L’Orchidee, The Village, Westfield London

Vixxy P rating:  P P P P P

As we braced ourselves, we knew it needed to be quick. Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush on a Saturday is no easy task, and when it is the only place that we could get to that has most of the retailers we needed to visit, we knew there was no option. We took a deep breath and dived in. Mission was almost complete and we could see the end in site, then the dreaded loo stop. Always at the wrong time and always just when you don’t want it. In the search for the holy ‘Ladies Loo’ I discovered Westfield’s latest and best addition – L’Orchidee.

For those who don’t know about L’Orchidee it is a luxury boutique patisserie set up by two amazing patisserie chefs who supply a number of high end venues including Fortnum & Mason and other fine hotel establishments. The offer an stunning range of macarons, cakes and many more you can drool over. The staff are lovely, ever so friendly and are knowledgeable. They will recommend based on your taste and are lovely and helpful.

Just in case you were wondering, we did find the loo in time!

Prices: Individual Macarons start from £1.80, they offer selection boxes (like the one below), cakes are individually priced per types. For the placement of the cafe, the prices aren’t that bad, but lets face it, it’s a posh cafe in the posh area of Westfield, but I can recommend for a moment where you just need to indulge, choose L’Orchidee.

Great for: When the shopping gets too much (for medicinal purposes only I recommend a glass of Prosecco and a few of these beauties – see below)

Vixxy P’s Menu faves:

Amazing flavours to try: Kia Royal, Salted Caramel, Raspberry, Peanut Butter,



 Macaron vs. Macaroon

What do you say? This is a hot debate between me and my friends, we have many different sides to the argument, and even though Wikipedia states it is Macarons there is room for regional and diversity in terminology! What’s your favourite – Macarons or Macaroons?

Contact Details:

Address: First Floor, The Village, Westfield London, Ariel Way, London W12 7GF

Telephone: unknown

Website: http://uk.westfield.com/shop/stores/lorchidee/london?retailer=53418

Facebook: L’Orchidee

Twitter: L’Orchidee

Google +: L’Orchidee


Easy Gingerbread cake

Although the weather in London this week’s has become fairly mild, we are officially in the depths of Autumn. I know this as my craving for sweet deep and warming flavours like ginger, nutmeg and other spices has started creeping in to my mind.

This recipe I worked on with my fellow baker Sam and I have to say is now a firm favourite. This tray bake is a winner not only because of the taste but also it is  multi-purpose! Hot, cold, fresh or a few days old it still tastes wonderful. The rich flavours are so warmly wonderful you almost want it to be cold outdoors so you can snuggle up with a hot drink and a slice of this gingerbread cake.

Image of Gingerbread cake

Gingerbread cake I made for Halloween 2012

Last year I prepared these for my annual Halloween party and used ready made icing to cut out little ghosts to put on top which were very popular! This is definitely also something you could do for Christmas, and replace the little ghost with a little christmas tree or holly leaf. I love versatility in a bake!


425g Golden Syrup

115g Unsalted Butter

65g Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

50g Orange Marmalade

2 Large Eggs

160ml Milk (I used semi skimmed)

115g Self Raising Flour

115g Wholewheat Flour

1.5 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

4 tsp Ground ginger (This is for quite spicy gingerbread cake, if you don’t want it quite as spicy use only 2 tsp)

0.5 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

A pinch of salt


1. Pre-heat the oven to 160c

2. Line a traybake tin or any tin you have (I used a foil traybake tin from Lakeland) with greaseproof paper or parchment

3.  Put the butter, sugar, golden syrup and marmalade in a pan together and heat over a medium/low heat until well mixed. Put this aside to cool for 10mins.

4. Whisk in a bowl the eggs and milk and add* to the liquid mixture whisking these both together. *Make sure the liquid mixture is cool enough other wise the egg mix will scramble!

5. In a large bowl or alternatively in your food mixer mix together all the dry ingredients – all flours, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt

6. Add the liquid mix to the dry ingredients mix thoroughly till fully combined and smooth

7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin

8. Bake for 50-60mins, check after 50mins just in case. You will know when it is ready as the cake will be springy and when prodded will come out clean

9. Keep the gingerbread cake in the tin to cool on a wire rack, it may shrink away from the sides of the tin, don’t worry that is ok!

10. Whilst this was cooling I rolled out some ready made icing, cut out the ghost shapes and then used black icing colour to dot on the icing to make the eyes.

11. Once the gingerbread cake had cooled I cut the cake into 15 pieces

12. I used orange marmalade to brush on the back of the cut out ghosts and then fixed one per square of cake

After a few days if you still have some of this cake left, I recommend taking off the icing shapes, placing in a dessert bowl, heating up in the microwave for 1 minute and serving with custard! YUM!

Vixxy’s Secret Valentine Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting

Secret Valentine Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting recipe

With the annual gushy-lovey day approaching and a spare rainy Sunday I decided to attempt a recipe I have been thinking about for a while, trying to work out how to get a secret little cake within a cake (inspired by The Great British Bake Off, and also that well known baker of cake Lauren Conrad!)
Have to admit, my man and I do enjoy an excuse to go out for a nice meal and some time together but we don’t really ever celebrate on the day itself. I’m a bit of a miser with money and hate the inflated for one day only prices and also gushing love really does put me off my meal when I am surrounded by couples declaring their undying forevers to each other whilst I’m tucking into something utterly delicious… bleurgh.

Anyways, on with the recipe and not my ranting!

So here they are in all their glory.

Image of Secret Valentine's Cupcakes with Champagne frosting recipe

Secret Valentine’s Cupcakes with Champagne frosting recipe

I was rather chuffed with the outcome and hope yours will turn out the same.

Secret Valentine Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting recipe

Secret Valentine Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting recipe

The recipe I used for the batter mix was from another post I made The best Vanilla sponge recipe ever!


1. Prepare sponge batter mix as per the recipe in the link above till no. 8 in the method.

2. Divide the batter mix. I separated a third of the mixture in to a separate bowl, and the other two thirds I put to one side (even in the fridge if your kitchen is quite warm)

3. Then add red food colouring. The density of the colour is up to you, but I definitely think the more you dare, they more you are rewarded as the stark difference in colour of the sponges really adds to the secret heart in the cupcake!

4. Prepare and line a baketray (one that you would use for making flapjacks or brownies)

5. Pour the red batter mixture in to the baketray, smoothing the batter down. The aim is to have batter mixture of about half an inch or less.

6. Pop in the pre-heated oven at 180c for 15/20 mins, keep checking on it as it will cook a lot quicker than you think! (it will be slightly under cooked so will feel quite ‘wet’ but make sure it is cooked through by using a clean cocktail stick or a skewer in the middle of the tray

7. Bring the red sponge out the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely

8. Once this has cooled completely, you can either buy a mini heart shaped cutter or you can use a knife and cut out round a heart template you can cut out from paper/card

9. Cut out 12 hearts and place to one side

10. Get the plain sponge batter you have set aside

11. Set out your cases in a cupcake tray and spoon 1 spoonful of the plain mixture in each case

12. Place your red heart sponges in the middle of each cupcake case, standing up to attention rather than flat down with the pointy bit of the heart at the bottom. Press the sponge carefully down into the batter mixture. It should hopefully hold in the middle as the wet batter will hold it in place

13. Once you have placed all 12 of the hearts in the centre of the cupcake cases, divide the rest of the mixture around the all 12 of the hearts in the cases

14. Put the cupcakes back in the over and bake at the same 180 for another 20 mins. This was a little tricky as I left mine in for about 5/10 mins longer after I checked them, but use a skewer/cocktail stick to check after the initial 20mins first.

15. Once they are fully baked, place on a cooling tray. The top of the hearts may be peeping out the top of the cupcake but that is ok

16. Prepare a buttercream made up of icing sugar and unsalted butter, I don’t really have a recipe for this as I just whip room temperature/soft (not too soft!) butter and then add icing sugar till I like the taste!

17. I used flat room temperature champagne and added it very slowly so I wouldn’t ‘curdle’ the buttercream. I used about 3 ‘generous’ tablespoons! 😉

18. Once mixed together use a teaspoon to decorate the top of the cupcake, I used just enough on each one so they covered the little peeping hearts in the cupcakes.

19. Chill for half an hour so the buttercream sets, then enjoy these little surprises or give them as gifts to your Valentines ( there are 12 so I am not judging anyone on how many people they give one to!)

My Grandma’s incredibly moist Christmas Fruit cake

So slice up that fruitcake and get ready to argue over the bit with the biggest helping of icing!

Grandma's fruit cake recipe

Grandma’s fruit cake recipe

I love Christmas cake, the rich flavours and plump fruit nestled under a beautiful blanket of marzipan and icing. I’m part of a wonderfully large northern family and a great tradition that orginates from up nurrrf is Christmas cake and cheese! Yes! I kid you not. It has to be tried to be believed. Take a slice of a beautiful christmas cake and take a slice of a hard british cheese like a cheddar or a leicester and try it. I don’t have a scientific or logical explanation on why it works, but it does! Just put it down to a taste sensation!

Grandma's fruit cake recipe

Grandma’s fruit cake recipe

Ok… so onto this recipe. I don’t know where Grandma got this from, it could be from Be-ro, Delia, Mavis or anyone else! But all I know is it works, it is beautifully moist and it is so soft and tender. The fruit are still plump and juicy and the sponge is perfectly spiced. You can add a bit more variety by adding different nuts, cherries or slices of stem ginger, but on to the recipe!

This makes a 1x 21cm round cake.


850g Sultanas

225g Raisins

225g Currants

100g Stoned Prunes chopped

100g Mixed chopped peel

210ml Dry sherry

50ml Orange cordial

1 Large orange – rind and juice

1 Lemon – rind and juice

275g Softened unsalted butter

225g Dark soft brown sugar

275g Plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp grated nutmeg

5 Large eggs

2 tbsp Apricot jam

1 tbsp Black treacle


1. Pre-heat over to 140C/275F Wash and dry dried fruit if needed

2. Put all the dried fruit in large pan with the prunes and peel

3. Add 110ml of the sherry, cordial, rind and juice of the orange and lemon

4. Stir the mixture over a medium heat till the fruit steams (about 5-10mins)

5. Turn into a bowl making sure no juices are wasted, cover immediately with cling film and leave overnight!

6. If you are going to add anything extra like ginger, nuts or cherries add them after leaving them overnight

7. In a large bowl cream softened butter with sugar till fluffy

8. Beat eggs together and put to one side and add 4 tablespoons of the beaten eggs to the butter and sugar, beat ensuring everything is fully mixed

9. Sieve all dry ingredients together then add 4 tablespoons of the dry ingerdients to the creamed mixture

10. Gradually add the rest of the egg mixture, beating after every addition. (Add a little flour from the dry ingredients if it starts to curdle)

11. Beat in the jam and the treacle

12. Fold in the remaining dry ingredients till well mixed

13. Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, mix in fruits until completely mixed through

14. Turn cake mixture into a greased or lined tin

15. Smooth top and bake for 4 hours. Test cake, by skewer in middle, if not cooked try 15 more minutes and test again

16. Remove cake from over, while still warm sprinkle over 100ml of sherry and leave to cool in the tin, leaving cake uncovered for 24hrs

17. After 24hrs wrap the cake in foil or parchment paper and store in an airtight box until you are ready to decorate. I would leave it at least 2 weeks in the box so it has time to settle and all the fruit can fully take in all the extra sherry.

18. Merry Christmas!

The best Vanilla sponge recipe ever!

The best Vanilla sponge recipe ever!

I have to admit straight away this is NOT my own sponge recipe!  But I have to share this. Cakes are my passion and you can’t get more classic than a vanilla sponge. With the classic and simple comes complication. The more simple the sponge the tricker it is to get right as you can’t hide a not-so good cake behind textures and flavours.

This has to be the best recipe I have tried and tasted so far! If you have one to rival it I would love to know!

Mary Berry - photo by Megan Taylor for The Telegraph Online

Mary Berry – photo by Megan Taylor for The Telegraph Online

The recipe is by the cake goddess herself Mary Berry. My mother had the fortune of taking an AGA course with her at her home many moons ago, and said she is the sweetest and most gentle soul who loves cakes, baking and sharing her experience with others. What a lovely lady!  Her sponge recipe is taken from:

Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets

The best Vanilla sponge recipe ever!

The best Vanilla sponge recipe ever!

So here is my recipe for a wonderful vanilla sponge topped with sweet buttercream and fresh strawberries. The key thing about baking is technique, you don’t have to have top quality ingredients if you can’t get them or afford them. It is the technique and process you follow. You can do this, I promise! Just have a go!



225g Unsalted butter (*important* room temperature, soft to touch but not melted)

225g Caster sugar

225g Self-raising flour

4 large eggs (*important* room temperature)

1tsp Vanilla essence

1tbsp milk (*important* room temperature)


150g Unsalted butter

300g Icing sugar

140ml whipped cream

1 punnet of fresh strawberries


1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350F/gas 4 and grease your chosen tin(s). Put the soft butter into a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer for a minute until very smooth and creamy.

2. Gradually beat in the sugar, then keep on beating for 3 or 4 minutes or until the mixture turns almost white and becomes very fluffy in texture; scrape down the bowl from time to time.

3. Break the eggs into a small bowl, add the vanilla and the eggs into a small bowl, add the vanilla and beat lightly with a fork just to break them up.

4. Slowly add to the creamed mixture, a tablespoon at a time, giving the mixture a good beating after each addition and frequently scraping down the bowl. This will take about 5 minutes.

5. If the mixture looks as if it is about to curdle, add a tablespoon of the sifted flour and then continue adding the last portions of egg.

6. Sift the flour again, this time onto the mixture and add the milk

7. Gently but thoroughly fold the flour into the mixture using a large metal spoon. Do this as lightly as possible so you don’t knock out any of the air you have beaten in.

8. Stop folding when there are no streaks of flour visible in the mix and no clumps at the bottom of the bowl.

9. Spoon the mix into a tin (mine was a silicone Mickey Mouse shaped one!), or into two tins if you want to create a sandwich cake

10. Spread the mixture evenly in the tin(s) right to the edges

11. Bake for 20/25 mis or until a golden brown and the sponges are springy when gently pressed with your fingertip. They should almost double in size during baking.

12. Whilst the sponge is baking take the butter, icing and cream and mix thoroughly in a bowl with a metal spoon. Once mixed pop in the fridge to chill

13. Remove the tins from the oven and leave for a minute – the sponges will contract slightly. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of each tin to loosen the sponge, then turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool.

14. Once the sponge has chilled spoon and spread the buttercream on the sponge, spreading to the outside of the cake

15. Hull the strawberries and slice them in two so they have a flat surface to place on the icing

16. Stick the strawberries to the buttercream icing on the cake to cover the cake. You could also sift icing sugar over the cake if you wish.

17. Enjoy!

The Best Carrot Cake you’ll ever bake recipe

The Best Carrot Cake you'll ever make

I know that is quite a statement, and I suppose maybe I should put a few disclaimers in there stating that it depends on the quality of your oven, the ingredients you use blah blah blah…

But I am not. I am going to say it and stick by it. You will have to let me know if you think it is true!

I adapted this recipe as I have to give credit to the original recipe which is from BBC GoodFood. But I think my little additions make it more moist, and tantalizingly earthy.

The picture below doesn’t do it justice, and also… I sliced the cake in half so this is only the top half of the cake! I had to slice it for transportation reasons as it was a gift for someone. But believe me this baby rises HIGH!

The Best Carrot Cake you'll ever make

The Best Carrot Cake you’ll ever make


300g Plain Flour

2 tsp mixed spices

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g soft brown sugar

4 eggs

200ml sunflower oil

50ml Orange Squash (I use Robinson’s R Orange Squash)

1 orange zested

1 lemon, zested

200g carrots, grated

150g pecans, smashed/chopped

Small tin of pineapple pieces

200g unsalted butter softened at room temperature

200g icing sugar

250g cream cheese


1. Pre-heat the oven to 150c/300F/Gas Mark 2

2. Prepare and line a deep cake tin (20cm ideally)

3. Mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sugar

4. In a separate bowl or jug beat the eggs with the oil and then add the orange squash, orange and lemon zests.

5. Pour the carrots to the egg/oil and mix well

6. Slowly mix this into the dry ingredients until well combined and you have a sticky shiny batter

7. Fold the nuts and pineapple (try and make sure the pineapple is as well drained as possible – I sometime put it on kitchen roll to absorb the liquid) into the batter

8. Spoon the batter into the lined tin and make sure the surface of the batter in the tin is as flat as you can (use your spoon or spatula to smooth the mixture so it has a level/even surface)

9. Pop in the oven for 1hr 20 mins (test this as this may vary from cake to cake – it does for me!)

10. Once the cake is baking beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy, add the icing sugar slowly! I have learned the painful way with this stage when not wearing an apron!

11. Add all the cream cheese and beat till it is a silky creamy cream cheese icing

12. Pop the cream cheese icing in the fridge and let it chill until the cake it cooked and cooled

13. Once the cake has cooled, take out the icing and decorate, I vary the way I apply the icing from having it just on top of the cake like in the photo above, or alternatively you could cover the entire cake in cream cheese icing which is when you are feeling particularly indulgent! (I have put the measurements in the ingredients for if you want to cover the entire cake, as another thing you could do is half the cake and make two if you wish!)

14. Enjoy!


Cadbury Chocolate Philadelphia Baked Cheesecake

Cadbury's Chocolate Philadelphia Baked Cheesecake

If you live in the UK you have probably seen something rather odd sat in the refrigerated shelves next to the soft cheeses.  Kraft/Cadbury’s have launched a chocolate philadelphia spread which is aiming to take on the almighty Nutella.

Cadbury's Chocolate Philadelphia

 So obviously something so peculiar sparked an interest and I made it my mission to discover this mysterious collaboration.  This included hunting my local shops and supermarkets, and even taking to my social media pages to ask if anyone has seen it!

Finally I found what I was looking for, I purchased 4 tubs, as there was one thing I was dying to try, and that was my favourite American baked cheesecake recipe.  And you know what… it was fantastic!  It is even better when it is really chilled.  Try it, you’ll see what I mean!

Cadbury's Chocolate Philadelphia Baked Cheesecake


16 Digestive biscuits

110g butter, just melted

600g cream cheese (if you want to try the recipe I did use the Cadbury’s Philadelphia cream cheese)

2 tbsp plain flour

175g caster sugar

vanilla extract

2 eggs, plus 1 yolk

142ml sour cream


1. Heat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4

2. Crush the biscuits in a food processor or in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin

3.Mix with the melted butter and press into a 20cm spring form tin and bake for 5 minutes, then cool (to speed this up you could put it in the fridge)

4.Beat the cream cheese with the flour, sugar, a few drops of vanilla, eggs, the yolk and the sour cream until light and fluffy

5.Pour into the tin on top of the biscuit base

6.Bake for 40mins and then check.  It should be set but slightly wobbly to touch.  Turn off the oven and leave in the oven to cool down

7. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving

N.B – Don’t be impatient with this!  The cheesecake will split and it tastes rubbish if you don’t let it cool properly.

Vixxy P’s ‘Now that’s just ridiculous’ Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Oreo cake

Well, finally we got our snow, didn’t we?! For about 24hrs! Some people love the snow (like me) and some people hate it.  But either way it happened and I was thankful that we didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything while it was here.  My boyfriend put his feet up and watched footballers run round a snowy pitch, and I decide to go do what any baker does on a snowy day…experiment!

Snowy Footballers                                            Snowy London












The base of this recipe is my mum’s double chocolate cake, but with a Vixxy P twist!  I always have to take things that bit further!

Vixxy P's 'Now that is Ridiculous' Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Oreo Cake

serves 10-12


170g Butter/Marg

170g Caster Sugar

170g Self Raising flour

3 Eggs

6 tbsp Milk

6 tsp Cocoa Powder

3 tbsp crunchy Peanut Butter

Decoration and Filling:

3 tsp Vanilla extract

180g Icing Sugar

50g Butter (room temperature)

5-6 Oreo cookies



1. Pre heat the oven to 170c/325f/Gas Mark 3, line and prepare two sandwich cake tins

2. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy

3. Beat the eggs in the mix one by one

4. Sift the cocoa powder and flour into the mix and combine

5. Add the peanut butter one tablespoon at a time and then add the milk slowly to the mix and combine completely until you have a thick batter

6. Divide the batter between the tins and place in the oven for 20 mins or so

7. When the cakes are cooked through, set aside and let them cool

8.  Whilst they are cooling you can prepare the butter cream.  Combine the icing sugar, with the butter until pale and fluffly, add the vanilla extract and mix until fully combined

9. When the cakes have cooled half the buttercream and spread a generous layer on one cake and sandwich with the other cake layer.  Spread the remaining butter cream in the centre of the top cake layer and add the oreo cookies for decoration

Enjoy… beware this is a very intense cake!  Let me know what you think!


The New Year Leftover Cake

The New Year Leftover Cake

This was a little experiment of mine with some leftover mincemeat after the festive season.  It is a wonderful light but very moist loaf cake which is enhanced by the fruit from the mincemeat.  Go on try it.  It is a fantastic afternoon tea cake!


225g Self Raising Flour

225g Caster Sugar

225g Butter

4 Eggs

3 tbsp Mincemeat


1. Heat the oven to 180c/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper

2. Beat together the butter and sugar till pale and creamy

3. Add the eggs one at a time, slowly mixing through each one

4. Sift in the flour, and add 3 heaped tablespoons of Mincemeat, mix these ingredients through till the batter is fully combined

5. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and level the top of the mixture with a spoon

6. Bake for 45-50  minutes.  Test with a skewer, if it comes out clean then it is done

7. Let the cake cool, for decoration sprinkle some icing sugar over the cake if desired


This recipe is the intellectual property of Victoria Proctor 2012

The ‘Not for Long’ Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

The 'Not For Long' Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

You see, I say ‘Not For Long’ as this is so addictive you will want to go back for more!

If you like an American ‘baked’ cheesecake then this is an easy version.  It is a recipe I found on a website somewhere from someone’s grandmother in Chicago, which I have adapted to what you can get here in the UK.  I sometimes add a layer of toffee sauce between the biscuit base and the mixture and top it off with crumbled Cadbury’s flake, but this is a blank canvas and you can go in which ever way you fancy with this dessert.  But a warning: It is guaranteed to be addictive!

Serves 10-12


16 Digestive biscuits

100g butter melted

600g cream cheese

2 tbsp plain flour

180g caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, and 1 yolk

142ml pot of soured cream


1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 c/350f/Gas Mark 4 and grease a 20cm spring form tin

2. Crush the biscuits in a food processor or in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin

3. Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter.  Press into the tin and bake for 5 minutes then take it out and cool it (you could even put this in the fridge if you are in a hurry)

4. Beat the cream cheese with the flour, sugar, vanilla, eggs, yolk and soured cream till light and fluffy.  This can be done by hand or in a food mixer using the beater attachment

5. Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base in the tin and then bake for 40 minutes.

6. After the time is up, turn off the oven, check the cheesecake, it should be set and wobble slightly in the middle leave in the oven to cool for 10-15 minutes

7.  After that take it out of the oven and leave to cool in it’s tin and ideally store in the fridge for an hour or so

8.  Add any toppings you wish and serve!


This recipe is the intellectual property of Victoria Proctor 2012