by Lorraine Pascale
Ta-da! Teatime treats transformed, puds and gorgeous cakes made easy by Lorraine Pascale.
Vanilla & white chocolate naked cake with blueberry buttercream
This is a truly beautiful cake, perfect for a celebration such as a wedding or engagement. The trick is to create neat blueberry buttercream layers, and to choose flowers that complement the purply blue of the frosting. Make sure that your choice of flowers is safe to use on a cake.
450g butter, softened (I use salted)
450g caster sugar
7 medium eggs
seeds of 2 vanilla pods or 4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp milk
300g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
150g white chocolate, melted
non-toxic fresh flowers, to decorate
FOR THE VANILLA SYRUP
75g granulated sugar
seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla extract
FOR THE BLUEBERRY BUTTERCREAM
2 tbsp caster sugar
300g butter, softened (I use salted)
600g icing sugar
3 x 20cm round loose-bottomed tins
handheld electric whisk or stand mixer (optional)
cake scraper (optional)
♥ Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/ 350F/gas 4) and line the base of the cake tins with baking parchment. Cream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. You can do this for 5 minutes in a stand mixer or using a handheld electric whisk. You can also do this by hand, but it takes about 10 minutes and lots of elbow grease!
♥ Add two of the eggs with the vanilla, baking powder and half of the yoghurt, milk and flour. Beat well together, and then add the remaining eggs with the rest of the yoghurt, milk and flour, and beat well until evenly combined. Add a pinch of salt, beat for a moment and then fold in the melted chocolate. Divide the mixture evenly between the lined cake tins and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon. Bake the cakes in the oven (in batches if necessary) for 25-35 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre of each comes out clean.
♥ As the cakes are baking, make the vanilla syrup. Put the granulated sugar in a small pan with the water and vanilla over a low heat. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring, then turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Allow this to bubble away for 2 minutes and then take it off the heat and set aside to cool a little.
♥ When the cakes are baked, remove them from the oven and brush liberally with the vanilla syrup to give the cake a beautifully moist crumb. Set the cakes aside to cool down completely.
♥ As the cakes are cooling, prepare the blueberry purée for the buttercream. Put the blueberries, caster sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, until the blueberries have broken down and become mushy, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat and boil the blueberry mixture for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat and leave it to cool a little.
♥ Blitz the cooled mixture in a blender to a smooth purée and pass it through a fine sieve into a bowl. Set aside until needed. You should end up with about 5-6 tablespoons of purée.
♥ To finish the buttercream, place the butter and icing sugar in a bowl (or I like to use a stand mixer) and then beat it like mad until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy. Gently fold the blueberry purée into the buttercream until evenly combined. The buttercream needs to be nice and thick to achieve dramatic layers between the cakes.
♥ When the cakes are completely cool, remove one from the tin and put it on a serving plate or cake stand, sticking it down with a little buttercream so the cake does not move around. Spread over one-third of the blueberry buttercream in a thick, even layer and place another cake on top. Spread another third of the blueberry buttercream in a thick layer on top and finish with the final cake. Top with a final layer of buttercream and use a cake scraper or palette knife to smooth the sandwiched blueberry buttercream over the side of the cake to give a very thin coating. The cake should be ‘naked’, so you don’t want loads of buttercream on the sides but aim to end up with a very, very thin see-through layer.
♥ When you are happy with the cake and the outside looks smooth, decorate the top with a nice arrangement of fresh flowers and serve, removing the decorations before slicing.
Devil’s food cupcake cones
Devil’s food cake is a very rich chocolate cake made with cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate. It is a delicious surprise filling for these ice-cream themed cupcakes. I recommend piping the cake mixture into the ice-cream cones because it’s quick and ensures you get the mixture right to the bottom. Decorate with your favourite ice-cream toppings – I’ve used sprinkles, but you may prefer finely chopped nuts.
12 flat-bottomed cones
160g butter (I use salted)
40g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 large eggs
160g self-raising flour
40g cocoa powder
160g caster sugar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
2-3 tbsp sprinkles
6 chocolate flakes, cut in half (optional)
FOR THE FROSTING
150g butter, softened
350g icing sugar
seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla extract
few drops each of blue and pink food colouring (optional)
12-hole cupcake tin
handheld electric whisk or stand mixer
disposable piping bag
2 x piping bags with 1cm straight nozzles
♥ Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/350F/gas 4) and sit the ice-cream cones in the holes of the cupcake tin to hold them upright.
♥ Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat, then take the pan off the heat and add the dark chocolate. Leave the chocolate to melt.
♥ Lightly beat the eggs. Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, eggs and salt in a large bowl with the melted butter and chocolate mixture.
♥ Mix to just combine with the hand-held electric whisk and spoon the batter into the disposable piping bag. Snip off the end to give you a wide hole, then pipe into the ice-cream cones, filling them no more than three-quarters full or they will overflow while they are cooking.
♥ Place the tin in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a cupcake cone comes out clean. Once the cupcake cones are baked, remove them from the oven and leave to cool completely.
♥ While the cones are cooling, make the frosting. Put all the ingredients apart from the colouring in a large bowl and beat well with the handheld electric whisk until the mixture goes light and fluffy. You can also use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to do this. To colour the frosting, divide it into bowls and stir through each food colouring, as desired.
♥ Take a piping bag fitted with the 1cm straight nozzle and half-fill it with the frosting. If you have coloured your frosting, use a different bag for each colour. Pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes so that it looks like ice cream, as per the photograph.
♥ Add sprinkles to each one and, if you feel like it, stick half a chocolate flake in the top to make it look like a beloved 99! Serve.
Peach, maple & fig cobbler
The topping for this American pudding comes in a variety of incarnations. Some are made with cold butter like a British crumble, some with melted butter like a batter. Others are rolled out like pastry and stamped with a cookie cutter, and others still are just dolloped on top. I opted for the last variety, as I love the ‘crazy-paving’ look as well as its buttery taste and texture.
knob of salted butter
6 firm ripe peaches, cut into wedges (stones discarded – you can peel them if you fancy but I don’t)
3 firm ripe figs, cut into quarters
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
FOR THE TOPPING
160g butter (I use salted)
150g plain flour
180g soft light brown sugar
pinch of salt
1.2 litre pie dish or equivalent suitable wide pan that can go into the oven
♥ Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/350F/gas 4) and use the knob of butter to lightly grease the pie dish. Tip the peaches into the prepared dish with the figs, maple syrup and cinnamon, and mix well to combine evenly. Set aside.
♥ To make the topping, melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave and leave to cool a little. Put the flour and sugar into a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Then add the melted butter and salt and stir until the mixture starts to come together.
♥ Take a small handful of the dough (about 50g) and squidge it together into a ball, then flatten it out a little and place on top of the fruit. Continue with the rest of the topping to make nine balls that sit side by side on top of the fruit.
♥ Place the pie dish in the oven and cook for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping is cooked through and golden brown and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. This cobbler is best served warm with fresh cream, ice cream or custard.
TIP If you would like extra texture and crunch, scatter some chopped nuts or porridge oats on top of the cobbler just before baking it in the oven.
Gluten-free boiled orange & lemon cake with honey
There are many traditional recipes for a boiled orange cake and this is my version of the beautiful Middle Eastern-inspired cake: moist, rich and gluten-free. This does take a little longer to cook than other cake recipes, as you need to boil the citrus fruits to make them soft enough to blitz into a purée. If you wish to decorate your cake with a flower, make sure it is safe to use with food and not poisonous.
2 small oranges, scrubbed (but not peeled)
1 lemon, scrubbed (but not peeled)
200g caster sugar
7 medium eggs
300g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
icing sugar, for dusting
handful of fresh small mint leaves (optional)
non-toxic flower of your choice (optional)
23cm springform cake tin
handheld electric whisk (optional)
♥ Pop the oranges in a large pan, then cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, then cover with a lid and simmer for 1 hour, then add the lemon and cook for another 45 minutes. Drain off and discard the water, leaving you with just the fruit. Allow the oranges to cool a little and then roughly chop and put them in a food processor with all of their juices. Blend them to a smooth purée and set aside until needed.
♥ Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/350F/gas 4) and line the tin with baking parchment. Put the caster sugar, honey and three of the eggs in a large bowl and mix them together with a handheld electric whisk until frothy. You can also do this with a hand whisk. When the mixture is frothy, add another two of the eggs with half of the ground almonds, the baking powder, cinnamon and cloves. Mix together using a wooden spoon until well combined. The mixture won’t look great at this stage but soon all will be well. Add the remaining two eggs with the rest of the ground almonds and mix again to combine. Finally, using a spatula, quickly fold in the citrus purée until evenly mixed.
♥ Pour the cake batter into the lined tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
♥ When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool a little, then place a flat serving plate over the top of the cake tin. Holding both the cake tin and the plate, flip it over so that the cake tin is upside down. Put everything down on the worktop, release the springform tin and then lift it off.
♥ If you wish to create the dusting design, place the doily on the top as a stencil, dust it with icing sugar and carefully remove the doily. The icing sugar will soak into the cake within 15 minutes, so do this just before serving. Top with a flower and a scattering of mint leaves, if you fancy.
Meringue-topped cupcakes with lemon & raspberry filling
These little cakes are tasty and oh so pretty. I can’t get enough of lemon and lime – they are some of my favourite flavours when it comes to baking. You can fill your cakes with homemade lemon curd (there’s a recipe in the book) or you can buy some, in which case go for organic if you can.
150g unsalted butter, softened, plus a little for greasing
150g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
150g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
FOR THE FILLING
75g lemon curd
12 equal-sized raspberries
FOR THE MERINGUE
120g egg whites
240g caster sugar
12-hole cupcake tin
12 paper cases
stand mixer or handheld electric whisk
♥ Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/350F/gas 4) and make sure the middle shelf is at the ready. Line the cupcake tin with the paper cases.
♥ Whisk the butter and sugar together in a bowl until the mixture goes pale using a wooden spoon, stand mixer or hand-held electric whisk. Add one of the eggs with half the flour and all the baking powder and mix together until just combined. Then add the remaining two eggs and flour and mix again until combined. If you are using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and be sure to scrape the bowl down between each addition to make sure that everything is nicely mixed in.
♥ Divide the mixture between the paper cases and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon. Pop the cakes in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes.
♥ To check that the cakes are cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of one – it should come out clean. Once the cakes are baked, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool completely.
♥ Using a melon baller or apple corer, scoop out the centre of each cupcake, making sure you don’t go all the way down to the bottom. Reserve the scooped out bits and fill each hole with about ½ teaspoon lemon curd followed by a raspberry. Top with another ½ teaspoon lemon curd, place the reserved piece of sponge on top and set aside.
♥ Next, make the meringue. Pour about 5cm of cold water into a medium pan and choose a large bowl that will sit comfortably on top.
♥ Bring the water to the boil. Off the heat, whisk the egg whites and sugar in the bowl by hand until they become light and frothy.
♥ Reduce water to a simmer and pop the bowl on top. With the sugar thermometer to hand, continue to whisk the mixture, stopping to check the temperature occasionally. It needs to reach 70C (160F).
♥ Once you have achieved the correct temperature, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk the meringue on high for 10 minutes, or until the mixture has cooled to body temperature, increased in volume and is glossy with stiff peaks.
♥ Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the meringue on to the top of a cupcake and use the tip of the spoon to shape it into a peak. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes and meringue, arranging them on a baking sheet as you go. Then take the kitchen blowtorch and lightly toast the meringue with it. Serve.
Cranberry upside-down cake with lemon & ginger
Once upon a time, cranberries were only available in winter and difficult to find unless you were lucky enough to know a forward-thinking grocer. Thankfully, now you can get frozen cranberries all year round in many supermarkets. It is the tartness and vibrant colour of cranberries that make them an excellent candidate for this upside-down cake. Substitute with other berries or the more traditional pineapple slices and glacé cherries, if you wish.
30g butter (I use salted)
55g soft light brown sugar
200g frozen cranberries, defrosted and well drained of excess liquid
FOR THE SPONGE
180g butter, softened (I use salted)
180g dark brown sugar
3 medium eggs
180g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground ginger
zest of ½ lemon
seeds of ½ vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
20cm round loose-bottomed cake tin
♥ Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C/350F/gas 4) and line the cake tin with baking parchment.
♥ To make the cranberry layer, melt the butter and light brown sugar together in a small pan set over a medium heat until bubbling. Cook until it turns a toffee colour, stirring constantly, then pour into the bottom of the cake tin, tilting the tin so that it forms an even layer. Tip in the cranberries and set this aside while you make the sponge.
♥ Cream together the butter and dark brown sugar until they are really light and fluffy. Then add two of the eggs and half of the flour and beat well until just combined. Add the remaining egg with the rest of the flour, the baking powder, ground ginger, lemon zest and vanilla and beat well to combine.
♥ Spoon the mixture on top of the cranberries in the tin and level out the mixture with the back of a spoon. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean and the sponge feels springy to the touch.
♥ Once the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and leave to cool down for a moment, then take a large flat plate and put it upside down over the top of the tin. Holding both the tin and cake plate, flip everything over. Carefully remove the cake tin and serve. This is delicious warm or cold – serve slices with Crème Chantilly (there’s a recipe in the book) or ice cream.
SAVE 30 PER CENT ON LORRAINE’S BOOK
Today’s recipes are from Bake: 125 Show-stopping Recipes, Made Simple by Lorraine Pascale, published by Bluebird, price £20.
As well as Lorraine’s introduction, golden rules, essential tips and advice on equipment, chapters cover (among others): cakes, cookies and biscuits, brownies and traybakes, muffin and mini cakes, breads, pies and tarts, desserts and patisserie, specialist bakes and celebration baking.
To order a copy for £14 (a 30 per cent discount) until 25 June, visit you-bookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.