For the pastry: Add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar to a mixing bowl. Add the grated butter and rub the mixture between your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Drizzle the milk over the mixture and bring it together with your hands. Shape the pastry into a ball, slice it in half and flatten each into a flat disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
For the filling: Add the corn flour to a large mixing bowl and stir in 50ml of the milk. Add the egg yolks and 50g caster sugar and whisk together. Set aside. Pour the 450ml milk into a small saucepan and add the other 50g caster sugar and ground cinnamon to it. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Take it from the heat as tiny bubbles start to appear around the edges. Drizzle the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture while whisking vigorously. Now pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place it on medium-low heat. Stir continuously until thickened. Allow to cook for 30 seconds before removing from the heat. Add the vanilla and mix through. Pour the mixture into a shallow bowl and then place plastic wrap directly on its surface. Allow to cool completely.
Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough to a 5mm thickness. Cut 12 circles with a 12cm diameter from the dough. Spoon 30ml of the filling on the pastry circle. Wet the edges of the circle with water and fold the dough over into a half-moon shape. Seal and crimp the edges with a fork. Refrigerate the pies for 30 minutes. Heat 6cm vegetable oil in a saucepan and fry 3 pies at a time for 6 minutes, flipping them over every now and then. Drain on paper towels. The hand pies may be served as is or sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
These tiny loaves are deliciously moist and lemony and can be baked as cupcakes as well. The recipe yields about 10 mini loaves or 24 cupcakes.
200g flour 1,2ml baking powder 1,2ml bicarbonate of soda 1,2ml salt 15ml poppy seeds 105ml vegetable oil 210g sugar grated zest of 1 lemon 3 eggs 150g sour cream 7,5ml vanilla 15ml lemon juice
Lemon Buttercream: 200g butter, room temperature grated zest of half a lemon 10ml vanilla 15ml lemon juice 330g icing sugar, sifted
Preheat your oven to 160℃ and line 12 x mini-loaf tins with paper cups (2 x 12-hole muffin tins). Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together. Add the poppy seeds and set aside. Add the vegetable oil, sugar and lemon zest to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on medium-high speed and mix for 1 minute. Turn the mixer down to a slow speed and add the eggs, one at a time. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Turn back on to a low speed and add the flour mixture a spoonful at a time. Now add the sour cream, vanilla and lemon juice and mix until combined. Divide the batter among the paper cups and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
For the buttercream: Add the butter and lemon zest to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed for 2 minutes, scrape down the bowl and mix for another 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer to medium speed and add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time. Pipe/spread on to the cupcakes.
The recipe yields a small batch of around 16 small donuts. Feel free to double-up!!
80ml greek yoghurt 45ml lemon curd 10ml lemon zest 190ml self-raising flour vegetable oil for deep frying icing sugar
Add the yoghurt, lemon curd and zest to a mixing bowl and mix together. Add about two thirds of the flour and mix through. You should have a very thick, sticky dough. To test the consistency, break off a piece and roll between your palms. If you can’t form a ball and the dough is too sticky, add sour flour, mix again and give it another try. You want as little flour as possible so that you produce a light, airy donut. Scoop up 15ml of the dough with a measuring spoon and roll between your palms to make a ball. Place the balls on a tray lined with baking paper. Pour some vegetable oil about 5cm deep, into a small saucepan. Heat to 170℃. Add the donuts to the preheated oil and fry in batches until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Arrange on a serving plate and dust with icing sugar.
Preheat your oven to 180℃ and line a 25cm x 11cm loaf tin with baking paper. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon to a mixing bowl. Set aside. Add the eggs, mashed banana and oil to a jug and whisk together until amalgamated. Pour the mixture into the flour and mix just until you can no longer see dry ingredients. Add the grated carrot and pecan nuts and fold through until evenly distributed. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Test the bread by inserting a skewer to see if it comes out clean. Cool in the loaf tin for 10 minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack. The bread should be completely cooled before slicing.
Preheat your oven to 200℃. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven for 10 minutes. Give the pan a shake halfway through baking time. Spread the warm nuts between two tea towels and rub them so that the skins come off. Turn your oven temperature down to 180℃ and spray a 22cm loose-bottom cake tin with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the tin with baking paper. Add 200g of the cooled hazelnuts to a food processor and blitz until fine – a similar texture to that of breadcrumbs. Add the butter and chocolate to a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt. Remove from the heat and stir in the ground hazelnuts. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks and sugar to a mixing bowl and beat for 4 minutes with an electric whisk. Add it to the hazelnut mixture and stir by hand until well combined. Pour in the orange juice and stir through. Add the egg whites to a clean bowl and whisk to stiff peaks. Spoon a third of the whites into the hazelnut mixture and stir through to loosen. Now add the remaining whites and gently fold through. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the cake and leave to cool in the baking tin for 30 minutes. Unclip the outside ring and invert the cake on a serving plate. Pull off the baking paper and leave the cake to cool completely. Melt about 80g of hazelnut chocolate, pour on the cake and sprinkle over the remaining hazelnuts.
You can top these cupcakes with a chocolate ganache icing or leave them plain – I prefer plain as they are sweet and gooey with the melted Easter egg on the inside.
200g butter, room temperature 200g sugar 200g flour 83ml cocoa powder, sifted 7,5ml baking powder 1,2ml bicarbonate of soda 2,5ml salt 150ml sour cream 2 eggs, lightly beaten 7,5ml vanilla 12 small, filled chocolate eggs
Preheat your oven to 180℃ and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cups. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together on high speed, scrape down the bowl and mix again on high speed. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Mix on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and add the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Stir through by hand until just incorporated. Divide the batter between the 12 paper cups and insert a filled chocolate egg in each. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
These little cakes can be baked in a 12-hole muffin tin when lined with paper cups. Baking time remains the same.
175g butter, room temperature 175g brown sugar 30g + 200g Biscoff spread 3 eggs 175g self-raising flour
Preheat your oven to 160℃ and spray 6 ramekins with cooking spray. Add the butter, sugar and Biscoff spread to a mixing bowl. Whisk with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time while mixing. Add the self-raising flour and mix on low speed until incorporated. Divide the batter between the 6 ramekins. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack.
Decant about 200g of Biscoff spread and place in the microwave oven for 20 second spurts. Stir the spread and micro again until you have a pourable consistency. Place the cooled cakes on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet and pour over the spread. Stand for 30 minutes until set.
If there had to be a cake that I could not live without, it would be this Vanilla Cake. It is plain and simple, has the finest, most delicate crumb and can be dressed up or down with icing, cream, fresh fruit, steamed fruit or a compote. Whichever way you choose to eat yours, I hope this becomes one of your very favourite cakes too! Please note: THERE ARE DIFFERENT BAKING TIMES DEPENDING ON WHETHER YOU BAKE THE CAKE IN ONE OR TWO CAKE TINS.
Preheat your oven to 180℃ and spray two 22cm loose-bottom cake tins and line the base and sides with baking paper. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a mixing bowl and whisk to mix through. Add the eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed for 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the sugar with the mixer still running. Now beat on high speed until the mixture is three times its original volume – about 7 minutes or so. Scatter a third of the flour on the surface and mix on the lowest speed until the flour is just incorporated. Keep going until there is no flour left. Add the butter and milk to a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is warm when you put your finger in it. NB: you want the butter to melt but NOT boil the milk! Pour the milk-mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and vegetable oil and whisk through with a hand whisk. Add about 250ml of the egg and flour mixture and vigorously whisk to combine. The batter must be smooth. Turn the mixer on to a low speed and very slowly pour in the milk mixture. Scrape down the sides and base of the bowl. Beat on low speed for 20 seconds. Divide the batter between the prepared cake tins. Lift each tin 5cm from the work surface and drop it – repeat a few times to knock out the large air bubbles. Place the cake tins in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and cool in the tins for 15 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks and removing the baking paper. Leave to cool completely before filling with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
100g pistacchio nuts, roughly chopped about 16 medium figs 50ml honey
For the pastry: Add the butter and sifted icing sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Run the machine until the mixture is well combined and pasty. Add the flour and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Scrape down. Drizzle a few drops of the egg into the bowl with the engine running. Add a few more drops at a time until the mixture comes together. (You may have egg left and that is okay – the less you need the crispier the pastry!) Shape the pastry into a disc, wrap it with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 190℃. You will use a 22cm loose-bottom flan tin but do not spray or butter the tin! Roll the pastry to a 3mm thickness and line the bottom and sides of the tin. Dock the pastry with a fork and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and weights/beans and set aside to cool.
For the Crème Pâtissière: Add the corn flour to a mixing bowl. Pour a small amount of the milk into the owl and stir to make a slurry with the corn flour. Add the egg yolks and half the sugar. Whisk by hand until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside. Pour the rest of the milk and the rest of the sugar into a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Take the milk from the heat as soon as tiny bubbles start to appear around the edge of the saucepan. Drizzle the warm mixture onto the egg mixture in a very thin stream while whisking continuously. Now pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place on a medium-low heat. Stir until the mixture is thick and smooth. Allow to cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into a shallow bowl, place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and allow to cool completely.
Whisk the mixture by hand once it is at room temperature, until it is smooth. Spoon it into a piping bag and pipe into the prepared pastry shell. Scatter the chopped pistachio evenly over the surface. Cut a cross into the top third of each fig and place the figs side-by-side on the pistachio. Drizzle the honey over the figs before serving.
125ml sugar 125ml flour 3 eggs 5ml vanilla 30ml butter, melted 250ml milk enough pitted cherries to cover the bottom of a pie/flan dish
Preheat your oven to 180℃ and grease a ceramic pie/flan dish. Add the sugar and flour to a mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs, vanilla, melted butter and milk together in a wide-mouth jug. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients while whisking. Fill the bottom of the pie dish with an even layer of cherries and pour the batter over the cherries. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. The clafoutis will puff up in the oven and fall back on itself as it cools. Dust with icing sugar once cooled.