01 Feb 2016

Raspberry and Almond Heart Tarts

No Comments Baking and Tarts / Pies

Frangipane and raspberry jam filled tarts with hearts on top for Valentines Day. These are quick to make and look great.

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05 Jan 2016

Manchester Tart

No Comments Baking and Tarts / Pies

Similar to a Bakewell tart but with custard instead of frangipane topping, a Manchester tart consists of an almond shortbread crust with raspberry jam and vanilla creme patissiere, coconut and cherries. This recipe makes anough pastry and custard for the equivalent of 3 x 20cm tarts, but I made two 15cm tarts and two 10cm tarts. You can also mix the recipe up by using half of the pastry to make banana custard tarts. This is where Dr Oetker’s Banoffee Sprinkles add a nice finishing touch.

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12 Dec 2015

Dominosteine

No Comments Baking and Bars / Traybakes

Just like the Eskimos have 300 words for snow, Germany must have close to that many types of different gingerbread (especially at Christmas). Domiosteine are traditional at Christmas and consist of chocolate coated squares with a soft gingerbread base (the Lebkuchen kind, not the hard, biscuit kind),  jelly in the middle, then rum soaked marzipan on top. The marzipan has chunks of chopped walnuts in. This is a fairly time consuming recipe – the gingerbread needs to cool before the other layers are added and the chocolate needs to set before serving.

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12 Nov 2015

Pudsey Bars

No Comments Baking and Bars / Traybakes

Raise money for Children in Need with these almond sponge cake bars filled with white chocolate and homemade jam. It’s a bit more creative than just dropping a pound in the bucket on the way in to work, and it’s easy enough to make that I had time to buy the ingredients and bake this after work on without advance notice.

For anyone not in the UK, “Pudsey” is the mascot for the Children in Need charity which runs a national collection every year. He has one eye and is covered in multi-coloured spots (hence the sprinkles). Read more

26 Oct 2015

Dracula’s Blood Cupcakes

No Comments Baking and Cupcakes

Having stocked the cupboards with damson and plum jam, I happen to have a kitchen full of blood coloured gooiness. I’ve tried a few sponge recipes and all tend to end up too heavy or too airy. These were perfect. The crumb was dense enough to hold together, but full of flavour and not dry. My secret this time was time spent beating the mixture – at least 5 minutes before adding the flour, then another 5 after to mix everything really well.

I fill them with at least 1 tbsp of plum jam and frosted with strawberry buttercream. The blood drips on top are more jam and if you look closely, there are also some vampire lips on each.

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09 Jul 2015

Jaffa Drizzle Mini Loaves

No Comments Baking, Bars / Traybakes and Breads

Chocolate and orange are a great combination. I prefer mini loaves to individual Jaffa cakes – they’re easier to decorate and you can slice them for different serving sizes. I topped these with chocolate ganache and candied orange peel.

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28 Jun 2015

Summer Strawberry Sponge Slices

No Comments Baking and Bars / Traybakes

After limited success with Victoria sponge in the past, I was dubious about trying this variation. These slices aren’t really the same as a regular Victoria sponge because they’re made in a square, not a circle. Despite the shape, they were easier to work with than a full sized sponge cake. The only change I’d make is using bigger slices next time – the smaller/thinner you slice each piece, the less ‘scaffolding’ there is to hold the strawberries and cream inside.

Strawberries and cream slice assembly

Layering the strawberries and cream

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14 Jun 2015

Tula Gingerbread

No Comments Baking and Cookies

I’ve tried a few different gingerbread recipes in the past, but usually they’re just a solid biscuit. These gingerbread cookies from Tula are a type of Russian gingerbread filled with jam. I filled mine with marzipan too, because… I like marzipan. They held their shape fairly well during baking, but they did spread a bit. If you plan to make them as gingerbread men you may need a fairly chunky gingerbread man cookie cutter.


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31 May 2015

Princesstårta

No Comments Baking and Cupcakes

In honour of Sweden’s awful winning Eurovision entry, I bit the bullet and made Princesstårta cupcakes. One of the more fiddly, time consuming cupcakes due to the multiple layers of cake and filling. The Princesstårta is a cross between a Victoria Sandwich and a Boston Cream Pie covered in marzipan. Created by Jenny Åkerström in the 1930s for a Swedish princess, it’s usually a full sized cake. These miniature versions are slightly bigger than a cupcake and have layers of jam, whipped cream and custard.


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16 May 2015

Peanut Butter Jelly Fingers

No Comments Baking, Bars / Traybakes and Cookies

A no-bake version of peanut butter jelly bars. Great if you like peanut butter, these have a layer of peanut butter and jam sandwiched between layers of cashew granola. These are fairly delicate and don’t hold together as well as the baked version but are delicious all the same.

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