Spiced Plum Cake

Soft sweet plum topping with gentle spices.

Whenever possible I like to eat seasonally, it’s usually cheaper, and usually better for you, and better for the planet. Autumn has some great fruit and vegetables. One of my favourites are plums. Usually inexpensive and really versatile. I love this plum cake, no only because its relatively straight forward to make, but the cinnamon and cardamon add a whole other level of flavour. The addition of sour cream adds a tenderness to the sponge. This will also live quite happily in a cake tin for 3-4 days. I love it with whipped cream, but it’s also perfect comfort food served with custard.

Ingredients

300 Grams Plain flour

1, 1/2 Tsps Baking powder

1 Tsp Ground cinnamon

1/2 Tsp Ground cardamon

1 Tsp Salt

3 Eggs

100 Grams Butter

200 Grams Sugar

60 Grams Sour Cream

4-5 Plums

Ready for the oven

Methods

  1. Mix the flour, salt, spices and baking powder together
  2. In a separate bowl cream the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk (hold back 2 tablespoons of sugar to top the plums with)
  3. Add the eggs and sour cream to the butter and sugar and whisk until light and fluffy
  4. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture until you have thick cake batter
  5. Grease a 9 inch spring firm cake tin, and pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees
  6. Transfer your cake batter to the cake tin and spread evenly.
  7. Cut the plums in half, remove the stone and cut each half into quarters
  8. Starting in the centre of the cake, arrange the slices of plum in a circle (or any type of pattern you like) and sprinkle with remaining sugar
  9. Bake for 35 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean when stuck in the cake

Lemon Tiramisu

Before tiramisu purists start, I know this is not strictly speaking a tiramisu. I’m a card carrying coffee fiend, but I’m not a fan of coffee flavour in sweet things.

Delicious slice of tangy tiramisu

What I do love is lemon flavoured desserts. This recipe gives you the creamy unctuous texture of a tiramisu, with the refreshing tang of lemon that stops this being sickly sweet.

The coffee flavour is replaced with lemon and ginger tea, and a shot limoncello gives an extra zing of flavour. This is a good recipe if you’re entertaining, you can make it the day before and it’s easy to plate up.

(N. B. This recipe contains raw eggs and is probably best not served to potentially vulnerable groups like pregnant women, the elderly and very young children)

Ingredients

500 Grams Marscapone cheese

250 Grams Sponge fingers (lady fingers)

2 Eggs

125 Grams Caster sugar

1 Lemon and ginger teabag (you can use other fruit teas if you prefer, but I think this works well)

1 Lemon (juice and zest)

1 Shot of limoncello liquor (optional)

250ml Boiling water

200 Grams Lemon curd

Method

  1. Soak the teabag in the boiling water for 5-10 minutes before removing the teabag. Allow the tea to cool and add the limoncello to the tea
  2. Separate the eggs. Add the caster sugar, lemon juice and zest to the egg yolks and whisk with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the marscapone and whisk again until the ingredients are combined
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they reach firm peaks. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture with a metal spoon, making sure its thoroughly combined
  4. Briefly dip half the sponge fingers in the lemon tea mixture and line a layer in a 9 x 12 inch dish. When you have a layer of dipped sponge fingers, spread this layer with one third of the lemon curd
  5. Top this layer with half of the marscapone mix
  6. Dip the remaining sponge fingers in the lemon tea mixture and lay on top. Spread this layer again with one third of the lemon curd
  7. Top with the remaining marscapone mix, dot the top with the remaining lemon curd and then drag a knife through it to create a marbled effect
  8. Cover with cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours, or ideally overnight

No Churn Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream

This is inspired by a recipe I saw from Katie’s Cucina, and I knew I had to try. I’ve tweaked the proportions of her recipe but it’s pretty straight forward. The hardest thing about it will be not going back and forth to the freezer to “check it’s OK”.

Spread the marshmallows evenly on a tray before placing under the grill

It has only 3 ingredients, and doesn’t need all the faff most ice creams recipes involve, like needing stir it constantly or having to have an ice cream maker.

Remember to keep an eye on these so they don’t burn

This tastes spectacular as it is, but teams really with anything chocolate related. Really the taste of toasted marshmallows is something else. This is definately a pure filth recipe. But there is always room for a little filth in your life.

Ingredients

200 Grams Mini marshmallows

250 ml Condensed milk

125 ml Double cream

Method

  1. Line an oven proof tray with tin foil and rub this with a thin film of oil
  2. Turn on your grill to high, spread the marshmallows evenly across the tray
  3. Put the tray under the grill and watch closely. You’re looking for toasted but not burnt, and this can happen in a matter of seconds if you don’t watch out
  4. In a bowl with the cream and condensed milk together with an electric whisk until it thickens. You can use a stand mixer if you have one
  5. Add the toasted marshmallows gradually (they’ll want clog up the whisk otherwise) and whisk at a medium speed until thoroughly mixed. You’ll see little flecks of brown from the toasted parts of the marshmallow but this where the flavour is.
  6. Freeze for 8 hours (and do your best not to eat it all yourself)

Tropical Rice Pudding

Scrumptious served with ripe mango or pineapple

I’ve mentioned before that when I was a kid, my Mum wasn’t a great cook (I love you Mo, but we both know the truth). Dessert in my house was usually shop bought, and when I was really young one of favourites was tinned creamed rice with a big spoonful of jam.

Fast forward God knows how many years, and I taught myself how to cook. I was also lucky enough to go out into the world and try some amazing flavours. So I decided to try and experiment with some of my favourites. Coconut, ginger and lemon grass gives a new twist on this traditional dessert.

I like this chilled and served with mango or pineapple, but it’s also really good warm, and you can enjoy it with whatever fruit you prefer.

I used milk in this recipe, but you can substitute some of this with cream if want to make a really indulgent dessert. If you want to make a vegan version, swap cow’s milk for almond milk. I’ve tried both versions and they’re both delicious.

Coconut and spices bring a new twist to an old classic

Ingredients

400 ml Can Coconut milk

250 Grams Pudding rice

40 Grams Sugar

500 ml Milk

1 Large stalk of lemon grass (kept whole but bruised)

1 Thumb sized piece of ginger

Method

  1. Cut your piece of ginger in half length ways, then smack your lemon grass with the back of a knife (or pot if you want get some frustration out). Bruising the lemongrass helps release the flavour. The ginger and lemon grass are kept big to make it easier to fish out when the rice pudding is cooked
  2. Put all the ingredients in a pot with a lid and heat until just before the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over a low heat stirring regularly. Each type of rice is different, so cook until the rice is soft. (mine took about 30 minutes). Different rices will absorb different amounts of liquid so if you think the mix is looking too dry add a little milk/water
  3. When the rice is cooked you can scoop out the ginger and lemon grass. The rice pudding can be served hot or cold. I like it served with fruit

Chocolate Salami

Unctuous chocolate, orange, and ginger deliciousness

I know what you’re thinking, it sounds weird, but the only the reason this is called a salami is because it looks a bit like until it’s sliced.

Chocolate salami before it’s sliced.

These are traditional in Italy and Portugal around Christmas , and are usually filled with delicious festive ingredients like fruit, nuts, cookies, and booze. I had looked at different recipes, but ended up just adding the ingredients that I like.

This is seriously rich, so a thin slice with a cup of coffee is heaven. Its also great with ice cream if you want a lighter dessert at Christmas. This will live in the fridge for up to week, but probably won’t last that long.

Ingredients

250 Grams Dark Chocolate

250 Grams Ginger nuts

100 Grams Butter

150 Grams Caster sugar

100 Grams Dates

100 Grams Nuts (I used a mixture of what I had in the cupboard)

2 Eggs

2 Tbsps Cointreau orange liqueur (optional)

Zest of 1 orange

2 Tbsps Icing Sugar (for coating the salami)

Method

  • Break the chocolate into a bowl, and melt in the microwave, or over a pot of simmering water
  • In a separate bowl with an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together until its light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs, one at a time to the butter and sugar mix. Don’t worry if this looks curdled, it will soon look OK
  • Mix in the melted chocolate to the butter mixture.
  • Crush the ginger snaps in a plastic bag, until they are in small bits, but not dust. Chop the nuts and dates roughly, and grate the zest of the orange
  • Combine all the ingredients, and mix well, ensuring everything is well coated with the chocolate mixture
  • Keep the mixture in its bowl and refrigerate for around 30 minutes until it firm’s up
Chocolate mix
  • Take the mixture out of the fridge, lay a double sheet of clung film on a counter
  • Empty the mixture onto the cling film and with your hands, mould into a sausage shape
  • Cover with the cling film and role on the counter until its smooth
Roll on the counter until cylinder is smooth
  • Chill in the fridge over night (or for at least 6 hours)
  • On a chopping board or plate sprinkle half the icing sugar. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar over the chocolate and pat until coated.
Pat with Icing Sugar until the log looks like a salami
  • I wrap mine in baking parchment and keep in the fridge, cutting myself some every time I pass the fridge

Peach and Blueberry Free Form Pie

I love Summer, and get a bit carried away buying soft fruits when they’re in season.

To use up the mountain of fruit I bought I decided to come up with this take on a recipe that featured in the Great British Bake Off. This pie usually doesn’t hang around long after it comes out of the oven because it smells so good, but it’s best eaten the day it’s made. It’s also handy that you don’t have to faff around with flan tins.

Peach and Blueberry Free Form Pie

Serves 8

Ingredients

200 Grams Plain flour

100 Grams Butter

1/4 Tsp Salt

1 Egg yolk

1 Tbsp Caster Sugar

3 Tbsp Cold water

Filling

3 Peaches

150 Grams Blueberries

59 Grams Caster

1 1/2 Tbsp Cornflour

29 Grams Melted butter for brushing

Method

  1. Sift the flour and salt together, and along with sugar and the butter (cut into cubes) add to a food processor and whizz until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs
  2. Add the cold water gradually, until the mixture starts to form ball
  3. Form into a ball and wrap in cling, put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes
  4. While the pastry is chilling, slice the peaches into quarters and put in a bowl with the blueberries. Sprinkle the cornflour and sugar over the fruit making sure the fruit is well coated
  5. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, and roll out your pastry into a thin flat disc. My kitchen was really hot the day I made this, so I found it easier to roll the pastry out between two sheets of grease proof paper, before transferring to a baking sheet
  6. Pile the fruit into the centre of the pastry, leaving a 4 or 5cm gap around the edge of the pastry
  7. Start folding in the edges of the pastry in pleats, and then brush with the melted butter
  8. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. You can dust the pie with some icing sugar if you want to be fancy, this is delicious with vanilla ice cream

Ginger and Honeycomb Tray Bake

This is a really quick and tasty tray bake, and is always a crowd pleaser.

Ginger and Honeycomb Tray Bake

It’s also a good recipe to make with kids, if you can stop them eating all the honeycomb and have no moral objection to fighting a small child to lick the spoon.

Ingredients

600gm Chocolate (I use a mixture of dark and milk chocolate)

2 Tbsp. Golden syrup

50gm Butter

125gm Ginger nuts

125gm Honeycomb (I use honeycomb bars available in multipacks)

Makes 15

Method

  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces, add to the butter and golden syrup in a glass bowl placed over a pan of simmering water until melted, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water (you can melt this in a microwave if you prefer, I’d recommend giving the mixture blasts of 30 seconds and checking so as not to burn the chocolate)
  2. Break the honeycomb and ginger biscuits into chunks (I prefer these on the chunkier side, this works best if these pieces aren’t too fine)
  3. Line a 12cm by 12cm dish with parchment paper
  4. Add two thirds of the chocolate mix to the honeycomb and biscuits and mix well, spread this mix even in the dish lined with parchment paper
  5. Spread the rest of the chocolate mix on top and smooth out.  Allow the chocolate to set, and then cut into slices

Flourless Moroccan Orange Cake

When I went to Morocco I fell in love with the taste of the orange flower water they include in sweet dishes.  You can pick it up cheaply in most Asian supermarkets.

You can make this cake without it and it will still be delicious but add a teaspoon of orange flower water and it takes it to a whole other level.  You can also put this in your bath and it will smell fabulous.

But a final word of caution, if you are going to use it, only use a teaspoonful.  Like rose water, a little bit makes things taste amazing, too much and the dish you slaved over tastes like a tart’s hand bag.

Flourless Moroccan Orange 🎂

This is a brilliant cake if you’re entertaining, as it’s flourless you’re covered if you have a guest who’s gluten intolerant.  Fancy things up, and poach some orange segments in a little sugar and water (you could even add some orange liqueur if you want to push the boat out).  Both the cake and the poached oranges can be made a day in advance so all you have to do is serve it up with some crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt for a simple but effective dessert.  You can also devour it on its own with a big mug of coffee.

            Serves 8

            Ingredients

            2 Large oranges

            5 Large eggs

            250 grams Caster sugar

            250 grams Ground Almonds

            1 Tsp Orange flower water (optional)

            1 Tsp Baking powder

            Icing sugar (optional)

            Method

  1. Put the 2 oranges into a pan with enough water to just cover them, bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 hours, I cover with a lid and check every now and again
  2. After 2 hours, remove from the water allow to cool, chop into quarters (removing any obvious pips, and blend to a pulp using a hand blender or food processor
  3. Pre heat the oven to 200c, and line a 20 cm cake tin with baking parchment
  4. In a bowl combine the eggs and sugar, whisk until the they have turned pale yellow and fluffy
  5. Stir in the baking powder, orange flower water and orange pulp before gradually folding in the ground almonds
  6. Transfer the mix into you lined tin and bake for 50-55 minute, or until a skewer comes out cleanly with no cake mixture on it. This cake does go quite dark, but if you’re worried it’s not cooked and it’s getting too dark, then cover with some aluminium foil.
  7. Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar

Frozen Banana Pops

These were inspired by the great minds at Thug Kitchen,  these food writers like myself, try to stay healthy and are prone to saying f*ck quite a lot.  You can also use vegan dark chocolate if that’s your thing.

Gorgeous on a hot day, or my own guilty pleasure is to have them while sitting on the sofa with a cup of coffee.  But f*ck it, eat them how you like.

Makes 6

Ingredients

6 Lollipop sticks

100 grams Dark chocolate (you can use vegan chocolate if that’s your thing)

3 Bananas

1 Tsp. Coconut Oil

50 grams chopped almonds (peanuts, or hazelnuts also work really well)

Method

  1. Line a baking sheet or plate with grease proof paper.
  2. Toast the nuts in a dry pan, and set to one side. (It’s worth taking the time to do this, as it really improves the flavour).
  3. Chop the chocolate and put in a bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, and allow it to melt.  You can also try melting this in the microwave, by give it blasts of 30 seconds at a time.  Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the teaspoon of coconut oil.
  4. While the chocolate is melting, peel the bananas and cut width ways. Stick the lollipop stick up the middle of the banana from the flat end.
  5. When the chocolate is melted dip the banana in it, using a spoon to cover any bits that aren’t covered.
  6. Sprinkle the chocolate covered bananas with the nuts, place on the grease proof paper and put in the freezer for 2 hours.
  7. When frozen if you aren’t going to eat these immediately, but them in freezer bag.

Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa Cake

I’m going to be honest, I stole this recipe from one of my roles models in life, the fabulous Ms Dolly Parton.

One rainy afternoon while I was firmly wedged on the sofa watching Steel Magnolias, Dolly Parton’s character calls out this recipe to a friend.  When I had recovered from having a little cry at the film, I decided to go shopping and see if this recipe would work, and it did.  I think it’s more of pudding than a cake, but you’ll enjoy it none the less.

Dolly’s recommendation is to serve this with ice cream (to cut the sweetness), and it does go extremely well.  So have a go at this recipe, put on Steel Magnolias and treat yourself to some cuppa cuppa cuppa cake.

Ingredients

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup tinned fruit cocktail in syrup

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius

Combine all the ingredients, mix well, and transfer to a greased cake tin.

Bake for 30 – 40 mins, or until golden and crunchy on top.