This chocolate biscuit cake is a very simple recipe. With mid-term coming up and children at home, this is a good time to get them baking.

It is good to start with something they will enjoy eating – and there is no baking in this really, it’s mainly just assembly!

Good-quality chocolate is important. You need to make it overnight. You could add some Maltesers or marshmallows.

Our family loves jammie dodgers. I was given this lovely recipe by a good chef friend, Neil McFadden

It cuts beautifully, even straight out of the fridge and keeps well wrapped in clingfilm for at least two weeks.

Our family loves jammie dodgers. I was given this lovely recipe by a good chef friend, Neil McFadden.

It is always fun making these and the homemade ones are in a different league to the ones you will buy in the shop. You can use any jam you like, but I find the vibrant colour of raspberry jam is fantastic.

This madeleine recipe I got from another chef Lea Linster in Luxembourg

These will keep well in your fridge in a Kilner tub or Tupperware container.

This madeleine recipe I got from another chef Lea Linster in Luxembourg who I was lucky enough to work with when I was at the beginning of my career. Chefs are always swapping recipes.

The key to this is browning off the butter. We bake these every morning and serve them fresh for our guests at MacNean after breakfast with their coffee or tea. People love them.

Madeleines don’t keep particularly well so are best on the day that they are made, but the raw mixture will keep well in the fridge for a week, so you can make them as you need them. You need the special little madeleine moulds that you can buy online.

Happy cooking,



Chocolate biscuit cake

Makes 1 loaf

250g (9oz) milk chocolate

100g (4oz) unsalted butter

5 tbsp whipping cream

1 tbsp golden syrup

400g (14oz) packet digestive biscuits

100g (4oz) white chocolate (optional)

  • 1 Break the chocolate into squares and place in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Set over a pan of simmering water and allow to melt. Remove from the heat and mix in the cream and golden syrup by hand, which will take a few minutes.
  • 2 Break the digestive biscuits into large chunks and gently fold into the chocolate mixture so as not to break up the biscuits too much.
  • 3 Using a spatula, transfer to a 900ml (1 ½ pints) loaf tin that has been double lined with clingfilm, as this makes the cake much easier to lift out.
  • 4 Chill for at least two hours, though overnight is best.
  • 5 To serve, turn out the chocolate biscuit cake onto a platter. Break the white chocolate into squares, if using, and melt in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Drizzle all over the chocolate biscuit cake and leave at room temperature to set for about 20 minutes before cutting into slices and arranging on plates.
  • Jammie dodgers

    Makes 16-18 biscuits

    Jammie dodgers. \ Photography: Philip Doyle. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

    For the shortcake:

    75g (3oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting

    25g (1oz) icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

    finely grated rind of 1 lime

    50g (2oz) butter, softened

    For the jam filling:

    100g (4oz) raspberry jam

    1 tbsp crème de cassis

    1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 To make the shortcake, sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in the lime rind, then beat in the butter with a wooden spoon until it forms rough crumbs.
  • 2 Bring the mixture together with your hands to a soft, smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes, though up to three days is fine.
  • 3 To make the jam filling, place the raspberry jam, crème de cassis and vanilla extract in a pan and simmer over a low heat for 8-10 minutes, until melted and slightly thickened.
  • 4 Leave to cool completely, then place in a bowl. Cover with clingfilm and chill if keeping for any length of time.
  • 5 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).
  • 6 Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 3mm (1/8 in) thickness. Stamp out 32-36 rounds using a 4cm (1 ¾in) fluted cutter and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  • 7 Using a piping bag nozzle (a metal rather than plastic one is best for this) with a 1cm (½ in) wide head, press the nozzle into the centre of half of the rounds to stamp out a hole (which will allow you to see the jam later).
  • 8 Bake for 8-10 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden.
  • 9 To assemble, spoon a teaspoon of jam mixture into the centre of each uncut shortcake.
  • 10 Dust the remaining shortcakes with icing sugar and then place on top, pressing down lightly so the jam just squeezes out through the hole a little.
  • 11 To serve, arrange on a plate or use as required.
  • Madeleines

    Makes 24 large madeleines

    160g butter, plus extra melted for greasing

    50g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

    160g egg whites, at room temperature

    160g icing sugar

    70g ground almonds

  • 1 Lightly grease madeleine tins with melted butter, then dust with flour, shaking off any excess. Place in the fridge for at least two hours, but overnight is best.
  • 2 Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  • 3 Place the butter in a small pan and allow to brown slightly, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • 4 Place the flour, almonds and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the egg whites and cooled brown butter. Using an electric mixer, beat until well combined and smooth. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag. Pipe into the prepared madeleine trays, but be careful not to overfill.
  • 5 Bake for 10-12 minutes, until well risen, golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in the tin for 2 minutes, then ease out of the tins with a spoon and leave to cool slightly on a wire rack.