Strawberries and Cream Shortbread Sandwiches

Beautifully buttery and crisp shortbread biscuits filled and sandwiched together with softly whipped cream and sliced strawberries. 

I’ve taken my favourite Scottish-style Shortbread Biscuits and turned these scrummy biscuits into a dessert which could be served part of an afternoon tea spread or even on a restaurant menu.

Strawberries and Cream Shortbread Sandwiches showcase my favourite summer fruit, strawberries in an elegant dessert no one could resist trying. Each year, I long for the start of the strawberry season.

Come rain or shine, strawberry picking is something we all enjoy doing every year!

Ever since we were little, my parents would take my sister and I fruit picking during the summer holidays when we had a long 6 week break from school. In recent years, I’ve made sure to put aside some time during my leave from work to go strawberry picking, in fact very recently I headed out on a socially distanced strawberry picking trip to my local PYO McLauchlans of Boxted in the beautiful Essex countryside.

For me it’s important to support local businesses and also eat locally sourced food – even more so at the moment we should be eating locally sourced food and supporting our small businesses too. These Essex strawberries taste divine and for me there’s nothing quite comparable to locally grown fruit. I’ve been excited all summer long for strawberries and soon I’ll be out and about picking blackberries to use in more recipes.

Above is a photo of the strawberries I picked last summer from McLauchlans. They taste divine and are super juicy – a true taste of summer for me!

This recipe I’m sharing today is actually one I made for my blog in 2013 at the very start of my blogging journey, thankfully since then my food photography skills have come on leaps and bounds! I’m not perfect, even as a professionally trained chef I haven’t mastered every skill in the kitchen and I’m constantly learning throughout my career – this is why I love going back and improving my recipes for you to have the best experience making them!

The shortbread is pretty straight forward to make: cream the softened butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy. Then fold through the flour and vanilla extract until a crumbly dough forms. The shortbread bakes up well every time I make it and makes a sophisticated dessert paired with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

These shortbread sandwiches take no time at all to quickly rustle up and taste fantastic for a bake that’s so incredibly simple to prepare. The shortbread dough is very forgiving, the shortbread biscuits still remain crisp even after being rerolled.

Buttery and crisp shortbread biscuits, filled with softly whipped double cream and sliced strawberries. You can play around and fill your shortbread sandwiches with different fresh berries or even a spoonful of curd or jam too!

This recipe makes roughly 10-15 shortbread sandwiches, but the total number you make will all depend on how big or small your biscuit/cookie cutter is.

Devouring one or two of these shortbread sandwiches while sitting in the garden in the sun with a glass of lemonade – that’s summer bliss right there!

This recipe recently proudly featured on McLauchlans of Boxted website, you can also check it out here.

(Makes 10-15)

Ingredients:

200g butter (salted or unsalted), softened

75g caster or granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

150g plain flour

150g self-raising flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

300ml double cream, chilled

Strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced (you’ll need roughly just under 400g)

Method:

  1. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside. Preheat the oven to 160°C / 140°C Fan / Gas Mark 3. Cream the softened butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat together until light and pale in colour (about 1-2 minutes).
  2. Now sift the flours and add to the creamed butter and sugar mixture along with the vanilla extract. Continue to mix until a crumbly and soft ball of dough comes together. Don’t overwork the dough, try to touch it as little as possible. At this point you can wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill it for 15 minutes, however this is an optional step.
  3. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to about 5mm / 1/4 inch thickness. Using your favourite biscuit/cookie cutters (mine was about 6cm), cut out shapes from the dough and transfer to the lined baking trays. Sprinkle the top of each biscuit with a little extra sugar or you can dust each baked biscuit with icing sugar after baking if you prefer.
  4. Bake the biscuits for 20-25 minutes until they’re crisp and slightly golden around the edges.
  5. Once baked, leave to cool on the baking trays for 5-10 minutes, then carefully transport to a wire rack and allow the biscuits to cool completely to room temperature.
  6. Now whisk the chilled cream until soft peaks form – you don’t want the cream over-whipped, just lightly whipped so it has an airy texture. Take approx. a teaspoonful of the whipped cream and place on the base of one of the shortbread biscuits, then layer the sliced strawberries on top of the cream, finish by placing another shortbread biscuit on top and sandwich together gently – don’t press too hard otherwise the cream will spill out from the sides. Repeat with the remaining shortbread until they’re all filled.
  7. Eat the shortbread straight away or keep these in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also fill the shortbread as and when you want to serve them.

Recipe Notes: 

  • For my shortbread, I like to use salted butter as I love the flavour it adds contrasting with the sweet sugary topping.
  • If you don’t have caster sugar, granulated sugar can be substituted.
  • The recipe uses a mix of plain and self-raising flour, however you can use just plain flour if preferred.

Enjoy!

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Double Cheese Arancini (Sicilian Rice Balls)

Arancini di riso is a traditional Sicilian street food. A white risotto base flavoured with Parmesan or Pecorino is prepared, cooled until firm, rolled into balls then stuffed with a cube of mozzarella, coated in breadcrumbs and fried until golden. Served crisp and warm with tomato dipping sauce and you’ll be transported to the streets of the Italian island of Sicily. 

Originally posted in January 2014, recipe and photographs updated July 2020.

I first made these arancini for my blog in 2014, back then I was dreaming of my impending holiday to Tuscany that summer and I was cooking lots of Italian food in my kitchen counting down the days until my trip. This is a recipe I’ve been meaning to update and improve for a long time. Recently I made arancini again for dinner because I’ve been off on annual leave from work and as I’ve had lots of spare time to bake different recipes, I thought I’d share the updated recipe and photos for you to enjoy one more time!

These are perfect to make if you have some leftover risotto bianco (white risotto) on hand from a previous lunch or dinner. Arancini are a popular starter on many restaurant menus and they really transform leftover risotto. Traditionally deep-fried, you can also bake these rice balls until golden if you’re not a fan of fried food. I don’t particularly enjoy fried food, but I will say I highly recommend frying these stuffed rice balls opposed to baking them for authenticity.

I’m not going to lie, making arancini is a lengthy process and this recipe is one that requires time to focus on. Even before eating the arancini, the day before you’ll need to prepare the delicious risotto base.

So you’re probably wondering why we’re starting by making your risotto bianco (white risotto) a day ahead? We’re doing this to make sure the risotto is dried out and easy to shape and roll into the arancini the next day and won’t stick to your hands. Also, chilling your risotto allows the flavours to develop too – an added bonus! Just try not to eat too much of it beforehand though, this will probably make you laugh but I even had to chase my taste testers out from the kitchen once the risotto was cooling otherwise I knew we’d have nothing left for the arancini!

In the photo above you’ll see my risotto base before stirring all that glorious, melty and salty cheese in. These are in fact DOUBLE cheese arancini, because we have grated cheese mixed into the risotto AND a piece of mozzarella stuffed into the centre of each rice ball.

This recipe is definitely 100% one to try if you’re a cheese lover that’s for sure!

The above photo shows my batch of arancini ready for frying. This recipe makes a generous helping of these tasty Sicilian rice balls making 18 in total, so more than enough to serve 6. We had our serving and shared a couple extra the next day and even a day later they weren’t as crisp on the outside but when heated still had that amazing gooey mozzarella surprise!

I wanted to show you the process in step-by-step photos of how to shape and form the arancini, but working alone in the kitchen I was unable to take photos whilst having my hands covered in the ingredients – I didn’t really fancy covering my camera with food if I could avoid it!

I’ll just describe to you the method: it’s as simple as taking approx. a 60g portion of the risotto, flattening that in your hand slightly, then taking a piece of mozzarella and incasing the cheese fully inside of the risotto mix. Then roll your rice ball in seasoned flour, followed by beaten egg and finally cover the outside completely in breadcrumbs.

Just look at that amazing gooey centre, the mozzarella goes all stringy and is ultra creamy!

Eat your arancini with tomato sauce (I recommend arrabbiata or a tomato and basil sauce). You could even garnish your plate with a side salad too if you like. It’s so easy to prepare a restaurant-style starter in your own kitchen, so get your ingredients ready and make yourself these tasty arancini as soon as possible!

Ingredients:

Risotto Bianco (White Risotto):

15g / 1 tablespoon (salted or unsalted) butter

1 tablespoon oil – use either a light olive or vegetable oil

1 brown or white onion, finely diced

2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped

300g arborio rice

150ml white wine – I recommend Pinot Grigio

900ml vegetable stock

50g Parmesan or vegetarian hard cheese alternative (such as Pecorino)

Salt and black pepper, to taste

125g dried/pizza mozzarella, cut into 18 x 1 cm cubes – you can also use an 125g ball of buffalo mozzarella 

100g plain flour

2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

200g breadcrumbs

Method:

  1. To make the risotto bianco: In a large frying pan heat the butter and oil until foamy. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes until transparent and softened. Add the rice and cook for a further 2 minutes to toast slightly. Now turn the heat up to a medium and add the wine – it will bubble rapidly, stir together and cook until all the wine has been absorbed. Now add a ladleful of stock at a time, stirring well until all the stock has been absorbed by the rice and repeat with the remaining stock – this should take approx. 25-30 minutes (test your rice to see if it’s soft without any harder uncooked grains of rice left – you want it cooked al dente.) Now remove the risotto from the heat and mix through the grated Parmesan or vegetarian hard cheese, season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Spread the risotto mix out over a large baking tray and leave to cool completely. Once cooled, cover and leave it in the fridge overnight.
  3. To fill and shape the arancini: Take roughly 60g portions and divide the risotto mix into 18. Dampen your hands with a bit of water, flatten each piece of rice and place a cube of mozzarella in the centre. Shape into a ball by bringing the sides up and sealing at the top, then roll the mix slightly between your palms. You’ll want to keep dampening your hands and repeat this step with the remaining risotto mixture.
  4. To coat the arancini: Set up a section in your kitchen with your ingredients for coating the arancini. Take the flour and season with salt and black pepper. Place the beaten eggs in a small bowl and tip the breadcrumbs into another bowl.
  5. Take each arancini you prepare earlier and start by rolling in the seasoned flour, then roll in the egg and then the breadcrumbs. Spread the arancini out onto a large baking tray that’s been lined with parchment paper or a piece of clingfilm to stop them from sticking to the tray.
  6. Half fill a large deep saucepan with vegetable oil and heat over medium-low until it reads 170°C on a cooking thermometer or until a piece of bread turns golden brown in the oil within 45 seconds. Fry the arancini in batches until crisp and golden – this should take roughly 4-5 minutes. Once ready, drain the arancini on kitchen paper and leave to cool slightly before serving.
  7. Serve the arancini warm (allow them to cool for a few minutes after frying) with a sprinkle of extra grated Parmesan/vegetarian alternative and some chopped parsley – if you don’t fancy this you can just sprinkle the arancini with sea salt. Place the arancini on a serving platter or individual dishes with a pot of tomato sauce – we love arrabbiata sauce with ours.

Recipe from here

Enjoy!

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Fluffy American Pancakes

Follow this recipe to make the BEST, ultra fluffy and delicious American pancakes. Start your weekend morning with these amazingly soft, light and scrummy pancakes topped with butter, syrup and fresh berries. It’ll take just minutes of your time to rustle these up and everybody will beg you to make pancakes every single weekend…

I’ve loved pancakes for as long as I can remember and growing up pancakes were something we ate for breakfast at the weekend. Since my childhood, times have changed as I’m no longer a student and work most weekends. So these days pancakes at the weekend aren’t something we have as often as I’d like, but when I have a weekend off we certainly make sure to indulge!

A stack of warm homemade pancakes covered with golden syrup and butter is the epitome of sheer heaven for me. When your usual weekday brekkie doesn’t cut the mustard, a batch of pancakes will definitely lift your spirits and excite your tastebuds!

I pretty much love all types of pancakes, thin and crisp and the thick, soft and fluffy American-style pancakes that are hard to beat. I’ve tested batch after batch of pancakes since landing on this recipe – trying out different quantities of buttermilk, yoghurt, sour cream and milk and several batches of pancakes later I have finally discovered the perfect pancake.

Luckily this recipe doesn’t require many ingredients, but the ingredients it does call for you’re already likely to have in your kitchen including basics like flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, milk (or buttermilk/sour cream/yoghurt), a couple of eggs and butter/vegetable oil.

I’ve found it hard sourcing ingredients for my bakes over the last few months, but I’m making the best of the situation and I’m really pleased with all the food and recipes I’ve concocted during lockdown so far.

I should’ve been devouring American pancakes on a trip to Florida next month, unfortunately we’ve had to put that holiday on hold for the moment, but at least I can make these pancakes and enjoy at home while dreaming of a future trip…

The pancake batter is easy to make, very similar to making a cake. Just remember once you’ve added the wet ingredients to the dry, be gentle and don’t over mix otherwise your pancakes won’t be light and they’ll be tough, they also won’t rise as much in the pan as they cook. So just take extra care when mixing the ingredients together and you’re well on your way to making the best homemade pancakes.

You needn’t be an expert baker or cook to make pancakes. To start, mix either plain or self-raising flour and baking powder with salt and the sugar. For the wet ingredients, mix either milk, buttermilk, sour cream/natural yoghurt with a couple of eggs and melted butter or vegetable oil. I’ve found vegetable oil makes a lighter batter, but butter adds fantastic flavour.

These pancakes are even good the next day, I simply take however many I want (usually about 2 or 3) and reheat mine in the microwave until just warmed through. Then I top with anything I want and dig in!

Serve your pancakes with loads of different toppings. They’re so good warm with a generous drizzle of golden or maple syrup, spread with Nutella and topped with fresh berries. If you don’t have any fresh berries, if you have frozen mixed berries then simply pop those in a pan with enough sugar to sweeten to taste and then serve the hot berry sauce on top of your pancakes.

Pancakes aren’t just for breakfast, you can even serve these up for dinner or dessert. So whenever or however you serve your pancakes, I hope you love them!

(Makes 10-12 – Serves 4)

Ingredients:

270g plain or self-raising flour – I use cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using self-raising flour)

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons caster or granulated sugar

260ml buttermilk or milk (I use buttermilk and add 2 tablespoons of milk to my pancake batter to loosen it slightly)

2 large free-range eggs

4 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar until thoroughly mixed.
  2. In a bowl or jug, beat the buttermilk (or sour cream/yoghurt), milk, eggs and melted butter/oil until combined.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Gently whisk or fold the ingredients together with a spatula until you have a thick and slightly lumpy batter – you don’t want a completely smooth batter.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan on a medium-low heat. Place 2-3 generous tablespoonfuls of the batter into the pan and don’t spread out at all as the pancakes will spread out enough on their own. Only cook about 2-3 at a time as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan, cook each pancake for about 1-2 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface then flip and continue to cook the pancakes for about a minute or until golden.
  5. Keep pancakes warm in the oven as you continue with the remaining pancake batter or set aside to reheat in the microwave when ready.

You’ll know the pancakes are ready to flip because bubbles will appear on the surface. Make sure not to have your pan too hot otherwise the pancakes will burn. You can see from the picture on the right how the buttermilk gives the pancakes extra height and makes them super fluffy!

I sometimes add fresh blueberries to my pancakes, but you could also add chocolate chips/chunks

Recipe Notes: 

  • I recommend using cake flour as I find produces a really fluffy pancake.
  • I use buttermilk as I find it makes a super fluffy American-style pancake, but you can use milk if that’s what you have in. If using buttermilk, I recommend adding about two tablespoons of milk to loosen the pancake batter a little.
  • Feel free to add to your pancake batter anything from fresh or frozen fruit like blueberries, raspberries or if you love chocolate then add some chocolate chips.
  • If you don’t have a non-stick frying pan to cook your pancakes, make sure to add a little butter or oil to the pan before cooking your pancakes.
  • These pancakes are best enjoyed on the day of making, but they’ll keep for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container or on a plate covered tightly with clingfilm.

Enjoy!

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No-Churn Oreo Ice Cream

Vanilla ice cream speckled with crushed Oreo cookies. No machine and no-churn recipe perfect for whenever you’re desperately craving ice cream! Cookies ‘n’ cream lovers will adore this simple four ingredient ice cream. 

Originally posted in May 2015, recipe and photographs updated June 2020.

With the arrival of summer, I wanted to celebrate the occasion and share an ice cream recipe with you. The British summer so far has been a little bit temperamental, but let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope the warmer weather makes a much welcomed appearance again soon…

When it’s hot out, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the last place you’d want to be is trapped in a stuffy kitchen. So today, let’s switch the oven off and make a decadent no-bake treat instead!

It’s no lie that I love ice cream. If I had to pick a few of my favourite ice cream flavours then hazelnut, pistachio and cookies ‘n’ cream would all definitely top the list. As I was craving homemade ice cream, I decided to whip up a quick batch of Oreo ice cream!

Since sharing this recipe in 2015, I now own an ice cream machine. I do however, still enjoy using the no-churn method of making ice cream because of its ease, simplicity and quickness.

Like all my no-churn ice cream recipes, this Oreo variation starts off with a vanilla base. Whisk together double cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Then fold through a can of condensed milk, followed by crushed Oreo cookies.

Spread the ice cream mixture out into an airtight container, ceramic dish or even a reusable ice cream container. Now cover and leave the ice cream to freeze until firm. You have to patiently wait at least six hours or overnight if you can – this is the hardest part, but I promise you that it’s worth the wait when you get your first taste of this ice cream!

Creamy with a sweet vanilla flavour and crushed Oreo chunks in every single mouthful, this ice cream will make a scrumptious treat anytime! It’s ridiculously delicious and easy to make! Grab the ingredients, head into your kitchen and go make this right now! You won’t regret it.

This velvety vanilla ice cream has glorious chunks of cookies ‘n’ cream biscuits/cookies running through each bite. This is definitely my best no-churn recipe to date and I’ll be making it all summer long without a doubt!

My taste testers and I couldn’t stop reaching for scoop after scoop of this yummy ice cream and I’m sure you won’t be able to either…

Ingredients:

500ml (2 cups) double/heavy cream, chilled

1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 x 397g can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

18-20 Oreos (I used a mix of original and Double Stuff Oreos), broken into pieces – save roughly a handful to decorate the top of the ice cream

Method:

1. Whisk the cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.

2. Add the condensed milk and fold until incorporated into the whipped cream mixture.

3. Fold in the crushed Oreo pieces and mix to combine.

4. Spread the ice cream mixture out into a suitable container. Scatter over a few extra Oreo crumbs/pieces and cover the top with a lid or a piece of clingfilm.

5. Freeze for at least 6 hours or until firm and scoopable. I recommend freezing it overnight for best results. Once ready to serve, scoop into waffle cones or bowls. The ice will store in the freezer for up to one month.

DSC01801

Enjoy!

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No-Bake Biscoff Cheesecake

Divine no-bake cookie butter cheesecake with a crisp and buttery gingernut/spiced biscuit base and a layer of mousse-like Biscoff flavoured cheesecake.  

I’ve been amazed to see how many people have been excited to get in the kitchen during lockdown and also how much you’ve all been enjoying baking/cooking during this difficult time, so seeing my family, friends and people from different parts of the world making recipes from my blog makes me super happy. Baking/being in the kitchen has always been a therapy for me, something that totally relaxes me and is some escapism on my days off to take my mind away from everything.

Lately I’ve been feeling inspired more than ever to share recipes with you because I’ve really enjoyed seeing pictures of the recipes you’ve been baking from my blog. This blog is a hobby of mine, it’s not my full-time job but is such a big passion of mine and something I get a lot of joy out of working on. 

Something I also get a tremendous amount of joy out of is making (and eating) cheesecake! 

I’ve not yet tasted a cheesecake I’ve disliked, it’s safe to say that I love them all!

I shared a cheesecake recipe back in March with these Mini Cheesecakes: an adorable individual serving of creamy New York cheesecake. In fact, my friend, Cassie, baked these only the other day and I instantly craved them all over again!

Cookie Butter Cheesecake WJBN

I’m the greatest fan of spreads like Nutella (isn’t it pretty much everybody’s favourite?) and peanut butter in particular. When I visited New York on a college trip, my friends and I made sure we popped into Trader Joe’s and we all stocked up on tasty goodies ready to bring back to the UK – I made sure to pick up mainly stuff I knew I couldn’t get back home in the supermarket. I remembered picking up a jar of cookies and creme spread, which was literally the BEST thing I’d ever tasted! It was a sad day when I scooped the last of the spread from the jar and even sadder when I couldn’t find something similar to it at my local supermarket…

But that’s totally ok, because there’s still plenty of pretty amazing spreads available on our supermarket shelves, including Biscoff aka spiced cookie butter spread. One of my good memories of food from holiday was from my last trip abroad to Ibiza last September when we found an amazing frozen yoghurt shop and you could have melted cookie butter poured over the top of your fro-yo. You guessed right, it was so yummy!

That conveniently moves me onto this recipe I have lined up for you today. A little while ago I picked up a jar of Biscoff – it’s something I rarely buy even though I absolutely love this divine spread and this is partly because I know I have zero self-control when I know I have some of it in my kitchen cupboard.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Biscoff is a spread made from crushed speculass/speculoos biscuits which are spiced with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. The biscuit is a favourite in Belgium and The Netherlands, but it’s become increasingly popular all around the world. 

There are so many different cheesecakes you can make, but I’ve had sharing a no-bake cheesecake with Biscoff on my agenda and I’m pleased to finally tick it off my to-do list.

I’ve actually been making this cheesecake for years, but I never really thought about sharing it until I really fancied making it again recently. The cheesecake sets up perfectly without the need for any gelatine added, which is great if you’re like me, a vegetarian and unable to eat certain desserts because of some of the ingredients added.    

For the biscuit base I used crushed gingernut biscuits, but you can use actual Lotus speculoos biscuits. I used my speculoos to decorate the cheesecake, but it’s good to remember to decorate your cheesecake with biscuits right before you want to serve it, otherwise the biscuits will soften and lose their crunchiness. 

I simply decorate my cheesecake with swirls of whipped cream and some crushed speculoos biscuit crumbs – but you can be as imaginative with your decoration as you want. 

(Serves 10-12)

Biscuit Base:

300g gingernuts or speculoos biscuits (such as Lotus brand)

140g (salted or unsalted) butter, melted and cooled slightly 

Cheesecake Filling:

300ml double cream, chilled

3 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted

500g full-fat cream cheese, softened – I leave mine out at room temperature for an hour to soften 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional) 

300g Biscoff cookie butter spread

Method:

  1. To make the biscuit base: Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter until moistened. Press the biscuit crumbs into a 23cm springform tin until compact. Put to one side while you make the cheesecake filling.
  2. To make the cheesecake filling: In a large mixing bowl whisk the cream and icing sugar until soft peaks form. In another large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese with the vanilla and cookie butter spread until combined and mixture is smooth. Fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake mixture and mix until all the ingredients are combined. 
  3. Spread the cheesecake filling on top of the biscuit base you prepared earlier and smooth the top with either the back of a spoon, a spatula or a palette knife. Cover the cheesecake and leave it to set in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight. 
  4. When ready to serve remove the cheesecake from the springform tin and decorate as desired. I love whipping extra cream and sprinkling each slice with crumbles of Lotus speculoos biscuits. You could also melt some extra Biscoff cookie butter spread and drizzle that over your slice of cheesecake.  
  5. The cheesecake will keep stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Enjoy!

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Marble Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Buttercream

A perfect cupcake for when you can’t decide whether you fancy chocolate or vanilla cake! This simple cupcake recipe consists of chocolate and vanilla cake batter layered together and decorated with a swirl of milk chocolate buttercream. 

Sometimes I want a chocolate cake and other times I really crave a vanilla cake, but when you combine the two in a cake you’ve created a truly special cupcake treat.

My sister bakes amazing marble cakes and this cake really is a super popular birthday cake choice in our house because you get the taste of chocolate and vanilla together!

I asked on my social media platforms what cupcake recipes you wanted to see on the blog and I had some delicious responses. My friend, Alice, suggested baking marble cupcakes and I figured because I hadn’t shared a marble cake/cupcakes recipe on here yet, it was time to do something about that!

As you know already if you’ve baked/read recipes from this blog you’ll know I only share easy recipes that are totally fail-proof. The last thing I want you to do is waste your time and money on recipes that don’t work and you’re unhappy with. I love putting a big smile on you and your family and friends faces with my recipes!

This cupcake batter is super easy to prepare. It’s made the same way I make the batter for this Classic Victoria Sandwich, but this time we’re splitting the batter into two and adding cocoa powder to one part of the batter. The only bad part is there’s one more bowl to wash up once you’re done baking, but these cupcakes are worth it!

To construct the cupcakes ready for baking, once you’ve filled your cupcake/muffin tin with paper cases, dollop a spoonful of vanilla batter in one paper case, then repeat the previous step this time with a spoonful of chocolate batter on top of the vanilla batter (or do this the opposite way round if you prefer). Then continue to repeat alternating the batters until all the paper cases are 3/4 full and you’ve used up both cake batters. Seriously so easy and these cupcakes look impressive when they’re baked!

The cupcakes suit a whole host of different buttercream recipes. I picked to decorate my cupcakes with milk chocolate buttercream, but cream cheese frosting or even vanilla or white chocolate buttercream would pair well with the cupcakes.

I used my favourite ultra creamy milk chocolate buttercream recipe to top the cupcakes. I had a slight ingredient problem in my kitchen before baking these as I was running low on icing sugar and we couldn’t get any in our shopping and to make things worse I also discovered that my muffin tin was thrown out by accident < every bakers absolute nightmare! So first I had to order a new tin to bake the cupcakes and then I had to improvise by making icing sugar ready for my buttercream! Simply using my blender (which I use to make smoothies) I blended caster sugar with cornflour. I worried how it would turn out, but I’m impressed how easy it was to make my own.

If you’re looking for a new cupcake recipe to bake during lockdown, here’s my super simple and yummy marble cupcakes. These cupcakes lasted less than a day in our house, I think that tells you just how good these cupcakes taste. Enjoy everyone!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Cupcake Batter: 

175g butter (salted or unsalted), softened

175g caster or granulated sugar

3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

175g self-raising flour, sifted

50ml milk

3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted

Milk Chocolate Buttercream:

125g butter (salted or unsalted), softened

250g icing sugar, sifted

200g milk chocolate, melted and cooled slightly – you can use a mix of dark/milk or use all white chocolate

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3-4 tablespoons double cream or milk (sometimes I add a tablespoon extra to make it creamier)

Small pinch of salt (add a pinch extra if using unsalted butter)

Method: 

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole cupcake/muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. To make the cupcakes: In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until creamy and pale in colour. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well before adding the next and also add the vanilla – don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled as once you add the flour it will be fine.
  3. Now fold through the sifted flour and once the flour is nearly all mixed through add the milk and mix until combined.
  4. Split the batter into two portions – this doesn’t have to be exactly equal. Then stir the cocoa powder into one batter until incorporated.
  5. Take a spoonful of vanilla batter and add to the paper case, then place a spoonful of the chocolate batter in top. Repeat until all the cake batter has been used up.
  6. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of one of the cupcakes. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then transport them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  7. To make the buttercream: Cream the butter for a minute to soften. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat for about 5 minutes until it’s fluffy and has turned pale in colour. Add the melted chocolate along with the cream and a pinch of salt. Mix until just combined.
  8. Decorate the cupcakes as desired, I pipe buttercream on the tops of mine but you can also spread the buttercream with knife on top of the cupcakes. Add sprinkles if you like – I used white chocolate stars from Cake Angels Sweetie Pie Sprinkles which were kindly gifted to me to bake with during lockdown.

The cupcakes will store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Love cupcakes? Try these recipes next!

Butterscotch Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Enjoy!

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Carrot Cake Traybake

Just in time for Easter, I’m serving you a piece of my favourite carrot cake traybake. This delightful cake is full of delicious flavour from cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and it’s covered with a rich homemade cream cheese frosting. This recipe will be a real treat for all carrot cake lovers out there! 

What’s your favourite cake? If you asked me that exact question my list would probably be endless. I really do honestly love any kind of cake and I believe there’s definitely a cake perfect for every occasion.

Since it’s Easter week and you might need a last minute Easter bake to make today or over the weekend, I decided I would share my go-to easy carrot cake recipe again with updated photographs.

Ever since I baked these Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting I’ve had my mind set on adapting the recipe into a traybake. The first time I shared this carrot cake recipe, I baked it as a layer cake, however how delicious it was I decided the original recipe needed to be made easier.

Traybake’s are perfect for times when you just don’t have the energy to put a lot of effort into decorating a cake. They’re super easy to make and the decoration can be kept as minimal as you want. I find layer cakes too much of a faff, but traybake’s are so much easier to decorate and style up, so if you’re of the same opinion as me then I hope you’ll love my take on a classic carrot cake.

To make my carrot cake extra special I like to add ground cinnamon, ginger and freshly grated nutmeg. Sometimes I also add orange zest and chopped walnuts – I’ve included these in the recipe incase you feel like adding those in too. If you don’t want to add walnuts you can swap them for a different nut like pecans or even leave them out and replace with raisins.

Carrot cake is extremely adaptable so you can pick and chose whatever add-ins you want in your cake and truly make it your own!

The cake is dairy-free, however for a dairy-free frosting/icing you could swap the cream cheese frosting for a drizzle icing. Try adding some of the juice from a lemon or orange and whisk the juice into icing sugar to create a drizzle icing that’s perfect for decorating your traybake.

To decorate my carrot cake, once the cake has completely cooled I use a serrated knife and slice the cake into 12 neat bars/squares and pipe the cream cheese frosting on the top of each piece of cake. I was kindly gifted a box of cake decorating goodies from the lovely team over at Cake Angels and I thought it would be fun to decorate my cake with the cute Carrot Wait for Cake sugar decorations and the Rainbow Sprinkles – how fun do these look?

(Serves 12-15)

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake Traybake:

150g dark or light brown sugar

150g caster or granulated sugar

300ml sunflower or vegetable oil

3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

300g plain flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated is recommended)

300g carrots, peeled and grated – weigh to ensure this is correct

100g nuts (pecans or walnuts), chopped into small pieces (optional)

Zest from 1-2 oranges (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting: 

100g butter, softened

100g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300g full-fat cream cheese, softened – I leave mine out at room temperature for an hour to soften

Method:

  1. To make the carrot cake traybake: Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33cm) tin with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugars, oil and eggs until smooth.
  3. In another bowl sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture a little at a time and whisk until completely incorporated.
  4. Now fold through the grated carrot, chopped walnuts and orange zest (if using). Spread the cake batter out into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is well risen and a cake tester when inserted into the centre comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining.
  5. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then carefully transport to a wire rack and allow to cool completely to room temperature.
  6. To make the cream cheese frosting: Cream the softened butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar and vanilla and starting on a low speed mix to combine. Continue to cream for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  7. Once creamed add the softened cream cheese. Turn the mixer up and whisk on high speed for another 1-2 minutes or until the frosting is creamy, thick and smooth. You need to use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment to make sure the frosting reaches the correct consistency.
  8. Spread the top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting or cut the cake into squares and spread the top of each piece with the frosting or pipe the frosting on the top of each piece of cake. Further decorate with chopped nuts or sprinkles as desired. The cake will store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days, but if you’re not consuming it right away then I recommend refrigerating the cake.

Recipe Notes:

  • The weight of the carrots is based on weighing the carrots after they have been peeled and topped and tailed.
  • When adding the spices, I like to add a heaping teaspoon of each spice. This is down to personal preference as I really love the flavour the spices add to the cake.
  • This cake serves 12 generous portions or up to 15 smaller pieces.

More Easter recipe inspiration!

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Traybake

Easter Chocolate Nest Cakes

Enjoy!

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Twix Caramel Fudge

Chunks of yummy Twix chocolate bar mixed through smooth and creamy salted caramel fudge. 

I know we’re all going through difficult, uncertain times and I fully understand that you might be finding it hard to get access to ingredients at the moment, but I hope to continue spreading positivity and share recipes with you based on ingredients that are currently available to me. The last week I’ve truly been surprised at how many people have visited my blog for recipes and sharing pictures of recipes they’ve been baking – something I’m extremely grateful for and further encourages me to carry on publishing content on my little corner of the internet.

So today, I have a delicious treat for you try. Let’s crack on with a new recipe.

Say hello to this glorious Twix Caramel Fudge.

I know I say it every time, but this fudge recipe is special! One bite and you’re gonna reach for piece after piece – I know that because that’s exactly what I do every time I’ve made this fudge! This fudge is super decadent and sweet, so you can cut the pieces of fudge however big or small you want – some of my pieces were different sizes. This recipe makes roughly 40 small pieces of fudge, minus a few pieces you’re probably likely to devour as soon as you’ve sliced the fudge up!

I’ve created a few fabulous fudge recipes, including this Bourbon Biscuit Fudge and a blog favourite for many years, Custard Cream Fudge, but I’ve always been determined to share more.

I hadn’t made fudge since sharing my bourbon biscuit version last year, which is ironic because I promised to share more fudge creations of mine sooner. I think I just got carried away with all the other delicious recipes I’ve discovered along the way.

The first time I made this caramel fudge, the quantities were wrong as I made too much fudge for the tin I was using, so when I came to cut it up the fudge hadn’t properly set and was very soft and not particularly easy to cut into neat pieces. Though the taste was spot on, I knew the recipe needed altering before I was confident sharing it.

When I started considering new fudge flavours to share with you, I realised that I’ve never shared a caramel-flavoured fudge with you before. I’m caramel obsessed, which you might have already guessed with me sharing these Butterscotch Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream and this No-Bake Cheesecake, both showcasing yummy caramel/dulce de leche.

While I think this fudge is delicious left as it is, I put some add-ins into my batch of fudge. Caramel/millionaire’s shortbread is a popular bake, it’s basically a shortbread base, topped with a layer of caramel and then it has a thin layer of chocolate on top of the caramel.

To incorporate the millionaire’s theme into this fudge, I chopped up some chocolate bars and mixed those through the fudge. I chose Twix bars as these are one of my favourite chocolate bars. I don’t actually eat chocolate bars that often, so when I want to treat myself to one I tend to go for a bar or confectionery that has biscuit/cookie, caramel and chocolate.

The Twix bars work amazingly well in this caramel fudge. I love the smooth, creamy fudge that melts in the mouth and then the crunch and chewiness the Twix adds to every scrumptious bite of this fudge.

(Makes 40 pieces)

Ingredients:

240ml (1 cup) sweetened condensed milk

180g (1 cup) dark or light brown sugar

115g (1/2 cup or 1 stick) butter (salted or unsalted)

2 tablespoons golden syrup – light corn syrup can be used as a substitute

A generous pinch of salt – table salt or sea salt flakes are both great to use

200g (1 and 1/3 cup) white chocolate, chopped

10 x 23g Twix chocolate bars, chopped – I used half milk chocolate and half white chocolate Twix

Method:

  1. Line a 20cm / 8-inch square baking tin with parchment paper and set aside for later. In a large saucepan place the condensed milk, sugar, butter, golden syrup and salt. Heat gently on a low heat stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium and continue stirring the fudge until it’s simmering and has thickened and coats the back of a spatula/spoon – this will take about 5 minutes.
  2. Once the fudge has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir through the white chocolate and continue to mix until all the chocolate has melted.
  3. Gently fold through 3/4 of the chopped Twix bars – be quick with this and don’t over mix otherwise the chocolate bars will break down and melt too much. The chocolate will melt slightly, but swirled through the fudge this looks and tastes really good!
  4. Transport the fudge mixture into prepared tin and top with the remaining chopped Twix bars.
  5. Cover the fudge and leave it set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight for best results. Once the fudge has set, cut it up in pieces and serve.

Recipe Notes:

  • Fudge will keep stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Without the chocolate bars incorporated into the fudge it will last for up to a fortnight.
  • I bought two packs of Twix that had 9 x 23g bars in each pack. If you only want to buy one pack, then you can use 9 bars (instead of 10) chopped up in the fudge.
  • Following on from the note above, you can use supermarket own brand chocolate caramel bars if preferred.

Recipe inspired by Sweetest Menu

Enjoy!

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Lemonade Scones (3 Ingredient Recipe)

Once you’ve baked these 3 ingredient lemonade scones you’ll never go back to baking ordinary scones ever again! This recipe produces super light and fluffy scones without all the fuss and hassle. Top with cream and jam to make your own classic British cream tea. 

Scones are a traditional British tea time treat, you’ll find them in bakeries, supermarkets, farm shops and tea rooms all over the country. As you might know already, I’m trained chef. I’ve worked in a lot of different catering environments since graduating and one of my first jobs out of culinary school was working as a baker/chef at a tea room in my home town.

This was my dream job because in between being in charge of the kitchen and sending out orders throughout the day I was baking lots of treats for the customers visiting the tearoom. We’re talking delicious cakes, the gooiest chocolate fudge brownies, savoury tartlets, sausage rolls and homemade gluten-free scones.

If you ever visit the UK then a trip to a British tearoom is essential during your time here. In Britain there’s debates around scones and cream teas – if you didn’t know already, the UK has several different accents and dialects and all over the country we pronounce our words differently to one another. Do you pronounce scone to rhyme with ‘cone’ or ‘gone’? I’m from down south (Eastern England), so I pronounce mine to rhyme with ‘cone’.

Also, what goes first the cream or the jam? In Cornwall it’s the jam first and cream on top and the other way around in Devon. I don’t really mind whether the cream or the jam goes first, all I know is that I love scones and don’t want to waste any time from devouring them!

The ingredients used in this scone recipe I’m sharing today make this recipe totally different to the majority of sweet scone recipes which typically include butter, sugar, flour and buttermilk/milk or eggs to bind it into a dough. The process usually involves rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients, however with this recipe minimal effort is required as you simply mix all the ingredients together until a dough forms.

The butter is replaced with double cream and the sugar is replaced with full sugar lemonade. Just be sure to use full sugar lemonade, I say this because we’re not adding any sugar to the scone dough, so all the sweetness will come from the sugar in the lemonade. I used a supermarket own brand lemonade and that worked wonderfully.

Tasting these scones transported me back to short breaks I’ve been on in the UK and eating scones in beautiful British destinations including lovely Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds. I’ve enjoyed a lot of afternoon teas, some with family and friends and most recently I attended a baby shower afternoon tea for my cousin. We enjoyed some of the most delicious scones there – this is my favourite part of an afternoon tea selection and I could definitely eat scones with cream and jam all day long!

So there’s a few points to take into account when making scones. The most important thing to remember is to handle the dough as little as possible. Avoid over mixing the scone dough otherwise your scones will be dense and tough. Also, scones aren’t meant to look picture perfect – they’re supposed to be odd shapes and not uniform in appearance, this is all part of their charm!

From the photograph above I wanted to slice a scone open and show you just how fluffy these scones are. I found this recipe in the food section of a magazine I read every month and thought it looked interesting enough to bake. I was dubious of how well this recipe would go, but still I decided to go ahead and bake the scones just to see. We tasted one before I decided to quickly set up all my food photography props and grabbed my camera to take some snaps to share with you!

What a treat to bake your mum this upcoming Mother’s Day in less than a weeks time. Serve your freshly baked scones with pots of clotted/whipped cream and curd or jam. My sister and I are preparing a little afternoon spread for our mum to celebrate and we’ll be baking a batch of these scones and we can’t decide between baking this yummy Carrot Cake Traybake, Carrot Cupcakes or Pumpkin Cake (all three are our mum’s favourites) – which cake would you pick?

(Makes 10-12)

Ingredients:

400g self-raising flour, sifted

175ml double cream

175ml full sugar lemonade

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C / 200°C Fan / 425°F / Gas Mark 7. Line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, put the flour in first and then add the wet ingredients. Mix gently until a dough comes together. Tip the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and press out until it’s 2cm in thickness.
  3. Using a 6cm cutter gently cut out the scones. Dipping the cutter in flour will stop the scones from sticking and will avoid twisting the cutter,  as this will stop them from being uneven, cut  10-12 scones from the dough – you will need to carefully re-roll the  leftover dough.
  4. Evenly space the scones out on the baking trays and bake for 12-15 minutes until they’re risen and lightly golden in colour.
  5. Transport the scones to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely before serving. I highly recommend topping the scones the British way with lashings of cream and strawberry/raspberry jam.

Scones will keep stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. They’re best eaten on the day of baking.

Enjoy!

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Mini Cheesecakes

Made in a muffin tin, these mini cheesecakes are a yummy bitesize dessert with whipped cream and decorated with various toppings. This easy recipe makes a dozen delicious mini vanilla cheesecakes – I dare you not to eat the whole batch!

Originally posted in January 2015, recipe and photographs updated March 2020.

We’re pressing fast forward and jumping straight from 2015 to 2020 with the recipe re-do I’m sharing today! Back in 2015, little did I know many times I would bake these divine (and super adorable) mini cheesecakes. I had so much fun going back and baking an older blog recipe and I’m really pleased with the updated photographs I’ve taken of these cheesecakes.

These mini vanilla cheesecakes are scrumptious little bites of creamy cheesecake bliss and what’s so amazing about this recipe is that you can bake a cheesecake in a muffin tin! I even adapted the recipe by adding lemon juice and zest to the cheesecake filling to make Mini Lemon Cheesecakes (one of the most viewed recipes on my blog).

It’s not really a secret, I think I’ve probably told you a million times already that cheesecake is my favourite dessert? Chocolate brownies/cake is a very close second, but cheesecake (something I used to hate when I was younger) takes the crown for my most loved dessert ever.

I usually prefer No-Bake Cheesecake, but lately I’ve been really enjoying baked cheesecakes, as when made well, they’re super light and creamy and a gourmet dessert that’s pretty hard to resist.

This recipe perfect for when you don’t have the time to make a whole cheesecake, they take less than half the time to make compared to a full-sized cheesecake baked in springform tin does! These mini cheesecakes taste remind me of my favourite New York Baked Cheesecake, but you won’t have to wait as long to devour these. I love cheesecake a lot, but sometimes I don’t want a big cheesecake hanging around in my kitchen – it’s too tempting for a massive cheesecake fan like myself to fight the urge to grab slice after slice of cheesecake straight from the fridge!

Mini Baked Cheesecakes

As the cheesecakes bake they will rise slightly and upon cooling the cheesecakes will sink a little and may even develop a dip in the centre. But don’t worry too much about this as you can pile on toppings and hide this and if your cheesecakes do happen to crack you can cover it up very easily!

Once baked the cheesecakes will need to be left to cool completely to room temperature, then cover the tray tightly and chill the cheesecakes for at least 4 hours or overnight for best results. I do recommend chilling overnight if you have the time, as this will make a lot of difference regarding the taste and texture of your cheesecakes.

I chose to top my batch of cheesecakes with various toppings like homemade raspberry sauce, whipped cream, chopped strawberries and because it’s nearly Easter, I topped a few of my cheesecakes with Cadbury mini eggs. Decorate the cheesecakes right before you’re planning to serve them otherwise the toppings will go soft from the moisture in the cheesecake.

Because these are vanilla cheesecakes they suit lots of flavours. Instead of a fruit coulis/sauce why not drizzle the tops with caramel, chocolate sauce or a spoonful of curd or jam. You could even sprinkle over some chocolate chips or curls, top with pieces of your favourite chocolate bar or scatter over chopped nuts.

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Biscuit Base:

150g digestive biscuits (1 and 1/2 cups of biscuit crumbs), crushed – alternatively you can use graham crackers

2 tablespoons caster or granulated sugar (optional)

70g (5 tablespoons) butter (salted or unsalted), melted

Cheesecake Filling:

450g (16 ounces / 1lb) full-fat cream cheese, softened – I leave mine out at room temperature for an hour to soften

130g (2/3 cup) caster or granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 170°C / 150°C Fan / 325°F / Gas Mark 3. Line a 12-hole cupcake/muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

2. Mix together the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter until well combined. Using a tablespoon measure distribute the biscuit crumbs into the muffin cases and press down with a teaspoon until level. Bake the biscuit bases for 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

3. Whilst the biscuit bases are cooling make the cheesecake filling. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer beat the cream cheese for to soften. Gradually add the sugar and once it’s all added continue to mix for another minute. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix through – at this point make sure you scrap down the base and sides of your mixer to make sure the batter and ingredients are all well incorporated.

4. Evenly distribute the cheesecake batter between the paper liners – spoon roughly 3 tablespoons of the batter into each prepared mini cheesecake base making sure you fill 2/3 of the way up of each. (I start with a tablespoonful in each case and go round again until the batter mix is used up.)

5. Bake the cheesecakes for 22-24 minutes or until the centres are just set. Once set take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin completely. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, gently run a butter knife around the outside of the muffin case to help release the cheesecakes from the tin, as the biscuit base can sometimes release some butter which makes the case stick slightly. The cheesecakes will keep stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes: 

  • For the biscuit base I like using a plain flavoured biscuits like digestives or rich tea. Graham crackers are a good substitute for overseas readers.
  • To save you time weighing out ingredients: 150g of digestive biscuits crumbs is exactly 10 digestive biscuits and that’s 1 and 1/2 cups of biscuit crumbs for anyone using cup measurements.
  • I like adding a couple of tablespoons of sugar to my biscuit base to sweeten it, however this is optional and you don’t have to add any sugar to the base ingredients if you prefer not to.

Enjoy!

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