I have this thing for lemon at the moment, it may possibly have something to do with the large number of unused lemons I found in the fridge… Anyway, I found an old madeira cake recipe and altered it slightly to get this. It is a heavy madeira style cake with a full on lemon flavour, perfect with grapes and cheese.
- 250g butter (room temperature)
- 250g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 250g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 large unwaxed lemons
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade and butter and flour a 2lb loaf tin.
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating until they are completely incorporated.
- Sieve in the flour and baking powder and gently fold in.
- Finally, stir in the grated rind and juice of the 2 lemons.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for approximately one hour. A cake tester should come out clean.
- Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before removing it and placing it on a wire rack to cool completely.
The best way to describe these is an upmarket iced bun. They have a rich, dense dough, a lemony perfume and are covered with a drizzle of lemon icing.
3 ¾ cups white bread flour
1 tsp instant yeast
¾ cup milk
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup butter
½ tsp salt
1 egg yolk
finely shredded zest of 1 lemon
1 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
Measure out the flour, yeast and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Gently warm the milk, sugar, butter and salt in a pan on a very low heat until the butter has just melted. Take the mixture off the heat and leave for a few minutes to cool.
When cool, pour the butter mixture into the bowl along with the eggs and yolk. Using a wooden spoon mix the ingredients until they form a rough dough. Then, pour the dough onto a work surface and knead until the dough passes the windowpane test. It should be almost tacky to the touch but not runny, you may need to add a little more flour as you kneed.
Clean out the bowl you were using, it doesn’t have to be spotless I normally don’t bother wiping it out but it makes for a better finish. Oil the bowl and turn the dough over in the oil so it has a fine layer over it. Leave the dough in the bowl, covered in a piece of cling film for 1 ½ hours to prove.
It should have doubled in size, if not, leave for another ½ hour.
Knock the dough back then divide it into 6 equal portions, making each into a small ball and leave covered in cling film on a baking tray.
Taking one ball at a time, cut it into 3 equal portions. Roll each section into a rope approximately 6 inches in length. Plait the 3 pieces together and place gently back on the baking tray, cover it with the cling film and repeat with the next ball.
Once they are all completed, leave to prove again for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 170 degree centigrade.
Remove the cling film and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. They may start to brown round the edges after 10 minutes, if so, cover them in foil for the rest of the baking time.
They are done when you tap the bottom of one of the twists and it sounds hollow.
Leave them on a cooling rack to cool for 20 minutes.
Prepare the icing: simply stir the icing sugar with the lemon juice, adding a little at a time until you get a pouring consistency.
Once the twists have had their 20min cooling time, drizzle the icing over them.
If you can wait, leave them for another 10 mins for the icing to harden slightly, then eat!
The problem that I have with the majority of fruit muffins is that they are too sweet. Rather than just cutting down the amount of sugar in my recipe I have incorporated yogurt instead of some of the butter; this gives them a more rounded finish.
185g caster sugar
75g butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten
225ml natural yogurt
375g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
225g frozen raspberries
10g freeze dried strawberries
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees centigrade and line a 12 cup muffin tin with either butter or muffin cases.
Using a small whisk, whip together sugar, butter, eggs and yogurt.
Sieve together the flour and baking powder and fold into the wet ingredients.
Finally fold through the raspberries and strawberries and fill the muffin pan.
Bake the muffins for 25-30minutes. They should be turning brown on the top and a cake tester will come out clean.
Whilst looking through one of my mother’s old cookbooks I stumbled across a recipe for Viennese fingers. Even though the picture was yellowing they still looked delicious. This is my less artistic variation.
8oz butter (softened)
2oz icing sugar
8oz plain flour
finely grated rind of 1 orange
1 tbsp orange juice
8oz milk chocolate
4oz icing sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Cointreau or orange juice
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade.
To make the biscuits, cream together the butter and icing sugar until almost white in colour and fluffy. Fold in the flour, orange rind and juice.
To make the authentic shape, pipe the dough onto baking parchment lined baking sheets using a star shaped nozzle. However, if you don’t have a large star shaped piping nozzle, just pipe long tubes (like I did).
Bake them for 10-15 minutes dependent on how large you made your shapes. They should be going brown all over but not too dark.
Leave on the baking tray to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile make the buttercream filling. Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl and gently mix. Once the icing sugar is almost incorporated use a hand held whisk, food processing machine or if you are feeling energetic a wooden spoon; to beat the mixture till it is light and fluffy.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment for the next 2 steps.
Once the biscuits are cool pipe a line of buttercream onto the flat side of half of the biscuits and sandwich them with the other half; leaving them on the baking tray to harden slightly.
Then, melt down the chocolate and dip one end of the sandwiched biscuits in. Leave them to dry on the baking parchment for about 30 minutes then eat!
These are perfect for a little bite to go with coffee or an extra addition to an afternoon tea menu.
1 1/4 cups of raw peanuts
3/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
45ml melted butter
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown muscovado sugar
Preheat your oven to 170 degree centigrade.
Dry roast the peanuts in a frying pan until they are just starting to brown, leave them to cool then roughly chop them in a food processor.
Whisk together the butter, peanut butter, sugars, milk and egg.
Then, sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and fold in.
Finally, mix in the chopped peanuts.
Using a tablespoon measure, scoop rounds of the mixture onto a lined baking tray and bake for 15-18 minutes.
Leave on the baking tray for 5 mins then place onto a cooling tray to cool completely.
These brownies are chocolate heaven. I have forgone the usual nuts and berries and added mixed chocolate chips to the batter. As far as I am concerned this makes them the ultimate chocolate treat.
340g dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
400g granulated sugar
225g white bread flour
½ tsp baking powder
300g mixed chocolate drops
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees centigrade.
Meanwhile warm the dark chocolate and butter together in a bowl over simmering water. When the chocolate has completely melted, take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
Line a 12 x 7 inch traybake pan with baking parchment.
Whip the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy, then fold into the cooled chocolate mixture.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into the batter and mix until just combined, then fold in the chocolate drops.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Leave in the pan to cool.
I know that I have posted a shortbread recipe before, but after spending 5 hours continuously making shortbread for a wedding I wanted to make a note of my definitive version.
250g salted butter (slightly softened)
250g plain flour
125g rice flour
125g castor sugar
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or equivalent.
Measure all the ingredients into a big bowl.
Rub the mixture between your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. This shouldn’t take any more than a couple of minutes.
Squeeze the breadcrumbs together to form a ball of dough.
Roll the dough between 2 pieces of baking parchment to a depth of approximately 1cm then cut out small rounds using your favourite cutter.
Put your biscuits onto a lined baking tray and bake for 10 – 14 minutes.
Leave on the tray for another 5 minutes before transferring them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
In my opinion no pastry selection is complete without a choux bun. The favourite in my house is in the form of a chocolate éclair. Unless I have the whole weekend to myself I don’t make my own pastry cream as I am never content with either the sweetness or consistency of my attempts. So, I cheat. I buy readymade pastry cream (creme patissiere) from the supermarket and mix it with gently whipped cream. Perfect!
Choux Pastry – makes around 35 small éclairs/buns
½ tsp table salt
¾ tsp castor sugar
150g plain flour
4 large eggs
Combine the water, milk, butter, salt and sugar in a pan over a low heat until the butter has melted. Turn up the heat and boil the mixture for 1 minute.
Take it off the heat and beat in the flour with a wooden spoon.
Put it back onto the heat for another minute mixing constantly so it doesn’t catch.
Turn the dough into a bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time.
Pipe the mixture onto a sheet of baking parchment in whatever form you like.
Bake at 220 degrees centigrade for 5 minutes then open the oven door a little and keep it like that for a further 10 -20 minutes dependent on the size of the buns.
I used 50:50 whipped cream and crème patisserie from Marks and Spencers for these but you can use pure whipped cream.
Simply cut the buns in half using a bread knife and pipe in the filling.
Melt 100g dark chocolate with 20g of butter. Beat in 170g of sifted icing sugar and enough water to make a thick paste. Gently spread the paste over the filled buns and put into the fridge to set.
Until this week I had never been a fan of chocolate bread and butter pudding. It always seemed too sweet or too bitter dependent on the recipe that I followed. However, I found a recipe on someone’s blog for one that used cocoa powder in the custard and almonds instead of fruit, so I gave the idea a little more thought. This recipe uses the same method but the ingredients have been altered to my family’s taste.
Ingredients (serves 4)
200g brioche, preferably stale, cut into 1cm cubes
35g caster sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt crystals
400ml full fat milk
100g chocolate drops or chunks (I use 60% cocoa solids chocolate when cooking as I find 70% or over dominates the other flavours)
50g blanched almonds – roughly chopped
Find a dish with a flat base and lay out the cubes of brioche over the base.
Gently whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, vanilla, sea salt and milk and pour it over the brioche.
Put the dish into the fridge for about an hour so that the custard seeps into the bread.
…50 minutes later…
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade or equivalent.
…10 minutes later…
½ fill 4 x 250ml ramekins with the soggy bread mixture. Use up half of the chocolate and almonds by spreading them on top of each dish. Repeat with the rest of the bread, then top with the rest of the chocolate and almonds.
Put the ramekins into a roasting pan (or other high sided pan) and pour just boiled water into the pan, up to 2/3 the height of the ramekins.
Bake the puddings for 20-25 mins, they should still have a little bit of wobble when they come out.
They are prefect on their own but I like mine with cream poured into a hole I make in the middle.
This recipe is altered slightly from the one that came with this Nordicware tin. You may notice that the cake itself is not made with honey, just the glaze. This is not an oversight. The flavour of the honey comes out a lot better when used in the glaze than when it is baked into the cake.
450g plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp table salt
250g softened butter
350g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
300ml soured cream
4 tbsp honey
75g icing sugar
Juice of 1 lemon (2 ½ tbsp approx)
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade or equivalent.
Butter and flour (or use cake easy spray) a bundt pan. You can use 2 large loaf tins if you don’t have a bundt tin.
Sieve the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
Then, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time beating between each addition until the egg is fully incorporated into the batter.
One third at a time, fold the flour mixture, soured cream and zest into the batter.
Pour into the pan and bake for 45-50 mins, until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the pan for 10 mins, meanwhile make the glaze. Simply, add all of the ingredients into a pan and warm gently until all of the sugar has dissolved.
Turn out the cake onto a wire rack and, using the skewer/cocktail stick, make small holes in the recesses of the cake, about 2/3 of the way down. Then, pour the glaze all over the top of the cake so that the glaze goes down into the cake.
Leave at least 20 more minutes before eating, if you can wait that long!