Cherry and clementine biscotti

I love different flavours with biscotti so I have gone for what I think is a festive cherry and clementine version, studded with chopped pistachios.

Continue reading “Cherry and clementine biscotti”

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Home-made gianduja chocolates – chocolate & hazelnut treats

A chocolately nutty treat of such joy, these smooth bites melt in the mouth in an intensely luscious way.

This is my version of the gianduja, a classic Italian sweet, and this recipe uses just 3 ingredients – well, four if you want to top it with dark chocolate! It might not be totally authentic, but it has now over-taken good commercial gianduja in this house. Continue reading “Home-made gianduja chocolates – chocolate & hazelnut treats”

Cranberry, orange & fennel seed biscotti

A return to one of my festive favourites: orange, cranberry and fennel seed biscotti

Baking Fanatic

I adore a good biscotti, but have never been a fan of the (ridiculously expensive!) ones you can buy in coffee shops and the like that can be little more than an expensive work-out for the jaw!

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Lemon and poppy seed cake

This is a cake that revels in its simplicity (you just mix the sponge ingredients together and bake!) and it tastes wonderful. A very easy crowd-pleaser, it is perfect for so many occasions.

Continue reading “Lemon and poppy seed cake”

Salted mocha Opera cake

Multiple layers of liqueur-kissed almond sponge cake, salted mocha buttercream and chocolate ganache: very much a cake for when a special treat is needed. And with elements that can all be made in advance, this becomes a matter of gentle assembly rather than frantically using a whole day or so in the kitchen! Continue reading “Salted mocha Opera cake”

Black treacle and Guinness bread

A simple and full-flavoured bread that is perfect with some salted butter, perhaps with seafood (it goes particularly well with crab) or as part of a Ploughman’s platter.  Continue reading “Black treacle and Guinness bread”

Layered pork pithivier pie

This hearty pie, packed with layers of tender herby pork, apples, caramelised onions and mustardy-sausagement is excellent served either hot or cold. Continue reading “Layered pork pithivier pie”

Quick lemon cheesecake fruit tarts

Something of a cheat of a recipe, using handy shortcuts, these gorgeous tarts can be made up very speedily and with total ease, yet they taste as good as any of the high-end tarts you can buy for a small fortune!

Continue reading “Quick lemon cheesecake fruit tarts”

Chocolate orange mini rolls

I couldn’t resist making the Technical Challenge from the first episode on this new series of Bake Off. And this recipe really does give a rich, moist and oh-so-wicked sweet treat. Now, many episodes into this series, it is nice that the bakes remain interesting and often inspiring.

Continue reading “Chocolate orange mini rolls”

The easiest chicken liver pâté

I absolutely adore pâtés, whether coarse or smooth, layered or the same all the way through, and a rich chicken liver pâté, with all its flirtations with retro food, is up there as one of my favourite starters.

This is my easy version that is packed full of flavour and always goes down a storm when I make it. Continue reading “The easiest chicken liver pâté”

Roasted onion & smoked cheese scones (gluten-free)

Amended recipe: additional photos.

Baking Fanatic

Returning to my savoury roots, and it seems a while since I have posted a savoury recipe, I decided to make some cheese and onion scones, using roasted onion and smoked Cheddar cheese.

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Chicken, chorizo & sweetcorn plaited tart

Chicken, chorizo and sweetcorn, in a rich sauce and wrapped up in crisp, buttery puff pastry, giving a savoury tart that is wonderful served hot for any meal or cold for a buffet or picnic. Continue reading “Chicken, chorizo & sweetcorn plaited tart”

Multi-seed bread rolls with smoked flour

A very simple bread with bags of flavour, courtesy of slow rises, a selection of seeds and different flours, with a hint of smoky flavour coming through the smoked flour I used. Mind you, if you can’t get hold of smoked flour you can replace it with standard white flour or wholemeal flour, for example. Continue reading “Multi-seed bread rolls with smoked flour”

Spiced orange & rum cake with mirror glaze

This cake is a cross between a blonde Sachertorte(!) and a Victoria Sandwich: you get the richness of the Sachertorte with the almonds and ganache, and the lightness of the Victoria Sandwich with the key flavours of ginger, orange and rum. Continue reading “Spiced orange & rum cake with mirror glaze”

Tea tasting: the filter kettle & the red mug test!

On the back of the fascinating BBC television series “Inside the Factory”, and a particular episode focusing on tea, I was curious about some of the claims in the episode regarding tea:

(1) Tea tastes better using filtered water

(2) Tea tastes sweeter if drank from a red mug, whether or not there is sugar in the tea

Continue reading “Tea tasting: the filter kettle & the red mug test!”

Chocolate and cherry focaccia

A sweet focaccia is a joy to eat, and my chocolate and cherry focaccia gives a lovely twist on a classic bread – it is also very easy to make. This focaccia is particularly great served in slices with a cup of tea, especially when spread with salted butter or with a dollop of tangy crème fraîche. Continue reading “Chocolate and cherry focaccia”

Crumpets and pikelets: cheese & onion flavour

Savoury crumpets and pikelets are particularly wonderful things to eat when toasted and buttered – whether or not you then want to dress them up further with cream cheese or a poached egg or any manner of adornments. Continue reading “Crumpets and pikelets: cheese & onion flavour”

Blackberry and apple crumble

This is very much a return to basics with the modest crumble, arguably one of the best and easiest comfort foods there is. Whether eaten with ice cream or hot custard, a crumble takes moments to prepare, will bake quite happily without attention and is a joyous way to end any meal.
Continue reading “Blackberry and apple crumble”

Blackberry and apple friands

Mini almond sponge cakes, with the rich flavour of browned butter and the wonderful bedfellows brought by the blackberry and the apple, these friands are a seriously delicious treat. There is something even more special using blackberries picked from the hedgerows and apples straight from the tree! Continue reading “Blackberry and apple friands”

Quick and easy spiced rhubarb & white chocolate ripple ice cream

This is a very simple and speedy (in terms of preparation) white chocolate ice cream, with a spiced rhubarb ripple running through it.

I use stem ginger for that wonderful heat it brings, as well as a little star anise for a spicy aniseed punch. Continue reading “Quick and easy spiced rhubarb & white chocolate ripple ice cream”

Chocolate and cherry pastries

 

Kirsch-soaked Morello cherries and dark chocolate encased in a crisp, buttery croissant pastry – what is not to love? Continue reading “Chocolate and cherry pastries”

Focaccia bicolore

This two-coloured flavoured focaccia is the result of an idea that came to me after making the bicoloured croissants a while ago. The result is a plain focaccia dough mixed with a tomato and red onion focaccia dough. After all, why not have focaccia with different and clearly defined flavours within? Continue reading “Focaccia bicolore”

Sourdough croissants

While I make croissants using commercial yeast fairly often and sourdough bread frequently, I am fairly new to making sourdough croissants. But boy have I been missing out: not only is the flavour even better than using commercial yeast, you get even crispier croissants that truly shatter as you break into them. Continue reading “Sourdough croissants”

Choux buns with blackcurrant craquelin & blackcurrant and white chocolate cream

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Who doesn’t love a choux bun or éclair? Crisp pastry, creamy filling and a sticky topping…..such a treat! And they are so simple to make, yet look deceptively difficult.

Continue reading “Choux buns with blackcurrant craquelin & blackcurrant and white chocolate cream”

Neapolitan gateau

This is a cake version of my partner’s favourite ice cream from childhood: a Neapolitan (or Harlequin), an ice cream block with layers of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream.

Continue reading “Neapolitan gateau”

Orange and pistachio madeleines

Sweet, buttery and melt-in-the-mouth, madeleines are a treat for any occasion. I have gone for madeleines that are flavoured with ground pistachios and orange zest.

Continue reading “Orange and pistachio madeleines”

Salted caramel pistachio brittle

This very easy pistachio caramel is not only a great sweet to eat as it is, it so versatile for adorning all manner of cakes and sweet desserts: you just snap off pieces, put them in place and away you go.

Continue reading “Salted caramel pistachio brittle”

Home-made Mascarpone cheese

Using just two ingredients, Mascarpone cheese is so simple to make and tastes better than commercial Mascarpone. And it only costs about one third of the price compared to buying it.

Continue reading “Home-made Mascarpone cheese”

Pistachio and lemon macarons

When it comes to macarons, I have a penchant for fruity ones: the sharpness of a punchy filling with the sweetness of the shell hits the spot for me every time.

Continue reading “Pistachio and lemon macarons”

Panzanella: arguably one of the finest salads in the world!

Great food does not need to be at all complicated or time-consuming. Sometimes the combination of humble ingredients can become something quite majestic.

Continue reading “Panzanella: arguably one of the finest salads in the world!”

“Death by chocolate” drip cake

 

Moist chocolate sponge, white chocolate & vanilla buttercream and dark chocolate ganache combine to give a somewhat naughty chocolate cake: but then a chocolate cake that is not naughty is rarely worth having!

Continue reading ““Death by chocolate” drip cake”

Chocolate & orange bi-coloured viennoiserie

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Bi-coloured croissants and the like have been doing the rounds for a few years and has been on my “to make” list for some time, especially as they can look striking. In essence, you have a croissant dough with a second, coloured dough running through it.

Continue reading “Chocolate & orange bi-coloured viennoiserie”

Gorgonzola, pear & walnut cheesecake (savoury)

Whilst a sweet cheesecake can be a thing of great joy, a savoury one is often even more special for me. The flavours of Gorgonzola, pears and walnuts make a great match at any time and here the sweet juicyness of the pears with the sharp kick of balsamic vinegar work well with the rich tangyness of the cheesecake. Continue reading “Gorgonzola, pear & walnut cheesecake (savoury)”

Spiced crunchy chickpeas

This is a seriously great snack and is particularly ideal to eat on its own, with drinks or to add to salads in place of croutons. These chickpeas are ridiculously moreish: I can eat a whole batch of these quite happily! Continue reading “Spiced crunchy chickpeas”

Blackcurrant and mint fondant fancies

Blackcurrant and mint make a truly wonderful combination, and used together here you have a particularly vibrant and refreshing cake. Continue reading “Blackcurrant and mint fondant fancies”

Easy chocolate & ginger viennoiserie

If you have ever been daunted by pastry, particularly for croissants and the like, these rich chocolate and ginger pastries are actually quite easy to make. Certainly compared to making croissant dough the traditional way. Continue reading “Easy chocolate & ginger viennoiserie”

Cappuccino chocolates

There is always something intensely satisfying about making chocolates, not least because you can have whatever flavours, fillings and adornments you want – and at a fraction of the cost from those you buy from the artisan chocolate shops. Continue reading “Cappuccino chocolates”

Lemon sherbet cruffins (quirky viennoiserie!)

 

This is my take on cruffins: rich, buttery croissant pastries baked in muffin tins. For this batch I have gone for a tangy lemon filling, dusted with a lemon sherbet-esque caster sugar. For added zing, I have topped these cruffins with lemon icing and a few dried raspberry pieces. Continue reading “Lemon sherbet cruffins (quirky viennoiserie!)”

Tomato and basil English muffins

This my savoury twist on classic English breakfast muffins: these are wonderful toasted and liberally buttered: the butter has to be liberal, and low-fat spreads and the like do not do justice to these muffins! Continue reading “Tomato and basil English muffins”

Tips for making, flavouring & decorating cakes

Cake making tips post updated with further tips and links to my favourite cake recipes

Baking Fanatic

Updated April 2017

Sections in this post:

    • Less is often more!
    • Flavour must come first
    • The amount of ingredients needed for different sized tins (Victoria sponge)
    • About cupcake sponges
    • Flavouring a cake mixture
    • Preparing the tins
    • Baking the cakes
    • Flavouring a baked cake
    • Different types of icing: glacé, buttercreams; adding flavours to buttercreams; crumb-coating a cake in buttercream; fondant icings; ganache; mirror glaze
    • Top tips for covering a cake in ganache or glaze
    • The finishing touches to a cake (including piping, tempering chocolate and simple chocolate work)
    • Recipes for standard cakes(cupcake sponge; Victoria sandwich sponge; whisked sponge; genoise sponge; Madeira cake. Click link to jump to this section
    • Recipes for icings and fillings(salted caramel; standard ganache; quick fruity ganache; the silkiest buttercream; mirror glaze; drizzle cake topping). Click link to jump to this section
    • My top 5 tips Click link to jump to this section
    • Some of…

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6 Baking Mistakes – And How to Fix Them: guest post

I am delighted to publish a guest post from Joe at Village Bakery. focusing on key baking mistakes that can happen, particularly for someone who is new to baking. Continue reading “6 Baking Mistakes – And How to Fix Them: guest post”

Chocolate and orange surprise cake!

Ok, the surprise might not be up there with the denoument of a great murder mystery story, but this cake always evokes “oohs” and “ahhs” when cut into.  Granted, you might not have fallen off your chair with this reveal, but I can live with that! Continue reading “Chocolate and orange surprise cake!”

Sourdough baguettes

Shatteringly crisp baguettes, full of flavour and with wonderfully open crumb structure: surely the epitome of baking simplicity! Don’t get me wrong, I love throwing in goodies such as olives, roasted garlic, fresh herbs and the like in with doughs, but the refreshing lack of embellishments here absolutely hit the spot. Continue reading “Sourdough baguettes”

Quick & very easy pear chutney

Made in about 20 minutes, this simple and delicious chutney is a terrific complement for all manner of savoury dishes: quiche, cold meats, cheese…… Continue reading “Quick & very easy pear chutney”

Pina colada fondant fancies

These miniature cakes are my homage to the classic pina colada – my favourite cocktail. Seriously, I never tire of this cocktail! Continue reading “Pina colada fondant fancies”

Blueberry and raspberry macarons

Raspberries are one of my favourite fruits and I need little excuse to use these in sweet bakes: fresh, dried, curd…..any or all work for me! I was rather late to the blueberry party, though: only really taking to their sweet-acidic flavour in the past year or so, but now I adore them. Continue reading “Blueberry and raspberry macarons”

The effect of different oven temperatures in baking

While baking is one of the most rewarding aspects of cookery, it can, nonetheless, be frustrating – especially when things do not work. Now things not working can occur when trying out a new recipe for the first time, error with the techniques or even when baking a reliable favourite that has never yet failed……..and then it does! Continue reading “The effect of different oven temperatures in baking”

Easy beetroot, goats’ cheese & walnut tart

This is a very simple tart that is great eaten either hot or cold and is, for me, tart that can be enjoyed at any time of the year, although it is one of my “go to” summer bakes. It can be assembled in minutes so that is is merely a matter of baking the tart. Continue reading “Easy beetroot, goats’ cheese & walnut tart”

Orange and passionfruit fondant fancies

A shop-bought fondant fancy is very much a guilty pleasure of mine, but they are fun to make. And of course when making them you can go for whatever flavour you want, going for flavours that are not sold in the shops! Continue reading “Orange and passionfruit fondant fancies”