Category Archives: baking

Blackberry Pancakes

Blackberry pancakes with an apple, blackberry and cinnamon compote

We’ve enjoyed a very busy summer here at Hopton House B&B, so it was about time for me to have a couple of days off, to rest and recharge, ready for a business autumn

Unfortunately, despite planning a long lie in, Storm Aileen did her best to keep me awake last night, then I forgot to turn off my alarm – d-oh. This was closely followed by a craving for sausages and pancakes ( I blame lack of sleep and the fact that “Come on Eileen” was stuck in my head and wouldn’t be removed till I play it at full volume )

Pancakes and sausages are my 2 favourite breakfast ingredients and, as it’s autumn, there are lots of lovely ingredients in the garden to go with them.  So I headed into the orchard, where the apples are throwing themselves off the trees and the wildflower meadow, where we have lots of blackberries just now.

I’ll be putting these pancakes on the breakfast menu for a short while, but book soon if you want to try them, as the blackberries won’t last for long


Delicious, fluffy blackberry pancakes with an apple blackberry compote | a perfect autumn recipe for using up a glut of apples and blackberries #apples #autumn # recipes

This recipe will feed 2 people very generously with about 5 small pancakes each. You could halve it for more  a manageable breakfast.

Pancake Ingredients

  • 1 cup ( 150g ) Plain ( all purpose flour )
  • 2 tablespoons ( 30g ) white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda ( baking soda )
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup ( 225 ml ) buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon ( 25g ) melted butter
  • About 30 small blackberries

Compote ingredients

  • 1 large eating apple – granny smiths are good – cored, peeled and chopped into large cubes
  • 10 small blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons ( 25g ) melted butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon on brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice


Put the apples, butter, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon in a small frying pan and cook over a medium heat for about 6 or 7 minutes.  Stir it frequently and keep an eye on the apples. It may take less of more time depending on your apple type. You want them beginning to soften but not disintegrating.

When the compote is ready, take it off the heat and stir in the blackberries and maple syrup.

Mix the dry pancake ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Stir the wet mix into the dry mix, Don’t over stir – just stir enough so that all the flour is mixed in. You’re looking for it to resemble a thick mix like extra thick double cream.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Brush the pan with melted butter generously, then put about a couple of tablespoons into the pan for each pancake. Don’t overcrowd the pan as the mix will spread. Put 3 blackberries into the top of each pancake.

When bubbles start to appear  on the top of the pancakes then flip and cook until browned on both sides – just pick up the edge of the pancake with your spatula to check how brown it’s getting. One of the tricks to getting perfect pancakes and is getting the temperature right. This will depend on the weight of your frying pan and the temperature of your cooker.

Serve with the compote and extra maple syrup if required. Oh yes  and I recommend a couple of sausages too, with or without Dexy’s Midnight Runners playing in the background.

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Recipe

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Recipe

We’re big fans of cinnamon here at Hopton House. My husband is particularly keen.  Normally I can’t tempt Jess & Rob with a fresh baked sweet bread in the morning, but they both make an exception for this.

OK it’s got a lot of sugar in it, but I’m a firm believer in enjoying everything in moderation. If you’re trying to cut down on refined sugar than leave out the cinnamon swirl mix and make it with honey instead of sugar.

It also tastes very good as a gluten free cake. Make with gluten free self raising flour and gluten free baking powder. Add an extra tablespoon of buttermilk as gluten free flour absorbs more liquid.

You  make it in a 1lb loaf tin  & it needs to be completely cool before cutting.  If you don’t have time to bake it for 45 minutes and cool it before cutting, you can make it as 6 muffins, cooking for about 20 minutes at 20 degrees higher oven temp and no cutting required.

This is  incredibly easy to make as it’s one of those cinnamon swirl banana bread mixes where you just bung everything into the mixer. It also lasts quite well so can be cooked the day before. Or you can double the mix and make 2 loaves and put one in the freezer.

Makes 1 lb loaf

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Ingredients

  • 50g coconut oil ( use sunflower oil or softened butter if you prefer )
  • 90g soft brown sugar ( caster sugar or honey – if using honey only use 60g )
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 110g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp buttermilk ( you can happily substitute 1 tbsp milk or 1 natural yoghurt as who wants to open a whole buttermilk carton for 1 tbsp but it does create a fluffier result )

Cinnamon Swirl Mix

  • 4 tbsp of white sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C ( or 150 degrees for a fan oven ). Put all of the banana bread ingredients ( not the cinnamon swirl mix ingredients these are added separately ) into a mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer on high for 2 minutes. Combine the white sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

Line a 1lb loaf tin with a loaf liner. Put half of the mix into the lined tin. Take a 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon swirl mix then sprinkle over the wet  mix. You’re looking to have the mix completely covered with sugar & cinnamon. Then add the remaining wet banana bread mix to the tin and finish off with the rest of the sugar cinnamon mix.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes till they’re firm to touch. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t brown too much.

If you have any remaining sugar & cinnamon mix you can store it in a airtight jar for next time ( or sprinkle some on your porridge in the morning )


An easy cinnamon swirl banana bread recipe. It's moist and delicious and easy to adapt to make it gluten free or with no refined sugar Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread (3)

Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

The best easy lemon drizzle cake receipe | based on a recipe by Mary Berry but made even lighter with buttermik | All my B&B guests love it | click through for the recipe and bake it this weekend!

Every guest who arrives at Hopton House Bed and Breakfast  has a whole cake waiting for them in their room to enjoy during their stay. Usually, unless I’ve had a special request, this will be a lemon drizzle cake.

This lemon drizzle cake recipe is based on one of Mary Berry’s, though I’ve adapted it to fit into 3 1lb loaf tins rather than making it up as tray bake. I’ve also upped the temperature which gives a nice cracked top to the cake which I like.

Replacing Mary’s recommended milk with buttermilk makes this lemon drizzle cake recipe even lighter and fluffier

Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

You need 3 1 lb loaf tins – I line mine with ready made paper liners.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees ( for fan oven )


For the Cake

285 g (10 oz) self raising flour
225 g (8oz)  caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
225g (8oz) softened butter ( I normally just use a whole pack of butter which is slightly over 8 oz)
5 Hopton House eggs ( which is about 4 large eggs )
4 tablespoons buttermilk
grated rind of 2 large lemons

For the Drizzle

175g (6oz) granulated sugar
juice of 2 large lemons

Put all of the ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2 minutes.

Divide the mixture between the 3 loaf tins.

Put in the oven for 30 minutes – check after 30 minutes to see if the cake is firm on top. You will probably need longer but only allow 5 minutes at a time. You want just cooked.

Take out of the oven and leave for 5 minutes. Prick all over with a skewer ( I use my meat lifting forks – creates 4 holes at  a time – how lazy is that? )

Mix the sugar & lemon for the drizzle and pour over the cakes. After another 10 minutes take out of the tins & place on a wire tray – this is where is really helps having the ready made paper liners because it keeps any of the drizzle that has fallen down the sides in place.

This will keep for several days as it’s so moist and they also freeze well.

If you’ve enjoyed making this recipe, have a look at my recipe blog for more recipes from Hopton House B&B

Gluten Free Oat and Banana Blueberry Pancakes

I often get requests for gluten free options at the B&B and try and offer a good choice.

On request, I can do a gluten free lemon drizzle for the rooms and the gluten free banana bread at breakfast has proven to be very popular even amongst the gluten eaters!

Pancakes are a popular choice at breakfast but by just replacing the flour with gluten free they can taste a bit gritty.  So, as it’s the quiet time of year for the B&B, I thought I’d have a bit of an experiment.

I’m very pleased with the result and they have the added benefits of being high in fibre and with no added sugar.

This recipe serves 1 with 3 pancakes. You could also replace the blueberries with chopped apple and add a teaspoon of cinnamon.

The calorie count ( according to my fitness pal ) is about 320 calories for 3 pancakes – 8g fibre, 50g Carbohydrates, 15g sugar, 10g fat, 10g protein.

Adding a tablespoon of maple syrup adds 40 calories.

Gluten Free Oat and Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Gluten Free Banana Oat Blueberry Pancakes - Hopton House, Bed and Breakfast Shropshire


1 small banana

1 small egg

40 g ( 1/2 cup ) gluten free porridge oats

1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder

25g blueberries

3g butter for brushing the pan


Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender until the mix is smooth. Leave for about 20 minutes to allow time for the mix to thicken up.

Heat a non stick frying pan on a medium heat. Brush with melted butter. Spoon the mix into the pan, creating 3 pancakes, Sprinkle the blueberries over the pancakes. Cook the pancakes until small bubbles appear and the bottom are golden brown, then flip the pancakes, cooking until golden brown.

Best served with lashings of maple syrup……

How To Bake A Small Batch Of Muffins

How To Bake A Small Batch Of Muffins

How To Bake A Small Batch Of Muffins

The buffet table at breakfast is filled with fresh fruit, fruit and natural yoghurts, Bircher muesli, homemade bread to toast, freshly squeezed orange juices and local apple juice and a selection of cereals. I also like to put some sort of baked goods on there as a treat.

At this time of year when I can pick blackberries from the wildflower meadow, the only thing to make is Blackberry cinnamon streusel muffins. If guests can’t manage them after breakfast  they can always take them away for a snack later when they get peckish.

The trouble with muffins is that I think they taste best warm from the oven and I don’t think they taste as good if they’ve been frozen or the next day. But the problem is all muffin recipes seem to produce 10-12 muffins and if I ate all the leftover muffins every day I’d soon need a new wardrobe.

So my challenge was to create a method that allowed me to make just 2 or 4 muffins with no waste. And I’ve done it! This recipe is also quite quick in the morning as much of it is already prepared for you. You just scoop out as much of your prepared dry mix as you need and then combine with the wet ingredients.

I’ve spent years looking for the perfect muffin recipe and I eventually found it the American Culinary Institute Cookbook.  The original recipe is for Raspberry pecan streusel muffins. This one is for blackberries. You can use any fruit that you think will work and add different nuts to the streusel or leave them out as I’ve done here.

Note when I talk about cups I mean American Measuring cups. They’re easy to buy in the UK these days but I’ve also included weights in grams.

Making Your Dry Mix

You need a large airtight jar. I have a bit of a thing about Kilner jars and can’t walk past them without buying them. The jar needs to be big enough so there’s room in there to shake all your ingredients to make sure they’re really well combined before each use.

First you put all the dry mix ingredients into your jar and shake really well. This is the ratio of ingredients you need but you could double ( or even triple if your jar is big enough ) them.

  • 1.5 cups ( 225g ) plain ( all purpose ) flour
  • 0.5 cups ( 115g) caster ( fine ) sugar
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp salt

Making Your Streusel Topping

You don’t have to use it but the streusel topping really makes these muffins. You can add nuts or different spices if you like. I make up a big batch of streusel topping and put it in the freezer, then just scoop out 0.5 tablespoons per muffin

  • 2/3 cup ( 110g) plain ( all purpose flour )
  • 2/3 cup ( 110g) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons ( 60g) melted butter

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then mix in the butter till you get a crumble like mixture with big crumbs. I use my Kitchenaid mixer for this because I’m lazy but you could do it in a big bowl with a wooden spoon.

Put this into a freezer proof container or a plastic bag, seal and put in the freezer.

Making Up Your Muffins

For each muffin you need 35g or 3.5 tablespoons of dry mix combined with about 35g or 3.5 tablespoons of the wet ingredients.

This is where it can be a bit problematic as you may need you find 1/2 an egg. You could always beat up the egg and throw half of it away or use it in scrambled eggs, an omelette or another recipe.

For 4 muffins I used one of our very small eggs which I weighed ( out of the shell ) to be 40g.  A normal egg is about 80g.

I wouldn’t get too worried about being that precise with the ratios of the wet ingredients. What you’re aiming for is about the same volume of dry ingredients to wet, so if your egg is a bit bigger just use a bit less buttermilk.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius ( 170 degrees for a fan or 375 F )

For 4 muffins you’ll need

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup ( 50g ) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup ( 50g ) melted butter
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 small egg ( about 40g or whatever size egg you have beaten and weigh/measure out 40g or 4 tablespoons )

Beat the wet ingredients together. Shake your prepared muffin mix well and weigh out 140g ( 3/4 cup + 2 tbs ) into a bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until it is just combined. Don’t beat or over mix as this makes the muffin tough. Stir through the blackberries ( I use about a tablespoon per muffin ).

Put into 4 prepared muffin cases in a muffin tin. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with about 0.5 tbs streusel mix straight from the freezer. Bake for a bout 20 minutes until risen and golden.


Maple Oat Ginger Scones

I discovered ginger scones when we stayed in a B&B in Maine quite a few years ago. I added them to the breakfast menu here and they were very popular, but for some reason I’ve not made them for a while.

I tried them out on the breakfast table again last week and they proved very popular. So much so that I was asked for the recipe. So here it is!

American breakfast scones are different to the traditional English scone. They are much flakier – almost like a thick but lighter shortbread biscuit. They contain no egg but are made with double cream. In my opinion they need to be eaten, still warm, from the oven.

One of the great things about these scones for a busy B&B owner is that they can be frozen and cooked from frozen. So you can make up a big batch, freeze them on a tray and then pop them into a bag in the freezer. Just take one or 2 out of the freezer when you need them.

These scones are a slightly different version of my original ginger scones as they contain maple syrup and porridge oats.

Maple Oat Ginger Scones, east to bake and perfect for breakfast at our Shropshire B&B


  • 400g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 65g porridge oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 170g cold diced butter
  • 90ml maple syrup
  • 180ml double cream

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, porridge oats and ginger in a mixing bowl and mix well together. Then rub in the butter till it resembles biggest breadcrumbs. I use my kitchenaid to do this but it’s easy to do by hand.

Add the cream and maple syrup and mix till it forms a dough but don’t over beat.

Maple Oat Ginger Scone Recipe - Shropshire Bed and Breakfast

Put the dough out onto a floured surface and fold it in half several times.

Roll it out to a dough about 2cm thick then, using a cookie cutter in your choice of size, cut out the scones.

Brush with maple syrup and sprinkle with a few oats then put in an oven heated to 180 degrees C ( fan oven ) and bake for 16-18 minutes.

If you want to freeze, put the individual scones on a baking tray ( without the extra maple syrup and oats )  and place in a freezer till frozen, then put into a plastic bag and put back in the freezer. Bake from frozen, brushing first with the maple syrup and oats.


Hopton House Shortbread Recipe


Homemade shortbread and a cup of tea at our Shropshire B&B

There’s a jar of homemade shortbread waiting for every set of guests in their room on arrival and it’s refilled daily.

This recipe is great for Christmas guests and would also make a great last minute present in an airtight tin.

I have Mary Berry to thank for the original shortbread recipe – thank you Mary

I’ve specified cornflour here. This makes a very soft, melt in the mouth ( or melt in your tea if you’re a dunker like me ) biscuit. If you like something a bit crunchier use ground rice, semolina or polenta.

You can add different flavours to vary your shortbread; powdered & crystallised ginger, chocolate chips, lavender flowers etc etc

250g plain flour
250g butter ( soft room temperature )
125g caster sugar
125g cornflour

Preheat oven to 140 degrees C ( this is for a fan oven, a conventional oven will need to be about 160 )

Line a 12×9 inch roasting tin ( if you own an AGA this is the small pan ) with foil or silicon lining.

Beat all the ingredients together to form a dough, then press into the pan and spread out so the top is even. Prick all over with a fork, then put into the oven.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is slightly golden.

Take out of the oven and leave in the tin till they are completely cool. If you take out too soon they may be too crumbly. Then take out of the pan and cut into fingers ( as thick or as thin as you like ).

Keeps for a few days in an airtight tin ( assuming you don’t live with my husband or have lots of B&B guests )

Buttermilk Pancake Recipe

Blueberry buttermilk pancakes have been a firm favourite on the breakfast menu this year. I usually do them with blueberries but sometime

s have a request for plain with blueberries on the side. As we move into Autumn, I’ve added cinnamon apple pancakes to the menu. These taste particularly good with sausage and maple syrup – trust me!

For this pancake recipe, I make a big batch of the dry mix up, keep it in a big kilner jar,  and just scoop it out and mix up with the wet ingredients when it’s time for breakfast.

One of the secrets of this pancake recipe is the fluffiness is buttermilk ( it may seem like I have shares in buttermilk, as I use it so much, but it really is a magic ingredient )

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a big jar with a lid and shake really well. The cups are American measuring cups with a volume of about 250 ml.

Pancake Recipe


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

WET INGREDIENTS ( for 6 big pancakes for 2 people )

  • 1 pot of buttermilk ( between 284 & 300 ml depending on the brand)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • vanilla extract ( for plain or blueberry pancakes but leave out for cinnamon apple )

Shake the dry ingredients really well, then scoop out 1 measuring cup into a bowl. If you’re making apple cinnamon pancakes add 1 tsp dried cinnamon at this point and mix well.

Mix the wet ingredients well and mix gradually to the dry ingredients. You want quite a thick batter – probably the consistency of very thick Greek Yoghurt. You may not need all of the wet ingredients. Don’t overmix.

If you’re making apple buttermilk pancakes, grate 2 apples into the mix and stir.

Heat a heavy 30cm frying pan over a medium heat. Brush with butter and put in 3 dollops of pancake batter.  If you’re making blueberry pancakes add 5 or 6 blueberries into the top of each pancake.

Cook the pancakes for a couple of minutes on one side, making sure they’re not over browning. When bubbles start to appear on the top, flip them and cook them for a couple more minutes.

A stack of blueberry pancakes with icing sugar and blueberries and strawberries
Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes