Lemon Curd

Ingredients
Makes about 1⅓ cups
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits

Step 1 – Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes.
Step 2 – Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.
Note*Curd can be chilled up to 1 week.

Vegan birthday cake

Plant-based diet recipes - BBC Good Food
  • Prep:1 hr
  • Cook:30 mins
  • plus cooling and 1½ -2½ hrs chilling
  • More effort
  • Serves 16-20

Bake a plant-based version of a chocolate fudge cake for a birthday party. Everyone can enjoy it, including guests who have a dairy intolerance or egg allergies

Ingredients

  • 320ml sunflower oil , plus extra for the tins
  • 450ml soy , almond or coconut milk (the pouring variety, not a can)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 500g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 260g plain soy or coconut yogurt
  • 450g self-raising flour
  • 160g cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the vegan buttercream

  • 200g dairy-free dark chocolate
  • 400g vegan spread , at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 800g icing sugar , sifted
  • colourful sprinkles (make sure they are suitable for vegans)

Method

  • STEP 1– Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil three 20cm round cake tins and line the bases and sides with baking parchment (if you don’t have three tins, cook the batter in batches). Whisk the milk and vinegar together in a jug – the milk should curdle slightly. Set aside.
  • STEP 2– Whisk the sugar, oil and vanilla extract together in a bowl, then whisk in the yogurt, making sure to break down any sugar lumps. Pour in the soured milk and mix well.
  • STEP 3– Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and ½ tsp salt into a separate bowl and stir well to combine. Gradually whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until you have a smooth batter, but be careful not to over-mix.
  • STEP 4– Divide the batter evenly between the tins and bake for 25-30 mins, until well risen and springy, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out almost clean. A few sticky crumbs are fine, but the mixture should not be wet.
  • STEP 5– Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 20 mins, then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack  to cool completely. They will be delicate so be gentle (a cake lifter is helpful). The sponges will keep, covered, at room temperature for up to two days.
  • STEP 6– For the vegan buttercream, melt the chocolate in the microwave a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool. Beat the spread and vanilla on high speed in a Cooks Professional Stand Mixer or a few minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the icing sugar gradually, beating on slow to start with, then turning up the speed to max until the mixture is light and creamy. Pour in the cooled chocolate and combine thoroughly. Chill the buttercream for at least 30 mins before using.
  • STEP 7– To assemble the cake, first use a sharp knife to trim the tops off the sponges to make them level. Put one of the sponges on a serving plate, cake stand or 20cm round cake drum (using a cake drum makes it easier to ice the cake neatly and to move it onto a stand or plate later). Spread over a layer of the buttercream, using a palette knife to get an even, neat finish. Top with the second sponge and spread over another layer of buttercream.
  • STEP 8– Top with the last sponge upside-down, so the bottom of the cake becomes the top (this will help to keep the icing neat and relatively crumb-free). Spread the sides of the cake with buttercream. Hold the top sponge steady with a palm if you need to stabilise the cake. Once you have the sides covered as neatly as you can, cover the top with a thin layer of buttercream. Use your palette knife to neaten the top and sides. If you have a side scraper, use it to sweep around the sides and top to sharpen the coating. (This is a crumb coat, trapping any crumbs to give you a neat, firm base.) Put the cake in the fridge to firm up and chill for 1-2 hrs.
  • STEP 9– To finish, cover the sides and top of the cake in the same manner, using most of the remaining buttercream. Press the sprinkles up against the bottom of the cake, about a quarter to a third of the way up. You can dress the top of the cake with a circle of sprinkles, or for a fancier finish, pipe little swirls around the top edge of the cake using any remaining buttercream scraped into a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle, then finish with more sprinkles.
  • STEP 10– Keep the cake in the fridge to stay firm, then remove 1 hr before serving. Will keep, covered, in the fridge, for up to three days.

Giant pan cookie

Ingredients

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 200g chocolate chips
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas 5. In a Cooks Professional 1000W stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, then beat until well combined.
  2. Sift over the flour, baking powder and salt, then beat again briefly to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon or spatula, then spoon the dough into a Cooks Professional Cast iron pan and press down gently to flatten and spread evenly to the edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden. Top with scoops of ice cream, then dig straight in with your spoons!

Baked Apples

Ingredients:
4 apples
25g butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
50g fresh breadcrumbs
40g mixed seeds
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice

Method
1.Core the apples and score the skin around the circumference with a sharp
knife to stop them from splitting.
2.Combine all the remaining ingredients and carefully stuff the apple cores,
scattering any remaining mix over the apples. Place them in the base of the
air fryer.
3.Select the bake function (180°C – 15 minutes), cook for the duration of the
program or they are slightly collapsed

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberries

Makes 10-12 slices
Crust:
1/3 cup butter (about 3 oz)
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup muscovado sugar

Filling
1 lb yogurt cheese (please see note)
1 lb mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp honey
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 lb good quality white chocolate
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

To serve:
1 ½ lbs fresh strawberries
2-3 tbsp granulated sugar/natural cane sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).

To prepare the pan, wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with aluminum foil, shiny side out. Coat the inside with vegetable oil spray. For ease of serving, invert the bottom of the pan, so the lip around the edge faces downward, and lock in place. Select a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the pan and place a paper towel in it. Bring a kettle of water to boil. Set aside.

To prepare the crust, cut the butter into smaller pieces and melt over low heat. Let it cool slightly. In a medium bowl, combine the oats and the sugar. Add the cooled melted butter and mix to combine. Transfer the mixture onto the prepared pan and with your hands spread the mixture to cover the base and sides of the pan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until light golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 Fahrenheit (150 Celsius).

To melt the white chocolate, bring a pot of water, about 1/3 high, to a boil and lower the heat. Chop or shave the white chocolate and transfer to a bowl. Place the bowl over the bain marie and allow the white chocolate to melt, stirring once. When melted, remove from the heat and stir with a rubber spatula. Set aside.

To prepare the filling, make sure the cheeses are at room temperature. Beat together the yogurt and mascarpone cheese and honey on low speed until just until incorporated and smooth in your Cooks Professonal 1200W Stabnd Mixer. Scrape the bowl down to ensure everything is combined. On low speed, beat in eggs and egg yolk one at a time. Don’t over mix. Add the melted white chocolate and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined. Pour into the baked crust and place in a prepared pan.

To bake the cheesecake, pour the hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the spring form pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the cheesecake is golden brown on top but still loose in the center. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Then, carefully transfer the cheesecake to a cooling rack and remove the foil. Then run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake from the pan. Let stand for 30 minutes. Refrigerate the cheesecake on the rack until the center is very cold, at least 8 hours, or up to 24 hours.
To prepare the strawberries, wash and dry the strawberries, then core and cut them into quarters. Place half of the strawberries in a blender with half of the sugar and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Add more sugar if necessary. Strain the coulis through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Use the back of a small ladle to push the coulis through. Discard the seeds. Transfer to a bowl.

To serve the cheesecake, remove the side of the spring form pan. To cut the cake, dip a sharp knife into a glass of hot water. Shake off the water, away from the cake, and slice. Wipe the blade clean on a paper towel. Dip the knife again into the hot water and make the second cut. Continue the process as you make each cut. Serve the cheesecake with the fresh strawberries and the coulis.


Notes:
To make the yogurt cheese: Line a strainer over a bowl with cheesecloth and add the yogurt. Allow the whey to drain for about 7-8 hours. Make sure that the yogurt cheese is not too dry.

Running the knife around the edge after baking will prevent the cheesecake from cracking at the top.

While using the mixer makes your life easier, you can beat the filing by hand.

Try not to overbeat or over mix the filling most especially after adding the eggs. It will cause the cake to rise and fall, which can cause the top of the cake to crack. The less volume you produce, the less the cake will rise.

Dark Chocolate & Ginger Muffins

Dark chocolate and sumptuous ginger combine to create the perfect tea time treat.

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 220ml milk
  • 115g dark brown sugar
  • 85g butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
  • 55g cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 pieces stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped, play 2 tbsp syrup from the jar
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200℃/180℃ fan/gas mark 6. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray with the extra butter. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the plain flour, cocoa powder, ground ginger, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the finely chopped stem ginger and the sugar.
  2. Beat together the eggs in a large jug, then beat in the milk, ginger syrup, and melted butter. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients, and pour in the liquid ingredients; mix gently together until combined, but be careful not to overmix.
  3. Spoon the muffin mixture into the prepared muffin tin and cook for 20 minutes of until the muffins are well risen and firm to the touch. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with your favourite hot drink for a scrumptious afternoon treat!

Lead image: Ridofranz via Getty Images.

Waffles with hot chocolate sauce, fried bananas and ice cream

Waffles with hot chocolate sauce, fried bananas and ice cream

Serves 4 

Total Time 10 to 30 minutes

Ingredients 

For the waffles 

  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar 
  • 3 free-range eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 425ml/15fl oz full-fat milk 
  • 110g/4oz unsalted butter, melted 

For the chocolate sauce 

For the fried bananas 

Instructions 

1.For the waffles, preheat a Cooks Professional Luxury Rotary Waffle Maker to a medium setting and preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Place a large wire rack onto a baking tray and keep it warm. 

2.Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, milk and butter until well combined. 

3.Ladle some of the batter into each well of the waffle maker, close the lid and cook for five minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Repeat the process until the batter is used up. Keep the waffles warm on the baking tray in the oven. 

4.For the hot chocolate sauce, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water (ensure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). 

5.In another pan, heat the sugar and 100ml/3½oz water, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. 

6.Stir the sugar syrup into the chocolate until smooth and shiny. 

7.For the fried bananas, heat a frying pan until hot, then melt together the butter and sugar. 

8.Add the bananas and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown all over. 

9.Place the waffles on a plate and top with chocolate sauce and serve the bananas and ice cream on the side. 

Mango & Passionfruit Meringue Roulade

A truly decadent dessert, this fruity mango and passionfruit meringue roulade will wow your family and friends.

Ingredients

  • 175g caster sugar
  • 600ml double cream
  • 400g passionfruit curd
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 level tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp malt vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large mango, peeled, stoned, and diced, or 425g tinned mango, diced
  • 2 passion fruits
  • Icing sugar, to dust

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 150℃/130℃ fan/gas mark 2. Line a 33 x 23cm swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper. In your Cooks Professional stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until frothy and they’ve doubled in bulk. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, until the mixture is thick and shiny. In a bowl, combine the cornflour, vanilla extract, and vinegar, then whisk into the egg whites.
  2. Once the meringue mixture is ready, carefully spoon it into the prepared tin. Take care when levelling the surface, and try to keep as much of the air whisked into the eggs as possible. Bake meringue in the oven for 30 minutes until the surface is just about firm to the touch.
  3. While the meringue is cooking, prepare the whipped cream. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Set to one side.
  4. Remove the meringue from the oven and cover with more greaseproof paper for about 10 minutes. Dust a third sheet of greaseproof paper with icing sugar. Discard the one used to cover the warm meringue, and turn the meringue out onto the sugarcoated paper. Remove the paper lining the bottom – now top – of the meringue, and discard the now used paper.
  5. Spread the whipped cream over the meringue, and then the passionfruit curd. Scatter the diced mango and passionfruit over the top. Use the greaseproof paper to roll up the roulade from one short end, keeping the join underneath. Sift some icing sugar over the top for decoration, and serve with more double cream if desired.

Lead image: Lesyy via Getty Images.

Lemon Meringue Pie

This classic dessert is the perfect combination of tart lemon and sweet meringue, culminating in a sweet treat that will have you reaching for seconds.

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter, cubed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

For the filling

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 125ml lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice 1 small orange
  • 85g butter, cubed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 level tbsp cornflour

For the meringue

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 egg whites at room temperature
  • 2 level tsp cornflour

Method

  1. Make the pastry. Mix the plain flour, cold butter, icing sugar, egg yolk and 1 tbsp cold water in your Cooks Professional food processor. Pulse until the mix starts to bind, but be careful not to overwork it. Lightly flour your kitchen surface, then tip the pastry mixture out. Gather it together until smooth, then roll out and line a loose-bottom fluted flan tin. Trim and neaten the edges, pressing the pastry into the flutes. Don’t worry if it cracks; push it back together. Prick the base with a fork, line with foil – the shiny side down – and chill for between half an hour to an hour, or overnight.
  2. Heat your oven to 200℃/180℃ fan/gas mark 6. Blind bake your pastry; fill the pastry case with baking beans or rice to weigh it down, then bake for 15 mins. Remove the foil and bake for another 5-8 minutes until the pastry is pale golden and cooked. Remove the pastry from the oven and set to one side. Lower the oven heat to 180℃/160℃ fan/gas mark 4.
  3. While the pastry is baking, prepare the filling. In your Cooks Professional saucepan mix the cornflour, caster sugar, and lemon zest. Strain the lemon juice, and add to the saucepan gradually. In a jug, combine the orange juice with up to 200ml and strain into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickened and smooth, making sure to stir constantly.
  4. When the mixture starts to bubble, remove from the heat and add in the smaller amount of butter, beating until it has melted. In a bowl, beat the whole egg and 3 egg yolks together – save the whites for the meringue – and stir into the pan, returning it to medium heat. Continue to stir vigorously for several minutes until the mixture thickens, and plops from the spoon. It will bubble, but won’t curdle. Remove from the heat and set to one side.
  5. Make the meringue. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add half of the sugar a spoonful at a time. Make sure to whisk between each addition, being careful not to overbeat the mixture. Whisk in the cornflour, and then add the remaining sugar a spoonful at a time until smooth and thick.
  6. Reheat the lemon filling quickly, then pour it into the prepared pastry case. Spoon the meringue around the edges of the filling, then spread it so that it touches the pastry. This will help to anchor the meringue and prevent it from sliding. Avoid adding the meringue straight to the middle of the mixture, otherwise it may sink. Once you’ve added meringue to the edges, then you can pile the rest of it in the centre – make sure to spread it so that it touches the surface of the hot filling, then give it a swirl.
  7. Return the now complete pie to the oven for between 18-20 minutes until the meringue topping is crisp and slightly coloured. Remove from the oven, and allow the pie to sit in the tin for half an hour. Remove it from the tin and leave to rest for at least another half hour to an hour before slicing. 

Lead image: AnaMOMarques via Getty Images.

Guide to Pastry

Pastry is notoriously difficult among both amateur and professional chefs alike. But if you want to become the next star baker on the Great British Bake Off, pastry is one of the many baking talents that you’ll need to master.

There are different types of pastry that are used in a variety of recipes, each one as interesting and tricky to master as the last. If you want to learn more about pastry, read on!

How many types of pastry are there?

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The sheer amount of pastries available is impressive, but there are six main types of pastry. These are shortcrust, flaky, puff, filo, choux, and hot water crust. The main ingredients tend to be the same or similar for each – a mixture of flour, water, and fats such as butter mixed together to form a dough, used as the basis of many sweet and savoury treats.

Once the pastry dough is formed, it tends to be rolled out thinly to use in baking, depending on the type of pastry in use. Pastries like hot water crust use different methods to form the finished product.

Shortcrust pastry

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Shortcrust is the type of pastry used in most recipes, due to its forgiving nature. It requires a fairly simple recipe, and tends to be quite foolproof, making it one of the most common pastries used today. It’s thought that shortcrust pastry was invented in Venice, with the first recipe being recorded in the 18th century.

To create a simple shortcrust dough, simply mix flour, butter, and salt, adding water to bind the mixture together. It can be mixed either by hand or by using a food processor or stand mixer; mixing the flour and fat together at the start inhibits the formation of gluten, leaving you with a ‘short’, or lovely crumbly, tender pastry.

The general rule of thumb is that you’ll need half the amount of fat to the amount of flour, e.g. for 200g flour, you’ll need 100g butter. As with most pastry, try to avoid handling it as much as possible, so as to prevent the butter from melting. You should try and chill it before using it to bake. Remember to add the liquid gradually – the less liquid your pastry has, the more buttery and crumbly it will be.

Flaky pastry

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This particular variety is characterised by the flakes of pastry achieved through lamination. It can be an effort to make but is more forgiving than puff pastry. It has a higher ratio of fat to flour than shortcrust, with the butter being incorporated in stages, a little bit added after each fold. It can sometimes be called rough puff pastry and is a little easier than its more difficult companion.

The flaky layers are created by shard-like pieces of butter in the dough melting in the oven, releasing steam, which makes the layers puff up. The pastry expands when cooked due to the number of layers, leaving you with a beautifully crisp and flaky finish.

To create the ideal flaky pastry, layers of dough and fat are rolled and folded together. As with most pastry, it’s best made in cool conditions, and should be chilled after making and before being used so as to prevent the fat content from leaking out during cooking. The most rustic and one of the simpler doughs, flaky pastry is a favourite to use in both sweet and savoury recipes.

Puff pastry

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Puff pastry is notorious for being one of the most difficult pastries to master. It’s time-consuming to create the perfect puff, but your efforts will be worth it in the end when you bite into a perfectly crisp pastry. It’s thought to have been invented by a French baker, Cladius Gele, in 1645.

A dough of flour, sugar, salt, and water is rolled out into a rectangle, and the butter is layered on top. The dough is then folded around the butter, a process known as lamination, before being rolled out and folded repeatedly to create multiple layers. The dough should be chilled between each lamination so as to prevent the butter from becoming too warm and melting. 

Careful temperature control is needed at all times to prevent it from merging with the dough. It’s important to chill the butter and dough at all times, so that the gluten is allowed to relax between roll-outs. During cooking, the moisture in the fat evaporates, causing lift and creating delicate layers; the melted butter adds a crispness to the pastry. Puff pastry tends to be used for Danish pastries.

Choux pastry

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A French favourite, choux pastry tends to be used for sweet treats such as profiteroles and eclairs. Choux gets its name from the French word for ‘cabbage’, due to resembling the same shape as a cabbage after cooking. This particular pastry is light, airy, and crisp, and unlike the other types of pastry on this list, it needs to be cooked before you can use it. It’s more batter-like in consistency than the other pastry types, which means it can be piped.

Choux pastry starts life as a mixture of milk or water with butter, which is heated together in a saucepan until the butter melts. Flour is then added to form a dough, and eggs are beaten in to enrich it, creating a wonderfully smooth, golden mix that is then piped.

The high percentage of water in the dough causes it to expand into a light, hollow pastry; the air lifts the pastry to treble in size while cooking. A hole is skewered into the choux halfway through cooking to let the steam out, before being placed back in the oven to dry out and become crisp. Once cooked, the choux is removed from the oven, filled with cream, and topped with chocolate. Choux pastry is used extensively in French patisserie cooking.

Filo pastry

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Filo pastry, or phyllo pastry as it is sometimes known, is perhaps the most difficult of pastry types to make. This is because it tends to dry out quickly – even if shop-bought. Due to its tricky nature, it is perhaps better to buy your own from your local shop rather than attempt to make it yourself. It is difficult and time-consuming to make by hand.

Filo is a paper-thin pastry made up of several layers, which are generally wrapped around a filling and brushed with butter to create delicate, flaky pastries, such as baklava. It’s important to keep the filo pastry hydrated, as it can dry out very quickly if made by hand.

This pastry is very fragile and requires careful handling. Make sure to brush it with oil or butter before shaping and cooking. It takes a great deal of skill to make it yourself, so unless you want to challenge your baking skills it might be easier to just buy it ready-made.

Hot water crust pastry

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This traditional English pastry tends to be mainly used to make savoury pies. Hot water crust tends to be less flaky than the other traditional methods, but is crisp, tender, and serviceable. Traditionally, hot water crust pastry is hand-raised, but over the centuries bakers have been known to use tins, dishes, or bowls as a mould.

Hot water crust pastry is created by melting lard – not butter – in hot water, which is then brought to the boil, before flour is stirred in and it’s worked into a pliable ball. The pastry was then ‘hand raised’ from the bottom of the pie tin to the top, generally while still warm as it became harder to work with once the fat had hardened. Once the pastry case had been hand-raised, it was filled and then covered with a crust, decorated, and then put in the oven ready for baking.

It’s generally accepted that hand-raising your pie doesn’t give you a neat, uniform finish, as some sagging tends to occur during cooking. This is considered to be the mark of a good hand-made pie.

The best pastry

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While these are just the main six types of pastry, there are a few variations which are pastries in their own right.  The main six types listed above are the ones you’re most likely to find in your recipe. 

Shortcrust can be sweetened to create a sweet crust, which tends to be used in a lot of desserts. Instead of binding the mixture with water, sugar and egg yolks are used to create a sweeter pastry that is better fitting for desserts.

Have you got a favourite type of pastry that you like to use in cooking? Or is there a type of pastry you’d like to know more about? Let us know over on our Facebook page!

Lead image: Arx0nt via Getty Images.

Peach Cobbler

Our peach cobbler is a tasty, no-fuss dessert that will hit the spot just right. Serve with lashings of vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients

  • 2 tins peaches
  • 120g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/gas mark 4. Grease your Cooks Professional cast iron roasting dish with butter, then lay the drained peaches along the base. Sprinkle roughly 2 tbsp of the caster sugar and ground ginger over the peaches, then set the dish to one side.
  2. In your Cooks Professional stand mixer combine the flour, remaining caster sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Mix until combined, then add the cubed butter. Continue mixing until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the egg. Finish mixing until the ingredients come together to form a thick dough.
  3. Spoon the dough mixture in dollops over the prepared peaches. Make sure to create a good covering, but leave some gaps for the dough to spread into. Sprinkle a little bit of caster sugar over the top, then bake in the oven for roughly 40 minutes, or until golden.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes, then serve with lashings of vanilla ice cream.

Lead image: Sarsmis via Getty Images.

Welsh Cakes

A classic in Wales, these Welsh cakes will be the perfect addition to your cuppa. Traditionally cooked on a griddle, you can make these Welsh cakes just as easily using your Cooks Professional cast iron frying pan.

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 100g butter
  • 50g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 50g sultanas or currants
  • 1 egg, beaten with 3 tbsp milk
  • Pinch salt

Method

  1. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to combine the flour and salt, then rub in the butter. Add the sugar and currants or sultanas and mix well. Add the egg mixture and continue beating together until you have a stiff dough.
  2. Lightly flour a work surface, then roll out the Welsh cake dough until roughly 5mm thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the Welsh cakes ready for cooking. Continue until all the dough is used, and are ready to be cooked.
  3. In your Cooks Professional cast iron frying pan, heat a little butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted and the frying pan is well greased, the Welsh cakes are ready to cook. Cook the cakes for roughly 3-4 minutes each side until golden brown.
  4. Sprinkle caster sugar over the cooked Welsh cakes and serve immediately with your favourite beverage.

Lead image: eag1e via Getty Images.

Courgette & Lemon Cake

Our courgette and lemon cake is a delicious lighter alternative to heavier chocolate cakes. Packed full of flavour, it will soon become your favourite teatime treat. 

Ingredients

  • 300g grated courgette
  • 250g soft unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 85g icing sugar
  • 3 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tbsp lemon curd
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line 2 round sandwich tins with butter and greaseproof paper, then set to one side. Zest two of the lemons to use in the cake, and save the third lemon’s zest for the icing. Juice the lemons, then put the juice in your Cooks Professional bowl before setting to one side.
  2. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to combine 200g of the soft butter, caster sugar, courgettes, eggs, the zest of two lemons, and vanilla extract. Mix together until a creamy batter forms. Gradually stir in the mixed flours, baking powder, 1 tbsp of the lemon juice, and a generous pinch of salt.
  3. Divide the batter between the prepared tins, then bake for roughly 25 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Once cooked, removed from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for roughly 15 minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  4. While the cake is baking, prepare the lemon drizzle. In a bowl, mix 1 tbsp lemon juice with 25g icing sugar, then set to one side.
  5. Use a cocktail stick to prick the prepared sponges once they’ve been turned out onto the cooling rack, then spoon over the prepared drizzle and allow the cakes to cool completely.
  6. Make the icing. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to mix the remaining icing sugar, butter, cream cheese, and the remaining lemon juice, as well as the remaining zest you set to one side earlier. Combine until you’ve got a creamy frosting.
  7. Place one cake on a plate, and use half the frosting to cover it. Spread over the lemon curd, and then place the second cake on top. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top of your cake, then serve immediately.

Lead image: Manyakotic via Getty Images.

Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

Tempt your taste buds with this fruity cheesecake, packed full of succulent blueberries to really give you that sweet kick.

Ingredients

  • Punnet blueberries
  • 300g digestive biscuits
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 140g butter, melted
  • 3 x 300g cream cheese
  • 200ml sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200℃/180℃ fan/gas mark 6. Line an oven-prof baking dish with greaseproof paper. In your Cooks Professional food processor, blitz the digestive biscuits until they’re a fine crumb. Add the melted butter and continue to blitz together until fully combined. Pour the biscuit crumb into your prepared tin, and press down firmly with the back of a spoon until the base is covered. Bake for roughly 10 minutes, then set to one side to cool.
  2. In your Cooks Professional saucepan, add the blueberries and 25g of the sugar. In a jug, combine the cornflour with roughly 1 tbsp of cold water, then add this to the saucepan. Cook gently over a medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Briefly increase the heat for a minute or two, allowing the blueberry mixture to bubble, until it becomes thicker in consistency and looks saucier. Set to one side to cool.
  3. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the remainder of the sugar, whisking again before adding the eggs, soured cream, flour, and vanilla extract, mixing together until well combined.
  4. Assemble the cheesecake. Pour roughly half the cheesecake mixture over the prepared biscuit base. Next, use a spoon to dot blobs of the blueberry sauce over the top, before covering with the remaining cheesecake mixture. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the the top of the cheesecake before drizzling the remaining blueberry sauce mixture over the top. Use the end of a spoon to ripple the blueberry sauce into the cheesecake.
  5. Place your cheesecake in the oven and bake for 10 minutes; lower the heat to 110℃/90℃ fan/gas mark 5 and bake for another 30 minutes. Turn off your oven, and leave the cheesecake in there for roughly a further hour, and another hour on top of that with the oven door slightly ajar. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool at room temperature until completely cool. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or overnight if possible. 

Lead image: AmalliaEka via Getty Images.

Peach Crumble

 A twist on a classic. This fruity crumble will soon become the new family favourite!

Ingredients

  • 3 x 410g tinned peaches in juice
  • 140g plain flour
  • 25g cold butter, grated
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Zest & juice 1 lemon

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200℃/180℃ fan /gas mark 6. Drain the peaches, but reserve 4 tbsp of the juice from the tin. Place the peaches in your Cooks Professional roasting dish, scattering over the lemon zest, juice, and 1 tbsp honey, then use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix it all together.
  2. In a clean bowl, combine the grated butter, oats, flour, 1 tbsp honey, and the 4 tbsp of reserved peach juice. Use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together, then use your hands to rub it together until you have a rough crumbly mixture. Scatter the crumbly mixture over the peaches in your roasting dish.
  3. Cook for around 35 minutes or until the crumble is lovely and golden on top. Remove from the oven and set aside for a few minutes to cool, then serve with a generous dash of double cream.

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty Images.

Baklava

This traditional Turkish dish is the perfect sweet treat for those of you who just can’t get enough of nuts. Packed with pistachios, walnuts, and pecans, layered between filo pastry and sweetened with honey syrup, this will fast become your favourite dessert.

Ingredients

  • 500g of filo pastry, or roughly two packs of ready-made filo pastry
  • 200g pistachios, plus extra finely ground pistachios for garnishing
  • 50g walnuts
  • 50g pecans
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 200g butter, with extra for greasing

For the syrup

  • 50g honey
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 200ml water

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/gas mark 4. Grease a square cake tin, roughly 21cm x 21cm, with the extra butter. Use your Cooks Professional food processor to blitz 200g of the pistachios, and all of the walnuts and pecans, but be careful not to blitz them into a paste. Empty the nut mixture into a bowl,  then stir in the honey and a pinch of salt. Set to one side. You can also blitz more pistachios to use as a garnish once the baklava is cooked – set these to one side in a clean bowl.
  2. Melt the butter, either by heating on the hob in a Cooks Professional saucepan, or in the microwave. Cut the first pack of filo pastry in half so that it fits in the square tin. Place one sheet in the tin, then brush with the melted butter. Add another sheet on top of it, then brush this with butter again, and continue layering like this until the whole of the first pack of filo pastry is used up.
  3. Scatter the honey and nut mixture over the top layer of pastry until well covered, using the back of a spoon to press it down. Open the second pack of filo, again cutting it in half so that the layers will fit in the tray. Add a sheet of pastry and brush with the melted butter, then continue the layering process until the final pack of filo pastry has all been used. Once the last sheet has been placed onto the baklava, pour any remaining butter over the top to finish. Using a sharp Cooks Professional knife, cut deep lines into the pastry to create diamond or square shapes. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 150℃/130℃ fan/gas mark 2 and cook for another 45 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. In a clean Cooks Professional saucepan combine the syrup ingredients, heating gently until the sugar has dissolved. Boil the mixture for between 8-10 minutes or until the syrup has reduced to the consistency of runny honey.
  5. Remove the baklava from the oven and pour the warm syrup over the top so that it runs down the lines you have cut. Allow to completely soak in, and leave the baklava to cool for roughly four hours. Top with the remaining pistachio garnish once cold and serve.

Lead image: LemonTreeKid via Getty Images.

Blood Orange Bundt Cake

This zesty cake made with a light olive oil sponge and a chocolate and blood orange glaze is guaranteed to bring some overdue sunshine into your kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 blood oranges, zested and juiced
  • 150ml light olive oil
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 140g white chocolate, chopped

Method

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4., then greast a 2.5L bundt tin with some melted butter.
  2. Crack the eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer along with the sugar and zest of three of the oranges, then whisk until pale and thick. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then pour in the olive oil and the juice from three of the oranges and mix until well combined.
  3. Sieve the flour into the mixture and whisk again until you have a smooth batter. Pour into the prepared cake tin and place on a baking tray in the centre of your oven for around 35-40 minutes. Bake until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  4. Whilst your cake is cooling, make the glaze by placing the chocolate in a bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, pour in the juice from the 4th orange and stir to combine. Remove the bowl from the heat and set to one side to cool slightly, until it is thick but still pourable.
  5. Pour over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. the sprinkle the remaining orange zest over the top to decorate.

Lead image: kasia2003 via Getty images.

Raspberry Brûlées

These fruity brûlées are the perfect summer dessert.

Ingredients

  • 100g raspberries
  • 300ml double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod

Method

  1. Add the double cream and lemon zest to your Cooks Professional saucepan. Split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the cream mixture, adding the pod in too. Gently heat until just before the cream starts to boil – there should be tiny bubbles forming at the edges. Take off the heat, and leave the mixture to infuse for roughly 15 minutes.
  2. Heat your oven to 160℃/140℃ fan/gas mark 3. In a roasting tin, place 4 ramekins. Fill the roasting tin with boiling water, until roughly 2cm of the ramekins are uncovered.
  3. Evenly divide the raspberries between the four ramekins, keeping a few spare.  Using your Cooks Professional standmixer, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and fluffy; this should take roughly 3 minutes. Remove the lemon zest and vanilla pod from the cream mixture, and slowly stir in the egg mixture. Pour the mixture from the saucepan into a jug, and then evenly divide it between the four ramekins, topping with the reserved raspberries.
  4. Cook the brûlées in the oven for roughly 20-25 minutes, until the custard has formed a skin and has a slight wobble when you nudge the roasting tin. Allow the brûlées to cool, and then chill in the fridge for around 4 hours.
  5. Heat the grill on high if you don’t have a blowtorch. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of the brûlées, and place them under the grill to caramelise. Alternatively you can use a blowtorch if you have one. Grill the brûlées until the sugar has melted and crisped. Allow to settle for 5 minutes, before serving.

Lead image: Diana Sklarova via Getty Images.

Raspberry Brûlées

These fruity brûlées are the perfect summer dessert.

Ingredients

  • 100g raspberries
  • 300ml double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod

Method

  1. Add the double cream and lemon zest to your Cooks Professional saucepan. Split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the cream mixture, adding the pod in too. Gently heat until just before the cream starts to boil – there should be tiny bubbles forming at the edges. Take off the heat, and leave the mixture to infuse for roughly 15 minutes.
  2. Heat your oven to 160℃/140℃ fan/gas mark 3. In a roasting tin, place 4 ramekins. Fill the roasting tin with boiling water, until roughly 2cm of the ramekins are uncovered.
  3. Evenly divide the raspberries between the four ramekins, keeping a few spare.  Using your Cooks Professional standmixer, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and fluffy; this should take roughly 3 minutes. Remove the lemon zest and vanilla pod from the cream mixture, and slowly stir in the egg mixture. Pour the mixture from the saucepan into a jug, and then evenly divide it between the four ramekins, topping with the reserved raspberries.
  4. Cook the brûlées in the oven for roughly 20-25 minutes, until the custard has formed a skin and has a slight wobble when you nudge the roasting tin. Allow the brûlées to cool, and then chill in the fridge for around 4 hours.
  5. Heat the grill on high if you don’t have a blowtorch. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of the brûlées, and place them under the grill to caramelise. Alternatively you can use a blowtorch if you have one. Grill the brûlées until the sugar has melted and crisped. Allow to settle for 5 minutes, before serving.

Lead image: Diana Sklarova via Getty Images.

Brandy Snaps

This sweet treat is the perfect thing to enjoy over a cuppa with friends and family.

Ingredients

  • 55g butter
  • 55g Demarara sugar
  • 55g golden syrup
  • 50g plain flour
  • ½ level tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ / 160℃ / gas mark 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Oil a thickish handle of a wooden spoon, and then lay it on a cooling rack.
  2. Add the butter, sugar, and syrup to a Cooks Professional frying pan. Heat gently over a low heat until the butter has melted, and the sugar has dissolved. Stir occasionally, and drag your wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan. When you can no longer hear the gritty granules being scraped along the pan and most of them have disappeared, you’ll know the sugar has dissolved. This should take roughly 15 minutes. Don’t allow the mixture to boil, as it may crystallize.
  3. Leave the mixture to cool slightly; after roughly 2-3 minutes, sieve in the flour and ginger. Pour the lemon juice and stir well, to ensure it’s mixed thoroughly. Drop four teaspoonfuls of the prepared mixture onto each of the prepared baking trays, making neat circles about 10cm or 4 inches apart.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for roughly 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture is well spread out, looks lacey, and is a dark golden colour. Once baked you’ll need to work fast to shape the brandy snaps before they cool. It will be easier to bake one tray at a time. Remove each tray from the oven and leave for a minute or so to firm up slightly, then use a fish slice to lift a brandy snap from the baking tray. The mixture will need to be firm enough to remove, but still pliable enough to shape. You can check whether it’s ready by releasing around and under the edges with a small palette knife.
  5. Quickly roll a circle of the warm mixture around the handle of the oiled wooden spoon, and join the brandy snap underneath./ Press lightly together to seal, then slide the brandy snap off the spoon and leave it to firm up on the wire rack, again with the join underneath. If any of the circles harden up too much to work with, return them briefly to the oven for a few seconds to soften them up again. 
  6. Repeat until all the mixture has been used. If the mixture in the pan becomes too firm to drop in neat spoonfuls, roll a teaspoonful of it into a small, smooth ball using your hands, and flatten it slightly on the tray with your fingers. When the finished brandy snaps are cold, you can store them in an airtight container. They will keep for up to a week. For added decadence, prepare some whipped cream with an electric whisk, then add to a piping bag. Pipe the cream into your prepared brandy snaps, and serve with a good cup of tea.

Lead image: Agcreations via Getty Images.

Leah’s White Chocolate & Mango Muffins

These are a firm favourite with Leah’s family, and never last long once they come out of the oven. Give these sweet treats a go and watch them disappear off the plate! 

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup soft brown sugar
  • 200g white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mango, chopped
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 90g butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ / 160℃ / gas mark 4. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with butter or oil. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the sugar and white chocolate, then mix well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Fold in the chopped mango gently. Make a well in the centre of the mixture.
  2. Add the combined cream, butter, milk, and egg all at once. Mix with the rubber spatula until the ingredients are just combined. Be careful not to overmix – the batter should look quite lumpy. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin.
  3. Bake for roughly 20 minutes, or until golden. Loosen the muffins with a flat-bladed knife, and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Lead image: iMylu via Getty Images.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

A classic, this pineapple upside-down cake will be perfect with your late morning cup of tea. 

Ingredients

For the topping

  • 50g softened butter
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • 7 pineapple rings in syrup, drained
  • Glacé cherries

For the cake

  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Syrup from the tinned pineapples

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ / 160℃ fan /gas mark 4. To prepare the topping, beat the butter and sugar together in your Cooks Professional stand mixer until creamy. Spread the butter and sugar mixture over the base of a prepared 20-21cm round cake tin. You can also spread it up the sides of the tin; it will likely spread to about a quarter of the way up the tin. Arrange the pineapple rings on top, and then place the glacé cherries in the centres of the rings.
  2. Using your stand mixer, add the butter, caster sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, and roughly 2 tbsp of the syrup from the tinned pineapples. Beat together to a soft consistency. Spoon the mixture until the tin on top of the prepared pineapple, and smooth it out so the mixture is level. Bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave the cake to stand in the tin for around 5 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Serve with a dash of cream, and enjoy!

Lead image: Bhofack2 via Getty Images.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

A classic, this pineapple upside-down cake will be perfect with your late morning cup of tea. 

Ingredients

For the topping

  • 50g softened butter
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • 7 pineapple rings in syrup, drained
  • Glacé cherries

For the cake

  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Syrup from the tinned pineapples

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ / 160℃ fan /gas mark 4. To prepare the topping, beat the butter and sugar together in your Cooks Professional stand mixer until creamy. Spread the butter and sugar mixture over the base of a prepared 20-21cm round cake tin. You can also spread it up the sides of the tin; it will likely spread to about a quarter of the way up the tin. Arrange the pineapple rings on top, and then place the glacé cherries in the centres of the rings.
  2. Using your stand mixer, add the butter, caster sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, and roughly 2 tbsp of the syrup from the tinned pineapples. Beat together to a soft consistency. Spoon the mixture until the tin on top of the prepared pineapple, and smooth it out so the mixture is level. Bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave the cake to stand in the tin for around 5 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Serve with a dash of cream, and enjoy!

Lead image: Bhofack2 via Getty Images.

Lemon & Raspberry Puddings

This decadent pudding is sure to wow guests at your dinner parties. Lemon and raspberries are the perfect flavour combination that will have you reaching for more!

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp plain flour, sifted
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 200ml milk
  • 100g raspberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190℃ / 170℃ fan / gas mark 5. Prepare the ramekins; thoroughly grease 5 ramekins with butter, then set to one side. In a large mixing bowl, use a stand mixer to combine the sugar, flour, egg yolks, and a pinch of salt. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, then gradually whisk in the milk.
  2. In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, and then fold this into the lemon mixture. Be careful not to over whisk; we want to keep all that lovely air you’ve just worked hard to get in the mixture. Gently spoon this into the prepared ramekins, and poke between 4-5 raspberries into each. You may need extra ramekins, depending on how large the ones you’ve chosen are. 
  3. Place the ramekins in a small roasting tin, and pour enough boiling water into the tin to come halfway up the side of the ramekins, creating a bain-marie. Cook for between 15-20 minutes, or until puffed up and pale golden.
  4. Remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes to allow the bain-marie to cool. Carefully remove the ramekins from the bain-marie – the water may still be hot – and serve the lemon and raspberry puddings with cream and the remaining raspberries.

Lead image: Jupiterimages via Getty Images.

Snickerdoodles

A favourite for our American cousins, these snickerdoodles are the perfect sweet treat to have with a cuppa.

Ingredients

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 345g plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

For the cinnamon sugar

  • 25g sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / gas mark 4.
  2. Use your Cooks Professional stand mixer to cream together the butter and the caster sugar for roughly 4-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to get all of the mixture well combined. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract, and mix for a further few minutes.
  3. Add the cream of tartar, baking powder, salt, and flour. Mix until well combined. Wrap the dough and leave it in the fridge for roughly 20-30 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the smaller amount of sugar with the cinnamon to create the cinnamon sugar. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  5. Remove the snickerdoodle dough from the fridge, and roll into small balls until they’re all round and smooth. Drop the snickerdoodle balls into the cinnamon sugar, ensuring they’re well covered.
  6. Place the well-covered snickerdoodle balls on the prepared baking tray. For a flatter biscuit, gently press down in the centre of each ball before placing the tray in the oven. This will help to prevent them from puffing up in the middle.
  7. Cook for roughly 9-11 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on the baking tray before putting them on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with your favourite beverage and enjoy!

Lead image: ALLEKO via Getty images.

Passionfruit & Pineapple Bundt Cake

These classic flavours are sure to wow guests who pop over for a cuppa. Why not treat yourself to a cheeky slice for elevenses? 

Ingredients

For the sponge

  • 350g self-raising flour, plus 1 tbsp
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 small, ripe pineapple, or 300g tinned pineapple
  • Seeds and juice of 2 passionfruits
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

  • 100g icing sugar
  • Seeds and juice of 1 passionfruit
  • 2-3 tsp whole milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. If you opted for fresh pineapple, prepare the pineapple. Top and tail the fruit, and then use a sharp knife to cut the skin away. Slice the flesh into roughly eight wedges, and remove the core from each wedge. Cut the pineapple into smaller chunks, roughly the size of a £1 coin, and then roast them on a baking tray for roughly 20 mins or until they are drier and golden. Leave to one side to cool.
  2. Prepare the bundt tin; rub 1 tbsp of the butter around the inside of a 25cm bundt tin, and sprinkle in 1 tbsp of the flour. Turn the pan on its side and roll it, gently tapping to move the flour around and coat the butter. Tap out any excess.
  3. In a bowl, mix the milk and the passionfruit together, then set to one side for a few minutes; the acidity of the juice will sour the milk a little. Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat together the remaining butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the milk and passionfruit mixture, flour, eggs, vanilla extract, and a ¼ tsp of salt. Mix until creamy and smooth, and then fold in the pineapple pieces. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
  4. Bake the bundt cake for roughly 50-55 mins or until risen, golden, and a knife or skewer comes out clean from the deepest part of the cake. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack, letting the cake rest in the tin until barely warm.
  5. Prepare the glaze. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then make a well in the middle. Slowly mix the passionfruit and milk in the well to make a smooth glaze. Turn the cake out onto a plate, and brush the glaze over the top. Leave to cool and set.

Lead image: ehaurylik via Getty Images.

Passionfruit & Pineapple Bundt Cake

These classic flavours are sure to wow guests who pop over for a cuppa. Why not treat yourself to a cheeky slice for elevenses? 

Ingredients

For the sponge

  • 350g self-raising flour, plus 1 tbsp
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 small, ripe pineapple, or 300g tinned pineapple
  • Seeds and juice of 2 passionfruits
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

  • 100g icing sugar
  • Seeds and juice of 1 passionfruit
  • 2-3 tsp whole milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. If you opted for fresh pineapple, prepare the pineapple. Top and tail the fruit, and then use a sharp knife to cut the skin away. Slice the flesh into roughly eight wedges, and remove the core from each wedge. Cut the pineapple into smaller chunks, roughly the size of a £1 coin, and then roast them on a baking tray for roughly 20 mins or until they are drier and golden. Leave to one side to cool.
  2. Prepare the bundt tin; rub 1 tbsp of the butter around the inside of a 25cm bundt tin, and sprinkle in 1 tbsp of the flour. Turn the pan on its side and roll it, gently tapping to move the flour around and coat the butter. Tap out any excess.
  3. In a bowl, mix the milk and the passionfruit together, then set to one side for a few minutes; the acidity of the juice will sour the milk a little. Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat together the remaining butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the milk and passionfruit mixture, flour, eggs, vanilla extract, and a ¼ tsp of salt. Mix until creamy and smooth, and then fold in the pineapple pieces. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
  4. Bake the bundt cake for roughly 50-55 mins or until risen, golden, and a knife or skewer comes out clean from the deepest part of the cake. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack, letting the cake rest in the tin until barely warm.
  5. Prepare the glaze. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then make a well in the middle. Slowly mix the passionfruit and milk in the well to make a smooth glaze. Turn the cake out onto a plate, and brush the glaze over the top. Leave to cool and set.

Lead image: ehaurylik via Getty Images.

How to make genoise

If you’ve watched The Great British Bake Off, you’ll have heard the judges asking for the bakers to make a genoise sponge at some point in the competition. If you ever want to enter the Bake Off tent, or even become a baking extraordinaire, knowing how to make a genoise sponge is a useful skill under your baking belt. But what exactly is genoise sponge, and how can you make it at home?

What is it?

Butter, flour, eggs, and baking equipment on a wooden surface
Image source: cmfotoworks via Getty images.

Genoise is a sponge which originates from Italy, and is generally associated with French cuisine. It’s a bit different from your average sponge cake – it doesn’t require any chemical additives such as baking powder or bicarbonate of soda to rise. Instead, it relies entirely on the air that you work hard to whisk into the batter. It is notoriously difficult to make, and has had many a baker throw up their whisks in anger. The key to getting it right is in how you whisk your eggs.

Whereas with a normal sponge cake you would just mix the eggs together with the creamed butter and sugar, you need to beat your eggs a little differently for a genoise sponge. The key is to whisk them together with the sugar over a bain-marie; start them off like this, then remove them from the heat and mix them with your electric mixer until the mixture gets to the ribbon stage.

The science

Image source: EMFA16 via Getty Images.

The secret of a good genoise sponge lies within the heating of the eggs, and of course the properties of the eggs themselves. The protein in eggs is made up of tightly-woven molecules; when these molecules are heated, they unwind and reconnect with other nearby proteins, which helps to give bakes the structure that we want from a good genoise.

Chef’s tip: Once you’ve successfully made your batter and it is sufficiently aerated, be gentle when placing your batter in the tin for cooking. Try and bring your bowl as close to the tin as possible, as you want to ensure you keep as much as you can of that lovely air you’ve worked hard to get into the batter.

Give it a go

Image source: istetiana via Getty images.

Why not be brave and give it a go yourself! After all, the only way you’ll make the perfect genoise sponge is to practice, practice, practice. As genoise gets most of its flavour from the syrup or toppings you choose to add to it, it’s not a sponge that you’ll eat on its own. Take a look at our delicious strawberry genoise sponge recipe to get you started! Have you got a favourite genoise recipe? Let us know over on our Facebook page.

Lead image: NinjaTaTaa via Getty Images.

Strawberry genoise cake

Notoriously tricky to make, a genoise sponge is a lighter alternative to a traditional sponge. This strawberry based recipe is a wonderful way to capture the taste of summer!

Ingredients

For the genoise:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 95g caster sugar
  • 20g butter
  • 95g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt

For the compote:

  • 400g strawberries, roughly quartered
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • A few drops of balsamic vinegar

For the topping:

  • 600ml double cream
  • 400g strawberries, sliced

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 160°C / gas mark 4. Line and grease a cake tin ready for your genoise. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat, and then set to one side to cool slightly while to prepare the sponge.
  2. Heat a little water in another saucepan to use for your bain-marie. Remember not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl, or let any moisture get in with your eggs and sugar mixture. Next, put the eggs and sugar together in a glass bowl, and place it on top of the gently simmering saucepan. Make sure to whisk it constantly on the heat, otherwise you’ll have sweetened scrambled eggs rather than a tasty genoise. Keep mixing until the mixture is warm to the touch, and then remove from the heat and continue whisking with a stand mixer until it reaches the ribbon stage.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt, then sieve half of this over the whisked eggs and sugar. Use a rubber spatula to mix it in – very gently so as to retain all of the air you’ve worked hard to whisk into the batter – stir in a figure of 8 motion, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl until it’s well combined. Don’t overwork the batter or you’ll lose all that precious air. Once combined, sieve over the remaining flour and mix it in just as gently.
  4. Next you’ll want to add the melted butter. Drizzle this around the edge of the bowl, and gently stir this in with your rubber spatula.
  5. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared tin, as close to the tin as possible so as to not lose any air, and cook in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the sponge is golden and springy to the touch; it should be just beginning to come away from the sides. Leave the cake to fully cool in its tin.
  6. While the cake is cooking and then cooling, you can prepare the compote. Add the quartered strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar to a saucepan. Gently heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook for roughly 3 minutes, or until syrupy and dark red. Put to one side to cool, and add the balsamic vinegar.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until it holds its shape, then set to one side.
  8. Once the genoise is cooled, remove from the tin and slice in half. On the bottom layer, add half the compote, half the cream, and half the remaining strawberries. Add the top layer of genoise, then repeat with the remaining compote, cream, and strawberries.

Lead image: istetiana via Getty images.

Pink Velvet Cupcakes

The classic flavour combination of raspberry and dark chocolate makes these delicious little cupcakes the perfect sweet treat for your Valentine this February 14th.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 140g flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 30g dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 115ml buttermilk
  • 115ml vegetable oil
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 115ml boiling water

For the icing

  • 115g butter
  • 115g vegetable shortening
  • 560g icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp raspberry puree

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 150°C / 130°C Fan / Gas Mark 2, and line a muffin tin with paper cake cases.
  2. Tip all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and gently whisk together. Add in the egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil and mix to combine.
  3. Add the vanilla extract to the boiling water, then tip into the cake batter and give it a final mix.
  4. Divide the cake mix between the cake cases and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until a clean skewer comes out.
  5. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  6. To make the icing, add the butter and shortening to your stand mixer bowl and beat until smooth. Slowly and gradually add in half of the icing sugar and continue beating until you have a smooth consistency.
  7. Pour in the raspberry puree and beat with the remaining icing sugar.
  8. Ice the cupcakes and decorate as you best see fit.

Lead image: wmaster890 via Getty images.

Pink Velvet Cupcakes

The classic flavour combination of raspberry and dark chocolate makes these delicious little cupcakes the perfect sweet treat for your Valentine this February 14th.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 140g flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 30g dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 115ml buttermilk
  • 115ml vegetable oil
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 115ml boiling water

For the icing

  • 115g butter
  • 115g vegetable shortening
  • 560g icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp raspberry puree

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 150°C / 130°C Fan / Gas Mark 2, and line a muffin tin with paper cake cases.
  2. Tip all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and gently whisk together. Add in the egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil and mix to combine.
  3. Add the vanilla extract to the boiling water, then tip into the cake batter and give it a final mix.
  4. Divide the cake mix between the cake cases and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until a clean skewer comes out.
  5. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  6. To make the icing, add the butter and shortening to your stand mixer bowl and beat until smooth. Slowly and gradually add in half of the icing sugar and continue beating until you have a smooth consistency.
  7. Pour in the raspberry puree and beat with the remaining icing sugar.
  8. Ice the cupcakes and decorate as you best see fit.

Lead image: wmaster890 via Getty images.

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

It’s #WorldPizzaDay, and this pizza dough recipe doesn’t only make an amazing, delicious base to build your favourite Italian treat on but is also 100% gluten free!

Ingredients

  • 400g gluten-free bread flour
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 5 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Take a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer with dough hook attachment, and mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the mix, and pour in 250ml warm water along with the olive oil. Working quickly, combine everything together with your hands until you have wet, paste-like mixture.
  3. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours before using.

Lead image: Nicholas77 via Getty images.

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

It’s #WorldPizzaDay, and this pizza dough recipe doesn’t only make an amazing, delicious base to build your favourite Italian treat on but is also 100% gluten free!

Ingredients

  • 400g gluten-free bread flour
  • 2 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 5 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Take a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer with dough hook attachment, and mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the mix, and pour in 250ml warm water along with the olive oil. Working quickly, combine everything together with your hands until you have wet, paste-like mixture.
  3. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours before using.

Lead image: Nicholas77 via Getty images.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

Sometimes the stars align and grant us a special day such as World Nutella Day falling on hump day! If, like us, you’re taking part in this very special event then this chocolate hazelnut cheesecake is the perfect way to celebrate.

Ingredients

  • 140g unsalted butter
  • 300g digestive biscuits
  • 500g cream cheese
  • 85g icing sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 Ferrero Rocher, chopped
  • 4 tbsp Nutella
  • 25g hazelnuts, chopped

Method

  1. Begin by melting the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then blitz the biscuits in a food processor. Pour the melted butter into the biscuit crumbs, then pulse until everything comes together. Tip into a springform cake tin and press firmly in to make the base. Pop in the fridge to set.
  2. Grab a bowl and beat together the cream cheese and icing sugar until soft. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream and vanilla until you have soft peaks, then gently fold into the cream cheese.
  3. Stir through the chopped Ferrero Rocher, then spoon the mixture over the base and smooth out. Cover with cling film, return to the fridge and chill for at least 6 hours.
  4. Once the cheesecake has set, melt the Nutella over a low heat for about 3-4 minutes until it is runny. Allow to cool slightly, then pour over the top of the cheesecake and spread to the edges. Release from the tine and decorate with the chopped hazelnuts.

Lead image: Arx0nt via Getty images.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

Sometimes the stars align and grant us a special day such as World Nutella Day falling on hump day! If, like us, you’re taking part in this very special event then this chocolate hazelnut cheesecake is the perfect way to celebrate.

Ingredients

  • 140g unsalted butter
  • 300g digestive biscuits
  • 500g cream cheese
  • 85g icing sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 Ferrero Rocher, chopped
  • 4 tbsp Nutella
  • 25g hazelnuts, chopped

Method

  1. Begin by melting the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then blitz the biscuits in a food processor. Pour the melted butter into the biscuit crumbs, then pulse until everything comes together. Tip into a springform cake tin and press firmly in to make the base. Pop in the fridge to set.
  2. Grab a bowl and beat together the cream cheese and icing sugar until soft. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream and vanilla until you have soft peaks, then gently fold into the cream cheese.
  3. Stir through the chopped Ferrero Rocher, then spoon the mixture over the base and smooth out. Cover with cling film, return to the fridge and chill for at least 6 hours.
  4. Once the cheesecake has set, melt the Nutella over a low heat for about 3-4 minutes until it is runny. Allow to cool slightly, then pour over the top of the cheesecake and spread to the edges. Release from the tine and decorate with the chopped hazelnuts.

Lead image: Arx0nt via Getty images.

White Chocolate & Matcha Mousse Cake

Increasingly fashionable in cooking, matcha is made from ground green tea leaves and is a popular ingredient in Asian desserts. Used in this recipe, it adds incredible flavour to this cake with it’s white chocolate glaze.

Ingredients

For the sponge:

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g plain flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 50g butter, melted

For the matcha mousse:

  • 5 gelatine sheets
  • 600ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 250g icing sugar

For the glaze:

  • 150ml double cream
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 1 tsp matcha powder

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 180°C / 160°C / Gas Mark 4, and grease two 20cm cake tins with some vegetable oil, then line with baking parchment.
  2. Pop the egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla into a bowl, and the egg whites into another bowl. In a third bowl, combine the almonds, flour and a pinch of salt.
  3. Beat the egg whites until they have double in size and are holding stiff peaks, then whisk the eggs yolks until thick and pale. Transfer a spoonful of egg whites into the yolks and mix to loosen, before gently folding in the remaining egg whites.
  4. Sprinkle the flour mixture into the bowl, and then drizzle the melted (and cooled) butter around the inside edge of the bowl. Fold everything together until just combined, then divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for around 25 minutes until a clean skewer comes out. Cool in their tins for 30 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. In the meantime, bring a kettle of water to the boil and place the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water to soften. Pour 150ml of double cream into a saucepan and combine with 50ml of hot water. Add the matcha powder and whisk over a gentle heat until well combined. Remove from the heat and squeeze in the water from the gelatine leaves then add them, one by one, to the hot matcha cream, whisking until they have dissolved.
  6. Pour the warm cream into a bowl and place in the fridge to cool – you want it to cool to room temperate, so don’t leave it in their for too long.
  7. Now, line one of your cake tins with a double layer of cling film, ensuring the edges are well covered, then place one of the sponges flat-side-down in the tin.
  8. Pour the remaining 450ml of cream into a bowl and whisk together with the icing sugar until it is holding soft peaks, then fold through the cooled matcha mixture. Top the sponge with this, then place the remaining sponge on top, flat side up. Wrap with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  9. To make the glaze, melt the white chocolate, cream and matcha powder together in a saucepan over a low heat until everything is well combined. Set to one side to cool and thicken for about 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the fridge and unwrap. Release the cake from the tin and remove all clingfilm, then scrape around the edge with a palette knife to remove any excess cream.
  10. Using baking parchment, create a tight collar around the cake, about 2cm higher than the top, then pour the cooled chocolate glaze over the top. Return to the fridge and chill for another 30 minutes.
  11. Carefully remove the baking parchment and decorate the exposed surface and top with a mixture of icing sugar and matcha powder.

Lead image: tenkende via Getty images.

White Chocolate & Matcha Mousse Cake

Increasingly fashionable in cooking, matcha is made from ground green tea leaves and is a popular ingredient in Asian desserts. Used in this recipe, it adds incredible flavour to this cake with it’s white chocolate glaze.

Ingredients

For the sponge:

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g plain flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 50g butter, melted

For the matcha mousse:

  • 5 gelatine sheets
  • 600ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp matcha powder
  • 250g icing sugar

For the glaze:

  • 150ml double cream
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 1 tsp matcha powder

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 180°C / 160°C / Gas Mark 4, and grease two 20cm cake tins with some vegetable oil, then line with baking parchment.
  2. Pop the egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla into a bowl, and the egg whites into another bowl. In a third bowl, combine the almonds, flour and a pinch of salt.
  3. Beat the egg whites until they have double in size and are holding stiff peaks, then whisk the eggs yolks until thick and pale. Transfer a spoonful of egg whites into the yolks and mix to loosen, before gently folding in the remaining egg whites.
  4. Sprinkle the flour mixture into the bowl, and then drizzle the melted (and cooled) butter around the inside edge of the bowl. Fold everything together until just combined, then divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for around 25 minutes until a clean skewer comes out. Cool in their tins for 30 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. In the meantime, bring a kettle of water to the boil and place the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water to soften. Pour 150ml of double cream into a saucepan and combine with 50ml of hot water. Add the matcha powder and whisk over a gentle heat until well combined. Remove from the heat and squeeze in the water from the gelatine leaves then add them, one by one, to the hot matcha cream, whisking until they have dissolved.
  6. Pour the warm cream into a bowl and place in the fridge to cool – you want it to cool to room temperate, so don’t leave it in their for too long.
  7. Now, line one of your cake tins with a double layer of cling film, ensuring the edges are well covered, then place one of the sponges flat-side-down in the tin.
  8. Pour the remaining 450ml of cream into a bowl and whisk together with the icing sugar until it is holding soft peaks, then fold through the cooled matcha mixture. Top the sponge with this, then place the remaining sponge on top, flat side up. Wrap with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  9. To make the glaze, melt the white chocolate, cream and matcha powder together in a saucepan over a low heat until everything is well combined. Set to one side to cool and thicken for about 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the fridge and unwrap. Release the cake from the tin and remove all clingfilm, then scrape around the edge with a palette knife to remove any excess cream.
  10. Using baking parchment, create a tight collar around the cake, about 2cm higher than the top, then pour the cooled chocolate glaze over the top. Return to the fridge and chill for another 30 minutes.
  11. Carefully remove the baking parchment and decorate the exposed surface and top with a mixture of icing sugar and matcha powder.

Lead image: tenkende via Getty images.

Chocolate & Raspberry Torte

The perfect flavour partners of dark chocolate and raspberries combine to make this delicious torte a real showstopper.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 225g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
  • 175g unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 100g toasted almonds
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 12 raspberries, plus more for decoration
  • 4 tbsp raspberry jam

For the glaze:

  • 140g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100ml double cream

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 160°C / 140°C Fan / Gas Mark 3, then line two 23cm cake tins with baking parchment.
  2. Break the chocolate into a bowl, add the butter and melt in the microwave in short bursts. Set to one side to cool, then stir in the vanilla extract and the espresso powder.
  3. Blitz the almonds in a food processor until they are finely ground, then mix in the flour and salt and transfer to a bowl. Beat the eggs using an electric whisk until they have double in volume, then add the sugar and whisk for another minute.
  4. Fold in the chocolate mixture until combined, and then sprinkle in half of the flour and fold in, followed by the other half. The mixture will be slightly runny, but this is normal so don’t be alarmed!
  5. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for around 15 minutes, until a skewer comes out with a few crumbs attached. The cakes should be slightly undercooked when removed from the oven. Cool them in their tins, then turn out onto a wire rack.
  6. Place one of the cake halves on a serving plate. Mash together the 12 fresh raspberries with the jam, then spread this over the base of the cake. Set the other cake on top.
  7. Now. make the glaze by bringing the cream to a boil in a saucepan. Pop the chocolate in a bow, then pour in the hot cream and mix together to melt. Leave for a few minutes until the chocolate has thickened slightly, then spread over the top and sides. Decorate with the remaining raspberries, then refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove from the fridge one hour before serving.

Lead image: wmaster890 via Getty images.

Chocolate & Raspberry Torte

The perfect flavour partners of dark chocolate and raspberries combine to make this delicious torte a real showstopper.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 225g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
  • 175g unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 100g toasted almonds
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 12 raspberries, plus more for decoration
  • 4 tbsp raspberry jam

For the glaze:

  • 140g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100ml double cream

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 160°C / 140°C Fan / Gas Mark 3, then line two 23cm cake tins with baking parchment.
  2. Break the chocolate into a bowl, add the butter and melt in the microwave in short bursts. Set to one side to cool, then stir in the vanilla extract and the espresso powder.
  3. Blitz the almonds in a food processor until they are finely ground, then mix in the flour and salt and transfer to a bowl. Beat the eggs using an electric whisk until they have double in volume, then add the sugar and whisk for another minute.
  4. Fold in the chocolate mixture until combined, and then sprinkle in half of the flour and fold in, followed by the other half. The mixture will be slightly runny, but this is normal so don’t be alarmed!
  5. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for around 15 minutes, until a skewer comes out with a few crumbs attached. The cakes should be slightly undercooked when removed from the oven. Cool them in their tins, then turn out onto a wire rack.
  6. Place one of the cake halves on a serving plate. Mash together the 12 fresh raspberries with the jam, then spread this over the base of the cake. Set the other cake on top.
  7. Now. make the glaze by bringing the cream to a boil in a saucepan. Pop the chocolate in a bow, then pour in the hot cream and mix together to melt. Leave for a few minutes until the chocolate has thickened slightly, then spread over the top and sides. Decorate with the remaining raspberries, then refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove from the fridge one hour before serving.

Lead image: wmaster890 via Getty images.

Shortbread

This classic shortbread recipe is super easy to make, and is the perfect accompaniment to any Burns Night celebration!

Ingredients

  • 300g soft butter
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 300g plain flour
  • 140g rice flour

Method

  1. Whizz together the butter and sugar in a food processor until you have a smooth mixture. Then tip in both of the flours and blitz again until everything comes together.
  2. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface then, using a rolling pin, roll the mixture out. Grab a biscuit cutter and cut into rounds, then bring the leftover dough together, reform and roll again to cut out more rounds.
  3. Cover with cling film and smooth over to remove any wrinkles. Pop in the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 days.
  4. Heat your oven to 180°C / 160°C / Gas Mark 4. Remove the cling film from the tray and then lightly prick the shortbread all over with a fork.
  5. Sprinkle a little sugar over the top, then place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. Keep stored in an airtight container.

Lead image: KateSmirnova via Getty images.

Shortbread

This classic shortbread recipe is super easy to make, and is the perfect accompaniment to any Burns Night celebration!

Ingredients

  • 300g soft butter
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 300g plain flour
  • 140g rice flour

Method

  1. Whizz together the butter and sugar in a food processor until you have a smooth mixture. Then tip in both of the flours and blitz again until everything comes together.
  2. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface then, using a rolling pin, roll the mixture out. Grab a biscuit cutter and cut into rounds, then bring the leftover dough together, reform and roll again to cut out more rounds.
  3. Cover with cling film and smooth over to remove any wrinkles. Pop in the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 days.
  4. Heat your oven to 180°C / 160°C / Gas Mark 4. Remove the cling film from the tray and then lightly prick the shortbread all over with a fork.
  5. Sprinkle a little sugar over the top, then place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. Keep stored in an airtight container.

Lead image: KateSmirnova via Getty images.

Salted Caramel Brownies

Gooey, fudgy, chocolately and indulgent. These salted caramel brownies are exactly what you need for that end of the week treat!

Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 397g can of caramel
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 130g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 180°C / 160°C / Gas Mark 4, then grease a 23cm square baking tray and line with baking parchment.
  2. Take a saucepan and melt the butter over a gentle heat, then break in the chocolate. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the chocolate to melt in the residual heat.
  3. Mix together 175g of the caramel with the sea salt in a small bowl
  4. Pop the rest of the caramel in a large bowl and tip in the sugar and the eggs. Beat with an electric whisk until even, and then whisk in the chocolate and butter mixture.
  5. Grab another bowl and combine the flour and cocoa powder along with a pinch of salt. Sift this into the chocolate mixture and beat until smooth.
  6. Pour half of your brownie mixture into the lined tin and smooth off with a spatula. Now spoon half of the salted caramel on top in 5 thick, evenly spaced stripes.
  7. Pour the rest of the brownie batter over the top and smooth again, then top with the rest of the caramel, repeating the stripes. Drag a skewer through the top layer of salted caramel to make a pattern on top.
  8. Scatter a little more sea salt over the top, then bake for around 25-30 minutes until risen with a firm crust on top. Allow to cool completely, then cut into squares and dig in!

Lead image: La_vanda via Getty images.

Carrot & Pecan Muffins

Providing 1 of your 5 a day, these delicious low-fat muffins are packed full of carrot cake flavours. Perfect for a healthy-ish treat!

Ingredients

  • 800g canned cannellini beans, drained
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp rapseed oil
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 170g carrot, grated
  • 100g raisins
  • 80g pecans, roughly chopped, plus 12 extra for decorating
  • 2tsp baking powder

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 4, then line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cupcake cases. Pop the beans into a bowl and add the cinnamon, oats, eggs, oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and orange zest. Grab a stick blender and blitz everything together until smooth.
  2. Stir in the carrots, raisins, chopped pecans and baking powder and mix. Spoon into the paper cases, then top each muffin with a reserved pecan.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes, then allow to cool on a wire rack before eating.

Lead image: Candice Bell via Getty images.

Champagne & Raspberry Possets

New Years Eve and champagne go hand in hand, and if you’re throwing a dinner party to see 2020 in, these delicious raspberry possets fit the bill perfectly!

Ingredients

  • 140g frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 2 tbsp champagne
  • 200ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • Freeze dried or dehydrated raspberry pieces
  • Shortbread biscuits, to serve

Method

  1. Begin by popping the raspberries and champagne in a food processor and blitz together until you have a smooth puree. Tip out into a sieve and push through over a bowl using a wooden spoon, then discard any seeds and pulp left behind.
  2. Now take a saucepan and pop in the sugar and cream. Warm over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat until the cream is just beginning to boil, then allow to bubble away for a couple of minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat, then stir in the raspberry and champage puree. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then decant into two glasses. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then scatter over the dried raspberry pieces. Return to the fridge and chill for at least two hours.
  4. Serve with the shortbread biscuits.

Lead image: 8vFanl via Getty images.

Brandy Butter Yule Log

What’s Christmas without a yule log? This recipe takes the festive favourite to a whole new level by using a brandy butter as the filling, and chocolate truffle icing for that extra bit of indulgence. Well, it is Christmas after all…

Ingredients

For the sponge:

  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 125g light brown soft sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • White caster sugar, for sprinkling

For the filling:

  • 100g soft butter
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100ml double cream
  • 25g butter

Method

  1. Begin by lining a 35cm x 25cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper, and heating your oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4. Pop the egg whites into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk (or stand mixer) until they are just holding peaks. Add in half of the sugar 1 tbsp at a time, constantly beating, until the peaks hold. Set everything to one side.
  2. Take another bowl and pop in the egg yolks. Beat these together with the remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift in the cocoa and spices, and gently fold through. Beat in a third of the egg whites, then gently fold through the rest until you have an airy mousse. Pour into the tin and spread evenly, then bake for 12-15 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle caster sugar over a large sheet of baking paper, and turn the cake out onto it. Remove the sheet of paper the cake baked in, and cover the cake with a clean tea towel. Leave to cool completely, then score along the inside edge of one of the short sides and roll up, using the parchment to help.
  4. Now, make the filling by beating together the butter, icing sugar, brandy and vanilla for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Unroll the sponge, and turn it so that one long edge is facing you. Using a palette knife, spread the buttercream over the sponge, keeping the furthest end from you clear. Re-roll the sponge.
  5. Make the frosting by tipping the chocolate into a bowl. Gently heat together the cream and butter in a saucepan until everything it reaches a simmering point. Now tip in the chocolate and stir together until you have a smooth mixture. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick mix. Spread over the sponge and, using a fork, mark tree bark lines in the frosting. Pop in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  6. When the frosting is chilled and firm, remove from the fridge and adorn with festive decoration. Serve and enjoy!

Lead image: etorres69 via Getty images.

Brandy Butter Yule Log

What’s Christmas without a yule log? This recipe takes the festive favourite to a whole new level by using a brandy butter as the filling, and chocolate truffle icing for that extra bit of indulgence. Well, it is Christmas after all…

Ingredients

For the sponge:

  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 125g light brown soft sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • White caster sugar, for sprinkling

For the filling:

  • 100g soft butter
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp brandy
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100ml double cream
  • 25g butter

Method

  1. Begin by lining a 35cm x 25cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper, and heating your oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4. Pop the egg whites into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk (or stand mixer) until they are just holding peaks. Add in half of the sugar 1 tbsp at a time, constantly beating, until the peaks hold. Set everything to one side.
  2. Take another bowl and pop in the egg yolks. Beat these together with the remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift in the cocoa and spices, and gently fold through. Beat in a third of the egg whites, then gently fold through the rest until you have an airy mousse. Pour into the tin and spread evenly, then bake for 12-15 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle caster sugar over a large sheet of baking paper, and turn the cake out onto it. Remove the sheet of paper the cake baked in, and cover the cake with a clean tea towel. Leave to cool completely, then score along the inside edge of one of the short sides and roll up, using the parchment to help.
  4. Now, make the filling by beating together the butter, icing sugar, brandy and vanilla for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Unroll the sponge, and turn it so that one long edge is facing you. Using a palette knife, spread the buttercream over the sponge, keeping the furthest end from you clear. Re-roll the sponge.
  5. Make the frosting by tipping the chocolate into a bowl. Gently heat together the cream and butter in a saucepan until everything it reaches a simmering point. Now tip in the chocolate and stir together until you have a smooth mixture. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick mix. Spread over the sponge and, using a fork, mark tree bark lines in the frosting. Pop in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  6. When the frosting is chilled and firm, remove from the fridge and adorn with festive decoration. Serve and enjoy!

Lead image: etorres69 via Getty images.

5 Festive Sweet Treats

Whether you’re looking to have something stashed away in the cupboard to snack on whilst you’re watching a movie, or impressing friends and family with a show-stopping dessert for your Christmas dinner, one of the best things about Christmas is getting the opportunity to bake (and eat!) a variety of sweet treats.

So why not take a look at these delicious offerings from some of our favourite food bloggers and get inspired for your festive baking adventures!

No-Bake Tia Maria Cheesecake

Christmas is all about a bit of decadence, and this Tia Maria cheesecake from Neil’s Healthy Meals certainly fits the bill! Boozy, rich and creamy, this cheesecake requires no baking, which means no clock-watching or temperature monitoring – simply leave in the fridge overnight to set.

If you’re looking for a more ‘adult’ dessert, check out this Tia Maria cheesecake from Neil’s Healthy Meals.

Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting & Sugared Cranberries

Talk about a show-stopper! This fabulous cake recipe from The Boy Who Bakes will wow your guests at your Christmas dinner table, and also makes the perfect centre piece for a party buffet. Flavoured with traditional spices, and adorned with sugared cranberries, we’re pretty sure your guests won’t be able to resist temptation.

If you’re looking for that wow-factor in a Christmas dessert, this recipe from The Boy Who Bakes is a must. Try it for yourself.

Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Yule Log

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a yule log, would it?! This recipe from Becky Excell at Gluten Free Cuppa Tea combines the much-loved flavour combination of chocolate and orange, and is also gluten free – perfect for any coeliac guests.

Try this delicious gluten-free yule log from Becky Excell.

No-Junk Christmas Chocolate Bark

This recipe from Eats Amazing is one that will be loved by both adults and children alike, and certainly one that the kids will love getting involved with making! Not only is it the perfect sweet treat for a keeping a stash of in the house, but it also makes a wonderful homemade gift for friends and family.

Perfect for homemade gifts! Try this no-junk chocolate bark from Eats Amazing.

Vegan Chocolate Penguin Cupcakes

With more people switching to a plant-based diet it’s imperative to have a vegan option to choose from, and these adorable penguin cupcakes from The Little Blog Of Vegan are the perfect Christmas dessert (or gift!) for anybody looking for an animal-product-free sweet treat.

These adorable vegan cupcakes from The Little Blog Of Vegan are the ideal dessert for any vegan guests this Christmas.

Lead image: evgenyatamaneko via Getty images.

Classic Christmas Pudding

A gloriously fruity, rich, homemade Christmas pudding is easier to make than you might think! Serve with the accompanying recipe for brandy and ginger butter for a Christmas dessert your whole family will love.

Ingredients

For the Christmas pudding

  • 50g blanched almonds, chopped
  • 2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 200g candied peel, chopped
  • 1 whole nutmeg (3/4 grated)
  • 1kg raisins
  • 140g plain flour
  • 100g soft, white breadcrumbs
  • 100g light muscavado sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp brandy or cognac
  • 250g butter, fridge cold

For the brandy & ginger butter

  • 175g unsalted butter
  • Zest of half an orange, grated
  • 5 tbsp icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp brandy or cognac
  • 2 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped

Method

  1. Mix together the almonds, apples, candied peel, nutmeg, raisins, flour, breadcrumbs, sugar and brandy (or cognac) in a large bowl. Grate a quarter of the butter into the bowl, then stir everything together. Repeat until all the butter is grated, then mix everything for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Now, generously butter two 1.2 litre bowls and put a circle of baking parchment in the bottom of each, then pack in the pudding mixture. Cover with a double layer of parchment, then tie with string, trimming off any excess paper.
  3. Now, stand each bowl on a large sheet of tin foil and bring the edges up over the top. Put another sheet of foil over the top, and bring it down underneath to make a double package. Tie with more string, making a handle for easy lifting in and out of the pan.
  4. Boil or steam the puddings for around 8 hours, topping up with water when you need to. Remove from the pans, and leave to cool overnight.
  5. Once cold, remove the wrappings and re-wrap in new baking parchment, foil and string. Store in a cool, dry place until Christmas.
  6. To make the brandy butter, cream together the butter with the orange zest and icing sugar. Slowly beat in the brandy or cognac, along with the chopped ginger. Place in a bowl and store in a cool, pop in the fridge to set.
  7. On Christmas day, boil or oven steam the puddings for one hour, then unwrap and turn out. Serve with the brandy butter, and set the pudding alight by warming 3-4 tbsp brandy in a small pan, then pour over the pudding and set light to it.

Lead image: Linh Moran Photography via Getty images.

Gingerbread Christmas Biscuits

Gingerbread is one of those quintessential Christmas foods, and these festive biscuits are perfect for adding to a homemade gift hamper, decorating your tree with or simply as a go-to stash of sweet treats.

Ingredients

  • 75g unsalted butter, softened
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 4. Pop the butter and caster sugar together in a bowl, and beat until creamy.
  2. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda, golden syrup and egg yolks, then sift in the flour, cinnamon and ginger. Mix everything together until you have a biscuit dough.
  3. Divide into two balls and knead until everything comes together. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out one ball at time to about the thickness of a £1 coin, then begin stamping out festive shapes with Christmas cookie cutters. Re-roll any trimmings, bring them back together and stamp out more shapes.
  5. Place the biscuits onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and slightly risen. Allow to cool on a wire rack before decorating however you see fit.

Lead image: haveseen via Getty images.

Gingerbread Christmas Biscuits

Gingerbread is one of those quintessential Christmas foods, and these festive biscuits are perfect for adding to a homemade gift hamper, decorating your tree with or simply as a go-to stash of sweet treats.

Ingredients

  • 75g unsalted butter, softened
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 4. Pop the butter and caster sugar together in a bowl, and beat until creamy.
  2. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda, golden syrup and egg yolks, then sift in the flour, cinnamon and ginger. Mix everything together until you have a biscuit dough.
  3. Divide into two balls and knead until everything comes together. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out one ball at time to about the thickness of a £1 coin, then begin stamping out festive shapes with Christmas cookie cutters. Re-roll any trimmings, bring them back together and stamp out more shapes.
  5. Place the biscuits onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and slightly risen. Allow to cool on a wire rack before decorating however you see fit.

Lead image: haveseen via Getty images.

Deep-Filled Mince Pies

There’s no denying it – Christmas is in full swing! And is there anything more ‘Christmassy’ than a good old mince pie? No, we don’t think so either.

Ingredients

  • 225g cold butter, cubed
  • 350g plain flour
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 410g jar mincemeat

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 200°C / 180°c Fan / Gas Mark 6. Take a food processor and whizz together the butter, flour and icing sugar until it comes together into a ball.
  2. Turn it out the dough, knead lightly for a couple of minutes and then cut into 12 equal pieces. Now, taking one piece of dough at time, cut off two-thirds and press into the base of a muffin tin hole. Repeat with each piece of dough until you have 12 open pie cases.
  3. Spoon the mincemeat into the pastry cases.
  4. Take the remaining 12 smaller pieces of dough, roll into a ball and flatten to make disc. You can either leave as a circle, or cut a shape out with a cookie cutter. Lay one piece on top of each pie, then prick the top to allow any steam to escape.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden, then allow to cool in their tin. Once cool, remove from the tin, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Lead image: Mariha-kitchen via Getty images.

Pumpkin Pie

It’s Thanksgiving in America today! To celebrate with our state-side friends, try giving this recipe for pumpkin pie a go – a staple dessert at any Thanksgiving table.

Ingredients

  • 750 pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 350g sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 175ml milk
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

Method

  1. Take a large saucepan and pop in the pumpkin. Cover with water and bring to boil, then clamp on a lid and simmer for around 15 minutes until tender. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. Heat your oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface, then use it to line a 22cm loose bottomed tart tin. Place in the fridge and chill for 15 minutes.
  3. Line the pastry case with baking paper and baking beans, and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and take out the beans and paper, then cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 220°C / 200°C fan / Gas Mark 7. Push the pumpkin through a sieve into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix in the eggs, butter and milk, then stir into the pumpkin puree.
  5. Pour into the tart case and cook for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4 and continue to bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave to cool then release the pie from it’s tin. Dust with icing sugar and serve!

Lead image: jenifoto via Getty images.

Plum Crumble

The addition of ground almonds makes for a delicious, crunchy topping to cinnamon-spiced plums. The perfect dessert for cosying up on a winter’s evening.

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 800g plums, halved and stoned
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp plain flour

For the topping:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 150g butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 80g demerara sugar
  • 50g ground almond

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / Gas Mark 6, and pop the plums into a shallow dish. Mix together the sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and flour in small bowl and sprinkle over the plums, then drizzle over 2 tbsp water.
  2. Next, place all the topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse sporadically until the mixture begins to clump together a bit. Alternatively, rub the butter into flour using your fingertips, then mix in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Scatter the topping over the plums, and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Lead image: voltan1 via Getty images.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Guaranteed to please all the family, sticky toffee pudding is one of the ultimate indulgent desserts, and is perfect for hunkering down on a cosy winter night in front of the TV.

Ingredients

For the pudding:

  • 225g medjool dates, chopped
  • 175ml boiling water
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 85g butter, softened
  • 140g demerara sugar
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 100ml milk

For the toffee sauce:

  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 50g butter, cubed
  • 225ml double cream
  • 1tbsp black treacle

Method

  1. egin by popping your chopped dates in a bowl, then pour over the boiling water. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, then mash slightly with a fork before stirring in the vanilla extract.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 4. Grease seven miniature pudding tins, and place them on a baking sheet.
  3. Mix together the flour and bicarbonate of soda in one bowl, and beat the eggs together in a separate bowl.
  4. Beat together the demerara sugar and the butter together until creamy, then add in the eggs a little at time, still beating. Next, add in the black treacle, then gently fold in one third of the dry ingredients, followed by half the milk. Repeat until all of the dry ingredients and milk have been incorporated into the mixture.
  5. Stir in the dates, then spoon the mixture evenly between the pudding tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and firm.
  6. Meanwhile, make the sauce by adding the muscovado sugar, butter and half of the cream in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved.
  7. Stir in the black treacle, and slightly increase the heat. Let everything bubble away for a few minutes until you have a rich, toffee colour. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the remaining cream.
  8. Remove your puddings from the oven and tip out of their tins. Serve with the toffee sauce and a dollop of ice cream.

Lead image: Adam Sargent via Getty images.

Christmas Cake

The festive season is right around the corner, and November is the perfect time to start making your Christmas cake so you can feed it with brandy, whisky or rum ready for a rich, delicious cake on the big day!

Ingredients

  • 1kg mixed dry fruit
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 150ml brandy, whisky or rum
  • 250g butter
  • 200g light soft brown sugar
  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 100g flaked almond
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Get a large saucepan and add in the dried fruit, orange and lemon zest and juice, butter, sugar and your chosen alcohol. Set over a medium heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Tip the fruit mixture into a bowl and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat your oven to 150c / 130c Fan / Gas Mark 2 and line a deep 20cm cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment. Now wrap a double layer or newspaper around the outside of the tin and secure with string.
  3. Pop the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, mixed spice, cinnamon, cloves, flaked almonds, eggs and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer along with the fruit mixture and mix well.
  4. Tip into your prepared cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 2 hours. Remove the cake from the oven and prick all over with a wooden skewer. Spoon over 2tbsp of your chosen alcohol and leave to cool in the tin.
  5. Once cool, remove from the tin and peel off the baking parchment. Wrap well in cling film, and feed with 2tbsp of your chosen alcohol every two weeks.
  6. Stop feeding the cake with alcohol one week before you ice it, as this will allow time for the top of the cake to dry out.

Lead image: marilyna via Getty images.

Homemade Toffee Apples

It’s Bonfire Night! And what better treat to tuck into on a crisp, autumnal evening than a delicious toffee apple – perfect for nibbling on as you gaze in awe at the firework displays.

Ingredients

  • 8 apples (preferably granny smiths)
  • 400g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup

Method

  1. Pop the apples into a large bowl, and cover with boiling water to remove the waxy outer layer and help the caramel stick better. Remove from the water after a couple of minutes and dry thoroughly, then twist of any stalks and insert a wooden skewer into the apples.
  2. Lay out some baking parchment and lay the apples on top. Tip the sugar into a saucepan along with 100ml of water and place over a medium heat. Cook gently for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the vinegar and the syrup. Place a sugar thermometer in the pan and cook to 150c. If you don’t have a thermometer you can test the toffee by pouring a little into a bowl of cold water. It should harden instantly and, when removed, be brittle and easy to break
  3. Working quickly, turn and coat each apple in the toffee (letting any excess drip away) then return to the baking parchment to harden. Leave to cool completely before eating.

Lead image: sharpshutter via Getty images.

Halloween Biscuits

A spooky treat that the kids will love joining in and helping with this Halloween, these delicious biscuits also make a unique alternative to the usual trick-or-treat offerings!

Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Ready made decorative icing tubes
  • Multiple colours of sugar paste
  • 100g icing sugar

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Put the butter in a bowl and beat with electric beaters until soft and creamy. Beat in the sugar, then the egg and vanilla, and finally the flour to make a dough. If the dough feels a bit sticky add a little more flour and knead it in. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour.
  3. Heavily flour a surface and cut the pastry in half. Roll out one half to 5mm thickness. Using a cookie cutter in the shape of a ghost (or any spooky shaped cutter you like), cut out 12 spooky shapes. Put the cut shapes on a baking tray lined with baking paper and put back in the fridge. Repeat with the second half of the pastry. Swap into the fridge, taking the chilled biscuits out.
  4. Put these biscuits into the oven to bake for 10-12 mins, until pale but cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the other tray.
  5. Once all the biscuits have cooled completely, they are ready to be assembled. Mix the icing sugar with 3 tbsp of water and mix well. It should be quite thick so add a little more icing sugar if the mixture is too runny.
  6. Once the biscuits feel firm and the icing has set, use the sugar paste to decorate them as you please, rolling it out, cutting it to shape and topping the biscuits. You may have to use a little of the icing to glue it down. Decorate with icing pens if you like.

Lead image: 5second via Getty images.

Bake Off 2019: Episode 10 Round Up

It’s finally here; the Bake Off final. We’ve seen many a talented baker come and go through the tent so far this year, leaving the absolute creme de la creme to reach the final. But who would beat them all to claim the Bake Off 2019 crown? Let’s find out!

Signature challenge: Chocolate cake

Steph wowed the judges with her Black Forest Gateau cake.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

For their last ever signature challenge, the bakers were asked to make a decadent chocolate cake. Sounds simple? Perhaps that’s why the judges picked such a classic bake; there’s no room for error. They were looking for absolute perfection. The bakers only had two hours to create their masterpieces.

Prue’s top tip : Chocolate cake; it sounds so simple. But we don’t want a bog-standard chocolate cake. What we want is something which is really chocolatey, really decadent, and absolutely astonishingly good flavour. And our course it’s got to be decorated to be worthy of winning the final.

It was anybody’s guess as to who would win the final. Steph had previously won four star baker accolades, and Alice had won two of them. David was the underdog, with no star baker under his belt, but he was determined to succeed. Steph decided to play it safe with a black forest gateau cake; Alice opted for a classic pear and chocolate combination; David opted for a boozy cake with plenty of Armagnac. 

Paul’s top tip : I think using cocoa is a possibility but I’d like to see chocolate in there as well. The baking is integral in this, making sure it’s all beautiful on the outside as well as the in. It’s all about the timing, you’ve got to get it right, there is no room for error. Two hours is quite tight.

David used quite a lot of alcohol in his sponges, to the point where it overwhelmed other flavours. Alice absolutely massacred one of her sponges while she was trying to figure out whether it was cooked all the way through, which meant that the sponges didn’t sit properly when she put it all together. Paul wasn’t happy with the lack of actual chocolate, whereas Prue was more concerned about the presentation. Steph’s only criticism was that her cake was slightly overbaked. It was still hard to predict who was going to snatch the trophy at the end of the final.

Technical challenge: Stilton souffles

The final tricky technical.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Paul, in classic fashion, had picked another tricky technical challenge to test the bakers. The judges asked them to make six twice-baked Stilton souffles. These needed to hold their shape when taken out of the mould, and to be delicate and fluffy in texture. Each one had to be served with a thin lavosh cracker.

Paul’s top tip : I wanted something that was going to challenge them but also had a very classic feel to it. What we’re looking for are very proud, tall souffles with a gorgeous golden brown colour coming from the cream and parmesan. 

David seemed to be well in his comfort zone – apart from admitting that he’d once used a housemate’s souffle dish as a plant pot because he’d had no idea what it was. Alice was perplexed with the roux, admitting she’d never made one.

Paul’s top tip : What you’ve got to remember when you’re making a souffle is whisking your egg whites. If you don’t whisk them enough, it’s not gonna carry the air. But if you overbeat it, you’re going to have a similar problem. Be delicate with that mixture.

The nation watched on in horror as Steph made the mistake of using cold water in her bain-marie instead of hot. All in all it was a stressful technical, which was befitting of the final. It was tense watching the bakers put the finishing touches to their souffles. Steph came in third place, followed by Alice, and David managed to snatch the first place spot.

Showstopper challenge: Illusion picnic

David impressed with his illusion cheeseboard.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

After a tense technical, it was once again all to play for in the last showstopper. For the bakers’ final challenge, they were asked to make an illusion picnic to serve to their family and friends. This needed to consist of sweet treats disguised as savoury bakes, and vice versa. They also needed to make a nougatine basket to present their picnic in. Their feast needed to contain elements made from cake, enriched bread, and biscuit.

Paul’s top tip : The final challenge is all about deception. They could make a bread roll look like a pork pie, they could make a cake look like a banana. But it’s the final showstopper. It’s got to taste AND look fantastic.

Alice was upset at the news that her parents’ flight had been cancelled, but thankfully they were able to make it for the Bake Off carnival. The bakers were going all out in this final challenge to impress. They created some absolutely stunning illusion bakes that would make even a professional baker proud! 

Alice created these deceptive ice cream buns.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off


Prue’s top tip: All the techniques and all the decorations that the bakers have dealt with over the last ten weeks and sort of summed up in this one showstopper, and what we want is really good bread, really good cake, really good biscuits.

Things didn’t go to plan to for Steph; her cake was dry, and she started worrying that her macarons weren’t good enough. Poor Steph got upset at the end of the challenge, as she felt she didn’t do her best. Alice had done a wonderful job with her illusion picnic, however Prue felt that her bread lacked flavour. David presented a phenomenal cheeseboard, and thoroughly impressed the judges. So much so that he was crowned the winner for the 2019 Great British Bake Off!

Next year…

So Bake Off has finished for another year. We’re certainly going to miss it! Did you predict the winner? What were your favourite bakes? Perhaps the budding bakers among you will think about applying for season 11 of Bake Off! Let us know what you thought of the final on our Facebook page.

Vanilla Crème Brûlée

Easier to make than you might expect, this crème brûlée consists of a rich, vanilla custard topped with an irresistible layer of harden caramel. Perfect for your next dinner party.

Ingredients

  • 250ml double cream
  • 75ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
  • 4 eggs, yolks only
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Start by heating your oven to 140°C / 120°C fan / Gas Mark 1. Grab a saucepan and pour in the cream and milk, along with the vanilla pod, and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat, cover and leave to stand and infuse for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and 3 tbsp of the sugar until pale and thick. Add in the vanilla extract, then pour in the cream mixture. Stir everything together well, then divide the mixture between two ramekin dishes.
  3. Place the ramekins in a bain-marie and bake for around 20 minutes, until just set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  4. Switch on your grill, then sprinkle the cold crème brûlée with a think layer of the remaining sugar. Slide under the grill caramelise, checking frequently until you have a golden topping. Leave to cool, and serve.

Image source: margouillatphotos via Getty images.

Autumnal Toad in the Hole

Sausages baked inside a giant Yorkshire pudding! No wonder toad in the hole is a traditional family favourite, and this recipe also contains an autumnal twist in the form of baked apples that adds a sweetness to the dish.

Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 6 sausages

Method

  1. Begin by combing the flour and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Pour in the beaten egg, along with a splash of milk and beat gently with the whisk attachment, gradually adding more milk as you go.
  2. Heat your oven to 220°C / 200°C fan / Gas Mark 7, and grease an ovenproof dish with a little oil. Lay the onion, apple and sausage in the tray and season. Pop the dish in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, until the apple and onion have softened.
  3. Pour over the batter and cook for a further 30-40 minutes, until well-risen and golden.

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty images.

Bake Off 2019: Episode 8 Round Up

It was the return of the classic pastry week last night in the Bake Off tent. Pastry has felled many a competent baker; who would rise to meet the challenge, and who would be left with a soggy bottom? Let’s find out!

Signature challenge: Savoury tarte tatin

We loved Henry’s savoury tarte tatin offering!
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

For the first pastry challenge, the bakers were asked to make a tarte tatin. It could have any combination of flavours, however with a classic Bake Off twist it needed to be savoury, and it needed to use full or rough puff pastry. This needed to have good lamination, and be perfectly baked.

Paul’s top tip: What they’ve got to do is to create a savoury filling. They can use cheese, they can use onions, they can use mushrooms, they can use whatever they wish. But if they add too much liquid to the tarte tatin, it will soak down and really give it a soggy bottom.

All of the bakers opted to use rough puff pastry for their bakes. There were a lot of interesting flavour combinations from the bakers for this challenge, with everyone eager to earn their place in the semi-final next week.

Prue’s top tip: A classic tarte tatin is made with apples or pears. You put the pastry on the top of the frying pan and then you turn the whole thing out. The key to a perfect tarte tatin – savoury or sweet – is the caramelisation. You need that pie to look golden and delicious.

At the end of the first challenge, Henry and David had done really well. Poor Rosie and Alice fell victims to the infamous soggy bottom – something that bakers always strive to avoid – and Steph was somewhere in between with a good combination of flavours but too thin pastry.

Technical challenge: Moroccan-style pie

Another tricky technical from Paul.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Paul had picked another tricky technical for the bakers this week. The judges asked for the bakers to make a Moroccan pie using warka or brick pastry. Cue confused looks from most of the bakers – apart from David, who had heard of this one before. Perhaps this would be his chance to seize that elusive first place in the technical challenge!

Paul’s top tip: It’s a bit like making filo mince pies. You put layer on layer on layer, and build it up, then put your filling in it and fold the layers over the top. But it’s made with warka pastry, or brick pastry, and this is the difficult part. 

Most of the bakers were flummoxed by their most recent challenge – apart from David, who seemed confident that he could master the unusual pastry. Steph became upset when her pastry evaporated off the hot plate, but she managed to tame it in order to present her pie. Poor Henry and Rosie both fell victim to their pies falling apart once cooked.

Paul’s top tip: Warka pastry is quite a loose batter; it’s basically made on a hot plate. You have to put it on the brush; if it’s too thin, as they’re brushing it on it will just disintegrate. If it’s too thick, it’ll act like a pancake and go splodge, and they’re not going to be able to push it around. 

Surprisingly Henry came in last, followed by Steph. Alice came third, and somehow Rosie managed to secure second place for herself despite the fact her pie completely fell apart. Who knows? Maybe she sacrificed it to the pastry Gods. David came out on top – finally managing to secure that first place that has evaded him so far in the competition! As David said himself: “Finally got first place. It only took 8 tries.

Showstopper challenge: Vertical pie

Rosie created another artfully decorative bake.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

After the first two challenges, it was all to play for in the show stopper. It was impossible to predict who was in trouble! For the final pastry challenge, the bakers were asked to make a vertical pie. The judges wanted to see a large pie base with decoratively shaped pastry, arranged vertically supporting at least two further pies. Their fillings could be either savoury or sweet.

Paul’s top tip: What we mean by a vertical pie is we want a minimum of three pies stacked on top of each other. Whether it’s short crust or hot water crust, the choice of pastry is critical. The flavours have got to be there as well. Too much liquid in their filling can seep down. We want to be able to put the knife through and cut a wedge out and let it all hold its shape.

There were some ambitious bakes in the pastry pipeline! David sparked debate with his lidless pies, and earned a dubious look from Paul. All of the bakers went for some wonderful designs, varying between sweet and savoury flavour combinations. Rosie started stressing when her pies struggled to stack, declaring that she was the most likely to be sent home.

Prue’s top tip: The pastry needs to be thin enough to be delicious, and firm enough to hold the whole thing together.

Paul and Prue were very underwhelmed with the final challenge, as every single pie turned out to be really dry. Steph rose above them all once again to be crowned star baker, and unfortunately it was time for Henry to leave the Bake Off tent. It was tough to call after looking at all the bakes, however the judges felt that Henry was lagging behind the others in terms of skill.

Next week…

It’s the semi-final next week, so the bakers will have to pull out all the stops to be in with a chance of getting into the coveted final. We can’t wait to see all the delicious bakes they’ll come up with! Did the right person leave the tent this week? What did you think of the judges’ decisions? Let us know on our Facebook page!

Bake Off 2019: Episode 8 Round Up

It was the return of the classic pastry week last night in the Bake Off tent. Pastry has felled many a competent baker; who would rise to meet the challenge, and who would be left with a soggy bottom? Let’s find out!

Signature challenge: Savoury tarte tatin

We loved Henry’s savoury tarte tatin offering!
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

For the first pastry challenge, the bakers were asked to make a tarte tatin. It could have any combination of flavours, however with a classic Bake Off twist it needed to be savoury, and it needed to use full or rough puff pastry. This needed to have good lamination, and be perfectly baked.

Paul’s top tip: What they’ve got to do is to create a savoury filling. They can use cheese, they can use onions, they can use mushrooms, they can use whatever they wish. But if they add too much liquid to the tarte tatin, it will soak down and really give it a soggy bottom.

All of the bakers opted to use rough puff pastry for their bakes. There were a lot of interesting flavour combinations from the bakers for this challenge, with everyone eager to earn their place in the semi-final next week.

Prue’s top tip: A classic tarte tatin is made with apples or pears. You put the pastry on the top of the frying pan and then you turn the whole thing out. The key to a perfect tarte tatin – savoury or sweet – is the caramelisation. You need that pie to look golden and delicious.

At the end of the first challenge, Henry and David had done really well. Poor Rosie and Alice fell victims to the infamous soggy bottom – something that bakers always strive to avoid – and Steph was somewhere in between with a good combination of flavours but too thin pastry.

Technical challenge: Moroccan-style pie

Another tricky technical from Paul.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Paul had picked another tricky technical for the bakers this week. The judges asked for the bakers to make a Moroccan pie using warka or brick pastry. Cue confused looks from most of the bakers – apart from David, who had heard of this one before. Perhaps this would be his chance to seize that elusive first place in the technical challenge!

Paul’s top tip: It’s a bit like making filo mince pies. You put layer on layer on layer, and build it up, then put your filling in it and fold the layers over the top. But it’s made with warka pastry, or brick pastry, and this is the difficult part. 

Most of the bakers were flummoxed by their most recent challenge – apart from David, who seemed confident that he could master the unusual pastry. Steph became upset when her pastry evaporated off the hot plate, but she managed to tame it in order to present her pie. Poor Henry and Rosie both fell victim to their pies falling apart once cooked.

Paul’s top tip: Warka pastry is quite a loose batter; it’s basically made on a hot plate. You have to put it on the brush; if it’s too thin, as they’re brushing it on it will just disintegrate. If it’s too thick, it’ll act like a pancake and go splodge, and they’re not going to be able to push it around. 

Surprisingly Henry came in last, followed by Steph. Alice came third, and somehow Rosie managed to secure second place for herself despite the fact her pie completely fell apart. Who knows? Maybe she sacrificed it to the pastry Gods. David came out on top – finally managing to secure that first place that has evaded him so far in the competition! As David said himself: “Finally got first place. It only took 8 tries.

Showstopper challenge: Vertical pie

Rosie created another artfully decorative bake.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

After the first two challenges, it was all to play for in the show stopper. It was impossible to predict who was in trouble! For the final pastry challenge, the bakers were asked to make a vertical pie. The judges wanted to see a large pie base with decoratively shaped pastry, arranged vertically supporting at least two further pies. Their fillings could be either savoury or sweet.

Paul’s top tip: What we mean by a vertical pie is we want a minimum of three pies stacked on top of each other. Whether it’s short crust or hot water crust, the choice of pastry is critical. The flavours have got to be there as well. Too much liquid in their filling can seep down. We want to be able to put the knife through and cut a wedge out and let it all hold its shape.

There were some ambitious bakes in the pastry pipeline! David sparked debate with his lidless pies, and earned a dubious look from Paul. All of the bakers went for some wonderful designs, varying between sweet and savoury flavour combinations. Rosie started stressing when her pies struggled to stack, declaring that she was the most likely to be sent home.

Prue’s top tip: The pastry needs to be thin enough to be delicious, and firm enough to hold the whole thing together.

Paul and Prue were very underwhelmed with the final challenge, as every single pie turned out to be really dry. Steph rose above them all once again to be crowned star baker, and unfortunately it was time for Henry to leave the Bake Off tent. It was tough to call after looking at all the bakes, however the judges felt that Henry was lagging behind the others in terms of skill.

Next week…

It’s the semi-final next week, so the bakers will have to pull out all the stops to be in with a chance of getting into the coveted final. We can’t wait to see all the delicious bakes they’ll come up with! Did the right person leave the tent this week? What did you think of the judges’ decisions? Let us know on our Facebook page!

Chicken & Ham Pie

Packed with flavour, this chicken & ham pie is the perfect family comfort food to tuck into.

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 850ml chicken stock
  • 50g butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 50g plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 4 slices of ham, cut into thick strips
  • 500g ready-to-roll shortcrust pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. Take a large pan and throw in the chicken, carrots, potatoes, celery and half the thyme. Add in the chicken stock and bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 15 minutes.
  2. Place a colander over a large bowl, and pour in the pan contents. Remove the thyme, then reserve 600ml of the cooking stock.
  3. Return the empty pan to the heat, and pop in the butter. Once melted, add the onions and cook until soft, then stir in the flour and a little stock at a time until you have a thick, smooth sauce. Pour in the milk and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining thyme, lemon juice and parsley, then season to taste.
  4. Mix together the chicken, vegetables and ham in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the sauce and leave to cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180° fan / Gas mark 6.
  5. Roll out the pastry to around 5cm larger in circumference than the pie dish, and brush with the beaten egg. Lay gently on top of the pie mix, and press the edges to seal. Make a couple of small incisions in the centre to allow steam to escape, and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.

Image source: mikafotostok via Getty images.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake

We’ve taken this popular autumn drink and given it a new lease of life in cake form! Pumpkin spiced sponge covered in an espresso butter cream makes this one delicious treat.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 210g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 135g granulated sugar
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 245g pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs

For the buttercream:

  • 3 eggs, whites only
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 340g unsalted butter
  • 1.5 tbsp instant espresso powder

Method

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4, then grease and line 2 x 20cm cake tins.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder and salt.
  3. Take a separate bowl and beat together the sugars, melted butter, oil, pumpkin puree and eggs. Now gradually pour this mixture into the dry ingredients, using the cake mixing attachment to beat everything together slowly.
  4. Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake for around 35-40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To make the buttercream, whisk together the egg whites and sugar until well combined. Place the bowl over a pan of hot water on the stove top and whisk continually until the mixture is no longer grainy.
  6. Remove the bowl from the pan, and continue to whisk until you have a stiff meringue. Slowly beat in the cubed butter and mix until smooth, then mix in the espresso powder.
  7. Sandwich the cakes together using a third of the buttercream, then use the rest to coat the rest of the cake. Decorate with fondant pumpkins, or any autumnal decorations that take your fancy.

Lead image: VeselovaElena via Getty images.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake

We’ve taken this popular autumn drink and given it a new lease of life in cake form! Pumpkin spiced sponge covered in an espresso butter cream makes this one delicious treat.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 210g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 135g granulated sugar
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 245g pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs

For the buttercream:

  • 3 eggs, whites only
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 340g unsalted butter
  • 1.5 tbsp instant espresso powder

Method

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4, then grease and line 2 x 20cm cake tins.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder and salt.
  3. Take a separate bowl and beat together the sugars, melted butter, oil, pumpkin puree and eggs. Now gradually pour this mixture into the dry ingredients, using the cake mixing attachment to beat everything together slowly.
  4. Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake for around 35-40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To make the buttercream, whisk together the egg whites and sugar until well combined. Place the bowl over a pan of hot water on the stove top and whisk continually until the mixture is no longer grainy.
  6. Remove the bowl from the pan, and continue to whisk until you have a stiff meringue. Slowly beat in the cubed butter and mix until smooth, then mix in the espresso powder.
  7. Sandwich the cakes together using a third of the buttercream, then use the rest to coat the rest of the cake. Decorate with fondant pumpkins, or any autumnal decorations that take your fancy.

Lead image: VeselovaElena via Getty images.

Bake Off 2019: Episode 7 Round Up

It was another first in the Bake Off tent this week as we saw the bakers get stuck in with festival-themed bakes. There were some unusual challenges, but who would come out on top? And who would be the next baker to leave the tent? Let’s find out!

Signature challenge: Festival buns

Henry created these tempting pastry treats.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

For the first challenge, the bakers were asked to make 24 yeasted festival buns. These needed to be buns that would be found during festivals such as Eid or Christmas, and the bakers needed to add their own twist.

Paul’s top tip: The bakers have got to produce 24 festival buns. They can represent any country in the world, they can have pretty much anything in as long as it’s related to a festival. But they’ve got to get them beautifully light, airy, full of flavour and pack a punch.

There were a lot of interesting flavour combinations in the bakers’ buns. Michael opted to put a lot of fruit in his, which got a concerned look from Paul. Most bakers went for classic hot cross buns, but Henry went for a tempting pastry instead.

Prue’s top tip: The most obvious festival bun to us is the hot cross bun at Easter. These buns have to be yeasted, but they could have spice in there, or other flavours. What I’m after is uniform, beautifully flavoured, beautifully textured, absolutely delicious buns.

Steph and Henry both earned handshakes this week – would Henry do enough to topple Steph from a potentially fourth star baker in a row? On the opposite end of the baking scales, poor Alice didn’t seem to do well with her blueberry and lemon flavoured buns.

Technical challenge: Cassatelle

Paul picked an intriguing festival delicacy for the technical challenge.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Paul had chosen the technical challenge this week, and asked the bakers to make 12 Sicilian cassatelle. These are pastry crescents filled with a smooth and creamy ricotta, which is flavoured with chocolate and orange, and then fried until crispy and golden. They needed to be uniform in shape and size.

Paul’s top tip: These are basically Sicilian snacks that you’d have at a carnival. So inside these beautiful pastries we’ve got ricotta, chocolate, and orange in there as well. The hard bit is getting the pastry nice and thin and overall filling this properly with the ricotta. The other problem they’re going to have is obviously they’re going to fry it. If they don’t roll their pastry and it’s a bit thick, as soon as it hits the oil, chances are it’s going to burst open and the ricotta will pour out.

Both Michael and Alice had difficulty with their cassatelle bursting open. David once again missed out on the top spot in the technical, joking that he repels first place. He came second with Rosie beating everyone to come in first. Alice came last, followed by Michael in fifth place. After not doing as well as the others in the signature, this put them in danger of leaving the tent at the end of the weekend.

Show stopper challenge: Kek lapis Sarawak

The last baking challenge for our bakers was to make a ‘kek lapis Sarawak’. Confused? It’s a colourful cake which originates from the Sarawak region of Malaysia, and is often used in religious and cultural celebrations. 

The judges wanted to see the bakers’ take on it; the cakes needed to display even and precise layers, and it needed to be grilled. Certainly an unusual way to make a cake! Once the cake had been grilled, the bakers needed to cut and reassemble it into intricate patterns that run through the whole cake.

Prue’s top tip: We’ve asked the bakers to do a Sarawak style layer cake. This has many, many layers in different colours and flavours. They put a thin layer of batter in a cake tin, grill it for a few minutes, take it out, add more batter, grill it, and add however many layers they want. Then, cut it into any shapes they like, then they reassemble those pieces of cake so that they make a fantastic pattern. It’s very difficult to do.

All of the bakers struggled with this unusual way of cake making. David had to scrap some of his layers, as did Rosie when they burned. Rosie opted for a more complicated pattern which didn’t quite pay off. Alice managed to save herself with her beautiful cake, and Henry earned himself the star baker title. Unfortunately it was time for the loveable Michael to leave the Bake Off tent.

Next week…

It’s the return of pastry week for next week’s episode, which is also the quarter-final! Did the right person get sent home? Or do you think someone else should have left the Bake Off tent? Let us know your thoughts over on our Facebook page.

Bake Off 2019: Episode 7 Round Up

It was another first in the Bake Off tent this week as we saw the bakers get stuck in with festival-themed bakes. There were some unusual challenges, but who would come out on top? And who would be the next baker to leave the tent? Let’s find out!

Signature challenge: Festival buns

Henry created these tempting pastry treats.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

For the first challenge, the bakers were asked to make 24 yeasted festival buns. These needed to be buns that would be found during festivals such as Eid or Christmas, and the bakers needed to add their own twist.

Paul’s top tip: The bakers have got to produce 24 festival buns. They can represent any country in the world, they can have pretty much anything in as long as it’s related to a festival. But they’ve got to get them beautifully light, airy, full of flavour and pack a punch.

There were a lot of interesting flavour combinations in the bakers’ buns. Michael opted to put a lot of fruit in his, which got a concerned look from Paul. Most bakers went for classic hot cross buns, but Henry went for a tempting pastry instead.

Prue’s top tip: The most obvious festival bun to us is the hot cross bun at Easter. These buns have to be yeasted, but they could have spice in there, or other flavours. What I’m after is uniform, beautifully flavoured, beautifully textured, absolutely delicious buns.

Steph and Henry both earned handshakes this week – would Henry do enough to topple Steph from a potentially fourth star baker in a row? On the opposite end of the baking scales, poor Alice didn’t seem to do well with her blueberry and lemon flavoured buns.

Technical challenge: Cassatelle

Paul picked an intriguing festival delicacy for the technical challenge.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Paul had chosen the technical challenge this week, and asked the bakers to make 12 Sicilian cassatelle. These are pastry crescents filled with a smooth and creamy ricotta, which is flavoured with chocolate and orange, and then fried until crispy and golden. They needed to be uniform in shape and size.

Paul’s top tip: These are basically Sicilian snacks that you’d have at a carnival. So inside these beautiful pastries we’ve got ricotta, chocolate, and orange in there as well. The hard bit is getting the pastry nice and thin and overall filling this properly with the ricotta. The other problem they’re going to have is obviously they’re going to fry it. If they don’t roll their pastry and it’s a bit thick, as soon as it hits the oil, chances are it’s going to burst open and the ricotta will pour out.

Both Michael and Alice had difficulty with their cassatelle bursting open. David once again missed out on the top spot in the technical, joking that he repels first place. He came second with Rosie beating everyone to come in first. Alice came last, followed by Michael in fifth place. After not doing as well as the others in the signature, this put them in danger of leaving the tent at the end of the weekend.

Show stopper challenge: Kek lapis Sarawak

The last baking challenge for our bakers was to make a ‘kek lapis Sarawak’. Confused? It’s a colourful cake which originates from the Sarawak region of Malaysia, and is often used in religious and cultural celebrations. 

The judges wanted to see the bakers’ take on it; the cakes needed to display even and precise layers, and it needed to be grilled. Certainly an unusual way to make a cake! Once the cake had been grilled, the bakers needed to cut and reassemble it into intricate patterns that run through the whole cake.

Prue’s top tip: We’ve asked the bakers to do a Sarawak style layer cake. This has many, many layers in different colours and flavours. They put a thin layer of batter in a cake tin, grill it for a few minutes, take it out, add more batter, grill it, and add however many layers they want. Then, cut it into any shapes they like, then they reassemble those pieces of cake so that they make a fantastic pattern. It’s very difficult to do.

All of the bakers struggled with this unusual way of cake making. David had to scrap some of his layers, as did Rosie when they burned. Rosie opted for a more complicated pattern which didn’t quite pay off. Alice managed to save herself with her beautiful cake, and Henry earned himself the star baker title. Unfortunately it was time for the loveable Michael to leave the Bake Off tent.

Next week…

It’s the return of pastry week for next week’s episode, which is also the quarter-final! Did the right person get sent home? Or do you think someone else should have left the Bake Off tent? Let us know your thoughts over on our Facebook page.

Bake Off 2019: Episode 6 Round Up

After the dramatic double elimination last week, we wondered what Paul and Prue would have next in store for the bakers. This week was the classic dessert week! But how did the bakers get on? Let’s find out.

Signature challenge: Layered meringue cake

Rosie went for a bold combination of flavours.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off.

To start off dessert week, the bakers were asked to make a layered meringue cake. It needed to be a large cake with a minimum of three layers, sandwiched with a filling of their choice.

Paul’s top tip: We want the bakers to create a beautifully aesthetic meringue cake. You want definition, you want peaks, you want a bit of shape to your meringue, so when you look at it, you think, “Wow, I want to eat that.”

All the bakers went bold with their flavour combinations and choice of decoration.

Prue’s top tip: It seems quite simple, because they can all make meringue, they can all whip cream, they can all know about flavour. But the danger is because it’s simple, they will want to overcomplicate it.

Nearly all the bakers got a grilling from the judges, as they dove into the nuances of the meringue cakes. Henry was one of the only bakers to get mostly positive feedback.

Technical challenge: Verrines

Prue certainly tempted our tastebuds with these fruity verrines.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off.

Prue had picked another fiendish technical for the bakers. For their technical challenge, the bakers were asked to make perfectly layered verrines; a layered dessert in a glass. It needed to consist of a mango compote, a creamy coconut panna cotta, a fresh raspberry jelly, topped with a coconut and lime streusel and a short sable biscuit.

Prue’s top tip: They could go wrong with not remembering to chill everything between each layer, and if you don’t get the measurements right, you won’t get the layers right. 

All the bakers did really well considering how difficult the challenge they had been set was. At the end of the technical, Priya and Michael were in a precarious position as they came last and second to last. At the opposite end of the baking scales, David came in second, and Alice beat everyone to come out on top. It was all down to the show stopper challenge!

Show stopper challenge: Celebratory bombe dessert

Steph impressed once again.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off.

For their final challenge of the week, the judges asked the bakers to make a celebratory bombe dessert. It needed to be moulded into a semi-spherical or fully spherical shape; it needed to contain at least one baked element, and at least two other dessert elements such as ice cream or bavarois.

Paul’s top tip: It’s a little bit of luxury, a bombe. They’re probably going to build into a mould. The critical time is when they let it all out because you’re going to have so many different layers, so many different textures. They’ve all got to be set at the same time. If one layer collapses, the probability of all of them collapsing is very, very high.

It was nailbiting to watch all the bakers trying to put their bombes together, but they all managed to finish in time. There was a mixed response to the bakers’ creations, but at the end of the weekend it was time for Priya to leave the tent. Unsurprisingly, Steph succeeded in being crowned star baker for the third week in a row!

Next week…

It looks like next week the bakers will be diving into festive bakes with festival week! What did you think of their creative desserts? Did the right person leave the Bake Off tent? Let us know your thoughts over on our Facebook page!

Bake Off 2019: Episode 6 Round Up

After the dramatic double elimination last week, we wondered what Paul and Prue would have next in store for the bakers. This week was the classic dessert week! But how did the bakers get on? Let’s find out.

Signature challenge: Layered meringue cake

Rosie went for a bold combination of flavours.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off.

To start off dessert week, the bakers were asked to make a layered meringue cake. It needed to be a large cake with a minimum of three layers, sandwiched with a filling of their choice.

Paul’s top tip: We want the bakers to create a beautifully aesthetic meringue cake. You want definition, you want peaks, you want a bit of shape to your meringue, so when you look at it, you think, “Wow, I want to eat that.”

All the bakers went bold with their flavour combinations and choice of decoration.

Prue’s top tip: It seems quite simple, because they can all make meringue, they can all whip cream, they can all know about flavour. But the danger is because it’s simple, they will want to overcomplicate it.

Nearly all the bakers got a grilling from the judges, as they dove into the nuances of the meringue cakes. Henry was one of the only bakers to get mostly positive feedback.

Technical challenge: Verrines

Prue certainly tempted our tastebuds with these fruity verrines.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off.

Prue had picked another fiendish technical for the bakers. For their technical challenge, the bakers were asked to make perfectly layered verrines; a layered dessert in a glass. It needed to consist of a mango compote, a creamy coconut panna cotta, a fresh raspberry jelly, topped with a coconut and lime streusel and a short sable biscuit.

Prue’s top tip: They could go wrong with not remembering to chill everything between each layer, and if you don’t get the measurements right, you won’t get the layers right. 

All the bakers did really well considering how difficult the challenge they had been set was. At the end of the technical, Priya and Michael were in a precarious position as they came last and second to last. At the opposite end of the baking scales, David came in second, and Alice beat everyone to come out on top. It was all down to the show stopper challenge!

Show stopper challenge: Celebratory bombe dessert

Steph impressed once again.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off.

For their final challenge of the week, the judges asked the bakers to make a celebratory bombe dessert. It needed to be moulded into a semi-spherical or fully spherical shape; it needed to contain at least one baked element, and at least two other dessert elements such as ice cream or bavarois.

Paul’s top tip: It’s a little bit of luxury, a bombe. They’re probably going to build into a mould. The critical time is when they let it all out because you’re going to have so many different layers, so many different textures. They’ve all got to be set at the same time. If one layer collapses, the probability of all of them collapsing is very, very high.

It was nailbiting to watch all the bakers trying to put their bombes together, but they all managed to finish in time. There was a mixed response to the bakers’ creations, but at the end of the weekend it was time for Priya to leave the tent. Unsurprisingly, Steph succeeded in being crowned star baker for the third week in a row!

Next week…

It looks like next week the bakers will be diving into festive bakes with festival week! What did you think of their creative desserts? Did the right person leave the Bake Off tent? Let us know your thoughts over on our Facebook page!

Strawberry Pavlova Cake

Looking for a show-stopping dessert? Filled with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. this pavlova cake is guaranteed to put the wow-factor into your next dinner party!

Ingredients

  • 9 eggs, whites only
  • 600g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 400ml double cream
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g strawberries

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 120°C / 100°C Fan / Gas Mark 1/2. Take three sheets of baking parchment and draw circle on each; one 20cm, one 16cm and one 12cm in circumference. Put the baking paper on baking sheets, with the penned-on side down.
  2. Pop your egg whites in a stand mixer and whisk until stiff peaks being to form. Slowly and gradually add in the sugar, continually whisking, until you have stiff, glossy peaks. Then whisk in the cornflour and vinegar.
  3. Spoon the mixture onto the baking parchment, filling each circle, and smooth the top over but leave the edges rough. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 100°C / 80°C / Gas Mark 1/4, and continue to bake for a further 90 minutes. Allow to cool in the oven, then remove from the parchment.
  4. Whip the cream together with the icing sugar and vanilla extract, then fold in the strawberries (reserving a few for decoration). Assemble by laying the largest meringue on a cake stand, then top with the cream and strawberry mix. Place the middle sized meringue on top, and repeat the layering process with the smallest sized meringue. Top with cream and the reserved strawberries.

Lead image: viennetta via Getty images.

Strawberry Pavlova Cake

Looking for a show-stopping dessert? Filled with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. this pavlova cake is guaranteed to put the wow-factor into your next dinner party!

Ingredients

  • 9 eggs, whites only
  • 600g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 400ml double cream
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g strawberries

Method

  1. Begin by heating your oven to 120°C / 100°C Fan / Gas Mark 1/2. Take three sheets of baking parchment and draw circle on each; one 20cm, one 16cm and one 12cm in circumference. Put the baking paper on baking sheets, with the penned-on side down.
  2. Pop your egg whites in a stand mixer and whisk until stiff peaks being to form. Slowly and gradually add in the sugar, continually whisking, until you have stiff, glossy peaks. Then whisk in the cornflour and vinegar.
  3. Spoon the mixture onto the baking parchment, filling each circle, and smooth the top over but leave the edges rough. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 100°C / 80°C / Gas Mark 1/4, and continue to bake for a further 90 minutes. Allow to cool in the oven, then remove from the parchment.
  4. Whip the cream together with the icing sugar and vanilla extract, then fold in the strawberries (reserving a few for decoration). Assemble by laying the largest meringue on a cake stand, then top with the cream and strawberry mix. Place the middle sized meringue on top, and repeat the layering process with the smallest sized meringue. Top with cream and the reserved strawberries.

Lead image: viennetta via Getty images.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Is there anything better than salted caramel? No, we don’t think so either. This easy-to-make sauce is perfect drizzled over cake, ice cream, apple pie – anything really! Give it a go and see for yourself.

Ingredients

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 50g soft light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 125ml double cream
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes (you may want to add more depending on your personal preference for saltiness!)

Method

  1. Melt together the butter, sugars and syrup in saucepan and let everything simmer together for about 3 minutes, swirling the pan ocassionally.
  2. Pour in the cream along with half a teaspoon of salt flakes, and give everything a stir. Taste for salt levels (carefully, as it will be hot) and add more if required.
  3. Pour into a jar for serving and storing.

Image source: NJSirano via Getty images.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Is there anything better than salted caramel? No, we don’t think so either. This easy-to-make sauce is perfect drizzled over cake, ice cream, apple pie – anything really! Give it a go and see for yourself.

Ingredients

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 50g soft light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 125ml double cream
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes (you may want to add more depending on your personal preference for saltiness!)

Method

  1. Melt together the butter, sugars and syrup in saucepan and let everything simmer together for about 3 minutes, swirling the pan ocassionally.
  2. Pour in the cream along with half a teaspoon of salt flakes, and give everything a stir. Taste for salt levels (carefully, as it will be hot) and add more if required.
  3. Pour into a jar for serving and storing.

Image source: NJSirano via Getty images.

Mocha Profiteroles

An added kick of espresso brings a new level of indulgence to this classic dessert, which will soon become a new found favourite amongst coffee lovers!

Ingredients

For the profiteroles:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten

For the filling:

  • 4 tbsp custard powder
  • 6 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 600ml milk
  • 2 tbsp espresso powder, dissolved in hot water
  • 284ml pot of double cream
  • 100g icing sugar

For the sauce:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50ml espresso
  • 2 tbsp kahlua

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a bowl and add mix in a pinch of salt. Take a saucepan and add 200ml of cold water along with the butter and bring to a rolling boil. Remove the pan from the heat and tip in the flour, and beat the mixture until it begins to come away from the sides of the pan. Tip onto a plate, and leave to cool.
  2. Heat your oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / Gas Mark 6. Return the paste to the saucepan and gradually add the eggs, beating continually. Once everything is well incorporated, spoon small balls of the mixture onto a lined baking sheet, and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden.
  3. Remove from the oven and poke the undersides with a teaspoon. Turn them upside down, and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  4. To make the filling, mix the custard powder and caster sugar with a splash of milk until you have a smooth paste. Heat the remaining milk, then stir that into the paste. Pour the mixture into a pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick custard.
  5. Now stir in the coffee and leave to cool. Softly whip the cream, sifting in the icing sugar, the fold into the custard. Pipe into each choux profiterole.
  6. For the sauce, melt the chocolate and the butter with the espresso in a microwave-proof bowl, in 30 seconds bursts. Mix in the kahlua, then pour over the filled buns.

Image source: merc67 via Getty images.

Mocha Profiteroles

An added kick of espresso brings a new level of indulgence to this classic dessert, which will soon become a new found favourite amongst coffee lovers!

Ingredients

For the profiteroles:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten

For the filling:

  • 4 tbsp custard powder
  • 6 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 600ml milk
  • 2 tbsp espresso powder, dissolved in hot water
  • 284ml pot of double cream
  • 100g icing sugar

For the sauce:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50ml espresso
  • 2 tbsp kahlua

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a bowl and add mix in a pinch of salt. Take a saucepan and add 200ml of cold water along with the butter and bring to a rolling boil. Remove the pan from the heat and tip in the flour, and beat the mixture until it begins to come away from the sides of the pan. Tip onto a plate, and leave to cool.
  2. Heat your oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / Gas Mark 6. Return the paste to the saucepan and gradually add the eggs, beating continually. Once everything is well incorporated, spoon small balls of the mixture onto a lined baking sheet, and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden.
  3. Remove from the oven and poke the undersides with a teaspoon. Turn them upside down, and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  4. To make the filling, mix the custard powder and caster sugar with a splash of milk until you have a smooth paste. Heat the remaining milk, then stir that into the paste. Pour the mixture into a pan and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick custard.
  5. Now stir in the coffee and leave to cool. Softly whip the cream, sifting in the icing sugar, the fold into the custard. Pipe into each choux profiterole.
  6. For the sauce, melt the chocolate and the butter with the espresso in a microwave-proof bowl, in 30 seconds bursts. Mix in the kahlua, then pour over the filled buns.

Image source: merc67 via Getty images.

Bake Off 2019: Episode 5 Round Up

The bakers were back in the tent this week to celebrate everything about the 1920s. What delightful treats would we discover? Who would rise to the challenge, and who would sink like a sad soufflé? Let’s find out!

Signature challenge: Custard tart

David really impressed with his classic tarts.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

To start off 1920s week, the bakers were asked to make four individual highly decorative custard pies. These needed to be open-topped and the custard had to set during baking.

Paul’s top tip: With shortcrust pastry you want it to melt in the mouth and that’s the critical thing. Overwork it, it makes it too rubbery. So the best thing to do with the pastry is just bring it together, chill it down. I want to see a beautifully-formed custard pie, silky smooth, but it must contain a theme of the 1920s.

Rosie had a bit of a disaster when she accidentally knocked one of her tarts to the floor, and her decorations didn’t quite go to plan. On the opposite end of the spectrum, David earned the second Paul Hollywood handshake for his vanilla custard tarts! It was an even playing field at the end of the first challenge, so the bakers got ready for the technical.

Technical challenge: Beignets soufflé with sabayon

Prue’s devilishly difficult technical.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Prue had chosen another fiendishly difficult technical for the bakers. They were asked to make 18 beignets soufflés. Confused? A beignet soufflé is a fried choux ball filled with a strawberry jam. It needed to be crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, uniform in size and shape and served with a sabayon.

Prue’s top tip: The most difficult thing is how you’re going to get it into perfect balls and drop it into the fat. I think the best way to do it is with two spoons. Try to create a quenelle, but get it round rather than quenelle shaped. Inside we expect to see lots of air and some soft, almost stretchy, dough.

Everyone seemed to struggle with this technical. Michael got emotional when he couldn’t get his pastry mixture to work properly, but managed to pull it together to present his beignets soufflés. At the end of the technical, Helena came out on top, and surprisingly David came in last place. It was all hinging on the last challenge as to who would have to leave the Bake Off tent.

Show stopper challenge: Prohibition-era inspired cocktail cake

Henry certainly impressed with his White Russian cake.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

The last challenge of the week for our bakers was to create a prohibition-era cocktail cake. Prohibition was the time when alcohol was banned in America, and was sold only by gangsters like Al Capone.

Paul’s top tip: We’ve given the bakers four hours to produce this Prohibition cake so you’ve got to think backwards. How long is it going to take to decorate the cake? Allow yourself at least an hour, maybe more. Your sponges should be in and out of the oven within the hour and that gives you plenty of time to produce real baking magic.

Paul and Prue wanted a 1920s-themed two-tier cake. The flavour needed to be based on the bakers’ favourite cocktails and the design needed to be a visual spectacle that was typical of the era.

Prue’s top tip: I want three things. I want a wonderful design, a delicious cake, and it will taste of a recognisable cocktail.

Even at the end of the last challenge, it was still hard to say for certain who would be going home this week. The judges decided it was the end of the road for two bakers, and in what we certainly thought was a shock elimination the delightful Helena and Michelle were chosen to go home. Steph was once again crowned star baker for the second week in a row!

Next week…

It’s dessert week next week! We can’t wait to see what tasty creations the remaining bakers will come up with. What did you think of 1920s week? Let us know over on our Facebook page!

Bake Off 2019: Episode 5 Round Up

The bakers were back in the tent this week to celebrate everything about the 1920s. What delightful treats would we discover? Who would rise to the challenge, and who would sink like a sad soufflé? Let’s find out!

Signature challenge: Custard tart

David really impressed with his classic tarts.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

To start off 1920s week, the bakers were asked to make four individual highly decorative custard pies. These needed to be open-topped and the custard had to set during baking.

Paul’s top tip: With shortcrust pastry you want it to melt in the mouth and that’s the critical thing. Overwork it, it makes it too rubbery. So the best thing to do with the pastry is just bring it together, chill it down. I want to see a beautifully-formed custard pie, silky smooth, but it must contain a theme of the 1920s.

Rosie had a bit of a disaster when she accidentally knocked one of her tarts to the floor, and her decorations didn’t quite go to plan. On the opposite end of the spectrum, David earned the second Paul Hollywood handshake for his vanilla custard tarts! It was an even playing field at the end of the first challenge, so the bakers got ready for the technical.

Technical challenge: Beignets soufflé with sabayon

Prue’s devilishly difficult technical.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Prue had chosen another fiendishly difficult technical for the bakers. They were asked to make 18 beignets soufflés. Confused? A beignet soufflé is a fried choux ball filled with a strawberry jam. It needed to be crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, uniform in size and shape and served with a sabayon.

Prue’s top tip: The most difficult thing is how you’re going to get it into perfect balls and drop it into the fat. I think the best way to do it is with two spoons. Try to create a quenelle, but get it round rather than quenelle shaped. Inside we expect to see lots of air and some soft, almost stretchy, dough.

Everyone seemed to struggle with this technical. Michael got emotional when he couldn’t get his pastry mixture to work properly, but managed to pull it together to present his beignets soufflés. At the end of the technical, Helena came out on top, and surprisingly David came in last place. It was all hinging on the last challenge as to who would have to leave the Bake Off tent.

Show stopper challenge: Prohibition-era inspired cocktail cake

Henry certainly impressed with his White Russian cake.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

The last challenge of the week for our bakers was to create a prohibition-era cocktail cake. Prohibition was the time when alcohol was banned in America, and was sold only by gangsters like Al Capone.

Paul’s top tip: We’ve given the bakers four hours to produce this Prohibition cake so you’ve got to think backwards. How long is it going to take to decorate the cake? Allow yourself at least an hour, maybe more. Your sponges should be in and out of the oven within the hour and that gives you plenty of time to produce real baking magic.

Paul and Prue wanted a 1920s-themed two-tier cake. The flavour needed to be based on the bakers’ favourite cocktails and the design needed to be a visual spectacle that was typical of the era.

Prue’s top tip: I want three things. I want a wonderful design, a delicious cake, and it will taste of a recognisable cocktail.

Even at the end of the last challenge, it was still hard to say for certain who would be going home this week. The judges decided it was the end of the road for two bakers, and in what we certainly thought was a shock elimination the delightful Helena and Michelle were chosen to go home. Steph was once again crowned star baker for the second week in a row!

Next week…

It’s dessert week next week! We can’t wait to see what tasty creations the remaining bakers will come up with. What did you think of 1920s week? Let us know over on our Facebook page!

Espresso Martini Tiramisu

An added adult twist to a family favourite, this indulgent tiramisu is made using espresso, kahlua and vodka. A real show-stopper for any dinner party!

Ingredients

  • 400ml strong black coffee
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp vodka
  • 4 tbsp kahlua
  • 500g mascarpone
  • 600ml double cream
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste
  • 2 tbsp espresso powder
  • 300g sponge fingers
  • 50g dark chocolate

Method

  1. Take a bowl and mix together the black coffee, brown sugar, vodka and 3 tbsp of the kahlua, then set to one side.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix up the mascarpone for a couple minutes, then beat in the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla paste until you have soft peaks. Tip out 1/3 of the cream into another bowl, then mix the coffee powder with the rest of the kahlua and stir in to make a coffee cream.
  3. Dip the sponge fingers into the vodka-coffee mixture, then lay a single layer in the base of a large, serving dish. Spoon over 1/2 of the plain cream, then grate over a good layer of the dark chocolate. Add another layer of coffee-vodka dipper fingers, then spoon over the coffee cream and grate another generous layer or chocolate on top. Add another layer of soaked fingers, top with the rest of the plain cream and finish with a final grating of chocolate.
  4. Chill until ready to serve (for at least 4 hours) and dust with cocoa powder to finish.

Image source: AnnaPustynnikova via Getty images.

Bake Off 2019: Episode 4 Round Up

We’re three bakers down, and back for another week in the Bake Off tent. This week was another first for the Bake Off; dairy week! Who would rise as the cream of the crop, and who would curdle in the wake of the challenges? Let’s find out!

Signature challenge: Dairy cake

Steph’s stunning dairy cake.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

The bakers’ first challenge was to create a dairy cake. The cake mixture needed to contain a cultured dairy product, such as buttermilk or yoghurt. The aim was to create a moist sponge, though as Sandi reminded us they needed to be careful. Too much moisture and the cake would become prone to tearing. 

Paul’s top tip: This week we want them to celebrate dairy. More to the point we want to bring in a cultured milk; buttermilk, a yoghurt. Where they’ve got to be careful is by adding cultures they may over bake it; it might dry the cake out and it will almost be like cardboard.

Unfortunately Michael’s cake tore as he tried to remove it from the mould. He tried to rescue it, but it didn’t go unnoticed by the judges. Phil was the only other baker to be in trouble at the end of the first challenge, after Paul said his cake lacked flavour.

Technical challenge: 12 maids of honour

Prue’s tricky technical.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Prue set the bakers the unusual challenge of recreating a favourite treat of Henry VIII; 12 maids of honour. They needed to have a flaky rough puff pastry case, one layer of lemon curd, a silky smooth well-risen cheese curd filling and topped with a Tudor rose.

Prue’s top tip: I want to see the layers of pastry. And you don’t need to bake it blind or you’ll get a soggy bottom!

The technical proved to be disastrous for most of our bakers. Helena made the wrong pastry, Priya encountered several issues, but it all became apparent when the judges appeared and commented that none of them were up to the standard they had expected.

Steph came first with David in second, and Priya came last. At the end of the technical, it looked like Michael and Priya were in trouble.

Show stopper challenge: Mishti 

Helena created some tasty mishti.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

After the first two challenges, there was a lot riding on the show stopper to rescue our bakers. Their final challenge was to create a stunning display of milk-based Indian sweets known as mishti. Their display needed to contain three different types of mishti, with twelve portions of each type. 

Paul’s top tip: This show stopper is going to be fascinating. The Indian sweets are all about vibrancy, it’s about colour. They are used at birthdays, weddings predominantly, and we want that vibrancy; it’s that sense of celebration.

A lot of the bakers went all out in an attempt to impress. Priya was determined to save herself after the disastrous technical challenge, as was Michael. Henry proved to be too ambitious, as his ice cream-based treat didn’t set in time. It was so close between who would be next to leave the Bake Off tent, with Paul and Prue hinting that two bakers could be up for the chop. 

Steph pipped David to the post to be crowned star baker, and in the end it was time for Phil to leave the tent, which came as a shock to us as well as him. Paul and Prue decided that his show stopper was pretty basic in comparison to everyone else’s, which meant that Michael and Priya were safe to bake another day!

Next week…

Next week, the bakers face a celebration of the roaring twenties. What interesting bakes will we see? Let us know what you thought of dairy week over on our Facebook page!

Blueberry Yoghurt Cake

Moist, light and studded with an abundance of fresh blueberries, this cake is perfect for any bake sale or simply as a midweek treat that all the family will love.

Ingredients

  • 175g Greek yoghurt
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 150g fresh blueberries

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°c / 160°c Fan / Gas Mark 4, then grease and flour a loaf tin.
  2. Grab a stand mixer and mix together the yoghurt, eggs, vanilla extract and olive oil. Once combined, gradually add in the flour along with a pinch of salt, and mix until combined.
  3. Gently fold in the blueberries and transfer to your loaf tin.
  4. Bake for around 60 minutes, until golden on the top. Check if the cake is cooked by inserting a clean skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean, then you’re good to go!

Lead image: ALLEKO via Getty images.

Apple & Blackberry Crumble

Apples and blackberries are both in season at the moment, and they make the perfect pairing in this quintessential British dessert.

Ingredients

For the crumble topping:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the filling:

  • 300g apples, cored, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30g demerara sugar
  • 115g blackberries
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 190°c / 170°c Fan / Gas Mark 5. Combine the flour and caster sugar in a large bowl, then rub in the butter using your fingertips until you have a light, sandy texture.
  2. Sprinkle the mixture over a baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes until lightly coloured.
  3. Whilst your crumble topping is cooking, melt the demarara sugar and the butter together in a saucepan and cook for around 3 minutes until you have a light caramel.
  4. Tip in the apples and cook for 3 minutes, then add the blackberries and cinnamon, and cook for a further 3 minutes. Cover, remove from the heat, and leave to stand.
  5. Spoon the filling into an oven-proof dish, top with the crumble and bake for 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Lead image: Wiktory via Getty images.

Cinnamon Roll Tear & Share

This classic American pastry is surprisingly easy to make, and make the perfect addition to any brunch.

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 350g self-raising flour
  • tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200ml milk
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, yolks only

For the filling:

  • 60g brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 100g icing sugar

Method

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 5. In a stand mixer bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolks, butter and mix until well combined, then pour this into the flour mix (whilst beating) until a dough has formed.
  3. Mix together all filling ingredients, aside from the icing sugar, in a small bowl. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about the size of a piece of paper.
  4. Spread the filling out evenly on top of the dough, then roll up tightly and cut into 8 equal rolls and arrange in an oven dish so that they are tightly packed in together. Bake for 35 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Mix the icing sugar with water until it reaches your desired consistency, and drizzle over the top.

Lead image: viennetta via Getty images.

Chocolate & Avocado Mousse

The unconventional addition of avocado not only creates a super creamy texture, but also makes this mousse dairy free! Extra sweetness is brought in from maple syrup and vanilla to make this mousse intensely chocolately.

Ingredients

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp almond milk
  • 2.5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 ripe avocados, flesh only

Method

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup, vanilla extract and almond milk, along with 1/4 tsp of sea salt and cocoa.
  2. Take a blender or food processor and whizz together the chocolate mix with the avocados until you have a silky, smooth mixture. Divide the mixture between six ramekins or glasses and chill for at least three hours, up to twelve.

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty images.

Bake Off 2019: Episode 2 Round Up

The baker’s dozen is over and we are left with 12 talented bakers, who this week, faced crunch time (pun fully intended) as they took on the perils of biscuit week.  

Signature Challenge: Decorated Chocolate Biscuit Bars 

The show kicked off with this week’s signature challenge; decorated chocolate biscuit bars, and we really got to see the contestants’ imaginations come in to play. Helena’s ‘Witches Fingers’ were a halloween-themed highlight, albeit not to the judges’ taste, but it was Michelle’s bakewell-themed biscuits that won over Paul and Prue, with Rosie and Alice following closely behind with their virgin mojito biscuit bars and honeycomb mallow peanut bars.  

And what can we say about poor Jamie who, having narrowly survived last week, doesn’t seem to be any stronger in the initial biscuit week challenge. 

Technical Challenge: Fig Rolls 

So, onto the technical challenge of fig rolls. A tricky one, and certainly not a biscuit you’d ever really think to make yourself at home, the bakers are asked to produce 12 of the biscuits, identical in shape and size. Noel forgets to mention this fact at the delivery of the challenge, and so Sandi swoops in to elaborate, reminding us that this initially unlikely duo are actually a match made in TV heaven.  

In true bake-off fashion, the instructions are minimal, and the usual flustering occurs. Helena manages to make 11 fig rolls instead of 12 but, true to her gothic personality, draws the missing one on in chalk with “RIP” written as if it was a biscuity crime scene. Jamie, for some reason, decides to egg-wash his biscuits. The pair are placed 12th and 11th respectively, with Alice coming out on top and securing her place as ‘one to watch’ this week. 

Show Stopper Challenge: 3D Biscuit Constructions 

Image source: The Great British Bake Off

3D biscuit constructions are the order of the day when it comes to the show-stopper challenge. The old Bake-Off adage of ‘style over substance’ is warned from the off, as the bakers are reminded that their showstoppers, no matter how impressive, should not compromise any loss of flavour or texture.  

Rosie sets herself the mammoth task of baking 212 biscuits for her chicken, while Henry sets to work building an organ – opening us up for some good old-fashioned Bake Off innuendos. Jamie proposes to make a guitar and you can hear a collective sigh/gasp from the entire nation as it falls apart when removed from the oven. Helena manages to save herself with an impressive spider hatching from an egg, complete with a spun-sugar web. 

Unsurprisingly, yet well deserved, Star Baker goes to Alice this week, who has stepped up to the plate and really shown us what she can do. Even more unsurprising, perhaps, is the inevitable demise of Jamie who is sent home. We’ll miss his cheeky, youthful personality, and we’re certain he’ll be off to fine tune those baking skills even further. 

Next week… 

It’s the week all the bakers dread, and all the viewers love – bread week! Bread guru, Paul Hollywood, will undoubtedly be on the prowl for the perfect loaf and judging from the trailers, there are some amazing creations for him to sample. Yes, we are jealous. Let us know your thoughts on last night’s episode over on our Facebook page! 

Fig Rolls

If you’re feeling inspired by last night’s episode of The Great British Bake Off, and fancy giving the technical challenge of fig rolls a go yourself, this recipe will guide you through step by step.

Ingredients

  • 115g plain flour
  • 115g wholemeal flour
  • 150g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 65g light muscavado sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, yolks only
  • 250g dried figs, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Method

  1. Combine both of the flours in a large bowl, then rub in the butter using your fingertips until you have a mixture that resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Add in the sugar, vanilla extract and egg yolks, then mix to form a firm dough, adding water in 1 tbsp at a time if necessary. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Take a small saucepan add tip in the figs, along with 6 tbsp of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and gently simmer for 5 minutes, until the figs have plumped up and the water has been absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and lightly mash with a fork. Add in the lemon juice, stir well and leave to cool.
  4. Preheat your oven to 190°C / 170°C Fan / Gas Mark 5, and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until you have rectangle about 50cm x 15cm. Cut the dough in half lengthways to make to strips.
  5. Spoon half of the fig puree along the centre of each strip, then bring the opposite long side up and over the filling to form a ‘log’ shape. Press the edges together to seal.
  6. Flatten each of the logs slightly then, using a sharp knife, cut each log into 10 biscuits and transfer to a greased baking sheet. Prick each biscuit with a fork, and bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly dark in colour. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Lead image: alpaksoy via Getty images.

Bake Off 2019: Episode 1 Round Up

It’s that time of year! ‘The Great British Bake Off’ is back on our screens once again, tempting our tastebuds with all of the bakers’ delicacies. This year there are 13 bakers in the Bake Off tent all vying for the esteemed title of star baker. 

The first week’s challenge was cake; a classic baking feat, are you much of a baker if you can’t bake a decent cake? Let’s find out!

This year’s contestants.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Signature challenge: Fruit cake

The bakers got stuck in straight away with the first challenge – to create their signature fruit cake for the judges. This had to have a significant amount of fruit, and needed to be beautifully decorated. 

Paul’s top tip: The fruit cake for me is one of those basics of baking. Pick a great sponge base, fill it with fruit. But it’s about the consistency of the batter; too thin, all the fruit will drop down to the bottom, too thick, they all stay at the top. Get the balance right and it will bake beautifully.

A lot of the bakers went for classic family recipes. All of the bakes had fantastic favours which made our mouths water! Though we did want to take the knives away from Michael after he repeatedly injured himself when trying to chop up the fruit. Dan decided to change his recipe at the last minute to create a much bigger cake than he had practiced with – a very risky strategy, which unfortunately didn’t pay off.

Prue’s top tip: They’ve only got two and a half hours so they have to get those cakes into the oven, out of the oven, and get it cool because we want it decorated as well, and there’s a real danger that they’ll be putting icing onto a hot cake and it will just melt.

For their fruit cakes, there was a lot of inspiration from classic holiday recipes. Christmas, Easter, and even Halloween made a feature with Helena’s cake of choice. Poor Henry suffered a mishap when his royal icing house decoration crashed to the tabletop, but the flavours of his fruit cake rescued him.

At the end of the first challenge, Dan was in trouble after his fruit cake turned out to be raw. Most of the bakers did really well and impressed with their flavours. It was a fairly even playing field, which was soon to be put to the real test by the first technical challenge…

Technical challenge: Angel cake slices

A little slice of heaven.
Image source:
The Great British Bake Off

For their first technical challenge, the bakers were asked to make six identical angel cake slices, each made of three layers of genoise sponge, and each cake sandwiched between layers of Italian meringue buttercream. The angel cake slices needed to be topped with icing, which needed to be feathered.

Prue’s top tip: It sounds simple enough, but the point is it’s a genoise sponge and it’s really easy for that mixture to become flat. If they overmix, it’s not just volume they lose, the texture becomes rubbery. It has to be light!

The bakers were all given the same ingredients along with Prue’s 15 stage recipe. Some of them got into difficulties straight away; Jamie had lost all the air from his sponges, which is never a good start. Dan was hoping for this technical to save him after the disastrous first challenge.

Jamie came last, but we did love Jamie’s polite “Thank you,” to Prue’s honest “It’s just awful.” Henry came out on top in the technical challenge, which is a wonderful achievement to have under his belt so early on in the series.

Show stopper challenge: Birthday cake you dreamt of as a child

Michelle’s fantastic Ty Tylweth Teg.
Image source:
The Great British Bake Off

The last challenge of the weekend was to create the ultimate birthday cake that they dreamt of as a child. The bakers were given free reign over flavours and decorations, with the only requirement that it be a spectacular show stopper.

Paul’s top tip: Time will be their enemy. It’s about colour, it’s about detail, it’s about wow. They’ve got to show us what they can do.

There were fairy themes, pirate themes, an even a schnauzer made an appearance. Though Jamie wasn’t off to great start when he forgot to add his eggs…

Prue’s top tip: I’m rather hoping for some originality. Children dream a lot; I want them to try to remember what they dreamt about. But as always, what matters far more than anything is the quality of the cake. The flavours should be real and punchy it has to be delicious.

Bakers had to make plenty of cake to make those show stopper sponges, as well as think about how to support their ambitious bakes. Once their bakes were in the oven it was time to focus on all those decorations!

All of the bakers created some pretty impressive bakes which made our mouths water. Michelle’s Ty Tylwyth Teg (that’s ‘fairy house’ in Welsh) shone out from the crowd – a carrot cake with orange cream cheese frosting which prompted Prue to ask for the recipe, and earned her the star baker apron for the first week. Da iawn, Michelle!

At the end of the weekend, it was down to Dan or Jamie as to who was going to be first to leave the Bake Off tent. It’s always sad to say goodbye to one of the bakers, especially in the first week when we’d still like to get to know them all better, but unfortunately the first Bake Off casualty was Dan.

Next week…

It’s biscuit week next week! There looks to be another variety of challenges for our bakers to face, and we can’t wait to see who’ll come out on top. Do you have a favourite baker yet? Do you think the right person went? We want to hear what you think over on our Facebook page!

Bake Off 2019: Episode 1 Round Up

It’s that time of year! ‘The Great British Bake Off’ is back on our screens once again, tempting our tastebuds with all of the bakers’ delicacies. This year there are 13 bakers in the Bake Off tent all vying for the esteemed title of star baker. 

The first week’s challenge was cake; a classic baking feat, are you much of a baker if you can’t bake a decent cake? Let’s find out!

This year’s contestants.
Image source: The Great British Bake Off

Signature challenge: Fruit cake

The bakers got stuck in straight away with the first challenge – to create their signature fruit cake for the judges. This had to have a significant amount of fruit, and needed to be beautifully decorated. 

Paul’s top tip: The fruit cake for me is one of those basics of baking. Pick a great sponge base, fill it with fruit. But it’s about the consistency of the batter; too thin, all the fruit will drop down to the bottom, too thick, they all stay at the top. Get the balance right and it will bake beautifully.

A lot of the bakers went for classic family recipes. All of the bakes had fantastic favours which made our mouths water! Though we did want to take the knives away from Michael after he repeatedly injured himself when trying to chop up the fruit. Dan decided to change his recipe at the last minute to create a much bigger cake than he had practiced with – a very risky strategy, which unfortunately didn’t pay off.

Prue’s top tip: They’ve only got two and a half hours so they have to get those cakes into the oven, out of the oven, and get it cool because we want it decorated as well, and there’s a real danger that they’ll be putting icing onto a hot cake and it will just melt.

For their fruit cakes, there was a lot of inspiration from classic holiday recipes. Christmas, Easter, and even Halloween made a feature with Helena’s cake of choice. Poor Henry suffered a mishap when his royal icing house decoration crashed to the tabletop, but the flavours of his fruit cake rescued him.

At the end of the first challenge, Dan was in trouble after his fruit cake turned out to be raw. Most of the bakers did really well and impressed with their flavours. It was a fairly even playing field, which was soon to be put to the real test by the first technical challenge…

Technical challenge: Angel cake slices

A little slice of heaven.
Image source:
The Great British Bake Off

For their first technical challenge, the bakers were asked to make six identical angel cake slices, each made of three layers of genoise sponge, and each cake sandwiched between layers of Italian meringue buttercream. The angel cake slices needed to be topped with icing, which needed to be feathered.

Prue’s top tip: It sounds simple enough, but the point is it’s a genoise sponge and it’s really easy for that mixture to become flat. If they overmix, it’s not just volume they lose, the texture becomes rubbery. It has to be light!

The bakers were all given the same ingredients along with Prue’s 15 stage recipe. Some of them got into difficulties straight away; Jamie had lost all the air from his sponges, which is never a good start. Dan was hoping for this technical to save him after the disastrous first challenge.

Jamie came last, but we did love Jamie’s polite “Thank you,” to Prue’s honest “It’s just awful.” Henry came out on top in the technical challenge, which is a wonderful achievement to have under his belt so early on in the series.

Show stopper challenge: Birthday cake you dreamt of as a child

Michelle’s fantastic Ty Tylweth Teg.
Image source:
The Great British Bake Off

The last challenge of the weekend was to create the ultimate birthday cake that they dreamt of as a child. The bakers were given free reign over flavours and decorations, with the only requirement that it be a spectacular show stopper.

Paul’s top tip: Time will be their enemy. It’s about colour, it’s about detail, it’s about wow. They’ve got to show us what they can do.

There were fairy themes, pirate themes, an even a schnauzer made an appearance. Though Jamie wasn’t off to great start when he forgot to add his eggs…

Prue’s top tip: I’m rather hoping for some originality. Children dream a lot; I want them to try to remember what they dreamt about. But as always, what matters far more than anything is the quality of the cake. The flavours should be real and punchy it has to be delicious.

Bakers had to make plenty of cake to make those show stopper sponges, as well as think about how to support their ambitious bakes. Once their bakes were in the oven it was time to focus on all those decorations!

All of the bakers created some pretty impressive bakes which made our mouths water. Michelle’s Ty Tylwyth Teg (that’s ‘fairy house’ in Welsh) shone out from the crowd – a carrot cake with orange cream cheese frosting which prompted Prue to ask for the recipe, and earned her the star baker apron for the first week. Da iawn, Michelle!

At the end of the weekend, it was down to Dan or Jamie as to who was going to be first to leave the Bake Off tent. It’s always sad to say goodbye to one of the bakers, especially in the first week when we’d still like to get to know them all better, but unfortunately the first Bake Off casualty was Dan.

Next week…

It’s biscuit week next week! There looks to be another variety of challenges for our bakers to face, and we can’t wait to see who’ll come out on top. Do you have a favourite baker yet? Do you think the right person went? We want to hear what you think over on our Facebook page!

Leah’s Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake

A classic flavour combination, this recipe is definitely for the more adventurous of you who want to try something a little different. It’s the perfect cake for satisfying your sweet tooth!

Ingredients

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 200g butter
  • 200g white chocolate, chopped
  • 200g raspberries; fresh or frozen
  • 4 large eggs, beaten

For the buttercream

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 100g butter

For the topping:

  • 200g white chocolate, chopped
  • 200g raspberries, to decorate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius/ gas mark 4. Grease two cake tins, and set to one side.
  2. Put the flour and sugar together in a mixing bowl, then combine together. Add the butter and beat into the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, and mix until well combined. Next, add the chopped chocolate and stir in with a spoon. The raspberries will add a lovely splash of colour to the mixture – you can use fresh fruit, but its frozen equivalent will work just as well. Frozen raspberries will add extra water content to the cake, so you may need to bake it for slightly longer – make sure to cover the tins with tin foil to stop your sponges from burning if you use this alternative method.
  3. Divide the mixture equally between the two prepared tins, then chuck these in the oven for around 20-25 mins, or until golden and springy to the touch. If you use the clean knife method to test if your sponge is cooked, make sure to remember the white chocolate may try and trick you into thinking your cake needs longer than it does.
  4. While you’re waiting for your delicious treat to cook, you can prepare the buttercream. Add the icing sugar and butter together and beat until smooth. 
  5. Once satisfied your sponges have had long enough to be cooked to perfection, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool in the tin for a few minutes. Don’t be tempted to take them out of the tin too soon, as the sponges may fall apart. Turn out onto a wire cooling rack so they can cool down quicker before you add the buttercream between the two layers, as well as on top of the cake.
  6. Now for the added decadence! Add the last of your chopped chocolate to a glass bowl. On the hob, boil some water in the bottom of a saucepan and place the bowl with your chocolate on top of it. Don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl or otherwise it could cause the chocolate to turn nasty and unusable. Stir with a wooden spoon, and then once all the chocolate has melted, pour it over the top of your cake. Make sure the buttercream is well covered. Before the chocolate has time to set, take those fresh raspberries and add them to the top of your cake for a beautiful splash of colour. Serve with some double cream for added decadence.

Lead image: Studio Doros via Getty images.

Leah’s Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake

A classic flavour combination, this recipe is definitely for the more adventurous of you who want to try something a little different. It’s the perfect cake for satisfying your sweet tooth!

Ingredients

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 200g butter
  • 200g white chocolate, chopped
  • 200g raspberries; fresh or frozen
  • 4 large eggs, beaten

For the buttercream

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 100g butter

For the topping:

  • 200g white chocolate, chopped
  • 200g raspberries, to decorate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius/ gas mark 4. Grease two cake tins, and set to one side.
  2. Put the flour and sugar together in a mixing bowl, then combine together. Add the butter and beat into the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, and mix until well combined. Next, add the chopped chocolate and stir in with a spoon. The raspberries will add a lovely splash of colour to the mixture – you can use fresh fruit, but its frozen equivalent will work just as well. Frozen raspberries will add extra water content to the cake, so you may need to bake it for slightly longer – make sure to cover the tins with tin foil to stop your sponges from burning if you use this alternative method.
  3. Divide the mixture equally between the two prepared tins, then chuck these in the oven for around 20-25 mins, or until golden and springy to the touch. If you use the clean knife method to test if your sponge is cooked, make sure to remember the white chocolate may try and trick you into thinking your cake needs longer than it does.
  4. While you’re waiting for your delicious treat to cook, you can prepare the buttercream. Add the icing sugar and butter together and beat until smooth. 
  5. Once satisfied your sponges have had long enough to be cooked to perfection, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool in the tin for a few minutes. Don’t be tempted to take them out of the tin too soon, as the sponges may fall apart. Turn out onto a wire cooling rack so they can cool down quicker before you add the buttercream between the two layers, as well as on top of the cake.
  6. Now for the added decadence! Add the last of your chopped chocolate to a glass bowl. On the hob, boil some water in the bottom of a saucepan and place the bowl with your chocolate on top of it. Don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl or otherwise it could cause the chocolate to turn nasty and unusable. Stir with a wooden spoon, and then once all the chocolate has melted, pour it over the top of your cake. Make sure the buttercream is well covered. Before the chocolate has time to set, take those fresh raspberries and add them to the top of your cake for a beautiful splash of colour. Serve with some double cream for added decadence.

Lead image: Studio Doros via Getty images.

Peach Galette

A flaky, crisp pie crust adorned with juicy peaches. This is so simple to make, and one that the kids will enjoy getting involved with too!

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour + 2 tbsp extra
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 225g butter, cold, sliced
  • 120ml cold water
  • 750g fresh peaches, peeled, stoned and sliced
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 30g almond paste

Method

  1. Blend together 300g of the flour, 2 tbsp sugar and the salt in a food processor, then add in the butter and pulse in short bursts until you have a crumbly mixture. Add in the water and quickly process, adding more water if necessary, until you have a soft dough. Form into a ball, wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Toss the peaches with the vanilla and a sugar in a bowl, then gently stir in the extra 2 tbsp of flour.
  3. Preheat your oven to 220°C / 200°C Fan / Gas Mark 7, and line a baking tray with parchment. Flour a surface and roll out 1/2 of the pastry to a thickness of around 3mm. Spread the almond paste in a small circle in the centre, then mound up half of the peaches on top. Fold the outer edges of the pastry round over the filling by about 7cm, then transfer to your baking tray. Repeat with the remaining ingredients so that you have two galletes.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes until golden, and allow to cool completely before serving.

Lead image: undefined undefined via Getty images.

Peach Galette

A flaky, crisp pie crust adorned with juicy peaches. This is so simple to make, and one that the kids will enjoy getting involved with too!

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour + 2 tbsp extra
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 225g butter, cold, sliced
  • 120ml cold water
  • 750g fresh peaches, peeled, stoned and sliced
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 30g almond paste

Method

  1. Blend together 300g of the flour, 2 tbsp sugar and the salt in a food processor, then add in the butter and pulse in short bursts until you have a crumbly mixture. Add in the water and quickly process, adding more water if necessary, until you have a soft dough. Form into a ball, wrap with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Toss the peaches with the vanilla and a sugar in a bowl, then gently stir in the extra 2 tbsp of flour.
  3. Preheat your oven to 220°C / 200°C Fan / Gas Mark 7, and line a baking tray with parchment. Flour a surface and roll out 1/2 of the pastry to a thickness of around 3mm. Spread the almond paste in a small circle in the centre, then mound up half of the peaches on top. Fold the outer edges of the pastry round over the filling by about 7cm, then transfer to your baking tray. Repeat with the remaining ingredients so that you have two galletes.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes until golden, and allow to cool completely before serving.

Lead image: undefined undefined via Getty images.

Pistachio Ice Cream

The perfect accompaniment to any dessert, this classic, gloriously green ice cream is a favourite among adults and children alike. Using an ice cream machine makes this an absolute doddle, and means you get your ice cream sooner too!

Ingredients

  • 100g pistachios, shelled
  • 150ml milk
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 300ml ready-made custard
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Method

  1. Tip 3/4 of the pistachios into a food processor or spice grinder and blitz into fine dust. Add these into a pan along with the milk and sugar, and gently bring to the boil whilst stirring. Remove from the heat, leave to cool completely, then chill in the fridge.
  2. Finely chop the reserved pistachios and whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold in the custard and almond extract until everything is evenly mixed. Pour into an ice cream machine.

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty images.

Pistachio Ice Cream

The perfect accompaniment to any dessert, this classic, gloriously green ice cream is a favourite among adults and children alike. Using an ice cream machine makes this an absolute doddle, and means you get your ice cream sooner too!

Ingredients

  • 100g pistachios, shelled
  • 150ml milk
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 300ml ready-made custard
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Method

  1. Tip 3/4 of the pistachios into a food processor or spice grinder and blitz into fine dust. Add these into a pan along with the milk and sugar, and gently bring to the boil whilst stirring. Remove from the heat, leave to cool completely, then chill in the fridge.
  2. Finely chop the reserved pistachios and whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold in the custard and almond extract until everything is evenly mixed. Pour into an ice cream machine.

Lead image: bhofack2 via Getty images.

Chocolate & Raspberry Brownies

Chocolate and raspberries are one of those culinary matches made in food heaven, so it only made sense to combine them in a delicious, gooey, moreish brownie.

Ingredients

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 250g salted butter
  • 400g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 140g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 200g raspberries

Method

  1. Start by heating your oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 4 and line a 20 x 30cm baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Tip the chocolate, butter and sugar into a pan and gently melt, stirring occasionally. Once melted and combined, remove from the heat.
  3. One at time, stir the eggs into the chocolate mixture, then sieve in the flour and cocoa and stir everything together.
  4. Mix in half the raspberries, then transfer the mixture to the lined tray. Scatter over the remaining raspberries and bake on the middle shelf for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing into squares.

Image source: Anna_Shepulova via Getty images.

Chocolate & Raspberry Brownies

Chocolate and raspberries are one of those culinary matches made in food heaven, so it only made sense to combine them in a delicious, gooey, moreish brownie.

Ingredients

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 250g salted butter
  • 400g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 140g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 200g raspberries

Method

  1. Start by heating your oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 4 and line a 20 x 30cm baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Tip the chocolate, butter and sugar into a pan and gently melt, stirring occasionally. Once melted and combined, remove from the heat.
  3. One at time, stir the eggs into the chocolate mixture, then sieve in the flour and cocoa and stir everything together.
  4. Mix in half the raspberries, then transfer the mixture to the lined tray. Scatter over the remaining raspberries and bake on the middle shelf for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing into squares.

Image source: Anna_Shepulova via Getty images.

Beef & Chorizo Empanadas

A delicious South American pastry, these empanadas can either be baked or fried and are perfect for a late summer picnic or garden party.

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 375g plain flour
  • 22g butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs

For the filling

  • 100g chorizo sausage
  • 300g beef mince
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Handful of coriander, chopped
  • Handful of parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree

Method

  1. Using your fingertips, rub the butter and the flour together with a pinch of salt until you have a crumbly mixture. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then add to the pastry mix along with 100ml of cold water. Bring everything together to form a dough, then turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover with cling film then place the in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, make the filling. Remove the chorizo from its casing and add to a mixing bowl with the mince, onion, coriander, parsley, paprika, cumin and chilli flakes. Mix well, then tip out into a frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for a further 7-10 minutes until everything is cooked through. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Heat your oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 4. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into four portions, then roll out each one into a thin sheet. Using a 10cm biscuit cutter, cut out discs then place 1 tsp of the chorizo filling in the centre of each disc. Wet the edges of the pastry, and pinch both sides up and fold in half to seal. Crimp the edges using a fork.
  4. Lay out on a baking tray then brush the tops with a beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Lead image: LarisaBlinova via Getty images.

Beef & Chorizo Empanadas

A delicious South American pastry, these empanadas can either be baked or fried and are perfect for a late summer picnic or garden party.

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 375g plain flour
  • 22g butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs

For the filling

  • 100g chorizo sausage
  • 300g beef mince
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Handful of coriander, chopped
  • Handful of parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree

Method

  1. Using your fingertips, rub the butter and the flour together with a pinch of salt until you have a crumbly mixture. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then add to the pastry mix along with 100ml of cold water. Bring everything together to form a dough, then turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover with cling film then place the in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, make the filling. Remove the chorizo from its casing and add to a mixing bowl with the mince, onion, coriander, parsley, paprika, cumin and chilli flakes. Mix well, then tip out into a frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for a further 7-10 minutes until everything is cooked through. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Heat your oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / Gas Mark 4. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into four portions, then roll out each one into a thin sheet. Using a 10cm biscuit cutter, cut out discs then place 1 tsp of the chorizo filling in the centre of each disc. Wet the edges of the pastry, and pinch both sides up and fold in half to seal. Crimp the edges using a fork.
  4. Lay out on a baking tray then brush the tops with a beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Lead image: LarisaBlinova via Getty images.

Lemon Tart

This classic, French style dessert with a crumbly pastry case and refreshingly tangy lemon filling the perfect show stopping dinner party dessert, or can simply be enjoyed as an afternoon treat!

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 500g plain flour
  • 140g icing sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs, yolks only

For the filling

  • 5 eggs
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced

Method

  1. Begin by making the pasty. Mix the flour and icing sugar in a bowl, then rub the butter in with your fingers until you have a crumbly mixture. Mix in the egg yolks, adding a couple of tablespoons of water if the mixture seems a little dry, until everything comes together.
  2. Roll into a ball and divide into two halves. Pop one half in the freezer, and you’ve got it ready to go for another tart! Flatten the other half down with your hands, wrap in cling film, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. While the pastry is chilling, make the filling by beating all the ingredients (aside from the lemon zest) together. Strain the mixture through sieve, then gently stir in the zest.
  4. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface, then lift into a 23cm tart tin. Press down gently on the bottom and the sides, then trim off any excess pastry. Prick the base all over with a fork, then put in the fridge for half an hour.
  5. Heat your oven to 160°C / 140°C Fan / Gas Mark 3. Line the tart with foil and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven, throw away the foil, and bake for a further 20 minutes.
  6. When the pastry is ready, remove it from the oven and pour in the lemon filling. Bake for 30-35 minutes until just set, then leave to cool in the tin. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Lead image: belchonock via Getty images.

Lemon Tart

This classic, French style dessert with a crumbly pastry case and refreshingly tangy lemon filling the perfect show stopping dinner party dessert, or can simply be enjoyed as an afternoon treat!

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 500g plain flour
  • 140g icing sugar
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs, yolks only

For the filling

  • 5 eggs
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced

Method

  1. Begin by making the pasty. Mix the flour and icing sugar in a bowl, then rub the butter in with your fingers until you have a crumbly mixture. Mix in the egg yolks, adding a couple of tablespoons of water if the mixture seems a little dry, until everything comes together.
  2. Roll into a ball and divide into two halves. Pop one half in the freezer, and you’ve got it ready to go for another tart! Flatten the other half down with your hands, wrap in cling film, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. While the pastry is chilling, make the filling by beating all the ingredients (aside from the lemon zest) together. Strain the mixture through sieve, then gently stir in the zest.
  4. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface, then lift into a 23cm tart tin. Press down gently on the bottom and the sides, then trim off any excess pastry. Prick the base all over with a fork, then put in the fridge for half an hour.
  5. Heat your oven to 160°C / 140°C Fan / Gas Mark 3. Line the tart with foil and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven, throw away the foil, and bake for a further 20 minutes.
  6. When the pastry is ready, remove it from the oven and pour in the lemon filling. Bake for 30-35 minutes until just set, then leave to cool in the tin. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Lead image: belchonock via Getty images.

Dark Chocolate & Espresso Mousse

Sumptuously dark and decadent, this mousse is the perfect sophisticated dessert for any dinner party, or simply just for well-earned end of the week treat.

Ingredients

  • 85g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, whites only
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 50g Greek yoghurt
  • Handful of nuts, to decorate

Method

  1. Finely chop the chocolate and place it in a bowl that will fit over a pan of gently simmering water. Add the cocoa, coffee and vanilla along with 2 tbsp of water, then place the bowl gently over the pan of simmering water, stirring frequently until melted, then remove from the heat.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of boiling water to the melted chocolate to help it thin down, and set to one side.
  3. Whisk the egg whites to fairly soft peaks, then whisk in the sugar until you have a thick, glossy mixture.
  4. Beat the yoghurt into the melted chocolate, then fold about one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mix using a metal spoon. Once incorporated, gently mix in the remaining egg whites, taking care not to over mix.
  5. Spoon into 4 small ramekins or tumblers and chill in the fridge for at least two hours, but preferably over night.
  6. When the time comes to serve, chop the nuts and scatter over the top.

Lead image: Mizina via Getty images.