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”

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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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

“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”

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”

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”

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!”

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”

Salted caramel shortbreads

This is my take on Millionaire’s Shortbread, but slightly jazzed up: a real excuse for indulgence – but is an excuse ever needed? Continue reading “Salted caramel shortbreads”

Rhubarb & ginger Battenberg cake

The power of baking in evoking happy memories of childhood is one of the many reasons baking is such an addiction for me; a Battenberg cake never fails to transport me back to being a child again, when slices of Battenberg were handed out as a real teatime treat. Continue reading “Rhubarb & ginger Battenberg cake”

Spiced lime & poppy seed bundt drizzle cake

This very easy cake has bags of flavour. In my view, a bundt cake, as indeed any cake, should not be at all apathetic – no matter how ornate it looks: it absolutely needs to have the “wow” factor in the flavour, too. Continue reading “Spiced lime & poppy seed bundt drizzle cake”

Cashew nut & cocoa nib snaps

These biscuits, which are a cross between brandy snaps and florentines, are incredibly easy and quick to make, with a batch made and ready to eat in under 30 minutes. Continue reading “Cashew nut & cocoa nib snaps”

Pea and ham filo bites

This is a such a simple bake, and is ideal using left-over ham at Christmas and bits and bobs lurking around: frozen peas, a dollop of chutney and mustard…… Continue reading “Pea and ham filo bites”

No-fuss sticky gingerbread cake

This is an incredibly simple gingerbread cake with a mixture that is made up in seconds: it is very moist, with jewels of stem ginger throughout and the underlying heat of spice from the ground ginger. The icing has a ginger kick with a nice lime zing to it – two flavours that are made for each other. Continue reading “No-fuss sticky gingerbread cake”

Quick & easy Cherry, walnut & maple syrup pastries

These are very quick and easy treats: small sweet pastries that are crisp, buttery and wonderfully sticky: quite fabulous served with coffee or tea! Continue reading “Quick & easy Cherry, walnut & maple syrup pastries”

Luxury orange shortbread mince pies with a macaroon topping

I usually prefer to make mince pies using shortbread dough rather than pastry: it makes them more special than a standard pastry mince pie and it is really no harder to make. Besides, Christmas would not be Christmas without shortbread! And whenever I have made these mince pies, they have gone very quickly. Continue reading “Luxury orange shortbread mince pies with a macaroon topping”

Lemon, strawberry & Prosecco cake

Although I made this particular cake for a colleague’s wedding, I have made smaller one-tier versions of this cake, without much in the way of elaborate decorations, on many an occasion. A case of when simplicity absolutely reigns! Continue reading “Lemon, strawberry & Prosecco cake”

Spiced chocolate and orange bundt cake

This easy, no fuss cake is deeply chocolatey (such a good thing!), with the sharp citrus kick of candied orange and a warming hint of spice. Continue reading “Spiced chocolate and orange bundt cake”

Lemon & thyme drizzle layer cake

This very refreshing cake pushes it way into dessert territory with its creamy filling. And that is no bad thing! Continue reading “Lemon & thyme drizzle layer cake”

Mocha walnut pavlova

I have not made a pavlova for a few years, but it is always lovely to re-visit an occasional bake such as this. Continue reading “Mocha walnut pavlova”

Pimms cocktail jaffa cakes

Very much an adult jaffa cake, this version of jaffa cakes uses Pimms as the base for the jelly, along with fresh orange juice, a hint of mint, a touch of lemon and just enough sugar to sweeten it without taking away from the flavour of the Pimms and the fruit. A real taste of summer! Continue reading “Pimms cocktail jaffa cakes”

Gluten-free orange & blackberry polenta cake: Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

This is a recipe given to me by Macmillan to try out, ahead of this year’s Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. Continue reading “Gluten-free orange & blackberry polenta cake: Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning”

Salted Honey Tart

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment, I was allocated Emily’s delightful Life on Food blog. Continue reading “Salted Honey Tart”

Cinnamon & orange Viennese biscuits

Melt-in-the-mouth is never more the case than with Viennese biscuits or Viennese whirls or any variation on this classic biscuit. They can be served simply dusted with icing sugar, dipped in chocolate or sandwiched together with jam and a little vanilla buttercream – although they can take any flavour combination within! Continue reading “Cinnamon & orange Viennese biscuits”

Spiced lamb & pistachio rolls with spiced pastry

I am such a fan of sausage rolls; with a well-flavoured filling and light, melt-in-the-mouth pastry, they never fail to give me a feeling of total satisfaction when eating them! Continue reading “Spiced lamb & pistachio rolls with spiced pastry”

Coloured mirror glazes

As its name suggests, a mirror glaze is a very shiny covering for a cake or dessert that is so reflective you should be able to see your face quite clearly in it. There are several recipes for mirror glazes but I make what I think is one of the simplest – and it always gives me great results. Continue reading “Coloured mirror glazes”

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Cake: chocolate cake with Earl Grey tea buttercream

This is the cake I made for the 4th birthday meeting of the Clandestine Cake Club group I attend (the fabulous Fleet, Farnham & Farnborough group). As an extra treat, Sheila Dillon and Elizabeth Burke (BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme) joined us for the evening, interviewing us, sampling the cakes and talking cake, ready for a broadcast later in the year. Continue reading “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Cake: chocolate cake with Earl Grey tea buttercream”

Simple roasted coffee shortbread – with no rolling out

Shortbread is the first thing I ever made as a young boy and I love coming back to it, either making a very traditional shortbread (what can beat that?) or a flavoured variation. Continue reading “Simple roasted coffee shortbread – with no rolling out”

Roasted coffee bean butter: a great ingredient for coffee lovers

I am so excited to share this post for roasted coffee bean butter. Coffee is one of my favourite flavours, almost beating chocolate for me. This butter, which is basically freshly ground coffee beans infused with hot butter, has a very rich, deep coffee flavour that you simply cannot get close to when using either instant coffee or even freshly brewed coffee in a bake. Continue reading “Roasted coffee bean butter: a great ingredient for coffee lovers”

Strawberry & lemon dacquoise: with a cheat’s version!

A dacquoise is a wonderful dessert in its own right. I made this one for my partner’s birthday cake as a more dessert-type feel was wanted. Continue reading “Strawberry & lemon dacquoise: with a cheat’s version!”

Earl Grey Tea cupcakes: cupcakes with attitude!

Cupcakes need two key things to work, in my opinion: a light and nicely flavoured sponge and a very well-flavoured, not-too-sweet icing that melts in the mouth. Continue reading “Earl Grey Tea cupcakes: cupcakes with attitude!”

Quick and very easy peach Danish pastries

These are very simple and utterly delicious Danish pastries, made using a short-cut croissant dough, a dough that takes just 20-30 minutes to make, plus time for the made-up dough to chill before using. Seriously, this particular croissant dough is quite fool-proof. Continue reading “Quick and very easy peach Danish pastries”

Cocoa brownies with browned butter & walnuts

 

For my second assignment with the Secret Recipe Club, I was allocated Erin’s wonderful The Spiffy Cookie blog from which to choose a recipe. Continue reading “Cocoa brownies with browned butter & walnuts”

Simple ginger & lemon iced biscuits

Simply crisp ginger shortbreads topped with lemon royal icing! Continue reading “Simple ginger & lemon iced biscuits”

Easy ham, cheese & mustard croissant whirls

Although an unembellished home-made croissant is a truly wonderful thing to eat, savoury variations excite me hugely! Continue reading “Easy ham, cheese & mustard croissant whirls”

Passion fruit & peach tarts (lower-fat!)

Inspired by a passion fruit pannacotta I had a few months ago, these are very simple fragrant tarts that I made for a friend’s birthday: the tarts have a full-on passion fruit flavour, a kick of rum-soaked peaches and the richness of white chocolate in the background. Continue reading “Passion fruit & peach tarts (lower-fat!)”

Afternoon Tea review: The Four Seasons, Dogmersfield, Hampshire

The photos I took for this post are of bakes prepared by The Four Seasons, Dogmersfield, Hampshire Continue reading “Afternoon Tea review: The Four Seasons, Dogmersfield, Hampshire”