14/08/2014 13:17 BST | Updated 14/10/2014 06:12 BST

Apple, Ginger and Maple Syrup Layer Cake Recipe


Image copyright Holly Bell

Can we talk about my backside? Just for a moment.

I have spent most of my teenage and adult life being unhappy with my weight. Is that shocking? I don't think so. I'm female, I like my food A LOT and I like tight jeans. Add these three things together and you have the perfect recipe for a little body wise self loathing. The last time I remember being rather happy with my body was in 1995. I was 15 and a size 10. Life was good. The tight jeans were tight, but didn't yet threaten to cut me in half at the waist.

Nineteen years later and I am battling the postnatal bulge. I managed to deliciously eat my way to 4.5 stone extra weight during this last pregnancy. Now nothing fits. The maternity clothes have no bump to hold onto. The leggings sag. The jeans fall down. The tops sadly hang over my deflated belly. I don't recognise myself in the mirror.

I wish, wish, wish I'd appreciated my body between the years 1996 to 2013. It really wasn't that bad. Yes, I often sported a few extra pounds, and no, I wasn't a size 10. But really, compared to now, I was in great shape. Sigh.

Onto the recipe. Here's a cake that almost includes one of your five a day.


For the cake:

50g dark brown sugar

100mls maple syrup

125g soft butter

2 large eggs, at room temperature

420g mixed dried fruit ( I used sultanas and figs, chopped)

20g mixed peel

50mls milk

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

275g self raising flour

3 braeburn apples, grated with skin on (approx 285g)

10g crystallised ginger, finely chopped

For the icing:

75g soft butter

60mls maple syrup

200g cream cheese

To decorate:

7 pieces of crystallised ginger


First make the cake. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark four and grease and line three x 20cm cake tins.

Beat the sugar, 100ml maple syrup and 125g butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Worry not if the mixture curdles. Remove 55g of the mixed fruit and blitz in a food processor with the mixed peel and milk to make a paste. Add this along with all the other cake ingredients into the bowl and mix for a 3 or 4 minutes until everything is well combined. Split the mixture evenly between the three tins, level with the back of a spoon and bake for 30 minutes until golden and lightly risen.

In the meantime make the icing by beating the butter with the maple syrup until soft and combined. Add the cream cheese and beat a little more until well mixed. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes before spreading to let the icing re-solidify. (Beating cream cheese makes it very loose.)

Once the cakes are baked cool on a wire rack. Once completely cool split the icing into thirds to layer the cake together, finishing with a final third on the top. Cut six of the pieces of ginger in half and use to decorate around the outside. Place the last piece of ginger in the middle.

Holly's first book is out now called Recipes from a Normal Mum and is available through Amazon, The Book People, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Waitrose and lots of smaller independents.

Holly blogs at Recipes from a Normal Mum