Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Lemon & Cream Cheese Swiss Roll

I had long wanted to try to make a Swiss Roll and decided to do so using lemon as a flavouring with cream cheese.

I used a recipe that I found on BBC Food but I adjusted the amounts of ingredients as i used a larger baking tin.  I also changed the filling.

The sponge for the roll is fairly easy to make, though a little tricky to roll without cracking.  The filling, which can be buttercream, cream, jam or anything else is easy too.  With mine I must admit that the cream cheese did not thicken as much as I would have liked, but after chilling in the fridge was certainly ok.  The lemon hit comes from lemon curd spread onto the sponge before rolling as well as the zest in the sponge.

I must say that it tasted really wonderful, though next time I would use buttercream instead of the cream cheese, simply because it is more robust as a filling.
Lemon & Cream Cheese Swiss Roll
                        Lemon & Cream Cheese Swiss Roll - video Ingredients:
for the sponge:

  • 4 medium eggs(large in USA)
  • 145g plain flour
  • 145g caster sugar
  • zest of one lemon
For the filling:
  • 180g cream cheese
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 125g lemon curd
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice(leave this out if you want the filling to be thicker)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400C.
  2. Line a 33cm by 26cm baking tray, with a 5cm edge, with parchment paper and grease the top side of the paper.
  3. Put the eggs, sugar and the lemon zest in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of gently simmering water.
  4. Whisk with an electric whisk until the mixture is pale, creamy and thick enough to leave a trail when the whisk is lifted.
  5. Carefully remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking for a further five minutes.
  6. Sift in half the flour and, using a large metal spoon, lightly fold it into the egg mixture.
  7. Sift in the remaining flour and fold into the mixture - it’s important to use gentle movements to retain as much air as possible in the batter.
  8. Pour the mixture slowly into the prepared tin and gently spread with a spatula so the base of the tin is evenly covered.
  9. Bake for 10–12 minutes until well-risen, pale golden-brown and firm to the touch.
  10. Place a damp tea towel on the work surface and cover with a sheet of baking parchment.
  11. Dredge with the four tablespoons of sugar – this will help stop the outside of the sponge sticking. Working quickly, turn the cake out onto the sugared paper and carefully remove the lining paper.
  12. Using a sharp knife, cut off the crusty edges from the two long sides. Roll the Swiss roll from one of the short ends, starting with a tight turn to make a good round shape and keeping the sugared paper inside the roll. Set on a wire rack and leave to cool.
  13. To make the icing, put the icing sugar and cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the lemon juice and beat again.
  14. When the cake is cold, gently unroll but do not flatten it or it could crack.
  15. Spread the cake with then lemon butter icing, leaving a 1cm/½in border.
  16. Spoon the lemon curd evenly over the icing.
  17. Slowly roll the cake up again, enclosing the filling, and place on a plate. Sprinkle with extra sugar if you like.
  18. Chill in the fridge to let the filling firm up somewhat.

Monday, 20 June 2016


I have wanted to make croissants for some time, as I love them with that lovely fluffy texture and the rich buttery taste.  I looked at a number of recipes and watched quite a few videos before deciding how to proceed.  I used a recipe from Paul Hollywood who is a judge on Great British Bake Off.  

The list of ingredients is not long, but the process takes a lot of time, as you have to rest the dough between each step, and overnight before rolling out and shaping the croissants.  Even then you have to wait a further two hours before placing them in the oven.

Now Paul'sr recipe is for medium sized croissants, but I wanted to try larger ones, so I changed the size of the triangles of dough that I created, having the wide end about 12cm, but 18cm in length.  That meant that I would get more rolls of the dough.  I also made a nick in the wide end, so that I could roll outwards, making the resultant croissant longer and slightly thinner, layers.  The recipe will make 12 croissants of a good size.

I also rolled the off-cuts to bake them too, no point in throwing away good dough says I.

So this is a long process, but the results are well worth all the effort, a wonderfully fresh and buttery croissant, crisp on the outside and lovely and soft inside.

                                             Croissants - Video
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 10g salt, plus a pinch for the egg wash
  • 10g instant(easy bake yeast)
  • 300ml cool water
  • 300g chilled butter
  • 1 medium egg, to glaze the croissants before baking.
  1. Put the flour into a bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other side.
  2. Add the water and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes, then on a medium speed for 6 minutes. The dough should be fairly stiff.
  3. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball. Dust with flour, put into a clean plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to a rectangle, about 60 x 20cm(24x8 in); it should be about 1cm thick.
  5. Flatten the butter to a rectangle, about 40 x 19cm(16x7.5 in), by bashing it with a rolling pin. Put the butter on the dough so that it covers the bottom two-thirds of the dough. Make sure that it is positioned neatly and comes almost to the edges.
  6. Fold the exposed dough at the top down over one-third of the butter. 
  7. Now gently cut off the exposed bit of butter, without going through the dough, and put it on the top of the dough you have just folded down. 
  8. Fold the remaining third of the dough up and onto the exposed butter. You will now have a sandwich of two layers of butter and three of dough. 
  9. Pinch the edges lightly to seal in the butter. 
  10. Put the dough back in the plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour to harden the butter.
  11. Take the dough out of the bag and put it on the lightly floured work surface with one of the 'open' ends towards you. 
  12. Roll into a rectangle, about 60 x 20cm, as before. This time fold up one-third of the dough and then fold the top third down on top to make a neat square to make a neat square. 
  13. This is called a single turn. Put the dough back into the plastic bag and chill for another hour. Repeat this stage twice more, putting the dough back into the fridge for an hour between turns.
  14. After the third turn the  dough needs to be left in the fridge for 8 hours, or overnight, to rest and rise slightly.
  15. When you are ready to shape the croissants, line 2 or 3 baking trays with baking parchment or silicone paper.
  16. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle, a little more than 42cm long and 36cm wide. Trim the edges to neaten them.
  17. Cut the rectangle lengthways into 2 strips, then cut triangles along the length of each strip; these should be 12cm wide at the base and about 18cm high (from the middle of the base to the tip). Once you have cut the first triangle, you can use it as a template for the rest. You should get 6 triangles from each strip.
  18. Before rolling, hold down the wide base of the triangle and gently tug the opposite thin end to cause a slight tension in the dough. 
  19. Make a nick in the wide end, about 1.5cm(3/4 inch).
  20. Now starting at the wide end of the triangle, roll up into a croissant, with a gentle pushing outwards motion. You will have 12 medium-sized croissants. For a traditional crescent shape, turn the ends in towards each other slightly.
  21. Put the croissants on the prepared baking trays, leaving space in between them to expand; allow 4 – 6 per tray. 
  22. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag, or cover with a clean tea towel and leave the croissants to rise at cool room temperature (18 – 24°C) until at least doubled in size. This should take about 2 hours.
  23. Heat your oven to 200°C.
  24. Lightly whisk the egg with a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Brush the top and sides of the croissants with the eggwash. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Eat warm.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Perfect Blueberry Muffins

I did a lot of research about blueberry muffins as I wanted to make sure I have a lovely light and tasty version.  Many of the recipes that I saw had a heavy texture and didn't rise very much, though that was inetntional.  Some rose well and were nice and light, so that is what I decided to try.

These muffins are so much better than those that you find in the large coffee shop chains.  Those seem to be a nasty grey colour inside and don't taste of much at all.  

With some additional blueberry put on top of the batter before baking, then topped with some demerara sugar to give a little crunch, these really do look good as the blueberries start to bleed their sweet juice into the batter.  

I am very please with how mine turned out, they baked well and taste wonderful.  They are, as with all muffins, very easy to make and can be done from start to finish in less than an hour.

After they have cooled completely you can also freeze any spare muffins and then just pop them back in the oven for a few minutes when you next want one.
Perfect Blueberry Muffins

                                Perfect Blueberry Muffins - Video
  • 350g plain flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • demerara sugar to sprinkle over the top(optional)
  • 240ml butter milk
  • 120 melted butter, cooled(or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 225 grams fresh blueberries(frozen are ok too, but not thawed)
  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/425 F
  2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffins cases(or grease the tin)
  3. In one bowl beat the eggs and add the vanilla extract, buttermilk and melted butter and whisk to combine.
  4. In a separate, large, bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. 
  5. Make a well in the middle and pour in the wet mixture.
  6. Begin to stir to combine and add about 170g of blueberries.
  7. Stir gently to just combine.  Do not over mix or the gluten will start to act in the flour and the muffins will be tough.
  8. Divide the batter into the 12 muffins cases, evenly, and add the remaining blueberries on top pressing down slightly.
  9. Sprinkle demerara sugar over the top of each one.
  10. Place the muffins into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 180C/160C fan.350 and bake for 25 minutes, until they have risen well and a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the oven and from the muffin tin and place on a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Lemon Frosted Vanilla Pound Cake

This pound cake is made in a 2lb loaf tin.  Flavoured with vanilla, and lemon zest, it is topped with a lovely lemon icing/frosting.

The texture is dense, as with all loaf cakes, and is very similar to what in the UK is known as Madeira Cake.

Although it takes a while to make, it is actually a very simple cake to make, if you follow the recipe closely.  The main time is actually waiting for the baked cake to cool down before putting the frosting on the top.

The result is a very tasty cake, moist and soft with the beautiful hit of lemon from the frosting.  Mine turned out very well, so I will surely be making it again very soon.

You could even change the flavour by using orange zest and making an orange frosting if you find lemons too tart for your palate.  For me this is just perfect though.
Lemon Frosted Vanilla Pound Cake

                         Lemon Frosted Vanilla Pound Cake - Video
For the loaf cake:
  • 195g plain flour
  • 265g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 170g softened butter
  • 115g cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 medium eggs(large in USA)
For the lemon frosting:
  • 230g icing sugar
  • 3tbsp lemon juice
  1. Preheat the over to 180C/160C fan/350F
  2. Grease and flour the inside of a 2lb(900G) loaf tin.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the butter and cream cheese and beat with the paddle attachment until combined.
  4. Add the sugar and beat on medium high for 5-6 minutes until light and fluffy, adding the zest and vanilla part way through.
  5. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, on medium speed, one at a time.  Mix only until the eggs are combined.  Do not overmix or you may end up with a top crust that rises above the cake and collapses when touched.
  6. Mix in the flour, on low speed, in two additions, until just combined.
  7. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and level out, getting right into the corners.
  8. Bake in the oven for 60-70 minutes, until the cake is a lovely brown colour and a skewer in the centre comes out clean.  Check this from about 50minutes onwards.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes before running a thin knife around the inside of the tin and turning the cake out onto a rack to cook completely.
  10. When the cake is cooled mix the icing sugar with as much of the lemon juice as needed to make a thick, but dropping consistency.
  11. Pour the icing over the top of the cake and spread with a knife, allowing some to run down the sides.
  12. Set aside for the icing to firm up before serving.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Crunchy Coconut Biscuits(Cookies)

I do love a nice coconut biscuit that can be dunked in a refreshing cup of tea.  So when I found a recipe for such a biscuit, on Woman's Weekly I decided to try it.  That recipe is for a gluten free version, but mine is not gluten free, since I used ordinary plain flour.  I also adjusted the recipe slightly as I wanted to have an easy to divide amount of dough to make 16 biscuits.

It is easy enough to divide dough into 16 balls, but I prefer to weigh each ball to make sure they are all the same weight.  Hence the minor adjustments in the recipe which allowed me to make balls that weighed 30 grams each, just a perfect size.

The recipe is very simple indeed, and takes less than an hour from start to finish.  It is also ideal to make with children who would have a lot of fun rolling the balls and then coating them in extra coconut and topping them with half a glace cherry.

Crunchy Coconut Biscuits
                                Crunchy Coconut Biscuits - Video
  • 65g unsalted butter, softened
  • 135g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg (in USA extra large)
  • 70g dessicated coconut
  • 160g plain flour
  • 8 glace cherries, halved
  • 30g dessicated coconut for rolling
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160Fan/350F.
  2. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl cream the butter and sugar together.
  4. Add the egg and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the 70g of coconut and the flour and mix until just combined.
  6. Roll the dough into 16 balls of even size(about 30 grams)
  7. Roll each ball in the extra coconut and place on a baking tray, then flatten the balls into a 2 inch disc.
  8. Add half a .glace cherry to the centre of each disc.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the coconut is just beginning to turn a toasty golden brown colour.
  10. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Soft & Chewy Lemon Cookies

I found a recipe for some lovely soft and chewy lemon cookies on Averiecooks which I just had to try.  With lots of lemon these seemed just ideal.

The recipe is easy to make and the resultant cookies are indeed very soft and chewy and really quite delicious.  I did make a minor change, using golden syrup instead of honey and I converted the measures to metric, but other than I adhered to the recipe as shown on the website.

I am very pleased with the results, though I would recommend eating these very quickly as they are likely to go very soft within a couple of days.
Soft & Chewy Lemon Cookies

                           Soft & Chewy Lemon Cookies - Video
  • 113g softened unsalted butter,
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 30g soft brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg(large in USA)
  • 1 tbsp lemon extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 256g plain flour
  • 7g cornflour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy
  2. Add the lemon extract and egg and mix to combine.
  3. Add the golden syrup and the lemon zest and mix for another two minutes.
  4. Scrap down the bowl and add the flour and cornflour.
  5. Add the baking soda in a mound on top of the flour.
  6. Pour the lemon juice onto the baking soda so that it froths up.
  7. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are fully combined, scraping down the bowl in the process.
  8. Take a scoop and make 12 balls of dough and place on a place, flattening each one slightly.
  9. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours until thoroughly chilled.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F.
  11. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  12. Place 6 of the dough pats on each baking tray, leaving a gap of 2 inches between each as the dough will spread as it bakes.
  13. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown.  The centres may look as though they are not quite cooked, but they will firm up as they cool.
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a few minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cook completely.
  15. Eat within 24 hours.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Individual Steamed Sponges - 3 Flavours

Having made a large, stove-top steamed treacle sponge the other day I thought I would try some individual one, steamed in the oven, with some different flavours too.

I found a recipe on Good Housekeeping which I doubled for my purposes.  It actually made slightly more batter than my 8 dariole moulds could take, so I made four small sponges in a muffin tin as well.

The recipe is very easy and works so well, giving a lovely light sponge and with a variety of flavours available you can mix and match.  For mine I used golden syrup, seedless raspberry jam and lemon curd.  Each of them worked very well indeed giving a very tasty dessert, especially when served warm with custard or cream.

These are so easy to make and I am sure everyone who tries them will just love them.  If you dont have dariole moulds any small oven proof cup or dish will do.
Individual Steamed Sponges - Lemon, Raspberry, Golden Syrup

                          Individual Steamed Sponges - Video
  • 250g softened butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 4 medium eggs(large in USA)
  • 150ml of milk
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 2 tbsp lemon curd(or any combination of flavours you wish)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F.
  2. Heavily grease 8 dariole mould, or equivalent.
  3. In a stand mixer(or using a hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix to combine
  5. Add the lemon zest and mix in.
  6. Stir the ground ginger into the flour.
  7. Add the flour and milk into the bowl and gently mix, adding first flour, then some milk, then flour, the rest of the milk and then the rest of the flour.  Note( I only used about 130ml of the milk).
  8. Place a tsbp of whichever flavours you are using into each of the moulds.
  9. Add batter to each mould until almost up to the top.
  10. Cover the top so each mould with a square of foil, pleated down the middle, and pull down the sides and hold in place with an elastic band or string.
  11. Place the moulds into a roasting tin and put into the oven, pouring boiling water into to tin until it is 3/4 inch up the sides of the mould.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes, until a skewer poked in the centre comes our clean.
  13. Remove from the oven and from the roasting tin and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  14. Remove the foil and gently a knife around the edge to loosen the top of the sponge.
  15. Turn out onto a plate, the filling should top the spone and run down the sides, giving a lovely appearance and just ready to serve with custard or cream.