How to Make Easy Jam Tarts with Kids

The kids are at it again – showing us how easy it is to get busy in the Kitchen! Today the boy makes some delicious Jam Tarts and they are SO SO EASY!!!!!!! Really.. take a look.yt2To make these Jam Tarts you will need:

  • Pastry (you can buy it or shortcrust pastry recipe)
  • Jam (use jam, not marmalade.. yuk.. who likes that! Ha)
  • A glass
  • A muffin tin

Preheat the oven to 180C and bake for approx 10-15min

And this is How To make these Jam Tarts:

Aren’t they just yummy?!

Chocolate Surprise Cake – will with favourite treats

A super quick post to share the hubby’s Birthday cake – it was a “Sweetie Chocolate layered surprise cake”. It sounds far more grand and difficult to make than it is….. and everyone LOVED the surprise!!! The key to the “flatness of the cake” (my mother in law was asking), is to bake 4 “thinner” cakes. rather than say, two bigger ones and then cutting those in half to layer… my thinner cakes just didn’t rise as much and ended up much flatter naturally!

Chocolate Surprise CakeTo make i..

  • Use your favourite Vanilla sponge recipe x 2
  • Make up your mixture and then halve.. had  2-3 table spoons of cocoa (mixed with a little milk) to half the mixture.
  • Bake in four round baking trays

Chocolate Surprise Cake filled with sweets

  • Once cooled, make your favourite Butter Icing Filling
  • Make a big hole in the middle and the stack your 4 layers with the icing
  • Fill with sweets

Chocolate Surprise Cake

Once assembled use some of that “melt & spread” cake covering you can get from the shops (I actually found this the hardest bit)! and top with some unwrapped treats (ours are fudge sweets and twirls).

Chocolate Surprise Cake - filled with treats



Super Easy Moist Chocolate Cake (Malteser Cake!)

Sooo it is that time again at Life At The Zoo – we are bang in the middle of our family “birthday season”.. and with family birthdays.. comes the need for CAKE! We all like a yummy cake now and again, but it is nice to make your cake a little bit more special for a birthday. Special, does not mean difficult.. here we have a super easy moist chocolate cake recipe (really, so easy, so rich and tasty) and we a little trick or two we dressed it up into this three layered delicious Maleteser cake. Mother in law was delighted!

Maltese moist chocolate cakeEasy Malteser Cake

Visit our Easy Chocolate & Raspberry Cake recipe.. and make these simple changes:

  • This time I used three medium sized cake tins (instead of one or two and having to cut the what is a very moist cake). In fact I lie.. I used 3 medium sized tins. And two mini ones.. to make an extra mini cake for the kids…
  • Take cake out of oven, when a skewer “test” shows that the cake is cooked
  • I omitted the “Gelatine” from the raspberry cream, as faffy.. just add a handful of raspberries to the cream on the inside of cake (I used about 2/3s of one pot of double cream for this
  • Buy Maltesers and pop them on top

Malteser Cake - Easy chocolate cake recipe

This chocolate cake really is sooooooo easy! The kids loved the mini cake too!

Easy Chocolate CakeAnd here you see the Raspberry Cream. Yum!


Choc & Raspberry Muffins

Sorry! No photo this time. What a shame too, as the muffins did look rather scrummy, if I say so myself – even if the icing was a bit runny! No photos as they ALL got scoffed before I remembered to take one. And I tell you, that is quite an achievement, I made 12 + a cake (the original ingredients were for far too many, the recipe below is adjusted for about 12 muffins!!!). Much to the dismay of The Englishman and Red Ted, half he cake went to neighbours (saying thanks for all the fab hand me downs we get) and 10 muffins to a tea party in Ham!

Enough. Here is he recipe:


  • 110g Butter
  • 225g Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 110g flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt (unless you have used salted butter)
  • 60g coco powder
  • 120g milk
  • 1tsp vanilla


  • 150g Butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • handful of raspberries


Mix sugar and butter. Add eggs & vanilla. Mix all dry ingredients, then add alternating with the milk. Bake in 180 C approx 25min – but check. Also used these ingredients in a cake tin and it worked!!


Now my icing went all wrong. So the above is guess work. Not v helpful, eh? But it was yummy and the yummy bit where the raspberries. So. Advice from icing queen: use lots of butter. Whisk for AGES until it is nice and soft. Add some liquidised/ blended raspberries and then icing sugar. Don’t add all the raspberries (like i did) as they are v liquidy. Once you have a nice consistency, add remaining quartered raspberries for flavour and texture.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

How we love the good old traditional cakes! This is a classic German “Hazelnut Torte”, but a really simple and straight forward recipe! It is delicious and my family loves it.

easy chocolate hazelnut cake

The basic cake is easy. And then you can “jazz” it up with some toppings and fillings!

I decide to go for a chocolate butter cream filling AND a ganache topping. Yes a bit OTT, after all the traditional cake is “just” the hazelnut cake with a simple chocolate coating. But this IS Daddy’s Birthday. So we HAD to make it special.

It has taken me about five cakes to finally get the ganache right and there are some tips below to help you succeed too!

Take the bits that appeal to you!


  • 250g room temp butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 packets of avnilla-sugar or a tea spoon of vanilla essence
  • 300g sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 140g ground hazelnuts
  • 140g chopped hazelnuts
  • 12 whole nuts for garnish (optional)
Filling – Buttercream icing
  • 110g room temp unsalted butter
  • 170g icing sugar
  • 55g cocoa powder
  • 2 tbls spoons of milk


  • 100ml single cream
  • 200g 70% Cocoa Chocolate
It is VERY important that you use 70% cocoa solids for your ganache. Lower quality chocolates contain more fats, which in turn will result in runnier toppings and a huge mess.
To Make the Cake
  1. Mix your butter, sugars, and salt until creamy
  2. Slowly add each of your 5 eggs
  3. Using a spoon, add the flour, hazelnuts and baking powder gradually and mix with your spoon
  4. Divide into two cake tins
  5. Bake in the oven at 180C for approx 30 minutes. You can also bake it one larger cake tin for 40-45minutes. Keep an eye on it, in case it is browning in which case add some tin foil to the top!
  6. Remove and let cool
Butter cream
  1. Make sure the butter is nice and soft. Add have the icing sugar and mix with hand mixer. Add the rest of the icing sugar and gradually the cocoa (if you add it all at once you will have powder everywhere).
  2. Place your first layer of cake on your serving plate. Slice off any uneveness.
  3. Carefully spread your cream.
  4. Add your second layer and place in the fridge, whilst you start on the ganache.
  1. As mentioned above, for the ganache you need good quality chocolate
  2. Melt the chocolate with the cream on low heat in a pan
  3. Pour some over the top of the cake
  4. Then let the ganach a cool A LITTLE and with a knife the spread it around the sides of the cake. Letting it cool a little helps prevent the ganache running everywhere. I poured some on the top of the cake straight away, in order to get that clean neat shine at on the top which is best achieved with hot ganache.

Enjoy! I think the Chocolate butter cream filling worked particularly well with the fluffy and light hazelnut cake. Giving it that “hint of nutella taste”.