Category: Fireworks night

Oh hey honey

October 31st. 19C in London, beautiful sunshine.

November 1st. Fog, cold, winter has arrived.

Don’t you just love the British weather?! Its unpredictability is a constant irritation to me but I do adore the seasons. I’m very glad I don’t live somewhere that’s variations on one temperature all year round.

It’s starting to feel a little festive this week at Fabrefaction HQ. It’s bonfire night on Thursday, and we are having a housewarming party this weekend to welcome the new housies. It would be rude not to provide our guests with some treats, and even ruder not to acknowledge the approach of Mr Frost.

So here we are, the perfect recipe to bridge autumn and winter, mini gingerbread and honey cupcakes. If you don’t fancy the hassle you could always make this as a traybake, perhaps doubling the recipe (I halved it).


You will need

For the cake:

250g/9 oz plain flour

100g/3.5 oz golden syrup

75g/2.5 oz light soft brown sugar

75g/2.5 oz lard (yes, lard)

40g/1.5 oz treacle

140ml/4.5 fl oz milk

1 egg

1 tsp ground ginger (feel free to add more)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the icing:

300g/10.5 oz icing sugar

150g/5.25 oz unsalted butter

6 tbsp runny honey

For the sugar shards:

100g/3.5 oz caster sugar

(makes 35 mini cakes)


Step one

Melt the lard, golden syrup and treacle over a low heat.

Yes the lard will separate and create a glossy sheen on the surface, and yes you will think how unappetising it looks, but trust me on this one…it’s one of those recipes passed from generation to generation in my family, I’m just giving it a little facelift and daren’t replace the lard, just in case somehow Grandma is watching.


Step two

Combine the sugar, ginger, flour and bicarbonate of soda.

Make a well in the middle and start to whisk in the egg. Stop when you get to the consistency in the third picture down because otherwise you risk making lumps you won’t be able to get out.

Step three

Pop the milk in the microwave to heat for 30 seconds to a minute until warm. Add to the centre of the mixture and continue to whisk gently until the milk and the egg are combined, but again don’t try and mix in all the flour.


Step four

Pour in the melted treacle, golden syrup and lard mix and stir until it’s all mixed together.


Step five

Spoon the mixture into your cases. I got a bulk order of these paper condiment cups last year for the hot chocolate stirrers I made for Christmas. I will NEVER find a way to use them all up.

If you have normal mini cupcake/muffin cases the same rules apply, about a teaspoon and a half of mixture in each. You will probably need to put them in a muffin tin though. These little cases had enough of their own structure so I put them on a baking tray.

Bake for 15 minutes on 180C/gas mark 4/350F.


Step six

Whisk together the icing/frosting ingredients, make sure to cover your bowl with a tea towel; icing sugar will make your kitchen sticky for weeks otherwise.

Step seven

Confession time. I didn’t photograph this stage. Partly because I was a bit grumpy, partly because my camera was running out of battery and partly because my level of clumsiness, hot sugar and baking selfies are not a strong combination. Forgive me.

All you need to do to make the decorative caramel shards is gently heat the caster sugar in a saucepan until the vast majority has melted and turned caramel in colour. Don’t stir, don’t swish, just wait.

Remove from heat and lay out a sheet of greaseproof paper. With a fork trail the caramel back and forth across the paper. It will need to cool a little until it is stringy enough to do this, but it will get there. You don’t have to make individual cake toppers, just criss cross to make one massive one and break it up to get the shards.

It’s waaaaaay easier than you’d think and super effective looking.

(If you aren’t eating your cakes that day I recommend saving this step until the day of. I’m freeing most of mine bare and decorating them on party day)


Step eight

Ice your cakes however you please, I’m a diehard fan of the piping bag. I sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon on mine before adding the caramel shards.






You might notice there’s a different pair of disembodied hands in the post this week. That’s because my lovely housemate was on half term, and ever since we watched this year’s GBBO we have wanted to make our own doughnuts (I’ve been informed donut is the wrong way to spell it). Thanks for your help Vicky and for very patiently allowing me to photograph the occasion.

We’re having a little get together for bonfire/fireworks night on Wednesday and we thought we would make some appropriately themed treats. We bring to you a doughnut double whammy, flavoured with toffee apple and cinder toffee.

Disclaimer – these aren’t quick to make, but they are IN-credible, I was very sad to put them into the freezer, and I hope they emerge as delicious as they went in.


You will need

Please note: doughnut recipe makes 30, so the extra flavourings recipes are for 15 of each. If you want to make just one of the versions you will need to double the quantities of the fillings and toppings or halve the doughnut mix.

For the doughnuts:

350ml/12 fl oz Warm full fat milk

700g/1lb 8 oz Strong white bread flour

2 Eggs

70g/2.5 oz Unsalted butter

100g/3.5 oz Caster sugar

1 tsp Salt

14g/0.5 oz Dried yeast

50ml Warm water

For the toffee apple version:

2 Bramley (cooking) apples

3 tbsp Soft light brown sugar

1 tbsp Water

300g/10.5 oz Granulated sugar

6 tbsp Water

For the cinder toffee version:

200g/7 oz White chocolate

2 Crunchie bars/some cinder toffee

1.5-2 tbsp Golden syrup

1.5-2 tbsp Full fat milk

150g/5.5 oz Icing sugar

50g/3.5 oz Unsalted butter

1 tsp Vanilla extract


1.5 litres/50 fl oz Vegetable oil for frying

15 Cake pop sticks for the ‘toffee apples’

Flavour injector (if you don’t have one of these, a long thin piping nozzle should also work)


Step one

Put the yeast in the warm water and wait until frothy.

Step two

Combine half the flour with the rest of the dough ingredients (including the yeast froth). Remember to put the yeast and the salt on opposite sides of the bowl, they don’t get on.

Step three

When the batter is smooth, gradually add the rest of the flour and stir. The dough should be sticky but not impossible to work with. Vicky and I found we had to add a lot of flour in kneading so I’ve adjusted the recipe for y’all.


Step four

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. It’ll still be quite sticky, don’t sweat it.


Step five

Place in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to rise for an hour or until doubled in size. While that’s going on you can prepare your toppings and fillings.


Step six

For the puree which will fill the toffee apple doughnuts, peel and chop the apples into small chunks.


Step seven

Place the apples in a saucepan with the 3 tablespoons of soft brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Heat on medium until the apples have reduced.

Step eight

If you have one, use a food processor to liquidise the apple mixture. If you don’t, do what we did and use a potato masher and then pass the mix through a sieve.


Step nine

To make the filling for the cinder toffee donuts combine the butter, icing sugar, milk, golden syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and set aside.


Step ten

Tip the risen dough onto a floured work surface. Squeeze into a long sausage shape and chop into 30 pieces.


Step eleven

Roll into balls and leave on a tray to prove for another hour. Make sure you leave plenty of space. The picture above was before these rose, and they almost filled the tray after.


Step twelve

About 20 minutes before the doughnuts have finished their second rise, begin to heat the oil.

It’s beyond important that you heat the oil really slowly on a low heat to avoid risking a pan fire. There’s no reason to worry as long as you heat this gradually.

Test your oil heat with little pieces of a doughnut. When the sample floats and bubbles straight away you’re good to go.


Step thirteen

Fry the doughnuts in batches, you will get a good idea when to turn them pretty quickly, it only takes a few minutes for them to get golden.

Leave your doughnuts to rest on a few sheets of kitchen roll which will soak up any excess oil.


Step fourteen

When the doughnuts are completely cooled inject 15 of them with the apple puree and 15 with the cinder toffee filling.

We went in at the top because we knew we were going to cover the holes, otherwise you would use the side. For those of you with a flavour injector (and of course that will be most of you…) we did 10 ml per doughnut.


Step fifteen

For the cinder toffee doughnuts you need to crush up the crunchie bars (easily done when they’re in their wrappers) and melt the white chocolate. Do this slowly in the microwave to avoid burning it.

Dip the doughnuts  in the chocolate to coat the upside down top, and sprinkle with crunchie pieces. Leave to one side for the chocolate to set.


Step fifteen

Make a hard caramel by combining the 300g of granulated sugar and 6 tbsp water in a saucepan.

Heat on a low-medium heat until the mixture takes on a dark honey colour. Do not stir it as the sugar will crystallise. I’m afraid I did this by eye so I don’t have a temperature, but use the pictures above for a reference point for the colour and you’ll be fine, it’s not an exact science.

Remove from heat and cool by dipping the bottom of the saucepan in a mixing bowl full of cold water.

Spoon over the top of the doughnuts. I did one layer on each and popped the sticks in, then went back once the caramel got a little thicker (this happens as it cools) to do another and to secure the sticks in place.



Step sixteen

Chow down.