The random musings of a software developer

Victoria Sandwich Cake

A traditional recipe in the British baking repertoire.

Makes 6-8 slices


1 cup (250g) butter, softened
1 cup (250g) granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ cups (250g) self-rising flour
1-2 tbsp milk
4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam
granulated sugar to decorate

Oven temperature: 350°F / 180°C
Baking time: 25 mins
Cake pans: two 8in (26cm) round pans, greased and lined

Storage: Keeps for 2-3 days
Freezing: Freezes for 3 months undecorated


  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a little of the flour if the mixture begins to separate.

  2. Sift the remaining flour over the surface of the mixture and fold it in, followed by a little milk to give the mixture a soft dropping consistency.

  3. Divide the mixture in half and spread it evenly into the prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until pale golden and soft and springy to the touch.

  4. Remove from the oven and invert onto a wire rack. Let cool. Carefully remove the lining paper and spread the bottom of one cake with the raspberry jam. Cover with the second cake layer, transfer to a plate, and sprinkle the top with granulated sugar to decorate.

Kirschen’s Notes

Any kind of jam can be used – I particularly like strawberry.

If you have non-stick pans, just grease them with the remnants on the butter wrappers, don’t need to be lined.

Instead of using granulated sugar, I use powdered / icing / confectioners’ sugar and sift that over the top using a sieve.

Source: Ultimate Cake by Barbara Maher, published by DK Living

New England Maple Bread


2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup butter or margarine, melted
¾ cup milk
¾ cup maple syrup
1 large egg
1 cup golden raisins, scalded and dried
1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a 9x5x3″ loaf pan with melted butter or coat with vegetable spray.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and blend well. Set aside.

In a separate bowl stir together the butter, milk, maple syrup, and egg. Beat well and with a rubber spatula add to the dry ingredients, stirring quickly until well moistened. Fold in the raisins and nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake one hour and test for doneness. Remove bread from oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Turn the bread out on the rack to finish cooling.

A delightfully simple bread with a charming, light flavour of maple syrup

Recipe from Quick Breads, Soups and Stews by Mary Gubser, Council Oak Books, 1991

To scald raisins – put the raisins in a colander and pour hot water over the raisins. Drain and place on paper towels on a plate and pat dry.

To test for bread doneness, insert a skewer (bamboo or metal) into the bread and remove. If it comes out cleanly with no trace of batter, the bread is done.


Image Title updated

I’ve put in an update to Image Title in my software page. It now shows both the Title and Alt text if they’re defined. Moved the source to my GitHub repository. Share and enjoy!

When Software Update doesn’t work…

Sometimes OS X Software Update might think it has downloaded and installed the update, especially for pre-Mac App Store applications such as the iLife programs. The way to resolve this is to go to Apple Support Downloads and download the individual update. You can also get the OS X Combo Updaters this way.

Where’s Subversion gone in Mountain Lion?

I tried to use the command line Subversion application svn in my recently updated installation of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Couldn’t find the command at all. Hmm… used to be pre-installed in Lion and previous versions. Looked around the interwebs and found this reference: Where is SVN on OS X Mountain Lion?. You have to install Xcode from the App Store and then download the command line utilities. svn will get installed in /usr/bin and thus appears in the default PATH.

Unit Testing in Xcode 4

One of the nice things in Xcode 4 is the integration of the OCUnit, or SenTestKit, Unit Test suite into the environment. My last foray into unit testing was with JUnit in Eclipse. I’m currently working on an Objective-C library using JSON for data transmission and needed to test its methods.

Here’s a good guide on setting up a project to use OCUnit and OCMock for mock objects – Unit Testing in Xcode 4 Quick Start Guide | Ray Wenderlich. The article also mentions GHUnit which has some additional features over OCUnit – will have to look at that too!

So I’ve written my test cases and run them. I then see several test failures which seemed out of the ordinary. Now, the test cases are written in the order I expect them to run in the file, and I noticed that they were being run in an order other than the sequence in the file, which is what I was used to in JUnit. The Unit Test documentation on the Apple developer site Xcode Unit Testing Guide doesn’t mention anything about the order of test case execution, and I could not find anything relevant on the ‘net.

After scrutinising the test case run order, I came to the conclusion that it was in alphabetical order! And now I’ve taken to numbering the test cases thusly – test_0010_xxx and so forth – shades of BASIC line numbers!

And there’s more – unit tests are by their intent, tests for a unit. Each is a single entity which performs a set of operations as an independent standalone code segment. I had instead written test methods which were dependent on the previous method’s results – not a real unit test at all, and therefore a new lesson learnt! In fact, Apple documentation states: “When Xcode runs unit tests, it invokes each test case method independently.” Might not need those line numbers after all…

So chalk this one up to experience, and blog it for all to find out!

At Iowa Code Camp

Waiting for Keith Dahlby’s talk to start on GitHub at Iowa Code Camp.

Iowa Code Camp 9

I’m presenting at the Iowa Code Camp Spring 2012 event. This year I’m speaking on Design Patterns – as it’s my belief that software developers who understand the essential principles of their art will transcend languages, libraries, and development environments.

PDF of the slides are here. Enjoy!

Markdown with MarsEdit

I found this neat technique to upload Markdown from MarsEdit to a WordPress site and have it automagically format the MarkDown as HTML. Here’s the link to Cek’s blog. You’ll need Markdown on Save Improved installed as a WordPress plugin. Activate it and vóila – you have that magical Markdown conversion – direct from MarsEdit. Enjoy!

CableJive dockStubz

The second item I reviewed for Allison Sheridan’s NosillaCast podcast is the CableJive dockStubz Charge Converter and 30-pin Pass Through Adapter. Here are the problems to be solved…

You’ve got an iPhone safely wrapped up in a case and you like to plug it into a video output adapter. But wait, the connector is just slightly larger then the standard dock connector. You sigh loudly as you remove the case for the umpteenth time to plug in the video connector.

Or perhaps you have a dock connector in your car. It used to charge your old iPod but does not charge your brand new iPhone 4S at all. That’s because the iPhone now uses USB versus FireWire. You can play music but your iPhone will be discharging.

Here’s a third common issue – you have an iPad and want to use the VGA adapter but your battery is low. There’s no time to recharge before the important presentation.

Three problems – one solution. The CableJive dockStubz – it’s three things in one: a pass through dock connector, a charge converter, and an external charge adapter.

In the first scenario, you plug the oversized dock connector into the socket at one end of the dockStubz and plug the dockStubz’s standard size dock connector into your encased iPhone. It fits all cases as it is exactly the same size as the standard Apple dock connector. You can even plug it into the connector in Apple’s iPod dock and plug your iPhone into that.

For the second situation, the dockStubz contains circuitry to convert the FireWire power voltage to USB levels. You simply plug the dockStubz into the automotive dock connector and the iPhone into the dockStubz. It’s really that easy.

And in the case of the last scenario, the dockStubz has a micro-B USB receptacle on the side through which you can supply additional power. Since the Apple VGA adapter does not come with a dock connector power socket, as in the HDMI adapter, the dockStubz comes in handy to power your iPad while using the VGA adapter.

The dockStubz is available from Amazon and other retailers. It costs just a little more than $20. You’ll find that it’s such a handy little device to keep in your bag of device adapters. One thing I found amiss was that CableJive could have included a USB-A to Micro-B connector but alas, that was not the case. Fortunately my travel kit bag is equipped with that cable so I’m all set.

Link at CableJive’s website

Link at Amazon

Link to the NosillaCast #364 review

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