Spooky or what!


Julia's coffee cake Do you believe in coincidences? Well here's one for you. At the airport when I was going on holiday, I was trying to remember the name of a book that I had read the back cover of and wanted to read. I was with Sophie and she was getting slightly annoyed with me as I couldn't even remember the name of the writer, so in the end I gave up.

Sophie is very persistent so when she got home she went on to Amazon's bestseller list and eventually (after reading out a lot of titles) we hit the jackpot. The book was called 'What to do when someone dies' by Nicci French. She got the book for me and earlier this week, when I had a bit of time, I read it… good book!

Here's the coincidence. One of the characters in the book had a birthday and her friend made her a birthday cake. What do you think the flavour was??? Coffee and Walnut – the very flavour I had baked for Ali Young not 4 days earlier… spooky or what! Anything like that ever happen to you?

Anyway, as promised here is my recipe:


6oz self raising flour
6oz golden caster sugar
6oz soft margarine
3 medium eggs
2oz chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons coffee powder

  1. Cream the flour and sugar, beat in the eggs and fold in the flour. Add the coffee and walnuts and mix well.
  2. Spoon into a heart-shaped or 7-inch round tin. Bake for 35mins at 175 degrees. Allow to cool.
  3. For the icing, mix together 8oz icing sugar, 3oz soft marg and a little milk. Stir in 1 – 2 teaspoons coffee powder to taste, beat until powder is dissolved.
  4. Split the cake and sandwich together with half the icing, then spread remainder over sides and top and decorate with walnuts… yummy!!

Enjoy, love Julia x


  1. Una July 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia.
    Have read some Nikki French books, but not that one. Will have to have a hunt for it. Im in between books right now. Have started 2 this week. Read 3 chapters of each and cant remember anything about either of them! Not a good sign. Maybe not just a book reading place this week, its not been the best. 1st anniversary of a passing, so been a bit strained.
    Anyway Ms Roberts. have caught a few of your shows the last couple of days, and you are looking stunning. I see you have some new fans out there who appreciate all the hard work you have been putting in recently. The dieting and working out is SOOOO paying off.
    I have been quite good the past few weeks, just not eating so much rubbish, and being sensible for a change. However, all that is going to change as soon as I get the ingredients for that cake!!!!!! I bet Alison Young LOVED hers!!!
    Will be tuning in for beauty day tomorrow. Hope you are on with Keeley. The best double act on tv!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Take care Julia
    Love Una x

  2. Magda Chetty July 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    About coincidence, and books, when I came to London last time, on the way back at the airport I bought 4 books from W.H.Smith, and when I got home I finished reading 3 of them, but then got invited to a BBQ by a friend whom her son was visiting from England, and I got talking to him and he told me he was moving house from Truro to Falmouth, and he talked about his love of Cornwall, which is part of England that I visited long ago and loved so much, and was thinking of moving there too.
    After that BBQ, I started to read the 4th book I bought (it is called THE PERFECT LIE, great book), and it is all about a girl who lived in Falmouth, truro and London, that was spooky!!!
    I”ll give the cake a try and will let you know how I got on.
    Much love.

  3. valerie blake July 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm -  Reply

    hi julia
    your cake sounds yummy must have a go
    thanks valerie blake

  4. Karen Glynn July 12, 2010 at 5:26 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia – really spooky or what – I had just come home from work and made a cup of coffe and cut myself a slice of coffee and walnut cake when I switched on to see what QVC have to offer today. Loved your dress (bright citrus seamed one) so much I rang to find out if it’s available on QVc but no – it’s your own!!!!! How very dare you – I want one, even the one you own when you no longer love it – If I stop eating coffee and walnut cake NOW it might fit me soon!!! Lotsa Love Karen

  5. Magda Chetty July 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Had to write to you again after Spain winning the world cup last night. We went to a Spanish Pizza/bar with a few English and a few Spanish friends, it was one great night, so much fun, you should have been in Spain to see how much they wanted to win that cup. Children as little as 3 and 4 years old, with adults and old ladies all dressed in the team”s t.shirts and carrying flags, and screaming for the team, and when they won they all went wild ,no one went to bed before 09.00 this morning, it was great. I hope we can do the same in 2014 with our English team.
    Much love.

  6. Annette Roberts July 12, 2010 at 11:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Caught your lovely lime green dress today, one word, stunning!!!!
    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one having problems with the website ordering on Saturday, I was desperately trying to make use of the 3 easy pay code sent through and ended up ordering on Q-Cut and missing out, but I did order the OPI hot pick as I think using the same OPI nail varnish for the past 3 years is a bit much!
    As for coincidences, I think we’ve already had a few although there is one that has just happened, but I’ll have to let you in on that one at a later date, wink, wink….
    Sorry to hear from the previous blog that you also had an accident before your hols, glad you weren’t hurt, but it still shakes you up a bit. It’s so inconvenient, but hopefully the car will be back this weekend. Chris had a big hug and enjoyed watching the football, but missed the final because his company was hosting at the F1 Silverstone.
    I made him plaster himself with Ultrasun Sport, although he forgot his face and now looks like a panda!
    Speak soon
    Annette x

  7. julia roberts July 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm -  Reply

    Hi Una
    Sorry I wasn’t on with Keeley on Beauty Day but I did manage a play and cuddle with Kaya! Hope you enjoyed the day anyway?
    I wonder if you got your ingredients yet? – I had to bake another one yesterday – hence the picture suddenly being posted – Chris iced it again as I was out of time. He’s getting quite a dab hand at it!
    Don’t let it spoil your healthy eating completely – just restrict yourself to one slice – difficult cos it’s very moreish!
    Was really chuffed today – I put on a pair of Karen Millen jeans in a size 10 that I haven’t worn in over 5 years!!!! – I very nearly threw them away. So glad I didn’t as they were always my favourites. 22lbs now but I still need to lose just a couple more round the waist – nearly there, so thanks for keeping me motivated with the compliments
    much love
    Julia x

  8. julia roberts July 12, 2010 at 11:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi Magda
    Ole ole ole ole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well done Spain – I bet Mallorca was celebrating in style. Not a great match but the best team in the World Cup won it , which makes a change.
    Isn’t it weird when coincidences like our book stories happen. It happened earlier in the year too when I bought a book which turned out to be set in a place called Saltburn amile down the road from where Sophie’s boyfriend comes from!
    Hope you like the cake if you try it
    Julia x

  9. julia roberts July 12, 2010 at 11:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi Valerie
    Let me know what you think of it when you have tried it
    Julia x

  10. Una July 13, 2010 at 9:24 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Well done Chris. Look out Julia, he might be after your job in the kitchen!!!!!
    Im making the cake at the weekend Julia. Having a few friends over, and thought this would be nice for a wee change. Will let you know how it goes. No promises about the one slice rule though!!!!
    Annette said shes been wearing the same nail colour for 3 years! Its great when you find a colour you REALLY love, but then you realise its time for a change. My Mum has worn clear or the palest pink she could find, since we were all little (a LONG time ago), but I was visiting at the weekend and was wearing Leightons, Shes in fashion. My Mum kept eyeing it up, and I had the little bottle in my bag, so I put some on for her, and she LOVED it. She thinks shes the cool dude now. Kept walking round wiggling her fingers at us, and saying “Im in fashion” Can see her wearing vamp next!!!!!!!!
    Thats fantastic about the jeans Julia. You must be over the moon. You just look so healthy too, not just the weight loss, but your whole demeanor. 22lbs, wow, thats just brilliant.
    Beauty day was FAB as always. Managed to watch quite a bit that day, but missed the Elemis shows completely, as we got unexpected visitors, ggrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! Stop bragging about your Kaya cuddles, you are just making me jealous!!!!!!
    Lots of love Una x

  11. Joanne Dowling July 13, 2010 at 10:07 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    Wow, 22lbs!!! That’s brill. You look absolutely fab 🙂 Please share your secret as I desperately need to lose LOTS of weight.

  12. julia roberts July 13, 2010 at 11:28 am -  Reply

    Hi Karen
    Loved your post – it made me laugh!! Sophie happened to be in the gallery at work manning the phones during the last hour of the 3 hour extravaganza and said lots of people rang up to ask about the dress I was wearing. It’s from Red Herring in Debenhams and NO you can’t have mine – well not yet anyway, cos I still love it!
    Julia x

  13. julia roberts July 13, 2010 at 11:32 am -  Reply

    Hi Magda
    Our posts crossed each other!!!! But congratulations to Spain again ……….. I was really rooting for them after England went out. Wouldn’t it be lovely if England could do it next time!
    Julia x

  14. julia roberts July 13, 2010 at 11:45 am -  Reply

    Hi Annette
    That was a pretty good reason for Chris to miss the World Cup Final – shame Lewis Hamilton couldn’t have won it!
    I want to know what the latest coincidence is?????????? – you can’t tease me like that.
    As I said in my previous post I had lots of comments on the dress – gorgeous colour isn’t it?
    So sorry about the website on Saturday ……… I wasn’t even aware of it until my Chris rang in from home to tell the Producer to let me know it was ‘messing about’ so that I could pass the message on to you guys at home! Hope it didn’t spoil your day too much.
    speak soon
    Julia x

  15. julia roberts July 13, 2010 at 9:31 pm -  Reply

    Hi Una
    Chris is very welcome to my job in the kitchen!!!!! Actually he’s not a bad cook and he is an expert omelette maker!! Hope the cake turns out nicely – little tip, make it Friday and pop it in a tin overnight, then ice it Saturday. I do that when I have time and it seems to taste even better!
    I know what you mean about nail colour – I’m a bit boring at QVC cos of all the jwellery shows I do, but I LOVED the bright pink out of the Nails Inc TSV. Doing natural nails at the moment to give my nails a break ( not literally though I hope! ).
    I will keep my Kaya cuddles to myself in future – he is a gorgeous little boy!
    much love
    Julia x

  16. julia roberts July 13, 2010 at 9:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Joanne
    My tip for successful weightloss is don’t try and do it too quickly. I started my ‘diet’ on the 1st March and reached my target of 20lbs by my birthday on 10th June – so on average about one and a half lbs a week ( although I did have naughty weeks! ). I kicked it off with Diet Chef which really made me more aware of portion control, and increased my fitness activities of Pilates, treadmill and swimming. It really hasn’t been that difficult, which suprised me cos I thought I might struggle now that I’m older.
    I wish you well and remember it’s not a race – if you want to take it off and keep it off do it slowly.
    Thanks for the compliments on the way I look, but more imoportantly I feel so much better now.
    Much love
    Julia x

  17. steve July 14, 2010 at 5:51 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Back from my holiday now, had a great time over there. landed in a thunderstorm, woundering where all the hot weather has disapeared to!
    i must admitt your coffee and walnut cake looks very tempting…. i try to be real carfull around cakes, like you say portion control is the key!
    I have a great recipe for home made flapjacks they are high in protein and contain no refined sugars totally natural, i challange you to taste the difference!! they taste really good.
    perfect for post training meal, keep them protien levels up juila you are looking fantastic! Did you say Malcolm would be in touch?
    Home made flapjacks
    150g peanut butter
    2tbsp honey
    250g dried mixed fruit finely sliced
    200g oats
    2 egg whites beaten
    Oven temp 180c/350f or gas mark 4, melt the peanut butter in a microwave or in a saucepan, pour into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. spoon into a greased or lined cake tin and level, cook for 30 mins when cool cut into 16 squares.
    Enjoy, speak soon, Steve X

  18. Morag July 14, 2010 at 7:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia Thanks for the updates on your weight loss – it is encouraging me to keep going as well. My gym programme has stepped up a level so it keeps challenging me. Like you I still have lapses, or should I call them treats, at weekends etc, but I think without these it would be impossible to keep things going. You asked about coincidences. Mine happened a long time ago. On holiday in Portugal our family met up with a really nice young couple from Glasgow and enjoyed their company. Three years later in Florida we were in a queue at Sea World, and a voice greeted us. Behind us in the queue was the same couple, and we had not been in touch with them at all since then. It made me wonder what the probability was of that happening. Take care and keep enjoying the health and fitness. Morag x

  19. Kathryn Dwyer July 15, 2010 at 9:45 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia – you’re probably sick of cake recipes now, but anyway, I thought you might like to try this one, it’s relatively healthy 😉
    Lemon and Almond cake
    Cream 8oz butter and golden caster sugar together, beat in 3 eggs until light and fluffy. Now beat in 8oz of ground almonds and 4oz of dried polenta (if you don’t like polenta – substitute this for self raising flour) Once these are combined add in the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Pour this mixture into a greased and lined 8 inch cake tin and bake for about 1 hour or until cooked on 160c
    While the cake is cooking in a small saucepan put 3 tablespoons of golden caster sugar and add in the juice and zest of 3 more lemons. Gently heat until the sugar is dissolved.
    Once the cake is cooked, take it out of the oven – use a skewer to prick the surface and pour the lemon syrup over. Leave to cool in the tin.
    Et voila
    And ps – you are looking amazing! Keep up the tres fabulouso work, Julia
    Love from Kitty in Bolton

  20. Annette Roberts July 15, 2010 at 11:52 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Chris was very lucky to see the race because they were meant to be hosting in their company’s marquee, then the director gave them all a ticket to go and see the race just before it started.
    Sorry, can’t say anything at the moment, but I will tell you, honest!
    I received my OPI All A Flutter collection yesterday afternoon and couldn’t wait to try it. I decided to put one colour on each finger to see what they looked like. The Pink Me I’m Good (glittery pink) is a lovely shade, but the glitter is quite gritty and you can feel it… I can live with that! Catch Me In Your Net (shimmery teal) and Wing It! (shimmery fuchsia) are gorgeous, but not as opaque as I expected, even with 2 coats. I promptly wrote my review online and still gave it a 5* because of the value.
    I decided to take the colours off when I went to bed and the Catch Me in Your Net teal colour has stained my nail blue!!!! I’ve used the OPI varnish remover, plus another brand and it won’t budge and now I’m frightened to use it again for fear of being left with blue finger and toe nails. It reminds me of the old fountain pen ink stains you used to get at school when your pen leaked onto you fingers.
    Just thought I would let you know because I don’t know if that is the norm, because it’s the first colour that has stained my nails. It’s such a shame because it’s gorgeous!
    Take care and good luck with the TSV
    Annette x

  21. Una July 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm -  Reply

    LOL, Im not surprised you are keeping the cuddles all for yourself, he is adorable.
    Thanks for the tip. Will have loads of time on Friday, and hadnt thought of making the cake beforehand.
    The plan was, that my girlies were coming around 7pm for dinner. It would now appear, they have decided amongst themselves that they are going to be here for lunch as well!!! Thought I would have a sort of afternoon tea type affair and serve the cake then! They can pretend they are in Claridges or something!!!!!
    They have requested my moussaka and chocolate nougat mousse for dinner. They like to give their orders, lol!!!!!!!!!!!
    Steves flapjack recipe looks YUM, may give that a go too!!! I just saw my healthy eating plan fly right out the window!!!!!
    Take care Julia
    Love Una x

  22. Kathryn sheehan July 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi, everyone is talking about your Lime dress i have one very similar to yours but the neck line is slightly more scooped.Fits me a lot better now ive lost a few pounds, i have 10lbs more to lose then i will be my ideal weight. I to will be watching the Ronnie Nicole show at midnight, i love her dresses but they are a teeny bit on the short side for my 54 yrs,but they are so nice. Especialy with the extra bit of surport inside.
    Take care.
    Kathy x

  23. julia roberts July 17, 2010 at 8:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Steve
    Haven’t had chance to try the flapjacks yet but I definitely will as I am a big fan of peanut butter and they sound pretty tasty!.
    Hope the weather picked up for you – I’m sure it will have done as the Canaries is usually a safe bet!
    Still keeping up with my fitness regime although slightly more relaxed with the diet – although not being silly – total of 23lbs now and feeling really comfortable about my weight now.
    Pilates is back in August, so I will give Malcolm a ring in the week to make sure he received my / your letter.
    good to hear from you
    Julia x

  24. julia roberts July 17, 2010 at 9:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi morag
    I would say the probability of your coincidence happening must be several million to one!!!!!
    Keep going with your diet /fitness – I’m in favour of the slower approach as more likely to keep it off. I think mine averages at about one and a quarter pounds a week, but it is still coming off, and I haven’t had a single week where I’ve got on the scales and my weight has gone up – even when I’ve been ‘naughty’!
    Keep my posted with your progress
    Julia x

  25. julia roberts July 17, 2010 at 9:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Kitty
    I have never tried baking cakes with polenta but I’m happy to give it a go. Sounds like a great twist with the addition of the ground almonds.
    Thanks for the lovely compliments – I’m still watching my weight but no harm in the odd piece of cake !!!!!!
    much love
    Julia x

  26. julia roberts July 17, 2010 at 9:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Annette
    Sorry to hear about the blue staining – had you used a basecoat? If so can you send me another message and I will tell the buyers about it – what a disappointment!
    I have a bright pink on my toes at the moment very similar to ‘Wing It’ – great colour for all the summer sandals.
    Ronni TSV was very popular – in fact the whole collection was
    speak soon
    Julia x

  27. julia roberts July 17, 2010 at 9:44 pm -  Reply

    Hi Una
    Hope the cake turned out OK? – how was the tea party followed by the dinner? Do they cook for you too? I do vegetarian moussaka sometimes with Quorn mince.
    If you make steve’s flapjacks just have them one at a time – doesn’t have to be a disaster LOL!
    speak soon
    Julia x

  28. julia roberts July 17, 2010 at 9:47 pm -  Reply

    Hi kathy
    Not sure how tall you are but I find the Ronni Nicole dresses are just above the knee on me at 5ft 5in – perfect, and not too short for us at our ripe old age of 54.
    Good luck with the rest of your weightloss plan
    Julia x

  29. janice reeves July 18, 2010 at 10:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia, I have made the coffee and walnut cake today, out here in very hot sunny Spain, had to leave the butter cream in the fridge until had boiled the kettle for cups of tea, iced the cake, and it went down a treat, really light and fluffy, will defo make again and my friend also asked for the recipe, so must have been good lots of love Janicexxxx

  30. Annette Roberts July 19, 2010 at 1:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Re: OPI, I didn’t have a base coat on only 2 coats of the nail envy… I will try another experiment because I have just found a bottle of OPI’s Base and Topcoat and will let you know the result of that. It’s so nice to have a choice now, why I didn’t invest earlier I don’t know, but once I find a colour I like I tend to stick to it.
    On a lighter note…. we have just put our house on the market and in clearing out I found my Litre bottle of Golden Oil and I’ve cleaned every bit of wood in sight, it smells gorgeous!
    The funny thing is, that I put the bottle to the side of the stairs in the hallway and have just viewed the ‘For Sale’ brochure and noticed the bottle is in the hallway photo! Now if that isn’t an advert, I don’t know what is….
    Thanks Julia, I’ll let you know the outcome of my experiment!
    Annette x

  31. julia roberts July 19, 2010 at 10:12 pm -  Reply

    Hello Janice
    Thanks for the feedback on the cake and so pleased you and your friends enjoyed it. I hear Spain has been up in the 40’s!!!!! EEK – a bit too warm for me.
    much love
    Julia x

  32. julia roberts July 19, 2010 at 10:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Annette
    The Nail Envy should have prevented the staining, but try it with the basecoat and let me know. If it happens again I will pass it on to the Buying Team.
    I love the orangey smell of Golden Oil and it’s much nicer than waxy polishes I think. Good luck with the house sale
    Speak soon
    Julia x

  33. Dee Taylor July 26, 2010 at 11:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi Julia,
    just thought I would let you know how well you are looking. You look great in all those Ronnie Nicole dresses. I ordered the TSV one in black last week but sadly the size I ordered was a bit too small and also a bit shorter than I would have liked. I am trying to lose some weight too so hopefully next time, I will look better in a Ronnie Nicole dress! Anyway best of luck with your diet & fitness, you are a great inspiration to us all.
    Dee x

  34. julia roberts August 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm -  Reply

    Hello Dee
    Thanks for all your lovely comments – I am humbled to be thought of as an inspiration so thankyou again.
    I’m sorry your dress was not the right size on you. I always try to gauge things on me in terms of size and the TSV certainly seemed to be a slightly more generous cut that some of the other styles. The 12 was too big for me, but I am not yet down to a size 10 so I was trying to be helpful for people between sizes – sorry if it misguided you.
    Ronni Nicole is back at the end of this month.
    Good luck with your weight loss
    Julia x

  35. Diane February 14, 2011 at 11:09 am -  Reply

    Hi Julia
    Can you tell me which pilaties machine you use. I am finally in the right place mentally to start losing my excess 3 stone. You are an inspiration to us all.

  36. marie mckelvie coventry February 16, 2013 at 10:13 pm -  Reply

    hi Julia soup all sounds lovely will try it.have one for you to try if you like?1 butternut squash and leeks,tin of cocoanut milk.veg stock made with 1cube,cut up leeks and simmer in oil for a few minutes.add in choped butternut squash add rest ingreedence cook 20minutes then blend in pan have with some bread enjoy i luv it marie xx

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