Recipes

Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 180g plain flour
  1. Heat the oven to gas mark 5.
  2. Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth.
  3. Stir in the flour to get a smooth paste. Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is 1cm thick.
  4. Cut into any shape you want and place onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with the icing sugar and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes , or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to cool before decorating.

Cookie tree

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

200g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
110g caster sugar
2 eggs
100ml sunflower oil
225ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the fudge

120g dark chocolate
170g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 and place paper cupcake cases in a 12 hole tin.

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a mixing bowl then stir in the sugar.

Whisk the eggs and oil in a separate bowl until frothy, then whisk in the milk and vanilla extract, adding them a bit at a time.

Stir the egg mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients until they are just blended.

Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake for 25 minutes until the
cakes are risen. Cool them in the tin for 5 minutes then place them on a wire rack to cool.

To make the chocolate fudge topping, break the chocolate into chunks and melt it in a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove the bowl from the heat and allow the chocolate to cool slightly.

Beat the butter in a clean bowl until soft then gradually sift the icing sugar. Beat them both until smooth.

Add the vanilla extract and slowly stir in the melted chocolate until smooth. If the mixture feels too stiff after you have added the chocolate, add a few drops of milk to loosen it up.

Spoon a dollop of fudge topping on top of cupcakes.

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Apple Strudel

Ingredients

750g cooking apples
1 unwaxed lemon
55g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
55g raisins
55g pine nuts
80g fresh white breadcrumbs
100g melted butter
6 sheets filo pastry
Plain flour for dusting
Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Line the baking tray with parchment.

Peel, core and dice the cooking apples and put them into a mixing bowl.

Scrub the lemon, and then add its zest and juice to the apples. Add the sugar, spice, raisins, pine nuts and breadcrumbs to the bowl and mix thoroughly.

Put a sheet of pastry onto a floured clean tea towel and brush it with melted butter. Place another sheet of pastry on top, butter again and use up all 6 sheets in the same way. Reserve 2 tbsp butter for later.

Spoon the fruit filling onto the pastry sheets, leaving a 2.5cm margin all the way round.

Fold in the two shorter sides of the pastry, then using the tea towel to help you, roll up the pastry from the long side like a Swiss roll.

Carefully transfer the strudel to the prepared sheet, laying it with the seam side down. Brush the remaining butter.

Bake for 35 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.

To serve, transfer it to a dish and if you wish dust it with icing sugar.

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Bread and Butter Pudding

Ingredients

25g butter
8 thin slices bread
50g sultanas
2 tsp cinnamon powder
350ml whole milk
50ml double cream
2 eggs
25g sugar
Nutmeg

Grease a 1 litre dish with butter

Cut the crusts off the bread. Spread each slice on one side with butter, then cut into triangles.

Arrange a layer of bread buttered side up in the bottom of the dish then add a layer of sultanas. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon then repeat the layers of bread and sultanas sprinkling with cinnamon until used all the bread. Finish with a layer of bread then set aside.

Gently warm the milk and cream in a pan over a low heat to scalding point. Don’t let it boil.

Crack the eggs into a bowl, add 3 quarters of the sugar and lightly whisk til pale.

Add the warm milk and cream mixture and stir well then strain the custard into a bowl.

Pour the custard over the prepared bread layers and sprinkle the nutmeg and the remaining sugar and leave it to stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4.

Place the dish in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the custard has set and the top is golden brown.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

Ingredients

For The Pudding

175g dates, chopped
175ml black tea
75g butter
150g light muscovado sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g self raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
125g pecan nuts, chopped

For The Toffee Sauce

150g butter
150g light muscovado sugar
200ml double cream

Grease your baking dish and heat the oven to gas mark 4.

Put the chopped dates into a saucepan with the black tea, bring to the boil and allow the mixture to simmer gently for 3 minutes.

Beat the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy then slowly beat in the eggs, bicarbonate of soda, flour and the mixed spice.

Fold in the chopped pecan nuts and the date and tea mixture and then pour the cake batter into your prepared baking dish.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes until the top is springy to the touch.

While the pudding bakes, heat the butter, sugar and cream in a pan and simmer it gently for 10 minutes stirring it with a wooden spoon.

When the pudding is cooked pour half the toffee sauce over the top and put the rest into a warmed jug and serve it alongside.

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Marzipan

Ingredients

200g icing sugar
200g caster sugar
450g ground almonds
2 tsp lemon juice
4 egg yolks, beaten

Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and pour in the caster sugar. Stir the two together with a metal spoon.

Stir in the ground almonds until evenly distributed – you can avoid clumps by sifting them into a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the bowl.

Add the lemon juice then gradually pour in the beaten egg yolks, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until the mixture feels stiff. It should start to form a ball around the spoon.

Once it has started to form a ball of paste, sprinkle icing sugar over your work surface, gather the paste into a ball and turn it out. Use gentle pressure to knead it. Don’t knead for too long.

If the marzipan feels sticky, sprinkle on a little sifted icing sugar and knead again until it feels smooth – it’s then ready to roll out and use.

If you are not using it straight away, you can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge, preferably wrapped in clingfilm for up to 1 week.

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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Ingredients

For The Cupcakes

110g butter
110g caster sugar
2 eggs
110g self raising flour
1 lemon, zest only

For The Meringue Topping

2 eggs white
110g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and put paper cupcake cases in a 12 hole cupcake tin.

In a large bowl use a hand held electric beater to beat the butter and sugar into a pale and fluffy mixture.

Add the eggs one at a time and beat then into the mixture until fully incorporated.

Sift in the flour and add the lemon zest then fold the two in until well combined.

Spoon the cake mixture into the paper cases. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes until they look golden brown. Remove them from the oven leaving them in the tin for a few minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack.

To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

Gradually add the caster sugar, whisking continuously as you do so. Eventually stiff peaks will form and the meringue will look thick and glossy.

Spoon the meringue into a large pipping bag that’s fitted with a star nozzle and pipe a tall swirl on top of each cupcake.

Either use a kitchen blowtorch to lightly brown the meringue topping or brown them under a hot grill for 2 minutes.

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Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients

For The Base

150g digestive biscuit crumbs
55g butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar

For The Filling

110g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
400g cream cheese
100g caster sugar
140ml sour cream
3 eggs
25g plain flour
25g cocoa powder

Heat the oven to gas mark 3 and grease the base and sides of your 20cm(8″) springform cake tin.

To make the base, stir the biscuit crumbs, melted butter and sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Press the mixture firmly and evenly across the base of the cake tin and set it aside.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove it from the heat and put it to one side for now.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and caster sugar until they are smooth.

Beat in the sour cream, eggs and melted chocolate until blended. Sift in the flour and cocoa, and stir them in. Do not over-beat at this stage.

Pour the mixture into the tin, covering the biscuit base. Bake for about 45 minutes until the cheesecake is firm to the touch. Switch off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside with the door open until it is cool.

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Coconut Cupcakes

Ingredients

For The Cupcakes

175g butter
225g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
125ml plain yoghurt
175g desiccated coconut

For The Topping

200g icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
Few drops hot water
120g desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and place your paper cupcakes cases in a 12 hole cupcake tin.

Using an electric handheld mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until they look light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla extract.

Sift in the flour and baking powder, alternating them with the plain yoghurt. Use a spoon to gently fold them into the mixture until well combined.

Stir in the coconut so that its distributed evenly throughout the cake mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for 30 minutes until the cakes look golden and are springy to the touch.

Allow them to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then place then on a wire cooling rack.

To make the topping, first make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually beat in the lemon juice and enough hot water to make a smooth thick icing.

Use a small palette knife to spread the icing evenly over each of the cupcakes.

While the icing is still tacky, sprinkle over the desiccated coconut and leave to set.

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Cinnamon Swirls

Ingredients

For The Dough

325g strong white bread flour
55g butter
2 tsp dried yeast
1/2 tsp salt
55g sugar
150ml warm milk
1 egg, beaten

For The Filling

60g butter
85g sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Lightly grease the tin you are using.

Put the flour into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles bread cakes. Add the yeast, salt and sugar, and stir to combine them.

Mix together the milk and half the beaten egg and stir them into the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Knead the dough with your hands for 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

Put the dough into a greased bowl, cover it with cling film and put it in a warm place for about an hour until it had doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it firmly to knock out the air. Shape the dough into a large rectangle about 1/2 thick using a rolling pin.

Beat the filling ingredients until smooth then spread them over the dough. Roll up the dough, longways into a sausage then cut it into 12 even slices.

Place a slice in each hole of the bun tin. Cover the tin with cling film and place it in a warm place for about an hour until the buns have doubled in size.

Heat the oven to gas mark 6. Brush the buns with the remaining egg and bake them for 10 minutes until they are cooked through and golden. Cool them in the tin for 5 minutes then place on a wire rack to cool.

Serve warm.

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Espresso and Mascarpone Cupcakes

Ingredients

For The Cupcakes

110g butter
110g light brown soft sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp cold strong black coffee
110g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder

For The Topping

175g butter
350g icing sugar
225g mascarpone
8 tsp instant espresso powder

Preheat the oven to gas mark4 and place your cupcakes cases in a 12 hole cupcake tin.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric whisk to beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.

In a separate small bowl, best the two eggs and pour in the cold coffee, stirring it in well.

Add the eggs and coffee to the butter and sugar beating until well combined.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the same bowl and fold them into the mixture.

Spoon it into the cases and bake for 20 minutes until the cakes are risen. Leave them to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then place them on a wire rack to cool.

To make the topping, in the bowl beat the butter until soft then sift in the icing sugar.

Gradually beat in the mascarpone, one heaped tablespoon at a time until the icing is smooth and creamy.

Spoon a dollop of icing onto each cupcake then sprinkle a little espresso powder over the top.

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Apple and Lavender Cupcakes

Ingredients

For The Cupcakes

100g butter
125g caster sugar
1 tbsp almond liqueur
2 eggs
100g plain flour
100g ground almonds
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
80ml sour cream
300g cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
40g flaked almonds

For The Lavender Cream Icing

250ml thick cream
2 tsp dried lavender flowers
2 tbsp icing sugar
Pink food colouring
12 stems fresh lavender flowers

Start by preparing your icing. Heat the cream and lavender flowers slowly in a pan, stirring occasionally, and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Pour the lavender cream through a sieve into a bowl and refrigerate overnight.

The following day, preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and place cupcake cases in a 12 hole cupcake tin.

Beat the butter, sugar and almond liqueur in a mixing bowl until soft and creamy. Stir in the eggs one at a time.

Sift in the dry ingredients and fold them into the mixture then pour in the sour cream and stir it in well.

Gently stir in the diced apples until distributed evenly throughout the mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, distributing it evenly then sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and risen. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing whisk the lavender cream with the icing sugar until stiff. Beat in a few drops of food colouring and whisk again.

Spoon the icing sugar into a large piping bag that’s fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe a small swirl in the centre of each cupcake and decorate with a sprig of fresh lavender.

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Walnut Cake

Ingredients

For The Cake

225g light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
225g butter
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g ground walnuts
1 tbsp golden syrup
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For The Buttercream

100g butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g icing sugar

To Decorate

110g walnut halves

Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 then grease two 9″ sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment.

Put all the cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric whisk until the mixture is smooth.

Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins and bake for 25 minutes until the cakes are golden and feel firm to the touch.

Cool them in the tins for a few minutes then place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the buttercream, place the ingredients in a large bowl and beat together until smooth.

Use half the buttercream to sandwich the two cakes together. Use a palette knife to spread the remaining buttercream over the top of the cake and cover with the walnut halves.

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Peppermint White Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

For The Cupcakes

175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
110ml milk
1 tsp peppermint extract
110g butter
225g caster sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg whites

For The Icing

175g white chocolate
225g butter
300g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
55ml cream
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Mint leaves

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cases.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and put it to one side for now.

In a separate bowl, stir together the milk and peppermint extract and also set this aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Gradually beat in the egg and egg whites until blended.

Beat in half the flour mixture until well combined the beat in the peppermint milk. Gradually add and beat in the remaining flour mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for 25 minutes until they are golden and springy to the touch.

Cool the cakes in the tin for 5 minutes then place on a wire rack to cool.

To make the topping, break the white chocolate into small chunks and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Set it aside to cool.

Beat the butter until very soft. Sift in the icing sugar and salt and beat until smooth.

Whisk in the cream and peppermint extract until blended, then stir in the white chocolate and beat well until smooth. The mixture should be stiff enough to pipe.

Spoon it into a pipping bag fitted with a grass nozzle and pipe a coily swirl on top of each cake.

Sift over a little icing sugar and decorate the top of each cake with mint leaves.

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Double Fudge Blondies

Ingredients

225g white chocolate

110g butter

2 eggs

80g sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g self raising flour

pinch of salt

Heat the oven to gas mark 4 then lightly grease your baking tin.

Melt the white chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring it occasionally. Remove the bowl from the heat and set it aside.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until they are foamy, then gradually whisk in the sugar and the vanilla extract.

Also gradually whisk in the chocolate until everything is well combined.

Sift in the flour and salt and gently stir them until they are blended.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon so that it is level.

Bake the mixture for 25 minutes until it has just set and is still a little soft in the centre. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out with a few moist crumbs.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin then cut into squares.

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Lime and Pistachio Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes

110g butter
110g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
110g self raising flour
Pinch of salt
1 lime, finely grated zest

For the Topping

110g butter
225g icing sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
100g pistachios, chopped

Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and place your paper cupcake cases in a 12 hole cupcake tin.

Use an electric handheld mixer to beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and creamy.

Gradually beat in the eggs until they are fully incorporated into the mixture.

Fold in the flour, salt and zest until well combined.

Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for 15 minutes until they look golden and feel springy to the touch. Place them on a wire rack to cool.

To make the topping, beat the butter until its soft then sift in half the icing sugar and beat again until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Gradually add the juice, a little at a time, beating constantly as you do so until the mixture is smooth.

Sift in the remaining icing sugar and beat well.

Use a palette knife to spread a little buttercream on top of each cupcake and decorate with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios.

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