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James Martin's American cheescake, honey and hazelnut cake, and jam shortbread

National Tea and Cake Break
For the price of a cup of coffee and a piece of cake, you can help fund vital services for people with epilepsy.
Text ACT NOW to 70700 to donate £5
James Martin

American Cheese Cake


  • 25cm sponge (cut from a large bought flan case)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
  • 4 tablespoons of cornflour
  • 3 tablespoons of sultanas (soaked in a little bourbon)
  • 850g full fat soft cream cheese
  • 3 eggs, medium size
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 375ml double cream
  • Jack Daniels to taste or bourbon (optional)
  • 10 small bananas
  • 25g butter
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • Caramel sauce or maple syrup
  • Sprig of mint


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Butter a 25cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
  • Cut the sponge horizontally into two discs. Use one to line a buttered cake tin.
  • In a bowl mix together the sugar, lemon zest, cornflour and sultanas using a wooden spoon, then beat in the cream cheese. Add the eggs one by one, also add the vanilla essence, beating constantly until all the eggs are well incorporated.
  • Slice open the vanilla pod, remove the seeds with a sharp knife and place the seeds into the cream mixture, add a splash of bourbon (about 60 ml), if using, and mix everything together well. Add the cream and beat well until the mixture is smooth. Pour gently over the sponge base in the cake tin.
  • Sit the tin in a baking tray filled with 2-3mm of warm water to help create steam during cooking. Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for 50 minutes until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and set completely before removing from the tin.
  • Just before serving, peel the bananas and fry in the butter and sugar until brown and slightly caramelised.
  • Serve, cut into wedges, with the bananas and a drizzle of caramel sauce or maple syrup.

Honey and Hazelnut Cake

Serves 6-8


  • 225g / 8oz honey
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 110g / 4oz plain flour, sifted
  • 110g / 4oz ground hazelnuts
  • 100g / 3½ floz milk


  • Grease a cake tin and preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  • Leaving the honey in the jar, place in a pan of hot water so it stays runny.
  • Place the egg yolks into a large bowl. Pour over the honey and beat.
  • Gradually add the sifted flour and ground hazelnuts.
  • Bind the mixture with the milk.
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture. Pour into the buttered tin, bake for 40 minutes.
  • When cold turn out

Jam Shortbreads


  • 85g / 3oz icing sugar
  • 170g / 6oz plain flour
  • 55g / 2oz cornflour
  • 30g / 1oz ground almonds
  • 255g / 9oz butter, cubed
  • A few drops almond essence
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • Jam or fruit curd of your choice for filling


  • Pre-heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark3 and butter a muffin tray.
  • Sift the sugar, flour and cornflour into a bowl and add the ground almonds. Add the butter and the almond essence and rub or mix in until there are no lumps of butter remaining.
  • Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly to form a smooth dough. Break off small pieces of dough, roll them into balls just large enough to fill the holes in the muffin tray a third of the way. Flatten the tops slightly with your fingers.
  • Bake for about 8-12 minutes until they are light golden colour.
  • Remove, and using the back of a teaspoon, make an indentation in the top of each biscuit. Leave to cool, then tap the biscuits out gently. They are quite fragile when still slightly warm, so handle with care.
  • When all the dough is baked and cooled, dust the top of the biscuits with icing sugar and then, using a teaspoon, fill the indentation with your chosen filling.

Why has this recipe been donated to Epilepsy Action?

A cup of coffee and a piece of cake can make a real difference for people with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Action’s network of coffee and chat groups can provide a life line to people who might be feeling isolated because of the condition. Coffee and chat groups give people affected by epilepsy an opportunity to come together and share their experiences.

Text ACT NOW to 70700 to donate £5, the cost of a cup of coffee and piece of cake, to Epilepsy Action. Together we can make sure no-one has to face epilepsy alone. Terms and conditions.

Want to hold your own National Tea and Cake Break?

Each year in October, Epilepsy Action holds a fundraising event called National Tea and Cake Break, asking people to pop the kettle on, make a brew, bake a cake and have a cuppa with us! The money raised goes towards helping everyone affected by epilepsy in the UK! 

Holding a National Tea and Cake Break really is a piece of cake! Whether it’s a cup of tea and a cake in your kitchen or a tea party at your workplace, you can hold your Tea and Cake Break anywhere and invite anybody along to share the fun. In the past, we have had Tea and Cake Breaks registered all over the UK; from Cornwall to Scotland, in schools, homes and workplaces.  

If reading this recipe has inspired you to hold a National Tea and Cake Break for Epilepsy Action, why not register for your free fundraising pack now and bake a difference?

Request a pack

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