Everything stops for tea – Lemon Cheesecake Cupcakes

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2016) and taken from
Twist: Creative Ideas to Reinvent Your Baking by Martha Collison.

To make these cupcakes, use the reverse creaming method, during which the butter is rubbed in to the dry ingredients, followed by milk and eggs.  As well being simpler, this method produces a better-textured, more even sponge.

Lemon cheesecake cupcakesMakes : 12

For the Cupcakes :
175g plain flour
200g caster sugar
75g butter
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, at room temperature
90ml whole milk at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

For the Filling :
12 tsp Lemon Curd

For the Icing :
100g full-fat cream cheese
350g icing sugar
150ml double cream

For the Topping :
50g digestive biscuits
1 tsp butter, melted

Step One : Preheat the oven to 180oC / 160oC fan / Gas Mark 4.  Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with 12 cases.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, butter and baking powder using the paddle attachment.  Mix on a low speed, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs; or; use your fingers to rub the butter in to the flour and sugar.

Step Two : In a small jug, use a fork to blend together the eggs, milk and vanilla bean paste.  Add the lemon zest.  Add the mixture to the bowl, a little at a time, beating until it is all combined.  Keep beating until the mixture is uniform and smooth with no lumps.

Step Three : Divide the mixture evenly between the cases, filling each one no more than two-thirds of the way.  Bake in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the cakes are a pale golden brown.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then remove and leave to cool completely on a rack.

Step Four : To make the icing, put the cream cheese into a large bowl, and use an electric, hand-help whisk to beat it until smooth.  Add the icing sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, until it is all incorporated. Mix in the double cream and whisk until the mixture thickens.  You can whisk it by hand but it will take a few more minutes to thicken.  It won’t hold it’s shape yet, so it is important to chill it in the fridge for at least an hour so that it firms up.  Put the biscuits for the topping in a sealable plastic bag, seal it and then, using a rolling pin, lightly bash the bag to crush the biscuits into small pieces.  Add the biscuit crumbs to the melted butter and stir until the mixture starts to clump together.

Step Five : To assemble, use a knife or special cupcake corer to make a circular incision in the centre of each cupcake.  Take out the middle and fill each cavity with 1/2 teaspoon of lemon curd.

Step Six : When the icing has set, put it into a disposable piping bag.  Cut the end of the bag, making a medium-sized, circular hole, then pipe a double ring around the edge of the lemon curd, and fill the gap with the remaining lemon curd.

Step Seven : Sprinkle the topping around the icing ring, avoiding the lemon curd centre.  These cupcakes can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.

Everything stops for tea – Blackberry and Honeycomb Ombre Cake

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2016) and taken from Twist: Creative Ideas to Reinvent Your Baking by Martha Collison.  

Ombre cakes are so elegant, and much simpler than people think.  The buttercream gets its pinky hue from blackberry syrup, rather than food colouring, so you get their delicate flavour in each bite.  The honeycomb should be put on top just before serving.  

The recipe below just provides all the information you need for finishing the cake, you will need to make up two batches of your favourite chocolate cake and divide between three tins.

Blackberry and HoneycombServes : 10-12

For the cake :
Butter, for greasing
2 x your favourite Chocolate Cake recipe

For the Jam :
150g blackberries
100g caster sugar

For the Honeycomb :
100g caster sugar
4 tblsp golden syrup
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the Buttercream :
250g unsalted butter, softened
600g icing sugar
1 tsp milk

To decorate :
12 blackberries, plus mint leaves (optional)

Step One : Make two batches of your chocolate cake recipe and divide it between three 18cm tins.  Bake in the oven as per the recipe instructions until risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean.  Leave them to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.

Step Two : To make the blackberry jam filling, put the blackberries, the sugar and 50ml of water into a small saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir the mixture often, gently crushing the blackberries so that they release their intense colour.  Drain the purple syrup through a sieve into a small heatproof jug, and reserve the pulp, or jam, to fill the cakes.

Step Three : To make the honeycomb, put the sugar and golden syrup into a medium saucepan.  Boil until it turns a dark golden colour, then remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will froth up while it is extremely hot, so be careful.

Step Four : Pour the honeycomb on to a piece of baking parchment and leave to harden before breaking into shards.

Step Five : To make the buttercream icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together until smooth and light.  This will take around 10 minutes with an electric, hand-help whisk.  Put a third of the icing into a small bowl and add five teaspoons of the blackberry syrup.  Repeat with another third of the icing in a separate bowl, only using one teaspoon of syrup this time.  If the icing splits, add a few more tablespoons of icing sugar and it should come back together.  Add the milk to the remaining white icing to loosen it slightly.  You should now have three different shades of icing, all the same consistency.

Step Six : Take the cooled sponges and sandwich them together with a little of the white icing and the pulp left over from making the syrup.  Cover the top and sides of the top layer of the cake with the white icing, applying it thickly, as a lot will be scraped off later.

Step Seven : Cover the bottom third of the cake with a thick layer of the darkest icing, then fill in the gap between the two colours with the pale purple icing.  Use a large palette knife, set at a 40o angle to the cake, to scrape off the excess icing and create a smooth finish.  The colours should blend together slightly, creating the ombre effect.

Step Eight : Transfer the leftover icing into a piping bag fitted with a closed star nozzle.  You can gently mix all the colours together to get a rippled effect.  Pipe a wiggly border around the top of the cake, then decorate with honeycomb, blackberries and a few mint leaves, if you like.

Orange and Almond Cake

A Gary Rhodes recipe

Makes : 3 x 2lb (900g) cakes

Ingredients:
3 whole oranges
12oz (350g) ground almonds
12oz (350g) caster sugar
½ tsp baking powder
9 eggs, size 3, beaten

The quantities here are quite large but using 3 oranges gives a stronger finished taste. If you cut the recipe down to a third, the flavour isn’t as good. This recipe also works well using 4 lemons instead of the oranges or a combination of lemon and limes. The cake freezes for up to a month.

Step One : Place the unpeeled oranges in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to a simmer.  Cook for 1 hour, topping up with water when necessary. Remove oranges from the pan and allow any excess water to drain off.  Cut into quarters.  Remove all pips the puree the oranges, including the pith and the zest, in a food processor.  Leave to cool.

Step Two : Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4.  To make the sponge, mix together the ground almonds, caster sugar and baking powder.  Whisk the eggs until the mixture trails off the whisk in thick ribbons.  Fold in the almond and sugar mixture, then add the cooled orange puree.  Pour the mixture into 3 x 2lb (900g) loaf tins, filling them by about two-thirds.  Bake for 40-45 mins.

Step Three : The cakes are ready when they’re firm to the touch and if pierced with a knife, it comes out clean. Leave to cool before turning out of the tins. If the cakes sink in the centre once they have cooled, this will have no effect on the finished result – they are still delicious. They will keep for several days in an airtight tin.
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Walnut Griddle Cakes

Serves : 4-6

griddle cakes cartoon

Ingredients:
100g (4oz) plain flour
3tsp baking powder
Salt
50g (2oz) semolina
1 tblsp caster sugar
2 eggs, large, beaten
150ml (5fl oz) milk
1 tblsp margarine or butter, melted
50g (2oz) chopped walnuts.

Step One : Sift the flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt and the semolina into a bowl. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Make a well in the centre of the mixture then add the eggs and the milk. Beat thoroughly until the mixture forms a thick, creamy batter. Stir in the melted margarine or butter and add the walnuts.

Step Two : Heat a well-greased griddle or thick frying pan with butter and heat. Drop tablespoonfuls of the batter, how many depends on the size of cakes you prefer, and cook until golden brown on one side, after 2-3 mins. Turn the cakes and cook for a further 2-3 mins on the other side.

Step Three : Repeat the process until all the batter is used. Serve with butter and golden syrup.

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Strawberries & Cream Swiss Roll

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (May 2018) and taken from Afternoon Tea at Bramble Cafe by Mat Follas a new book by the Winner of MasterChef in 2009.

There are only three ingredients in a classic Swiss roll : flour, sugar and eggs. It can be a dry cake, so compensate with fresh fruit and indulge in a little extra cream.

IMG_1869

Makes 1 roll

For the filling:
200g strawberries
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
2 1/2 tblsp caster sugar
150ml whipping cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 tblsp icing sugar

For the cake:
200g eggs, lightly whisked with 150g caster sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
150g plain flour
Icing sugar and fresh strawberries, to decorate

You will need:
45 x 30cm non-stick Swiss roll pan, lightly oiled and lined with baking parchment

Step One : Preheat the oven to 140oC / 280oF / Gas Mark 1. For the filling, hull and chop the strawberries. Put in a bowl and fold in the lemon juice and caster sugar. Leave for 30 minutes. Whip the cream, vanilla extract and icing sugar to a light, just setting, whipped cream. Chill in the fridge.

Step Two : For the cake, take the prepared Swiss roll pan, oil the top of the paper and lightly flour the paper and the sides. Put the eggs and caster sugar in a bowl and mix for at least 10 minutes with a hand-held electric whisk or in a stand mixer, until it has tripled in volume. Add the vanilla extract and whisk. Gently fold in the flour, one third at a time, until just combined.

Step Three : Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and use a spatula to spread it into the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Check the cake is cooked by touch; it should bounce back when lightly pressed. If it is soft or it ‘crackles’ when touched, put it back in the oven for 2 minutes more.

Step Four : Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 2 minutes. Cover a wire rack with some oiled and floured baking parchment and turn the cake out onto the rack. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then peel off the baking parchment. Gently cut halfway through the cake, across the width on the short side, about 1cm from the edge to help it roll up.

Step Five : Starting from the side where you have made the cut, carefully roll up the cake and gently squeeze it to form the roll, before unrolling again in order to assemble the final cake.

Step Six : Finish the filling by folding together the whipped cream and strawberries. Plaster the mixture generously onto the cake, then roll up to make a Swiss roll. Trim the ends and dust with icing sugar.

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Simnel Cake

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (May 2014) and taken from The Baker’s Daughter by Louise Johncox.

IMG_1829

Serves : 10-12

Ingredients:
225g natural marzipan
175g caster sugar
175g butter
3 eggs
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
115g sultanas
350g currants
75g mixed peel
50g glace cherries (chopped)
1-2 tblsp milk
4 tblsp apricot jam
1 egg yolk, beaten

For the yellow icing (optional)
85g icing sugar
1 tblsp water
2-3 drops yellow food colouring

Step One : Preheat the oven to 160oC / Gas Mark 3. Grease an 18cm round, 7cm deep cake tin and line it with baking parchment. Knead the marzipan on a board dusted with icing sugar until it softens. Divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out 2 of these into 18cm circles to fit the cake tin. Divide the remaining amount into 11 equal portions, roll these into 11 balls, cover with cling film and set aside.

Step Two : Cream the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs gradually, plus 1 tblsp flour if the mixture shows signs of curdling. Sift the flour, spices and salt into a large bowl. Add the sultanas, currants, peel and cherries. Mix the flour and fruit into the creamed mixture, adding a little milk, if required. Aim for a soft consistency.

Step Three : Place half the mixture in the tin and flatten. Place a circle of marzipan on top. Put the remaining mixture on top of this and smooth out. Put the tin on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, then reduce the temperature to 150oC / Gas Mark 2. Bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Once baked, allow it to cool completely.

Step Four : Preheat the grill to medium. Gently heat the apricot jam in a pan until it’s warm, or in a microwave for 1 minute until it’s soft. Brush the top of the cake with the warm jam. Place the second circle of marzipan or almond paste on top. Decorate with the 11 marzipan balls. Brush the marzipan with egg yolk, then place it under the grill until the marzipan colours, just a little.

Step Five : If you like, you can add yellow icing. Simply mix the icing sugar, water and yellow food colouring to decorate your cake.

Nut and Glace Fruit Ring

The cake can be made two or three weeks before Christmas. Store it in a tin in a cool place until needed.

Ingredients:-
4 tblsp rum, brandy or sherry
115g (4oz) glace cherries, quartered
115g (4oz) cup raisins or sultanas
115g (4oz) dried apricots, quartered
115g (4oz) prunes, stones and quartered
115g (4oz) stoned and chopped dates
115g (4oz) butter
115g (4oz) soft dark brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
2 eggs, beaten
50g (2oz) ground almonds
115g (4oz) coarsely chopped walnuts
225g (8oz) self-raising flour

To finish:-
2 tblsp rum, brandy or sherry
4 tblsp apricot jam
Whole blanched almonds, split
3 glace cherries, halved
Few strips angelica

Makes 1 ring

Step One : The day before you want to bake the cake, put the rum, brandy or sherry in a large mixing bowl and add all the dried fruit. Cover the bowl with clear film and leave overnight in a cool place so that the fruit is well soaked. Meanwhile, grease a 23cm (9in) ring mould, with a 1.5 litre (2 ½ pint) capacity.

Step Two : The next day, preheat the oven to 160oC / 325oF / Gas 3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter, sugar and spices together until they are light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, and then fold in the soaked fruits, with any of the remaining liquid. Mix the ground almonds and chopped walnuts into the bowl and sift in the flour and mix until combined.

Step Three : Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the top of the mixture with the back of a spoon and bake in the preheat oven for 1 ½ – 2 hours. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Brush the cake with the rum, brandy or sherry.

Step Four : Put the apricot jam in a small pan and heat it gently to melt it. Sieve the jam. Brush the hot glaze over the top of the cake. Arrange the nuts and fruit in a flower design on top of the cake and brush them liberally with more apricot glaze. The glaze must be used very hot, or the decoration will lift while you are brushing the jam over it.

More sweet Christmas treats can be found in this book …

Fig and Ginger pudding

Fig and ginger puddingIngredients:

150g (5oz) dried figs, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
185g (6oz) caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
210g (7oz) self-raising flour
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pecan nuts, roughly chopped, to serve
Stem ginger, to serve

For the Sauce:

125g (4oz) unsalted butter, cubed
150g (5oz) brown sugar
200ml (6 ½ oz) cream

Ice Cream, to serve

Serves:  8     Prep time:  30 mins     Cook time:  40 mins

Step One:  Heat the oven to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Grease a 18cm (7in) round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.  Put the chopped figs in a bowl, add the bicarbonate of soda and pour over 300ml ( 9 ½ fl oz) of boiling water.  Set aside.

Step Two: Beat the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition, then sift in the flour and ginger.  Add the soaked fig and the juice, then the vanilla and mix well.

Step Three:  Pour into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until risen and firm to touch.  A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.  Leave in the tin to cool, then carefully turn out on a baking tray.

Step Four:  When ready to serve, heat the oven to 200oC (gas mark 6).  Make the sauce by placing the butter, sugar and cream in a small saucepan.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step Five:  Top the pudding with a few pieces of stem ginger and the pecans.  Pour a third of the sauce over the pudding and put in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.  Serve immediately on individual plates, and serve with the remaining hot sauce and cream or ice cream.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Chocolate and salted caramel tart

Caramel TartIngredients – For the Crust:

250g (8oz) digestive biscuits
125g (4oz) butter, melted

Ingredients – For the Caramel:

225g (7oz) caster sugar
10g (3 ½ oz) chilled butter
100ml (3 ½ fl oz) double cream
1 heaped tsp Maldon sea salt

Ingredients – For the Topping:

100g (3 ½ oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
2 extra egg yolks
250g (8oz) dark chocolate
150g (5oz) butter

Ice Cream, to serve

Step One:  Heat oven to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Lightly grease a 23cm (9 in) deep loose-bottomed tart tin.  Blend the biscuits in a food processor until finely crushed.

Step Two:  Place the biscuit crumbs in a bowl, add the butter and mix well.  Press the biscuit mixture evenly into the greased tin and up the sides.  Chill the base in the fridge for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Remove the tart tin from the fridge, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the base feels dry.  Set aside to cool.

Step Three:  To make the caramel, bring the sugar and 100ml (3 ½ fl oz) water to the boil in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Add the butter, return to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is a toffee colour.  Pour in the cream and salt and boil for another 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.  Allow to cool.

Step Four:  To make the chocolate topping, whisk the sugar, eggs and egg yolk for 4 minutes, or until thick and pale.  Gently melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water), leave to cool for a minute and then add to the sugar and egg mixture, whisking until smooth and glossy.

Step Five:  Spread the caramel over the cooled base and spoon over the chocolate mixture, spreading it evenly.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until it is almost set but still a bit wobbly.  Allow to cool in the tin.  Serve in thin slices with vanilla ice cream.

Tip: A food processor is the quickest way to crush the biscuits for the crust.  Alternatively, place the biscuits in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Nectarine & Polenta Upside-Down Cake

This recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine – August 2015

Nectarine and Polenta upside down cakeThis cake, with an upside-down topping and moist, sandy texture, this charmingly retro cake is naturally gluten-free.  If you’re baking for someone who is sensitive to gluten, make sure to use gluten-free baking powder.

Serves:  6-8

Ingredients:  For the Sponge: 120g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing; 125g caster sugar; 2 eggs, lightly beaten; 75g ground almonds; 75g fine or ‘quick cook’ polenta; finely grated zest of 1 lemon; 1 tsp baking powder; pinch salt

For the Topping: 2 medium nectarines – or equal quantity of other stone fruit – skin on, stones removed; 75g light Muscovado sugar; juice of half a lemon

Step One: Preheat the oven to 190oC. Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin with butter and line the bottom with baking parchment.  Generously grease the parchment with butter too.  It’s best not to use a loose-bottomed tin here, but if that’s all you have, tightly wrap a double layer of foil around the outside of the base to prevent juices escaping.

Step Two: Quarter the nectarines and cut them into thin slices.  Toss with the sugar and lemon juice, then arrange in a single layer, slightly overlapping, round the bottom of your tin.  Scrape any excess sugar syrup over the top.

Step Three: To make the sponge, cream butter and sugar in a bowl with a wooden spoon, or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition.  Fold in the almonds, polenta, baking powder, lemon zest and salt.

Step Four: Spoon the batter over the nectarines, smooth the surface with a spatula, then tap firmly on the work-surface to remove any bubbles.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until risen and golden.

Step Five: Remove the cake from the oven, run a sharp knife around the edge, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.