Saturday, 3 September 2011

Cycling a WHOLE, ENTIRE country and Bounty Cake

As you may know I am a reasonably keen cyclist. As in, I commute to work at the hospital on an electric pink Brompton to enable me to eat cakes reasonably guilt-free. 

Whether I remain a keen cyclists after cycling the Lon Las Cymru next week remains to be seen.

The Lon Las what?

Six days. 400km. Wales. Holyhead to Cardiff. Three mountain ranges.  A route graded 'Challenging' by Sustrans National Cycle Network. Two hundred and eight Mars bars.

(That last part may not be entirely accurate. More like three hundred and eight Mars Bars.)

The plan is to cycle the length of Wales. The route takes in Holyhead, Porthmadog and Dolgellau in the North, Machynlleth, Llanidloes and Rhayader in Mid-Wales and Brecon, Merthyr and Cardiff in the South. Along with a heck of a lot of kilometers and mountains inbetween. 

It'll be me, my Dad and our good family friend. 

Our motivation? Apart from to get to eat Mars Bars guilt free and see the stunning Welsh countryside we are raising money for three excellent charities : Age Concern Cymru, The Beacon of Hope and Bobath Children's Therapy Centre Wales. 

I've been doing a bit of training. By 'training' I mean I've purchased some expensive cycling shoes and been practicing eating Mars bars. I feel I'm doing well. 

So in honour of my Week of Limitless Mars Bars Eating Week of Cycling Wales this is the nearest bake I could find to a Mars Bar:

Bounty Cake
(River Cottage Handbook No.8: Cakes by Pam Corbin)

50g desiccated coconut
150ml coconut milk or ordinary milk
150g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder
150g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs

100g dark chocolate
1 tbsp natural yogurt or creme fraiche
Packet of white chocolate buttons to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Grease a 20cm round tin and line with baking parchment
2. Pop the desiccated coconut in a bowl and pour over the milk. Leave for two hours to swell and rehydrate
3. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the sugar and mix well until combined
4. Chop the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Also add the eggs and using a handheld whisk beat until the mixture is light and creamy
5. Stir in the coconut (and any leftover liquid) and mix well
6. Spoon into the prepared tin and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes
7. The cake will spring back to touch when done. Remove from the oven and after ten minutes cooling in the tin turn out onto wire rack
8. Leave the cake to cool completely before adding the icing. To make the topping: melt the dark chocolate in a pyrex bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. When melted, mix in the spoonful of yogurt or creme fraiche. Spread evenly over the cake and decorate with the chocolate buttons

Baker's notes...
  • Serves ten. Or three hungry cyclists.
  • Stored in an airtight container, the cake will keep for up to five days
  • So, originally I bought a box of Celebrations chocolates to fish out the mini Bounty Bars to decorate the cake. Disappointingly (or not...) there were only three Bounty Bars in the Celebrations. Not enough to decorate the cake; I had to rethink. So I ate all the Celebrations and thought. And White Chocolate Buttons were the answer. You don't quite need an entire packet; the rest are Baker's Benefits
  • This is our Fundraising Page: here! 
  • Any suggestions on good cycling songs to listen to while half way up Snowdonia? So far all I've got is this one: here


  1. A GREAT cause and GOOD LUCK on your ride next week.....I would be happy to donate to your ride too.
    And as for the cake,it's SINFULLY delicious!

  2. Fabulous! I love your idea of training. As the least athletic (i.e. laziest) person I know, even I could join you in that sort of training! I also like the idea of baker's benefits and the fact that you ate the celebrations whilst thinking what to use to decorate!

    Seriously though, Good Luck - it's a great thing to do and great charities to cycle for. Hope the weather is kind to you and you don't get too much wind and rain!

  3. Gosh you are keen!! Good luck with the cycling and I can't wait to hear how you get on.
    Lovely cake too, YUM ;0)

  4. As a committed non-cyclist I cannot understand this undertaking AT ALL. Couldn't you stay home and make cakes for charity instead? Am sure this one would fetch a mint! Look forward to hearing about your epic efforts - and good luck!

  5. I bookmarked this recipe when I read the book. Looks fab. I like you're white chocolate button decoration - so clean and neat but stunning (and means more chocolate - yay!)

  6. Thank you all so much for your kind support- it means an awful lot! As I write this I'm tucking into a delicious slice of carrot cake in a beautiful little cafe 'Siop Coffi TH' in Dollgellau, in North Wales, three days into the challenge! The weather has been a little mixed, but the scenary and countryside absolutely stunning...and in other exciting news I've discovered a Limited Edition TRIPLE CHOCOLATE Mars Bar! Hello!


Thank you very much for your comment- I appreciate every single one of them!