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Category Archives: Baking

Sausage, Nut and Chutney Wreath

As I said in my this post, this recipe was first published on the Women’s Institute MyWI page as the main course for the ‘Menu of the Month January 2018‘.

Every single Christmas I have great intentions to make sausage rolls. Almost every single year, on boxing day, I end up shoving the sausage meat and pastry into the freezer as I’ve found that I didn’t have time and realistically didn’t need any more food. So come January, I always have sausage meat and pastry to use up. This recipe is a great way of jazzing up the meat and essentially making a showstopper sausage centrepiece! The bowl of whole nuts that everyone has lost interest in cracking can also be used up along with one of the many jars of chutney that languish from the cheeseboard or received as a well meaning gift. The clementine or satsuma clinging to life in the bottom of the fruit bowl can also be utilised. I’d suggest serving with roast or mash potatoes and some simple boiled veg with a light gravy of thickened stock.

I have used shelled pistachios in the recipe but almost any nuts could be substituted, including a mix. I would however perhaps avoid anything too heavily honey roasted or sweet and the larger wetter nuts like brazils, walnuts, peanuts, cashews etc would be ideal. Salt can be rinsed off and the nuts dried if need be.

Any sausage meat can be used but it may be wise to reduce the extra added herbs is using a strong flavoured meat such as Lincolnshire or Cumberland.

Puff pastry is not actually that difficult to make, it is however a bit time consuming, not from time spent making it, but time spent waiting for it to chill between the rolling and folding of layers. Give it a go if you have a chance and if not, there is absolutely no shame in using the shop bought stuff as I did.  I went for a block of pre-made pastry rather than ready rolled as you ideally need a squarer/circle shape than the rectangle the pre-rolled comes in. It does only take seconds to roll out.

The instructions for making the 8-point pastry star sound very complicated when written – it isn’t really so please don’t be put off. Please refer to the step-by-step photos which are included for your reference.

Serves 4

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Ingredients:

1 Large Onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
150g Mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbsp Olive Oil or Butter
1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
450g Sausage Meat or Sausages with the casing removed
½ Leek, sliced into thin half moons
1 Large Apple, grated with the skin on and the juice squeezed out in kitchen paper
65g Pistachios or other nuts, quite finely but roughly chopped
1 Clementine, zested and 1 half juiced
1 tbsp Minced Garlic
1 tbsp Dried Oregano
1 tbsp Dried Sage
500g Block Puff Pastry
1 Small Jar of Chutney
1 Egg beaten with a little salt
2 Ripe Figs, quartered length-ways


Preheat the oven to 190c fan oven or equivalent.

Add 1 Large Onion and 150g Mushrooms to 1 tbsp Olive Oil and 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes in a large frying pan. Cook gently on a low to medium heat until the onions and mushrooms are golden brown and caramelised.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine 450g Sausage Meat, ½ Leek, 1 Large Apple, 65g Pistachios, the zest and half the juice of 1 Clementine, 1 tbsp Minced Garlic, 1 tbsp Dried Oregano and 1 tbsp Dried Sage. I use my hands to make sure it is all well combined. Add the caramelised onions and mushrooms and further combine.

Roll a 500g Block Puff Pastry out into a large square – it needs to be about 50 cm across and about 1/3 cm thick. Use plenty of flour to ensure it doesn’t stick to the work surface.

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Lay a 30 cm diameter flan dish or plate in the middle of the pastry and gently score a circle into the pastry using a sharp knife. Make sure to not cut all the way through the pastry. Repeat in the centre with a smaller 10-12 cm diameter platter or bowl. Trim the square into a circle losing as little pastry as possible. You should now have a round of pastry with two smaller circles marked towards the centre – think of a bullseye and outer bullseye.

At this point it is a good idea to move the pastry to the baking sheet it will ultimately be baked on. I used a re-useable non-stick baking sheet on a cookie sheet. The outer circle will hang off the sides of the sheet.

Again using a sharp knife or even better, sharp long nosed scissors, cut the inner circle into 8 sections, like cutting a pizza. Leave the ‘slices’ fully attached to the middle circle. Now visually follow each of the lines towards the outer ring and mark where they would meet the outer edge. Cut 8 triangles out of the outer ring. Flip each triangle around and attach them to the remaining part of the outer ring to create extended points. You should have now created an 8 point star.

Spread 1 Small Jar of Chutney into the middle circle then top with the sausage mixture taking care to spread it evenly around the whole ring – I do this by splitting the mix into 4 ‘sausages’ and placing one in each quarter then squeezing them together at the ends.

Fold each of the outer points into the middle, tucking them in tightly and a little under the sausage meat ring.

Using 1 Egg beaten with a little salt, egg wash the inner circle and bring the inner points up and over the sausage ring. Press to seal as much as possible. Egg wash the entire surface of the pastry.

Take 2 Ripe Figs and place one quarter, cut side up in each gap where the sausage meat is still showing through the pastry. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp Olive Oil.

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Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. It is ready when golden brown and there is no pink left in the sausage meat (use a sharp knife to check a little section, maybe under a fig).

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Chocolate and Cream Cheese Monkey Bread

I made a double batch of the sweet dough I use to make my Super Garlicky Cheesy Tear’n’Share Loaf and Garlic and Mozzarella Swirl Buns to try making a sweet bread too. After a bit of internet browsing and cookbook perusing I ignored them all entirely and made this up – it worked wonderfully!

A monkey bread is usually made in a bundt type tin and so the balls of dough are more layered than my traybake affair so whether this is in fact ‘monkey bread’ I don’t know. Or care to be honest. It tastes good and its near enough!

I am aware that I have now basically repeated my recipe for this dough 3 times but I find it really quite irritating when following a recipe to have to keep flicking backwards and forwards to different blog posts (the same reason I put the quantity of each ingredient within the recipe so you don’t have to keep scrolling to the ingredient list). So, sorry, not sorry.

Makes about 40-45 golf ball size morsels

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For the Dough:

90ml (6 tbsp) Water
2 x 7g sachets Fast-Acting Dried Yeast
500g Strong White Flour – I sometimes substitute White Spelt Flour
50g Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
40g Salted Butter or Low Fat Spread
2 Eggs
140ml Skimmed or Semi-Skimmed Milk

For the Filling:

250g Cream Cheese
200g Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate or Chocolate Drops/Chunks
50g Icing Sugar

For the Coating:

40g Cocoa Powder
80g Granulated Sugar


To Make the Dough:

Add 6 tbsp of fairly warm (not hot) Water to a small bowl and add 2 x 7g sachets Fast-Acting Dried Yeast and 50g Caster Sugar. Whisk to combine a little (it won’t combine properly) and set aside.

Measure 500g Strong White Flour and  1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Tip – If you have stand mixer or a processor with a dough hook, this is an ideal time to use it.  Some electric hand whisks also come with dough hooks in which case break those out after the next step. You can stir and knead by hand but why would you if you don’t have to?!

Add 40g Salted Butter or Low Fat Spread, 2 Eggs, the by now frothy yeast and water mix and 140ml Skimmed or Semi-Skimmed Milk to the flour and stir until a dough is formed.

Tip – The dough will be quite soft and sticky – this is a good thing!

Knead the dough until is it smooth and super stretchy – a good 10 minutes if kneading by hand, if not a bit longer – 5 to 7 minutes if using an electric mixer.

Tip – Knead the dough on a floured surface but try not to add too much extra flour to the dough as this will dry it out. If it feels like its getting a bit dry, knead in a little more milk or water. 

Leave the dough in a large covered bowl somewhere warm for about an hour to rise – it should about double in size.

Tip – You can just leave this on the side in the kitchen but it’ll take twice as long. An airing cupboard or similar is ideal but I don’t have one so depending on the time of year, I usually put one of my ovens onto a super low heat and pop it in there – I’ve been burnt by doing this on occasion by being impatient and its started to cook the dough a little by having it on too high a heat. Don’t do this! You could also warm the oven a little, pop the dough in and then turn the oven off – just don’t keep opening the door to let the residual heat out.

While the dough is rising, make the filling by thoroughly mixing the 250g Cream Cheese, 200g Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate or Chocolate Drops/Chunks and 50g Icing Sugar and putting it into the fridge to chill back down and firm up a little.

Prep the coating by combining 40g Cocoa Powder and 80g Granulated Sugar in a shallow bowl. Set aside. 

Once risen, tip the dough out onto a floured surface and give it a quick light knead. No need for electric power here. Split the dough into thirds and roll each third into a long sausage to about the thickness of a 2p piece. Cut each sausage into about 15 pieces. The exact number is not cause for concern.

Roll each piece of dough into a very rough ball and place out on a floured work surface (you could do this in two batches if needed). Press each ball down a little and make a small indent in the middle of each to receive the filling.

Take the cream cheese and chocolate mixture and put about half a teaspoon into the indent in each dough ball.

Tip – I did this en-masse rather than one at a time as I wanted to make sure that my cream cheese mix was evenly(ish) distributed though all the dough balls.

Pick up each piece of dough and wrap the dough around the cream cheese mix so that it is fully(ish) enclosed.

Roll each of the dough balls in the cocoa/sugar mixture and place into a large roasting tray, or two smaller ones, or one smaller one but double layers. Or a bundt tin – whatever you fancy.

Gently cover the tray and leave for about 40-45 minutes in a warm place to rise again.

Meanwhile, add a little boiling water to the remaining cocoa/sugar mix until the sugar has mostly melted and it is the consistency of thick hot chocolate.  Set aside.

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10 minutes before the end of proving, pre-heat the over to 200c or the equivalent.

Remove the cover from tin and drizzle the cocoa and sugar syrup over the balls then put into the oven. Check after 10-12 minutes and removed from the oven when all puffed up and cooked through (check a middle one).

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Serve a little warm.

Garlic and Mozzarella Swirl Buns

This isn’t really a new recipe but a rehash of my earlier Super Garlicky Cheesy Tear’n’Share Loaf.  Its a great way of making savoury bread rolls and they’re just as super soft and moreish as the original loaf.

Also, lets please all take a moment to check out the new board I received for my birthday – all personalised and everything!

Makes 18

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Ingredients – For the Dough:

90ml (6 tbsp) Water
2 x 7g sachets Fast-Acting Dried Yeast
500g Strong White Flour – I sometimes substitute White Spelt Flour
50g Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
40g Salted Butter or Low Fat Spread
2 Eggs
140ml Skimmed or Semi-Skimmed Milk

Ingredients – For the Filling and Topping:

250g Salted Butter
3 tbsp Garlic Paste
1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
2 tbsp Fresh (Or Dried) Oregano
150g Pre Grated Mozzarella Cheese


To make the bread:

Add 6 tbsp of fairly warm (not hot) Water to a small bowl and add 2 x 7g sachets Fast-Acting Dried Yeast and 50g Caster Sugar. Whisk to combine a little (it won’t combine properly) and set aside.

Measure 500g Strong White Flour and  1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Tip – If you have stand mixer or a processor with a dough hook, this is an ideal time to use it.  Some electric hand whisks also come with dough hooks in which case break those out after the next step. You can stir and knead by hand but why would you if you don’t have to?!

Add 40g Salted Butter or Low Fat Spread, 2 Eggs, the by now frothy yeast and water mix and 140ml Skimmed or Semi-Skimmed Milk to the flour and stir until a dough is formed.

Tip – The dough will be quite soft and sticky – this is a good thing!

Knead the dough until is it smooth and super stretchy – a good 10 minutes if kneading by hand, if not a bit longer – 5 to 7 minutes if using an electric mixer.

Tip – Knead the dough on a floured surface but try not to add too much extra flour to the dough as this will dry it out. If it feels like its getting a bit dry, knead in a little more milk or water. 

Leave the dough in a large covered bowl somewhere warm for about an hour to rise – it should about double in size.

Tip – You can just leave this on the side in the kitchen but it’ll take twice as long. An airing cupboard or similar is ideal but I don’t have one so depending on the time of year, I usually put one of my ovens onto a super low heat and pop it in there – I’ve been burnt by doing this on occasion by being impatient and its started to cook the dough a little by having it on too high a heat. Don’t do this! You could also warm the oven a little, pop the dough in and then turn the oven off – just don’t keep opening the door to let the residual heat out.

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While the dough is rising, make the garlic butter and cheese mix.

Take 250g Salted Butter which is room temperature or a little softer and mix in 3 tbsp Garlic Paste, 2 tbsp Fresh Oregano and 1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes.

Tip – If you use the microwave to soften the butter, I usually do, I’m not organised enough to take it out the fridge in advance, cut it into small squares first and spread them out on a plate. Blitz for no more than 5 seconds at a time. This way its more evenly softened rather than big block which will melt on the outside and stay solid in the middle.

Stir in 150g Pre Grated Mozzarella Cheese to the garlic butter mix.

Tip – Don’t be tempted to use fresh Mozzarella cheese here, it’ll be far too wet as would cream cheese or any other soft cheese like brie. The pre grated stuff has all the joy and stringyness of mozzarella but it’s quite dry – also best for pizza toppings I think. You could however use something stronger like cheddar or gouda but you’ll lose some of the gooey joy. A mixture would probably work. 

Set the butter mix aside while the dough finishes rising – aim for room temp – don’t refrigerate or you won’t be able to spread it.

Once doubled, take off the covering and give the dough a good punch down.

Cut the dough into 2 equalish size pieces and place one back under a covering for the time being. Roll the first into a rectangle about 1/2 cm thick.  It will fight back, keep going, it will roll out and stay eventually.

Take 1/2 of the garlic and cheese mix and spread over the rectangle of dough – try and make it a fairly evenly spread and right to the edges.

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Roll the rectangle tightly into a long sausage and then using the sharpest knife you have, cut the roll into 9 pieces of equal length. I cut the whole thing into thirds, then each third into three for maximum evenness.

Put the rolls on their ends in a large lined baking tray – I used a really big one, you could use 2 smaller with 9 rolls in each if needed.

Tip – you need to leave much more space between the rolls that you think you need to. They expand much more than you think they’re going to so don’t overpack them or they will end up excessively tight textured. 

Repeat with the second half of the dough until you have 18 rolls.

Lightly cover the tin and leave to rise, exactly the same as before for 1 hour. The dough should puff out and get  closer to filling the tin.

Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.

Eat warm. I’m drooling writing this!

Chorizo, Mozzarella and Red Onion Chutney Pastry Roses

 Do not be put off my how cool these look! They are SO simple to make – well, assuming you use ready made puff pastry, otherwise they’re going to be a little bit of a labour of love (but so worth it I’d bet!) My recipe and tips for making proper puff pastry are here – its not really hard, it just a bit time consuming.

I created these roses to sell at an East Dulwich WI bake sale after being inspired by these apple roses. I don’t like apple and wanted to make something savoury (and meaty as usual) so thin slices of chorizo seemed like a good idea.

Experimenting to get the cooking time right so that the pastry is cooked all the way through but without burning the bejesus out of the top of the chorizo did take a bit of doing.  After a few attempts, I hit on a method of covering the pastries for the whole (quite long) cooking process. I also abandoned the original plan of baking them in a muffin tin as this didn’t allow the pasty room to expand outwards which made them a little dense. Photos come from various batches I made so please excuse the varying quantities throughout.

They were a sell out at the sale which was a little gutting as I really fancied eating one by the end of the day! Cannot complain at that tho!

Makes 10

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Ingredients:

1 Sheet Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
Flour for dusting
10 tsp Red Onion Chutney
150g finely grated Mozzarella Cheese
25 Slices Chorizo
1 Egg

Equipment:

Large Roasting Tray
1 cup(ish) Uncooked Rice
10 Paper Muffin Cases
Rolling Pin (or a roll of clingfilm)
Pastry Brush
Enough Foil to Double Cover the Tin


Preheat the oven to 180c or equivalent.

Prepare a large roasting tin by lining the bottom with 1 cup of uncooked rice or some other fat soaking material – this will stop chorizo fat melting everywhere and smoking the place out. Lay 10 muffin cases out ready to fill.

Lightly dust the work surface with Flour. Take 1 Sheet Ready Rolled Puff Pastry out of the packet and cut it in half with a sharp knife straight through the paper whilst still rolled. Set aside one half for now and unroll the other being careful it doesn’t crack as you’re unrolling.

Place the half pastry sheet on the floured surface (portrait wise) and gently roll it a little thinner until its a third to a half as big again. Concentrate on rolling it wider rather than longer.

Cut the pastry with a sharp knife into 5 equal strips.

Spread 1 tsp of Red Onion Chutney along the middle of each strip.

Split half of the 150g finely grated Mozzarella Cheese amongst the 5 strips, sprinkling it lightly over the chutney.

Cut 20 Slices Chorizo in half with a sharp knife or scissors. Lay 5 halves of chorizo along the top half of each strip. Leave a gap at either end of each strip and overlap the slices slightly. Leave only a tiny piece of the slice pointing over the top of the pastry edge.

Beat 1 Egg in a small bowl and brush egg over the bottom part of exposed pastry. Gently fold the bottom half of each strip over the top and lightly press down.

Egg wash the exposed pastry on each strip then gently roll each folded strip into a rose shape. Place each into a paper case and lightly egg wash all of the exposed pastry.

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Lay each paper clad rose into the roasting tin on-top of the rice.

Repeat all of the steps with the second half of the pastry to create 10 roses in total.

Cover the whole tin in 2 layers of foil and put into the oven for 1 hour and 20 mins. Check it a little earlier if your oven runs on the hot side.

Leave the roses to cool a little on a wire rack before digging in. They can also be reheated in the microwave or just chow down on them cold. Lush!

 

Cedges Recommends – janespatisserie.com

If you follow me on Instagram or my Facebook Page you may have noticed that I’ve recently baked quite a lot from this one website.  The recipes are super easy and gratuitous to boot. Who isn’t going to be enticed by Cheesecake Cookie Bars or Twix Cupcakes?

I don’t necessarily wish to reproduce someone else’s recipes on this blog but I did want to showcase some of the items I’ve made and provide links to the recipes I used. There are a couple of photos that I’m quite pleased with although I’m generally not so enamored by the camera on my replacement S7 – the photos seem to run a little dark but as I’ve smashed the screen on it within 6 weeks of having it, the new replacement thats has just arrived will hopefully be better!

Let me know if you try any other recipes from the site and how they go.


Millionaire’s Brownies

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Anyone who knows me will know my long term love for Millionaire’s shortbread, indeed Maureen of Manaccan was once upon a time regularly sequestered to make me a batch under the pretense that it was going to be sold in our Cornish Village Shop. Technically it was nothing special or fancy but boy do I love that soft caramel layer which I have historically really struggled to make myself.  This recipe, whilst requiring some boiling of the caramel mixture was pretty foolproof and I never felt in danger of it splitting or going grainy.

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The brownie element of this was the absolute perfect texture. It held its own whilst being very rich and fudgy without being wet. I struggle a little with very rich chocolate however – I’m more of a milk chocolate girl so this was overall a little rich for me….so next time I thought I’d try another version with a different base….


Millionaire’s Flapjacks

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The swirl on that! This recipe was also spot on and for my taste was a little less rich with the flapjack base providing a still pleasantly yielding alternative to the brownie. I did add 200g of milk chocolate chips to the base because they were to hand and I’m a big fan of chocolate chip flapjack. I did add them when the flapjack mixture was still a little warm so they melted quite a lot into the mixture but I’m going to call that a happy accident!

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The biggest problem I found with both of the recipes was getting the chocolate topping to slice without cracking all over the shop – I’m all for a bit of rustic but I’d like some of the topping to not fall off – I’m sure there is an optimal point of setting to do the slicing but I’m yet to find it! The trick I did employ was to turn the whole block upside down onto a chopping board and then slice it – the pressure of the knife on hard chocolate above soft caramel is part of the issue so the upside down method deals with this somewhat.


Biscoff Fudge

If you are not familiar with ‘Biscoff‘, I cannot recommend it enough. The generic name  is ‘Speculaas‘ and its basically those little slightly spiced biscuits that you get on the side of a fancy coffee. It is now available as ‘Cookie Butter’ which is essentially biscuits whizzed up into a paste with a bunch of oil. Its not exactly health food but never mind! You can buy it, like with peanut butter, in ‘crunchy’ and ‘smooth’ varieties from pretty much all of the supermarkets.

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So the fudge – so so easy. Its basically condensed milk, white chocolate, a little bit of butter and the Biscoff spread melted down together with icing sugar beaten in at the end and left to set in a tray in the fridge. I used the smooth variety as that is what I had in the cupboard and as I was baking this was a bake-sale, I needed to keep the cost down so I didn’t add any crushed biscuits as I’d have needed to purchase these separately.


Nutella Fudge

People seem to go nuts for Nutella (unintentional pun I promise!) – everyone knows what it is and I don’t recall coming across many people that don’t like it. I can take it or leave it on the whole – I like it occasionally but sometimes I find it a little overpowering. As I was baking to sell this however, Nutella seemed like an excellent crowd pleasing option to try.  Again I didn’t add the suggested Kinder Bueno garnish to keep the ingredient cost down but I think a bit of crunch would work very well.

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The recipe is almost exactly the same except the Biscoff spread is substituted for Nutella and the white chocolate for milk chocolate. I struggled to beat the icing sugar into this mix quite so well but I think that might actually be the colour just showing up the lumps of icing a little more. It doesn’t taste grainy and because there isn’t a total shedload of sugar in the recipe, it isn’t too sweet.  Surprisingly, it is actually a not overpoweringly Nutella-y and I’m a much bigger fan of this fudge that I thought I would be.


Peanut Butter Fudge

Another crowd pleaser, I’ve become increasingly fond of peanut butter over the last couple of years – I think its salty nature is extremely appealing. To complete my trifecta of bake-sale fudges, it was the obvious easy flavour to go for.

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I think its my favourite. Until I have a piece of the other flavours, then they’re my favourite again! Either way, this is super accessible and the texture is great – I went with crunchy peanut butter this time. Again its almost a straight swap of the Biscoff spread for peanut butter in the recipe – I can’t wait to start experimenting with other flavours – I have some passion fruit curd in the cupboard which I think would go excellently in a white chocolate based fudge. I’d also like to make this peanut butter version again with dark chocolate chips. I think that will be happening sooner rather than later!

Simple Victoria Sandwich Cake

Its a classic and one of the first things I ever baked. So simple and so good. Very little more needs to be said.

But I will anyway. Traditionally, the sponges are sandwiched only with jam. But I find this a bit boring so I add buttercream with the jam. And traditionally, the sandwich is topped with only caster sugar but again – Zzzzz – so I’ve used a basic white glace icing.

Confession time (I have lots of these). Actually two confessions. Firstly I made this cake with proper butter which is of course traditional and lauded by the traditionalists but actually I think it makes the cake a little on the heavy side. I should have stuck with what I know and used light margarine – I’d recommend you make this substitution. Secondly I made the whole recipe in ounces – as it should be but because I try to cater to allsorts, I’ve included the metric equivalents. Those over the pond should either invest in scales or google the conversions. Oh there is a third confession actually, I ate a good portion of the cake batter straight from the mixing bowl.  No regrets.

Serves 10

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Ingredients:

10oz (280g) Salted Butter (Or Light Margarine)
10oz (280g) Caster Sugar
5 Large Eggs
4 tbsp Milk
1 tbsp Baking Powder
10oz (280g) Self Raising Flour

3oz (80g) Butter
6oz (160g) Icing Sugar
1 tbsp Milk

5oz (140g) Strawberry Jam

3oz (80g) Icing Sugar
1 tbsp Milk


Preheat the oven to 180c or the equivalent.

Line 2 15cm round cake tins with liners or butter and flour.

Weigh 10oz (280g) Salted Butter (Or Light Margarine) and 10oz (280g) Caster Sugar a large mixing bowl and beat together until light and creamy.

Tip – make sure the butter is at room temperature or very carefully soften it in the microwave – cut it into small cubes and spread them out around a plate or bowl and nuke for 4-5 seconds at a time – you don’t want to melt it.

Tip – A hand whisk or stand mixer is ideal for this but it can be done with a wooden spoon and elbow grease. 

Add 5 Large Eggs one at a time giving the batter a good whisk between each egg addition.

Tip – The mixture will likely split – do not panic, do not start again, do not weep gently. Keep whisking, it turns out that it really doesn’t matter!

Add 4tbsp Milk one spoonful at a time whisking the batter as you go.

Add 1 tbsp Baking Powder and 10oz (280g) Self Raising Flour and fold this into the batter by hand until just combined.

Tip – Don’t use a mixer here as the gluten in the flour will overwork and your cake sponge will turn out tough. 

Split the mixture between the two tins and spread out to even layers. Bake for 20 minutes then check if it is done, give it another couple of minutes each check until it is done.

Tip – ‘Done’ will be when the sponges are golden brown on top and a skewer poked into the middle of the sponge comes out with only crumbs stuck and no liquid batter. I don’t condone overcooking as the cake will be dry but on this occasion, ‘actually cooked’ should be aimed for.

Leave the sponges to cool on a rack, in the tin at first unless you used liners in which case it should be easy to life them out still in the paper and onto the rack.

Wait until the sponges are totally cold before filling and icing.

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Make the buttercream by mixing 3oz (80g) Butter,  6oz (160g) Icing Sugar and 1 tbsp Milk for 5 or so minutes until it is light and fluffy.

Tip – Do not substitute the butter for spread in this part of the recipe – the butter taste and texture is essential to this bit but do make sure the butter is softened before starting the mixing.

Tip – I tried to use my new old Kenwood to make this but ended up having to go back to the old trusty electric hand whisk. You’ll not get a good light buttercream without some kind of eclectic assistance or you’ll end up with the rock hard layer of butter icing of my youth.

Spread the buttercream over one half of the sponge making sure it is relatively evenly spread and just shy of the edges.

Tip – The buttercream will squeeze out as you apply the top layer so if you spread it to the edge now, it will squirt out and make a mess. Not the end of the world admittedly.

Tip – If you can be bothered, I suppose you could pipe the buttercream for a super neat edge.

Spread 5oz (140g) Strawberry Jam over the second half of the sponge – you can go a bit closer to the edge this time as there will be less splurging.

Tip – Jam can be lumpy, even the seedless smooth stuff that I buy so I give it a good stir whilst still in the jar so it makes it easier to spread evenly.

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Put the jam covered sponge on top of the buttercream sponge and give it a good press together.

Make the glace icing by mixing together 3oz (80g) Icing Sugar and 1 tbsp Milk until smooth and spread the icing over the top of the cake by dumping the whole lot dead centre and spooning it outwards with the back of the spoon until the edges are nearly reached.

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Serve in great hunking slices with a cup of tea. In a cup and saucer (japes).

Fully Loaded Bacon and Mozzarella Turnovers

This is something I recently made to use some of the excess puff pastry that I made on my recent pastry course at Denman College as described in my post about Proper Sausage Rolls. You could of course just use ready made puff pastry, but as I’m now a convert to how relatively easy it is to make a batch of proper puff and freeze it in small blocks, I’d really recommend making your own.

This is a classic combination, oft found in a local Greggs, regularly hoovered up by me. To twist the classic, a layer of onion marmalade would make an excellent addition spread on the pastry before the bacon and cheese is added.

Makes 4

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Ingredients:

1/2 quantity of Puff Pastry (or 1 ready rolled sheet or block)
8 Rashers Middle Bacon (or 12 of Back Bacon)
250g Pre-Grated Mozzarella
1 Egg


First a tale of what not to do with your puff pastry:

I thought to myself, hey – I’ve seen pastry rolled out between two sheets of greaseproof paper before – that seemed to work when rolling out my butter when making the pastry – that seems a good idea to try to keep the mess down here.

So I popped my small square of pastry between 2 sheets, rolled it out then pulled the first layer off…..and OMG disaster. Less of a sheet of rolled out laminated pastry, more of a ooey-gooey mess. So I put this back in the freezer, still flat in its paper and cut off another block. Which I rolled out properly, with flour.

Learn from my mistakes people.


What to do instead:

Preheat the oven to 200c.

Roll out your 1/2 quantity of Puff Pastry into a large rectangle and cut into 4 squares/rectangles.

Tip – Probably be better to aim for something a little squarer than mine if you’re going for neatness. 

Fry or grill 8 Rashers of Middle Bacon (or 12 of Back Bacon) until desired done-ness.

Tip – As usual I went for a light fry. Do bear in mind that the bacon will get a second cooking  in the oven so I wouldn’t go too crispy at this point. 

Lay 2 rashers of middle bacon (or 3 rashers of back bacon) diagonally on each square of pastry.

Sprinkle 250g Pre-Grated Mozzarella evenly between the 4 squares.

Tip – I use the pre-grated stuff here as regular mozzarella would be much to wet. You could easily substitute this out for any other preferred cheese. 

Beat 1 Egg in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to egg-wash all over the exposed pastry.

Bring the 2 corners of pastry into the middle of the bacon and cheese and fold in any sticking out edges. You can be as neat or as rough and ready as you please.

Move each pastry to a lined baking tray and egg-wash all over the top of each.

Pop in the oven for 12/15 minutes until a good golden brown.

Try to give it a minute to cool before eating them all.