A Cornish girl's food adventures

Tag: buttercream

Cherry and tonka bean layer cake

Cherry and tonka bean layer cake

The blossom is just starting to appear on my cherry tree and it reminded me that there was a little stash of last years fruit in my freezer. But what should I do with this treasure that I squirreled away? Make a delicious cake of […]

Squash & apricot loaf

Squash & apricot loaf

What better Autumn teatime treat could there be than a slice of sweetly spiced loaf cake baked with butternut squash and sweet dried apricots? This cake is deliciously moist (sorry, I don’t have another word for it!) and a little like a fruitier carrot cake. […]

Fairing lime creams

Fairing lime creams

Who would have thought that you could improve on a fairing? Well it turns out that you can! And all it takes is some creamy, tangy lime frosting. These will give some serious oomph to your morning tea break!

If you’re not familiar with them fairings are a deliciously spiced biscuit from my home county of Cornwall (we have all the best things down there!) They’re crisp on the outside, a little chewy in the middle and rich with brown sugar, golden syrup, cinnamon and ginger. The flavours go perfectly with the zesty lime in the rich creamy filling.

Ingredients
Makes approx 18
biscuits
175g plain flour
50g soft light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground all spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
100g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
filling
20g sugar
1/2 tbsp plain flour
20g cornflour
1 tbsp lime juice
50ml milk
50g butter
zest of half a lime

Pre-heat your oven to 180°c.
Sift the flour and spices with the raising agents. Add the sugars and use a whisk to combine it all. Use a small pan to gently melt together the butter, syrup and lemon juice. Don’t let it get too hot, you don’t want to burn the sugar. Carefully pour this into the dry ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon, resulting in a nice soft warm dough.
Pull off small chunks of dough and gently roll them into little nuggets, placing them onto a lined baking sheet. Remember you’ll need an even number as these are sandwich biscuits. Make sure that they are spaced apart a little to allow for spreading. Squish each one a little with a knife, don’t worry if the edges crack.
Bake for 10 minutes, by which time they should be golden brown and your kitchen should smell pretty glorious. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool and firm up a little.

Whilst the biscuits bake and cool you can make the filling. Combine everything but the butter and lime zest in a small pan, making sure that there are no lumps. It’s a good idea to stir the milk in last to ensure that the lime juice doesn’t make it curdle. Gently heat the mixture whilst stirring until it turns into a very thick paste. Leave to cool completely.
Put the cooled paste it a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer, beat it until it starts to become a little fluffy. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, with the mixer running, until you have a rich thick, creamy buttercream. Finally, mix in the lime zest. Use the buttercream to sandwich the fairing biscuits together. Store in and airtight container.

Summer berry sponge

Summer berry sponge

Happy summer solstice everyone! It’s the longest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, which means more hours of daylight (and hopefully sunshine) and as far as I’m concerned that’s cause for celebration. One year (a really, really long time […]

Rhubarb & custard cake

Rhubarb & custard cake

The upside of baking your own birthday cake is that you get to have exactly the cake you want. The downside of baking your own birthday cake is baking your own birthday cake! I don’t actually mind to be honest, the kitchen is my happy […]

The best darned frosting in the world!

The best darned frosting in the world!

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!

Ingredients
makes enough to frost 6-8 cupcakes but multiplies easily
100g sugar
15g plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
100ml milk
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.

Gingerbread Viennese Whirls

Gingerbread Viennese Whirls

Oh my word these are good! I didn’t think Viennese whirls could get any more delicious but this festive twist really is good. Melt in the mouth, crumbly, buttery biscuits spiked with fiery ginger and fragrant spices, filled with gooey toffee and rich brandy buttercream? […]

Lemon and eldeflower cupcakes

Lemon and eldeflower cupcakes

I haven’t baked cupcakes in forever. I’m not sure if it’s because they went out of style a little bit or because I’m a pretty greedy person and I’d rather bake one big cake that can be cut into generous slices! These aren’t as sweet […]

Raspberry creme drip cake

Raspberry creme drip cake

If a party without cake is just a meeting then serving up this really would make it a celebration!
I’ve made this cake a couple of times now and it’s always very well received, it looks impressive before you’ve even cut into it. It’s got three layers of deliciously light almond or vanilla flavoured sponge (your choice, both are yummy) sandwiched together with fruity raspberry jam and silky Swiss Meringue buttercream, covered in more raspberry buttercream, smothered in rich chocolate ganache and finished off with some chocolate dipped strawberries – you know, just for good measure. Because if you’re going to do cake you should really DO cake.

Ingredients

sponge
110g butter
375g sugar
320g plain flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
3 eggs
300ml milk
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract (your choice)
swiss meringue buttercream
200g sugar
4 egg whites
265g butter
4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam (plus extra for filling)
chocolate ganache
100g double cream
100g dark chocolate

Start the sponge by pre-heating your oven to 190°c and greasing and lining three standard size cake tins (I think mine are about 8-9″).
Sift together the flour and baking powder then whisk this with the salt and sugar ensuring that they are well mixed. Beat the dry ingredients with the softened butter until you have something that looks a bit like damp sand.
In a separate jug, whisk together the eggs, vanilla or almond extract and milk and then add half of this to the dry mixture and beat it together well, ensuring that there are no lumps. Add the remaining liquid and beat again to combine it all and leave you with a fairly runny batter. Divide this evenly between the three prepared cake tins, level off the surfaces by giving the tins a little shake and pop them in the oven, all on the same shelf if your oven is big enough.
Bake the sponges for around 20 minutes, so that they are risen and golden brown, and if you poke them with a skewer or cake tester it comes out clean. Carefully turn the sponges out onto a wire rack and leave them to cool.

To make the Swiss meringue buttercream put the egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, be careful not to let the water touch the base of the bowl. Add the sugar and use a hand whisk to whip them continuously whilst they heat up. They should become quite foamy and increase in volume. When they are ready to come off the heat, they will feel hot to the touch and the sugar should be totally dissolved.
Take the bowl off the pan of water and use an electric whisk to whip the meringue until it is thick and glossy. If by this stage the base of the bowl has cooled down to room temperature(ish) then you can start to whisk in the butter, a couple of pieces at a time. If the bowl is still warm then the butter will melt so it’s worth waiting until it’s cooled down. Continue to whip the buttercream until you have incorporated all of the butter and it is thick, smooth and creamy. Add the four tablespoons of jam and whisk again until it is well blended with the buttercream.
To assemble the cake decide which of your three sponges has the neatest, flattest bottom so that one can be the top. Put one of the other sponges onto a cake board or serving plate and spread a tablespoon or two of jam on it. Follow this with a layer of the buttercream, not too thick but spreading it right up to the edges of the cake. Pop a second sponge on top and repeat the layers of jam and buttercream again. Add the final sponge and then cover the whole cake with a very thin coat of the buttercream, just to seal in all the crumbs. Put the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes so that everything can firm up a bit. Use the rest of the buttercream to cover the top and sides of the cake with a thicker coating, making it as smooth as possible. Put the cake back in the fridge, this time for at least an hour so that it will be nice and cool when you add the chocolate ganache (this gives the best ‘drip’ effect).

Whilst the cake chills you can decorate the strawberries by simply dipping them in melted white chocolate and then into some sprinkles. Leave them on a sheet of baking parchment to set.
Make the ganache by chopping the chocolate into chunks and placing it in a bowl. Heat the cream so that it is quite warm but not boiling. Pour this over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute before stirring until it’s all well blended. Set aside to cool and thicken to a dripping consistency.
Get the chilled cake out of the oven and spoon the ganache in a ring around the top of it, encouraging a few drips to fall down the sides here and there. Carefully add a bit more ganache to the top to fill in the centre and smooth it off with a palate knife if you need too. Add the strawberries and a scattering of extra sprinkles. Return the cake to the fridge until you’re ready to serve it

Praline and cream cake

Praline and cream cake

It wasn’t until I travelled to Charleston SC that I thought of praline being anything more than the chocolate seashells that Mr Colonial Cravings receives for Christmas every year. But in Charleston we tried some very tasty crunchy little clusters of caramelised pecans. I think […]