So you’ve heard of lemon drizzle cake right? Well soak cake is what happens when you make a little too much delicious drizzling syrup and don’t want to waste any of it! Seriously, this cake is literally drenched in deliciously fragrant, sweet, sticky syrup. Because […]
I’ve never been much of one for rich dark fruit cake. I love dried fruit but I always find fruit cakes to be a bit too sweet and full-on. Something like this is much more my cup of tea, more cake than fruit and a lighter cake at that. It’s no-where near as rich as a dark fruit cake but there’s still plenty of flavour.
The sweet marsala wine is delicious in this if you don’t want to invest in a bottle then golden rum is a good alternative or if you don’t want the booze at all then a little orange juice will do the job.
Dusting the cherries in a little flour before adding them to the mix will help to stop them from sinking to the bottom of cake as it bakes.
3 tbsp marsala (see note above)
50g pine nuts
100g butter, softened
175g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
25g ground almonds
75g glace cherries, halved
3 tbsp milk
Demerara sugar to finish
Combine the sultanas and the marsala in a small pan and gently heat for a few minutes before setting a side for 30 minutes, this will help the fruit to plump up. Grease and line a spring-form cake tin and pre-heat your oven to 180°c.
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Put the butter, sugar, almonds and flour into a mixing bowl and beat it until it is well combined. Drain the fruit (setting the soaking liquid to one side) and mix this into the mixture along with 40g of the pine nuts.
Whisk together the soaking liquid, eggs and milk and then beat this into the dry mixture to form a soft cake batter. Fold through the cherries and then pour the batter into the prepared tin. Level off the top and sprinkle it with a little demerara sugar and the last of the pine nuts to give the finished cake a nice crunchy top.
Bake the cake for about 30 minutes and then carefully open the oven door and cover the top with foil. Bake the cake for a further 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.
I’m a bit funny about frosting, I find it can be a bit hit or miss. All too often it’s too sweet and sugary or it can be grainy rather than silky smooth, or worst of all it can become crusty with a hard sugar shell forming around a squishy middle.
Swiss meringue buttercream is wonderful and avoids all of these pitfalls but it does take rather a lot of time and effort, not to mention egg whites!
This recipe is my new favourite. It solves all of my frosting issues in one. It’s rich and silky, without even a hint of graininess and it isn’t overly sweet. It also feels seriously luxurious in spite of the fact that it requires less butter than some other frosting recipes. It really is an all round winner!
I baked up half the quantity of the sponge from my chocolate caramel fudge cake to pipe this on, let’s face it if you’re making the best chocolate frosting ever then you want to serve it with equally amazing cake!
makes enough to frost 6-8 cupcakes but multiplies easily
15g plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
50g dark chocolate
100g butter, room temperature
Place the sugar, flour, cornflour and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and whisk together to combine. Stir in the milk and then set the pan over a low heat. Gently heat the mixture, stirring continuously, until it starts to bubble and forms a very thick custard. Set aside to cool completely.
Melt the chocolate and let this cool too.
Put the custard mixture in a bowl and beat it with an electric mixer until it become a little more pale in colour. Beat in the melted chocolate and then follow this with the butter, adding a little at a time until it is all incorporated and you have a light, thick, fluffy frosting which is perfect for piping.
Sausage rolls are such a classically British snack. I was always quite surprised that they weren’t more popular in the States given how much they love pork but I guess their sausages aren’t quite the same as a good old British banger.
Back in the far mists of time, when I used to eat meat, I was always quite partial to a sausage roll, although if I’m honest I was always far more in it for the pastry than the pork. This veggie version is spot-on as far as I’m concerned. Crisp, flaky pastry filled with a soft flavourful filling, they’re delicious hot or cold.
320g ready-made, ready rolled puff pastry
1 red pepper, roasted and skinned
1 can of chickpeas
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
salt and pepper to taste
butter or oil for frying
sesame seeds (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment or a silicone mat.
Dice the onion and fry it in a little oil or butter until it is soft and just starting to colour. Roughly chop the red pepper and crumble the feta. Lightly beat the egg. Put everything except the pastry (obviously), one tablespoon of the egg and the sesame seeds in the bowl of a food processor. Whizz it all together until you have something that resembles a thick chunky hummus that holds its shape.
Unroll the pastry and place it with the long edge towards you. Cut the pastry horizontally to leave you with two even sized pieces. Divide the filling mixture into two portions and place each in a line down the centre of each piece of pastry. Brush one of the long edges of each piece of pastry with a little of the remaining beaten egg and carefully fold the dough over to cover the filling. Push down the edge to seal the sausage rolls, if you want to crimp the edge for decoration my top tip is to roll a fluted pastry cutter along the edge.
Brush the sausage rolls with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle them with a few sesame seeds. Cut each roll into eight even sized pieces and transfer them to the prepared baking tray. Bake them 25 minutes until they are gorgeously golden and the pastry is crisp.