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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Butternut Squash Dip with Toasted Hazelnuts

Deliciously sweet and creamy dip made with butternut squash and tahini, topped with toasted hazelnuts.

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This is another lovely dip recipe from Honey & co, which I have been making a lot recently. When I first made this dip I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’ve never had anything like it, but I was not disappointed, it is absolutely delicious, and probably my favourite dip of all time!

Its really easy to make, and makes a great addition to a mezze meal to contrast with the sharp lemony flavours of hummus.

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Variations: You can leave off the hazelnuts if your not keen, or add a different nut, or you could top it with something different all together like a dollop of yoghurt.

Ingredients: Serves 4 as a starter or mezze

  • 1 large butternut squash (600g peeled and deseeded)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 60g tahini
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 30g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped.

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To Make:

Peel and chop the butternut squash into rough cubes. Place in a large pan with a splash of water, cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes  – don’t remove the lid or stir in the 10 minutes, you need to keep the lid on so it doesn’t burn!)

Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the lid and stir then replace the lid and leave for another 10 minutes. Repeat this process until the butternut squash begins to fall appart as you stir it.

Once the butternut squash is cooked, keep stiring until it has completely broken down into a puree, then stir in the salt, tahini and honey.

Place in a serving bowl and top with some roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts. Serve with some lovely flatbreads and enjoy!

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Quick and Easy Hummus

Super quick, easy and delicious hummus recipe 

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This recipe comes from one of my favourite cookbooks at the moment; Honey & Co. Ive tried lots of other hummus recipes before, but Ive never found one that tastes as good as this or is as easy! The recipe in the book used dried chickpeas, but I just use a can of chickpeas which means I can have it made in 5 minutes!

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Variations: You can add any extra flavour you want to the hummus, I love using some fresh coriander.

Ingredients: Makes one large bowl full (enough for 4 people as a starter or mezze)

  • 250g can of chickpeas
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 125g tahini paste
  • 1/2 a tsp salt
  • 1-3 tbsp lemon juice

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To Make:

Pour the contents of the tin of chickpeas (including the water) in a small pan and bring to the boil.

Turn off the heat and drain the chickpeas into a blender, reserving the cooking liquid. Add all the other ingredients to the blender along with around half of the reserved cooking liquid.

Blend to form a smooth paste (add more liquid if required!). At this point the mixture will be a bit runnier than you would expect but it will firm up in the fridge!

Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at lest half an hour.

Top with some paprika or cumin and fresh herbs. Serve with some flatbreads 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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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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