Monday, 28 March 2016

Lemon cream pie

Sometimes, I can be sceptical about recipes if they look too simple.  This was such a recipe and gosh was I wrong!  Firstly, it’s no bake so is super quick to make; secondly, it has few ingredients and thirdly, it requires no skill or techniques whatsoever.  Win-win-win!
The texture of this is amazing – it is the softest, lightest, smoothest texture I can recall.  Imagine a whipped mousse crossed with a cloud and you’d be getting there!  The lightness of texture offsets the richness so it’s actually deceptive; I could quite easily have been on my second slice before I realised how creamy it was!

The basic method could be adapted to any citrus fruit – it’s the acid from the fruit you need to set the cream.  It worked very well with lemon because the fresh zing balanced the richness of the cream.  The gingernut base gives an extra flavour too.

Just about the perfect dessert for a lazy holiday weekend.  It keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge so you can just cut slices as they’re required (makes a refreshing change from all the chocolate!).  I know that I will also adapt this recipe to build it in a glass too – the creamy filling was light enough to work with that style presentation.


225g gingernut biscuits
115ml unsalted butter, at room temperature
300ml double cream
265g condensed milk
Juice of 2 lemons
zest of 1 lemon


Blitz the gingernuts in a food processor.

Add the butter (no need to melt it if you’re using a processor) and blitz again until you have the texture of clumpy damp sand.

Press into the bottom of a 20cm loose bottomed flan dish and press a little up the sides too.

Refrigerate while you make the filling.

Whip the cream until it reaches the soft peaks stage.

Fold in the condensed milk, lemon juice and zest.

Spoon into the biscuit base and spread out.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Cherry, fudge oat traybake

Cherry, fudge oat traybake aka ‘help – my planned cake/blog post has turned out dismally and is now sitting in the compostables bin where even the foxes will snub it’.  Yes, this cake is the phoenix rising out of the ashes of a doomed ancestor.  I had planned on a peanut butter based cake but something was amiss and it came out both Frisbee-like and savoury, neither of which were ideal outcomes. 

This recipe is my own invention and it developed along the way.  The cherry and fudge components came from being fed up with seeing the ingredients on my baking shelf, and the oats then got involved because I love oats and thought the cake might benefit from some texture.

I mused whether to make it as a 20cm round cake – and it would’ve worked – but I decided on a traybake as that would give shallower slices and stop the oats becoming claggy.  I have mixed advice: wait until it gets completely cool before cutting as it’s very soft and tears otherwise…..on the other hand; if you eat it warm, before the fudge has set, you get divine little sticky pockets of fudgy goo that make a raggedy slice worth it!

As is often the way, things made on the fly are usually the tastiest!  This is no exception – the flavours and textures work so well together and it’s a perfect tasty accompaniment to a cup of tea.  Which I definitely needed after my earlier frustrations…I take it very personally when a recipe fails…i.e. rude words are spoken.


225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g light brown soft sugar
3 eggs
225g self raising flour
100g rolled oats
150g fudge chunks
260g tin of black cherries, chopped into pieces – this was the drained weight, the tin was 425g)
3 tablespoons milk


Preheat the oven to 180C/fan oven 160C/350F/gas mark 4.

Grease a 20cm x 30cm traybake tin.

Beat together the butter and sugar until well combined – it won’t go light and whippy.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Fold in the flour and oats.

Fold in the fudge and cherries.

Stir in the milk.

Spoon into the traybake tin and level the surface.

Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into squares.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Banana and ginger cake

I had four bananas, slowly turning black on the kitchen counter, giving me that judgemental look as if to say, ‘yes, you manage to eat all the biscuits well before they go off, but look at us – unwanted and unloved’ and realised it was time to find a good banana cake recipe.

This cake is adapted from a Dan Lepard recipe and caught my attention because I have never seen banana and ginger combined and they are two of my favourite flavours.  I only made one minor tweak – changing his glace ginger for stem.

The flavour of this cake is rich and indulgent and gets better with age – the dark sugar seems to get stickier and more treacly.  It works well as a companion to a mug of tea, but is also great warm with custard for dessert.  The smell of it baking drove me half insane – sugar and spice; if there are happier kitchen smells I can’t think what they are!

The sponge is soft and lighter than you might expect.  The ginger is subtle and doesn’t overpower the banana.  Personally, being a ginger fiend, next time I make this cake I would up the ginger – probably with a teaspoon or two of ground ginger.

Don’t let the plain looks 
fool you; this is actually a glossy beauty and has become my go-to banana cake recipe.


For the cake:
200g dark muscovado sugar
300g ripe bananas – this is approx. 2 large bananas
125ml flavourless oil suitable for baking – I used light olive oil
4 eggs
75g stem ginger – finely chopped
200g wholemeal flour
3 tsp baking powder


Preheat the oven to 180C/fan oven 160C/350F/gas mark 4.

Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.

Put the sugar and bananas in a bowl and mash until almost smooth – as long as there are no big lumps it will be fine.

Beat in the oil and eggs.

Stir in the ginger.

Add the flour and baking powder, stir well, then pour into the tin.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes or so before de-tinning and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

Serve in generous slices.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.