Passionfruit and Lime Cream Pots

These 4 ingredient tropical inspired cream pots are flavoured with passionfruit and zesty lime – they’ll make a lovely addition to your Christmas menu.

Happy first day of December! It’s the last month of the year and what a rollercoaster 2020 has been. It’s crazy to think Christmas Day is less than a month away!

Have you started planning your Christmas festivities yet? I’m feeling quite organised this year, I’ve nearly got all my presents sorted out and we have our menu planned. We put our Christmas tree and all the decorations up this past weekend and I’m loving how bright and festive the house is looking with the twinkly lights and ornaments hanging on the tree.

This year we’re going partly vegan ready for starting Veganuary in January. We’ve discovered so many vegan recipes and are excited to find more. My sister and I made some delicious mushroom wellingtons for dinner one evening and they went down so well we decided they’d make a fabulous Christmas dinner, we have those planned to enjoy on Christmas Day along with all the trimmings – aka the best part of a roast dinner!

Last month I shared this divine Terry’s Chocolate Orange Traybake. That cake is super delicious and chocolatey, admittedly I can’t believe anyone could dislike chocolate, I do understand that not everybody likes chocolate as much I do and might be looking for an alternative idea. After a heavy main meal that’s rich in different flavours, it’s nice to end your meal with something light and refreshing.

For this recipe I took inspiration from these Lemon Posset. I’ve changed the flavours by adding a tropical twist and made it into a mousse textured dessert. It’s not like a manufactured mousse, these cream pots have more body and substance.

What gives these cream pots a tropical vibe is the delicious combination of passionfruit and lime. I know passionfruit can be a little pricy but it is Christmas after all and 2020 has been a year with plenty of ups and downs, so we deserve to treat ourselves as much as possible. Passionfruit is one of my favourite fruits, but when paired with a citrus fruit such as lime, it comes to life!

So let me do a run through of how to prepare these cream pots. Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience in the kitchen, this recipe isn’t overly complicated!

Start by straining the passionfruit pulp into a sieve set over a bowl or jug. Discard the seeds and squeeze and stir the lime juice into the passionfruit juice. Heat half the cream with sugar, stir until the sugar has dissolved then bring the cream mixture up the boil and simmer gently for 3 minutes exactly. Once the cream has cooked pour it into the fruit juices and stir – it will thicken up quickly and you’ll now need to leave this mixture to cool for 20 minutes. After it’s cooled, whisk the remaining cream until soft peaks have formed and then fold the passionfruit lime cream into the whipped cream. Fold until there’s no lumps of cream left and then transfer the mixture into your serving dishes.

I use a few recycled ramekins that you get those popular gooey chocolate puddings in (UK readers will know what I’m talking about) and some small glasses that had chocolate hazelnut spread in them. You can use whatever serving dishes you have, even small espresso cups would be great if you’re planning to serve more or want a petit fours sized treat.

A delicious Scottish-style shortbread biscuit is the perfect accompaniment to these tropical cream pots

Serve these cream pots with homemade Shortbread Biscuits. I wasn’t sure whether to add some desiccated coconut to the shortbread dough but in the end I stuck with my shortbread recipe as it’s always popular with my taste testers and this classic biscuit allowed the flavours in the cream pots to take centre stage. But who knows, next time if I’m feeling slightly more adventurous, then I might be tempted to give that idea a try!

Once the cream pots have had at least 6 hours to set (overnight is best as this allows the flavours to develop) they’ll be ready to serve. I recommend taking the cream pots out of the fridge and letting them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.

I hope you enjoy these cream pots as much as we did. They’re a refreshing end to a meal, aren’t too heavy and leave you wanting more!

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

1 lime, zested

5 passionfruit

100g caster or granulated sugar

600ml double cream

Decoration:

1 passionfruit – spread this out on the top of the cream pots when serving

Fresh berries – blueberries are my favourite to serve with these but raspberries or chopped strawberries taste great

Method:

  1. Firstly start by zesting your lime and set the zest aside for later on. Scoop the flesh from the passionfruit into a sieve that’s set over a bowl or jug. Push the passionfruit pulp through the sieve using the back of a spoon to extract all the juice. Discard the seeds. Squeeze the lime juice into the passionfruit juice and mix together.
  2. Put the sugar and 300ml of cream in a pan. Heat this mixture gently over a medium heat until the sugar has all dissolved, bring the mixture up to the boil and allow it to gently bubble away/simmer for 3 minutes. Take it off the heat and pour into the passionfruit and lime juice stirring to combine. Set this mixture aside to cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Now in a large mixing bowl whisk the remaining 300ml of cream until soft peaks form. Take the passionfruit and lime cream mixture into the whipped cream and fold until combined then finish by folding through the lime zest.
  4. Transfer the mixture into glasses, ramekins or small pots. Loosely cover the tops (make sure the cling film doesn’t directly touch the tops of cream pots) and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight ideally if you have the time.
  5. Serve the chilled cream pots with shortbread biscuits. The cream pots will keep stored and covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

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Terry’s Chocolate Orange Traybake

Moist chocolate sponge cake topped with my favourite silky smooth and shiny dark chocolate ganache and decorated with chocolate orange confectionery. This recipe is one to bookmark for the festive season! 

So after sharing these Vegan Brownies last month, I’m carrying on the chocolate theme today with this scrumptious traybake recipe!

I’m sitting here typing away while eating a piece of this cake and writing this blog post and I’m in complete and utter cake heaven. This yummy cake is soft, spongey and has a lovely chocolate flavour and a hint of orange that comes through in the background.

Dare I say the C-word?! Christmas is getting nearer and this year I’m getting ready ahead of time and trying to get as organised as I can in time. In typical Jessica fashion, I tend to end up running out to time to share my Christmas bakes before the big day arrives, but not this year as I’m determined to get through my list of recipes to make!

As it’s now November, from today onwards until Christmas I’ll be sharing recipes for the festive season and hopefully there’ll be recipes on here for when you fancy doing a spot of home baking!

Christmas this year will be little different to anything we’ve experienced before, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate (while keeping our loved ones and ourselves safe) and have a good time with lots of yummy food on our table. I’m working this year, so we’ll be having our Christmas dinner in the evening when I’m home from work. Boxing Day will be for relaxing and eating all the leftovers – something I’m very excited about regardless of the difficult situation we’re all facing at the moment.

A big part of Christmas for me and like many others is the food, comforting recipes that put a smile on your face, something I think we could all do with now. There’s certain ingredients that remind me of Christmas, it wouldn’t be Christmastime without Terry’s chocolate orange. As my family and I aren’t fans of your typical Christmas foods like mince pies or Christmas cake/pudding we have to be a bit more creative. You can tell how much of big fan of TCO I really am because I have a number of recipes which incorporate my favourite chocolate including this cheesecake, these cupcakes and these cookies!

This year TCO has given us an extra special Christmas gift by bringing back their famous white chocolate Terry’s chocolate orange. Everyone in my house has their favourite TCO flavour, mine is definitely the classic milk chocolate, but my sister loves dark chocolate oranges.

I’ve mentioned before that I like baking traybake cakes instead of layer cakes. I find layer cakes difficult to put together and baking is all about having fun and not worrying too much – I don’t want to stress about whether the layers are all even or if my cake is going to fall apart –  this is a true story from a recent baking fail I had, I can laugh about it now but at the time I was beyond annoyed!

This is my go-to chocolate traybake. I chose to decorate mine with chocolate ganache, but you can swap the ganache for a chocolate buttercream or any favourite buttercream for that matter. I love this ganache recipe and if you feel like upping the chocolate orange flavour even more then you can use orange flavoured dark chocolate.

I used my Chocolate Traybake recipe and adapted it slightly to put a Xmas spin on the original version. I think there’s a traybake recipe for every season, in spring for Easter I love this Carrot Cake Traybake, in autumn I’m excited for my Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and now I have my Terry’s Chocolate Orange Traybake for the festive season! The final piece in the jigsaw puzzle is a summer traybake creation, but that’s something to work on next year…

So let’s run through how to prepare this scrumptious chocolate traybake. The first step is preheating your oven, once you’ve done that you’ll need to boil a kettle and mix cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda with boiling water, mix those ingredients together until combined and then leave the mixture to cool for 20 minutes. Now in a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar and orange zest to release the natural oil in the orange, then add the eggs and vegetable oil and whisk until smooth. Add the chocolatey mixture you prepared earlier along with the flour. Give it one more quick whisk and then pour the cake batter in a traybake tin.

Bake the cake until it’s risen and a cake tester comes out without any uncooked batter attached to the tester. Now allow the cake to cool completely in the tin, as the cake is cooling it’s the ideal time to get the ganache prepared ready for decorating the cake later as the ganache will need leaving for a couple of hours to firm up.

Ganache is basically a really fancy spreadable chocolate icing. It’s not too sweet and is super simple to make: just take some dark chocolate (you can use orange flavoured dark chocolate here too) and chop the chocolate up. Place the chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Take a small pan and heat double cream and a tablespoon of golden syrup until just simmering and bubbles are appearing on the surface. Pour the hot cream on top of the chocolate and stir gently until mostly melted, then stir in a tablespoon of butter. Cover the very top of the ganache with clingfilm and leave it at room temperature for two hours until spreadable.

Once it’s ready, spread the ganache evenly across the top of the cake and decorate with the chocolate orange confectionery. I went for a mix of milk chocolate and mini white chocolate orange segments and chocolate orange sweets.

(Serves 15-20)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cake:

75g cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

200ml boiling water

370g light brown sugar

Zest from one large orange

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

180ml vegetable oil

200g self-raising flour, sifted

Chocolate Ganache:

200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces – if you want even more chocolate orange flavour then use orange dark chocolate

200ml double cream

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 tablespoon butter (salted or unsalted)

Decoration:

Milk Terry’s Chocolate Orange

White Terry’s Chocolate Orange – I used mini segments

Orange Chocolate M&M’s/Smarties

Sprinkles of your choice

Method:

  1. To make the cake: In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. Mix until combined and then set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 23cm x 30cm baking tin that’s at least 4cm deep with baking parchment.
  3. In a large mixing bowl rub the orange zest into the sugar to release the natural oil, then whisk the together with the eggs and oil until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate mixture to this and whisk again until incorporated. Finally, add the flour and whisk until  fully mixed.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Once the cake is baked, leave it to cool in the cake tin completely.
  5. To make the ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Heat the cream and golden syrup in a small saucepan until bubbles just begin to appear on the surface and just before it starts to come up to the boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until mostly melted. Now add the butter and continue to stir until smooth. Directly place a piece of clingfilm on the top of the ganache and leave it at room temperature for about two hours until spreadable. Decorate the cake with the chocolate orange segments and your choice of additional sprinkles. Leave the cake to set at room temperature for a couple of hours before slicing into squares.

The traybake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. If you feel your cake is drying out, revive it by popping a piece into a microwave and heating gently until the chocolate is melted and the cake is warm – this is really yummy with the molten chocolate so I recommend you give it a try!

Enjoy!

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Vegan Brownies

Supremely fudgy chocolate brownies made completely vegan. You wouldn’t guess these chocolatey brownies are dairy free and made without any butter or eggs! 

Hey readers! Today I’m changing it up and sharing a vegan bake I’m hoping you’ll fall in love with these brownies just as we have! Sometimes I like to delve in and do something different, come out of my comfort zone and share some vegan bakes.

My sister and I are both really into vegan food and we’re on the quest to find lots of vegan recipes to make. We’ve recently started switching our usual milk based products for plant-based alternatives and you really can’t tell the difference – such as this Creamy Porcini Mushroom Pasta we now make this yummy Italian pasta dish with oat cream and it tastes amazing and in our porridge for brekkie we use oat milk. It’s great to see how many vegan products are hitting our supermarket shelves, there’s a lot more choice available.

Back in January when partaking in Veganuary we baked some vegan recipes for the blog – I discovered a great Vegan Banana Bread and during January I started my journey to find a vegan brownie recipe. Unfortunately my baking that day didn’t go entirely to plan and I wasn’t successful finding the perfect vegan brownie recipe. The brownies I made were not pleasant at all, they were stodgy and didn’t have the texture I was aiming for, however we reluctantly tasted them, but they were thrown straight in the bin and the search for a blog worthy vegan brownie continued!

These brownies I photographed for my blog are only the second time I’ve baked vegan brownies so I was elated to finally land on a brilliant vegan brownie recipe and one I was happy enough to share.

Making a delicious vegan brownie isn’t an easy task. But these brownies are truly incredible, they’re rich even without butter, fudgy without eggs added and taste so chocolatey thanks to addition of both dark chocolate and cocoa powder. I wanted to bake a brownie that didn’t use any unusual ingredients a lot of vegan bakes call for. Many vegan brownie recipes ask for flax eggs, but I figured like myself most people don’t have flaxseeds/linseeds and other ingredients in their pantry or readily available where they live around the world.

Whilst we’re on the subject of vegan recipes, I’ve also got a number of vegan friendly savoury and sweet recipes of which I’m always looking to expand and add more to. Check them out below – most of them are savoury, so I’m endeavouring to share more vegan bakes in the future, so watch this space…

Here are some of my vegan recipes listed below for you to try:

Basic Homemade Granola

Chickpea Tikka Masala

Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Mum’s Apple and Blackberry Crumble – this recent recipe on my blog is easily made vegan by swapping the butter for vegan butter or dairy-free spread

Paprika Roasted Potatoes

Patatas Bravas

Perfect Popcorn

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce and Penne all’Arrabbiata

Vegan Banana Bread

White Bread Rolls and 50/50 Bread Rolls

Which is your favourite: the centre or edge piece of brownie?

The brownies in the centre are definitely my go-to, I love brownies super fudgy so I love a centre piece of brownie because they’re always extra gooey. If you like those warm, molten chocolate lava cakes then take one of these brownies and give it a quick blast in the microwave and it goes all soft and gooey – your kitchen also gets filled with a divine chocolate aroma when they’re heated up!

If you feel like switching the recipe up a bit, I’ve seen lots of recipes where bakers have swirled melted peanut butter or cookie butter spread into the brownie batter before baking, so next time I’ll be trying that.

These brownies are addictive and I had ZERO control around them, I found it hard work resisting going back for piece after piece of brownie, but luckily for me I had some willing taste testers who didn’t mind having a helping of these fabulous brownies too!

(Makes 16)

Ingredients:

200g dark chocolate – I use 74% cocoa solids but ensure the chocolate contains no milk

140g plain flour

200g caster or granulated sugar

20g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

80ml vegetable oil

240ml plant milk – I like using soya milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Half a packet (approx. 7) Oreo cookies, Biscoff, Bourbon Cream Biscuits (all three of these are suitable for vegans) – these are optional

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 20cm square cake tin with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Break the dark chocolate up and add to a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie) – make sure the base of the bowl is not directly touching the water. Gently melt the dark chocolate until it’s smooth.
  3. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder. Give these ingredients a quick whisk together to combine then whisk in the oil, plant milk and vanilla extract until you have a smooth batter. Finally whisk in the melted chocolate until incorporated.
  4. Transport the brownie batter to the lined tin. At this point you can top the brownies with vegan biscuits/cookies or extra vegan chocolate chips/chunks. We topped ours before baking with half a packet (7 biscuits/cookies) Oreos broken into smaller pieces.
  5. Bake the brownies for 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tin before cutting to 12-16 squares. We left ours overnight before cutting. The brownies will keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Recipe adapted from Sweetest Menu

Enjoy!

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Mum’s Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Autumn isn’t complete without a serving of my mum’s apple and blackberry crumble recipe! This classic British pud is perfect served with lashings of warm custard, a scoop or two of ice cream or pouring/whipped cream. This simple 5 ingredient pudding is a crowd pleaser and incredibly easy to make. 

I’m really excited to be collaborating with a fellow baking blogger today! Together Becky Anne Bakes and myself have been working on a collaboration to both share an autumn recipe that features blackberries! I have my mum’s classic Blackberry and Apple Crumble recipe to share with you today and make sure to head over to Becky’s blog and check out her yummy Blackberry Bakewell Tart recipe – this is certainly on my autumn baking list now. She has so many other delicious recipes you’ll be tempted to bake like these autumn inspired Apple Crumble Millionaires Shortbread and these Spiced Plum Flapjacks.

It feels as though autumn has arrived here in England and I couldn’t be more excited for all the autumnal desserts and recipes I’ll enjoy over the next couple of months, a few weeks ago we were in the middle of a heatwave and now it’s turned much cooler. So now it’s finally cool enough to be in the kitchen with the oven switched on, I’m ready to let my autumn baking/recipes commence!

Spoon/sprinkle the crumble topping on top of the fruit that’s in your baking dish. Using the back of the spoon, press the crumble mixture down slightly. The photo below shows you how your crumble should look before baking.

During the summer as it’s usually too hot to bake, apart from being in the kitchen at work I prefer to limit my time in the kitchen at home and spend more time outside enjoying the weather and doing all the fun activities the summer opens doors to. But if I am in the kitchen and feel like creating some recipes for my blog then in the summer I tend to focus my time on no-bake treats. My lockdown summer has been full of delicious recipes including this Biscoff Cheesecake, No-Churn Oreo Ice Cream, Strawberries and Cream Shortbread Sandwiches, Nutella Cheesecake and when it finally cooled down I got back in the kitchen again and baked these Chunky Milk Chocolate Pecan Cookies!

We eat apple crumble most Sunday’s during the autumn and winter after a roast (vegetarian in our household). This is one of my mum’s recipes, in fact it was the first recipe I had to make during my food technology lessons at secondary school. I remember being a nervous 11-year-old starting my first year of secondary school and being so worried I would mess up a simple crumble recipe.

Now fast forward 13 years later and now I’m a professionally trained chef, I’ve worked in different catering establishments and have also a food blog (I still enjoy working on so much!) that’s read by people all across the world. It’s crazy to think how much has changed since I attended my first food technology lesson all those years ago and was a frightened student who didn’t realise everything would be alright in the end!

We picked all the fruit for this recipe whilst out for walks in the local countryside. Every year I love picking blackberries and because we’ve had great weather near the end of our summer the blackberries are beautifully sweet and delicious – it’s been a wonderful year for British blackberries!

 

I hope you’ll love my mum’s crumble recipe as much as our family does! This really is a winning autumn/winter recipe – the fruit is naturally sweet and tastes wonderful and the crumble topping reminds me of shortbread with its luxuriously buttery and comforting taste.

(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

4 medium apples – I recommend Braeburn, Bramley, Cox, Granny Smith or Golden Delicious

125g blackberries, fresh or frozen

250g plain flour

150g butter (salted or unsalted), at room temperature, softened slightly and cut into 1cm chunks – I get my butter out about an hour before baking

75g caster or granulated sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
  2. Prepare the fruit by peeling, coring and cutting the apples into 1-1.5cm chunks (you don’t have to be too accurate with the sizing). Place the apple chunks in a large baking dish. Top with the blackberries.
  3. To make the crumble topping: Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and rub the butter into the flour until you have a fine breadcrumb texture – you can do this step in a food processor but it’s really so easy you don’t need to use any specialist equipment! Now stir through the sugar.
  4. Evenly spread the crumble mixture over the top of the fruit covering it completely. Using the back of a spoon, gently press the crumble mixture slightly down on top of the fruit.
  5. Bake the crumble for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden in colour on top and the fruit is cooked – this might take longer depending on your oven. Leave the crumble to cool for a few minutes before serving with warm custard, pouring/whipped cream or ice cream.

Recipe Notes:

  • Taste your fruit before placing in the baking dish and if you feel it’s very tart and needs a bit more sweetening then add about a tablespoon of extra sugar on top of your fruit layer before topping with the crumble mixture.
  • Add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or mixed spice on top of the apples if you fancy.
  • If you don’t have blackberries, then you can leave them out of the recipe entirely or substitute with raspberries or any kind of frozen fruit you have in.
  • You can use brown sugar instead of caster/granulated for a slightly more golden looking crumble.
  • Also, if you want to you can add a handful of rolled oats to your crumble mixture – we do this sometimes and it tastes great!
  • The baked crumble is best eaten straight away fresh from the oven. I recommend reheating it in the oven until warmed through opposed to microwaving it.

Enjoy!

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Chunky Milk Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Thick and chunky chocolate and pecan cookies are chunkier and even yummier than your average cookie. These decadent cookies are packed with gooey milk chocolate chips/chunks and toasted pecans – a flavour match made in heaven! 

Thick and chunky (copycat London’s Crème dessert shop / New York City’s Levain Bakery) cookies have been popular on the internet recently and I couldn’t resist any longer so I’ve decided to share my new favourite chunky cookie recipe with you today!

Cookies make me so happy, I’m 100% sure eating cookies will put a smile on your face even during these tough, uncertain times. It’s something about that chewy texture with the incredible and totally irresistible gooey chocolate that’s delicious when melted as you take a bite in to a cookie that’s fresh from the oven!

I like sprinkling a pinch of Maldon sea salt on top of some of the cookies before baking. Once your cookies are ready you’re in for a treat enjoying them with a glass of milk or with scoops of ice cream!

I love all types of cookies, on my blog I have shared the classic Chocolate Chip Cookies, White Chocolate CookiesTerry’s Chocolate Orange Cookies and these insanely delicious Triple Chocolate Cookies. It’s safe to say this blog is not short of cookie recipes for you to try!

I’ve never shared a super thick and chunky cookie before and having seen these on Cupcake Jemma’s website and YouTube channel, I’ve been desperate to have a go at this recipe. Every time I watch Jemma’s team over at Crumbs & Doilies making these amazing cookies, I’ve wanted to reach right through the screen and grab the tray of freshly baked cookies instantly!

 

Milk chocolate pecan cookie dough tastes so good there might not even be any left to bake! I’m a sucker for tasting cookie dough, I can’t get enough of it!

I’ve tested out different chocolate and pecan cookies and found a couple of recipes that are wonderful. My whole family absolutely loves Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s chocolate chip and pecan cookies that feature in their SWEET cookbook – I’ve baked those cookies countless times and they never fail to impress. They’re a slighter smaller serving compared to this cookie recipe created by Crumbs & Doilies. However, lately I’ve been in the mood for a generous sized cookie to treat myself, bigger is definitely better in this case!

Personally I don’t think you can go far wrong with the classic flavour combo of milk chocolate and toasted pecan, but I’m looking forward to experimenting with variations. My sister has plans to bake birthday cake/funfetti cookies with white chocolate and sprinkles – I’m excited for those when she makes them!

If pecans aren’t your thing, then you can substitute with hazelnuts or walnuts (without the skins). Also, add different chopped up chocolate bars or if you don’t want to add nuts then you can leave them out and add even more chocolate.

Honestly, who would say no to more chocolate?

Definitely not me! Enjoy the cookies!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

100g pecans – see recipe for instructions on toasting

300g plain flour

200g self-raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

230g butter (salted or unsalted), cold and cut into 1cm cubes

160g dark or light brown sugar

160g caster or granulated sugar

200g milk chocolate chips

200g milk chocolate, broken into big chunks

2 large free-range eggs

Method:

  1. Start by toasting the pecans, preheat oven to 170°C / 150°C Fan / 325°F / Gas Mark 3. Place the pecans in a small baking tray and toast for 10 minutes. Leave the pecans to cool and then chop or break into small pieces roughly 1.5cm in size. In a mixing bowl mix together the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until combined. Set this aside for the moment.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the cold butter for about 30 seconds until softened slightly. Add the sugars and mix again until just combined – you don’t want to make this mixture creamy and fluffy.
  3. Now add the flour mixture and mix until you have fine breadcrumb texture. Now stir through the chocolate and nuts.
  4. Add the beaten egg and just mix until a dough comes together – be careful not to over mix. Weigh roughly 125g portions of the cookie dough and roll into a ball. Place on a lined baking tray or container and freeze for at least 90 minutes or overnight for a thicker cookie.
  5. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper and place the trays in the oven for 5 minutes to heat before spacing the rolled cookie dough balls out leaving at least 2 inches between each to allow room for spreading.
  6. Bake the cookies for 17-22 minutes. If you like a slightly underdone cookie then bake for just 17 minutes, but if you prefer your cookies more done then bake for nearer to 22 minutes.
  7. Leave the cookies to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes then transport to a wire rack and allow the cookies to cool slightly before serving. Cookies will keep stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days – we think they taste best on the day of baking.

Recipe Notes:

  • I used a mix of half chocolate chips and 2 x 100g bars (200g in total) milk chocolate bars. Feel free to use 400g of chocolate chips or all chocolate bar in the cookie dough. Also, you can swap the milk chocolate for a mix of dark chocolate or even add some white chocolate < I’m trying this next time!
  • The recipe I followed made 12 cookies, however from my batch of cookie dough I managed to get a baker’s dozen (13 cookies) out of mine.
  • When rolling the cookie dough into balls, make sure to not form them too much. So when you’ve weighed each piece of cookie dough out just gently press into a ball.
  • I recommend freezing the rolled cookie dough balls overnight as this produces a thicker textured (and more flavourful) cookie when baked, but if you’re rushed for time or just want cookies ASAP then 90 minutes in the freezer is fine.
  • The recipe recommends baking the cookies for 17 minutes, I don’t like my cookies too underdone so I baked mine for another 5 minutes but again this all depends on how you like to serve cookies, if you prefer them softer and underdone then just bake for 17 minutes as the recipe instructs.

Milk Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Enjoy!

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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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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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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 hometown.

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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