I love a recipe that’s accidentally vegan. I often find that they tend to be the least ‘detectably vegan’ recipes too. These only came about because I had a batch of applesauce that I desperately wanted to get out of the freezer to make way […]
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 ago) I actually spent the summer solstice at Stonehenge, which really was quite a party!
I think this cake is a perfect celebration of summer with all those juicy seasonal berries, it actually reminds me a little bit of a Swedish Midsummer Cake. It’s essentially a gussied-up Victoria sponge but with white chocolate frosting that makes it just a little bit more special. Whether you’re celebrating the solstice or not, how could you resist a slice of this!?
the weight of the eggs (inc shells) in butter, sugar and self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk
zest of 1 lemon
150g mixed berries (whatever is in season)
1/2 tbsp cornflour
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp cornflour
100g white chocolate
100g butter, room temperature
extra berries to decorate
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease two sandwich tins. Place a disc of baking parchment in the base of each just to be extra certain that nothing is going to stick.
Weigh your eggs, in their shells so that you know how much flour, butter and sugar you’ll need.
Sift together the flour and baking powder a couple of times and set it aside. This will get plenty of air into it.
Beat together the lemon zest, butter and sugar until it is pale, thick and fluffy, this should take a minute or two using a hand or stand mixer.
Lightly beat each egg and mix them into the butter and sugar one at a time. Follow each one with a spoonful of the flour and beat it well. Sift the remaining flour into the batter in two batches and carefully fold it in.
Finally stir in the milk to loosen the mixture to a nice soft dropping consistency. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two prepared tins and level off the tops. Bake them in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes. Once the time is up open the oven door and test that the sponges are cooked with a skewer. Give them another minute or two if it doesn’t come out clean. They should feel light and springy once they are cooked.
Put the cooked sponges on a wire rack and let them cool in the tins for five minutes then turn them out on the rack and carefully remove the greaseproof paper. Allow them to completely cool before you fill them.
Whilst the cakes bake and cool you can make the filling and frosting so that they have time to cool too.
Combine the berries with the sugar, cornflour and lemon juice in a small pan. Heat the fruit
until it starts to break down a little and the juices thicken to create a jammy compote. Leave to cool and thicken.
Next it’s onto the frosting. Whisk together the sugar, flour and cornflour in a small saucepan. Stir in the milk, making sure that it’s all well blended 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 this aside to cool completely. Melt the chocolate and let this cool too.
Put the cold custard mixture into a bowl and beat it with an electric mixer until it is slightly aerated. 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 nice thick, fluffy frosting.
To assemble the cake place one of the sponges on a serving plate and spread it with the berry compote. Top this with half of the frosting and then sandwich on the second sponge. Use the remaining frosting to decorate the top, spreading it smoothly and just lightly grazing the sides of the cake. Finish it off by piling some pretty, fresh berries into the centre of the cake and adding a quick dusting of icing sugar.
I think baked cheesecakes might be my super-power. (Making them and eating them). I never really have any problems with them and they always turn out well, slightly soft and rich and creamy, the way a baked cheesecake should be. This one is no exception – I mean just look at it… You know you just want to grab a fork and get stuck in to all that gooey toasted marshmallow!
There are a few very simple rules to follow when making a baked cheesecake which should more or less guarantee you dessert success. Always make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before you start. Wrap the base of the tin really well in tin foil and bake the cheesecake in a water bath. Finally let it cool in the oven before you chill it in the fridge – a good cheesecake cannot be rushed!
200g digestive biscuits
500g full fat cream cheese
200g sour cream
150g dark chocolate
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Start by lightly greasing a spring-form cake tin and securely wrapping the base with foil. Pre-heat your oven to 180°c. Crush the biscuits, either in a food processor or if you’re feeling a little tense then by putting them in a plastic bag and bashing them about with a rolling pin (Baking can be so therapeutic!). Melt the butter and combine this with the biscuit crumbs before pressing the mixture firmly into the tin. Pop this in the fridge to firm up whilst you make the filling.
Melt the chocolate (in a double boiler or microwave) and set this aside to cool a bit. Put the cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat them together until they are smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Mix in the sour cream and then add the chocolate, making sure that it is well blended. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base. Give the tin a little shimmy to level things off before giving it a couple of sharp taps to knock out any excess air bubbles. Put the tin in a bain-marie and bake the cheesecake for 40-45 minutes. Once it’s done it should still be a little wobbly in the middle but be a little puffed up and brown around the edges. Turn off the oven and take the cheesecake out of its water bath but leave it in the oven to cool. Once it’s room temperature move it to the fridge to chill.
Make the marshmallow topping by combining all of the ingredients in a spotlessly clean heatproof bowl. Place this over a pan of gently simmering water, be careful not to let the water touch the base of the bowl. Use a hand whisk to whip this continuously whilst it heats up. The mixture should become quite foamy and increase in volume. When the marshmallow is ready to come off the heat, it will feel hot to the touch and the sugar should be totally dissolved. Take the bowl off the pan of water and then use an electric whisk to whip the marshmallow until it is thick and glossy. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin and place it on a serving plate. Pipe or swirl the marshmallow on top, creating a peak effect. Use a kitchen blowtorch to toast and brown the marshmallow before serving.
I’m totally converted to vegan banana bread, I always get better results from it than from my more traditional recipe and I’m really not sure that I can tell the difference as far as the flavour is concerned. That’s especially true of this recipe, which […]
What do you call this? Honeycomb? Cinder toffee? Hokey pokey? Mr Colonial Cravings always laughs at me when I call it hokey pokey, but that’s what we call it in Cornwall and I think it’s pretty cute. Whatever name you have for it, this gingerbread flavoured version is just what your homemade gift repertoire has been waiting for!
It goes without saying that you have to be super-careful when you’re making this (it’s not one to do with kids) as the sugar will be crazy-hot and can give you a nasty burn if you splash yourself with it. It’s useful to have a jam thermometer but you can always test for ‘hard crack’ stage by dropping a tiny bit of the caramel into some ice-water.
6 tbsp golden syrup
2 1/4 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
about 150g dark chocolate for coating
Mix together the spices and bicarbonate of soda and set aside until later. Line a deep sided baking tin or dish with foil and lightly oil.
Combine the sugar and syrup in a large heavy based saucepan and bring to boiling point. Heat until it reaches 140°c or ‘hard crack’ stage. Remove from the heat and quickly and carefully whisk in the spices and bicarbonate of soda so that the toffee foams up excitedly. Be very careful!
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and let it set and harden – don’t be temped to touch it and don’t try to spread it out, it’s just going to do what it wants to do!
Once it has hardened, cooled and set, cut or break it into bite sized pieces. Melt the chocolate and dip the honeycomb into it to half coat them and then leave them on a wire rack to set.
The tiny bits and dust from breaking up the honeycomb is really delicious sprinkled onto whipped cream on top of hot chocolate by the way!
If anyone can think of a catchier name for this then I would love to hear it. It is a bit of a mouthful, no pun intended. I’ve met quite a few Americans who find the fact that we Brits often refer to dessert as […]