Archive for November, 2012

Baileys Cheesecake

November 27, 2012
  • 11g pack powdered gelatine , plus 1 tsp
  • 175g shortcake biscuits , crushed to crumbs
  • 85g butter , melted
  • 250g tub Quark
  • 250g tub mascarpone
  • 150ml Baileys cream liqueur
  • 142ml pot double cream , lightly whipped
  • 2 eggs
  • 140g caster sugar


  • 1 heaped tsp powdered gelatine
  • 150ml strong black coffee
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar , to sweeten the coffee


  1. Measure 5 tbsp cold water in a small bowl, then sprinkle over the gelatine and leave to soak for 5 mins until spongy. Now stand the bowl of gelatine in a pan of gently simmering water and leave until it turns clear.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the biscuit crumbs and butter really well, then press on the base of a loose-bottomed 20cm cake tin. Chill.
  3. Beat the quark, mascarpone and Baileys together, then stir in the gelatine and fold in the cream.
  4. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until thick, pale and foamy, then fold into the cheesecake mixture and pour onto the biscuit base. Chill for 3-4 hrs or until set.
  5. For the jelly, sprinkle the gelatine over the coffee, then put the bowl in a pan of gently simmering water until dissolved. Cool the mixture. When cold, carefully spoon the coffee mixture on top of the cheesecake to make a thin layer – don’t pour it on or you will disturb the creamy layer. Chill until set. Will keep in the fridge for 2 days.
  6. To serve the cheesecake, wrap a hot tea towel round the outside of the tin, then gently ease out the cake. Serve in thin slices.

Chocolate Whiskey Layer Cake (

November 27, 2012

Chocolate Whiskey Layer Cake
(adapted from this recipe by way of the BBC website)

It looks like a lot of ingredients but don’t be put off, the cake is a one bowl wonder and takes minutes to make. If you can’t be bothered to make buttercream and ganache, just up the quantities of one and use that to fill and frost the cake.


For the cake
340g plain flour
525g golden caster sugar
128g cocoa powder
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
2 ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 large free range eggs
375ml full fat milk
188ml groundnut oil
3 tsp vanilla extract
375ml boiling water

For the whiskey syrup
100ml water
100g caster sugar
50ml whiskey

For the buttercream
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
350g icing sugar
4 tbsp condensed milk
2 tbsp whiskey, or to taste

For the ganache
250g dark chocolate, chopped
250ml double cream
100g light brown muscovado sugar


For the cake
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line three 20cm cake tins.

Sift the flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk for one minute to combine. You could also do this using an electric whisk.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs then add the milk and groundnut oil. Pour into the dry mixture and whisk for two to three minutes until well combined.

With the whisk running, add the boiling water to your mixture a little at a time until combined. The batter will be extremely liquid.

Pour into your prepared cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 – 35 minutes, or until the tops are firm and a skewer or toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven.

For the whiskey syrup
Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the whiskey and simmer for one minute more then remove from the heat.

Trickle the syrup over the top of each cake while still warm then set aside to cool completely.

For the buttercream
Make sure your butter is nice and soft. In a stand mixer or using an electric whisk, beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Sift in the icing sugar and whisk to combine, then add the condensed milk. Continue to beat until light and fluffy, slowly incorporating the whiskey until fully combined.

For the ganache
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.

Heat the cream and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for one minute.

Remove the cream from the heat and allow to stand for one minute – pouring it directly over the chocolate will cause it to split. Once it has rested, pour over the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy, using a rubber spatula or whisk.

Set aside for thirty minutes or until it has cooled to a spreadable consistency.

To assemble the cake

Smear a small amount of whiskey buttercream on a serving plate or cake stand. Place one round of cake on top. Slather over half the quantity of whiskey buttercream, top with a second round of cake and repeat. Top with the final round of cake and smooth any buttercream that has squidged out the sides.

Dollop your ganache on top of the cake then use a spatula or palette knife to spread it down and round the edges. Use a slightly heated palette knife for a smooth finish or do what I did and swirl the ganache for a more rustic, flicked effect.

This cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. After driving it to Rutland in 26 degree heat I had to pop it in the fridge to firm the ganache, but unless it’s a very hot day you should be ok.

*This recipe makes one 20cm round, 3 tier cake. When baking this cake at 6am before work my half conscious brain couldn’t find the right tins so I made it in 3 tins of 23, 20 and 18cm, hence the slightly strange appearance of the slice in the photos. It will taste exactly the same, but for the best looking cake I’d suggest sticking with 3 x 20cm tins.

Perfect Chocolate Cake (Felicity Cloake)

November 27, 2012

50g dark chocolate, melted and allowed to cool slightly
250g butter, at room temperature
250g light muscovado sugar
½ tsp salt
100g cocoa powder
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
250ml milk
50g chocolate chips

For the buttercream:
140g butter, softened
50g cocoa powder
200g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk
5 Oreo cookies

1. Grease and line the bases of 2 x 20cm springform cake tins with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) 350F / gas 4. Cream together the butter and sugar with ½ tsp salt until light and fluffy.

2. Sift together the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time and beat until well combined, then fold in half the dry ingredients followed by the melted chocolate. Fold in the rest, followed by enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency, and then the chocolate chips. Divide between the two tins and bake for about 25–30 minutes until firm in the centre.

3. Allow to cool completely on a rack, then make the buttercream. Beat the butter until fluffy, then add the cocoa, icing sugar and salt and, if necessary, a little milk to loosen the mixture. Put one of the cakes on a serving plate and spread a third of the icing on top. Place the second on top, then spread the rest of the icing over it.

4. Blitz the biscuits to a fine crumb in a food processor and sprinkle them over the cake.

Easter Cupcakes

November 26, 2012


Cowboy Chicken (Netmums)

November 18, 2012
  • Chicken drumsticks, thighs or wings (depending on preference and price)
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 or more cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Black pepper and mixed herbs (optional)

Put as many chicken drumsticks (thighs or wings) in an ovenproof dish as you need. Squeeze a couple of lemons over them and squash several cloves of garlic (one per person is a good guide but depends on your taste).

Season with pepper and mixed herbs.  Marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.

When you’re ready, pop them in a 180 C/Gas 4 oven and cook for around 40 mins… or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with potato wedges, rice or baked beans and your favourite vegetables.

Therese’s Kola Kakor or golden syrup biscuits (Justin Piers Gellatly)

November 13, 2012

Comfort itself. This recipe comes from Therese, one of the pastry chefs at St John, and yes, she is from Sweden. Makes 40.

plain flour 360g
baking powder 2 tsp
vanilla pod 1
unsalted butter 200g, soft, diced
caster sugar 200g
golden syrup 90g


Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Slit the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds and mix them into the flour. Add all the rest of the ingredients and mix well until you have a firm, smooth paste – this can be done by hand or in a food mixer.

Divide the mixture into four pieces and roll out each one to 25cm long and 2.5cm thick. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, making sure they are at least 10cm apart as they will spread out in the oven. Bake at 180C/gas mark 4 for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. When they come out of the oven, leave for two minutes, then cut each piece into 10 strips. Great served with ice cream, cream desserts or just a mug of tea.

Abbey’s chocolate cake with chocolate caramel sauce (Justin Piers Gellatly)

November 13, 2012

Abbey used to work at St John Bread & Wine. We now use her chocolate-cake recipe in all our restaurants. Serves 10-16.

unsalted butter 360g, cut into small cubes
plain chocolate 440g, 70% cocoa solids, finely chopped
caster sugar 550g
ground almonds 200g
cocoa powder 125g
eggs 10, lightly beaten
salt a pinch

For the sauce:
caster sugar 310g
double cream 375ml
plain chocolate 300g, with 70% cocoa solids, finely chopped
a pinch of salt


First make the cake mixture. Put the butter and chocolate in a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water isn’t touching the base of the bowl. Melt together, whisking occasionally, then take off the heat. Stir in the sugar.

Sift the ground almonds into a separate bowl (you might be left with a few that won’t go through the sieve, but that is fine – you can use them in something else), then mix them with the cocoa powder. Add to the chocolate mixture, mix well, then stir in the eggs and salt, and mix again.

Pour the mixture into a 25cm cake tin (about 8cm deep) lined with baking parchment. Bake at 160C/gas mark 3 for about 35 minutes – the middle will still be slightly uncooked, but it will set in the residual heat. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Now make the sauce. Place the sugar in a large, deep, heavy-based saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water and let it melt over a medium heat. Raise the heat and cook without stirring until it turns into a dark brown caramel. Then slowly add the cream – watch out, it will spit a little – and then turn the heat down low. Let the caramel melt into the cream, whisking occasionally.

Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and salt, whisking until the chocolate has dissolved.

Pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl. If you want to warm the sauce up again later, it’s best to do it over a pan of simmering water.

Serve the cake with the sauce and some crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

Custard Tart (Justin Piers Gellatly)

November 13, 2012

Custardy fragility contained by pastry, the limbo between liquid and wobbles.

Serves 10 to 12.

egg yolks 10

vanilla pod 1

double cream 750ml

caster sugar 95g

nutmeg 1

For the pastry:

unsalted butter 160g

soft caster sugar 110g

egg 1

large egg yolks 2

large strong white flour 280g

Directions First make the pastry. Cream the butter and sugar together until white and fluffy. Lightly beat together the egg and the egg yolks, then add them to the mixture a little at a time in order to prevent curdling. Sift in the flour and mix until just incorporated. The pastry will be very soft, so wrap it in clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 3mm thick and use to line a 30cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill for 1-2 hours. Cover the pastry case with clingfilm, fill with baking beans and lightly fold the clingfilm over the top of the beans. Bake in an oven preheated to 180C/gas mark 4 until the pastry is golden brown around the edges. Remove the clingfilm and beans and return the pastry case to the oven until golden brown. Lightly beat one of the egg yolks. As soon as the pastry case comes out of the oven, brush all over the inside with the beaten egg to seal any little holes. For the filling, slit the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and pod in a saucepan with the double cream and bring slowly to the boil to infuse the cream with the vanilla. In a large bowl, mix the nine remaining egg yolks and the sugar together for just a minute with a whisk. Then pour the boiling cream on to the mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Pass through a fine sieve. If there is lots of froth on top, just spoon it off and discard. Pour the custard mix into the baked pastry case, then grate the nutmeg on top (do not use ready-ground nutmeg). Place carefully in the oven without spilling any of the filling down the sides of the pastry case – if you do, you will end up with soggy pastry, which is a no-no for a custard tart. Bake at 120C/gas mark ½ for about 1 hour, until there is only a small wobble in the centre of the tart. Take out of the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Serve warm or cold and, when in season, with some fresh raspberries.

Salmon and Asparagus Mini Pies

November 9, 2012


King Prawn Spring Onion and Wasabi Fishcakes

November 9, 2012