“If you’re going to bake, you should do it properly.”

There is an unwritten rule that, at the end of each clinical placement (or, in some cases, every Friday), veterinary students are expected to produce some sort of edible creation for staff at the practice that so kindly opened its doors to them.

The cop out (and to be quite honest, more expensive) option is a box of chocolates, which, while quick and easy, can be quite pricey depending on the size of practice you’re catering for.

Another quick(ish) fix is packet baking, which usually requires the addition of a couple of ingredients, sticking in the oven and “bang”, tray bake for the whole practice. While some people swear by these – and if you buy the right one, they can taste pretty good – I feel it’s cheating somewhat. If you’re going to bake, you should do it properly.

Plus, sneaky packet baking can leave you open to awkward questions about the recipe or how you made it, and vet students are already subject to awkward daily grillings on placement, so any that can be avoided if possible would be a bonus.

So that leaves actually baking…

Now, I’m no Mary Berry, but I can whip up a good brownie or some decent cupcakes at 11pm on a Thursday night if need be.

My personal go-to recipe is for coffee cupcakes – it’s simple, involves normal cupboard stocks, is fairly quick to whip up, yet has an impressive edge. After all, most vets live on coffee, so why not add a little more to their Friday?

 12 Coffee Cupcakes


  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 1.5 tsp instant coffee granules mixed with 1 tsp warm water


  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius
  2. Mix the butter and sugar
  3. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the coffee/water mix to the beaten eggs
  4. Add eggs and flour to the mixture bit by bit and mix
  5. Spoon into cake cases and bake for 15mins
  6. Lift the cakes onto a wire rack to cool

Coffee Buttercream


  • 100g butter
  • 220g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules mixed with 1 tsp warm water


  1. Mix the above until they form a paste consistency
  2. Once the cupcakes have cooled, spread buttercream onto the cupcakes or pipe a swirl for a more professional finish.


So, when you sit down to watch the The Great British Bake Off this week, spare a moment to think of the veterinary students up and down the UK burning the midnight oil trying to concoct something even passable in an effort to persuade their vets they know how to do something right.

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1 year 1 month ago
Thanks! I’ll definitely be trying these! Seems much simpler than my last attempt for my dairy placement. For some reason I decided to make something I’d never made before but felt should be ingrained within my soul given how many I’d scoffed lately – Welsh cakes! So I frantically searched the cupboards for mixed spice and currants, mixed up the dough, then realised the only cookie cutters I had were ones I’d bought for making dog biscuits! So the choice was either bone-shaped Welsh cakes, heart shaped, or ones that spelled out ‘Dad’ (which were for making cookies for my… Read more »

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