Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Naturally coloured and flavoured strawberry buttercream made with freeze-dried strawberries. Your summer isn’t complete without a taste of these cupcakes! 

Recipe originally shared July 2015, updated June 2017. 

Fruit based buttercream is a summer favourite of mine and the yummy addition of freeze-dried strawberries creates the beautiful pink colour in this buttercream recipe I’m sharing with you. I’m personally not really into unnaturally coloured foods so often when I want to make a buttercream that’s coloured, I’d rather look for alternative ways of naturally colouring mine.

This recipe is based on a classic buttercream recipe except freeze-dried strawberries are ground to fine powder in a food processor and then the strawberry powder is incorporated into the buttercream. Incorporating freeze-dried strawberries into buttercream adds amazing natural strawberry flavour and it also tints the buttercream a faint pink colour.

To allow this strawberry buttercream to be the star of show I sat it atop a basic vanilla cupcake. Strawberry and vanilla happen to be my two favourite flavours, so combing the two had to happen sometime! My vanilla cupcake recipe is easy to make as it doesn’t require any out of the ordinary ingredients such as buttermilk or yoghurt, which are ingredients you might not happen to have in your kitchen. This vanilla cupcake recipe however uses your everyday baking store cupboard essentials such as butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour.

You might be wondering about why I choose to use freeze-dried opposed to fresh strawberries? Fresh fruit is great to use in some buttercream recipes, but strawberries in particular have a high water content so using fresh could produce a runny buttercream that’s impossible to pipe. The fruit and moisture levels are more concentrated in freeze-dried fruit compared to fresh, so when following this recipe you won’t have to be concerned that your buttercream will curdle or won’t be able to be piped.

What better way to celebrate summer and the strawberry season than with these cupcakes! They’ll be a hit at summer picnics, parties or barbecues or even served as part of an al fresco afternoon tea.

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cupcakes:

150g (2/3 cup) butter, softened

150g (3/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar

3 medium or large free range eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

150g (1 and 1/4 cups) self-raising flour, sifted – you can sub with 150g plain flour plus 2 teaspoons baking powder

Strawberry Buttercream: 

170g (3/4 cup) butter, at room temperature

12g (1 cup) freeze-dried strawberries

2 tablespoons double cream (heavy cream), chilled

230g (2 cups) icing sugar, sifted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C Fan / 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. To make the cupcakes: Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one along with the vanilla and mix to combine. Using a spatula or large metal spoon, gently fold in the flour and mix until just combined and no lumps of flour remain. Be gentle and try to not over mix the batter.
  3.  Now evenly distribute the cupcake batter among the cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes until the cupcakes are a light golden colour and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then remove from the tin and transport the cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. To make the buttercream: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on a medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and using a spatula scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, continue to mix the butter for a further 3 minutes until it’s creamy and pale. In a food processor pulverise the freeze-dried strawberries until finely ground (wait for a moment to allow the air in the powder to settle). Add the strawberry powder to the creamed butter and stir through until combined. Now add the cream along with the icing sugar and again mix until incorporated. Whip the buttercream on medium speed for an additional 2 minutes, then stop the mixer and scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl and continue to mix for another 2 minutes.
  5. Fit a large disposable piping bag with a piping tip. Fill the piping bag with the buttercream and decorate the cupcakes as desired.

Recipe Notes:

  • Butter will need to be at room temperature for both the cupcake and buttercream recipes. Take butter out from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour. You’ll know your butter is ready to start baking with if when you press your finger gently into the butter it leaves an indentation. Either salted or unsalted butter can be used, typically I always use unsalted, but this time I used salted and it worked just as well.
  • Please note humidity can affect the outcome of your buttercream. The best way of avoiding your buttercream curdling is making sure your butter isn’t too soft (follow my tip above when softening butter).
  • Freeze-dried fruit can usually be located down the baking aisle of most supermarkets or sometimes, they can also be found in some specialist bakeware shops, but if you’ve had no luck looking in store you can order over the internet.
  • If you don’t own a food processor you can crush the freeze-dried strawberries in a resealable bag using a rolling pin until they’ve reached a fine powdery consistency.
  • Cupcakes will store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If it’s humid where you live I’d recommend storing these cupcakes in the fridge and when ready to serve take the number of desired cupcakes out and allow them to sit a room temperature for a few minutes.

Enjoy!

jess

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Homemade Lemon Curd

Four ingredients and just half an hour of your time is all that’s required to make this creamy and tangy homemade lemon curd. 

Making my own curd and jam has been on my list for a long time. A few summers back I got my very own private jam-making session with my grandma, we spent the day preparing homemade plum jam and I came home with a several jars of jam to enjoy. As a food blogger a few of the recipes I test unfortunately don’t make it onto my blog. Some recipes are just a plain fail, whereas with some of the recipes I will write down and change things to do better the next time round.

Lemon curd is something I failed at miserably when I made it for the first time a couple of years ago. It was so terrible that it put me off making lemon curd until now. I used a recipe from another source and it never thickened. After standing for over an hour stirring the pot I was left with a bowl of runny lemon slop, not the creamy and thick lemon curd I’d hoped to make.

I learnt from the mistakes I have previously made when making lemon curd and now I am happy to finally have found a lemon curd recipe that works and produces beautifully tangy curd that you could eat by the spoonful.

This is recipe is one my mum handed down to me, my grandma gave my mum a cookbook and this lemon curd was from that book. The cookbook I got this recipe from is called “The Dairy Book of Home Cookery”. My mum has had this cookbook for nearly thirty years and it she’s told me this is the first cookbook she ever owned. It’s the kind of book you go to for reliable recipes that actually work and come out well.

Once opened this lemon curd with last for only about two weeks and that’s good because the recipe only fills one large jar – about 550ml worth of curd in total. It’s so addictive that you’re probably going to want to keep the entire jar just to yourself and not tell a single other person about it!

Lemon curd is fantastic served as it is, you can drizzle it over cheesecake, swap the classic raspberry/strawberry jam filling in a Victoria sponge and spread a generous layer of lemon curd instead and you could even dollop it on top of a toasted crumpet, English muffin or a stack of pancakes.

Before I forget to mention it’s also absolutely divine swirled through plain yoghurt and topped with fresh fruit. One of my go-to desserts, but truth be told all I need is a jar of this lemon curd and a spoon!

(Yields enough to fill 1 large jar – approx. 550ml)

Ingredients:

100g (4 ounces) butter, cut into small cubes

225g (8 ounces) caster or granulated sugar

3 free-range eggs plus 1 yolk, beaten

Grated zest and juice of 3 lemons

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium sized heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie/double boiler). Make sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water.
  2. Add the sugar, eggs and egg yolk and lemon zest and juice.
  3. Cook gently without boiling until the curd thickens sufficiently to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful not to overheat the mixture otherwise it may curdle and separate. This recipe takes about 30 minutes to reach the correct consistency.
  4. Sieve the curd if you want and then pour the curd into sterilised jars that are still warm and cover as you would do for jam.
  5. Store the curd in a cool place, I usually leave mine in the fridge. The curd will store for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

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Lemon Loaf Cake

Welcome spring with this zesty lemon loaf cake that’s similar to pound cake with its buttery taste and texture. This classy cake will make you want to skip dinner and go straight to dessert! 

I love cake and I love knowing even more that there’s a cake for every holiday or season. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate and mint, Christmas is all about candy canes and peppermint everything or gingerbread, whereas in spring and summer we celebrate all the gorgeous fresh berries and fruit that are bountiful.

This year I decided to prepare in advance for Easter and planned to bake a simple lemon cake to welcome the first day of spring in a few days time. This cake is fresh, zingy and will transport your taste buds straight into the new season. You may have figured out my love for anything lemon from my previous recipe for lemon herb rice? Since I shared a savoury recipe showcasing lemon it was now time for something sweet.

Back last summer I shared a buttermilk lemon cake that was slightly different from the one I’m sharing today because that recipe had buttermilk added the batter to keep it moist and the cake was drizzled with a simple lemon sugar icing. This time I thought it would be a nice change to bake the cake in a loaf tin as you traditionally do when you’re making pound cake. This cake is made in the same way but instead of a lemon sugar icing it just has a lemon glaze soaked into the cake whilst it’s still warm and fresh from the oven.

Another thing I kept the same as I did when I made my lemon buttermilk cake is that I made my own homemade lemon sugar. Using your fingertips you’ll rub the sugar and zest together until fragrant. Doing this enables the natural oils in the lemon to be released and your cake will have a stronger and more intense lemon flavour. This is a step I will always go to the extra effort to do as you can definitely taste the difference.

My family love serving this beautiful cake with Greek yoghurt and fresh raspberries. Eating cake with yoghurt takes my sister and I back to our childhood as this is something we would always do with leftover birthday cake for breakfast. Cake for breakfast is the absolute best!

If you prefer you can serve the cake with ice cream, pouring or whipped cream instead and top with berries or fruit of your choice. You could also try warming a slice of cake in the microwave, when it’s warm it gets all extra buttery and gooey.

(Serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

Lemon Cake:

230g (1 cup/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

250g (1 and 1/4 cups) caster or granulated sugar

2 tablespoons lemon zest – approx. 4 lemons

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

210g (1 and 1/2 cups) plain/all-purpose or cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Lemon Glaze: 

100g (1/2 cup) caster or granulated sugar

60ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with parchment paper and set aside. Toss the sugar and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingertips rub the sugar and zest together for a minute or two until the sugar smells fragrant. Add the softened butter and beat until creamy and smooth.
  2. Next add the eggs one at a time and mix well in between each addition. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix through. Don’t be concerned at this point if the mixture looks curdled and like it’s going wrong, once you add the dry ingredients it’ll resemble more of a cake batter.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) on top of the wet mixture and then gently fold through until you have a smooth batter. Be careful not to mix the batter too much.
  4. Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for 15 minutes. Now reduce the oven temperature to 170°C / 150 Fan / 325°F / Gas Mark 3. Carry on baking the cake for a further 35-45 minutes (turning around halfway through) or until a cake tester when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out completely clean without any uncooked batter remaining. After a total of 60 minutes baking mine took a further 15 minutes to finishing fully baking so my cake was in the oven for a total of 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes – much longer than the original recipe suggested).
  5. Once the cake is completely baked through remove it from the oven and set the tin over a wire rack. Meanwhile make the lemon glaze by combining the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring this mixture up to the boil and then once it’s boiling turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer for about 2-3 minutes until thick and syrupy.
  6. Allow the cake to sit for 10 minutes then remove it from the tin. Using a toothpick poke holes all over the top and sides of the cake and brush the lemon glaze over all the cake. Leave the cake to cool to room temperature before serving. The cake will store at room temperature wrapped in clingfilm/plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 3 days – it may last for longer but in my house cake only seems to last more than a few days!

fullsizeoutput_9138

Lately I’ve been absolutely loving my new kitchenware from Leila’s General Store. I love this denim apron with its cute pineapple design and I’m also enjoying baking using my silicone spatula. If you like the look of these items you can get a 20% discount using the code “whatjessicabaked” (excluding electronics and gift cards). This discount code is valid until 23rd of April on leilasgeneralstore.com!

Enjoy!

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Lemon Herb Rice

This one-pot rice pilaf is bursting with Mediterranean flavours! Baked and then garnished with herbs and lemon just before serving – you’ll want to eat this tasty rice straight from the pot!

lemon-herb-rice.png

I love that in food there are memories. Tasting a certain food can transport you back and allow you to reminisce about somewhere you travelled to or a time you really enjoyed and have fond memories of.

That’s exactly what this recipe does for me.

I first had a taste of rice very similar to this a number of years ago on holiday on one of my first visits to the glorious Mediterranean island of Cyprus. My family and I would visit this one restaurant a couple of times during our trip, the restaurant specialised in souvlaki which consists of various meats and vegetables grilled on a barbecue. Each diner received a massive plate that included a jacket potato, souvlaki meat of your choice such as beef, chicken or pork, a corn on the cob and a small portion of rice. The rice wasn’t just boring plain boiled rice it was incredibly buttery and rich in sensational flavours.

Greek is one of the many cuisines I really enjoy. A few of my personal Greek food favourites include spanakopita, tzatziki and tiropitakia – we used to buy these from bakeries on the way to the beach and would sit eating these amazing cheesy pastries whilst feeling the gentle sea breeze and sun on us. Just thinking of that I’d desperately like to be transported back there right now!

Wave goodbye to the winter blues by making this rice, it’s sure to bring a touch sunshine to your day!

(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

30g/2 tablespoons butter

Drizzle of olive oil

1 medium white onion, diced

2-3 large cloves of garlic, finely minced

1-2 dried or fresh bay leaves, torn – tearing the leaves releases the flavour

450g (2 cups) long grain rice

900ml (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock

Zest from half a large lemon and a squeeze of the juice

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Few sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary, finely chopped

Small handful of fresh parsley (approx. 2-3 tablespoons), finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Fan / 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6. In a large ovenproof saucepan over a medium heat melt one tablespoon of the butter and the oil.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves and a touch of salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes until soft and translucent – you don’t want this to colour too much.
  3. Now add the rice and stir until all the grains of rice are moistened by the butter. Then add the stock, cover the saucepan with a lid and allow it to come up to the boil.
  4. Once boiling take off the heat and place in the oven to braise for 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is completely cooked through.
  5. Add the chopped herbs, lemon zest and a generous squeeze of the juice and season with extra salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Leave the rice with the lid on and allow the flavours to develop for about 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Garnish the rice with extra chopped parsley if desired.
  7. Rice is best served straight away or at room temperature. Don’t reheat rice more than once. If you’re reheating it check temperature has reached at least 75°C before consuming.

Recipe Notes:

  • If your saucepan lid is not ovenproof then you can cook this rice in a dish covered with tin/aluminium foil.
  • If you’re planning to make this rice dairy-free you can substitute the butter for a dairy-free alternative or just use oil.
  • I’ve tested this recipe out a few times and I’ve found adding the zest from half a large lemon adds more than enough lemon flavour without being overpowering. If you want you can add the zest of the whole lemon if you’re a lemon lover!
  • This rice doesn’t have to the braised in the oven you can cook it by boiling it the stove top instead if you’d prefer to do that. I baked it as this is how I was taught how to cook the best rice at culinary school. Just check how long your rice needs to cook, each brand can cook differently. There’s nothing nice about overcooked rice and you won’t want this rice to be the texture of rice pudding!
  • Rice can be eaten on its own but it’s also great served with chicken or fish such as salmon or prawns/shrimp.
  • This recipe will typically serve 4-6 people generously but it can serve up to 8 smaller portions.

Enjoy!

jess

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Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

 Moist carrot cupcakes topped with a luscious and tangy cream cheese frosting. 

carrot-cupcakes

I first shared these cupcakes a few years ago on my blog back in 2014, it will be nearly three years since the recipe was first published and I still enjoy these just as much as I did the first time round. The older recipe deserved an update and I’ve decided to share it again with brand new photographs. Carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes and if I had to I would definitely pick carrot cake over a slice of chocolate cake any day!

Easter is nearing closer so these cupcakes I am revisiting today will be the ideal recipe to celebrate the occasion with.

The addition of spices in carrot cake is an absolute must and I can’t even contemplate a carrot cake/cupcake without cinnamon added. Along with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon I also like to add a full teaspoon of mixed spice as well. Mixed spice is another spice popular in many Easter bakes, it’s the British equivalent to pumpkin pie spice and it’s frequently used in many of our traditional recipes such as hot cross buns and teacakes.

carrot-cream-cheese-cupcakes

I wish I could tell you that these carrot cupcakes are healthy because they contain vegetables but unfortunately they’re not! Carrots and other vegetables such as courgette/zucchini are a popular addition in many savoury and sweet recipes. They add moistness and I like to put quite a lot of grated carrot into my cupcakes, this is so I can ensure that there’s carrot in each and every bite. There’s nothing more disappointing than taking a bite from a carrot cake/cupcake and not being able to taste any carrot!

To decorate I decided to top the cupcakes with a classic cream cheese frosting. I’ve trialled several different cream cheese frosting recipes and I’ve found this one to be the best as it holds its shape when piped and really compliments the flavour of the cupcakes.

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Carrot Cupcakes:

175g light brown sugar

200g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon mixed spice

Zest from 1 large orange

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

150ml sunflower or vegetable oil

200g (approx. 2 large) carrots, peeled and grated – weigh to ensure this is correct

65g chopped walnuts, plus extra for decoration

Cream Cheese Frosting:

60g unsalted butter, softened

200g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

400g full fat cream cheese, softened – I leave mine out at room temperature for an hour to soften

Method:

1.  To make the cupcakes: Preheat your oven 160 degrees Fan / 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4 and line a 12-hole cupcake or muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl stir together the sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and the orange zest.

2. In another smaller bowl or jug whisk together the eggs and oil until incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry along with the grated carrot and walnuts and stir until completely combined. Evenly divide the batter between the paper cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining – mine took the full amount of time to bake. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes then transport them to a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

3. To make the 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 5 minutes or until really pale in colour – stop the mixer halfway through to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

4. Once creamed add the softened cream cheese. Turn the mixer up and beat on high speed for approximately 2-3 minutes or until the frosting is creamy, thick and smooth.

5. Decorate the cupcakes as desired by piping or spreading the frosting onto each cupcake. Further decoration is optional, I chose to top each cupcake with extra chopped walnuts and a carrot made from royal icing. The carrot decorations can be purchased from most major supermarkets or online but just be sure to decorate just prior to serving. Cupcakes will keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • To adapt the recipe into cup measurements please see my conversion tables page for help.
  • You can adjust the amount of spice or play around by adding different spices to these cupcakes. If you can’t find mixed spice where you live you can substitute it with pumpkin pie spice or alternatively use a different combination of spices.
  • Adding walnuts to the batter is optional. If you want you can leave them out entirely or swap them for pecans, raisins or desiccated/shredded coconut.
  • Leave the cream cheese out at room temperature for an hour prior to making the frosting. The cream cheese needs to be soft to ensure the frosting is smooth and all the ingredients incorporate completely.
  • Don’t add any additional icing sugar to the frosting as this will make your cream cheese frosting too runny and you won’t be able to pipe it. To get perfect cream cheese frosting my best tip is to measure your ingredients accurately using the metric system for the perfect results every time.
  • The way you choose to decorate these cupcakes is totally up to you. When I shared the recipe the first time round instead of decorating the cupcakes with chopped walnuts as I did this time I sprinkled the tops with coconut and dusted a few of the cupcakes with cinnamon.

carrot-cake-cupcakes-recipe

Enjoy!

jess

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50/50 Bread Rolls

Vegan bread rolls made with half strong white bread flour and half wholemeal flour. These bread rolls suit everyone down to the ground! 

vegan-bread-rolls

A few years ago I wouldn’t have known where to start when it came to baking homemade bread, it was my mum who developed a love for bread making before I soon did. She made basic loaves and rolls, brioche and other delicious breads for while before I decided to jump into the kitchen to explore and try out some bread recipes of my own inspired by her.

Recently I shared my mum’s white bread rolls with you and since then I’ve been thinking of sharing a wholemeal version of the original recipe.

vegan-5050-bread-rolls

When making wholemeal bread and rolls I prefer to use half regular strong white bread flour and half wholemeal flour. In my experience using completely wholemeal flour makes the dough too heavy, whereas adding half of each flour balances out the texture and the bread rolls aren’t dense at all. If you want to make these rolls with 100% wholemeal flour then feel free to do so!

The great thing is that these bread rolls are also suitable for anyone following a vegan lifestyle because they’re made with olive oil instead of butter and also water is added instead of milk to bring the dough together when kneading. This recipe is very adaptable so if you don’t have oil olive you can substitute that with another oil such as sunflower/vegetable or even melted butter if you’re not opting for a vegan bread roll.

wholemeal-bread-rolls

These homemade wholemeal bread rolls have that distinctive nuttiness you typically taste with wholemeal bakes. They can be filled with your favourite sandwich fillings or even dunked into a bowl of soup. Whichever way you decide to serve these rolls I know you will thoroughly enjoy them!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

275g strong white bread flour

275g wholemeal flour

1 and 1/4 teaspoons fast-action dried yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (substitute with another oil or alternatively use melted butter)

310ml warm water – the water should only feel warm to the touch, not boiling

Method:

1. To make the dough: In a large mixing bowl combine both flours along with the yeast, sugar and salt and mix together (remember to make sure the yeast and salt are on opposite corners of the bowl). Add the olive oil and warm water and mix until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes by hand or with an electric hand or stand mixer fitted with the dough hook for 5-7 minutes until the dough is soft and elasticated.

2. To knead and rise the dough: Once the dough is kneaded, lightly oil another large mixing bowl. Add the dough to the bowl and lightly coat in the oil. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a kitchen towel and leave somewhere dry and warm for at least an hour or until doubled in size. This should take around 60-90 minutes.

3. Once the dough has risen fully divide it into 12 equally sized pieces. I weigh the dough to be accurate then shape each piece of dough into rolls. Place the rolls onto a large baking tray that’s either been lightly oiled or lined with a silicone baking mat. Space the rolls apart by a 1-2 inches so they have enough room to rise and spread slightly. Cover with clingfilm or a kitchen towel and leave somewhere warm for further 45-60 minutes or until the rolls have joined up and doubled in size.

4. To bake the rolls: Preheat oven to 220°C / 200 degrees Fan / 425°F / Gas Mark 7. Bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes or until crisp and well risen. You can check the rolls are completely baked by tapping the bottom of one, if it sounds hollow then they will be cooked all the way through.

5. Allow the rolls to cool for a few minutes then carefully transport them onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely to room temperature before serving. Rolls can be toasted prior to serving if you want to serve them warm. The rolls will keep fresh in a bread/sandwich bag for up to 2 days, if you want you can freeze the rolls but they’re best eaten fresh on the day of baking.

These classic White Bread Rolls should be on your list to try next!

white-bread-rolls

Or if you fancy trying something Italian then give my Tomato Parmesan Focaccia recipe a go!

tomato focaccia

Enjoy!

jess

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Banana Bread

Fluffy and moist banana bread loaf. A fantastic recipe for using up any leftover overripe bananas. 

banana-bread

Banana bread is one of my favourite things to bake so I was shocked when I discovered I hadn’t yet shared a banana bread recipe with you, I figured it was time to share our family favourite recipe.

This recipe is possibly one of the, if not the easiest banana breads I have ever made. It can be made either one of two ways, using an all-in-one method or with a mixer using the creaming method, it’s totally up to you as both ways produce an amazing, fluffy and soft banana bread.

The other day it snowed and was too cold to go out, so on my day off work I decided to stay in the warm and spend the day doing some baking. After looking in our fruit bowl, I noticed we had a couple of bananas that looked like they’d seen better days. Whenever I have overripe bananas hanging around on the kitchen counter the first thing I will bake is banana bread or some kind of cake/muffin.

banana-loaf

To make good banana bread you’ll need to use fairly overripe bananas. Ideally you want your bananas to be yellow and spotty, overripe bananas will add extra flavour, moistness and sweetness to the bread.

With this recipe you can experiment with different add-ins, sometimes I will even add a couple of handfuls of chocolate chips or nuts such as pecans or walnuts to the batter. Today, I just fancied a traditional banana bread that used ingredients that I already had in.

Don’t worry if your banana bread forms a crack down the centre just like mine did, this is a common trait of banana bread and loaf bread/cakes in general. I personally think it makes the bread look lovely and rustic, banana bread isn’t meant to look pretty it’s definitely all about the taste with recipes like this one!

Ingredients:

100g (4 ounces) unsalted butter or margarine, softened

175g (6 ounces) caster or granulated sugar

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

2 large ripe bananas, mashed

225g (8 ounces) self-raising flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons milk

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line and grease a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with parchment/non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or a handheld electric mixer, beat all the ingredients together for about 2 minutes until well combined. Alternatively, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and smooth for about 2-3 minutes. Next add the eggs one at a time making sure you beat well between each addition. Fold through the mashed banana, flour and baking powder until completely incorporated. Finally add the milk and continuing mixing until the batter is smooth.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the lined loaf tin. Bake for an hour or until golden and well risen. Check the banana bread is cooked all the way through by inserting a wooden skewer or cake tester into the centre, if it comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining then the banana bread is completely baked.
  4. Allow the banana bread to cool in the tin for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the tin and leave to cool set over a wire rack.
  5. Once cool, slice the banana bread up. It’s delicious served as it is or toasted and spread with butter. Banana bread will keep stored in an airtight container for about a week.

Recipe Notes:

  • You’ll need to use very ripe bananas to make this recipe. The bananas need to be spotty and turning brown, this will bring extra sweetness and moistness to your banana bread.
  • The butter or margarine needs to be really soft in order to be completely incorporated into the batter. I recommend leaving your butter/margarine out overnight to soften.
  • Feel free to add chocolate chips or chopped nuts if you’d like. You could even decorate the top of the banana bread with nuts or stud with chocolate chips, I’m going to try that next time!
  • Try adding a teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon, ginger or mixed spice. I particularly love adding cinnamon to banana bakes.
  • Remember all ovens bake differently. This recipe requires a full hour baking, check the banana bread after 45 minutes of baking, if it’s colouring too much then cover the top with a piece of aluminium foil to prevent it browning any further. Continue baking for the remaining 15 minutes until the a cake tester comes out completely clean, with no uncooked cake batter on it.

Recipe from Mary Berry’s 100 Cakes and Bakes

Enjoy!

jess

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