Honey, Ginger, Sultana and Orange Welcome Home Cake

Big Man has been in Spain for a couple of weeks so the day before he returned I cooked some dishes he would enjoy to welcome him home. This included a cake, as a special treat, and it was perfect for sitting around the next day (which was cold and snowy) with some good strong coffee while we had a good old catch up.

Where there’s cake, there’s usually a dog…

Regular readers of the blog will know that I don’t make many cakes, and when I do I mostly go down the “all in one” route and tend to use olive oil rather than butter. Not for health reasons, but because when I first started living in Spain it was more difficult for me to get hold of good quality butter (and getting it home before it melted in the summer was an adventure in itself). As we produce our own wonderful olive oil each year, it made sense to substitute this for the butter and I soon found that it produced light and delicious cakes…so I simply kept on using it.

This is more of a tea loaf than a sponge cake and would be delicious spread with butter (the best of both worlds! ) although it’s delicious as it is. I baked this in a 23cm x 13cm loaf tin and it cuts into about 12 slices.


  • 100g of sultanas soaked in your favourite tea (I used a ginger tea but Earl Grey would also be fantastic) then drained and cooled
  • 100g chopped candied peel
  • Approx 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger
  • 175g self raising flour mixed with ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g of runny honey

Preheat the oven to 185° fan oven or 195° regular oven and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Beat the oil and honey together then add the eggs one by one. Mix in the drained sultanas,  candied peel and fresh ginger then mix in the flour and salt. This cake mix is as forgiving as  most of my others, so you don’t need to fold things together or be particularly gentle.

Pour the mix into the prepared loaf tin and bake for approx 45 minutes. Check if it’s done by inserting a skewer and if it comes out clean, you’re done. If it needs a few minutes longer and is beginning to brown, cover with some aluminium foil and give it another five minutes before checking again.

Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out and cooling completely on a rack. Will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container.

If you enjoy citrus flavours, take a look at this Sticky Citrus and Marmalade cake.

Sticky Citrus and Marmalade Tray Bake (4)
Going, going….nearly gone!




Looking forward to Spring

It’s been a full and busy February, the time seems to have flown by. We’ve had crazy weather in the UK with gloriously sunny days, biting winds and now a little snow with more predicted.


Days have been filled with beautiful beach walks, even on the windiest of days…everything looks so much more dramatic and exciting.


I took delivery of a wonderful new book, Artisan Sourdough Made Simple, written by a fellow blogger, Emilie Rafa who blogs over at The Clever Carrot. I’ve loved reading it and beginning to experiment with her wonderful recipes, starting with a brioche loaf which we loved and a fabulous sourdough focaccia .


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I’ve also been making my regular sourdough loaf which is our “daily bread”. For my mum I bake a rye and caraway loaf which she enjoys and Big Man is in charge of thinly slicing it for her once it has cooled.

Food has been comforting and warming with old favourites making regular appearances with a few new dishes being tried too. I made a sweet potato and kale curry…it was ok, but rather too sweet and not quite spicy enough for us. More work needed on that one!


One particularly spectacular day Big Man and I hopped on a train heading West along the coast for an hour and spent the day in Brighton. We went on the i360, an enormous pod which holds about 200 people which rises up a 162m tower to give incredible views at a height of 138m across the channel, the city of Brighton and across the South Downs…and of course the panorama is a 360° one.  Absolutely fantastic and we had a cheeky glass of champagne to make the experience extra special.




Today the cold weather is moving in, people are panic buying (ridiculous) in the supermarkets and I’m getting ready for Big Man to come back from a couple of weeks in Spain. In our house, this means making food…warming chicken and chickpea soup, pork and beans and maybe even a fish pie. Well…he says he’s missed my cooking!


Despite the cold, there are little signs that spring is on its way with the bravest of bulbs pushing up through the ground,  defying the cold and reminding us that after the dark days of winter there is always sunshine and new life to look forward to.