Syllabub Star Cups & Bake Box 6 Unboxing

Syllabub Star Cups & Bake Box 6 Unboxing

My last Bake Box of the year arrived last week and I knew it would inspire me to get baking some Christmas themed treats! I love these Syllabub Star Cups filled with a lemon cream and topped with berries, they are so easy to make and they would be a fabulous sweet canape for your Christmas parties and gatherings! If you want to know more about Bake Box check out my other posts where I made Parisian Treats, Dress Biscuits, a Cherry Traybake and a Midnight Blue Velvet Cake.

This month’s theme was Stars and Snowflakes and inside the box was:

  • A giant silicone star mould
  • Set of 5 star cookie cutters
  • Set of 3 snowflake icing cutters/plungers
  • 15 silicone mini star moulds
  • A snowflake chocolate decorating sheet
  • Santa and Snowman embossed cookie cutters
  • Silver edible glitter

Although I loved everything in this month’s Bake Box, my favourite items were the embossed cookie cutters and the mini star silicone moulds.

There were six delicious looking recipes included with the Bake Box and I decided to make the Syllabub Star Cups as they looked so pretty and it gave me a chance to try out the silicone moulds. My boyfriend’s family were also visiting and I thought they would make a great dessert.

I started by melting 150g dark chocolate and spooning it into each mould. I used a small clean paintbrush (I have one I use for food only) to brush the chocolate up the sides of each mould.

I put the chocolate in the fridge to set, which didn’t take very long, and easily peeled off the silicone moulds.

To make the lemon syllabub filling I whipped together 2 tbsp sieved icing sugar, 200ml double cream and the zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon.

I piped the cream into each chocolate cup. I used a piping bag with the end snipped off.

I got some mint leaves, and chose several small ones. Then I tipped out some frozen berries to choose from. The recipe suggested warming up the berries and making a compote, but I decided to put the frozen ones directly on the cream then let them defrost in the fridge so I could get them out when it was time for dessert.

I put a larger berry like a raspberry, blackberry or cherry into each cup, then surrounded that with the smaller redcurrants and blackcurrants. Finally I added a mint leaf and a dusting of icing sugar. These make such a tasty and easy dessert, and any guests you have over Christmas will be sure to enjoy them! You can even easily adapt them for any dairy free guests by filling them with a coconut cream.

I’m linking these chocolate cups up with this month’s Treat Petite, hosted by me this month, and Cakeyboi on alternate months.

And with We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme.

And with Cook Blog Share hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie.

 

And finally with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

Disclaimer: I am sent the Bake Box free of charge, all opinions are my own

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Syllabub Star Cups

Ingredients

  • 150 g Dark chocolate
  • 200 ml Double cream
  • 2 tbsp (sieved) + more for dusting Icing sugar
  • 1/2 a Lemon
  • Mint leaves
  • Frozen berries

Instructions

  1. Melt the dark chocolate and spoon it into each mould. Use a small clean paintbrush to brush the chocolate up the sides of each mould

  2. Put the chocolate in the fridge to set, then peel off the silicone moulds

  3. To make the lemon syllabub filling whip together the 2 tbsp of icing sugar, double cream and the lemon

  4. Pipe the cream into each chocolate cup using a piping bag with the end snipped off

  5. Put a larger berry like a raspberry, blackberry or cherry into each cup, then surrounded that with smaller berries like redcurrants and blackcurrants. Finally add a mint leaf and a dusting of icing sugar

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Lemon & Elderflower and Orange & Honey Floral Cake: GBBO Week #6

Lemon & Elderflower and Orange & Honey Floral Cake: GBBO Week #6

Well The Great British Drama of the past couple of weeks seems to be settling down for now, and it’s all been outside of the tent so far! This week’s theme was a new one – Botanicals Week. It based all around things that grow, so fruits, flowers, herbs and vegetables. I really liked this theme and the challenges that were themed around it. I also loved how Selasi, Jane, Mel and Mary all got into the spirit of it by wearing floral clothes!

The signature challenge was to make a citrus meringue pie. Mary was very excited and she wanted crisp meringue that was baked in the oven. Paul wanted balance between the sharp citrus and sweet meringue. Rav made a mandarin tart served with tequila. Both Jane and Candice used lime and coconut, Andrew also went for lime but added ginger to it, and both Benjamina and Selasi chose grapefruit to flavour their tarts. Benjamina added ginger to hers, while Selasi chose mint. Tom of course, went for something different and made a pumpkin, blood orange and pecan tart.

Everytime a baker mentioned using a blowtorch on their meringue the look on Mary’s face was very disapproving! Personally I prefer blowtorched meringue, it’s lovely and marshmallowy. A few of the bakers had problems with their meringue being too ‘wet’. Benjamina got a glowing result, as did Jane. Selasi’s curd was his only let down. Rav’s meringue was not stable enough, but they enjoyed his flavours. Andrew’s pie also lacked volume from his meringue, but his curd was ‘beautiful’ according to Paul. Tom’s pastry was not baked through and the judges couldn’t taste any citrus. Candice failed to impress with the apperance of her tart.

This week’s technical challenge was to make two herb fougasse. A leaf shaped bread flavoured with three different herbs – thyme, sage and rosemary. The main part of the instructions the bakers struggled with was how to cut the bread. Some made the middle cuts on top of one another, and some made them next to each other. There was also variety in the choice of proving time chosen.

Tom was relieved to be doing bread as this is his comfort zone, also he got quite stressed towards the end of the challenge. Selasi was his usual over relaxed self, and he didn’t get his bread in the oven quickly enough so it wasn’t baked through. A few of the bakers added water to the bottom of the oven to create steam as the bread baked. Selasi came last, Andrew 6th, Candice 5th and Jane 4th. Leading up the top three were Rav in 3rd, Benjamina 2nd and the winner was Tom.

This week’s showstopper was to make a spectacular three tiered floral cake. The floral element could be the decoration or flavours. Mary warned against over powering them with floral flavours, and Paul wanted exceptional decoration. Andrew’s three cakes were cherry & almond, strawberry & vanilla and lemon & elderflower. He decorated them simply with buttercream and fresh flowers, the judges thought it was too simple and his cake was dry. Rav spent the whole challenge in quite a nervous state as he doesn’t do “pretty” when it comes to baking. His cakes were all only one flavour, which was orange blossom & almond. The judges found it uncreative.

Tom used floral teas as her flavour inspiration and his three cakes were flavoured with camomile, jasmine, green and elderflower teas. He also made genoise sponges and decorated with a pretty floral effect, Mary called it simple but it clearly took a long time to do. She said his cakes were brilliant. Candice made a four tier changing of the seasons cake which looked really impressive and the judges agreed. Her flavours were chocoalte & orange, lemon & raspberry, spiced carrot and her Nan’s boiled fruit cake. I love how she uses inspiration from her her family for her bakes and it is always a success when she does this, like with her gingerbread pub.

Jane didn’t use any flower flavours in her cake and went for all orange sponges. She suffered from lack of timing throughout the whole challenge and even had to throw one cake away. She made floral chocolate collars and buttercream flowers but due to her timing problems they were very messy. Selasi made a stunning cake that really showcased his piping skills, it was flavoured with carrot, strawberry & vanilla, and lemon & poppyseed. The judges loved all of his cakes too! Benjamina produced a gorgeous naked cake which Paul said looked ‘unfinished’ – has he never seen a naked cake before?! They are everywhere! Get yourself on Pinterest Paul. Her spongers were camomile, honey & poppyseed, and orange blossom & almond. Unfortunately they were slightly underbaked.

Rav left us this week and Tom won star baker. It was a tricky one as Andrew and Jane equally could have left, and Selasi and Candice equally could have won star baker. If any of those three names for either decision had been announced I would not have been surprised. Next week is desserts week.

I wanted to go all out this week and make the showstopper. I couldn’t do three tiers as I don’t have the right size pans and I didn’t have time to buy any. I did however realise that this is the first time I’ve ever made a tiered cake! So I’m starting small, but who knows how many tiers I’ll make next time round!

I started with the lemon and elderflower sponge. I creamed together 350g butter and 350g sugar, then added the zest of 3 lemons.

I added 6 eggs, 2 at a time, and mixed between each one. And 3 tsp elderflower cordial. Then I added 350g self raising flour.

I divided the mixture between two 9 inch lined and greased tins. I always make a hole in the middle to avoid the cake from doming on the top too much.

I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 35 minutes until they were golden brown and a skewer came out clean.

While the cakes were baking I made a syrup from 10 tbsp caster sugar, 50ml elderflower cordial and the juice of 3 lemons.

I used my  Joseph Joseph Glaze Refillable Silicone Pastry Brush to brush the syrup all over the hot cakes, then I left them to cool. It was sent to me recently as part of their new baking range and it made this task so much easier!

 
 
Then I moved onto the orange and honey sponge. I creamed together 180g butter and 180g caster sugar. I added the zest of 1 orange, then 3 eggs, 1 tbsp honey and finally 180g self raising flour.

 

I divided the mixture into two 6 inch lined and greased tins.

I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 25 minutes. They took a lot longer to bake through so they were a bit darker than I wanted. I brushed a syrup made from the zest of 1 orange and 85g honey all over the cakes and left them to cool.

After trimming the cakes around the side and top to make sure they were neat and level, I started stacking them. I used apricot jam between each layer as I had some to use up in the fridge and I wanted something fairly neutral so the flavour of the cake would come across. Lemon curd would work really well too though.

I used four wooden skewers as dowels in the bottom sponge to support the top cake and avoid any sinking/collapsing.

Then I stacked up the two smaller cakes.

I had to make a lot of buttercream to cover and decorate this cake. I total I used 750g butter and 1.5kg icing sugar. I made the icing in two batches, and I also added 1 1/2 tsp orange extract and 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract to each batch.

I covered the cake in a base layer, or crumb coat, of icing. Then I put it in the fridge for an hour to set.

I turned my piping bag inside out and painted stripes of baby pink food colouring inside. I turned it back the right way, then filled it with buttercream.

I covered the whole cake in buttercream rosettes.

I made a last minute decision to make some flowers, and I rolled out some baby pink renshaw fondant. I used a fab flower tool to make the flowers, for full details on the tool and how to use it have a read of my Elderflower Cupcakes post.

I used a madeline tin to put the flowers in while they dried.

I used a dab of water to stick a pink sugar pearl in the middle. Then I stuck them all over the cake.

I was really pleased with the appearance of the cake. I’m not a very girly person, so I don’t often make things that are this pink and flowery! But I did think it looked lovely and the rosettes are simple but very effective.

I was most pleased by how neat the slices looked when the cake was cut! The lemon and elderflower cake was stunning, I adored the strong citrus flavour. The orange and honey was more delicate in flavour, but certainly no less delicious.

     

I’m linking up with the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016 hosted by Mummy Mishaps, with Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular, with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation, and with The Food Calendar hosted by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen, for National Cake Week.

NB. I was sent the Joseph Joseph products for free, all opinions are my own.

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Citrus Floral Cake

Ingredients

  • 1.28 kg Butter
  • 530 g + 10 tbsp Caster sugar
  • 530 g Self raising flour
  • 3 Lemons
  • 50 ml + 3 tsp Elderflower cordial
  • 9 Eggs
  • 1 Orange
  • 85 g + 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1.5 kg Icing sugar
  • 8 tbsp Apricot Jam
  • Baby pink ready to roll fondant
  • Pink sugar pearls
  • 3 tsp Orange extract
  • 3 tsp Lemon extract
  • Pink food colouring

Instructions

  1. To make the lemon and elderflower sponge cream together 350g of the butter and 350g of the caster sugar, then add the zest of the lemons
  2. Add 6 of the eggs, two at a time, and mix between each addition. Then add the 3 tsp of elderflower cordial, followed by 350g of the self raising flour, and mix in
  3. Divide the mixture between two 9 inch lined and greased tins. Bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 35 minutes until they are golden brown and a skewer comes out clean
  4. While the cakes are baking make a syrup from the 10 tbsp caster sugar, 50ml of the elderflower cordial and the juice of the lemons. Brush it all over the hot cakes as soon as they come out of the oven
  5. For the orange and honey sponge cream together 180g of the butter and 180g of the caster sugar. Add the zest of the orange and mix in
  6. Add 3 of the eggs mixing between each addition, then mix in the 1 tbsp of honey and finally fold in 180g of the self raising flour
  7. Divide the mixture between two 6 inch lined and greased tins. Bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 25 minutes until they are golden brown and a skewer comes out clean
  8. While the cakes are baking make a syrup from the zest of the orange and 85g of the honey. Brush it all over the hot cakes as soon as they come out of the oven
  9. If required, trim the cakes around the side and top to make sure they are neat and level, then start stacking them using apricot jam between each layer
  10. Use four wooden skewers or dowels in the bottom sponge to support the top cake and avoid any sinking/collapsing
  11. Make a large batch of buttercream by mixing together 750g of the butter and the icing sugar. When it's mixed add the orange and lemon extracts
  12. Cover the cake in a base layer, or crumb coat, of icing. Then put it in the fridge for an hour to set
  13. Turn the piping bag inside out and paint stripes of baby pink food colouring inside. Turn it back the right way, then fill it with buttercream. Cover the whole cake in buttercream rosettes
  14. Roll out the fondant and make flowers with a cutter and pressing tool. Allow to dry, then use a dab of water to stick a pink sugar pearl in the centre of each flower. Stick them all over the cake as desired

 

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Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie
I mentioned in my last post, where I made a Chocolate Fudge Cake, that there are a lot of ‘classic’ bakes that somehow I have managed not to make over the years. I’m not sure how I have avoided such tasty treats, but I’ve decided that needs to change! Next on my list was this gorgeous lemon meringue pie. I also got a chance to make italian style meringue, which was another first for me. I turned once again to What to Bake & How to Bake It by Jane Hornby – which really is a superb baking book – for the lemon filling. The pastry is a recipe I have used for years and I’m not sure where it originated from. The meringue recipe was an internet find, but is a fairly standard recipe that seems to be repeated in quite a few places so again I’m not sure who deserves the credit!

I started with the pastry and rubbed 170g butter into 350g plain flour.

I added 2 eggs and brought the mixture together into a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

I took it out of the fridge and rolled it out onto some cling film. This stops it from sticking to the work surface and makes it easy to pick up.

I lined my tin, trimmed the edges and pricked the bottom all over with a fork.

I covered the pastry with foil, you can also use baking paper, and filled it with baking beans.

I baked the pastry on 200C (180C Fan)/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes.

I removed the baking beans and foil, turned the oven down to 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas Mark 4 and baked the pastry again for another 15 minutes.

To make the lemon filling I started by whisking up 4 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks (reserving the whites for the meringue).

In a pan I melted 175g butter, 200g caster sugar and 250ml lemon juice.

Once the butter and sugar were melted I poured the mixture slowly into the eggs, whisking as I poured.

I poured the mixture back into the pan and heated it on a medium heat for 5 minutes until it thickened up.

I poured the lemon mixture into the pastry case.

I baked it again on 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 5 minutes. I left it to cool completely.

To make the italian meringue topping I started with the sugar syrup. I put 225g caster sugar and 125ml 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.

In a stand mixer I whisked up the 4 egg whites reserved earlier with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar until they reached soft peak stage. Then I poured the sugar syrup into a jug, and 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 the pie using a spoon and flicked it around to give it texture.

I then got out my kitchen blowtorch and browned the meringue all over.

The lemon filling and the meringue were both melt in the mouth delicious, they perfectly matched each other with the meringue’s sweetness and the zingy tartness of the lemon. The pastry was crisp and buttery, the ideal vehicle for transporting that delicious filling into your mouth.

I had some great comments about the pie from my colleagues, including ‘amazing’ and ‘awesome’. I was very pleased it went down so well, this is a classic bake for a reason!

I’m entering this into Perfecting Patisserie hosted by BakingQueen74.

And into the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, as this is a great recipe that uses up all of the egg whites and yolks, leaving nothing to waste. I also used some lemon juice I had frozen in the freezer for the filling.

I’m entering this into the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivations.

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Lemon Meringue Pie

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 170 g Butter
  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 2 Eggs

Filling

  • 250 ml Lemon juice
  • 200 g Caster sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Egg yolks
  • 175 g Butter

Meringue

  • 225 g Caster sugar
  • 125 ml Water
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of tartar
  • 4 Egg whites

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry rub the butter into the plain flour
  2. Add the eggs and bring the mixture together into a dough. Wrap it in cling film and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes
  3. Roll the pastry out and line the tin with it, trim the edges and prick the bottom all over with a fork
  4. Cover the pastry with foil and fill it with baking beans. Bake the pastry on 200C (180C Fan)/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes
  5. Remove the baking beans and foil, turn the oven down to 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas Mark 4 and bake the pastry again for another 15 minutes
  6. To make the lemon filling whisk up the whole eggs and egg yolks
  7. In a pan melt the butter, caster sugar and the lemon juice together
  8. Once the butter and sugar are melted, pour the mixture slowly into the eggs, whisking as you pour
  9. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat it on a medium heat for 5 minutes until it thickens up, keep stirring it during this time
  10. Pour the lemon mixture into the pastry case. Bake it again on 180C (160C Fan)/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 5 minutes. Leave it to cool completely
  11. To make the Italian meringue put 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. Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature and when it reaches 115C/240°F it's ready
  12. In a stand mixer whisked up the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they reach soft peak stage. Pour the sugar syrup into a jug, and 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
  13. Keep the food mixer running until the bowl feels cool, then dollop the meringue on top of the pie using a spoon and flick it around to give it texture. Finally use a kitchen blowtorch to brown the meringue all over
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Plum & Limoncello Tart

Plum & Limoncello Tart
I actually made this tart a couple of weeks ago, but I just got back from a holiday and have finally got round to sharing it with you! Plums are in season right now and I find that baking them makes them even more juicy and delicious. This is a fairly simple tart recipe that will really delight your friends and family if it’s presented at the end of a meal.

I started by making some pastry. I have a recipe for shortcrust pastry that I stick to religiously as it always works. I started with 350g plain flour and 170g butter. I rubbed the butter into the flour, I then added in two eggs and mixed until a dough formed. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour.

After the pastry had been chilled I rolled it out onto some cling film, this makes it so much easier to lift and line the tin with.

I lined a 28cm diameter loose bottomed tart tin with the pastry and peeled off the cling film.

I lined the pastry with baking paper, then filled it with baking beans and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 mins.

I removed the baking beans and baking paper and put the pastry back in the oven for another 10 minutes until the pastry was fully cooked on the bottom.

I cut up 8 plums into thin wedges (you will need 6 – 8 plums depending on size) and arranged them in the pastry base. They do shift during baking and when the custard is poured in, but I liked the effect of having them arranged.

I made the custard while the pastry was baking. I whisked together the zest and juice of 2 lemons, 4 tbsp double cream, 100g ground almonds, 100g melted butter, 5 eggs and 200g golden caster sugar. I whisked it well, then gently stirred in 8 tbsp limoncello.

I placed the pastry with the plums in onto the oven shelf, then poured the custard in. I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes until the custard was set, but still had a slight wobble.

Once it was cooled fully, I dusted it with icing sugar. I was really pleased with how it turned out, and I love the effect of the plums on top and their vibrant colour.

The juicy plums were a perfect accompaniment to the nutty sweet custard. This went down a storm when I took it into work, it was a rather large tart and disappeared very quickly! It would be a perfect tart on a sunny day, or you could warm it up with some custard.

As plums are in season at the moment, I am entering this into May’s Simple & In Season. Created by Ren Behan and this month hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.

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Plum & Limoncello Tart

Ingredients

  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 170 g Butter
  • 7 Eggs
  • 6-8 Plums
  • 2 Lemons
  • 4 tbsp Double cream
  • 100 g Ground almonds
  • 100 g Butter melted
  • 100 g Golden caster sugar
  • 8 tbsp Limoncello
  • Icing sugar to dust

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry, rub the butter into the plain flour. Add 2 of the eggs and mix until a dough forms. Wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour
  2. Roll the pastry out onto some cling film, then line a 28cm diameter loose bottomed tart tin with it
  3. Line the pastry with baking paper, then add baking beans and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 mins
  4. Remove the baking beans and baking paper, put the pastry back in the oven for another 10 minutes until fully cooked on the bottom
  5. Cut the plums into thin wedges and arrange them in the pastry base
  6. Make the custard by whisking together the zest and juice of the lemons, the double cream, the ground almonds, the melted butter, 5 of the eggs and the golden caster sugar. Whisk it well, then gently stir in the limoncello
  7. Place the pastry with the arranged plums in onto the oven shelf, then pour the custard in. Bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes until the custard is set, but still has a slight wobble
  8. Once it is cooled fully, dust it with icing sugar
Recipe from BBC Good Food.
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Lemon & Almond Ricotta Cakes

Lemon & Almond Ricotta Cakes
When I was packing up my flat to move I was throwing out a lot of things and giving bags to charity. It got me looking at my baking supplies and ingredients too. I gave a bunch of baking supplies I’d never used, and duplicates I didn’t need, to charity. I had a lot of dry ingredients in the cupboard too and I wanted to try and use them up. I had some ricotta in the fridge that needed using, along with some lemons, and in my baking cupboard I had almonds. I found this recipe on Food Network for American ‘biscuits’, but to me and you they are little cakes!

I creamed together 200g caster sugar, 115g butter and the zest of 2 lemons.

I then mixed in 250g ricotta.

I added 1 egg and the juice of 1 lemon and mixed well.

I weighed out 300g plain flour, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt, and mixed it into the wet ingredients.

I divided the mixture out between 12 muffin cases.

I sprinkled some toasted flaked almonds and some demerara sugar over each cake.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes until risen and golden.

They can be eaten warm or cold, and are delicious either way. I think they would be nice with some lemon curd!

The cake were lovely and fluffy inside with a light and fresh flavour. The almonds and sugar on top are a nice crunchy contrast. I’m not sure why Americans call these biscuits… anyone?!

I am entering these into this month’s Credit Crunch Munch, ran by Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All, this month hosted by Baking Queen. I used ingredients in my fridge and cupboard that needed using up to make these cakes.

I am also entering this into this month’s No Waste Food Challenge, hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. I used up food to make these cakes that would have otherwise been binned.

I am also entering this into Family Foodies Italian Challenge, hosted by Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash, this month’s theme is family friendly Italian themed foods. Ricotta is an Italian cheese and these cakes would be a great family bake.

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Lemon & Almond Ricotta Cakes

Ingredients

  • 200 g Caster sugar
  • 115 g Butter
  • 2 Lemons
  • 250 g Ricotta
  • 1 Egg
  • 300 g Plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • A large handful of Toasted flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp Demerara sugar

Instructions

  1. Cream together the caster sugar, butter and the zest of the lemons
  2. Mix in the ricotta
  3. Add the egg and the juice of 1 of the lemons and mix well
  4. Then mix in the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt
  5. Divide the mixture out between 12 muffin cases
  6. Sprinkle the toasted flaked almonds and demerara sugar over each cake
  7. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes until risen and golden
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Lemon ‘Easter Nest’ Baked Donuts

Lemon ‘Easter Nest’ Baked Donuts
I had the idea for these Lemon ‘Easter Nest’ Baked Donuts a couple of months ago, and I’ve patiently waited (something I’m not very good at!) until an appropriate time to make them. Easter eggs are in the shops, Mother’s Day and St Patrick’s Day are behind us, so it’s definitely ok to start baking for Easter in my eyes! These fresh lemon baked donuts are the perfect way to welcome spring with their light pastel colours and even lighter baked texture. Baked donuts are much different to the deep fried kind, their texture is similar to a light cake or I find them quite similar to Madelines too. I’ve topped them with toasted coconut which gives a satisfying crunch against the soft donut base when you bite into it. And you can’t beat some cheeky chocolate eggs in the middle too!

I’ve made a few differeny flavours of Baked Donuts before (Pumpkin, Chocolate & Vanilla) so I used the same basic recipe. I started with 225g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt and 175g caster sugar in a bowl.

In a separate bowl I mixed together 175ml milk, 2 eggs, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract and the zest of 2 lemons.

I poured the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisked until combined and smooth.

I greased my Wilton donut pan with butter.

I filled each hole with about 3 tbsp of batter and I baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10-12 minutes. I pressed the donuts
quickly with my finger and if they sprang back I knew they were done.

I gently prised the donuts out of the pan using a spoon and let them cool.

I made an icing using 200g icing sugar and the juice of 1 and a half lemons. I wanted the icing to be fairly thick so I added the juice slowly. I spread the icing on top of the donut with a palette knife, then sprinkled the toasted coconut on top and left them to set. I got the toasted coconut from Holland & Barrett. Once they were set I placed three mini eggs in the middle.

Everyone commented on how cute they looked and how the citrus flavour was delicious! They are best eaten straight away as the coconut can lose it’s crunch, but they still taste good the next day. The lemon flavour is so fresh and zingy, especially the icing, it goes perfectly with the coconut. The perfect way to welcome in Easter!

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Lemon 'Easter Nest' Baked Donuts

Ingredients

  • 225 g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 175 g Caster sugar
  • 175 ml Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 200 g Icing sugar
  • Toasted coconut flakes
  • Butter for greasing
  • 2 packs of Mini eggs

Instructions

  1. Place the plain flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a bowl and stir together
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the milk, eggs, olive oil, vanilla extract and the zest of the 2 lemons
  3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until combined and smooth
  4. Grease the donut pan with butter
  5. Fill each hole with about 3 tbsp of batter and bake on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10-12 minutes Gently prise the donuts out of the pan using a spoon and let them cool
  6. Make an icing by mixing the icing sugar with the juice of 1 and a half of the lemons. Add the juice slowly. Spread the icing on top of the donuts with a palette knife, then sprinkle the toasted coconut on top and leave them to set. Once they are set place three mini eggs in the middle
 
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Limoncello Cheesecake Squares

Limoncello Cheesecake Squares
It may only be March, but these Limoncello Cheesecake Squares bring a touch of summer to the season! I love the bright yellow of lemon, it’s so cheery. And it goes perfectly with creamy soft cheese. I had some leftover Limoncello after making a Raspberry & Limoncello Tart last month, so I wanted to incorporate it into my baking again. This recipe is really easy to follow and quick to make, which is definitely a bonus. The only struggle is waiting for it to cool before you tuck in!

I used a food processor to crush 225g digestive biscuits into crumbs. You could also put them in a bag and bash with a rolling pin. I mixed in the zest of half a lemon (the other half of the lemon zest will be used later).

I melted 85g butter, mixed it into the biscuits, and pressed the mixture into a greased and lined baking tray.

I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes, then left it to cool completely.

I whisked up 340g ricotta cheese and 225g cream cheese. I then whisked in 225g caster sugar.

I added 115ml limoncello, 2 tsp vanilla extract, the zest of 1 1/2 lemons, and 4 eggs (added one at a time) and mixed in well.

I poured the cheesecake into the baking tray over the cooked crust.

I baked it on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 30 minutes. It still had a slight ‘wobble’ to it.

Once it was fully cool I removed from the tin and cut into squares, I decorated them with a slice of lemon. Store them in the fridge to keep them fresh. They went down really well with my colleagues and I got some great comments on the flavour!

I am entering these into The More Than Occassional Baker’s monthly challenge, Alpha Bakes (hosted on alternate months by Caroline Makes). This month the letter is ‘S’, and these are ‘Squares’ so hopefully fit the bill!

I am also entering these into Belleau Kitchen’s brand new challenge – Simply Eggcellent! I made these squares using 4 free range eggs.

Recipe slightly adapted from Liv Life.

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Limoncello Cheesecake Squares

Ingredients

  • 225 g Digestive biscuits
  • 2 Lemons
  • 85 g Butter
  • 340 g Ricotta cheese
  • 225 g Cream cheese
  • 225 g Caster sugar
  • 115 ml Limoncello
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 4 Eggs

Instructions

  1. Use a food processor to crush the digestive biscuits into crumbs. Then mix in the zest of half of one of the lemons
  2. Melt the butter, mix it into the biscuit crumbs, and press the mixture into a greased and lined baking tray
  3. Bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes, then leave it to cool completely
  4. Whisk the ricotta cheese, cream cheese and caster sugar together
  5. Add the limoncello, vanilla extract, the zest of 1 1/2 of the lemons, and the eggs (add one egg at a time) and mix in well
  6. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the baking tray over the cooked crust. Bake it on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 30 minutes
  7. Once fully cool, remove from the tin and cut into squares, decorate with half a slice of lemon. Store them in the fridge to keep them fresh
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Raspberry & Limoncello Tart

Raspberry & Limoncello Tart
I am getting a lot of use of my new Tarte Maison tin! I decided to use it again after it’s first Spinach & Feta Tart outing to make this Valentine’s themed dessert. Valentine’s Day can be quite cheesey I admit, but I personally love it! Celebrating love and being romantic is lovely and I think ‘why not?!’ You can enjoy the day whether single or loved up in my opinion, we all have loved ones we can shower with affection. Over the years my friends have been kind enough to send me cards, flowers and baked goods. And I’ve done the same back. Now I have a wonderful boyfriend to focus my affection on, but I still like to surprise my friends with a fun card or Valentine’s treat. This tart would be great to share between friends or enjoy as dessert with a romantic meal.

I started by making the filling. In a bowl I mixed together 450g fresh raspberries, 200g sugar, 60g cornflour, 60ml limoncello and the zest of one lemon. I let it sit to infuse together while I made the pastry.

To make the pastry I used the same method and amounts from my Pumpkin Pie recipe. This is my favourite shortcrust pastry recipe, it does make a little too much but don’t worry I have a great idea for the leftovers later on.

I greased my tin and lined it with the pastry, cutting off any excess
and pricking the bottom with a fork. I then put baking paper in the
pastry and poured in some baking beans. I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark
4 for 10-15 minutes until the pastry started to brown around the edges.

I took the paper and baking beans out and baked it again for 5-10 minutes until the bottom looked fully cooked.

I measured out the lid and cut heart shapes in it. Of course you can do the lid any way you like, lattice works well too.

I filled the pastry base with filling. Then put the pastry lid on top, which was a bit fiddly as the filling is very wet, but I got it on and sealed the edges with beaten egg, then brushed beaten egg all over the pastry lid.

I baked the tart on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until it was golden brown. The lid did split from the sides at either end, which was partly my fault as I think I could’ve sealed it better, but I was still really pleased with the heart effect!

When cut, the filling was much more solid, almost like a jelly or jam. The filling was fruity, sweet and delicious. It’s great with custard and I think would also work well with ice cream! You could do mini versions too if you didn’t want to make a large tart.

I did have a little leftover pastry and filling, so I made these cute Heart Shaped Hand Pies. All you need to do is roll the pastry out and cut out heart shapes. Lay them on a lined baking tray, put a spoonful of filling in the middle and cover with another piece of pastry. Seal the edges with a fork and cut a slit or cross in the middle. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 20 minutes.

I am entering this recipe into this month’s Alphabakes hosted by Caroline Makes… and The More Than Occassional Baker, where the letter is ‘V’, and I made this tart for Valentine’s Day so I think it’s fitting!

I’m also entering into Cake Of The Week’s challenge Baking With Spirit as this recipe contains Limoncello, an Italian liquor. The theme this month is ‘Fun’ which I think this tart is!

 
 
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Raspberry & Limoncello Tart

Ingredients

  • 450 g Fresh raspberries
  • 200 g Caster sugar
  • 60 g Cornflour
  • 60 ml Limoncello
  • 1 Lemon
  • 170 g Butter
  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 2 Egg
  • 1 Beaten egg

Instructions

  1. Start by making the filling. In a bowl mix together the fresh raspberries, caster sugar, cornflour, limoncello and the zest of the lemon. Let it sit to infuse together while you make the pastry
  2. To make the pastry rub together the plain flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the eggs until a dough forms. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes
  3. Grease the tin and line it with the pastry, cutting off any excess and pricking the bottom with a fork. Put baking paper in the pastry and pour in some baking beans. Bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes
  4. Take the paper and baking beans out and bake it again for 5-10 minutes
  5. Measure out the lid and cut heart shapes in it
  6. Fill the pastry base with filling. Then put the pastry lid on top, and seal the edges with the beaten egg, then brush the beaten egg all over the pastry lid
  7. Bake the tart on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown
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Things To Do With… Zested Lemons, Limes & Oranges

Things To Do With… Zested Lemons, Limes & Oranges

I often find myself with naked lemons, limes and oranges after zesting them for a recipe and I never know what to do with them. It always seems like recipes call for zest only, or more zest than juice, so I imagine this is a common problem for bakers! In order to resolve this problem and avoid food waste guilt I’ve had a scout around and collected together some recipes that use only the juice of citrus fruits. It took me a while to find recipes that don’t need zest at all, but I’ve found a good selection. Let me know if you make any and how they turn out!

Index

There is approx 30ml juice in a Lemon
There is approx 30ml juice in a Lime
There is approx 80ml juice in an Orange

Lemons

 

Lemon Meringue Pie – Uses 250ml Lemon Juice
This gorgeous pie has a melt in the mouth tangy lemon filling, a fluffy meringue topping and crisp pastry.

Other idea from around the web:

Lemon Curd – Uses 125ml Lemon Juice
Probably the most obvious use for citrus juice, you could also make Lime or Orange curd from this recipe too.

Freezable Lemon Bars – Uses the Juice of 2 Lemons
Biscuit crust, lemon filling and topped with whipped cream. These look so good! Almost like an easier version of lemon meringue pie that’s bitesize too.

Lemon Vinaigrette – Uses 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
A good salad dressing can turn a boring pile of lettuce into a tasty and exciting meal. Lemon juice will add a fantastic zing to your usual lunch fare.

Lemon Sugar Cookies – Uses the Juice of 1 Lemon
A very simple recipe to follow with a delicious result!

Lemon Cream Pie – Uses 210ml Lemon Juice
A perfect summer dessert, you can replace the graham crackers with digestive biscuits for the pie crust.

Limes

Key Lime Cheesecake – Uses 175ml Lime Juice (about 3 Limes)
This is an American recipe so it is in cups. You can use digestive biscuits for the base instead of graham crackers as they are very similar.

Pina Colada Fruit Jellies – Uses 3 tsp Lime Juice
These look so yummy, and would be great for a gift or party treat.

Banana Mango Muffins with Lime Glaze – Uses 1/2 a Lime Juice plus 1 tsp
These sounds really tropical, tasty and full of nutritious fruit!

Chocolate Covered Lime Cheesecake Bites – Uses 60ml Lime Juice
Cheesecake covered in chocolate – such an awesome idea!

Coconut Lime Cheesecake Bars – Uses 4 tbsp Lime Juice
Coconut and lime go so well together in these tasty looking bars.

Oranges

Cinnamon Orange Juice Cake – Uses 250ml Orange Juice
This looks so delicious, cinnamon and orange make a great flavour pairing and this recipe is very easy to follow.

Blueberry Orange Juice Bread – Uses 175ml Orange Juice
I love the sound of blueberries and orange together, this bread looks so fresh and fruity.

Apple Crepes with Orange Sauce – Uses 175ml Orange Juice (plus 2 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice!)
Pancakes are the ultimate breakfast treat, I would be very happy with these for my weekend breakfast and I’d know I was getting some fruit goodness at the same time.

Peach Romanoff – Uses 6 tbsp Orange Juice
A really simple no-bake (you only need to use the stove top) recipe that sounds superb.

Sicilian Orange Almond Cake – Uses 75ml Orange Juice
A very warming tasty cake, I think adding some spices would be a great addition to this recipe. You can replace the curds in this recipe with natural yoghurt.

Other ideas for leftover citrus fruits…

– Squeeze some lemon over chicken before roasting
– Or squeeze lime over fish and prawns
– Pop a wedge or slice into your drink, or get cocktail making!
– Mix any citrus juice with icing sugar and drizzle over a cake
– You can freeze the juice in ice cube trays

NB. Image Source for the main image

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Courgette, Linseed & Lemon Muffins

Courgette, Linseed & Lemon Muffins
A few weeks ago when attending the BBC Good Food Bakes & Cakes Show I watched Cathryn Dresser, a former Bake Off contestant, make these muffins on stage. I was intrigued by the idea of courgette in cake. I thought it was a great way to eat a vegetable without realising it! I have altered Cat’s original recipe slightly as I wanted to make these more healthy (she tops hers with buttercream!) and more suitable for an ‘on the go’ breakfast or quick snack.

I started by grating one courgette. I used a food processer to make
this easier but you can grate by hand too. Squeeze the water out of the
grated courgette then put it in a mixing bowl. This gave me about 150g
courgette. I also added 115g golden caster sugar, and the zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange.

I then added 60ml vegetable oil, 2 eggs and 2 tbsp greek style yoghurt. I mixed everything together.

In a separate bowl I measured out 25g golden linseeds (also called flaxseeds), a pinch of salt, 100g self raising flour and 50g wholemeal self raising flour.

I added the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mixed together.

I put the batter into muffin cases in a tray and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes until golden brown.

I’ve been enjoying these muffins from breakfast and have made a couple more batches since. My boyfriend really loves them too and handing him a couple of these in the morning stops any unhealthy McBreakfasts!

I’m entering into myself and Cakeyboi’s monthly baking challenge Treat Petite, he is hosting this month and the theme is ‘Thank you’. Baking is one of the ways I thank my boyfriend for all the wonderful things he does for me and this bake in particular was to help him save money and also be healthier.

 

Products from Amazon.co.uk

 
 
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Courgette, Linseed & Lemon Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 Courgette
  • 115 g Golden caster sugar
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Orange
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 60 ml Vegetable Oil
  • 25 g Golden linseeds
  • 100 g Self raising flour
  • 50 g Wholemeal self raising flour
  • A pinch of Salt

Instructions

  1. Use a food processer to grate the courgette. Squeeze the water out of it then put it in a mixing bowl. Add the golden caster sugar, and the zest of the lemon and the orange
  2. Then add the vegetable oil, eggs and greek yoghurt. Mix everything together
  3. In a separate bowl measure out the golden linseeds, salt, self raising flour and wholemeal self raising flour
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together
  5. Put the batter into muffin cases in a tray and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes until golden brown
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