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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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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Lemon Almandine

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I have been itching to make a tart ever since I got my new rectangular tart tin for my Birthday, and my new Pastry cookbook!

I have used a recipe for an almandine tart, but added some lemon flavourings to spice it up!

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I loved this tart, it worked so well, and tasted delicious. The pastry is lovely and crumbly, and the lemon adds a great juicy finish to the frangipane.

We just ate this as it is, but I’m sure a dollop of creme fraiche or mascarpone wouldn’t go a miss!

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I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#103 this week hosted by Angie, and co-hosted by Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Petra @ Food Eat Love . Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: You could use a different jam in the filling, or add some fruit into he frangipane. Raspberry would work very well!

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Ingredients: Serves 6-8

The Pastry:

  • 250g butter
  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 egg

 

The Filling:

  • 2-3tbsp lemon curd
  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • zest and juice of one lemon.
  • 2tbsp flaked almonds

 

To Make:

The Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a 30m rectangular tart tin.

In a large bowl combine the flour and butter. Rub together into a fine breadcrumb like consistency. Mix in the lemon zest, juice and egg until the mixture comes together into a rough ball of dough. (You can add a little extra water or lemon juice if the dough won’t come together)

Turn out onto a clean, floured work surface and form into a rectangle. Roll out into a large rectangle, around half a centimeter thick.

Line the greased tin which the pastry sheet, pushing the pasty into the crevices of the tin. Trim off the edges and prick the bottom of the pasty win a fork.

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Weigh the pastry down with baking beans or equivalent, bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the baking beans and return to the oven for another 10 minutes to brown the base of the pastry.

Remove from the oven.

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The Frangipane:

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale of fluffy. Fold in the eggs one at a time, followed by the lemon zest and juice, flour and ground almonds.

Assembling:

Spoon the lemon curd into the bottom of the blind baked pasty case, and sooth out into a thin layer.

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Top with the frangipane and smooth out, then scatter over the flaked almonds.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

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Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

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Transfer to a plate or cake stand to serve!

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Salted Caramel and Chestnut Mini Loaves

Light and fluffy loaf cakes, made with nutty chestnuts, topped with a sticky salted caramel glaze.

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The recipe for these cakes came from a new cookbook I got for christmas called Honey & Co; Food from the Middle East. I saw this recipe in the desert section and decided that I just had to make it, as the combination of chestnuts and salted caramel sounded so delicious!

These cakes were as delicious as I expected. The flavours went together beautifully, and the texture of the cakes was beautifully light, so its easy to eat quite a few cakes in one go!

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The original recipe used a large cake tin, and poured the caramel sauce over each serving, but I wanted to try out another on of my christmas presents, which was a mini loaf tin. So you could definitely do this recipe as one large cake, and just increase the cooking time to 25-30 minutes.

These cakes were really easy to make, so they would a a great desert to make for a dinner party!

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Variations: You could use a chocolate sauce instead of the salted caramel, which would probably be equally as delicious.

Ingredients: Makes 10 Mini Loaves

The Cakes:

  • 150g chestnut puree
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • caster sugar
  •  ground almonds

 

The Salted Caramel

  • sugar
  • honey
  • double cream
  • generous pinch of sea salt

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To Make:

Grease and line your cake tin(s) and preheat the oven to 180C.

Whisk together the egg yolks, chestnut puree, and sugar in a small bowl.

In a separate, clean bowl, which up the egg whites until stiff peaks from.

Fold in the egg yolk mixture to the egg whites, one heaped tbsp  at a time until fully combined. Then fold in the ground almonds.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tins until 3/4 full and level off.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Meanwhile make the salted caramel sauce.

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Combine the sugar honey and water in a small pan and cook over a medium heat, until the mixture turns a deep golden brown colour, then pour in the double cream and add the sea salt. mix to combine and leave to cool before using.

Once the cakes are cooked turn onto a wire rack to cool and top with a few tbsp of the sated caramel sauce.

Sprinkle over some more sea salt and serve!

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Rosehip Syrup

Sweet syrup, flavoured with fragrant and fruity rosehips.

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This was my first go at foraging and cooking with rosehips. I had heard of them before but I wasn’t quite sure how to identify them, so I did a little bit of research in some foraging books and on the internet.

Rosehips are the fruit of the rose plant, that develops after the plant has finished flowering. As there are lots of different kinds of rose plant, there are also lots of different rosehips. However I found out that the most flavourfull is the wild variety that grows in hedgerows and on the edge of paths.

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Some ornamental rose plants produce very large juicy rosehips, but these are supposed to contain less flavour.

I also read that rosehips contain 20x more vitamin C than oranges! So a drink of rosehip syrup can be really good for you, especially if you have a cold!

I found the best way to harvest rosehips was to use a small pair of scissors to snip the rosehips off the bush, into a large carrier bag. Be careful if you do harvest them, as the thorns on the bush are very sharp, I had a few injuries to show for my troubles!

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I got the recipe for this syrup from Pam Corbins River Cottage Preserves book. In the recipe she suggests that the syrup is also excellent in cocktails and gives this example of a refreshing summer cocktail:

30ml rosehip syrup
60ml white rum
Ice
Top up with 150ml cloudy apple juice

I really like the taste of this syrup, it’s not like anything else I have tasted before, but I think it has a slightly appley flowery taste to it. I’m looking forward to using it in baking and cocktails!

I will be bringing this along to Fiesta Friday#91 this week hosted by Angie. Happy Friday everyone!

Ingredients: Makes around 1.5 litres

  • 500g rosehips
  • 650g sugar

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To Make:

Weigh out and wash 500g rosehips, blitz in a food processor into small chunks. Transfer to a large pan and cover with 800ml boiling water. Cook over a medium heat, until the mixture reaches the boil, then turn off the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes.

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Strain the mixture through a muslin bag into a large bowl, and set the resulting liquid aside. return the rosehip pulp the the pan and cover with another 800ml boiling water. Cook over a medium heat until the mixture boils for around 2 minutes. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.

Strain the mixture through a muslin bag into the bowl containing the first lot of rosehip liquid. Discard the rosehip pulp and return the liquid the the cleaned pan – you should have around 1.2L of liquid. Add the sugar to the liquid and slowly bring to the boil. Boil for around 5-10 minutes, then immediately pour into sterilised glass bottles and seal.

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Store in a cool dark place and use within 4 months. Once opened store the syrup in the fridge.

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The Ultimate Triple Chocolate Cake

Rich, moist chocolate cake, sandwiched together with sweet, white chocolate ganache, and coated in a creamy layer of dark chocolate. 

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I decided that I want to try and improve my cake decorating skills, so a few weeks ago I invested in some new equipment for baking, including an icing turntable and scraper. I have been really keen to try them out!

I was originally trying to make a chocolate ombre cake, but it didn’t really work out, probably because it was a bit ambitious for a first attempt! Instead I turned it into something simpler with white chocolate covering the top, a mixture of milk and dark chocolate round the sides, and dark chocolate decorations.

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I am really pleased with how the cake turned out, it looks fantastic, and it tasted delicious! As you can see from the pictures though, I was too scared to transfer the cake from the turntable to a cake stand!

I brought this into work and everyone was really impressed, I can’t wait to make another cake creation!

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I will be bringing this cake along to Fiesta Friday#85, hosed by Angie and co-hosted by, Kaila @ GF Life 24/7 and Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes. Aso very pleased to see that My Chai Spiced Creme Brulee post was appreciated last week 😀 Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: You could use a raspberry cream to sandwich the sponges together instead, or you could use all dark chocolate for a richer finish.

Ingredients: Serves 18-20

The Sponge:

  • 400g butter
  • 400g sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 400g self raising flour
  • 100ml double cream

The Dark Chocolate Ganache:

  • 400g dark chocolate
  • 200g double cream

The White Chocolate Ganache:

  • 600g white chocolate
  • 200g double cream

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To Make:

The Sponge:

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

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the cocoa powder. Fold in the flour and then add the milk.

Spoon into the prepared cake tins and smooth out. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes untill springy and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

The Ganache:

Heat the cream and chocolate together in the microwave until completely melted.

Cover with clingfilm – so that the surface of the ganache is touching the film – and leave to cool to body temperature, this should take about 2 hours.

Use an electric whisk to whip up the ganache until it pales in colour and thickens. Cover with clingfilm and leave to firm up for another few hours.

Assembling:

Sandwich the three cake layers together with white chocolate ganache.

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Use the white chocolate ganache to give the cake a crumb coat.

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Then add more white chocolate to the top of the cake, making sure the top is completed covered in a smooth layer of white chocolate.

Cover the sides of the cake in a thick layer of dark chocolate ganache.

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Smooth out by holding the scraper flat at a 90 degree andgle to the turntable and slowly spinning the cake round. The top layer of the gamache should get scraped off to reveal a smooth straight layer.

Smooth out the ganache on the top and sides of the cake, trying to keep the endges smooth and sharp.

Heat a metal spatula in some boiling water, then use to smooth out any imperfections in the ganche.

Spoon the remaining dark chocolate ganache into a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle and pipe a ring of dots around the top of the cake.

Trnasfer to a cake stand (if you dare!) And slice into 18-20 generous servings!

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Chai Spiced Creme Brulee

Thick creamy egg custard flavoured with chai spiced tea, and dark chocolate, topped with a crunchy layer of caramel. 

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This is my Fourth (belated) Bake-Off post! In the 4th bake-off episode the bakers made desserts and one of the challenges was creme brulee. I absolutely LOVE creme brulee but I’ve never been brave enough to try making it myself, so I thought it would be a good excuse to be brave and give it a go!

I made these for my family when I was at home for the weekend, and they just wanted an original creme brulee, so that’s what I did for most of mine. But I wanted to try a different flavour, so I made a dark chocolate chai creme brulee as well, which was really delicious, so I definitely recommend it!

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I think these were actually  quite easy to make! Mine took a long time in the oven, but I think that is because I filled the tray with cold water rather than hot. My first attempt at the caramel topping didn’t go to well either, as I just tried sprinkling caster sugar over and doing all the caramelisation under the grill, but the finish was very uneven.

On the bake off, one of the contestants caramelised the sugar first, then blended it back into a sugar like consistency and only then sprinkled it over the creme brulee and cooked it under the grill, I tried this and it worked SO much better, so I recommend you do the same if you try these out!

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I will be bringing these along to Fiesta Friday#84 this week hosted by Angie and co-hosted by Effie @ Food Daydreaming and Steffi @ Ginger & Bread. Happy Friday everyone!

Variations: There are so many different flavor combinations you could do with a creme brulee, I would like to try a fruit version, like a passion fruit curd at the bottom.

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Ingredients: Makes Eight 150ml Pots

  • 500ml double cream
  • 150ml full fat milk
  • 7 large eggs
  • vanilla essence
  • chai tea bags (optional)
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 175g caster sugar

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to fan 160C. Sit eight 150ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin and pour in hot water, until it reaches halfway up the ramekins.

Combine the milk and cream in a large pan, and heat gently until bubbles just begin to appear at the side. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Very slowly, pour the yolk mixture into the hot cream, mixing continuously, stir in the vanilla essence.

Pour the custard into the ramekins, and bake in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes. The creme brulees will be ready when there is a very slight wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and chill down in the fridge.

Chai: Make a dark chocolate ganache by meting the dark chocolate in 100ml of double cream. Pour this into the bottom of the ramekins. While the milk is heating up, infuse with one teabag/pot.

The Topping:

Weigh out 100g caster sugar in a small pan, and heat until it forms a caramel. pour onto a baking sheet lined with grease-proof paper and leave to cool.

Break up the cooled caramel and place in a small blender and blitz to a fine powder.

Pour 1tsp of the blended caramel on top of each creme brulee and smooth out, covering the entire surface. Cook under the grill until the caramel has turned dark brown and bubbly. Remove from the grill and chill in the fridge before serving.

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