Thursday, 31 March 2016

Raspberry Tartlets

Starting a bit early on the "simple things done well" theme for April. I wanted to do something quite delicate, and try to work on the presentation a bit more. I was also slightly depressed after having watched Bake-Off : Creme de la Creme, which basically pointed out that everyone is just playing at doing desserts.

Anyway...this was a mish-mash of a few different recipes, but the focus was on getting good pastry cases (my tartlets have always looked a little rustic previously), and a good custard base. The fruit could be anything, whatever is to hand really. I went out on a limb a bit with the crème patisserie, and turned it into crème diplomat with the addition of some whipped double-cream, making it a lightly, slightly softer texture.

Things I'd change... Firstly, I tried making the pastry entirely in the food processor, and I think it got over-worked. Next time I'll do the rubbing in using teh food processor, but the addition of liquid by hand.

Secondly, I think I'd glaze the fruits before adding them to the top of the tart. The jam ended up globbing a bit, and looking a little in-delicate. I think if I'd dipped the raspberries , then once set put them in it would have been a better look

Raspberry Tartlets - Recipe

Sweet Crust Pastry Ingredients

  • 375g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 140g butter, chilled and diced
  • 1 egg
  • Chilled water
(Note - this will make more than you need. I was able to line a 20cm tin and a 12cm tin as well as the 12 tartlet tins)

1) Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor

2) Add the butter into the food processor

3) Blend until you get to a fine breadcrumb texture

4) Add the egg to the food processor, and mix in

5) Add the water a few drops at a time until a dough starts to form

6) Tip the dough onto a work surface, and using your hands form a dough ball, and knead a few times

7) Flatten to a 1-inch thick disc, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour

(Note - while this is chilling you can make the crème patisserie, as it needs to cool)

8) Pre-heat the oven to 190'C

9) Roll the pastry out to 3mm thick (I once again used batons), and cut 12 x 12cm circles (I found this was the best size to line the tartlet tins), re-rolling the cut-offs as required

10) Line 12 tartlet tins with the pastry should get a small over-hand on each tin.

11) Once lined, cut off the edges by passing a rolling pin over the top, trimming the pastry against the tin

12) Prick the bottom of the tartlets

13) Line the inside using cling-film and baking beans/dry rice

14) Place the tartlets on 2 baking trays

15) Bake in the oven for 14-15 minutes

16) Remove the cling film/baking beads, and bake for another 7-8 minutes to dry out the base

17) Remove to wire racks to cool

Crème Patisserie/Crème Diplomat Ingredients

  • 500ml full fat milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • ½tsp vanilla pod seeds
  • 200ml double cream
1) Put the milk and vanilla seeds in a large saucepan over a low heat, and warm up (don't boil)

2) Put the egg-yolks, sugar and flour in a large heat-proof bowl, and whisk until pale and creamy

3) Slowly add the heated milk to the egg yolks, whisking constantly

4) Return the custard to the pan, and whisk over a low heat until it thickens (this will be as it starts to boil, but go gently)

5) Once the custard has thickened, turn out onto a baking tray (with a lip, for obvious reasons. I used a Swiss roll tin), spread out, and cover with cling film

6) Place in the fridge to cool completely

7) Once cooled, scrape the custard into a clean bowl, and stir to loosen it

8) In a separate bowl, whisk the double-cream until it forms soft peaks

9) Fold the custard and cream together until completely combined


  • 84 raspberries (about 300g)
  • 4tbsp raspberry jam
1) Put the custard into a piping bag with a 1cm round nozzle

2) Pipe the custard into the tartlet cases

3) Place 7 raspberries on each tartlet, arranged in a circle in the middle

4) Pass the jam through a sieve to remove the seeds

5) Heat the jam in a small saucepan over a low heat (don't boil)

6) Using a pastry brush, glaze the fruits with the heated jam

7) (optional) Place any spare jam in a small piping bag, chop off the very end, and pipe the jam into any gaps between the raspberries.
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Monday, 28 March 2016

Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

I wasn't 100% happy with the hot cross buns I did at the beginning of the weekend. The house has quite cold, so the dough didn't prove very well. As the weather was once again dire, I resorted to an indoor training ride, so did another batch of dough to prove while I was training, and the house was generally warmer, so I was hoping for better results.

For these, I omitted the raisins, and added an equal weight of chocolate drops instead (Gill doesn't like dried fruit). This worked OK, though I'd say that the chocolate flavour somewhat

over-whelmed the spices, which isn't really how a hot cross bun should be. Otherwise the prove was much better, and the dough shaped very well (again, applying the concept of 'surface tension' to the shaping resulted in some well-shaped rolls that went through the second prove with a good expansion, without going too wide and splodgy).

I won't do the recipe again, you can see if on the original post for Hot Cross just need to swap out the raisins for an equal weight in dark chocolate drops. I would also recommend upping the amount of spaces you add by 25-50%, depending on how much you like cinnamon and nutmeg.
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Friday, 25 March 2016

Hot Cross Buns

It's Easter, so it would be wrong not to make up a batch of these. Hot Cross Buns are probably my favourite part of Easter (it's certainly not the weather, as it looks like we are in for a soaking over the next few days), and I've never made them before, so what better to do on a Bank Holiday afternoon?

The recipe was taken from Mary Berry's Baking Bible, and it all went pretty much to script, apart from the proving time taking far longer than anticipated (probably as the house is quite cool). I was, however, determined not to resort to trying to warm the dough, as I have a habit of overdoing it, and ending up with mis-shapen breads. I also took extra care during the shaping to apply the concept of "surface tesion" to the shape, and I was very happy to get a good rise on the final shape, rather than a slightly sad looking set of buns.

Hot Cross Buns - Recipe

Bun Ingredients

  • 450g strong white flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½tsp ground nutmeg
  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g butter (melted and cooled)
  • 150ml tepid milk
  • 60ml tepid water
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 75g currants
  • 50g chopped candied peel

1) Put the flour, salt, spices ( mixed spice, nutmeg, cinnamon), yeast and sugar into a stand mixer bowl with the dough hook attached

2) Put the milk and water in a jug, and microwave until tepid (slightly warm to the hand)

3) Add the egg to the milk and whisk it in.

4) Pour the milk mixture into the bowl, and  start mixing slowly, to combine the liquid and dry ingredients

5) Add in the raisins and chopped peel

6) Once a dough has formed, continue to mix for 8-10 minutes. The dough is quite soft, so you may need to do some manual kneading to get the dough working properly.

7) Put the dough in an oiled bowl in a warm place for 1½ - 2 hours, until doubled in size

8) Turn the dough out onto a slightly floured surface, knock back and knead for 2-3 minutes.

9) Grease 2 baking trays

10) split the dough into 12 equal portions (I weighed them out, and it worked out at 80g each)

11) For each portion, roll it on the work surface with your hand lightly cupped over it, in a circular motion, to form a neat ball

12) Place the ball of dough on the baking tray, and repeat for the other portions (put 6 balls on each tray, well spaced)

13) Return to the warm place to prove for another ½-1 hour, until doubled in size

14) Pre-heat oven to 200'C

Pastry Ingredients

  • 50g plain flour
  • 25g butter
  • 10-20ml cold water

1) Put the flour in a small mixing bowl

2) Rub in the butter until you get a breadcrumb texture

3) Add the water slowly to form a firm dough

4) Flatten to a thick disc, wrap in clingfilm, and chill for 10 minutes

5) Roll out the pastry very thin, on a floured surface (I used a silicone mat, and you could see the markings on the mat through the rolled out dough)

6) Cut 24 pastry strips about 10-12cm long, and 5-8mm wide

7) Once the buns have doubled in size, slightly moisten the outside with a little water, using a pastry brush

8) Onto each bun, stick 2 pastry strips, forming a cross on top, and gently press them on

9) Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes, until browned, and hollow sounding when tapped

Syrup Ingredients

  • 20g caster sugar
  • 20ml water

1) Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan

2) Over a low heat, melt the sugar into the water, and bring to just a simmer

3) Remove from the heat

4) As the buns come out the oven, glaze each one with the sugar syrup to give hem a sticky coating

 I think the only way of easting hot cross buns is to slice them in half, toast them, and slap on some butter.

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Beer Bread

...also known as possibly the simplest recipe in the world. When I did the Beef and Beer Pie a couple of weeks ago, I bought 2 bottles of Chocolate Porter... I only needed one, but I wanted a back-up in case it went wrong, and the shop only had 2 in stock, so I grabbed them both. Since then it's been sitting on the side (I don't drink, so it's not going to be randomly attacked). A few nights ago I randomly came on the concept of bread baked using beer, did a bit of reading, and ended up throwing this together.

There are basically 2 ways of making beer bread...either as a sodabread/quickbread, or in the more traditional way. I did the sodabread method, for the other method you treat it as normal bread, but replace the water and yeast with beer. Apparently you also need to warm the beer slightly to activate the yeast in it. I'd like to try this method, as I think it might be a great base for a malt loaf, giving you a sour offset to sweet fruits.

This is probably the simplest bread recipe I've ever done, and it gives a pleasant, sour loaf, which is delicious with cream cheese spread on it (also good with soup)

Beer Quickbread - Recipe

  • Pre-heat oven to 180'C
  • Grease and flour a 2lb loaf tin


  • 375g self-raising flour
  • 330ml beer (probably something with a fairly strong flavour)
  • 20g light muscavado sugar
  • 10g butter (melted and cooled)
  • Sesame seeds (to decorate)
1) Put the flour in a large mixing bowl with the sugar

2) Pour in the beer, and mix until smooth batter is just formed

3) Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and level

4) Drizzle the butter over the top

5) Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top of this

6) Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes

7) Remove from the oven, and the tin, and cool on a wire rack.

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Thursday, 24 March 2016

Cheese and Chorizo Muffins

These are very handy savoury snacks...very portable, and plenty of flavour (they have one of my "cheat" ingredients in chorizo, as it makes everything taste amazing). I adapted this from a Waitrose recipe card...I found their recipe a bit bland and stingy on the sizes, so I tweaked it, adding loads more flavour, and more generous portions.

One thing I found is that they tend to stick quite badly to paper cases, so I cook them in silicone cases, then put the cooled items into paper cases to serve them...that way you don't have to battle to peel off the case. This base recipe also works well with other ingredients (I've done carrot and courgette versions, omitting the chorizo, adding in 100g of grated carrot and courgette, and also adding some cumin powder for some extra flavour).

Cheese and Chorizo Muffins

  • Pre-heat oven to 200'C


  • 330g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 120g strong cheddar cheese (grated) + extra for sprinkling on top 
  • 150ml full fat milk
  • 180ml full fat yoghurt 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 120g chorizo (diced) 
  • 120g thinly sliced onion
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 1tsp soft brown sugar
  • 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp bicarb of soda
  • 1tsp mustard powder

1)  Place the olive oil in a frying pan on a high heat, until the oil smokes

2) Add the onions and the sugar, stirring the sugar in.

3) Reduce to a medium-low heat, and add the balsamic vinegar

4) Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally

5) Add the chorizo, and cook for another 8-10 minutes, while stirring

6) Remove from the heat, and allow to cool

7) In a large mixing bowl, place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cheese and mustard powder

8) In a large jug, put the yoghurt, milk and egg, and whisk until thoroughly combined

9) Add the cooled onion and chorizo to the mixing bowl, and stir to combine and mix everything

10) Pour the yoghurt mixture into the bowl, and combine until everything is just mixed. with muffins you want to do the minimum possible mixing, so as soon as all the dry ingredients are wet, and there are no dry pockets left then stop

11) Spoon the mixture into 12 silicone muffin cases (it will be about 90g per case), and place these in a 12-hole muffin tray

12) Sprinkle a little cheese on top of each muffin

13) Bake in the oven for 20 minutes

14) Remove to a wire rack to cool

15) Remove the silicone cases, and put the muffins in paper cases to serve

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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I've done these a few times, and they are always very popular. I came up with them when someone said that they loved a cupcake, but found the amount of icing that is the norm these days (the Mr. Whippy style) a bit too much. I'd just learnt to make lemon curd, and meringue goes well with it (as you always have spare egg whites!)

You need a cupcake corer to make these, which is a cheap little gadget to remove a circle from cake...also handy if you want to put a sneaky jam filling in a cupcake as well!

I think everyone gets to the point where they can make cupcakes almost by rote, I certainly can with these. Depending on how I feel I will either use the creaming method to make the cakes (beat the butter and sugar, then add the eggs, then finally the flour), or the all-in-one method (all in the stand mixer and let rip!). he recipe uses the latter, as it saves on typing!

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes - Recipe

  • Pre-heat oven to 150'C

Cake Ingredients

  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 180g softened butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • a few drops of vanilla essence

1) Place all the ingredients in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

2) Mix slowly until all the ingredients are combined, then turn it up and mix hard until the mixture is smooth (but stop as soon as the mixture is smooth...over-working it will result in heavy, flat cakes)

3) Spoon the mixture into 12 muffin cases (I always use muffin cases and trays, bun trays are far too stingy). It will work out at about 45g of mixture per case (I weigh them, I'm sad like that)

4) Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

5) Remove from the tray, and cool on a wire rack

Lemon Curd Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks (save the egg whites for the meringue)
  • 120g caster sugar
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 60g butter

1) Place the yolks, sugar, juice and zest in a small sausepan

2) Place on a low heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture begins to thicken (it should coat the back of a spoon)

3) Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, until it has all melted

4) Pour the curd into a jar (you will have some left over once you have made the cupcakes)

Meringue Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • 175g caster sugar
  • ½tsp cream of tartar

1) Place all the ingredients in a heat-proof bowl, over a bain-marie

2) Using a hand mixer, beat at a medium speed for 7-8 minutes while heating

3) Stop once the mixture is a shiny white texture, and forms stiff peaks

4) Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag with a star nozzle


1) Using a cupcake corer, remove a core about third the depth of the cupcake from each cake (save these, they go well with left-over lemon curd as a snack!)

2) Into each cored cupcake, pour in 2tsp of lemon curd

3) Pipe meringue on top of each cake in the classic "Mr Whippy" style

4) Using a chefs blowtorch, toast the meringue, being careful not to let light to the paper cases (be ready to blow them out!)

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Pork and Cider Loaf Pie

I've always thought, when you're going to do a pie, go big. Most of the time is spent cooking the filling, or waiting for the pie to bake, so you may as well get plenty of portions out of them. I have a fondness for making them in loaf tins, as then they are simple to slice...this works really well with hot water crust pastry, and pies designed to be served cold.

This is a variation of a pie I made before Christmas for a group of cyclists to come back uses classic flavours (pork, cider, mustard, parsnip), and the filling is slow-cooked for a few hours, with cornflour added towards the end of the cook to give a fairly thick filling, all the better to slice into portions. Depending on the specific size of your loaf tin, and how well you can line the tin, this may leave enough for a smaller second pie (aka chefs treat).

Pork and Cider Loaf Pie - Recipe

Filling Ingredients

  • 1kg diced pork shoulder
  • 2tbsp oil 
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml medium-dry cider
  • 2 ham stock cubes
  • 350ml boiling water
  • 2 parsnips - diced
  • 3tbsp cornflour
1) Put a large pan on a high heat, and add the oil

2) Once the oil is smoking, add the pork to the pan, with the flour

3) Cook on a high heat until sealed

4) Add the stock cubes to the boiling water, and stir until dissolved

5) Add the stock and the cider to the pan, and reduce to a gentle simmer

6) Put the lid on the pan, and cook for 2 hours

7) Add in the chopped parsnips

8) Slake half the cornflour in a little water, and add to the pan, stirring in

9) Cook for another 45 - 60 minutes

10) Remove from the heat.

11) Slake the remaining cornflour in a little water, and stir in.

12) Allow to cool completely (ideally overnight, transferring it to a plastic tub)

Pastry Ingredients

  • 450g plain flour
  • 100g strong white flour
  • 75g butter
  • 100g lard
  • 200ml water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Beaten egg (to glaze)

1) Place the flours in a large mixing bowl with the salt

2) Rub the butter into the flour until you get fine breadcrumbs

3) Place the water and lard into a saucepan

4) Heat the pan gently, until all the lard has melted, then turn up the heat to boil the water

5) Once the water is boiling, pour it all into the flour

6) Immediately mix and stir thoroughly to combine the water, melted lard and flour

7) As soon as you can, get your hand in and start combining, mixing and kneading the can be vigorous, and you want it a smooth consistency

8) Put quarter of the dough to one side (for the pie lid)

9) on a slightly floured surface, roll the dough large enough to line the loaf tin (it will vary based on your tin, but it will be roughly 10 inches by 14 inches) with some hang-over

10) Line the tin, making sure that the pastry is even thickness, and there are no air bubbles

11) Fill the pie with the cold filling until it's level with the top of the tin.

12) Take the dough you put aside for the lid, and roll it out so that it will cover the top of the tin, with some overlap

13) Brush beaten egg around the edge of the pastry lining the tin

14) place the lid on top of the tin, and gently press down

15) using a sharp knife, trim the hanging pastry.

16) Crimp the edges together with a fork

17) Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg

18) using the cut-offs, form some decoration (leaves etc), and place them on topo f hte pie

19) Brush the decorations with beaten egg

20) Bake in an oven at 200'C for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Chocolate Teacakes

Well, they say you learn more from failure than success...and there is plenty of learning to be done here. I went for these as a sort of crescendo to Chocolate Month, a home-made version of the iconic Tunnocks Teacake. I'll dive straight into the "learning points", item by item. For reference, the original recipe is from a Technical Challenge on GBBO.

The Biscuit

The recipe said to roll them out to 5mm, however I think that's too thick...I'll do 3mm next time. More importantly, they were too wide. I know that GBBO did these as a technical challenge, however I've been unable to find the video of the Masterclass episode where they were done "properly". The recipe called for a 75mm cutter, and a 75mm silicone dome. I had a 70mm right sized dome, but the cutter was 78mm (the closest I could get to with my set). In retrospect I should have gone for a smaller cutter (I have a 68mm cutter, and it looks to be about right).

I need to investigate the best way of enveloping a biscuit in chocolate. It's a messy old business, and I think the end result is too thick (the word elegant will never be used). I sort of half-dunked, half spread them, and they look a bit rural.

Finally, I ran out of dough...this may be down to me taking "5mm thickness" too literally, or perhaps the slightly-too-big cutter, but biscuit number 12 was a bit of a runt. 

The Marshmallow

This was probably the most successful bit. I should have mixed it for longer, to get it stiffer, and I think less golden syrup will help as well. I was a little nervous making it up, as I was doing a double-portion, and had serious concerns about going over the bowl.

The Chocolate

First things first, it's bloomed massively where it's been in the silicone dome. In some places it's also de-tempered. There are loads of possible reasons for this. I was using a different chocolate brand to normal (Cadburys Bourneville, rather than Lindt Plain Cooking Chocolate), and it's possible I over-heated it when melting it (it was in a bain-marie, but as it was a double-batch it's possible that some was overheated before the rest melted). The coverage on the biscuits is (at best) amateur, and the lining of the domes was lumpy. I suspect a lot of this comes down to correct working temperature.

I have a suspicion that the silicone moulds are slightly contaminated with a release agent. I washed them before, and after, but there is still a slightly grainy feel to them...I'll give them a thorough soaking in soapy water, and see if that helps.

Where Next?

Obviously I'll do them time it will be a single-batch (makes 6, not 12), and I'll do the amendments noted above (and again below in the recipe, highlighted in bold).

Chocolate Marshmallow Teacakes - Recipe

  • Pre-heat oven to 170'C
  • Line a baking tray with baking parchment

Biscuit Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 25g butter
  • 15-30ml milk

1) Place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl

2) Rub in the butter until you get to the breadcrumb stage

3) Stir in the milk until a firm dough forms (you may not need all the milk...I needed all of it)

4) Form a flattened disc, wrap in clingfilm, and chill for 10 minutes in the frigde

5) Roll out the biscuit dough on a slightly floured surface to 3mm thickness

6) Using a cutter the same size diameter as your silicone moulds, cut out 6 rounds, and place on teh baking tray

7) Bake for 10-12 minutes in the oven

8) Remove to a wire rack to cool


  • 350g 40% chocolate (I prefer Lindt cooking chocolate, it just seems to behave well)

1) Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (note - I think I over-heated mine a bit. Keep stirring, and as soon as it's melted remove it from the heat)

2) Allow it to cool until it's really gloopy (should have taken the temperature!)

3) Using a teaspoon, spread chocolate around the inside of the mould, making sure the sides and bottom are even thickness

4) Allow the moulds to set slowly (ie, don't stick them in the fridge).

5) Envelop the cooled biscuits in chocolate, trying to keep the thickness even (I ended up dunking them with my fingers, scraping off excess with a teaspoon, and then sort of spreading over my finger marks once it as on the greaseproof paper). place the coated biscuits on a sheet of greaseproof paper to cool.

6) Put the remaining chocolate into a small piping bag, ready to use during assembly.

Marshmallow filling

  • 100g egg white (I used bottled stuff, this would be ~3 large egg whites)
  • 150g caster sugar
  •  4tsp golden syrup (about 60g)
  • ½tsp salt
  • ½ Vanilla pod seeds
1) Place all the ingredients in a large heatproof bowl

2) Place the bowl on a bain-marie and whisk for 6-8 minutes, until very thick and stiff (my advice is keep going until it's really thick. I stopped probably a minute too early). It really needs to be able to hold it's shape.

3) Spoon the mixture into a piping bag, ready for assembly. Let it cool.


1) Pipe marshallow into the chococlate domes, until it's just below the level of the top.

2) Pipe a circle of chocolate around the edge of the chocolate dome

3) Place a biscuit on top of the marshmallow, so that it connects all the way round to the circle of chocolate.

4) Allow it to cool completely

5) Very carefully, pop the completed teacakes out of the moulds.

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Monday, 21 March 2016

Simnel Cake

A bit of a diversion from Chocolate Month, but given it's Easter this week, it seemed sensible to whip out something seasonal.

I've never made a fruit cake before, so the biggest surprise here was the length of time it was in the oven! Fortunately, the Milan-San Remo race was on TV, and being almost 300km long, it's perfectly suited to a long bake. As always, I made my own marzipan (something everyone should do, it's way nicer, and better for you, than the sickly-sweet shop-bought stuff). The other main diversion I did from the recipe (from Mary Berry's Baking Bible) was that I greased and floured the cake tin, rather than lining the base and sides with baking parchment. I've had really good results with this before, and it worked well this time as well.

Simnel Cake - Recipe

Marzipan Ingredients

  • 250g ground almonds
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 40g egg white (1 large egg white)
  • ½tsp almond essence
1) Place all the ingredients in a stand mixer with a dough hook attached

2) Mix until the mixture starts to clump slightly

3) Using your hand, form a dough ball, then knead a few times until it's consistent

4) Wrap in clingfilm and place to one side for now

5) Now pre-heat the oven to 130'C (fan oven temperature)

6) Take a 20cm cake tin, and grease and flour the inside. 

Cake Ingredients

  • 100g glacé cherries
  • 225g softened butter
  • 225g light muscavado sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 225g sultanas
  • 100g currants
  • 50g chopped, candied peel (supermarkets sell this in tubs)
  • 10g ground mixed spice
1) Chop the cherries into quarters, and place in a sieve

2) Rinse the cherries under a tap (this removes the stickiness)

3) dry the cherries in kitchen towel thoroughly (but don't bash them about)

4) Put all the ingredients in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

5) Mix until thoroughly combined and blended

6) Pour half the mixture into the cake tin, and level it.

7) Take one third of the marzipan, and roll into a 20cm circle

8) Place and press down the marzipan into the cake tin, on top of the mixture

9) Pour the other half of the mixture over the top of the marzipan layer, and again level the top

10) Place in the oven for 2½ hours


  • 3tbsp Apricot jam
  • Beaten egg
1) Once the cake is baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. After 10 minutes, remove it from the tin and place on a wire rack to complete cooling.

2) Roll the rest of the marzipan out to 5mm thickness on a surface slightly sprinkled with icing sugar

3) Cut out a 20cm diameter circle (I used a saucepan as a template)

4) Take the cut-offs, and form 11 balls of marzipan

5) Gently heat the apricot jam (I put it in the microwave for 20 seconds)

6) Using a pastry brush, spread the jam over the top of the cooled cake

7) Place the circle of marzipan on top of the cake, pressing it down slightly

8) Crimp the edges of the marzipan with your fingers

9) Score the marzipan with square shapes

10) Using a pastry brush, brush the marzipan all over with beaten egg

11) Place the 11 balls around the edge of the cake, evenly spaced (good luck dividing by 11!)

12) Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the balls with beaten egg

13) Place the cake under a grill until the marzipan has gone a golden brown
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