How I made a Poop Emoji cake!


When I was asked recently to make a Poop emoji cake I thought ‘yeah I can do that how hard can it be?’ I’m sure there are loads of tutorials on You Tube! Well I didn’t find many for big cakes, only this one that was any where near useful but I had already said yes to I plunged right in there!

I must admit to having a vague plan in my head that I definitely adapted as I went along. Its really important to have a strong base to carved cakes for the outer covering to be supported on. I have made a spiral cake before for my husbands 50th and thought this would be a good place to start.


But its not quite the same shape and certainly much taller so adaptation was already going to be needed! My other thoughts were that if I used modelling chocolate rather than fondant it would allow me to work on it for longer and get that lovely shine I was after. I also used chocolate ganache to cover the carved cake and allowed this to set over night meaning that I was able to retain the shape I had created once I covered it over. It also used my favourite chocolate cake recipe with white chocolate buttercream – I’m hoping the 8 year old boys I made it for were in chocolate heaven!

Ideally make the ganache and modelling chocolate the day before.

My favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Chocolate cake

  • 200g butter
  • 100g plain chocolate
  • 350g plain flour
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200ml buttermilk


  • 100g white chocolate
  • 225g softened butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • Heat oven to 150C. Grease and line the base and sides of  an 8 inch, one 6 inch and one 4 inch tin, you will also need a muffin case. img_4289
  • Boil the kettle.
  • Put the butter and chocolate in glass bowl put in microwave for 1 minute, stir and return for a further minute to fully melt.
  • Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa and bicarb with a pinch of salt in the mixer bowl put onto mixer with beater and turn on low to combine.
  • Whisk eggs and buttermilk together in a plastic jug.
  • Scrape the melted chocolate mixture and then egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Beat until combined.
  • Add 150ml boiling water slowly with the mixer running on slow and beat everything together until lump-free. You will have quite a runny mixture.
  • Fill all the tins to an even level and half fill the muffin case using up all the mixture.
  • Bake for 25mins, test the muffin if a cocktail stick comes out clean remove from the oven, give the other cakes 10 more mins, the 4 inch should now be baked, 5/10 mins more for the 6 inch, then about 10/15 mins for the 8 inch cake.
  • Allow to cool completely then pop in the fridge for a couple of hours, its much easier to carve a cold cake.


To make the buttercream

  • Melt the white chocolate in microwave, in 1 minute bursts.
  • Beat the butter in big mixer, until pale.
  • Add the icing sugar and stir in by hand until sugar clouds all gone!
  • Beat in mixer until light and fluffy, add melted chocolate and combine.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 500g milk chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 200ml double cream

There are a couple of ways to make ganache but I tend to do mine in the microwave, the key is to not over heat the ingredients or it might split, so use a half power button if you have one. Ideally make this the day before. You can use the microwave defrost setting to gently melt it when you want to use it.

Heat the cream on half power in the microwave for 1 minute in a microwave proof bowl. Break in the chocolate and give it all a good swirl. Return to the microwave for 1 minute more, then gently stir to combine. Repeat for 30 seconds at a time until all the chocolate has melted into the cream. Refrigerate overnight.

Modelling Chocolate

This recipe is based on one from The Cake Decorating Bible by Juliette Sear. I opted for mainly milk chocolate as its a bit more child friendly, I also thought it would be a better colour for the cake. You can buy ready made modelling chocolate but I haven’t tried it myself so can’t vouch for a good one to try.

The recipe calls for glucose syrup which is readily available in the cake decorating section of major supermarkets, you can use golden syrup – again I haven’t tried it so can’t vouch for how well this works.

  • 600g milk chocolate
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 550g glucose syrup

Warm the glucose syrup on half power in the microwave, it needs to be about 40C.

Melt the chocolates together in a separate bowl again on half power in the microwave. don’t over heat. You are aiming to have both the chocolate and the syrup the same temperature.

Pour the syrup onto the chocolate and fold in gently to combine. The mixture will thicken, try not to over work it but make sure its thoroughly combined.

Pour into a large sealable plastic bag, seal and flatten out the mixture, allow to cool then put in the fridge over night.

To assemble the cake

I firstly split each of the layers and filled with buttercream. Crumb coat the 8 inch with a thin layer of buttercream, pop onto a thin cake card and refrigerate for half an hour.

Once the buttercream is set you can start to carve.

Using a cake card mark out where the 6 inch layer will sit in the centre of the cake, then use cocktail sticks to mark out where the first spiral will start it needs to lead from the base then about 1/3rd round the cake curving up the cake. Trim this layer out and keep for the continuation layer.


I have to admit it all started to go a bit free style at this stage. I added the next layer and just used the cut off bits to make the spiral work, still using the cocktail stick method to cut the next spiral.


I repeated with the next layer and finished off with the muffin, which I had trimmed to a conical shape. The spirals need to be slightly rounded at the edges so use the cut off pieces and buttercream to get the best shape, crumb coat lightly all over.


It needs to go back in the fridge again for half an hour  (or freezer for 10 mins if you have room).

Then warm the ganache gently to a smooth malleable consistency. Cover the entire cake. at this point I added some extra details like the cross over point at the base of the cake and the dropped point on the top swirl. Use the Poop emoji picture as reference to get the little details as close as you can.


I realised at this point that my swirls were swirling the wrong way ! But hey-ho I’m hoping no-one noticed! Right fridge time again this really needs to set hard so overnight if you can.


Last step ! and no photos to help – sorry really hard to cover and take photos!

Firstly let the modelling chocolate come to room temperature for an hour or so. Knead in a teaspoon of CMC powder and 100g of sugarpaste/ fondant icing. The modelling chocolate is very sticky and this will help roll it out.  Roll out to 3/4mm thickness. I have these brilliant rolling mats from Iced Jems which I find really useful and particularly with super sticky modelling chocolate.


Gently lay the rolled out paste over the cake, keep lifting the paste up and starting from the top ease it into place around the spirals and curves. Don’t rush the modelling chocolate stays malleable. Always lift the paste from the bottom and ease into the curves working slowly down the cake. You may lose the peak of the swirl, but can add a little extra modelling chocolate and smooth into place. Trim off the excess modelling chocolate and keep to one side, there should be enough to cover a board as well.

The final stage is simply to keep smooth with your hands, flexible fondant smoothers to get the shape you are after. Small persistent lumps or folds can be worked on with a metal ball tool in small short strokes then use the palms of your hands to continue smoothing and polishing. It might take a while but its worth persisting. My Poop was very lumpy and need lots of polishing (sorry couldn’t resist!). The more you polish the shinier and smoother it will be!!


For the final touches, I cut out ovals from white modelling sugarpaste (half fondant / half flowerpaste) with smaller thinner black ovals in the middle, the mouth I use a large circle cutter then cut through a straight slice from the bottom. I let both harden for an hour or so on some drying foam so they didn’t collapse in to the curves on the cake too much. Just make sure to reference the emoji for placement of the eyes and mouth and make the eyes plenty big enough, I used a 7cm oval for the whites of the eyes.

Finally place onto a covered board, again popping it into the fridge for half an hour will firm up the chocolate so its easier to lift.


To see more of my cakes why not check out my Facebook page or if you want to try more of my recipes and tutorials go to the home page


White Chocolate Cake and How to make a chocolate lace collar

This weekend I had the rewarding pleasure of making a wedding anniversary cake for the most wonderful couple. John and Bev have been married for 20 years and wanted to share their happiness with friends and family. I will let you read all about John and Bevs life challenges here and I hope you find the story and the people as inspirational as I do. My brief for the cake was lemon and white chocolate, sugar flowers  and chocolate shards – but I also asked for a little artistic leeway so they got drizzles and a lace collar too!


Lace collars are a stunning but fairly simple effect to finish off a cake and combined with the need to perfect a white chocolate cake recipe I thought I would do you all a step by step!

White Chocolate Cake

  • 100g butter
  • 50g white chocolate
  • 175g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 25g malted milk powder (such as Horlicks)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg
  • 100ml buttermilk


  • 200g white chocolate
  • 250g soft butter
  • 500g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 150C (fan). Grease and line the base and side of a 3 inch deep 6 inch diameter tin.


Put the white chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and melt on half heat 1 minute. Give it a good stir to combine, you can give it another 30 seconds if you need to and put to one side.

Put the flour, sugar, salt, malted milk powder & bicarb in a larger food mixer bowl then slowly combine on the lowest speed. Boil the kettle!


Mix the buttermilk and egg together in a jug and combine with a whisk.

With the mixer on a slow speed add the melted chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients.


Then add the buttermilk and egg mixture with the beater still running.


Measure 75ml of boiled water into the jug and add this to the mixture with the beaters still running.


The batter will be very runny – don’t panic it hasn’t gone wrong!


Pour it into the cake tin and bake for about 1 hr, or until the sponge is firm and a cocktail stick comes out clean.

Remove from the oven turn upside down on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before splitting and filling. Check out my post on Naked Cakes to see how to split and fill a cake.

To make the buttercream beat the butter for 5 minutes until really pale. Add the icing sugar and stir in gently with a spatula until just combined and the sugar clouds have gone!


Beat again for 30 secs to 1 minute in the mixer to completely combine. Melt the white chocolate on half power in the microwave until just melted. Add to the buttercream and beat for a further minute. Its now ready to use!

When the cake is completely cool split the layers and trim off the top to level the cake (this should form the base). I like to split my cakes in three layers but that is entirely up to you. The cake should be covered in buttercream for the collar to stick to and form a nice background but it doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth. It should however be upright and fairly even. I use a set square to get straight sides, you can get similar tools from cake decorating suppliers or just do it by eye with a palette knife. I also put my cake onto a cake card the same size which makes it easier to lift when you are finished.


Level off the top and pop the cake into the freezer for 10 minutes or the fridge for half an hour to chill


I decided to top my cake with dark chocolate shavings, so they didn’t go all over the cake I wrapped it in a sheet of non stick parchment and grated the chocolate straight onto the cake.


Pop back in the fridge or freezer and you can brush off any excess shaving from the sides before you add the collar.



To Make the Collar

  • Non Stick baking parchment
  • food grade cellophane (available from decorating suppliers)
  • 35g dark chocolate
  • 35g white chocolate
  • disposable piping bags

You firstly need to measure the cake, measure all the way round and the height of the collar – remember you want it to be slightly higher than the cake.

Cut the baking parchment in a bigger sheet than both these measurements, the cut the cellophane to the exact size of the cake collar.


Melt the two kinds of chocolate separately on half heat in the microwave. Stir until it starts to thicken. Pop into piping bags and snip a couple of millimeters from the end of the bag.

Pipe overlapping swirls on the cellophane keeping the curves large inside the top edge of the sheet.


Repeat with the white chocolate, then pop into the fridge for 5 minutes.

The chocolate needs to set but not be hard so it doesn’t come off on your finger when tested but is still flexible.

Lift the cellophane from the parchment and wrap around the chilled cake.


The cellophane should just reach to join round the cake. Gently ease the collar onto the cake by lightly pressing, don’t rub too hard or you will melt the chocolate.

Put it all back into the fridge for 15 minutes to harden before removing the cellophane.

Gently ease the cellophane off the cake taking care at the seam.

Transfer to your serving plate and enjoy!



How I make a naked cake

I often am asked do I have any tips for making a naked cake. As an avid baker of all kinds of cake these are my absolute favourite kind of cake to make and with fresh fruit or flowers they can be a spectacular centre piece at any celebration. They are quite simple to make but do have pitfalls, they can end up looking wonky and, particularly with a wedding cake that needs to stand out for a long time, can dry out making the cake really unpleasant to eat by the time you get to eat it.

A few examples of my naked and semi-naked cakes.

So the first tip is how to bake an even cake. My favourite recipe for a vanilla or lemon cake is Classic Birthday Madeira by She Who Bakes. I’m a bit old fashioned so I tend to cream the butter and sugar, add eggs slowly then gently fold in the flour instead of the all in one method she uses but I always follow her proportions. I like to bake one deep cake and split it rather that several individual layers, this means you have fewer risen tops to contend with and the edges of the cake are all in line with each other adding to a more uniform finish. For an 8 inch tin (3.5inch deep) I use 7 egg mixture and for the 6 inch tin (3inch deep) I use 4 eggs.

Firstly always grease and line the tin with non stick baking parchment. This makes sure you get all the cake out and it has a nice even form. Go to the trouble of cutting out a circle for the base and strips for the edges to prevent creases in the edges of the cake.


So how so do you bake a cake that rises evenly? She Who Bakes has some great tips like a long low bake. I also place a dish of water in the base of the oven, the steam helps stop the tin get too hot which cooks the edges first and pushes the centre up and gives that unwanted dome in the middle of the cake.


Finally on tin prep I use a damp strip of towel pinned around the outside of the tin, which further helps keep the tin temperature down in the early stages. Once your mixture is in the tin give it a sharp rap on the worktop to get rid of any big air bubbles.


My 8 inch cake takes a good 1hr45mins and the 6 inch about 1hr30mins but its well worth the wait! You can see where I have tested my cake several times! You need to cool the cakes the right way up – I would normally invert my cakes and use the base as the top for a covered cake but naked cake should be the right way up – hope that makes sense. If you do get a bit more rise or a crack on the top don’t panic! Allow to cool for a short while upside down on a tea towel on the cooling rack this will help even out the top, but then turn over after about half an hour.


I made lemon cakes this time so onto my next step which is to make a simple sugar syrup. Equal parts water (or lemon juice in this case) to sugar, dissolve and bring to the boil. If you are doing a vanilla sponge add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the syrup once boiled. I used 4 lemons (about 100ml of liquid) for two tiers. Allow to cool.


So thats day one done, ideally you need to let the cakes cool completely and sit over night as they cut much better the next day.

Onto splitting the cake, its important to have an evenly split cake as this is all on show and looks much more professional if the layers are even and equal.

Firstly measure your cake height and work out how deep each layer needs to be. Then mark with cocktail sticks where each layer needs to be.


I have a cake splitter tool but if you don’t you can use the cocktail stick method, this video I made a while back shows you how.


When you have split all the layers keeping the cake together mark a straight line with cocktail sticks down the cake. This will help later to realign the cake so it goes back in the same place it started.


Lay all the layers out and brush each one with the syrup.

For this cake I filled with buttercream and lemon curd. I use buttercream method by Juliet Sear. She uses half butter to icing sugar and adds a little hot boiled water to get the right consistency. I used 500g of butter and 1kg if icing sugar – I had some left but better than not quite enough. A completely naked cake will only need 250g butter and 500g icing sugar for these two tiers. You need it creamy enough to pipe but firm enough to hold.

You also need to clear a space in your fridge or freezer for the next step. Its important to get even layers that don’t collapse on each other and firming the buttercream helps do this.

Place the base layer onto a cake card the same size as the cake, sticking them together with a light scraping of buttercream. Using a disposable piping bag with a 1 cm hole cut in the bottom pipe and even layer of buttercream on the base of the first layer. Then smooth it out gently, taking the buttercream to the edges.

This then needs to go in the freezer for 10 mins or the fridge for half an hour. It makes the filling process long winded but is well worth the time.


In the meantime I spread a layer of the lemon curd on the other side of the next layer.


Once the buttercream has set place the next layer on top lining up those cocktail sticks. Make sure the cake is lined up vertically and repeat the buttercream process. Finally add the top layer again make sure the cake is level vertical and horizontally. A spirit level and set square are your friends here!


Next step is to brush all over the stacked cake with the syrup again.


You can now take out the cocktail sticks – their job is done!. If you are going for a naked cake you are almost there but its the final touches that help. Pop a 1/2 centimetre straight nozzle in a bag and pipe round the cake filling in those little gaps. You will be surprised at how much better the cake looks.


You are now ready for stacking. I made this weeks cake in a semi naked style. The advantage of this is that it helps keep the cake moist and give a little more scope to stick on flowers and hide an imperfections however if you want to stick with naked and good twitter pal suggested Snow Sugar by Bakery Bits recently which will apparently not dissolve as quickly as ordinary icing sugar and gives a lovely dusting. I have yet to test it myself but trust her judgement, thank you @The_Cakery47.

To get the semi naked finish using a pallet knife ‘paddle’ on a thin layer of buttercream onto the sides of the cake.


I then use a set square to scrape round the edges this helps show where the cake isn’t quite straight, the beauty of the semi naked style is that you want some cake to show and some to be hidden but still need a straight cake. I also use my metal smoother just to get a nice finish.


Once your edges are straight do the top, you want a flat top. But don’t forget this a rustic style it doesn’t need to be perfect.


Chill the cakes again in preparation for the next stage.

So onto stacking. I use jumbo straws to stack my cakes, they seem to be plenty strong enough to support up to 3 tiers and are easy to cut. Firstly mark out the position of the next tier with a spare cake card. Then insert on straw to get the correct height. Finally use that as a template to get all the other straws the same length.



Keeping checking the levels at every stage a flat top will help keep the overall cake on track and give a final professional finished look.

I like to put even my naked cakes on to a covered cake drum, although I do also have a lovely choice of natural wooden boards which work really well. This one was finished with a cream coloured fondant paste to match the buttercream and a silver ribbon to go with the finished design. Mark the cake position with a cake card the same size as your base layer and place the cake on the board, a little buttercream will secure the cake if the fondant is very dry.


Pop the next tier on top and check the levels again! Finally you need to hide the cake cards. I used a little of the buttercream topic ‘pearls’ round the cake but you could use a single fine line of buttercream or a ribbon if you prefer.


You are now done all ready for any final decoration flourishes you might like!


This weeks cake used a variety of decoration but the star of the show is edible organic flowers by Maddocks Farm Organics. I also added a few dried petals, a few sprigs of thyme, some buttercream rosettes, some edible jewels and a sugar paste number and ‘fabulous’ bopper to link in with the birthday party style of pink and silver with added glamour!




Easter Rocky Road

This is a great no bake recipe to make with your kids for Easter – but be beware it has all the sweetness and chocolatyness in the world in it – not for the feint hearted


  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 125g milk chocolate
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 300g ( yes really) candy covered eggs – I used Smarties Eggs
  • 50g mini marshmallows
  • 100g chocolate finger biscuits ( you could use rich tea or digestives but why not add a bit more chocolate!)
  • 25g white chocolate

You need to line a shallow tin 20x20cm-ish with cling film two ways! You will also need a microwave proof bowl and a spatula.



Put the milk and dark chocolate in the bowl with the butter.


Pop in the microwave on half power for 1 minute. Take out, give it all a stir and return for another minute. Stir again and repeat in 30 second bursts until everything has melted together. Don’t be tempted to do this on full microwave power you may over heat the chocolate.


Once melted smooth and glossy add the cocoa powder and golden syrup and stir well again. The mixture needs to cool down for a while now – 10 minutes should do the trick. Stir a little every so often whilst you are waiting making sure you scrape the mixture off the bottom of the bowl.


Whilst the mixture is cooling break the chocolate fingers into smaller bite size pieces.


Add the biscuit pieces and marshmallows to the chocolate mixture and give it another good stir.


Stir in 200g of the candy eggs, keeping the final 100g for the top and pop into your lined tin.


Use the spatula to spread the mixture out – hold onto the edges of the cling film to help do this.


Press the mixture down to try to eliminate any holes hiding underneath.

Put the white chocolate into a disposable piping bag and melt gently on half heat in the microwave in 30 second bursts. Snip a fine hole at the end of the bag and drizzle a random squiggle all over the top of the mixture.


Chop the remaining 100g of the eggs on half (best if a grown up does that bit) and the pop those on the top of the mixture.


Put it all in the fridge for 1 hour to set hard then chop into small squares.




Hidden Red Nose Cake for Comic Relief

I saw on twitter recently that if you bake and tweet a cake made using Maltesers and use  #bakeamillion they will donate £5 towards their £1million target for Comic Relief. So was born the idea of a hidden nose cake. Cakes with surprises inside aren’t new, but I haven’t tried one like this before so I thought I would share my experiment with you!

Its two simple basic recipes, you will need a cake pop mould for the ‘noses’ and some good quality colouring paste, but the recipe is a simple all in one sponge. The chocolate cake is made based on my absolutely favourite BBC good food recipe, but has a chocolate ganache filling. It does use a lot of maltesers – a bit like my christmas pud cake – but the overall effect is well worth it!



  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 50g SR Flour
  • 1/4tsp red food colouring paste ( I use Sugarflair red extra)

Bake your noses first as they should be cool when added to the chocolate cake batter.

Preheat the oven to 160C (fan) and brush the silicon mould with some melted butter.

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and combine with a spatula, it saves the mixture flying everywhere when you use the electric mixer!


Beat until throughly combined with an electric mixer (or beat with a wooden spoon for a good work out). Add the colouring and beat to get a really bright red colour.

img_1476Fill the solid half moulds to half way with the batter – I used a piping bag to make it less messy.


Put the lid on and bake for 15-20 mins, the moulds have a little steam hole on the lid section so you can test when they are baked by poking a cocktail stick through the hole.

Remove from the mould and leave to cool while you make the chocolate mix.


Chocolate Layers

  • 100g Butter
  • 50g plain chocolate
  • 175g plain flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg
  • 100ml buttermilk
  • 75ml boiling water

Grease and line the base of 3 x 6inch round cake tins. Preheat the oven to 160C (fan)

Prepare all ingredients into separate bowls. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute on full power. Place the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, cocoa powder and bicarb in a stand mixer bowl and mix slowly with the beater attachment. Whisk the egg and buttermilk together in a jug and boil the kettle.


Add the melted chocolate and buttermilk to the dry ingredients and combine on a slow speed. Measure 75ml boiling water into the jug then add slowly to the mixture, scrape round once to make sure you have all the ingredients incorporated and give it a final gentle whizz!

Using a large serving spoon put one spoon of mix into each tin and spread across the bottom, share the cooled noses between the tins and cover with the rest of the cake batter keeping it as even as possible between the tins. Using a spatula make sure the balls are covered and the mixture is evenly spread all over the tin. give each tin a light rap on the worktop to remove any big air bubbles and bake for 35/40 minutes, until a cocktail stick comes out clean, make sure you test just the chocolate cake not the noses!


When baked leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin then remove and cool inverted on a cooling tray.


Whilst the cakes are baking you need to make the ganache to give it time to set enough to use.


  • 200ml double cream
  • 400g milk chocolate

Place the cream and chopped chocolate into a plastic microwave safe bowl.

Heat for 1 minute at half power. Remove and swirl in the bowl. Repeat the process until the chocolate starts to melt and colour the cream. Use a silicon spatula and stir gently, heating for 30 second bursts, stirring between,  until no lumps remain.

Place in the fridge and stir every half hour whilst the cake bakes and cools.

Constructing the cake

480g Maltesers – Sainsburys currently have small Maltesers boxes on special offer and are also donating to Comic Relief

50g Red candy melts or white chocolate and red colouring.

You need to colour 6 Maltesers red to make the nose, I used white chocolate coloured with red paste but needed to add a little oil to make the chocolate runny enough so all a bit of  a faff, you can buy red Candy melts instead, just melt the chocolate and dunk the Maltesers in leave to harden on a sheet of greasproof paper and cut away and excess chocolate.

To layer up the cake cover the sides of the cake with the noses sticking out with ganache to make a smooth surface and sandwich the layers together. Use the smooth cake sides as the base and top of the cake.


Pop in the fridge to harden the ganache for 1/2 hr (or 10mins in the freezer if you have room)

Cover the outside of the cake in ganache, it doesn’t need to be perfect as its being covered in the Maletsers. Decorate by completely covering in the Maltesers, making a circle with the 6 red ones on the edge to make your “Red Nose”.


When you cut the cake there will be a fab surprise inside – this will make a great bake sae centre piece for Red Nose day fundraising eventsalbumtemp



Golden Spoon Winner – Burns Night Bakes

Rejuvenating an old post ! In 2015 I won a Golden Spoon from Sunday Bake Club for this recipe. I use this quick cheesecake recipe all the time so though I’d update this post for my own purpose and Lovely WordPress has decided to publish it as a new post! So updating again with a quick explanation !! 

Yay how exciting thank you voters hope you enjoy trying this recipe .

Burns Night Raspberry Shortbread Cheesecakes 

Set Cheesecake

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 100g double cream
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • fresh raspberries ( possibly a 200g packet)!

4 x 8/9cm deep ramekins greased and lined with cling film. Make sure you tuck the cling film right down inside the ramekin and hang the excess cling film over the edges.
Cut the raspberries in half from tip to base and make a circle of raspberries with the insides facing the outside edge of the ramekin ease them in so there are no gaps and they stand up on their own,
In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla until well mixed.
In another bowl whisk the cream until forming soft peaks.
Fold the cream into the cream cheese until well combined.
Fill the ramekins with the mixture up to the level of the top of the raspberries.
Leave to set for a couple of hours in the fridge.

  • 300g plain flour
  • 200g unsalted butter at room temp
  • 100g golden caster sugar

Preheat oven to 150C
The easiest way to make this is in a food processor, just pop in all the ingredients and whizz until it starts to form a dough. By hand rub all the ingredients together with your fingertips and knead into a dough.
Roll out to a depth of 3-5mm. I cut one larger circle per dessert ( about 9 cm) and smaller ones for the top. (about 6cm), impress a design if you have a cookie press at this stage.
Place on a greased baking sheet refrigerate for 15/20mins then bake for 25/30mins until a light golden brown.
When you take them out of the oven you can be super picky and recut the circles whilst still warm to make them have a sharper shape and edge. This needs to be done very quickly as they become very brittle as they cool. Sprinkle with a little more caster sugar and leave to cool completely.

To construct take the cheesecakes out of the fridge, warm the dishes slightly by rubbing the outside with your hands. Gently ease out the cling film by pulling upwards and the whole thing should come out in one piece!

Place the larger biscuit on the serving plate, pop the cheesecake on top, the top with the smaller biscuit and a raspberry.
Serve with some raspberry coulis.

The Sunday Baking Club

Evening bakers!

We have another winner to announce *clears throat*

This time, we’re thrilled to announce that your Burns Night Bakes Golden Spoon winner was @becksbake with her stunning looking Raspberry Cheesecake Shortie – easy to see why this was the winning bake when it looks like this:


If you want to have a crack at this recipe, Becky has shared her secret…

Set Cheesecake

250g cream cheese

100g double cream

50g icing sugar

1tsp vanilla essence

fresh raspberries ( possibly a 200g packet)!

4 x 8/9cm deep ramekins greased and lined with cling film. Make sure you tuck the cling film right down inside the ramekin and hang the excess cling film over the edges.

Cut the raspberries in half from tip to base and make a circle of raspberries with the insides facing the outside edge of the ramekin ease them in so there are no gaps…

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Happy New Year with Speculaas Macarons

Happy New Year everyone – did you have a special celebration this year?

There has been a lot of talk of how awful 2016 has been and there certainly seem to have been many high profile deaths, horrific plane crashes, dreadful wars and unfathomable political changes. For me on a personal level I turned 50 this year and was determined not to let a number envelop my special year. I had fun, I went on fabulous holidays, had amazing adventures shared with family and friends, took time for myself and wanted to make sure 2016 went out with a bang and that we welcomed 2017 wholeheartedly.


So we hosted a dinner for 29 friends, everyone helped out with tables, chairs, crockery, cutlery, food and decorations and we had an amazing time. my job was to provide the central main course but naturally I couldn’t let the evening go by without a sweet centrepiece. My friends were bringing the main desserts, a delicious pecan pie and some poached pears, so I thought a mini macaron tower with flavours inspired by after dinner chocolates would be nice. I went for chocolate orange, mint chocolate, ginger with chocolate filling and finally speculaas with a caramel filling.

If you haven’t heard of speculaas spices its a spice blend I believe originating from Holland. You may have come across it in those little caramelised biscuits served with coffee, and there is also a spread version available in the supermarket now, however I have tried a more authentic version from The Speculaas Spice Company . I made a few of these flavour macarons a few weeks back and whilst delicious, the spices are so flavourful that I think I over did it a bit so this time I reduced the amount of spice and added a bit more caramel in the filling, I think I got the balance just right this time.

I always make macarons with the italian meringue method, I feel it gives a much more stable and reliable base to the mixture, giving me more consistent results. If you want to read my hints and tips on mac making check out my blog post on Macaron Mysteries. I also used Billingtons golden icing sugar for these ones as it has a more caramelly flavour than white icing sugar which compliments the spices well.

This recipe will yield about 40 macarons (80 shells).

Speculaas Macarons

Meringue Ingredients

  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 60ml Water
  • 75g egg white at room temperature.

Macaronage Ingredients

  • 200g ground almonds
  • 200g Billingtons Golden icing sugar
  • 2 tsp Speculaas spice mix
  • 70g egg white room temperature


  • 75g dulce de leche – shop bought is fine!
  • 75g white chocolate

First thing with macarons, I find it is much better to have everything laid out ready, all the ingredients weighed, your piping bags ready and baking sheets lined with silicon sheets  (thin not thick ones) and ready to go. You will need 4 large baking sheets, and a piping bag with a 1 cm nozzle.

Secondly blitz the almonds in a processor, then sieve into a large bowl with the icing sugar, make sure you have the correct amount of each once sieved, finally sieve in your spices. img_0619

Hand whisk them all together to make sure they are thoroughly combined. Weigh out the macaronage egg white into a separate small bowl.


Next make sure the equipment you are going to use for the meringue is completely grease free, the bowl, the whisk and the pan the sugar is heated up in to make the syrup. I wipe all mine over with some white wine vinegar to be doubley sure and the acidity also helps stabilise the meringue.

Warm the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pan , swirling gently until dissolved. whilst doing this whisk the meringue egg white in a stand mixer on a very slow speed just to loosen it up. Once the sugar is all dissolved turn up the heat and bring the syrup to a boil, at the same time turn up the stand mixer to whisk the egg white on a medium speed. Finally once at a rolling boil turn the mixer right up to get to a firmish peak, you want the syrup to reach soft ball stage, around 112C-114C.


Once you are there remove the syrup from the heat, allow to stop bubbling then very slowly drizzle down the side of the mixing bowl whilst the whisk is still on high.


Be very patient this will take a while, its worth moving around your bowl so one side doesn’t get too hot and if the syrup becomes too thick just warm it up again very slightly. Keep whisking all the time. Once you have added all the sugar syrup keep whisking for about another 7 or 8 minutes until the bowl has cooled to room temperature when you touch the outside. Your meringue should then be really firm and glossy.

img_0632Now time to add to the macaronage mixture. Add all of the meringue and the remaining loose egg white to the almond, sugar and spice mixture. Fold in with a spatula.


Keep stirring and mixing until it is all incorporated. This is the trickiest part of macaron making, you need to reach the ribbon stage where the mixture just falls in a ribbon from your spatula, too much mixing and the mixture will be too loose to hold its shape, too little and its grainy and won’t form nice smooth tops. If I’m honest this mix was ever so slightly too stiff so I got some little peaks on mine, but over mixing can cause cracking and the a poor foot so I’d rather it was this way round.


Transfer your mixture to the piping bag and pipe out small blobs evenly across your baking sheet. I use a template under my silicon sheet to help get them even sizes.


Once you have piped a whole sheet you should give them a few sharp taps on the surface, this helps form a good foot and gets rid of the little central peaks too.


Once piped and tapped out leave them to dry out, and turn on the oven to 140C mine is a fan oven.


Drying out helps form the shell top to your macaron, it takes around half an hour depending on how warm and dry your kitchen is, but don’t be scared to leave them for an hour if need be. Test by touching gently with your finger tip, if they stick they aren’t ready!


Once dry they wont stick to your finger, test a few as the outside ones dry before the middle ones!


You are now ready to bake, you need an middle and lower shelf, put your first tray in on the middle shelf and time for 8 minutes. Once the timer is up, move the tray to the lower shelf, I usually turn my tray 180 degrees too. Put the next tray of macs on the middle shelf and time for another 8 minutes. When this time is up remove the lower tray and rotate the second tray down to the lower shelf, put in the next tray of uncooked macs and repeat 8 minutes. Repeat this process for the final tray of macs but put in an empty tray on the final rotation above the last tray to be moved down – does that all make sense?


Your macs are done when they lift easily from the baking sheet, if you find they are a bit sticky pop them back in for a couple of minutes – everyones ovens are slightly different and humidity plays a huge part when cooking macarons.


They cool really quickly, so once cool you can add the filling.

To make the filling simply melt the white chocolate gently in a microwave. I do mine on half power for 1 minute, then 30 second bursts until its all melted. Stir in the dulche de leche and mix well. Allow to cool to a piping consistency.

The secret I find with macs is to match them up so I always lay mine out in pairs that are of a similar size, as despite using a template they are invariably slightly different sizes but as long as they match each other I don’t think it really matters!


Pipe swirls of filling on one half of each pair then gently sandwich together hold the shells by the out side edge and don’t try to press on the centre as its quite fragile, although a few broken ones are good ‘chefs perks’!


I decorated mine with some copper coloured edible metallic paint and a a 2017 for good measure, all ready to add to the others on my tower!

Macs keep for about a week in the fridge but also freeze really well so you can make them ahead of time.


So here is to 2107 – may you reach for your own stars and have fun along the way.


Our Special Christmas Traditions – how to make a Chocolate Christmas Pudding

Christmas, to me, is a time for family, traditions and having fun play the biggest part in our family festivities. I love a busy house, we always have extended family to stay and spend lots of time with friends and neighbours.

This year for the first time, as my little family grow up we won’t all be together on Christmas day as my 18 year old daughter is off on her gap year adventures to chalet host in France. This weekend we were all together with the eldest back from Uni for the weekend so I thought we would have an early Christmas lunch.


We went all out with crackers, table presents, snowballs,


roast (albeit beef- no turkeys around at this time of year!) with sprouts and pigs in blankets!


We even then snuggled in front of the fire for a Christmas movie afterwards to get the full experience! Can you guess what we watched?


But where was the Christmas Pudding I hear you cry? Taking a step back to family traditions – my kids aren’t keen on anything with dried fruit in so traditional Christmas cake, puddings and mince pies always take a back seat. On Christmas Eve I always cook with the girls creating puddings they have chosen for the holidays. So, in true family tradition, we made a Chocolate Christmas Pudding, a twist on a classic that is a family super chocolatey winner. I’m sure you have seen them on the internet and they are a great Christmassy bake to do with the family. Having made one last year we learned a few things that make the process a bit easier so I have written my method to help you. The cake is based on my favourite chocolate cake recipe on the BBC Good Food site with my own covering and scaled to fit the Lakeland medium semi-hemisphere tins. The method has quite a few steps and ideally you need to start the day before you want the cake. I found a couple of boxes of Maltesers were the cheapest way to buy them for the cake, there were some leftover – but they soon found a home!!



  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 350g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200ml buttermilk
  • 150ml boiling water

Ganache covering/filling

  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 100ml double cream


  • 500g Maltesers (or any chocolate ball!)
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • Red and green food colouring


Preheat the oven to 150C (fan)

Grease the tins well, if you don’t have the semi-hemsphere tins you can use a pryex oven proof bowl but it would be a good idea to line with strips of non stick parchment as well as greasing to help lift the cake out. I also use a couple of jam jar lids in my baking tray to hold the semi-hemisphere tins level.

Place the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and place for 1 minute on full power – you can melt this in a pan on a very low heat if you don’t have a microwave.


Whilst this is going on measure the flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl and combine either in a mixer or with a hand whisk.

Measure out the eggs and buttermilk into a jug and whisk together.

Give the chocolate and butter mixture a stir and make sure all the chocolate is melted, return to the microwave for 30 second blasts until completely liquid.


Add the chocolate to the dry ingredients and combine to get a ‘sandy texture’.

Gradually add the beaten egg / buttermilk mixture, combining thoroughly between additions.


Finally really slowly add the boiled water beating well between additions to get a smooth glossy and fairly runny cake batter.


Fill each of the tins to a good 3/4 full, you may have a little left over to make a couple of muffins too.


I always place a bowl of water in the base of my oven to help keep the cake moist and to aid an even rise. Bake for 45/55 mins until a cocktail stick comes out clean from the centre of the cake.

img_3917Turn out onto a cooling tray and allow to become complete cool.


Whilst the cake is cooking you can make the ganache which will be used to fill and cover the cake.

I use the microwave method to make my ganache but will tell you how to do it on the hob if you prefer.

Place the chopped chocolate and cream into a microwave proof bowl, ideally plastic rather than glass as the glass can heat up a bit too much and over heating can lead to a split ganache.


Microwave on half power for 1 minute, remove and swirl the bowl, dont stir yet!


Return for 30 second blasts at half power, swirling between each until the chocolate melts into the cream. you can stir now but gently!


Keep going until there are no lumps and you have a smooth glossy ganache


If you prefer to use the hob, place the cream in a heavy bottomed pan and heat the cream slowly to almost boiling. Remove from the heat and add finely chopped chocolate. stir slowly until all melted.

Place in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.

Once the cake is cool you are ready for construction, trim off any excess cake from the flat edges and stick the two halves together using the ganache. The ganache needs to be soft but not runny for this step. You now need to cover the ball in a thin layer of ganache all over. Pop onto a piece of non stick parchment paper and leave to harden in the fridge – ideally overnight. Don’t worry this cake recipe is super fudgy so its doesn’t mind the fridge and actually matures if kept for a day or two.


Once hardened to you are ready for the fun part. .

You might need to loosen up your leftover ganache, 10 second blasts in the microwave on half heat until its soft enough to spread will do the trick.

Start by creating a base using a little melted chocolate create a small ring of Maletsers. I stuck mine to a firm piece of card about 7.5cm diameter.


Place that in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden. In the meantime spread some ganache to the base of the ball

When the chocolate circle is hard place the ball on top making sure centred.


Make a small flat circle of tin foil that will go round the base of the ball for the next layer to rest on then build up another layer of Malteser balls. Lifting the foil up round the balls to support this first layer.


Carry on building up the layers and adding more ganache as you go, gently press in each layer as you go.

If the odd ball drops out as you go just add a little ganache individually and pop it back in place.

You can now put your ball in the fridge whilst you make the decoration.

Firstly melt the 170g of the white chocolate and the 30g of butter together in the microwave, as before 1 minute on half power then 30 second blasts until all melted. To drizzle over the ball the chocolate mixture should be runny but not completely hot liquid so allow to cool whilst stirring for a few minutes before using. Fill a disposable piping bag , or a plastic bag, with the chocolate mixture.


Drizzle from the top of the ball and allow to drip down the sides, using the piping bag to encourage drips where you want them. you can also use a spatula to slightly spread the chocolate but be careful not to move the chocolate on the Maltesers underneath as this will soften. Keep a small amount back to fix the final decorations.

img_3996Allow this to harden whilst you make the finally decoration flourish!

Draw some simple outlines of holly leaves on a piece of paper, take a strip of baking parchment and pop a couple of pieces of double sided sticky tape to a rolling pin.

Melt the last 30g of chocolate, take a small spoonful and colour red, pipe small balls of red chocolate on to the baking parchment. Then colour the remaining chocolate green, pop in a piping bag and snip a small amount from the end. Pipe the holly leaf outlines onto the baking parchment using the drawings as a guide underneath.

Place the parchment over the rolling pin and pop in the fridge or freezer to harden.


To finish the cake place the ball onto a board with a little melted chocolate in the centre, place the curved holly leaves and berries on top, use a little white chocolate in the middle of the cake to hold it in place.


This recipe has been blogged in conjunction with Wren Christmas Kitchens campaign. Through this post I have not been paid to endorse any products.



My Extra slice of notoriety – chocolate, blackberry and liquorice savarin

I was fortunate enough to have my bake highlighted on the TV program ‘Extra Slice’ last week – its the spin off show from ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

We went to watch the show being filmed last year too with Sunday Bake Club and this year a smaller group of us managed to be allowed back to show off our bakes. You are told the theme to the show in advance with some clues to the bakes that will feature but in a very cryptic way so I watched the previous weeks show with interest to see if I could work out what the bakes would be for the show we were seeing. Luckily I managed to guess that being patisserie week the technical challenge which had been described as a yeast based cake with fruit was a savarin.

The way it all works is that you are encouraged to bring along a bake which fits the theme but perhaps has an amusing or unusual flavour twist. So what to do?

I thought about a savarin as I thought it would travel well but how to give it that twist? Going all guns I opted for a chocolate, blackberry and liquorice flavour, inspired by a couple of John Whaite recipes who loves the chocolate and liquorice combination and using a seasonal fruit too. Savarins are also traditionally soaked in an alcoholic syrup and as Mary Berry is known to enjoy the boozy bakes on the show I thought I would go for model of Mary enjoying a tipple under the cake to give an extra comedy factor. Finally the bake just had to have a wow appeal so I found a ‘how to’ in the Bake off Creme De La Creme book to make some curved chocolate chards.

You bake it all ready to take along to the ITV Studios in London. I went by train and although the cake was fairly stable I was pretty nervous about the shards breaking en-route. My cake had its own  seat all the way there! I took spares but luckily didn’t need them.


The production team take you through to an area where you describe your bake and inspiration. You then leave for a couple of hours and return later for filming. We also had to sign confidentiality forms to make sure we didn’t disclose any information prior to the program going out on air. Filming of Extra Slice is done on a Sunday prior to the Great British Bake Off program going out on the Wednesday so we would know who had left the tent before anyone else. I went with six baking friends and we all were excited and nervous to bring our bakes along, everyone had done such a fabulous job and other people were also there with their bakes.


Lauras savarin


Debbies Sable and Rubys mini Victoria sponges


Karens bacon topped cream horns!

img_3567Debbie and her mum describing her sable biscuits.


Joyces afternoon tea selection


My bake made it in one piece hurrah!

With a couple of hours to kill we naturally went to the pub over the road for lunch and maybe a calming glass of wine too!


Finally time to return to the studio, we were shown to a room where we were told how the show would work and ushered off to the studio.

We get to watch that weeks Great British Bake Off first so we know what the Extra Slice will be all about, its great fun being in such a big room with other baking fans watching the program and everyone was sad when Selasi was eliminated from the competition, but excited knowing he would be in the studio with us really soon.

When we arrived at the studio a few off us were called to sit at particular tables and miked up I couldn’t believe it when they said I would be one of them. Joyce was chosen too and we both hit new heights of nervousness! After watching the show we had a quick comfort break and when I came back they found a stand for my cake and told me they would be tasting my bake but would I mind taking Mary off! I was a bit disappointed as she had taken ages but understood that my bake had been chosen as it was the same as that weeks technical bake and they seemed to like the liquorice twist in the ingredients.


Finally filming starts and we get to be up close with Nadiya Hussain, last years winner, Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish conservative party and Tom Allen a comedian


Filming lasts a couple of hours and it gradually gets colder and colder in the studio. You are encouraged to smile all the time and they film a few early shots and sounds of clapping and cheering too! It does seem to go on forever to be honest and I was getting pretty nervous about what to say when they came to taste my bake.

Finally they highlighted a few really good novelty bakes and then got round to the tasting part.


It all felt a bit chaotic at the time, Nadiya couldn’t taste my cake as she doesn’t drink but both Ruth and Tom tasted it and kind of understood what I was trying to achieve but I’m not convinced they really liked the flavours. Nadiya however said some lovely things and complimented me on my chocolate tempering which I was so delighted with. In the final cut they didn’t show my bake being tasted, but I was lucky to get on at all as one other vegetable based bake that they tried wasn’t shown at all.


Jo Brand the host asked if I had my own show which was hilarious too!


Joyces bakes were also tasted and shown on the program, they loved her savoury twist on the patisserie theme


Once again Nadiya said some lovely things about her bakes and Jo Brand was highly amusing when she tried Joyces pork scratching caramel shards!


it felt like we had been there forever but eventually we saw Selasi, a very popular contestant as he came on for his interview.


He came across every bit as laid back as he had in the tent and all too soon it was time to go home and wait to see if we had made the final program.

Its the final tonight and I feel the best bakers have made the top three. Nadiya stressed that its always about your performance on the day so who do you think will be crowned Great British Bake off winner 2016? Andrew, Candice or Jane?


I also managed to recycle Mary in another bake later that week for the GBBOTwitterBakeAlong run by Rob and Jacqui which has just come to end and on Twitter. they have done an amazing job throughout the entire series and we will miss Bake along as much as we miss Bake Off!

Give us a wave Mary –  pointing the way to my fondant fancies!


If you want to give my savarin a try here is the recipe.

Chocolate, Blackberry and Liquorice Savarin.

As a quick note before I start – the savarins o the program were cooked in Nordicware bundt tins, mine was cooked in a more classic savarin ring (22cm). This recipe will work in a bundt tin but wouldn’t fill a 10 cup tin, although perhaps would fill a 6 cup tin – you may need to adjust the cook times.

Ingredients – cake

40g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

40g unsalted butter

225g strong white flour

7g  (one packet) dried instant yeast

1/2 tsp salt

45g caster sugar

60g cocoa powder (use a good quality one such as Food Thoughts )

2 large eggs

100ml full fat milk

50g dark chocolate chips

50g soft black liquorice.

Ingredients – syrup

150g caster sugar

6 liquorice lozenges

I use these ones available online


but if you cant get hold of these Foodie Flavours do a good liquorice natural flavouring, but you need to add this when you add the liqueur.

6 tbsp creme de mure liqueur

275 ml water

Ingredients to finish

Shards – 200g good quality dark chocolate.

250g blackberries

30g white chocolate


Warm the milk in a jug to tepid temperature  (neither hot nor cold to the touch). Whisk in the yeast and set aside for 10 mins in a warm place.

Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in shorts bursts. Add the butter, stir to melt and mix and put to one side to cool slightly.

Combine the flour, salt, caster sugar and cocoa in a large bowl and whisk together.

Once the yeast has started to form a slight foam over the milk add to the flour and stir in (you can use a dough hook on a mixer if you have one).

Beat the eggs and add to the flour mixture and combine.

Add the melted chocolate and continue to combine, it will be hard to knead as its a very sloppy batter by the point but a dough hook on a mixer or wooden spoon by hand will do the job.

Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Prepare the savarin tin by greasing well with butter, if using a bundt tin then flour the tin as well.

Chop the soft liquorice into small chunks about the same size as the chocolate chips.

After the first prove work in the chocolate chips and liquorice pieces into the mixture.

Turn into the prepared tin, cover wth cling film and leave to prove for about 50 minutes or until doubled in size, mine reached the top of my tin.

Meanwhile pre heat the oven to 180C (fan), bake for about 25minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean (try a few spots incase you hit a chocolate chip!).

Whilst the cake is cooking make the syrup.

Combine the water and sugar and liquorice lozenges if you are using them, warm until the sugar and lozenges are dissolved then boil for about 3/5mins to make a light syrup. Add the liqueur (and liquorice flavouring drops to taste if using these) and simmer for a further minute. Keep warm. The syrup will be a very light runny consistency.

When the cake is cooked leave to cool for 5mins then turn out. Pour half the syrup into the cake tin and replace the cake. Allow the syrup to be completely absorbed for about 15 minutes. Place the rest of the syrup into a lipped dinner plate then turn the cake out flat side down to absorb the rest of the syrup. I trimmed my cake prior to this stage in the tin to give a totally flat surface to sit on. Leave to cool completely.

I finished my cake by drizzling some melted white chocolate over the top of the cake, I added curved, tempered chocolate shards which I stuck inside the centre of the cake with some meted chocolate then filled the centre with fresh blackberries which I then drizzled with more white chocolate. I followed the instructions to make the shards in the Bake Off Creme de la Creme book.


I loved the flavours,  the mixture of the fruit and liquorice reminded me of the pink or blue sweets in Bassetts Allsorts but must admit it wasn’t a huge hit with my kids, so only give this one a try if you are truly a liquorice fan!