Tangy fruit éclairs & tips for a neat glaze finish

A fruity take on éclairs: one of my favourite pastry treats. Fresh, frozen or even tinned soft fruit work well here to give a sticky, tangy icing. In this post, I also give a recipe for an easy fruit mousse filling and tips for getting a neat sticky glaze. Continue reading “Tangy fruit éclairs & tips for a neat glaze finish”

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Toasted nut chocolates

These crisp chocolate shells are filled with a rich chocolate ganache that has been blended with toasted and crushed nuts: a kind of grown-up Nutella, with a soft, melt-in-the-mouth finish. And this is a great way to use up the remains of various packets of nuts that were opened ages ago! Continue reading “Toasted nut chocolates”

Harry Potter Spell Book birthday cake

This is my Harry Potter-themed cake for the daughter of one of my colleagues. Chocolate sponge and salted caramel buttercream, with various fondant Potterisms I made….. Continue reading “Harry Potter Spell Book birthday cake”

smoked sea-salted caramel chocolates

Caramel-filled chocolates are right up there among my favourite chocolates to make, so this time I used smoked sea salt to flavour the caramel. These are great to give to people as gifts or simply to munch on without guilt! Continue reading “smoked sea-salted caramel chocolates”

Cascading Maltesers cake & chocolate wraps!

Maltesers have always been one of my favourite sweets: honeycomb and chocolate – a perfect match, and I often make chocolate cakes using Maltesers. This particular cake was made for my 6th formers at school.   Continue reading “Cascading Maltesers cake & chocolate wraps!”

Orange & coconut domes

These tangy, refreshing and very simple desserts need to be eaten with no shame whatsoever! They are great for parties, buffets, Afternoon Tea or just as a sweet treat whenever the mood takes you. Continue reading “Orange & coconut domes”

Lemon and elderflower cake

A simple cake: tangy, refreshing and with the level of indulgence needed to satisfy any cake craving! Continue reading “Lemon and elderflower cake”

Guinness and chocolate cake

This is a suitably rich cake with the deep, but not over-powering, flavour of Guinness and the refreshing topping of white chocolate, tangy crème fraîche and cream. Easy to make, it is a cake that demands more than one slice…..or maybe that is just me being greedy!! Continue reading “Guinness and chocolate cake”

Lime & ginger Battenberg cake

Having not made a Battenberg cake in a long time, I felt it time to re-visit this very firm favourite of mine. This time I went for the wonderful flavours of lime and ginger: two ingredients that go so well together.

Continue reading “Lime & ginger Battenberg cake”

Mocha walnut loaf cake

My rich chocolate loaf cake with a kick of coffee and the crunch of fabulous walnuts: a combination that makes what I think is a perfect tea-time treat! Continue reading “Mocha walnut loaf cake”

Passionfruit macarons

I adore passionfruit and I need no excuses to use its fragrant sharpness in a dish: these macarons are filled with a simple passionfruit filling which cuts through the sweetness of the shells. Continue reading “Passionfruit macarons”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

“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”

Blackcurrant and mint fondant fancies

Blackcurrant and mint make a truly wonderful combination, and used together here you get what I think are particularly vibrant and refreshing treats. 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!)”

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!”

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”

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”

Crispy gingerbread cake bites

If you ever have left-over cake (“why would I?”, you might ask!), or have cake that is starting to go stale, these very easy bites will use up the cake for a delicious sweet treat. Continue reading “Crispy gingerbread cake bites”

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”

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”

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”

Smoked salted honeycomb

This is my take on honeycomb, playing up to my absolute love of salted caramel by incorporating a little smoked sea salt – an ingredient that is now readily available in supermarkets here in the UK. But made with standard sea salt, and you still have a marvellous sweet treat. Continue reading “Smoked salted honeycomb”

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”

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”

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”

Coloured mirror glazes

(Post updated: June 2018). 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), the theme for this evening being Alice in Wonderland. 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”

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!”

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”

Easy bitter orange pains au chocolat

England and France unite in this English breakfast variation on pains au chocolat, with the addition of a bitter orange kick from a little marmalade inside the pastries, as well as being used to glaze them. Continue reading “Easy bitter orange pains au chocolat”

Tangy blackcurrant chocolates

 

I have such a weakness for chocolate: mass-produced chocolate often hits the spot but the exquisite ones you can buy in artisan chocolate shops are always a treat. Continue reading “Tangy blackcurrant chocolates”

Passion fruit & peach tarts (lower-fat!)

Inspired by a passion fruit pannacotta I had a few months ago, these are very simple 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. Continue reading “Passion fruit & peach tarts (lower-fat!)”