Jammie Dodger biscuits are one of my favourites, I remember eating them as a child and always picking them first out of biscuit selection boxes. They have such a fun appearance – with the splash effect on the biscuit and heart shaped hole revealing the jam in the middle. It’s no wonder they are the most popular kid’s biscuit in the UK! I’ve incorporated yummy Jammie Dodger biscuits into these soft gooey blondies, as well as adding some extra strawberry jam (because that’s the best bit!) If you’ve not heard of blondies before, they are the white chocolate version of brownies, and if you enjoy these you’ll love my Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies too!
I started by melting the butter and golden caster sugar together in a pan on a low heat.
Once the butter was melted, I took the pan off the heat and added the white chocolate. I left it for a couple of minutes, then stirred it in.
I added the eggs, whisking as I poured them in to make sure the mixture didn’t cook the eggs. Then I stirred in the vanilla.
Then I added the flour, and poured the batter into a lined traybake tin. I placed the Jammie Dodger biscuits in a neat pattern on top, then added blobs of strawberry jam all around the biscuits, once I was happy with the amount of jam I swirled it around using a butter knife.
I baked the blondies on 160C Fan/180C/350F, Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes until they were golden brown all over. I left them to cool completely in the tin before removing and slicing into pieces.
I didn’t want to cut up the biscuits, but if you want to make the pieces smaller I like to cut them diagonally into triangles. Or you could use mini Jammie Dodger biscuits. You can also add more jam if you want to, or a different flavour of jam.
These blondies were an absolute hit with my friends! They are so yummy, the sponge is sweet from the white chocolate, the Jammie Dodger biscuits are delicious of course and the extra bits of jam are definitely the best bit!!
Pre heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line a 12" x 9" traybake tin
Melt the butter with the golden caster sugar in a pan on a low heat
Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat and add the white chocolate. Leave it for a couple of minutes to melt, then stir together. Leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes
Break the eggs into a bowl and add them to the mixture, keep whisking as you pour them in to make sure the mixture doesn't cook the eggs. Then stir in the vanilla extract
Add the flour and whisk it in, then pour the batter into the lined traybake tin
Place the Jammie Dodger biscuits in rows on top of the batter, then added blobs of strawberry jam all around the biscuits, once you are happy with the amount of jam, swirl it around gently using a butter knife
Bake the blondies for 30 minutes until they are golden brown all over. Leave them to cool completely in the tin before removing and slicing into pieces.
I really love baking with jam, but most of the time it happens because I have half a jar sitting in the fridge for a few weeks and I realise I better use it up. Thankfully it’s lead me to create lots of amazing recipes! Some of them feature jam with other elements, whilst others make jam the star of the bake. There is a huge range of variety here, from easy flapjacks to more extravagant celebration cakes. You can of course use a different flavour jam to the ones I’ve used, and I’ve also included a couple of recipes that use marmalade. I hope you find a suitable recipe to turn that jar in the fridge into a delicious bake!
The Great British Bake Off series 7 came to an end last week, and it really was the end of an era as it was the last time the show will be aired on the BBC. Of course, none of the bakers or presenters knew that at the time of filming. Our three finalists were Candice, Andrew and Jane. Candice has been well known throughout this series for making elaborate bakes themed around her family, she’s won star baker three times and is this year’s lipstick queen! Jane won star baker on week one, and has had quite a few ups and downs since then. Andrew has been known for his technical approach to baking, and has won star baker twice.
The theme of the final was royal and the signature challenge was to make a three layered filled meringue crown, family sized and decorated. Paul said the bakers have struggled with meringue in the past so he wanted to see how they did again. Jane’s meringue crown was filled with blueberry compote, raspberry and strawberry compote and nectarines. It had quite a simple appearance, and Paul said it had to be perfect because of this. Apart from her blueberry compote being slightly runny, her bake went well. Mary gave it plenty of praise while Paul stayed quiet as he was happily eating it all! He gave her a double Hollywood handshake!
Andrew used muscavado sugar in his meringue, which meant there was a higher risk of his meringue cracking. He made it in the shape of the Queen’s jubilee crown and filled it with pecan praline, layered it with blackberry fool and made cassis jelly ‘jewels’. He struggled with his pecan praline as it stuck to his baking paper, but he had a good bake. The judges felt that his praline was too sweet and overpowered the meringue, and that the fool wasn’t tart enough. They enjoyed his meringue and cassis jelly.
Candice made two different types of meringue, one with caster sugar and one with golden caster sugar. Her crown was filled with prosecco soaked strawberries, mango curd, and glittered fruit and nuts. One top was a tiny tiara style crown. The judges thought it looked impressive and that it had great texture and flavour, she got a Hollywood handshake too!
This week’s technical gave the bakers nowhere to hide. It was to make a Victoria Sponge, but without a recipe. They also had to make the buttercream and jam for the filling, again without a recipe. This is pretty straightforward for people who bake a lot, but the bakers were really feeling the pressure so were bound to make mistakes. I did think it was a little simple, and they could have challenged them more.
Jane made the mistake of weighing her eggs in the shells, so she had far
too much mixture. Both Jane and Candice made their sponge with the all
in one method, while Andrew used the creaming method. Candice made the raspberry jame seedless, which Mary didn’t like. Jane came third due to using too much mixture, Candice was second as her buttercream was grainy, and Andrew won the technical!
The showstopper challenge was to make a picnic fit for a Queen, this had to include: 1 chocolate celebration cake, 12 puff pastry sausage rolls, 12 mini quiches, 12 savoury scones and 12 fruit and custard tarts – 49 items in total! Mary said that even though the bakers had 5 hours to make everything, they still needed good time management. Paul wanted every item to be suitable to serve to the Queen herself.
Candice made a chocolate, orange & cardamom cake, bacon, mushroom & black pudding sausage rolls, manchego & olive scones, salmon & asparagus quiches and rhubarb & custard tarts. The pastry on her tarts did catch, but they still looked good and she avoided a soggy bottom! She also made cute pig faces on her sausage rolls which was a nice touch, and her puff pastry was well cooked. Her quiches were crispy and full of salmon. Her scones didn’t taste of cheese as the olives overtook the flavour. Paul loved her chocolate cake, and Mary thought it was a great cake for a picnic.
Andrew made smoked cheddar & paprika scones, sausage & chorizo rolls, sweet potato, goats cheese & caramelised onion quiches, strawberry & pistachio tarts and a chocolate cake featuring chocolate shards. He had an extremely detailed Excel spreadsheet which had every 5 minutes of the challenge planned to keep him on track. He also used family recipes to ensure success. Andrew added a sugar glaze to his fruit tarts which unfortunately soaked through and made the pastry soggy. His sausage rolls tasted good but he had raw pastry. Mary loved the apperance of his scones, but couldn’t taste any cheese. His quiches were crispy and tasted delicious according to Paul. His chocolate cake looked great and Paul felt the same about the taste of it.
Jane made red fruit and elderflower tarts, butternut squash & parmesan scones, apple & thyme rolls, salmon & prawn quiches and a chocolate cake decorated with a chocolate collar. Jane was flapping quite a lot as she seemed unorganised. Her chocolate collar did not set so she had to cover her cake in buttercream and glitter instead. Her sausage roll had raw pastry, but tasted good. Mary really enjoyed her quiches and fruit tarts. Neither Mary or Paul could taste the butternutsquash in her scones. The judges did enjoy her chocolate cake and said it was light and soft, and loved the cherry and cream surprise in the middle.
And the winner was… Candice! She certainly deserved it as her bakes were the best in this episode. She was who I wanted to win as I felt she deserved it overall from the quality of her bakes throughout the series, even though the judges don’t take that into account on the final day. It was quite emotional as she talked about what winning meant to her. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next!
I started by greasing and lining three 9 inch sandwich tins.
I creamed together 520g caster sugar and 520g butter.
I added 9 eggs, mixing them in two at a time.
I then mixed in 400g self raising flour, 120g cocoa powder and 2 tbsp milk.
I divided the mixture into the tins, I always make a hole in the middle of the batter to try and stop it from doming too much in the middle.
I baked it on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes, then left to cool fully.
I made the nutella buttercream by mixing together 150g butter and 300g icing sugar, then I added 200g Nutella, 3 tbsp double cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I mixed it until it was smooth.
I made the cream filling by whipping up 250ml double cream, then mixing in 250g mascarpone cheese
I started stacking up the cakes. I spread half of the cream mixture onto the first layer.
Then I spread half a jar of cherry jam on top.
I stacked up the next layer of cake, then spread the rest of the cream layer on, followed by the rest of the cherry jam.
I then added the last sponge and spread a layer of the Nutella buttercream over the top using a palette knife.
I put the rest of the Nutella buttercream in a piping bag and piped two rows of rosettes around the edge of the cake. I used a Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip for this effect. I filled the middle with some Dr Oetker chocolate strand sprinkles.
I took 10 cherries out of a jar of kirsch soaked cherries and put them on some kitchen towel to soak away as much moisture from them as I could. I then rolled half of each cherry in edible gold glitter and arrange them around the cake.
The cake was ready for a celebration! I took it along to my friend’s 30th birthday party for the guests to enjoy.
The cake was so yummy and if I do say so myself it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made! The sponge was lovely and moist, and the fresh cream and cheese filling was the perfect balance against the sweet chocolate and Nutella buttercream. I adore kirsch soaked cherries so they were a tasty bonus for me.
Cream together the caster sugar and 520g of the butter
Add the eggs, mixing them in two at a time
Mix in the self raising flour, cocoa powder and milk
Divide the mixture into the tins and bake it on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes, then leave to cool fully
Make the nutella buttercream by mixing together 150g of the butter and the icing sugar, then add the Nutella, the 3 tbsp double cream and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth
Make the cream filling by whipping up the 250ml of double cream, then mixing in the mascarpone cheese
Start stacking up the cakes. Spread half of the cream filling onto the first layer, followed by half a jar of the cherry jam on top. Do the same with the second layer of cake
Add the last sponge and spread a layer of the Nutella buttercream over the top using a palette knife
Put the rest of the Nutella buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a Wilton Number 6B Open Star Tip and pipe two rows of rosettes around the edge of the cake. Fill the middle with the chocolate strand sprinkles
Take 10 cherries out of a jar of kirsch soaked cherries and put them on some kitchen towel to soak away as much moisture as possible. Then roll half of each cherry in edible gold glitter and arrange them evenly around the cake
After all of the shock news last week, we’ve had a further blow this week in the news that Mary Berry will not be following the show when it moves to Channel 4. Paul Hollywood confirmed that he would be staying with the show, making him the only one to remain. There was a foreshadowing of the future moment this week when Sue made a joke at Tom’s bench and then walked off saying “I’m leaving the tent”… oh Sue, if only you’d known!
The signature challenge this week was to make two different types of Danish breakfast pastries. Mary wanted the bakers to produce a crisp buttery pastry and Paul said this challenge was all about time management. They all used enriched doughs and all of the bakers except Jane made one dough that they split in two. Jane made Pain Au Raisin with a orange and cardamom dough and Raspberry, Chocolate & Almond Danish with a cinnamon dough. Candice was the only baker to brave a savoury pastry with her Croque Monsieur Kites featuring mushrooms, gruyere and pancetta.
Selasi’s pastries were very tropical themed and featured pineapple, orange and mango. Val was being her usual unqiue self and had brought dental floss with her to cut her pastry with. I hope it wasn’t mint flavoured! Benjamina went all American with her flavours and made peanut butter and banana pinwheels, and pecan swirl with maple syrup and candied bacon. Everyone struggled towards the end with timing, and Rav even forgot to bake one of his pastries.
Tom didn’t fare so well during judging as one of his pastries was dry and the other was so raw the judges wouldn’t even taste it. Val, Selasi and Benjamina all had problems with their pastry being undercooked too. The judges like the flavour of both Rav and Andrew’s fillings. Jane got a great result with her pain au raisins, and Candice’s savoury pastries went down very well.
This week’s technical was to make a Bakewell Tart, I love how they are bringing all the technical’s back to basics this year. There was a bit of internet uproar over the tart in question due to the icing covering the top, however this was Mary’s version of a Bakewell Tart. The judges expected all of the bakers to know what a Bakewell Tart looked like and to know all of the techniques involved in making one.
The recipe instructions were very minimal, and Selasi suggested that the more ‘aged’ bakers would know what they were doing. Val got stuck in straight away, as did Jane. However, Val was only using the second sheet of the instructions and she only saw the first sheet after 20 minutes of time had gone by. She’d guessed all of the recipe quantities. To be honest I’m not sure how she did this as the instructions started from number 5 on the second sheet which would surely have been the biggest clue. Even when she did find out, she still continued to ignore the instructions and made a series of bad decisions, despite the fact she makes a Bakewell Tart every week at home. Rav came last as his pastry collapsed, Val came 7th, Andrew was 6th as his oven wasn’t turned on for the first 15 minutes, Benjamina 5th, Tom 4th, Selasi 3rd, Candice 2nd and Jane was 1st.
The showstopper this week was to make 48 filo pastry amuse bouches (aka canapes), one savoury and one sweet. Filo pastry is quite a nightmare to make from scratch, I’ve done it myself once before when I made a Fruit Strudel. Mary advised that the pastry should be wafer thin and Paul wanted the canapes to be bite size.
Val went with a Christmas theme and used mincemeat in her filo parcels. Jane was quite brave I thought by using cone shaped moulds to wrap her filo around, they looked like such a faff and kept falling over. Tom was very ambitious by mixing chocolate with chilli and steak – yes you read that right! He is taking things too far in my opinion, there’s experimental and then there’s just plain risky. Selasi was using coffee to flavour his sweet filo, and he said that simplicity was a good thing. Benjamina was influced by her Nigerian roots to add plantain to her showstopper.
Then the stretching began! The bakers used broom handles, rolling pins and even pasta makers to roll out their filo until it was as thin as possible. Rav and Selasi both finished before the time was up, whereas Jane and Val were rushing to complete the challenge. Benjamin, Andrew, Selasi all did well. Paul didn’t like the flavour of Tom’s filo fillings and said he was ‘disappointed’. Even though the judges thought Jane’s amuse bouches were too big, they loved her flavours. Val was only able to present 12 of her savoury filos, and the 12 were underdone. The pastry for her sweet filo was far too thick. Candice and Rav both also got great results.
Val left this week, and although I’d found her quite irritating (I think she has a bit of a Marmite personality where you either love or hate her), I did feel sorry for her as she seemed very upset. The winner of star baker was Candice, however Jane came very close. Next week is a new theme – Botanicals week!
I decided to make a Bakewell Tart this week as I’ve never actually made one. I wanted to make the more traditional looking tart with flaked almonds on top and a drizzle of icing. As pretty as Mary’s version looked, it’s a bit too much icing than I prefer on my Bakewell.
I started by making the pastry. I rubbed 100g butter into 230g plain flour until it resembled breadcrumbs.
I added 3 tbsp cold water and formed a dough.
I rolled out my pastry on my Joseph Joseph Roll Up Non-Slip Silicone Pastry Mat which I am loving using, it’s definitely my favourite product from their new baking range which they kindly sent me a few weeks ago. I’ve already used it three times!
I lined a 9 inch tart tin with the pastry, leaving an overhang. I used a fork to prick the bottom of the pastry. Then I chilled it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
I scrunched up some baking paper and lined the pastry, then added baking beans. I baked it on 200C/180C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes.
To make the frangipane I creamed together 160g butter and 160g caster sugar. Then I added 1 large free range egg, 1 tsp almond extract and 160g ground almonds.
I took the pastry out of the oven and removed the baking beans and paper. I trimmed the edges for a neater finish.
I baked the pastry again for 10 minutes on the same temperature.
I spread a layer of seedless rapsberry jam on the bottom of the pastry case. I used approximately a third of a jar.
I piped the frangipane over the top to avoid it mixing with the jam, then I smoothed it out on top. I sprinkled over some flaked almonds.
I baked the tart on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes
I can understand why Mary and Paul chose this as a technical challenge as it really fits with their theme of going back to basics. Any baker who bakes regularly will be able to knock one of these together easily and without too much fuss. It really is all about basic skills. When it was fully cool, I finished the tart with a drizzle of 60g icing sugar mixed with enough water to get a thick, but pipable paste.
You really can’t beat a Bakewell Tart and this was devoured within an hour by my colleagues! It was full of almond and jammy goodness, and the pastry was lovely and crisp.
This week on The Great British Bake Off was biscuit week. Sue Perkins was missing from the episode this week due to a family bereavement at the time of filming, so Mel held down the (gingerbread) fort. The previews of the episodes showed several disasters and collapses so I was expecting a lot of gasps and tense moments!
For the first challenge the judges requested 24 crisp and identical iced biscuits. Mary warned against being over ambitious, she wanted absolutely perfect biscuits with the same thickness and texture. Paul seemed quite happy just to be getting a whole load of biscuits to eat. I loved Michael’s beer biscuits, and the judges loved them too. They said they were uniform, crispy and had good flavour. Tom made some coffee and chai spiced biscuits and he got a Paul Hollywood handshake!
Louise made sheep shaped bara brith biscuits and she had some disasters along the way as she dropped a whole tray of biscuits. Paul said her biscuits were more like scones as they were so soft. Val made ice cream biscuits and she knew she needed to improve on her presentation, although throwing a batch of biscuits on the floor and springing a leak from her piping bag didn’t help. Mary was quite critical of them saying they were not finished well – harsh words from Bezza!
Kate chose lavender and bergamont for her biscuits flavours, which Paul said he didn’t like, but upon tasting them he seemed to change his mind! Benjamina made chocolate orange flower bouqet biscuits, they looked fantastic and I really think she is one to watch. Candice ended up making 48 biscuits as she made sandwiched biscuits with a salted caramel filling. Her fondness for lipstick was also noticed by Mel and Candice said she would wear a different colour each week. I think this is a clever way of standing out and could become a signature look for her, much like Richard Burr’s pencil behind the ear in season
This week’s technical challenge was 12 Viennese Whirls filled with buttercream and jam. They were following a Mary Berry recipe. Mary said the biscuit had simple ingredients but the bakers needed to make sure the butter was soft enough otherwise the mixture would be too stiff for piping. She also wanted to see the swirl after the biscuits were baked, and she expected the bicuits to be very short in texture and crumbly with good proportions of buttercream and jam.
Selasi had made them before and when he noticed his mixture was too stiff for piping he decided to beat it more to soften it. Michael also had his own technique for solving this problem – he put it in the microwave. A few of the bakers decided to chill the biscuits before baking, but Tom noticed this wasn’t mentioned in the recipe so he decided to just bake his biscuits. Despite his previous experience, Selasi came last in the challenge. Louse was 10th, Michael 9th, Candice 8th, Tom 7th, Rav 6th, Val 5th and Andrew 4th. Benjamina won 3rd place, Jane came 2nd and Kate was the winner!
This week’s showstopper was quite the request… a 3D gingerbread story, which must say something about them, be at least 30cm high and feature 8 characters or objects. Gingerbread usually contains black treacle and/or golden syrup as they both flavour and colour it, all of the bakers used these ingredients except for Selasi who was using honey instead. Kate went all out with her flavours by making three different kinds of gingerbread including a lemon and cardamom flavoured one.
Candice made a gingerbread pub to represent the pub she grew up in as a child. She put so much thought into each element. The ‘floor’ was a sticky gingerbread cake to represent a sticky pub carpet, and the pool table was made using jelly. It was very impressive! Michael and Rav both made Christmas scenes, and Selasi and Louise both went for churches. Meanwhile Benjamina was constructing the Chrysler building in New York and Val was building the Empire State in gingerbread.
Both Louise and Val had disasters, collapses and breakages. Andrew did very well with his punting in Oxford scene. Michael’s Christmas scene was messy and simplistic, but Paul said his gingerbread was the best. The judges loved Candice’s pub, Paul called it superb and Mary called it smashing. Rav’s gingerbread was burnt, and the judges couldn’t taste any ginger in Selasi’s church.
Louise was the one to leave this week as she had a lot of disasters this week. Candice won star baker this week, mostly due to her smashing showstopper. Mary said it would be remembered forever. Next week is bread week!
I decided to make the technical challenge of Viennese Whirls this week. I have made them before, but I’ve made iced biscuits and gingerbread houses before too and these were the most delicious option in my opinion. I wanted to mix it up a bit and change the flavours so they were a bit different from the traditional kind. I used a Hairy Bikers recipe for the biscuit base, as when I made Cherry & Almond Viennese Swirl Biscuits in the past it worked really well for me.
To make the biscuit dough I creamed together 250g butter, 250g plain flour, 50g icing sugar, 50g cornflour and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
I used a 2 inch (5cm) cutter and a pencil to draw guidelines on my baking paper. I flipped the paper over so the pencil was on the bottom.
I put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. I tried a couple of ways of piping them, and I thought starting the swirl in the middle and working out looked the best. I kept piping until all the mixture was gone. I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes, let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack.
While they were cooling I made the mascarpone filling. I creamed together 50g butter and 175g icing sugar, then I added 125g mascarpone and 1 tsp vanilla extract. I used an electric hand mixer to do this as it made sure the mixture was not lumpy, and it made it nice and thick. I put it in the fridge to chill for an hour so it was stable enough to pipe.
To sandwich the biscuits together I piped some of the mascarpone filling on one half, and spread some blackcurrant jam on the other half (about 1 tsp). I sandwiched them together and the biscuits were ready.
The texture of the biscuits are soft and buttery, and the mascarpone filling is fresh and sweet against the tangy fruit of the blackcurrant jam. They are heavenly!
To make the biscuit dough cream together 250g of the butter, the plain flour, 50g of the icing sugar, the cornflour and 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract
Use a 2 inch (5cm) cutter and a pencil to draw guidelines on baking paper. Flip the paper over so the pencil is on the bottom and line two baking trays with it
Put the biscuit mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe them out onto the baking paper, start the swirl in the middle and work your way out. Keep piping until all the mixture is gone
Bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes, let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack
To make the mascarpone filling cream together 50g of the butter and 175g of the icing sugar, then add the mascarpone and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract. Use an electric hand mixer to do this if possible. Put it in the fridge to chill for an hour so it is stable enough to pipe
To sandwich the biscuits together, pipe or spread some of the mascarpone filling on one half, and spread some blackcurrant jam on the other half (about 1 tsp). Sandwich them together and the biscuits are ready!
I think of myself as quite knowledgeable when it comes to food so when I haven’t heard of something it really intrigues me. I’d never heard of bilberries before, so I really wanted to try them. The bilberries were kindly given to me by Angela from Only Crumbs Remain. She picked them herself and if you are a bilberry fan or are interested in baking with them you will find lots of bilberry recipes on her blog! They are a foraged berry and come from the same family as blueberries and blackberries. I’ve never seen them in the shops before, so do let me know if you’ve ever seen them sold anywhere. Otherwise look out for them on your next country walk! I decided to pair them with nectarines in this tart as the bright orange colour is a great match to the dark blue bilberries, and they also taste delicious!
I started by making the creme patisserie custard filling as it takes several hours to cool. I started by heating 500ml whole milk with the seeds from a vanilla pod until it reached boiling point. I then took it off the heat and poured it into a jug.
In my food mixer I whisked up 6 egg yolks with 140g caster sugar until pale and thick. I added 45g cornflour and mixed it in, then I poured the warm milk in with the mixer still going.
I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it up whilst continously stirring. When it started to thicken, I started whisking it to keep it smooth and stop any lumps.
I put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film. I made sure the cling film was touching the
creme patisserie so that a skin doesn’t form on it. I left it in the fridge overnight to cool.
To make the pastry I rubbed 170g butter into 350g plain flour until it resembled breadcrumbs.
I added 2 eggs and mixed to form a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
To roll out the pastry I decided to try out an item from the new Joseph Joseph baking range, which were kindly sent to me recently. If you haven’t heard of Joseph Joseph before, they are a family business
ran by twin brothers. Their focus is on the whole user experience of their products, they combine design, function and quality materials to make their range.
I tried out their Roll Up Non-Slip Silicone Pastry Mat. The mat features a handy rolling size guide printed in circular shapes, as well as sizes along the sides. It also has an integrated strap so you can roll it up, fasten it and store it easily.
I rolled out the pastry and the size guides on the mat were really helpful – I don’t know why I haven’t bought one of these already as I do make pastry quite often!
I lined my 23cm tart tin with the pastry and pricked it all over with a fork.
I lined the pastry with baking paper then poured in baking beans, I blind baked it on 180C/106C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes.
I then removed the baking beans and baked it again for 10-15 minutes until the bottom was fully cooked and it was golden brown all over.
When the tart case was fully cool I filled it with the creme patisserie and smoothed it out.
I sliced up 5 nectarines and arranged them in circles on top, and I placed the billberries in the gaps. The bilberries freeze really well and I still have more to use.
To glaze the tart and keep the fruit fresh whilst also creating a lovely shiny appearance, I warmed up 5 tbsp apricot jam in a pan. I then sieved it to remove any lumps, and used a pastry brush to generously brush it all over the tart.
And the tart was ready! It’s best to eat this straight away, although it will last a few days if kept in the fridge.
It was a bit messy when cut but the sweet creamy custard and delicious fresh fruit soon distract you from the appearance. It was my first taste of bilberries and I have to say they go very well with custard. The pastry was also perfectly crisp which is just what you need for a tart like this as it holds the wet filling in place without any leaks, not a soggy bottom in sight!
Start by making the creme patisserie custard filling. Heat the whole milk with the seeds from a vanilla pod in a pan until it reaches boiling point. Then take it off the heat and pour it into a jug
Using an electric mixer whisk up the egg yolks with the caster sugar until pale and thick. Add the cornflour and mix it in, then pour the warm milk in with the mixer still going
Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it at a medium-high heat whilst continously stirring. When it starts to thicken, whisk it to keep it smooth and stop any lumps
Sieve it required to remove any lumps, then put it in a bowl and covered it with cling film. Make sure the cling film is touching the creme patisserie so that a skin doesn't form on it. Leave it in the fridge overnight to cool
To make the pastry rub the butter into the plain flour until it resembles breadcrumbs
Add the eggs and mix to form a dough. Wrap it in cling film and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes
Roll out the pastry and line a 23cm tart tin. Prick it all over with a fork
Line the pastry with baking paper then pour in baking beans (or dry rice if you don't have them) bake it on 180C/106C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes
Remove the baking beans and baked it again for 10-15 minutes until the bottom is fully cooked and it is golden brown all over
When the tart case is fully cool fill it with the creme patisserie and smooth it out
Slice up the nectarines and arranged them in circles on top, then place the billberries in the gaps
To glaze the tart, warm up the apricot jam in a pan. Sieve it to remove any lumps, and use a pastry brush to generously brush it all over the tart
This year in the UK we are celebrating our Queen’s 90th Birthday, and of course one of the main focuses of the celebration is food. If you haven’t heard of the dessert Queen of Puddings before, it is a lemon breadcrumb base, topped with custard, then jam and finally meringue on top. I am a big fan of turning different types of desserts into cupcakes, and although I’ve never tried Queen of Puddings, it sounds extremely tasty and perfect for converting into cupcake format! I’ve used a lemon sponge as the base, filled it with creme patisserie and raspberry jam, and finally topped with Italian meringue. Surely a dessert fit for a Queen!
I started by making the creme patisserie the night before so I could cool it in the fridge overnight. I heated 250ml whole milk with the seeds from a vanilla pod until it reached boiling point. I then took it off the heat and poured into a jug.
In my food mixer I whisked up 3 egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for later) with 70g caster sugar until
pale and thick. I added 23g cornflour and mixed that in. I then put the mixer on a medium speed and
poured the milk in slowly as it mixed.
I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it up whilst stirring continuously. When it started to thicken, I started whisking it to keep it smooth and stop any lumps. I put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film. I made sure the cling film was touching the creme pattiserie so that a skin doesn’t form on it. I left it in the fridge overnight to cool.
I only made 8 cupcakes, but the creme patisserie and Italian meringue make enough for double, so I’ll give you the quantities for 16. To make the cupcakes I first creamed together 240g butter and 240g caster sugar. I added the zest of 2 lemons and mixed it in.
I then whisked in 4 eggs, mixing between each addition, and finally folded in 240g self raising flour.
I separated the mixture into cupcake cases and baked on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
I left the cupcakes to cool completely.
Using a cupcake corer, and a knife, I made holes in each cupcake.
I filled each hole with the creme patisserie.
I then covered the creme patisserie with raspberry jam, piling it on top.
I then made the Italian meringue. I started with the sugar syrup. I put 170g caster sugar and 95ml water
in a pan and let it come to the boil with the lid on. If I noticed any sugar around the edges of the pan I brushed them away with a wet pastry brush. When the mixture boiled I took it off the heat and poured the sugar syrup into a jug.
In a stand mixer I whisked up the 3 egg whites reserved earlier with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar until they reached soft peak stage. Then, keeping the mixer on, I poured the sugar syrup into the meringue. I was careful not to let the sugar syrup hit the side of the bowl. I kept the food mixer running until the bowl felt cool, it had a wonderful fluffy texture and was white and shiny.
I dolloped the meringue on top of each cupcake using a spoon and flicked it around to give it texture.
Then my favourite bit! I got out my kitchen blowtorch and browned the meringue all over.
The cupcakes were so indulgent and delicious. The Italian meringue creates a pillowy soft marshmallow texture on top, and the fruityness of the jam compliments it so well along with the sweetness of the creme patisserie hidden inside. I certainly felt like a Queen as I enjoyed eating this divine dessert!
To make the creme patisserie, heat the whole milk with the seeds from the vanilla pod until it reaches boiling point. Take off the heat and pour into a jug
In a food mixer, or with an electric whisk, whisk 3 of the yolks from the eggs (reserve the egg whites for later) with 70g of the caster sugar until pale and thick. Add the cornflour and mix in
Put the mixer on a medium speed and pour the milk in slowly as it mixes
Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it up whilst stirring continuously. When it starts to thicken, whisk it to keep it smooth and stop any lumps. Once thick, put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film so that the cling film touches the creme patisserie. Put in the fridge to cool completely
To make the cupcakes cream together the butter and 240g of the caster sugar. Add the zest of the lemons and mix in
Whisk in 4 of the eggs, mixing between each addition, and finally fold in the self raising flour
Separate the mixture into cupcake cases and bake on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Leave the cupcakes to cool completely
Using a cupcake corer, or a knife, make holes in each cupcake
Fill each hole with the creme patisserie, then cover the creme patisserie with raspberry jam, piling it on top
To make the Italian meringue put 170g of the caster sugar and the water in a pan and let it come to the boil with the lid on. If you notice any sugar around the edges of the pan brush them away with a wet pastry brush. When the mixture is boiled, take it off the heat and pour the sugar syrup into a jug
In a food mixer or with an electric whisk, whisk up the 3 egg whites reserved earlier with the cream of tartar until they reach soft peak stage. Then, keeping the mixer on, pour the sugar syrup into the meringue. Be careful not to let the sugar syrup hit the side of the bowl. Keep the food mixer running until the bowl feels cool
Dollop the meringue on top of each cupcake using a spoon and flick it around to give it texture, then use a kitchen blowtorch to brown the meringue all over
I am constantly looking for ways to use up ingredients as I really hate wasting food. Apricot jam is one of those things I use in very small quantities when baking, usually for glazing or sticking fondant to sponge, but I always have to buy a whole jar. This recipe is a great way to use up about 3/4 of a jar of apricot (or any other flavour) jam!
To make the base I used a food processor to make fine crumbs out of 225g digestive biscuits. You could also smash them with a rolling pin. I added 85g melted butter to the biscuit crumbs and mixed well. I pressed the mixture into a lined baking pan. I baked the base on 180C/375F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes.
To make the filling I whisked together 455g cream cheese and 115g sour cream until smooth. I whisked in 100g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla and a pinch of salt.
I poured the filling over the base, and then added blobs of 3/4 jar of apricot jam all over. I used a knife to swirl it around until a pretty pattern formed.
I baked the cheesecake on 180C/375F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes until it had set fully and only had a slight wobble. Once fully cool, I cut it into squares.
Gosh this was so delicious! Everything came together really well, the crust and the filling were both really yummy and well balanced. I was really pleased. My boyfriend loved it as did my colleagues and friends. This is such a fantastic and delicious recipe for using up jam I will definitely be making it again!
Use a food processor to make fine crumbs out of the digestive biscuits. You could also smash them with a rolling pin. Add the melted butter to the biscuit crumbs and mixed well. Press the mixture into a lined baking pan and bake on 180C/375F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes
To make the filling, whisk together the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Then whisk in the caster sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt
Pour the filling over the base, then added blobs of the apricot jam all over. Use a knife to swirl it around until a pretty pattern forms
Bake the cheesecake on 180C/375F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes until it has set fully and only has a slight wobble. Once fully cool, cut it into squares
In Sweden, the one baked good they are crazy about (besides cinnamon buns) is Swedish Princess Cake, also known as Prinsesstårta. I recently spent a week in Stockholm, Sweden and saw these gorgeous green cakes everywhere. I’ve made a full size Swedish Princess Cake after the Great British Bake Off featured them as a technical challenge, but I thought turning them into cupcakes would be really cute and fun! Plus it’s a simpler way to get the delightful taste of the Prinsesstårta without making a full sized one.
I started by making the creme patisserie the night before so I could cool it in the fridge overnight. I’ve only made creme patisserie once before and the recipe worked beautifully so I decided to use it again. This did make far too much for the 7 cupcakes I needed, so I made another 12 the next day! So you may wish to half the creme patisserie recipe if you’re making a smaller number of cakes. I heated 500ml whole milk with
the seeds from a vanilla pod until it reached boiling point. I then took it off the heat and poured into a jug.
In my food mixer I whisked up 6 egg yolks with 140g caster sugar until pale and thick. I added 45g cornflour and mixed that in. I then put the mixer on a medium speed and poured the milk in slowly as it mixed.
I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it up whilst stirring continuously. There is a moment when it suddenly thickens, I started whisking it at this point to keep it smooth and stop any lumps.
I put it in a bowl, and covered it with cling film. I made sure the cling film was touching the creme pattiserie so that a skin doesn’t form on it. I left it in the fridge overnight to cool.
The next day I made the cupcakes. I was taking them to a dinner party where one of the guests had a gluten intolerance so I made regular cupcakes with gluten free flour. Ideally I would have made genoise sponge cupcakes as this is the traditionally sponge. So it’s up to you which to use if you try this recipe. I creamed together 120g butter and 120g caster sugar. I then whisked in 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
I added 120g gluten free self raising flour and 3 tbsp whole milk, and mixed in. If you don’t need these to be gluten free, just use regular self raising flour.
I divided the cupcake mixture into 7 cases as that’s how many I needed, but I reckon you could stretch the mixture to 8 cupcakes. As I mentioned before, as the creme patisserie recipe makes quite a lot so you can make a lot more cupcakes to use it up if you wish.
I baked on 175C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes until golden. I left them to cool completely.
While they were cooling I kneaded some green food colouring into 100g natural marzipan and cut out 2.5 inch circles. I got exactly 19 circles from this much marzipan. I left the marzipan out to harden up.
I used a tiny dab of water to stick a pink heart sprinkle into the middle of each marzipan circle. Traditionally a pink flower is put on top of a Prinsesstårta, but I had these pink heart sprinkles in the cupboard from Valentine’s Day baking and I thought they looked really cute!
Once fully cool I used a knife to scoop out the middle of the cupcakes. A cupcake corer won’t make enough room for the filling so you do need to do this manually.
I half filled the holes with seedless raspberry jam, about 1 tsp per cupcakes.
Then I topped them up with the creme patisserie and smoothed the top.
I whipped up a 250ml tub of double cream and piped swirls onto each cupcake. I kept the swirls flat so I could place a circle of marzipan on top.
I was so pleased with the final result! I found making a full sized Prinsesstårta really tough in terms or decorating as I’m not skilled with covering cakes in fondant/marzipan, but these cupcakes are so much simpler. Everyone at the dinner party loved the cupcakes. The Swedes really have it down, I mean, cream, custard and jam in a cake – how can you go wrong?!
I’m entering this Swedish treat into myself and Cakeyboi’s baking challenge Treat Petite. Cakeyboi is hosting this month and the theme is Eurovision.
Start by making the creme patisserie the night before. Heat the whole milk with the seeds from the vanilla pod in a pan until it reaches boiling point. Then take it off the heat and pour it into a jug
In a food mixer whisk up the egg yolks with 140g of the caster sugar until pale and thick. Add the cornflour and mix in. Then put the mixer on a medium speed and pour the milk in slowly as it mixes
Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it up whilst stirring continuously. It will suddenly thicken after approximately 5 minutes, start whisk it at this point to keep it smooth and stop any lumps from forming
Put the creme patisserie in a bowl, and cover it with cling film so that the cling film is pressed into the bowl and is touching the top of the creme patisserie. Leave it in the fridge overnight to cool
To make the cupcakes, cream together butter and 240g of the caster sugar. Then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract
Add the flour and if using gluten free flour add the 3 tbsp whole milk, and mix in
Divide the mixture into cases and bake on 175C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes until golden. Leave them to cool completely
Knead the green food colouring into the natural marzipan and cut out 2.5 inch circles. Leave the marzipan circles to harden up
Use a tiny dab of water to stick a pink heart sprinkle into the middle of each marzipan circle. You can also use a pink flower, pink heart made from fondant or leave plain
Use a knife and spoon to scoop out the middle of the cupcakes
Half fill the scooped out holes with seedless raspberry jam, about 1 tsp per cupcake
Then fill the other half of the scooped out holes with the creme patisserie and smooth the top
Whip up the double cream and pipe swirls onto each cupcake. Keep the swirls flat, then place a circle of marzipan on top of each cupcake
I don’t know about you, but when I think of going to the British seaside I think of Mr Whippy ice creams. With a flake and some strawberry sauce of course. The National Trust are celebrating the South West Coast at the moment with a Coastal Festival, and seen as they look after over 300 miles of it, there’s a lot of fun to be had! They’re arranging everything from beach clean ups, water sport events, walks, runs, picnics and plays.
They’ve even made the epic cake above to commemorate their celebrations, and have asked bloggers to make cakes too, with the theme ‘I love the coast’. My cake is all about my childhood memories of going to the seaside, playing in the sand and eating ice cream.
My cake was three layers high and I baked each layer seperately. I started by greasing and lining my tins.
I then creamed together 350g butter and 350g caster sugar.
I added in 6 eggs, bit by bit, and 3 tsp vanilla extract, and whisked well.
Finally I folded in 350g self raising flour and 2 tsp baking powder and divided the mixture between the three tins. I even went as far as to measure the mixture to make sure it was divided evenly! I have a lot of problems with my cakes getting domed tops and I read some tips about making a hole in the middle of the mixture to stop this, so I thought I’d give it a try.
The second part of the anti-dome tip was to place a circle of greaseproof paper over the top with a hole in the middle. I baked the cakes on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 30 minutes.
Well the tips worked! My cakes came out perfectly flat on top. I am going to definitely use these tips next time. I left the cakes to cool.
For the ‘ice creams’ on top of the cake I purchased some cup cones, the ones with flat bottoms.
I wrapped them in foil and placed them into a muffin tin.
I made a cake batter using the same method as the bigger cake, except I used 56g butter, sugar and self raising flour, 1 egg and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract.
I baked them on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minute. I removed the foil and left them to cool.
For the icing I mixed together 160g icing sugar with 80g butter and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract. I piped it onto the cones just like a Mr Whippy, and then pushed in a chocolate flake.
I made the blue sea icing by mixing together 400g icing sugar, 200g butter, a drop of Sugarflair Ice Blue food colouring and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
I crushed up 5 digestive biscuits for the sand.
I layered up the cake using strawberry jam to sandwich them together. I used a whole jar of jam.
I iced the cake all over with the blue buttercream, then I put 2 cocktail sticks into the bottom of each ice cream cake and stuck them into the cake. This gave them stability as the flake made their weight uneven. I then piled the biscuit sand all around the cones and all over the top of the cake.
The final flourishes were shell chocolates around the edge of the cake and some strawberry sauce on the ice creams. I was so pleased with the final result! It was like the seaside had come to my house.
It was delicious inside too, I think the simple flavours of vanilla and strawberry jam were just right for the indulgence of the decoration. My boyfriend loved the ice cream cone cupcakes, and I thought they were really tasty too. I’ll absolutely be making a bigger batch of them another time.
British Seaside Cake
1 1/2tspVanilla extract
406gSelf raising flour
3Flat bottomed ice cream cones
1jar of Strawberry jam
Blue food colouring
Grease and line three sandwich tins
Cream together 350g of the butter and 350g of the caster sugar
Add in 6 of the eggs, bit by bit, and 3 tsp of the vanilla extract, and whisk well
Fold in 350g of the self raising flour and 2 tsp of the baking powder. Divide the mixture between the three tins
Bake the cakes on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 30 minutes. Leave the cakes to cool
For the 'ice cream' cakes wrap the cones in foil and place them into a muffin tin
Cream together 56g of the butter and 56g of the caster sugar. Whisk in 1 of the eggs and 1/4 tsp of the vanilla extract. Then fold in 56g of the self raising flour. Divide between the cones
Bake on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minute. Remove the foil and leave them to cool
For the icing mix together 160g of the icing sugar with 80g of the butter and 1/4 tsp of the vanilla extract. Pipe it onto the cones, and then push in a chocolate flake
Stack up the large cake using the strawberry jam to sandwich each layer together
For the blue sea icing mix together 400g of the icing sugar, 200g of the butter, the blue food colouring and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract. Cover the cake with it
Put 2 cocktail sticks into the bottom of each ice cream cake and stick them into the large cake
Crush up 5 digestive biscuits and pile all around the cones and all over the top of the cake
Add the shell chocolates around the edge of the cake and strawberry sauce on the ice cream cakes