Tag Archives: cakes

The top 3 cakes from 50 years of dairy cookbooks!

The top 3 cakes from 50 years of dairy cookbooks!

I couldn’t even count how many cake recipes we have produced since the 1960s when the first dairy cookbook was published.

Fans love them though, as they know that they have been triple-tested (at least!) and will always work.

We get many requests for copies of long-lost recipes, precious to people’s family history.

And these three cakes are some of the most requested by our customers:


Boiled Fruit Cake

Boiled Fruit Cake


Banana and Pecan Cake

Banana & Pecan Cake


Black Forest Gåteau

Black Forest Gateau




The Dairy Book of Home Cookery 50th anniversary editionThe Black Forest Gateau is taken from the 50th anniversary edition of the Dairy Book of Home Cookery.

Back in stock after twice selling out!

Click here for more information.







3 Fabulous Christmas Treats

Treat your guests to something really scrumptious this Christmas!

These fab recipes are taken from our brand new cookbook, Cook it Slowly! and 2018 Dairy Diary.

But make sure you tell them where you found the recipe!


Apricot & Date Flapjack Squares

Apricot & Date Flapjack Squares

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 180 per portion
Fat 8g (4g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Dried ready-to-eat apricots 250g (9oz), chopped
  • Dried pitted dates 150g (5oz), chopped
  • Orange 1 large, finely grated zest and juice
  • Fresh orange juice 150–200ml (5–7fl oz)
  • Butter 200g (7oz)
  • Porridge oats 250g (9oz)
  • White spelt flour or plain flour 150g (5oz)
  • Light muscovado sugar 110g (4oz), plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling


  1. Put the apricots, dates and orange zest in a saucepan. Mix the orange juices to make the quantity up to 300ml (½ pint) and pour into the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has softened and absorbed almost all of the juice. Leave to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan/Gas 4. Line a 27 x 18cm (11 x 7in) traybake tin with baking paper.
  3. Roughly slice the butter into a food processor, add 150g (5oz) of the oats, all of the flour and the sugar. Pulse until the mixture starts to clump together. Take out 225g (8oz) of mixture and set aside for the topping. Pulse the mixture left in the machine until it comes together in bigger clumps. Tip into the tin then spread it out and press into the tin firmly. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the tin from the oven and spread the apricot mixture over the base.
  5. Mix the remaining oats into the reserved crumbly mixture and spread over to cover the fruit. Press the topping down using the back of a spoon or your hand. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Cool in the tin, then slide the flapjack out onto a board and cut into squares.

Cook’s tips

You can use fresh dates for this recipe but dried dates are less expensive. If you prefer, make this with more dates than apricots. Add other dried fruits like cranberries or blueberries if you have them. Use apple juice or any other juice you have to hand instead of orange juice for cooking the fruit. To spread the dough in the tin, use the back of a spoon or your fingers, dipped in flour to stop it sticking.

Recipe taken from Cook it Slowly!


Lemon Drizzle Mince Pies

Lemon Drizzle Mince Pies

  • Servings: 34-36
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 112 per portion
Fat 3g (2g sat) per portion
Suitable for freezing


  • Plain flour 225g (8oz)
  • Butter 110g (4oz), cut into chunks
  • Icing sugar 150g (5oz)
  • Egg yolk 1
  • Good mincemeat 650g (1lb 7oz)
  • Lemon 1, finely grated zest and 2 tbsp juice


  1. Put flour, butter and 25g (1oz) icing sugar into a food processor. Whizz to crumbs. Add egg yolk and 2 tablespoons cold water. Whizz until it clumps together. Knead lightly, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°fan/Gas 6. Roll out half the pastry thinly. Cut out rounds using a 7cm (2¾in) fluted cutter. Line patty tins then re-roll trimmings. Put 1 rounded teaspoon mincemeat into each case and bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a rack. Roll out remaining pastry for more pies.
  3. Sift remaining sugar into a bowl; add lemon juice to make a runny icing. Drizzle over pies and sprinkle with zest. Leave to set.

A Dairy Diary recipe.


Sweet Sherry Cake

Sweet Sherry Cake

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 200 per portion
Fat 8g (5g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Unsalted butter 110g (4oz), softened
  • Golden caster sugar 110g (4oz)
  • Eggs 2 medium
  • Self-raising flour 200g (7oz)
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp
  • Sweet sherry 175ml (6fl oz)
  • Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
  • Icing sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan/Gas 4. Butter and base line a 20cm (8in) round spring-form cake tin then dust it with flour.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding 2 tablespoons of the flour with each egg.
  3. On the slow setting of the mixer, add the vanilla extract and sherry, then the rest of the flour with the bicarbonate of soda. Mix until just combined.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 40–45 minutes until well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Cook’s tip

Pedro Ximénez, a dark, syrupy-sweet sherry, is perfect for this recipe, but oloroso or your favourite sweet or medium sherry will be fine.

Recipe taken from Cook it Slowly!


Dairy Diaries are available now!

Dairy Diary 2018


I’m really sorry but Cook it Slowly has proved SO popular that we’re currently out of stock.

We ARE reprinting right now and they should be in our warehouse ready for you to order next week.






Top 3 Freezable Cakes

It’s a busy and very exciting week for me this week as I get married on Sunday!

It’s going to be great fun, but it will be an inexpensive do and much of it is homemade, with generous help from friends and family.

Instead of purchasing a fancy wedding cake, we have asked guests to bring along their favourite bake – nothing fancy, just a tasty cake to add to the cake table and serve as dessert. I have also made three, but as I’ll be busy with other preparations, I chose my favourite Dairy Diary bakes that can be frozen.

Here are the three recipes – they’re ideal for any type of occasion, such as parties, fetes and fairs when you want to bake ahead. Just defrost the day before.



Frosty Lemon Cake

Frosty Top Lemon Cake

  • Servings: 10 slices
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Calories 136 per portion
Fat 6g (2.9g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • For the cake
  • Butter 50g (2oz), at room temperature
  • Caster sugar 75g (3oz)
  • Self-raising flour 75g (3oz)
  • Ground almonds 25g (1oz)
  • Egg 1 Lemon ½, grated zest only
  • For the topping
  • Lemon ½, juice only
  • Granulated sugar 50g (2oz)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4, then strip line and grease a 450g (1lb) loaf tin with non-stick baking paper or use silicone bakeware.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all the cake ingredients until smoothly blended. Spread the mixture in the tin and bake for 35 minutes until just firm to the touch.
  3. For the topping, mix the lemon juice with the sugar and spoon it evenly over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Leave in the tin to cool for at least 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Slice for serving.

Cook’s tip
Leave out the lemon zest and topping but add 50g (2oz) dried fruit to the mixture and sprinkle the top with 25g (1oz) chopped hazelnuts before baking.



Chocolate Fudge Cake

Chocolate Fudgey Cake

  • Servings: 16-20 squares
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Calories 202 per portion
Fat 11g (3g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Cocoa powder 75g (3oz)
  • Eggs 3
  • Light muscovado sugar 250g (9oz)
  • Olive oil or rapeseed oil 125ml (4fl oz)
  • Self-raising flour 150g (5oz)
  • Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
  • Dark chocolate 150g (5oz), broken into chunks
  • Butter 25g (1oz)
  • Milk 4 tbsp
  • Golden syrup 1 tbsp
  • Milk chocolate 50g (2oz), broken into pieces and melted in a bowl over a pan of hot water


  1. Whisk 50g (2oz) cocoa powder with 100ml (3½fl oz) boiling water in a small bowl until smooth. Leave to cool for a few minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and line a 33 x 22cm (13 x 9in) tray bake tin with non-stick baking paper.
  3. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, sugar and oil for 3 minutes, until smooth, using an electric whisk.
  4. Mix in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa paste. Pour into the tin and allow to settle.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake is risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  6. To make the icing, melt the dark chocolate with the butter in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir until smooth. At the same time, mix the remaining cocoa powder, milk and syrup in a pan and heat until almost boiling. Whisk it into the chocolate mixture to make a glossy icing.
  7. Smooth the icing over the cake, drizzle with the milk chocolate and leave to set. Cut into squares.

To serve now: Enjoy the cakes and keep any extras in an airtight container for a few days.

To freeze: Place in rigid plastic containers in a single layer or between sheets of greaseproof paper. Cover, seal and label. Use within 2 months.

To serve from the freezer: Thaw at room temperature for about 2 hours or until defrosted.



Gooey Gingerbread

  • Servings: 18 bars
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Calories 157 per portion
Fat 6g (3.5g sat) per portion
Suitable for vegetarians
Suitable for freezing


  • Butter 110g (4oz)
  • Granulated sugar 75g (3oz)
  • Golden syrup 225g (8oz)
  • Marmalade 2 tbsp
  • Self-raising flour 225g (8oz)
  • Ground ginger 2 tsp
  • Bicarbonate of soda ½ tsp
  • Milk 150ml (¼ pint)
  • Eggs 2


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Butter a small roasting tin measuring about 18 x 28 x 4cm (7 x 11 x 1½in) and base line with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, syrup and marmalade into a saucepan and heat, stirring, until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Mix the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl, then stir into the cooled butter and sugar mixture.
  4. Beat the milk and eggs together, then stir into the ginger mixture. Pour into the prepared tin, level the surface and cook for about 25 minutes until the cake is well risen and golden. The cake is ready when the top springs back when pressed with your fingertips.
  5. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then take it out of the tin, peel off the paper and cut it into bars.

Cook’s tips
To store, wrap in foil and then keep in an airtight tub or tin.
It’s also delicious as a pudding with a splash of hot custard.



Just For One Or Two cookbookThere are plenty more freezable recipes in the Eat & Freeze section of our fab cookbook; Just for One or Two.

The Just For One Or Two cookbook shows you how to cook delicious meals for one or two people with little effort and minimal waste.

A superb collection of recipes for all occasions including delicious main courses, sumptuous desserts and brilliant bakes.

Excellent value £8.25







5 Positive Things to Do

Positive Thinking

I’m not sure if positive thinking is a learned behaviour…

or if it’s within our genetic make-up, maybe a bit of both. I’m lucky (I think) to be a natural optimist, but my parents did teach me to notice and focus on the beauty around me – from a stunning rainbow to a simple pattern of raindrops on a window pane, and I think that this appreciation of small things makes me more prone to positivity.

It does us all good to step back once in a while and have a think. An article on positive thinking in this year’s Dairy Diary says this:

‘A step towards positive thinking is to take time to appreciate life in general, and your own life in particular. Remember to stop and smell the roses – that may be a well-worn notion but it works.

‘Some people call it living in the moment, becoming aware of everything around you – sights, smells, sounds, tastes, your feelings, yourself. Focus on things as they are at that moment, accept them without judgement, and you will start to see things you have taken for granted in a new light.’


Here are 5 things that we can all do this week to help us feel more positive.

  1. Pay someone a compliment; if you think notice someone wearing a pretty dress, doing a good job or being kind, tell them, even if it’s a stranger. It will make them feel good and you feel good too.

  2. Look for beauty in nature; from the dew on a flower to an early misty morning or even birdsong, there’s always something you can find, notice and appreciate.

  3. Find somewhere quiet and concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes. Breathe in slowly, hold for a count of six, breathe out slowly. Feel the sensation of breathing.

  4. Sometimes we so used to being surrounded by negativity that we hardly notice it. Take a few days break from TV; the news, documentaries or even soaps can make us feel very downcast. Listen to some music that you love instead.

  5. Do a little good turn. Something simple like baking a cake for a friend or a neighbour. Why not try the Dairy Diary recipe below. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

Try this irresistible Raspberry & Macadamia Cake recipe from The Dairy Book of Home Cookery.




Recipe of the Week: Christmas Mincemeat Cakes

Christmas Mincemeat Cakes

Christmas Mincemeat Cakes

Not just for mince pies, here mincemeat is mixed with cake mixture and baked in a muffin tin to make these adorable little cakes – ideal for everyone, young and old.

Click here to read the recipe.

Christmas Mincemeat Cakes recipe



Dairy Diary 2017

This recipe is one of the weekly recipes that feature in the 2017 Dairy Diary.

Britain’s best-loved diary is both practical and pretty, and is the perfect choice for planning your busy life.

  • Clear week-to-view A5 2017 diary
  • Easy-to-prepare inspirational recipes
  • Essential kitchen and home information
  • Budgeting, conversions, addresses, etc.

Great value at just £7.99

Click here to find out more.






Competition: Win an amazing Christmas baking set

Win a Christmas Baking Set

Win an amazing Christmas baking set

Dairy Diary is giving you the chance to win everything you need to creative gorgeous Christmas bakes that will wow your friends and family!

Make baking a breeze with this fabulous Vonshef Baking set, which comprises:

  • Digital Jug Bowl Scale
  • 3-tier cooling rack
  • Fabulous 3-tier cupcake carrier




Christmas Mincemeat Cakes

Impress family and friends with these wonderful Christmas Mincemeat Cakes.

One of the inspirational weekly recipes in the 2017 Dairy Diary, Britain’s favourite diary since 1982!

Christmas Mincemeat Cakes







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