saffron Brioche with a crispy Pecan crust from Lemon & Lime Thyme – A huge welcome to the #Bakeoftheweek clan! (Number 10 in the Roundup pictures)

Bake of the week Roundup

1. Super pretty Raspberry & Coconut Cupcakes from More than An Occasional Baker

2. These Strawberry & Pistachio Financiers would be just perfect at a Summer Afternoon Tea – Patisserie Makes Perfect

3. Gluten-Free & Dairy Free Iced Gems from The Free From Fairy

4. Rainbow Cupcakes from Modern Family Baking

5. Mini Lime Yoghurt Loaf Cakes from Domestic Gothess

6. Ooh I must try rum soaked raisins next time I make a Carrot Cake – Beautiful Carrot Loaf Cakes from Baking in Pyjamas

7. Celebrating the use of vegetables in baking with a good old favourite, Carrot Cake Muffins is Foodie Quine

8. Another warm welcome to a new member of the #Bakeoftheweek team, Multicultural Motherhood who joins us with her delicious Jam Sandwich Biscuits

9. You don’t get much more chocolatey than these Totally Chocolate Choc Chip Cookies from Baking in Pyjamas

Bakes to Share #Bakeoftheweek

11. Almond & Cinnamon Cake from ET Speaks From Home

12. Freshly back from her hols and inspired by her lovely Italian home is Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen with an Italian Soft Raisin Cake with Almonds

13. Perfect after school treat, Slow Cooked Apple & Raspberry Oat crumble from Baking Queen 74

14. How pretty is this Lemon Curd Swiss Roll from Petite Raisin – We really do have some exceptional bakers that join in with #Bakeoftheweek

15. I really like that this Vanilla Salt Salted Caramel Cookie Cake is edged in buttercream rather than smothered with it – less is definitely more in this case! Baking in Pyjamas.

Thanks as ever to you all for taking such an interest in #Bakeoftheweek. I really enjoy visiting all your blogs and wonder each week what you will come up with next.

We are now open for next week’s bakes –
* Up to 3 from each blog are allowed
* Please add the badge below to your post to share the Bake of the Week message
* No theme so all bakes and slow cooked items allowed
* I comment, tweet, Pin & Google+ all entries aswell as link in the roundup
* If you add your bakes, feel free to Tweet me @CasaCostello to let me know and I will RT

Casa Costello
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Our Bake of the Week Pinterest board now has nearly 500 Bakes on it – Follow the board to keep up to date with all the other Bakes of the Week

Follow Casa Costello’s board Bake of the Week – Link Up your Baked Creations every week on Pinterest.

Edit: I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave the linky open for a few more days – I’m expecting some technical work to be done on the blog in the next week so it might go offline for a few hours. I didn’t want it to coincide with all your lovely new entries. So feel free, keep adding to this weeks and I’ll be back with a roundup asap! Thanks :-)

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Tasty Tuesdays on


Dulce De Leche Marshmallow Brownies #Bakeoftheweek

Dulce de Leche Marshmallow Brownies

I don’t often blog about Brownies – They feel like a bit of cheat as they are so easy. Brownies are definitely my go to bake if I need something sweet in a rush. And Oh My! these are delicious!

I’ve given approximate guidelines for the Dulce de Leche and Marshmallows but go for your life, sprinkle liberally. Who is to know?

My tips for perfecting brownies are:
* Baking Parchment – Never Greaseproof paper, you’ll be picking it off the brownies for weeks.
* Silicone Tin – No idea why, it just works.
* Take them out of the oven 2 minutes before you think they are done.

Dulce de Leche Marshmallow Brownies #Bakeoftheweek

Dulce de Leche Marshmallow Brownies

Serves 8+
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Rich decadent Brownies with a soft centre, topped with the most gorgeous Dulce de Leche and sweet marshmallows


  • 10oz Butter
  • 5oz Caster Sugar
  • 7oz Light Brown Sugar
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • 5 tablespoons Golden Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 5oz Plain Flour
  • pinch Salt
  • 5 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 5 tablespoons Dulce de Leche
  • 1 Handful of Mini Marshmallows


Preheat the oven to 180C and line a silicone tin (I use 9" square) with Baking Parchment
Using an electric mixer, whisk the butter and sugars until well combined
Add the eggs, one at a time whilst mixing on a medium setting
Turn the mixer off and add the syrup and vanilla whilst stirring with a spatula
Fold in the flour, salt and cocoa until combined
Pour into the tin and spread out evenly - this is a mixture that doesn't rise so you don't need to leave a hole in the centre
Spoon over the Dulce de Leche - If your hand slips and you manage to add more don't worry ;-)
Sprinkle over the marshmallows and bake for 25 minutes - check how it is going after 20 minutes and reduce the temp if the edges are starting to catch
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack
Cut into even squares and enjoy with a cuppa

In honour of my Brownies, I have also featured another Brownie recipe for this week’s Featured Bake – The lovely blog, Petite Raisin has shared with us her Flourless Black Bean Brownies – Fudginessa and Chocolate Chips – What more could we ask for?

Black Bean Brownies

Bake of the Week #bakeoftheweek

1. Making Victoria Sponge interesting with Lemon Ripple – can almost feel the tang from here from Baking in Pyjamas
2. A Girl and Her Home has made the most perfect Carrot Cake complete with Vanilla Bean Frosting
3. And another perfect Carrot Cake with Neilsen Massey Vanilla Bean Frosting – Definitely a week for carrots! Domestic Gothess
4. I defy you not to gasp when you see Domestic Gothess’ Cookie Dough Chocolate Brownie Layer Cake
5. Useful for birthday parties, an Easy Thomas Cake from Modern Family Bakes
6. Finding another use for that cornmeal I need to use up is The Little Italian Kitchen with her Sbrisolona Crumble Cake
7. Hay Cakes has made a stunning Double Chocolate Cake with brilliant decorations
8. Classic but beautiful combination of Chocolate and Strawberries in Domestic Gothess’ Tart
9. Baking Queen, your flavour combinations are awesome! Marzipan & Pistachio Cardomom Buns
10. Simple yet stunning Coconut decoration on this Coconut Layer Cake from Baking in Pyjamas

Bake of the Week #bakeoftheweek

11. Truly beautiful Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies from Petite Raisin
12. I’m loving the name Brookies this week – So Creative from The Not SO Creative Cook
13. I’m wishing we had some of The Not SO Creative Cook’s Mini Challah Rolls for tomorrow’s picnic!
14. Adorable Mini Cheesecakes with the shiniest Blueberry Compote from The Dream Baker
15. Wow to the Nutella Souffle that is designed to catch a blob of Ice Cream in the middle – The Not SO Creative Cook
16. There is not a kid in the land that wouldn’t want a try of these cute green sugar cookie bars from Baking in Pyjamas
17. This lady has a talent – making Butternut Squash pretty with her Butternut Squash Muffins – ET Speaks From Home

Its back to school next week so normal service should be resumed with the roundup posted on Tuesday – Don’t forget there’s no theme, all welcome if they are baked in an oven or slow cooker. Please try to comment on at least one other entry to share the love.

Thanks once again for all your entries and for being such a brilliant part of the #Bakeoftheweek family – Really appreciate it!

If you are wondering where #FoodieFriday is – I’m hoping to be back next week with a full roundup – #FoodieFriday will be incorporated into a new weekend linky where we look at what you have been cooking, where you have been, what you have been reading and what you have been crafting over the past week – I really want to celebrate my love of all things craft, reading and cooking, so watch this space!

Casa Costello
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Tasty Tuesdays on

Bacon, Onion & Basil Quiche #Bakeoftheweek

bacon, onion basil quiche

I’ve got news for you. Real men do eat quiche! This is the quiche that finally got Mr C eating a quiche and declaring it ‘Niiiice’! Hurrah, at last. It also turns out that Baby T also loves quiche – firmly polishing off both her sisters’ slices that they turned their noses up at. Oh well, their loss.

I don’t know about you, but after Easter weekend I need a breather from baking cakes and sweet stuff. We are wading through the chocolate steadily but the last thing we need is more cake. I like a good quiche but don’t often bake one as up until now it has only been me eating them.

I’m super happy with the pastry too – very light and crumbly and no soggy bottom. This is definitely not a recipe for the dieters – a whole tub of double cream, bacon and cheese but served with a crisp salad, you needn’t feel too guilty. There’s no guilt allowed around food at the Costellos!

basil bacon onion quiche


Bacon, Onion & Basil Quiche

Serves 6-8
Prep time 45 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 35 minutes
Allergy Egg
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
Crumbly pastry encases a tasty Bacon, Onion & Basil Quiche filling - Perfect for a summer's lunch


  • 220g Plain Flour
  • 1 Medium Egg Yolk
  • 2 Medium Eggs + 1 Egg White
  • 110g Butter (Very cold, chopped into tiny squares)
  • 4 tablespoons Water
  • 1 packet Bacon (Around 200-250g with the rinds cut off)
  • 8 Large Basil Leaves (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Finely Chopped)
  • 284ml Double Cream
  • 150g Grated Cheese (I used medium Cheddar)
  • Salt & Pepper


Pastry Case
Grease a 9" tart/quiche tin with butter
In a medium sized bowl, rub in the cubes of butter using the tips of your fingers until just combined. Add a pinch of salt
Add the egg yolk and 3 tbsp of the water and mix together with a blunt knife - You may not need to add the final tbsp of water if the dough comes together without
Bring the dough together and wrap in double cling film. Refridgerate for 30-40 minutes
Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Press the dough against the tin with a spare piece of pastry and fill in any gaps. Leave about 1/2 cm hanging over the sides of the tin. Prick lightly with the tip of a sharp knife and put back in the fridge for 15 minutes
Blind bake the pastry case at 200C for 15-20 minutes by covering with tinned foil and weighing down with either beans, rice or lentils
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes
Quiche Filling
While the pastry is chilling, sauté the bacon and onions for 5 minutes until cooked and leave to cool for 10 minutes
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the leftover egg white. Add the tub of double cream and mix together
Add in the chopped basil, bacon and onion and mix together
Grate in the cheese and add plenty of pepper - You should not need to add any more salt as there is plenty in the bacon
Pour into the cooled pastry case and bake at 185C for 20 minutes
After the first 20 minutes, turn the quiche around to ensure an even bake and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes until the top is golden and the quiche loses its wobble

I thought I’d go the whole hog and have a savoury featured post too for this week – I’m sharing Snap Happy Bakes’ Lasagne. I too have the same thoughts about losing my cookery skills whenever it is anyone new over for dinner! This make-the-day-before lasagne looks just the thing to easy the worry.


I couldn’t resist mentioning 2 featured posts this week though – This Jewel Box Cake from Jibber Jabber has stuck in my mind all week = Brilliant and so easy to achieve with glace cherries

Jewel Box Cake

For this week’s roundup I have separated the bakes into Individual Portioned Bakes and Large Bakes:

bake of the week

1. There’s beautiful Coconut Easter Eggs and exciting cookbook news over at The Lass In The Apron
2. How luxurious do these Caramel Kiss Brownies from Foodie Quine look – so dark and tempting!
3. Super cute and colourful Smarties Cookies from Giraffes can Bake
4. Discussing things that make us smile and especially these Best Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from The Not SO Creative Cook
5. Traditional Peanut Pancakes aka Apam Balik from ET Speaks From Home – I love how Bake of the Week helps me learn about different cultures and their foods
6. Making good use of potato flour and producing marvellous Gluten Free Blondies this week is Winnie’s Blog
7. Celebrating luxurious weekend cooking and long showers with lemon madeleine cookies is Petite Raisin – Welcome to the gang!
8. Being ever so creative with her Homemade Pop Tarts is Mummy Whiskers
9. Finally, a wonderful recipe for non mixed peel Hot Cross Buns! The GF Alchemist is on my favourites list!
10. Just because it is free from dairy, gluten, eggs, nuts doesn’t mean you do without yumminess – Banoffee Cheesecake from Free From Farmhouse
11. Utterly cute and easy to achieve, Mickey Mouse Cupcakes from Modern Family Baking
12. Combining coffee & butterscotch to create these tasty looking cupcakes is Mummy Mishaps
13. I’m going to let Modern Family Baking off with a non baked item this week as they are so cute! Fruit Pops that would make perfect decoration for any party table
14. Domestic Gothess is keeping it simple this week with her impressive Double Chocolate & Almond Cookies
15. I hardly ever bake using Saffron – These Glazed Saffron Buns from Jens Food have convinced me to change that straightaway. Just stunning.

bake of the week

16. Mixing Mango with Banana Bread to make a wonderfully interesting bake full of energy – I can see me making this for the athlete in the family – Giraffes Can Bake
17. No shortcuts from Domestic Gothess with her Pear & Ginger Tarte Tatin – Tarte Tatins are definitely a favourite on this year’s Masterchef which I am sooo hooked on!
18. Moist and full of whole grain goodness is Baking Queen 74’s Slow Cooker Apricot Spelt Loaf
19. Chocolate is not compulsory at Mummy Whiskers over Easter – they celebrated with a fabulous Cherry Bakewell Cake
20. Multicultural Motherhood is teaching us about a Turkish Breakfast Dish with her Cheese Borek this week
21. Delightful Eccles Cake from Naking in Pyjamas – lovely bake
22. How luxurious is this Kahlua Drenched Espresso Cake? Super rich from Baking in Pyjamas
23. Perfect for kiddies and adults alike – Mini Egg Chocolate Covered Blondies from Baking Queen 74
24. Why not start every day with a serving of freshly made Fruit Bread Crown? Baking Queen 74
25. Easter weekend may be over but its definitely not too late to make an Easter Simnel Tea Loaf courtesy of Hijacked by Twins
26. A stunning GF Chocolate Swiss Roll from Winnie’s Blog
27. Celebrating important 6th birthdays this week is Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen with her delicious Hazelnut & Chocolate Birthday Cake
28. Rich Vanilla Bean Buttercream completes this Victoria Sponge from Baking in Pyjamas
29. For a first Easter Simnel cake this is pretty impressive from Searching for Spice – Traditional and beautiful
30. Subtle beautiful colours in Jaisee Mummy’s Spring Pastel Cake

Link now open for next week’s Bake of the Week – I’m hoping to be posting the round up on Tuesday/Wed as usual – Easter holidays could mean anything though! As usual please add the badge to your post to be included in the roundup and no more than 3 bakes per blog please.

I’m steadily catching up on all the sharing – thanks for bearing with me. Everything is shared on Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ as well as being commented on.

There’s no theme so feel free to join in if your post has been anywhere near a slow cooker or oven – All bakes allowed!

Casa Costello
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Easter Nest Cupcakes with Stork

Stork Easter Nest Cupcakes

Happy Easter! One of the loveliest days of the year – full of pastel colours, chocolate and little chicks. Hope you are having a super day.

You may already be sorted for Easter baking but in case you are still yearning for something sweet and crunchy, the bakers at Stork have invented the Easter Nest Cupcake for our delight. All about making the humble cupcake that little bit more interesting with the addition of their very own Cornflake Nest on top, they are speedy to make and great for sharing. If that wasn’t enough, we are encouraged to add a couple of Mini Eggs to the top for decoration too!

Easter Nest Cupcakes

We enjoyed ours at our family Easter lunch with this bunch of crazy kiddies! Safe to say, the cupcakes went down very well! We even played Egg & Spoon balancing using the Easter Cupcakes – They weren’t very good at balancing!

Egg & Spoon with Easter Cupcakes

Easter Nest Cup Cakes
Servings: 12
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
115g (4 oz) Stork tub
115g (4 oz) caster sugar
2 large eggs
115g (4 oz) self-raising flour, sieved together with
1Ž2 teaspoon baking powder

Chocolate Nest
40g (1 1/2 oz) Stork tub
3 tablespoons golden syrup
6 tablespoons drinking chocolate powder
18 tablespoons cornflakes or branflakes
To decorate: Cadbury Mini Eggs


1. Place all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat until well mixed. Place in 12 muffin paper cases

2. Bake in preheated oven 190°C, 170°C fan, Gas mark 5 for 15 -20 minutes. Cool.

3. For chocolate nest, gently melt Stork and syrup and stir in chocolate and cornflakes. Place a tablespoon of mix on each cupcake in a nest effect and leave to set. Serve decorated with Easter eggs.

 Energy                   Fat          Saturates     Sugars  Salt
1079 kJ/ 281 kcal 12,8 g     4,2 g          24,3 g   0,8 g
14 %* 18 %* 21 %* 27 %* 13 %*

Stork have also provided us with full step by step instructions on how to make these cupcakes plus a super clear video featuring the lovely Ruth from The Pink Whisk.

Violet Phoebe

Make the Easter Nest Cupcakes your own with some suggestions for adding variety:

  • Try some chopped Glace Cherries mixed into the Cornflake Nest mixture
  • Add some edible glitter for super sparkly nests or some sprinkles for yet more crunch
  • Flavour your cupcakes with any of the following:
    • Lemon/Lime Zest, Almond Extract (1/2 tsp), Replace 1 Tbsp of the flour with 1 Tbsp of Drinking Chocolate powder or 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • Add 1 tsp Raspberry jam to the top of the cakes just before adding the Nests – The mixture of Chocolate & Raspberry is incredible

Definitely make a double batch – these disappear fast!

Easter Nest Cupcakes

Disclosure: This is a commissioned post for Stork