tilly makes & bakes

Always striving to achieve a state of domestic bliss!

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Cinnamon Roll cake




This cake was inspired by the all time classic cinnamon roll or bun. There have been a few recipes floating about but I took the best of each one and adapted a bit here and there until I was completely happy with it. Luckily, we have had a few birthdays in the Tilly household so I wasn’t short of willing taste testers. No word of a lie: this cake went down a storm each time I baked it and several people have since used this recipe to make it with equal success.

Cinnamon roll cake

Ingredients for the cake batter

150 g softened butter

200 g caster sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300 ml low fat sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

300 g plain flour

Ingredients for the cinnamon swirl

160 g soft butter

130 g light brown sugar

1 tablespoon plain flour

2 tablespoons cinnamon

Ingredients for the icing

5 tablespoons icing sugar

a few drops of milk


1. Cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one. Add the vanilla.

2. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

3. Add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture in turn with the sour cream.

4. Make the cinnamon swirl by combining all the ingredients in a bowl until they form a soft paste.

5. Pour the cake batter in a greased, lined tin (I used a 30cm x 20cm rectangular tin). Dollop the cinnamon swirl on top of the batter and swirl around with a knife.

6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ºC for 35- 45 minutes (may need a little longer if not using a fan oven).

7. Whilst the cake is baking, make up the icing by whisking a few drops of milk into the icing sugar until it is a thick pouring consistency.

8. As soon as the cake comes out, drizzle the icing on top and leave to cool in the tin.


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Homemade Arancello liqueur and a month until Christmas!

Christmas enthusiasts the world over (me included) can finally freely utter the “C”-word without being frowned upon as it is now only 1 month until the big day!!

Time to start thinking about our nearest and dearest and get  those pressies sorted out. I personally believe that all pre-packed gift sets of all kind should be BANNED from the shops- urgh- there is just nothing less personal than being given a soap on a roap and a matching coffee mug in loads and loads of plastic sheet wrapping. I still remember the set of toiletries I was given one year…the box included a little flannel tied in a dinky bow. I couldn’t help but think “Thanks a lot- so you think I need a wash!?”:-)

I am a huge fan of home made presents! No amount of cash to splash can actually rival the gift of time… time invested in making somebody something special.

Homemade liqueurs are such an easy, cost effective gift to make, not to mention fun! I made this Spiced Arancello Liqueur  and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of it.


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DSC04591 Apart from the ingredients,  all you need is a 5 litre still water bottle which you can pick up in most supermarkets. When the water has been used, the nice clean bottle is ready to be filled with all your lovely boozy ingredients.  Let it all steep and mingle together for some time before decanting into lots of pretty jars or bottles. Finally, decorate the containers or bottles to your heart’s content.


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Tasty wholemeal loaf


There is something about this time of year that just makes me want to bake my own bread from scratch, especially on a grey dull day with not much else to do. I like kneading by hand, it’s kind of therapeutic. Then watching the dough do it’s thing, slowly rising. Finally smelling that home baked scent of goodness wafting from the oven as you pull out your crusty loaf. Hmmmm. I need to make this again very soon. Please don’t be alarmed by the added extra of frozen mashed potato. It really is only a small amount and hardly noticeable in taste, but it helps keep the loaf fresh for days (unless you eat it all straight away of course!)


Wholemeal loaf


375 g wholemeal bread flour

3 “sticks” frozen mashed potato diluted in the water

300 ml warm water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 sachet fast action yeast (7 g)

1. Mix the dry ingredients.

2. Add the water with diluted mash sticks.

3. Knead well.

4. Leave to rise in a warm space until doubled in size.

5. Form your loaf, place on a baking sheet and slash the top a few times to allow for even rising. Leave to rise again for about 20 minutes or so.

6. Bake in a pre heated oven at 200°C (180ºC if using a fan oven) for 35 to 45 minutes.

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Morello cherry and almond cake


This cake came about because I wanted to use up a jar of Morello cherries I had been hoarding keeping in the cupboard for ages. In case you are wondering,  I buy them in large jars from Lidl. I like to stock up on them because they remind me of my childhood but I never quite get around to using them in anything. Well, I am happy to announce that jars of Morello cherries shall not be gathering dust in my cupboard anymore! And the reason for that is this cake. I will be making this again and again!

Morello Cherry and Almond cake


 125 g soft butter

125 g sugar

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

a few drops of orange or almond essence/extract (orange will make it fresher and almond sweeter)

3 medium eggs

100 g plain flour

  ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder

1-2 tsp milk

1 jar Morello cherries, drained

1. Line and grease a round Springform tin and preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C if using a fan oven).

2. Cream together the butter and sugar, salt, vanilla extract and orange or almond essence.

3. Whisk in each egg one at a time.

4. Fold in the ground almonds.

5. Mix the flour and baking powder and fold this into the cake batter in turn with the milk.

6. Spread the cake mix into the prepared tin. Distribute the cherries evenly on top. Bake for 45 minutes. (The cherries will sink into the cake as it bakes). Dust with icing sugar to serve.

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An Autumn of firsts…

I have started back at work part time in the last few weeks which meant a tiny girl starting at nursery for the first time, early mornings and leaving the house in a semi-presentable state for the first time in what feels like ages! I feel like I am finally managing to strike  balance between work and still enjoying enough time with my girls at home. We like to make the most of our days together and these past Autumn weeks have seen a fair few “firsts”:



We have enjoyed lots of Autumn walks. The tiny one now walks along quite confidently in her first pair of wellies 🙂


I crocheted a nice snuggly cowl scarf for myself and it has already been in use several times. It was only the third item I had ever crocheted (and the first ever scarf) so I’m quite pleased with it. I tend not to use any patterns and just make it up as I go along.



I know it has been ages since Halloween now but this year for the first time we embraced the whole hoohaa and baked some themed goods to take to a friends’ house for a little party. My friends’ older daughter took my two girls trick or treating around a couple of relatives’ houses which they had never done before. Needless to say the sweets were a winner with my little girl.



I made apple pie from scratch for the first time ever using this recipe. It was really very scrummy and it made the most of our last few apples from the garden.


We made caramelised onions in our trusty slow cooker and ate them with sausages in rolls. I had never used the slow cooker for onions and I must say it really worked well. I popped them in the pot late in the morning and they cooked on low until early evening by which time they were soft and nicely browned. Success!

What have you done for the first time over the last few weeks?


Fairy princess castle cake


Tadaaah! Here is my little girls’ fourth birthday cake,  hand baked and decorated by yours truly. I know it’s by no means perfect but it was made with love. 🙂

I also craftily managed to incorporate my first ever sugar craft figurines by popping little crowns on their heads! Don’t they look right at home in their fairy castle?