I love basil ice cream and it’s something that I’ve made a few times before. I like it most when it’s paired with something fruity and a little bit sharp and acidic, I really think it brings out the fragrant flavours of the basil. Using […]
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 don’t actually think I can get enough of rhubarb. I bloomin’ love the stuff! The ancient plant in my garden is much happier this year than last year which means I have a small but steady supply of it too.
This is a lovely summery dessert and if you scale down the portions a little it would be perfect for afternoon tea (i.e. make 6 instead of 4). The shortcakes are so light and fluffy and the custard is cool, rich and creamy. The flavours are great together too, tart rhubarb and sweet vanilla and pistachios are a delicious combination.
200g plain flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar (plus a bit extra for finishing)
pinch of salt
70g pistachios, coarsely ground
poppyseeds for sprinkling
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
280ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla paste
250g (approx) rhubarb
3 tsp sugar
1 tbsp gin (optional)
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and lightly grease a baking tray.
Slice the rhubarb into 1″ pieces and toss them in the 3 teaspoons of sugar and the gin (if using) and place them in an oven-proof dish. Pop the rhubarb in the oven and bake it until it’s tender, which should take about 15 minutes. Leave to cool once cooked.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt before lightly rubbing in the butter with your fingertips. Mix through the ground pistachios.
Beat together the buttermilk and egg and then use this to bring the dry ingredients together to form a soft dough. You may not need all of the liquid so just add it a bit at a time. Be as gentle as you can with the dough, or your shortcakes will be tough once they’re baked.
Pat the dough out onto a lightly floured surface so that it’s about 1″ thick. Use a pastry cutter to stamp out your shortcakes, being careful not to twist it. Re-roll the off cuts of dough as necessary.
Place the shortcakes onto the prepared baking tray and brush the tops with any of the remaining egg/buttermilk mixture (or just buttermilk if you used all of the egg mix in the dough) and then sprinkle them with sugar and poppyseeds. Bake them for 12-15 minutes and then leave them to cool on a wire rack. They should be lightly golden once they are baked.
Whilst the shortcakes bake you can make the custard filling. Pour the milk into a smallish pan and gently heat until it just starts to simmer. Meanwhile whisk together all of the other ingredients in a mixing bowl until they are quite thick and fluffy. Whilst still whisking (you may need to steady the bowl) pour the warm milk into the eggs through a sieve in a steady stream. Keep the egg mixture moving or they will curdle, leaving you with sugary scrambled eggs.
Rinse out the saucepan and then return the custard mixture to it. Gently heat the custard over a low light, stirring continuously, until it becomes very thick and creamy and then remove it from the heat. Cover the surface with clingfilm to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool before slicing the shortcakes in half and filling with the creamy custard and tart rhubarb.
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 […]