Giant Creme Egg Cake

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With only a week until Easter, the world seems to be under the usual magic spell cast by Cadbury’s creme eggs – and who can blame them! My two previous Easter posts – Creme Egg Cookie Pizza and Creme Egg Mini Cheesecakes are more popular than ever. Check me out (and some other amazing suggestions) over on Buzzfeed’s ‘17 Creme Egg recipes that should be illegal‘!

We’ve been visiting friends this weekend and I’d promised something creme egg-themed for dessert. A couple of weeks ago an amazing idea struck me – a giant creme egg cake! So the idea grew into fruition, and as you can see a monster of a cake. If you want to recreate the madness amazingness, here is how to do it…

Ingredients

Chocolate Madeira Cake
300g butter
350g sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
100g cocoa powder
300g plain flour
3  teaspoons baking powder
6 medium eggs
100ml milk or water

Chocolate icing
100ml milk
100g icing sugar
50g butter
200g dairy milk chocolate
50g cocoa powder

Creme filling
100g dairy milk chocolate
500g white fondant icing (ready to roll)

Method
– Start with the cake mix by beating the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy
– Whisk in the eggs, vanilla essence and cocoa powder, until thoroughly combined
– Sieve the flour and fold in two tablespoons at a time, alternately with a tablespoon of milk
– Divide the mixture into 3 rectangular tins of slightly decreasing size. I used 12 x 7 inches, 10×7 inches, and 9×6 inches. If you don’t have exactly these sizes it doesn’t matter at all – work with what you’ve got. Your layers will be a bit thicker/thinner depending on the sizes, but you can easily shape the ‘egg’ still.
– Bake at 180 C for 15-20 minutes until firm and springy when pressed. Cooking time will vary slightly for the different tin sizes (and thicknesses), so make sure you check each one before removing from the oven
– Turn out from the tins and leave to cool

– Next onto the chocolate icing – in a saucepan heat together the milk and butter, until just starting to boil
– Turn the heat off and add the 200g chocolate, broken into small pieces. Stir well; the residual heat should be enough to melt the chocolate after a couple of minutes
– Sieve the icing sugar and cocoa powder – very important or you’ll get lumpy icing! – before stirring into the chocolate mixture. Once fully combined, set aside to cool

– Once the cakes are cool, cut the largest into an oval/egg shape using a serrated knife. Make a paper template beforehand if you’re worried about doing it freehand! Be sure to keep the offcuts (don’t eat them all!) as they’re needed later on.
– Place the next size of cake on top and cut to the same size. Then, cut the sides at slight angle to start creating the curved effect of the edge of the egg
– Once you’re happy with the size and shape of the two bottom layers, sandwich together with a thin layer of chocolate icing
– Next, use the offcuts from the first two layers to create a third outer ring layer – like a wall around the top of the cake. This is what the fondant / creme filling will sit in. Arrange the pieces ‘dry’, and once you’re happy with the whole layer, ‘glue’ into place with a little more chocolate icing. Secure with cocktail sticks if needed, until the icing sets. Be sure to leave the tops of the cocktail sticks poking out so you can remove them later. At this point, put the whole cake in the fridge for at least an hour, to set

– Melt the remaining 100g of chocolate in the microwave / over hot water
– Using the back of a teaspoon, coat the entire inside of the cake (bottom and sides) in chocolate, being sure not to leave any gaps. This will form a sealed space for the fondant to sit in – so it won’t soak into the cake or leak out the sides. Remember there’s no such thing as too much chocolate, so add more if you’re not sure the edges are sealed or not. Refrigerate again until the chocolate has set.

– While the cake’s in the fridge, you can make the filling. Grate or finely chop the fondant (if it’s colder this’ll be easier), and put in a large bowl / a stand mixer if you have one. Add a tablespoon of boiling water and start mixing. You should slowly find the fondant starts to meld back together in a firm, buttercream like consistency. If it’s too stiff to mix, add a little more boiling water, a teaspoon at a time. You want the mixture to be firm enough for a spoon to stand up in – or it will run everywhere when you cut the cake! If you accidentally add too much water, a little icing sugar will firm the mixture up again
– Transfer two tablespoons of the fondant mixture into a separate bowl, and mix together with a drop of orange food colouring
– Remove the cake from the fridge and spoon in two-thirds of the white fondant
– Create a well in the centre and add the orange fondant. Try not to mix it around too much, you want the colours to remain separate
– Spoon the remaining white fondant over the orange, to cover it. Don’t feel you need to use all the fondant, if there’s too much for your cake. You don’t want it spilling out the sides!
– Cut the final piece of cake into a smaller oval shape, so it will cover the fondant filling. Use a serrated knife again to slope the sides and form the edge of the egg shape
– Put a little chocolate icing around the top edge of the cake, before placing the final cake piece on top
– Cover the cake in the remaining chocolate icing – I’d recommend a thin crumb coat first, refrigerate for half an hour, then a second smoother coat. Finish with a star design on the top and lines around the outside, using a thin knife.
– Chill until ready to serve, slice, and enjoy!

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(Serving with extra creme eggs entirely optional – there’s more than enough chocolate and sugar in the cake itself!)

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How do you eat yours?

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Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Showstopper

three tier round and square cake with autumn leaves flower and gold soft pearl decoration gluten free lemon drizzle recipe

So the Great British Bake Off is over for another – Wednesday nights won’t be the same again! I was really pleased that Nadiya won though, she was my favourite going into the final and really excelled with her 3 bakes. A very worth winner and so humble too. Was anyone not crying in that final scene??

I wanted to pull out all the stops for my final bake for the Great Bloggers Bake-Off, and loved the idea of a three-tiered classic British cake. I asked Rob what he’d like and lemon drizzle was the answer – can’t say no to that!

This gluten-free lemon cake really vamps up the lemon, and is deliciously easy to make and moist when done. It’s very well complemented by the lemon curd filling (keep reading), but works just as well as a standalone cake, without any filling or frosting. And it’s one of those great bakes where you can’t even tell it’s gluten free!

Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
(makes 1 each of 8 inch round, 7 inch square and 4 inch round cakes. Halve the recipe to make one 8 inch round cake)

300g butter
300g caster or granulated sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
50g ground almonds
3 medium eggs
200g gluten free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm)1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
20ml milk or warm water

Lemon Drizzle
100 ml lemon juice (approx. juice of 2 large lemons, I used bottled for this)
150g caster or granulated sugar

Method
– beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
– add the almonds, and beat in the eggs, one at a time
– add the lemon juice, zest and milk and beat again until smooth
– sieve in the flour and baking powder, and gently fold in until all combined
– split between 3 greased, lined tins – a 4-inch round, a 6-inch round, and an 8-inch round
– bake at 180 degrees C until the cakes are springy to touch and starting to come away from the sides of the tine. If you’re not sure then check with an inserted skewer, which should come out clean.
Each cake will need a different amount of time. Check first after around 20 minutes to see if the first is done, if not give another 5 minutes. The middle will take around 30-35 minutes, and the larger around 45 minutes. The time is very dependent on your oven and tin so keep an eye on them! Once you’ve taken the smaller one out, check the other two at least every 10 minutes, if not more often.
– Prepare the lemon drizzle by mixing the lemon juice and sugar. Microwave for 20-30 second until all the sugar is dissolved
– Once each cake is removed from the oven, prick small holes all over the top with a skewer or cocktail stick, and generously spoon over the lemon drizzle. Leave to cool fully in the tin.

gluten free lemon cake easy recipe three tier showstopper

I took a great tip from Nadiya on the show and popped the cakes in the freezer once cool, (wrapped in baking paper) for an hour or so before slicing in half and levelling the tops. It really did make it much easier – no cracking and much less crumbs.

Whilst the cakes were cooling and freezing I made the lemon curd – as this did take quite some time to cool as well. I used Delia’s recipe as a starter – but halved it (3 jars of lemon curd seemed a bit excessive!), and upped the cornflour to give a thicker set that would hold in the cakes. Maybe a bit of a blonde moment but I’d never realised that lemon curd was made mostly of eggs! I would say though that it is really easy to make and waaay better than shop-bought stuff, I’d highly recommend trying it!

Lemon curd

Grated rind and juice of 2 large lemons
3 medium eggs
175g golden caster sugar
100g butter
20g cornflour

Method
– in a large saucepan, beat together the eggs then add the remaining ingredients
– put on a medium heat and whisk continuously for 7 – 8 minutes until it starts to thicken. At this stage cook for another minute, before transferring to a bowl to cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools as well.

homemade lemon curd easy recipe from delia for cake filling

As the curd was cooling I went onto the next step. Nadiya had made marshmallow fondant look and sound so easy (“I make it all the time…!”), so I thought I’d give it a go. Well I’ll be honest. I’d like to meet Nadiya and introduce her to ready-to-roll fondant. It’ll save hours and countless amounts of kitchen cleaning!

Needless to say my attempt was rather less than successful. The online methods I read in advance made it sound relatively easy, however completely failed to mention that it is the stickiest substance ever made by man. Seriously, super glue has nothing on this stuff!

marshmallow fondant kitchenaid disaster sticky hands

The other downside about marshmallow fondant is that it uses a lot of icing sugar. Add that to the sugar in the marshmallows and you’re practically bouncing off the walls with every bite! I’d put in as much sugar as the recipe recommended and it was still nowhere near a fondant consistency, I was struggling to see how this would ever roll out. Additionally I was starting to run out of time – it was nearing midnight and I wanted to get the cake assembled at least that night! So I improvised and turned it into a marshmallow frosting – with the simple addition of a little more water and lemon juice. The good thing about this frosting is that it keeps well (in a sealed container), and if it starts to harden up before you’ve used it all, it can easily be ‘melted’ back down again by popping in the microwave.

Another grumble about these marshmallow icings is that I found it rather tricky to locate all-white marshmallows in the UK shops. I went to a good 5 or 6 big high street retailers / supermarkets, and was just about to give up when I found what I needed in The Range. Really though, does anyone know why they come in pink and white in the first place?!

Marshmallow frosting
(sufficient to cover 3 cakes as made above)

200g (white) marshmallows
400g icing sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water, plus additional as needed

Method
– put the marshmallows, lemon juice and water in a large bowl. Microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the marshmallows are fully melted to a smooth paste
– add the icing sugar and beat well to a smooth consistency (no lumps)
– the consistency should be thin enough to spread, but thick enough to hold its shape without dripping (hold the spoon upside down over the bowl to check). If it’s too thick, add a little more water and beat again, if it’s too thin, add a little more icing sugar. Once ready use straight away, or keep in the fridge in a sealed container until you need to use. Microwave to melt back to a spreadable consistency on removing from the fridge.

With the lemon curd filling and marshmallow frosting finally ready the cakes could be assembled. I layered up with lemon curd in the centre of each tier, and marshmallow frosting between the tiers and all round the sides. After refrigerating for half an hour to set the first layer, I added a second layer of marshmallow frosting to ensure a good thick coating.

luscious lemon curd homemade generous filling inside gluten free drizzle cake spreading marshmallow frosting onto tiered showstopper cake greatbloggersbakeoff

As the weather in the UK has recently taken a turn for the chillier, I decided to theme the decorations with an autumnal twist. To go with this rustic look I dimpled the frosting all over to give a more weathered effect.

textured effect stipling on marshmallow frosting tiered lemon cake

The leaf and flower decorations I made from coloured (normal) fondant – no more marshmallow icings for me! I may be blowing my own trumpet but I love how these marbled autumn leaves turned out. They were really simple to make too – I started with some green, yellow, orange, red and brown fondant, and mixed together in varying proportions, rolling out while they were only part combined. I used a leaf plunger cutter to get the veined and pronged leaves.

ombre marbled fondant icing autumn leaves for cake decoration

The marshmallow frosting stayed quite sticky so it was easy to attach the decorations the next day. Starting with some yellow flowers (a nod to the lemony inside), I arranged the leaves in an ombre graduating colour pattern down the cake. To finish – what showstopper is complete without a little sparkle – gold soft pearls around the base, in the flower centres and amongst the leaves.

gold soft pearl edging decoration around cake base

Fondant leaves and flowers with gold soft pearls decoration on autumn showstopper cake

Despite my various doubts (and wanting to give up!) in making this cake, I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Everything came together perfectly in the end and I’ll be honest – it tasted amazing! The homemade lemon curd had such a great zing, I want to put this in all my cakes going forward 🙂 I’m less enamoured with the marshmallow frosting – it really does taste just like marshmallows, which personally I’m not a fan of on a cake. I’ll stick with buttercream and ready-to-roll fondant from now, thank-you-very-much.

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The inside of the cake had a perfect wow as well – not to brag but look at those layers!

gluten free lemon drizzle three tier cake with homemade curd and marshmallow frosting moist recipe

lemon layer cake three tier showstopper with flower gluten free homemade lemon curd marshmallow frosting

Although I’ve not been able to participate every week this year, I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Great Bloggers Bake Off again. As always massive thanks to Jenny for being an amazing organiser. Please click the banner below to visit her blog and for more information on the bloggers bake-off.

Mummy Mishaps

Gluten-, Dairy- and Sugar-Free Banana, Apricot & Almond Muffins

banana apricot and almond muffins recipe healthy breakfast or snack in assocation with tesco gluten free dairy free sugar free

Week five of 2015’s Great Bloggers Bake-Off (although only the second for me), and the lovely people at Tesco Real Food got in touch to ask if I’d bake something for free-from week if they provided the ingredients. How could I refuse! Being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance last Christmas, you’ll have noticed a steady increase in gluten-free recipes this year, and I was so pleased to see GBBO recognising that there are people out there who need to use different methods an ingredients in their baking.

This bake started out as a gluten-free snack one evening after work. Only later did I realise it’s also dairy-free and (added) sugar-free as well – ticking off all off the weeks challenges in one batch of tasty muffins!

These muffins actually border on healthy due to the high fruit and nut content, and are perfect for an on-the-go breakfast, or to curb those mid-morning munchies.

All my ingredients came from Tesco – and although they don’t make their own gluten free flour, they do stock Doves Farm which is my personal favourite, it’s a great base for so many recipes.

basket of shopping sponsored by tesco real food for muffins recipe free frim

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s so versatile – you can add or omit most things as long as you keep the basics at the same quantities – bananas, eggs, oil, milk/water and dry ingredients (flour/oats/ground almonds & bicarb). They’d very easily work as nut-free (replace the ground almonds with more gf flour and omit the ones on top); you can omit the dried mixed fruits if you’re not a fan; or add some chocolate chips for a sweeter treat!

Ingredients
2 medium ripe bananas
100g dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
15g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
50g dried mixed fruit
50g gluten free flour
50g gluten free oats
50g ground almonds
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 medium eggs
75ml almond milk or similar (normal milk or even water is fine)
50ml oil – I use extra virgin olive oil
50g flakes almonds

Glaze (optional) – 25g apricot jam

Method
– In a large bowl, mix together the apricots, ginger, mixed fruit, flour, oats, almonds and bicarbonate of soda. Mix well so that all the little pieces of fruit/ginger are coated in flour, this will stop them sinking during making
– In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and beat together with the milk, oil, and eggs
– Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix until all combined
– Grease a 12-hole muffin tin. I use cake release spray – you can also get this in Tesco – but oil would work too. Use a pastry brush to make sure the sides, corners and bottom are well greased, as it’s quite a sticky mixture.
– Divide the mixture between the 12 holes and sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top
– Bake at 180 °C for 12-15 minutes, until the tops are springy to the touch and the muffins are slightly golden at the edges

free from muffin mix oats flour almonds dried fruit

gluten-free dairy-free and sugar-free banana almond and apricot muffins topped with flaked almonds recipe ready to make

freshly baked banana flaked almond apricot muffins gluten free dairy free recipe

The apricot jam glaze is entirely optional (and slightly anti the sugar-free part of the challenge), but does add a lovely finish to the tops of the muffins. Tesco do stock a reduced-sugar jam for the particularly health conscious!

reduced sugar apricot jam from tesco for healthier low sugar cakes recipe

– As soon as the muffins are removed from the oven, leave them in the tin and prick the tops all over with the very tip of a sharp knife. You want about 15-20 tiny holes per muffin
– Heat the apricot jam in the microwave or a saucepan with 25ml of water, until you have a smooth liquid (this should only take a minute or two). Drizzle the glaze over the top of each muffin a little at a time, until it’s all used up
– Leave the muffins to cool completely in the tin. Once cool, they should come out easily (if you greased the tin well enough!), if not, run a sharp knife around the edges, turn the tray upside down, and gently tap the bottom

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fresh out of the oven gluten free and dairy free banana apricot and almond muffins healthy recipe

gluen and dairy free banana apricot and almond muffin recipe healthy cake

Inside the muffins are moist and oh-so-good! Keep them in an airtight container, and because of the fresh banana they should be eaten within a few days – although they certainly don’t last that long in our house.

bite taken out of banana apricot and almond muffins gluten and dairy free moist and light recipe

You can find out more about the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2015 by clicking here, and more about Tesco Real Food by clicking here.

A big thank you to Tesco for providing me with the ingredients for this bake. The opinions and recipe however are entirely my own.

Mummy Mishaps

Baked Mango Cheesecake

baked mango cheesecake served with fresh strawberries recipe and method easy gluten free dessert

A perfect summer dessert – light, fruity, and easy to make!

The recipe is similar to my other cheesecakes, but, due to the inclusion of so much fruit, doesn’t require any added sugar or yoghurt. It’s delightfully simple in terms of ingredients – once you’ve got past chopping the juicy mangoes of course.

 

Ingredients

150g plain biscuits (I used gluten-free which worked perfectly, but any ‘normal’ kind would work as well, rich tea, digestives, etc.)
30g butter
350g cream cheese
450g mango, pureed (this is around 3 medium or 2 large mangoes, ripe ones work best)
3 medium eggs

Method

– Crush the biscuits into fine breadcrumbs, and mix with the melted butter. Press firmly into the bottom of a 6-7 inch round springform or loose-bottomed tin. Put into the fridge to chill while you make the topping.
– Ensure the mango is well-pureed (or mashed), so it is smooth with no lumps, and beat together with the cream cheese.
– Add the eggs and mix until just combined – no need to beat again at this stage.
– Pour the cheesecake mixture over the base. Give the tin a few taps to ensure it settles flat and allow any air bubbles to surface.
– Bake at 150 degrees C for 45 – 60 minutes. Check back after 45 minutes, you are looking for the top to be ‘just set’ – i.e. not liquidy and fluid when you move the tin.
– Once cooked, remove the tin from the oven and carefully run a knife around the edge. As the cheesecake cools it will shrink slightly, and this will prevent it from sticking to the tin as it does so! Leave in the tin until completely cool, before gently transferring to a plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve (can be made in advance, but keep away from any strong-smelling foods in the fridge.)

There were a few cracks on my cheesecake when it came out of the oven – but a lovely vibrant yellow mango colour which I was really pleased with!

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The cheesecake can be served as is – the delicate mango flavour would be overwhelmed by anything too strong in any case.

However as they were in the fridge (and to disguise the cracks!) – I added some quartered strawberries around the top and sides of mine.

gluten free mango cheesecake served with fresh british strawberry slices recipe and method

Inside – a soft, sweet, sticky cheesecake – perfect for those warm summer evenings that we’re all dreaming of!

slice of gluten free low fat baked mango cheesecake with recipe and how to

Malteasers Cheesecake

malteaser cheesecake chocolate biscuit base vanilla centre chocolate ganache east dessert recipe

A delicious dessert perfect for Sunday dinner, or any day of the week in fact! For some reason malteasers make me think of Easter, not sure why? I actually made this as dessert for Mother’s Day dinner; it’s special enough to be treat but really quite simple and hassle-free. It’s sweet and creamy in the centre, with a lovely tang and crunch added by the biscuit and chocolate. And everyone likes Malteasers!

Ingredients
125g malt biscuits (it’s not essential that they’re malt but I like the added flavour these give)
50g butter
120g pack of malteasers
25g chocolate chips (optional)
250g cream cheese
250g natural yoghurt
150g icing sugar (you could use caster if needed, the cheesecake would have a slightly heavier texture)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 medium eggs
50g milk chocolate

Method
– crush the biscuits into fine crumbs, and mix in the melted butter
– tip the biscuit mixture into the bottom of a 6-8 inch springform / loose-bottomed tin
– take a handful of the malteasers (30g or so is fine), and lightly crush them so they break into chunks. Sprinkle these over the top of the biscuit mixture, and press everything down firmly to a thick, even layer across the top of the tin
– if using, press the chocolate chips into the top of the biscuit mixture
– put the base to chill in the fridge while you make the vanilla layer
– in a large bowl, put the cream cheese, yoghurt, vanilla and icing sugar
– beat until smooth and creamy
– add the eggs and beat again until mixed through
– pour over the top of the biscuit base
– bake in the oven at 180 degrees until the middle is fully set (it doesn’t move like liquid when you jiggle the tin – a bit of wobble is fine!) This should take 30-45 minutes depending on your oven; the edges may start to colour a little, if they start to catch too much, pop a piece of foil over the tin for the remainder of the cooking time
– remove from the oven and run a thin knife or spatula carefully around the outside, to separate the cheesecake from the tin. It will shrink a little as it cools, so this will ensure it can do so freely without sticking
– allow to cool before making the topping

To Finish (the ganache is optional but oh-so-easy and amazingly good)

50g dark chocolate
15g butter
30ml milk (semi skimmed works absolutely fine)
Remainder of the pack of malteasers (minus a few for taste testing, of course!)

– put the chocolate, milk and butter in a saucepan and heat on low for a minute or two until the chocolate starts to melt slightly
– turn off the heat and stir until the rest of the chocolate melts – there should be enough heat to finish it off
– allow to cool until tepid (test with your finger, it shouldn’t take too long), before smothering over the top of the cheesecake
– spread over the remainder of the malteasers however you like – some crushed, some whole, use your creativity!
– keep refrigerated until ready to serve

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It’s a really easy but impressive dessert – and great for chocaholics!

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Mocha Meringue Cake

mocha meringue cake gluten free dessert recipe and method brownie cake

A few weeks ago, the lovely ladies at Sugar and Crumbs got in touch to ask if I’d like to try some of their new flavoured icing sugars in my recipe. I’m pretty sure you can guess my answer!

First up is their mochalicious icing sugar, which does exactly what it does on the tin. A chocolate icing sugar with a hint of coffee, not too overpowering and subtle enough to use in a cake.

sugar and crumbs mochalicious flavoured icing sugar review and recipe

My inspiration for the recipe came from this BBC post, and adapted to be both gluten-free and icing sugar friendly! It’s one of those cakes that looks more complicated to make than it is, so is a great showstopper-dessert to serve to friends.

Ingredients

Brownie cake
175g dark chocolate
150g butter
75g mochalicious icing sugar
75g caster sugar
2 large eggs
85g ground almonds

Meringue layers
3 large egg whites
175g mochalicious icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

To finish
200ml cream, whipped
20g icing sugar
20g cocoa powder
Hot water

Method
– start by greasing and lining 2x 6 inch sandwich tins. They will be baked twice so it’s worth doing this well!
– melt the chocolate and set aside to cool slightly
– beat together the butter, icing and caster and sugars. Add the eggs and almonds and beat again until well combined.
– once the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, fold it into the rest of the mixture
– divide between the two tins, smoothing the top for a flat bake.
– bake at 180 degrees C for 12-15 minutes, until the top is turning crisp, and the middle does not wobble when you move the tin
– set aside to cool while you make the meringue (leave the brownie in the tin, as the meringue will be baked on top of it!)
– whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks (I highly recommend using a stand mixed for this)
– add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, continuing to whisk after each addition
– continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and glossy, and holds its shape
– spoon on top of the two brownie bases, making one with a smooth top, (so it will hold the top layer), and one with a decorative pattern (to top the cake)
– bake at 150 degrees C for 30 minutes, until the meringue is crispy and starting to brown
– allow to cool completely before carefully removing from the tin
– make the chocolate drizzle for filling and decorating, by mixing the cocoa powder and icing sugar with enough water to make a thick sauce
– layer the cake up when you are nearly ready to serve. Start with the flat-topped brownie/meringue base, then the whipped cream, drizzled with some chocolate sauce, and finally top with the decorative meringue/brownie layer, and finish with a final drizzle of chocolate

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As long as the cream is well-whipped, the cake will hold shape well until you are ready to serve. Don’t leave it too long though – or the cream will start making the meringue soft.

mocha meringue cake layer recipe fresh whipped cream brownie chocolate sauce

I love how the layers came out – wonderfully separate but oh so tasty when combined! layered cake mocha meringue recipe chocolate and coffee brownie layers

The cake is best cut with a large knife and served in thick wedges, too thin and the cream will ooze out from the middle as you slice.

slice of mocha meringue cake chocolate and coffee with cream filling and brownies

Disclaimer: Icing sugar was provided to me by Sugar and Crumbs for the creation of this post. Recipe and reviews are all my own!

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

christmas pudding cupcakes easy recipe and method happy holidays

I can’t believe this is my first festive post of the year and we’re only just over a week away from the big day – where does the time go?

These little chocolate cupcakes were baked for a charity cake sale that my local Free Cakes for Kids rep sent over the details for. If there’s one thing guaranteed to get me in the kitchen, then a charity cake sale is just that!

The cupcakes were a rich chocolate base, with added white chocolate chunks and candied orange peel. You could easily vary the recipe and add more dried fruit, nuts, or more chocolate.

white chocolate and candied orange peel mix for christmas pudding chocolate cupcakes

Ingredients (Makes 12 cupcakes)
150g butter
150g sugar
3 medium eggs
100g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
75g candied orange peel (make your own using the guide here)
100g white chocolate, broken into small chunks

To decorate
150-200g chocolate fondant
2 tablespoons marmalade or apricot jam
100g white fondant
Red, green and black food colouring

Method
– Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
– Add the eggs and a tablespoon of flour, and beat again
– Sieve in the remaining flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, and add the chocolate and candied peel pieces
– Fold the mixture together with a metal spoon, until all combined
– Spoon into cupcake cases, and bake at 180 degrees C for 14 – 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed lightly with a finger
– Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely before decorating

chocolate and orange cupcakes freshly baked christmas wrappers charity cake sale

To decorate
– Heat the marmalade / apricot jam until runny, and using a pastry brush lightly coat the top of each cake
– Cut circles of chocolate fondant (using a pastry cutter), and place over the top of the cupcake, pressing the sides down
– Cut a second circle, of white fondant, and either freehand (using a knife), or with a way shaped cutter, cut about a third off the circle with a wavy edge, to look like dripping icing. Stick this onto the chocolate fondant using a little dab of water.
– Stick or paint on small circles in a dark colour, to replicate the fruit in the Christmas pudding
– Finish with a green sprig leaf and holly berries – and a little edible glitter if you feel the need!

chocolate fondant covered cupcakes round cutter for christmas puddings christmas pudding base cupcake decorated with fondant icing leaf and berries sprig on christmas pudding cupcake recipe christmas pudding cupcake recipe and method easy to follow make with kids

All packaged up and ready to go. I don’t like Christmas Pudding but could happily devour a big plate of these after dinner!

christmas pudding cupcakes festive baking ideas

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

halloween autumn or fall dessert recipe ideas for the family pumpkin pie cheesecake healthy and low fat

It’s definitely that time of year again – no, not the dark, cold, grey one (although that does seem to be advancing at an alarming rate), but the one where everything growing in the garden seems to be ready at once. Personally our garden is over-whelmed with tomatoes, so every other meal seems to be bolognese-based, but from my Dad’s side, his garage seems to be overflowing with giant pumpkins!

I’m not sure if this one was bigger than last years – but certainly big enough for me, it took over 2 hours to chop up and freeze all the flesh!

giant halloween pumpkin homegrown british allotment pie recipe

For dinner at the in-laws last weekend, I wanted to make a dessert and there was really only one thing that could go in it – with my fridge and freezer both filled to the brim, it really had to use up a good amount of pumpkin flesh. It’s a very sizeable cheesecake but would work just as well if you used, say, half the recipe.

Once you have your pumpkin ready (and you could use canned puree if you don’t have any fresh), it’s really very quick to put together. The end result is a creamy cheesecake with all the taste of pumpkin pie.

Ingredients

250g digestive biscuits, crushed
125g butter, melted
Pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg
1 teaspoon cocoa powder (optional)
1 tablespoon light muscovado sugar

450g mashed / pureed pumpkin
500g quark or cream cheese
150g light muscovado sugar
150ml sour cream
5 eggs
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger

Method
– Mix together dry ingredients for the base in a large bowl, before stirring in the melted butter
– Press firmly into the bottom of a large spring-form or loose-bottomed tin, and put in the fridge whilst you make the topping
– In another large bowl, mix the pumpkin, quark, sugar, spices and sour cream, and beat until smooth. Have a quick taste test – add more sugar or spices if you feel needed.
– Add the eggs and stir together until just-combined; don’t over-mix at this stage- Pour over the biscuit base, you should not need to smooth as it will settle to a flat top
– Bake at 180 degrees for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until the top is set (it should only wobble slightly if you shake the tin)
– Remove from the oven and run a knife all around the edge, this will allow the cake to shrink away from the edges as it cools
– Leave in the tin until completely cool (overnight ideally), as the inside will continue cooking
– Remove from the tin and serve in large slices!

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I’d intended to take a photo of the inside before we tucked in, but was a little fork-happy! What I can tell you was that the inside was smooth and tangy, with a lovely treacly flavour from the muscovado, perfectly offset by the spices and sour cream. Yummy!

pumpkin pie cheesecake thick treacle base creamy insides halloween recipe

Fat-Free Banana, Date & Maple Syrup Loaf

banana date and maple syrup loaf cake high fibre low fat and low sugar recipe

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a bunch of blackening bananas in the supermarket, reduced to just 10p. Knowing I had a free evening ahead – I hastily picked them up and started dreaming of banana recipes! (Thanks to my Dad for ingraining in me an inability to walk past a reduced section without stopping – unfortunately this does also extend to clothes, shoes, bakeware…!)

Back home I quickly found some banana bread recipes, and thought the maple syrup I’d brought back from a recent trip to the US would be a perfect complement. A quick rummage in the cupboard and I ended up with dates as well – to come up with a super-healthy loaf, with no added sugar or fat. (Maple syrup is a natural product, so that’s good for you too, right?) Definitely a good couple of your five a day! You can add more or less spices depending on your taste buds.

Ingredients
300g ripe / blackening bananas
100g chopped dates
50 ml maple syrup
250g plain flour – use wholemeal if you are being extra healthy, although it will make for a heavier loaf
75ml milk
4 medium eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon water

Method
– Put the chopped dates, maple syrup and water into a saucepan, heat slowly until gently bubbling. Allow to bubble for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat, and stir well. You should fine the dates have started to break down into a paste – if not heat for another minute or two. Set aside to cool. tur
– Mash the bananas, they don’t need to be too smooth (small lumps are fine), as they will melt down during cooking
– In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add the date mixture, bananas, milk and eggs. Mix together well, but don’t over beat.
– Pour into a greased, lined loaf tin. It is quite a liquid mixture so will level out easily by itself.
– Bake at 150 degrees for 1 hour. In my fan oven this was the perfect time – an inserted skewer came out clean first time – but for other oven types it’ll take longer. Give it extra time in increments, testing with a skewer each time that oven beeps!
– Leave to cool in the tin, wait until you’re ready to serve before slicing

banana date and maple syrup fat free loaf cake recipe healthy baking batter mix ready to bake

banana date and maple syrup fat free low sugar cake recipe easy loaf tin bake

It’s best eaten quickly, or keep in the fridge in tupperware and work through it over a few days. It won’t be difficult!

Enjoy in big slices. It definitely doesn’t taste healthy, but makes a brilliant guilt free snack! If you’re after something a little naughtier, it works just as well with a good smother of butter, a la malt loaf.

sliced banana date and maple syrup loaf cake from home recipe

banana date and maple syrup loaf sliced with butter healthy treat recipe

 

 

 

Lemon and Lavender Cake

lemon and lavender cake recipe british summertime treat fresh

What to get the baker who has everything – well a cake calendar of course! This one hangs pride of place in our kitchen, and proved a great inspiration for this cake, which I made for my Dad for Father’s Day a couple of weeks back (we celebrated early this year due to various trips away).

lavender bundt cake calendar inspiration

For some reason, a quirky disconnect in my blonde brain, I didn’t choose to follow this recipe, but instead borrowed from this wonderful National Trust recipe. As a lifetime NT member, I’m sure my Dad will approve! Scaling down the recipe to fit my size of tin, and replacing the ground almonds with some essence, I adapted the recipe as follows. The lemon, almond and lavender are a great compliment to each, making a floral, fruity and balanced cake. Finish with a lavender syrup and a crunchy lemon icing for a super spring and summer treat!

Ingredients
125g butter
125g plain flour
125g sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of almond essence
1 lemon, grated rind and juice
1 heaped teaspoon of fresh lavender

Lavender syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lavender
1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons water

Lemon icing
100g icing sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Lavender sprigs and/or lemon rind to decorate

Although you can buy cooking lavender, I used some fresh from my garden, pulling the flowers off the stalks, and crushing gently to get more flavour. You can use any fresh lavender plants, as long as you’re sure they’re chemical free (so homegrown is best).

Method
– My favourite kind of method – put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well!
– Spoon into a well-greased tin, I used the smaller size of my Ikea Sockerkaka round silicone bundt moulds, which holds around 500ml
– Bake at 150 degrees C, until baked through (test with a skewer, when it comes out clean it’s done). Time will depend on the size and shape of your mould, anywhere from 45 – 75 minutes. Mine took around an hour, in a fan oven.
– Once the time is nearly up, place the syrup ingredients in a heavy bottomed / non-stick saucepan. Heat gently and allow to bubble for a minute or so. The sugar should start to thicken into a sticky syrup. Remove any large pieces of lavender
– When the cake is cooked, removed from the oven, and quickly (but gently!) prick small holes all over with a fork or skewer, so the syrup will absorb in
– Put the cake on a cooling rack, with a drip tray underneath, and spoon or pour the syrup all over the cake
– Set aside and allow to cool completely
– Mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice to form a thick paste, that will slowly drip off the back of a spoon. Spoon or drizzle over the cake, finishing with lavender or lemon decorations

ikea sockerkaka silicon cake moulds review usage

lavender sugar syrup cake recipe

dousing cake with lavender sugar syrup lemon and almond flavourings summer treat

lemon icing drizzling over lavender cake for fathers day

lemon and lavender cake recipe decorative topping with sprigs and citrus rind

I had great plans to take some beautiful photos in front of my lavender plants – but sadly the great British weather put paid to that. Soggy cake is not a good look!

british summer rain blossoming lavender plant cake recipe

Nevertheless I still managed to snap a couple of shots through the patio windows – and the rest safely in the dry of my own kitchen.

lemon and lavender cake with flower sprigs decoration icing drizzle

IMG_0541 lemon and lavender sponge cake recipe with hints of almond fresh garden summer