Lemon & Elderflower Cake

Two layers of zingy lemon sponge, sandwiched together with lemon curd and elderflower buttercream. Finished with a scatter of edible flowers, and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Tastes just as good as it looks!

61760AD9-1A78-42C7-AEA6-D7766C484E901D393827-F0F2-4E0D-942F-9FFA4F1CD0957BA79E8C-5656-4EB8-985B-92EA25131EA4

The thin coating of buttercream on the sides is called a ‘semi-naked cake’. There’s a minimal amount of buttercream swiped around the sides, to show off the cakes’ natural texture and filling. It looks really effective and is great if you aren’t a perfectionist as it’s not meant to be neat. There’s no need to crumb-coat, chill, frost, repeat, which also helps save time.

79ACB5A2-28C6-4EB7-ACF6-04A65ACCD0B51C4DEF83-FD6C-4718-91AB-536D411B1AF0

Ingredients

For the cake:

200g unsalted butter or Stork tub
200g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
Zest of 2 lemons

For the filling:

2 tbsp homemade or shop-bought lemon curd (here’s my recipe for super easy lemon curd)
250g unsalted butter, soft at room temp
500g icing sugar
2 tbsp elderflower cordial

To decorate:

Edible flower blossoms (I bought mine from Sainsbury’s)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 8inch round baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Beat the sugar and butter together until light and creamy. Add one egg at a time, along with a little flour, and mix together.
  3. Add the remaining flour and lemon zest and fold together until fully mixed.
  4. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins, and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the cakes have turned a golden colour and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave aside to cool.
  5. Once the cake is cooled, make your elderflower buttercream by first beating the butter with an electric whisk until soft. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together until smooth. Sift in the remaining icing sugar, add the elderflower cordial and beat again until you have a smooth buttercream.

To decorate

  1. Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand, cake turntable or serving plate.
  2. Using an icing spatular, spread a layer of buttercream evenly on top. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of lemon curd.
  3. Top with the 2nd cake layer and spread the remaining buttercream on top and all around the sides. Using a flat knife or an icing scraper, smooth out the buttercream on the sides of the cake. This should be rough and the sides of the cake should show through.
  4. Finish by decorating with flower blossoms. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Lemon Meringue Tartlets

Dare I say it, it feels like Summer is just round the corner! The leaves are back on the trees, outdoor seating has become a thing again and the winter coat is back in the wardrobe. These lemon meringue tartlets are the perfect dessert to enjoy on a sunshine filled day.

The tartlets have a slightly spicy ginger nut case, and are filled with a zesty lemon curd, and finished with a swirl of melt in your mouth meringue.

AC10EAE3-F51D-4935-B7DA-5F8E9F023EFB.jpegA84D6632-3F50-4862-BBE8-782FD27F3DFE

The recipe only requires a few ingredients, most of which you probably have already. The case is simply crushed biscuits and a little melted butter (no pastry making skills required!). The cases are filled with a homemade lemon curd – trust me it’s super easy and tastes 100x better than shop bought. And the meringue will take you no more than 10 minutes to whip up. If like me, homemade meringue is a little scary, check out this video tutorial from BBC Good Food.

Ingredients (makes 4 tartlets)

For the base:
150g ginger nut biscuits
75g unsalted butter

For the lemon curd:
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
Juice of 6 lemons
50ml water
2 tbsp cornflour
175g caster sugar
3 large egg yolks
25g unsalted butter

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites
175g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour

Method

Prepare 4 loose based individual tart tins by lightly greasing the sides and base with a little butter.

In a microwave-safe bowl melt the butter in 20 second increments until liquid. Crush the ginger nut biscuits to fine crumbs, using a rolling pin or food processor. Mix with the melted butter. Divide the mixture between the tins, pressing it into the base and sides. Place in the fridge to set for at least 30 minutes.

Now move on to the lemon curd. In a small saucepan combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, water, sugar, cornflour and egg yolks (remember to reserve the egg whites for your meringue). Gently heat over a low setting, stirring continuously, until the curd starts to thicken. Be patient as this could take 10-15 minutes. You can test the mixture by spooning a little on a kitchen towel or plate, it should hold its shape.

Finally stir in the butter. Spoon a layer over the biscuit base and leave to cool and set. Keep your leftover curd in a sealed jar in the fridge.

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.

For the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a large, clean bowl until stiff (they should look a similar consistency to whipped cream and be thick, bright white and glossy). Mix in the sugar a spoonful at a time. Fold in the cornflour. Spoon or pipe the meringue on top of the lemon curd.

Bake the tarts in the oven for 15 minutes, until the meringue tops have lightly browned. Leave to cool completely before removing the tarts from the tin.

 

 

 

No Bake Lemon & Ginger Cheesecake

A crumbly, spicy ginger biscuit base topped with creamy lemon cheesecake, swirled with lemon curd and decorated with a sprinkle of lemon zest.

I’ll let you in on a little secret…this is the first big cheesecake I have ever made, and it definitely will not be my last! No bake, no fuss and only 7 ingredients – this recipe can be whipped up in a flash and is the perfect refreshing desert for any occasion.

My top-tips for this recipe:

1. If you have a loose-bottomed / springform baking tin, use it! It will make your life SO much easier when it comes to removing the cheesecake.

2. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature before mixing – this will make sure your cheesecake is lump free and beautifully smooth.

3. Be careful not to over swirl your lemon curd into the cheesecake, less is more as otherwise you may loose the marbled effect.

4. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight for best results, and keep in the fridge until your ready to serve. Cheesecake should always be served chilled.

For the base you will need…

300g ginger snap biscuits

90g unsalted butter

For the cheesecake you will need…

2 x 180g tubs of Philadelphia cream cheese

150g caster sugar

300ml double cream

2 lemons

Jar of lemon curd

Let’s get baking…

Line the bottom of a 23cm/8inch round lose-bottomed tin with grease proof paper.

Crush the biscuits to fine crumbs (I used a blender to speed this part up) and transfer to a bowl.

Melt the butter in the microwave in 10 second blasts until liquid and pour over the crushed biscuits. Mix through until the crumbs are fully coated.

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press firmly down into the base to create an even layer. Chill in the fridge for at least an 1 hour to set firmly.

Meanwhile make the cheesecake layer, by whisking together the Philadelphia, sugar, cream and juice of the two lemons, until you have a smooth thick mixture (this may take 3-4 minutes). Spoon the mixture on top of the biscuit base and spread out into an ever layer.

Using a teaspoon, dot lemon curd on top of the cheesecake and swirl the mixture together with a knife to create a marble effect.

Finish by grating the zest of a lemon on top. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight before removing from the tin and serving.

Classic Lemon and Almond Loaf cake

What makes this loaf a winner for me is the texture – light, moist and springy, combined with the perfect balance of sweetness, sour lemon and nutty almonds.

By adding lemon zest to the sponge mix and pouring lemon juice over the cake whilst warm, lemon lovers will be in all their glory.

Oh and did I mention the glaze? A simple icing glaze reminds me of baking with my Grandma, spreading the retro stuff over fairy cakes and biscuits and decorating them with sprinkles. This time I’ve mixed the icing sugar with fresh lemon juice to add extra tang!

You will need…

200g golden caster sugar
200g unsalted butter (I would recommend using Stork)
3 large / 4 small eggs, at room temperature
50g self-raising flour
150g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon

8 tbsp icing sugar
Pretty edible decorations (gold stars, sprinkles, glitter)

Let’s get baking…

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F. Line a 2lb loaf tin with grease proof paper – I use a single sheet a parchment, exactly the same length as the tin, so that it covers the bottom and the two longest sides.

Cream together the butter and sugar light, fluffy and almost white in colour. Mix in the eggs one at a time, along with a little flour each time to stop the mixture from curdling.

Add in the remaining flour, ground almonds, baking powder, vanilla extract and the zest from the lemon (reserve the juice for later!) and fold together until fully mixed.

Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the top of the cake begins to brown too quickly, cover the tin with a sheet of tinfoil.

Remove the cake from the oven and poke about 8 holes all over the top. Squeeze over the juice from half the lemon and leave the cake to cool in its tin.

Once the cake is cool, mix together the icing sugar and juice from the other half of the lemon until you have a thick but pourable consistency – you may need to add 1-2 teaspoons of water.

Pour the icing over the cake and sprinkle over with your favourite decorations.

Vanilla & Strawberry Sprinkle Cupcakes

Soft and fluffy cupcakes made with fresh seasonal strawberries, topped with creamy vanilla buttercream and decorated with rainbow sprinkles.

image2

 

I’m finally back after taking a much longer than expected blogging break, so please forgive me if I’m a little rusty 🙂

I going to let you in on a little secret though, these cupcakes were a mistake gone right!

After putting them in the oven, I began cleaning up and soon realised that I’d forgot to add the rest of the flour – eeeeek! After panicking and debating whether to take them out of the oven and start again, I decided to cross my fingers and hope for the best.

The result?

Absolute heaven ❤ These cupcakes are SO light, SO fluffy and perfectly balanced in taste. The days of equal parts butter, sugar and flour are no more!

I mixed chopped strawberries and fresh strawberry puree into the mixture to add taste and texture and topped them with my classic vanilla buttercream recipe. Which I’m told from my friend “is just so good… it’s got class!” 🙂 thanks Stef!

So let’s get baking shall we….

image3

Ingredients (makes 12 large cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

150g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
200g unsalted butter, I always use Stork as it makes your cakes so much more fluffy.
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp whole milk
100g fresh strawberries, pureed using a blender or processor
100g fresh strawberries, chopped into small pieces

Vanilla buttercream:

250g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
600g icing sugar, sieved into a bowl
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp whole whmilk

Decoration:
Coloured sprinkles
12 fresh stawberries

 

Method

Let’s start by making the cupcakes…

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 12 hole cupcake/muffin tray with baking cases.
  2. Cream together the unsalted butter and caster sugar with a wooden spoon/electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined.
  3. In a seperate bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Add 1/2 of this as well as the milk to the butter and sugar mix and fold together until combined.
  4. Now pour in the strawberry puree, along with the remaining flour and fold together. Finally add in chopped strawberries and mix until completely covered.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling 3/4 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when gently touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Once the cakes a cool we can make the buttercream…

  1. Beat the butter using a wooden spoon/electric mixer until light, fluffy and pale in colour.
  2. Add 300g of the icing sugar and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
  3. Now add the remaining 300g of icing sugar continue to beat until smooth and creamy.

To decorate…

  1. Frost your cupcakes as desired, (I used a medium sized round piping tip) decorate with the coloured sprinkles and garnish each with a strawberry.

Lemon & Almond Pura Panela Cake

Who’s on a health-kick after Christmas?

Me!

I’d be lying if I said I was all chocolate’d out (that could never happen) but what is true is that the festivities of Christmas have definitely caught up with me. You know that feeling when you put your jeans on and think…’Oh dear :/’.
It was fun whilst it lasted but now it’s back to the same old New Year New Me saga. So to make this change bearable I have developed a healthy refreshing lightened-up lemon cake, the perfect sweet treat alternative to a box of mince pies!

SONY DSC

This cake uses what I call ‘Miracle Sugar’, otherwise known as Pura Panela. Pura Panela is a 100% natural alternative to refined-sugar. It’s made in Columbia from natural dehydrated juice from the sugar cane and has no added chemicals or additives, therefore preserving all of the vitamins and minerals present. Not only does it taste deliciously sweet it also has many health benefits, such as:

  • Protecting teeth & preventing against teeth decay (who would of thought!).
  • Natural Antioxidant
  • Helping to prevent diabetes
  • Strengthening bones

If you want to know more about Pura Panela or where to buy it, click here.

As well as miracle sugar, this recipe  uses wholemeal spelt flour and ground almonds for a soft texture and nutty flavour, natural yoghurt and vegetable oil for moisture and of course lemon zest and juice for an uplifting zing. So let’s get baking 🙂

SONY DSC

Ingredients (makes a 1lb loaf cake)

For the cake:
122g natural yogurt
Juice of 4 medium lemons
Zest of two lemons
7 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

172g spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
50g almond flour
200g Pura Panela sugar (buy yours here)

For the glaze:
4 tsp Panela sugar
1 tsp boiling hot water
1 tsp lemon juice

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C/350 F. Grease an 1lb loaf tin with a little oil or use a silicone tin.

Start by making the cake. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients and whisk together until fully incorportated.

In a separate bowl, stir together all of the remaining cake ingredients.

Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and use a spatular to fold the mixture together until everything is evenly mixed.

Pour into the loaf tin and smooth into an even layer, this cake will not rise very much so don’t panic if the mixture has nearly reached the top of the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes* or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. *Cover with foil after 30 minutes to stop the top of the cake from burning, but be careful not to open the oven door too much as heat will be lost and can cause the cake to sink in the middle.

Once baked, mix together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Use a toothpick to poke holes all over the top of the cake and spoon over the glaze. This will sink into the cake and make it super sticky and moist.

Leave on the side to cool completely before turning out onto a wire rack. Cut into 12 and serve, I have mine with a little greek-yoghurt. Keep in an air-tight container for up to 4 days or in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Frosted Walnut, Apple & Honey Cake

Deliciously moist sponge, jewelled with walnuts and apple and finished with a thick layer of creamy frosting and a scatter of chopped walnuts. Mmm this cake is awesome!

September is a great month for apples with 14 varieties ripening between early September and late October. So why not steal this apple opportunity to bake something? For this recipe I’ve used Granny Smith apples, as they are particularly sweet and juicy in September and lend themselves to baked goods. Cinnamon, vanilla and honey are added to complement the apple flavour and the chopped walnuts add a crunch throughout. Every bite tastes like Autumn!

I’ve coated the cake in sweet, tangy Cream Cheese Frosting; the ideal companion to any fruit or vegetable cake. Just be sure to remember that all the ingredients are at room temperature before mixing, there is nothing worse than split and grainy frosting – more about this in the recipe below. To finish I covered the top of the cake with chopped walnuts, however feel free to decorate however you wish.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

 

Ingredients (makes a 10inch cake)

For the cake:

190g unsalted butter, at room temperature
190g self-raising flour
190g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temp
1 tsp baking powder
50g plain yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
1 tbsp runny honey
100g walnuts, roughly chopped

For the frosting:

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g full-fat cream cheese e.g. Philadelphia, at room temperature

It is important to use full-fat cream cheese as the low fat options are too loose in texture and will result in a runny frosting.

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease a 10inch round cake tin with a little butter.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time*, mixing well before adding the next egg.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Add ½ of the dry ingredients into the batter and mix until fully combined. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients.

Now add the yoghurt, vanilla essence and honey and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Finally fold in 80g of the chopped walnuts and the chopped apple.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes and until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to completely cool before removing from the tin and transferring to a cooling rack.

To make your frosting, first beat the butter for a good 5 minutes until smooth and free from any lumps**.

Now drain of any excess liquid from the cream cheese and beat into the butter until just combined, be careful not to over beat. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat again until light, fluffy and pale in colour. If the frosting appears too runny then put the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm it up.

Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake and put in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up***. Take the cake out of the fridge and spread the remaining frosting all over the cake and finish by dotting the remaining 20g walnuts on top.

*Don’t worry if your mixture begins to curdle, it won’t affect the cake and once the dry ingredients are added the mixture will come together again.

**This step is crucial as it will soften and warm the butter sufficiently so it combines smoothly with the remaining ingredients.

***This is called a “crumb-coat” and will stop any crumbs from being pulled up when frosted again.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

If you love raspberries, brownies and cheesecake as much as I do, this is the bake for you! This recipe combines the three to create the ultimate indulgence. Rich, fudgy brownie swirled with creamy tangy white chocolate cheesecake and dotted with fresh juicy raspberries.

I decided to make these as my second bake for HomeStyle magazine. So click here for the recipe and have a read of my tip tops on achieving the gooiest most delicious brownies ever!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

 

 

Lemon Glazed Blueberry Muffins

My sister has just had a beautiful baby boy and prior to my visit to meet my new nephew, she demanded one thing…. baked goods!  So what better than freshly baked blue (for a boy 🙂 )berry muffins.

Bursting with juicy blueberries with a fluffy tender crumb and topped with a sharp sticky lemon glaze… these really are the best ‘bakery style’ blueberry muffins!

SONY DSC

For this recipe I’ve used the favourited ‘two-bowl method’ which will give you a perfectly moist and light muffin. This method involves mixing the wet and dry ingredients separate from one another. This allows each type to be thoroughly mixed without fear of overmixing; which would result in a tough dense texture – let’s face it no one wants that!

SONY DSC

Ingredients (makes 12 large muffins)

For the muffins:
85g butter, melted
300g self-raising flour
115g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
2 medium eggs, at room temp
250ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g blueberries, fresh/frozen

For the glaze:
300g icing sugar
4tsp lemon juice
1tsp water, optional

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a 12 hole baking tin with muffin cases.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and baking powder until well mixed. Now in a jug whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla essence.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet ingredients, mixing the whole time until everything is incorporated. Now pour in the melted butter and mix again. Finally, fold in the blueberries until completely covered in mixture.

Divide the batter equally between the 12 muffin cases, filling each one 2/3 full. Sprinkle a little caster sugar over each muffin and tap the baking tin on a hard surface to remove any air bubbles. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Once the muffins have completely cooled, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and lemon juice together. If the mixture is too thick then add ¼ tsp of water at a time until the required consistency is reached. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins covering the top completely. Leave to set before serving.

Bake Off Jewel Box Cake

Only 6 sleeps until The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens… excited is an understatement!!! To celebrate the occasion, my friend and I attempted a bake from the series three cook book – the Showstopping Jewel Box Cake. Don’t be fooled by it’s appearance, this cake is actually pretty easy to make. It is simply a  white chocolate sponge cake covered in jam, decorated with raspberries and wrapped in a white chocolate bow.

If I’m being completely honest, the bow is fairly challenging. We found the chocolate modelling paste a little crumbly and therefore the bow loops kept falling apart; hence the improvised ribbon stuck on top 🙂 If I was making this cake again I would suggest buying ready to roll white chocolate icing such as this one. Not only does it taste nicer but you’ll also save your self a lot of time and effort.

All in all though, this cake is 100% achievable and I’ve tried to adapt the recipe to make it as easy as possible, so why not challenge yourself this week and attempt this cake for yourself? Besides,  the white chocolate sponge is so delicious that if you only manage to bake that and cover it in jam it’s still worth it!

My attempt:

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

How it’s meant to look:

jewelbox_s1500x0_q80_noupscale

Close enough! 🙂

Ingredients (for the cake)

150g white chocolate, chopped
250g unsalted butter, soft at room temp
250g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature beaten into a jug
250g self-raising flour
pinch of salt

Method (for the cake)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23x23cm square baking tin with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate for the sponge and leave to cool until needed. In a separate bowl beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Now add the vanilla and beat until the mixture is very light in colour and fluffy in texture.

Gradually add the eggs, adding a tablespoon of flour with each portion, beating well after each addition. Sift the rest of the flour and the salt into the bowl and fold together using a large metal spoon. Now pour in the cooled white chocolate and fold together until just combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out into an even layer. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Leave to cool for about 30 minutes before tipping the cake out onto a plate, ready for decorating.

Ingredients (for the bow and decoration)

4 tbsp raspberry jam
500-600g fresh raspberries
1 pack ready to roll white chocolate icing (e.g. Renshaw)

Method (for the cake)

Using your hands, roll the icing into a ball to soften it. As soon as it feels smooth, shape it into a sausage. Place the sausage between two long pieces of baking paper (one sheet underneath and one on top) and using a rolling pin, roll the sausage out into a long, flat sheet. Peel off the top piece of paper.

To make the crossed ribbons, cut out two ribbon strips about 30 x 2.5cm using a long, sharp knife to get a sharp edge, peel back the paper and leave on the side. Now warm the raspberry jam in a saucepan on a low heat until melted. Brush the jam over the top and sides of the cake. Now gently press the crossed ribbons on to the cake — across the top and down the sides — to resemble a parcel. Starting with the top of the cake, press the raspberries (pointed-end up) on to the sponge in the squares between the ribbons, so the cake is covered, top and sides.

Return to the white chocolate dough and cut out:
2 strips 11 x 2.5cm (bow ends)
2 strips about 14 x 2.5cm (bow loops)
1 strip about 10 x 2.5cm (bow centre loop)

Snip triangles out of one end of the 11cm strips using scissors and remove the paper on the back. Position the strips in the centre of the cake as shown above. Now remove the paper from the 14cm strips and shape them both into loops pressing the ends together.

Peel the paper from the 10cm strip, then wrap it around the centre of the 14cm loops in a ring to hide the join; press the ends of the bow ring to seal. Position the bow on top of the bow ends in the centre of the cake, use a dab of jam to fix it in place. Reshape the loops and bow carefully until you are happy with them.