Recipe: Lemon Meringue Cake

Here’s a recipe I tried for a recent family party.  It was my first go at a Nigella Lawson recipe and honestly it went pear-shaped!  It disappoints me when my baking doesn’t turn out right because I follow the recipes religiously, some take a lot of time and the ingredients are always cheap.  I won’t be rushing out to try another and will stick to my trusted Mary Berry recipes!

What you need:

Makes 8 slices

125g very soft unsalted butter
4 large eggs (separated)
300g caster sugar (+ 1 tsp)
100g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
25g cornflour
½ tsp cream of tartar
150ml double or whipping cream
Zest of 1 lemon
4 tsp lemon juice
150g lemon curd
2 tsp milk

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to gas mark 6/200°C/180°C Fan/400ºF.
  • Grease and line 2 x 8″ sandwich tins.
  • Mix the egg yolks, 100g of the sugar, the butter, flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarb, and lemon zest in a mixer.
  • Add the lemon juice and milk and mix again.
  • Divide the mixture between the prepared tins. it will look like you don’t have enough to cover the bottom of the tins as it’s a thick mixture. Spread with a rubber spatula until smooth.
  • Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until peaks form and then slowly whisk in 200g of sugar.
  • Divide the whisked whites between the two sponge-filled tins, spreading the meringue straight on top of the cake batter.
  • Smooth one flat with the back of a spoon, peak the other and sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the peaks.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Mine took 45mins because the cake batter wasn’t cooked and was then overdone – be wary of time!
  • With a knife or cocktail stick, pierce the cake that has the flat meringue topping to check it’s cooked all through. No sponge mixture should stick to your knife.
  • Sit the cake tins on top of a wire rack and leave them to cool completely in the tins.
  • Place the flat-topped one on to a cake stand or plate, meringue side down.
  • Whisk the double cream until thick but not stiff and set aside.
  • Spread the flat sponge surface of the first, waiting, cake with the lemon curd and than spatula over the cream and top with the remaining cake, bronze-peaked meringue uppermost.

I was told that the cake was a success but I’m doubtful! I did have a little taste before I sent it on its way, and, it did taste better than it looked!  But I was really disappointed that the cake part was so overdone yet I’d checked it so many times and the stick kept coming out soggy! Aaarrgghhhh

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Mary Berry’s Malted Chocolate Cake

I was asked to make a cake for my daughter’s boyfriend’s family and I’d had my eye on having a go at this one for a while.  I was intrigued by what difference the malted chocolate would make to the taste of the cake.

What you need:

2 x 8″ round sandwich tins – greased and lined

For the sponge

30g malted chocolate drink powder (I used Horlicks light, you know…watching the calories!  Anyway, for info Sainsbury’s sell them in handy 30g sachets if, like me, this isn’t something you usually buy)
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
225g self-raising flour
225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225g caster sugar
4 eggs

For the icing

3 tbsp malted chocolate drink powder
250g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
50g dark chocolate (at least 50% cocoa solids), melted (Aldi, 99p!)
1½ tbsp hot milk
125g butter, softened
1 tbsp boiling water
Approx 20 Maltesers for decoration

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4.
  • Put the malted chocolate drink powder (Horlicks) and cocoa powder into a large bowl, add 2 tbsp of water and mix to a paste.
  • Add the remaining cake ingredients and beat until smooth.
  • Divide evenly between your tins and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes.
  • Set aside still in the tins to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the icing, put the malted chocolate drink powder into a bowl,  add the hot milk and mix until smooth.
  • Add the butter, icing sugar and melted chocolate and mix again until smooth.
  • Add the boiling water which will (hopefully) give a gloss to the icing.
  • Put one cake on a plate and spread over half the icing.
  • Sandwich with the other cake and spread (or pipe, if you’re feeling brave) the remaining icing on top (if you’re feeling extra creative, use a round edged knife to create a swirled effect from the centre to the edge of the cake).
  • Decorate as you wish with the Maltesers over the top and dust with icing sugar before serving if desired.

Enjoy!

The cake is very easy and relatively quick to make.  The sponge was light and fluffy and the icing wasn’t really sickly or overpowering.  However, this isn’t a really chocolatey cake (not like a fudge cake), it has a very subtle chocolate taste…so you can just eat more of it without making yourself feel ill 😉

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Recipe Post: Peach, Vanilla and Poppy Seed Scones

Here I have for you another tried and tested recipe from the lovely National Trust Book of Scones. According to the book, these are a favourite of Grey’s Court in Oxfordshire.  I’ve not been here myself but their scone recipe is lovely!

I still haven’t quite managed the art of getting the right thickness of scone, so, more testing is required – shame!

Perfect for Summer afternoon tea, don’t worry if you don’t have fresh peaches, I used tinned and the scones were just fine!

 

 

 

What you need:

Makes 10

500g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
100g caster sugar
125g butter, cubed
3 fresh peaches, roughly chopped
1 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
100 ml milk

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 190°c and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a mixing bowl, and then, using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the chopped peaches, poppy seeds and vanilla.
  • Add the egg and enough milk to make a soft dough.
  • Lightly flour your work surface and turn out the mixture.
  • Roll to about 4cm thick and stamp out the scones using a 7cm round cutter.
  • Use your scraps for re-rolling and cutting out some more! 😉
  • Place on your baking sheet and brush the tops with milk.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

As suggested, I served with apricot jam and clotted cream – jam on first!

Until next time….Happy Baking!

Recipe Post: Old School Chocolate Tarmac / Chocolate Concrete / Chocolate Crunch

I think this old school cake has a different name depending on where you went to school and when.  I know it as Chocolate Tarmac, or just plain old Tarmac.  If you’ve not experienced this cake before then you’ve missed out.  The only way I can describe it like a chocolate shortbread but less biscuit like, and more cake like – great description huh!!

What you need:

1 greased and lined 8″ sandwich tin
200g plain flour
200g granulated sugar
50g cocoa powder (don’t be tempted to use hot chocolate powder)
100g butter

 

 

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°c.
  • In a mixing bowl mix the flour, sugar and cocoa.
  • Melt the butter (either on a hob or in microwave) and add to your dry ingredients.
  • Using your fingers rub in the butter until you have a crumble consistency.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and pat it down so it becomes compacted.
  • Bake for 20 mins.
  • Sprinkle on a little extra sugar, if required, straight out of the oven.

Serve as a dessert à la school with chocolate or pink custard or on its own with a nice cup of tea!

Not gonna lie this is the one of the best things I’ve baked in flippin’ ages and got the thumbs up from my overly cake fussy daughter!

Do you remember having this at school? If so, what did you call it? 

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Recipe Post: Triple Chocolate Scones

So here we have another tried and tested recipe from the National Trust’s Book of Scones.  Now readers, I followed the recipe to the letter and whilst they looked ok, they were pretty dry and needed more chocolate.  Despite smelling divine during the mixing process this didn’t translate through to the bake.  On reflection, I’m probably going to stick with the more traditional fruit based scone.  If you get better results, do let me know 🙂

 

 

 

What you need for approx 10 large scones:

500g self-raising flour
70g cocoa powder
1 heaped tsp baking powder
70g soft brown sugar
140g butter, cubed
115g white chocolate drops
115g milk chocolate drops
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
Approx 200ml milk

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 190°c.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and sugar into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the butter and rub in using your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add 75g of each of the chocolate drops and stir in.
  • Make a well in the middle of the mixture, add the eggs and vanilla.
  • Gradually add the milk to make a damp dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 4cm thick.
  • Stamp out the scones using an 8cm cutter and place on the baking tray.  Brush the tops with milk.
  • Bake for approx 16-18 minutes.
  • Melt the remaining white and chocolate drops and drizzle over the scones.  This was a disaster, the chocolate would just not drizzle nicely!

I wasn’t sure what the best thing to serve chocolate scones with is – maybe clotted or whipped cream or smothered in custard so you can’t taste how dry they are 🙂 and next time I still need to roll the dough out thicker and more evenly – some of them were a little on the slim side!

Until next time…Happy Baking!