Lemon Meringue Pie Baked Doughnuts

glazed lemon meringue pie doughnuts recipe greatbloggersbakeoff2014

This week’s Great British Bake Off was Advanced Dough week – groan – when is it time for cakes! However once the doughnuts came round (no pun intended), I was positively drooling. How amazing were Luis’ cocktail ones?

We don’t own a deep-fat fryer but I found a great recipe for baked doughnuts which was seemed both healthier and easier. The dough is fat-free (unlike regular doughnuts), but still enriched with milk, egg, and a little sugar.

Lemon Meringue Doughnuts – makes 18-20

500g white bread flour
Pinch of salt
10g dried yeast
50g sugar
1 egg
150ml milk
125ml hot water

To fill and decorate
400g lemon curd – one batch, or one jar if you are buying it in
100g icing sugar
Crushed meringue pieces

– In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, yeast and sugar
– Beat the egg and add to the dry ingredients, before mixing in the milk and hot water
– Mix to a dough consistency, and knead until smooth and silky (5-6 minutes with an electric mixer, slightly longer by hand)
– Divide into 18-20 even balls and spread evenly on greased baking sheets. The dough balls do need to be spread well apart as they’ll expand rather a lot!
– Cover and place in a warm place until risen and doubled in size, about 45 minutes
– Bake in a hot oven – 200 degrees – for 10-12 minutes, until firm to the touch and golden. Set aside and leave to cool

smooth baked doughnut dough recipe gbbo dough balls for baked doughnuts recipe and method easy low fat rising dough for baked doughnuts successful prove baked doughnuts dough balls gbbo recipe healthy fat free
– Once cool, fill each doughnut with around a teaspoon of lemon curd – a filling nozzle and piping bag worked perfectly for me
– Mix the icing sugar with a little water, and a teaspoon of lemon curd, to form a thin paste
– Lightly paint the glaze all over the doughnuts, placing on a wire rack to set. Sprinkle with the meringue pieces and leave to rest until dry.

filling baked doughnut with lemon curd using piping nozzle lemon meringue pie doughnuts toppings icing glaze and meringue pieces glazing baked doughnuts with lemon curd icing recipe glazed baked doughnut lemon meringue recipe lemon meringue pie baked doughnuts glazed and topped recipe

A quite sticky bake in the end – but well worthwhile! The doughnuts had a wonderful sugary crunch on the outer, soft and light inside, and oozing with tangy lemon curd. I’ll definitely be trying some more doughnuts – perhaps some mini ones next time – any suggestions?

baked lemon meringue pie doughnuts recipe fat free healthier dessert gooey filled lemon curd in meringue topped glazed doughnuts bake recipe

Find out more about #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 and take a look at this weeks other bakes here.


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.

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

– 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




Strawberry Swirl Meringues

strawberry swirl meringue nests perfect for afternoon tea cake stand topper

Here is the second recipe from my Birthday Afternoon Tea – I can’t believe it was two weeks ago already!

These little meringues are so easy to make, perfectly bite-sized and a great light little addition to any afternoon tea.

A perfect outing for my KitchenAid Christmas present, (I’m still totally in love!), which whipped up the meringue mixture in no time. I used a simple recipe of 2 egg whites and 110g caster sugar, having always had great success without adding extras (cream of tartar etc.) that some recipes suggest.

The KitchenAid foamed up the egg whites in no time:

black kitchenaid easy to mix meringues recipe

Before slowly adding the sugar to a thick, glossy mixture.

meringue mixture glossy soft peaks black kitchenaid stand mixer

To get the swirl effect in the meringue nests, I simply painted a few thick stripes of gel food colouring down the insides of my piping bag, before filling with the meringue mixture.
Using a round nozzle I then piped thick swirls of the mixture onto a baking sheet. I’d highly recommend a silicon baking sheet for meringues as they have such a tendency to stick to anything else.

red swirl meringues recipe and method piping colour stripes nests

red swirl striped colour meringue recpie

Just before baking I pressed the top peaks down with a wet finger, creating the well that strawberries would eventually sit in.

I prefer dry, crunchy meringue, so baked mine at 130 degrees for about 40 minutes. Turning the oven off, I then left them overnight to completely dry out.

red swirl meringue nests for strawberry base easy dessert recipe

The next day they were ready to use straight away – and looked perfect atop one of the many cake stands for afternoon tea.

red piped swirl meringue nests on top of cake stand afternoon tea easy recipe

A simple half-strawberry in each (cut-side up, so the moisture didn’t ruin the meringue), and they were the perfect addition to the tea table!

home afternoon tea birthday party chocolate brownie bites strawberry swirl meringues finger sandwiches

And whilst my birthday may be over for another year, there are lots of exciting plans in place for friends and family celebrations in the next couple of months. All accompanied by cake, of course!

Making Mini Doughnuts

mini ring doughnuts jam sandwich and white iced with sugar sprinkles quick bake ideas

Tonight was one of those nights where I got home from work and just wanted to have a play in the kitchen. Anyone who loves baking or cooking will know what I mean – not your average weeknight cook a healthy dinner, clean up and find the evening is over. But something more creative. More fun. More… sugary!

Any my unsuspecting target? This silicon mini doughnut that I bought in the sale at Lakeland before Christmas. Sadly (for you!) it was in the sale as they’re not making it any more, but rest assured it’s not going to be difficult to find another one, should you desire.

mini doughnut mould from lakeland purple review easy to use results
The recipe for these mini doughnuts I’m not going to share with you, as, quite frankly, it didn’t taste that amazing. Kind of an ok-I’ll-eat-one-more, but not a wow-I-must-finish-the-whole-plate-immediately sort of recipe.

The one thing I must love about these mini doughnuts is that they are SO quick to make – literally a couple of minutes to make up and 6-7 minutes to bake. So you can have fresh hot doughnuts in under 10 minutes. That’s groundbreaking stuff right there. And if you throw them straight into the sugar after removing from the mould, they are ready to serve immediately too. Winner.

fresh sugar doughnut rings mini baked from silicon mould close up

As you can see my first batch turned out a little flat. I’d followed the not-so-great-recipe’s instructions to only half-fill each mould, and they just didn’t rise up enough.
Not to be defeated, I had kind of been daydreaming of jam doughnuts all day, so sandwiched them together in pairs with a thin layer of raspberry jam. Hey presto, instand mini jam doughnut sandwiches!

mini jam ring doughnut sandwich sugared finish how to

mini ring jam sandwich doughnuts baked not deep fried using silicon mould lakeland easy under 10 minutes recipe

The second batch I filled up the moulds much more, just so the middle circle could be seen peeking out, and they came out much better. Full, fat, round doughnuts. That’s more like it!

freshly baked mini doughnuts light fluffy round using silicon mould not deep fried

To finish these off I drizzled across a white icing, mixed with a dash of lemon juice for added zing…

dripping white icing on freshly baked mini doughnuts with sugar sprinkles
…before topping with some tiny sugar sprinkles.

mini ring doughnuts with white icing and pink sugar sprinkles easy home bake quick recipe

Result? Well I had my play and discovered a new love for these little bites of amazingness. Not only are they super-quick and easy to make, and moreishly bite-sized, they’re actually one of those not so bad for your waistline type of cakes. The recipe I used only had a tablespoon of oil, which divided amongst the 30 or so doughnuts it yielded means they can probably be classed as low-fat. Hurrah! I will definitely be whipping up some more mini-morsels from this doughnut pan, watch this space for my quest to find a better recipe…

Low Fat Key Lime Pie

key lime pie recipe and method adapted from great british bake off ryan low fat simple

A couple of weeks ago, we had company for Sunday dinner and of course I wanted to make a great dessert. Rob had been watching the 2012 catch up program of The Great British Bake Off, and his eye’s lit up at Ryan Chong’s Key Lime Pie. Of course he then turned to me and asked what on earth a key lime pie was, but that’s another story. As you read through you’ll realise it’s not actually far off a cheesecake recipe – with the addition of the meringue topping.

This is my adaptation of Ryan’s recipe – as “one of the best things the judges have ever tasted” it didn’t need much adaptation, just substituting a few ingredients for their lower-fat counterparts to save a few inches on the waistline! I opted for a biscuit base rather than pastry, I’d like to blame this on time pressures but mostly it was laziness….


300g low-fat digestive biscuits
2 pieces of stem ginger
75g reduced fat spread

Lime filling
2x 400g tins light condensed milk
240ml lime juice – I used 2 fresh limes + some bottled
Lime zest – Ryan suggest 7 limes which seems a lot! I used 2
3 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped
4 egg yolks

Italian meringue topping
4 egg whites
225g sugar

– To make the base, put the biscuits and ginger into a blender and pulse to fine crumbs
– Stir in the melted butter, and press firmly into the base and part way up the sides of a 7-8 inch springform tin
– Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, remove and leave to cool

key lime pie recipe low fat crushed biscuit base in loose bottomed tin flavoured with ginger

– For the filling, simply combine the condensed milk, lime juice & zest, and egg yolks, in a large bowl, and which for 3 – 4 minutes until it starts to thicken

– Stir in the stem ginger pieces, and pour evenly over the base, smoothing the top

key lime pie recipe pouring creamy filling over base low fat showstopper alternative

– Bake at 170 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, until the top is solid, it doesn’t need to be completely set, but not liquid
– Remove from the oven and cool in the tin. Cool in the kitchen for at least an hour, before chilling further in the fridge, overnight ideally. Once completely set it should start to come away from the edge a little.

set lime layer of key lime pie pulling away from edge of tin how to tell if it's done

– Carefully remove from the tin – it should come away easily – and put to one side

key lime pie easy out of the tin well compacted biscuits wavy edged set creamy filling ginger

The Italian meringue topping is made with a hot sugar syrup which cooks the egg whites as you whisk them together, so there’s no need to bake. You do need to multi-task on this bit – the sugar syrup took around 7 minutes to boil, and the eggs maybe 3 or to whisk. The eggs need to be ready as soon as the syrup is hot enough

– Using a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are light and form soft peaks, holding their own shape
– Put the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan with 6 tablespoons / 100ml of water, over a medium heat. Allow to boil without stirring, until it reaches 120 degrees. It’s not as quick a process as you might think, mine took about 8 – 10 minutes to get hot enough.

kilner sugar thermometer easy to use boiling to 120 degrees hard ball for italian meringue

– Take the sugar syrup off the heat, and immediately start adding to the egg whites. Pour in a slow but constant trickle, trying not to directly hit the whisks or the hot syrup might splash back

italian meringue easy recipe adding boiling sugar syrup to beaten egg whites in a stand mixer

– Continue beating the meringue mixture for 3-4 minutes until it’s smooth, creamy and thick
– Transfer to a piping bag, and pipe on top of the lime base. Whilst Ryan used a ring around the outside edge, I opted instead for a star nozzle and swirl pattern in the centre of the pie

piping italian meringue swirls onto key lime pie cheesecake type recipe easy gbbo low fat adaptation

– If you have one, finish off by lightly toasting the outside of the meringue with a blowtorch. Move quickly across the meringue, don’t hold still in one place or it will burn. If you don’t have a blow torch, the meringue is already cooked so it’s by no means essential. You could finish with a sprinkling of icing sugar, or perhaps some lime garnishes.

using a blow torch on italian meringue atop low fat key lime pie recipe and method with crystallised ginger

blowtorch results on top of key lime pie finishing off italian meringue piped swirls

Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve – I made mine the same day but the leftovers tasted just as good the day after!

Cut inside – you can see the 3 distinct layers, a crunchy base, creamy filling, and rich meringue topping.

slice of low fat key lime pie ginger biscuit base condensed milk filling toasted italian meringue topping

Baked New York Vanilla Cheesecake

new york style baked vanilla cheesecake low fat recipe for american independence day fourth of july 4th

This was never really supposed to be a Fourth of July post (American Independence Day if you live under a rock…), but it occurred to me last night as I was baking the cheesecake, that it was an American recipe, and if I could get a wriggle on and post today, well, it would be quite fitting really! Actually it’s more of a sweetener (quite literally), for Rob, as a sorry-I’m-going-away-again; the last 6 months have been pretty much non-stop with travel (mostly for work, this weekend is for pleasure), but the end is nearly in sight!

According to wikipedia (is it ever wrong?), what makes it a New York cheesecake as opposed to any other kind, is the inclusion of the sour cream (although you could use normal cream as well, apparently.) I think this adds to it’s unique contrasts of flavour – the sour tang of the cream vs the sweetness of the sugar, the sharp lemon vs the sweet vanilla – and of course that gorgeous baked top.

I looked up a couple of recipes for New York cheesecake, but they all seemed to be mammoth! 900g of cream cheese? I don’t even think I have a cake tin big enough to fit that in! So, using inspiration from this BBC recipe, and this one from Jamie Oliver, I down-sized the recipe to create my own, smaller version (it was still baked in a 10 inch round tin, so not exactly tiny!)

I’m not a huge fan of using full-fat cream in recipes, it’s just so heavy, and I found these great ingredients from Morrison’s new NuMe range – using low-fat cream cheese and sour cream absolutely mean you can eat that extra slice 😉

morrisons nu me low fat range sour cream and cream cheese for low fat vanilla new york cheesecake recipe


200g digestive biscuits
75g butter / low-fat spread
25g caster sugar

600g cream cheese
200ml sour cream
30g cornflour
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
175g caster sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or similar


Crush the biscuits to fine crumbs (or use a food processor), and mix with the melted butter and 25g of caster sugar. Press firmly and evenly into the bottom of the tin (I’d recommend around an 8-10 inch, springform tin, with high sides).

biscuit base for new york usa vanilla baked cheesecake recipe ingredients

Bake in the centre of the oven at 180 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Place the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, lemon, vanilla paste and corn flour into a bowl. Beat until well mixed and smooth – taste to see if any more sugar or vanilla is needed. Add the eggs and gently stir until just mixed.

Grease the inside of the tin (I can’t advocate cake release spray enough), and pour the batter over the top of the biscuit base. As it’s quite a liquid mixture it should settle nicely and not need any evening out.

cheesecake batter new york style vanilla beans springform tin fourth of july recipe

Bake for 45 – 60 minutes at 170 degrees. I covered the top of mine with foil for the first half an hour, so the top did not go too brown. After 45 minutes, keep checking back every 5 minutes, you want the centre to be just-set.

freshkly baked new york style cheesecake vanilla for 4th of july

The next part is very important – allow to cool slowly. The best method is to leave with the oven door ajar for an hour or so, and then take out and leave to cool completely in the tin.

You should find that the cheesecake shrinks away from the edge during baking so will pop out easily. If it doesn’t, gently slide a knife around the edge to free it up.

new york cheesecake recipe and instructions baked to perfection pulling away from the side of tin

In my haste to get things done I didn’t follow my own instructions – instead I put it straight into the fridge – and it cracked 😦

cracked top of cheesecake from cooling too quickly how to solutions new york style recipe

I prefer not to think of it as a crack, more a window to the smooth creamy inside… look at those vanilla flecks!

cracked cheesecake top solutions vanilla bean seeds new york recipe

Once cool, keep in the fridge and serve in big wedges.

new york style vanilla baked cheesecake recipe cake slice large portion fourth of july

For a real red, white and blue dessert, you could serve with strawberries and blueberries, but in their absence I accessorised with something equally as sweet:

american independence day happy fourth of july recipe usa flag in baked new york vanilla cheesecake slice

Happy 4th July!

Chocolate Philadelphia Cheesecake

chocolate philadelphia cheesecake recipe instructions and ingredients simple one hour to make

A couple of weeks ago, before my trip to Brussels, Rob asked if I’d make him a cheesecake to have while I was away. His little face lit up when the idea of using chocolate philly popped into his head, of course I couldn’t say no!

The thing I love most about this is that it’s SO SIMPLE! You really do only need 5 ingredients. Also I should probably be politically correct and tell you it’s technically called Philadelphia with Cadbury.

ingredients for cadbury chocolate philadelphia cheesecake recipe simple low fat biscuits yoghurt eggs butter and cream cheese

It’s adapted from my low-fat cheesecake recipe – chocolate Philadelphia is not that bad for you, and if you use reduced fat biscuits, butter/spread and yoghurt then it’s definitely good for you.

The one thing it doesn’t need from the original recipe is any added sugar or sweetener. Unlike normal cream cheese the chocolate version has a wonderfully sweet tang which doesn’t need anything adding!


Approx 15 digestive biscuits (low-fat if you fancy)
25g butter/low-fat spread
250g chocolate Philadelphia (About 1 1/2 tubs)
250g plain/vanilla yoghurt
2 eggs


– crush the biscuits (using a good processor helps to get them very fine for a nice smooth base), and mix with the melted butter. Press into the bottom of a springform/loose-bottom tin (8-10 inches works well with this recipe), and pop in the fridge

base for low fat cheese cake digestive biscuits pressed into the bottom of tin recipe

– beat together the yoghurt and cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs and fold in until just mixed (don’t beat once the eggs are added)
– pour the chocolate mixture over the biscuit base, smooth with a spatula, and bake for 25-40 minutes at 180 degrees

chocolate philadelphia recipe cream cheese yoghurt and egg mixture being poured onto biscuit base

– after 25 minutes check every 5 minutes or so to see if it’s done. You want the top to be just cooked, it can still wobble but shouldn’t look liquid-y. If you’re not sure give it another few minutes.

just baked chocolate philadelphia cheesecake firm top recipe

– remove from the oven, run a knife around the edge so it can cool without sticking

Let it cool completely – trust me it’s worth it – and adorn with anything you wish – I added some extra chunks and sprinkles of chocolate (Cadbury of course), and a sprinkle of icing sugar.

cadbury chocolate topping on chocolate philadelphia cheesecake blog post recipe

Et voila! Simple, easy, quick and soooo tasty!

chocolate philadelphia cheesecake recipe gold plate

Sit back, and enjoy a big slice. You know you want to.

slive of cadbury chocolate philadelphia low fat cheesecake with recipe and ingredients

Mum’s Low-Fat Carrot and Walnut Birthday Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

happy birthday mum cake with candles star shaped carrot cake cream cheese icing and walnut edging



Wednesday of this week was my mum’s birthday – hopefully she won’t mind me telling you she’s trying to eat healthily in preparation for my brother’s wedding in 7 weeks time – in New Zealand! More to follow on that I’m sure…

Birthdays are the one day when diets don’t count, and cake is a must. But I made a low-fat one so she could eat more of it 🙂

I used Delia’s Saturday Carrot Cake recipe, it was incredibly simple to follow and I love that it can be made all in one bowl, basically just beating everything together. Before you go think it’ll be a good way to five-a-day – the whole cake only took up 2 small carrots! I have the rest of the pack still in the bottom of the fridge, waiting for an urge or healthiness to be eaten. It’s not happened yet. I don’t hold out much hope.

With an absence a suitable sized round tin (seriously, I need to go shopping!), I clapped eyes on my silicon star moulds which are just brilliant for birthday cakes.  I’m still not sure, however, how Delia manages to fill a whole loaf tin with hers!

Once baked and cooled I simply topped with cream cheese icing – you may recognise it from this weeks Valentine’s Ombre cake. As I was making two cakes I made a big batch, using extra-light cream cheese and low-fat spread to make it as healthy as possible. Into this I pressed some more walnut pieces, all around the edge of the star.

carrot cake star shaped with cream cheese icing and walnut pieces edging happy birthday


Who doesn’t love a personalised birthday cake – my piping was a little shaky however, it was done slightly on the run, coming in from work, mixing up the icing, piping, and heading out the door again, all in the space of 5 minutes!

carrot and walnut low fat birthday cake idea cream cheese icing happy birthday mum

Even with the shaky icing and dodgy “Happy Birthday” singing mum still seemed very happy – although maybe that was the wine we shared over dinner! The cake was a great dessert, crunchy, tangy base with a sweet, squidgy icing. Happy Birthday Mum! x

Chocolate Philadelphia Swiss Roll

cadbury kraft chocolate philadelphia cream cheese in sponge swiss roll recipe instructions

So my first ever attempt at a swiss roll went really rather well a couple of weeks ago. So well it was devoured entirely the same day, with not a crumb left!

Immediately after making it a thought popped into Rob’s head, his little face lit up, “how about making one with chocolate Philadelphia?”

Well – you know I can’t refuse a baking request, especially not one that could be so amazing!

If you’re not sure about chocolate Philadelphia, well, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I agree the combination of cream cheese and chocolate sounds a little weird, but if you think the cheese is really just made of milk and cream, then it’s just one big creamy chocolate spread!

You can find my recipe and method for the swiss roll here – Simple Strawberry Jam Swiss Roll – it really is easy, promise!

It’s just as easy to adapt the filling as well. Rob wanted “some of that white creamy stuff” in it as well – I eventually deciphered this to be buttercream. After rolling the cake and leaving it to cool, I spread on a layer of thick vanilla buttercream followed by a very generous layer of chocolate Philadelphia – I used about 1 1/3 tubs altogether.

chocolate philadelphia swiss roll recipe spreading buttercream and cadbury cream cheese onto sponge base

A quick re-roll, some chocolate icing drizzled over the top, and done! I love how quick swiss rolls are to make as well, and you can eat them straight away (although this one got even better after a little time firming the fillings up in the fridge).

chocolate philadelphia cream cheese cadbury swiss roll recipe instructions

Don’t you love that gooey inside!

chocolate philadelphia and vanilla buttercream swiss roll cadbury kraft

Fancy a slice….?

cadbury chocolate philadelphia swiss roll slice recpie ideas instructions

Simple Strawberry Jam Swiss Roll

strawberry jam and buttercream swiss roll simple recipe sugared glass reflection artistic

Swiss roll is not something that I’ve made before, or had a huge desire too. But, I had to make dessert for dinner at a friends last night, and oddly enough had a dream my mum was teaching me to make a swiss roll (albeit a chocolate one) – well, simple things please simple minds, my decision was made!

On further investigation it turns out to be a delightfully simple dessert, quick and easy to make (less than hour from packets to plate) and so few ingredients! Would you believe the sponge is actually made without butter… so you could class it as fat-free or certainly low-fat. I vamped mine up a bit with some buttercream but the jam alone would have been more than sufficient.

The basic ingredients are as simple as follows: (adapted from Channel 4 recipe)

3 large eggs
125g caster sugar
125g plain flour
Approx 1/3 jar of jam to fill

swiss roll ingredients recipe fat free strawberry jam eggs sugar plain flour

The method itself is also very simple – and vastly helped by having a stand mixer. If you haven’t a hand-held electric mixer would work but I wouldn’t recommend doing it all by hand unless you’re feeling very, very strong….

The eggs and sugar need to be beaten together on a high-speed for about 10 minutes, until they go from yellow and liquid…

kitchen stand mixer breville beating eggs and sugar for swiss roll recipe

… to thick, pale, light and around double the volume:

beaten eggs and sugar increased in volume and pale using stand mixer swiss roll recipe

If you are lucky enough to have a stand mixer (one of the best investments (ok presents from Rob) I’ve ever had, mine is a Breville and was only £50 from Tesco – unbelievably 2 years later it’s actually gone down in price and is now £44!) – then prepare your baking tray while the eggs and sugar are whisking. If not it doesn’t really matter if you have to let the mix set a few minutes once it’s made.

I really don’t see why you’d want to buy a special swiss roll tin. As you can see mine was an ordinary baking tray and turned out more than fine! The tray itself needs to be prepared as follows:

– oil the tray itself, base and sides (a pastry brush helps)
– place in some greaseproof paper, perfectly cut to size (even the rounded corners)
– oil the greaseproof paper, again with the pastry brush
– sprinkle well with sugar and flour

greased lined floured sugared baking tin for swiss roll no special pan needed

Back to the cake mixture – once your eggs and sugar are a good, dense volume, and leave thick trails when you pick up the whisk, it’s onto the flour. Simply sieve this and fold in slowly and gently with a metal spoon, so as not to destroy too much of the precious air your whisking has created.

sieving sifting flour action shot fold with metal spoon swiss roll recipe

Once well-mixed (and make sure it is or it will not bake evenly), carefully pour or spoon into the tin. As it needs to spread out over a large surface area, try to pour or spoon as evenly as possible. Smooth into the corners and flatten as gently and carefully as possible, remember it is a very aerated mixture.

swiss roll mixture in tin flattened spread with spatula

Bake at 180 – 200 degrees for about 8 minutes. Check it after this time as you don’t want it to over cook (or it may crack). The sponge should be light and springy when gently pressed. If your fingers leave dents then give it another minute.

While baking – another step of preparation. This time a damp tea towel (mine had just come out the wash), covered with a large piece of greaseproof paper (bigger than your tin), and doused in sugar. I don’t think mine had enough sugar at this stage as it did stick a little to the paper on rolling – so be generous!

swiss roll prepared baking sheet sugared on damp baking towel for cooling and rolling

As soon as the sponge is baked, take it out of the oven and work quickly! Run a sharp knife around the edge and ready…

baked swiss roll cake turning out onto sugared baking sheet

…flip! Turn it out firmly and quickly onto the prepared tea towel / baking sheet.

swiss roll freshly baked cake base ready to roll up

Remove the greaseproof paper backing that the sponge baked on. The oil/flour/sugar preparation should ensure it comes away smoothly and cleanly without tearing off any of the cake.

Trim the sides of the cake so the whole sponge is a clean rectangle, this will give your sides a good finished look as well. (Hint – the trimmed sides are a great taste test!)

trimming swiss roll sides for neat edges sponge cake fat free

If you are just using jam then you can skip this next cooling stage and you can go straight to jam. As I was using buttercream the sponge needed to cool first so the buttercream didn’t separate and melt when spread on.

Regardless of whether you are cooling or jamming, the cake needs to be rolled while it is still warm to prevent it cracking, so work quickly!

To allow mine to cool I placed another sheet of greaseproof paper in the middle, then gently used the tea towel and lower piece of paper to guide the sponge into a firm, tight roll. The dampness of the tea towel will also help prevent the sponge from cracking.

rolling swiss roll cake with greaseproof paper inner to cool and fill with buttercream

Once fully rolled, I tucked the end underneath and left the sponge to cool. Ok it’s very cold at the moment in our kitchen but it really didn’t take long to cool – perhaps 10 minutes.

In this time I made my buttercream. I only wanted quite a thin layer so used a mix of 50g butter to 110g icing sugar. This made quite a stiff icing, which spread on the cake but wasn’t too gooey too ooze out everywhere.

Once the cake was cool (you can tell just by gently putting your hand round the rolled tea towel), I very gently unwrapped and unrolled the sponge, before spreading with the buttercream and jam.

swiss roll sponge spread with buttercream and strawberry jam

The rolling was a little more tricky (and sticky!) when there was jam involved, and actually I seemed to have over-jammed, as I ended up with a tidal wave of strawberry near the end (sorry for the blurry action shot!).

I quickly scooped this off with a spoon so the end had only a very thin spread of jam, meaning it stuck well but didn’t ooze out everywhere.

rolling swiss roll action shot oozing strawberry jam

Once rolled, sit the swiss roll seam-side down and leave to rest for a little while. Gravity and jam alone will keep the roll tightly stuck together.

rolled finished swiss roll leaving to sit seam side down

And to finish – nothing more than a good sprinkle of sugar over the top:

sugared decoration on swiss roll finishing touches simple easy recipe

The finished product! I was very impressed by my “inspired” choice of dessert – thanks mum… in a roundabout way – and hopefully my friends were too. It is exceptionally good on its own but we had ours after Sunday dinner with lashings of custard – diplomatically and in a way that only good friends could, skipping small ‘polite’ slices and cutting it straight into quarters at the off!

strawberry jam and buttercream swiss roll simple fat free sponge low-fat recipe