Cinnamon & Raisin Loaf


I’m back!

For regular readers, you may have noticed it has been sometime since I updated this blog.
I can now tell you that shortly after my last post (June 2012), I found out that Mr Hungry Squirrel and I were expecting our first child. This was the best news, and we were both over the moon to be starting a family together. However, what followed was 5-6 months of terrible morning sickness.
I can tell you now that whoever named it morning sickness was way off the mark… for me, nausea and vomiting was there all day long through the majority of my pregnancy. It was debilitating and draining, and meant I could not face baking/cooking/eating/or much else for that matter!

It is only within the last month or two that I feel the symptoms of Pregnancy Sickness have eased to the point that I feel like myself again, and feel the desire to bake again, hence my first blog post in some time.
This is also likely to be the last post in some time… Baby Squirrel is due next week! So who knows when I will find time to bake and blog again?!

Baby Squirrel & Me

Baby Squirrel & Me

Just the other day I came across this recipe on Pinterest for Amish Cinnamon Bread, and instantly felt a sudden urge to dust off my baking cobwebs.
This morning, I awoke bright and early after a reasonably good night’s sleep (for a pregnant lady), and got to work in the kitchen creating this delicious Cinnamon & Raisin Loaf.
I altered the recipe only with the addition of raisins.
This is definitely a recipe I will be using again. The loaf is beautifully moist, and the warmth of the cinnamon is most comforting, especially when served as a healthy slice slathered in lashings of butter… YUM!


The Recipe



  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups golden granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup of raisins

  • 2/3 cups golden granulated sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Lightly butter and line two 2lb loaf tins.


Beat the softened butter and 2 cups of sugar until well blended.
Incorporate the eggs one at a time.
Add the buttermilk, flour, and baking soda, and mix on a slow speed until the batter comes together.
Finally mix in the raisins.
Put 1/4 of the batter into each loaf tin.
Sprinkle 1/3 of cinnamon mixture on top of the batter in each pan.
Add remaining batter to pans.
Divide the rest of the cinnamon topping over the top of the batter in each tin, and swirl in with a knife.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. A fine skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.

Cool in the tins for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

This recipe makes 2 loaves, so I would suggest freezing one for a rainy day.


NB If you are also suffering with Pregnancy Sickness, it may be worth having a look at the website for Pregnancy Sickness Support. Sadly, I was not aware of this site when I was suffering with nausea and vomiting. I wish I had been pointed in the direction of this group and given more support by my Healthcare Professionals at a time when I was really struggling.


Fiona’s Tea Loaf

So, with every January comes New Year Resolutions.
I have to be honest, I am not big on New Year Resolutions, due to the low willpower threshold I have mentioned previously.
However, like most people, I have great intentions to eat less, exercise more, and live a healthier life.

This recipe is a vein attempt to include some lower fat content recipes on my blog, and is certainly healthier than some of the other recipes I have featured on my blog, due to the absence of butter in the ingredients list.

Though I have to admit, I can’t help but serve a slice of tea loaf with a good slathering of butter… woops!

This recipe was adapted slightly from a recipe given to me by my mother-in-law Fiona… hence Fiona’s Tea Loaf!

The Recipe


  • 225g sultanas
  • 200g soft light brown sugar
  • 300ml tea
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 275g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice


Place the sultanas and tea into a mixing bowl, cover with a clean cloth, and leave for 3-4 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Lightly butter and line a 2lb loaf tin, or use a loaf tin liner.

Add the beaten egg and sugar to the soaked fruit, and mix well using a wooden spoon.

Sift in the flour and baking powder, add the mixed spice, and mix well.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.

Bake for 1 – 1¼ hours, until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cover the top with baking paper or foil halfway through the bake to prevent the loaf from browning too much.


Anne Møller’s Irish Wheaten Bread

So before I met the lovely Mr McKenzie I was Alison Møller… Anne Møller is my Mum.

Sadly I lost my Mum 5 years ago now. I miss her every day.
My love of baking most definitely comes from my Mum, and some of my earliest memories are of helping Mum out in the kitchen.
We both shared a dream of opening a coffee shop one day, where we could sell our home-baked goods.
Mum even passed on her baking skills to my Dad, who over the last 5 years has really come into his own in the kitchen. He whips up a mean Lemon Meringue Pie (L.M.P.), and has made some heavenly Danish Pastries, never mind his Crème Caramel!

This recipe for Wheaten Bread has always been a hit in our house growing up, and a freshly baked loaf was often sent back to University with my brothers and I after a trip home to N Ireland.

This recipe is so simple. It is definitely suitable to make with the little folk in the house.

To be honest, I am not sure where my Mum got the recipe from, but to me and to those who knew her, this will always be Anne Møller’s Wheaten Bread.

The Recipe


  • 8oz stoneground wholemeal flour, and a little extra for dusting the tin
  • 3oz pinhead oats/course oatmeal
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, sifted
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ pint buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Lightly butter a 2lb loaf tin, and then dust lightly with some of the wholemeal flour.

Put the flour, oatmeal, sugar, salt, and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and mix well together.

Whisk the egg into the buttermilk and add to the bowl, mixing everything together thoroughly.

Place the mixture into the tin, level, and then score a line down the centre to ensure an even rise.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 50-60 minutes.
When ready, if you knock the base of the loaf you should hear a hollow sound.
Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool.

As with most bread, this is best eaten fresh on day 1 or day 2.
I recommend it with lashings of butter!
If there is any left after day 2 it is lovely toasted.


Chocolate Banana Loaf – a.k.a. Happy Cake

OK, so most of my friends will recognise this one.
This is a real winner of a recipe, it always receives great praise, and never lasts long!

I have to dedicate this post to my ex-colleague, Andy. I have never seen anyone enjoy my baking as much as Andy enjoyed this Chocolate Banana Loaf. So much so, he christened it “Happy Cake”. His little face would light up at the mere mention of this bake!

This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Banana Bread. Once again, I have opted out of the addition of nuts, and used chocolate instead.
After all, chocolate = happiness!

My only problem with this loaf is that the chocolate chunks always sink to the bottom. I have tried coating the chunks of chocolate in flour, but to no avail.
Please let me know if you have any tips to prevent this sinking of the chocolate chunks!

I could eat a healthy slice of this loaf at any time of the day. It’s especially great with a big mug of coffee for a weekend breakfast.
Roll on the weekend…!

The Recipe


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 3 medium bananas, ~ 300g in weight without skin
  • 150g good quality chocolate chips/chunks
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Lightly butter and line a 2lb loaf tin, or use a loaf tin liner.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and leave to cool slightly.
Mash the bananas.
Sift the flour , baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, add the salt, and mix.

In a large bowl beat together the melted butter and caster sugar.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas and vanilla extract.

Next, add the flour mixture, folding in with a metal spoon, a third at a time.

Stir in the chocolate chips/chunks.

Pour in to the loaf tin.

Bake for 1 – 1¼ hours. A fine skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment/loaf tin liner, and leave to cool completely.


Choc & Vanilla Marble Loaf Weekly Bake-Off

It’s Weekly Bake-Off time again, and it’s another chocolate-based one… perfect!

As this is part of the Weekly Bake-Off, this recipe is from Mary Berry’s 100 Cakes & Bakes.

I made a slight tweak to the method.
The method suggests that you randomly spoon the vanilla and chocolate cake mixtures into the tin to create the marble effect.
I am not sure that is how the effect in the picture accompanying the recipe was created (see below), so I layered the mixture to give a more even effect.
I know mine is nowhere near as perfect looking as Mary Berry’s, but nonetheless, I am pleased with how it turned out.

I have to be honest, I found the loaf a little dry.
The icing saves it from being too dry, but I am not sure I would use this recipe again.

Mary’s Marble Loaf…

My Marble Loaf…

Check out the other entrants’ submissions to the Weekly Bake-Off Challenge.

The Recipe



  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 275g self-raising flour
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ level tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp hot water

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • about 25g white chocolate, melted


Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment, or use a loaf tin liner like I did – super quick and easy!

Measure the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract into a large bowl and beat until well blended.
Divide the mixture into 2 bowls.

In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and hot water together until smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then add to one of the bowls of cake mixture, mixing well until evenly blended.

Spoon one third of the chocolate mixture into the tin and level the surface.
Spread one half of the vanilla mixture over the top, and once again level the surface.

Repeat these steps, until all the mixture is used.
You should have one layer of chocolate, then vanilla, then chocolate, then vanilla, then chocolate on top.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. A fine skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment/loaf tin liner, and leave to cool completely.

To make the icing, melt the butter in a small non-stick pan, add the cocoa powder, stir to blend, and cook gently for 1 minute.
Stir in the milk and icing sugar, remove from the heat and mix thoroughly.
Spread the icing mixture onto the cold cake.
Drizzle with the melted white chocolate, and leave to set.