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Friday, 23 September 2016

Judy Bryan's Mars Bars and Memories

A few weeks ago I was thinking of my favourite things and these include reading, writing and

CAKE! So I thought, why don't I combine these three gorgeous things on my blog and ask some

of my lovely writer friends for their favourite cake recipes. So, to get the ball rolling and following

on from my own honey cake recipe, here is the very talented Judy Bryan's recipe for Mars Bar

cakes, with some lovely memories thrown in.

Mars Bars and Memories

When Alex said she was intending to blog about people's favourite recipes, I 

immediately thought of my husband’s grandma. When my husband and I married,

32 years ago, we used to visit her every Saturday morning for a cup of tea and a 

slice of cake. Although she baked a huge variety of recipes, everyone’s favourite

was Mars Bar Krispie slices. Now aged 96, she still makes it when someone calls

in to see her.

Over the years I’ve made many trays of it with my children – as toddlers, they used to

stand on chairs to stir in the Rice Krispies, and as they grew up they enjoyed making it

themselves, although most of the mixture was ‘tested’ before it made the tin! As a 

teenager, my daughter even made a batch in the early hours one morning. She couldn’t 

sleep and needed comfort food to get over a boy who had broken her heart.

My husband and I are going to visit her at university next weekend and she’s asked us

to bring the things she’s forgotten: shoes, clothes, phone charger … plus a Tupperware

full of Mars Bar Krispies to share with her housemates. I laughingly mentioned this to my 24-

year-old son, and without missing a beat he asked for a batch when I next see him!

I hope I’m still making it when I’m 96!

Mars Bar Krispie

This is such a simple recipe, but is really delicious.

50g butter

2 Mars Bars

Rice Krispies

Chocolate to cover (1 x 150g bar of milk chocolate)


1) Melt the butter and Mars Bars over a low heat

2) Stir in sufficient Rice Krispies to saturate the mixture

3) Spread into a non-stick baking tray

4) Leave to chill in the fridge

5) Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of boiling water (without the bowl

touching the water) or in a microwave on a low setting

6) Spread quickly over the chilled mixture

7) Chill in the fridge, then cut into slices

8) Enjoy!

Judy Bryan is the author of Playground Politics, Beyond the Clouds and Behind Closed


Judy's books are all available on Amazon and you can find them here;-

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Quick Honey Cake

My mother was a wonderful cook and one of her favourite things was baking. We always had cake in the house and she loved trying new recipes. Recently, more than ten years after she died, I have been re-visiting her cookery books, not the ones she bought but the ones she compiled herself; recipes which enticed her, copied out from magazines, newspapers or passed on from friends and family. It is a poignant exercise, seeing her generous rounded hand-writing and the ingredient spattered pages. In some ways it brings her closer; in others it deepens my sense of loss.

My children, now grown, often talk of 'Grandma's recipes' and many have become our own family favourites but I had forgotten about this one. I can't remember whether we were out one day or watching television but as soon as I heard the words 'honey cake', I thought, Mummy used to make that and, sure enough, rootling through her books I found it.

It is a lovely cake, so quick and easy to make and it gets even better after a few days as the honey flavour develops and moistens the sponge. It is equally good with a cup of tea or coffee or served as a pudding, (as I did last week at a family get-together), with soft fruit and ice cream. It also freezes well.

You can use any honey but I used a truly beautiful English heather honey from Littleover Apiary, (available from Waitrose), where, during late Summer, the hives are placed on the moors in the North of England for the bees to do their work. The taste transferred from those flowers is sublime!

So here it is - one of the cakes my mother used to make:-

Quick Honey Sponge

4oz butter or margarine
1 good dessert spoon of honey of your choice
2 eggs (unbeaten)
3tbsp milk
4oz castor sugar
5oz self-raising flour
Half tsp baking powder

Chop up fat and place in warmed bowl with other ingredients. Beat until smooth. Pour into loaf tin and bake for about 20/25 minutes.

That's it! Couldn't be simpler. I'm afraid that I can't tell you what temperature to bake it at as my Mum hasn't specified and I have an Aga. But I'd definitely check it after fifteen to twenty minutes and if it looks as if it is catching a little around the sides just put a piece of foil over the top for the last few minutes of cooking. It doesn't make a large cake, probably about 7/8 medium slices. Last week, when we were a bit of a crowd, I made doubled the quantity and made two, just whisking the whole mixture up together and then dividing it into two loaf tins.

As usual I have to make a few substitutions as I'm gluten free and my daughter is dairy free but it still makes a lovely cake. Instead of butter I used Pure Sunflower Spread. The self-raising flour was Dove's Farm Gluten Free Flour and the milk was Alpro soya milk. If you're baking it for someone who's gluten free don't forget to check the baking powder as well - some of them do contain gluten.

I hope you enjoy it!