Puddings and Cakes

Lemon Polenta Cake with Rosemary Syrup

My absolute favourite dessert: the sponge is soaked in sweet rosemary syrup – a perfect foil to the summer raspberries piled up in the middle and the clean, crisp Greek yogurt it’s served with. Once tried, this recipe will be with you forever!

Serves 10-12

What you need…

175g polenta

50g plain flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

5 tablespoon plain yogurt

5 tablespoon rapeseed oil plus extra for greasing

Grated rind of two lemons

2 tablespoon lemon juice

2 eggs, plus 2 egg whites

600g caster sugar

400ml water

3 heaped teaspoons dried rosemary

Fresh raspberries

Greek yogurt to serve

What to do…

Heat oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Sift polenta, flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

Place yogurt, oil, lemon rind and juice into a jug and stir until combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and egg whites with 200g of the sugar for a few minutes until creamy. Beat in the yogurt mixture until smooth and then fold in the dry ingredients until just combined – don’t overmix.

Pour the mixture into a 1.2 litre/2-pint lightly oiled ring cake tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a thin skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Meanwhile, place the remaining 400g of sugar in a pan with 400ml water and the rosemary. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Leave to cool completely and then strain through a sieve.

When the cake is cooked, place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then ease a blunt knife around the outside to separate the cake from the tin. Invert cake onto a serving plate.

When completely cool, prick all over with a thin skewer and, using a tablespoon, drizzle over half the rosemary syrup so that it completely soaks into the cake, making it lovely and moist (tip: this part can take quite a while – I do it slowly, sometimes whilst watching TV).

Pour the remaining rosemary syrup into a pretty serving jug and pop in the fridge until ready to use.

Tip raspberries into the hole in the middle and serve your lemon polenta cake with rosemary syrup with dollops of Greek yogurt and the chilled rosemary syrup. Decorate with rosemary sprigs if desired. Divine!

Inspired by…

The Top 100 Recipes from the Food & Drink Series

How easy…

Really easy – a pleasure to create and so stunning on the eye and the taste buds!

Dark Chocolate, Ginger and Orange Cake

This dark, unbelievably rich cake feels like a sin to eat – it’s just sooooo naughty. The other joy of it is that it is very easy to make, so spectacular from every aspect really.

Serves 12

What you need…

200g butter, softened

A little plain flour

175g soft dark brown sugar

Zest and juice of 1 orange

3 large eggs

200g self-raising flour

25g cocoa powder

1 tsp ground ginger

25g dark chocolate, grated

for the syrup

50g golden caster sugar

Juice of 1 orange

50ml water

for the decoration

75g butter

125g dark chocolate, chopped

1 tsp ground ginger

25g white chocolate

What to do…

Preheat oven to 180c / 350f / gas 4. Grease a 20cm ring tin and dust it with the plain flour.

Using a food processor or electric mixer, whisk the butter, sugar and orange zest in large bowl until the mixture is soft, creamy and lighter in colour.

Mix in the eggs, one at a time, then add in the self-raising flour, cocoa, ginger, dark chocolate and orange juice. Mix everything together until smooth. Spoon into the tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the sugar into a pan with the orange juice and 50ml cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, until syrupy.

With a skewer or cocktail stick, pierce the cake all over the top, then pour over the syrup. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To decorate, melt the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in a steamer over a saucepan of simmering water;  then mix in the butter until dissolved. Mix in the ground ginger.

Drizzle over the cake and allow to set for 10 minutes. Melt the white chocolate, also in a steamer over boiling water, then drizzle over the dark chocolate and leave to set. Your dark chocolate, ginger and orange cake is ready to take it’s place at the centre of the table!

Serve this wonderfully rich cake with a spoonful of double cream. If you’d rather a lighter, dairy-free alternative, mix together some soya natural yogurt with runny honey and a wee dram of Limoncello. Lurvvelly!!!

Inspired by…

Harrods Magazine – yes, seriously!

How easy…

Dead easy to make this spectacular cake that wouldn’t look out of place at a celebration

 

 

Apple and Almond Cake with Cinnamon and Nutmeg

A lovely, moist cake with a layer of apple running through the middle, this cake simply exudes Autumn for me and the combination of the apple with the cinnamon and nutmeg is made in heaven!

Serves 12

What you need…

3 Granny Smith apples

6 large eggs

335g dark soft brown sugar

335g butter

340g self-raising flour

55g ground almonds

1½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons good-quality apple sauce

for the decoration

2 tablespoons flaked almonds

Icing sugar

Ground cinnamon

What to do…

Grease a 10in/25cm round cake tin (with a removable bottom for easy cake extraction) and preheat oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Put the eggs, sugar and butter into a food processor/electric mixer and mix thoroughly.

Add the flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and apple sauce, mixing together until lump-free.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples.

Arrange one third of the sliced apples around the bottom of the tin – fanned and slightly overlapping. Pour half the batter on top and then arrange a second third of the apples. Pour over the remaining batter and then arrange the rest of the apples. Scatter over a handful of flaked almonds.

Bake for 60 – 75 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then ease out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Mix together the icing sugar and cinnamon in an icing sugar shaker and dust over the top of the cake with the remaining flaked almonds. Your yummy, gorgeous apple and almond cake with cinnamon and nutmeg is now ready to be indulged: kettle on, comfy chair, some relaxing music and a slice of delicious cake: a little indulgence goes a long way!

Where from…

Chinskitchen.co.uk, published in The Daily Telegraph

How easy…

Dead easy. Process and let it cook itself!

 

 

 

 

The Yummiest Profiteroles

One of my son’s favourites, these little profiteroles are fabulously naughty: pop them in and just revel in the indulgence that pervades your tastebuds!

What you need…

50g butter, preferably unsalted, plus a knob

2 tablespoons caster sugar

75g white flour, sifted with a pinch of salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

300ml double cream

200g good quality dark chocolate

What to do…

Heat the oven to 220°c/200°c fan/gas 7.

Put butter and 2 teaspoons of the caster sugar in a saucepan with 150ml water. Place the pan over a low heat until the butter and sugar have melted, then bring to the boil. Take off the heat, add the flour all at once and beat energetically with a wooden spoon until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan.

Leave to cool for 5 mins, then, using a food processor gradually beat in the eggs bit by bit until you have a stiff, glossy mixture. Rinse two baking trays with cold water, shaking off any excess so they are slightly damp (this helps the choux pastry to rise). Using two teaspoons, spoon blobs of the mixture onto the baking trays. Then place in the oven and cook for about 18-20 minutes until well risen and brown. Remove the profiteroles from the oven and cut a small slit in the base of each one so they don’t collapse. Cool on a wire rack.

When they are cold, whisk together the remainder of the caster sugar and double cream until just holding its shape. Sweeten to taste. Spoon cream into a piping bag and using the slits in the base of the profiteroles, fill each bun to nearly bursting point with cream (these desserts are exuberant so no half-heartedness here – total indulgence or don’t bother!)

Break up the chocolate and put into a heatproof glass bowl in a steamer over a pan of boiling water. When the chocolate has melted, use a spoon to spread it over the profiteroles – again, no holding back – it should be dribbling down the sides in an ‘artistic’ manner. Put the chocolate-topped profiteroles in a cool room to set. Stack up on top of one another to create a mountain of naughtiness and serve. Just scrummy!

Inspired by…

BBC Good Food

How Easy…?

Really easy if you follow the instructions! The wrong flour results in flat, hard disks (I know from experience) but give them a little attention and you will be addicted!

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Roses

A lovely, almost childishly easy Autumnal dessert that is simply delightful!

Serves 6

What you need…

4 apples, cored and halved, skin on

Juice from ½ lemon

3 tablesp apricot jam

2 tablesp water (plus more for apple soak)

1 sheet of puff pastry

Cinnamon, to taste

What to do…

Preheat oven to 375ºf / 200ºc.

Put apple slices in microwave-safe bowl. Fill bowl with water and the lemon juice, making sure the apples are covered. Microwave for three minutes, until the apples are soft enough to be pliable when rolled up.

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface, thin enough to enable you to cut six 3-inch wide strips.

In a bowl, mix the apricot jam and water and then spoon/brush it down the centre of each strip.

Place the apple slices longways on each strip, adding more slightly overlapping slices until nearly at the end of the strip. The bottom of each apple slice should come to the middle of the strip so that when you have completed each strip, you can sprinkle the apples with cinnamon and then fold the bottom half the strip over the bottom half of the apple slices (think of the top of the apple slices being faces peeking out over the bed sheet!)

Roll up each pastry strip and place in a greased muffin tin.

Bake the apple roses for 35-45 minutes – they will smell divine!

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Indulge – bloody lovely!

Tip…

As alternatives to the apricot jam, try 1) spreading room-temperature butter along each strip and then topping with drizzled honey or 2) for a festive version, use mincemeat – yum!

How easy…

Spectacularly and if you roll the pastry out onto lightly floured cling film, there’s hardly any clearing up!

Inspired by…

tiphero.com

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