The Magenta Cakes Blog


Can you have your cake and eat it? Week 2

April 2nd, 2013

It’s the end of my second week on the 5:2 fast diet.  As I mentioned last week  I was wondering whether this regime would work over the Easter weekend, as I knew I would be eating out on at least three occasions over the bank holiday weekend.

Before we get to the results I’ll give you some background on the days I fasted and a breakdown of my menu plans. I’m even going to throw in one of the recipes I made. You’ll have to excuse the quality of the images as I’m more accustomed to photographing cakes than hot meals.

Fast days

I fasted on Monday and Wednesday last week and I also fasted yesterday (Monday), so you’d  be correct in thinking that I’ve had three fast days in a week. Regardless of when I take the fast days,  Tuesday each week is the day that I weigh myself to track any results.  I chose to fast yesterday as it was convenient whilst travelling home, and working it around my schedule this week.

Here are the menu breakdowns for the Monday and Wednesday:



1 ruby red grapefruit      41 calories  


½ pot Fresh Carrot & Corainder soup  89 calories


Mushroom & Aubergine Bake 336 calories

Total calories 466



40g Raspberries                       10 calories


½ pot Fresh Carrot & Corainder soup  89 calories


Vegetable curry     280 calories

40g (dried) Basmati rice 100 calories


Milk in tea       10 calories

Total 489 calories

Diary of week 2

Week 2’s fast days felt easier than the first week. My husband is following the diet with me and he felt the same too. It helps if you’re having a busy day. If hunger strikes I reach for a hot drink such as tea, coffee or water and the slight hunger pang disappears within a few minutes.

On the non-fast days I had eaten more than usual as we were staying with family over the Easter weekend. This included 3 meals out (with wine), 3 slices of my simnel cake, a chocolate brownie and a couple of crème eggs.  I did have a couple of long walks including a 20 minute run with my sister.

This week’s weight loss                                3lbs ( 1.3kg)

Total weight loss                                           6lbs ( 2.7kg)

I have to say that I’m thrilled with this result after only 2 weeks. I have generally felt less hungry on my non-fast days and my cravings to snack are not as strong as they were. Again, it’s still early days so I’ll keep you posted in the coming weeks.

Here’s a recipe for the Vegetable Curry, it’s very flavoursome and packed full of vegetables and spices.

Vegetable Curry               (for 2 people)    280 calories per person

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 medium aubergines, cubed

200g mushrooms, chopped

½ onion,  chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

½  green chilli, chopped

Pinch of cumin seeds

Tin of plum tomatoes

1 tsp turmeric

2 tbsp garam masala

2 fresh tomatoes, chopped

3 cardamom pods (seeds only)

Coriander to garnish

80g dried basmati rice


Drizzle the oil into a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the cumin seeds to the saucepan. Cook the seeds for 30 seconds and then add the onions to the pan for a couple of minutes until they soften.

Add the turmeric to the saucepan and mix, then add the aubergine to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes.

Then stir in the garlic, chilli, fresh tomatoes and cardamom seeds.

Add in the tin of tomatoes and stir, then add the garam massala and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes. Finally add in the chopped mushrooms and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Serve with boiled rice and garnish with the fresh coriander

I’ll be missing out next week’s column as I’ll be overseas on business, I’ll be back the week after (around 17th April) with my next update. If you have any feedback, or if you’ve lost weight or are following the 5:2 fast diet and would like to share your story, then please tell us in the comments box below.

Thanks Tracy x



Easter Simnel Cake + Giveaway

March 28th, 2013

The weather has been unusually cold for this time of year in the UK. Although the trees are blossoming and the spring flowers shower the garden with colour, we are reluctantly embraced with the cold temperatures of Winter.

I love to bake when it’s cold outside, and I can be cosy and warm in my kitchen. The alluring smell, the anticipation of opening the oven to a delicious cake is all part of  ‘comfort baking’. This was how I felt when I was baking this Simnel cake. The spicy fruitiness filled the kitchen and I had to remind myself that I wasn’t baking a Christmas cake, and that it is the season of Spring.

The ingredients for a Simnel cake are very similar to a festive Christmas cake, the key difference is that there is layer of marzipan in the middle and top of the cake.

According to Wikipedia Simnel cake is traditionally made for the middle Sunday of Lent. It’s unclear as to where the name came from, but the fruit cake is commonly decorated with eleven marzipan balls to represent the apostles.

I was kindly given Lisa Faulkner’s recipe for Simnel cake by a friend who raved about it.

I’ve slightly adapted parts of this recipe.  I’ve used mixed dry fruit, milk instead of brandy and I didn’t have any nutmeg so this was left out (add a 1tsp grated nutmeg if you desire).

The marzipan was ‘Natural Marizpan’ which I received from Renshaws. It worked well with the cake, and is convenient should you not want to make your own marzipan.

I’m taking this cake to my parents over the Easter break, I’ve already had a sneaky piece, and it’s tastes divine. See the recipe below should you wish to bake this for the Easter holidays.

Cake International Tickets Giveaway

As a Easter present to my lovely readers I have 5 tickets to giveaway for the Cake International Show on April 12-14 2013 at the Excel, London. Each ticket admits 2 adults to the show on any one of the show days. To enter please comment below that you’d like to win and share this giveaway on either Facebook or Twitter, as this will count as one entry.

The giveaway will end at 5pm on Wednesday 3rd April and the winners will be announced and e-mailed on Thursday 4th April 2013. Good luck!

Easter Simnel Cake recipe            makes a 23cm (9inch cake)

1kg of mixed dried fruit

125g raisins

175g glace’ cherries chopped

50g ground almonds

½ tsp mixed spice

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

300g plain flour

300g caster sugar

300g margarine

6 eggs

1-2 tbsp milk

1kg marzipan such as Renshaw’s ‘Natural Marizpan’.

Apricot jam for glazing


Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1

Line the bottom and the sides of a deep 9inch cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Place the mixed dried fruit, raisins, cherries and ground almonds in a large mixing bowl or standing mixer.

Add the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon, margarine, and sugar and beat together with either a wooden spoon or mix in a mixer.

Add the eggs one at a time, add the milk and mix well.

Take the marzipan and roll out 2 circles the same size as the tin. With the leftover marzipan roll out 11 little balls about 3cm in diameter.

Pour half of the cake mixture into the tin and level the surface. Place one of the marzipan discs on top and then pour the rest of the mixture into the tin.

Bake in the oven for about 3 hours

Leave to cool and place the cake onto a wire rack.

To decorate

Brush the top of the cake with a thin layer of apricot jam.

Place the marzipan disc on top of the glazed cake.

Place the balls around the top of the cake and attach with a little jam

Preheat the grill and place the cake under the grill for a few minutes to lightly brown the top.

Wishing you a Happy Easter!



Can you have your cake and eat it? Week 1

March 26th, 2013

After such a positive response from last week’s post, I’ve decided to hold a weekly column on the blog showing my journey and progress using the 5:2 fast diet.

my dream bikini body via

As a quick reminder, this is a diet where you restrict your calories to 500 a day (600 for men) for 2 days a week, and you resume your usual eating habits on the remaining 5 days. So if you fancy cake on the other 5 non-fast days, that’s allowed and according to the diet you’ll still lose weight.

I started the 5:2 diet exactly a week ago. Monday was my first ‘fast’ day and I chose Thursday to be my second ‘fast’ day of the week.  The fast days shouldn’t be consecutive, which is really helpful as you can plan your fast days based around your routine and any social commitments.

Michael Mosley the scientist and author of ’The Fast Diet’ completed the diet on Monday and Thursdays, and I thought this would work well for me too.

So how did I get on?  Here is a breakdown of my fast day menus followed by my diet diary:

Monday’s menu ( for 1 person)


40g smoked salmon

2 Finn Crisp slices

Thin layer of Philadelphia Light

Total 129 calories


200g Baxter’s Healthy Choice Minestrone Soup

Total 158 calories


Vegetable Stir Fry                                                                                            

300g vegetable stir fry pack (Essential Waitrose)

100g chopped mushrooms

2 garlic cloves

5 slices of fresh ginger

4tsp dark soy sauce

Total  152 calories 

Drinks:  tea (no milk), coffee ( no milk) and herbal teas          0 cal

Total calorie intake for Monday = 439 calories

Thursday’s menu


Same as Monday             129 calories

½ red grapefruit               45 calories

Total calories 174




Innocent Curry Veg Pot

Total calories 316

Drinks:  tea (no milk), coffee (no milk) and herbal teas    0 cal

Total calories intake for Thursday = 490 calories

 Diary of  week 1

I have to admit that I was anxious about my first fast day. I’ve found that on previous occasions where I’ve drastically cut my daily food intake, I’ve experienced headaches,  I’ve felt quite unwell and I soon give up. I think it’s because I like to graze, that’s my usual pattern. I eat three meals a day and I’ll snack late in the afternoon and again in the early evening.

Monday’s plan was to ensure that I had at least three meals.  I found that the salmon for breakfast helped to keep me full until midday. A can of soup for lunch was a good idea as I found this also kept any hunger pangs at bay.

For dinner the vegetable stir fry (which was a large portion) was appreciated by my rumbling tummy at 5.30pm. I found the mushrooms to be a good replacement for meat and using garlic, ginger and soy sauce really enhanced the flavours.

Thursday was just two meals, breakfast and dinner. I decided to keep busy during my usual lunchtime. My tummy began to tell me that we’d usually have lunch around 12.30pm, but I made myself a hot herbal tea and kept busy. I found the hunger panes were not unbearable, just slightly uncomfortable and they disappeared after 20 minutes.

Dinner was delicious, I really enjoyed the Innocent Vegetable Curry pot and there was plenty on my plate for all of 316 calories.

Evenings are a challenging time for me (where food is concerned) as I like to snack on something. I sipped on lemon in warm water and herbal teas. On both evenings I opted for an earlier night. The thought that I could wake up the following morning and eat whatever I desired was a strong motivator.

Non – fast days

Interesting, after each fast day I did eat a little more than usual for breakfast, but I generally felt less hungry during the rest of the day. It’s too early to establish if this is normal. I’ve moderately eaten a few biscuits, some cakes, and I drank some wine over the weekend, in addition to my usual three meals a day.  I also felt that my usual snack cravings were slightly less than usual, especially in the evenings.

Week 1 Results

I weighed myself after my second fast day on the Friday morning and I had lost 5lbs (2.5kg)

Weighing myself again exactly a week later (just after a weekend of non-fasting) I had a total week’s loss of 3lbs (1.3kg).

I’m really pleased with my first week’s loss. I can’t believe I’ve been able to keep within the 500 calories on both of the two days. I’ve had no headaches or unwell feelings, I’ve survived and the hunger wasn’t as bad as I had expected.

Check the blog at the same time next week to see if I’ve lost any additional weight after the Easter weekend ( this should be interesting as I have a weekend of meals out, plus they’ll be chocolate eggs around the house).

I’ll also aim to take photos of any recipes that I put together that I think you’ll find useful.


Here are two of the books I’m using to follow the diet if you’re interested in finding out more about the health benefits of following a 5:2 diet.

If you have any feedback, words of advice or tips on 5:2 I’d love to hear from you.



Choccywoccydoodah Starstruck interview with Stephen Tompkinson

March 22nd, 2013

You may remember when I attended the Choccywoccydoodah Starstruck party last month to celebrate the launch of their forthcoming TV show. Well I can’t believe that the fourth series starts next week on 24th March on Good Food TV. How time has flown, and how I wish I could tuck into a box of dreamy choccywoccy chocolates as I’m typing this post…

So make yourself comfortable, as the lovely people at the Good Food TV channel have kindly shared an interview with the actor Stephen Tompkinson, who is the voice over for the series. Stephen talks about his involvement and the celebrity cakes featured.

I thought I’d share this interview on the blog so that ‘Choccywoccy’ fans or those who are just curious, can have a glimpse of what they can expect in the new series:

 So what can you tell us about the series and the challenges?
In the first series they get invited out to New York by Whoopi Goldberg, who’s hosting a party for a politician. She wants a cake designed in the shape of some of the iconic buildings of the city, and to have this candidate’s face put onto the Statue Of Liberty. But this has to all be done in New York, so they had to use American dairy products and chocolate, which they haven’t worked with before and it doesn’t behave in the same way. They’re not sure they can sculpt with it. The two Christines, who’ve baked for years, have to get stuck in and help out.

There’s always something different about each challenge, and each of the personalities they have to work with. Ivana Trump is having a party in the south of France, and the cake has to be made in England and then taken to St Tropez. These delicate works of art are made from chocolate… every time you go over a bump in the road or a pothole you wonder whether the thing will survive.

Then there’s the challenge set by Julien Macdonald, the fashion designer. He’s a very exacting and demanding man, and he wanted a cake to represent elements of a wedding dress he was designing. He also wanted it to reflect the gothic design of St Pancras train station, with a real clock in it! They only had four days to do it so it was a big ask. They are brilliant sculptors though, and there’s nothing they can’t put on a cake.

Jackie Collins wanted an almost life-size black panther on a cake, and the guys went down to the zoo to see how panthers moved. What breaks my heart though is that someone’s going to stick a knife into it and ruin it all!

Do you have a favourite moment from the series?

I think the Julien Macdonald cake was my favourite. It was such a work of art and I’m a big fan of the gothic style of architecture. But there was also a beautiful cake they designed for Cliff Richard, for a charity thing he was doing for Gloria Hunniford. It was helping to remember Gloria’s daughter, Caron Keating. They sculpt this angel – and I don’t want to give too much away – but things almost go horribly, horribly wrong, but a significant bit with an angel’s feather actually comes to the rescue. It’s very, very moving and was almost meant to happen.

Because these kinds of projects work with material that’s so delicate, it is literally heart in your mouth TV…
Absolutely. Just think to any taxi ride you’ve ever had across London. You’ll have to break at some point. And these cakes are big creations, and there’s an awful lot that go wrong. Going over a pothole could cause a cake to crumble or collapse. It’s a miracle they ever get anything to their destinations. The programme’s part cookery, part Grand Designs.

How about cakes? If you were to ask the Choccy team to make a cake for you, what would you go for?
I think I’d like one with some of my favourite comedians on, or even some of my favourite animals from Wild At Heart. In terms of comedians, I love silent film so I’d have people like Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy, and then maybe some people like Tommy Cooper, Morecambe and Wise and Les Dawson. That cake would probably last longer because no one would want to cut into that lot!

Choccywoccydooah: Starstruck is new and exclusive to Good Food, Sundays at 9pm from 24th March (Sky 247 / Virgin 260)



Can you have your cake and eat it?

March 20th, 2013

This week’s post is a little later than usual as I’ve had some emergency blog maintenance taking place behind the scenes. My developer instructed that I leave the blog in her capable hands for a couple of days so she could work her ‘behind the scenes’ magic. You won’t notice anything different (fingers crossed) and if you’re reading this post, it’s a sure sign that my site is still working as it should do. :)

image via

The extra time has been useful as I’ve been wondering if  I should write a regular column on the blog called ‘Can you have your cake and eat it?’  I thought the best thing would be to ask for your feedback to see if it may be of interest, and if so, we’ll have a regular column which I’ll update every week. Read the rest of this entry »



Spring Editions of Cupcake & Baking Heaven Magazine

March 14th, 2013

If you haven’t seen it in the shops already, look out for the latest copies of Cupcake Heaven and Baking Magazine, both are available to buy

Cupcake Heaven’s Spring issue includes various cupcake ideas for springtime including Easter, in addition to 101 Springtime cupcake recipes.

I’m excited to share with you that my ‘Blackberry and Apple’ cupcakes and ‘Carrot, Lemon and Pecan’ cupcakes has been featured on pg 92 and
93 of the magazine.

The Baking Heaven Spring edition includes 101 inspiring recipes featuring cakes, biscuits and cookies, puddings, tea time treats and several recipes for Easter baking.  Again, look out for my ‘Mini Malteser Cakes’ recipe which is featured on pg 110

So grab a copy (available in many of the UK supermarkets, Hobbycraft, Lakeland and WH Smith) or even better you can subscribe to the Food Heaven series. They currently have a discounted deal for UK readers who wish to subscribe from this blog. For only £9.99 you’ll receive three issues, which is a saving of 33%.

Subscriptions are also available for readers overseas including the US and the rest of the world.

Until next time…

Happy Baking!



Recipe ~ Cherry Bakewell Cupcakes

March 12th, 2013

Following my recent visit to Bakewell I was inspired to develop a recipe for cherry bakewell cupcakes. Read the rest of this entry »



A visit to Bakewell

March 7th, 2013

During the February half term break little T and I headed to the North West of England to spend time with my family. I’m lucky that they live within a 30 minute drive to the beautiful peak district. As you can imagine it’s such a vast change from living in the London suburbs. Like many other tourists, I’m awestruck at the winding roads that snake high around the dales, and give rise to magnificent views. As well as the vast amount of beautiful moorland, you can’t help but notice the small things too, such as the quaint weather-stoned buildings, the fresh air and the friendliness of the locals.

Read the rest of this entry »



Share the love this Mother’s Day! Our top picks, part 2

March 4th, 2013

If your mouth is still watering over Part 1 of our Mother’s Day cookery delights, you’ll love Part 2 just as much! Mother’s Day really is the perfect day to show that special someone how much they mean to you, and there is no better way than with all things sweet and delicious. Read on for some delectable delights…

Set of 2 Cupcake Jars

Read the rest of this entry »



Red Nose Day Cookies

March 1st, 2013

I was delighted to be involved in designing a Red Nose cookie as part of Sainsbury’s Red Nose Day Cookie Challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Tracy Stonard

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