Lemon and Elderflower Victoria Sanswich

Lemon cake, sandwiched together with lemon curd and cream, topped with an elderflower glaze.

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It is elderflower season again so I have been making copious amounts of my elderflower cordial. I love using elderflower in baking as its such a beautifully delicate flavour. I decided to use it in something really simple, so I made this lemon and elderflower sponge cake.

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I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#127 this week, hosted by Angie and co-hosted by  Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen and Jess @ Cooking Is My Sport.. Happy Friday Everyone!

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Variations: You could use another citrus fruit to complement the elderflower, both lime and orange would work really well. Also if you don’t like elderflower you could add another floral flavour to the icing like lavender or rose.

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Ingredients: Serves 8-10

The Sponge:

  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • zest of two lemons
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 3-4tbsp elderflower cordial

The Filling:

  • 200ml double cream – whipped
  • 150g lemon curd

The Icing

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2-5tbsp elderflower cordial

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line two 20cm cake tins.

Combine all the ingredients for the sponge and mix with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.

Spoon into the prepared cake tins and level off.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top and springy to touch.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Once the cakes are cool, place one cake onto a cake stand or serving plate and spread with lemon curd. Dollop the whipped cream onto and gently spread t the edges. Sandwich the next cake layer ontop.

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, and add the elderflower cordial tbsp at time, stop when the mixture has formed a thick paste that coats the back of a spoon.

Pour the icing over the top of the cake, and gently spread to the edges, add a bit at a time, so it doesn’t all just run over the edges. You should end up with a rustic drippy finish tough!

Decorate with some edible flowers (I have used primrose and violas) and serve!

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Croissants

Home made croissants  with three filings –  chocolate, marzipan or bacon and cream cheese.

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Who doesn’t love a freshly baked flaky croissant? I was a bit daunted by trying to make my own croissants the first time I made them, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they were and how amazing they tasted – they just take a bit of time to make!

I got this recipe from Richard Bertinet’s Crust recipe book. This is the third time I’ve made them, and I’ve had consistently great results each time, so I can definitely recommend the recipe!

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I have tried out a few different fillings, but my favourites are cream cheese and bacon, marzipan, and chocolate, so I made all three with this batch of dough. These croissants do taste also taste delicious plain though!

This makes quite a lot of croissants, so I usually freeze half as soon as they have cooled down, and then I can get them out when I have people to stay, or if I just fancy an extravagant breakfast!

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Ingredients: Makes around 12-14 large croissants or 20-24 small.

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 20g fast action yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125g full-fat milk – warmed to body temperature
  • 125g water
  • 200g unsalted butter (cold)
  • 1 egg (for the egg wash)

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To Make:

Combine the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, milk and egg in a large mixing bowl. Mix until everything begins to come together.

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Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Return to the bowl and slash a cross in the top of the dough with a sharp knife. Cover with clingfilm and leave to prove in the fridge for at least two hours, but preferably overnight.

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Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the four corners of the dough into a square.

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Either flatten the butter into a square using a rolling pin, or slice up into 5-6 thin rectangles.

Lay the butter in the middle of the rolled out dough, and fold in the corners over the butter.

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Roll out the dough into a large rectangle, 2-3 times longer than its original length. Try to distribute the weight of the rolling pin evenly, so that the butter is evenly flattened out.

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Fold the dough into thirds. Place on a plastic board or oven tray and cover with clingfilm, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

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Remove from the fridge and roll out again into a a large rectangle. Fold into thirds and leave to chill in the fridge for 3o minutes for a second time.

Remove from the fridge and roll out again into a a large rectangle. Fold into thirds and leave to chill in the fridge for 3o minutes for a third time.

Remover from the fridge and roll out into a large rectangle, about 30 x 75 x 4mm.

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With a sharp knife cut the dough lengthways down the centre to form two long thin rectangles.

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Cut each strip into 6-7 triangles. Make a small vertical cut at the base of each triangle roll up each triangle from the base.

Add your chosen filling for the croissants at the base before rolling up.

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For the pan au chocolat, cut the dough into rectangles, and roll width-ways three times around a few squares of dark chocolate .

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Place the croissants on a greased baking tray and graze with the egg wash. Leave to prove for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Graze again, and sprinkle some flaked almonds over any marzipan croissants.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked through – check they sound hollow when you tap the bottom!

Leave to cool on a wire rack before serving.

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Chocolate and Hazelnut Speckled Egg Cake

Hazelnut cake, sandwiched together with chocolate and hazelnut spread, coated in white chocolate ganache.

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Easter has coincided with my boyfriends birthday this year, so I decided to make him an Easter themed birthday cake!

I had a browse around on Pinterest and I found these amazing tutorials for making a speckled egg cake, and I think they look fantastic so I decided to try and make one myself.

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My cake is hazelnut and chocolate flavour, so I have made a hazelnut cake, sandwiched together with chocolate hazelnut spread. I used a white chocolate ganache for the icing so that I would be able to colour it for the speckled egg effect.

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The speckled egg icing actually really easy and fun! You just ice as normal and then splatter the cake with a cocoa powder paint to give the speckly effect, the kitchen was a bit of a mess though!

I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#112 this week, hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Natalie @ Kitchen, Uncorked and Hilda @ Along The Grapevine. Happy Friday and Happy Easter everyone!

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Variations: you could use any flavours you want in this cake!

Ingredients: Serves 12-14

The Cake:

  • 300g butter
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 200g chopped hazelnuts
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 150g chocolate hazelnut spread

The Icing:

  • 600g white chocolate
  • 200ml double cream
  • blue gel food colouring
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • chocolate eggs

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To Make:

Grease and line three 23cm cake tins, preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream together the butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Fold in the eggs one at a time followed by the chopped hazelnuts and flour.

Spoon into the prepared tins and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the white chocolate ganache, melt together the chocolate and cream in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until the chocolate has fully melted, then stir in the food colouring until it reaches the desired shade of blue.

Cover with clingfilm so that the top of the ganache is toughing the film. Leave to cool to body temperature for a few hours.

whisk the ganache for a few minutes with a hand-held electric mixer until light and creamy. Cover with clingfilm again and leave to reach room temperature.

Place one of the sponges on an icing turntable. Pipe a ring of ganache around the edge of the sponge, then fill the middle with a few tbsp of chocolate hazelnut spread.  -repeat with the next two sponges.

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Cover the outside of the cake with a thick layer of ganache. then use a scraper to straighten out all the edges.

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Smooth out the ganache by warming up a metal spatula in hot water and then using this to smooth out and unwanted lumps and bumps.

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Once you are happy with the finish of your ganache you can move on to the speckle decoration!

Mix the cocoa powder with a few tbsp of water until it forms a loose pain like consistency.

Use a clean paintbrush and dip in in your chocolate paint. tap off the excess and then hold the paintbrush with one hand and tap with your fingers to make flecks of pain scatter off the brush – practice on some greaseproof paper before you get to work on the cake!

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Use the chocolate paint to decorate the top and sides of the cake until you are happy with the speckley effect.

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Finally decorate with some chocolate eggs and the cake is ready to serve!

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Scandinavian Cinnamon Rolls

Sweet dough twists flavoured with cinnamon and topped with crunchy pearl sugar.

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I LOVE cinnamon rolls, they are one of my absolute favourite breads.  I’ve made them at home before but I have aways made the american version which are much sweeter and stickier.

I had some scandinavian style cinnamon rolls from a cafe in London before christmas and I absolutely loved them, so I decided to try and make some for myself! I used a mixture of a few different recipes for these.

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The main difference I noticed between american and scandinavian cinnamon rolls was how the filling was added. In american cinnamon roll,s the sugar and cinnamon are mixed with the melted sugar and then spread onto the bread, so you end up with quite a thick gloopy covering of sugar, whereas the scaninavian rolls all had the melted butter brushed on and the sugar sprinkled over later, so it had a bit of a less intense filling!

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I also decided to shape these differently, so I had a look online and found this really pretty method for making twisted knot cinnamon rolls.

I really enjoyed these, and I much preferred them to the recipe I usually use so I will definitely be making them again!

Variations: You can use ground cardamom in the filling for a different flavour!

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday 111, hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Naina @ Spice in the City and Julianna @ Foodie On Board.

Happy Friday everyone!

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Ingredients: Makes 12 Rolls

  • 500g strong white bread four
  • 10g yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 250 warm milk
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1-2tbsp water
  • pearl sugar

 

To Make:

Combine the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, milk, eggs in a large bowl and mix until it forms a rough ball of dough.

Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl and leave and prove for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Combine the sugar and flour

Turn out onto a floured work surface and roll out into a large rectangle about 1cm thick.

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Brush all over with the melted butter, making sure the mixture reaches right to the edges.

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Scatter over the cinnamon sugar mixture and spread up to the edges.

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Fold into thirds, and cut into 12 strips

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Take each strip and stretch and twist into a long spiral. Wrap the strip twice around your fingers and tuck the ends into the bottom forming a knot.

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Place on a greased baking tray and cover with clingfilm. Leave to prove again for an hour until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 180C

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Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Mix together the icing sugar and water until the mixture forms a loose glaze-like consistency. Brush the glaze over the rolls, and scatter over some pearl sugar.

Serve and enjoy!

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Blackcurrant Macarons

Deliciously sweet macarons filled with fresh cream and tangy blackcurrant jam.

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After my success at mastering the macaron a few weeks ago, I was eager to try out my new skills with exciting new flavours!

At my first attempt at making macarons I realised that the gel food colouring you get in the supermarkets is not strong enough to give the shells the bright colours you need, so I treated myself to some good quality food coloring.

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I chose to make blackcurrant macarons because I love the vibrant purple colour the shells and the tangy taste of blackcurrant jam.

I was really pleased that these turned out so well, I feel like I have fully mastered to macaron now!

I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#106 this week, hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Steffi @ Ginger & Bread and Andrea @ Cooking With a Wallflower.. Happy Friday everyone!

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Ingredients: Makes 16 Macarons 

  • 100g egg whites (3 eggs)
  • 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar
  • 40g granulated sugar
  • 115g ground almonds
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 drop of purple gel food colouring
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150g blackcurrant jam

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To Make:

Take the eggs out of the fridge a few hours before use and leave to warm up to room temperature.

Line a baking tray with either a silicone macaron mat, or a sheet of baking paper with templates drawn on.

Place the almonds in a food processor and blitz a few times to mix into a finer powder.

Sift the ground almonds and caster sugar into a large bowl and set aside.

In a separate clean bowl, whisk up the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the caster sugar and food colouring. Whisk to form stiff glossy peaks.

Fold the almond mixture into the egg whites bit at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue to mix until the mixture loosens up a little, and the batter runs off the back of the spoon ‘like lava’ or forms a ‘ribbon’ like trace when it runs back into the bowl.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a medium sized circular nozzle.

Pipe dollops of mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Pat down any peaks on the macarons with a wet finger. Tap the baking tray hard on your work surface a few times to remove and large air bubbles – you should see some small bubbles popping at the surface!

Then leave the macarons to set for 45mins-1 hour before baking – this step is very important as the macarons need to form a skin before they are baked. You can check to see if they are ready by lightly touching them, they should be tacky and not stick to your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Once ready, bake the macarons in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until they have puffed up and (hopefully!) formed feet.

Leave to cool completely before removing from the baking tray.

Whip up the double cream until it forms stiff peaks and spoon into a piping bag with a circular nozzle.

Pipe a ring of cream around the edge of one macaron shell and fill the middle with a teaspoon of black currant jam. Place another macaron shell on top and gently press together to push the filling to the edges.

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Mastering the Macaron

My adventures in trying to make the perfect macaron!

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This weekend was my one year blog-versary! I decided to mark the occasion my attempting to master a bake that has failed me before; the macaron.

I tried them about a year ago with disastrous results! They were just lumpy almond biscuits, with no foot, or shiny top, and since then I have been to scared to try again.

Last time I tried the Italian meringue method and since they were such a disaster, I decided to try the french method, which at first glance seemed much simpler, so I was hopeful for good results!

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I did a LOT of googling before I started, and read through loads of french macaron recipes. I found that most of the recipes contained the same amounts and instructions, and settled on this recipe, as it had good reviews.

My first attempt was almost right, I managed to get quite a good foot on each biscuit, and there were no cracks, so they did look quite like a proper macaron, but unfortunately the tops were very lumpy, and not shiny at all, so I knew I wasn’t quite there!

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I had another google for macaron trouble shooting, and decided that my problems were probably due to either under-mixing the batter, or not having almonds that were finely ground enough.

During the first batch, I only just mixed the almond  and sugar mixture into the egg whites because I was scared of knocking out all the air, but I soon realised that you actually need to mix the batter for  little longer until it runs off the spoon and leaves a ‘ribbon’ trace.

So, for my second batch of macarons, I gave the ground almonds an extra blitz in the food processor to get a finer grind, and I made sure I mixed the batter until it formed ‘ribbons’.

I noticed when I piped the mixture onto the macaron sheet, that it flattened out much more smoothly, and looked a lot more glossy, so I was hopeful that they would turn out better!

And I was right be be hopeful because the second batch turned out really well, with nice smooth shiny tops, and a foot! so now I know how to make proper macarons!

I will give the recipe for the chocolate and coffee macarons which worked!

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Ingredients: Makes 14 Mocha Macarons

  • 100g egg whites (3 eggs)
  • 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar
  • 40g granulated sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1tbsp espresso powder
  • 1tbsp icing sugar

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To Make:

Take the eggs out of the fridge a few hours before use and leave to warm up to room temperature.

Line a baking tray with either a silicone macaron mat, or a sheet of baking paper with templates drawn on.

Place the almonds in a food processor and blitz a few times to mix into a finer powder.

Sift the ground almonds, cocoa powder and caster sugar into a large bowl and set aside.

In a separate clean bowl, whisk up the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the caster sugar, and whisk to form stiff glossy peaks.

Fold the almond mixture into the egg whites bit at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue to mix until the mixture loosens up a little, and the batter runs off the back of the spoon ‘like lava’ or forms a ‘ribbon’ like trace when it runs back into the bowl.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a medium sized circular nozzle.

Pipe dollops of mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Pat down any peaks on the macarons with a wet finger. Tap the baking tray hard on your work surface a few times to remove and large air bubbles.

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Then leave the macarons to set for 45mins-1 hour before baking – this step is very important as the macarons need to form a skin before they are baked. You can check to see if they are ready by lightly touching them, they should be tacky and not stick to your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Once ready, bake the macarons in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until they have puffed up and (hopefully!) formed feet.

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Leave to cool completely before removing from the baking tray.

Meanwhile make the filing: dissolve the espresso powder in a few tbsp of hot water. Whip up the double cream until it forms stiff peaks, then fold in the coffee mixture and 1 tbsp of icing sugar.

Spoon the filling mixture into a clean piping bad with a small circular nozzle, and pipe a circle of cream onto one macaron, place another on top, and squeeze gently to spread out the filling.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Baked Chocolate Doughnuts

Chocolate chip and vanilla doughnuts, topped with a dark chocolate ganache and chocolate sprinkles.

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One of my Christmas presents I have been itching to use is my baked doughnut kit, which came with some nice silicone moulds for making doughnuts in the oven rather than frying them!

Although I love making doughnuts the traditional way with bread dough, it does take quite a lot of time, and it’s harder to add fruit prices etc. so I really wanted to give the baked variety a go!

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I decided to start with a basic recipe as I have never baked them before, so I used this Lakeland recipe, and added milk chocolate chips and a chocolate icing.

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The doughnuts were super easy to make as the batter was a lot like a muffin mix and baking them was really really easy. They we’re really fun to ice and decorate too, so I can’t wait to try some more flavours!

I will be bringing these delicious doughnuts to Fiesta Friday #104 this week hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Mila @ milkandbunand Hilda @ Along The Grapevine. Happy Friday!

Variations: You could use white chocolate ganache instead of dark for a sweeter finish. You could also add some orange juice and zest to the doughnuts to make chocolate orange flavour.

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Ingredients: Makes 8-10 large doughnuts

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 100g milk chocolate chips
  • 175g milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 75ml double cream

 

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To Make: 

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a doughnut pan, or silicone moulds.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt  and chocolate chips in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, olive oil and vanilla extract.

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Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix to combine to a loose batter.

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Spoon into the doughnut cases until 2-3 full.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

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Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Melt the cream and chocolate together in the microwave for 30 sends at a time, until smooth and glossy.

Dip each doughnut into the ganache, smooth over and scatter over the chocolate sprinkles or hundreds and thousands.

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Serve and enjoy!

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