A quick cake with easy mars bar icing


I’m sharing with you my go-to quick cake recipe for when you need a cake and you need it fast. It’s perfect for when you suddenly remember the kids have friends coming for tea, it’s somebody’s birthday or when guests are coming at short notice.

This quick cake can be cooked in in less than 30 minutes so it’s a brilliant recipe to know for emergencies. It’s a good looking cake and, despite the short cuts, it tastes just as delicious as one that has taken twice as long to make.

The secret to this quick cake recipe is using rapeseed oil in place of the usual butter. It means you can by-pass the traditional cake making method. Firstly, you don’t have to spend any time creaming the butter and sugar together first, you just chuck everything into a bowl and mix it together. Secondly, you don’t have to be carefully adding the eggs one at a time to prevent them curdling, you can just chuck both eggs in at once and mix it together.

The icing is very simple too, it’s just a mars bar melted with a bit of butter & milk. This is a trick my mother in law told me about, she used to do it for her kids when they were little. Now, I always keep a supply of mars bars hidden at the back of the cupboard for emergency icing purposes. I do have to hide them as well or they get eaten by the family before I have time to use them.

Buying packs of pre-cut greaseproof paper circles is a real time saver too. They come in a range of sizes to fit most cake tins and you can buy them from poundshops and bargain homeware shops very cheaply. Using these makes short work of preparing a cake tin. Although, if you can’t get hold of any pre-cut ones, just rip a piece of greaseproof off the roll and press it roughly into the tin to cover. There’s no need for any drawing round tins and cutting out circles.

Here is how to make it:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and a line a cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Add the following ingredients to a big bowl:

4oz self raising flour

4oz rapeseed oil

4oz brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp cocoa powder

and mix together until combined.

Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden.

Leave it to cool completely.

As you can see my daughter opened the oven door to see what was cooking and the cake sunk in the middle but that’s fine. I could have re-done the cake for the photo but I decided not to because I’m all for keeping it real.This is a quick cake not a masterpiece and it happens.

To make the icing

Cut a mars bar into small chunks and put them in a heatproof bowl with 2oz butter and 1 tbsp milk.

Microwave at 30 sec intervals for 2 minutes, stirring in between, until it’s melted. It’ll be a bit lumpy at first but whisk like mad until it’s smooth.

Pour the melted mars bar over the top of the cake.

Sometime I finish with some sprinkles, chocolate buttons or sweets or you can leave it plain.

Printable version below. Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram.

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Print Recipe
Quick Mars Bar Cake
A quick and easy cake you can make in minutes
Course Home baking
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
For the icing
Course Home baking
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
For the icing
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the first seven ingredients in a bowl and mix together until combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden.
  4. Leave to cool
  1. Put the mars bar chunks in a microwaveable bowl with the butter and milk.
  2. Microwave on high at 30 sec intervals for 2 minutes, stirring in between, until melted.
  3. Pour over the top of the cake.
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Campervan Quiche Lorraine



We were staying in our campervan over the holidays and as it was a nice day, I wanted to make a quiche to take on a picnic. However, as you know when camping you don’t have access to the same extensive range of baking/cooking tins as you do at home. It’s a basic set of saucepans and a roasting tin if you’re lucky. So you have to get creative.

I decided to try using a saucepan and I have to tell you it worked a treat. Obviously I was a bit concerned about how I was going to get the quiche out after cooking as I usually use my trusty non stick springform tin.

The answer of course is grease and a whole lot of it. If you liberally grease the whole inside of the saucepan with oil to get it good and non stick before you start, the quiche just pops straight out. I used a full metal pan so that it could go in the oven. If you have a go at this, make sure your pan doesn’t have a plastic handle!

What you need

For the pastry

6oz plain flour

3oz butter

water to mix

For the filling

3 eggs

150ml milk

4 rashers of bacon, chopped up with scissors

a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

a handful of fresh spinach

salt & pepper

What to do

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Put the flour in a bowl, rub in the butter using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs and then stir in enough water (2 – 3 tbsp) using a fork to bring it together in a clump.

Grease a saucepan with oil until nicely coated and then press the pastry in the bottom and up the sides to create a pastry case.

Heat some oil in a pan and fry the bacon bits for a few minutes until golden.

Mix the eggs and milk in a jug, season with salt & pepper, add the bacon, tomato halves and spinach leaves and stir to combine.

Pour the egg mixture into the pastry case.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until golden.

Leave to cool and using a knife go around the edge of the pastry to loosen and then lift out.

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs


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An Everyday Wholemeal Bread


I can’t tell you how much I love baking my own bread. I love the science behind it. I love the feel of the dough. I love the smell when it’s baking. But most of all I love the flavour of homemade bread.

It’s a whole different species than a ready sliced loaf. For most shop bought loaves, especially white ones, the bread is just a vehicle for the sandwich filling or the toast topper and offers hardly anything in the way of nutrients and goodness. Proper bread is proper food. It’s the main event. It’s nutritious. It’s delicious. And you can cut extra thick slices.

Making your own bread means preservative and additive free. Once I’d read Rose Prince’s book “the new english kitchen changing the way you shop, cook and eat”, in particular the chapter on the bread making industry (although the chapter on margarine is a real eye opener too), and how the humble loaf of bread is adulterated with additives to make it rise quicker, improvers to make it taste better, and preservatives to make it last on supermarket shelves longer… I was completely put off buying shop bread. Even now, I look on the label to make sure that any loaf I’m buying only contains what it should…. flour, yeast, sugar, salt and water…. Making your own also means your house smells like a bakers shop, you get excellent toast and have access to the most scrumptious breadcrumbs imaginable that you can use in your cooking. Real bread just goes harder.. and staler.. as the days go by… it doesn’t get green mould on it.

I think bread making has a bad reputation. Supposedly it takes so long to make that we’ve had to resort to breadmakers because otherwise you have to knead it for ages and then wait for it to rise for hours and hours before you can even bake it.

Real bread made with yeast does take time it’s true because the yeast needs time to work it’s magic but the good news is that you don’t have to stand there watching it. The yeast will happily get on doing what it does even if you’re sleeping or out at work or shopping or whatever else you need to do.

Once you realise that you don’t have to work around the bread, the bread can work around you… making your own delicious wholemeal bread everyday becomes a real possibility.

You’ll see in this recipe that I hardly spend any time kneading the bread, a few minutes is all, and I don’t even take it out of the bowl to save making a mess. ┬áIf you’ve had a stressful day, a good ole bashing session with the bread and copious amounts of flour is a great stress buster but if you’re strapped for time, you don’t have to. Kneading the dough stretches the gluten in the flour which is what makes the bread light and fluffy inside. If you knead only a little the bread will be denser (I like it this way), if you knead for longer the bread will be lighter. The choice is yours depending on whether you can be bothered, whether you have time and what type of bread you want to eat.

The yeast will make the bread rise within an hour in a warm room. But you can leave bread dough in the fridge overnight and it will still have risen by morning. Or you can leave it on the side all day in a cool room and it’ll be done by the time you get home. Or you can speed up the rising process by putting it in a low oven for 30 minutes first before baking it. The bread can work around you.

What you need:

1lb wholemeal/granary flour
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
300ml hand hot water
1 tbsp sugar/honey
1 tsp salt
1 sachet of dried yeast

What to do:

Put the flour in a large bowl.

Then add the sugar, salt and yeast.

The best way to make the water hand-hot (i.e you can stick your hand in comfortably) is to add 100ml boiling water from the kettle and top up to 300ml with water from the cold tap. Mix the oil and water together in a jug and stir into the flour mixture.

Stir it together until it starts to form a clump.

Put a little oil on your hand and knead it for a few minutes (or 10 minutes if stressed and need the relief), pushing and pulling, until it becomes smooth

Cover with clingfilm and leave for an hour or longer (as is convenient to you) until puffed up.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, line a tin with greaseproof paper and press the dough in.

Bake for 30 minutes until risen and golden.

Hope you like this recipe and that you feel inspired to bake some bread soon.

Let me know what you think via the comments and if you make it tag a photo #sixmixtricks on instagram

Love Livs


If you like this recipe, please share it with your friends.