Banoffee Pie

It really annoys me when people say things like, ‘I really can’t cook’. Anyone can cook, they just have to try. There are plenty of tasty meals and treats that require minimum effort for maximum taste, Banoffee pie is one of these.

To start with, you need a biscuit base. You can use digestives, but I prefer the humble ginger nut biscuit as it adds a little more bite. Put a packet of the biscuits into a food bag and beat them to death, they will soon resemble bread crumbs. Melt around 100g butter, mix this in with the breadcrumb biscuits and press into the bottom of your dish. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Now, you need the caramel filling. If you are in a hurry, use Carnation Caramel, all ready for you to go. Alternatively, boil a can of condensed milk in water for around an hour, it will become delicious caramel! Spread the caramel onto your biscuit base, then add sliced bananas. Ripe bananas are best.

Now, whip your double cream. I like to add a teaspoon of vanilla essence and around 25g icing sugar. Spread the cream onto your caramel/banana base. I like to add some cadbury flake on top of the cream for extra flavour and decoration.

You can make one big banoffee pie, or individual smaller ones. It is a simple, but tasty desert, that is sure to satisfy everyone that eats it.

Pick n’ mix cupcakes

I decorated these cupcakes with Pic n’ Mix, hence the name. The icing does not look too great, I was in a rush and did not take much care, but I promise they taste delicious!

Ingredients for the cake mix

  • 200g butter (I use Stork)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Splash of milk
  • Tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tbsp raspberry or strawberry jam

Ingredients for the icing

  • 150g softened butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 2tsp raspberry or strawberry jam
  • Pick n’ mix sweets to decorate

Method

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until combined
  2. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mixture
  3. Add the flour and beat well
  4. Add the vanilla essence and jam, add milk if the mixture is too dry
  5. Spoon the mix into cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes for so at 180 degrees, until the cakes are golden and bounce back when you touch them
  6. Allow the cakes to cool and then for the icing beat the butter and icing sugar until combined well
  7. Add the vanilla essence and jam, this should give the icing a pink colour. Feel free to add food colouring if you wish
  8. Pipe the icing onto the cakes and add the pick n’ mix sweets

Lemon Tart

I love fruity deserts, particularly lemon ones. This lemon tart, or as you may prefer to call it, tarte au citron, is the perfect end to any heavy meal. I loosely follow baking genius, Mary Berry’s recipe.

Ingredients for pastry

  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1tsp orange or apple juice

Ingredients for lemon filling

  • 5 eggs
  • 125ml double cream
  • 225g caster sugar
  • Juice and zest of 4 lemons
  • Tbsp lemon curd (optional)
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Method

  1. To make the food processor either rub the flour, butter and icing sugar until it looks like breadcrumbs or use a food processor, then add the yolk and juice (you can use water instead of juice)
  2.  Knead your pastry and leave it to chill for 15 minutes in the fridge in clingfilm or foil
  3. Grease your tart tray and roll the pastry out, dust the surface with flour
  4. Put your pastry into the dish, cover with greaseproof paper and put baking beads on top, blind bake at 180 degrees 15-20 minutes
  5. Once the pastry has cooled, remove the baking beads and greaseproof paper and begin making your filling. If you are feeling lazy you can buy Jus-Rol shortcrust pastry
  6. For the filling, whisk the eggs, add the sugar, then the lemon zest and juice, add the double cream and lemon curd if you are using it. Mix and add to your pastry, it may seem runny, but it will set
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 170 degrees, the tart should like firm but with a slight wobble in the middle
  8. Allow to cool, then refrigerate. Add an icing sugar dusting before serving

Enjoy! I served mine with lemon cream and raspberries.

Sticky Toffee Cupcakes

If you love Sticky Toffee Pudding then these cupcakes will be just your thing. They are deeply satisfying and any caramel lover will adore them.

Ingredients

  • 200g pitted dates, chopped
  • 180ml boiling water
  • 80g butter
  • 150g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tbsp caramel (Carnation Caramel or Dulce De Leche)

And then for the frosting

  • 160g butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 50ml whole milk
  • 100g caramel
  • Mini fudge to decorate

Method

  1. Put the chopped dates in a bowl with the boiling water and leave to soak for 30 minutes
  2. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and line your muffin tin, this makes around 14 cupcakes
  3. Beat the butter and sugar and then add the eggs one at a time and beat
  4. Add the flour, baking powder and vanilla essence
  5. Pour in the date and water mixture
  6. Beat until smooth and add a tablespoon of caramel
  7. Fill your cake cases and bake for 20 minutes
  8. Allow to cool whilst you make your frosting
  9. Beat your butter and icing sugar, add the milk and then the caramel and beat until smooth and icing like
  10. Spread on to your cakes and decorate with mini fudge pieces
  11. Eat and enjoy comments from your friends/colleagues

Jammie Dodger Cakes

These little cakes are perfect for any upcoming Jubilee plans you may have, they look very  British. Sainsbury’s also have cupcake cases with the Union Jack flag on for some extra Jubilee glitz. Inspired by something I saw on sale on Fortnum and Mason, this recipe was free styled.

Ingredients

  • 200g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 self raising flour
  • Half a teaspon of baking powder
  • Jar of Strawberry or Raspberry Jam
  • Mini Jammie dodgers
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 160g butter for icing
  • Splash of milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees
  2. Cream the butter and sugar and then add the eggs one at a time and beat
  3. Add the flour and baking powder and beat well
  4. Add a few teaspoons of jam into the cake mix
  5. Add a splash of milk if the mix seems to stodgy
  6. Now spoon some cake mix into your cake cases
  7. On top of that spoon a teaspoon of jam and then put more cake mix on top
  8. Bake for around 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
  9. One the cakes have cooled, on to the icing! Beat the icing sugar and butter, add some milk if needed, add some strawberry jam to give it a lovely pink colour
  10. Pipe or spread your icing on your cakes and decorate with a jammie dodger!

Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes

This recipe comes with inspiration from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook and has become a household favourite of ours. Funnily enough these go really well with a cup of earl grey tea!

Ingredients for the sponge

  • 3 earl grey teabags
  • 3tbsp just boiled water
  • 80g butter
  • 240g plain flour
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200ml whole milk

Ingredients for the earl grey frosting

  • 50ml whole milk
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 160g butter

Method

  1. Pour 3tbsp of just boiled water on top of the three earl grey teabags and leave to brew in a cup
  2. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  3. Mix the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder together until it looks like breadcrumbs
  4. Beat the milk and eggs together in a jug and then pour this into the breadcrumb like mixture and beat well
  5. Add the earl grey tea mixture. Keep the earl grey tea bags in the cup and add the whole milk for the frosting
  6. Once the cake batter is smooth, fill your cupcake cases. The recipe makes around 12-16 cupcakes
  7. Bake for around 20 minutes
  8. Once cooled make your icing by beating the butter, icing sugar and the earl grey milk mixture
  9. Ice your cakes and eat them, they are both interesting and delicious

Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake

With summer on the horizon (where you ask?!) and strawberries soon to be in season, a strawberries and cream cheesecake is just what every summer dinner party or barbecue needs. Based on The Hummingbird Bakery recipe, this is very simple to make and although the mix seems a little runny, just go with it and I promise the results will be delicious!

Ingredients

  • ~250g of either digestive or shortbread biscuits for the base (shortbread makes a much richer cheesecake)
  • 100g of butter
  • 200g chopped fresh strawberries (more to decorate the top as in the picture, use your judgement!)
  • 185g caster sugar
  • 600g cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp St Dalfour strawberry spread
  • 100g mascarpone
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 100ml double cream

Method

  1. Base – Bash the biscuits until they are like breadcrumbs, melt the butter, mix this with the crumbs and pat down into the bottom of your cheesecake tin. Bake at 160 degrees for around 5 minutes and leave to cool
  2. Preheat the oven at 160 degrees
  3. In a saucepan put the strawberries, 80g sugar, 30ml water and a little icing sugar and bring to the boil until the strawberries release juice and this begins to thicken, leave to cool
  4. In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, 105g remaining sugar, St Dalfour strawberry spread and then add the eggs and mix all together
  5. Add the cooled strawberry mix to this and mix well
  6. Pour into your cheesecake tin, on top of your base
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until the cheesecake looks glossy, is firm on the outside and the middle is a little wobbly
  8. Allow to cool
  9. Beat the mascarpone and then in a separate bowl whisk the cream and icing sugar and fold this into the mascarpone.  Spread this on top of the chilled cheese cake.
  10. Add strawberries and decorate and then enjoy!

A cheesecake loving friend of ours rated this one of the best cheesecakes she had tasted, the first of course for anyone who has tried it is New York’s Juniors cheesecake. If you go to New York you MUST try it!